Saturday, November 26, 2011

Green Ham and Humbug

The Cover of my New Book Available now at fine bookstores, (okay, some sort of bookstores, probably not the finest but certainly adequate) near you and at Barnes and Nobels is offering this book at a considerable discount I've just noticed. A 46% discount to be exact.

This weeks feature video: This video is a clip of Richard Gervais's discussion on the existence or non-existence of God. It kind of reminds me of Woody Allen who asked, "How can I believe in God when just yesterday my tongue got caught in the typewriter."

The Louis Saga Continues: Bidding on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George." Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1 is now closed. Winning Bid: $107.22 G.R. Chelsea Monday, December 2, 2011. I'd sincerely like to thank everyone who bid on this story. It gives this writer much encouragement. Thank you all. To follow the initial story see my July post on the right ----------->

This week's column was published in the West Quebec Post December 2010.

Green Ham and Humbug

“Christmas…” I said to George who was standing at the hallway mirror intensely examining himself with a vague look of horror as if he had somehow sprouted a set of antlers on his way in from the mailbox, “Christmas is becoming ridiculous.”

“Yes dear,” he said, “and why would that be?” He had gone into the bathroom and re-emerged with a hand mirror, which he was now swiveling above his head in front of the hallway mirror as if it were some kind of antenna and he was searching for signals.

“Christmas has become soulless and exhausting,” I said thoughtfully “and furthermore I like your bald spot. It’s a sign of intelligence or testosterone… One or the other… Certainly not both, I don’t think…”

“You’re such a comfort dear,” he said, “and Christmas was always exhausting.”

“True, “ I said. “And now it’s also politically incorrect and carnivorous. And if you didn’t have a bald spot, I’d have nothing to do when I went by your chair on the way to the kitchen. You know how much I like to fondle your bald spot.”

“It’s growing you know. Soon I will have little tufts of hair in the middle of my head and nothing on either side. Just like my father!” he pronounced morosely. “And no one likes Christmas. They all just pretend to. It’s part of our culture.”

At this point Frederick showed up at the door looking for a piece of wood. He had the harried look of a man desperate to prevent wildlife from invading his garbage box. Again.

“They chewed right through the bloody plastic on the recycling bin and there wasn’t even anything edible in there!” he insisted. “Well, maybe some candy canes. I freakin’ hate Christmas.”

“Your father,” I said to George, “was a legendary ladies man. He had three women at his funeral all claiming the front row. And this was with even less hair than yours! Frederick, if you look in the closet next to the front door, there’s a piece of wood and squirrels love candy cane and weren’t you supposed to bring those to put on the tree we haven’t yet bought? “

“Bah, humbug!” exclaimed Frederick from the depths of the front closet.

“You’re the one,” muttered George, “who insisted we leave the tree to the last minute because the cat ate the needles last year and we had an emergency vet call on Christmas Day. I thought that wood was for the shelf in the basement, wasn’t it? My father couldn’t help the fact that women just loved him. Did you or did you not say we were having dinner? I can’t possibly go Christmas shopping on a muffin and a bag of chips you know.”

“As a matter of fact,” I said, “I used the old cutting board as a shelf and it would have helped immensely if you hadn’t spilled the catnip on the pine needles. All I have is some leftover ham from I-don’t-know-when.”

“Right through!” exclaimed Frederick. “Not just a nibble! Right the hell through to the other side. How come this never happens to anyone else?”

“Do you have any of those candy canes left Frederick?” grumbled George who was looking at the apparently now green ham even more intently than his bald spot.

Jennifer arrived with two-year-old Nicholas in tow. He was dressed in striped mustard-colored pants and matching sweater with a pointed hood.

“Hello Nicholas! Have you seen Santa Claus yet?” I asked brightly to which he buried his chin on his chest. “Jennifer, do you really WANT tofu turkey or are you just being trendy? “

Jennifer was in a post-consumer meltdown. “Oh the toys! The toys! And nothing recyclable! Oh the noise! The noise!” Jennifer said, breaking into Dr. Seuss.

