Monthly Archives: February 2014

Atlanta, This Is Unbeliebable!

Ok, so I heard people in Atlanta are marching in protest against Justin Bieber moving into their neighborhood. Wow. I have some thoughts on this. I’ve avoided commenting on Justin Bieber up to this point. It’s evident that things have been spinning out of control for some time now. They say you should write what you know. I don’t know Justin Bieber. I couldn’t even name one of his songs, and I’m only sort of aware of his hairstyles. I don’t know Atlanta either. I’ve been there a couple of times on business, but didn’t stay long enough to do much. This piece required a lot of research on my part (and by a lot I mean 20 minutes of Google search). The reason being is that I wanted to comment on this, but I don’t have any room in my ‘long-term’ memory for anything I hear about Justin Bieber.

During my research, I found out that Atlanta does protest a few things from time to time. The easiest protests to find on Google were…..

– A protest involving the George Zimmerman verdict.

– An abortion protest.

– A protest against the Police raiding a Gay Bar called the Atlanta Eagle.

– The People For Ethical Treatment Of Animals protesting Atlanta’s Pride Week kick off party being at the Georgia Aquarium because the loud Katy Perry music upsets the Whales (I am absolutely not making this up, but I am paraphrasing).

The most articles regarding Atlanta protests are about a group of residents in an upscale neighborhood protesting a potential move to Atlanta by Justin Bieber. The group claims that this move will lower their property value, which remains to be seen. They feel that it won’t be good for their children to grow up in the same neighborhood where Justin Bieber lives. One concern was that he might drive at high speeds while intoxicated (like he’s the only one in your neighborhood who could potentially do that). I think protests are funny anyways. I wonder if they think they could stop this from happening. Probably not, but maybe they could get on the news. Yeah, that’s something to shoot for.

After looking up Atlanta protest information, I still couldn’t form an opinion on this. I needed to brush up on my Justin Bieber information. This was way more fun. Just to name a few things, this guy was caught with drugs and a stun gun in Sweden…..caught flack for his comments in the Anne Frank house guest book….kicked a paparazzi….got his monkey confiscated……pissed in a mop bucket at a bar……is up on DUI charges. That’s actually way more stuff than I had realized. Pretty impressive rap sheet for someone his age. The thing with Justin Bieber is that he’s still only 19. When I list off the things that have happened to him, it doesn’t really seem that ridiculous to me. This guy has had more money than he can count since he was 16. That usually doesn’t end well from a behavioral perspective. Here are some of my favorite offences, and why I don’t think they’re that big of a deal.

1. He got caught with drugs and a stun gun in his car in Sweden…….. 90% of people who are famous at that age that aren’t being micro managed by their parents have drugs on them. Careless to have public possession in a foreign country? 90% of people who are famous at that age that aren’t being micro managed by their parents are careless. Stun gun??? If you had access to a stun gun with no foreseeable consequences at that age, wouldn’t you have one? I beliebe you would! It would be stunning!

2. He signed Anne Frank’s guest book……. In 3 sentences he said 2 nice things, and then 1 ignorant thing. I beliebe this one to be well-intentioned, but poorly executed. I thought the outrage over this was hilarious. Give me a break people. It’s that kind of attention that leads a kid to think…. ‘wow, I matter to people this much???’ Which just leads to more craziness. This is the case of the media making a non-story a great story.

3. He kicked a paparazzi……. He wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last. Paparazzi for gossip magazines are probably the most loathsome, annoying people in the world. What celebrity worth their weight in hairspray hasn’t kicked a paparazzi?

4. He got his monkey confiscated…… Yeah, clearly not ready to be a parent. Also, monkey ownership is saved for the pop-elite, but I’m pretty sure Michael Jackson was well into his 20s before he got Bubbles. If you’re criticizing Bieber for having a monkey, get real! At the rate he’s experiencing life, there’s no conceivable way that he wasn’t due for monkey ownership.

5. He pissed in a mop bucket at a bar……. Well before the era of YouTube I’ve seen many a guy piss in many a container not designed to hold such fluid. In fact I’ve seen worse. I remember a buddy of mine puking in a bathroom sink (yes he was less than 10 feet from a toilet), and when the bouncers were escorting him out of the bar, he was yelling “I’m not hurting anyone!!!!” Ask any security guy at any bar in the world if he hasn’t seen worse behaviour from drunks than pissing in a bucket. At least it was in a bucket!!! Now, I’m not saying people should piss in mop buckets because they’re too lazy or drunk to walk all the way to the washroom, but if he’s not famous, that’s practically a non-issue. Happens all the time.

