Saturday, January 4, 2003


... From the incomparable Stephen Fry:

Estate agents. You can't live with them, you can't live with them. The first sign of these nasty purulent sores appeared round about 1894. With their jangling keys, nasty suits, revolting beards, moustaches and tinted spectacles, estate agents roam the land causing perturbation and despair. If you try and kill them, you're put in prison: if you try and talk to them, you vomit. There's only one thing worse than an estate agent, but at least that can be safely lanced, drained and surgically dressed. Estate agents. Love them or loathe them, you'd be mad not to loathe them.


Avril Lavigne came on the radio today while I was driving - surprise surprise. American and other non-Canadian readers will know who I'm talking about, I think, because I've now seen her on the cover of Teen People and Seventeen magazines, for reasons passing understanding. Does no one realize that there's absolutely nothing interesting about this girl? There are people who complain that she's taken the rebellion out of girls wearing neckties, but what was ever really in that? Come on. All the girls did it in the eighties, man. You were just distracted by their hair.

And as for the fact that she doesn't smile, well, she looks like she didn't get an MP3 player for her birthday, not like she's in a perpetual state of ruminating on society's ills. I mean, this is a girl who went on the Tonight Show and told Jay Leno that the house where The Shining was filmed is really haunted, because she went snowboarding around there, and, like, the trees were, like, looking at her.

I came across an article on stating that Avril kept "the public spotlight fixed on her" by lambasting Britney Spears's claim to virginity, and subsequently claiming that she and Britney are nothing alike (check out their official sites side-by-side, by the way - they're both provided here, and they look pretty much exactly the same).

Christ Almighty.

Does anyone care whether or not Britney Spears is a virgin anymore? Like, anyone? She's twenty years old! Stop telling her how to live her life! LET HER HAVE A VOICE! Oh, whatever.

Anyway, Avril's right: she's not entirely like Britney. My feeling is that if Britney and Eminem had a daughter (not entirely out of the question), Avril Lavigne would happen all over again. She'd have her mommy's big eyes and her daddy's big pout.

I've gotten way off track here. What I meant to share with you was my revelation that I now know what growing up is: it's listening to Avril Lavigne on the radio, and thinking about how much younger she is than you, and realizing that she got a record deal and you didn't, and that she's got everything to live for, and you're about to lose control of your car. Do you ever get that feeling? That even though you've been driving for years, and there's barely any traffic, and conditions are excellent, you're just going to fly off the road, and that it's an act of God, but that your insurance will go up because of it? Yeah, Avril Lavigne does that to me.

Friday, January 3, 2003


 An InstaPundit reader writes:

On Friday night we saw The Two Towers, and when Legolas swung himself backwards onto that moving horse, I think I got pregnant.

Really? Orlando Bloom is, of course, beautiful to look at, but I've never considered him attractive in any kind of sexual way (although when I first read this, I thought that Orlando himself had said it, and I got a kick out of that): he's like something that you buy at Chintz & Company for too much money, and then put in your living room to lean umbrellas on. Certainly not something that gets you pregnant; nothing that could play a male elf so convincingly would make anything as dirty as sperm.

Do I love Orlando? Of course! as Troy McLure would say. Like I love Fresca! But I leave the pregnancy-inspiring moves to... well, hopefully someone during my thirties.

Thursday, January 2, 2003


That's the title of a book I came across this morning. Here are some definitions of the term "strip-tease" (sorry, you'll have to mentally add the accents yourself):

Le Petit Larousse: n. m. (de l'anglais to strip, deshabiller et to tease, agacer). Deshabillage suggestif execute en public sur une musique de fond ou de danse.

Le Dictionnaire edite a l'occasion de l'Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme: Devetement progressif d'une dame dont la savante lenteur excite sournoisement les sens.

And finally, the coolest one of all:

Le Dictionnaire de Sexologie: Pantomime erotique, spectacle ayant pour object le deshabillage d'une femme jusqu'a nudite complete sur le rythme d'une musique particuliere ... et sur une trame justifiant ou rendant explicites les attitude de l'effeuillage.

I'd translate this, but I don't really think it's necessary... the French certainly have a - well, frisson - that we can't manage over here. I mean, I'm sure that there are dictionaries and glossaries of sexuality in English, but are they half as exciting-looking as Le Dictionnaire de Sexologie? As an area of study in the English-speaking world, sexuality is totally desexified (if that's not a word, I'd like to consider myself its inventor); I'll bet the French can't desexify their hernia operations.

My French is rustier than it should be, considering that I was, well, "immersed" in it from 1983 to 1998, but listen to this: "Jean Cocteau lui-meme, presentant a la presse un spectacle compose de trois de ses pieces en un acte, declarait, peu de temps avant sa mort, que ce spectacle representait pour lui un "veritable strip-tease de l'ame".

Clunkily: "Jean Cocteau himself, presenting three of his pieces to the press, declared shortly before his death that the spectacle was for him a virtual strip-tease of the soul."

When I was in Paris, I didn't have a great time. I was sick, and the people weren't nice, and I found London and Amsterdam to be full of far more amiable people. But I have to step back occasionally and admire the lilting sensuality of the French language - in evidence anytime except those when someone spits to you that you really did order a box of tampons, not a box of tissue.

I've been looking at this book for about an hour now, and quietly revising my travel plans to spend a bit more time in France. We'll try to fix it so that I don't actually have to communicate with anyone: I just want to listen.


Well, it looks like my fifteen minutes are up. I just checked my hit counter and things seem to be quickly slowing (quickly slowing?) to their pre-InstaPundit rates. Well, that's not precisely true: having been an unknown with nothing of import to say, I am now a semi-known with, well, nothing important to say.

I wonder if the issue is that this site has no clear mandate, because even if that's the case I've no desire to give it one. Not having attended graduate school, I find it difficult to stay on any one topic for any great length of time: after a while, I'll even start to find myself boring.

Actually, I had no plan to advertise this site, although I'm flattered that it's been mentioned. With my fourteen-odd readers a day, I was able to keep the site on the level of pure whimsy, doing whatever I wanted with it, flooding it or ignoring it. But then I got the readers. All glory is fleeting. Beware the Ides of March. I didn't mind not having them - I was a bit gobsmacked by the attention, in a good way - but I do mind having lost whatever fraction is gone, because it forces me to face the notion that there's a population out there that I failed to hook.

Although I'm sure the situation wasn't helped by the fact that I hadn't posted in a couple of days.

Ah well. I do go on. I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2003


I was thinking yesterday that Colby Cosh always warns us when he's going offline for a while, and that I probably should have done the same. I've been moving for the last three days (anyone who knows me will know how three days could easily be taken up to move me out of a bachelor apartment), and am now back with my parents for the weeks prior to my departure for England. This means that my computer is currently in pieces on the main floor of the house, and I'm writing you this short note from a strange one - the first one I've been able to get myself in front of since the last time I wrote.

In any case, please forgive me. I will be back tomorrow with much to tell, but for now I absolutely must go to bed. It's been a trying few days