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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Potluck Day:

*Michael Bolton has a new cd out, “Bolton Swings Sinatra”. Is it possible that a cover album can be better than the originals?? I mean, the Bolton man can sing!!
*I’m still fretting about Mr. Ben Affleck’s brother, who didn’t enjoy his recent stay in Calgary. He even went so far as to say it was a truly boring town. I think you could parachute Paris Hilton into Willow Bunch Saskatchewan, and in short order she’d have the Pope sending in a moral damage control team, so what the heck did Mr. Ben Affleck’s brother miss in a city of a million people??
*I know that reality shows have to inject false drama to keep viewers awake, but last night’s Rockstar: Supernova decision to fire Ryan was a bit of a surprise. Personally, after seeing the band members debut three of their own original songs, I wouldn’t be so hasty to fire anybody that knew the words to a hit song…
*If you’re going to have a potluck day, you really should have a dish to serve…
*IKEA has a new catalogue out, boys and girls!
*Hey, there’s only 116 days until Christmas?? Man, I need to get busy!
*Can a Timex watch still take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’?? Who ever wanted to lick one anyway???
*Does anyone out there have any pull with CBS?? Their blasted US Open highlights broadcast after David Letterman are making me miss The Late Late Show, with Craig Ferguson. Entirely unacceptable. If I wanted to watch a bald guy swinging a racket, I’d put a mirror over our ping-pong table…
*Get your VCR’s ready, people of the world – “Celebrity Duets” is back on tonight! Still waiting for Dr. Phil and Robert Plant to take on “I Can’t Fight this Feeling”…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I know I’ve said this before, and rest assured - I’ll say it again: I loves me a good train wreck…

Last night was the debut of yet another singing competition on primetime network TV, “Celebrity Duets”.

Now, you know with a title like that, there’s a pretty good chance the Grammy committee won’t be standing by, preparing nominations for the next installment of their awards show. The committee of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, maybe…

As train wrecks go, the show did not disappoint. Featuring big-name singers as the ringers, the warbling celebrities included a WWE wrestler, an Olympic medallist, and Cheech (without Chong). With their marquee partner, these celebrities ran through pop and country songs. Some you could even recognize.

Surprisingly, some of the combinations went fairly well. For example, when Lucy Lawless sang a duet with Smokey Robinson, barely any dogs arrived in response to the notes hit beyond human hearing range.

Will this be another big hit for producer Simon Cowell? Will I write here about something other than bad TV shows, and other total balderdash??

One never knows….
Chow for now!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Heather Locklear and David Spade?? Are there that few single rock stars left for Heather to choose from??

Anybody out there aware of how many Paris Hilton cd’s have sold so far?? We haven’t seen any breaking news bulletins, suggesting that she has surpassed Mariah Carey already. Is this thing stiffing??

Tonight is the debut of yet another singing show. “Celebrity Duets” or something like that. I for one can’t wait to see Pee Wee Herman sharing vocal duties with Ricky Martin, on “Dancing In The Dark”…

Let there be drums!!!

Seems to be shaping up to be another hot day today. The last few have been cookers; about as hot as a George Foreman Grill. My chocolate sundae is really runny…

Heading off to physio shortly, so this will (gratefully) be a short entry today. My arm keeps dropping to the floor, making it awfully hard to type letters on the left side of the keyboard. With only one of my two trained fingers fully capacitated, my typing speed has plummeted.

Chow for now!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our Calgary education continues…

For months now we’ve been driving past a drive-in burger joint on 16th, which seems to have insane lineups no matter what time of day it is, as you pass by. We put it on our To-Do list, and finally done did it last night.

The place is called Peter’s Drive-In, and when we pulled up yesterday, there was the usual teeming mass of eager eaters, some lines 20-30 people deep. The only comparison I can make is that it seems like the drive-ins in Winnipeg, like Mrs. Mike’s, or (not to sound like a classic SNL skit) the Greek’s.

We decided to truly drive through, and got into the long lineup of vehicles snaking out and down the street.

After we got onto the actual soil of the property itself, we wound our way slowly along a lineup that eventually split into two. Yessir, this place has drive-thru windows on EACH side of the building!! Why hasn’t McDonald’s caught onto this innovation??


When we got up to the window, we were like kids on Christmas morning. The choices of milkshakes alone were incomparable – everything from chocolate to molten platinum. I’m pretty sure…

We placed our order, continued along in line, and got terrific customer service, right up until we pulled away, and drove home with our booty.

So, what was the verdict?? Pedestrian burger, although charbroiled with flavour. The hot dog was not unlike any that you might find at any arena or stadium in North America. But the fries…omigod!! The fries were like succulent delicacies, plucked from the heavens. They melted in your mouth, not in your hands. My taste buds are still doing somersaults.

But the highlight, and the reason people happily wait half an hour for service, is the milkshakes. I’ve never tasted milkshakes like these. You probably pay a luxury task for those glorious combinations of milk and shake, but it would be worth every beaver-adorned nickel. I would auction off one of my livers for a Peter’s Drive-In milkshake.

If you’re ever in the Calgary area, you must check out Peter’s Drive-In

Chow for now!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Time marches on.

While we like to remain in one warm, fuzzy, familiar place, time just sidesteps us, and takes three brisk steps forward, leaving you with a mullet and sleeveless plaid shirt, wondering what the heck happened…

Case in point. The other day, I went to try and find some replacement casual shorts. The last (beloved) pair I had bought must have been 15 or so years ago, made by Nike. They were comfy, durable, and hipper than an Emu-burger on a multi-grain bun, holding the mayo.

