Wednesday, October 16, 2019

McTurk is Ready

A CNN reporter was able to get a moment with Steve McTurk, and said, "Mr. McTurk, you've scored a great victory in swinging people away from turkeys on the Canadian Thanksgiving, but you realize the American Thanksgiving is still to come."

"We're ready for that," said McTurk. "We've engaged Alan Dershowitz. He is prepared to declare the consumption of innocent birds unconstitutional, and will take that all the way to the Supreme Court."

"The Supreme Court, Mr. McTurk?"

"Right. We'll go for an injunction first, and then he'll present our case while the Justices are sitting, and to seal the deal, he'll send in a platter of Plant Burgers."

Sunday, October 13, 2019

McTurk at Work

As Thanksgiving approaches, with families looking forward to the traditional feast, Steve McTurk, legendary hero of guerrilla warfare to defend turkeys, is leading a mass protest. McTurk and several thousand turkeys are gathered on Parliament Hill, demanding that, in his words, "the barbaric consumption of turkeys comes to an end." Said McTurk: "Let them eat tofu."

Similar protests are taking place in major cities across the country. In Toronto, marchers carried banners reading "Stop being jerks--lay off the turks." In Vancouver, signs said "Leave us alone, and get stuffed yourself."

McTurk said the protest on behalf of turkeys should in no way be confused with support for Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "He is not one of us," said McTurk. "If he had feathers he'd be a vulture."

When one reporter commented that it was unusual to see a poultry protest, saying, "We've never seen your barnyard neighbors engage in this aggressive manner," Steve McTurk had a quick answer: "Yeah," he said. "Now you know why they call them chickens."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Clubs, take note

After a year of standing in the corner, the arbiters of the Nobel Prize in Literature have proclaimed two new laureates: Olga Tokarczuk of Poland receives the 2018 award; Peter Handke, originally of Austria, is the 2019 winner.

Hands up, all those familiar with their work. A challenge for book clubs through winter.

Hemingway's first words on being named the 1954 winner: "No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility."

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Horsetail Tackle

Note from a friend who went with three buddies to last week's Seahawks-Rams game in Seattle: "We had fabulous seats, five rows up at the 40 behind the Rams bench. Of course, we could have pooled the tickets price and bought a car."

Back in the CFL, another nine hours of eye-glazing, mind-numbing Saturday action. Most memorable moment came when a running back was pulled down by his crimson hair. What is known as a horse collar tackle is illegal, but not what one commentator correctly dubbed a "horsetail tackle." The rule is that if a player's hair is long enough to come down over his jersey, it is considered part of his uniform.

All football fans, in their home stadiums, now take it upon themselves to make a lot of noise, intended to throw the visiting team off its game. Some of the fans rise and wave their arms, conducting the cacophony. And while there is an element of craziness among all devoted followers, Saskatchewan Roughriders fans must take the prize for goofiest costumes, ever since inventing the watermelon helmet and watermelon brassiere.

A bad day on the road for the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts. They would have had long, gloomy flights home, especially the Argos, who fell to the kind of score Vancouver's Notre Dame high school used to inflict: 55-8. One viewer tweeted that the Argos have proven themselves "masters of dark humor."

And finally, Winnipeg Blue Bombers may have lost their number one position in the west, but Coach Mike O'Shea has shown himself to be a serious contender in the Ernest Hemingway Lookalike Contest.

--Slap Maxwell.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

One More Giant Gone

Jessye Norman, a singer majestic in every sense, has died, at what seems to us the still too young age of seventy-four.

Some of us remember her performance in Vancouver during Expo 86. She sang, of course, the Strauss "Four Last Songs," with which she will always be identified, but she also gave us a few cabaret numbers, adopting a wickedly witty Dietrich accent.

Among the scores of recordings she made--and for which she was awarded five Grammys--was a collection of spirituals, in duets with Kathleen Battle. No two singers could be more unlike, but it worked. And in 1997, she recorded a number of Michel Legrand songs--"The Summer Knows,""I Was Born in Love with You," "What are You doing the Rest of Your Life?" She had a knowledgeable appreciation of jazz, and while she wasn't a jazz singer herself, she was entirely at home with Legrand at piano, Ron Carter on bass and Grady Tate on drums.

Perhaps the most memorable image of Jessye Norman came on Bastille Day in 1989, the two hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. She appeared draped in the French flag and sang "La Marseillaise."

We like to think of her entering heaven in the same triumphant way.

Footnote: One of the songs on the Jessye Norman-Michel Legrand album is "Dis-Moi" ("Tell Me"). The lyrics are by Francoise Sagan, remembered as the 18-year-old author of "Bonjour Tristesse."

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Noshing our way thru Rosh Hashanah

A happy new year to all--and bon appetit!

We plan on several days of brisket and latkes, chopped liver and tongue, sour dill pickles, scrambled eggs with pastrami, kugel, challah, chicken soup with matzo balls and kreplak, schmaltz herring and eggplant, corned beef and smoked meat, bagels and cream cheese, honey cake and komish cookies.

Remembered with pleasure: Rubin's Delicatessen on Granville, with Mama Rubin's New York cheesecake, and Lindy's on West Fourth, where the sandwich menu told us:

"One not enough,
Two too many?
Order one and a half,
You won't leave any."

And we never did leave any.

So, here we go, noshing our way thru Rosh Hashanah.

But we do remember what Gerry Altman said, leaning over our shoulder as we spooned up borscht at Rubin's: "It doesn't matter how much bagels and lox you eat, it won't make you Jewish."

Friday, September 27, 2019

White House Favorites

What are the happy folks humming at the White House this week? These are a few of their favourites:

"Whistle While You Work"

"Give a Little Whistle"

"Whistle a Happy Tune"

"Anyone Can Whistle"

And, a new tune commissioned for the boss: "Whistleblower Blues."