Saturday, December 31, 2011

What, 2012 already?

A quiet moment before the bells ring, the sirens wail, the fireworks explode, partyers on the floor above start singing "Auld Lang Syne," the neighbor next door comes by to borrow a cup of gin, and the police arrive. As Fats Waller put it so memorably, "The Joint is Jumpin'".

January 1 was not always the beginning of the year--ancient Romans got their calendars going in March. The English did not take January 1 as New Year's Day until 1752. Presumably that was the year they discovered Champagne. 

The making of resolutions is a custom that seems to endure. One that did not last was the bribing of magistrates--we are not making this up--which was abolished by law in 1290. However, you may still find someone in elected office willing, for old time's sake, to accept a packet of cash slipped under the table.

Enjoy the holiday. And should you find you have celebrated not wisely, but too well, take heart from the words of Jack Wasserman: "It is better to have a morning after than to never have a night before."    

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blessings on you, Brother, and take that!

It has been reported that a fight broke out between priests at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Fifty to sixty reverend battlers of Greek Orthodox and Armenian faiths began swinging broomsticks. They were heard calling to each other, "Peace to you, Brother!" Whap! "Yeah, same to you, fella." Bash! 

In Pyongyang, North Korean police arrested dozens of citizens after the funeral cortege of Kim Jong Il passed by. The arrestees were charged with underacting.

And in the Agitated States, the lineup of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination was increased today by the entry of Grumpy, Dopey and Sleepy. Grumpy is currently leading in the polls, but all those running are nervous about the anticipated entry of Larry, Curly and Moe. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fans by Age Groups

Watching, with pleasure, Leonard Cohen's London concert, we noted that Cohen, age 77, is the Justin Bieber of the septuagenarian crowd. Bieber, of course, is the favorite of the tweenies.

Tom Jones devotees used to throw various items of lingerie at the Welsh belter.  At Bieber concerts, they throw training bras. At Cohen performances, they throw supp-hose.

In the middle of these age groups, we find Michael Buble. What do fans throw at his concerts? Cannoli.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scrooge Redux

Cadwallader Scrooge, great-nephew of Ebenezer, woke in the wee small hours to the sound of rapping on his door and the dragging of chains. He knew, it being Christmas Eve, that it was Steve Marley, great-nephew of Dickens's Marley, and the notorious purveyor of fraudulent Sri Lankan junk bonds, back to haunt him again.

"C'mon, Steve," said Scrooge. "Give it a rest. I had a late night. Too much Brand X egg nog." 

"Be warned," intoned Marley, giving it his best Ken Nordine imitation, "three ghosts will come to visit you this night."

"Tell them to make an appointment," said Scrooge. "Have their people call my people."

Marley dragged his chains away, off to torment various MPs, MLAs, premiers and prime ministers. A long night ahead.

Scrooge had drifted off, dreaming of old Esther Williams movies, when a spectral presence appeared at his bed. A spectral presence in the form of Bernie Madoff.

"I," said the figure, "am the Ghost of Christmas Past. Look back, O Mortal, to those times when you left meagre, insufficient tips in restaurants, at hair dressers, and shoe shine stands. Should you not mend your ways while there still is time, you will spend eternity as a bus boy in Hades."

Scrooge reached for the Grey Goose vodka under his bed and went back to sleep. For a moment. Came then another knocking at his door, and a voice ringing out,"Cadwallader Scrooge! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present."

Scrooge replied, "Sorry, buddy. You have the wrong address. The man you're looking for moved last year. Check your address book."

"Sorry, guy," said the ghost, and departed.

Scrooge was back in dreamland, playing the lead role in a 649 commercial, when the next visitor appeared. "I," said a juvenile voice, "am the Christmas Future." A figure appeared in the guise of Justin Biebert.

"What," said Scrooge, "I couldn't get Lady Gaga? I couldn't get Feist?"

"You get what you deserve," said the ghost, as he suddenly transformed into Robert Goulet. "And here is what awaits you. Elizabeth May as Prime Minister. Rick Mercer as Governor-General. Twenty-four-hour 1970s elevator music. A pipeline running through your bedroom.  A tax audit. Nothing on television except adult diaper and walk-in bathtub commercials. An investigation into..."

"No, no," cried Scrooge. "Stop! Tell me what I can do to prevent this."

"A simple gesture of generosity," said the ghost, "Merely sign over your shares in Apple, Microsoft and RIM to Ghosts.Inc."

"Where do I sign?" gasped Scrooge.

The ghost smiled, handed him a pen, and said, "Sign here."   

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bobby Lou Sings!

News that pop crooner Michael Buble had suited up for practice with the Vancouver Canucks was followed today by an announcement that Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo is scheduled to sing with the Buble band. "That's right," said Buble's manager, "we're all eager to hear Roberto's signature song, 'The Ballad of Bobby Lou'."

