Thursday, December 31, 2009
Walking home this afternoon, Dec 31-09, I saw a postal worker fighting with a man. I removed my earphones and heard the postal worker say:
"You fucking fruit! You fucking queen!"
To which the man responded: "You fucking drunk!"
The postal worker then spit on the man, which is considered an assault in Ontario. The postal worker then said "You fucking fudge packer!" and got into his mail truck.
The man said "I'll have your job for this!"
The postal worker was wearing his postal uniform and driving a Canada Post truck, license plate number 548 1NH. This happened at 1:22 pm today just west of the corner of Church and Alexander Streets in the heart of Toronto's gay village.
This was overheard by me and several small children walking by. Please contact me if you require any more details.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Here's a view from the back:
Notice the "printed in Canada" stamp on the back of the bag. So someone at the border with Canada Customs thought the GQ cover was fine, should be seen everywhere by small children, and rushed it through. Meanwhile the Playgirl cover was so scandalous a special Canadian-only mylar bag had to be added.
And the back:
So the front cover with it's two censor lines obscuring everything but the title was covering men's... faces. Faces.
I'd like to thank Canada Customs for re-inforcing the sterotype and confirming that in Canada, a man's face is more obscene than a women's breasts.
Happy holidays to everyone who isn't a censor.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The film documents 20 years of struggles the Vancouver bookstore Little Sister's has had with Canada Customs.
When the store first opened, many books were held or banned outright. The issue is that these books had violated no law, no court in the country had ruled them obscene. A group of individuals, mostly heterosexual men with no training in the arts or literature, had ruled them obscene.
In the early 1980's the film mentions there were no widespread national news magazines for gay people and one magazine that featured photos of nude men was confiscated at the border. And by confiscated, I mean burned. This magazine was one of the first to talk about what would become HIV and AIDS and the film details this man calling his friend in the United States and asking him to read to him over the phone the article "The 10 safe ways to have sex". This article had been banned by customs for having obscene sexual content.
One wonders how many men were denied education on safe sex and subsequently died because of the will of a group of individuals to protect our moral fibre. I read this and wonder how people weren't marching down the streets yelling "Shame!" And yet, even today, try to organize a rally to show why banned pornographic magazines are important to Canadian society and you can imagine what these people were up against in 1983.
In the film a bookstore in Vancouver orders the same books as Little Sister's from the same seller, shipped by the same method. Both shipments are stopped for review at the border. The heterosexual bookstore gets it's books a few days later, the shipment destined for Little Sister's is banned and destroyed.
Little Sister's originally tried to take Customs to court for violating their rights under the Charter of Rights and freedoms. Years would pass as the court date approached, and Little Sister's would ready their witnesses, including Jane Rule and Pierre Burton. A week before the trial, the government would say that a mistake had been made. That upon further review, the item mentioned in the law suit was now acceptable to be imported into Canada, that they were sorry for the misunderstanding. The hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees Little Sister's had spent to that point were gone, they were now starting from scratch, and now had permission to import a magazine that had been printed 5 or 6 years before. Their own shipment of the magazine had long ago been burned.
So they reversed tracts and sued Customs for discrimination. In what is described as a partial victory, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Customs had discriminated against Little Sisters and awarded them money. The next decision was that the system which led to this discrimination was still a valid one and would continue.
After Little Sister's, the small independent gay bookstore had spent more than $250,000 on their legal defense, one ray of hope came out of the case. As of 2001, it is now the responsibility of customs to prove the book is obscene, not the bookseller to prove it is not.
This still does not stop customs from their usual practice of opening boxes of books with boxcutters, damaging the covers. Throwing these books into a pile, then a plastic bag, and calling the bookseller to say they have to pick up their material at the border itself, in its now unsellable condition.
In May of 1993 Canada Customs opens domestic mail addressed to Little Sister's, mailed from Penguin Canada in Newmarket, Ont.
Two democratic countries in the world banned Salmon Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses" in 1989. One was Iran, the other was Canada.
A history of censorship in Canada here.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- Lady Gaga, love the new album
- Asher Roth, I like white rappers that are good. There's like three.
- The Hidden Cameras, saw their amazing show on Saturday at the Opera House.
- Glee cast songs. Love this show.
- "Science Fiction/Double Feature" from Rocky Horror. This is the best song on the soundtrack.
