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Monday, June 30, 2008

Back To Normal…

Well, our travels have officially concluded after this past weekend’s return to home base. It was exhausting, it was hot, but it was wonderful.

Now, things begin to return to what is considered normal here in the Such Is Life household. Mrs. That Dan Guy is getting ready for work, as am I. Per my typical daily routine, I don a housecoat over my pyjamas, and make the commute to my office here, where I will spend a couple of hours (at the most) on actual writing efforts. I will fit those efforts between frequent and impulsive visits to Facebook, e-Bay, and Ultimate And that’s only if there’s nothing compelling on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

I’m thrilled to report that our Barry Manilow “Music & Passion” glow-sticks made the trip back home safe and sound. We were a little worried, after packing them up in our checked luggage. I had visions of fluorescent fluids exploding over our well-travelled clothing. Turned out to be a non-issue.

Hey, before I quit mentioning Mr. Manilow, are you aware that he’s hard at work on a “best-of” The Eighties album? He’s done the 40’s, the 50’s, the 60’s, and the 70’s. Now, he’s tickling the ivories of classic songs like Journey’s “Open Arms”, which he previewed for the audience at his show. I smell mega-hit!!

We returned home to a bit of a jungle on our front lawn. I had neglected to arrange for someone to mow the lawn in our absence, essentially breaking a major rule in the home holiday safety manual. I’m sure our neighbours appreciated leaving for work every day, as the blades of grass on our unkempt lawn began to resemble corn rows.

It’s all better now…

Chow for now!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The crack of noon. Daylight is just breaking across the sky, and we are slowly coming to life here in the Such Is Life household.

We opted to take a laaaaate flight out of Vegas last night, which we somehow failed to link with an early morning arrival, back here at home. By the beard of Zeus, we are sluggish this morning!!

As amazing as our recent travels turned out to be, it is always nice to get back home, and hear that familiar deep snore in its natural environment. Man, Mrs. That Dan Guy was tired!

Chow for now!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Saturday Morning (2-For-The-Price-Of-1) “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway Concert Reviews: Bette Midler’s “The Showgirl Must Go On”, and Jay Leno’s “Benefit For Iowa Flood Victims”.

(or, Why I Will Never Be A Professional Concert Reviewer…or photographer, for that matter...)

What a way to spend our last night in Vegas! Back-to-back shows, and a night where we eventually returned to our room when most people are having breakfast!

First stop, Caesar’s Palace - The Coliseum. The house that Celine built. We’ve seen Celine, we’ve seen Elton, and we’ve seen Cher. But last night, we finally captured the Bette Midler concert experience. Yowza!

Midler’s show in this grand auditorium is exactly the sort of spectacle you’d expect here in Vegas. Showgirls, state-of-the-art special effects, at least a 16-piece orchestra (lost count after 15 - I couldn’t seem to get my right sandal off – foot too swollen from days of casino wandering…), and ole Bette herself, in all her glory.

This showgirl still does go on and on, let me tell you. The voice soars, the costumes dazzle, and her bawdy humour practically steals the show.

A particular highlight was a send-up number spoofing Vegas past and present, involving the Rat Pack, Wayne Newton, a spectral Elvis from “the other side”, and a lavish Cirque de Soleil-style performance with mermaids. Un-freakin-bee-lee-vable.

Midler retains her cast of “characters”, all the way from her classic 70’s shows – the mermaid that wants to be a star, The Harlettes, and Soph, the salty old burlesque comedian. And yet, with all this, the best parts of the show happened when she commanded the gigantic stage all by herself (and the 16-piece orchestra, give or take a cellist or two), to perform her monster hits.

It was a night we won’t soon forget. And, as a point of general trivia, having seen both Bette and Barry this trip, it was almost like reliving the start of both their careers, when Manilow was Midler’s pianist. Karma chameleon!!

From Caesar’s, we high-tailed it over to The Mirage, to catch Jay Leno’s freshly scheduled benefit concert for the Midwest flood victims. This was an unplanned opportunity we couldn’t afford to pass up on (although affordability is a bloated monster we will have to face come VISA billing time…)

We’ve always heard that Leno was way funnier in person than while doing his nightly monologues, and we would have to concur. As a matter of fact, he was blasted hilarious.

His opening act was a dandy doo-wop acapella group from Orange County, California - The Alley Cats. One member is from Edmonton, just to the north of where we live now in Calgary. Go figure!

The blurry picture at the top of this page is the best one I could snap before the Camera Police sternly shined a flashlight in my eye – photography is frowned upon in showrooms. Yeah, well so is bringing livestock into the theatre, so give me SOME credit at least…

Better run. Checkout time is looming…

Chow for now!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – 1st Day After – Coming Down From The Euphoria

Well, we finally managed to see a major superstar named Barry. It’s not every day of the week you can say something like that. Now, we have to get past this empty feeling that has overcome us. Empty until tonight, when we have two more shows, back-to-back!!


Last night, we took the night off. We opted to roam the strip, and see hotels that we have never been into before, plus revisited a few we haven’t seen in years. We are calling this our “Retro-Vegas” tour, After staying at New York New York for the past (many, many) years, we decided to stay closer to where all our shows were being held, thus our first-ever check-in at TI, formerly Treasure Island. Not so long ago, Treasure Island held raucous pirate fights in a lagoon outside the front of the hotel. Now, as TI, voluptuous women called The Sirens pillow-fight in their underwear, while being sprayed with water.

