Author Archive: Steve Passey

Reasons to Fight (In Hockey)

“Putting on the Foil!!”

I read somewhere once that the difference between Americans and Canadians is in how they view the 1977 movie “Slap Shot”. Americans thinks it’s a charming B-Movie starring Paul Newman. Canadians think it’s a documentary.

At any rate, the NHL draft was held this past weekend. I got to see my Bruins involved in a couple of classic “Three Quarters for a Dollar” trades (in which they happily parted with the dollar), and It’s hotter than two rats screwing in a wool sock here. Of course all this put me in mind of that other great Canadian tradition: Hockey Fights.

Fighting, in hockey, his a “code”, the unwritten rules by which gentleman conduct themselves when engaging in a contest of buffets, these gallant affrays of fisticuffs between two evenly matched contestants. However, you can’t just go sucker-punch someone – that would be soccer, or the 70’s, neither of which is admirable. There has to be a reason for said contest to take place, justification for the action to follow. Here in no particular order are ten perfectly acceptable reasons to drop the gloves – as expressed in hockey vernacular:

  1. “They were takin’ liberties with our guys.”
  2. “Gotta set the tone.”
  3. “Need to clear some space for our skilled players. Gotta step up.”
  4. “If the refs aren’t going to call anything we gotta police things ourselves.”
  5. “Gotta get the momentum back in our favour”
  6. “It’s our barn.”
  7. “I was just the fight away from the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, so … ” *
  8. “Gotta earn some respect out there”
  9. “Gotta take their fans out of it”
  10. “Gotta get their attention”

Bonus: “If you can’t beat ’em in the alley, you can’t beat ’em on the ice” – Conn Smythe.

For the non-Canadians who follow my blog, Conn Smythe was the founding father of the Toronto Maple Leafs and if the Leafs haven’t been successful lately – it’s not because of Conn Smythe. In fact the old man would be so distressed if he saw the current program he might punch his way out of the goddamn grave and go “set the tone” himself.

True story: All bloggerly-bravado aside I was not a particularly pugnacious and only got in a few fights. (I was a “skill player” and have “typist’s hands.”) But I did get in one in Medicine Hat, Alberta about a hundred years ago. The linesmen separated us and led us off the ice – I was just about to step off the ice to dressing room when someone shouted “Get off the ice, long hair!” and I looked up to see a little old lady – not a day under 78 years old – leaning over the ramp. As I looked up she threw a crumpled up paper cup with deadly accuracy and hit me in the head. The linesman escorting me off laughed so hard he lost his balance and almost fell.

I guess she thought I was “takin’ liberties” and she had to “step up.”

Stay frosty blog followers, I’ll be back when the puck drops.


* The “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” is a hockey phrase that means the player mentioned had a goal, an assist, and a fight all in the same game. A regular “hat-trick” – less noble – would be the scoring of three goals.

The Prophet of Regret

The last ten women I’ve known, starting with the most recent:

10: After a hard day of therapy (she’s a therapist) she’d come home, get baked, hate the patriarchy, & by nine, hate me. At various times has called me fat, a narcissist, deceptive, lacking in self-confidence, and “a person who lives in fear.”  She’s right about the last one, but I’m not sure she realizes why. OK in the morning though. I’ve saved some of her stream-of-consciousness emails (she still wants to see me) in case I ever become a missing person.

9: Her mom lived with Bukowski. He bought her a party dress once. Sleep-crier/Fox News Hater/Tea Party Baiter. Unlike Buk she didn’t need to drink to be mean. More cruel than beautiful, and she was beautiful. If she knew the spot where something hurt, that’s where she’d stick the knife. She was always a little bummed if things didn’t hurt enough, like she’d missed the mark in spite of her perfect planning. Ah well, there was always a next time, another chance let some blood flow, until there wasn’t.

8: Shit got a little wild. She may have peed on me. I don’t really know. The first time was kind of a blur. The second, indulgent. Expensive – really expensive – underwear. Married then, but not now.

