Feb 092014

Jonah Glover's Super Bowl commercialJonah Glover on CNN. Click on the image to view the CNN News video.

I suppose now there is no reason to carry on with the magazine. We have reached the pinnacle. Frequent NC contributor Jonah Glover’s Super Bowl commercial (shown only on Canadian TV) has become the subject of a full-on report at CNN News. CNN even re-edited the commercial to put Jonah first. Makes you wonder what the hell you’ve been doing with your lives. You could too could be paid to be on TV and appear on CNN.

We are a bit mystified that Numéro Cinq is not mentioned by name in the coverage. The whole piece seems strangely obsessed with McDonald’s and chickens. After all, Jonah cut his teeth working for us. NC, breeding ground of the great and famous.

[Ed. Note. There is a takeaway from this. Not the jokes above. Jonah walked into the commercial his first day in Toronto last summer. He said sure. He signed a contract and got paid. He actually shot a second commercial. It was meant for Internet release. It was released. Barely noticed. Jonah had a fulltime job over the summer. No time to pursue this. Then suddenly the commercial appears during the Super Bowl. Then on CNN. It makes you smile. Life can be so various and astonishing sometimes, such a ride. Yes, it just makes you smile. Such a hoot. Nice to be alive and see it. There’s always more to the story.]


Feb 022014

At the 9-second mark, frequent NC contributor Jonah Glover appears. The last question. The guy with the sunglasses hanging from his shirt collar.

The commercial played on Canadian TV during the first ad break of the Super Bowl.

Jonah’s reaction: “Yes, well, now I’ve been in a Super Bowl commercial.”

A son makes good. Fatherly pride overflowing. (All those Method Acting classes. Sheesh.)

Next stop, the Academy Awards.

My work on earth is done.


Mar 132013


Jonah Glover contributes here the fourth in his series of romantic micro-memoirs & stories about charmingly maladroit young men and their quixotic misadventures in the Land of Teen Love. These used to be called his High School Romance Triptych, a comprehensive title that no longer works for obvious reasons. Since the series now seems to be ongoing ad infinitum, I give up on the comprehensive title thing. See also “The I(r)onic Bond: A Chemical Romance,”  “Talking to a 17-Year-Old Girl, When You are a 16-Year-Old Boy” and the ever-popular “Calculust: A Mathematical Romance.” To get a complete picture of his dangerous mind, read his epic one-sentence anti-romance “The Eunuch.”



I was sitting across from a girl at the library today and, though I was supposed to be studying, was completely preoccupied with trying to figure out if she was attractive.

After many attempts to situate myself in such a way that I could see her entirely, I got frustrated and tried to think of a way to get her to stand up.

Whether it was because I hadn’t gotten much sleep these last couple of days, or because I am a human male, I chose the least discreet method to get her to stand up.

While making eye contact, I reached across the table, picked up her pencil and threw it, maybe too far, away from the table. After staring for a few seconds, I covered up my actions by faking a stretch and yawning.

In a fury, I quickly picked up my bag and left.

But not before tripping on the chair and knocking her books off the table.

— Jonah Glover


Dec 162012

Jonah contributes here the third leg of his High School Romance Triptych. See also his earlier microstory “The I(r)onic Bond: A Chemical Romance”  and his memoir “Talking to a 17-Year-Old Girl, When You are a 16-Year-Old Boy”. To get a complete picture of his peculiar mind, read his epic one-sentence anti-romance “The Eunuch.”



This is an excerpt from my grade 12 math notebook. I have no recollection of writing it, but it’s in my hand writing.

…Her brown hair fell lightly on her shoulders as she spoke to us in the library multipurpose room. I passionately copied notes and feigned passionate interest in her revision of cosine curves and inverse functions. Hand up every moment. “Oohs” and “Ahhs” every time she made eye contact with me, communicating my comprehension of her profound mathematical conjectures. I knew I had fallen completely and deeply when she started going over derivatives.

What began as a simple review of Trigonometry had quickly become Calculust.

—Jonah Glover


Jonah Glover is a freshman at the University of Waterloo, studying Mathematics and Computer Science.



