Category Archives: oddities

Strange Sightings Issue # 383

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Photography by Frankenräver

Wow, it’s the official start of winter and it’s snowing right on schedule! With the much publicized end of the Mayan calendar looming large, strange things are bound to happen. Like Armageddon and a shitload of cash mysteriously deposited into my bank account. No I haven’t stocked up on tinned food and candles, but I do have a couple of flashlights. Only one has batteries though….anyway, just in case the Internet is still around but I’m somehow relegated to cosmic dust, I thought it would be fun to commemorate this historic occasion by posting what could possibly be my last issue of Strange Sightings. Now I’m gonna run out and score that last copy of The Zombie Survival Guide …BOOYAH!!

WHAT NOT TO BUY FOR CHRISTMAS

Well it’s that time of the year where millions of peeps run around like chickens ugly sweaterwith the neck cut off, spraying psychically violent gore and expletives everywhere in search of that elusively Perfect Gift. With the recession in full swing and malls noticeably less crowded, gifthood is getting increasingly more difficult to come by. Enter The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. Guaranteed to make foes out of best friends and fuel bitter estrangement between relatives, U.C.S. will most surely create resentment in the darkest recess of otherwise joyful hearts. (“I can’t believe Ange brought me that f*&k!ng ugly ass sweater!”). But you most likely won’t hear anything about it…til the repressed anger surfaces six years later after one eggnogg too many. Ultimately, the Ugly Christmas Sweater scenario is best avoided unless you have an old-fashioned auntie or uncle with eclectically hideous taste. You’re much saver giving Bobby a Grinch hat instead. At least he’ll get the humour.

BOY BITES FISH

This strikingly bizarre mural occupies a stretch of wall on Queen Street West. I fishboytried to convince myself that this boy was not biting a live fish. However, the ominously pained expression of anguish in the animal’s eye really begs the question. If human beings could eat live octopi and scoop brains out of a quivering monkey’s skull, what’s to stop ‘em cannibalizing fish? Note how close the boy’s mouth is to the body, as he squints with studied concentration. Is he merely looking at the fish in curiosity or taking a humongous bite? Undoubtedly, the animal squirms in unfathomable agony. Whether this is from lack of oxygen or from the excruciation of being bitten I will never know for sure. Apparently, the artist has decided to torture unsuspecting passersby with this unfinished piece, thereby creating an unsolvable dilemma, thereby fomenting emotional malaise in art lovers as they stroll happily down the sidewalk. Look up and you’re confronted with an image that confounds the daylights out of you, with skillful execution and disturbing ambiguity. Sinister? You bet.

MUNDAY MUNDAY

One of the things I love about London are the street signs. Think about how OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcool it would be to say, “I live on Coke Street!” (that’s in Shoreditch by the way). But who’d want to claim bragging rights for Munday Road? Personally, I’d feel like I’m sentencing myself to a lifetime of small office hell with such a mundane addie fixed to my moniker. Shudder… But if you think that’s bad, check this. Pudding Mill Lane conjures up wonderful images of Bill Cosby hawking chocolatey treats in many a North American mind. I thought, “What a swell address!” Then I found out that street was named for the tripe that fell off carts carrying butchered animal carcasses centuries ago. Munday’s prospects just got brighter.

PEE ALLEY

The perfect signage for horny couples and piss filled alkies. Just in case you pee alleywere wondering where to go for hormonal or instant bladder relief at 2 a.m. London is a city famed for its efficient use of signage. And at this rate, soon Toronto will be too.

madpusherPUSHER’S SERENADE

Another gem from Mad Magazine, Issue Number Seven. Heroin is aptly portrayed as the proverbial monkey on the junkie’s back. And the poem’s a spoof of an actual song too. What a wicked job that must have been…getting high on your lunch break so you can come up with amazing sketches on drug propaganda. “I’ll be bleeding you – Cause soon the reefers that you puff / Won’t give you wild kicks enough/ You’ll move up to that “mainline” stuff!” One would hope that George Woodbridge (the artist) didn’t seriously believe that crap. But the anti-drug message gets to ya anyway. And therein lies the brilliance of Mad. Fucking with young, impressionable minds everywhere. Classic! 😉

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

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Strange Sightings Issue # 517

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Photography: Frankenräver

OUT OF ORDER

This endearing caricature was found on a door in the ladies washroom of my favourite bar in Kensington. I hope to God a woman drew it. Either Todd the artist snuck in and drew a quickie, or this is a revealing portrait of a skinhead perv in his cups. Someone thought it was Out of Order too, which made me laugh even harder. Hey, at least the toilet flushed! Todd McCalpin, wherever you are, fat, bald, horny…you are now officially famous! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or  a woman tanked out on tequila armed with a Sharpie. Watch out John – you could be next.