7: Asperger’s – and a hitter. Right hand fast, left hand slow. Always in public too. WTF was I thinking? I was lonely I guess. Great body though.

6: They gave her thirty days to live at one point, if the experimental treatment didn’t work.. Something called a Glioma. She lived – but had to live by the Hospital In another place far away and she forgot things like who I was and how we met and what we were. But, she’s still alive, and it’s all good. She says she remembers now – I wonder what?

5: Blue eyes, black hair, smarter then me like all the others. I am sorry I had to go. I had looked out of windows for a long time and watched life go by and now I was finally on the outside, running.

4: I married her. I know I did. No one held a gun to my head. I slept on couches for years and looked out of windows at what was going by. Each day was a little worse than the one before.

3: Really just a date – but she was Inuit (an “Eskimo” to you outsiders who understand these things only in the broadest of strokes) and we went to Tim Horton’s for coffee on a cold November night, i.e The Most Canadian Date Ever.

2: A soft voice is an excellent thing in a woman. I know that now with the certainty experience brings. I shouldn’t have cheated so brazenly.

1: Anita, Anita, Anita – worked for Dr. Pepper. The last thing she said was “We have unfinished business” and I never saw her again. Out of my league in terms of looks, and for sure I’d like to be out of my league once again before I die. I hate Dr. Pepper by the way, but for her I might drink lawnmower gas. Maybe even Starbucks. Nah … not Starbucks. I was exaggerating for effect.

Special thanks to Boston for the song – Boston is a strange combination of overproduced/underrated in my humble opinion.

At any rate – remember that you are only getting my side of the story.

Stay frosty biatches, I’ll be back.


… The Last Ten Women I’ve Known

Is actually the title of an “Anibal Cinq” graphic novel By Jodorowsky & Bess featuring the titular character – a cybernetic secret agent. (“Anibal Cinq” translates to “Hannibal Five” in English.) I always liked the title. I think Heavy Metal magazine reprinted “The Last Ten Women I’ve Known” in the late 90’s but I’d have to look it up.

But in the meantime there’s this:

I practically shit my pants watching this.

I hope to God this is comedy/satire and not a pending documentary.

I deny everything.


Flashback Friday: I Was Eighteen and Didn’t Care About Much

1984 Called and reminded me - I was a goof

1984 called and reminded me – I was a goof.

… other than partying hearty on the weekend. In Alberta at the time you could get a case of 12 “Beer” beer (Stubby bottles with “Generic” yellow label that said simply “Beer”) for $5.50. I think I made $8-something an hour – slightly more than double minimum wage, so you do the math. I had a lot of good weekends. Just looking at that pic makes me want to crank up the Quiet Riot again and crack a cold one.

No girls, though. Subsequent testing has revealed that they were allergic to me. I knew you’d ask so I thought I’d just get that out of the way now.

As for the story behind the picture: I worked for Alberta Parks and Recreation in a Provincial Park. Someone had called in about an injured bird – One of the Park Rangers had gone out and brought back this juvenile Blue Heron that had been hit by a car. He took the picture while I restrained the bird. It did bite me BTW – it had a vise-like grip on my thumb at one point. Calls were made and the bird was taken to an avian rehabilitation centre a half hour away where it’s injuries were assessed as too severe to be treatable and sadly, it was euthanized.

I have an ex-girlfriend – Van Halen actually played her High School before they were big. Her FBF’s are way better. But she grew up in Cali and I grew up in S. Alberta in a place with a net pop. of 380 (including strays) at the time and this is what you get.

Screw all you rich kids,

I’ll be back


King of Diamonds, King of Hearts

Image: Old Cards, © jacsonquerubin, Creative Commons.

Image: Old Cards, © jacsonquerubin, Creative Commons.

The revolutionaries at Minor Literature[s] have my short story “King of Diamonds, King of Hearts” up today – you can read it here

Much thanks to the team at Minor Literature[s] – they were a treat to work with. If you do read this don’t hesitate to give them a “like” on their Facebook or a shout out to their Twitter @MinorLits

It’s one thing to hack away at writing like I do – but to be a publisher takes commitment.


