Friday, November 30, 2018

C'mon with the rain, I've a smile on my face!

Playlist for the rainy season:

"A Fella with an Umbrella"--Irving Berlin:

"I'm just a fella,
A fella with an umbrella,
Looking for a girl
Who saved her love for a rainy day."

"Till the Clouds Roll By"--P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome Kern:

"Oh, the rain
Comes a-pitter-patter,
And I'd like to be safe in bed.
I must fly for shelter
Till the clouds roll by."

"Isn't It a Lovely Day"--Irving Berlin:

"Isn't it a lovely day
To be caught in the rain?
You were going on your way,
Now you've got to remain.
Just as you were going,
Leaving me all at sea,
The clouds broke,
They broke and oh!
What a break for me."

There you are.  And now, with Gene Kelly, let's go singin' and dancin' in the rain.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Climate Short-Change

Fox News announces a sequel to "Bill Nye, The Science Guy."

Stay tuned for "Donald Trump, The Science Chump."

Monday, November 26, 2018

Movember Moustache Check

As we near the end of Movember, the month when all right-thinking men have chosen to adorn their upper lips, we're here to ask: how long is your moustache? You probably haven't had time to challenge the record set in 1962 by Masuriya Din, whose moustache grew to a wing span of eight feet, six inches.

There have been any number of handsome moustaches, from Bat Masterson's to Errol Flynn's, but there also have been some that called for public shaving. Among the most repulsive was Friedrich Nietzsche's, which may have been the model for John Bolton's. A rare photo of a clean-shaven Nietzsche surfaced the other day, and in it he appears significantly more presentable, if no less wacky.

For a big finish to Movember, the traditional moustache month, go to YouTube, and dig the Woody Herman Herd's recording of "Your Father's Moustache."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

On to the Grey Cup (and a cup of Earl Grey)

This Sunday will see the 106th playing of the Grey Cup game, in Edmonton. The Calgary Stampeders are favoured, as they were the past two years, but fans are wondering if they will find yet another way to lose.

Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson has complained of a lack of love for his team, and that is most acutely felt in Edmonton, which is always hostile territory for the Calgarians. Coach DD may also be worrying about the officiating, as he was heard to complain that decisions were going Winnipeg's way in the western final because Blue Bombers coach Mike O'Shea is a "&;*#@+! Canadian." O'Shea responded that he is, indeed, "a proud &;*#@+! Canadian."

The prized trophy known as the Grey Cup was presented in 1909 by Earl Grey, then Governor General of Canada. This is not the same Earl Grey for whom the bergamot-flavored tea is named--that was his grandfather, Prime Minister of England in the 1830s. Still, it would be appropriate to enjoy a cup of Earl Grey while watching the Grey Cup. You can always add a hit of bourbon.

We will not venture to predict a winner for Sunday's game. We have been wrong every year since the first Grey Cup, in 1909, when we picked the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club to win. They were trounced 26-6 by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

                                                          --Slap Maxwell.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Donald Trump, meet Miss Manners

US President Donald Trump has called for "more decorum" at White House press briefings.

This is comparable to Tom Wilson or Brad Marchand calling for more sportsmanlike conduct on the ice.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sayonara, Sikora's

Glum news for collectors of hard-to-find CDs and LPs: Sikora's Classical Records will end its long and valued run in Vancouver February 28.

No longer will you know there is a place where you can find that obscure Baroque harpsichord disc or John Coltrane's Lost Album or a rare Tommy Banks-Big Miller set. (For despite its name, Sikora's has carried much more than classical records.)

Gone--into the library of collectors, one hopes--will be the widest array of records in the city, perhaps anywhere west of Toronto. As February ends, so will Sikora's, joining the long, lamented list of departed music stores: Sam the Record Man, A&B Sound, Virgin, Black Swan.

There are a handful--maybe half a handful--of small shops selling vintage vinyl, some London Drugs stores have reliable record departments, and there is a shop called Sunrise on the second floor of Metropolis that keeps an interesting selection, but this is an endangered species.

What can we say, except oh, woe! And make sure we get into Sikora's before the curtain comes down and the door is locked February 28.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wisdom of Wally

"Football is a tough game.
You're going to take hits.
You're going to get hurt."

"You are what your record says you are."

