Friday 29 July 2011

Moochie the Entrepreneur

Yes, Moochie had indeed turned over a new leaf and set himself up in business. He boasted to my parents that he had acquired a stable of three aging prostitutes who he was pimping out at the local skid row hotel. "My heavy chevies," he proudly called them. Business was pretty good too.

My parents were mortified, of course. They prayed he would not identify himself as a relative to anyone they knew.

Moochie's career lasted for a while but eventually he was arrested and convicted for "living off the avails of prostitution" as it's called. Presumably he served a bit of jail time. Or perhaps not. Who knows? The last we heard of him was that he had moved to the West Coast where his brother lived. He died there a few years ago.

I'm sure he was able to con his way into heaven. Rest in peace, Moochie.

[Photo by Sean Carruthers and found on his website here]

Thursday 28 July 2011

As The World Turns

True to form, it didn't take too long until Moochie lost or sold or totaled the car, whatever. My mother breathed a huge sigh of relief, knowing there would be no more sneak attack visits. Life moved on. I grew up and left home. My parents and sister moved to a nearby city.

We heard about 10 years later that Moochie and the wife had separated. We assumed it was just a case of welfare fraud so that they could claim more assistance as two single people than as a married couple. But it turned out to actually be true. One day, out of the blue, Moochie showed up in the city and declared himself to be a single man. And -- even more shocking -- he was working.

Well, so to speak.

Tomorrow: Moochie the Entrepreneur

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Big Bag o' Teeth

You have to understand that Moochie and his wife had no teeth. Oh, they each had a set of false teeth but, as explained to us, those were "welfare teeth" and so didn't fit right. Rather than hurt their gums by actually wearing the teeth, the Moochies simply carried them around in a brown paper bag stashed on the ledge of the car's rear window.

When supper was ready to be served, Moochie said to one of the kids "Go get our teeth" and the kid obediently ran out to the car to fetch the Big Bag o' Teeth. Moochie and the wife fished around in the bag, figured out whose uppers and lowers were whose, shoved them in their mouths, gobbled down their meals and then promptly took the teeth out again. Back in the bag for next time!


Tomorrow: As The World Turns

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Moochie's Sneak Attack!

We discovered that the Moochie clan was mobile one pleasant summer evening when they all showed up on our doorstep -- unannounced -- about half an hour before supper time. The law of hospitality required that they be fed, of course. It took a week's worth of groceries to do so.

We were far from being a well-off bunch ourselves so seeing all that food disappear in a single meal was a heavy blow to our family budget. My mother was not pleased.

They stayed for about an hour or so, just long enough to eat and have a short visit. Finally, Moochie pulled my father aside, bummed some smokes and gas money off him and then they all motored off in a cloud of acrid exhaust fumes.

Boy, did my Dad hear about that later, too.

Tomorrow: The Big Bag o' Teeth

Monday 25 July 2011

My Cousin Moochie

Every extended family has at least one ne'er-do-well and in our family it was my cousin Moochie. Once upon a time, he had been apprenticed to a sign painter but had never subsequently worked a day in his life, so far as anyone knew. I don't think he had addiction problems or anything. He just preferred to lead a life of leisure. This gave him lots of time for sex which was a favourite activity, obviously, because he and the wife had 10 or 12 kids over the years. Moochie was a fun guy, always laughing and joking. He was a bit of a con artist too, with no qualms whatsoever about creative mooching.

When I was a kid, we didn't see Moochie and his family all that often because they lived about an hour away from us. Municipal assistance was not generous enough for the Moochies to be able to afford a vehicle so they were pretty restricted in their movements.

Until that one fateful summer when -- how, God, how? -- Moochie managed to acquire an old beater of a car. A bit of gas mooched from somewhere or another and . . . woo hoo, road trip!!!

Tomorrow: Moochie's Sneak Attack

Friday 22 July 2011

What's in a Name? Part 3

Another couple of my older female relatives also had somewhat unusual names -- at least, unusual for their time and place. One was named "Beryl" which is a family of crystal gemstones. Beryl comes in several colours like pink, green, yellow and clear. Types of beryl include emerald, aquamarine, heliodor and morganite.

It's a very pretty name if pronounced properly as "BARE-ill." But everyone called her "BURL" which robbed her name of any musicality whatsoever.

Another aunt from my ultra-WASP family was inexplicably given the Spanish name of "Inez." Where her parents out in the middle of nowhere on the Canadian prairies ever learned that name is a complete mystery.

Again, pronounced properly, it is a beautiful and melodious name: "ee-NEZ." But of course everyone anglicized it and reduced it to the considerably less tuneful "EYE-ness." Matching her Spanish given name first with English and then Irish surnames, my auntie was a pioneer of Canadian multiculturalism in action!

