Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sweat & Soda


Not sure where they keep the soda

The only thing in the name of this place that doesn’t practically scream NOT A COFFEE JOINT is the &. And yet. Continue reading


It’s the muddy season, and when you trudge on streets and paths the soles of your shoes and the margins of your pants may not emerge in good condition – may not, in fact, emerge intact. A shoe stuck in the wrong mud may be sucked from your foot, leaving you with naught but sock or stocking, and even that covered in murgeon.

Don’t get the idea that murgeon is a synonym for mud, though. It’s an old word for dirt and dregs and an only slightly newer one for mortar or peaty soil. It likely does come from the same source as mud, as reflected by the alternate form mudgeon (and is a curmudgeon like a cur in mudgeon? Perhaps, but there’s no evidence that that’s the origin).

But there is some sort of phonaesthetic urge in this word. It clings at the margins and thickens in the midgen, if only a smidgen. (Midgen, by the way, is the fat around an animal’s entrails.) It has a murky murmur or a grumbling hum to begin, and then you are mired in a midden with a burgeoning virgin sturgeon surgeon. Which, by the by, is a sequence of words that sounds like someone imitating an American on a military radio, a festival of retroflex and affricate.

Ah, frick it. This word begins and ends with nasals, so it’s not just dirty but soft. But listen carefully and take it to heart – or, I should say, take it as the heart of your two options when your shoe is mired in the murgeon: emergence or emergency.

The rest of the subtitle

Movie subtitles are often missing something important.

I was reminded of this recently when I saw Ai Weiwei’s The Rest. It’s an excellent documentary, and I feel a little bad criticizing it about anything, but its subtitles really needed one more thing – though, to be fair, very few movies include it. Continue reading

The Dock on Queen St.


Homey, if your home has a canoe hanging from the ceiling

Listen to the audio of this on Patreon. You really should, you know. It’s free and everything.

Nostalgic for the lakelands of cottage country? Wish you were sitting on the dock of the bay? Or perhaps you just want wood floors, wood tables, old-school wallpaper, comfy padded chairs, and a place that clearly has musical performances at the back some evenings and weekends? Obviously, you need to go to Queen East. There are plenty of coffice spaces in this stretch east of the tracks, and each one has its own variation. This one’s the cottage-style one. Its owners are from Sudbury. And you can sit in here and almost imagine you’re not in Toronto – just sit near the back and don’t look towards the window. Continue reading

galangal, galingale

How do you say galangal?


I say it with the stress on the first syllable. But that’s because I first saw it written as galingale. If you know nightingale and perhaps farthingale, the stress seems pretty obvious.

But why would anyone spell it galingale? Continue reading

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