Monday, February 27, 2006


I'm calling this post bustin' because work and exhaustion has nibbled at my brain like a marlin being hauled to harbour by Santiago. Bustin' means I have nothing to say, friends. But what I do have is a set of spanky vintage photos, and commentary on whatever I'm going to be thinking about over the next few minutes.

Somehow I missed the the Olympics altogether. I caught a few minutes of the incomprehensible pomp of the opening ceremonies - including the egg-shaped Peter Gabriel singing "Imagine," or maybe just conveying the general notion of the song to the audience - and I heard a couple of things about people winning and not winning medals. Then the talking heads popped up on television to announce the stunning success of the Winter Olympics and the handoff of the winter flame to Canada.

I'm not sure how I managed to ignore two weeks of media-saturated celebration of bodies going hard and wearing funny tight outfits. Or maybe that's why I ignore it; the real interest for me always revolved around which country or bloc of countries was refusing to release its steroid-pumped Performobots into the arena.

In 1980 I was only nine years old, but the US boycott of the Moscow games told me all I needed to know at the time about global politics.

During the 1984 Olympics I was staying at my grandmother's house in Bermuda. Believe it or not, one of the main attractions of going to Bermuda at the time was television. My grandmother's was the only place I got to watch American television. We lived in rural Nova Scotia, beyond the reach of cable tv, so I grew up on the relative sobriety and restraint of Canadian networks. American TV was like crack for my thirteen year old eye, a hyper-coloured orgy of sex and action (even though Canadian television actually showed a lot more sex, American television was a whole lot more titillating).

Canadian Olympic coverage was obnoxiously inclusive and even-handed, taking care not to give too much weight to any one country. As far as American networks were concerned, though, only one country - one real country - was participating in the games that year. The rest of the world stood in as a foil for the US. If another nation won a gold, then it just wasn't mentioned except in passing. After a while it began to seem as if the rest of the world was simply there as set dressing, their efforts an incidental point of comparison to the kampf of American athletic might. If the Eastern bloc refused to participate, it was only part of the overall narrative of triumph. For a Canadian whose only experience of the States was a flood of patrician yachters every summer, the experience was disturbing.

I have a vague memory of the Iran-Contra hearings taking place around the same time. It's actually a memory of my grandmother wandering through the room, glancing at the TV in passing and saying, Ah, why are they picking on that Oliver North guy?

The Iran-Contra hearings took place in 1986. As with the Olympics, I watched the coverage from the sofa in my grandmother's house. There I watched America make Americans answer for American crimes that incidentally included other nations. Clearly I didn't watch the Olympics and the hearings at the same time, but my brain insists on linking them together, as if sports and politics were settings on a single chain.

The 1984 games are the last ones that have any hold on my psyche. Everything afterward seemed overhyped but somehow deflated, obsessed with pomp, performance-enhancing drugs and rigged outcomes. The grand moral narrative of the Cold War had turned into a dull brief dissecting the finer ethical points of an enterprise that appeared increasingly corrupt as more and more athletes turned out to be taking drugs, or money, or crowbars to the knee.

This last photo, titled "convoy at sea," was ordered sight unseen. Caveat emptor.

Friday, February 24, 2006


This picture is the hot alterna-celebrity of photographs, it's so pretty. It's like the Terence Stamp of photos. Except this photo was wise enough not to appear in Elektra.

the real and the not-real and it's all palaver anyway

Is it evening? Does a fire in the hearth accompany the action? Yes and no. Schmutzie and Palinode, standing and seated, positioned for comfort, start to talk.

Schmutzie: I'm hungry.

Palinode: Mm-hmm.

Schmutzie: I was going to order out but all I've got is American money.

Palinode: You'd have to order American food then.

Schmutzie: Where's the nearest American food restaurant?

Palinode: North Dakota.

Schmutzie: How long would that take to get here?

Palinode: Assuming there's no holdup in Customs?

Schmutzie: And untroubled roads the whole way?

Palinode: Five hours direct from Minot.

Schmutzie: Add on 45 minutes for preparation -

Palinode: Throw in fifteen minutes for roundess' sake -

Schmutzie: And it's six hours to your door!

Palinode: Six hours or your American pizza's free!

Wait. None of that conversation, beyond the mention of American money, happened. Maybe it went like this.