“Yeah sure! Everyone loves Santa Claus because he had a full head of hair!” mumbled George.

“Has! Has a full head of hair! He’s not dead yet you know. And, “ I said answering the door to Mabel who wanted a tea, “I read somewhere that raccoons have been known to actually symbiotically help squirrels break into garbage cans. We need plum pudding so we’re going shopping George. Here’s the tea, Mabel.”

“Whatever happened to the spirit of Christmas?” asked Mabel philosophically.

“Humbug,” said Frederick.

“Santa,” said Nicholas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zombie Daze

North Country
S. Shawcross / Oil on hardboard /22 x 28 / SOLD

This weeks feature video: Thoughts on Cheese. I've just discovered these youtube clips from British show QI. We may be seeing alot of them here. :)

The Louis Saga Continues: Bidding on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George." Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1 continues: $93.17 G.R. Chelsea Monday, October 31, 2011 Bidding closes midnight Friday, December 2, 2011 To bid send an e-mail to To follow the initial story see my July post on the right ----------->

This week's column was published in the West Quebec Post Autumn 2011.

Zombie Daze

Every Sunday night it’s the same thing. Every Sunday night I find myself watching the TV series “The Walking Dead.” I regret every single second that I watch it even though I don’t see much of it because I’m always covering my eyes at the gruesome bits (of which there are many). Every Sunday night I ask myself, “What kind of a person would watch a show like this?” as if me, myself and I had nothing to do with the fact that me, myself and I are sitting there in the comfy chair watching it. It’s not what I intended. I bought the comfy chair with visions of cuddle snuggling down to read a Jane Austen novel or an Agatha Christie mystery maybe. Perhaps even Tolstoy. Yet there I am every Sunday night in my comfy chair watching ghastly green, grey and red zombies devour people in Technicolor.

I figure this is all being done completely against my will. I absolutely know I do not wake up in the morning thinking I need to see severed bodies hanging from trees or being dragged across the lawn with that scrabbly rasping howl noise the filmmakers invented to make it all so much worse. I know this and yet, there I am.

At first I thought watching this show highlighted my idiosyncratic limitations as a human being, who can only plumb so far into my inner reasons for ‘doing what I do’ before going into happy denial where everybody else lives. This realization has led me to believe that I do not know what on earth I’m watching this show for, but delving into the personal reasons “why” I’m watching it would be more horrifying than “actually” watching it. That’s what I thought at first.

But the question really is, why are these things so popular? It can’t just be me. This growing popularity of gruesome vampire, zombie, monster movies out there hell-bent on realism is undeniable. Of course you can argue it’s always been that way. We need to be scared now and then for some reason because it makes us feel better. Back in the fifties and sixties horror shows were great fun, full of popcorn and nervous laughter. First you screamed then you laughed at yourself for screaming. Life, we used to say to ourselves, can’t be that bad because at least there is no black and white funny zombie out there somewhere ready to jump on us.

Now we say to ourselves, at least there is no flock of rasping bleeding grey green zombies smearing themselves with trailing entrails on the front lawn while munching on cats and raccoons and threatening to come through the picture window by the comfy chair. Apparently this is what it takes now to make us feel better about life in this day and age. This just can’t be good no matter what way you look at it. And to add insult to injury, you can’t even eat popcorn with all that blood and guts going on. It’s just not right.

I figure it’s only a matter of time before they make a 3D version of a zombie movie whereupon I will very likely promptly have a heart attack and die… because me, myself and I, like half the population, “will” go see it. It’s just inevitable. If they make it, I will probably watch it: completely against my will of course.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Einstein between the sheets

Wheel of Life
S. Shawcross / Oil on hardboard /20 x 28 / $295

This weeks feature video: Growing old gracefully can be a challenge. I mean if you try and do anything other than eat chocolates while watching Coronation Street. No one was actually harmed or injured in this compilation so rest assured.

