Sunday, July 13, 2008

Items to be featured of the movie that I will never get around to writing, producing, directing, or starring in

  1. Rich People

  2. Sigur Ros

  3. Arcane literary references

  4. iPhones

  5. Multiple endings depending on what theater you are in and how I've profiled its demographic. Lookout if you're watching the one in which Ice-Cube figures.

  6. Cinque-Terre

  7. Langoustines

  8. Moping

  9. Jokes about Matthew McConnaughy's ubiqitous pectorals

  10. A Whit Stilman cameo appearance

  11. Product placement on a scale as yet unseen.

  12. An awkward briss

  13. A woman mispronouncing "Hypocrite" as "Hippopotamus"

  14. A room with a poster of Alex Kovalev

  15. A direct-to-camera soliliquy on the unsung value of the side-part by the lead who, incidentally, has a side-part.

  16. Chattering. Lots and lots of chatter.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear PMcE: Dating Etiquette

Dear PMcE,

As a single woman newly entering the dating scene, I find a lot has changed since I was vamping around in college. Adult dating apparently requires more than simply jumping around to House of Pain. For instance, finances are more complicated now. As a high-earning professional, I need to know where do you stand on the paying for dinner question.

Do you think a woman should absolutely offer to pay, even if she has no intention of doing so? Do you think not offering is rude, even though if he accepts she will never date him again? Do you think it is not equally appropriate to reciprocate in other ways, like paying for other non-dinner activities or hosting a follow-up dinner in her own home?

Sorry for the rapid-fire multiple questions, but I rarely let anyone get a word in edge-wise.

Confused in the Queen's Quay

Dear Confused,

I think that unless you are dating a younger man who you intend to ravish and never call again, perhaps also stealing one of his sweatshirts, you should NOT offer to pay.

Now, there are certainly exceptions, but most of them obvious - i.e. an extraordinarily expensive guest-chef-prix-fixe dinner that was your idea or something like that (ballet would fit here but that's kind of its own Dating Advice topic). But on the whole, I do not think that you should feel obligated to make the fake offer either, especially considering the consequences of his accepting are so dire.

I have always been a big fan of the reciprocity. In fact, I used to consider it the hallmark of a good date. Frequently I would suggest it myself while refusing a ham-handed attempt toward the purse (all my dates had hands made of ham, it's why I married a Latina woman instead: hands of cornsilk.)

The reciprocity game is socially graceful in so many ways:

  1. It can bridge pay inequity, so the weaker earning partner can "reciprocate" with an appropriately priced event.

  2. One can preserve the old-time chivalry of the gentlemen paying for dates

  3. It means that the next date is assured, and, by corollary,

  4. The sense of obligation can be quickly quashed in the time it takes to drink an apple martini at "this great spot I know" that also happens to be really close to your house.

As for the rapid-fire questions and general run-on sentences, don't let a little thing like the other person's thoughts get in the way of a good date. What if they turn out to be boring? Go with what you know is good, and that's you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

1000 hits!

What with the new baby, spring, countless hours reviewing Habs moments on my PVR, and studying for yet more regulatory exams (I had seriously thought I wrote my last one in 1999, and have been wrong about that just about every year), I haven't had much time. So content has been slim here.

Even my new site, which I thought would be easier to keep more regular since it doesn't actually require me to provide any original content (or, for that matter, even to think very hard) has been skinny.

But that hasn't stopped my hardy dozen or so fans from checking this here site on a regular and propelling my hit count over 1000! So thanks. It took about a year, but it was worth it.

Now: some sites are instant phenomena. And tough it was always my intention that this here site be more of a slow build, cultivating a dedicated and highly sophisticated readership, it's time to step up and get some freakin' hits. One Hundred Million Tiny Explosions in the Sky deserves One Hundred Million Tiny hits.

So forward the link to your friends. Make it your homepage. Add it as an RSS feed. Put it on your business card for crying out loud. I must be heard.

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Blog - PMcE suggested reading: Is That Something That Might Interest You?

