Saturday, 29 August 2015

Reviews of Books I've Never Read

The Manticore by Robertson Davies

This early depiction of the Manticore by famed renaissance artist, Molvado Retento, bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Davies himself. Note the full beard, mischievous look and a strong set of clackers in its mouth and by gosh if it isn't Mr. Davies' doppleganger, albeit with claws and tusks. As for the penis, well we're not privy to that knowledge but if you drop by the Happy Times Massage Parlour where Mr. Davies was a frequent visitor and show them this picture, I'm sure one or two of the nice ladies who work there would be able to verify whether Mr. Davies' woo-woo or ding-dong or cylinder of celestial dormant beings looked anything like the one pictured above. Suffice to say, if it was good enough for them it was certainly good enough for a Medici.
After my last review of Farley Mowat's People of the Deer, I felt myself on a kind of Canadian mission realizing I haven't been doing my own country justice when it comes to reviewing books I've never read. So now, not only have I latched on to this personally neglected Canadian literary contingent but I've also recognized an oft overlooked correlation between great Canadian literary works and the fact their authors also sport some very impressive, one might even say, monumental beards (Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields and Alice Munro excluded). We're talking facial hair that would catch the breath of any National Gallery portraitist or envious biker gang members just before they pummel the writer to death in the parking lot of a Tim Horton's. These are beards that appear able to withstand even the iciest winds at the corner of Portage and Main or any bingo hall parking lot in December in Sudbury, and though the beard hairs may be rimed with frost and even forming icicles on, say, partially frozen bodies that have tumbled off of snowmobiles into a snowbank during a liquor store run and forgotten by their drunken friends huffing glue and Cheezies debris between Molson Canadians and Grand Theft Auto segues, beneath, the skin oddly remains as hot and inviting as the sands on any beach in Georgian Bay when the mosquitoes are feasting on human blood and the sun is at its summer zenith. You might sink the Edmund Fitzgerald in the frigid waters of Lake Superior but you'll never sink a beard like Farley Mowat's, Robertson Davies' or Noogie Humphries', the little-known and in my opinion, under-appreciated author of Barn Owls and Babushkas, A Memoir of Growing Up as a Bearded Circus Lady on the Prairies. Mowat's beard, to this day, is more recognizable than all the books he wrote combined or the sealskin pajamas that he liked to greet visiting royalty in (he preferred the sealskin because the strength and thickness of the fabric always hid his spontaneous erections as opposed to his usual kilt that pitched a tent, as they say, with any passing dog, squirrel, wayward narwhals, royalty, or vehicle with four-wheel drive not to mention ice cream trucks driven by toothless men who are stingy with the napkins during the summer months, spit while they speak and think squid rings in waffle cones are a treat) and as for Mr. Davies, well, he took that beard all the way to the academic bank and from there to the bestseller list and from there to a massage parlour just on the outskirts of Etobicoke, next to a fish and chip shop that offered up a great deal on two pieces of cod, fries and a large soda fountain drink with free refills, all for just $11.99. Which is just what Mr. Robertson as a man required, especially one of such a cerebral nature, to replenish his energies after a Bangkok-style massage with a happy ending and complimentary breath mint and Handi-Wipe.

But, back to the matter at hand (not the hand that facilitated Mr. Davies' happy ending but rather his own literary hand that lay pen to paper or quill to parchment or whatever the hell Mr. Davies wrote his exhausting novels on and with), as I aim to illuminate you, the slumbering reader, with some insights into one of Mr. Davies' finest books, The Manticore. What exactly is a manticore you might ask and I've asked myself the same question again and again except on Thursdays when I'm clipping my landlady's cat's toenails (for which I receive a reduced monthly rent), and have no time for manticores, unicorns, flugelhorns, pinafores or the social mores of carnivores drunkenly mating with wild boar in the hopes of producing offspring they can eat well into their retirement years while their local butcher weeps into his tenderloin. But I do have some theories, none of which I can remember right now. Anyway, it's obvious the manticore is a creature half man, half beast with a luxurious beard, circumcised penis and nasty teeth. The beast finds its origins in ancient Persian mythology but then the Egyptians stole the concept and turned the creature into the Sphinx and made him good at crossword puzzles and sniffing out anyone with an Oedipus Complex instead of holing up in a cave and gnashing down on human organ meats. The Greeks also got hold of this human/animal hybrid and turned him into the Minotaur, the only difference being they shaved off his beard, turned it into a goatee, reattached his foreskin and threw in some bull's horns and the hairy buttocks of a short-order cook. Last but not least, the ancient Mycenaeans also adopted him into their mythology but they shrunk him down to size and turned him into a paramecium, thus paving the way for future microscopic discoveries. Science thanks you, o people of Mycenae.