Alberta Election Story

The Alberta Provincial Flag.

The Alberta Provincial Flag.

I need to preface this by saying there was a provincial Election in Alberta yesterday – for my American friends it’s the equivalent of choosing a new governor and state reps at the same time. I might approximate that incorrectly because I have no idea how the American political system actually works. Personally I think we should adopt the Australian model where Britain empties its jails and sends ’em on over and voila, government of the people by the people just happens organically over a couple of brews, but I digress …

So yesterday I went to the same Tim Horton’s I usually go to for my daily dose – the same young lady of middle-eastern descent was working the counter as/usual. I ordered and when she brought it over I said “Are you excited to vote today?”

“No,” she said quietly, ‘I’m not allowed to vote.”

“WHAT?” I said, loud enough for the other people in Tim’s to hear me. “NOT ALLOWED?” Excuse me for saying but that is. F*cking. Bull. Shit. Women can vote here, have been able to since the 80’s. Our mothers and grandmothers went to jail and endured police brutality to win the right to vote. You take me to the man who says you can’t vote – father, brother, uncle – I don’t give a shit – and I’ll tell him what I just told you and I’ll call the goddamn cops if I have to.”

Everyone was looking at us.

“I’m not allowed to vote because I’m only 17,” she said

Today I went to a different Tim’s. I thought I’d change up my routine, make some new friends.

In regards to elections all I can guarantee is that in this one, everyone got what they deserved. It may not be what they think they deserved, but they got it anyways.

Ode to Crushes Past

Odalisque, Adolphe Weiz

Odalisque, Adolphe Weiz

Got a call from a girl I used to go to University with yesterday – She had been out for lunch with a mutual friend and apparently my single status had been discussed.

“You know I was crushing on you big time back in the day” she said. I wished I knew that then – I remembered her as being very attractive, very smart, and with a great sense of humour. It felt good to hear it.

“Let’s go grab a drink at OJ’s while I’m in town,” she said, “And catch up!” (OJ’s is a local pub where at one time one of the bar stools had my ass-groove.)

“Sure,” I said, “But I’m not sure if you’ll recognize me. Hair’s a bit thinner, sad to say.”

“I’ll recognize you” she said, “And besides, I like that look.”

“I’m a little heavier too though” I said. “A little softer around the middle. It sneaks up on a guy.”

“I like a cuddly guy,” she said, “And I’ve gained some weight myself!”

So I hung up.

Top Ten Reasons I didn’t Message You On That Dating Website

Internet Dating: Visualized

Internet Dating: Visualized

In no particular order:

  1. Ewwwww
  2. You have “Man hands”
  3. Just how many dogs do you own? Can you get along with people? Don’t answer – it’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.
  4. You have a mean face, possibly because of/compounded with “Crazy Eyes”
  5. You look like an Ex of mine
  6. You are an Ex of mine
  7. Pic is not a selfie … which means it must be 5 years old meaning you’ve doubled in size since then in real life
  8. You look like my cousin
  9. You are my cousin
  10. You’re a dude – no judgement, but you are on the wrong side of the app, buddy

Bonus Round: I saw you on two other dating sites 4 years ago, and although I’m on/off these things as needs be I’m pretty sure you have been on the whole time.

There ya go blog readers. Remember: Hail Satan, drink coffee.

I’ll return shortly, like a Velvet Elvis that get’s “re-gifted” through the family every Christmas.


A Quick Summary of the State of Social Media

Well, we’re well into 2015, so I thought I’d better summarize social media for you:

Facebook: A membership group for middle-aged women who hate stupid people (apparently everywhere), but love their amazing sisters, amazing mothers, amazing cousins, and of course their amazing friends, (and post endless memes accordingly,) but not quite as much as they love wine.

Instagram: This is where the kids all went when their parents got on Facebook. Instagram can be summarized as follows: Many pictures, of many people, who are neither photogenic nor doing anything interesting.

