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A typical Canadian dinner is eaten in four courses –a starch course, a meat course, a root vegetable course, and a doughnut course. The meal is generally inaugurated with a portion of toasted, lightly salted tree bark. (In certain northern areas of Canada, most notably Newfoundland, where strict laws prohibit deforestation for culinary purposes, a variation of this appetizer can be found. Here, instead of tree bark, one traditionally serves losing lottery tickets.)

Be careful! Please resist the temptation to fill up on tree bark because in Canada, where martial law has been imposed since 1973, it is considered a federal crime to refuse meat. This might explain why a member of The Royal Canadian Queen’s Protectorate – Canada’s equivalent of the National Guard - serves the meat course while armed sentries block all possible exits, with shoot-to-kill instructions. (Waiters in many of Canada’s four-star restaurants are required to complete six months of military training and two weeks of sommelier instruction before serving food or shooting civilians.)

If entertaining Canadians in your home, restaurant, or international airport detention cell, the best way to cure their homesick blues is by preparing a large plate of Goulet Frâiche. Goulet Frâiche is as basic as Canadians themselves. It is essentially a three-pound roast of beef stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, dried leaves, and several microscopic cameras. The cameras are, of course, used to record evidence of the meat being ingested by each diner. Once the meat’s evacuation from the body has been video-documented and an official statement contending this fact is signed and notarized, the armed sentries flip their high-powered rifles to the “safety” position in perfect synchronization, exit and regroup in another location where meat is being served, and the next course is readied.

While elk is the meat that most commonly anchors Goulet Frâiche, it is not cheap and can actually be very dear out of season. Canadians who can provide proof that their mean household income falls below 3 million Canadian dollars (this is equivalent to roughly 9,000 American dollars) are allowed substitutions. For instance, with the proper licenses, they can prepare Goulet Frâiche with beaver or housecat, provided they affix a small set of antlers to the animal’s head before slaughtering it. The antlers are available in most supermarkets or, in the United States, at most specialty Canadian import markets. (The unauthorized Michael Ironside biography,The Guy from Scanners, is also available exclusively at these import markets.)

After meat, dinner guests are presented with course number three – root vegetables. Usually, a photograph of carrots or beets will suffice. When presented with the photograph the guest may proclaim, “lovely”, as is customary, then douse the image in kerosene, ignite it on a clean dinner plate and, once its ashes are removed from the table, doughnuts are served.

The doughnut course is rather unspectacular, except for one noteworthy detail. There are no restrictions or preferences regarding the correct type of doughnuts to serve. However, choosing a cinnamon-powdered doughnut is punishable by death according to Canadian laws. The upside of this is Canadians are permitted to choose their own form of capital punishment and most citizens choose death by tongue bath. Bon Appetit! Or, as Canadians say, “Eat quickly, and then get out of my face, dickhole.” (It should be noted that this is usually said under some duress.)

The art of tattooing is exactly as old as the advent of alcohol. Early Man had neither the excellent technology nor the seemingly unlimited number of design choices the contemporary tattoo artist has at the ready, but he had friends in the Navy and the rest is history. The first caveman tattoo designs were, if you'll forgive me, primitive and limited to things like stick figures throwing spears at dinosaurs, or three crooked, almost parallel lines, or a small rose. However, most people felt superstitious about tattoos and preferred more accessible fashions - deep gashes filled with dung were very popular.

It wasn’t until almost three hundred years later – in the late nineteenth century – that tattoos became widely fashionable among the world’s tastemakers. Well-known historical figures with tattoos included Clara Barton (on her thigh - the grim reaper); Robert E. Lee (across his shoulder blades - “Born To Lose”); and Toulouse Lautrec (on his upper-arm – “Born Toulouse”). (That sentence also marks the occasion of my worst joke of 2001. Light a candle, please.)

Then, inexplicably, throughout most of the twentieth century, tattoos went through yet another dark period. They became a form of decoration common among roughneck sailors, drifters, and motorcycle gangs and carried with them very negative associations until the late nineteen-eighties. Suddenly a tattoo renaissance began and even now, fifty years later, tattoos remain with every type of individual, providing that individual practices witchcraft.

A lot of myths surrounding tattooing have kept some of the more sensitive witches and warlocks and sorority pledges out of tattoo chairs. Here’s a common one: the more color you get in your design, the more it hurts. Well, it is true that yellow hurts more than purple but it’s actually not the large blocks of color that you have to be concerned about; it’s the dumb designs. The more foolish the design, the more pain you should expect. For instance, even a full-sleeve design depicting a flaming skull with bleeding eye sockets rising from a ghost-filled graveyard and biting into the actual flesh of the tattoo-wearer’s arm will cause almost no pain, while a tiny blue dolphin on your ankle could put you in a coma for up to three weeks. Tribal “cuff” tattoos are painless if you’re a member of an actual tribe but if the tribe you belong to is called “Morgan Stanley”, getting a tribal tattoo has been known to cause renal failure and long periods of regret.

Not sure what kind of design suits you best? Who is, honestly? But it’s not like it’s permanent, so have fun. If you’re still stuck for ideas, here are some reliable suggestions. A heavily detailed butterfly design looks great on ladies and gay Asian men. If you’re over 70 years old, you should consider something like a full-back treasure map leading to the Nazi gold, or instructions for self-administering insulin. (Be sure to get it tattooed large on backwards, so you can read it in the mirror.) And if you’re a teenage boy, consider this very popular idea: Mount Rushmore, with the heads of our nation’s great presidents replaced with likenesses of Fred Durst, Jet Li, Wolverine, and Harrison Ford. (Because, with respect to this nation’s great history, you should still include at least one President.)

I can’t even touch this one.


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