So, why did Mr. Davies decide to title his novel after such a monstrous brute? Well, for that answer we would have to ask Mr. Davies himself but he's dead so, no luck on that end. Nevertheless, scholars seem to agree that the manticore stands in as a metaphor for the subconscious mind of the main character of the novel, Dougie Stimple, born into a rich family that owns pretty much everything in the town of Deptford, an imaginary place Davies invented and was so in love with that he decided to write a trilogy about it. Davies did the very same thing with Cornish game hens, becoming so enraptured with the delectable little birds he devoted another series of books, known as the Cornish trilogy, to these flightless morsels of meat. It seems that once Mr. Davies set his mind to something there was no stopping him until he wrote three or more books and exhausted the subject thoroughly. I believe that if you were to exhume Mr. Davies' corpse you would easily find bits of Cornish game hen lodged in his teeth.
The Cornish game hen in all its glory. It's no wonder Mr. Davies was so infatuated with these winsome and weenie delectable chickens. See how adorably they sit in the palm of one's hand, as if sitting alertly in an educational institution, attentive and eager to pay attention to the teacher, even if headless and thus with no brain capacity for learning. It only shows their tenacity to get ahead in this world where other forms of poultry tower over them.
But back to The Manticore. The book is the second in the trilogy and traces the psychologically uneasy path Dougie Stimple takes after learning that his billionaire father, the father that he revered, as a child himself killed the wife of the town's minister with an overcooked meatball. It seems that Dougie's father, Percy, was having a friendly snowball fight with some of the poorer neighbourhood children but after being pummeled relentlessly, he decided to hide a day-old overcooked meatball inside a snowball to get revenge on those uncouth and ragamuffin boot-lickers who would sell their own grandmother for a can of pork and beans, pogo stick or deck of nudie cards down at Frank's Variety Store. Well, lo and behold, the meatball snowball misses its mark and instead of striking some impoverished kid like Boots Gulinksy or Fenwick Chavez, the deadly ball of ice and meat meets up with the minister's pregnant wife and she meets her maker after it strikes her in the temple but her baby is born right there on the snowy pavement, premature but alive and from there destiny is set like bowling pins adherent to the manipulations of a scientifically precise and and yet otherworldly machinery.

Like father like son but in this case the father, Percy, lets this early childhood murder wash off of him like water off a duck's back or a mermaid's tuchas, such is the way his conscience works but his son is not so lucky and perhaps, genetically, the guilt finds its way downstream, along the seminal highway and buries itself deep within Dougie's bloodstream. This is not the only guilt he lives with as his billions of inherited dollars lays out for him an endless stream of hookers, rare Pope Benedict Ratzinger XVI commemorative mousetraps and deli meat platters with imported head cheese whose lusciously jellied interiors are hand-crafted by ex-Nazis eking out a living in Quonset huts on the banks of the Mississippi. His fervor for Nazi-crafted head cheese and Pope memorabilia and the ease with which he can attain these things causes him to question his special place in society, surrounding himself with such exotic culinary and artistic treasures while all around him the villagers of Deptford suffer horribly and are forced to eat bologna, have sex with empty tennis ball containers filled with packing peanuts and moldy foam rubber and ruminate over the unraveling doily collection they picked up for a song at the senior citizen's drop-in centre.

This is where the novel really takes off, although with the bumpy and tentative steps of a reluctant
and perhaps constipated astronaut taking their first steps on the moon. Dougie, after graduating from university, feels a black hole in his soul, a head cheese-less void if you will and though slated to take over his father's business (something to do with wombats, double-sided tape and a revolutionary new mop head that never needs squeezing), he instead jets off to Switzerland to have his head examined by none other than famed psychoanalyst, Dr. Dieter von Bronhaufschlossen, the two of them going to work on Dougie's cranium like a couple of hyenas on some tourists locked out of their car at an animal safari park.

