Welcome to the Mailbag, where until further notice I think we’ll do two of these a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays. Why? Because I care. Although to be fair, about 90% of that caring is related to the fact that Mailbags allow me to update this blog without independently having to come up with any ideas of my own. I say unto you: SWISH!
The following queries were actually submitted by actual readers. And remember: there are no stupid questions, unless you’re asking whether you should maybe update that Rahim Jaffer reference on your résumé.
Are we in a new era of recognizing the importance of golf for world leaders? The reason I ask is that yesterday, Poland buried its president. Obama was unable to attend due to this ash, but instead of going to the Polish embassy in the US, went….golfing.
I’d love to give the presidential Ferris Bueller the benefit of the doubt, but it seems he’s now gone golfing 32 times, only a year into his presidency. You’ll recall Bush was attacked for his golfing while the US burned, doing so a paltry 24 times in 8 years in office. Put another way, for every single golf game the evil Bush leisurely enjoyed, our “hope and change” president golfed eight times. Yet nary a mention by our intrepid media. A new revolution in golf appreciation? Or the same old continuous water carrying by a media that leaves its accountability sleuthing behind in favour of pom poms when it comes to left leaning darlings? – chet
You sound like you’d be a fun guy to golf with, chet. I mean, sure, some of us prefer to spend our 18 holes engaging in casual wagers, drinking beer and mocking each other’s putting – but five hours of you hectoring us to get the hell back to work would be a real blast, too.
You want to know what I think? I think we should all aspire to have a leader who plays golf a lot. I want the president or prime minister who’s sharp and organized enough to solve a crisis or two, build a little opportunity and punch out in time to win a couple Nassaus off his bodyguards or buddies. That dude knows how to get shit done. I do not want the president or prime minister who’s still in his office at 10:30 p.m. because he’s got a big speech the next day and can’t figure out how to work the photocopier.
I never understood the criticism of Bush for golfing, and I don’t understand those who lay into Obama for doing even more of it. He’s the President of the United States! He’s put in a full day! It’s not like he keeps an extra coat in his office just so that he can place the extra coat on the back of his chair and leave his computer on, prompting others near my cubicle at The Globe and Mail back in the day to think I just slipped out to the cafeteria or newsroom library when in fact I was actually – MWAHAHAHAHA – at a movie. Eat it, Thomson Corp.
A typical political leader lives an often hectic, sometimes tedious and always scripted life. If he can figure out how to spearhead legislation, travel abroad, sit through meetings, endure the bellyaching of his own party, suck up to donors, demonize his political rivals, feel up his interns and still golf 30 times a year, my thinking would be: we elected the right guy.
It’s recently been revealed that the city of St. Louis is experimenting with using pig manure as a binding agent in asphalt (assphalt??), to counter the adverse effects of factory pig farms. Do you see any application for this exciting new technology here in Canada? – Kevin
Attention all conjuctions and prepositions in Jim Prentice’s speeches about global warming: your replacements have arrived and you are now free to go.
I’m confused. I excitedly called my wife to plan our forthcoming ash sex. She sounded mildly disgusted at the suggestion, and she accused me of being drunk. What gives? – Sean
Sean’s was one of many questions on this topic and they guided me to the conclusion that not everyone is fully grasping the concept of panicky ash sex. Panicky ash sex does not involve ash. It does, however, involve panic. PANIC IS THE KEY. Panicky ash sex is about confronting the ghastly horror of a nightmarish apocalypse and using what fleeting time you have left as God intended: to score a little action.
There’s an old saying that comedy equals tragedy plus time. But you know what tragedy minus time equals? Gettin’ some. The heightened stakes and – in ideal circumstances – the looming specter of a horrible, horrible death relieve us of the need to engage in the time-consuming rituals of seduction: the massaging of the back, the pouring of the Singapore sling or – and here I am revealing my own personal go-to move – the lying about being Tom Selleck’s cousin.
The crisis does all the heavy lifting, leaving us to do the heavy petting. Which is, from what I’m told, by far the better part.
Think back a decade: Surely, some used the prevailing uncertainty and fear to score on the eve of Y2K. And then there are natural disasters, which are Mother Nature’s version of a Barry White tape. Indeed, there are few moments as suited to the act of The Act as the approach of a hurricane or the aftermath of an earthquake. Sweet, precious life! Still we breathe! Now take off your pants! A certain someone I know [points modestly at self] even parlayed news of the cancellation of Charles in Charge into a memorable trip to second base.