Ha-Ha!! Just kidding. But something very much like that really is the new nightly show. Vegas has shucked the “family-friendly” philosophy the city adopted a few years back, and now shamelessly panders to the young moneyed crowd, hunting for celebrity viewings. Thank God Mrs. That Dan Guy and I are beyond that sort of shallow ego-gratification. You won’t ever catch us waiting more that a couple of hours to see if the star of Spamalot perhaps hits the piano bar at The Wynn to knock back a few vodka tonics. Three hours tops…

So, Retro-Vegas took us yesterday for a stroll through some of the last-remaining miniature casinos: Slots Of Fun, Circus Circus, The Riviera, and The Sahara. We haven’t been into most of those charming little institutions since the first few years we used to stay more centrally located, in the middle of the Strip. We also hiked over to The Stratosphere, where I attempted with little to no success to convince MTDG to try one of the attractions on the top of this towering tower. I’d have had an easier time convincing a steer with a broken leg to hop up on a BBQ. She had none of it.

So, we are moving slowly today, to conserve energy so as to get through our two big shows. More on all that tomorrow…

Chow for now!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Thursday Mornin’ “Nobody-Axed-Me-To, But-Here-I-Goes Anyhow” Concert Review – BARRY CLUCKIN’ MANILOW!!!

(or, Why I Will Never, Ever Be A Professional Concert Reviewer…)

Greetings, mammals!! Ole Charlie is still alive and kickin’ , and in Las pluckin’ Vegas no less! I left Huey, Dewey, and Louie with Cornelius, and stowed away with the world travellers. I got my pinfeathers inta the Barry Manilow: “Music & Passion” show!!

The tone was set going inta the showroom. We were all given Barry Manilow “Music & Passion” glowsticks, so it was gonna be a pretty elegant affair.

Before the show, I got to chattin’ with the mammal beside me, and she was darn-near overcome with giddiness. I hafta admit, I had a pretty bad case of poultry bumps myself.

When the lights when down, the place pluckin’ erupted. There was a standin’ ovation durin’ the prerecorded overture, and when the curtain rose, ya could see Barry’s silhouette in a smoky doorway. More shrieks and screams. It was Beatlemania, all over again…

The Man went straight into his gigantic catalogue of hits – “It’s A Miracle” .Yes, it was. A true blue Technicolor miracle wahoo. Blending self-depracatin’ humour with stories of his life, hit after hit exploded onto the lavish stage. What can I say? A huge backin’ band, back-up singers that also performed sketches and dance numbers – it was everythin’ I hoped it would be.

Now, to set the record straight, I travelled quite a ways, and the temperature swings here have been murder. I ain’t sweated so much since I layed under a heatin’ lamp one time for a gag. So, I happened to pick up a bit of a cold, which made me sniffle a lot, and my pluckin’ eyes wouldn’t quit runnin’. So that was all that was goin’ on there, during “Mandy”, and songs like that…

Although, when “I Write The Songs” started, a very burly man behind me actually shouted out “HOO-HAH!!”…

It was Sing-A-Long Central, humany peoples. Hit-O-Rama, mama. I can say I say The Man at the top of his pluckin’ game – at the Copa, Copacabana!! Music and Passion fer sure!!!

I can barely stand it…

Cluck for now!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – Tonight’s The Night!!

(I sure hope Mr. Manilow has been taking his Echinacea…)

Last night, we took in our first-ever Broadway production here in Vegas. There are scads of options – The Phantom Of The Opera, The Producers, Mama Mia, Jersey Boys. We opted to take in Monty Python’s Spamalot, featuring actor John O’Hurley as King Arthur. Sure, we could have seen a travelling version that's arriving soon back home in Calgary, but not with the same level of production, or the marquee star.

O’Hurley appears to have an infinitely deep barrel of talent. He’s likely most famous for his loopy role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, but has appeared virtually everywhere, including currently hosting the latest edition of that old game show Family Feud. His comic timing and singing were a highlight of the show we sat in on last night...

The thing with Vegas is, they go all out with the shows here, which is why we always try and take in as much as we can whenever we come. The theatre was amazing, and the set was likely as elaborate as it is on Broadway. Not hard to see why the show has won so many awards, after the first few numbers. All the wackiness of a Python production, but also sending up Broadway musicals, and modern pop culture in the process.

Good thing we had planned to take this show in – as you can see by the jpeg I shamelessly lifted right from their website, the run closes in a few weeks.

So, since we have arrived, it has been over 100 degrees Farenheit, and will be until we depart. Yesterday, Mr. El Cheapo had to walk several Vegas-sized city blocks to save 13 cents on a box of cookies. Mrs. That Dan Guy was feeling the effects, and exhibited signs of extreme bedragglement. Me, I was cool as a cucumber, waving to fellow pedestrians, and bouncing along like that perky singing bear in Disney’s The Jungle Book. Mrs. That Dan Guy needs to buy a portable fan, and she’ll be OK…

Tonight, barring a repeat of last year’s cancellation, we will be experiencing Mr. Barry Manilow. We are a-tingle…

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – Two Wee Days Left...