Recently, not so hip. The wind whistled through areas no wind should be whistling. More El Greco than Air Jordan.

So, I was forced to find a new pair, and soon discovered that these shorts are no longer in existence. My quest took me from store to store, only to find myself looking like the whitest basketball player you have ever seen, with shorts lingering around my knees. And clingy, something that someone with an affection for pretzels and bon-bons is not really conducive to, body-type-wise, if that is indeed even a word. Or phrase…

By the 12th store, I had to come to grips with the new shorts reality, and settled on a pair with a little less satin than some of the others, yet still clung around my knees like a bad tennis skort. Even on a tall young Russian athlete lady, skorts are a failed invention.

Chow for now!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I have one fingernail that seems to be growing faster than all the others.

I’m looking at it right now…the little over-achiever.

Now, if I could only get the back part of my head to start encouraging long-gone hair follicles to do something like that, I’d be laughin’…

On to other earth-shaking matters, we are finally getting to the end of our hotel stay, taking possession of our home in early September. We plan to do more touristy things this weekend, while we’re still living downtown. If all goes as planned, we’ll be hoofing around more local sights and landmarks. I’m hoping to go up in the picturesque Calgary Tower, and see the IKEA store from a great height.

Man, this is a city where you could certainly go broke trying to see everything that rolls into town. We just picked up tickets for four more events, and there’s at least half a dozen more we may try catching last-minute. If we had kids, they’d be spending a lot of time with the nanny.

If we had a nanny, we’d make sure she stayed away from Jude Law…

There was recently an article in the paper about Ben Affleck’s brother, who recently filmed a movie here, and he was pretty critical of the city. No nightlife, no decent restaurants, no character at all, in his assessment. Well, Mr. Ben Affleck’s Brother, in just a few short months my wife and I have been run off our feet trying to absorb everything this place has to offer, so we will agree to disagree. I’m sure a star of your massive standing would maybe find a Canadian prairie town a little dull, being the star of movies like….like…well, I’m sure you’ve been in something I’d recognize!

Although I’m not so sure I’d recognize you if I tripped over you…

Chow for now!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Still undergoing twice-weekly physiotherapy for a recurrent impinged nerve in my neck, coupled with a touch of Badminton Elbow (tennis rackets are way too heavy). Getting better, but I still find myself hailing a cab while watching TV at night…

Given that I am such a prolific couch potato, I am at a loss to understand how I could impinge anything other than my belt size. The added Tennis Elbow issue is even more puzzling. Potato Chip Elbow might make a little more sense. My physio guy was almost too embarrassed to share with me the results of my initial assessment:

Regarding hand strength after a squeezing test, I would be ill advised to enter an arm-wrestling contest with Olive Oyl…
Regarding side-to-side mobility of my neck, if I were an owl, they’d have to put me down…
Regarding full-range movement of my arms, I can barely do the “Y” and the “A” in the classic “YMCA” dance routine...
Regarding overall physical condition for a man of my age, I have been deceased for 12 years already…

This is a little bit of sobering news, as I just assumed that once a world-class high-wire gymnast, always a world-class high-wire gymnast. There’s actual talk of my having to adopt an exercise program.

And, after the frankest discussion with him to date, the therapist sides with my wife - suggesting that even if I were allowed to buy a banjo, I’d barely be able to hold it long enough to strum. Boy, if you want to motivate somebody, press the right button…

So, I’ve got this weekend to get back into Navy Seal shape, after years of Circus Seal behavior.

Chow for now!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You know, I’ve never considered this before, and it’s not even really in my heritage, but I’m starting to wonder if a set of bagpipes might be more acceptable to my wife. She has yet to soften on her banjo stance, which remains: no, absolutely not, and not even if Hell froze over in mid-August. Which we’ve missed already anyway…

So, maybe she’s just embarrassed at what she deems a “hillbilly” instrument, and she’s holding out for something a little more exotic, like bagpipes. We always get a little misty-eyed when we see a bagpiper at funerals, playing “Amazing Grapes”.

I couldn’t disagree more about the bad rap the banjo seems to get. Many people play them, and most have all their teeth. Just think about that AM radio classic from the 70’s, “Dueling Banjos”. Which by the way was a duel between a banjo and a freakin’ acoustic guitar, what the heck was that all about??

Granted, not many banjo classics reach the inspirational grandeur of “Scotland The Brave”. I could wake her up every morning with that one, and she’d start her day REALLY motivated!!

OK, so I’ll pick up a cd of bagpipe hits today, and start playing it around the house. If she bites, this may be just the spot to come back to, and keep track of my challenges with becoming an exemplary wind instrument artist.

Although, I wonder if I could get away with using one of those portable air mattress pumps…that way I could still smoke my pipe while I’m playing them…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This is the problem with my personality type. I may come roaring out of the box like a maniac about something, but after some reflection, I start to feel sorry for the person I ranted about.

Take yesterday for example. I urged all of you out there NOT to buy this new cd by Paris Hilton, and even went on to make some rather unfavorable comparisons to her possible talents.

I didn’t act that way when William Hung “she-banged”. I didn’t mount a campaign when The Jingle Cats released an album of Christmas songs. And I let it slide when Kevin Federline had trouble finding a record label. So, why am I being so harsh on Ms. Hilton??

Consumers of the world, make your own decision about this new Hilton cd. Encourage her by buying several copies. Make this recording one of the biggest sellers in modern history – surpassing even “Frampton Comes Alive”. Surpassing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Rocket that record past all The Beatles historical sales combined!