Every year at the end of the year, I look at my statment of earnings and say "where the Hell did all that go???"
Every year before my cruise I start trying like mad to lose weight.
Every year on my birthday I wonder how the Hell I got this old and where my life is going.
I'm pleased to say this year things are better in most respects.
The negative one, the weight issue, I plan to get around by using a series of David Copperfield like illusions and a pocket full of firecrackers that I can throw to distract people when I take off my shirt.
But as far as being old, I have a new 27 year old hottie stopping by my place and that's never a bad thing.
As far as money, this year I bought a house, bought all new furniture, paid off two credit card debts I have had for 10 years, and paid off half of my one remaining card. Oh and paid for a 10 day vacation in Miami in January. I would say that's all pretty good.
So while I go work on my illusion skills, things are pretty alright.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Recently Xtra, Toronto's gay newspaper, ran the following cover:
People wrote in, and I quote:
- "what message are you sending to the next generation of gays?"
- "Putting porn stars on the cover... makes all homosexuals look one-dimensional"
- "No wonder heterosexuals look at our community in disgust"
- etc, etc.
So I hate this, and I wrote in too:
"I find it incredible that people write to you with comments like "No wonder heterosexuals look at our community with disgust" or "Putting porn stars on the cover [of Xtra]... makes all homosexuals one-dimensional."
Do these people actually read their comments before submitting? Can the cover of one issue of one newspaper make "ALL homosexuals" do anything? Which heterosexuals look at our community with disgust? I don't know any.
I would encourage these letter writers to be themselves, and to stop reverting back to 1960's tactics of "If we all act just like them, maybe they'll like us."
Speaking on behalf of myself, not "all homosexuals" as others proclaim to, I enjoyed the cover. Thanks."
Another issue that was raised is the old "won't anyone think of the children" excuse. Who are these children? I hate hypothetical children.
I remember my mom complaining about Sex and the City being on at noon on City-TV, a time when children could be watching. I asked how she knew the show was on and she said she watched it every day. So if a show meant for adults is being watched by adults at a time when kids are in school, which exact children are being harmed? Also this is a heavily censored version with nudity and swearing taken out.
If adults watching adult shows only problem is hypothetical "children" and hypothetical "bad parents", there needs to be a reality check. Give me names of these children, prove they exist, and we'll talk then.
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with Canada's border policy.
The recent detainment of the PG rated film Patrick 1.5 at the border, causing possibly thousands of dollars in damages to local arts in Ottawa, is the most recent example of a long history of anti-gay censorship at the Canadian border.
I have grown up with many examples of this type of prejudice from the Canadian government and there comes a point where you're almost used to it, where you expect it. This incident woke me up. I am here to say that in 2009, this discrimination will not stand.
The entire system needs to be changed. I subscribe to the Border Services list of admissible titles by email. This list is published quarterly and shows what titles were reviewed at the border and what is admissible and what is not. The decision to review these films is made by one individual and the people who make the decision to ban the items are not held accountable for their actions. No reason is ever given for not allowing the items into Canada, they simply don't arrive.
I wrote to Border Services to obtain a copy of the list of items not allowed into Canada, it is not my intention to break the law by attempting to import a banned film. I was told that this list is not made available to the public. I asked for back copies of the quarterly report of admissible items, I was told this information too is not made available to the public.
By giving an individual the power to censor and then not holding them remotely accountable, the Canadian govenment is doing a disservice to the Canadian people and allowing anti-gay discrimination to continue. I encourage you, as my member of parliament, to review these policies.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Anyway, so last night I went to Wal-Mart to buy jeans. This was after spending 3 hours in the Eaton Centre looking at jeans that all cost over $80 and don't come in my size. I remember there was a time when I would just pick the colour in my size and walk out the door. Those days are gone.
I decided to leave the jeans shopping to last as I hate it. Inevitably some 20 year old stick man will come up to me as I'm frantically looking for my size, and wondering if they even carry my size. What do fat people do? Throw on the drapes and be done with it? Anyway, this stick will say "Can I help you find your size?" and if I have to say the actual number I will burst into flames so that isn't happening. Also if he has to then say to me "Sorry, sir, we don't carry sizes that big" I will immediately drop dead of embarrassment so my options here are limited. I can either throw a bunch of pants in his face and run like the wind, or do what I usually do and say "No thanks, I'm fine!" as I rummage for my size like my mother at a yard sale.
