A Land Acknowledgement, But About a Stolen Bike

Before we get this meeting started, I’d like to acknowledge that we’re on land where I stole Chris’ bike. You see, this is the traditional land where he would cycle. Then I moved here and saw the bike, and I thought, that’s a nice bike and I think it would be fun to ride. Which it is, to be honest. So I’d like to thank Chris for being a steward of my bike. He kept it well tuned and clean as a whistle all the time before I came along and stole the bike from him. It wasn’t easy, either. I used a bolt cutter and it took me over 20 minutes. In his wisdom Chris locked the bike up really well so that no one would take it before I came along. Back before I stole the bike, Chris would have a gathering with the other traditional people of this territory. Ryan, who works as a bartender in that tapas place on McCleod Avenue, Jim the graphic designer, and Phil, who last I heard was trying to open a barbershop. The hipster kind where they have pinup girls and indie bands on Saturdays, and somehow they play between the barber chairs. They would traditionally get together for bike rides, which they don’t now because Chris can’t afford a new bike, and certainly not one as nice as my bike, which I acknowledge I stole. Also, his traditional name is Christopher and not Chris. I called him Chris for years because I just like it better than Christopher. One year I dressed up as Christopher for Halloween. I found a plaid shirt, just like his, at Value Village, and that stupid green jacket he always has on. I got the idea while I was riding my stolen bike. I figured, with the bike I was already half way to a costume. Christopher didn’t like it, even after I explained that I was honouring him. “Give me my fucking bike back,” he yelled. And I totally get it. That’s why I want us to be friends again, like we were before I had sex with his girlfriend and then stole his bike. I’ve done a lot to atone for these things. I acknowledged that I had sex with his girlfriend in his bed and stole his bike from his yard. And, yeah, I took his Macbook, too, because I’m pretty sure he wasn’t using it and I wanted to burn some CDs. I think we can all agree that there’s been enough animosity, enough rancor. It’s time for a new relationship, and being chill again like the old days, before I killed his brother in a bar fight. And then the girlfriend thing, the Macbook, the bike. It’s history now, and I feel bad about it. Sometimes when I’m riding my bike I even tear up a bit, but that might just be the wind in my eyes. Maybe I should get some sun glasses. I noticed Chris has a nice pair.

The Cree should have a flip-chart easel ceremony. No, just kidding.

Woods

THERE’S AN EASY WAY to tell you’ve been spending too much time with the Cree, and it’s this:

When you find yourself saying, “No, just kidding” every time you are just kidding.

As in, “Three guys walk into a bar. No, just kidding.”

If you know any Cree people, you know what I’m talking about.

And speaking of the Cree…

…a long, long, long time ago, the indigenous people of this land had an important right of passage.

When a young man, or a young woman, reached the ceremonial age, all of the people in the community would gather at a sacred spot.

Maybe in the woods, or at the centre of the village, or in the longhouse near the fires. Every nation had their own, sacred spot.

They would call the young man, or young woman, before the gathered community.

It would get very quiet. Electricity would pass through the crowd. Everyone would watch transfixed.

Because the special day had arrived to present the young man, or the young woman, with his, or her …

very own flip-chart easel.

Okay, I made this up. But the point of the story is that today I bought a flip-chart easel.

And owning my own flip-chart easel makes me feel all grown up, or something.

It’s not my company’s flip-chart easel, or my team’s, or my business partner’s. It’s MINE.

And there are so many uses for a flip-chart easel that I can’t believe everyone doesn’t have one of his, or her, own.

I think that’s because there are no decent flip-chart easel ceremonies.

Anyway, from now on I’m going to do everything by flip chart.

Christmas cards, love letters, and tax returns can all totally be done on a flip chart, and why they aren’t already is truly a mystery to me.

You can even set it up on the bus, during the ride from Staples to the subway home, and do a team-building workshop. Trust me, I thought about it.

Here’s just the first of many uses I have found for my flip-chart easel.

flip-chart-1

So, yeah, I think I’ll do only flip-chart-Twitter from now on.

