From the monthly archives:

May 2008

Appetizer: What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
I used to love Saturday mornings and remember that Dungeons and Dragons, The Smurfs, G.I. Joe and a bunch of others were always on my dance card. But the 70’s version of Spider-Man was my very favorite. I still remember every word of the fantastic theme song – lemme see if I can find it somewhere. Got it – wow that takes me back. I love the furious horns and the Buddy Love style to it. Must have been made in the late 60’s. I half expected a cartoon version of Sammy Davis Jr. to shoot lazers at Spidey out of his gold-rimmed glasses by the end of it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o29VoxtsFk[/youtube]

Soup: Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?
I just went through all of this, actually. I picked a dog, a Boston Terrier and I named him Shepherd. I also considered “Huck” (Huckleberry Pye) and Indy (we named the dog Indiana!) but Shepherd fit the Pye naming convention perfectly, and is actually a respectable dog’s name historically. “Old Shep” is a well known Walter Brennan song about a beloved dog and was eventually even covered by Elvis himself. I love Brennan – you’ll remember him as John Wayne’s old-coot of a side kick in several Westerns, particularly Rio Bravo. “I picked up my gun, and aimed it at Shep’s faithful head“. Jesus, I hope it never comes to that.

Salad: On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy getting dressed up for special occasions?
I haven’t had cause to wear a tuxedo in a good 10 years but I am a groomsman at my friend’s wedding in September and was just sent a tux rental form for the occasion. I’ll enjoy it. I’ll make lots of Dean Martin jokes. Probably drink scotch all night. 2 fingers, 3 ice cubes – just the way Francis Albert liked it. Then I’ll fall asleep alone in a hotel room and wake up hating life. I get to go to 4 weddings in September. In 4 different States. And yes – I want to kill myself.

Main Course: What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
Excellent question, quizzlet. Your excellent questions are few and far between. I’d like to take this opportunity to list my favorite driving songs of all time. I’ll number them, but there’s not really any particular order.

  1. RoadRunner by The Modern Lovers – Jonathan Richman’s tribut to Massachusetts and driving down Route 128. “The highway is your girlfriend as you go by quick. Suburban trees, suburban speed and it smells like thunder.”
  2. Threshold Apprehension by Frank Black – Read my review. I get pulled over nearly everytime my iPod shuffles to this track.
  3. There Goes the Fear by The Doves – All time favorite sinalong, and the nutty Brazilian rhythms will make the hours fly past, providing that you play the song 27 times in a row. Maybe that’s just me.

Dessert: When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?
I bought a Kids in the Hall clock off of eBay a couple of years back, and it hung proudly in my North End kitchen until I moved back to the Great White North a year ago this very month. It’s currently in a box out in the Winchester and I look forward to restoring it to a place of honor when I get around to going through all my stored stuff this summer. Now that is a DVD set I really need to break down and purchase, Santa. The series left me scarred. Scarred for LIFE! Bu-gock!

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Pupdate: The Big Fix

by Dave on May 29, 2008

in Animalistic

Janet and I picked up Rhuby and Shep at the vet’s in Westport this morning where they’d been overnight after having been spayed and neutered respectively. Rhuby had a large uterus, apparently, and her sutured incision is quite long. Shep’s nad removal required only about a 3/4 of an inch slice which he already seems to have forgotten all about. Rhubarb’s stitches run three layers deep and are a bit more serious, so we have to keep them separated and aptly monitored for a good 10 days or so. No jumping, no horse play, no swimming, no baths, no offleash outside frolicking – no fun. This is not going to be an easy set of rules to try and enforce.

Now that the deed is done, a little bit of guilt has crept in. I find myself wondering exactly what the benefits of a fixed pet are over and above people telling me that it’s a “good idea”. Here’s what I’ve learned tonight…

What fixing a dog does:

  • Simply put, it eliminates hormone-driven behaviors.
  • Eliminates a dogs need to fight with other dogs over potential mates.
  • Helps curb the need to mark territory or to advertise ‘availability”.
  • Helps dogs remain focused during training instead of looking around for a female in heat, etc.
  • Makes it less likely for the animal to develop many types of cancer and other diseases.