If Freud would have had a field day with Dougie's deep-seated noggin problems then Dr. Dieter von Bronhaufschlossen is pitching a no-hitter with his probing questions and revealing insights into Dougie's well-ingrained fears and anxieties. These problems are just a couple of worm heads away from the surface and Dougie feels the pain all too severely, even with the Swedish massages and naked fondue parties that he revels in to forget his past.

But as we know, you can't escape your past or maybe your past clings to you like lichen on fungus filaments, which could be a metaphor for the human soul or simply mean you should shower more often. It's really this idea that is the hinge point for the rest of the narrative and Dougie's innermost thoughts are sent swinging like a squeaky screen porch door that's almost as irritating as the mosquitoes that find their way through the mesh or your stepmother's incessant aimless humming as she catalogues her twist tie collection. Witness this bit of psychoanalytic dialogue from the novel if you need further proof.

Dr. Bronhaufschlossen: Tell me about your first sexual encounter, Herr Dougie?
Dougie: Well, it involved tuberculosis, a well-bred singing Jewish girl, the murder of my father and a Boy Scout's uniform.
Dr. B: I had no idea your father was murdered.
D: Yes, he was killed by a dogmatic and cow-like swordsman after arguing over a blind concubine whose genealogy included an enchanted glass of water.
Dr. B: An automatic sword-slinging cow? Wow, your father was a brave man and I'm to infer, ugly as sin too as he had to hire a blind concubine. Tell me more about this enchanted glass water?
D: Well, I knew long ago my father was a romantic even though he was Canadian and only mated once a year during maple tree syrup tapping season but he advertised his pedigree like an Oxford graduate repressing his wispy, maidenly ways even though he had the lips of a volcano and jaws of destruction that could wreck any joke like a Scandinavian lubber fiend troll.
Dr. B: Interesting. I would suggest that due to this upbringing your anima now has a sour gloss that masquerades as a projection of your father's regret over the snowball-meatball incident and his erotic dreams that involved buggering poor-spirited snowmen in the Alps but you're still avoiding my enchanted glass question. Obviously this problem is more deep-seated than a geologist hunkered down on the Canadian Shield and like him we must take a rock hammer and chip away at this igneous rock of memory.
D: Are you suggesting, Doctor, that we take a rock hammer to my head?
Dr. B: Precisely, Herr Dougie. Now please take off your pants and hang them on that suit rack. We wouldn't want to get them all dusty.
The Swiss in those years were known for their complicated and highly-evolved suit racks such as the one pictured above, the Mit Anzug Güselchübel XL-3000 and it's more than likely this is the one Dr. Bronhaufschlossen had in his office. In fact many a Swiss psychoanalyst favoured this particular model because besides functioning as a suit rack, it also doubled as a physical test for determining the degree of neurosis in a particular patient when they were asked to hang their pants in the proper part of the device and their subsequent displays of frustration and neurotic behavior could be duly noted by the attending physician.

Charlatan or not, Dougie Stimple commits himself to Dr. Dieter von Bronhaufschlossen's intense psychoanalysis and years pass in Switzerland (the Swiss run on dog years because of their love for St. Bernards so everything ages more quickly, thus the whole Swiss time mechanisms inside watches which is why we're always running late, even for our own funerals), and as Dougie and the doctor peel away more layers revealing the depths of Dougie's subconscious it becomes obvious to everyone except maybe the author, that the manticore is not just a metaphor for Dougie Stimple's mind but that his body might actually contain manticore DNA and Dr. Bronhaufschlossen is quick to jump on this amazing opportunity, desperately in need of money after losing his shirt due to some heavy bets he had recently made in a Swiss milk maid milking competition. Greta Gruenheister came in third even after Dr. Bronhaufschlossen had been tipped off she and her cow, Heidi, were a sure thing in the fifth milk pail filling race and he was into his bookie for a cool 20 G's plus the vig.

The good doctor, never to look a gift horse or manticore in the mouth, plays cupid with Dougie and another one of his patients, Vilma Schlugen who he's treating for her compulsion to cover her face in anchovy paste whenever a cuckoo clock strikes seven, and soon Dougie and Vilma are making even the Matterhorn tremble with their vigorous and vicarious lovemaking on Dr. Bronhaufschlossen's Mit Anzug Güselchübel XL-3000 suit rack. "Hang your pants on that," Dougie says to him in Chapter 6, Vilma naked, sated and sprawled over the device and Dougie, standing on a desk and dripping semen all over Dr. B's antique meerschaum pipe collection.

