November 30, 2010

On being a bad Jew at Hanukkah....

This week is Hanukkah, and last year I wrote about this holiday. This is one of my more popular posts, and here it is again. This is my first ever rerun. Or is it a classic...?

So apparently Hanukkah begins this weekend. I say "apparently" because if it wasn't printed on my calendar at work, or my non-Jewish boyfriend hadn't emailed me with the start date, the whole thing might have slipped by me.

What is Hanukkah? It is the Festival of Lights, an eight-day celebration commemorating the rededicating of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabee revolt in the 2nd century BC. According to the Talmud, there was only enough oil to burn the eternal flame for one day, and yet it lasted eight days, the exact time it took to prepare more oil.

Why am I a bad Jew? Well, I had to google what Hanukkah is to have the info above. Oh, and I don't celebrate the holidays. Or eat kosher. Or go to synagogue. Or follow any of the 613 mitzvot (commandments). And I like boys. And not Jewish ones.

Truth is, Jews have lots and lots of holidays, and Hanukkah isn't really one of the major ones; it's more of a kids holiday, and has over time morphed into a pseudo-Christmas substitute. Not that I observe any of the others either.

Some people are traditionalist and follow the letter and spirit of religious holidays. Others treat the rules more like a buffet where they pick and choose what they want. I just don't really participate. I was raised essentially as a high holiday Jew, and I guess am still a cultural Jew, though basically agnostic --- you embrace whichever set of beliefs fits you, I haven't found something that fits me.

I celebrated Hanukkah with my family when I was growing up, which we did as a gift-giving and family feasting holiday rather than a religious one, and since then have often celebrated Christmas with friends, and was at first surprised by the lack of religion in the gatherings. I did not have a menorah (the nine-branch Hanukkah candelabra) until K bought me one last year.

This is a great time of year; I believe holidays are about friends and family, and I have those. Time together, lots of food, exchanging a few gifts with those you love, spoiling the canine kids --- it's all good to me. And yes the rituals are enticing; we have both a Christmas tree and a Menorah... damn, totally forgot, I gotta buy candles in the next 17 hours!

November 29, 2010

So funny and so wrong...

I'm not usually a huge fan of fridge magnets, though I do confess to having a few with Cirque de Soleil and M&M's....

and this one, from a store in Seattle. So wrong and so funny....

November 26, 2010

Winter Driver Mad Libs

Yesterday driving home from work I had a total moron beside me. Rather than give her the finger, or rant and rave, I decided to be calm and vent later.

So I was going to vent by writing her a poem, a haiku perhaps, and then I remembered not talented enough to do that.

So here is a Mad Lib instead. For the uneducated among you, a Mad Lib is a short story with many key words replaced with blanks. Beneath each blank is specified a lexical or other category, such as "noun", "verb", "place", or "part of the body". One player asks the other players, in turn, to contribute some word for the specified type for each blank, but without revealing the context for that word. Finally, the completed story is read aloud.

My Winter Driver Mad Lib:

Hello _____(noun)_____ in the _____(adjective)_____ Lexus beside me.

Happy Winter!

Yes its happier outside, and I _____(verb)_____ it also. That being said, it is winter, we do _____(verb)_____ in Canada, so we should probably expect cold and _____(noun)_____ and _____(noun)_____.

Driving is _____(adjective)_____ in winter. We need _____(adjective)_____ tires. We need ice _____(noun)_____ s. We need _____(noun)_____ We need patience. And we need more time to get everywhere.

I thought I would say hello, as the _____(noun)_____ is so slow, and we are going to be beside each other for awhile now. Plus you are driving too fast and too close, so I may _____(action)_____ you by accident.

You looked _____(adjective)_____ today, my new friend. I can tell because you are _____(verb)_____ ing too close, _____(verb)_____ ing too fast, and likely _____(verb)_____ ing while you drive. So put down the _____(noun)_____, put down that_____(noun)_____ you are eating and pay attention.

I am trying to _____(verb)_____ carefully, and appreciate that you are too. I know we will all be _____(adjective)_____ that way.

Thanks for listening.

Best regards,


November 24, 2010

Homophobia: There's an app for that...

I love my iPhone. And luuuuv my new iPad. I have loads of apps for each, and am discovering fab new ones all the time.

There's apps for reading stuff online, apps for games, apps for banking, apps for photos, apps for social networking, apps for checking the weather, apps for finding your car, apps for finding your iPhone, an app for my beloved Huffington Post, tens of thousands of apps for everything.

Over the past couple of years, ie the entire life span of iPhones and apps, there has been criticism of the seemingly arbitrary approval or not of what is allowed in app world. And this time Apple has fucked up, my friends.

