Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nothing Says Lovin' Like Something from the Oven

The most encouraging news to come out of football locker rooms since Roosevelt Grier announced his devotion to needlepoint is Khalif Mitchell's love for baking.  

Mitchell, a 6' 5", 312-pound BC Lions tackle, told the Vancouver Sun's Mike Beamish  "Pastries, cakes, I do a lot of baking.  I just made my first peach cobbler.  Right now I'm working on some dishes with chocolate--truffles, stuff like that." 

Lions coach Wally Buono, watching Mitchell take apart the Stampeders offensive line, said "He's a big, big man.  He can push the pack."  And Wally, we bet he can also make a terrific tiramisu.

Asked if Bobby Flay might challenge Mitchell to a peach cobbler throwdown, a Food Network spokesperson said "No chance.  Bobby knows the kind of throwdown Khalif can do."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grimace vs. Yawn

For those who missed Bob Slaigh's play-by-play commentary on last weekend's BC Lions/Calgary Stampeders game, here is a clip from the broadcast:

"Well, sports fans, as we head into the final minutes of the game, we have to say most of the action has taken place on the sidelines.  Our alert camera team has picked up Stampeders coach John Hufnagel yawning and Lions coach Wally Buono rolling his eyes and grimacing. Quite a tussle between these two longtime rivals for victory in facial tics.

"Wait, there's Hufnagel talking to Dave Dickinson and laughing!  'Ha ha, Dave, looks like Henry got intercepted again.'  'That's right, John. What a night! Ha ha!'

"Now over to the Lions bench, and we see Coach Buono has added a Trudeau-like shrug to his gestures. He's going to be hard to beat. 

"Big yawn from Hufnagel!  A veritable chasm of teeth, tongue and tonsils!  He can top this only by falling asleep on the bench! 

"And there's the final play.  Buono rolls his eyes, grimaces, throws his hands up in disgust. And that takes the game, sports fans:  eye rolling 29, yawns 10."   

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Devil Made Them Do It

Faithful readers will recall that earlier this week we noted that a Vancouver Sun sports report had carried the word "exorcise" when the writer clearly meant "exercise."

We thought this was a one-in-a-thousand occurrence, but lo, it has happened again.  In a story by the excellent Mike Beamish, datelined September 23, we read "Lion players...seemed just as exorcised about the CFL's ruling as they were with Jimenez." 

But then we began to wonder:  are the Lions really in need of an exorcist?  Think of last week's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, when, leading by 12 points in the final quarter, The Lions inexplicably fumbled, stumbled, and turned over the ball five times, leading to a Ti-Cats victory. Did the Devil make them do it?

All we can say is watch the sidelines at the next Lions games. Standing by the Lions bench, beside the coach, the offensive coordinator, the trainers, and the team physician, may be a man in a black suit, wearing a clerical collar and carrying a small black case. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lovin' It. Or Not.

A television commercial produced by the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (130,000 members, including 9,000 doctors) may persuade viewers to cancel their steak frites and order a salad instead.

The commercial, aired mainly on stations in the Washington, DC region, shows an ex-person being wheeled into the morgue as his wife weeps and a doctor looks on sympathetically.  Then the camera zooms in on the man's hand: clutched in it is a partially eaten hamburger. On come the famous Golden Arches and the tag line "I was lovin' it!"

The Physicians' Committee is campaigning to reduce high fat consumption and obesity-related deaths. In the Washington area, they say, there is a high rate of obesity and a concentration of fast food eateries.  

The Pointless Digressions Damage Control Division, known in the trade as Put the Right Spin On It, has been counseling McDonald's executives, who have been wearing hurt looks since the commercial aired.  We have reminded them of Oscar Wilde's dictum:  "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." 

The Big Mac guys say they are still not lovin' it.

Meanwhile, after an initial burst of giggles, the marketers at Wendy's, Burger King and A&W are wondering who is next.

Waiter, bring us a plate of crudites.  Hold the dip.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is There a Proofreader in the House?

Gary Kingston, writing in the sports section of the Vancouver Sun (September 21, 2010) has this line:  "Buono [added] he wasn't going to get exorcised over the blown call."

We weren't aware that Coach Wally was in need of exorcism.

Jason Jimenez, maybe.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shootout on Capitol Hill

As high noon approaches on Wednesday, when Parliamentarians will vote on the future or non-future of the Long Gun Registry, the plaintive voice of Steve "Quick Draw" Harper can be heard echoing over Capitol Hill:  "Do not forsake me, oh mah MPs, on this our votin' day-ay..."

Sheriff Steve and Deputy John "Deadeye" Baird are ready for the verbal shootout.  "We're sticking to our guns," said their spokesperson.  "We'll go gunning for the Opposition.  We know that they're gun-shy."  

Jack "Call me Shane" Layton laughed.  "The Long Gun Registry is good fer this territory and it's gonna stay.  I'm afraid those ol' boys are jest gonna have to bite the bullet.  

"We ain't," he declared, "about to turn Capitol Hill into Boot Hill."  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reviving Bob Slaigh

The management of Pointless Digressions regrets the long absence of entries, but we have been uncommonly busy and beset by various problems.  

One: Faithful readers will remember that our last posting dealt with the posthumous Pulitzer citation awarded Hank Williams.  Since writing this, we have been visited nightly by the spectral presences of Alberta Slim, Hank the Yodelin' Ranger, and the entire casts of Hee-Haw and The Grand Ole Opry demanding to know why they have not received a similar honor.  After we gave them the telephone number of the Pulitzer awards chairman, they vanished.

