Friday, March 30, 2012

A Nickel for Your Thoughts

The announcement that the Canadian Mint will cease producing pennies and the government will begin recalling all the copper-colored coins has ramifications far beyond the piggy bank. Bernard Bigelow, our financial and falafel correspondent, has these items:

* The song "Pennies from Heaven," if performed at all, will be retitled "Debit Cards from Your Bank."

* The saying "A penny for your thoughts" will be replaced by "A nickel for your thoughts." Plus GST and HST where required.

* Police (no longer to be called coppers) will search closets coast to coast and confiscate all penny loafers.

* Women named Penelope who have been accustomed to the nickname Penny will have their names automatically changed. These women will be given a choice of new name, either Elmira or Boadicea.

* Anyone caught throwing pennies in a wishing well will be made to dive in and retrieve them.

And that's the news for the soon-to-be-extinct penny. Now the nickel is feeling nervous.  


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Budget night at the Flahertys

It was a big day in the Flaherty household. Jim was due to deliver the federal budget, the first from a Harper government with a majority in Parliament. This meant that Jim could do pretty much whatever he liked. Or whatever Steve liked.  

But first there was the new shoes ritual. It is traditional for finance ministers to wear new shoes while presenting a budget. Jim received several suggestions, most of which he ignored, including one from Rona Ambrose that he choose a stylish pair of slingback stilettos.

Thomas "The Beard" Mulcair, new leader of the national NDP,  said, "If I take after him, he'd best get running shoes." A public service employees union representative said, "I'm afraid he'll be wearing hobnailed boots."  And Bob Rae, interim leader of the Liberals, said, "Considering the cuts that are coming, I expect penny loafers."

That evening, Flaherty, after calling out, "Hi, honey--I'm home" asked what was on the dinner menu. "Kraft Dinner with peas," said Mrs. M. "Better cancel the peas," said Jim. "We have to tighten our belts."

"Considering the considerable girth of most of your colleagues," said Mrs. M." I would drop that expression. And one more thing--"  

"Yes, m'love?"

"Before you come in here, take off those shoes."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another hit for The Nose

An international parfumier--Silvana "The Nose" Casoli--has created a scent for another well-known client. Previously, The Nose designed personal perfumes and colognes for Madonna, Sting, and King Carlos of Spain. This time, his client is Pope Benedict XVI. We are not making this up.

The scent is described as a "fresh, citrusy cologne, containing lime tree blossoms, verbena and spring grass, capturing the Pontiff's love of the flora and fauna of Bavaria, with a spiritual feeling of peace and tranquillity." 

We look forward to further creations from The Nose for world figures. What do you have for Stephen Harper, Silvano?   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back on the Attack

The federal Conservative party has returned, or reverted, or regressed, to what it does best: attack advertising. The target this time, unsurprisingly, is Bob Rae, who continues to grow in popularity as he vigorously takes on the Harperites in Parliament.

This time, however, the Liberals have a counterattack ready: Drop the ad, they say, or we'll release a photo of Stephen Harper in a Speedo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Dad and Lad Show

News item: Actor George Clooney and father Nick Clooney, veteran television journalist, were arrested after leading a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC. 

We take you now to a cell in the DC precinct house.

George: Well, here we are, Dad--spring break.

Nick: A chance for some quality father and son time.

George: Gotta tell you, Pop, these are not the kind of bars I usually hang around.

Nick: And not the way I planned to spend St. Patrick's Day.

George: Let's call the guard and see if we can get some green beer. Think they have room service here?

Nick: You know, Son, this gives me an idea for a great new realty TV show: "Celebrities in the Jug." Whaddya think?

George: Good idea, Pop.

Nick: I hope we get our belts and shoelaces back.

George: And our ties. That Ermengildo Zegna set me back 225 bucks. 

Later that evening, we see Desk Sergeant Oscar McCloskey and Mildred Hepplewaite at a Washington dine and dance spot.

Mildred: Gee, Oscar, that's a beautiful necktie!

Oscar: Thanks, Mil. I got it from George Clooney.

Mildred: George Clooney! I didn't know you knew him!

Oscar: We've become very close.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Checking this week's crises

Oy, what a week! First the Playhouse Theatre Company shuts down, then the Book Warehouse says that's all she wrote, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury is doing the Lambeth walk all the way to Cambridge.

Let's take these crises one at a time (along with a jigger of Old Liverspot). First, the Playhouse Theatre Company, apparently never having heard "the show must go on," took its final bow. Too bad that Telus, having had its $40 million rejected by the BC government, hadn't thought to toss a mill or two to the thespians.

Next, trombonist-bookseller Sharman King announced that the four Book Warehouse locations are heading for the final chapter. Not an economic decision--the stores were up ten percent last December--Sharm and partners just decided thirty-two years were enough. We wish him well. Perhaps he'll write a book. Or a symphony. Still, with fewer and fewer bookstores, we get the creepy feeling we're approaching an electronic Fahrenheit 451.

Finally, Rowan Williams, bushy-eyebrowed Archbishop of Canterbury, plans to exit Lambeth palace at year's end and become Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge. It is far too early to know who may succeed him in his archepiscopal role, but whoever it is, he (or she) will not find it an easy job. Just look at this To Do list: "Two exorcisms...four excommunications...and try again to find a patron saint for corgis." 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Not being Called for Duets II

What happened? There I was, sitting by the phone, ready for the call from Phil Ramone or Danny Bennett, or Tony himself, asking me to join Tone on one of the tracks for his "Duets II" album. I dunno, maybe the line was busy, so they called Buble or Josh Groban instead. Whaddya gonna do?