Now Apple has sparked outrage over an app it did approve, Manhattan Declaration, that is a "call of Christian conscience" inviting users to take a stand against gay marriage by signing a 4,700-word "declaration" penned by Christian clergy. So that's okay? That passes the test when thousands of other apps fail? True, you passed Death Worm but still. Maybe we can combine Death Worm with the homophobes?

Read more @

And thanks to my friend Jayne for pointing me towards this. Read Jayne at

November 23, 2010

Better a wife beater than a homo?

The government of Chile wants to reduce incidents of domestic abuse, a noble cause indeed. So like our governments do with a whole bunch of causes, they are doing an ad campaign. That's where it all goes wrong...

They are making the wife beaters feel bad by calling them fags. Yep, that is the way to go. So when's the anti-homophobia campaign gonna kick in, Chile assholes?

From the gay white north:

November 22, 2010

Pink raises her glass to gay marriage...

I heart the singer Pink --- talented, brave, political. This is the cover for her new album, a greatest hits collection, which I am gonna pick up this week.
Pink's new music video, for the song Raise Your Glass, features a same-sex wedding, and is based on her best friend's wedding:

“I threw my best friend’s wedding in my backyard — [she] is gay and she married her wife, and it was absolutely beautiful. At the end of it, her mom said, ‘Why can’t this be legal?’ and started crying. It was just the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen, so that’s why I’m doing it in my video.“

November 21, 2010

Woo hoo, it's World Television Day!

Stop talking to your friends and family. Fold up your Sunday paper. Put down that damn book... it is World Television Day!

Started in 1996, November 21st was declared World Television Day by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN wants television to educate people around the world as it is one of the most effective and influential forms of media for information dissemination. TV is used to broadcast freedom of expressions and to strengthen cultural and social diversities.

According to the UN, television should be a force for democratic interrelation and social progress. This is a day to refresh commitments to help the development of media that imparts unbiased information, preserves cultural diversity without losing its identity, and promotes coordination among peoples. Uh... So do you think Fox News and the producers of Jersey Shore know this?

Sure, I watch the news, and Jon Stewart, and sometimes The Joy Behar Show. I watch the smart funny liberal stuff. And gun-toting bigots watch Fox News. So is this diversity, us each watching our own? Sort of.

Maybe the networks should celebrate World Television Day by having their talking heads change seats like a big game of musical chairs -- let Hannity go on CNN, let Jon Stewart go on Fox, Joy Behar can take over CBS News, Bill Maher can go back on ABC, Bill O'Reilly can take over The View, Katie Couric can take over a local station here in Canada, Sarah Palin can go to Entertainment Tonight, Larry King can be left without a chair when the music stops at the end of the game.

And just for sport, each talking head has to embrace the style and opinions of whose chair they are in... can't wait to see their heads explode!

November 19, 2010

What's on your vanity plate?

I don't have a vanity plate on my car. If I did, it would probably say alfredliveshere, except that wouldn't fit. Or maybe smartass, although I guess that is on a banned list somewhere.

Other people are more creative than me. Some fun ones:

- On a Smart Car, YA IMSLO (Yeah, I'm Slow): stay proud, little buddy.

- On a Porsche, GR8D8B8 (Great Date Bait): totally tacky, dude, even if totally true.

- On a White Ford Bronco, NOT OJ (referring to OJ Simpson chase): What, is it Hammertime? That time has passed, people, maybe something more current?

... and the obvious classy ones like FLASHME, LUV2FRT, and some others that mention the word swallow. Hmmm.... bird reference?

There is a fun gallery of 'best of the worst" vanity plates at

Quotable Lily Tomlin...

"No matter how cynical you become,
it's never enough to keep up."

- Lily Tomlin tellls it like it is

November 17, 2010

It's not fun being called Gorbachev, and other things I learned this week...

You know me, folks, it's all about the learnin' and the givin'... okay not so much, but I did learn stuff this week:

1- The founder and CEO of YouTube has resigned from the company to focus on his fashion line Hlaska. Nope, I never heard of it either.

2- I don't especially enjoy being called "Gorbachev". Last weekend I banged my head, lost a little blood, and now have a lovely red splotchy bruise on my upper forehead. Yep, it's that attractive.

3-Weird food is good. At a friend's birthday dinner at Zinc this weekend I had alpaca meatballs, beet ice cream, and a lemon custard burger. Not all together. That would be strange.

4- Palin's are idiots. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol admitted that she simply forgot to vote in the midterm elections, leading everyone to conclude that the only votes that matter to her are those on Dancing With The Stars.

5- Leprechaun pie... apparently not made from real leprechauns.

6- Oscar winning director Clint Eastwood strikes out with Hereafter: it's slow, boring, pretentious, and has nothing to say.