Palinode: Hey, isn't Lynn awesome?

Schmutzie: She is. She gave me a copy of Billy Collins reading his poetry.

Palinode: She gave me a five American dollar bill with a dirty picture drawn on it.

Schmutzie: What are you going to do with it?

Palinode: Buy me some American sex!

Schmutzie: American sex? What's that like?

Palinode: I'm not sure, but I think it's blonde.

Schmutzie: And oral.

That didn't happen either. We do talk about Lynn's general awesomeness and fine writing stylings, but the real conversation is below.

Schmutzie: I'm hungry.

Palinode: Mm-hmm.

Schmutzie: I was going to order out but all I've got is American money.

Palinode: Yeah, I'm a bit cashless.

Schmutzie: But I get paid on Tuesday.

Palinode: Really. (Pause) I'm getting eaten by a bear on Tuesday.

Schmutzie: Is that so.

Palinode: It's pretty expensive too.

Schmutzie: You're paying a bear to eat you?* It's already gettting a meal. What are you getting out of it?

Palinode: I have to pay for its transportation.

Schmutzie: Where's the bear coming from?

Palinode: Up north. Apparently it's stuck in Prince Albert** and needs to catch a bus.

Schmutzie: It's a P.A. bear, is it?***

Palinode: No, I think he got stuck there? I'm vague on the details.

Schmutzie: I'm not surprised.

Palinode: I also have to spring for the return ticket. Joke's on the bear.

*Note that she assumes instantly that it's the bear receiving payment. Anthropomorphise much? Bears don't need money; like celebrities, they get stuff for free.
**Prince Albert is a small city about five hours' north of where we live.
***This is not a regional reference or inside joke. Or maybe it is. I'm from Nova Scotia, what do I know about the prairies?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

on brona

Somehow I can't quite believe that we received this in the mail yesterday.

I think my favourite thing about it is the image of the fork and knife delicately nestled in a napkin. Don't worry, the image says. They'll use cutlery.

I couldn't wait to tear it open. Awesome, I thought. I bet I can adopt an elderly Jew. They'll send me photos, letters filled with gratitude, the works. Dearest Palinode, my name is Lydia Edelstein and I'm downright peckish.

But the laughter dried (not died) in my throat when I opened the letter and met Brona.

Brona is holding a photo of what is presumably herself from bygone days. Why she's doing that, we don't know. Is she wanting to show that she was young once, and therefore deserves food now? Does she think that this will provide legitimacy to her twin claims of being Jewish and starving? I could hold up a photo of myself from 1975 but it would not make me any hungrier or more Jewish. It would only make me weirder.

Brona appended a brief note to the top of the letter.

So now we know a few things about Brona: 1) She gets off on spying on the elderly; 2) she imagines a benevolent force of "overseas strangers" helping her out in some way, perhaps by forcing the grandmas and grandpas to eat from garbage bins; 3) Despite living in Achinsk, Russia, where (according to the letter) she watches TV and sings the Yiddish songs of her childhood to pass the time, she is fluent in a particular idiom of English that talks about garbage bins and grandmas; and 4) her penmanship is inhumanly precise and regular.

So: starving Russian Jewish woman? Or paranoid gerontophilic photo-holding graphomaniacal polyglot? I leave it for you to decide.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

therapeutic blogging and contest winner

1. Sometimes I wake up with the conviction that Gary Busey is dead. I don't think "My God, Gary Busey died in the night and somehow I've been apprised via the collective unconscious". I wake up thinkng that he's been dead for some time.

Okay, I'm doing this wrong. I don't wake up and think "Hey, Busey's dead"; it's more like I wake up with the 'deadBusey=true' switch toggled in my head, and if I have to think about him - which I guess I must, and more than I think I do - then I think of him of as dead. Follow me so far?

