Monday, July 16, 2018

Frank Sinatra, where are you?

Okay, "The Manchurian Candidate" was fiction, wasn't it? I mean, that couldn't really happen, could it? A foreign power, an enemy of the US, somehow putting a dupe in the White House and using him to advance its agenda?

What was Richard Condon thinking of? How could that possibly happen? Could a US businessman, in Moscow, years before running for president, have his brain seized by KGB agents and then be manipulated into office? Naw, that's just crazy.

Pure fantasy.

Even so, those of us who watched "The Manchurian Candidate" are crying, "Frank Sinatra, where are you?"

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Trumps in Europe

Trump addresses NATO leaders in Brussels: "I figured the only thing I was gonna get here was those cabbagey things, you know, Brussels sprouts? But hey, these Belgian waffles are  terrific. Bring me another plate. And lemme have more of those beg-nets."

Macron: "Donald, those are beignets, pronounced 'ben-yay'."

Trump: "Yeah? Whadda you know? Guy named after a pastry."

Melanie: "Donny, I heard the Italian leader order linguine puttanesca. Is delicious!"

Trump: "It's not Italian, sweetheart. It's Russian. Putinesca, get it? Named for my new best friend, Vladimir Putin."

Melanie: "That Macron--so handsome!"

Trump: "Huh."

Melanie: "And Justin--so slim, so fit. You know he does the Grouse Grind?"

Trump: "Listen, I could buy the Grouse Grind. Turn it into a golf course."

Trump's state dinner with Theresa May: "President Trump, we have a wine pairing with each course. Champagne cocktails to begin, a superb dry sherry with the turtle soup, a 1927 Bordeaux with the saddle of lamb, and Chateau d'Yquem with the camembert and nuts."

Trump: "I'll have a Diet Pepsi."

Trump meets the Queen: "So, what do they call you, Liz or Betty?

"Hey, why're these guys dragging me away? I was just giving you a little hug."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Public Transit Etiquette

With the increasing popularity of public transit in Vancouver, Pointless Digressions Publications believes it is time for an etiquette guide for those traveling by bus, SkyTrain, or other public conveyance. Here is a sample of the tips contained in our just published "Don't Make a Fuss on the Bus."

Q: If the person sitting next to me is having a difficult personal conversation on his or her phone, should I step in and offer advice?

A: By all means. Assure your fellow passenger that you are an expert on relationships, having watched the Dr. Phil show for years.

Q: If the person by my side is eating something, perhaps peanuts or French fries, is it permissible to reach in and help myself?

A: Absolutely, but to be considerate, always carry with you a salt shaker and offer to sprinkle.

Q: Supposing my seat mate has a terrible racking cough and a round of explosive sneezing. Would it be insensitive to put on my surgical mask?

A: It would show a distinct lack of feeling. Instead, offer your seat mate your clean handkerchief or a cough drop or, if you've just shopped at the LCB, a restorative belt of brandy.

Q: If the person next to me falls asleep, with his/her head on my shoulder, what should I do?

A: Nothing. Stay very still and do not rise until the person awakes, even if you've gone five mies beyond your stop.

Yours for polite traveling--Miss P. Digressions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Glorious Fourth...sigh

Here we are at what is usually called the Glorious Fourth of July, and while there will be fireworks and choruses of "America the Beautiful," we all know that these are not the most glorious or beautiful of times for Uncle Sam and his brood.

We remain grateful for what the United States has given us--jazz, the Salk vaccine, the ice cream cone--but for those of us with deep roots in Bad Axe, Michigan, we can only hope that someone, sooner rather than later, says, "And now, back to our regular program."

So this year we'll skip "Yankee Doodle Dandy." But we invite you to sing along with this gentle amusement, to the tune of "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

"Be kind to your web-footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody's mother.
They live out there in the swamp,
Where the weather's cold and dawmp.
Now you might think that this is the end.
Well, it is."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Weak Verse for a Strong Country

Greetings, fellow Canadians, on this our country's day!
Raise a glass to our founding father, the noble Sir John A.,
Who set us on track to be a nation
With a railroad and Confederation.

Alexander Mackenzie was next in line,
And though his five years in office seemed just fine,
It remains a constant mystery
Why his name is lost to history.

