Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stick a F.O.R.K. in Him, He's Done

I’m back again in the Land of Oil and Honey, and wouldn’t you know it, the Ralphbertans are saying farewell to their King. This includes the Edmonton Chinese Community Association, which threw the Friends of Ralph Klein appreciation dinner on December 7th. My aunt’s neighbour was one of the organizers and gave my aunt and my grandma tickets to attend – my grandma happily reported that he didn’t seem to be drinking that night. As you can see by the program, it featured a fairly large menu – including Peking Duck, fresh lobster, beef tenderloin – and a lengthy (four-hour) itinerary complete with dance and musical numbers.

The highlight of the evening, though, was surely House Leader and Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky’s “Song for Premier Ralph and Dr. Colleen Klein,” which I’ve included so you can sing it yourself in reverence to the couple (“Ralpheen” for short). Sung to the melody of “Happy Birthday,” its standout stanza is “We-will-never forget/When-our-future looked wet/But-along came Ralph Klein/And-erased all our debt.” Man, the only way that could be any better is if were sung while Ralph whacked at a hobo-piñata until it spilled money and airplane bottles of booze. Truly multi-cultural.

Everyone who attended the event also went home with a table fork. Why? Because F.O.R.K. is the acronym for Friends of Ralph Klein. As my grandma observed, “I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with this thing; I don’t want it in with my cutlery.”
So, here’s to you Ralph – for all those late-night drunken homeless shelter altercations, for keeping education expensive and being an enemy to students, for always putting business before the environment, for your homophobic grandstanding, for making every effort to destroy healthcare, for your very embarrassing pro-Bush/Iraq War stance and for always finding time to put on a cowboy hat and flip pancakes for the press. We’ll miss your liquor-engorged jowls… mostly because it’s better the enemy you know than the jackass that’ll replace you. May your future be black and oily.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Mouthful of Dreams

Fuck newspapers, mi compadres. I've got a new passion: eating chocolate by the pallet.
I've been temping, and living the dream, and in my perpetual cycle of box-related jobs, I've finally hit the coronary-bypass-jackpot.
They've posted me at a chocolate factory. Deep in the wilds of Nova Scotia sits the factory where they make the classic Pot of Gold chocolates.
Those who know their history know I once lived a life of near-diabetic bliss for four months in the summer of 1998 as a swamper for Nestle Ice Cream. In that passionate summer, I endured an insanity-cursed ice-cream man who longed for his own death so I could enjoy a hearty $10/hour. I was paid, for all intents and purposes, to get heatstroke and eat icecream.
Now, almost exactly 10 years later (like, nine!) I've once again fallen into the hyperglycemic world of factory-formed glucose confections.
There are no oompah-loompahs in this magic world, though. And if I'm Charlie Buckett, Willy Wonka would have to be my bizzare post-menopausal boss, who can switch between announcing her mother's impending death to openly teasing customers about their severe obesity in less time than it takes to stick a macaroon to a lonely girl's thighs (from the inside, of course. Nothing kinky implied.)
My job, if I choose to accept it (I did!) is to wander past the chocolate-boxing robots, over the concrete floors where the human automatons, with mouths perpetually full, chew while sorting chocolates; over the wildlands where the pallet jacks are put to pasture, into a storeroom where the Ark of the Covenant, if it were made of chocolate, could safely be stored with no chance of ever releasing the horrid spectre of perpetual and calamitous obesity.
Once there, I stack twice (wait... no...) three times my own weight in seven-pound boxes of chocolate "seconds" (not as in helpings, but as in second-rate, or imperfect) on a four-wheeled cart, roll them back through that magical land, to the retail bulk outlet at the front of the factory.
Once there, I stack them onto the shelves around me, filling according to type, and watching all the while as they disappear faster than I can put them out. Bulks of flesh, all too bumpy to discern gender, and waiflike ancient creatures, with toothless sweetteeth needing feeding (becoming a little too lyrical, no?) grab 30 or 40 pounds of chocolate, which is four or five boxes, and pay absurdly small prices for them.
As an example:
I bought three boxes yesterday.
1 box of marshmallow pumpkins
1 box of hazelnut clusters (like Turtles)
1 box of coffee-cream chocolates
Grand total: $4.10, because Mrs. Wonka didn't want to charge me for the most expensive box--the hazelnuts--and the other two were two dollars a piece. My fingertips were blue by the time I got home from the weight of the plastic bag-handles pushing into my tender flesh, blocking my circulation. And despite my better efforts to eat my weight in chocolate, just to lower the weight of the bags, I only succeeded in putting myself off-balance by doubling my double chins.
Tomorrow is my last day, and I'm really going to miss it. Chocolate, despite everything else it does to people, also makes them really easy to get along with. I think working at a store that makes people feel more merry because their getting Christmas chocolate at Canada-day prices (what?) is my new top job for 2006. So what if it's only $9/hour. I certainly won't starve to death before new year's.