Here's where it gets complicated. Whenever I'm thinking of Gary Busey as dead, I place his date of death around 1998, which is well before the show "I'm With Busey". Which stars - well, you guessed it. For some reason I occasionally believe that Gary Busey died not long after the filming of Lost Highway, which means that, as far as I'm concerned on some days, the more than sixty productions in which he has starred since 1997, not to mention the thirteen episodes of "I'm With Busey," are somehow bogus. That can't be Gary Busey, my brain thinks, that's got to be his son. Or that's just a character actor who really looks like Gary Busey. Or maybe this movie's older than I think. Whatever's going on, that can't be Busey, because he's dead. My feelings vary according to the degree of my conviction. Let's look at this as if it were symbolic logic, kind of:

If (buseyDead='true') > (buseysighting='postLostHighway') Then (buseyStillDead='true')

Yeah, that's pretty clear. So why this intermittent idée fixe? I think it may have been his brief Lost Highway role as the unaccountably miserable father of Balthazar Getty. Busey looked sepulchural and corpse-like in his scenes, speaking shakily into the phone as if he were a spirit inhabiting the lines. David Lynch films work more by implanting images into your subconscious than by telling you some kind of story - Mulholland Drive was like having devastating news whispered in your ear as you slept. Therefore I blame David Lynch for this sad state of affairs and the mental gymnastics I have to go through to enjoy an episode of "I'm With Busey". Which is a way funnier show than, say, "On The Air".

When Gary Busey finally dies I will be standing at his grave, shouting at the gathered mourners. "See?" I'll yell out. "SEE? I told you all along!" If David Lynch is there, so much the better.

2. Laziness is good for my body. This runs counter to today's popular wisdom, which holds that a body not constantly in motion is a repulsive lump of lard, but I've been around my body long enough to know what it likes, what makes it thrive and what makes it throw up (turns out it's alcohol). And what it likes most is laziness. Laziness makes my stubble grow, shakes my shoulders to the Jamie Lidell tunes on the stereo, and even tones my muscles while I wait. Laziness to me is pure fucking gold on a rice cracker.

This last week has served as proof that laziness is my desired state, and that hard work leaves you with nothing but a depressed listless feeling and a certainty that you've just raised standards for yourself, which is utterly deadly thing for those like me who favour time-wasting, web-surfing and thinking about the implications of the overall story arc of Angel. Legit stuff like that. But last week I had to get a whole lot done in an impossibly tiny slice of time.

Here I have cut out several hundred words of writing about work. It contains many fascinating details about what it is that I do every day and why it's usually a stomach-clenching nightmare of stress. Keeping in mind the paranoia of upper management, though, I decided to cut it all out. As a handy indexical guide, the redacted text discusses: scheduling, bad weather, script breakdowns, broadcaster deadlines, editors, animators, and taking a DIY approach when no one else seems willing or competent enough to DI. When the time comes to leave this job, the text will be republished in the form of a long angry novel. On top of all that I went to a great concert on Sunday night.

There was a larger point to this, but I'm too lazy to finish.

3. Contest winnering

Some of you may remember the big january contest that promised some lucky sumbitch a postcard from me that said "I am happy in Saskatchewan". People responded with funny and creative pleas for that little piece of light cardboard. Some tried using Spanish as a weapon (didn't Pat Benetar** cry out against that?), some told me stories about pet postcards, some tried to exploit my weakness for palindromes. All entries rocked my personal casbah. But the winner! Of the big january contest! Is!

Miss A! Who submitted a Shakespearean parody, reproduced here:

Postcard from Saskatchewan, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth of 0.007 inches and breadth of four and height of six inches
My soul can reach, when far from the front of the refrigerator
For the ends of Good Sense and skyward postal rates.
I love thee to display sideways
Most quiet need, a bookmark or coaster.
I love thee freely, as men strive for beer;
I love thee purely, as they turn towards shapely guns.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In showing off to good friends, of whom I’ve more international acquaintances;
I love thee while wearing an oven glove I seemed to lose
With all my lost gloves and wayward bras, --- I love thee with the breath,
Confused nods, inappropriate interjections, of all my life! --- and, if Palinode choose,
I shall but love thee better after I have a(nother) cocktail.

For more information about Miss A - better known as Andrea Heimer - go check the website of exquistely funky band No-Fi Soul Rebellion. You can also visit their Myspace space here. Many thanks to everyone who contributed.

*(This note refers to a passage from the excised text) I've found that this is the mark of an experienced editor. Inexperienced or bad editors will take whatever you give them and give you back something that you don't like. Good editors will take one look and say, I can't work with this. What's wrong with you? Then you go away chastened and fearful, because an angry editor will cut you.

