’19 A To Z Challenge – M

McMuffin

I want to talk about

McGuffins.

They’re not those breakfast sandwich things that you get at the Golden Arches.

McGuffin = MacGuffin = Maguffin

Noun; an object or event in a book or a film which serves as the impetus for the plot

Word Origin for McGuffin

C20: coined (c. 1935) by Sir Alfred Hatchplot Hitchcock

Most stories, whether books or movies, have a beginning, middle, and end. Some stories though, have lots of action, and a great climax, but need a boost to get underway.

Dashiell Hammet’s novel, The Maltese Falcon was a great novel of the 20th century. There was lots of action – treachery, deceit, lies, double crosses, assaults, murders, and back-stabbing – literal and figurative. When the exciting ride finally came to a stop, the little sculpture that everyone was fighting and scheming about, was just a small, ugly, statue of a bird, just an excuse for all that excitement.

At the last Star Trek movie that I went to – Star Trek Into Darkness – for the first half hour, I fidgeted and twitched in my seat. Is this thing never going to get underway? I even considered walking out – and I NEVER walk out of a movie, especially a Star Trek.

What should have been served, hot off the griddle, as the McGuffin, the impetus, to catch and hold the viewers’ attention, was dropped cold, an hour and a half later, as a by-then, un-suspenseful and un-dramatic ‘Great Reveal,’ a story of brotherly betrayal, abandonment and revenge.

So remember, those of you who want to write – even if it’s just blog-posts. If you think that your story needs a little something to draw readers’ attention, get that McGuffin out early. Craft a catchy title, and compose an interest-grabbing opening line. Once you’ve got ‘em hooked, you can reel ‘em in.

I’d be reel real happy if you stopped back in a couple of days, for another instalment of Do-It-Yourself Philosophy. Phil will be reel happy too. 😉

Reel

Flash Fiction #61

Moths

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

DEATH STAR

Tarczyn?? Respond Tarczyn!! Abort mission and evacuate!

Our weapons are too weak to defeat these ‘hoomans’. They hardly bother to notice us.

Poor Veeblefetzer! They hit him with a high-speed, transparent, radiation barrier. I hope he went quickly. They hosed him with some toxic blue fluid, and a giant steel beam flipped him down onto that strange, hard, black surface.

We need to find another world to settle our refugees, perhaps the orb they call Pluto. It may be a dwarf planet, but it should be big enough for us.

I told High Command that this invasion would never succeed.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#493

Supermarket Psychology

 

Sriacha Sauce

 

Nah, I’m not gonna talk about how stores get you to buy stuff.  This is more a report on the amateur sport of people watching.  Since I can’t get home delivery of the Toronto Sun, I go out for it Monday to Friday.  There are closer places to pick it up, but I go to a supermarket a mile down the road, because they sell it 50 cents/copy cheaper, as a loss leader.  It’s also the store which installed carts which require a quarter, and I often get the paper free, or nearly so, by putting carts away.

Since I usually have only the one item, I stand in the “Express Lane” checkout line.  This store’s express lines are 12 items or less.  Occasionally I have to remind a clerk or a customer of that.  I stood in another store’s “8 Items or less” line one day behind an entitled bitch who checked out 28 items, for just over $73.  I asked the clerk whether she had trouble counting, or just trouble saying no.  “Well, sometimes when it isn’t busy….”  “There’s me, and four others behind me, all with one or two items.  I think that counts as busy.  Do you need help from the manager??”

Watching people checking out whole cart-loads of groceries is no fun.  They buy everything.  (Almost!)  The fun comes from seeing the one or two items that people absolutely, positively, need, right now, and trying to guess why.  In my first post, I wrote of an older gentleman standing in line with a small bottle of Scope mouthwash, and a pack of Certs gum.  I still think my guess of a hot date that night was a good one.

The wife was going to brown a frozen pie shell, and fill it with instant pudding, as a dessert.  A check in the freezer revealed three boxes of frozen tart shells, but no pie shells.  Quick, over to the store for a package of pie shells – I can see that.  I understand bread, milk, eggs, meat – but some of the rest???!

A woman this week checked out only one tiny bottle of Frank’s Red-Hot Sauce.  I guess if hubby expects chili for supper, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  A man the next day purchased seven (7!) small bottles of sliced olives.  Now why didn’t he buy one large jar??  Is it pizza day at school tomorrow?  So many questions!  So many chances to be told to mind my own F…. business.