But Dr. Bronhaufschlossen couldn't have cared less if Dougie had spewed his tainted tadpole juice all over Dr. B's diploma or his cherished Himmel Strasbourg macrame art pieces because all Dr. B. could see was dollar signs flashing before his eyes along with little manticore babies running around in the first ever manticore theme park and people from all over the world lined up to see them. At a price. The fact was manticore babies meant serious coin.

Fate is a strange thing in that it strikes both those who are enjoying their infinity pools built into the sides of cliff faces that also feature Roman ruins and roller derby rinks as well as those in Sally Ann clothes finding an almost full Big Mac in the trash along with a half full Coke and some slivers of Black Forest cake still stuck to its paper plate near a park bench beneath a spreading majestic oak tree to enjoy the meal on while fighting off three-headed chipmunks. As such, fate plays a certain role in this novel as the child of the minister's wife who gives birth after being hit by a meatball-filled snowball by Dougie's father, Percy, grows up to be a hired killer for a top secret government agency and on the side, between killing despotic heads of states of various countries, corporations and dollar store franchises, seeks revenge on his mother's unfortunate and accidental murder. His name is Chip Glunk but his code name is Agent XL-7 or Bob for short.

This is where the novel really takes a turn and is a testament to Mr. Davies' abilities as both a philosophical novelist and popular wordsmith simultaneously. With Agent XL-7 now hunting down Dougie in the Swiss alps and Dr. Bronhaufschlossen finalizing his plans for his manticore petting zoo and theme park, the book becomes a kind of Eiger Sanction for the literary set complete with manticore mutants and power-hungry psychoanalysts. Vilma Schlugen becomes pregnant with Dougie's mutated DNA offspring and soon is giving birth to a litter of manticore babies (manticores are apparently born in litters of anywhere from six to ten and a group of manticores are known as a George Foreman Grill for reasons that I'm unable to track down).
Manticore babies at play while mom keeps a careful eye out for any sudden intruders that would hunt them out for their colourful and svelte pelts.
I won't reveal to you how this strange plot twist plays out but suffice to say this novel goes from soup to nuts with little left to the imagination except perhaps what is really cooking in that crock pot that Dougie calls a brain. In the end I leave you with this description that the author writes as an afterword to his book.

"Manticore is derived from the Latin and ancient Greek, 'man' in Latin meaning 'pertaining to the male of the human species' and 'core' having its roots in the language of something I can't remember and alluding to the maze where the minotaur became lost and eventually lay down and died due to the lack of human internal organs to eat. Put them together and you have a man who seeks to eat himself or others, a form of cannibalism that Freud equates with our most primal impulses and the releasing of the id or as they say up in Cache Creek, BC, popping the lid on a container of fat, juicy dew worms when the trout are really hankering for horseflies."

What does this mean? Well, it's open to interpretation but if Mr. Davies were alive today to explain himself I still think we'd be none the wiser, whether to the mysteries of the manticore in myth and metaphor, the workings of the subconscious mind or how to use a Swiss suit rack without severing your fingers.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama-The Liverwurst Conspiracy

Let me open this post by simply stating I love meat that comes in a tubular shape (I'm not talking about penises, by the way). What I like even more are organ meats stuffed into a cylindrical casing (again, not talking about penises here). That's why it galls me utterly and completely to have to post this newest piece of perversity by that cringe-producing scribbler who can turn ordinary paper spattered with pen and ink into vomit inducing imagery but I can tell you this, I'm thinking of upping the ante and charging not only pork and beans but also a tube or two of liverwurst sausage for posting this new drawing. Or any other future drawings for that matter. Just as an artist needs variety in their subject matter, I too need variety in my daily dietary intake and frankly, these pork and beans are killing me. I need a little meat protein to offset the bean protein (because you'd need an electron microscope to find the pork in those cans of pork and beans), and some liverwurst would definitely make my day not to mention oil the old bowels and turn bathroom time into a backyard slip'n slide rather than the World War II mortar attack it usually resembles, my bathroom looking much like Berlin circa 1945.