Well, this is what you will come to expect for the next few days, now that we have left Louisiana (in the broad daylight), and arrived in…LAS VEGAS!!

Mrs. That Dan Guy and I haven’t had a full two-week vacation in quite some time, so we decided to tag on a few extra days, after New Orleans.

And, what happens in Vegas, takes a lot longer to revive from (to write about), so don’t be expecting any “crack-of-dawn” postings this week.

We also have a pretty full dance card while we’re here, so that ain’t gonna help matters at all.

Oh well, wattaya gonna do??

As of today, we are officially on holidays!

Let the good times roll!!

Chow for now…

Monday, June 23, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – 3 short days to go…

Farewell, New Orleans!!

(We’ll be back…)

Squeezing every possible moment out of our short trip to New Orleans, yesterday Mrs. That Dan Guy and I had a date with an alligator – we took a swamp tour.

Being of an age that I listened to a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s swamp rock while I was growing up, we couldn’t NOT at least see some Louisiana swamp and bayou country. Are we ever glad we did. This is such a beautiful area, and the swamps add an entire other glimpse of the state.

If there’s one thing we have discovered while we were here, you cannot possibly do New Orleans justice in a week. We did more than many other visitors likely attempt while in town (as evidenced by a group of loud and wobbly New York ladies that we often ran into, in the elevator – Bourbon Street regulars…). We drove by many of the famed areas of town, while enroute to somewhere else. We missed so many legendary sites, we will have to return for a full, non-working visit. We did manage to see Fats Domino's house, in the heart of a devastated neighborhood.

We can’t recommend a visit here strongly enough. The economy needs tourists to maintain the city’s recovery, and everyone you run into is a stake holder in that recovery. We heard so many stories that we will never forget.

I started the visit with an alligator, and ended it with an alligator. Word must have spread about my alligator po’boy sandwich, because even our swamp guide was surprised by how many alligators were circling the boat…

Bon Temps Roule!! (apologies for mangling my French...)

Chow for now!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – Down to (a mere) 4 more days…

Hello, From New Orleans!!

Yesterday was the day our organization toured some of the hardest Katrina-hit areas of the city. No matter what TV footage you may have viewed beforehand, I’m not sure anything can prepare you for the scope of the loss here.

We saw the 9th Ward, and heard from volunteers that are rebuilding nearby St. Bernard Parish. We ate lunch at Dooky Chase’s, and were reminded that almost every restaurant we have enjoyed visiting here had been closed after Katrina.

The school we visited in St. Bernard Parish had 8 feet of water in the halls, and had to use a second floor stairwell landing to pull people up to safety, from the flood waters. Tens of thousands of homes – destroyed.

We viewed the area along the Mississippi, that FEMA utilized as the command centre for mobilizing resources. Right beside the place we had been sipping café au lait the day before.

I’ve got more material to write about when we go back home than I will have space for. And I had better not get started here…

Chow for now!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – 5 Days to go!

Hello, From New Orleans!!

The smiling gentleman beside me up there is local New Orleans musician Spencer Bohren. More on that in a moment.

When you think New Orleans, you think music. Mrs. That Dan Guy and I watched several features on N.O., before we left Calgary. One in particular that was fantastic: “New Orleans – Music In Exile”. The show profiled the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the local musician community, and how so many had to relocate to keep performing, or adapt how they lived and worked locally here, until cleanup and restoration efforts allowed some sort of return to normal. Bands like The Iguanas, Marcia Ball, Cyril Neville - and of course the legendary Dr. John.

We’ve tried to catch some local live music almost every day so far. Well, and consume as much of this amazing Creole/Cajun food as possible…

Yesterday, as part of the National Society Of Newspaper Columnists conference I am here attending, part of our scheduled program included a performance by Spencer Bohren ( ). A proponent of the blues, his slide guitar work in particular was something you just had to hear. Among the many original pieces, we heard haunting versions of “Ode To Billy Jo”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

The song we heard about in advance was the same title of the album we picked up afterwards, “The Long Black Line”, which refers to the marks left on homes, after the flood waters receded. I think there may have been a noticeable stampede to the CD table after that one. Go visit his website, and consider at least picking up that recording. Amazing.

After the show, MTDG and I joined California humour columnist George Waters (check out George’s Wa Blog: ) in a trek to Café Du Monde, for the New Orleans visitor’s requisite café au lait, and beignets. Beignets are essentially powdered donuts, better described as donuts that have surrendered to an avalanche of powdered sugar. The single rule for enjoying them is: do not wear a black shirt. I, as you might have already guessed, was wearing a brand-new, souvenir T-shirt, in a glaring shade of black. I looked afterwards as if I had tried unsuccessfully to disassemble a home-made bomb…

Chow for now!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – Just 6 More Days…

Hello, From New Orleans!!

I am going to need a bigger belt.

If I don’t gain a hundred pounds by the end of this week, I’ll be tickled. If there’s one thing that New Orleans (and the entire state of Louisiana for that matter) is known for above and beyond music, it’s the food.

Mrs. That Dan Guy and I have been to two celebrated New Orleans restaurants so far this trip: Galatoire’s, and last night Brennan’s with the columnist group I am here with. Brennan’s opened up their doors for us all, and put together a special Creole gourmet menu, including New Orleans Turtle Soup. I felt bad for the poor turtle until I had my first spoonful – in a word…YOWZA!!

