March 2006

Cup of Soup

Fri, Mar 3, 2006


Toronto is a vibrant and exciting city, full of interesting places, events, and people. Of course, along with these sorts of things that big cities boast, come the down sides, like crime, pollution, and homelessness. The latter is likely the biggest problem Toronto faces, and I encountered one of these folk on the subway the other day.

I was travelling downtown when a man in a bright green winter jacket and sunglasses stumbled his way onto the train, stumbled, twisted, mumbled, and plopped himself down in front of me. He drooled, mumbled some more, and called out asking for a light. I at first felt pity for the man. He was obviously mentally ill, but still getting himself out and about.

Then he leaned over and spat a big heavy loogie on the floor. "OK," I thought. "He's mentally ill with bad manners."

He then opened his bag and pulled out a can with a big label reading TURPENTINE. "Oh dear," I feard. "He's going to burn up the entire subway."

He opened the can and proceeded to soak a small songe or rag. He then sealed the can, put it away, and I watched closely to see what he would do, wondering why he was asking for a light earlier.

He put his hand to his mouth and took a big, deep breath. And then again. And again.

"Ah," I thought, as all previous pity quickly whisked away. "He's definitely mentally ill; it's just completely self-inflicted."

With his newly refreshed turpentine high, he began shadow-boxing with himself, and giving people leaping thumbs-up. Then, just as his show had become scary/entertaining enough, he rose, grabbed a support pole, yelled "HELLO POLE!!", and licked it.

Yeah, that takes the cake in terms of subway crazies. I am going to keep my distance from turpentine from now on.

Mon, Mar 13, 2006


Last week we celebrated Febtoberfest, a traditional holiday celebration that I fabricated with help from SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy gags to stand as a housewarming party for my now-adequately-settled home.

Take one downtown condo, fill with drinks, snacks, and friends, add Pop-o-matic Trouble, old-school Nintendo on a big-screen TV, and throw in Twister to boot, and you have yourself a good time.

Somewhat coincidentally, Febtoberfest was soon followed by Davidmas, where I typically take a broad look at my now-28-year-old life in search of some sort of meaning or direction, and invariably lead myself to the grand Hitchhiker's quote: "The only thing to do is to say 'Hang the sense of it' and just keep yourself occupied.... I'd far rather be happy than right anyday."

The quote continues, asking "And are you?", and I break to think of my own answer.


Tue, Mar 28, 2006

Martyr In The Making

16 years ago, Abdul Rahman converted to Christianity. In my opinion - in my belief - I would call that a very good decision.

In Afghanistan, however, he has come under threat of the death penalty for that choice, since it seems that conversion is a capital offence under Islamic law.

We have soldiers over there under the objective of ousting a tyrannical government, and providing security and freedom to the people of Afghanistan, and yet a man is facing death over one of the most basic human rights. So, we've gone in there, helped to oust the evildoers, and put some sketchy others in charge, but has anything changed? Have our soldiers fought and died in vain?

Amidst the international scandal, the government has saved Rahman from persecution... err... prosecution by declaring him mentally unfit. Gee, thanks. He converts to Christianity, so he must be crazy? Excuse me if I don't bow in thanks.

Reports tell of crowds in the hundreds protesting his release, and his neighbours being insulted by his "crime", and calling for his death. There are always going to be a number of crazies in any given society, but I am genuinely interested to know how many people actually agree. If that's the general opinion on the matter, than all the politically-correct talk we've been given to quell anxiety and differentiate between the "fundamentalists" and the common, noble folk becomes a load of hooey.

This is the sort of thing that makes me worry about the human race. This is the sort of idea that, if allowed to fester, will grow over generations. This is the sort of event that - mutated and repeated over the decades - breeds disrespect, then intolerance, then contempt.

A life wasn't lost this time, but it is a clear sign of pending disaster. Our descendants may rue the days we had the chance to guide humanity in the right direction and failed miserably, for they will be the ones who will have to suffer the consequences.

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