Those who know me know that not only do I read a great deal, some of it is even interesting. If I was an older man, I’d be the type who mailed you articles that I’d neatly clipped from the newspaper with a little note written in the margin. “Thought you would find this interesting, especially given what you and the girls just went through!”

But I’m not that old. Instead, I tend to email articles to people that I think would be interested. Typically I choose recipients with care - targeted mail gets read, blast mail not so.

It recently occurred to me that maybe my hand-cut, ad-hoc distribution lists might be missing people who I knew but maybe wasn't as aware of their interests. More so, what if there were people I didn't know who would be interested? What if they could set up an automatic feed that would pipe all this goodness direct to their PC in an anonymous fashion?

“Brilliant,” I thought to myself.

So go check my new sister site: And register for the Atom Feed at the bottom. This will feed it directly into the “feeds” window in your internet explorer. (Don’t forget to Feed this site too!)

I would think that it will tend to have much more frequent updates than this site as posting links/articles is significantly easier than generating original content.

Enjoy, and read up.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Concubiine

I have taken a mistress and her name is Wii.

I think of her all the time. She keeps me up late at night, palms sweating. I no longer read, nor write. I barely go outside anymore. All I want is Wii.

After dinner, I tell my wife that I'm going to do the dishes and that she should go upstairs to relax. But instead, I turn the TV down low, drain the rest of the dinner's wine into my glass and slide the coffee table away from the fireplace. We get fairly acrobatic some nights. Aerobic even.

Sometimes my brother joins in. I've heard that Wii can actually handle four at the same time. I don't have the equipment though.

I've even gone so far as to encourage my wife to try it, but she's says she's not into that kind of thing.

"Why not take a break?" Wii asks me sometimes. She'll gently encourage me to go outside, feel the wind on my face. But I don't.

Even my old faithful friend, TV, has become an exercise in disappointment. Between the writer's strike and the frusterating one-way nature of our relationship, there just seems to be something lacking. When was the last time TV listened to my needs? I find myself swinging my remote at Roger Federer.

In the strictest sense of the word, Wii doesn't actually listen to me. We don't speak it all, in fact. Purely physical, she feels me. Wordlessly, silently, or, with soothing music. As a good concubiine should.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moral Ambiguity takes it on the Chin

I found myself thinking, this afternoon, as Eliot Spitzer eloquently bolted for the door from the governer's mansion, "Wow".

I'm just not sure at all if my wife would be standing next to me at a press conference after finding out that I had blown what amounts to a pretty good post-secondary tuition for one of my daughters on a series of trysts with an obviously talented hooker. I just don't see it.

But then, I've also never lived in France. I've read Michel Houellebecq though, and I'm pretty sure he'd be ok with all this. Luckily, he'll never get elected in America. This is especially lucky for prostitutes. Because he'd be interested in doing things that might be considered dangerous. And that's not good for anybody: not the voters, not the girl, and certainly not the wife.

Monday, January 14, 2008


O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

Juliet James McEntyre - January 9th, 3:46 am. 7lbs, 3oz.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Book Review: Blindness – Jose Saramango

Recommended to me over a year ago by a friend, this book idled on my wishlist overly long. A truly stunning work of imaginative fiction, it should be experienced by all. Since I know you’ll be running out to the store to buy it right away, I’ll keep the synopsis spare: everyone goes blind and all hell breaks loose.

Like so much disaster literature (apocalyptic, dystopian, war, holocaust, Russian) the revealing bits are not so much the events or scenarios but how the people react to the atrocities. And I find it fascinating to see how quickly relatively stable social institutions break down when the animal spirit dominates. Surely everyone has pondered their behaviour under duress: who would you take with you in a fire, would you throw yourself in front of a bullet for your lover, would you starve to feed your child, would you kill, who? Saramango has the answers. And most of them are disappointing.

While the style seems intimidating, there are no quotes or paragraphs, just page after page of square blocked text, he is such an adept writer that it doesn’t seem cumbersome. Plus there is a very clever conceit revealed about the style which makes it all the more rewarding.