Twitter: 99% Kardashian, 1% troll. Or vice-versa.The Revolution? It ain’t happenin’ here and never was.

Snapchat: When the cops come and ask for your son/daughter and seize the cell phone you got them so you could keep track of them  – Snapchat is why.

Reddit: I have limited experience with Reddit, but it reminds me a bit of those ant-farms you could buy as a kid. Lots going on. Here, there, everywhere, including a riot in Block D, section 7, but unless you’re in it you won’t know about it.

Pinterest: Two Words. 1) “Hen,” 2)  “Party.” Crafty. More self-affirmation memes posted over and over and over. It’s not that men aren’t welcome here, not at all, but you don’t see many women at model train conventions either.

Blogs et al: Imagine crickets chirping by a babbling brook in a picturesque ghost-town.

Tumblr: A surviving subsection of blogging consisting of weird porn, by which I mean the theft of images from other sites regrouped according to the Tumblr-er’s proclivities.

Google+: What’s Google+? Anyone know? Can someone help me here? Anyone? Do I have the right name?

LinkedIn: All of the blah blah blah you hate about the office but no free coffee. One of the few remaining stalking tools out there though. Might be time to reactivate my profile.

Youtube/GoodReads: Not truly social media but via comments and reviews there is a limited degree of social interaction. By “social interaction” I mean badly-spelled threats of violence and cries of outrage, (often ridiculed as  “butthurt”), repeated ad infinitum.

There you have it – if there is other social media out there I’m, not hep to it, so I’ll probably be back with some vacuous assertions in the not-too distant future when I catch up.

Remember peeps, throw out your cell phone. smash your HD cable box, pay for everything in quarters, eat red meat, and burn diesel.

Life is as short as it is unpleasant,


Literary Driving Experiences

Joan Didion, pulling over to pick up a few

Joan Didion, pulling over to pick up a few “loosies” for the 2.5-mile drive home.

Ever wonder what it would be like to go for a ride with one of your literary heroes? Ever wonder what they drove? Here’s how I picture it:

Hemingway (Because no lit-list is complete without Hemingway):  Land Rover or perhaps one of those “Technicals” – Toyota pickups with heavy machine guns bolted in the bed that are the favorite of 3rd-world insurgents everywhere. “It is a good truck” he tells you, patting it’s flanks. “Strongly built. Well made. It would be a shame to lose it.” You know then that it will be lost, because no lit-list is complete without some minor-league bullshitter/hack loosely paraphrasing Hemingway’s style.

Flannery O’Connor: Bus pass, or, possibly, a 2004 Chrysler Mini-Van with a handicapped parking sticker, driven by her mother, or the devil.

Ian Fleming: Aston Martin. Of course. Driving gloves are mandatory. Supermodels fall over with their feet in the air in the wake of your passing but you don’t have time for that shit, you’re driving an Aston Martin. “Don’t touch any buttons,” Fleming tells you. You don’t dare.

Arturo Perez Reverte: “Get in” he says, picking you up at the hotel. He’s driving a rental, a tiny compact of some sort. He leaves your bags at the curb.  “I can speak English but don’t want to,” he tells you. He drives you around the city then, through stop signs, across traffic, the wrong way on one-ways, oblivious to the screams of pedestrians, other drivers, law enforcement, (such as it is in these European cities.) He is telling you something in great detail in Spanish. He looks at you intensely when he talks, which makes for some nerve-wracking directional corrections. He drops you  back off at hotel without saying good-bye. A few months later you see him in another country, in a cafe with an older woman, very well dressed, very beautiful. He pretends not to know you, but she pretends she does. You wonder, not for the first or last time, what he told you in the car.

Milan Kundera: Used Mercedes. Black. 80’s? 90’s? Early 2000’s? Who knows? They all look the same. Reeks of cigarette smoke and sophisticated ideological digression.