6. Drove a car too fast when he was drinking……. He shouldn’t do it. No excuse for it. Who’s gonna tell him to stop? He’s bigger than he should be. You the public made him that way. He’s surrounded by a bunch of misbehaving ‘yes men’ who all have too much money, too much access, at too young an age, with not enough consequence. Oh and by the way America, maybe he watched all 6 ‘Fast & Furious’ movies that you’ve supported and glorified, or maybe he watches NASCAR every weekend like you do, and felt the need for speed.

My opinion? I don’t blame Atlanta for not wanting him in their neighborhood. Do you know how hard it is to clean eggs off your windows? I also don’t blame Justin Bieber for being the way he is. He was sent out into the world before he was mature enough to handle it. For the record, there are well-informed people at the peak of their lives that couldn’t handle the money, fame and scrutiny that he’s under. Nobody is trying to help him. He probably doesn’t know yet that he needs help. We’re just perpetuating it by paying attention to his every move. The more attention we pay, the more money he makes, and that delays his inevitable flame out. The general public loves a human pinata. People love to judge, but the reality is that most people don’t even have the option of being this kind of train wreck. You can’t just go buy a fast car, or a monkey, or a trip to Sweden, all while still a teenager. That’s a special kind of screwed up that we can only fantasize about.

I’ve also heard that America would love to send him back to Canada. That’s cool. I mean, I’m sure he wasn’t this messed up when he went over there, but nonetheless, we’d be happy to part with Rob Ford in a one for one swap. As far as my personal feelings go, I don’t really care about him or his music, but I thought I’d stick up for him since nobody else seems to want to (other than the Beliebers, but I’m talking about grown adults). I probably won’t follow the Atlanta Real Estate story beyond today. I just find it interesting that this guy gets worse media than murderers, rapists, wife beaters and others. I just think the whole thing is sort of unbeliebable.

When Is The Right Time To Start Crushing Your Children With Pressure?

Today I found myself giving my son a pep talk. My words were the result of my expectations, and I was communicating them in a motivational fashion. It went a little bit like this….. “Son, don’t be allergic to peanuts!! I know you’re too young to understand right now, but your inability to consume peanut butter will put a real strain on this family. We eat peanut butter on toast almost all of the time. I love peanuts son!!! Not the way I love you…. I love you more, but I do love peanuts and peanut butter son, and I need you to not have a peanut allergy. Do you understand???” We were about to give him peanut butter for the 2nd time in his life (which they say is when the allergy will show up). He’s 16 months old.

I’m certain my son didn’t understand the full extent of what I was saying. He’s a pretty smart kid, but not the ‘I know how to talk’ kind of smart. Not yet anyways. He looked at me when I gave the speech, so I know he was listening. I also know that I was holding a cracker at the time of the speech, and he really likes crackers, so I’m not sure if he was focused on Daddy, or simply waiting for me to feed his bottomless pit of a stomach. As I was talking, I felt myself transferring my pressure and anxiety on to his little shoulders. Almost like it was in slow motion, I could feel the disapproving looks of my wife, mother, sister and 3 month old nephew, who were all in the room. Was it too soon? Is he not ready to handle the pressure? Was I wrong?

Parents usually suck at life, and what’s the point of having kids if not to try to make them suck less than we do. We pressure our kids. Whether we mean to or not, we just do. We have to. Somehow if our kids end up not as completely stupid as we all are, then we feel that we’ve redeemed ourselves for our miserably disappointing lives. We can then take FULL credit for their achievements and accomplishments.

I’ve been watching the Olympics a lot this week. What do you notice when you watch the Olympics?? A lot of kids under a lot of pressure. Not only from their parents, but signing up for the Olympics means you get pressure from everybody else’s parents too. Especially if you’re from the same country as them. (The media has the nerve to get on Patrick Chan for not winning a Gold in Figure Skating. He won a Silver, which is awesome, but that’s not good enough for certain rotten cheese doodle eating members of the Canadian Sports Media, but that’s another story). For them to be some of the world’s best athletes, they have to be under pressure. Oh, I know what you’re thinking…. ‘They all put themselves under that pressure because they are so dedicated to their craft’. Sure, that’s probably true, but they learned it somewhere.