Thursday 21 July 2011

What's in a Name? Part 2

My family's admiration for all things British continued into the early 20th century. One of my older relatives was named "Baden Powell," after the Brit who founded the Boy Scout movement.

Another old uncle of mine was named "Minto," after Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto, who was the British Governor-General of Canada from 1898-1904, the period when my uncle was born.

Nor were women in my family immune to this commemorative mania. A female relative born in 1917 was named "Vimy" by her parents to honour the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Suffice it to say, I never ever met anyone else with any of these particular monikers. These relatives truly had unique names and always stood out in a crowd!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

What's in a Name? Part 1

I don't know about your family but in mine, some relatives chose quite unique names for their children. Sometimes these names came from the Bible or commemorated famous people or events. Other times the choices were just kind of strange. I'm going to tell you about some of these names in the following three posts.

The most spectacular Biblical name in my family belonged to my great-great-great grandfather Eleazar. So who the heck was "Eleazar" in the Bible?

He was the second High Priest of Israel, having inherited that title from his father Aaron, the brother of Moses. As High Priest, only he could enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Eleazar's early life experience included the exodus from Egypt and 40 years of wandering in the desert.

I guess my great-great-great grandfather's destiny was in his name because his early life involved an exodus as well. During the American War of Independence, his New Jersey family remained loyal to the British Crown and afterwards fled to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. They settled in the Niagara region of what is now Ontario.

So thanks, Eleazar! You and your family are the reason why I live today in a country with universal health care, same sex marriage and no crazy Religious Right!

Tuesday 19 July 2011

My Cat the Foodie

Just like last year, Her Royal Highness and I are sharing meal prep duties while My Rare One is away. Actually, HRH rather fancies herself as a gourmet cook and has made outrageous promises about the delicious meals she'll be serving. Pretty big talk for a little cat, I say.

Anyway, her friend Gordon came over today to be her sous-chef in the kitchen while she cooked. Who knows where she meets these people?

Gordon seems like a nice enough guy but he does have a bit of an anger management problem. And he swears like you wouldn't believe. Always dropping the F-bomb. It's a good thing that HRH is no slouch in that department. In fact, she is more than a match for him.

So . . . things started off well enough. But inevitably, the bickering began. Two temperamental chefs in the kitchen is NOT a good idea.

Eventually, of course, it all degenerated into flying fur, razor-sharp claws and blue air. Gordon narrowly escaped leaving with a cleaver in his back. The last words out of him were that we would be hearing from his "fuckin' lawyers." Pffft! Wuss.

Unfortunately, none of the dishes turned out. Too much cilantro. HRH says she'll just open a can of something or another for our dinner. I sure hope she means Chef Boyardee.

Monday 18 July 2011

Rodeo Life

Once again My Rare One is on the road driving the truck and horse trailer for her barrel-racing Cowgirl Niece. They'll be hitting a number of small town fairs and rodeos in Manitoba and Saskatchewan over the next couple of weeks. Good luck, girls!

And this song's for you!

Friday 15 July 2011

Visual Bach

I love baroque music, especially anything by J.S. Bach. The beauty and mathematical precision of his music speak to my finicky Virgo soul, LOL!

I read once that the "clockwork precision" of baroque music reflected the 18th century European belief in a "clockwork universe" -- namely, their unshakable belief that The One True Judeo-Christian God was firmly entrenched in heaven, was in absolute control of everything and that all things worked strictly according to his Master Plan.

Want to see a fascinating visual representation of Bach's clockwork musical precision? The following video graphically illustrates how his music builds on itself, how the edifice of sound is constructed, so to speak. Watching his music adds to the delightfulness of listening to his music!

Thanks to Mercurio who posted this video on his blog, Captain's memoirs, which is where I found it.

Thursday 14 July 2011

We Can Deny Them Nothing. NOTHING.

Thanks to Kal over at Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool for finding this video! By the way, Her Royal Highness sends greetings to Admiral Fluffy and says she'll see him at astronaut camp this summer.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Trains Up Close and Personal

When I was a kid growing up in a small one-horse prairie town, we lived right beside the CPR train line. And I mean right beside! Every time a freight train went past, everything in our house rattled. Of course, we didn't really notice the noise and vibration since we were so used to it, but any visitors would just about jump out of their skins the first time.

But believe me, our proximity to the railroad tracks was nothing compared to this short video of a train going past a vegetable market in what appears to be China or some other Asian country. Check it out -- you will be amazed! I can't embed the video, but click here to go to it.

Monday 11 July 2011

All Hail The Iron Lady

Goddess knows, I was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher when she was in power as British Prime Minister in the 1980s. But about a month ago, a small news item caught my eye which now makes me like her just a teensy bit. The Canadian Press reported:

[Sarah Palin] told a British newspaper over the weekend that she hopes to meet this summer with her longtime idol, former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

That isn't going to happen.

"Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin," an unnamed Thatcher aide told The Guardian. "That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts."

Hahahahaha! Boy, if that doesn't say it all!

Incidentally, the incomparable Meryl Streep is going to portray Mrs. Thatcher in an upcoming biopic, I learned recently from Dezmond's blog Hollywood Spy. Should be a challenging role! Here's the "sneak peek" trailer:

Friday 8 July 2011

My Favourite Jet

While we're on the topic of the Winnipeg Jets, just thought I'd mention that Teemu Selänne was always my favourite Jet. The Finnish Flash was an outstanding player, winning the Calder Trophy for best rookie of 1992. And he's gone on to achieve all kinds of records in his almost 20-year career since then. Plus he won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. No player has deserved it more, in my opinion.

But the reason he was my favourite Jet is that he was (and, I'm sure, still is) a Class Act of the absolute first order. He did an awful lot of charity work in Winnipeg and always looked genuinely pleased to do it. He was especially great interacting with kids, friendly and involved.

Teemu Selänne is one of the players featured in this great clip about what it feels like to win the Stanley Cup. Hockey players tend not to be terribly articulate at the best of times, but winning the Stanley Cup is so overwhelming that there are "no words" to describe it. That's Teemu at 0:19 of the clip, manfully holding back the tears and tugging at his hat. That says it all.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Welcome Back, Winnipeg Jets!

Now that the month of June and Translesbigayapalooza are over, I finally have the time and space to comment on the Big News that Winnipeg is Jetless no more! And Big News it is, indeed.

I was living in Winnipeg in 1996 when the NHL moved the Jets to Phoenix. That was a grim, grim day in The Peg. After the loss, the city was like a whipped hangdog cur.

But now, 15 years later, economic factors have changed. The Canadian dollar is strong against U.S. currency, the NHL has a salary cap and Winnipeg has a new downtown arena. Now the boys are back, woo hoo!

And I'm glad to see that management made the right decision to call the team by its old moniker too. After all, hockey clubs are steeped in history here in Canada and continuity is important. Besides, what the hell else could the team be named?

[Top cartoon by Patrick LaMontagne. Bottom cartoon by Anthony Jenkins of the Globe and Mail.]

Wednesday 6 July 2011

This is an Irresistibly Sweet Blog . . .

. . . because Magaly Guerrero over at Pagan Culture says so! She gave me this blog award last week and I thank her so much for it! She is a Wicked Darling indeed.

Personally, I have always had a sweet tooth. It has been my downfall in so many, many ways. Drug of choice, etc. My struggle to curb this dark passion continues. But, oh! Those sweet, delicious carbs call to me seductively.

But Magaly has shown me a new way -- now I will substitute irresistibly sweet blogs and get my delicious sugar high that way! Every time I get a craving for something yummy and fun, I'll go and read some tasty, uplifting blogs instead of stuffing my face with desserts!

But hmmmm, where to start? Here's just a few sweeties to whom I pass along this blog award. It's always a treat to read their posts:

1. Grimalkin the Witch's Cat at Diary of a Familiar-in-Training.

4. LaelShine at Soular Sister.

6. Tricky Nag at Tricky Nag's Blog.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

The First World Problems Rap

So, we just finished celebrating the national holidays of two leading First World countries. Those of us who live in Canada and the United States are, quite simply, the most fortunate people in the world. Our countries are not war-torn battle zones. We live in peace, with a standard of living that most of the world cannot even imagine, let alone match. Compared to Third World countries, most of our citizens lead lives of unparalleled ease and comfort.

We would do well to be grateful for all the blessings which we enjoy. But are we? Just how ungrateful and insular can we be? Let the self-centred moaning, whining, bitching and complaining begin!

Obviously this video is meant to be an over-the-top satire, but sometimes my laugh is the uneasy laugh of self-recognition.

Marie-Antoinette, c'est nous.

[Rap written and performed by 17-year-old Zach Katz (funnyz) -- what a talent!]

Monday 4 July 2011

The Glorious Fourth

Happy Independence Day to you, all my Murrican blog buddies! Oh, say, can you see . . . .

Friday 1 July 2011

Happy Canada Day!

Today is the day we celebrate all things Canuckian. For example, we go the extra mile and pan fry our back bacon in the shape of the CBC logo . . .

. . . or, for the traditionalists among us, we fry it outside on the BBQ while wearing our best plaid lumberjack shirt.

We like to get together and chillax with old friends . . .

. . . all while maintaining our legendary Canadian politeness, of course.*

* not applicable in Vancouver.