OK, that should prevent a lawsuit…

If you’re still here, for the love of God, dunk your head in cold water. Lick a 9-volt battery. Do whatever it takes to sharpen your spidey senses so that you DO NOT support this latest endeavor of unmitigated schlock. Even The Village People knew when to throw in the over-sized, fluffy YMCA towel!!

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I’m hoping that today will harken the return of my normal blog, after several days of a wide space between the header and the content. From what I gathered, it was an IE issue, and didn’t show up on most Mac systems. I spent yesterday following my niece’s advice, and viewers throughout the day would have seen several versions online, until I settled on one last night that seems to be working.

Until today’s posting…cross your fingers!!

So, ladies and gentlemen of the free world, today I must beg your assistance in a matter of grave importance. This surpasses even my own personal banjo quest in scope of global magnitude…

Over the years, the world of entertainment has provided me with much joy, and entertainment, which I think is appropriate enough, given the word’s meaning.

However, along with those treasured memories, there have been misfires. I know that I’m one of the few human beings on the face of this earth that cannot stomach even the commercials for American, Canadian or Octopus Idol.

In the 70’s, I had to endure the DiFranco Family, and The Osmonds. During the course of the wide musical spectrum of the 80’s, I endured “musicians” like Ric Astley. I won’t even get started on the last few years of Britney Spears and Yanni…

However, all of those musical scourges pale in comparison to what is arriving in music stores now…

As you may already be aware, Paris Hilton is adding recording star to her resume. I’m assuming in advance that she will be as competent a singer as she is an actress, and that scares the bejeebers out of me. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only one movie of hers that’s had more than 12 viewers, and that one didn’t run in national movie chains.

I’m getting too old for this crap. I mean really, can’t we have ANY standards for who can buy time is a recording studio?? Didn’t we already give David Hasselhoff a chance??

People, stand united with me here. Avoid the impulse to buy this impending blither. Aren’t compact discs endangered?? Should shrink-wrapping really be put through the embarrassment of protecting something that should be given out free at a fast-food drive-thru?? For the love of Pete, leave this one on the shelves…

Chow for now!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Um…if there’s anybody out there that knows how to fix that big gap up there above this blog, I’d love to hear about it… I don’t think I missed any of my blog payments…

I’m guessing that it takes an awful lot of talent to screw up something as dummy-proof as this blogging thing. It almost makes me want to reconsider my desire to get a banjo, but I don’t want to be that hard on myself.

I’ve learnt many difficult things over the years, including how to set the time on a VCR. How bad could I have possibly screwed up my blog?? I feel confident that a simple bit of begging and groveling will turn up some assistance to rectify that little cyber-hiccup.

When are the scientists going to get around to making an affordable jetpack?? The cartoon Jetsons’ have had them since the 70’s, but here in the real world, we’re still waiting to get what should be a relatively simple invention for our everyday lives. Imagine all the free outdoor shows you could catch, by flying over a stadium!!

Although my hair is always a problem, so I don’t think I’d enjoy wearing the helmet…
There’s always a trade-off.

Considering I’ve been able to botch blogging, imagine the havoc I could wreak flying! Never mind a helmet, I’d have to wear football gear, or a full set of NHL goaltending equipment. Even then my wife would tie pillows on my backside, for when I ultimately found myself tumbling arse-over-tea-kettle into a Tim Horton’s drive-thru window…

Just a risk I'd have to take, for the gift of flight!!

Chow for now!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My cooking skills are legendary. If sandwiches hadn’t already been invented, my wife and I would've starved years ago…

One thing that has baffled me recently is breakfast time eggs - done over easy. It could be because we are using foreign hotel room cookware, as we are still a couple of weeks away from getting into our freakin’ home. It could be because I have all the culinary skills of an armless grasshopper.

Try as I may, try as I might, this simple cooking exercise ultimately ends in disaster, time after time. Instead of eggs over-easy, I have often created eggs bleeding profusely, eggs partially scrambled and runny, eggs over hard with mucky yolks, and my personal favorite – freshly ruined sunny-side up. It's like a higher power reaches down at a critical time, and mooshes my masterpiece...

Me, I like my eggs over hard. A very forgiving cooking technique, which does not require a finished product of which gleaming yolks ultimately peer through a thin veneer of egg white. My yolks can bleed all over the frying pan, and I give not a hoot. I simply fold runaway yolk juice back onto the white parts, and cook until solid. If it’s a good enough method for an Egg McMuffin, it’s good enough for me.

Hey, this reminds me of a beloved joke from my childhood. I don’t usually resort to inserting jokes here, but it’s Sunday morning, and I want to get back to While You Were Out...

What was Snow White’s brother’s name??

Egg White!!

Get the yolk??

Hee hee hee hee…


Chow for now!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

First off, my apologies for the big empty space (if it’s still there today) above this posting. I have no idea what happened, but in my typical clumsy fashion, I have somehow managed to screw up even this blog!!!

I read in the National Post yesterday that dolphins may not be as smart as we think they are, just because they have a big brain. The writer went on to say that dolphins could likely be outwitted by lab rats, and even goldfish??

