Another edition of Stories from Reddit, I present to you Sal the Duck, Private Eye. The concept was born from the mind of /u/Darth_Dave, who suggested the above image depicted “Sal the Duck, Private Eye, and her long suffering but good-natured sidekick Daisy take on The Case of the Stolen Front Lawn!”
It was a hot night in the old city. The rain had stopped, but it hadn’t cooled anything. It only raised the humidity, and with the humidity came the stench of the streets. Sal sat at his desk fanning himself with his foot. He rolled a glass of scotch on the rocks across his forehead, and watched, riveted, as a single drop of condensation trickled off the glass and down his bill. The tiny bead of water reached the tip an just hung there the way a no-good dame hangs around and just can’t be shook. Sal stared at the drop, but it wasn’t moving. Nothing was happening tonight, it was like the whole world was holding its breath.
“It’s too quacking hot to be sitting in this quack-hole of an office,” Sal said.
Daisy groaned, but lay motionless except for one eye, which rolled to gaze in Sal’s direction. She looked worse off than Sal, laying on the floor, her breathing coming in short, quick pants. After a moment, the effort of keeping that one eye on Sal grew too much, and Daisy went back to staring ahead, off into the distance, far beyond the walls of the tiny office.
Too hot. Too hot to walk home, Sal figured. The heat was supposed to break, but not tonight, nothing was happening tonight. Even if it did break, it would take half a week for Sal’s down to dry; everything below the neck was matted and sticky. At the thought, Sal bent his head to itch under his wing, trying to fluff apart his plume, get some air in there maybe. It was no use. As soon as he stopped, he could feel the sweaty leather holster flatten the feathers again, the weight of the .22 sealing in the heat. It was unbearable, but he wouldn’t remove it. Wouldn’t make that mistake again.
Sal looked over at the bottle of scotch. The rocks were gone now, but maybe the heat of the liquor could make him forget the sweltering night air. He reached for it, but saw Daisy’s ears prick up. Sal froze watching Daisy, his wing outstretched, feathers so close to the bottle he could almost feel that reassuringly thick glass. Daisy’s ears, questioning at first, swiveled to pinpoint the direction of the sound. Next they began to twitch and rotate, tuning in the noise, analyzing it and assessing it against some innate catalog to determine quantity, class, and potential threat of whatever was causing the disturbance. Sal pulled his wing back, never taking his eyes off Daisy. She might be getting old and slow, wasn’t much in a gunfight, but she was good, better than an Indian. She’d gotten him out of more tight jams than he could remember.
Daisy groaned once more and slowly, laboriously got to her feet to face the door. Sal heard it now too, coming down the hall. Footsteps, light and very slow. When they reached his door, he could see a tall shadow fall across the frosted window of his door. It was curved, curved like a question mark. Sal had only a brief moment to register this thought before the door swung wide.
Behind the door was a very tall drink of water, cool enough to make Sal forget the heat. She raised one long, glorious leg up into her outrageous pink feathered coat, leaned against the door, and lit a cigarette. The glow of the lighter danced across her face, turning it scarlet, the color of blood. The lady was gorgeous, the type of dame you only ever saw in magazines, usually smiling as they lounged next to bright blue pools or sunny summer beaches. Sal wondered what kind of luck had brought her to his doorway. Surely not the good kind.
“You Sal the Duck?” she said in a sultry voice that stopped taxis two blocks away.
Sal pulled his feet off the desk and stood up. With one wing he smoothed the feathers on the top of his head, with the other he grabbed the bottle of scotch and shoved it in his top drawer. “I’m Sal, that’s Daisy.”
Without turning her head, the Lady in Pink glanced down at Daisy then dismissed her with one slow blink as she turned her gaze back to Sal. The small, polite wagging of Daisy’s tale stopped, but she said nothing.
“I heard you used to be a cop,” the Lady in Pink said.