** Oh shit I misspelled pat benatar's name oh shit ohshit help me dont let her get me now please it will hurt when she finds me shes ruthless ohgod

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

open the door, meme of four

No one has tagged for the four things meme yet. Why not? Am I considered untaggable? I think I've compared tagging to spam and spam to (non-consensual) sodomy before, but I wasn't expecting anyone to take me seriously. Especially since I was whispering it into an old drainpipe. Who listens to the whispers coming out of the drainpipe anymore? Everyone, I guess, because no one has tagged me.

Well I'm gonna do it anyway. I'm gonna do it natheless.


Telephone surveyor. This job must have a fancier title. It must, because all jobs that are the equivalent of licking out public toilets have fancy titles. This was in highschool. I sat in a little booth three evenings a week and phoned people relentlessly, harvesting their opinions on the thirst-quenchingness of certain sodas, the effectiveness of no-fault insurance, and I believe I even once had to ask people how often they used their fridges (the answer was usually a confused "um... always"). The office was managed by a woman with tiny eyes and huge frosted blond hair who wore an array of worn-out university sweatshirts. She was forever showing us pictures of her boyfriends, all of whom were stationed at the Army base in Minot, North Dakota. I used to wonder if they fought each other every weekend for the privilege of her love.

Eventually I stopped showing up for work and hoped that they would forget about me. Six months later, the frosted blonde manager called and asked if I could come in that Saturday. I told her that I had to babysit my cousin (note: a lie). She thanked me and that was that.

Used bookstore manager. This job did not eat my soul. In fact I had a great time, sitting behind a counter all day long and making small talk with a group of semi-homeless regulars who had nothing better to do than talk to the guy at the book store. For bad mood days I brought out a wooden mallet stashed behind the counter. I would hold it loosely and smile at people as they walked in. Those days witnessed low sales.

The store owner was a narcoleptic pothead who ran the bookstore as a hobby project. His real business, besides underpaying me and looking like a Groucho Marx with bloodshot eyes, involved a courier company, where I believe he was a regional account manager. Every so often he would come in and demand a full accounting of my activities, but his attention would wander in the middle of my accounting. Sometimes he'd just drift off in mid-sentence. I took a lot of books from that place when I left.

Strangest moment there: In a copy of a William Gaddis novel sitting on the shelves, a man found a picture of his family from the 1960s.

Worst moment there: Bryan Adams came in. He turned out to be the cheapest, meanest bastard I'd ever dealt with. He was so mean that when I saw a poster for one of his tours in Austria ten years later, I gave it the finger. Yeah, take that, Bryan.

Catalogue phone jockey. If cattle were paid in some other coin than a whirling blade, then this would be the job for our bovine buddies. Call centres are warehouses for the hopeful and those past hope, university students, ex-convicts (and in the States, you need not even be ex-), housewives, downsized managers from other companies. During my week of training I spent my cigarette breaks (now quit) listening to a stream of overly jovial sexist jokes from a fellow in shirsleeves with a moustache like trimmed red yarn. It was quickly plain that he had been fired or laid off from some job in middle management somewhere, and the shock had sent him toppling into misogynist jerkhood. He didn't last long.

Production Researcher. My god. This would take longer than a paragraph. This would take five novels of pain and a fat chapbook of screaming and footnotes. I could put Bruce Wagner and Nathaniel West to shame with the tales of my three years at a small independent television production company. And one day I will. But not now.


Monsignor Quixote, Graham Greene.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami.
Flow Chart, John Ashbery.
V., Thomas Pynchon.
Suttree, Cormac McCarthy.
Ubik, Philip K. Dick.
Le Ton Beau de Marot, Douglas R. Hofstadter.
After Babel, George Steiner.
Ulysses, James Joyce.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Cruddy, Lynda Barry.
The Quick & The Dead, Joy Williams.
The Palm at the End of the Mind, Wallace Stevens.
Pastoralia, George Saunders.
Amphigorey, Edward Gorey.
The Rattle Bag, Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
The Third Policeman, Flann O'Brien.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill, G.K. Chesterton.
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor.
Ah hell, I love a thousand more books than these.


My friend Jon Joffe, who now makes movies, claims that the only measure of a film's worth is its repeated watchability. Based on that criterion, his favourite film was The Crow, but I think the principle holds.