Variety, of course, is not a word Mr. Laba is well-acquainted with in his art. Not only does he beat a dead horse over and over again, but he then sells it for horse meat and then begins to beat the horse meat, whether in hamburger form or filet. He will follow people home from the butcher shop and then sneak into their homes and beat their horse meat while they're upstairs sorting the laundry or arranging their collection of Hummel figurines.
The reason for this whole rant upon a liverwurst theme is because Mr. Laba calls this newest drawing The Birth of Liverwurst. Now I'm all for the birth of baby Jesus or the birth of a new star in the universe or the birth practices of opossums on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, perhaps in a ditch out back of a bingo hall where the various discarded fast food debris provides sustenance to the new-born, nearly blind and hungry baby opossums with their groping little hands and mucous-slathered bodies, but I have my doubts that liverwurst is birthed, but rather is extruded through some kind of meat emulsifying machine.

That Mr. Laba then sticks in the good Lord's son, savior and all round bon-vivant, Jesus Christ, bearing an immense liverwurst through a prehistoric landscape, makes me think Mr. Laba has lost all his marbles and secondly, that he will meet his end in a church pew (even though he is a Jew), while in the process of inserting lewd images from his pornographic photo collection of ventriloquist dummies having their way with Lithuanian pantyhose models, into the Bibles and that by the time he is found on Sunday morning the church mice will have eaten out his eyes and covered the rest of his putrescent and psoriasis-spackled body with mouse droppings. Hopefully it won't be the Ladies Auxillary first on the scene for such a sight would no doubt cause them to drop their various trays of delectable baked goods from their already-over-taxed arthritic hands and the sheer horror of it all may set back the production of fudge brownies, blueberry scones and oatmeal cookies for years to come, much to the detriment of the other parishioners.

Enough said about that and if Mr. Laba doesn't meet his maker covered in mouse feces (the meek shall inherit the earth and Mr. Laba's body, too if my predictions come true), then perhaps he might do us all a favour and fall into a meat emulsifier and turn his innards into something useful like, say, rat bait for school cafeterias.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama-The Chicken Neck-Sucking Extravaganza

Mark Laba sucks chicken necks. I don't mean that figuratively. I mean he actually buys chicken necks from the butcher (he gets a two-pound bag of them for less than three bucks, the same price the butcher charges people who come in to buy them for their cats and dogs), takes them home, boils them and then sits down to a big plate of wet, limp chicken necks, sucking back the fat and cartilage and pimpled pale skin like they were the last chicken necks on earth. I have no doubt he would have sex with a chicken neck if he could figure out the logistics. His mouth makes lovemaking sounds as it slops about on the bony flesh and saliva smears his lips like chicken fat lipstick on a beak. I've witnessed this although Mr. Laba doesn't know as I was peeking through his window, bits of shrubbery pasted to my skull to camouflage my presence to both him and any neighbourhood watch patrols. Not to mention the police. The reason I preface this new atrocity I'm posting by Mr. Laba with this chicken neck theme is because he calls this one, "Mmmmm, chicken," and may I be the first to point out that the fetal old man in the image bears a strong resemblance to the artist himself, minus the umbilical cord and the visible head vein. Beneath his matted comb-over of course, it's probably head veins galore. All else seems to be a spitting image of the artist as an ancient fetus.
I charged four cans of pork and beans to post this abomination, namely because I found it so distasteful it actually gave me hemorrhoids in my mouth and I've had to add dollops of Preparation H to my bowl of beans to combat this unfortunate result. I don't mind bad art but when that art actually produces inflammations of anal vascular structures in an oral environment, well, that's just too much for me. Freud would have a field day with this oral/anal fixation phenomena resulting in a physical manifestation created by a visual disturbance, but for me the only field day I'm having is that one where I have to bury a dead guinea pig that was hit by a runaway hot dog cart in a vacant lot strewn with the type of debris people are too lazy to haul to the city dump. That's no field of dreams, more like a field of screams, especially from all the hobos sleeping on discarded mattresses, crying out from either alcohol poisoning, the DT's or rats trying to eat their faces. A few of them have old Milton Bradley game pieces lodged in their nostrils but for what reason I'm not able to discern. Perhaps it's some kind of secret hobo code. By the way, that guinea pig's name was Frederick and he's dearly missed by everyone in the rooming-house who knew him. Except for Mr. Tungsten who is convinced his dead wife's soul had entered Frederick's body in order to berate him from beyond the grave. When we asked for proof he claimed they both made the same squeaking noises, wore their hair the same way and both had a fondness for whole grains, semi-brown apple slices and wood shavings.
Anyway, here's Mr. Laba's pen and ink piece of crapola, fit neither for gallery or lining the birdcage of an incontinent parakeet. If walls had hemorrhoids instead of ears, they'd look like this. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama-The Anthony Quinn Edition