I was ready. I was ready to dance with Tony, the way Sheryl Crow did. I coulda gotten that grizzled Willy Nelson look. I was prepared to dye my hair lime green, like Lady Gaga. 

But the call never came.

Well, as they say in sports, there's always next year. I'm ready for "Duets III." "Take my hand, I'm a stranger in paradise..." Hear that, Tone?   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Republican Primaries--Ghee and Glee

When the first group of GOP presidential wannabes--Perry, Bachmann, Cain, and the rest of the party's third- and fourth-string--turned up for the Republican primaries, we thought of the Seven Dwarfs--Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, et al.

As they dropped off, one by one, done in by polls, losing numbers, debate gaffes, and cash runouts, we were reminded of the Agatha Christie novel "And Then There Were None." 

Now, as Romney, Santorum and Gingrich go into their last round (with Ron Paul somewhere in the distance) we think of the tigers in the tale of Little Black Sambo, who chased each other 'round and 'round the tree until they all dissolved into a pool of ghee.

But elsewhere--in an oval office perhaps--there is a pool of glee.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bovine Thoughts on Daylight Saving Time

A herd of cattle in Saskatchewan was heard discussing the arrival of Daylight Saving Time. Elmer, a studious bull, said "Did you know, friends, that this peculiar idea was first advanced in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin?"

Jenny the Jersey snorted. "What, so he could have more time flying his kite?"

"He was the first to propose the idea," Elmer continued, "but not the last. Someone named George Vernon Hudson, now lost to history, brought it up again in 1895. However, Daylight Saving Time was not put into practice until the years of World War One." 

"Not a good time to be a cow," said Harry the Hereford. "Ye've got that rrright," added Aberdeen Angus.

"It was," said Gus Guernsey, popular talk show host of the pasture, "George W. Bush who moved Daylight Saving Time a month earlier." 

"Another of W's great ideas," muttered Ayrshire Alice.

"Well," said Elmer, "we can be glad that Saskatchewan has shown the good sense not to be caught up in this foolishness."

"Yes," Jenny concurred. "I do not want any changes in schedule, Milking time is sacred."

Moos all 'round.


Friday, March 9, 2012

All Together, Now--Panic!

We are in a kind of panic because we have just learned that March 9 is International Panic Day. Here it is half over, and we haven't panicked once.

Well, there's still time. We have trotted out some of our favorite phobias, in hope of creating serious panic. Here is aeronausiphobia--fear of airsickness. We fear being stuck in the centre seat between two people who are rapidly turning green and crying "Where's that bag?"

Then there is neophobia--fear of anything new. And ablutophobia--fear of bathing. And cyberphobia, which is, of course, a morbid fear of computers.

Some phobias come in pairs--among them peladophobia, which is a fear of bald persons (comes from watching "Kojak" at an impressionable age) and phalacrophobia, the fear of going bald oneself.

International Panic Day is co-sponsored by the Sky is Falling Committee.  Chicken-licken says "Have a scary day."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ladies' Day

Reading list for International Women's Day--or any day: "Drunk with Love," Ellen Gilchrist; "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant," Anne Tyler; "Wuthering Heights," Emily Bronte; "The Portable Dorothy Parker"; "The Little Foxes," Lillian Hellman; "Return Trips," Alice Adams; "Bushworld," Maureen Dowd; "Plain Text," Nancy Mairs; "Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior," Judith Martin; "And Then There Were None," Agatha Christie; "Send Bygraves," Martha Grimes; "Bartleby in Manhattan," Elizabeth Hardwick; "Poets in Their Youth," Eileen Simpson; "The Shadow Knows," Diane Johnson; "Up We Grow," Deborah Hodge; "High Times and Hard Times," Anita O'Day; "Happy All the Time," Laurie Colwin. 

Apologies for many notable absentees (Jane Austen, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Alice Munro, Hannah Arendt, Joan Didion, et al.) but this is our own quirky list. 

We could do a list of great female characters--Lady Brett Ashley, Daisy Buchanan, Carmen, Marjorie Morningstar, Miss Marple, Fanny Yokum. Maybe another time, another International Women's Day--which, in our far from humble opinion, should be every day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blackboard Jungle

While still awaiting the call to mediate the dispute between the BC Teachers Federation and the provincial government, we thought we would share this story of teachers' salaries, or, at least, one teacher's salary:

Some years ago, Ross School in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan had on its staff a bright young vice-principal named Dan Cameron. His future in education seemed assured. But when the school janitor retired, and that job came open, Dan applied for it. It paid more than his position as vice-principal.

Dan did not get the job. 

Not much later, however, Dan became a CBC producer, and, he was pleased to learn, this paid even more than the janitor's job.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Glad for Vlad

Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Russian leader Vladimir Putin on once again taking control of his country. "I'm glad for Vlad," said Harper. "His party really knows how to rig--er, run--an election."

Harper further commented, "I see nothing wrong with someone being president or prime minister for sixteen years, or even longer. Sounds good to me."

Asked about the robocall scandal now developing, with Canadians in fifty-seven ridings complaining of bogus telephone calls possibly leading to election irregularities, the Prime Minister pointed to a sign on his desk: The Buck Stops Somewhere Else. 

Meanwhile, Willard Snively, spokesman for the government's official Response and Denial Department, said, "Look, they were robocalls, right? Made by machines. We believe some rogue robots took over the system, like that paranoid computer in Kubrick's Space Odyssey movie. No humans were involved."