Turtle last night, alligator a couple of days ago – I’m eating my way through the Louisiana reptile families. I hope they have good security when we visit the Aquarium Of The Americas later tonight…

Yesterday we also took an excursion of our own, before the conference I’m attending starts this morning. Went on a plantation tour, which was absolutely fascinating. Got to see some of the country side outside the city, passing by cedar forest swamps, Lake Ponchatrain, canals, sugar cane fields, and a Domino’s Pizza.

The plantation tours are a glimpse back into the by-gone days in this here Deep South – sugar cane fields, mansions, and life along the mighty Mississippi. As a matter of fact, the tour was how we finally discovered what the levees are here – essentially large banks of earth and grass 20-25 feet high, alongside the Mississippi. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but I’d have to admit we were surprised.

As an aside, I picked up the binder that we receive every year at these conferences, and there were a few tips inside about what to expect in New Orleans.

Among those tips – Do Not Call New Orleans “The Big Easy”. That is apparently one of those romantic motion picture nicknames, that is not used at all down here. Hence the change to my title today.

The other tip that amused me was a description of a certain shoe shine scam to be on the lookout for.

No need- I found it within 24 hours!!!

Chow for now!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – 7 days..

Hello, From The Big Easy!

Three visits to Bourbon Street so far, and still not a single set of beads. I’ve flashed my chest more times than a gorilla in front of a Macy’s changing room mirror, and nothing! I am beginning to feel a bit inadequate…

In the eyes of scammers however, I am two for two. A mark, a rube, a tourist with handles. I learned from a colleague last night that the first scam I fell for is as old as the balconies here in New Orleans. The scam artist approaches his soft touch (me, in this example), and makes a bet that he can guess where I bought my shoes (open-toed sandals, in this example). While the scam artist yaks at his mark (me, still), he pulls out a small tube of shoe shine, and pours it onto both shoes (open-toed sandals, actually). The mark is then required to pay a sum of money more appropriate to have invested in a fine steak dinner, for the minor privilege of having his toes waxed.

The second scam was also while we were exploring Bourbon Street. We were approaching a group of young gentleman that looked like they would be more appropriately found electrocuting their hair in a tattoo parlour. Trying to avoid the group, and keeping one hand on my favourite pocket comb, one member of the gang beckoned and asked me to help him move a heavy box to the curb.

A normal individual might have wondered why all his burly tattooed friends couldn’t have helped, but being Canadian, I smiled weakly, and happily threw my own considerable body weight into helping move said box.

After a brief struggle, the box arrived at the curb, yet another pierced example of tattooed pride erupted out of the box, and a good time was had by all, at my expense. Har-De-Har-Har…

At least I wasn’t held up, like I was with the shoe shine guy…

On the plus side, the colleague I mentioned earlier (a native of New Orleans) invited us to join her at Galatoire’s – a top-drawer eatery on The Bourbon. Asking for a particular server by name, we enjoyed top-drawer service, and a 5-Star meal. Great experience.

We ended the night by joining up another colleague, for a visit to our hotel’s Carousel Bar.

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(Barry Manilow ’08 – Eight More Days..)

Greetings, from The Big Easy!!

Bourbon Street, Part One – Daytime

Mrs. That Dan Guy and I took our first steps ever down Bourbon Street yesterday, early in the afternoon. Much quieter than we had expected. Sure, there was some hustle and bustle, but nothing like we were expecting.

There are bars everywhere along the walk. Oyster bars, blues bars, and stripper bars. As we discovered when we chose one (in error) to go have some lunch in, and a couple of dancers inside were clearly not practicing ballet. MTDG was dragging me out, before I could get a clear view past the pole. One operation in particular advertised “1000’s Of Girls, & 3 Ugly Ones”…

We opted instead for another institution – La’ Bayou Restaurant. After we ordered drinks and had a chance to peruse the menu, we decided to go a wee shade out of our comfort zones. MTDG tried a muffuletta (available almost exclusively in New Orleans, and lip-smackin’ delicious), while I figured I’d have a go with some alligator. I had a fried alligator po’boy, and I will confess – alligator is extremely tasty. I don’t think I’ll enjoy my next Big Mac nearly as much now…

As we were preparing to leave La’ Bayou, I heard Mrs. That Dan Guy ask something that most folks probably don’t hear every day of the week: “Do I have any muffuletta in my teeth?”

After lunch, we were making our way along the route, and viewing the infamous balconies that have a life of their own during Mardi Gras. They all looked entirely innocent in the afternoon sunshine.

We were approached by a young gentleman that began to speak to me in a brisk pace, and clearly intended to impress me with a little bit of psychic abilities. Turned out he was a huckster, a scammer, a fruit-and-nut bar. He shined my SANDALS, for a fee that he expected to be in the neighbourhood of $20. Grateful that he hadn’t held me up instead, I offered him ten bucks, and now feature the shiniest sandals in all of New Orleans. Until another rube tourist comes along…

Bourbon Street, Part Two – Evening

Holy Torpedo!

Does this strip ever come to life at night! Neon signs, music blasting from every conceivable nook and cranny, and loads of strip joints.

