Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'll Get Around to It. Sometime.

Here it is December, and I haven't finished with October. October 1989.

As many know, I have raised procrastination to an art form. I have pink telephone message slips going back to 1972. Here's one that says "Please call at once! Urgent!" And I intend to do that, sometime.

There are many deep psychological reasons for chronic procrastination, and I will go into those. Another day.

It's said that Marilyn Monroe was invariably late for rehearsals. One day, a wise director said to her, "Marilyn, if you can't be on time, be early."

And from then on, she always was.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Famous Marketing Miscues

Okay, who was the marketing genius who thought this day should be designated Black Friday?

Black Friday--conjures images of stock market meltdown, bank closings, Wall Street brokers on window ledges.

It was probably the same guy who came up with these:

"This St. Valentine's Day, we massacre prices!"

"Time to take a titanic cruise!"

"Winter Doldrums? Fly with us and crash in Florida!"

And all you people who did not make Denny Boyd's Grey Cup pot roast in coffee: good luck getting his recipe for Blotto Salmon.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Denny (not Denny's) cooks the Grey Cup roast

As Grey Cup day approaches, we turn for guidance to Denny Boyd's "Man On the Range," published in 1973 and improving, like cellared Bordeaux, every year. Here's what he writes:

"Having been a jock writer for some twenty years, I have had my allotment of Grey Cup weeks. Been to some parties we could have been sent up for. Played all the popular Grey Cup week games, like Naked in the Elevator, Mattress Out the Window, and Chug-a-Lug-a-Jug.

"Having paid my dues in the Grey Cup Club, I have become a member-at-large. You could almost make that an out-patient. So, I stay at home, by the TV.

"I keep something on the stove, as all Grey Cup revelers are in heavy need of strong stimulants, like black coffee, and nourishing food. For Grey Cup day, I most heartily endorse pot roast cooked in--wait for it--coffee.

"Yes. Pot roast in coffee. Would I lie? It can be carved easily with the wrong side of a knife, it is that tender. And the gravy is almost black and hisses with vigor, thick, fragrant, oozing thickly over mashed potatoes.

"It's pretty easy, as long as you start Saturday. You take a four- or five-pound pot roast--bottom round, boned, rolled rib or rump--and you put it in a deep casserole dish, then marinate it for twenty-four hours in vinegar and a sprinkle of peppercorns.

"On game day, sometime before noon, drain off the marinade, pat the roast dry with paper towels, and sear it in the same casserole dish until it is dark, dark brown.

"Then add two cups of double-strength coffee, bring the liquid to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer very gently for five or six hours while you watch the game.

"All very easy. All very splendid. And, you may save a Grey Cup life."

Stolen, with thanks, from Denny Boyd's "Man On the Range." If you can find a copy somewhere you will learn also how to make Kiniski's Hammerlock Onions and Mrs. Stoochnoff's Mother-in-Law's Borscht.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Drinks Are on Frank

News that the Jack Daniel's Lynchburg, Tennessee distillery plans to name one of its high octane products for Frank Sinatra, who often was seen on stage with glass in hand, has given Canadian potable producers an idea. A company of vintners bottling a sparkling wine will name it for Michael Buble. The label will read "Bubbly Buble."

Meanwhile, for country music fans, there will be "Ry Cooder Rye," and the classical crowd can still get Bach Hock and Meyerbeer Beer.

As Frank frequently invited us in the song "Angel Eyes," "Drink up, all of you people."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Moustache Cup

Eastern and Western CFL Finals concluded, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders go into Regina for the 101st Grey Cup game November 24. Could Saskatchewan Tourism and Regina hoteliers and restaurateurs be any happier?

Meanwhile, what may have been overlooked in the snowy flurry of gridiron excitement is the great Movember moustache competition. Every November, athletes sprout foliage on their upper lips to draw attention to prostate cancer. Do not ask how there can be a connection.

And who this year among CFL players takes the cup for best 'stache? Eskimo QB Mike Reilly, who endured much bruising, but maintained a winning performance despite a losing team, and despite all those sacks kept a stiff upper lip and a splendid moustache on it.

Grey Cup next Sunday. Advice to the players: to paraphrase Napoleon's message to Josephine--"don't shave."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Unpredictions

We are into the white-knuckle phase of football for CFL coaches (those who are still standing). Sunday will see both the Eastern and Western Finals, deciding which teams will meet in the Grey Cup. Sports prognosticators (don't you love that word?) have made their informed predictions, but none will issue here, for fear of jinxing the teams.

And in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, a bishop is to be elected November 30. We have made our private guess on the voting, but won't reveal it. The last time we made some cautious public comment on the probable outcome of an electoral synod, a peace-loving priest, known for his warm, pastoral care, offered to punch our lights out.

So looking forward to action on the gridiron and in the pews, but no predictions. (Maybe the odd private wager.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Transit Etiquette

One of the pleasant surprises in an era in which manners and civility are said to be diminishing is the custom of many transit users to call out "Thank you" when disembarking. And sometimes the driver responds, with "You're welcome" or "'Bye now" or even "Have a nice day."

Two acts of modest kindness witnessed the other day: A driver parking his bus and waiting, sensing that a young man on crutches, a half-block away and hobbling as fast as he could, wanted to board. And, in place of the usual disembodied voice announcing the next stop, the driver himself, in full, rich baritone, calling out not only the stops, but also shops and restaurants and connections to other buses.

Hearing the driver's splendid delivery, topping many voices on today's airwaves, we remembered that Peter Mansbridge had been discovered while working in an airport, speaking on the public address system. A producer heard him and thought, "Maybe this guy has a future in radio."

If we were still working in radio, we would have hired that bus driver.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Necktie Scandal

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford today said, "Okay, so maybe I did smoke crack cocaine. Who knows what they stick in your mouth when you're blitzed? But I did not lie to youse media guys. Like they say on Jeopardy, you did not phrase your questions correctly."

Loyal Torontonians were grateful and relieved, although one still had concerns, saying, "The Mayor did not apologize for the necktie he was wearing, which was a far graver offence."

All of this publicity appears to be a plus for the Jenny Craig diet company, which is working on a dating show teaming Mayor Ford with Kirstie Alley.

Friday, November 1, 2013

On the Scene with the Conservatives in Calgary

Our senior political reporter, Ainsley Duntz, sends this early news from the Conservative Party convention in Calgary:

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought the audience to their feet--well, those who could stand--with his impassioned rendition of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want.' Then, the Toronto delegation thrilled delegates with 'Pass That Peace Pipe.'"

That's it for now, PD viewers. More to come. Unless we're shut down.