Let me help you out: Gigantic ash cloud! Coming this way! Heaven only knows the brutish hell that awaits! Here let me help you with that bra clasp!
Can you pronounce Eyjafjallajökull? And, if so, why? – Sigh
Another of the fringe benefits of the Ash Cloud That Will Destroy Us All is the delight in listening to various TV reporters and anchors mangle the name of the world’s new most famous volcano. It’s almost as much fun as observing the lengths they will go to try to avoid having to pronounce it at all. I’ve recently heard Eyjafjallajökull referred to as “that volcano in Iceland” and “the spewing glacier volcano of Iceland” and “we see it there now – the source of all these headaches for travelers.”
There should be an Emmy category for Avoiding Having to Say That Thing That You’re Supposed to Say But Can’t. Although we’d then need to give Bob Cole at least 10 retroactive awards for all his fine work referring vaguely to various Ottawa Senators: “Kaberle takes it up the boards, passes it to Stajan, and now it’s intercepted by the Ottawa player – who drives toward the net, passes it to the forward, over to what’s-his-nose – the foreign guy! Scores!”
Speaking of ash clouds, I’ve been pushing a grocery cart to the coast, with my son in tow. I really should be focussing on how to avoid cannibals and why I didn’t bring along a can opener, but instead all I can think about is that I used to be married to Charlize Theron. Any advice? – MaggiesFarmboy
Yes. Go back to the book from which you originated. Your inevitable demise will be more satisfying from both a narrative and thematic point of view.
Listen: I’m not normally a big fan of people who are ridiculously more talented than me and every other human I know, but have you read The Road? That book kicks somewhere between 14 and 17 kinds of ass – in other words, it kicks pretty much all kinds of ass. If you’re into the kinds of books that are “good,” I’d highly recommend The Road.
People like to talk about books being unputdownable, but I usually accept that as a challenge: “Oh, really? So you’re unputdownable are you, Life of Pi? Screw you, lifeboat tiger. I’ve put down more unputdownable books than you. In fact, I’m putting you down right now. Get comfortable on that goddamn shelf. In two weeks I’ll have forgotten where I left you and then who’ll have shown who?”
Bottom line: How dare you, book critic. You don’t know me and what I can or cannot put down.
That said, I couldn’t put down The Road. It’s unputdownable. Luckily, that whole no-distracted-driving law applies only to electronic devices, so I was able to finish The Road, a burger and my juggling lesson while driving to Montreal. Sorry, oncoming traffic.
[Today] is April 20th. Is it true that MPs and Senators have a secret room where there celebrate 4:20 while monkey butlers pass out Doritos and Cheezies on silver platters? – Kyle
That’s ridiculous. What an absurd question. Those platters are brass.
I just saw my ex-girlfriend on a Dollars for Gold commercial putting all the jewellery I ever bought her into an envelope and sending it away in exchange for a fraction of its actual value at today’s gold prices. My question is, would buying her new gold jewelry to replace all the stuff she just sold be the kind of romantic gesture that would be certain to win her back? – Dan
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Yo Feschuk, you got a nickname? – Fluffy
I’ve gone by many nicknames in my life. To cite just a sampling: Fez, Fezzy, Fezzer, Chuck, Chuck D, Chukfez, F—chuk, Scotty, Scooter, Freshie, F—nuts, Wang Chung, Dig Dug, Betty and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Given that I have surpassed the universally accepted threshold of having had at least 10 nicknames, I am legally permitted to convey a strong opinion on the defining criteria of a good nickname:
1. A nickname should be one syllable, two at most. Otherwise your nickname (The Rev. Al Sharpton) will require a nickname of its own (Rev). Confusing.
2. Do not force a nickname on someone who does not look like the type who’d have a nickname. There’s a reason our Prime Minister is known as Stephen “Stephen Harper” Harper.
3. I can’t emphasize this enough: Make sure it’s a nickname you can yell across a bar without a) feeling even slightly like an idiot, or b) being compelled to stop and explain its origins and meaning to everyone within earshot.
Putting the above criteria into practice, we can see that “Fez” is a good nickname, where “The Purple Anus” is not.