hElTeR-sHeLtEr: Pandemic Pastimes #5: Coltish Captions

Play “Honey, I Mixed Up the Captions!” and Wait Until You See How Much Precious Weighs Now It’s Jaw-dropping

I TRUST IT WILL NOT BE A HUGE surprise to you if I confess that—and, I beg you, please, stand another six feet away from your priceless collection of Blue Mountain pottery, lest your startle reflex should cause you to knock over the display cabinet—I’m kind of lazy.

Yeah, majorly. We’re talking Governor General’s Award for Lazy, a Genie and a Gemini, a Lazy Webby, maybe even a Pulitzer (but not Lily). In fact, with my level of expertise, I can do diddley-squat all day with both ambitions tied behind my back and without even a statutory lunch break.

Which makes perfect sense seeing as diddley-squat all day is my statutory lunch break.

Yet once every decade or so, give or take, a morning dawns when I find myself inexplicably filled with pee, vee and spunk—should one of those guys from Leolist ever turn up, maybe even drenched in them— and ready to prove there’s a reason, even just a biological one, for me to exist.

On such an auspicious morning of robins and daffodils, I might awaken—or, “come to” as I like to characterize it—as I did this morning: still wearing yesterday’s clothes, a litre of Kawartha Dairy strawberry ice cream leaking into the pillows, butter tart crumbs clinging to the corners of my mouth, and with a scratchy, oily sensation in my lower back which I at first assumed was an outbreak of atopic dermatitis, but turned out to be a grilled cheese sandwich that I made around 4 AM then didn’t eat because I dozed off. (“Dinner.”)

Never mind—it’s a new morning! The sun turns its hot, shining face to me like a woman in the desperate throes of menopause, my heart sings an entire Handel opera, including the soprano and counter-tenor roles, all the repeats in the da capo arias and a couple of encores; and I even manage to find a sock; only the one, please note, and why it’s dangling from a denuded branch of the Christmas tree I leave up all year so it’s ready, I really couldn’t say.

Betimes, as I sip my coffee and reminisce about those adventure vacations in the rain forests of Gstaad, it may transpire that I get ambitious and think of posting a new piece here on my blog, the entity I spend most time with, which is why I think of it as my bitch-mistress—(bastard-master?)—of six years.

But before I can close the curtains, after briefly opening them to check whether it’s really daytime or if, in fact, I’ve only been unconscious for five minutes; rev up the Bodum and commit to yet another three thousand words of idiosyncratic, bolshie, left-wing political commentary, or snarky take-down of some Hollywood star now familiar only to myself and a few geriatric cases receiving end-of-life care—my Buddhist training kicks in.

Enlightenment cracks open my skull with its unshod hoof, and I think: “Fuck it. Fob them off with the captions thingy.”

Whoah! Thanks, Enlightenment! That was close!

Here, then, is “Honey, I Mixed Up the Captions!” an almost offensively puerile game I devised for myself way back when I was desperate to avoid any practical activity, for example, leaving the apartment to earn money, and around the time I was starting to admit that just staring slack-jawed into space while chain-smoking was not quite fulfilling its promise as a life strategy the way I had anticipated.

At the very least, I hope this brainless diversion will see you through yet another twenty-four hours of coronavirus lockdown; or, as the Canadian media, the Prime Minister and our Chief Public Health Officer gently explain, “The way your remaining allotted days are always going to be from now on until you die of sorrow.”

Playing this game is simple. Find one of those sites that purveys gossip, or aggregates weird stories, the kind of site where the headline is something like “Twenty Most Awful Lands That You Should Never Travel To Number Six Will Make You Gasp;” and underneath are linked images, as though for related, “you might also like…” articles, one of which is always about Princess Diana and/or her wedding dress— but these are not, in fact, articles.

These, like the Twenty Most Awful Lands, are “sponsored,” meaning they are only there to stay out of the rain and sell you stuff, i.e., clickbait. And because you have the attention span of boiled rigatoni, you start engaging with the clickbait.

And now you find yourself transported to a magical dream world that out-nevers the most pixie-dusted, Tinkerbell’d Neverland that Disney’s fevered imagination could conjure up.

Here is an alternative universe where Susan Boyle’s new career as stick-thin, platinum blond porn princess is not only the next, eagerly anticipated step along her life’s path, but its most happy culmination; you are newly fascinated by the tacky marital dramas of long-forgotten soap opera stars the way Madame Curie was fascinated by isotopes; and all of your internal organs have turned into a southern-style Bar-B-Q of pre-cancerous tissue for the parasites harbored by ten foods you must stop eating right away THEY ARE KILLING YOU.

Now the game potential reveals itself, for as you examine the images and captions more closely—eureka! By the simple exercise of switching the captions around, you are crying hot salty tears of hysterical laughter, because, seriously. Right? It’s like shooting whales in a bidet.