The Louis Saga Continues: Bidding on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George." Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1 continues: $93.17 G.R. Chelsea Monday, October 31, 2011 Bidding closes midnight Friday, December 2, 2011 To bid send an e-mail to To follow the initial story see my July post on the right ----------->

"I wish I could do this forever, I can't though." --Andy Rooney

This week's column was published in the West Quebec Post Summer 2011.

Einstein between the sheets

"George," I said to Himself who was slouching in the big chair watching a documentary on the probability of alien life forms living inside volcanoes. "Do you know why we're together?" I asked as I folded yet another sheet from the stack of laundry on the couch.

"Why would that be dear?"

"Because I needed help folding sheets. Folding sheets is an intimate social bonding activity of such high importance that indulging in it can prove in a court of law that we are indeed a couple." He was not actually listening to me because apparently one of the alien life forms was a multi-celled purple-green entity perfectly capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction and was, in fact, also capable of sustaining life in the atmosphere as we know it. "This sheet," I said, ensuring I wrangled the thing out far enough to cut off the edge of his view of the asexual amoeba like thing, "is my most favourite sheet. It's the softest cotton I've ever felt!"

For some reason this perked up Amoeba Man. "What's the thread count?" he asked. Just like that. Amoeba Man asked me what the thread count of the sheet was, as if it was the most perfectly natural thing in the world.

"What's wrong?" I asked, deeply concerned. "You just asked me what the thread count of this sheet was. That's entirely out of character!"

"Believe it or not dear, I actually do know about thread counts because you taught me somewhere along the line. Whenever we go shopping for pillowcases you rave on and on about thread count. Thread counts obviously hold some kind of deep fascination for you."

"I'm not sure what the thread count is for this particular sheet. I don't even know where this sheet came from to be honest." This realization was actually starting to bother me: How could a person end up with a sheet they didn't know the origins of? We'd been sleeping on this sheet for years. How do things like this happen? Stray sheets make no sense! They’re not socks after all.”

"Is the thread count so high it's approaching maximum density?"

I knew I was going to regret this entire conversation. "Yes. Maybe."

"You know," said George, who was now pleasantly engaged in conversation because there was a commercial on TV about toilet tissue and bear's bottoms. "There are probably little universes of black holes in that sheet. If you flip it the wrong way, you could possibly warp time and space. You could time travel even."

"For some reason I think since our ancient washing machine isn't capable of adequately washing two socks it's highly unlikely it is capable of rinsing and spinning entire universes of black holes. Although, come to think of it, it might explain what happens to lost socks.”

"Maybe the current String Theory of the universe has more to do with threads than strings.... Maybe thread count is more significant that we can imagine."

"Yes and that's precisely why thread counts on sheets have fascinated me all these years. Now, on the off chance I'm wondering if there is any room in your current Thread Theory of the universe that allows your physical body to help me fold these sheets?" I asked, hopefully if not somewhat sarcastically.

"Wrinkled sheets in a ball would provide more fertile ground for Chaos Theory."

"You know what? I think you're right. Let's just roll all our sheets into balls and stuff them into the shed out back. In fact, let's just distribute them randomly on lawns throughout the neighbourhood so we can test this new theoretical question I have."

"And that would be?"

"If, by not helping fold sheets, will people, driven out of their homes, sleep on their own lawns or someone else's?"

“That’s not Chaos Theory. That’s just silly. Chaos Theory would be just leaving the sheets where they are and allowing me to go back to my program. Whoever said a folded sheet was better than an unfolded sheet anyway? Who are these people? A folded sheet takes up as much room as an unfolded one. It’s all just a distribution of space that’s different. As Einstein said, ‘matter can neither be created nor destroyed’ which is why he always wore little tiny hankies on his head to illustrate the curvature of space.”

“I presume then I don’t need to fold these sheets as you will be wearing them on your head then.”