With my underpants spattered and stained with so much pork and bean gas debris it can only mean one thing–it’s time again for another of that rat-feces eating freak, Mark Laba’s drawings. This week he appeared in a bit of a frantic state, sweat beading the ear-wax coloured flesh of his face as he plunked down four rolls of pork and bean change and pleaded with me to post this drawing posthaste. “What’s the rush, fungus-breath?” I asked, the effort to contain my sneer causing me to drool on my shirtfront and as it was more than miniscule pork and bean shrapnel drool on my I Love Wolves sweat top, the rendering of a pack of wolves not only glow-in-the-dark but with eyes as riveting and haunting as the gooey burning embers of melted marshmallows in a campfire on the lake where Tom Thompson drowned, I’ll be charging Mr. Laba extra money for dry-cleaning. “Don’t ask any questions,” he replied, “and just listen to this.” Nevertheless, I interrupted and asked him the title of his latest calamity. “It’s called Requiem For A Gillnetter,” and I guess, the story he related after this has something to do with its inspiration, albeit in such a roundabout way it’s akin to picking your nose with your toes while you’re restrained in a straitjacket and crazed sea otters are tearing open and munching on your testicles, mistaking them for mollusk meat as someone dressed as a banana tries to sell you a life insurance policy. Unfortunately, our previous pork and bean procurement agreement commits me to relaying this drawing and the accompanying story so hold on to your hats and air-sickness bags and prepare yourself for a turbulent ride.
“Back in my art school days,” Mr. Laba said, “I was working late one night in the studio, all alone. I was crouched down, rooting through a supply cabinet for paint when I heard a voice behind me. It was a deep, heavily accented voice and when I turned around I was staring into the remarkable and unmistakable visage of Anthony Quinn. I froze on the spot. ‘These things,’ he said, pointing to some wrought iron sculptures a friend of mine had made, ‘these are very interesting. What do you call them?’ 
‘I…I…well, they don’t really have a name,’ I stammered. ‘A friend of mine makes them, that’s all I know.’
‘They are very interesting,’ Anthony Quinn repeated. Behind him stood another man who bore a passing resemblance to an aged Rod Steiger, but I couldn’t be sure. It was at that moment I thought I should tell Anthony Quinn what I thought of him as an acting legend and the fact he’s been in some of the greatest films I’ve ever seen (not to mention maybe a quick nod to Rod Steiger, if that’s who he was and his work in On The Waterfront or In The Heat Of The Night). I wasn’t even going to mention Zorba the Greek, which everyone associates Anthony Quinn with. No, I was going to go out on a limb and tell him how amazing he was in Requiem For A Heavyweight, a film that still haunts me to this day. Not to mention Lawrence of Arabia, which I can watch endlessly. But, as Anthony Quinn turned around and started to leave followed by Rod Steiger’s doppleganger, I said nothing, not even acknowledging the fact that this man was an incredible actor from a bygone era when magnificent movies were made by megalomaniac studio heads and producers who didn’t always see a profit margin in everything they put on the screen.
I let this momentous chance slip away and the next day when I mentioned to schoolmates that I met Anthony Quinn in the studio the previous evening, I being an older student amongst a generation ten or more years younger than me, most didn’t even know who he was. I was astonished, to say the least. Some did nod their heads briefly with distant memories of Zorba the Greek or maybe the title just twigged some collective mass pop culture unconscious reflex, like some kitschy album cover or movie poster in their parents’ rec-room.”
As far as I can guess the only connection between this great film and Mr. Laba’s putrid scribbling is the fact both begin with the word “requiem.” After that, one work of art attains greatness and the other finds its calling in the sewer amongst the used condoms, human waste and the many unsecured false teeth that have fallen between the gratings while trying to bite into hot dogs on the street.
Requiem for a heavyweight, indeed! All I can say,  Mr. Laba, is that it’s obvious to me that, if you didn’t hasten Mr. Quinn to an early grave you certainly broke his heart with your ignorance and lack of acknowledgment of his greatness as an actor and legendary status in the movie industry. Though I can’t really believe that your deer-in-the-headlights vacuous countenance and personality could actually affect someone of such stature, I also can’t help but think that on his deathbed Mr. Quinn might have taken a moment from his hesitant and final faltering steps into the afterlife to reflect, if only momentarily, on those he had met in his life (horse’s asses such as yourself), who saddened him to such a degree that hovering vultures waiting to pick his bones would be an honest respite from the rat-feces eating ignoramuses such as yourself. The fact that Mr. Quinn was also an accomplished painter and that in his early days had studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, should be a sign that any art supplies you have left, Mr. Laba, you should quickly ram down your throat and put the art world out if its misery. If you don’t choke to death slowly and painfully (hopefully), at least it might direct you toward another useful calling such as boll weevil breeding, zipper repair or boiling animal parts in your backyard for head-cheese.
Finally, this is not the first time Mr. Laba has pulled a stunt like this. A few years ago he failed to acknowledge Steven Seagal in a hotel lobby for Mr. Seagal’s groundbreaking work in On Deadly Ground or Under Siege 2: Dark Territory and in the same hotel, Mr. Laba, on another occasion (what’s wrong with Mr. Laba, does he haunt hotel lobbies just waiting for an opportunity to willfully ignore such great culture-defining cinematic artistes), had a chance to tell Lou Diamond Phillips how much he admired his work as they were sharing the same elevator and yet, once again, Mr. Laba chose to say nothing and stare into space idiotically. I mean, even just a quick nod to La Bamba wouldn’t have killed him. But instead he decided to stare at his distorted reflection in the various reflective surfaces of the elevator and tried not to fart. I pray that when these two fine actors must one day sadly meet their maker, Mr. Laba’s name might be on their parched ancient lips as they curse his very existence with their last dying breath. You are an asshole, Mr. Laba and if Anthony Quinn, God rest his soul, were still alive today he’d be the first to tell you so. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama Pork & Bean Challenge-Day 5