Dec 102012

In the midst of finals, Jonah records an epic cross-campus journey to the University of Waterloo’s Dana Porter Library. Not to be missed, hand-held cinéma vérité, but nonetheless, yes, a mythic journey for all its realism — through a maze, into the dark & drenched elements of Middle Earth at dawn (6 a.m. — note if possible the tower/goal lit up in the distant skyline) where mysterious beasts are encountered, toward the LIGHT! Adding to the dystopian strangeness is, of course, the complete lack of other people as though the campus had been struck with a neutron bomb and the camera-holder were the last man alive. Thick with allegory and symbolism not to mention implicit culture criticism (no one else is going to the library), the film presents the melancholy & pessimistic view of a man caught Laocoön-like[1] in the throes of, well, yes, finals.







Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

Aug 132012


This is a hoot, a little light music on a summer’s day. Jonah is going to university in the fall; it is the hour of remembering; my mind keeps harking back to the wonderful times we’ve had over the past eighteen years. I was listening to his music the other night and rediscovered this gem, what we always used to call, simply, “The French Song.” He wrote it as a class assignment for 9th Grade French. His teacher was speechless. Jonah composed the music. He recorded the percussion tracks and background synth on an Electribe, then played the lead synth on a MicroKORG (Electribes and MicroKORGs are synthesizers made by Korg), and loaded both onto his computer. Jacob, the family linguist, co-wrote the lyrics and provided the French grammar and vocabulary expertise. The violet ox was a class meme. Jonah sang the words, but Jacob assisted with the deeper, spoken parts. The whole thing has a European lilt and a lovely irony and it lifts my heart. It came out of nowhere.


Apr 102011

A little Hydrogen atom wanted to become attached to a Chlorine atom, but he didn’t have the courage to talk to her. On the other side, Chlorine really liked Hydrogen, but she couldn’t talk to him either. Finally Chlorine decided that she would dress up as another Hydrogen atom because of how comfortable Hydrogen is hanging out with itself. That night Hydrogen came up with the scheme of dressing up like Chlorine, because he knew that she loved to chill with other Chlorine atoms. The two both figured that the next day they’d see the other and become happily diatomic.

During the day neither of them could find the other. Hydrogen and Chlorine were both very sad.

But, after school, Hydrogen forgot he was pretending to be Chlorine, and he saw another Hydrogen atom that he really wanted to hang out with. So he ran over to the lone atom — who turned out to be Chlorine in disguise! He asked if they could bond, and Chlorine, forgetting that she wasn’t actually Hydrogen, decided she wouldn’t mind hanging out with this Chlorine molecule.

That night while the two shared some electrons, they laughed about their Ironic Bond[1].

Jonah Glover











Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Editor’s Note: For the chemistry-impaired “an ionic bond is a type of chemical bond formed through an electrostatic attraction between two oppositely charged ions.” See the Wikipedia article here. Actually, H and Cl share electrons to form a covalent bond, which is ironic.
Mar 012011

This is “Math Rock,” Jonah Glover’s music video entry for the Saratoga Springs High School Math Contest. Jonah wrote the words and recorded the music with his friend Sam Hagen. The music is a cover of “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha.


Oct 272010




Entries close midnight Sunday, November 21.


The First Annual Numéro Cinq Rondeau Writing Contest opens for entries November 1 (midnight tonight as of this writing). The rondeau is a slightly intricate little form (see preamble and definitions below). You should not attempt to write one under the influence of intoxicants or while using a cell phone (unless you are writing it on your cell phone). Also do not attempt to operate heavy machinery while composing your rondeau. Don’t shy away from trying a rondeau just because you consider yourself a rhyme & rhythm-challenged prose-writer. Fiction and nonfiction writers always need a dash of form in their lives, something to make them sit up straight (or just to jar the gears loose). As with all the NC contests, there is a method behind the madness. Beyond the discipline of form, we discover the freedom of aesthetic space. Every contest is a teaching moment, a formal lesson, and a moment of unleashing (paradoxical as that seems). Also, if you look at our previous contests, you will see that they are fun. Submit entries by typing them into the comment box beneath this post.