I followed a couple of women out late one Friday afternoon.  I thought they might be more than just friends.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I was disabused of my suspicion, when the manlier of the two told her companion that one of the women she worked with, hoped the same thing.  She’d had to explain that, “No, no!  I don’t like girls.  I like guys.”

I thought of KayJai, and her parties.  Each of these gals checked out two 3-liter/quart jugs of Motts Caesar Mix.  The liquor store is just across the plaza.  A 40-ouncer of cheap Vodka apiece, and it’s on to a weekend to forget.

Just yesterday, a shopper left with two, liter bottles of hydrogen peroxide.  Somebody’s going blonde tonight.  I hope it’s somebody’s girlfriend, not the dark Chicano guy who bought them.  A 9-year-old boy, all by himself, checked out behind him with 9 individual Michelina frozen fettuccini meals.  Where are Mom and Dad?  Gone away for the weekend?  Or is the scout troop coming over?

A couple of the clerks are people-watchers like me, and are absolutely mesmerized by the stuff people rush in to pick up.  It’s like a floor-show, without the $8 cover charge and two drink minimum, although one clerk told me there are days she’d pay the eight bucks, and need the drinks.  Sometimes the combinations are, to say the least, intriguing.  One can of tomato paste, and a jug of drain cleaner – Hmmm, is hubby going to make it to tomorrow??

I hope that’s for a Boy Scout baking project.  Otherwise, how many kids do you have in your house, that you need four large boxes of Corn Flakes at three in the afternoon?  Shouldn’t you be buying milk with that?  A chocolate cake, and two mousetraps??  Just what are you trying to catch, hubby stealing a slice?

I was recently up unreasonably unusually early on a Saturday morning, to take the daughter and her friend to a strawberry festival to market their wares.  I stopped into my preferred supermarket shortly after 8 AM opening, and wound up in line  with a bunch of old people.  Huh?  Whazzat?  Who, me too?

The old codger in front of me checked out a jug of orange juice, and a spray can of Pledge furniture polish.  That dust can really sneak up on you.  The white-haired winner behind me had a round loaf of Portuguese bread, and what looked like a small slab of Feta cheese.

Ever nosy tactful, I asked, “Is that breakfast?”  “Oh yes!  Toast and cheese.”  Oh, great, something else to look forward to, not being able to think about things like eating, until hunger pangs hit.  Then they all go to the McDonalds across the street, and nurse a coffee till lunch time.  People-watching is fun.  Just ask the folks who watch me.

Tony’s Cell Phone Info

Phone
__________________________________

4 Things you might not have known about your Cell Phone

These are things that you can do with it: For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.) There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things you can do with it.

FIRST (Emergency)

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you

find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile

network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the

mobile will search any existing network to establish the

emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number

112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND (Hidden Battery Power)

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys

*3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve

and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery.

This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell

phone next time.

THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? )

To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the
following digits on your phone: *#06#.

A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is

unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it

somewhere safe. If your phone is

stolen, you can phone your service provider and give

them this code. They will then be able to block your

handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your

phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get

your phone back, but at least you know that whoever

stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does

this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile

phones.

And Finally….

FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more

for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most

of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle,

which makes this situation even more of a problem. When

you need to use the 411 information option, simply

dial: (800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411 without

incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell

phone now. This is sponsored by McDonald’s.

This is the kind of information people don’t mind receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends.

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG – http://www.avg.com/
Version: 10.0.1430 / Virus Database: 2639/5576 – Release Date: 02/02/13

 
Tony has returned after almost a year of an illness so serious, he almost died from it, and is passing out helpful information again.  Archon is so old fogey-ish, he can’t even turn on a cell phone. All above claims should be (taken with a grain of salt – taken with two aspirin, and call me in the morning, if your phone works) verified.    🙂

Old Food

Pioneer BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found another old place to eat.  This one is in Kitchener.  It wasn’t, when it started, but it is now, because the city has eaten it up, and people from the city are going out there to eat up.  It first opened in 1927, so it’s three years older than the Harmony Lunch I wrote about earlier. 

Currently owned by a Greek-Canadian and his wife, it has changed hands several times over the years, getting bigger and better.  It’s called Pioneer BBQ, because it’s near the Pioneer Tower memorial, from my Magical Mystery Tour.

From center to center of many towns in Southern Ontario is five miles, because that was as far as a set of horses pulled a stage-coach, thus, the “stage” in stage-coach.  Five miles south of the center of Kitchener, there used to be a small village named Centerville, long since annexed and existing now only as a subdivision name. 