What fixing a dog does not:

  • Neutering does not affect physical or mental development.
  • It does not automatically make dogs fat and lazy.
  • It does not make dogs less protective of you or your property.

I think I feel better now, to be honest. Here’s a question to all you dog owners: Have I missed any thing on my list? Are you for or against the fixing of man’s best friends? I think i’m leaning towards the “unless you’re planning to breed them, snip the little fuckers” camp. 10/10 mail carriers agree.

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrzmbSX1pmo[/youtube]

Godspeed, Harvey. Thanks for all the laughs.

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From the first swirling synths and gleaming melodies of curtain raiser “Feel the Love”, In Ghost Colours asserts itself as a hugely magnanimous record. Everything here sounds stadium-sized, loved-up, and breezily inclusive.Pitchfork

It frustrates me when the song I want to evangelize doesn’t have an associated YouTube video and I have to settle for something else from the same band. Such is the case today, so I hope to be able to get my point across and at least bend the year of a couple of you’se. The band is Cut Copy and they’re a solid rock/electronica (think New Order for a quick and dirty comparison) from Melbourne Australia. Here’s an alternate choice for a video, Out There on the Ice, which is a good tune but definitely my second choice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI3tstEeY7g[/youtube]

For me, the first song on their new release In Ghost Colors is head and shoulders above the rest of the tracks and I’m shocked I can’t find more references to it online. Feel the Love is the pretty little ditty I’m attempting to share, and here are a few options for those of you who take my musical tastes to heart:

  • Listen to a clip of the song free on LastFM.
  • Listen to or right-click and download the MP3. Probably the best option for you, dear.
  • Treat yourself to a solid punch in the balls and go do something more constructive.

Feel the Love is very ‘joyous’ and I quite enjoy listening to it in my car on sunny days with the sunroof open. Cut Copy’s electronica influences and current usage is definitely very retro-80’s which is why I think they’ll eventually enjoy quite a bit of success here in North America. The rock element is well produced with great sounding drums and acoustic guitar which melds well with the silly synth creating a (somewhat) truly unique sound. Yes, this has been done before – but rarely as well, and never in Melbourne.

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOXmjh6wMyQ[/youtube]

Last week my neighbor Don came over to help me get the lake pump started, and Shep heard him approaching through my bedroom window. He proceeded to bark incessantly and I decided to take some video to undoubtedly use for something silly at some point. Friday afternoon my work productivity hit a wall around 4pm and I edited the yippy barrage into my latest cinematic puppy delight. If you dig Kate Bush, all the better.

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Speaking of Nazis

by Dave on May 23, 2008

in

A blog post I wrote on a different website that I tinker with has been linked to by StormFront.org and is sending said site a ton of traffic. Before you report me to the ACLU the post in question is about a character in a movie and has nothing to do with white pride, white wine, white chocolate or anything else of a pale nature. I love traffic of pretty much any kind, but should I feel guilty about this particular source?

I watched a documentary recently that mentioned these guys and they all seemed frustrated with the fact they’re so commonly associated with Nazis and white supremacists. “We’re about white pride,” was the message they hammered home. Every other race on the planet gets to be proud, so why can’t we? I certainly agree with them up to a point. I’d never been to the website before, so I clicked through and have some observations.

  1. When trying to establish your credibility as a “pride” organization, a huge banner ad featuring David Duke and Don Black is a bit of a step backwards.
  2. A strictly “nationalist” movement shouldn’t use the classic WWII German font in their logo. The last time I saw this font used was on the box cover for Castle Wolfenstein, and we all know how that game ends. In case you don’t, you have to kill Hitler.
  3. Amongst all the forum threads for money matters, fitness and homemaking one really tends to stand out: Self Defense, Martial Arts & Preparedness. Are we preparing for the militia exercises in the woods this weekend or the impending race war?