So, even though I have a hard time picturing a dolphin, a lab rat, and a goldfish in the same classroom filling out a pop quiz, I had an even harder time with their picks for the top ten smartest animals:

1) Great Apes (includes humans, chimps gorillas, etc): Being human, I can agree with this, although the one great ape I have in my poker group really isn’t all that bright…
2) New World Monkeys: Are they really that much smarter than Old World Monkeys??
3) Dolphins, Whales. Etc: I thought they said dolphins weren’t really that bright?? Shouldn’t mice and goldfish be number three?? Ugh…
4) Pigs: Well, Babe could sure talk up a storm, so I’d have to agree with this one…
5) Octopuses: I like my octopuses not so much bright, but more breaded and deep-fried.
6) Crows, Ravens, Magpies, etc.: Whenever I have to eat crow, I always feel much smarter myself…
7) Dogs: My wife recently enrolled me in a dog obedience school, so I’ll update you after a few lessons.
8) Cats: We used to have cats that were world-class gymnasts. That takes some brains, and on more than one occasion, they outwitted me over a ball of yarn.
9) Elephants: This one surprised me. I know they’ve got good memories, but being so sluggish, I guess they must keep a lot of that brain power pent up for something. Imagine seeing a couple of those beasts working security at a popular nightspot!!
10) Parrots: Parrots have also frightened me a bit. I used to keep crackers handy, just in case I ever ran into one of those talking show-offs. If you can mimic humans, you’d have to be smarter than a pig??

Chow for now!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I am soooooo bummed for Rappin’ Granny.

Granny appeared poised to win it all on last night’s season finale of America’s Got Talent, but suddenly America realized she had none. They voted instead for a young singer who might actually have a hope of a career after the competition…

All of which gives me hope for next year, as I really don’t recall seeing any stellar banjo players on the show. Of course, I still have to become a stellar banjo player, but seeing many of the “acts” this year, I don’t feel that much pressure.

There’s a few other words that are starting to bother me, about what they mean. Like carpet, for example. What the heck does “carpet” have to do with a floor covering product?? Feetpet would have made waaay more sense.

(They’re not all gold, folks..)


Hey, this is the first time I’ve tried dividing up the various subjects in the blog. It looks very neat and tidy…

I haven’t been to Dairy Queen yet this summer. What’s up with that??

Speaking of Queen, there’s a Queen cover band (sorry, “tribute act”) coming to town. That’s one of the big bands of the 70’s/80’s I never got to see live. I think I’ll keep it that way, unless the actual band with their new lead singer rolls into town. Tribute act…who doesn’t sing Bohemian Rhapsody these days??

Chow for now!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First off, a few small housekeeping items:

1) Yesterday was the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Can’t believe I dropped the ball on that one. I’ll have a heck of a time getting flowers out today…
2) In my “nobody asked but here I go anyway” Neville Brothers concert review the other day, I had a small typo. What makes it really embarrassing is that it was in a sentence where I was boasting of my vast musical knowledge, and I inadvertently called Bob Marley’s “One Love” the entirely wrong “One Life”. I am humbled…
3) I thought I had seen Brother Jake Edwards in a crowd yesterday, during intermission at one of the recent concerts my wife and I attended. Bro Jake has been hosting rock radio shows in major Canadian cities for as many years as Bob Barker has been hosting The Price Is Right, so it is probably unlikely he was attending the same Air Supply concert that we were…

So, many of you out there may know Steve Martin as a comedian and actor, but how many of you knew that he was a self-taught banjo master? I recall seeing him doing comedy bits with his banjo, but he’s really quite serious (as would anyone be, with a banjo) about his craft.

If you Google the words “steve martin banjo”, you’ll end up at a site called, which is not only where I lifted this photo, but it's also where you can find out all other sorts of interesting things about Mr. Martin. Well worth a visit.

There’s also quite an informative Steve Martin banjo essay posted there. Honestly!

Another 70’s comedic lingerer with musical skills is Martin Mull, although he was best known for his skills as a jazz guitarist. I even had the chance to see him perform live back in the day, and I recall him being an excellent performer. I have not yet been lucky enough to see Steve pluck his banjo.

And that’s NOT a euphemism…

Tomorrow, I rekindle my banjo quest, with a red paperclip I hope to trade…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I’ve often wondered how they come up with names for things. Take yarn for example. What the heck is that?? Did it become a derivative of yawn, which is what comes to mind for me whenever I see someone knitting??

How about Tabasco? Does that word have a place at all, outside of the sauce you add to certain foods?? Shouldn’t Nabisco manufacture the stuff, in an old 70’s disco??

Even more common names baffle me. How did settee evolve into sofa? Was is because somebody had one “so-fa” from the refrigerator, he felt compelled to make a bad pun about it, and it caught on??

At least sofa in that context gives a person something to work with. How did an elevated piece of flooring outside your home or condo become a “balcony”?? Probably because “suspended room with no walls or ceiling” would have abbreviated to something like “srwnworc”, confusing even the laziest version of Spell-Check.

Although, with some creative observation and study, that almost translates to “sunroom”.

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Something that has attracted more than a couple of abrupt head turns for me here in Calgary has been black squirrels. At first, I thought I was losing my mind, but after several sightings, it is now entirely conceivable to me that some squirrels in Alberta are black.

I went online yesterday, and if you Google “black squirrel” you will find that they exist, are rare, and that the United States blames Canada for introducing them down there. I can’t say for sure that the U.S. is “down there”, but I do know for sure that they aren’t “up there”…

So, these rare little critters have several websites (some with interesting spellings…didn’t look to see what part of the South the sites originated from) dedicated to them. I didn’t get close enough to see what sort of temperament the little acorn-biters have, so I can’t say if they are anywhere near as vicious as those found in say…parts of Manitoba. Those squirrels can be territorial, and on occasion have shown a fondness for human blood.