Sunset Boulevard
Night of the Hunter
Mulholland Drive

That didn't take long at all.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the remake)
Reindeer Games. I mean, holy crap. What immense suck.
Mission to Mars. Was it worse than Reindeer Games? Possibly.
Armageddon. I felt like less of a person after that film.


Veronica Mars
The Wire
Battlestar Galactica


Halifax, Nova Scotia
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Calgary, Alberta


Sunny downtown Ontario
Costa Rica
some wretched campground somewhere


Wood s Lot


No one! Because tagging is worse than spam, which is worse than nonconsensual sodomy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

purely an example

From the latest Harpers Weekly Review:

Bush also announced during his speech that America is "addicted to oil" and vowed to replace "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025." Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that this promise was not meant to be taken literally. "This," he said, "was purely an example."

Okay then. The president of the US apparently lives in a world where the Bible is literal truth, but his own promises, delivered on television to millions, are figurative.

Bush doesn't need PR flacks to lend his blubbering legitimacy. He needs exegetes.

Monday, February 06, 2006

the problem of the medicine cabinet

Bouts of mania are one of the many side effects of Paxil use. Cocaine-like in its amoral euphoria, Paxil mania will convince you, wisely or otherwise, of your limitless capabilities and complete insulation from harm. One of these waves hit me in the middle of a long meeting in October 2001, when the warm sunlight slanting in through the window produced in me the sensation that I was utterly invincible. I decided that I no longer needed antidepressants to function, and quit that day.

What followed was weeks of emotional and physical hell, as my body's nervous system tore itself inside-out in a desperate search for serotonin. Conversations turned into shouting matches, small irritations enraged me beyond reason. My emotions ceased making sense. My libido collapsed and inflated at random, like a balloon stretched over a faulty air nozzle.

Worse were the physical symptoms. My muscles were constantly contracting, and when I tried to relax they would fill up with an urge to kick, twitch and stretch. My wife lost sleep from my pedaling legs scrambling the sheets all night. Even now, four and a half years later, a tingling from calf to kneecap still compels my legs to push out whenever I lay down. Doctors call it akathisia. It nearly drove me to a mental state far worse than the numb depression that prompted my Paxil regimen in the first place. *

Forgive me. I'm just trying to explain how I'm not as tough as Zach Braff.

In his debut movie Garden State, Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a struggling actor in his mid-twenties who's been sedated with a cocktail of antidepressants and anti-seizure meds since the age of ten. That's a solid fifteen years of habituated stupor. At the beginning of the film he finds out that his mother's dead and hops a plane from Los Angeles to Newark, putting an entire continent between himself and his orderly but overfull medicine cabinet. And you know what happens? He undergoes a spiritual, emotional and sexual reawakening that reconnects him to his own life. He gets agency. He even gets Natalie Portman in the end, which makes you wonder if the whole film weren't conceived by Braff as a massive and artistically satisfying attempt to make out with her.

How long does it take Andrew Largeman to shake the effects of the drugs and start shaking it with Natalie Portman? Four days. That's all it takes, I guess. A few headaches and you're alive again! Ready to explore life to the fullest! Or if you're Largeman, ready to assume a weird pinched expression and lecture friends and family on what's really important in life.

I honestly don't know why I'm writing about this. I liked Garden State, despite the contrived premise and the creepiness of having a mother's funeral as the spur to emotional and sexual adulthood. I also liked the film despite the last thirty minutes, which appeared to be hemorrhaging script and production problems that a more experienced director might have been able to solve with greater fluency.** It's the drugs that I can't leave alone.

There's a shot early in the movie that we're supposed to put great store behind as a key, one of many, to Largeman's character: a static shot of the character's face, centered neatly in the frame and bisected by the mirrored doors of a medicine cabinet. The image lingers just long enough to let you know that it's saying Something Important, then the cabinet doors are opened to reveal the antiseptic rows of pill bottles, one after the other, set there so carefully against such a pristine white background that you think you're watching THX 1138. First you think, Wow, this guy takes a lot of meds. But if you're not quite under the spell of the film, then you think: Wait a sec, this guy must not be taking his meds because there are so many in the cabinet. Then you think: But what this mini-pharmacy intends to tell us is that he takes lots of meds. Why this orderly orgy of pills?***

Three or four bottles of pills next to a cup with a toothbrush and a razor would have convinced me. One of those weekly prescription dispensers on the sink would have convinced me. But there was no toothbrush or razor to be seen, despite the fact that Andrew Largeman has a full set of teeth set in a cleanshaven face. Something about this omission bothered me at first, but I forgot about it as the clever jokes and the great soundtrack rolled on.