And here’s another use, which will finally resolve something I’ve been meaning to tell my son.

flip-chart-2

No, just kidding.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, updated for the 21st century

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Photo by Jezz, “Winter Traffic” on Flickr.

 

I WAS IN WINNIPEG, Manitoba last week, where the temperature reached a breath-taking -729.5°C when the FLTW is factored in.

And FLTW is, of course, the Feels Like To Wayne scale. Which is how all temperatures should be measured but for some absurd reason aren’t.

Anyways, the weather was so breath-taking that my breath got back on the airplane and went home to the warm Toronto temperatures, which hovered somewhere around -702.6°C. That left me, my legs, and a thin wool suit to deal unaided with the arctic winds of Portage Avenue.

The reason I was walking down Portage Avenue, in nothing but a suit, was that my brother-in-law’s cat was sick. You see, he went off to Africa (temp. 22C/72F) and left his cat with some lovely folks who weren’t quite prepared for a sick cat.

So there I was, leaving a business meeting to look for a bank so I could transfer money to pay for the vet.

And that got me philosophating.

First of all, how did the pioneers survive without electricity and medicine, back in the day, walking around in their moose-and-beaver-fur business suits? I truly can not comprehend it.

This makes me think that before about 1920, people in Canada just stayed indoors nine months of the year. They ate whatever walked past their house, or hut, or whatever it was, and drank melted snow. And then they dressed in the animal they had just eaten.

Life was simple.

Well I found the bank and needed a coffee to warm up, so I went to another thing they didn’t have in the olden days, Starbucks.

I don’t know if you ever go to Starbucks, but they have these free iTunes “App of the Week” that they give away. Here it is.

Noisli

I haven’t downloaded the app, and I’m not sure exactly what it is and does—but I can see from the card that it suits all my ambient needs.

And I didn’t even know I had ambient needs.

This is why living in the 21st Century is so freaky amazing: here is a company working around the clock on my needs, and I didn’t even know that I have these needs.

So I realized right away quick that it was time to update Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You know, that triangle thingy that talks about food and clothing and shelter.

When you are in Winnipeg in February, looking for a bank on Portage Avenue, you don’t have to be told by Mr. Maslow that you need clothing and shelter. Your legs tell you this.

But you do need Starbucks to remind you that you need belonging, love, “a Tall Americano with room,” and ambience.

So I went straight to work, updating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the 21st Century.

maslow

I realize there’s still some work to do on this.

For example: there is obviously more than one type of ambient need, with one Brian Eno record for each.

And I’m not sure yet whether to Chinese water-torture my brother-in-law, or just make him walk around Saskatoon during a blizzard, in his underwear, looking for my dry cleaning.

So many options, all so attractive.

But if we’ve learned one thing today, it’s that every cloud has a silver lining. That would be the next blizzard taking shape.

Or, the silver lining could also be the inspiration for an update of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

You’re welcome.

 

Dear Mr. God, It’s Me Charlie

Dear Mr God I am Charlie

In many places around this world, I would be killed just for posting this dumb letter

THIS IS SLIGHTLY weird for me. I don’t believe that you exist, so it’s like writing a letter to Santa, except I’ve never seen you at the mall or on a can of Coca-Cola or falling down drunk on 53th Street during a Santacon pub crawl (fun!). So maybe you’re not like Santa, or maybe you are—in which case, Dear Mr. God, I will be good this year and I’d like $250,000 and a few award-winning articles in a prestigious publication of your choosing, please and thank-you.

I don’t know if you’ve been listening in on the conversations, but a lot of people are talking about you. Not directly about you. More like about people who bring up your name a lot. Some of the talk is about whether or not it’s okay to make fun of the people who claim to believe in you, and who say they will defend your reputation from offence and ridicule and criticism. In fact, some of your keenest followers object to seeing depictions of you at all. A small percentage of them appear to think it’s okay to kill people who do or say things they (you?) deem improper or objectionable, because they are doing it for you.