"If you live in the past, it will swallow you up."

             --Wally Buono, retiring with 282 career wins.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Breaking News

US President Donald Trump is reported to be considering replacing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General with Tony Clement.

"I know he's Canadian," Trump said, "but we can get around that. He sounds like my kind of guy."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Covering the Next Election

Limp from watching hours of coverage of the US midterms, channel hopping from PBS to CNN and a maze of other media, we began to think: wouldn't this be so much more entertaining if Bob and Ray were the TV anchors?

Sadly, Bob and Ray have exited to the Great Comedy Club in the Sky, but we could have Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Or Andy Borowitz and Sarah Silverman. And when the Big Orange gives his next miserable State of the Union address, wouldn't it be fine to have the old Monty Python troupe in the front row?

Finally, given a choice, we think perhaps the best election anchors would be Laurel and Hardy. Stan and Ollie would bring the right mix of absurdity and frustration, wailing and resignation.

And, at the end, Hardy could say to the voters: "Another fine mess you've gotten us into!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Happy Birthday, Harold Ross

Today--November 6--was the birthday, in 1892, of Harold Ross, founder and original editor of The New Yorker.

Ross wrote "Magazines are about 85% luck. All an editor can do is have a net handy to grab any talent that comes along, and maybe cast a little bread on the waters."

The New Yorker was published first in 1925, and is one of the few magazines, if not the only magazine, printed that year to have survived.

And not merely survived, but to have flourished, and become the highest standard of magazine excellence.

If there is an Algonquin roundtable in the Great Beyond, Ross will have a seat at it. And fine company, as the martinis are poured.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

It is Guy Fawkes Day, and tonight there will be bonfires across England to incinerate the memory of the luckless Mr. Fawkes, best known of the plotters who planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament, hoping to get King James I in the blast.

None of that happened, thanks to possibly the most incompetent political skullduggery until the Watergate break-in.

Now even Guy Fawkes seems on the edge of being forgotten, despite this once famous doggerel:

"Remember, remember!
The Fifth of November
The Gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Stay clear of bonfires tonight.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Time Change

Orville Fleishacker of Dead Battery, Alberta, smiled with satisfaction as millions of others ran about their homes turning their clocks back. Fleishacker did not have to do this. Having not recognized Daylight Saving Time ("Who needs to save daylight?" he said. "I've got all the daylight I need.") he had not set his clocks forward in spring. "I knew the world would come back to its senses," he said. "My clocks were ready."

Meanwhile, Vern Heffelfinger of Lost Chance, Manitoba, said he was hoping he could set his clocks back more than an hour. "Frankly," he said, "I'd like to turn time back a whole decade."

Friday, November 2, 2018

Rainy Season Wrap-up

US Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in Georgia, noted the arrival in that state of Will Ferrell and Oprah Winfrey, there to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Unfazed by this star power, Pence told the audience, "I'm kind of a big deal, too." Several members of the audience had to be treated for uncontrolled hysterical laughing.

In other political news, Donald Trump, after ordering 15,000 troops to the southern border to prevent an "invasion," and telling them to use rifles on rock throwers, declared, "I am not anti-immigrant." His nose immediately grew two inches. His stubby fingers, however, remained the same.

Finally, mayors of the Greater Vancouver region and TransLink officials have agreed to extend the "Sorry, Not in Service" line from Surrey to Powell River. A spokesman said, "We see this as a way to reduce transit congestion."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Adorn That Upper Lip

It is Movember. And that's not a typo. it is Movember, with a capital M, because it's Moustache Month.

Every year at this time, we are encouraged to grow a stylish 'stache, in support of men's health issues...issues like not being able to grow a moustache.

There is, as ever, a wide range of styles from which to select: the Salvador Dali, the Sundance Kid, the Wilford Brimley, the Charlie Chaplin, the Anthony Eden, the Yosemite Sam. The one to avoid is the John Bolton. In fact, we are circulating a petition to force Bolton to shave his moustache.

One season, all CFL players and coaches, even Wally Buono, grew a moustache. The only one who didn't have to was Mike Reilly, because he already had one, and if there were an award for Most Outstanding Moustache, Reilly would get it.

So observe Movember! Set aside that razor and grow a moustache!

(Not you, Madam.)