Crude Observations

Trick or Treat…

It’s Blog time, time for a super scary Halloween edition filled with spooks, ghosts and surprises. Terrors both large and small, the usual litany of candy and trick or treating fun and, for those who want such things, scathing social commentary!


OK, maybe not so much that. It’s been an exhausting run the last few months and I’m not sure I’m fully up to the task. Maybe 62% of the way there, even though I feel like I’m only running at 38% efficiency. I guess that means that my dilithium crystals are only at 24%.


Hmm, random thought that just occurred to me. Do you think that, as former and fellow Montrealer and fellow West Hill High School alumni William (the “Shat”) Shatner was hurtling into space aboard Jeff Bezos’s space “unit”, the erstwhile Captain Kirk was able to radio to the engineers at launch control and say “Scottie, I. Need. More. Power.”? Because that would have been kinda cool.


But enough digression. That is just one of the many events I have missed in the last few months as I allowed myself to be dragged into the swamp of electoral despair and dysfunction.


Not only that, we closed a large and complicated transaction during that time, with the rush to close consuming much of my time leading up to last Friday’s official close. This, of course, is textbook distraction and why the quality of the blog has been so decidedly hit and miss these last few weeks. That whole “doing my day job” thing.


Oh, and in case you were wondering (shameless self-promotion coming in 3, 2, 1…) this is the deal we closed. In the energy space no less! With unexpectedly aggressive financial support. A super deal all around.


Super exciting, but now back to Halloween and the traditional and annual trick or treating trip around the neighbourhood.


First a refresher, for the old timers like me. Remember trick or treating back in the day? Running around the neighbourhood like the hyperactive sugar-mainlining little twerps we all were, stomping on old Mrs McGoo’s flowers, tearing from house to house, especially the house that gave out full chocolate bars and regular-sized bags of Hickory Sticks (that’s my house BTW)? Avoiding the houses that had lousy candy, ringing the bell at the dark house just in case and generally plotting with friends about all the ones you were going to hit, many of which had nicknames? Well, that’s what we’re doing today, folks.


A little trick or treating in my favourite energized and policized neighbourhood. COVID or no COVID, we are making the rounds and when that is done, I’m going home to carve a pumpkin.


The Saudi House – Everyone knows this house. It’s the biggest house on the block and the fence is made of gold. It’s the first one all the kids go to just in case they run out, which never happens, because they have the biggest candy reserves in the world and always hold some back in reserve. There are always fancy cars parked out front and they set the tone for a lot of the other wannabes in the neighbourhood. Last year they were rationing a bit but this year rumour has it that as the night goes on they will give out just a little more to keep the kids coming. Most years they also give cash, targeting somewhere between $75 and $85 per trick or treater. Last year it was only $40. But they seem totally flush this year, so open that bag wide.


The Russia House – Let’s face it, anything from this place is bound to be a trick. Whether it’s talking about handing out less candy but then giving you a handful, stealing people’s mail or pirating your wifi, this is the house that everyone avoids because it’s weird, creepy and the bald guy who lives there is never wearing a shirt which scares all the kids. Plus, they have a bear. And the bald guy is always, I mean always, wrestling the damn bear. Don’t even get me started about the giant flare stack that is always burning.


Trump House (formerly known as Mar-A-Lago)  –  This is the giant, glitzy place you go to if you want to get “Yuge” chocolate bars and regular-sized bags of chips. Except on closer inspection, you realize that you have low quality Made in China, tariff exempt mini-bars and Chipz that not even the local dollar store will stock.  Combine that with the crazy old man with the orange make-up and crazy hair who yells at you from inside, tells off-colour jokes and wants to share his half-eaten KFC with you, it’s easy to see why this place gets less popular as the night wears on. Late arrivers often see the man sitting in an enormous gold chair furiously typing into his smartphone.