At least that’s what the legends say…

On to other matters:
1) Why is it that saxophone players, by and large, are usually husky??
2) We haven’t seen that recurring pink facecloth here in the suite lately. Should we just be glad, or worry about what may have become of it??
3) Air Supply rocked the concert hall here last night. I can’t believe that they were probably the best of the three recent concerts we’ve seen (I can actually hear a buddy of mine in Winnipeg choking on his coffee), based on crowd reaction. These guys drove the place into a frenzy, the sort of frenzy you might expect from Tom Jones, or Justin Timberlake when he still had a large audience. The sort of frenzy that drove women to shout out to the singers: “take off your pants!” And I’m not making that up… After the show, we could have stuck around to shake the hand of either Air or Supply, but we chose to beat the traffic.
4) Right now, somewhere in the world, a banjo is making beautiful music.

Chow for now!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I spent some time in Somnia last night. Couldn’t sleep for beans.

So, what do you do when you can’t sleep?? For me, I read and channel surf. No volume, just repeated surfing through as many channels as I can, before the TV starts all over again from Channel 2. Once you get past Channel 70, there’s a lot of white snowy screens. Like Winnipeg weather in late August…

Late-nite TV is quite entertaining, if not even just a bit educational. Granted, almost every channel in the universe has gone to infomercials at that time, so you don’t get to find much in the way of classic TV reruns anymore, like Perry Mason, or Too Close For Comfort. How come Jim J. Bullock isn’t on one of those many Law & Order shows??

Rather than listen to some late-nite yahoo try to make me a commodities millionaire with no money down while cleaning every room in the house with the magic of orange, I think it might be more fun at that time of night to have someone really wacko, pitching something even goofier.

“Grow Back Severed Fingers! Miracle Cream Re-Grows Body Parts!!”
“I’m Maury Povich’s Real Father!! DNA Test Reveals Truth!!”
“Exercise And Dieting Kills!! Sedentary Lifestyle Extends Life AND Reduces Cuticle Maintenance!!!”
“How To Collect Fresh Ostrich Feathers For King-Size Pillow Riches!!”

Now wouldn’t coming across one of those shows give you pause enough to consider getting the heck back into bed??

Chow for now!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Sunday Morning “Nobody Asked Me To, But I’m Going To Give It Anyway” Concert Review.

So, first off, a small piece of advice: If you should happen to be anywhere near a Neville Brothers’ concert, make sure you pick up some tickets. 12 hours later, we are still boppin’ to their New Orleans rhythm and blues grooves! Thank God we’ve got the drapes closed - we're both still in our pajamas…

We went in with no preset expectations. My oldest sister had gotten my interest revived in The Neville Brothers back when their Yellow Moon album came out, and both my wife and I are big fans of Aaron Neville's solo work (who in real life is a little shorter than you’d expect, but still looks like he could benchpress a transit bus while enjoying a cappuccino. The man has serious pipes…)

By the end of the first song, it was apparent that massive talent like theirs was the reason recording was invented. Every member a skilled instrumentalist (and most band members vocalists as well), most of the evening consisted of long, funked-out improvisations. It was, like another rock band used to say, insane in the membrane!!

Sure, they did many of the songs you’d have expected and hoped to hear, like “Can’t Stop The Funk”, “Tell It Like It Is”, “Everybody Plays the Fool”, and that “Yellow Moon” tune, but there were so many other songs that showcased each and every member of the ensemble. A highlight in particular was a New Orleans version of “Iko Iko” that lead into “Jambalaya”. Outstanding…

Saxist Charles Neville got two standing ovations during his stellar solo workouts. He may be just about as good a player as Kenny G!!

Real reviewers might give you much more detail about each member, and who wrote what song – who freakin’ cares about that?? Seeing Aaron Neville do a near-acapella version of “Amazing Grace” for an encore, before the band rejoined to send us home with a funky version of Bob Marley’s “One Life” will tell you that I know a little something about all that.

More importantly, I just gotta tell ya – go see these guys live. They were funkin’ amazing!!

Chow for now!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I wonder why we really need two different methods of telling time? There’s the logical method, which is where you look at a clock or a watch. There’s even an ancient tool I had forgotten about, giving us three options actually, which is the sundial. The one that drives me nuts is military time.

I know it’s not all that hard to decipher, but if I wanted to know that The Young & The Restless was on at 18:30, they should have that in the TV guide. Give me a normal clock any day of the week.

If I’m looking at say, my flight itinerary, and arrive at 8:30 instead of 18:30, I’m gonna be mighty p’d off to find out I’m half a day early, or a few hours late.

Another carryover from the military is this goofy name system for initials, like when you give someone your postal code. Bravo, Victor, and Charlie are some examples, for the letters B, V, and C.

If someone repeats that kind of thing to me, it’s like waving a red flag. I’ll come back with something like Boudoir, Vavoom, and Cashew, just to make a point, which admittedly isn’t much of an issue to need to draw a line in the sand for, but hey, if it makes you crazy, it makes you crazy…

If we had to adopt something from the military in everyday life, why couldn’t it be some of the cool hats that they have? I used to have a G.I. Joe action figure (doll) with an excellent selection of military headgear, and always thought it would be neat to wear some of them myself, even though they were way too small for my own head at the time.

Now that I think about it, Joe had more accessories than Tori Spelling. If I recall correctly, he had a scuba dive set, a crisp set of Navy dress Whites, spelunking gear, and even a shiny acoustic guitar.

I wonder if there was a little toy banjo he could have been strumming???

Chow for now!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Banjo Kazooie!!

Wasn’t that a popular video game awhile back?? Maybe it still is?? I seem to remember playing it, but I also seem to remember when Woolworth’s sold spider monkeys…

For younger readers, Woolworth’s was a forerunner to Wal-Mart, but in older, smaller buildings. And they really did sell monkeys. Or maybe they were just mutant hamsters with really long legs…and a fondness for bananas.