Continue reading »

Sep 232010

The judges, as usual, fell for all the entries and had a terrible time deciding amongst them, all from friends, former students and fellow inmates. (This makes judging NC contests an extremely debilitating sport.) It’s a sad thing to force distinctions when everyone has entered the fray with such zeal and enthusiasm. All entries did what they were meant to do: tell a story in terse, stern prose. They all had élan. Many played with the idea of being in or outside a box (or a bottle, or a literal box). Jonah wrote his as an acrostic, an ancient form much used in the Bible, a different sort of box. There was a huge battle over Anna Maria’s actual box entry. But it was decided to include it here as a sixth finalist simply because making art out of the conventions (rules) of art is a legitimate artistic form. It wouldn’t be fair just to give her the prize for best Off The Page entry (though the judges are doing that, too).

The judges admired Vivian Dorsel’s entry for its use of literary allusion (the fairy tale) and for putting the heroine in the box. They admired Rich Farrell’s entry for its loopy adventure and romance, for the word “cavitate” and for that ending (the whole thing reminded the judges of their favourite movie Joe vs. the Volcano). Julie and Christopher put their novel in a bottle with, well, Noel Coward and wrote a pseudo-Edwardian romp with redemption at the end. Shelagh put her character in a metaphorical box and made him think of poetry. And Jonah wrote the acrostic. All this is wonderful.

Of those left behind, the judges want to mention Court Merrigan, who entered twice and wrote a lovely little thing about plague and love, and Cheryl Wilder for the old man in the closet asking for the toilet paper and her surprise ending.

But the competition was exceedingly fierce and the judges love you all.

See the finalists here!

Aug 242010

Jacob, the contrarian, during the EPE (Photo by Jonah Glover)




[Augusto] Monterroso is perhaps most famous for his short story “The Dinosaur,” which is said to be literature’s shortest story. It reads in full:

When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.

In an 1996 interview with Ilan Stavans for the Massachusetts Review, Monterroso recalled some early reviews of “The Dinosaur”: “I still have the very first reviews of the book: critics hated it. Since that point on I began hearing complaints to the effect that it isn’t a short-story. My answer is: true, it isn’t a short story, it’s actually a novel.”

Brevity was, to say the least, an important concept for Monterroso. His essay “Fecundity” is included in The Oxford Book of Latin American Essays. It reads in full:

Today I feel well, like a Balzac; I am finishing this line.

—from Tom McCartan’s Crib notes on “What Bolaño Read”

The Contest

Okay, the long-awaited next Numéro Cinq literary contest, The First Annual Numéro Cinq Novel-in-a-Box/Memoir-in-a-Box Contest. The rules are pretty simple this time. You have to write an entire (don’t cut corners) novel or a memoir (personal narrative) consisting of 9 (a mystic number) chapters and each chapter can be no more than 5 lines long. (By lines, I mean the number of lines that appear on the comment box on the blog.) Fewer lines if you can. Try to remember what a novel is like: at least a couple of characters or more (usually), a conflict, development through a series of dramatic actions, etc. Alternatively, try to remember what a memoir looks like: a first person narrator (and a couple of other people or more), a thematically continuous narrative line often based on a conflict and or theme, development through a series of dramatic moments or incidents, etc. Indicate on your entry whether it is fiction or non-fiction (there will be separate prizes). (Note that in the Monterroso story quoted above there ARE two characters, the guy and the dinosaur.)

The contest is open to any living, sentient being in the universe. It is not limited to people who are already on the blog or VCFA students or former students. Everyone is welcome, and also welcome to join in other conversations or suggest topics.

Entries will be accepted between September 1 and September 15, 2010 (midnight), and should be written in English (Gary) and attached as comments to this post (the usual practice at NC).

Remember the values we hold dear here at Numéro Cinq: WIT & ARROGANCE. Remember Gordon Lish’s phrase ATTACK SENTENCES!

P.S. Anyone who mentions the insidious phrase “flash fiction” will have his or her comment deleted from the blog. I mean this! Delete it from your minds. This is not a flash fiction contest.


Jul 272010


This is mini-essay I wrote to accompany a photograph in a lovely book of Canadian author pics by the Israeli photographer Danielle Schaub. (The photograph in the book is dg reading under an awning at the Eden Mills Literary Festival and should not be confused with the photo on the right, which is a picture of rat.) The full reference is Reading Writers Reading, Danielle Schaub, editor and photographer, University of Alberta Press, Edmonton, 2006. The essay was subsequently reprinted in Geist 62, Fall 2006. I post it because there is a rat theme developing (see the post below as well as the villanelle contest where one of the entrants has linked in a photo of a rat, some kind of performance art, one assumes). There is also a reading to your children thread following the Steven Heighton poem posted an issue or so ago. The convergence of vectors forces me to take desperate measures.