And there's more show biz excitement for the Vancouver team. The entire Canuck lineup will appear in an upcoming Michael Buble video, dancing a routine from "Chorus Line." Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said, "We've been working on the choreography and we've got some pretty slick moves. I think you'll be surprised."

"You bet," said Henrik Sedin. "Eat your heart out, Dave Bolland."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Zat You, Santy Claus?

Late one cold December night, as the embers in the fireplace glowed and the brandy in our snifters warmed, a great clatter and considerable profanity came from the chimney. And suddenly standing there, covered in soot and with a bird's nest on his toque, stood Santa Claus. A spectacularly unkempt and un-jolly Santa Claus. A Santa Claus who looked like Nick Nolte.

"Uh--is that you, Santa Claus?" I asked.

"Who the #&*$& comes through the chimney?" he said. "And is it too much to ask that you get the $#@&*% thing cleaned once a year?"

"Perhaps," I said, "I could offer you a restorative brandy?"

"Just tell me where the liquor's kept," he said. "I'll serve myself."

As he stood by the liquor cabinet drinking a rare Glenfiddich from the bottle, we were interrupted by a commotion at the entrance door. Standing there dripping on the Aubusson carpet was a bedraggled creature in a green elf outfit. A creature who looked remarkably like Christian Bale. 

"My head elf," said Santa. And to the elf, "Where you been, pal? Stop at a strip joint somewhere?"

"Had to park the freakin' reindeer. Not easy in all that %#$*& snow. But listen, man, where are the chicks?"

"This isn't the place. I know I promised you the sorority residence again, but after last year, they've made it a no-fly zone. I ask you, what kind of Christmas spirit is that?" 

"What a drag. Hey, Donner and Blitzen are a little peaked after all that egg nog. Okay if I bring them in?"

The door swung wide and two wobbly reindeer slumped in. I must report that the reindeer had not been house-broken. Goodbye, Aubusson carpet.

"Is that all the booze you've got?" said Santa, throwing another empty into the fireplace.

"I thought," I said, "the usual treat was cookies and milk."

"Are you serious, man? On a run like this?"

"Remember when we used to hit Miles Davis's place?" said the elf. "That was cool."

"Very cool," said Santa.

"One year we didn't get back to the Pole until January."

"Ma Claus was already talking to her lawyer." 

"Good thing you brought her some of that Liz Taylor jewelry."

"She said to me, 'Now this is the kind of ice I like.'  Okay, Elf, time to move. With luck, we can make the late show at The Penthouse."

Reaching into my teak humidor, he extracted a half-dozen hand-rolled Cuban cigars. "You got good taste, fella," he said. "We'll be back. Maybe bring some of the other elves."

And then, before vanishing up the chimney, he pressed a finger to his roseate proboscis and said with a wink--or, perhaps, twitch--of his eye. "Stay cool, dude."

"What happened," I said, "to Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night?"

"Oh, man," he said, "that is so last Christmas."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mike's socks

Superstitions abound in sports, and one that worked for Mike Benevides involved his socks.

Benevides, today named new head coach of the BC Lions, told reporters that as defensive coordinator he wore the same pair of socks for the Lions' last eight games. It is not known if in tight situations he walked close to the opposing team's bench and took off his shoes. 

Coach Benevides said that following the Lions' Grey Cup win, he had the lucky socks incinerated. Or someone did. 

We believe he should have had them bronzed.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pointless Christmas Gifts

Got your gift list checked off? Got what you need to thrill all those special folks in your life? Or do you suffer from mallphobia and can't face the crowds and bad background music? in that case, fret no more! Our Pointless Presents Panel has put together a sure-to-please gift list for those who have everything. (Or nothing--works both ways.)

* Angie and Joe Fighting Dolls! Miniature replicas of Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca. Wind them up, and they slug it out. Batteries not included.

* "Even Stephen"--the PM's great follow-up CD to his Grammy-nominated "Grievin' Stephen." Special guests: Celine Dion and Rob Ford.

* The D.B. Cooper Getaway! Here's the adventure of the year! A parachute drop into the forests of northern Oregon, with a sack full of make-believe money! Better than bungee jumping!  

And still available: Pointless Digressions baseball caps, tee-shirts and coffee mugs, all made in North Korea! 

You can order without leaving your home! Unless, of course, you want to leave your home, a condition known to many at this time of year. For you, we offer inclusion in the Witness Protection Program! Think of it--new identity, new address, attractive false hair! Your creditors can't find you! Your relatives can't find you! for details, call 1-888-GETMEOUT. 

Call now! Operators are waiting!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Newtering the Country

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent has proclaimed the accord reached at the Durban, South Africa, conference on climate change "fair and balanced," which shows that the minister either has a fine sense of irony or spends a lot of time with Fox News.