Yesterday I held the most pointless contest ever, in this here blog space. I mentioned that I had tickets to see a really embarrassing 80’s group, and within moments several readers hit the nail on the head. We are going to see Air Supply, famous mainly for high-pitched vocals, and cheesy love ballads. I like cheese, my wife enjoys love ballads, so this could work. I was sort-of drunk with the power of my charge card at the time, and those tickets climbed into my wallet with the other shows I was purchasing at the time.

Yeah, the guys in Air Supply make James Blunt sound almost masculine by comparison. Even Jessica Simpson has more testosterone than these guys. We’re both looking forward to the show…

Unlike Linda Ronstadt, I don’t think I’ll be wishing I had brought along a banjo, like I did at that show. Well, I may be quietly wishing, but not as desperately as I did at her concert.

As the weekend is fast approaching, we now have only three long days until the next episode of Rockstar: Supernova. I’d like to offer the producers of that show a few songs that the contestants might tackle, to prove their mettle to the judges:

1) Anything by INXS. The irony would be cool.
2) More John Lennon. One song just wasn’t enough.
3) Some early Springsteen.
4) “This Diamond Ring”, by Gary Lewis & The Playboys.
5) “Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love In My Tummy”.
6) The long version of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn”.

Of course, I have no pull with the producers, but any of the above songs would add a bit of sparkle to the show.

Chow for now!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

There was an Old Navy flyer in the paper the other day, and it kind of caught my eye. The front page was essentially a couple of young models, showing only their legs in some trendy blue jeans. I’m not saying these models were too thin, but it really just looked like a couple of newborn deer in Wranglers…

The Mrs. and I got home late last night, after a surprisingly exceptional live Linda Ronstadt concert. After settling in, we caught the last little bit of America’s Got Talent, and I have to say, judging by what we witnessed, I am considering a class action lawsuit for false advertising.

Back to Linda, we had no idea what to expect, but she gave a performance that encompassed much of her wide catalogue (and no, that’s not a commentary on anything other than her music). An amazing evening of jazz, ballads, and even Appalachian music. If only I had a banjo, I could have hopped onstage…

We are currently in concert mode. Over the next few days we’re also going to see The Neville Brothers, and an 80’s band I am too embarrassed to admit I’m going to see. However, just for fun, take a guess at who it may be - add a comment with who it may be. I will cop to it if somebody out there makes a correct deduction…

Finally, I am off to a physiotherapist today, to get this persistent pinched nerve looked at. It’s been getting progressively worse the last few days. At the Stampeders’ football game the other day, I could only do half a wave!! The damn thing just sort of nods off all by itself, which is a concern if I happen to be defending my World Tug-Of-War Championship belt. Also a problem if I’m whisking…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It seems like forever now, since I abandoned my banjo quest. The desire still burns, but the cream my doctor prescribed should settle that down a bit…

We are in a deep quandary today. Multiple programming conflicts on TV tonight. There’s the results episode of Rockstar: Supernova, AND the season finale of Last Comic Standing. We only have one VCR, as my Betamax is still packed for our move.

The cherry on top of this dilemma is that we are going to see Linda Ronstadt in concert tonight, and have no idea how we will be able to tape two TV shows simultaneously. Why do the evil “Network Suits” do this?? Can’t CBS win their prime time slot, then let the other network have a bone??

Thankfully, America’s Got Talent has a later showing on Global, or we’d really be shafted…

Speaking of talent, did anybody catch the American singing debut of David Hasselhoff, on that very same talent show? He’s apparently highly popular in remote mountainous areas of Germany, but not so much here in North America, where he is more revered for his acting prowess. That performance of his last week may not change our collective opinion anytime soon. Rated a 9.5 on our Cheese-O-Meter, a device we use to rate performances by…well…David Hasselhoff.

Thank the heavens that the rest of the show doesn't have other cheesy acts!!

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Awoke this morning to the news that gas prices are going to jump again. Seems one pipeline closure in Alaska requires a massive hike in prices at the pump, likely to ensure that the poor oil barons don’t have to cut back on stretch Hummer rides to their stockbroker’s office.

I’ve also read that the price hikes are a reaction to “possible” shortages in supply. Boy, we’d better hope that potatoes don’t have a bad year. I can’t imagine paying $125.00 for a biggie fries…

Personally, I think we’re getting poked by the oil companies. You can’t blame the gas stations – they just react to the market prices. If the market prices allow some sheik in an oil rich country to build an NHL arena in one wing of their home, the price at the pump unfortunately has to escalate a tad.

There’s also a growing theory that we need to get away from our worldwide dependence on fossil fuels, which may be why the producers are madly trying to extract as much from our wallets as they do from the ground. They really shouldn’t worry about that happening anytime soon. The research for alternate fuels is advancing at about the same rate as a cure for freckles.

I’m sure the major automobile manufacturers are assisting those trailblazing scientists in their attempts at finding a low-cost fuel for the thousands of SUVS now sitting in sales lots across North America. How expensive could it possibly be to retrofit a motor to run on grass clippings??

Oh well, at least this should finally put to rest that wacky theory we consumers have, the one about how the oil companies always spike the prices just before long weekends and/or summer. Now, every time the price of lobster pancakes goes up, we’ll be digging into OUR pockets at the gas station…

Chow for now!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Welcome to today’s blog – steroid-free since 2006!!

Well, we made it to the Calgary Zoo yesterday, as part of our long-weekend “Tourist In Our New Town” experience.