We wanted to hear some real authentic New Orleans music (as authentic as you’ll get on touristy Bourbon Street), so we poked our noses in and out of a few different saloons. Country Karoake - no way. Journey covers. Classic Rock covers. 70’s AM covers. Aye Caramba!!

We found what we were looking for in Blues Bar – smokin’ blues, with horns and walk-ons from Bourbon Street regulars. Picked up a CD from a guy called Rooster. He kicked some serious butt onstage. That was time well spent.

Further down the strip, we dodged more Journey cover bands, and what sounded like a reggae version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Once we peeked into Maison Bourbon, we knew we had found what we were looking for. New Orleans Jazz, the way it’s supposed to be played – with a clarinet, trumpet, and upright bass among the instrumentalists. We stayed for a couple of sets, before heading back to the hotel.

The adventure continues today….

Chow for now!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – Just 9 more freakin’ days!!!!

Hello, from The Big Easy!

Mrs. that Dan Guy and I arrived late last night, into New Orleans. Grabbing a cab from The Louis Armstrong Airport, we made it to our hotel, right smack-dab in the historic French Quarter. Exhausted and somewhat aromatic (those stuffy old airplanes just don’t feature enough screen windows…), we nonetheless tossed our bags into our room, and headed off down Canal Street.

We’ve never been to New Orleans before, so we had no gauge for what to expect, pre- or post-Katrina. I’m here to attend a conference this weekend, and will be writing a couple of serious columns for the newspaper in Kelowna where my weekly humour column appears. That was the first thing I had to knock off this morning, which is why my blog is running late today.

So, first impressions:

* - Night-time is dark here, just like it is in many parts of Canada.

* - It is sobering to drive in past the Superdome, and think of all the people that were stranded there, during Hurricane Katrina.

* - Wow!

We didn’t even make it to Bourbon Street (yet), but we’re lovin’ it already. Eclectic shops and restaurants, wacky late-nite convenience stores, and plenty of hustle-and-bustle.

We did make it down Canal Street a ways. Just far enough to discover some glittery joint called “Harrah’s”. Harrah’s is something called a “casino”, and it is filled to overflowing with noisy machines that flash, rattle, and ding. Occasionally dong. Lots of people here in New Orleans must have known about this place, because it was packed to the gills.

We spent a couple of moments examining this phenomenon, before we hoofed it back to our hotel, and called it a day.

More to come, stay tuned!!

Chow for now!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Barry Manilow ‘08 – 10 Days!!

If I don’t jot things down at the exact moment they come to me, well…I’m essentially screwed.

I had this great idea for a blog topic this morning, but at this particular moment, I cannot begin to recall what it might have been.

I have a feeling it may even have been one of the best topics I may have ever brought to this table.

Hey!! Wait a minute!

I just recalled my topic!!

Wandering the local mall this weekend, I noticed a generic ad that Canadian music and movie retailer HMV has been using lately. The motif is a swirl of artists, around what could either be a CD, or a DVD.

That hardly matters, the interesting thing is that of all the artists orbiting this unidentified digital recording device, the most prominent and largest by far is…

Are you ready??


That’s right – Canada’s major music retailer has recognized that one of the largest and brightest stars today is Mr. James Blunt.

Warms the cockles of your heart, doncha think??

Chow for now!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Barry Manilow ’08 – 11 Days!

Happy Fodder’s Day??

Well, to anyone employed in the cattle feed industry, Happy Fodder’s Day. Why fodder feeders get a national day of recognition is beyond me, but who am I to throw stones?

Although, maybe I could get a national Happy Stone Throwers Day, if it caught steam…

So, what is the big deal with fodder? If I look to the “source of all reliable knowledge”, Wikipedia defines fodder as “In agriculture, fodder or animal feed is any foodstuff that is used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs.”

Wow. Charlie and Cornelius should get wind of this. Maybe a parade is in order…
Foster The Fodder!! Foster Farms!!

What I don’t get is the amount of cards that are available for sale, for Fodder’s Day. You can buy a Fodder’s Day card for sons, daughters - even wives can buy a Fodder’s Day card. Is livestock feed really that big a deal?

I would have considered fodder a niche market, frankly - although there are lots of farms around the world, so maybe it is bigger than I make it out to be.

Does that make me a bad fodder? Fodder, can you hear me? Hello Mudder, Hello Fodder…


Again, for all you fodders out there, get out of the house, and have yourself a Happy Fodder’s Day!!

Chow for now!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chicken Scratch

1 Mississippi

2 Mississippi...


Oh, hello, my Peeping Tom human friends! Just playin’ a lil’ Hide N Seek with the chirpin’ feather dusters here.

Actually, the plan is – they scatter, I go hit the La-Z-Boy and watch some baseball. They’ll figure it out in an hour or two…


I’m runnin’ outta ideas, I will confess. Whoever dropped these little cluckers off ain’t comin’ back, it seems. Keepin’ an eye on ‘em is playin’ heck with my social life – I already been told they can’t stay with me in the local pub!!


Maybe if I kept ‘em in a little suitcase…

Anyhoo. So, I spend every wakin’ hour tryin’ to amuse the pint-sized poultry – I ain’t getting’ any ME time!! I can barely remember the last time I enjoyed the company of a little lady friend, if ya know what I mean!!