In the last scenes of the film, when the tone changes from deadpan comedy to inspirational tract, the problem of the medicine cabinet came back to me. Hey, I thought, wasn't this guy on massive amounts of meds only days before? Shouldn't he be curled in the fetal position right now, crying and convulsing and kicking his legs repeatedly into the dirt? The charitable view is that the drugs served as a bridge to get the thematic soldiers over to the other bank. I'd say they served as a sofa for some lazy-ass thematic soldiers to snooze on. It was the cinematic equivalent of a plea for more corn chips and another pillow.

When I was younger, I used to hanker for the kind of mental instability that could set me apart and insulate me from the rest of the world. I wanted to escape, and an organic brain disorder seemed like just the thing. And I wanted the zombifying effect of heavy brain drugs (these were the days before SSRIs) to quiet my mind and carry me off from all responsibility. I wrote stories involving young men with high IQs, quirky obsessions, mental problems and apartments even crappier than the one I lived in. One setpiece of exposition involved a medicine cabinet overstuffed with meds. It was intended to be funny and somehow deadly serious at the same time. I thought I had hit a vein of tragicomedy. I had pricked instead an abundant artery of bathos.

Years later, when I was diagnosed with dysthymic disorder - a ready-made excuse to sell meds if ever one existed - I went on a course of Paxil. After a while I realized that the drug was not performing as advertised. Instead of increasing my sense of well-being, Paxil replaced it with a clench-jawed vivacity. I didn't like it, but the drug neatly cauterized my anxieties. Unless I missed a dose, I never had to worry about its effects on my personality.

What I wanted most from the drug was forgiveness for past failures, for everything that I had not accomplished thus far. I thought that absolution would launder my soul and make it more palatable. Like sheets that invite untroubled sleep by their cleanliness, so would my fresh new consciousness allow me to act without the instinctive tug of conscience.

This was a lot to hope from a hastily-marketed brain drug. At some point I realized that it had done nothing much more than smooth out my temper and prevent me from feeling bad about anything - which isn't nearly as nice as it sounds. Worst of all, it blocked out feelings of disgust and boredom, which are invaluable weapons in the fight for the good life. After I went off my meds I knew that I would never write another story about a young man popping antidepressants or antipsychotics. Illegal drugs make great metaphors. Legal drugs are just depressing.

*Doctors caution people against cold-turkey withdrawal from antidepressants, but I've seen people go through the same symptoms when they wean themselves slowly off the drugs. Besides, by that point I had no reason to trust my doctor, who had prescribed drugs for me within ten minutes of my first appointment and moved to another city without notifying me.

**Producing a show has left me with an overly keen sensitivity to failure and wastage in movies. Sometimes I'll sit in a theatre and picture the unused ribbons of film trailing into oblivion.

***In order to make sure that I wasn't just making this shit up, I phoned Schmutzie to verify that I'd really seen a medicine cabinet full of pill bottles. She concurred and then went on to describe all the bottles of slightly irregular dimensions in the shot and where they were placed. It's nice to have extra memories when you need one.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the sadness of art

Whatever I do, I know that I can never alleviate the pain and fear in this man's eyes.

I don't even know why he's scared.

I think he's scared of the steering wheel. That thing's huge.

Or maybe he's scared of the photographer, who has clearly jumped out in front of him on the road in the middle of the night. Or maybe it's the inexplicable light source that seems to coming from a point beneath and to his left.

Maybe he's scared of his hat, and spends his life in perpetual fear. Why doesn't he remove his hat?

We will never know.

Update: I just received a spamburst from Gustavio Fuqua with the subject line "Frosted maun". I make it a rule not to open spam, but I really really want to know what a frosted maun is. I took a moment out to google the word and found that Maun is the capital of Botswana. Could you have Maun frosted? Latitude is an issue for natural frost, and if you want to go the artificial route, who's got that much frosting? Not to mention the grief you'd get from the Lords of Maun.