Well, it's finally day 5 and the finale of the great art for pork and beans extravaganza and I can tell that that toe-fungus licking bohemian bozo, Mark Laba, has finally hit the wall. I found him supine in the alleyway out back of my rooming house, urine-soaked sweat pants halfway to his knees and a KFC bucket jauntily lodged on his misshapen head. It appears that raccoons may have been licking at the chicken grease from the bucket as spoor leavings traced his body like the chalk outline at a murder scene. I'm not sure if he had just collapsed or perhaps this was some form of performance art that he's decided to explore. I can only hope the former because its bad enough just looking at his puffy and psoriasis-speckled physique but if he intends to put that abomination into motion then heaven help us all, whether weak or strong of stomach. The results will always be the same. Loss of appetite for three days to five weeks, a sudden emptying of your bank account, dreams that involve hand puppets trying to eat egg salad sandwiches and a compulsion to clip your toenails at bus stops. On that note, viewer beware. Hopefully the raccoons will return to eat his body before he wakes up.

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama Pork & Bean Challenge-Day 4

Day 4 of the art for pork and bean money festivities and that pariah of pen and ink, Mark Laba, is looking as tired as some three-legged creature dragging itself across a desert highway after it's already been run over numerous times but won't give up, just looking for some arid, prickly patch of cactus and wind-whipped candy wrappers and chicken nugget debris to lay down and die under. But then again, Mr. Laba looks like that even on his best and least-stressed days. If only he could find a rewarding profession like myself, say in the janitorial and erotic arts, perhaps he might find the more sublime meanings to life. Alas, he won't and so we're left with this fetid pool of scribbling that not even the best sewage treatment plant could possibly dream of filtering for healthy drinking or boiling spaghetti water.

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama Pork & Bean Challenge-Day 3

Well, Day 3 of the pork and bean art challenge and I can tell that the artiste formerly known as The Nose-Picking Fiend, Mark Laba, is getting tired due to the fact he has all the vim and vigour of earwax just beginning to crust over. It's all about inertia and Mr. Laba is obviously following his prescribed path to bitter dissolution whereby his body slowly leaks all of its fluids in a bus shelter while fighting pigeons for discarded French fries and bread crusts. All this to say he's a sad, sad excuse for both a human being and the pencil-wielding bladder of a squashed porcupine that he so uncannily resembles and if incontinence were an art term rather than a condition, Mr. Laba would lead this artistic movement. Enough said. Here's the newest scribblings. Better luck next time, Laba. I only retched twice but I'm enjoying the pork and beans, just as long as I don't look at your drawings before I eat.