Giuliani House – this place has always been on the block, but no one ever went there because the old man living there was either quite literally crazy or off on some weirdo junket to Ukraine or Vienna or some other European capital to try and dig up dirt on perceived “enemies”. That said, the kids know that if you catch him on the right day and the right and can sit through the conspiracy theories and inexplicable security breaches, you’re likely to score some good treats, but a word of warning, be prepared to hide the liquor from your parents.


Clinton Manor – Oy, well yeah you can get treats here, but it’s that weird and awkward house where the earnest old lady lives (who may or may not have a husband, but for sure has a cat) who tries to make too much awkward conversation about how she used to be “a big deal” before eventually giving you a precisely allocated single candy (usually a nougat or Werthers) and maybe a few pennies or a toothbrush. Plus, through the open door, the house smells vaguely of some kind of slow cooking food (if you’ve ever had a paper route and had to collect money, you know the smell). Regardless, you don’t mind stopping by because you just know she’s lonely as can be and wants to stay relevant in the neighbourhood.


Biden House – Free Hugs! This house is a new addition to the neighbourhood run. The guy who lives there is old and a bit weird, but it seems like his heart is in the right place and he uses words like “son of a gun” and “malarkey” so you feel obligated to stick around and have an old-timey conversation with him. His candy choices are a bit dated – candy corn, taffy, and bags of popcorn – but the electric vehicle subsidy card is legit cash that you can apply to getting your very own Tesla.


Speaking of which, another new house is the Elon House. This one is clearly owned by some self-involved rich dude, as it is plastered with pictures of himself and has a news reel playing on an outside monitor celebrating his many achievements. Like all trick or treaters it’s disappointing to only receive a piece of paper, but hey, how bad can an out of the money call option on Tesla stock be? All you have to do is announce an unfunded purchase of 100,000 vehicles to pump the stock up by the market cap of Nissan.


Crypto House – this place is filled with flashing lights and super-caffeinated post-millenials and Generation Z get rich quick schemers. If you can’t fill up your Unicef digital wallet here with at least 100 Doge Coins, you’re a rookie. It’s only when you leave that you notice that house is built with playing cards on sink hole, but you have your NFT of some wannabe influencer posing with an Instagram model so whatever, right? You’re in the money. For now.


Meta House – Formerly known as the faceclock house, you can’t decide when you get there whether the guy who answers the door is trying deliberately to look like Data from Star Trek or HP Lovecraft. It only gets stranger when you look inside the house and see some weird AR projection thing happening and realize that the house, the person, the yard and everything else is not actually there, including the stairs you climbed to get to the balcony and knock on the front door! Crash. Ouch. That metaphysical metapmorphosis hurt a meta lot.


Permian House – this place used to be where it was at. Once upon a time it was party central with music and lights are going at all hours. All the kids in the neighbourhood wanted a piece of whatever was going on there and the line-ups were always huge. This year the candy bowl is empty and the dude who answers the door in his bathrobe says they are trying to save money and all they can hand out is dividends and an offer to buy back candy they gave you in prior years. As you sadly turn away you notice that someone has emptied your treat bag and stolen all the Dogecoin you got from the Crypto house.


Trudeau House – we all know this place. It’s the one that tries too hard. Too many decorations, lights, skeletons, the whole nine yards. Every time the bell rings, the owner in full costume jumps out from behind a bush and more likely than not proceeds to take a selfie and compliment you effusively about how great you look and how awesome Halloween is before retreating back to his hiding spot to lie in wait for the next unsuspecting kid who comes along. This year, you have to suffer through a survey where he is trying to be voted the most popular house on the block. Except you refuse to be fooled again like you were in 2015, so you vote strategically and his useless survey comes back with the same result as in 2019 when you got suckered into the same vote. While you did get a giant chocolate bar, it all felt a little off when you were asked to regift it to the WE charity. At times like this it feels like this may be the last time you get to visit this house. One can only hope.


