Monday, November 30, 2015

Mike on Mike

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly, generally agreed to be the toughest guy in the CFL (not because he gives a lot of hits, but because he takes a lot, gets up and runs again--66 yards Sunday, plus two TD passes) showed himself in a post-game interview with Matt Dunnigan to be as sharp and unruffled with a microphone in his face as he is with three mammoth tacklers grabbing for him.

While checking his rib cage to see if everything was still attached, Reilly was asked if it hurt. Thanx to Cam Cole (Vancouver Sun, National Post) for capturing his response: "I'll find out in a couple of days. I probably won't really feel it until then. Right now, the emotional high...and I'll probably have a few drinks tonight, and tomorrow and the next day."

Me too, Mike.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kickin' the Logo

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has unveiled, as they always say, its new logo and slogan. The logo appears to be one of Tom Brady's deflated footballs, with three stripes, to be interpreted as three downs, and the tip of a maple leaf, signifying our home and native artificial stadium grass.

The slogan is "What We're Made Of," possibly from the same team that gave us "We're Lovin' It."

Having been in the position of selling logos and slogans to clients, we can hear a honey-tongued Don Draper giving the pitch to CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge. "Jeff, what you say is, 'It's now, not nostalgia.' This will get those 18-to-24-year olds fighting for season tickets like they were going to see Justin Bieber!"

There has not been a lot of cheering for the new logo and slogan from CFL fans, but consider the runners-up.


1. Moose Throwing a Forward Pass

2. Beaver Chewing a Goal Post

3. Moose Dancing with Cheerleaders


1. We're Making a Play for You

2. You Don't Have to Understand the Game to Party

3. Get in a Huddle With Us

Kind of dopey?  Hey, it's what we're made of.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The State Wishes You to Fix Your Haircut!

The latest pronouncement from the rulers of North Korea is that all men should adopt the hairstyle created by Glorious Leader Kim Jong-un. Admitted, it is a very striking look. In fact, certain television reporters in Canada seem to have admired it. One can see them at their anchor positions, the sides of their heads shaved, leaving a mass of hair on the pate. The effect is to look like a stalk of leafed celery.

It's rumored that imitating the leader's coiffure was a secret part of the Conservative platform in the recent federal election. Had the Conservatives won, we would all be wearing "The Harper."

And voters in the U.S. must be wondering what will happen if Donald Trump becomes president.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

More Turkey Talk

Ted Turkey: "Great plan, Tim. 'Let's skip over to the States before Thanksgiving,' you said. So we get out of Canada, and where are we now? In Mario Batali's kitchen, on the day of the US Thanksgiving."

Tim Turkey: "Let's not go crazy, Ted. This guy is Italian, probably serves lasagna at Thanksgiving."

Ted Turkey: "Yeah, well anyone comes near me with a roasting pan, and he'll end up in the stuffing."

Tim Turkey: "I think we're okay, Ted. They're into their fifth cask of Chianti."

Ted Turkey: "Good. Let's get out of here and move somewhere safe before Christmas."

Tim Turkey: "Any ideas?"

Ted Turkey: "Yeah. Let''s try Turkeyaktuk."

Tim Turkey: "I think that's Tuktoyaktuk, Ted."

Ted Turkey: "Close enough."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Trumbo in Vancouver

Dalton Trumbo will soon be seen on screen in the flesh, moustache and eyeglasses of Bryan Cranston, who looks remarkably like him. The real Trumbo was in Vancouver forty-five years ago for the opening of his fierce anti-war film, "Johnny Got His Gun."

Talking with an interviewer in his suite at the Bayshore Inn, Trumbo had his trademark cigarette holder, but the parrot given him by Kirk Douglas wasn't perched on his shoulder.

The conversation didn't touch on Trumbo's years on the notorious "black list" or his role as one of the "Hollywood Ten"--scriptwriters who were accused of contempt of Congress and jailed for refusing to reveal information at hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. (An account of those intemperate times is detailed in "Naming Names" by Victor Navasky.)

What was talked about was the number of films Trumbo had written--at least thirty-six, some under pseudonyms when film studios didn't want to be known for hiring him. Films made by Douglas and Stanley Kubrick ("Spartacus") and Otto Preminger ("Exodus") changed that, but it was a very long time before Trumbo was known to have written "Roman Holiday" (posthumous Academy Award in 1993). He also won an Oscar for "The Brave One," writing as "Robert Rich," actually the name of a studio messenger.

Between 1936 and 1973, Trumbo wrote at least thirty-six screenplays, including "Kitty Foyle" and "Papillon", four novels (one a National Book Award winner), and more, including scores of letters subsequently published under the title "Additional Dialogue." "Johnny Got His Gun" was not a great box office success, but it did win the Cannes Grand Prix.

An interviewer suggested that the story of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers might be a subject for a film, and he agreed. But he didn't get to write it. Dalton Trumbo died in 1976, aged seventy.

Those who saw Trumbo in Vancouver in 1971 look forward to seeing "Trumbo" on screen in 2015.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Moustache Awards

In the midst of Movember, Moustache Month, it is time to present the awards for best and worst moustaches.

First, the Best:

#3: Eddie Shack

#2: Robert Taylor

#1: Ho Chi Minh

And now, the Worst:

#3: Kaiser Wilhelm

#2: John Bolton

#1: Terry Lake

If Premier Clark achieves nothing else in this term, she can at least--despite Movember--get her Minister of Health to shave.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Aw, Your Father's Moustache!