My mother read to me, and now I read to my boys. They are twelve and nine. Their mother and I are divorced; they spend half the time with me. We live in shabby upstate New York suburbia with a variable menagerie of pets: dogs, squirrels, rats, cats and, once, an opossum. (Some things an innocent parent should never be exposed to: Walking into the boys’ bedroom one evening, I was greeted by Jonah shouting, “Look, Dad! Bungee rat.” Poor rat.) Last year we read David Copperfield, mostly in the evenings before the boys went to sleep. We read in my bed because we can all get in it together (along with the dogs and the cat). The boys still shout, “Donkeys!  Janet! Donkeys!” when they’re in a good mood and want to remember the pleasure we shared over David’s aunt and her front yard obsession about donkeys. Or Jacob will look at me slyly and say, “Barkis is willin'” or “I’m a lone lorn creature.” And I still remember the aching sadness of David’s realization that he had married a child wife and not an adult companion of his heart. One day, the last of the rats, a beige female the boys had christened Rex (don’t ask why) collapsed in her cage, eyes shut, her breath coming in quick, shallow pants. We’d been through this before. We knew she was dying. I made a nest for her in a shoe box and kept her beside me in my study all day. And when the boys came home from school, they took up the death watch. Rex never regained consciousness but did manage to breathe into the evening. As usual we climbed into bed with tea and David Copperfield and began to read. We had reached the tempest chapter, that terrific moment of convergence when David watches Ham throw himself into the surf to swim to a sinking ship and simultaneously realizes that the nefarious Steerforth, who has seduced Ham’s little Emily and ruined her, is a passenger on the ship. Ham swims; Steerforth dashes about on deck; the storm rages. Suddenly the ship, Ham and Steerforth disappear beneath a huge wave. Simultaneously, a desperate little sigh burst from Rex’s shoe box deathbed. The boys and I jumped up to look. Rex kicked her back legs once, trembled and died in what struck us immediately as a Dickensian coincidence of life and literature. (As I write this, Jonah reminds me of the other great Dickens moment in our house: when the boys discovered the character in Oliver Twist known as Master Bates.)

—Douglas Glover


Apr 242010


Herewith the first ever (annual) Numéro Cinq villanelle writing contest. I am announcing it early so that you can work on your entries. Entries will be accepted between May 1 and May 15. Entries, as with the aphorism contest, should be posted as comments on this page. Entries are open to anyone in the world, but only if they are written in  English, French, Latin, or classical Greek (the only languages anyone can speak in this house). As with the aphorism contest, I encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the form. See the craft and technique page for help. Roughly speaking, we’re talking about a 19-line poem written in tercets (except for the last stanza which has four lines). The first and last line of the first stanza become the last lines of the following stanzas and also turn into a couplet at the end of the last stanza. These are fun to write and can actually turn out surprisingly well if you arm yourselves with strong refrain lines (think: panache, drama, obsession, schizophrenia). You need not be a poet to enter. And it’s always a good thing for prose writers to extend themselves; it makes their prose more interesting. One lesson to be drawn from writing a poem like this is the way form drives content instead of the other way around.

Continue reading »

Apr 082010

Jonah Glover
Throughout my past 16 years, I haven’t encountered an adventure as menacing as the one that I had over the phone with a 17-year-old girl, at about 11:00 P.M. ending at roughly 11:30 P.M., Wednesday. The conversation went as follows.



Jonah: Hello (said in a cool 16-year-old voice that is dispensed in a most laid back way).

Girl: Heyyyy (the extra y’s are to indicate the excitement and length of the initial greeting).

Jonah: How’s it going? (Also said in a laid back way, conveying to the listening girl that I am macho and don’t need society’s formal greetings.)

Girl: I’m ok.

Jonah: Why just ok? (Idiot Jonah! You’ve stumbled straight into her trap, you’ll have to listen to minutes of uninteresting gabbing about people you don’t know nor care about.)

Girl: Well you know….(I wonder when this will end) and then she was like….(I should probably try and pick up a name so I can say something like ‘So what happened to Mary next?’)…she’s such a slut and a whore….(can you give her my number then?)…and so anyway I was like (looks like she’s wrapping up, better chuckle)… but that’s really it.

