Wednesday, March 27, 2013

But Are They Kidding?

"Moneysense" has listed the 200 best places to live in Canada, and Vancouver residents were surprised to find their city ranked fifty-second, somewhere between Horsefly and Spuzzum. Which city made the coveted Number One spot? Calgary.

We thought at first this might be a gag, something like "The  Onion" declaring Kim Jong-Un the sexiest man alive in 2012. But then we thought, no, a magazine/website that calls itself "Moneysense" probably does not have a sense of humor.

Many readers believe the "Moneysense" staff should pay some penalty for telling trusting readers in Fort Chimo and Povungnituk that the best place to live is Calgary. A suitable penalty, we believe, would be six months. In Calgary.    

Monday, March 25, 2013

Steve Greets the Bears

Seldom has Canada's Prime Minister looked as ecstatically happy as when he greeted two giant panda bears from China. While somewhat reserved when meeting heads of state--Barack Obama, Angela Merkle, et al.--he seemed, on meeting the bears, to be experiencing orgasmic joy or a religious epiphany.

The pandas will be on view for the next five years, at Toronto and Calgary zoos. In return, Prime Minister Harper is sending Chinese zoos Joe Oliver and Tony Clement.

Meanwhile, the fashion news from Washington is all about bangs, enjoying their greatest revival since the days of Ish Kabibble. It began when First Lady Michelle Obama declared that she was dealing with midlife crisis by having her hair set in bangs. It has not been confirmed that the President is responding by growing a Groucho Marx moustache.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Writing & Writers

Philip Roth, another of the fine writers who have somehow escaped the attention of the Swedish Academy, is about to turn eighty. Newark, his version of Kafka's Prague, is honoring him with many events, and there is a documentary film, "Philip Roth: Unmasked," which will be screened by PBS March 29. (It has already had a brief showing in a New York theatre.)

Adam Gopnik, writing in The New Yorker on Roth and the current state of writing, says "The future of writing--or, at least, the future of making a living by writing--seems in doubt as never before. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can write, and everyone does....It has never been easier to be a writer, and it has never been harder to be a professional writer. And yet...writing still matters."

We read the other day that Elmore Leonard's first novel was rejected by seventy-six publishers before it made its way into print. Today, one wonders if there are seventy-six publishers left to send out rejection slips.

But--writing still matters.

Scraps & Leftovers

The past week saw the installation of both Pope Francis I and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. Seth Macfarlane regretted he was unavailable as host for both events, as he had prepared two new versions of "Here's to the Losers."

From the Lack of Imagination Dept.: The government of British Columbia continues to declare "Canada Starts Here." The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation insists "Canada Lives Here." We urge both groups to visit Slogans R Us.

Have you noticed that the actors who portray lottery winners in commercials never look like the people who actually win lotteries? (With the exception of Barry Deley, of course.)

Whatever happened to those newspaper columnists so powerful and vitriolic they could force radio hosts off the air? Where are they when we need them?

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brought in the new federal budget, and, following tradition, sported a new pair of shoes. This is all very well, but we're hoping for a finance minister who can put on new shoes and tap dance.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Tis Holier to Take the Bus

Learning that Pope Francis I eschewed his chauffeur-driven limousine when Archbishop of Buenos Aires, preferring to ride a bus instead, TransLink BC has begun exploring new marketing slogans. Among them:

"Blessed are those who take public transit, for they will encounter many interesting people."

"SkyTrain--one stop closer to Heaven!"

"Don't be a Dope--Ride like the Pope!"

So far, there has been no response from the Vatican to calls asking if Pope Francis would pose for pictures on the Metrotown Express.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Welcome (yawn) Daylight Saving Time

Yes, Daylight Saving Time is once again upon us. But not in Saskatchewan, where, as Mr. Berkeley Bigler of Horizon pointed out, cows have minds of their own. "They do not recognize arbitrary changes in measuring time," he told us. "They follow their own internal clocks."

At one time it was put forth that Daylight Saving Time provides more opportunities for golfers to get out on the greens. "Cows do enjoy greens," said our Prairies correspondent, "but they do not play golf."

Throughout the rest of North America, however, people were resolutely setting their clocks one hour forward as an energy-saving maneuver. All except Bosley Farnsworth of Tight Upper Lip, Newfoundland. Said Mr. Farnsworth, "Why bother setting the clocks ahead? In six months, I'll just have to set them back. Now that's saving energy."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Betting on the Royal Baby

So many Royal-watchers are now convinced that the Duchess of Cambridge will deliver a baby girl bookmakers have dropped the odds from four to five to one to two.

This came about because the Duchess was heard to say, when given a teddy bear, "Thank you. I will give this to my d..." She stopped at "duh," leading many to believe she was about to say "daughter."

But this is only guessing. Here are some other things she might have almost said:

"Thank you. I will give this to my dentist."

"Thank you. I will give this to my dog."

"Thank you. I will give this to my dippy brother-in-law."

Meanwhile, for bettors, here are the other current odds: for a boy, six to four; for twins, eight to one. We found no odds listed for sextuplets.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Justin Time

There are numerous Justins currently in the news--Justin Welby, Justin Trudeau, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake. We are here to sort them out for you: Justin Bieber is not the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby is not a nineteen-year-old pop singer, and Justin Timberlake is not running for leadership of the Canadian Liberal Party, although Marc Garneau wishes he were.

All of the Justins owe their cognomens to St. Justin Martyr, a Father of the Church, who lived in the first century C.E. His feast day is June 1, which, we presume, will be celebrated by Messrs. Welby, Trudeau, Bieber and Timberlake.

Finally, for those searching baby books for suitable names for male offspring, this note: the name Justin means...just.

Just so.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Farewell, Febrooshery

Several radio hosts have said how pleased they are that February has ended. Actually, they said "that month." Because it isn't February's weather that bothers them, it isn't that they suffer from SAD. It's that they find it impossible to pronounce "February" correctly.

Announcers for whom names like "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" and "Tuktoyaktuk" roll trippingly off the tongue face an insurmountable tongue-twister in "February." It comes out as "Febroosh," "Foobrush" and "Febrooshery." Give us, they say, a straightforward month like March.

And here it is. Unfortunately, during the past twenty-eight days many broadcasters abandoned their microphones and went into politics.

And on politics, this news from Victoria: Premier Christy Clark said she was "shocked, shocked, to think that anyone would use government resources to put forward a cynical, manipulative election strategy." She announced an internal investigation would begin at once "to determine that we didn't do anything wrong."