“They said you couldn’t cut it. Official word was flat feet, honorable discharge.” She took a long drag on her cigarette before continuing. “But word is, you weren’t a good cop. You were a bad cop.”
A barely audible growl came from Daisy. The Lady in Pink turned her head slowly, staring down her beak in a look of contempt. Sid broke the tension.
“Guilty as charged.” He held one webbed foot aloft. “Feet always were flat as quacking five-dollar bills. Never stopped me nabbing my collars, though. Let’s just say me and the force were not birds of a feather.”
The Lady in Pink blew a cloud of blue smoke at the ceiling and looked sideways at Sal. “You’re funny, Sal. I like you.”
Another low growl from Daisy, and her tail began to curl up behind her. Sal moved quickly around his desk to stand between them. “What brings you here on the ugliest night of this god-forsaken summer?”
“I am in need of some… *special* services. Not the type of services a good cop can help with.” She looked into Sal’s eyes and held them, reaching down to touch his shoulders with two beautiful pink wings. “I need a bad cop, Sal. Are you the duck I’m looking for?”
Sal, straining his neck to look up into the Lady in Pink’s eyes, gulped against a dry throat. “I’m just the duck you need, lady. Just the duck you need.”
Daisy groaned and stalked into the corner behind Sal’s desk, flopping noisily against the walls and floor, grunting each time she shifted until she buried her nose in her paws. She raised her eyebrows, giving one last questioning look at Sal. His head rose out of the feathers of the pink nightmare, but her eyes held him tighter than her wings. Daisy groaned again, in disapproval, and in resignation.
If you haven’t ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life, or even if you have seen it, but don’t remember it well, do yourself a favour and go watch it. It is one of those somewhat rare classic films which still holds up amazingly well today. More than that, it isn’t at all the sappy, corny movie that most people assume it is or mis-remember it as.
Far from the cinematic snow-globe that most people mis-categorize it as, It’s a Wonderful Life is surprisingly dark, very witty, and truly entertaining.
Whether they’ve seen it or not, most know it for Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey running through Bedford Falls, yelling “Merry Christmas!”; and of course for the sacharine-sweet Zuzu proclaiming “Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!”; all culminating with the tearful reprise of Auld Lang Syne. Those are the images that everybody –everybody who doesn’t remember the film well– recalls immediately upon hearing its name. And I’d agree, if those scenes were indicative of the overall tone of the movie, it would indeed be a sappy mess, hardly worth watching, save for when you desperately need a simple and sweet bit of holiday fluff.
But that is not the feel of the movie! Far from the cinematic snow-globe that most mis-categorize it as, It’s a Wonderful Life is surprisingly dark, very witty, and truly entertaining. The film is thoroughly rewarding even to more refined modern-day audiences. And while it has been elevated to Christmas canon, very little of it actually occurs around Christmastime, and it certainly isn’t your standard holiday fare.
The first two hours of the film are a long, dark study in the psychological torture of George Bailey.
The reason for the dissonance between the perception and the reality of the film is obvious; for decades television network and advertising executives have slavishly adhered to the Law of Classic Films, the law mandating that all, and only, the most clichéd moments of classic films must be repeated, ad nauseum, in every advertisement or reference to said films.
What makes It’s a Wonderful Life such a surprise to the first-time viewer is that, while its runtime is a hearty 130 minutes, all of those oft-remembered, oft-rehashed, and awfully sweet moments occur in the final 7 minutes of the film. While the final few minutes are indeed a super-concentrated distillation of the essence of Christmas, they serve as a well-balanced counterpoint, a satisfying glaze, too sweet on its own, but just perfect as the topper to the body of the film. These clichéd, over-sweet moments work so beautifully well, because the first two hours of the film are a long, dark study in the psychological torture of George Bailey.
For the fourth time in under twenty years, a work stoppage is affecting pro hockey. Four times since 1993, the NHL has locked out its players or officials. As the most recent lockout enters its fifth week, after having seen yet another season’s opening day come and gone without the drop of a puck, we find that hockey is once again held hostage in a billion dollar game of chicken, a stare-down of unparalleled avarice over percentage points, with the sport’s devoted fans caught squarely in the middle.