Pipeline House – Only about half the kids go to this house mainly because it regularly disappoints. Last year, the kids were all promised full size bags of jelly-bellies and a candy bar if they stopped by and sure enough, the house was soon surrounded by a group of local moms protesting sugar. This year, the house is one giant construction site with crews working 24/7 on not one but three houses on the property, one of which looks like it was recently completed. While on the outside, it may not seem worth it to go to this house, the payoff can be massive. It’s highly recommended.


Oil Sands House – this house was the place to be and be seen way back about five years ago but in recent years seems to have fallen on some hard times. Back in the day, it was almost as madcap as the Permian House down the block, but now it is much more reserved. You can still get some pretty good loot there, they are just slower to hand it over and it’s accompanied by a small lecture about how they weren’t being paid as much as everyone else and how that is unfair. That said, if you look around, you will notice a new electric vehicle in the garage, a smiling banker in the driveway and a trench dug between this house and Pipeline house. Something is going on.


Quebec House – This house is confusing because all the signs are in French, but if you are patient, you will be rewarded by a steaming to-go package of… poutine and rotisserie chicken? Really? Oh well. At least this year they aren’t lecturing us about separation and not wanting fossil fuels and… Oh wait…


Natural Gas House – Everyone knows this house. It’s the one that starts the crazy rumours that this is the year they will have the dominant candy drop on the street. Big chocolates, bags of chips, you name it. Fabulous decorations. Then, by the time you get to it, the porch light is on, no one is home and there is a bowl full of those horrible toffee candies with the wax wrappers and a sign saying: “please take one only”. Except this year. This year is going to be different I swear. Big bags of loot! All you can eat! Riches and moneys galore! You’ll see! Really.



Environment house – this is the house that the hipster environmental couple rents. They have two vehicles, a Subaru wagon with a bike rack and a subsidized Tesla SUV. There’s a Greenpeace sign in the window. Stephen Guilbeault at one time rented this house on Air BnB. Used to be these two were always away at important conferences, then they went to Zoom because of the pandemic but now all bets are off and off to Glasgow they go for COP2326. Due to supply chain issues, this year they are unable to source their usual free-trade organic hemp and stevia candies that you would usually toss into their xeriscaped garden, so instead every trick or treater gets a cup of mushroom tea, a bath bomb and an EV subsidy.


Alberta House – this used to be my house, but now it appears it’s occupied by squatters. No one is actually sure what is going on in this house anymore. They don’t have any candy, but the lights are on. There are a bunch of guys sitting on the porch on their phones, drinking whiskey and sending out mean tweets. Inside there are another bunch of guys that actually want to hand out candy but can’t decide if all they should hand out is the same old stuff from years past or some of the great new stuff they have. There is a vote of some kind trying to decide if they should keep the candy for themselves or let someone else hand it out. A sub-group wants to know who all these freeloaders are who want candy. A neighbourhood survey says less than 25% of kids are even thinking of stopping at this house. One can be forgiven for deciding that by the time they figure out what they’re doing, most of the kids have already passed them by and trick or treating is done.


Pandemic House – these are the people who are over the top concerned about the pandemic, weren’t sure about trick or treating, agonized for days on how to do it according to the rules and have reluctantly allowed their kids to leave the house and safely beg for candy around the neighbourhood dressed as the Boy in the Bubble (love ya in that role Travolta) or masked up like a plague doctor or Wild West bank robber. This year they are handing out hermetically sealed and disinfected candy wrapped in self-sanitizing zip lock bags and distributed to trick or treaters through a PVC pipe which is connected to a self-loading wheel serviced by junior’s electric train. There is a rumour that some of the older kids went to a house-party dressed as “sexy nurses” and found themselves recruited to work in the ICU. Dad is following the kids around, wearing a mask, triple vaxed and alone, with a radio flyer wagon overflowing with candy. Meanwhile, mom and her friends are on the front lawn, maskless and getting hammered in front of a communal firepit. What a world.


Happy pumpkin day one and all! See you in a week.

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