BARK FOR HARD ON

No, we’re not talking about bark of the canine variety. This bark is of an entirely different sort altogether. Apparently this stuff is supposed to help men keep it up. Traditionally known as bois bandé in Caribbean culture, this hardy substance is a cult favourite, especially amongst men of African descent. Boil, drink, and you might find yourself barking with pleasure all night long. Drink too much and you might find yourself in ER with priapism, a very painful condition where the sap won’t leave the…trunk. Some guys think it’s worth the risk. This one certainly did. He was proud to show it off. I asked him whether it worked. He grinned slyly and said nothing. I guess there’s a secret society of middle aged men who belong to Brotherhood Bark who hold secret, full moon gatherings where they ingest this mysterious elixir, engage in orgiastic rituals and exchange notes afterwards. Thank God I’m not invited.

SCENT ALIBI

Personally, I don’t know which is more toxic; a waste dump or one of those ridiculous, chemically laden air fresheners. And this one doesn’t list any ingredients whatsoever…mmm dodgy. Air fresheners come in a mad variety of scents, but who the hell wants to layer vanilla ice cream over buttfunk? Seriously. Alibi has violated my childhood memories of this  creamy dessert, all in the name of capitalism. I guess the ad execs up at Alibi thought it would be swell to give peeps a great excuse to pretend the toilet won’t stink after dropping a bomb. “Bowel movements got you down? Don’t be shy – use Alibi!” The next visitor will become horribly confused by the ghastly combination of sweet-stank molecules, but you won’t give a shit. And after getting one whiff of that ungodly odor, neither will they.

HUMOUROUS VEIN

Got this OBG off the cover of Mad Magazine, Special Number Seven, with Richard Nixon on the cover. It doesn’t get much better than this. And to think kids had access to this in 1972. Those were the days! Politically incorrect was a term that hadn’t even been invented yet. Mad magazine exploited that loophole to the hilt, with its irreverent brand of satire running the gamut from movies to politics to pop culture. Nothing was sacrosanct to the folks at Mad. So it wasn’t much of a stretch for them to put a picture of a dead junkie’s arm on the cover. What a laff! Kids would get the message (SMACK KILLS),  their parents would laugh and think the whole thing droll. Try putting an image like that on a kiddie mag nowadays and see where that will get ya…

HUMAN PLANTER

Snapped this lovely sign on a rooftop community garden. What a great way to discourage slackers from dumping cigarette butts into planters. Couldn’t have said it better myself 😉

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

Strange Sightings Issue # 231

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Photography: Frankenräver

BUNNY LOVE

“Mommy, why’s the bunny wearing a carrot?,” a curious kid asks a mortified parent as she hurriedly drags the innocent one in the opposite direction.This storefront curiosity from Easter time is a Passion Play…of a different sort altogether. Horny boy bunny playfully smacks butt of submissive girl bunny in kinky foreplay scenario – how cute! Wait a minute; boy bunny is naturally equipped with his own gear, so why would he need a strap-on? I popped into the store and asked the clerk. She said, “Our bunnies aren’t gender specific so they’re open to interpretation.” My interpretation is Carrot Boy ain’t nothing but a bull dyke about to give it to her girlfriend. Seeing how they’re both pink only adds to the intrigue. I rest my case.