I could continue, but I love my car and don’t want it detonated by a ball bearing pipe bomb with me in it anytime soon. I think I’ll stick to “Glad you like the site, gentlemen. Where do you get your hair cut?”

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In 1981, when I was 8 years old, my father brought me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in Ottawa, Ontario. He was a stoic man to whom fatherhood did not come naturally, but we always found our common ground at the movie theater. I remember the night well, from the amazing film itself right down to checking the back seat of our Zephyr for mummies on the way home. Tomorrow, I am taking him to that same city to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – and the circle will be complete.

The only thing more unlikely than a fourth Indiana Jones movie might be that I once again live near Canada’s capital city… or maybe the fact that my 66 year-old father has a form of dementia that makes Alzheimer’s look like a garden party. If someone had told me several years ago that any of those 3 events were right around the next corner I’d have cheered, packed a snowsuit and then punched a wall in that order. Situations are what they are, and I hope that he enjoys himself and retains memory of the day to the extent that he can. It’s extremely strange to feel yourself slowly starting to grieve for someone who you still see everyday. It doesn’t take a narration by Freud’s ghost to explicate that the trip tomorrow is really for me.

I don’t often get personal on this blog, because sentimentality doesn’t tend to fit in well with giant squid news and dead hooker jokes, but the last couple of months have been rough. Things are sinking in, priorities shifting, novelties wearing off and I am starting to – dare I say it – grow up. I have to perform some calculated fat-trimming to my personal and professional life if I’m to be truly prepared for my next adventure. Sometimes, closure wears a fedora and hates snakes.

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Thank You, Sweet Baby Jesus.

by Dave on May 20, 2008

in Movies

From IMDB:

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull has proved a huge hit at the Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday – receiving a standing ovation from critics at its world premiere. The fourth installment of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ famous adventure franchise was one of the most eagerly awaited screenings at the French event, attracting a huge amount of hype and publicity. But weeks of speculation threatened to tarnish the premiere after rumors suggested the film had been panned by movie bosses at an exclusive initial screening in Los Angeles last month. However, the film – which sees 65-year-old Harrison Ford return to the role of Indiana Jones after a 19 year gap – was praised by the world’s media, reportedly garnering a three and a half minute standing ovation by the select few who were invited to watch it, according to American industry publication Variety.”

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indy-eyes

Having waved most of his salary for back end points, Harrison nervously waited outside the Cannes theatre.

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Appetizer: What is the nearest big city to your home?
Ottawa, Ontario. I’m headed there this evening to see my friend Seany Mac whom I lived in residence with at Guelph. I haven’t seen him for a decade and I can’t wait. We recently got back in touch and I was pleased to learn he lives reasonably close to me. Then Saturday night I am going to my friend Adam’s for a BBQ. He was my neighbor and little buddy way back when I lived in Manotick around 7-11 years of age. They are coming out of the woodwork, and I love it.

Soup: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?
I’ve been guilty of letting at least one juicy tidbit slip towards the wrong ears at least once in my life, but these days I pride myself on keeping my mouth shut. I’ll talk to close friends until the cows come home, but when in mixed company I tend to shift into “Hemingway mode”. Less is more. My senior superlative was “Talks Least, Says Most”, and I’m still kinda proud of that. Meanwhile, here I am maintaining a blog and blathering on for anyone who’ll listen.

Salad: Describe your hair (color, texture, length).
Short, fine and brown. I’ve had the same haircut for 20 years, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I have a blond spot that sets me apart a little. When the hair on top of my head gets a bit longish it becomes very pronnounced. Like a polkadot or something. You know what I just thought of then, that I haven’t in year? This, and I laughed.

Main Course: What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?
It all depends on the car and the situation. On long country straightaways with little O.P.P. risk, I’m Steve McQueen. In downtown Toronto with my Mother’s minivan, I’m Hoke Colburn.