Now, I know what it’s like to have followers. I’m on Twitter and I have, like, tens of them. (My handle is @waynekspear, btw, if you and the baby Jesus & anyone else want to, you know.) Like you, I don’t expect to be held responsible for the behavior of my followers. Some of them probably have bed-head and can’t even parallel park or order a proper deli sandwich. Odds are that at least one of my social media followers has feet that smell like cheese. I bet some of them don’t floss. My point is that I will be very embarrassed if one of them ever decides to start a feet-cheese anti-flossing religion in my name.

Okay, so that’s the male-bonding portion of this letter. It’s amazing how quickly I sort of eased into it. See how I’m just chillin with you, like you totally exist?

I gather you’re all about the Truth, and the truth as I see it is that I’m tired of all the killing and bigotry and hatred that people commit, for whatever reasons. I’m equally sick and tired of discussions and debates about: whether or not you exist, what it is exactly that you want from us, your rules for our lives, who speaks on your behalf, and which of your many books is the right one to read. I get it. I’ve written more than one book, too, and the answer to the question “Wayne, which of your books is the right one to read?” is, obviously, get all of them. You’re just doing what any author does, which is building a good product funnel. Heck, you invented that.

So, I’m tired. Many of the people who believe in you, most of them in fact, are just fine by me. They live in peace with their neighbors. They live simple decent lives. Some of them smell nice. Then there are the people who are destroying everything. They’ve made it a nightmare to get on an airplane. They’ve made it likely that civil war and mass murder and persecution will flourish for as far into the future as we can imagine. They’ve ruined entire countries like Syria and Iraq and Pakistan, and they aim to ruin more. They hate music and education and science and books and irony and sex and wine and movies and fun and even cartoons. They love death and war and terror. I mean, that’s not funny at all.

The arguments about whether or not they are “really” believers, killing and hating despite your words, or even because of them, bores me. But what really tires me more than anything are the people—the people!—who find all sort of reasons why it’s the fault of the people who got killed. If only they didn’t make fun of religion! If only they didn’t criticize! If only they didn’t stop being all racist and phobic! Seems it’s everyone’s fault except the people who did the actual killing. Man, you people are even less clever than the killers themselves.

Because, in my view, you are a made-up thing—like the idea that there are unicorns and fairies, or that Sarah Palin “writes” books—I’m not doing this to ask or tell you anything. You don’t exist. There is no evidence for you at all, except inside people’s brains and in the books those brains have made. Homo sapien brains and nervous systems make some people pretty certain you are real, and that’s fine. I can’t prove you don’t, and I’m not interested in even trying.

Here’s the reason I wrote this: in many places around this world, I would be killed just for posting this dumb letter. I think that is wrong and stupid and sick, and I hope everyone out there agrees with me. But I know they don’t all agree with me, and the evidence is in every newspaper, every day. So, Houston, we have a problem.

Anyway, I hope I was able to make you laugh. I like to laugh. Some people, not so much. I can be silly. Some people, not so much. I admit I don’t know the truth about a lot of things. Some people, not so much. So I’m going to make fun of the some people, not because I think they will laugh (they won’t) but because I have chosen Team Fun, Laughter, and Life. [Insert fart joke here.]

Find me on Twitter. Check out my latest book.

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Some tips for keeping warm in interstellar space. I mean, Canada.

IF YOU LIVE in Canada, or northern USA, you know how nasty Winter can be. Also, if you live on the moon or in interstellar space, where I hear it gets almost as cold as Winnipeg.

Like me, every Winter you ask yourself What on earth am I doing here? Okay, I also ask myself that in the Spring, Fall and Summer. In the Winter, I just add “…in this cold country.” Why do I stay in such an inhospitable climate, year after year, when there are places in the world where you can live on the beach, basking in the life-giving rays of paradise, until a beaver-sized scorpion bites you and you go blind, and then slowly die as thick yellow foam erupts from your mouth.

And that’s how I remember why I stay in Canada.

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Make anything funny with this one simple trick

funny-trick
LAST MONTH my family went on a mission. It was my son’s idea, and it went like this: from a hat each one of us picked the name of a family member and went to the local department store with a budget of $10 to buy that person stocking-stuffers. There was also a rule that what you bought had to be either a) edible or b) practical. So, naturally, I bought googly eyes.