TRANSIT TROLL

My friend Jason pointed this one out to me on the subway. At first glance it looked like a large spot of rust. Then the truth suddenly dawned upon me. Holy shit! It’s a subterranean troll about to swallow an unsuspecting commuter. Actually, it’s Rob Ford, about to take a bite out of taxpayer’s wallets to pay for his retarded subway extension. Well, we all know how that one went – straight down the effing toilet where it belongs. And so, the Fordian Flakester retreated to his lair with a silent howl of dismay,  beaten back by angry villagers. The poor creature never saw it coming, but that’s what happens when you get blindsided by your own overinflated ego. Rumour has it that Beastie’s retreated to his cave, licking his wounds and planning his next attack. Where will The Dark Lord strike next? Only time will tell, but he’d better keep his grubby paws off our libraries. Talk about evil lurking in the depths…Ford’s not evil, really. Just a misunderstood chap who never got over being the fat kid in high school. Damn those blasted bullies…

PORCINE DILEMMA

I just love toilet humour. Especially when it’s geared towards raising awareness. Apparently animal rights is a hot topic, even after taking a dump. Pigs feel pain when people kill them, there’s absolutely no question about that. The horrendous abuse these poor animals suffer just to become sausage on some carnivore’s plate is something most people don’t even want to consider. “But your flesh is a drug, I am addicted,” says the hungry consumer. See, that’s the root of the problem. Pork tastes so damn good, it’s hard for millions to quit cold turkey (oops! Another tasty , tortured animal reference). Where would a BLT be without the B? Less Tasty, that’s for sure. Souse is simply not possible without porcine participation. Bacon bits add pizzazz to perogies when sprinkled over sour cream and green onions…mmmm…. Awwh shit, I hear my stomach growling! But all I have to do to make it stop is think about trichinella spiralis larvae squirming in my retina or giant roundworms dancing in my gut, courtesy of infected, undercooked pork. Ewww….you get the picture. Leave the host pigs and their crappy parasites alone and the world will be much better off for it.

KILLS 4 COMMUNITIES

This snap was taken in Canning Town, East London.The sign once read “Skills 4 Communities” ‘til some wanker prised off the S. A very telling description of the grim reality for neglected, inner city communities. Only a stone’s throw away from Stratford, site of the upcoming Olympics, Canning Town is a ghetto that has been targeted for “regeneration.” Meaning the demolition of decrepit buildings/ houses to make way for shiny, cheaply constructed, spanking brand new edifices. Newham Council wants to convince people that it’s making the borough a better place for people to live, work and play. Try telling that to the kids doing wheelies through the estates on their BMX’s or the chavs brokering drug deals in the park with their weapon dogs off the leash. They know the score. The regeneration scheme ain’t nothing but window dressing for tourists, as they zip by Canning Town on their way to the Games. They’ll never see the forgotten, neglected drudgery hiding behind the 0.25 km façade. Heaven forbid the tube should break down in 40 degree weather on the less than jubilant, notoriously glitchy Jubilee line. Then they’ll have to disembark, in search of a pasty or a pop before they recommence their journey…and come face to face with perennially pissed off, underprivileged kids having a really bad day. So much for the bloody Olympics.

BETTERAVES, BETTER DAYS

I made a surprisingly charming discovery in my friend’s pantry the other day. Betteraves is French for beet, but who cares – it’s Better-raves! Whoo hoo! BRING BACK BETTER DAYS YO!!!! Those bright colours certainly help to bring back memories of tha good ol’ daze of giant bells, happy chains and loopy gains…”Hey man, guess what?” – “What?” – “I found some E mann!!!” Damn…who knew a can of sliced beets could take me on a trip down memory lane. Never mind the pot boiling over on the stove – dis here’s da shit!! I never thought I’d ever say this but No Name just made my day. And onto my blog. Whoa…that’s kinda depressing. Never mind the bollocks – pass me the beets.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

Strange Sightings Issue #109

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The sky ain’t the only place where you can see shit that defies explanation. Strange things are happening around us all the time. Kinda hard to notice if you’re one of those folks that are chronically hooked on your Ipod for life support, but these findings might make you think differently…

Photography: Frankie Diamond

Once considered the scourge of Queen St. West in the 90’s, rumour has it these trafficlight guerillas are back in action. Maybe these 2 are considering reviving the trend. Nothing terrorizes the shit out of downtown motorists more than semi-feral squeegee kids leaving streaks of tip-me-guilt on their working class consciousness as well as their windscreens. These ones seemed cool enough though – from a pedestrian’s point of view. Motorists might beg to differ…

Voted one of the Top 10 Groovy Employers in Toronto, this haven of high times makes a wonderful addition to any progressive-minded community. It stands to reason they pay minimum wage, but who cares if you can get blazed on the job? Boss is cool, everything’s cool, peace n 1 love Irie! Throw in a quarter of green goodness and you’re bound to have a host of happy employees. As any human resources manager will tell you, happy employees tend to be more productive at the workplace. Oops I forgot, this is a workfree drugplace. Forget what I just said.

