Monday, October 15, 2007

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Pig

A pig is an animal with dirt on his facehis shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
you may grow up to be a pig

(Old Broadway song)

"Pork-ois?" I said to the landlady when she inspected my quarters and sniffed at me for being a bachelor and a pig.

Portrait of the Artist as a young-old pig.

One was disgruntled.

"Me, a pig? Me? God's chosen?"

She may have been part of the Chorus in the famed Charlie Brown, song:

"Yes you!"

Okay, so the walls are sooty with cigarette smoke, the bathroom floor leaks to give the poor Chinamn downstairs a tsunami--and that's a landlord problem; my kitchen walls are greasy and my floor carpetting mays as well be from The House of the Rising Sun. Paisely and stained with something. Old crow lives here. No chick.

Egad. I hope she didn't see the dirty videos.

She did see my old Jane Fonda exercise tapes and asked, casually if I did those exercises.

"Faithfully, I had answered. " The young Jane Fonda does her thing I and I exercise right along with her.
"Hones Injun!"

"How was I to know you would be in this morning to inspect, with me rolling cigarettes from butts, and beer bottles all over.

"Okay, okay, you have arrived at the Bay of Pigs, but please, next time, give some notice."

The pittrice said nothing. And finally, "You'd better get this cleaned up before the Super comes tonight.

Migod. Treated like a young porker.

This is what I get for living in a Seniors' apartment.

They treat us like children.

And we may grow up to be pigs.

How to explain?

I have become a blogging addict, a serious addiction.

Blogging is my crutch.

I do not feel good all day if I don't blog all morning.

Blogging builds up my optimism, makes me lose my sense of my awful self. It is a great enemy of the blues.

So while I blog, and blog, things build up. Dust gets into the rug. The beer bottles pile up. It is like an alcoholic relationship, though there is only bouncy Jane Fonda on the old video for company.

I did for a while write some letters to an old girlfriend in the tradition to Proust writing his letters to Marie Collette,
complaining of the difficulties he had with his own Madame Bovary and saying all the time that he missed Marie.

Marie, having read the letters, soon showed up at his doorstep.

"F*ck off," she grand master was supposed to have said. It was the Marie in his head that he had been writing to.
Ecce Homo.

And so, here I was, in my not-so-magnificent obsession, blogging, blogging, blogging letting things around me go to helll and the naughty movies in my rack. My own sort-of girlfriend showed up and I hardly noticed. She added a line or two to my blog and went home...Maybe it was because of my filthy apartment.

Disgusting, no?

Certainly disgusted the landlady.

Come to think of it, a man really is a pig.

You only need to know one to find out his disgusting sexual habits.

"All men are perverts," the old girlfriend used to tell me.

"Guilty," I had admitted, realizing that I was talking to her feet.

Ah, but one likes to think of oneself as a classy pig. I mean, I actually studied Classics-- got in through the back door of an Oaktree- studded university--Toronto. Here, it was explained to me that the greek phrase Peri-oi-koi meant "those from around here."

Well, here I am. A peri Oink-Oink. And I'm from around here.

I have become a singer of The Bay of Pigs. Swine Lake is in my repertory.

An astronaut contemplating the constellation Pig-asus.

Chubby, porky surfer.

Looks like I'll have to get busy with the mop and pail instead of Jane Fonda.

Makes me think somehow of The Globe and Mail, where I have been sending some of my pig stories. About a clean-living man forced by financial circumstances to be a pig.

One story was taken, the rest rejected.

She didn't say or write it, but I swear I heard between the lines of her rejection letter, "You did what?
"Why, you swine!"



Josie said...

Ivan, go down to your Safeway and stock up on some Mr. Clean (orange scent is nice - leaves your place smelling good), and also get some of these Mr. Clean Magic Eraser .

Once you get it all scrubbed, it's easy to maintain.

Good luck.

You should probably see if you can find someone who can come in once a month and give your place a going-over. said...

Hi Josie,

I'll try to magic Eraser.

...I have even tried a muriatic acid mixture for the walls...Looks like I'll have to paint. Walls look like hell.
I do coook, and all the time.
The range and the kitchenette might as well have been done by Jackson Pollock.

