Friday, August 21, 2015

Pancake Economics

Current economic indicators reveal that the price of a barrel of Alberta oil is now lower than the price of a barrel of Quebec maple syrup.

This has led many households to start pouring oil on their pancakes. "It doesn't have the same sugary sweetness of maple syrup," said Wilford Streusel, pancake and economic expert, "but the savings are terrific."

Soon to come: oil in fruit flavours.

"This is the way back, Canada!"--S. Harper.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Can't Get the Name, but...

Our artist friend Tom Huntley (we are fortunate to have a lot of artist friends) once said, "There are only six basic facial types." We weren't sure whether this was true, or if there were only six Tom could draw.

But watching the passing parade recently, we have begun to think Tom was right--there may be only six basic facial types (and even fewer in small countries). It seems reasonable--how many facial characteristics are there in the universal gene pool?

Besides, we've been told there are only six degrees of separation between individuals on this planet (hard as it may be to believe only six degrees separate Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Jong-Un).

So the next time you run into someone and can't come up with a name, you certainly can say, "I can't place the name, but your face is very familiar. Same one several people have."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gourmet Fare on the Campaign Trail

We are pleased to report that US politicians vying for their parties' nomination in the 2016 presidential election are holding to the high gourmet standard set by Richard Nixon, whose signature dish at the White House was cottage cheese with ketchup.

Campaigning at the Iowa State fair this past weekend, Jeb Bush knocked back a beer with his deep-fried Snickers, while Hillary Clinton went for pork chop on a stick, and, in a recent video, Ted Cruz cooked bacon on the barrel of a machine gun.

This is in the haute cuisine tradition of Ronald Reagan, who kept a jar of jelly beans on the Oval Office desk; Jimmy Carter, who sang "Salt Peanuts" with Dizzy Gillespie; Barry Goldwater, who once used peanut butter for shaving cream; LBJ, famous for his Pedernales River Chili (Lady Bird's recipe available on-line); and Bill Clinton, who never passed a McDonald's without wanting to declare it a National Heritage Site.

Aides traveling with the candidates are carrying emergency rolls of TUMS.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The PMO on the job

New media lines for Steve from the PMO:

"Wow--did that really happen?"

"They did what?"

"You could have knocked me over with a feather!"

"I'm shocked--shocked!"

"I was actively engaged at the time in (a) saving the oil sands; (b) rooting out Islamic terrorists in the Girl Guides; (c) learning a new Elton John tune."

P.S.:  "And boss, we're not using e-mail anymore. We've got a flock of carrier pigeons."

"Can you be sure they won't talk?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

All in the Family

The Harper family should not be confused with the Partridge Family or the Waltons or the Cleavers, but their appearance en tout famille may help to humanize the image of the Conservative leader ("tough on terror..warm on family").

Television footage of the happy folks of 24 Sussex Drive--father, mother, children--waving to the crowds as they boarded their campaign plane reminded us of an actor who used to take his children with him to auditions.

Preparing to leave, he would say to his wife: "Dress the props."

Monday, August 10, 2015

Politics as Show Business

Who says politics isn't show biz? Donald Trump may be the hottest sensation since Peter Finch shouted, "I want you to go to the window and cry out 'I'm mad as hell and i'm not going to take it anymore'!" Finch won an Academy Award for that. What might The Donald win?

Meanwhile, on our home and native turf, we think the team of Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau is ready for a remake of "The Three Amigos." They may not yet have the box office appeal of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short, but wait 'til you hear them harmonize!

And how about a musical? We think that's a natural for politicans. But no, wait--the show has already been written, by Burt Bacharach and Neil Simon. It's called "Promises, Promises."

(The second line of the title song goes to the voters. It's "Promises, promises, I'm all through with.")

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Giving Up Politics

Giving up politics may be a hard addiction to break, but with a 78-day campaign in Canada and what seems like a 78-month campaign in the United States, it might be a wise move. Until election day, of course, when we expect you to go out and vote several times.

The first debates are about to begin, but the best political news of the day comes from Washington, where thirty goats have been employed to clean up the Historical Congressional Cemetery. The goats will roam the grounds, munching invasive species, including poison ivy. Goats may be the only creatures able to enjoy a tasty meal of poison ivy.

These goats are professionals; they have worked the cemetery grounds before, and are ready to do it again. And visitors are invited. A cemetery spokesperson says visitors "are welcome to grab a glass of wine and take a short walk" to watch the goats at work.

However, if you go, you are advised not to wear anything edible.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Election Rhyme Time (and Slime Time)

As the election writ has been dropped, if not fumbled, the competing parties have gone into action and have released their campaign songs, to whit:

Justin may be frisky,
Mulcair has something up his sleeve.
Both those guys are risky--
Play safe and vote for Steve!

Harper's hair looks as though
A rodent's crawled upon his pate.
Vote for Trudeau's stylish coiffure
And give Old Steve the gate!

Mulcair says Harper's policies
Are intellectually bereft.
Forget the limping Liberals,
Follow Tom and just turn left!

Contributions, poetic and monetary, welcomed by all parties.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ain't It Awful?

One of the great songs for the dog days of summer is "Ain't It Awful, the Heat?" The song is from the musical drama "Street Scene"--book by Elmer Rice, music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by the wonderful Harlem poet Langston Hughes.

"Ain't It Awful" is delivered as a sung conversation between two women sitting on their east side New York doorsteps at the end of a sizzling summer day. We remember Ann Mortifee and Ruth Nichol delivering it on the Playhouse stage in an Ouzounian production, and the heat was palpable.

The other summer music we think of at this time of year is Duke Ellington's "Harlem Air Shaft." Duke said, "You get the full essence of Harlem in an air shaft. You hear fights, you smell dinner, you hear people making love. You hear intimate gossip floating down. You hear the radio. An air shaft is one great loudspeaker. You hear people praying, fighting and snoring."

And then, the one summer song everyone knows: "Summertime," from "Porgy and Bess." It's meant as a lullaby, but when you hear John Coltrane play it, you realize it's really a blues.

Ain't it awful.