Thursday, June 25, 2009

Off to the Big Apple!

Clever Monkey's taking a 10-day hiatus to recharge her batteries in New York City (!) from the 26th to July 6th. I may or may not upload photos or share stories, depending on how much time I wish to take away from all the fun I'm having.

Thought I'd leave you a little food for thought: the origin of the term "big apple", courtesy of a Wiki-search that led me to an interesting NYC historical website here.

Big Apple Etymology

"The Big Apple" was the catchphrase of New York Morning Telegraph [horse]track writer John J. FitzGerald in the 1920s. He picked up the term from African-American stable hands at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans in 1920. FitzGerald's first "Around the Big Apple" column, on February 18, 1924, proudly declared:

“The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York.”

The "Big Apple" racing circuit had meant "the big time," where the big money was to be won. Horses love apples, and apples were widely regarded as the mythical king of fruit.

"The Big Apple" became the name of a club in Harlem in 1934, and Harlem itself was referred to as "the Apple" at this time. "The Big Apple" was revived in the 1970s by Charles Gillett, president of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Tool (n.) One who lacks the mental capacity to know he is being used. A fool. A cretin. Characterized by low intelligence and/or self-steem. (

Conservative MLA Doug Elniski was wrist-slapped by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach after a series of boneheaded, insensitive comments he made about women became public.

Skipping along his merry way back to the stoneage, Mr. Elniski posted several sexist comments on his blog, made snide remarks about Edmonton's Pride Parade and basically fulfilled every negative conservative stereotype in 140 characters or less.

In a comment on junior high school graduates on his twit--erm, I mean, Twitter--feed, he wrote:

"Men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don't give me that 'treated equal' stuff, if you want Equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks."

Har har har *cough*

On the same page, he gave directions to a bikini carwash where the girls looked "cold". I can only assume he then scratched his ass, sniffed it and then trudged around looking for a woman to club and bring back to his cave.

The thing that pisses me off about this is not the obvious ass-backwardsness of his comments--which are so stereotypical as to be more sad than funny--but that the thought never entered his brain that, being a public figure, his comments might be made, you know...public. Because the internet is well-known as a discreet means of communication. It's bad enough that you think these thoughts, but to actually believe you can get away with saying them? That's a level of clueless entitlement for which awards should be given.

Today he's being chided for his silliness while female MLAs and his daughter defend him, citing his donations to women's charities as proof of his lack of sexism. Supporting women's charities and viewing them as equal participants in society are incongruent. You can believe that women should be in the kitchen baking you a pie and still want to protect them from being abused or living in poverty.

Way to go, Doug. You did 'em proud. And in the same week that our Finance minister, Iris Evans, talked about how women should stay home and raise their kids instead of pursuing careers, as she mistakenly did. I'm so pleased to know that soon I will be able to kick back at home, keep my husband's slippers warming by the fire and vacuum in high heels while baking cookies.

You fucking knob.

Read the Edmonton Journal article here.
Read the Canadian Press take here.
See Dave Cournoyer's take here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Literary Genre: the Stripper Memoir

Came across this interesting article on's XX site. Click here to read about stripper memoirs.

It's interesting that in any given genre what begins as sharp commentary will inevitably dull and become just another innocuous part of popular culture. Like Ozzy going from Prince of f*ing Darkness to bumbling TV dad and progenitor of sullen offspring.

My literary theory's a little rusty, and my focus was never on feminism, but this article intrigued me.
First I want to note how I love that "stripper memoir" is now a genre. Like the rock star heroin odyssey or politico fratboy recollection. It's amusing that people who work in an industry based around titillation would write in such a formulaic manner as to be given their own niche. As author Katie Roiphe concludes:

This stylized form of sexuality seems to lend itself to cliché. In all of these memoirs, there is something false in the revelation and mechanical in the execution, that is—if we take the word of these bored and jaded ladies—something like stripping itself.

My two cents (based on article alone, as I have not yet read these memoirs. Will update when I do.)
Ah, sex. The alpha and omega taboo, from the beginning of time 'til our inevitable decline, it is the one subject sure to set pens scribbling. I find it intriguing that apparently self-proclaimed modern and liberated women would feel the need to emphasize their ascension above sexual exploitation in their writing.

I'm not a stripper because I choose not to profit off my sexuality, reserving it for my own private endeavours. However, if someone chooses to make money of their own volition, then more power to them. And yes, you can draw the line arbitrarily wherever you want, since it's your body and your psyche. When you reach your comfort limit and say, "enough," fine. But from reading this article I get the impression that there is judgement toward the other types of strippers in these books, the "lifers" as it were. These writers immerse themselves in this existence, yet keep themselves at a remove from it in order to pass judgement and remain "untainted" according to this article. Roiphe says they display the "same innate, catty, female dividing of the world into sluts and non-sluts, that takes place in the rest of the world." If so, weak.

The archetypes of mother/nurturer and whore go way back and are key players in the successful feminist deconstruction of writing, which is overwhelmingly "masculine" or judgmental and limiting. The idea that women fall into one of two archetypes is tenacious in its survival. It seems that even in our liberated 21st century we find the atavistic tendencies return. Sure, they're reconfigured so that the mother/Madonna figure becomes the wholesome "stripper with a heart of gold, putting herself through anthropology courses, one lap dance at a time" and the whore becomes,'s the far endpoint of the spectrum, but the whore becomes the more risque stripper who chooses to pursue prostitution or pornography beyond her oeuvre.