And let us give a modest cheer
To those who only served one year
Or less--Abbott, Thompson, Bowell, Tupper--
But though their politics may have been slighted,
All four of these PMs were knighted.

Merci, and a gracious roundelay,
For Sir Wilfred Laurier.
And we remember Robert Borden still,
His face on the hundred-dollar bill.
Then Arthur Meighen, whose Irish oratory could sing,
Followed by the weird Mackenzie King.

R.B. Bennett, Louis St. Laurent--
What did this country really want?
Then to the Tories' great relief,
We elected Dief the Chief,
To be followed by hockey-playing Lester B.,
The only one of all these guys
To receive a Nobel Prize.

Then came Canada's most glamorous glow
With the suave Pierre Trudeau,
His light-hearted but strong-minded lark
Tempered by the very stern Joe Clark,
Whose period on the land's front burner
Gave way to handsome John Napier Turner,
Remembered still by friends and foes
As the man who danced with Princess Margaret Rose.

Up next, lantern-jawed Mulroney
Who proved that he could sing a tuney
And be entirely beguiling
With "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."
Kim Campbell joined the honoured list
As our first Prime Minister feminist.
Alas, her party failed to thrive--
She spent just four months on Sussex Drive.

Jean Chretien, a Pearson team alumnus,
Showed he'd entertain and never numb us.
His fans could only sigh and grieve
When the next PM was Harper, Steve,
Who later must have cried, "Oh, no!"
To be replaced by a Trudeau.

So here we are, aged one-five-one,
A country feeling still it's just begun.
Wave the flag, say "merci, beaucoup,"
For all that we have journeyed through,
And give thanks that life is grand,
In Canada, our native land!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Skip the Shaming!

Reports that Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other members of the Trump team have been heckled or refused service at Washington area restaurants has led to the creation of a new home delivery service: Skip the Shaming.

Initial advertising for the service includes this message:

"Hey, hard-working, right-thinking, zero tolerance Trumpsters: tired of being booed while you tuck into your kale and quinoa? Disheartened at being turned away from restaurants as though you're just an immigrant mother escaping a murderous country?

"Then here's your answer, as dependable as Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch making the right decision: Skip the Shaming! Yes, one quick phone call, and we'll be at your door! Real Mexican food, although not delivered by a real Mexican.

"Be confident there won't be a Mickey Finn in your Margarita, or a slug in your enchilada. Call Skip the Shaming--the gourmet delivery service for hardliners who want to be diners!

"Special super-size servings on orders from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

"And for Jeff Sessions, we have the Kiddie-Pak."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bloop Bleep, and other classics

Dealing with a leaking gold-encrusted faucet in the penthouse studios of Pointless Digressions, Inc., made us think of that famous ode to a dripping tap: "Bloop Bleep." This classic late twentieth century ballad, not to be confused with the current "Bleep Bloop," opens with these immortal lines:

"Bloop bleep, bloop bleep, bloop bleep
 The faucet keeps a-drippin' and I can't sleep."

The composer: Frank Loesser. "Bloop Bleep" may not be as well known as "If I Were a Bell" and "I've Never Been in Love Before," but still--Frank Loesser!

And this musical memory took us back to another song celebrating sound: "Cement Mixer, Putti Putti." This memorable 1940s art song was the work of the incomparable Slim Gaillard, perhaps best remembered for his "Groove Juice Symphony." "Cement Mixer, Putti Putti" can be found on Slim's album "Ice Cream on Toast."

And from the same rich period: "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet!" Ella Mae Morse sang this, but we recall with pleasure the Woody Herman version. The song is a plea from a World War Two factory worker, and begins:

"Been jumpin' on the swing shift all night
Turnin' out my quota all right
Now I'm beat right down to the sod
Gotta catch myself some righteous nod."

This deeply moving song was the work of Gene de Paul and Don Raye, a follow-up to their great "Cow Cow Boogie." De Paul and Raye might also be remembered for "Star Eyes" and "I'll Remember April," neither of which, of course, has the emotional impact of "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet!"

Finally, a song most suitable for a sizzling summer: "Splish Splash." For this, we can thank Bobby Darin and Murray the K. And Murray the K's mother, who came up with the opening line.