Book Tagging Serendipity

Back cover of a book I found on a subway in Toronto…


“Time Bomb”; Rancid
Let me know if the video isn’t available.


How to play:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.




I’ve been tagged by Clare, and what Clare wants Clare gets. The idea is to find the book closest to you then turn to page 123, find the fifth sentence and quote the nest three sentences in a post on your blog and tag five more people.

The closest book to me at the moment is the telephone book…the next book is a copy of Dian3tics, but it looks like it was written in Russian and I can’t read Russian. Reaching out from there is a copy of Charles Bukowski’s posthumous “Sifting Through The Madness For The Word, The Line, The Way”. But the poem on page 123 is only five “sentences” long.

So the book closest to me which meets the Tag criteria is “The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar” by Janice Stein and Eugene Lang…


“As a bonus, Canadian industry might obtain significant industrial benefits from the project.

Those arguments do not exactly compute. BMD [Ballistic Missile Defence] had bipartisan support in the Congress and was no longer a wedge political issue. The system was gradually becoming acceptable to governments in Western Europe and Russia.”


And here are the five blogs I’m tagging:

Safer Waters;
Irregular Bones;
Tales From The Trailerpark;
Juggling Cats, and;
Psychiatric Survivor


This is the Bukowski poem on page 123 of “Sifting Through The Madness For The Word, The Line, The Way”… “I don’t think I’ll bother”:

driving back home
my ass didn’t hurt at
I punched on the radio, punched
in the lighter.
the lighter jumped out and I put it
to my cigarette.
there was a red light ahead.
I stopped.
there were 4 cars ahead of me
and a couple
and thankfully none of them knew a damned
thing about what had happened to
me and they never






About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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7 Responses to Book Tagging Serendipity

  1. Clare says:

    Ha! Perfect. I can’t wait for my postal prize!

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Don’t be fooled by the box, I used the one my external harddrive was packed in… the syrup’s from a sugar bush a few miles from here, it’s one of the oldest in Canada. Make sure your pancakes are worthy…

  3. raincoaster says:

    Typically enthralling Canadian nonfiction. Why does everything we produce read like a parody of itself?

  4. Gabriel... says:

    I kind of know what you’re saying… and I’m going to leave a long response because I love writing about this stuff.

    A lot of it has to do with maturity, Canada is very young. We don’t have the experiences to draw upon Other countries have. We haven’t even figured out when Canada was borne… 1867? Not really. And what we do Out There isn’t really that interesting… that book would be like reading about the year long adventures of a civil servant in point form.

    There’s also just not a large enough pool of good writers producing books about Canada. Pierre Berton was a great writer, but a lot of the reasoning behind holding him up as a Revered Canadian is he had no peers.

    Most books about Canada’s Foreign Policy are rarely anything more than partisan attacks against Other Canadians. Compare anything written over the past… well, infinity plus one years, by a Canadian about our place in the world to something like “Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies” by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, or the brilliant “Imperial Life In The Emerald City — Inside Iraq’s Green Zone” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and really, we’re producing literature with the heft and gravitas as Archie comic books.

    I do think “At Home In The World — Canada’s Global Vision For The 21st Century” by Jennifer Welsh is a very respectable Graphic Novel, however.

    I would defend Janice Stein’s book, however. I haven’t started it yet, but I have been listening to her and reading her for a long time… and she does give a Realists point of view on foreign affairs. And there is the astonishing revelation in the book about PM Chretien and his decision not to join America in the Iraq invasion.

    Chretien has always said that decision was the most important of his political career… but in Stein’s book it’s revealed the American government actually called Chretien three months Before he announced his decision to withhold Canadian troops, to say they didn’t want our troops involved…

    There is the whole “access to information” thing as well… Canada has a very secretive system of government, whereas the US and Britain are very open… people like Noam Chomsky, Thomas Ricks or Bob Woodward could never exist in Canada.

    Anyway… thanks, that was fun.

  5. alruiceis says:

    Your Russian page is about scientology. I can read enough Cyrillic to be able to transliterate into English and the only thing I made out was “L. Ron Hubbard.”

    Excuse my randomness and let me introduce myself: I’m a lurker, brought out of lurkerdom to offer my only bit of usefulness.

    Thanks for continuing to write and inspire.

  6. Gabriel... says:

    Hello Lurker…

    I don’t know about “inspire”… I’m just a dude who, after spending two hours playing GTA San Andreas, slacks off for the rest of the day.

    Thanks for the translation, I’m always impressed by people who can read Cyrillic… and even more impressed by people who know what transliterate means (until now I didn’t).

    The more opinions the better, so feel free to lurk and leave notes anytime…

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