I want to make this more challenging (I’m so very much all about respecting your intelligence), but because I am a late-stage boomer who caught the tail end of the Summer of Love—which means whenever I see a Young Person wearing bell bottoms, a paisley shirt from GAP and a tie-dye headband, I hear my mother shrieking “Roll up the windows!” then briefly pass out—I rebel against rules, albeit in a helpful, fawning way. So I suggest the following parameters:

  1. Use the images and captions from that one page only;
  2. Don’t use any image or caption more than once.
  3. Extra brownie points for the most salacious and/or sophomoric laughs you can provoke.

But you don’t have to use up all of the pictures and captions on the page—it doesn’t matter if you have some orphans left over. It doesn’t have to work out exactly, like, it’s not chess or a Rubik’s cube or something.

Jeezus! Who are you, the caption game rules-Nazi? Lighten up, Mistress Suck-Out-All-The-Fun!

Here are my results for today. Enjoy.

If that’s—even a word.

“Honey, I Mixed Up the Captions!”


Canadian Conservatives Threaten Legal Action on Being Told Justin Trudeau Just a Regular Guy, Not Devil Spawn

and BREAKING NEWS: Maxime Bernier is NOT GAY


STUNNED Members of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) are threatening legal action—or at the very least, a nasty, pouty-lipped sulk— after determining that Justin Trudeau is just a regular, normal human dude and not the High Priest of Satanic Darkness and liberal child diddler that they naturally had assumed he was.

The startling revelation about Trudeau having nothing to do with the Book of Revelation occurred when a member of the Yellow Vests, tasked with catching photos of JT accidentally displaying his gigantic, muscular red body, huge erect member and eyes glowing like burning coals when he thought no one was looking, was forced to give up his assignment due to the sudden drop in temperature in the Capital Region, an effect no doubt attributable to there now being a direct portal to Hell’s Antechamber somewhere inside the PM’s residence.

“I’ve been staring in the windows of that damned Rideau Cottage for two weeks now, ever since that Coronavirus pandemic hoax hit the news,” complained the truculent trucker. “But all I see is Nancy-Boy Drama Teacher making breakfast for the kids and talking on the phone to world leaders while wearing pants, shirt and tie.

“How am I supposed to verify he’s The Minion of the Dark One when he won’t even give me a glimpse of his forked penis or 666 tattoo? It’s so frustrating! Not even a chilling, maniacal laugh while offering his kids sweets and touching their butts inappropriately!

“It burns me up the way he’s fooling decent Canadians with his pretence of being a normal, loving dad and husband! But they don’t call him The Great Deceiver for nothing, I guess.

“Hey, do you think I should set my iPhone camera to ‘snow’ or ‘flash on’? You’d think they’d have come up with a Demon Hunter pre-set by now!”

Trudeau has thwarted every attempt by the CPC and PPC to reveal his alleged infernal agenda to Canadian voters, despite right-wing leaders’ daily forays on Twitter to call attention to the big, yellow fangs, pervy pelvic thrusts and kinky ankle chains which they feel should be so obvious to the general public.

Maxime Bernier, Leader of the PPC, which currently has no MP’s—and who asked us to emphasize in no uncertain terms that he is definitely not even a little bit gay—told slowpainful that he absolutely refused to accept that Justin was just a normal, happily married straight dude doing an OK job, and not a Demonic Avatar of The Dark Lord with an obscene, lolling tongue who giggles and talks backwards in Latin.

“The public, zay are, comment le dire, being ‘oodwinked by the Stalinist Greta Thunberg and other Hitler Youth Science Fanatics into thinking that the pansy Prime Minister is a just a normal, boring, family-loving dad and progressive political leader. But écoutez bien: Pandemic? Or Pandemonium—aha, you never saw the connection until now?

“Mais oui, mon ami, that word pandemonium means all the devils! It does not only refer to ze ear-splitting sound of everyone laughing when I explain how the climate-change scientists are illegal immigrants controlled by aliens!

“And by the way, I am not gay! Pas du tout! My petite amie, she has the, ‘ow do you zay, very nice rack, très grand, n’est-ce pas?

Executing a quick swishy pirouette and sticking out his butt, he continued in an adorable Shirley Temple voice, “Do you think these pants are too tight? Mon dieu! I wouldn’t want ze public to see my cul or the outline of my petit copain and get ideas!”

Showing all the campy charm that’s made him the star of every men’s washroom in Hull, Bernier batted his eyelashes as he glanced over his shoulder, then, having briefly sucked the tip of his index finger, touched it to his ass and made a sizzling noise.

“Jazz ‘OT, bébé! Voila, c’est ça! Bisous, chéri!”

However, a quick telephone survey of Ottawa-region voters did nothing to confirm not-a-closet-case-by-any-means-Bernier’s remarks. Despite the conservative right’s continual swipes at Trudeau, the public reaffirmed what it has stubbornly persisted for several years in believing: that Trudeau, who self-isolated voluntarily when it was discovered his wife, Sophie-Grégoire, had tested positive for the coronavirus, was in fact handling numerous crises deftly and leading Canada with perfect aplomb.