7- In a rental car with satellite radio, we discovered all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. The most memorable is "The Dildo Whisperer" on Sirius satellite radio. You can find Romaine at her website which is called, yes, Eat Romaine ( I should have seen that one coming...

November 16, 2010

Oscar Wilde on people....

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad.
People are either charming or tedious.

- Oscar Wilde

November 15, 2010

This is just wrong...

While playing around on my brand new iPad --- yep, I said it, my brand new iPad --- I came across the Life magazine app. It has amazing breathtaking scenic pictures, as expected. And it has this one, from a dog show.... ewww. I love dogs, and this is just too far. Which is worse, the Panda dog or the Skittles dog?

November 14, 2010

Alfie's on twitter...

Yep, a little behind the curve on this one...
Find and follow Alfie on twitter... @alfredliveshere

November 11, 2010

Joy Behar on gay marriage...

Gay marriage – You know, I’m not married. I was married. I did it and don’t need to do it again as far as I can tell. I think that there is a need for people to want to get married. You know, I wanted to get married at least once and most people I know who’ve never been married regret it because they wanted to get married – at least once. Even if it doesn’t work out...

I don’t think it should be something that people have to beg for – if you want to do it, you should be able to just do it! It’s a very basic thing that people want to do. Like, you want to eat, you want to dance, you want to drink, you want to have fun and you want to get married! I object to people telling other people what they are allowed to do. They are basic needs. I hate that.

- HLN and View host Joy Behar

November 9, 2010

Madonna: Gay Bashing is like Lynching or the Holocaust...

I was home this morning, and saw Madonna Madge Esther Material Girl on Ellen. She was talking about gay bashing and teen suicide, adding her voice, and seemed humble and real... I was impressed:

"I'm incredibly disturbed and saddened by the overwhelming number of teen suicides that have been reported lately because of bullying. Suicide in general is disturbing. Teenagers committing suicide is extremely disturbing, but to hear that teenagers are taking their lives because they are being bullied in schools and dormitories, what have you, is kind of unfathomable."

Madonna says she was bullied as a kid growing up in Michigan. "I still feel different," she says. "I can totally relate to the idea of feeling isolated and alienated. I was incredibly lonely as a child, as a teenager. I have to say I never felt like I fit in in school. I wasn't a jock. I wasn't an intellectual. There was no group that I felt a part of. I just felt like a weirdo."

It wasn't until her ballet teacher, who was gay, took her under his wing and introduced her to a community of artists that she felt "it was OK to be different."

The gay community "has been incredibly supportive of me. I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for the gay community."

She says she's been talking to her children about bullying. "We talk a lot about the importance of not judging people who are different -- not judging people who don't fit into our expected view of what's cool and what isn't," she says. "The concept that we are torturing teenagers because they are gay -- it's unfathomable. It's like lynching black people or Hitler exterminating Jews. Sorry if I'm going on a rampage right now, but this is America. The land of the free and the home of the brave...."

Bones, Palins, and Other Stupid Stuff That Annoys The Crap Out Of Me, TV Edition...

Good TV is good (that's you, Glee). Sometimes bad TV is good (that's you, Desperate Housewives). But annoying crap on TV, that is just wrong. And there is lots and lots of crap going around...

1- The stupid morons at our beloved Canadian television network CTV; it is 7.30 PM, we are halfway through the Jann Arden Free special running from 7 to 8 PM, and you dingbats run a commercial for what? Jann Arden Free tonight at seven... WE'RE ALREADY WATCHING THAT, YOU MORONS!

2- The stupid first-time home buyers on Property Virgins with peanuts to spend on their first home who whine when they don't get five bedrooms and four bathrooms and huge backyards and granite everything and swimming pools and every other amenity your mommy and daddy had. You should have seen my first place, it was sized for a smurf. I don't have the patience for you morons.

3- Fox News.

4- The beautiful skinny people on Brothers and Sisters who drive beautiful cars and live in big fancy houses and have all this free time because they apparently have no jobs to pay for their beautiful cars and big fancy houses. Yes I still watch this show. No I don't know why.

5- "Teen activist" Bristol Palin, currently competing on Dancing With the Stars. Bristol is a "Star" because she got knocked up at seventeen, and her Mom is a semi-celebrity semi-politician. And this week the younger Palin admits she forgot to vote in last week's midterm elections. I guess the votes on Dancing With The Stars are the only ones that really matter, huh Bristol?

6-Nameless sleeping canines who fall asleep on top of the remote control, and as they dream and snore and shift adjust the TV volume. Aaaargh!

7- Jennifer Grey whining.

8- The numbnuts producers of Bones. who released season 5 on DVD in October, weeks after the Sept 23 premiere. Isn't the DVD set so people can catch up and to promote the new season? You know, we have other options, we could all be watching Undercovers...

