Monthly Archives: August 2018



This way to the brew bar!

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I am in a basement in the heart of money and fashion. Continue reading

Weatherbee, Wetherby

You can’t ask a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing in English names, but it’s always nice to have some kind of bellwether. Otherwise, you may make assumptions just on principle, such as that something that looks or sounds like something else must be related to it, or that something that looks like it’s said some way must not be said that way because, well, English.

Let me tell you about a matter of principal involving cartoons, insects, towns, juvenile institutions, gravy, getting bent, and sheep farms. It starts with Archie. Continue reading


There are days it’s so brutally muggy, the air is like sludge. You bear a grudge against the humidity. And at the same time it’s broiling sunny and warm. When you step out it’s like having a blanket taken half-done out of the drier and tossed on you. If you make the mistake of exerting yourself at all, you may as well have trudged through a car wash. What I’m saying is that it’s not just muggy, it’s brudgy. Continue reading


Not all words mean exactly what they sound like they should mean. Actually, most don’t. But some can be influenced by other words they sound like. Language can be messy that way.

Heck, language can be messy in all sorts of ways. Some words have multiple spellings. Some have multiple pronunciations. Some have both. English is especially that way, thanks to its sloppy history. English is that outfit that looks charmingly raffish in the mirror but downright scuzzy when approached from the side in a grocery store. English wakes up with half its clothes on and isn’t even sure what country it’s in, but it reaches over onto the nightstand and perks itself up with a gulp from the half-empty bottle there and rakes its hair into place with the other hand.

English is frowsy. Continue reading

The Black Canary Espresso Bar


Watch the world go by, one at a time.

Listen to this coffice space review, complete with ambient sound from the place, on Patreon.

Do you have any idea what an interesting assortment of people pass by on Sherbourne just north of King every day? Come sit and work at Black Canary and you will. Continue reading


Here, listen to this while you read:

Such a moving song, about being a wandering soul in a strange land. There is a long old history of lamenting travel away from home and using it as an image for the woeful sojourn in this world before going home to heaven. Wayfaring was not seen as a good thing. Continue reading


“Toronto area man accused in multiple robberies.” “Minneapolis area man missing after flood.” “Calgary area man struck by pickup truck.” “Dayton area man wanted in gas-and-go.”

Boy, what is it with these area men? They all seem to be ne’er-do-wells and schlimazels.

“Area man” is such a staple in journalism that it has become a staple of the parody news source The Onion. In The Onion, he’s typically a local person of no account who has an ill-founded opinion, or thinks something is important that really isn’t, or just keeps running into the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.

If there were an opposite of a superhero – not an antihero, not a villain with superpowers, but just a basic loser – Areaman would be a good name for him.

What if I told you it already was? Continue reading


I was thinking about washing my running clothes, and about how I separate the shirts and the shorts, and then, as one does to pass the time idly, I started reflecting on how shirt and short are only a typo apart – indeed, the distinction between them is between two adjacent letters on the keyboard. And those letters are and O, which resemble the international symbols for ‘on’ and ‘off’ and, for that matter, the two digits that make everything digital work, including (of course) the computer that I’m writing this on and the one that you’re reading this on and everything between them.

My mind wanders. It’s peripatetic, just like the rest of me. I go running for exercise but also because I like to travel through places. So it’s only natural that, to shorten the time (especially if I’m feeling shirty), I’ll wander from short to shirt to… well, shurt is the next if I shunt to the left. So, obviously, I look it up. Continue reading

torpid, torpor

The dogged daze of summer is here, the time when it is so torrid you feel stupid. The very air seems to torque with an opalescent, opaque moisture, and even as the empyrean unleashes torrents you are in a stupor. It is torpid, and you are in torpor.

This is not to say that torpidity is native to summer. For hibernators, winter is the season of torpor. But humans are, if anything, estivators. We lie on the beach like canids; we compound our heat intoxication with umbrella drinks and tall cans; we import a purportedly tropical turpitude; we drink of lethe and are lethargic; we are numb, but comfortably so. Continue reading

Boxcar Social back patio (Yonge Street)

Come this way…

Listen to the podcast of this coffice space review on Patreon.

It’s cicada season. You know, the heat buzzer insect. It sounds like an old-fashioned oven timer when the air outside feels like an old-fashioned oven. On days like this, inside is not always where you want to be. Especially when inside has no air conditioning. Continue reading