Dessert: When was the last time you had a really bad week?
I have no idea. I take it day by day and if things ever got to the point where I’d had 7 miserable 24-hour periods in a row there’d be something seriously wrong. Or I’d be in Newark.

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Shep and Rhuby are already closing in on 6 months of age, which is incredibly hard for me to believe. I got them at about 8.5 weeks and to think I’ve had the little devils in my life for that long amazes me. I was a devout cat person for years, and if you’d ever told me I would end up with not one but two dogs – I’d have told you to take another nitrus hit out of your Grateful Dead balloon. Then beaten you up because you’d have been a hippy.

So what have I learned in my time as a puppy daddy, I asked myself. What new canine-related knowledge would I choose to impart if someone asked me? Here are some notes…

  1. People used to ask me why I didn’t want to have a dog. My answer was that they smell bad and fart a lot on top of it. My biggest complaint about my dogs thus far? They smell bad and fart a lot on top of it.
  2. Separtated, both dogs are obedient little angels. If Janet goes away for a few days and takes Rhuby you’d mistake Shep for Benji he’s so darn good. Together they’re like Gozer and the fucking keymaster.
  3. The doorbell, even when it’s only on the TV, is cause for a code red, four-alarm barkfest that would make you think the free members of the Manson family are on the doorstep.
  4. Spiders and mosquitos are dee-lish.
  5. They’re getting neutered and spade respectively at the 6 month mark in a couple of weeks. We’re getting dangerously close to puppy potency, and I’m seeing more lipstick out than a Revlon warehouse.
  6. They don’t always remember commands. They don’t always remember their names. But they’ll remember exactly where the dead beaver was even if you don’t take them down that road for a week.
  7. You know how you’d never dream of smoking inside your own home, but if your friend allows it in their house it’s OK? My dogs are like that – with feces. They’re not housebroken, they’re homebroken.
  8. Cat turds out of the litter boxe are dee-lish. If I spot Shep coming upstairs and he looks like he fell asleep in a bowl of Grape Nuts – it’s straight to the laundry sink for a mouthwash like I’m a housewife in the 1950’s whose child just said “aw, gee whiz“.
  9. Even if it’s 11:30 in the morning and the dogs aren’t due to eat for another 6.5 hours, yell “you wanna bone?” when they’re misbehaving or have run off – and they’ll drop everything and come back to you in a split second. They’re a lot like Kim Kardashian in that respect.
  10. When they’re curled up beside you on the couch, all is forgiven.

If the vast majority of these points seem like they revolve around doodies, it’s because they do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little guys and have made a commitment for life. I just wish there was a bit less “nauture” involved sometimes. I’ll live and it’s worth it. Just don’t call me Dr. Poolittle.

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“I’m just terrified to get up on a stage with them all again… because no one has ever tested me like they did. You always had to be at the top of your game.” – Martin Short in the Toronto Star

benefit-of-laughterFirst and foremost, I’d have to be a complete and utter jackass to presume I could effectively “review” an event of this magnitude, so please consider it a… loving memoir. A week ago tonight I had the severe pleasure of attending SCTV’s Benefit of Laughter, which was a charity event held to raise money for the Second City alumni fund. To say it was a hot ticket would be the biggest understatement of the 24 years since the beloved station stopped broadcasting in 1984. For two side-splitting performances SCTV was definitely back on the air – onstage in a small theatre in Toronto – and it was a wonderful sight to behold.

I let a week pass before sitting down to write about the night because I wanted to be able to consider, share and link to what other bloggers and the media wrote about the events. Surprisingly there is very little mention of the actual performances online – nothing, actually – and my site is getting the bulk of the related search engine traffic. I’d be writing the show up regardless, but now I feel obligated. So wish me luck, grab your Count Floyd 3D glasses and hang on to your toques.