It starts at home. It can start when you’re a toddler, and it can start with your father trying to talk you out of having an allergy. Hey, if my son goes to the Olympics someday and ‘puts a lot of pressure on himself to be the best’, I’ll know in my heart of hearts that me pressuring him into not being allergic to peanuts made him a more intense competitor. You can never start too young. Crushing them with your hopes and dreams! They’ll have to endure it later on anyways. You’re not doing them any favors by waiting until they’re 7 or 8 years old.

Now I was going to stop there, and I’m not saying that I don’t trust my readers to know when I’m joking, but……. I’m sort of joking about some of this. Kind of.

Where’s My Corner Store?

True Story….

The other day I drove through the old neighborhood where I grew up, looking for my barber who had mysteriously changed locations or retired or who knows? I know the last time I went, the barber shop was closed and there was a strange note on the door signed by someone other than him with an address that wasn’t too far away. When I had checked out the new address, and it appeared to be a beauty salon, but it was still being renovated, and not yet open for business. I couldn’t imagine my barber (who has been cutting my hair, almost exclusively since I was old enough to pay for my own haircuts), working out of a beauty salon. He’s not the type. His barber shop was incredibly old school, and BARELY changed in the last 20 years. The prices were good, and he was reliable and good at his craft. This time when I went, I decided to drive past that beauty salon again. It was open for business, but I couldn’t see in the window. I know this seems weird, but even after driving all that way, I didn’t want to walk into a beauty salon and ask about my barber. Out of respect for him in a way. So I drove back to the original location to see if there was any more information available. When I got to the strip plaza in my old neighborhood, it was fenced in by a construction company and just about the whole thing had already been gutted.

That was my neighborhood strip plaza.

I lived with my parents until I was 29. I know that sounds bad. My room was in the basement, so I had a fair amount of privacy. When I finished school and joined the workforce, they charged me a reasonable amount of rent. I wouldn’t have been able to live anywhere else for that price, and on months where I couldn’t afford to pay, they didn’t kick me out. I love my parents. I had a great relationship with them, so it wasn’t a difficult arrangement. The house we lived in was a 5 minute walk from the house we used to live in. Both houses were a 10 minute walk from my neighborhood strip mall. A 2 minute drive. 5 minute bike ride. I remember that plaza.

I remember the convenience store. The lady who owned it was Chinese, and she had a speech pattern that sounded like she was singing everything. She was delightful. I remember her husband who had the opposite speech pattern. They had a son who would work in the store once he was old enough. I could tell he liked Hip Hop because he was always reading The Source magazine. I used to like Hip Hop, and that’s where I went to buy The Source Magazine as well. I remember the girl who worked for them in the 90’s. She was Italian or Portuguese or something. We had little teenage crushes on her. She was sweet to everyone. Every guy that went in there thought they were the only one. I remember when there was a drug store on the other end of the plaza. My parents used to give me $50 when I was a kid to buy all of my Christmas presents for people. I know $50 doesn’t seem like a lot, but I was probably only 10 or 12 years old, and I guess adults thought it was really cool that they got an $8 present from me since I had to go to the store and pick it out myself. Plus inflation. It was the 80’s. I remember the Dry Cleaners who never spelled my last name right, but committed it to memory, so they never asked what it was, they just saw my face and remembered my name, but with the wrong spelling. I never bothered correcting them. I remembered the greasy spoon restaurant, and how we used to go there for fries and gravy, and maybe played the 2 arcade games that were there, until we’d get kicked out for making too much noise. I remember them renovating and getting their liquor licence, and then the same 5 people perched themselves at the bar stools for 5 hours a day, and drank cheap beers every single day. Still some of the best Pork Souvlaki around.

I remember when the Mafia place opened up. Yeah, they got all legit and started serving Gelato etc, but I never set foot in there after the first time (and that story could be its own blog). I remember when a guy was murdered in the parking lot. I remember the waitress from that establishment always bringing Espressos or Soda to my barber, and wondering how that arrangement was set up. I remember way back when there was a place where you could get schnitzel on a bun, and I took that for granted, but as time went on I realized how hard it is to find a little place like that at a small neighborhood strip plaza. I remember when my mom started a drop in day care for senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and had her office there for many years. I remember her having to go there every time someone set the alarm off in the middle of the night. I remember her retirement ceremony, and how being there, and hearing everyone pay tribute to all she had accomplished made us so proud.