9- Okay we aren't watching Undercovers, cuz it is gone already. Which is good, it kinda blew. A lame attempt to recapture the charm of Hart to Hart without the charm of Hart to Hart. This was the most expensive pilot ever? Boring....

November 7, 2010

Yet another reason to love Brad Pitt...

"Would it bother me if a child of mine turns out to be gay?
No, not one bit. Listen, I want my kinds to live the live they want to live. I want them to be fulfilled.
I hope I teach my kid to be who they really are."
- Brad Pitt

November 4, 2010

Half Empty: The Power of Negative Thinking

I try to be an optimistic, enthusiastic, "glass is half full" kind of guy. I really do. And I pull it off most of the time. But truth is, my inner pilot is a "glass is half empty and evaporating quickly" kind of dude; every headache is a tumor, every bad day at work is the end of my career, every time the dog pukes it is some hideous canine disease. Yep, I am that guy.

Turns out I am not alone. I just had an emotional and intimate experience with an electronic device, my Kindle, because with its assistance I just read Half Empty by David Rakoff.

Rakoff's books are tales from his life and the world around him. And this is his best so far. And be warned, "no inspirational life lessons will be found in these pages". In Rakoff's world, justice will not necessarily win out, your dreams won't come true, and that nagging pain in your shoulder may really be cancer. He embraces the positive power of negative thinking.

Half Empty has dark funny stuff like Rakoff's battle with cancer, touching funny stuff like being a gay Jew touring Germany, wacky funny stuff like the love affair between Jews and pork, and light funny stuff like his disastrous acting gig in The First Wives Club, a film he talks about and doesn't actually name because they would absolutely sue his ass for what he says here.

I can relate to this dude - he is smart, sarcastic, opinionated, Jewish, Canadian, gay, liberal, neurotic, self-aware, successful. I am at least eight of those ten things. Maybe nine...

November 3, 2010

Star Trek's George Takei takes on the homophobes...

I saw this one on YouTube and Facebook this morning and was initially shocked by it. I thought it was too strong and too direct. Then I watched it again tonight and decided it was the right tone for the situation being addressed. Rock on, Sulu, rock on!

Hey Faggot... It Gets Better Canada!

Just posted yesterday, here is the Canadian partner to Dan Savage's It Gets Better video campaign for gay youth.

I love this video! Featuring prominent Canadians like Rick Mercer, Mark Tewksbury, Peter Fallico, David Dixon, and a whole bunch more, this is smart and moving. Check it out!

November 2, 2010

New Hampshire bigots, Crest toothpaste and other things that annoy the crap out of me...

Idiots and idiotic crap annoy me... maybe I should be more patient and serene... Nah, screw that noise...
Currently annoying the crap out of me are:

1- The woman who left a snarky message on my cell phone Saturday, for Rory (uh, not my name), saying "RORY! You were supposed to be here to fix my balcony today. WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU, RORY?". Uh, not Rory....

2- President Obama, whose Daily Show appearance showed how out of touch he is, and whose hypocritical defence of DADT is lame and cowardly. As Jon Stewart said, you are being timid. Florida's government showed you don't have to defend a stupid bigoted law. And yet you do.

3- The New Hampshire Union Ledger is refusing to publish marriage announcements for same-sex couples. Although gay marriage has been legally recognized in the state since January, the paper, a daily publication with the largest circulation in the state, defends its refusal to publish the wedding notice of Aurelio Time and Greg Gould, by saying they have freedom of choice, and while not anti-gay (yeah, right), they are against same-sex marriage. Bigots much?

4- The commercial for Crest 3D White toothpaste, where sisters talk about their pearly white teeth, and one says "As a professional photographer, blah, blah..." while the scroll across the bottom says "Actress. Not a professional photographer."... Okay, zero credibility, toothpaste whores, so what's the point?

5- I didn't win a damn thing at the Canadian Blog Awards. I mean, uh, yeah, it's an honour just to be nominated, that's it! Susan Lucci, can you hear me? Next year, people, next year!

6- The announcement last week that there will be a new Bourne movie without Jason Bourne. Really? That is like Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp. Christmas without Santa, French fries without dijon mustard. Okay maybe that last one is just me.

7- The new self-titled TV talk show hosted by Oprah's favourite homo, Nate Berkus. I am all for the gays everywhere, but really, isn't he the worst talk show host ever?

8- The fact that I now kind of sort of like Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart as talk show hosts annoys me. Solely because Nate is so stunningly bad. Like Suzanne Somers bad...

November 1, 2010

Betty White on gay marriage...

I heart Betty White. Doesn't everybody?

“I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time - and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones - I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
- Betty White

from Parade magazine, via