So as I walked into Wal-Mart, they had a huge poster on the door, "Pies now available at McDonalds in 'Smores flavour!" so I said "Out of the way, bitches!" and hightailed it over. They were alright.
Onto my shopping. Generic Christmas music is playing over the intercom, the kind they play in Hell where every song sounds the same and has annoying children laughing. After looking around for a few items, none of which were in stock of course, I headed over to the flashlight section. My step-father wants a crank flashlight for Christmas. So they had two, one for $25 which is crazy, and another for $12. The problem is, the $12 one looked good but it had a screwdriver with attachments built in. The further problem is the light shines straight ahead but the screwdriver parts are on the side. So how can you see them in the dark? And the other problem is, how many times in your life have you done carpentry in the dark?
So I made my way over to the jeans section. My eye was caught by the sign that said "Now $10!" so I looked at those jeans. Now this store has maybe 8 brands of jeans and each jean comes in 10 or 12 styles. Maybe it's just me but I don't know the difference between boot cut and straight cut off the top of my head. How do they come up with these names?
I picked up about five pairs of jeans that weren't red or purple and headed over to the fitting room. This Wal-Mart is the closest to downtown Toronto (still 30 minutes out of my way though) and is the worst Wal-Mart on planet earth. It's small and dirty and they never have anything in stock as they don't have any room. Terrible.
So I go into the fitting room and the first thing I notice is it's the size of a postage stamp. The second thing I notice is the body odour of the person who was in there before me. I hate BO. I ducked my head out and saw they had two other change rooms, both locked, and no salesperson around for miles. Great.
I hold my breath and while trying not to pass out, attempt to put on the first pair of jeans. The confines are so tight that when I bend over to take off my shoes I nearly knock the walls down. Plus the thing is so flimsy as I steady myself with one hand against the wall, you hear a "SLAM!" as the entire change room nearly falls over. I picture armed security entering thinking I'm vandalizing the place or something.
So the first pair I tried on were the cheapest as I figured I'd start at the bottom of the price line and work my way up. If the $10 jeans work, why pay more?
The first thing I notice in these jeans is the fly. On a standard pair of jeans the fly is about 4 inches long. On these jeans, the fly is about 10 or 11 inches long. When I put them on the crotch ends just below the knee. Also they made the seat extra wide, so the ass of these jeans has more material than my winter jacket. I could shove a litter of kittens in there with my butt and there's still be loads of room.
I can't wear jeans with a crotch below my knees.
I continue trying on jeans and all of these have the same problem. Apparently poor people are meant to look stupid.
I leave the change room, say hi to the salesperson yelling into the phone that her man is no good, and go get some mid-priced jeans. Again, no idea what kind to get. "Relaxed fit"? "Carpenter"? "Straight leg"? Argh.
I come back and try on these six pairs and either the zipper is still too long or the pants are too baggy. One of them has a distressed hole in the leg and I see something white shining through the hole. I figured they had put a piece of white fabric in behind the hole. That white thing was my leg! I can't wear a pair of jeans to work with a one inch spot of skin showing through in the crotch area. One pair was kind of okay but they were "725" brand, which is Wal-Mart’s store brand. A shirt in 725 is okay as you can hide the tags but jeans? I can't go on my cruise with a big sign reading "Wal-Mart" on my ass. I may want to look cheap, but not in that way.
At this point, I've spent about 40 minutes wrangling into 12 pairs of jeans in a closet and I have nothing to show for it. I run out and grab the most expensive jeans in the place. At this point I would pay $50 just to be able to go home.
I try on another eight pairs and find three maybes. They're like $40 each so I can't buy all three so I try to remember which pairs I liked best. I can't remember, I have to try them all on again. I pick two and run away, interrupting the salesgirl's phone call long enough to promise to never return.
When I get to the cash, the girl rings them in and says "One of them is 50% off - did you want to go back and get another pair?" I said "These are both the same brand. There is no tags on the jeans indicating they are on sale. There is no signs on the floor saying they're on sale. I have touched every single pair of jeans in my size in this entire store and I have no idea where I got them from. So no, I'm good thanks."
I pay and run for my life.
I will never buy jeans again, please bury me the one of the pairs I bought yesterday, I will be wearing them for the rest of my life.