And now, to the U.S., where televised debates among Republicans hoping for their party's presidential nomination are still trailing "Cupcake Wars."  

Backers for Newt ("Whaddya mean, I coulda been a contender? I am a contender!") Gingrich are growing in number, especially among those who believe Harold Robbins deserved the Nobel. They have now formed an alliance known as the Newters. "When Newt becomes president," said one, "we'll Newter the whole country!"

Recalling Irving Berlin's "I Like Ike," the Gingrich team has released a new campaign song. Titled "You're a Beaut, Newt," it beat out "You're So Cute, Newt" and "We Salute Newt." A video has been filmed, featuring Kelsey Grammer in his Sideshow Bob persona as lead singer, with backup by a trio called The Newtettes, representing the present and former Mesdames Gingrich.

A new political genre--the attack song--has also been produced by the Gingrich team. So far, it has songs attacking Governors Perry and Romney, employing their first names, Rick and Mitt. Unfortunately, the lyrics have been deemed unsuitable for general audiences.

Newt's Inventions

Republican hopeful ("I can come back!") Gingrich was criticized today for saying that Palestinians are an "invented people." A Palestinian commentator retorted that is Newt who was invented, and that he is really a reject from Edgar Bergen's dummy factory.

Some suggested that Gingrich's statement was a shameless ploy to draw the Jewish vote. "They're all meshuga," said the ex-Speaker of the House, adjusting his yarmulke. "Just because I show a little chutzpah? Please! Now pass me my knishes and celery tonic."  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Border Security and Mr. 40 Percent

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with US President Obama today. It took some time for Mr. Harper to get into the United States. He had to convince the border guards that he was not really a Taliban terrorist disguised as an overweight Canadian politician.

While in Washington, Mr. Harper commented on the unhappiness in Russia following the recent disputed election. "They're upset that Putin's party got a little less than fifty percent? Heck, we got in with forty percent, and look at the job we're doing."

It was noted that the Russian leader was seen recently crooning "Blueberry Hill" with a Moscow doo-wop group. Mr. Harper advised, "Keep it up, Vlad. But you might want to get some newer material." 

The Prime Minister then exited the Oval Office, singing "I'm Hip."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good Golly, Coach Wally!

Wally Buono, forever (at least for now) referred to as "the winningest coach in CFL history," has announced his retirement as head coach of the BC Lions. He will still be around, however, as general manager of the team and vice-president, football operations, and he may turn up to accept the Annis Stukus Trophy for a fourth time as Coach of the Year.

The odds favor Mike Benevides, longtime Lions defensive coordinator, as Buono's successor (although Jacques Chapdelaine, the offensive coordinator, may be saying, "What am I, chopped liver?") and a long shot is ex-Lions QB Dave Dickenson, now offensive coordinator for the Calgary Stampeders. But Wally may surprise us all again, and appoint an unknown high school coach from Five Flats, Arkansas. 

The real reason Coach Buono is stepping back, some say, is that if he wins many more Grey Cup rings (he has seven--two as a player, five as a coach) he will have to grow more fingers.

Meanwhile, it has not been confirmed that BC Place will have its name changed to Wall-Mart Stadium.

For PD Sports, Slap Maxwell reporting.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What You Don't Hear from the Santa Claus Parade

Vern Clogsdale, distressed husband: "I can't believe it--my wife ran off with a reindeer!"

Sgt. Brock Largefeet, VPD: "We apprehended a gang of pickpockets dressed as elves."

Al Klatzmir, patron of the arts: "My favorite float was the Penthouse Pole Dancers, wearing toques and tinsel, and sliding down a giant candy cane."

Sgt. Brock Largefeet: "We found several persons seriously impaired from smoking fermented cedar needles."

S. Claus: "I'm calling my agent. Next year I want a better gig. Maybe 'CSI: North Pole'."

Sgt. Brock Largefeet: "We are taking S. Claus in for questioning." 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cookbook Etiquette

Arranging cookbooks on a shelf is something like placing guests at a dinner party. How are the seating combinations going to work? Will they charm or repel each other? Is it safe to put Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" next to Susan Mendelson's "Mama Never Cooked Like This"? 

Will Bobby Flay and Julia Child get along? What will Jamie Oliver and Joanne Kates have to talk about? Are Denny Boyd's "Man on the Range" and Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" a good pairing? Will Emeril be captivated by Barbara-jo McIntosh's "Tin Fish Gourmet"? Can James Barber's "Peasant's Choice" be a compatible match for Jane Brody's "Good Food Book" or will she turn to Pierre Dubrulle?

We still have to seat Nero Wolfe, Vij, Caren McSherry, Mark Bittman, and--wait! Madame Benoit is running away with Keith Floyd!