An SCTV Reunion? Don’t Play With my Emotions Like That.
The Toronto Star interviewed all of the SCTV principals just before the two shows last week in what is probably the best pre-event article you’ll find. Catherine O’Hara (excited), Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin (scared), Joe Flaherty (sorta looking forward to it) and Martin Short were all obviously more than happy to perform together again and to raise money for their Second City peers. The Star did a wonderful job of ramping up to the event, so please read their piece for the full story.

I already mentioned a lot of the background and how my sister and I came to be VIPs for the event in a prior SCTV Reunion post. I’d love to be able to report that I’ve become Catherine O’Hara’s cabana boy, but alas – we paid our way in and sprung for the top tier tickies. I knew it was a great cause and once in a lifetime experience going into it, but after being there – I think I would have paid far more. Perhaps even hocked my Five Neat Guys LP collection. It was good.

Goin’ Down the Road
sctv-castAlthough we originally drove from Ottawa for the event, my sister and I spent Sunday night at our cousin’s in Hamilton. We struck out for Toronto at around 5:30pm on Monday figuring 2.5 hours would be more than enough time to get into the city, drop my car off at a friend’s and then get a cab over to Second City. Toronto traffic, a bastard of a GPS system and one insane cab driver on mentholated schnapps later we were 10 minutes late for the show and just closing in on the location. May I suggest to Second City that in the future they print their address on tickets? Schnapps isn’t particularly good for one’s sense of direction. I’ll give them this, though – they actually called my sister’s cell phone to find out where we were and to make sure we knew how to get there. I know there was a long waiting list, so I’d like to thank them for taking that extra step and not giving our seats away.

We finally got there, were asked by the doorman if we were the “last two everyone is waiting for”, and were shown to our great seats just as the first sketch was starting. We were at a small table in the middle with a lovely couple who eventually introduced themselves as the director and his wife. Thank you for the nachos and Brian – well done, sir! He let on that he was a little nervous about how the show would play out and said that the cast had only one evening and one full day to rehearse and prepare. Since the show was over two hours long I can understand his concern. I noticed that the hysterical laughter surrounding him on all sides definitely had a calming effect. After the show, his super-friendly and lovely wife (whose name escapes me) told me that she mentioned to Eugene Levy and Martin Short that the people they were sitting with had come from Ottawa and they were quite impressed. And by “impressed” I of course mean “ready to file restraining orders”.

Let There be Laughter
How on Earth do I do justice to the actual show? I didn’t take notes – I thought some other blogger who was a bigger SCTV nerd than myself (it happens,) would cover all of the painstaking details. But they haven’t and all I hear are internet crickets. I’ll summarize my favorite sketches and anyone looking for more info or explication is free to leave comments or send me an email which I promise I’ll answer. Please limit your inquiries to the SCTV reunion, and not as to whether I’m a complete waste of space with a drinking problem.

  • Meeting With the Teacher: Catherine O’Hara played an overwhelmed school teacher in the opening sketch who had called together the parents of her 4 worst students. The reasons behind the children’s struggles soon became very apparent. Edith Prickley, a grumpy Italian (Flaherty) a nerd (Levy) and a creepy dude reminiscent of Nathan Thurm (Short) made up the parents. O’Hara: “Where did your son get such a dirty mouth?” Flaherty: “How the fuck should I know?” Audience: “We are in absolute comedic and nostalgic bliss”. I’m allowed one James Lipton moment, no?
  • mocharie-pyeThe Job Interview: This sketch starts out with the big boss (Levy) introducing himself to a job applicant (O’Hara) and then asking if it’s OK if they have a group interview to save time. He then says that the other applicant will be arriving shortly. At this point, I leaned forward and whispered to my sister “I bet Ed Grimley’s gonna come through that door”, and wouldn’t you know it – he did. I lost it and had my first of many laughing fits complete with streaming tears. And guess who got the job? O’Hara’s parting line to Grimley: “You’ll be in my prayers, sir.”
  • The Variety Show: Although I’m still miffed Count Floyd was absent from the show, if Bittman and Maudlin hadn’t made an appearance I might have gone on a tri-province shooting spree. The first of two references to John Candy was made when Sammy Maudlin mentioned how much he missed having William B. as his sidekick. Bobby Bittman came out to plug his new book “Born Lying Down” and the segment was topped off by a visit from Jackie Rogers Jr. and Lola Heatherton – fresh from being booted off dancing with the stars. They proceeded to demonstrate their final routine as I proceeded to snort Molson Canadian up my nose and then all over my brand new shirt.