Having been to a zoo or two in our day, and having heard so much pre-attendance buzz, we had high expectations. Didn’t take long to collapse those expectations…

In all fairness, and so as not to prevent you from finding out for yourselves, there are indeed animals at this zoo. You will get to see many varieties of fish, birds, and in one very large compound – a live prairie dog (gopher in some jurisdictions).

Granted, we didn’t start off on the right foot. It took us an hour from parking lot to admission gate, before we even set a tender tootsie on actual zoo ground. By then, it was well past lunchtime, so we sprinted to one of the onsite theme cafeterias, where we waited another hour before we were successful in carrying away a chilled hamburger and some warm pop. Oddly enough, the lineups to get into the joint, and then the eateries where the only places we encountered substantial signs of crowds.

So, two hours of our life gone, we rolled up our short sleeves, put on our pith helmets, and began exploring…

Crikey! Most zoos will warn you that at certain times of day, different animals may or may not be active. In our experience, afternoon may have been the time nurses administer massive tranquilizers to these caged creatures. Any that you were lucky enough to spot were lethargic to about the state of a 12-year old rug. Most animals hid in shady areas, with just a tuft of hair, or prone leg hanging out for us to view. We have some exceptional pictures of feet. You’ll just have to take our word that they belonged to a unicorn or brontosaurus...

I’d like to say that you’ll find animals out-of-the-ordinary at this zoo, but even the Winnipeg Zoo has at least as good a selection of beasts, and last time I was there, you didn’t pay through the nose to see fleeting glimpses of hairy limbs (except maybe in some of the popular bars and clubs there…).

I suppose my advice would be to get to this zoo early (to avoid lineups), and maybe bring a selection of paper sandwich bags, that you could blow up and “pop”, just to awaken something.

Chow for now!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The 2006 “Help Dan Get His Banjo” Campaign

So, we are spending this particular long weekend being tourists in our new town. Our matching Bermuda shorts are dead giveaways…

To kick off the weekend, we went to see Superman Returns, in IMAX 3-D. What an experience! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, cash in your tickets for that Miami Vice remake, or the already-profitable-enough Pirates Of The Caribbean, and convert them to Superman tickets. IMAX 3-D if you can…take a drive if you have to- it’s worth the commute!!

We were both blown away by the grandeur of the IMAX screen, and boggled by the illusion of multiple images and objects seemingly being propelled from the screen to our faces! The movie itself was pretty good too. When one guy walked past us for popcorn, he looked real enough to reach out and touch!!

Yesterday, we took in our first CFL game locally, and with the simple purchase of a Stampeders baseball cap (they were out of football caps), we were instant members of their fan club. A little outnumbered though, as thousands of Saskatchewan fans (pronounce THAT one, Mrs. That Dan Guy!) were in attendance, to root for that team.

All for naught though, as their Roughriders got their arses kicked by the home town heroes in red…

Today, after Mrs. That Dan Guy gets ready (not enough coffee consumed yet, keeping my distance), we are off to the Zoo. They are supposed to have a great one here, and it is one more thing to tick off of our “To-Do” list. We are wild and crazy, to say the least.

On an unrelated item, I awoke this morning from a dream where I was attending a rural carnival, where Jay Leno was a standup comic on stilts. He made some kind of a wisecrack, which I replied to, and made him laugh with my witty retort. This has boosted my comedy confidence measurably.

Chow for now!!

(Banjo Rocks!!)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The 2006 “Help Dan Get His Banjo” Campaign
Part Two

OK, the title still maybe needs a little tweaking, but you get the gist of it…

Backlash to my banjo campaign yesterday, when my wife accidentally surfed to, and read my blog. One reader brave enough to reply with support was given a serious tongue-lashing (typed, but no less serious). It would appear that my discreet online quest is under scrutiny, here at home!!

Bottom line: she is still unconvinced that my purchasing a banjo will add some luster to our household.

Maybe she doesn’t understand the magic of the banjo. SO many songs over the years have been elevated past average with the simple addition of a tiny bit of four-string plucking. Just about anybody can walk into a room with a guitar, but how many people can ignite an evening with a banjo??

I think that there’s also maybe a small part of her mindset that honestly believes this is just another one of my short-term hankerings that will ultimately join our pottery spinner, gourmet cookbook set, golf instruction DVD library, mountain climbing gear, quilting patches, and home curtain maker in the attic. But I swear on the grave of Flatt or Scruggs (whichever one has passed away already), this time is TOTALLY different. I’ve got banjo fingers, and I’m a’ pickin’ and a’ grinnin’!!!!

We’ve still got over a month here in this suite, I could learn enough songs to go on tour, and get a Grammy for our new mantle. I could get asked to play for The Queen, or appear in a Capital One credit card commercial!! What’s in YOUR wallet (twang twang twang)??

Of all the bad habits a husband could have, I’d say adding an Oscar for Best Film Soundtrack Song is hardly an issue worthy of such opposition, wouldn’t you??

Allow me the gift of music. Bring our home the wonder of finger-picked melody.

Send your e-mail: Give The Man His Banjo…
Chow for now!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The 2006 “Help Dan Get His Banjo” Campaign

OK, the title maybe needs a little tweaking, but you get the gist of it. I’m appealing to you, my reader(s), to give me a little moral support in my quest to become a world-class banjo player…

The reason I’m even forced to mount this on-line campaign is due to the recent (and stunning) refusal of my wife to consider allowing me to make my banjo purchase, the logical first step in becoming a champion banjo player.

Blunt, she was. Defiant even. “NO!!” - that was the extent of our discussion. Seems I can’t even have a picture of a banjo in the apartment...