Five miles further south, there was never a “village”, but always a point of commerce.  This is just about five miles north of the center of our neighbor city, another stage-coach hop.  The two burgs have sprawled towards each other, till now the boundaries abut.

The area has grown into a conglomeration of hotels, various bars and fast-food joints, restaurants, big-box stores, Cineplex and gas-stations.  Poor little Pioneer huddles behind/between the Tim Hortons/Subway strip mall which faces one big road, and the tire store/furniture/ electronic games store strip mall which faces the other main street.  It fronts on the main access road to the next town, fighting for its business with the Golden Arches across the street, and can be seen from the back of the Costco parking lot.

Continuing in the fight to confuse locals and visitors alike, two-lane, little Pioneer Tower Road comes up from the river.  When it reaches the old highway, it blossoms into a 4/6 lane street, now named Sportsworld Drive, where our eatery is located.  A half a mile south, it passes into the city of Cambridge, and becomes Maple Grove Road.

Just at that border, in 1927, the Preston/Kitchener Street Railway ran.  Folks used to take an electric-trolley ride out that far for a Sunday trip in the country, and stop in for some fine eatin’.  At first, it was just the parlor of the home of the wife of a Railway Manager, which got turned into a dining area.  Later their living room became the sit-down counter.

 In the 70s and 80s, a liquor licence was obtained, and a large roofed deck was added to the other side of the “house”, to segregate the smokers.  It could only be used for a few months each year, so, in the 90s, it was closed in, insulated and a fireplace and heat vents added.  Smoking in Ontario restaurants has since been banned.

This is Home Cookin’ at its best, or pretty darn close.  Pulled pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, with pickles almost as good as ours, sturdy salads, onion rings with onion, not tons of coating and a whisper of onion, thick, crisp, browned steak fries.

They serve a variety of burgers and combos.  They have steaks, spaghetti, fish and chips, cold sandwiches and hot sandwich plates.  This is a real Mom and Pop diner.  At an ordinary restaurant, a turkey sandwich would contain a couple of thin slices of processed turkey loaf.  The wife ordered a turkey sandwich and was asked, “White meat, or dark?”, and got slabs of turkey thigh meat.

They must employ at least one, or more, near-world class bakers – doughnuts, tarts, muffins, brownies, 5 or 6 kinds of pies, and CAKES, with caramel and/or chocolate drizzled over them.  Ya gotta keep moving past the display case, or you gain weight.  Everything, including the pastries, is available for take-out.

SDC10617SDC10615Like Harmony Lunch, I’ve never seen or heard of Pioneer BBQ advertising.  They’ve survived by word of mouth.  Slowly, as more and more people grow familiar with the area, because of the surrounding shops, their clientele increases.

The food is delicious.  The service is tight and friendly.  The prices are reasonable for the healthy blue-collar size servings.  The noise level was low, the day we went there.  Even with the (relatively) new owners, they still like doing things the old-fashioned way, which is fine by me. I took a business card as a reminder to compose this post.  The first thing I noticed is that they don’t have a website.  Our waitress told me that some of the young preppies ask where the Wi-Fi section is – and everyone laughs!

(It’s inevitable, and unavoidable. Between composing and publishing this post, we invited the son out for lunch here during his vacation period.  It gave me another great restaurant meal, and a chance to take photos of the pastries.  They still don’t have a website, but as we approached the door, we could see the new sign, “FREE WIFI.”  A couple almost as old as us sat next to us, not saying a word, but each diddling a new Smartphone.  The son said, “If I ignored you, at least I’d do it to your face!”)

We sometimes take the daughter out for lunch before we all go shopping at Costco.  We’ve hit a nearby Wendy’s a couple of times, and have been thinking about the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, across the highway, but this place is definitely on our go-back-to list. 

They’ve got old-fashioned food for us old-fashioned fogies.  It’s nice to know another local eatery is still going strong after almost 87 years.  I’m willing to throw myself on a plate of poutine to keep them going.  (And that gold cake with caramel sauce, could we take a slab of that home?  Please?!)  Diet??!  What diet?  😕

😉

The Americans Are Coming!

The Americans are coming!

We Canadians are not only letting them, we’re often welcoming them with open arms.  There’s always talk of making Canada the 51st State.  Come on!  We have more land area than the entire US, including Alaska.  Of course, a lot of it is covered eleven months a year, with do-it-yourself Igloo kits.  There’s 10 provinces and a bunch of territories, several of which are larger than Alaska.  Let’s really give Texas an inferiority complex.  We could be States numbers 51 through 65.  Even better, we could take over the US and see how they like being provinces.