I understand that after many years of rebuffing Hollywood advances this book is finally being made into a film and by talented people too. It will make a great movie, I have no doubt. There is a great deal of nudity, dirty sex (literally), violence, horror, and plenty of occasions for strong acting moments. But because the truly stunning moments of the novel are inward looking, fans will be well served to spend a couple of hours alone with it before it gets laid out for them. It would seem fitting too that a story about the blind be heard rather than seen. Call me. I’ll read it to you.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Political Update

In light of this being an election year and all, people have probably been wondering where I stand on the issues. Specifically and of most immediate importance is the age-old Westcoast vs. Eastcoast Hip Hop issue. In fact, amid all the indie rock and electro pop I’ve been pushing on my wife and friends, I too had begun to lose sight of myself.

But this last weekend, I was able to put it all to a test. Due to a series of stereophonic mishaps, I found myself facing a long solo drive down the 401 without any music.

(The 401 is the number that designates the Trans-Canadian Highway. The most frequently trafficked stretch of this four lane highway is that between Montreal and Toronto and it is to this particular long, strait, ugly stretch that most mean when they refer to the “401”. Newly renamed the Highway of Heroes in honour of the Canadian Veterans returning in one way or another from battles abroad, it is also occasionally referred to as “the armpit of Canada”. I’ve always felt that “Canada’s Grundle” is a more apt analogy, both for its better inference of the look and feel of the highway and for the parts that it joins.)

So I zipped to HMV and picked up a whole deck of new albums for examination on my trip. My selections were pretty broad, but knowing how pressing your interest on my rap geopolitics, I got right into the hip hop, and loud. Back-to-back I played new albums from Snoop and Nas, and let mid-western mid-tempo Kanye play referee. Without suspense, I’ll tell you that as good as Snoop and his (many, many) friends may be, there is simply no comparison. I am still Eastcoast. Stark, mean, licks of jazz and hard rock, Nas and the New York sound are for me.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Book Review: A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway wrote simply and beautifully and was an asshole.

In his posthumously published memoir, A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes about his time as a struggling artist in Paris in the 1920s. In his stark, almost childish style he offers up a rather detailed series of vignettes of his life and times there and they were wonderful. Some are poignantly sad, some are quite funny, and some are downright bitchy. All are staggeringly self-aggrandizing.

It is clear to me that as much as the world has loved Hem, no one could love Hem as much as Hem did. His best times were when he was alone, walking the deserted streets of the city. Or fishing, smoking. Or at the track, betting. Or skiing, and climbing. Hem was no team player. His worst times were when someone interrupted him. In many a scene he proudly recounts how he berated some idiot for even sitting at the same café where he worked. And there were plenty of idiots.

And so it was with great ambivalence that I motored through this little book because truly, he writes beautifully. There is complete clarity of message. No room for nuance, whatsoever. Which, if you think about it, only contributes to the arrogance: not a single word is hedged; without adjectives, nothing is modified. It was as I say it was. It is as I say it is. I do what I say I do.

In addition to the anecdotes of his friends and lifestyle (oysters, bookstores, cafes, banging models, skiing with the rich, talking about art with Gloria Steinem, and bopping around in a topless convertible with an effete and desperately drunk F. Scott Fitzgerald) he talks a great deal about writing. How he feels about it, how he did it, where he did it, why he did it. And it is in these passages that pretense and romanticism are finally shed. It makes them less sensational, but there is a palpable sense that he’s finally telling the truth.

The truth is a theme that comes up a great deal when he talks about writing. He feels that the truer you write, the better you write. So if truth is the essence of writing, and the truth is always accessible to you if you really look hard enough, then good writing will always be there.

Vaguely addressing writers block and why it’s simply never been a problem for him, he says: Whenever I am not sure where the next story will come from, I simply sit down and force myself to write one true sentence. Once that sentence is there, the rest will follow.

So I tried it. See above. He was right.

(To be fair to the man, I do understand from subsequent reading that his fourth wife, Mary, had a heavy hand in editing his nearly finished work going as far as to outright cut a lengthy apology to his first wife, Hadley. Perhaps Mary trimmed some of the humility too, but somehow I doubt it.)