It’s the fans who are locked out of hockey.
Millionaires are haggling with multi-millionaires and billionaires over a difference of about 5% of revenue. According to The Globe and Mail, assuming the same growth since the last lockout, the NHLPA (the players) have offered a 4.3% smaller cut of revenue from what they took home last year. The NHL however won’t accept the 4.3% pay-cut, instead they demand a nearly 10% pay-cut over the next five years.
The Fan Lockout is a fight over cash, over how to split that last 5% of revenue per year, and that’s incredibly frustrating for a fan. I’m all for fair shares, and it seemed to me that hockey was booming over the past few years when the players’ cut was a lot more than what they’ve offered and had rejected by the NHL, so I can’t help but think it’s the NHL that’s acting exceedingly greedy in this case. Ultimately though, I don’t care which group of millionaires gets that remaining 5%, I just want to watch hockey.
With nothing to gain, regardless of who wins the financial showdown, it’s the fans who are locked out of hockey. We fans are the cash cow being fought over, and yet we have no stake in, and exercise no power over, the bargaining.
That needs to end. We need to stand together and refuse to be treated with so little regard. If we want to see hockey again this year, we must put pressure on the NHL.
Fans canceling cable for the duration of the lockout will light a fire under the NHL.
In July of 2011, I had PRK laser eye surgery done. Shortly before, I wrote up a Primer on PRK vs Lasik that the reader may find interesting (TL;DR: Lasik is a dodgy quick-fix, avoid it). Long before signing up for the surgery, long before going under the laser, I did a ton of research. I had been interested in having it done since 1998, and only got it done last Summer, when I thought the tech was finally there (I felt it had been for the past few years) and when I finally had the time and money.
This will be the first of several posts which serve as a journal detailing my experiences with PRK. I’ll update this page with links to the subsequent journal entries. I am also not going to argue the case of PRK vs Lasik any further in these accounts, but I am planning for sometime in the future a more comprehensive breakdown of the differences between PRK, Lasik, and the other forms of surgery.
I am not going to mention any names, as I don’t want my accounts to be mistaken for an endorsement for, nor a warning against, any particular surgery centres. Hopefully this information will be sufficient for any prospective patients to know what questions to ask of their PRK surgeon, and to know what they might be in for with the procedure.
It has been over 14 months since my PRK surgery, and I couldn’t be happier. I reached better than 20/20 vision three weeks after surgery, and have had practically no side-effects with my 20/15 vision since around the four-week mark. I was about -4 in each eye with an astigmatism of around 1.00. I see much better now than I did with glasses or contacts before and my eyes are actually less dry and less red than they were before surgery. I have had zero regrets about the procedure.
I love Instagram. And yet, I’m not very fond of the style of Instagram photos. I don’t share the vitriolic distaste that some have for the Instagram style; I simply don’t find the look to be to my taste whatsoever. Rather, it’s the appeal, the very phenomenon of its success, and the beautiful way in which it affects the way we view and appreciate digital photos that I find both fascinating and intriguing.
Instagram is more than just hipster douchebaggery.
It has a more primal draw.
On its surface, Instagram’s obvious appeal is its timely and trendy evocation of things retro. No doubt a large part of its meteoric success has been due to the fact that it not only oozes hipster-chic, the retro cool du jour, but it also makes masterful use of the very best of social media modernity. If there’s one thing hipsters like more than looking cool, it’s being able to look cool in front of their entire social circle.
But Instagram is more than just hipster douchebaggery. It has a more primal draw. Whereas the hyper-concious pursuit of what’s considered capital-C “Cool” is very cerebral, an activity requiring an agonizingly analytical approach by the Painfully Cool, Instagram speaks to us most strongly on a much deeper, more innate level.
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