It started innocently enough; Canadians like fast and easy food.  First McDonalds sneaked in under the import duty fence, and then Burger King, followed surreptitiously by Arby’s.  Locally, Krispy Kreme tried to go up against our juggernaut Tim Hortons.  It wasn’t just their doughnuts that were glazed, when they got their ass crullers handed back to them.

Our cheap Scottish souls wanted cheap prices, so we let cheap old Joe Walton, and his cheap Wal-Mart cronies, sell us cheap consumer goods, made by cheap Chinese child labor.  Soon, Wally-World was joined by Lowes, Best Buy and Home Depot.

The impressive, old, Hudson’s Bay Company became the easier to remember and say, HBC, and finally just, The Bay.  Years ago, America’s Kresge’s, and Woolworth’s had done the same and become K-Mart and Woolco.  The upscale Bay spawned a downscale chain called Zellers, and out-cheaped and out-crapped even Woolco.  The K-Mart bluelight special was replaced by a whitelight clearance, based on our proud ice and snow heritage.

Too many people must have thought they’d actually died, and stopped shopping at Zeller’s, and The Bay sold off their 300 stores to Target.  Not only have more Americans invaded through the Target hole in the fence, but The Bay has now partnered with Saks, (Is it just Saks?  Not Saks Fifth Avenue anymore?) bringing expensive, pretentious American shit north, to people living on the tundra.

Some years ago, the New England company, L.L.Bean attempted to migrate north with the moose.  Trying to project a woodsy, rustic, rural feel, to Canucks who feel a plaid flannel shirt is Sunday-go-to-meeting acceptable, they advertised that their Canadian headquarters was in, “The Village of Islington.”

The Village (?) of Islington had 35,000 residents, and was totally surrounded by the 2.5 million City of Toronto, as part of the 5.5 million Greater Toronto Area, when they agreed to be annexed.  This had happened 17 years before the Tilley-hat-wearing snake-oil salesmen arrived at the little Indian camp.

I sent them a letter, calling them on their deceptive advertising, but never heard back.  I guess I’m not the only Canadian who didn’t want to buy their bison shit.  The only Beans that Canucks want, are served with boiled wieners, and so, they slunk, defeated, back south of the border.

The company of Hammacher-Schlemmer, a New York City-based distributor of STUFF which nobody really wants, but some people just must have, is trying to bring its own can of beans across the border.  To project their homey, Canadian presence, they list a Canadian manager, and a “warehouse” in LaSalle, Ontario.  This is some guy with a two-car garage, in a suburb of Windsor, across the bridge from Detroit.

The telling information is at the back of the catalog, where it says that all merchandise is “shipped duty-free,” actually coming up from The States.  The only real reason for Joe the Manager, is to handle the paperwork necessary, to ship unacceptable junk back to the Big Apple.

H-S brags that they’ve been in business since 12 years before the American Civil War.  Big F**cking deal!  Our Canadian retail mainstay, The Hudson’s Company, was incorporated in 1620, a hundred and fifty six years before America even formed the first Tea Party in Boston harbour, and it sells a much better class of junk.

The big American communications company Verizon, wants to swallow up the little Canadian, Mobilicity, and Wind telecoms, to get a toehold in the Great White Northern market.  Like a virus, they’ll also carry north, the NSA, the No Such Agency, allowing it to sieve our phone calls and emails, looking for mukluk-shod terrorists, building bombs out of Maple-sap-collector pails.  When they hear two Frogs discussing poutine, they’ll think we’ve sold out to that fish-kissing Russian president, Putin.  You got some ‘splainin’ to do, Auguste Robichaud!

I would hope that my fellow Canadians aren’t dumb enough, and greedy enough, to let this American cultural and commercial invasion continue, unchecked, unquestioned!  I had that thought today, on my way home from the Wal-Mart store, where I had some French fries at the in-store McDonalds.

Beer And Hockey

Well, that title should up the search-term traffic to my site.  KayJai issued a challenge the other day for me to explain the complexities of the Canadian beer and hockey industries, but I think I’ll take a slapshot or two at the Americans while I’m at it.  I explained that, with my extensive knowledge of these subjects, and a dollar, you can get any size drink at a McDonalds this summer.

