Saturday, December 27, 2014


The intimate life of the neighbourhood.

Louis Shalako

This morning, I walked Mama Shalako’s dog Zoe. Then I took off and got coffee, smokes and et cetera. Five bucks worth of gas or something. Then I went for a walk along Canatara Beach. It’s at least a kilometre or more each way, from one end to the other by the yacht club. It’s all sand and it’s soft to walk on, and it also slows you down. The hard-packed stuff at the water’s edge is good to walk on, although it’s on an angle. If you have hip problems, or knee problems, it’s better to go higher up and follow trails that are closer to the level.

I did both on my recent walk. My right leg is about a half an inch shorter these days than my left one, so returning to the vehicle was all right along the shoreline.

Over the course of the day, walking the dog a couple of times, and walking at the park, I probably walked a good four kilometres. That’s not bad, especially considering my legs didn’t go numb, and while my hips can certainly feel it, there’s no major aches and pains. I’m 55 years old, suffered some back injuries when I was about thirty or so. I’ve had plenty of back pain and back problems. But it’s not just injuries. We spend far too much time in a chair, on a couch, or on a bed getting worked over by a chiropractor.

When people suffer back pain and the doctors can’t find a cause for it, that’s most likely at least one part of the problem—we are far too sedentary.

It wasn’t always that way, and in future, it might not always the way it is now; in my own particular case. Tomorrow might very well be different.

The weather is relatively good, and yet I don’t feel like riding my bicycle around town—holiday traffic, rain, wind and just plain overcast skies sort of take the charm out of that.

The point is, that today at least, I have seen a great improvement. The whole walking program arose, as such things do, out of sheer desperation.

We had two chilly summers in a row—and I like to swim. I like to cycle, and yes, every so often I drag my ass out of the car and walk a trail somewhere. The last couple of years were kind of disappointing in terms of low-budget physical stuff. So that’s where the walking initially started.

At first it was kind of bad—kind of painful and limited. I just kept going out, and some days I got pretty far into the bush. Some days I turned around and left early…

I have this little camera and I shoot to my heart’s content. It gives me a reason to be there, I suppose.

Old men need such comforts, the illusion that we are actually doing something.

The funny thing is, that if I walk on city pavements, concrete sidewalks, asphalt parking lots, polished terrazzo floors in local malls, etc., my legs would soon go numb. I would be numb from the waist down. Walking on a hard surface, wearing hard shoes, has an impact on the lower back.

There is a peculiar gait to someone who is actually going somewhere. I'm just some guy piddly-bopping along and wondering why we have to go for such long walks in the woods looking for some guy named Charley all the time.

Yeah, I know it is derivative—but it's good derivative.

Here’s something that’s weird about walking in crappy weather. I’m wearing two hoods. One, light cotton hoodie, and then the hood of my jacket.

After a while, the neck, shoulders and upper back sort of begin to nag at you. That’s because you have the weight of some of that clothing tugging on the top of your head as you walk, as you turn this way and that looking at birds or whatever. By springtime, the old neck will be ever so slightly stronger. This comes into play when cycling or swimming, in fact the first time you ride the bike you are always surprised by how much things like necks, shoulders, elbows and wrists can actually hurt…

By walking as often as possible, by getting up and away from this desk as much as possible, we’ve learned something about managing our bodies and our expectations in a way that resulted in an improvement.

It’s a process of experimenting on ourselves and seeing what happens.

Now, when spring rolls around, we might be in a little bit better shape to climb on that old bike and go for a ride.

Stronger legs, stronger hips and stronger lower back makes for stronger swimming. A stronger neck isn’t a bad thing either. There’s nothing wrong with oxygen, and putting our bodies out in the cold once in a while probably stimulates our immune system as well. (This is borne out by certain studies of runners, but with my back I simply don't run.)

Walking is a nice, light aerobic exercise, and the world of back streets at night, that more intimate little neighbourhood view, really comes alive sometimes. It's an entirely different perspective on the world.