I mean – the ole hen house has been a bit barren, is what I’m sayin’!!

Charlie needs a peck now and again, I’m tellin’ ya!!!


Oh, Bloody Hell!!

Filbert has fallen down the stairs again. There ain’t nuthin’ more gratin’ than the sound of a chicken gobblin’ and bawlin’…

I’d better do dig out the cluckin’ First Aid kit. Again…

Cluck for now!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Manilow ’08 – 13 Days

Just over twelve days, until we are grooving to the retro sounds of “Copacabana”, and “It’s A Miracle”. We are wishing Mr. Manilow much rest, and good health – in the meantime. It might not hurt if he were to carry a clove of garlic in his pocket, for that matter…

Once again, we find ourselves taking the precarious journey of annual televised comedy that is Last Comic Standing. Setting aside our general distaste for reality/talent competition shows, we have supported this show each and every year – even the year that NBC decided to pull the pin, and the winners had to then be announced in a Target store somewhere outside Los Angeles.

Unlike American Idol, or the Canadian cousin similarly named– Last Comic doesn’t exactly produce household names, after a winner is crowned. Frankly, I couldn’t tell you the names of any of the winners, except maybe the guy that won a couple of years ago – Garbonzo something… OK, maybe even not that one…

The hoot of this show is watching professional comics pretend to be contenders for this lofty title. One of the (or is he the only) Canadian finalists is anything BUT a wildcard. Sean Cullen has been a star on Canadian TV for years, appeared in the first few seasons of Mad TV (Corky & The Juice Pigs), AND was the lead in Canada’s run of Mel Brooks’ The Producers. That’s not even scraping the tip of the iceberg lettuce!! So, as a “talent search” for new talent, we can only hope they will eventually recognize other unknown amateurs like Jay Leno, and Jerry Seinfeld…

That’s my pearls for the day, today.

Chow for now!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Manilow ’08 – 14 days

Today begins the official two-week countdown, to this year’s attempt to see Mr. Barry Manilow in all his musical splendour. The last time we tried this, after waiting months with purchased tickets in our hot and sticky hands, Mr. Manilow ended up coming down with a 24-hour bout of some horrific throat affliction, and cancelled the show. We were stunned, and heartbroken.

So, Mr. Manilow…eat some Echinacea, gargle with salt water – just stay healthy for this year’s attempt!!

See you in a couple of weeks, pal…

In unrelated yet musical musings, I recalled this morning how my junior-high school musical theatre career had been crushed, many years ago.

I had auditioned for a role in Carousel, still one of my favourite old-time classic musicals. Having spent years singing in the shower as a youth, and being part of a garage band that knew not even one complete song through to completion, I thought I was a shoe-in.

At the try-outs, we were all lined up alongside a piano, and then one by one the musical director (pony-tailed monkey head) asked us to sing a few lines from “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Then, one by one, we were sorted into either “Cast”, or “Chorus”, chorus being a polite term for “tree”, “crowd”, or “background supplemental”.

I finally made it up to the piano, and was just beginning to warble my young heart out, when I heard the crushing and terse command: “Chorus”.

With barely a handful of notes out of my mouth, the musical director (pony-tailed knuckle-dragging kitten abuser) had decided I lacked sufficient talent to carry the production. The lead role went to the most popular male in our grade, a red-headed wing nut that wouldn’t have recognized a carousel if he tripped over it.

He opened to rave reviews…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You know, I have no personal gripe with precipitation. Rain makes the grass grow, and helps drown garden slugs. A good hard rain will keep the roof of a house cool and moisturized, plus fills many a rain barrel with….rain. Hence the naming of the barrels.

When you enjoy almost a full month of daily rain though, it will begin to play on you. When you arise every morning, day after day, to varying degrees of downpour, you start to plan a hit on Mother Nature. Nothing fatal, but you’d certainly like to send a strong message.

Last weekend, it even literally rained on my parade. I was driving a Canadian Diabetes Association van, in a small-town Alberta parade. In the rain. It also later hailed, and not to the Chief. If rain was nickels, we’d be drowning in cheap pocket change…

I believe I have almost had my fill of daily rain. Sometime before I have to dust off the snow shovel, it would be nice to see the sun…

A soggy “Chow for now”!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Once again, the circle of life rolls around our way, and there is meaning to life once again, in the Such Is Life household. The new season of Nashville Star debuted last night…

We are admittedly rather strange in this here Such Is Life household. We have never, ever (not even once) watched an entire episode of ratings juggernaut American Idol, nor the Canadian offshoot. Can’t stand ‘em – from the “talent” straight through to the judges panel and host, we have never caught Idol fever. And if we had, we’d have requested inoculation of some sort, promptly thereafter.

But Nashville Star, well…for some reason Nashville Star attracts our attention, and curries our favour. It’s not like the show has had great luck in discovering new talent though. The last three “stars” have had middlin’ to negligent success. The only one that I’m aware of that has really scored is Miranda Lambert (not a fan, by the way), and she was voted off a couple of seasons ago, before the soon-to-be Unknown Yodeller won the gold medal.

As a matter of fact, last year’s winner hasn’t even released an album yet, to the best of my knowledge. Which, I will confess, is nominal at best.