“Yes dear.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your Guide to Cocktail Parties 4: The Apocalypse is not a competitive sport

Red Pears and Teapot
S. Shawcross / Oil on hardboard /16 x 20 / $275
Be sure to visit our painting blog:

This weeks feature video: We've hit the 7 billion mark in population. Here's a celebratory video.

The Louis Saga Continues: Bidding on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George." Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1 continues: $93.17 G.R. Chelsea Monday, October 31, 2011 Bidding closes midnight Friday, December 2, 2011 To bid send an e-mail to To follow the initial story see my July post on the right ----------->

"I wish I could do this forever, I can't though." --Andy Rooney

This week's column was published in the West Quebec Post Summer 2011.

Your Guide to Cocktail parties: Part IV
The Apocalypse is not a competitive sport

You're prepared now right? You've been following my columns and now have your handy list of the seven reasons for everything and the even handier list of how to make a graceful exit while attending cocktail parties when you've made a dreadful faux pas.

I guess you think people won't remember how you suggested that cats and rabbits can breed and these crabbits, being such prolific breeders, are going to destroy the entire world's crop production by 2013. This for heavenssakes is why I created the list of seven reasons for everything! Here are the seven reasons for everything: 1) Shifting Poles 2) Global Warming 3) Global Cooling 4) Teenagers 5) New World Order Depopulation Efforts 6) Pollution 7) China. Do you see crabbits anywhere on that list? Of course not! Why didn't you say China! Everyone would have understood. You could have blamed crop failure on teenagers! There would have been murmurs of deep agreement.

Oh what's the use! I try. But really, if you don't listen to me then why on earth am I doing this anyway!? It's all for your benefit. It's certainly not doing me any good doing all this work for you to just sally on out to cocktail parties ill-prepared with all your own ideas. Do you think I'm being paid enough to deal with such difficult people as yourself!? Not on your life. And what about my reputation? Did you think about that? No. No. You just had to go out there with your silly unscripted diatribes! Well... I guess you've learned your lesson now haven’t you! Anyway... Don't forget the list the next time.

Now, that being said, I guess I'd say you've been hiding long enough now and it's high time you got back into the cocktail scene. If people ask you about the crabbits, just say that teenagers made you say that. They will all understand.

There is one thing I've not yet covered so pay attention. All cocktail party conversations are about the Apocalype. It’s just the way it is and if they aren’t you must gently steer the conversation in that direction. It’s the right thing to do. The only problem that may crop up is that during conversations many people, particularly males competing for the attention of the females, often get into dueling matches over who knows what when it comes to extinction level events. My advice is stick to your list! Do NOT wander away from your seven reasons for everything. If the women at the party do not recognize your good sense for suggesting that New World Order Depopulation efforts are causing financial instability in the world markets then they weren't worth the effort. Do not get into arguments about solar flares and how the Hadron Particle Accelerator is a precursor to the Second Coming. Nobody will believe you even if it's all true. Such verbal sparring is simply gauche. Don’t go there.

Oh I know. The truth is always stranger than fiction. Just because some guy has impressed the gathering with his declaration that giant underground burrowing squid are causing earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions does not mean you need to interrupt with the truth. Maybe you and I both know that purple reptilian people from the planet Nibiru disguised as humans and living among us and whose homebase is deep beneath the Arabian Sea have called in the mother ship to destroy us all with gamma x-ray radiation so that they can harvest the plastic from China... well... maybe “we” know that but I guarantee you, spouting such truths will cause everyone to suddenly find a reason to look for the hors d'oeuvres table. This is not good and it may mean you have to pull out your list of how to make a graceful exit. Again!

Now I don't think I have to tell you this again but I will. Do not start repeating your list of graceful exits. People might be somewhat dense but they're not THAT dense. You can only set off the fire alarms so many times before they stop inviting you. Suffice to say, if you've reached this point there's not a lot I can do for you. You'll have to change cities and start the cocktail party circuit all over again. I hear the cocktail parties in Farrellton are excellent. Now it won't all come to this if you simply remember that the Apocalypse is not a competitive sport. Write that down.