Etymology for this phrase signifying derision unknown, but Woody Herman, introducing his big band jazz number titled "Your Father's Moustache," called it "an old Brooklyn folk song." (You can hear and see the Herman Herd performing it on YouTube.)

Moustaches come to mind (and upper lips) because this month has been dubbed "Movember," and men are urged to grow moustaches in support of male health.

This is particularly evident in the Canadian Football League. Last month, CFL players wore a lot of pink, in support of women's health. This month, it's facial hair. Failing to grow a 'stache brings a ten-yard penalty. Attempting to remove another player's 'stache costs you fifteen.

Many of the players are already handsomely hirsute, and if there's an award for best 'stache, it should probably go to Eskimos QB Mike Reilly. But for those attempting a moustache for the first time, here are some styles to consider:

* The Teddy Roosevelt (Bully! Admirable for invading Mexico--Trump should grow one)

* The Errol Flynn (to encourage your inner Don Juan)

* The Salvador Dali (entirely surreal)

* The Hercule Poirot (activate those littler grey cells)

* The Charlie Chaplin (cane and derby optional)

* The Fu Manchu (allowing you to use the old line "Many man smoke, but Fu Manchu)

Now go put away your razor and shaving cream until December.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Saxophone Celebration

Thanx to Google, we have been informed that November 6, the birthday of one of PD's most notable pals, is also the birthday--the 201st--of Adolphe Sax.

Sax was the Belgian maker of musical instruments whose name is forever connected to his best-known creation: the banjo.

Kidding. It was circa 1840 when M. Sax invented the saxophone family--soprano, alto, C-melody, sopranino, tenor and baritone. His natal day and his creation will be celebrated by a great chorus of saxophonists, some still with us, some, as Zoot Sims would say, on the road.

Besides Zoot, the all-saxophone band will include Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley, Ben Webster, Clarence Clemons, Johnny Hodges, Richie Cole, Phil Dwyer, P.J. Perry, Manny Goodman, Ernie Watts, Al Cohn, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Paul Gonsalves, Ornette Coleman, Phil Woods, Bud Shank, Fraser MacPherson, Stan Getz, Art Pepper, Jimmy Giuffre, Benny Golson, Sonny Rollins, George Coleman, John Coltrane, Georgie Auld, Hank Mobley, Jane Bunnett, Wardell Gray, Bob Cooper, Jimmy Dorsey, Chu Barry, Serge Chaloff, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, Charlie Ventura, Bob Moyer, Branford Marsalis, Charlie Barnet, Lee Konitz, Buddy Tate, Campbell Ryga, Joe Henderson, Frankie Trumbauer, Stanley Turrentine, Allen Eager, Illinois Jacquet, Scott Hamilton, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Bill Clinton.

Let the hooting and wailing begin.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Calgarians Watch the Ceremony in Ottawa

"Steve, come watch! It's starting!"

"I'm busy, Laureen."

"Isn't it exciting? Don't they all look nice? He really does have good hair. And those jeans--why don't you ever wear skinny jeans, Steve?"

"I can't hear you, Laureen. I've got the Dave Clark Five turned up."

"And they've got all those people there! Don't you wish we'd done that, Steve?"


"Steve? Did you say what I think you said? That's not like you, Steve."

"I said, Oh, Fudge."

"Ha ha! Remember when his father said he said 'Fuddle-duddle'?"

"Laureen, why aren't you watching something uplifting, like "The Young and the Restless' or 'Wheel of Fortune'?"

"Come see, Steve--the swearing in is beginning. Look, even the cats are watching."

"Don't bother me, Laureen. I'm going into my Man Cave. For the next four years."

The Original Cheesecake

Ruth Reichl's recently published "My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life" contains directions for the classic New York cheesecake, a recipe that undoubtedly has saved many lives.

The only place in Vancouver that--to our knowledge--served the true New York cheesecake was Rubin's Delicatessen on lower Granville Street. There are innumerable elaborate versions, but Mama Rubin's was the real thing: only cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and a drop of vanilla, with a slim sour cream glaze. Unlike Ms. Reichl, she did not make her crust with chocolate wafers--the crust played a very low-key supporting role.

Cheesecake was slow to arrive in Vancouver. Many of us were introduced to it by Montreal and Winnipeg expatriates, and the first cheesecake we tasted may have been White Spot's, which was and is delicious, but an entirely different dessert.

In the years since, there have been many cheesecake improvisations in restaurants and home kitchens, but for purists, Rubin's New York cheesecake remains the ultimate.

It was the "Guys and Dolls" of cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cabinet Checking

It has been observed that there are two kinds of guests: the ones who look at your bookcases, to see what trash you're reading, and those who look in your medicine cabinet, to see what drugs you're taking. And in both cases, to see what they might want to swipe.

Today, we are peering into a cabinet. Not your medicine cabinet, which is none of our business, but the federal cabinet, which is everybody's business.

Wednesday, a new mob of ministers will be sworn in. Later, they will be sworn at, but that's their problem. Today, who those ministers may be remains a guarded secret, but peering into the future, we are hopeful that PM Trudeau's cabinet will include:

Rick Mercer--Alanis Morisette--and Solomon Elimimian.

Chagrined at not being included: Justin Bieber.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Daylight Saving Time--Gone for the Winter

Yes, Daylight Saving Time has ended for 2015. One happy citizen says, "I'm holding all that daylight time I've saved until February, and then I'm going to holiday in the sun!"

One less happy resident said, "One hour more too sleep? Naw--one hour more to toss and turn."

And finally, from an S. Harper: "Next year, instead of setting the clock back one hour, could we maybe set it back ten years?"