Gus Hasford: Mid 70’s Chrysler. A boat. Trunk is full of stolen library books and an M79 grenade launcher. “A souvenir” he tells you, and that he can’t find ammo for it, which seems to bum him out a bit. Car is unregistered, uninsured, and illegally parked.

Charles Bukowski: VW. He tells you he paid cash. There is a half a mickey of Cutty Sark in the glove box and a 6 of Heineken on the passenger seat with only 3 cans still in the webbing. It’s cleaner than you thought it would be, and you think that he must have a woman now, a good woman, not wolfish, or mad, or of temporary hire. Some carefully typed poems that were on the dash blow out the window as you move down the boulevard. “Don’t worry kid, I’ve got lots,” he says, and then “Crack one of those Heinies and hand it to me, will ya?”

John Irving: A big ol’ tradesman’s van. White. No windows. The back is piled with gym mats. He asks if you want to pull over and wrestle a bit. You decline. “Don’t be a pussy,” he says, and asks again. He’s not that big, and you’re pretty sure you can take him, but he does seem intense.

Stephen King: You didn’t actually get to ride in his vintage Pontiac GTO. You were hitchhiking and he blew by at 90+ and then stopped a hundred yards down the road and waved you up. Huffing and puffing and you ran up to the car only when you got within 10 yards he matted it, spitting gravel all over you, and flipped you the bird out the window. Fucker. But you think about and think it probably for the best not to get in a car alone with Stephen King.

Joan Didion. ’82 Vette – T-roof. Almost empty. There are 3 loose cigarettes rolling around the floor along with some medication. You look, She sees you looking. No one says anything. You get out to use the bathroom and when you come back there are 2 loose cigarettes. Your briefcase/bag is open – did you leave it open? You don’t think you left it open.  She sees you looking at your bag. She makes a note. No one says anything.

John Steinbeck: ’49 Fargo. Black. It’s rusting a bit but still runs, for now. Needs new tires badly.  There is a family of four living in the truck bed, sleeping on beds of rags with steadily depleting piles of firewood for pillows. Soon they’ll have only each other for pillows. Soon there will be less of them. They are cooking a thin soup made from tiny grains of sand and a beet leaf (one beet leaf, no plural) over a wood fire. The kids are too skinny and have runny noses. The wife has a persistent, dry cough and won’t make eye contact. The father seems alternately despondent, or, very, very angry.

Margaret Atwood: “Magnum P.I.” era Ferrari 308 with truck nuts and a bumper sticker saying “Don’t blame me I voted NDP.” She drives it through a puddle and splashes you as you wait for the bus. But still! Margaret Atwood! Almost a month later a package arrives in the mail. Its an Atwood T-Shirt and a lovely handwritten note: “Sorry I splashed you but I just had to. Like the car? I found it on E-Bay.” You think Hey! Margaret Atwood!

Cormac McCarthy: No car. He’s standing by a dead mule covered in flies, holding a hatchet. You take the long way around but you know, somehow, that he saw you. You know. You walk faster, your ears pricked.

Jean Rhys: A Rolls-Royce, chauffer-driven. It’s not hers, it’s his. Bought with his wife’s money, not his. Jean is not the wife. A few months later you see the Rolls again, same chauffeur, but it’s not Jean in the back. It’s a different woman, younger, prettier, happier … for now. Suddenly you notice Jean herself, standing just behind you, looking at the same car, the same scene. She looks a little wobbly, slightly disheveled, and maybe even a little high. Awkward.

Umberto Eco: A Fiat. For sure. He asks you if you pray and after a half an hour driving though Milan (or Rome, or any place in Italy) you do pray. You pray like a 14th Century Dominican Inquisitor, although your reason does not jibe with what Eco tells you about semantics and the meaning of prayer and stuff that doesn’t seem that important when you’re driving in a Fiat with Umberto Eco, your fingers firmly embedded in the dash and roof.

I am sure you can think of a few more.

By the way, the picture’s not mine and I’d take it down if sued. But I always liked it.

Stay young and cool forever, blog readers.

I shall return,


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