Also the carpetting. Will need professional help here.
Damn. War comes when you're not ready.
The carpet cleaners want a hundred bucks. Same with maid service.

I tried to staple my cracked mirror together this morning, but the frame somehow ended up around my neck.
Didus ineptus.
Ah well. Bit by bit.

I have until Oct. 29 to get it ship-shape.
Thanks for coming in to comment.


p.s. And all this time they want me to be a public speaker at anti-poverty gatherings.
Oh man, do I qualify!
Hope I can do it with no smokes.
Nervous speaker.


Josie said...

Ivan, trust me, stock up on those Magic Erasers, roll up your sleeves, and it will clean - like magic.

You can rent a carpet cleaner at Safeway as well.

You can do it, you can do it! said...

Cleanliness is next to godliness! :)

Josie said...

Remember to get LOTS of SOS. You can use that to scrub out your bathtub, scrub tiles, countertops, stove, etc., etc. Get two or three big boxes, because that, combined with the Magic Eraser will do the trick, along with a lot of elbow grease of course. I scrubbed my bathtub and the shower tiles with SOS on the weekend, and everything sparkles. Just wet the SOS bit and get some suds.

Keep us posted. said...

SOS rubs the enamel off bathtubs, no?

Josie said...

No. It rubs the grunge off bathtubs and leaves them sparkling. Make sure the SOS is wet and foaming, though. Use in the faucets, bathroom sink, floor, shower tiles, etc. In the kitchen use it on everything where there is any splatter from cooking, etc. Use it on the sinks. Buy lots, use lots. Make sure you also have a clean, wet cloth to go over everything afterwards. Gets everything clean with the least amount of elbow grease. Trust me. I'm Dutch :-) said...


Funny you should say that.

The original cover illustration of my Black Icon novel had a woman on it, wearing a poke bonnet, a lot like the Old Dutch lady.

Anyway, I'll try the S.O.S. They're cheap.

Josie said...

Make sure you buy enough. Buy LOTS. Use LOTS.

Gledwood said...

I always call it the year of the swine... said...


No shortage of animals on your blog.

Don't sit on those poor little hamsters. said...

First thing in the morning, Josie.

Just came back from my ten mile walk.

Seems easier to walk than to work. :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

I welcome you to the Animal Farm where pigs rule. So quit your swining and enjoy your mess!

I am Henry the Eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am I am. That is -- Henry James R. Thumbprints. I am I am.

Pass the ham.

Josie said...

JR's comments always crack me up.

Sooo, Ivan, did you buy lots of SOS? Fantastic with bleach? Mr. Clean Magic Eraser?

Got elbow grease?

Get scrubbin'

Keep me posted. E-mail me if you have any questions. said...

Oh, JR!

I just got to use this takeoff on Descartes:

I think, therefore I ham.

(Meaner'n peach orchard shoat!) said...


I got to cash in all my old beer bottles to buy the SOS pads.

No wonder I'm wobbling as Quark leader.

My only weak rationale is that the great Russian authors I.S. Turgenev also wrote a story on dumpster diving, and Lone Grey Squirrel was sagacious enought to dig it up and put it on his blog some time ago.

So I am in a league with Turgenev?
I wish!

Getting the soap pads firs thing in the morning, Josie!


the walking man said...

If a pig has no mud and shit to stand in it will diebecause it's sweat glands are in it's feet. Are you trying to commint suicide by cleaning your sty? stop1tand in the shit and look around, you know it's not that bad. Besides you're cool now, what will you be afterwards? Canadian Bacon?



Danny Tagalog said...

Hi Ivan,

I've missed reading your blog. You made me laugh out very loud after a long day. Thanks you swine! You made me think about Baconian Ciphers - hows about a post with a Baconian twist?

From: aaabbaaaaaabbaaabbaa baabaaaaaaaabaaaaaaaababaabbaaaabba said...

That's quite an insight, Mark.

I have seen it written somewhere that a man migh avoid a whole lot of shit if he only had stayed in his room.

Ivan said...

Hi Danny, and welcome back.