A few years back, Canadian (and current Alberta resident) George Canyon took home second place, and he’s had a rather admirable career since. We do enjoy listening to George.

But, enough about Nashville Star! The big story today is a rival network scooping the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for the rights to their Hockey Night In Canada theme song, a Canadian musical icon since the late 1960’s.

How about we let the same negotiators work on securing a new deal for the beaver imprint on our coins??

Chow for now!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

If there’s one thing I always find myself wondering, it’s: “why do weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down?”

For one thing, where does a person come across wobbling weebles, in real life? And, if the only thing weebles ever do is wobble, why? Can’t they waddle? Wiggle??

To be quite honest, I actually have no flippin’ clue what a weeble even is. The only thing I do know is that they are incredibly wobbly. Wobble wobble wobble. All the doo-dah day. Where, I have no clue – I wouldn’t know a weeble from a deeble.

Are they an energy source, I wonder? Does all that wobbling produce something akin to power? Or, are they like Humpty Dumpty – just too damn clumsy to sit still on your average wall??

I should really find out a bit more about these doggone weebles. This is no way to start a Monday morning, speculating on something I have no clue about…

Chow for now!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

This is admittedly becoming a common refrain here, but it has been yet another water-logged weekend. We’re getting more precipitation than a rainforest. Alberta had to have been the inspiration for “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”.

The most recent weather forecast indicated we may not even see the sun again until Thursday. I’m not sure I’d recognize the sun if I saw it. I might report the sun to the police, if it turned up without some advance notice.

However, there is always an upside to relentless drizzling.

You can:

a) Use your yard for discreet late-nite showers. The lawn makes for a handy loofah…
b) Your kids can make a few extra bucks with a bucket of soap – who doesn’t want the convenience of a door-to-door car wash service?
c) Your prize rose bushes now tower well above telephone poles. The petals could be used as carry-on luggage bags.
d) Your neighbours used to think you were crazy when you added a ski package onto the back of Prius. Now they’re lining up to hit the jump at the end of the block…
e) You’ve always wanted to teach Sparky how to swim. Well, he was a quick study when the back yard became an Olympic diving pool…
f) Your indoor spa plans have been assisted by the backed-up drain in the basement. If the mould goes away, you just need to add some heat to the water, and voila!

Chow for now!!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Happy Saturday, Mammals!

Today is 06 07 08. How cluckin’ freaky is that??


So, today yer lookin’ at the end result of a high-pressure sales tactic. Some pimple-faced teenaged human workin’ the Wal-Mart Photo booth hit us up to pose, and we gots ourselves a mitt-full of prints afterwards. We were in Wal-Mart to peruse their pet food section, which lemme tell ya – kinda blows in the chicken feed department…


So, this aggressive little freckle factory hauls us in, and starts snappin’ photos. I had to brush my comb – how’s that for irony??

Cornelius is tryin’ to fit in more with the humans in our house. That stupid bathin’ suit of his looks cluckin’ ridikilus. Come on, even a pluckin’ chicken oughta know paper ain’t gonna repel no water…


The three amigos are still a handful. Not sure why nobody has come back to pick them up yet, but lemmee tell ya – the joke is getting’ old. If the Great Chicken was tryin’ to teach me a life lesson, he’s only drivin’ up the stock prices on malt liquor and filter-tip cigerrettes – my nerves is on edge!!


So, here we are – a dysfunkshional group if ever there wuz one. And the little cluckers all seem to be leaning towards Corny – I guess when I exploded yesterday, they got the message. For Pete’s sake, man – the La-Z-EE-Boy is NOT a litter box!!

Better run. No reason, just getting’ tired of typin’.

Cluck for now!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

…..see Dick.

See Dick STILL at his desk, wondering if there may be anything, anything at all that will provide him some relief.

Well, relief for a blog topic, we should just clarify – everything else is working perfectly well, truth be told.

See Dick wonder out loud why nobody has ever thought of peanut butter and ketchup as combined condiments for toast. Dick may be starting to lose it just a little bit…

See Dick look around his office, hoping that perhaps some inanimate object may be the star of today’s blog posting. See Dick rule out Scotch tape and a calculator. Although…

See Dick hit the same key over and over again, creating three straight lines of the letter “K”. Dick won’t be able to use that either…

See Dick flipping through a nearby phone book, to try and find something to write about this morning. Surely it can’t be that hard to find a few funny sentences about limousine services, or silk plants…

See Dick delete a lame gag about a potted palm in a limo.

Dick is looking forward to his day off, tomorrow morning. Let that stupid chicken try and come up with something original, after 823 consecutive daily posts…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

See Dick sitting at his desk.

See Dick staring at the blank screen.

You can almost hear the gears meshing inside Dick’s head (that was almost a BAD word…) or more accurately desperately trying to mesh, as Dick tries with some difficulty to think of a topic for today’s blog posting.

See Dick go downstairs for another cup of coffee. Dick is easily distracted, so when he sees the replays of last night’s Stanley Cup win by the Detroit Red Wings, his computer sits alone, back up in his office…

See Dick back once again at his keyboard, thinking that maybe what he needs to do is play one more round of Solitaire. With all the games now available on today’s modern computers, Dick is a bit of a Neanderthal with respect to gaming…

See Dick staring out the window, hoping with all his heart that something funny might happen, right frickin’ now. Alas, no other neighbours appear to even be out of bed yet. Dick considers watching the playoff highlights one more time, before flipping over to a local news broadcast. Dick needs to get his caboose back into his office.