They were also quite happy to verify that, as far as they knew, he was just an imperfect, entitled child of privilege, maddeningly opaque, but, in the end, a well-meaning and basically overall competent progressive human who modeled correct behavior and stayed calm, rather than a close relative of Beelzebub who drinks boy semen and rides through the apocalyptic sky around midnight on his accursèd steed.

Erstwhile leader of the CPC and two-time election loser Andrew Scheer has been particularly hard-hit by this setback. We met with him at his private home chapel, where he and several of his calico-clad wives had been praying for the nation and whipping each other with leather straps studded with fish hooks to, as they explained, “drive out the socialist cancer of compassion, the cancerous compassion of socialism, and, honestly, have you spent a Saturday night in Calgary recently?”

His face erupting in nervous Gerber baby dimples and apologetic, hamstery cheek pouches, Scheer took the opportunity to express his frustration.

“I mean, the guy has been in his house without leaving for two weeks! Open your eyes, dude! Everyone knows he’s the franchise owner of Hillary’s pizza parlor child sex-slavery ring and, personally, lemme tell you— that man is dangerous! Now, if I was in charge of that sucker, I’d at least break it up into two lines of business.

“Tell me, please, how you’re gonna penetrate the market, pardon the expression, when pizza fanciers and child sex afficionados rarely overlap as a demographic?

Suddenly Scheer’s eyes sparkled and a lightbulb glowed over his head—his secretary had just entered the chapel and flipped the switch. We let him continue with his brainstorm:

“Unless you had, say, pizza with pureed carrot and rusks, or kids dressed up in sad, hand-me-down rompers and little round-toed shoes. That could work! Fix up the pizza basement to look like your rec room, give ’em complimentary Cheetos and free Playstations… Hmmm. For hostesses, I’m thinkin’ cutesy girl-babies with their flat chests, round bellies and plump, froggy little legs on roller skates serving lukewarm gripe water—Yes! Hilda, are you getting this down….?”

“But getting back to the big Turd-o, don’t you see? They’re making him wear an ankle bracelet! He’s under house arrest! Only a gullible moron would think he was just being a responsible Canadian and loving dad, and wasn’t, like, obeying his Lizard People overlords. I mean, c’mon dudes and dudettes!

“I’ve got it! What do you think of ‘Your Home-Style Child Sex Pizza Basement’ for the branding? Or ‘Tooters’? Yes, no? Let’s get Canada back to work!”

We were beginning to understand that these were not idle complaints on the part of the CPC. After all, Trudeau’s COVID-19 strategy of clear communication, emotional support and not even a hint of drama had successfully rallied the majority of Canadians to the common cause of riding out the pandemic. Was this, as the conservative right seemed to suggest, just camouflage, a distraction set up to draw attention away from evil in their midst?

If this were the case, the strategy was working brilliantly. Recalling our phone survey, we had to admit that Canadian voters seemed extremely resistant to the conservative notion that Trudeau was on close speaking terms with Asmodeus, and had fathered illegitimate devil-babies via sexual congress with Lilith during a threesome with the Antichrist.

The disconnect was perplexing.

Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta, in particular had some harsh words for the “Namby-Pamby Cissy Boy Incompetent Hypocrite Devil-Spawn,” as he called the leader of the country considered by every country in the world except Canada to be a moral cynosure and last gasp of compassionate democracy.

His remarks caught our attention: Kenney, after all, is a world-renowned expert on incompetent leadership. We thought it prudent to hear him out:

“Alright, Canadians, it’s time to make your choice. Is it going to be the tree-hugging, PC-climate-activist, feminazi-homosexual Trudeau, who—although he’s weak and effeminate and completely ineffective as a leader—is clearly attempting a single-handed, bloody coup d’état in the heroic style of Arnold Schwarzeneger, after which he will establish Satan’s reign for the next two millenia?

“Or will it be down-to-earth, human Albertans like myself—truly independent thinkers and real men who have enough oil and gas wealth to tell Ottawa, ‘Stuff it! We’re through! And we’re damn well going to secede! Right after you bail us out with those tax dollars you steal from the Canadian people! Long live the Democratic Republic of Alberta! Down with the detestable Ottawa deficit mongers of the Twelfth Circle of Hades!

“Don’t get me wrong, though, that’s down with the deficit mongers but after the bail-out. So like, later, after you send the money. Just wanted to make that crystal-clear. OK? Anyway, have a think about, you know, the choice and give us a shout. In the meantime, I think I’d prefer an e-transfer. So you understand, that’s send the money first, right?”

Our last comments for the day were from a shopper we encountered outside a local Metro supermarket.

Keeping an appropriate two metres from us, she paused momentarily with her cart when we asked her if she thought Trudeau was a terrifying shape-shifter or Prince of Shadows.

“Who gives a shit about that, eh? I mean, I was pissed off about the blackface thing, but he did apologize, right? Bottom line, he’s doing OK” —she’d turned and was headed with her purchases to her car—”and he’s crazy hot.”

In other news this evening, Maxime Bernier continues not to be gay. At all. Not even a soupçon, heins?