I had to give up a smile AND some spare change for this neat little number. A little self-love every now and then makes life a heckuvalot more bearable ya? Using the favourite pastime of horny teenagers as a calling card for hustling extra loot sure takes gumption. Nevermind the fact that masturbate is spelt wrong – Missie gets kudos for creativity 😉

What better way to punk off an annoying relative than leaving this snappy one-liner in their mailbox? Aitor of Misanthrope has designed a subversively clever range of mini-postcards made from plywood. But it’s the 70’s retro labels that are proving to be hitmakers. The typewritten messages come in a variety of colours; some are even matched to actual moods which ensures punchy delivery. Other smashing terms of endearment include I Never Liked You, You’re Dead to Me, Thanks for Nothing and I Smell it Too. My personal fave: I Think of You When I Masturbate (well at least Aitor spelt it right). Rumour has it the artist is on hiatus and won’t be producing anymore of these nifty niceties. So hurry on down to Kid Icarus at 75 Nassau St. Kensington Market and snap one up while supplies last.

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Yes, this is an actual menu from a Chinatown restaurant. I nearly choked on my Altoid when I saw item # 118. So I said to the waiter, “Hey, what’s in the Fuk-kin fried rice?” while my friend tried not to spray tea all over the table from cracking up. The waiter explained it’s fried rice with egg, squid, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. “A creamy sauce eh? Do you know what’s in it? ” The waiter shrugged nonchalantly. I’ll stick with Lo Mein, thank you very much. This is one place where you can say, “I want the Fuk-kin fried rice” and get away with it. Will wonders never cease…

 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Space Latkes and Christmas Trees

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Happy Hanukkah!

It’s that time of the year, known by many names in different traditions. A time for gift-giving, turkey basting, bargain hunting, and family feuding. Nevermind your jacked up credit by the end of January – it’s the thought that counts! And don’t hate Uncle Karl for bestowing that re-gifted Paco Rabanne  upon you; it might come in handy for that distant relative of yours sometime in the near future.

As usual, that momentous occasion came and went in a flash. However, there was occasion for me to celebrate something besides the usual sorrel and sweetbread of a Caribbean expatriate Christmas. My Toronto Christmas was green. No snow on Christmas day with mild temperatures – hooray! Not only that, it was smoking green. This season, I am proud to say I became an honorary Jew. How the heck did that happen? On Boxing Day, I crashed a latke party thrown by a Jewish musician. I didn’t know latke from my left elbow, but all it took was the mention of food to get my wayward attention. We arrived fashionably early, just in time to pounce upon a delectable spread of lovingly prepared hors d’oeuvres. Sweet potato pie, crisp green salad and raw veggies with dip kicked things off with a promising start. Mmmm….Our Jewish host, JR, looked pretty hunky with floured hands and grease smeared apron, happily frying latkes with the aid of an assistant. I discovered latkes (pronounced lat-kas) are small, potato pancakes – a popular Hanukkah treat. These humble-looking lovelies were served with a guilt-inducing dollop of sour cream and homemade applesauce. I was a latke virgin ‘til the first bite of deep fried goodness sent me into hyperspace. After a generous slice of spiced pumpkin pie washed down with a glass of wine, I was overwhelmed by serious contentment vibes. Watching Tom Selleck’s  hot ass making waves across the screen on vintage episodes of Magnum P.I. certainly added to the festivity, while Dj Laptop’s selection of contemporary goodies replaced the dialogue. As the peace pipe got passed around, I reflected on my good fortune and thanked my friend for introducing me to a fresh new vibe.

