May 2019 05


Posted In Blog,The world


Well, the surest sign of spring appeared today – the Ice Cream truck is out.

And that song was only not-annoying for the first eight times I heard it.

Did you know there are actual lyrics to it? Yes. Little-known, and lost for years, here they are, published for the first time in ages…



Come around children up to my truck.
I have got some ice cream.

Come around children up to my truck.
I am not that creepy.

Ice cream. Freezies. Slushies. Popsicles.
I swear I’m wearing pants.

Come around children up to my truck.
I am restraining-order-free for some time now.

Come around children up to my truck.
I have got some … ice cream.





May 2019 05

Holy shit. We made it.

#sprung #Parkdale #MartinGoodmanTrail

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May 2019 05

The Tree Protection Zone is made out of dead trees. And Soylent Green is made of the people. #Toronto #QueenWest
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May 2019 04



Buying tickets to take my niece to the Avengers today (on Star Wars day – blasphemy?) and just realized how important it is to spend more time with her the next couple of years.

She gets aged out of Child ticket pricing at most things in 2021.





May 2019 01

Just like last week, the advertising industry is keeping my words mostly hostage. But a few escaped for this quick fluff piece on … dying.

I could go on about the young woman on the 501 TTC streetcar this morning who was pushing behind me to get out and I turned and loudly said ‘Chill the fuck out’. But instead, I’ll focus on something happy.

Like the funeral I went to.

Yes, I went to another funeral on Satuday. I think I’m at that age where I’m in churches, not for weddings anymore (that was my 20s), but for funerals of parents of friends.

This one was uniquely tragic because my friend lost both of his parents within a week of each other. A double funeral.

How is this happy, right? I’ll get to that.

My friend’s father had a rare degenerative brain condition. He had been deteriorating for some time. They knew he was nearing the end and the family – my friend, his mom and his two siblings – were preparing for it. However, his mom, seemingly healthy but under a lot of stress, collapsed and died of a aneurism. A week later his father slipped away as well, never knowing his wife had actually gone before him.

Ya, I know.

Four of us drove down from Toronto to St. Catharines Saturday morning to support our friend. If you haven’t been to a friend’s parents’ funeral, lemme tell you – you have to go if and when they come up. You just have to. Even if you only mildly like that person. Having been through my mom’s funeral, I know what I speak of. There is nothing more comforting than seeing many people there to support you on a day where you have no fucking clue what the universe has just dealt you.

My friend is Filipino. I mention this right now because it comes into play later. But also, I have decided that all my life I should have been attending Filipino rock concerts. Why? Because as a short person, I can’t see shit at concerts when I have floor tickets. However, at this funeral, I was many rows back and behind lots of people and I could see just fine. The Filipinos are not tall people. Goddamn it. I should have flown to the Philippines to see any band I ever wanted to see.

Anyhow… The service itself was certainly no laugh-a-thon. Very traditional Catholic (so I’m told). No speeches. Lots of kneeling and standing – which I passed on. And most of my time was spent leafing through the two music books trying to find the song everyone was singing without visual aid (these people were clearly Catholic club members). And then, like they hadn’t eaten in days, a very long line of the grief-stricken lined up for what looked to me like a small rice cracker wafer.

They knew what they were doing because afterwards, there were certainly not the customary small funeral sandwiches served in the basement of the church – the grief sandwiches, as I call them, and the egg salad ones are my fave. Nope. None. Is this another Catholic suffering thing? I don’t know.

Anyhow, before I give away more of my distaste for organized religion, let me get to the happy stuff.

A small group of us, including me, were invited to the family home for the post funeral meal.

Did someone say ‘meal’?

Yes, a big traditional Filipino feast.

Um, ya.

“Andrew, there will be some praying.”

Andrew thinks – I don’t care. As long as there’s food. I’ll certainly say amen to get a rice cracker now. An oversight on my part earlier.

Our little Toronto contingent arrived at the family home. This is the house our friend grew up in and his parents had owned since the 1970s.

And instead of a somber event, we walked into a house full of life. Our friends’ family was massive. We had to climb over a mountain of shoes just to get in the house.

Conversation everywhere. Kids running around. And lots and lots and lots of food. We were immediately handed plates and hugged and thanked for coming and told to make ourselves at home.

And I did. It felt like home. Maybe not ‘my’ home, but you could feel the life in it despite the official occupants being gone and sent off earlier that day.

It was full of love, and memories.

In the wood-panneled basement, complete with a vinyl bar, a group of us hung out and ate and talked and looked at the 50 years of memories down there. And hid from the prayers going on upstairs.

My friend, who had lost his parents, came over to talk to me. He looked exausted.

“You may feel strange tomorrow,” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, after today you may feel a big release. Just planning all this takes a lot of effort. Have you had time to grieve?”

“No,” he said. “But I won’t tomorrow, either.”

“Why not?”

“Beacause we’re Filipino. We do this for nine days straight.”

“Nine days?”

“Yes. Eating. And Praying. Nine days and for each person that died. I have a week and half more of these things.”


Over by the fireplace, there was a TV monitor and a Karaoke microphone stand. Two microphones sat in a charging unit. I knew they belonged to my friends’ parents.

“We’re Filipino, Andrew. We love Karaoke. I don’t know why. But the stereotype is true.”

Sprinkled around the basement, you could see many pictures of their life together. The vacations. The children they raised. Grandchildren. Glassware from around the world behind the bar.

Although the circumstances were tragic, I found the whole day rather comforting.

The lives they touched, and brought into this world, were all under one roof, celebrating their lives and life in general.

These were lives well-lived. On their terms. The St. Catharines Catholic Church-going wood panelled basement with a bar life certainly doesn’t appeal to me. But I got the sense it was their dream. And they made it happen together.

Yah, that made me happy.