This post is getting frighteningly long – those were my 3 favorites, but really just the tip of the iceberg. Colin Mocharie appeared in a sketch at a funeral for a man who died with his head in a can of pork and beans and also did an audience-suggestion improv bit with Martin Short and several members of the current Toronto Second City Cast as well as Women Fully Clothed. Robin Duke stole every scene she was in, by the way, and was very nice to me at the after party when I accosted her while she was getting a coffee. Joe Flaherty made sure everyone remembered John Candy when he mentioned him during the standing ovation and let everyone know just how much he was in their thoughts. “He’s here!” someone shouted from the audience, to which Joe smiled and said simply: “That’s right“.

After the Party Comes the After Party
We never touched our wallets during the entire performance and the after party next door at Wayne Gretzky’s was no exception. Tray after tray of hors d’ourves, wine, bottled water and pints made the rounds. Janet and I grabbed a couple of beverages and began to wander.

ohara-janet

A backdrop had been set up for official photos to be taken, but none of the cast had appeared yet. The photographers, a pair of cool and bald twin brothers, asked us if we wanted a photo and we agreed, knowing full well they just wanted to test their apertures, f-stops and such. We ended up carving out a nice little spot for ourselves right near the impending action though, and even met a nice couple to chat with. It turns out Jack had been to my blog that very day when looking for info about the show. People tend to remember one-syllable last names that are synonymous with a dessert.

short-pye

We weren’t allowed to take photos during the show, but my snaps from the party speak a thousand words, with one exception. My sister’s deceptive flash caused me to turn my head a second too early so Martin Short can now count himself as one of the lucky few to be photographed with the elusive sasquatch. All the cast members were happy to pose and chat with their fans, and the highlight of my life evening was managing to make both Mocharie and Flaherty laugh. Although it may have been nervously. Please enjoy the SCTV Reunion Gallery and I hope you enjoyed my affectionate write up. I’ll never forget the experience and count myself lucky to have been there.

More SCTV Reunion Stuff (as I find it):

  • Interview on CityTV: Andrea Martin says the audience at the first show was like an extended family. Aw, shucks!
  • 680 News Interviews: Audio interviews with several cast members before and after the show.
  • Comics Pay tribute: Several well-known comedians explain why SCTV is so special to them.
  • SCTV Locations: Trevor also attended the show and may be the biggest fan of the show in existence.

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dmx-pitbulls-cruelty

Arizona police were relieved to finally know where DMX’s dogs was at – Partially buried in his backyard. Cock.

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Whipping young canines into shape takes time, persistence and the patience of a saint. I can hear you asking, “Dave – please tell us your secret!” I’m a generous man, and here it is…

Forget Caesar Milan and save your obedience school money. All you need to know when training a puppy is where to drop a few well-placed “boops“. Set the whole piece to the theme music from Predator, and I think we’ve found the funny.

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The Anatomy of Surrender

by Dave on May 10, 2008

in

I’m not taking sides, but…

“The key question for Westerners is: do we love our freedoms as much as they hate them? Many free people, alas, have become so accustomed to freedom, and to the comfortable position of not having to stand up for it, that they’re incapable of defending it when it’s imperilled — or even, in many cases, of recognizing that it is imperilled.” – Bruce Bawer

Alright, I might be taking sides.

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