At the height of my drinking, the amount I imbibed wouldn’t equal the *hair of the dog* some of my compatriots sucked back to kill a hangover.  I had a friend stay the night after a teenage party, and he wouldn’t even throw back the covers till someone put a bottle in his hand.

There are basically three major brewers in Canadia, of which KayJai is our president.  They are Labatt, Molson, and Carling/O’Keefe, which is actually owned by the Canadian/American, Molson/Coors conglomerate.  There used to be four but, if you’ll put your beer down and look carefully, you’ll notice that two of them merged.  There are some great, and not so great, smaller, area brewers.  Then we get down to the even-smaller micro-, and craft-breweries.

Our federal government, certainly not aided and abetted, or influenced by huge campaign contributions from the beer behemoths, had a rule that beer brands could not be sold unless they were brewed in the Province of sale.  There are some very nice beers brewed by companies in Atlantic Canada, or B.C., but we in Ontario have to rely on kind relatives who come for a visit.

To explain the nuances of taste and quality among the various lagers and ales produced by the almost-monopolies, I would like to refer to the great Benny Hill, who said, “Not a hape o’ the difference!”  I know there are die-hard, or in some cases, die-easy, beer drinkers who claim to know the difference.  These are the same, silly, opinionated fools who think that Ford is better than Chevy; or is it vice-versa….I can never keep it straight.

With all their products, it’s difficult enough to tell lagers from ales.  Anyone who claims he can tell one make from another, thinks too highly of his sense of taste.  It’s no wonder that the wine snobs look down on lowly beer drinkers.  I went to a family gathering at a brother-in-law’s house, and he had put out some more-expensive Christmas Bock beer, along with the regular slop.  When I went back for a second, an hour later, they had disappeared.  His excuse was that, after two or three, you can’t taste the difference, so he was saving the good stuff.

Canadian beer is mostly bland crap, but at least it’s 5% alcohol bland crap, suitable for guzzling and getting a buzz on with.  I watched a comedian who claimed he was cutting down on his alcohol consumption.  He went from liquor to Canadian beer, to water, to American beer.  3% alcohol in regular American beer??!  What’s in the Lites?  Baby cough medicine has more of a bite than that!  Do all American beer-drinkers have huge bladders?

Personally, I drink local craft beer, or imported,  Waterloo County Dark, Sleeman Honey Brown, Newcastle Brown Ale, Rickards Red, or Dark, the Rickards White is so empty, it’s worse than American.  I drink them because I value the body, not the buzz.

I could have written the preceding in a snowbank, with my fly unzipped.  Having flamed the beer industry, let’s move on to defame hockey.  WWE on skates!  Soap opera for jocks!  Bread and circuses for the masses.  Remember what happened to Rome, when they started playing that game?

Bah!  You young guys don’t know what real hockey is.  I haven’t seen a good game since there were only six teams in the league.  There’s only so much real talent, and it’s diluted way too thin.  I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.  Once upon a time hockey players could play hockey.  They knew how to skate, pass and shoot, then came the enforcers.  These guys can barely move their sticks, because they’ve got a blackjack in one hand, and brass knuckles on the other.

Years ago, when this movement was just starting, Boston hired a young goon and told him to keep an eye on Detroit’s Gordie Howe.  He spotted a chance to take Gordie into the corner, and acted on it.  He came out with a broken arm, and a five-minute penalty.  “Best way to avoid punch, is not be there.”  Gordie danced around him and made him look like a fool.

The fervor and loyalty that many fans have for their *local* team, just astounds me.  My bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, bar-fighting, drug-using egotists, who don’t actually live here, can beat your bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, drug-using immigrants!  And hockey in the South??!  What a great idea!  Florida Panthers….Atlanta Thrashers….when they play, there has to be a translator on the TV screen, like for the deaf.  If mint isn’t involved, they don’t know what ice is for.

I’ve heard some of these zealots bitch about Toronto Maple Leafs fans.  They don’t care whether Toronto wins or not, they still go to, or watch, the game.  Actually,* Leafs fans* is a misnomer.  They’re hockey fans, or just entertainment fans.  They pay to see a game, and they see one every time.  Sometimes the Leafs win, sometimes they lose.  When you go to a movie to be entertained, you don’t care whether Batman beats up the Joker, or the Joker thumps Batman.  You probably want both to happen, and are happy when it does but, either way, you know there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow.  There will always be, The Rise of Maple Leafs, and, Son of Maple Leafs, and, Bridge on the Maple Leafs, so, drag out that cold case of Labatt’s Blue, and we’ll watch the game, eh?!