Space latkes are outta this world

            “I smell latkes!” announced a jolly guest barging through the front door. In no time, the house was packed with an assortment of well wishers and honorary Jews like myself. I migrated to the spacious kitchen, where the party got cranked up a notch with convivial guests chatting up a storm and blazing tobacco outside. I heard through the grapevine that more latkes were on the way. Perched on a swivel chair, drink in hand, I eagerly awaited their arrival. “Anybody want space latkes?” inquired a cheerful woman, holding a plate of dark brown edibles. Really? Space latkes? How generous! I grabbed 2 and bit into one, looking for evidence of yuletide magnanimity. Tiny flecks of a dark green substance that was definitely not parsley were present. After the second helping, I had just enough room left for a brewsky. Meanwhile a crowd had gathered in the living room for the lighting of the Hanukkah candelabrum. In the background, I couldn’t help noticing how Tom Selleck’s junk had rolled up on one side of his blue jeans. I began to suspect that this oversight was deliberately engineered – either by Selleck himself or his crafty stylist. The whole thing reeked of Private Investigator porn… Eight, multi-coloured candles were lit  one by one, as Hanukkah stories were recited and songs sung in Yiddish. Wired out on jacked up latkes and peace pipes galore, I clapped along, providing a bit of elementary percussion. It was the least I could do as an honorary Jew.

The party continued in the chicly furnished basement. Some thoughtful individual provided air mattresses in what became known as the “plounge room.” Roughly a dozen peeps were chilling out down here. Now dis is where the real party’s at! A lone vaporizer sat sulkily in a corner, longing for some kind person to maximize its pleasure giving potential. Tom and I decided to rescue the poor thing from languishing in obscurity. Soon we were puffing along with other happy space cadets, gladly giving the vaporizer a much needed workout.

“This lady’s definitely mellowed out,” remarked a fellow plounger lying next to me as I stared at the ceiling, luxed out amidst a pile of cushions. As if it wasn’t enough that the space latkes had rendered me incapable of speech and doing anything besides smiling….I plounged right the fuck out, as the peace pipe got passed around. Ahhhh, Christmas never smelt so good! My shoulders got a goodly massage, while my foot received random reflexology from a Jewish dude who decided to make a headrest out of my shin. What could I say? I was spoilt rotten. Tom and I were the last to leave, sometime after 3 in the morning, after a brief excursion to a reggae party at Embassy – and back to the house, just in time for the Ploungefest Closing Ceremony which entailed yet another round of tree burning.

I woke up around noon the following day after crashing out solid. Rumor had it that a free dinner and dance was being held at the synagogue in Kensington later on. Seeing how free dinners were currently en vogue, we decided to check it out. A lively celebration was going on in the basement, with Jews in traditional dress clapping and dancing along to a live, 3 piece band performing traditional songs. A snack table had been set out, but the only thing that caught my eye were the twizzlers. We had arrived a little late so perhaps we had missed out on the real goodies. Lo and behold, within minutes, a smiling Jewish elder presented a plate with the instantly recognizable savouries, happily diffusing oil on a paper towel.

“Would you like some latkes?” Oh yes please! I grabbed the greasy tiding of gastronomic joy and proceeded to christen it with sour cream. I was getting the hang of this Hanukkah thing pretty fast – the eating part, that is. Oh my God…this one was even tastier than what I had last night! Tom’s Jewish lesbian friend who’d also attended last night’s latkefest came to the same conclusion. These babes tasted like they were craftily seasoned with secret recipe expertise by a Jewish granny. Mmmm mmm! Although these didn’t come from space, they were every bit as mind-blowing, bite for bite. It was equally gratifying to watch the drummer rocking it out on the kit. Too bad I couldn’t understand what the lead guitarist and frontman were singing about but there were kids here too, so I’m sure the setlist must have been kosher.

    After experiencing Christmas, X-mas and Kwanzaa, I can now add Hanukkah to the list. I must admit I didn’t learn much about the tradition itself, but I discovered that Jewish people sure know how to throw kick ass dinner parties. Does that make me a Jew lover? You bet.

Copyright © 2011 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in part or whole and posted to another site or reproduced without the express permission of the author