Jonah: Heh heh.

Girl: So anyway how are you?

Jonah: (Another devious trap set by the adolescent girl! Do I echo her by telling her I’m just ok? Or do I say I’m bad to get her sympathy. No, no, she’ll think I’m a baby if I say bad, who says bad? Sheesh, Jonah, get your head in the game!) I’m good.

Girl: That’s good. (Damn, she’s completely uninterested in why I’m good. This is bad news. Better pull out all the stops for the next thing you say!)

Jonah: You looked really pretty today. (He shoots…)

Girl: Aww, thanks! (And he scores!)

Jonah: (Think, Jonah! It’s a crucial moment! Think of something funny to say, something outlandish and strange yet appealing and cute. Do I know any Helen Keller jokes? Would she appreciate a blonde joke? Is she blonde? Damn! Ok, ok, hmm….) Uhh…Earthworms have both male and female reproductive parts!

Girl: Uhh….Kay (Oh no! Red Alert! All units to the front lines! She’s said Kay! She’s shortening an abbreviation!) I think I’ve got to go.

Jonah: Ahh, ok. (You’ve done it now, Jonah. No way she’s going out with you.)

Girl: Bye. (Damn it, no see ya later or bye babe or anything)

Jonah: Bu—

Girl: **Click**

Jonah: Fuck.

Jonah Glover


Mar 152010


Submissions March 15-31, 2010

Submit by commenting on this post

Submissions must be no more than 150 words in length

Do not enter a submission unless you have figured out what an aphorism is first

Wit and arrogance appreciated

Contest open to everyone including employees of Numéro Cinq, their significant others, children, and small pets

First Prize — Instant Worldwide (e)Publication w/ commentary

Plus honours & laurels

Feb 042010

Mel and Me at AWP

Jonah and I were doing our usual Thursday health food run at KFC this afternoon. The cashier handed me back my credit card, looked curiously into my face and said, “Isn’t there a famous person named Danny Glover?” I said, “Er, yes, but he’s black.” She took my card, read it again and said, “Oh, it’s Doug Glover. My bad.”

This is the Fate of the Self, always to be taken for someone else, never to be recognized for who you really are. I bet Danny gets mistaken for me half-a-dozen times a day.

Then we went to CVS to fill a prescription for Jonah and someone had entered him in the pharmacy computer as Female.


Jan 182010

I am still reading Adorno’s essay on Spengler.

Jonah and I went to see The Book of Eli Saturday night and then last night, pursuing our quest for the roots of dystopian movie-making, we rented Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome. The Mad Max movie was infinitely superior–wittily baroque and light at the ending with great 80s music (sounded like Maurice Jarre). The weirdly touching ironies of the “tell” are parodic, human and funny (the girl framing each cave drawing with sticks tied together at the end of a pole). Both movies have the same plot: stranger wandering through dried up, post-apocalyptic landscape comes to a town run by evil-doers and adventures happen. Both strangers are really good at fighting. But The Book of Eli is a violent pseudo-Christian strangeness. It reveals the paranoia, selfishness and self-righteousness behind some (not all) recent threads of Christian discourse (surprising to a Canadian who grew up in a country where Christian-based political parties fired the push for universal medical care in the 1950s). Denzel, intent on his mission (to save the book), can’t stop to help a woman being raped and murdered by a bunch of motorcycle thugs. Whereas Mel as Mad Max gets into trouble repeatedly for showing pity and forgetting to save his own skin. There are no children in The Book of Eli, but Mad Max is surrounded by innocence. (Both movies make young women look great in animal hides and rags.)

I’m not sure what this has to do with Adorno except that in my head I keep thinking about how he tells us the culture industry has rolled over for the unnameable powers of repression contained in our late stage capitalist so-called democracy, pouring out infotainment, reality tv and comforting or distracting folk tales which lull our pulverized synapses. All the modern dystopian, end-of-the-world movies have happy endings, often sneakily Christian (remember the “arks” that save the world at the end of John Cusack’s latest).

Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome doesn’t escape unscathed by Christian symbolism. The cave painting of Captain Walker is Christ on the cross. What does this mean? The Bible is a paradigm of a novel with a happy ending? The Biblical message has turned inexplicably dark between the 1980s and 2010?