It’s a lot different than seeing it from a car going by.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He Knows All About It.

Louis Shalako

He knows all about it.

He knows all about authority.

He knows all about bureaucrats.

He knows all about pain.

He knows all about pensions, and poverty, and deprivation.

He knows all about landlords.

He knows all about food banks.

He knows all about soup kitchens, and Christmas Hampers, and one hot meal a day.

He knows all about cops, and doctors and lawyers and judges, and public health officials.

He knows all about this town.

He knows all about its people.

And he knows all about being written off.

He knows all about tenements, and slumlords, and walking down the street, numb from the waist down.

He knows all about things that go bump in the night.

He knows all about losing his home.

He knows all about being booted.

He knows all about living in someone’s basement while he looks for another place.

He knows all about sleeping in his car.

He knows all about hunger and thirst, and the cold and the wet.

He knows all about the government.

He knows all about the insurance company.

He knows all about it, people—he knows all about it.

He knows all about you, doesn’t he?

He knows all about the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

He knows all about the ODSP and the CMHA and the OPP.

He knows all about it.

He knows all about the drop-in centre, and he knows all about your outreach program.

He knows all about a hot drink and one blanker per customer.

He knows all about Animal Control.

He knows all about men in white coats and carrying big nets.

He knows all about Tasers and .40 calibre Colts in a polished leather holster.

He knows all about N-5s and Form Ones and he knows all about the T-5000 once a year.

He knows he’d better not be late handing that in.

He knows all about his rights—and exactly what all that’s worth these days.

He knows exactly what he can do about it if he doesn’t like it.

He knows that nothing, absolutely nothing, is expected of him—nothing good that is.

He knows all of this very well indeed.

The only thing he doesn’t know is when it all might end.

He doesn’t know when there might be some relief.

He doesn’t know who might help him, or why they even should.

He doesn’t know how far he should go—or when he should go there.

He doesn’t know exactly where to draw that line in the sand.

He doesn’t know how to talk to you.

He doesn’t quite know how to get through to you people.

Until he figures that out, he really doesn’t know much at all, does he?


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thoughts On Love.

Louis Shalako

Once they’re in there, they’re in there for good.

You will never forget anyone that you have truly loved.

They are in your heart forever.

I can remember every person I ever had a crush on, too.

Even hatred fades with time, and age, or wisdom.

But love is the stronger force.

I’ve often wondered, what would happen.

If I ran into someone from a long time ago.

Would we even recognize each other?

What would it be like, after all this time?

We would be two completely different people—

And yet we would still be the same—wouldn’t we?

It is merely the circumstances that would be different.  

Would it rekindle, that old flame, that once was there?

Unless one or the other or both had really let ourselves go

It might be all right to find out.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Angst. Rubbed Raw, Ya'aw.

Canadian Film Centre. (Wiki.)

Louis Shalako


To be read in a kind of Chris Tucker/Fifth Element Kind of Voice

Other than that, really, it's quite all right.


There’s been just a whole lot of sturm und drang around here lately, Baby.

Oh, yeah

All kinds of angst.

It’s like some kind of God-damned (Gotterdamerung? – ed.)


Some kind of God-damned funeral pyre, a flaming blaze of glory.

Gesundheit, by the way.

(What? – ed.)

Never mind.

Anyhow, it really is a freakin’ soap opera ‘round here sometimes, Baby.

Soft soap, hard soap, soft shoes, the old Soupie Shuffle, whatever turns your crank, lady.


We be doing the Charleston, Baby.

Nose to nose

And eyeball to eyeball

Tender flesh

Rubbed raw.

All night, ya’aw?

Like dat, you know?

Got the time?

We go.

It’s just a little party on the floor

Only it gets worse from there.

‘Cause you got you a sweet little ‘magination there Baby, and it’s connected to the rest of ya


That’s all right.

Don’t worry ‘bout nuffin’

We is just gonna mind-meld for a while.

And then maybe you can tell me—

If you think it’s going to be all right.


Chris Tucker in Fifth Element. (Clip.)