I'd be interested to read the memoir of one of these ladies. The hardened lifers who watch the Diablo Codys and Lily Buranas and think to themselves how those pretentious young twats talk a good talk but have only skimmed the surface of the dark half of the subculture, which they never fully devote themselves to in the first place. It's like first-person voyeurism, rather than immersion.

How does one contend to shatter the notion of "woman as sexual object" by becoming it and then rejecting it outright? So do you either embody sex or purity? What about sexuality as one part of a person's identity?

Are we taking a step forward or backward when we define female sexuality and liberation in terms of exploitation? Would a male stripper have to seek validation with a white picket fence history beneath his greased-up pectoral exterior? Probably not. If not, why do these women have to excuse themselves for doing what they do? If it's shame they feel, then their claims of liberating women sexually are dashed. If they feel superiority, then they have to look at their acts and see that they're exploiting their bodies as much as those objectifying them. If it's an insider's look into the abyss, well, then I'm not quite sure we're there yet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My heart, she melts.

Thanks to my anonymous "Monkey of the Week" commentator for this video. *swoon*

Click here if you can stand it. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Miss Fitz's Monkey of the Week

It's been a long week.

Yes, I'm aware it's not Friday, so there's still another day to go, but I needed some cheering after being sick and having spent the past two days driving over 1,000 km across Alberta conducting interviews. (More to follow on that when the energy is replenished. Ice cream cake is helping.)

So without further ado: the white-handed gibbon. Not only does it have a nifty name (I may be biased) but this little guy doesn't care that he's been caught, erm, "white-handed" scratching his ass and had it broadcast across the globe. He's just living his life, swinging free on his ridiculously long arms. Swing free, little buddy. Swing free.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009



  1. Lacking a sense of humour; destitute of humour.
  2. Said or done without humour.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1998.

I love Chuck Norris jokes, you love Chuck Norris jokes. You know the ones:

"When Chuck Norris goes in the ocean, he doesn't get wet, the water gets Chuck Norris."

These absurd hyperboles are ridiculously hilarious and have single-handedly transformed this otherwise B-list has-been action hero into a cult figure and online phenomenon.

While roundhouse kicks to the face and superhuman strength were included in the Chuck Norris package, apparently good humour and appreciation were not. He launched a lawsuit in 2007 against the author of The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human and is now writing a book to set the world straight on all things Chuck Norris.

Though he may be the "world's greatest human", he's still kind of a jackass, no?

View the story here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The motherflippin' Rhymenocerous

Clever Monkey spent the weekend in bed with the flu.

With a magnitude of about '9.5' on the suck-meter, there really is little worse than spending the most beautiful weekend of the year thus far (high 20s both days, light rain, sunshine) alternately sweating and shivering in a small pile of bedclothes between trips to the toilet. Slept for nearly 48 hours straight and managed to choke down several crackers, a bit of milk-free tea and some juice--but mostly so I had something in my stomach to puke up five minutes later. Ugh.

Apologies if the cleverness is lacking. I probably expelled it into my toilet.


To keep my delirious brain somewhat entertained and keep my mind off of all the fun my friends were having at open-air concerts and along beaches, I played a lot of DVDs. One of these was a belated birthday gift: season one of "Flight of the Conchords."

Now, being fairly pretentious and having lots of hipster friends, it may surprise you that I haven't gotten into the adventures of two Kiwi lads sooner. Late to the game though I may be, I have to say that I'm thrilled I finally caught on. Because these guys rock.

Not only is FotC funny in that silly, irreverent way I find so terribly endearing, but their homages to various musical stylings and witty lyrics are bang on. They've got some great turns of phrase.

I think my favourite season one episode is the one where Bret decides he's only going to answer to his rap persona: the Rhymenocerous. In keeping with the large African mammal theme, Jemaine backs him as the Hiphoppapotamus.

Sample Lyric: " I'm the motherflippin' hiphopopotamus, my lyrics are bottomless...
See the video for the boys in their glory.
"Did Steve tell you that, perchance? Gah, Steve!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't call it a comeback...

Yep, that's right.

After a nearly two-year hiatus, the Miraculous Melange of Miscellania has returned, this time with a new look and a new name. It's all to go along with the new theme, which will guide (though not monopolize) the topic threads on this blog.

On the advice of my good friend, Bettsy, I've decided to regroup and revamp to share my snide comments and inner monologues with the world (insert applause here.)

Being a writer and an overall word junkie, I thought that a unifying reading/writing/grammar/spelling theme would be good. With the unlubricated butt-sexing currently being performed on an unsuspecting English language, I figure it's time to fight back against lazy txtrs, drive thru business operators and those who can't tell the difference between "its" and "it's" (you know who you are *side eye*)

I thought it fitting for the first post to link to this website, which the Edmonton Journal today predicted will become the "Google of digital dictionaries". Wordnik takes words and phrases and offers not just dictionary definitions and common usages, but seeks out Twitter feeds and Google searches to track how the word or phrase is being used right now.

Visit Wordnik here. I think my faith in English speakers may start to be restored.