Everytime I google something these days I end up with spam--I think it's the way I type: hit all sorts of keys I'm not supposed to.

Anyway, I like to think of myself as a Baconian scholar and Bacon says always work on the stuff rather than the abstract or that which is already known.

So I work on sh*t?

Ah well. Deal with the specific and the immediate, I say, along with Bacon.
Brining home the bacon! :) said...


All the above being said, you are absolutely right abut the SOS pads.

I just looked at my bathroom tiles.

It is obvious that I am not Dashing Pierre of the Lafayette Escadrille.
More like Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lautrecs all over the tiles.

Men are swine.

Getting busy with the SOS pads.

Josie said...

Ivan, roll up your sleeves, and scrub away... SOS will transform your place. Just be sure you have a clean cloth to wipe everything off afterwards. said...

No prob, Josie.

Getting the SOS.

...And lots of ratty shorts in my laundry basket for wipes.

Josie said...

Wouldn't that sort of defeat the purpose? Do you have any old towels you can shred into cleaning cloths?


You're such a bachelor :-)

eamonroe said...

Fear the Baconator. That's a slogan on the Wendy's sign in N-town.
Drink more beer then you'll have more bottles to sell. ;-)

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

umm click said...


Wendy's is back big-time?

I remember the sort of American Graffiti layout they had here in Newmarket ON in l973.

Ah the Baconator!

But I am a pig.

I am delicious.

People are after me! :) said...



That old arrow. said...

People are after me!

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

after you?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Bite the burger.... eat the sandwich and then lick you lips all the while saying.... suckers!

benjibopper said...

ah, blogging addictions. i almost kicked mine. then i held back, and it kicked me and kicked me again while i was down, the dirty pig.

have you seen the little piggies?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Yes Benji,

I ate them, I ate them all. I am going to get fat just like them. Think some spider will write words in a web for me? said...


This little piggie went to market.
This little piggie got a rejection.

This little piggie most disgruntled.

Josie said...

All this talk about food, I'm getting hungry. I'm going to have some beef bourguignon.

How's your house, Ivan? Any cleaner? said...


Starting it.
Burned myself out on the ten mile walk. Have a speaking engagement tomorrow.

I am giving a speech on Seniors' poverty. Mayor will be there. MP (assemblyman) will be there. Press will be there.
Whee! Talk about research.
I am an impoverished senior.

But I'll get at those bathroom tiles first thing in the morning.
Got the pads, got the Glads. said...

Tara hungry.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Tara says click me said...

Shades of the Seventies.

Midnight Special.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

love the music.... then it took talent... now... anything goes... what a waste. said...

You don't like P. Diddy--or whatever he calls himself?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I would rather sit on a beehive then listen to Mr. whatever and I am allergic to bees.

Give me some Bread, England Dan, Paul Davis, old style Chicago or some James Taylor... we can talk music and talent then. said...

Well, today it's more like

Hi Jiggie Jiggie.
Make it with a piggy

eric1313 said...

You really hammed it up in this one, Ivan. Made me want to get the pork chops out.

Pearls before swine--dirty wisdom for all ages and all times.

We should co-write the Blogger Diaries. We could write the whole thing with disjointed chapters written like posts.

I thought my appartment was bad. I've been in so many hotel rooms, I'm addicted to the smell of the stuff you sprinkle on carpets to pretend like everything's clean.



You dig old Chicago?

I love the song "Leto" (I think that's how it's spelled, at least the name in the Greek myth is that way.

Leto was Zeus's first wife. She was the Virgin Mary before christianity. She was the sad faced lady of eternal forgiveness, light blue robes and white head scarf, almost exactly how the Virgin Mary id depicted.

Solomon said "There is nothing new under the sun."

He was so right on. That's why we can write about anythng we want--even porcine maddness, the kind peculiar to mankind.

Later on, both of you.

peace out.

eric1313 said...

Don't mind my middle of the night ruminations, y'all.

Just me and my keyboard and my bi polar issues. said...

I think the explorer Amudsen had bi-polar issues.

You are in good company. :)

Ivan said...


I'm into the the bay of pigs still.

Doing the Hamlet again.

Sorry. :)

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Morning Ivan, everyone said...