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama Pork & Bean Challenge-Day 2

Well, it's the second day of the pork'n'bean art marathon and that lily-livered, knuckle-dragging charlatan of the arts, Mark Laba, has managed to cram yet another pen into his self-abuse cramped fist and produce some more crap suitable for lining the cages of diarrhea-suffering parrots. "Down and dirty, fast and loose," is how Mr. Laba explained these latest renderings to me and I believe those were the famous last words of Fast Eddie before Minnesota Fats whipped his ass on the nine-ball table and later had his thumbs broken by a two-headed man in a back alley outside of Medicine Hat. On that note these drawings are visually not unlike rendered fat except at least one you can cook with while the other wouldn't even make good toilet paper, coffee filters or a shim to stick under the leg of a wobbly table at the Legion Hall.

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama Pork & Bean Challenge-Day 1

I was poking around in my larder the other day when I noticed that my pork and bean supplies were alarmingly depleted and in order to remedy the situation I hatched this little plan. Now I'm not an artist (who needs the anxiety, headaches and sweatpants stained with paint and foie gras grease not to mention an ego the size of a neck goiter like my neighbour, Boris, the unemployed Zamboni driver has) but I know of one man, that paramecium of a human, Mark Laba, who fancies himself a bit of an artiste (his sweatpants stink like a bullfrog during mating season) and gave him this challenge. Three drawings a day for five days and I would faithfully post the results to the hordes of the Haltiwanger admirers out there, but it would come at a price. Each drawing posted would cost Mr. Laba a can of pork and beans (or the monetary equivalent), and so by my calculations, five days would garner me a whopping fifteen cans of mechanically de-boned meat and bean succulence, whether it be in a molasses or tomato-based sauce. I would have charged Mr. Laba more but I didn't want to overstate my case and cause him to wet his pants in the process or scare him off or both, knowing Mr. Laba's weak tendencies and cowardly temperament. But at that price I knew that his fat head filled with delusions of artistic success would compel him to sweat blood and ink for five days and supply me with the following monstrosities, along with a healthy supply of pork and beans to add to the old larder.

So off to work went that pariah of the palette, that wannabe artiste who should frankly have his beret flambéed in front of him while someone beats him soundly with a baguette upon his balding pate until he has some sense knocked into him and goes back to his calling, which is point man on the dog turd cleaning brigade with the rest of the parolees.

Anyway, here's the first batch of block-headed, ham-fisted scribblings and just for your knowledge, all of them gave me acid reflux and one of them actually made me incontinent.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dr. Haltiwanger's Art-A-Rama

Another couple of rolls of nickels and dimes have arrived along with the acquisition of more cans of pork and beans on my part, which means it’s time to dust off those berets and prepare yourself for the newest artistic debacle from that degenerate of the palette, Mark Laba. Mr. Laba calls this one Pongo’s Revenge. I’m not sure which of the actual characters depicted is Pongo but honestly, they all seem to be, in varying degrees, self-portraits of Mr. Laba himself in his various states of self-delusion and the duress he suffers from his constant meat sweats. I, unfortunately, don't have the luxury of sweating out the residue of beef, pork or poultry as one would be hard-pressed to actually find a piece of meat in any of the umpteen cans of pork and beans that line the shelves of my clothes closet, but then I'm just a simple janitor whereas Mr. Laba leads the life of the idle, meat-eating, pen-wielding, masturbating rich, creating his artistically useless pieces of dreck that no doubt have brought him untold riches that he's acquired fobbing off his scrawls and scratches to unsuspecting clients at the senior citizen's home where, behind every bedpan hides a blank cheque book. All I can say is that with this newest entry Mr. Laba proves that once again he is the Picasso of pimple juice, the Rembrandt of rectal ooze, the Caravaggio of semen crust and all I can hope is that he chokes on a piece of steak before he can finish his next piece. As for me, I don't have to worry about suffering such a fate because those beans go down easy...easy like a Sunday morning.