In all fairness, I have been a little quick in the past to jump on fancies that never really grew past the initial interest. I have two guitars, a harmonica, and a tambourine that all have yet to compose a groundbreaking album of hit pop songs.

A few years back, I thought I’d set up an impressive model train display. Couldn’t find an engineer’s cap that fit, so I’ve delayed that project (since 1981…).

I also seem to recall an archery stage, where I would be a world-famous bowman. Inspired by Robin Hood and Green Arrow (DC Comics), I planned on taking one of my sisters along with me on the road to fame and riches, but none would agree to the old “apple on the head” trick.

Wonder whatever happened to my archery set???

These are all just expected failures along the way to today’s banjo quest. You can’t make an omelette without grating some goat cheese, hence my passing fancies of the past. But this desire for a banjo BURNS inside of me!!

Reader(s), I beg of you, help me with this undertaking. Your reward will be the sweetest banjo music you have ever heard.

Simply follow the links in my Blogger profile, and send a simple e-mail, with a heading of “Give The Man His Banjo”.

It is my solemn pledge that this time, I will not disappoint…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I have had some embarrassing moments in my time. There was the brief leg-warmers period after seeing Flashdance. There was the time I bought tickets to a Beatles reunion concert in rural Manitoba. One winter, I sported a Fu Manchu…

Yesterday kind-of diminished the impact of most of my other embarrassing moments.

I had to run to the store in the afternoon, so I gathered up my keys, locked up our suite, and headed over to the elevator. One of the frustrations of living in an apartment is the unreliable blasted elevator system, and the delays that it can present whenever you care to exit the building. This day, an elevator arrived surprisingly quickly…

When the doors opened, there was a rather full house inside. A family was checking out, and they were not traveling light. Every member of the family had two pieces of luggage, and each family member had an expression of “get-me-the-hell-back home” about them.

Very friendly to me however, making enough room for me to squeeze my husky frame in…

I pushed the button for the lobby, then settled into a cheerful stare at the numbers on the upper wall. Which didn’t move. Not once. I joked that maybe I was too heavy, then opened the door again, and closed it one more time. Still no movement.

It became apparent by the fourth time that maybe my addition to the elevator’s load really did trigger a safety feature of the device, paralyzing it in place until one of the rug-rats got off, along with a couple of pieces of luggage. Friendly as the family had been to that point, clearly that was not the unanimous choice. I developed a compelling feeling that I was going to be asked to leave…

I waved at them as the doors closed, and the elevator then made the trip down to the lobby, sans me. I have never overloaded an elevator before. I reflected on my trip down the flights of stairs to the lobby that I should maybe pick up some lighter clothing, while at the mall…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If we do ever face a global nuclear holocaust, I stand to be in pretty good shape to ride it out. I just hope I don’t have to find an English/North Korean dictionary beforehand…

The reason I feel so confident is that over the last few years, I have detected a new pattern in my grocery shopping habits. Back when we used to live in a much smaller home, we tended to just buy enough groceries to get through from payday to payday.

When we moved into our last home, there was more than enough room to stockpile a few things, which we started to do. Good deal on Spaghetti-O’s?? Get a case!! Nominal saving on a flat of baking soda?? Our fridge and freezer will never be stinky again!!

Anything from cases of soda pop to boxes of generic granola bars would find a way into our vehicle, and ultimately a nook or cranny in our home. Costco issued a restraining order on my bulk legume purchases…

So, now that we are temporarily housed in an apartment-style condo until we take possession of our new home, I find I have to compromise when I see awesome deals on 3-ply Kleenex. If I can’t store it in the trunk of our car, I am not allowed to bring it home. It’s like living under the uncomfortable hand of a despot government!

In our kitchen, I recently tried to hide a second tub of coffee under a well-placed napkin on the counter, and was busted when I tipped over a 7-liter jug of Kool-Aid.

Last weekend, Krispy Crème Doughnuts gave us a 2-for-1 certificate, and I am literally dying to fill my freezer with their honey-glazed orbs of tantalizing delight. However, we currently have a freezer full of Tiger prawns, scored off of a large unmarked cube van parked alongside the highway the other day.

I do still wonder if the truck should have had some sort of refrigeration system…

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Perhaps you’ve been out shopping when the urge hits you. Maybe you’re at a sporting event in an arena or stadium. I’m talking here about an unexpected and/or sudden “call of nature”…

So, you’re in this mall (or stadium) and you now have to visit a public restroom. This is when you may have a chance to view the various sorts of graffiti that certain people feel a need to scribble or scratch into the walls of each stall. I can’t say for sure if this happens in women’s washrooms, but I’ve yet to see the male public restroom that doesn’t have numerous pithy items (generally crude) misspelled on the walls.

Now, here’s where I get curious. In general, despite the best efforts of restroom cleaning crews, these public facilities are not the first place you’d most likely want to spend a whole bunch of time, leisurely scratching commentary and accompanying artwork onto a wall. Personally, I tend to want to get the heck out as fast as possible, without once touching anything in there. If I get any urges to doodle, I can always run out to the food court, and scribble on the back of a napkin…

This is clearly not an opinion shared by hundreds of bathroom Rembrandts. These…artists will gladly spent the better part of an afternoon with an ice-pick or old Bic pen, scratching immortal commentary on any number of inappropriate subjects. Immortal until the next bucket of paint comes along.

I wonder if some time in the future archaeologists will determine a need to uncover some of these lithographs, to illustrate the artwork and attitudes of our time. These stalls are sort of a modern-day cave, so to speak. Maybe the scientists would like to find out where they could have had a good time, back in our century??

Chow for now!!