Good mornigng, Tara.

Eric still up?

Josie, I got the SOS pads.

Making inroads on pig pen here.

Finding old cigarette butts.


Nicotine fit. Bouncing off walls, rag in hand.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I would have come and helped you, but you would have to promise to watch

We are only about 8 hours apart. said...

Ode dear!

In the middle of all this cleaning, sudden commitments.

Have to find mooney, get smokes, make speech, play guitar at anti-poverty rally.

Preach the Holy Bible according to Fender. Crack spine.

And Eric thinks he's manic.

Ivan said...

Switching from Mr. Clean to White Rabbit.
I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!


eric1313 said...

Love the Amudsen joke. I'm snow blind, too. Got anything to say about that?

I put my insanity to work for me. It's just starting to pay off, too. Banking on being bonkers forever.

See, you have a good friend in Tara. She'll clean up and you can just watch. How kind is that? :)

Josie said...

Ivan, why don't you get rid of the piggy post, and tell us about your speech?

Shesawriter said...

"Swine Lake is in my repertory."

Oh, no you di--ent. ROFLMAO! This is bad, Ivan. Real bad.

Sienna said...

You have Mr Clean and Safeway over there! I use Mr Clean, also bicarb of soda paste as general cleaner, cheap and effective...

I don't think it's very nice the lady walking in on your apartment without giving you notice, people shouldn't be able to do that; anyway you sound like you are winning there...I laughed so much about you exercising with Jane Fonda!!

As ever Ivan so funny, so damn well written...I do not know of anyone who could write on this topic with such humor and bittersweet talent.

....and if all else fails answer the door (the day of inspection?) naked, show them around in your birthday suit, (act cool) to be sure they will approach you delicately. :-)

Pam said...


Ever see a Pole vault?

Gevolt! said...


I am into heavy literature, in the Tradition of Aldous Huxley.

Let's see now...

"After Many a Summer Dies the Swine."



Bad again. Real bad. :) said...

Josie, Josie,

You want me to take out the pig blog?

For some reason, I think of the l968 riots in Chicago I was once asked to cover.
Great felon Jean Genet came over from France, for Esquire Magazine. He was almost out of breath because of "the thighs on those Chicago policemen."
Hundreds of hippies were beaten up, and they even batoned an older lady with an umbrella who kept yelling, SooWee! Off the Pig!"

Swinish, no?

(Okay, okay...I get gonged for that one) :) said...


One day as a public speaker, paparazzi after me, high on adrenaline and even higher when they introduced me as an influential author(besides being a journeyman dumpster diver--I had to speak to an anti-poverty group).

Hey Britney--do you get celebrity burn-out too?...I mean, I have been at this for only one day and I'm already fried.

Canadian song by Deep Blue Sea:

"When I get up, I can't come down."

Sitting here bolt upright, with a gallon of wine--and I still can't come down.
Infamy comes to Ivan! said...


I don't know if you get Saturday Night Live reruns in Australia, but there is a skit with Will Ferrel showing up at a board meeting and wearing nothing but a thong.
The actress Rachel Drach is very short and half the time she seemed to be talking to little Will.

eric1313 said...

I can't see a pole vault--I'm snow blind and hyper as a cheetah on amphetamines.

Sorry to sound brusk I should have indicated I was laughing.

Crazy Ivan? Meet Nutjob Eric.


It's a good kind of insanity.
;) said...

Lone Ranger and Tonto pursued by angry Indians.

Tonto says to LR,

What you mean we , white man?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I think I am losing I.Q. points and if I am, does this mean I will have to give up my mensa card?

Because I am confused! said...


Probably just Eric and I.

Two nuts in a pod?

See? I said "Eric and I", showing my low IQ. :) said...

p.s. to Tara,

I think Josie clocks in at 145.

I think that's in the top percentile as well.
She is not card-carrying, however.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Well she should be. It isn't that hard and her I.Q. is high enough. I knew I had brilliant people around me. said...

I don't quite know what Stanford-Binet actually found. But there's something there all right.
I used to impress teachers when I was younger--but that was a long time ago.
Too many cultures, too many languages.