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Some tips on how to make effective New Year’s resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

THE OXFORD English Dictionary says that resolution comes from a Latin word, resolvĕre, meaning “to loosen or dissolve.” Its early appearances, in late Medieval England, refer to a state of dissolution or decay. So if today were December 30, 1389, I would already be well on my way to fulfilled resolutions! Also, I’d consistently be 625 years early for my appointments.

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This new model of the universe requires no math and goes great with Jägermeister

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I DON’T RECALL who first said that time is an illusion: it could have been a famous theoretical physicist, or one of my uncles, or that guy in college who’d always want to talk about quantum mechanics after six Jägermeisters. And, yes, it’s true I haven’t kept up with some of my uncles—so theoretically the crazy college guy could have become a physicist and married one of my aunts, in which case all three answers are the correct answer. Read even a little bit of theoretical physics, and you’ll quickly see that weirder things have happened—and they’re happening all the time, all around us.

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I am fighting the war for freedom on eBay

elgin

YEARS AGO, I bought the 1929 Elgin art deco watch pictured above. Recently the crystal fell out and the minute hand caught on my jacket sleeve and was pulled off.

Off I went to the neighborhood repair person, an old-school Eastern European who I’ve done business with before. Our conversation went something like this.

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How my HAPPINESS CRYSTAL will destroy the business of making people unhappy

car

A FEW YEARS AGO a fictional person I’ll call Max discovered video games. He loved to play Internet games on the family desktop computer. They were freely available and provided the occasional hour or-so, here and there, of fun. But this happy condition didn’t last.

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The legendary feats of John Wick, assassin—continued

John-Wick

AN EX-HITMAN [Keanu Reeves] comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as its bullet-riddled playground, John Wick is a fresh and stylized take on the assassin genre. Here is another instalment of John Wick’s many legendary feats.

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This is an offensive aboriginal stereotype, even if it does describe me perfectly

haha

I‘M SURE you’ve all seen it: the offensive “Native” stereotype of the guy who has this long, thick, wild-flowing hair and intense, passionate eyes. Often he’s a lean, muscular type—again, passionate and earthy, mysterious, and sexually irresistible to women.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about that I found this week on Amazon.

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This is a book about a time-traveling white female doctor who meets a hot and seductive Sioux warrior from the 1800s. The woman is mesmerized and basically surrenders to this sizzling chunk of Onkwehonwe.

I haven’t read the book, but I’m guessing the plot has something to do with going back in time to acquaint the Sioux of the 19th Century with basic Photoshop concepts, like Layering and Magic Wand. (Yes, that really is a Photoshop term.) Then, in her later novels, I’m guessing Pamela Ackerson will get into more advanced techniques like Masking, Polygon Lasso, Curves, Color Balance, and Lighting Effects.

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Running explained

Bloodynipples

RUNNING WAS INVENTED 4,600,000 years ago by our human ancestors, Australopithecus. In the 34th Century BCE, ancient Sumerians called this activity Naputu—a verb meaning “to not get yourself eaten by wild animals.”

Four thousand years ago, religious festivals led to the popularization of running as sport. Even before the first Olympic Games, human beings were running in honour of the gods—in particular, Muffinius (god of love handles), Wardrobius (god of things languishing in your closet) and Januarius (god of the three-month GoodLife membership).

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How my school days prepared me for a world which doesn’t exist, and didn’t prepare me for the one that does

Ressi57h

SCHOOL DAYS. They were so long ago, you probably don’t remember them. Or maybe what you remember didn’t happen.

I’m talking about you, not about me. My memories, of being the team captain and MVP, are as sound as any Ken Burns documentary. See how the camera pans across a photo of me, holding an electrified cattle prod to keep from being torn to pieces by sex-crazed females? It’s more dramatic with video, but that’s what you get when imaginary Ken Burns narrates the Dionysian out-in-the-woods madness that was your school days.

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