Two: We gave been engaged in the rehabilitation of Bob Slaigh.  Bob, our resident sportscaster, took the Labor Day weekend to write his 3-Day Novel, which he vowed would be longer than "War and Peace," and which came in at six pages.  While he finished his story, he was unable to break free of his fictional world, and it took great effort to bring him back to reality.  "I don't want reality!" Bob cried.  "I want to stay in my world of love-crazed Amazons!"

Finally we told Bob that football season has begun.  He immediately snapped out of it and sat down in front of a TV screen with a bucket of Chicken McNuggets and a case of Chokecherry Slushy.  

We don't expect to hear from Bob again until several days after the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hank's Pulitzer

Hank Williams, who was everything a singer-songwriter should be, has been awarded a citation by the Pulitzer Prize committee.  Sig Gissier, administrator of the Pulitzer Prize awards, called Williams "a creative force that influenced a wide range of other musicians" and spoke of his "lasting impact."

Good to see that the Pulitzer people have lightened up.  In 1965, the jury for the music award (to be given, in Joseph Pulitzer's words, for "distinguished musical composition") chose Duke Ellington.  The Pulitzer board of that time refused to give Ellington the award.  The jury, including Winthrop Sargeant, immediately resigned.  Duke, with his usual graciousness, said, "Fate is being kind to me.  Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young."  He was then sixty-seven. 

Wynton Marsalis, in 1997, was the first jazz composer to be awarded a Pulitzer.  Since then, special citations have gone to Bob Dylan, and (posthumously) to Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.

Hank Williams is the first artist in the Grand Ole Opry club to be awarded a Pulitzer.  He was an astonishingly prolific composer: "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Half as Much," "Jambalaya," "Kaw-liga," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "I Saw the Light," "Move It On Over," "Lovesick Blues," "Mind Your Own Business," "Cold Cold Heart."  And that's just a handful.  If you are so inclined, and if there are any record shops left, look for "Hank Williams:  40 Greatest Hits," a two-CD set by Polydor.  

Speakeasy, the Wall Street Journal blog, has it right when it says the Pulitzer committee finally "saw the light. "  And on the blog, which you can easily google, there is a wonderful video of Hank performing "Cold Cold Heart," a song he says "has been awful good to me and the boys--bought us quite a few beans and biscuits."

One last, favorite story:  When Mitch Miller was A&R director at Columbia, he had Tony Bennett record "Cold Cold Heart."  The record sold a trigillion copies.  Then Tony got a telephone call from Hank Williams:  "Mr. Bennett?" he said, "You the one who's ruining my song?"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

3-Day Novel Survivor

We are pleased to report that Bob Slaigh completed his 3-Day Novel challenge as the clock ticked on toward midnight.  Bob, tell us how you're feeling.

"Well, a little rocky, to be honest.  I tripped over a dangling participle and split an infinitive."

Sounds painful, Bob.

"Yes, but not as serious as last year's competition, when I ran into a misplaced modifier and ended up with fractured syntax."

Does this mean you'll be out of action for some time, Bob?

"Not at all.  I'm already in training for the Honshu Haiku Tournament."

Good luck, Bob.  Or, as they say in literary circles, break a verb.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


"The International 3-Day Novel Contest organizers have begun referring to entrants in this year's literary marathon as 'Masochist-Novelists,' and here at Pointless Digressions we are pleased to have our own masochist-novelist, Bob Slaigh.  Come in, Bob Slaigh, at the PNE."

"That's right, folks, I'm broadcasting from the Pacific National Exhibition.  The 3-Day Novel rules allow you to write anywhere, so I am writing my novel on the roller-coaster."

"Bob, we understand that before you boarded the roller-coaster, you appeared as a special guest with the Dal Richards Band."

"That's true.  I sang 'If They Asked Me, I Could Write a Book'."

"Most appropriate.  How did it go over, Bob?"

"Pretty well, I think.  Dal said he could honestly say he had never heard anything like it."

"Bob, can you tell us what your 3-Day Novel is about?"

"I won't give away the whole plot, but I can say it involves exploding deep-fried butter balls."

"Must have required a lot of research."

"It did.  I consumed about a dozen butter balls, followed by some deep-fried Oreo cookies and a few deep-fried Mars bars.  Trying to eat healthy and include all the major food groups."

"Well, good luck, Bob.  We're all pulling for you back here."

"Thanks, I..oops!  going into a plunge here!  Wooo--maybe I had too many of those deep-fried butter balls.  Hey, down there?  Sorry about that.  Good thing you were wearing that big hat, ha ha! This is Bob Slaigh signing--oops!  Really sorry, guys.  Ooops!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Lions roar once more

The loosingest team in the CFL knocks out the #1 team 38-17--BC Lions over Montreal Alouettes.  Good golly, Coach Wally! 

With a tip of the hat to Casey, Geroy, Manny, et al., your correspondent, and Pointless Digressions sports reporter Bob Slaigh, depart for the Labor Day weekend, one of us to participate in that annual literary marathon, the 3-Day Novel Contest. 

"Tell us what you're writing about, Bob."

"Well, I've been trying to keep it under my hat, but I can tell you it's about the use of performance enhancing drugs in a hula hoop competition."  

"Good luck, Bob!  We know you have it in you.  Along with the knackwurst and Lowenbrau and limburger.  Bob, could you stand over by the window?"