I remember when pop was 50 cents at one store and 65 cents at the other. I remember buying Sarasoda and Twist Shandy because they had 0.5% alcohol, and we thought we were baaaaaaaad. I remember the New York Knicks having a pretty solid lead with about 30 seconds left in a playoff game against the Pacers, so I walked from my friend’s house to this store to get some chips and pop for the next game, only to find out when I got back that Reggie Miller scored 8 points in 9 seconds, and the Pacers won the game. I remember my friend being so obsessed with a certain brand of chocolate chip cookies that we made a day of looking in couch cushions and raiding coat pockets in our parent’s closets so we could go buy these damn cookies. I can’t even remember if they were good or not. I remember playing basketball for hours in the summer, and buying a 2 litre jug of peach flavored drink, and finishing all of it every time!

Seeing that building almost ripped to shreds made me sadder than I was expecting. I have 2 nieces that actually live within walking distance of the spot, but by the time they’re old enough to walk there by themselves, there will likely be condominiums there. I guess this happens to all of us eventually, and not to sound too cliché, but I definitely felt like a part of my childhood had just disappeared. Perhaps more importantly, where am I going to get my haircut?


That was the most god-awful display of football I’ve ever watched. I’ve never been so infuriated with anything in my life. Actually one of the teams played really well. It’s the other team I have a problem with. The Denver Broncos. I don’t normally give a flying shit about the Denver Broncos, but today I happened to have $50 on them to win the Super Bowl. So I’m disappointed that they didn’t win, but it isn’t about the money.

It’s about the time and energy I wasted on the Superbowl experience. Being a San Francisco 49ers fan, I’m already kind of pissed off that they narrowly missed being in this game. What’s making me really mad is the fact that their opposition (should they have made it to this game) played one of the worst games in football history which would have made it all too easy for my 49ers to have won the Superbowl, and for me to be celebrating right now instead of blogging. However, my 49ers were not playing in this game, so other than the bet I made, and my dislike for the coach of the Seahawks (which I can’t really explain, other than I hate the sight of him…. irrational, I know), I had no real interest in the winner or loser of this game.

That said, it’s the Superbowl, and I watch every year, because it’s a tradition. I typically enjoy things associated with a Superbowl, like pizza or nachos, or chili. Perhaps beer depending on my mood. I also like watching football. Today however, one of the teams decided not to bother playing football. They decided that they should travel half way across the country, sit through the anthems the media the pre-game hype, and then proceed to walk out onto the field and shit the bed with millions of people watching. I’m personally offended by their effort tonight. I could have been anywhere in the world, but I was here on my couch with no real choice other than to believe that at some point in the evening, the Denver Broncos would actually show up to the game and start to take an active interest in what was going on.

This was a total shit-show. A barn-burner. The Broncos got their asses served right back to them, skewered, and covered in fish sauce, with a Starbucks for the road. It was an abomination. They were obliterated. I feel bad for the player’s children who have to now grow up with the knowledge that their father’s Superbowl game plan was to show up and play like complete amateurs in hopes that maybe it would throw off their opponent somehow. I feel sorry for the 2nd string bench warmers who must have realized that on their worst days, they couldn’t play as bad as the starters did, but were powerless to do anything about it. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was a fix. I can only imagine how disappointing it is to be a Broncos fan tonight. A team that thought so little of their fan base, that they decided to arrive at the Superbowl completely unprepared to do anything even remotely resembling playing competitive football. I feel bad for Bruno Mars, and his band, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, all of whom have probably always dreamed about performing at a Superbowl halftime show, and when they finally get their chance (and do a fantastic job by the way), their performance will always be tainted by the association of the shittiest Superbowl in the history of the NFL book-ending their musical brilliance. I feel bad for citizens of the United States of America because Superbowl Sunday is such a big deal for you guys, and I’m positive that at least 25% of Americans will now start watching CFL football instead, in hopes of wiping the horrible memory of this Superbowl out of their consciousness forever.

For those non-Football fans who perhaps think that I’m being mean while describing the losing team, and how their complete lack of basic execution has almost turned me off football forever, I am not being mean. No team this talented can play this badly unless they absolutely didn’t care about the paying public, or their sport or any sense of professionalism that might come with being an adult. Yes the Seattle Seahawks are a great team, but I think there are high school teams in remote parts of the South Pacific that could have put on a better showing than the Denver Broncos did. I’m personally offended that they didn’t think enough of my 3 hours of personal time to have put forth a better effort. My wife is offended that she went through the trouble to make a delicious chili for me, and I was unable to digest it properly because every muscle in the interior of my body was constricting with anger the entire time I was viewing the game. I think Tim Tebow is personally offended that all of this has happened as well because at no point during his tenure did they screw the pooch even remotely close to the way they did tonight.

May we never have to suffer through anything like this again.