See Dick sitting at his desk again.

See Dick staring at his blank computer screen.

Dick is having a bad day in the blogging idea department.

Where are those blasted chickens when you really need them????

Chow for now!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I witnessed something a bit profound yesterday.

While driving into downtown Calgary to pick up Mrs. That Dan Guy from work last night, I was stopped at a red light. Just on the other side of the road ahead, I noticed a magpie swoop down, and park his pinfeathers beside something lying (flat, squished, deceased) there on the street.

Magpies are part of the same family of garbage-picker birds as crows and ravens. Maybe they are even cousins of the vulture family, another noted scavenger. I think Heckle & Jeckle, the famous classic cartoon crows, are rather good examples of this type of bird…

At any rate, what struck me as strange was that this particular magpie wasn’t scavenging. He (or she) just seemed to be standing beside the clump on the road, as if on a vigil. Very odd.

When the light changed, and I proceeded, the magpie flew away, and I discovered that the road mound lying there had once been another magpie. The live bird had been standing by what might have been a little buddy, a sibling, or some other close relative. Sort-of jostled what you take for granted about those dumb, nuisance birds. I think the little feller knew darn well what he was doing…

Cue Lennon/McCartney’s “Blackbird”.

Chow for now!!

PS – Congrats, Mr. Obama! That’s going to be one special inauguration ceremony!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

If there’s one thing I can’t abide by, it’s routine. I’m a man of variety – in need of broad new horizons, each and every day.

I’d never want to be stuck doing something on a regular basis. Day after day, no end in sight – like some drone.

No sir, for me, the open road is a blank canvas, intended to be traveled with reckless abandon, on a pogo stick. On a pogo stick, blindfolded. I don’t even want to see the future coming. Unless it has 18 wheels and bad brakes…then maybe somebody should tip me off.

I’ve never been happy in jobs that required brainless repetition. If I searched deep within my soul, I’m not so sure I’d be happy with brainy repetition either. Without a doubt, I’d never want to be forced to do something day in and day out, with no visible end to the task in sight. I mean, I know we all need shoe laces, but I don’t want to be the guy running the lace machine eight hours a day.

Of course, this time of year I wear a lot of sandals, so I’d be laid off anyway, I suppose…

That’s just the kind of maverick I am. I don’t bow down to routine, I take it by its scruffy goatee, and shake it out like a towel at the hairdressing salon.

(Not that I go to a hairdressing salon, but I needed a quick analogy. I see hairdressers snapping towels on TV all the time.)

So, there you have it folks. One thing you will always be able to count on, when it comes to my own personal philosophy in life – don’t retread the same tires. Don’t walk the plank more than once. Don’t shuffle off to Buffalo twice. Or thrice.

You won’t ever catch me doing the same darn thing, day after day…

Chow for now!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

I’m not sure why, but this morning I feel compelled to explore a selection of singer/songwriters. My own “quest of the best”.


Harry Chapin – for someone my ahem…age, Chapin was a remarkable singer songwriter. Long after his death, I still spin his classic live album. Engaging stories, a sense of humour, and fine musicianship keep his music alive, decades after first release.

Barry Manilow – What can I say? The man is a genius! Simple piano and orchestration, backing slice-of-life songs that spoke to a generation. Oddly enough, I’m not aware of anyone covering any of his songs. What is it with these young whippersnappers? For cryin’ out loud, will somebody out there re-record “Weekend In New England”???

Burton Cummings/Randy Bachman – Fellow former Winnipegers, these early frontmen for The Guess Who penned a few memorable songs. Cummings was almost as good on the ole keyboards as Manilow, and carved out a pretty decent solo career for himself.

John Lennon – one of the better singer songwriters of the classic period. Right up there with Neil Diamond, Mac Davis, and Paul McCartney. There has been much debate over the years regarding Lennon/McCartney (who’s the best), but personally, I’ve always leaned towards McCartney, even though I am giving Lennon the showcase here today.


James Blunt – ‘nuff said. The man is a modern-day Cole Porter, a musical Shakespeare of warbled words. I’m a bit biased here, but Mr. Blunt may just set the standard for this latest generation.

??? – That’s all I’ve got for modern. I really need to listen to a bit more radio, I suppose.

Chow for now!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I’m sitting in a hotel room, in Kelowna. We arrived here early Friday morning, in advance of a surprise birthday party for my aunt. Which, we are pleased to say, we didn’t spoil by saying something like “we are here for a surprise birthday party – and how are you?”

It’s not like that wasn’t an extremely likely possibility. Even after rehearsing our cover story for over two weeks, I made comments within fifteen minutes of arriving that might have blown the whole deal right there. And, of course, there were many more occasions – which I almost rose to.

However, after all was said and done, the big event arrived last night, and the surprise had not been blown. We had a blast, and our aunt had been completely taken by surprise, hence the description of the style of festive ambush carousing.

Now, with that delightful event concluded, we are left to spend the last few hours of our visit sitting in our room, waiting for the clock to tick down. Sunday morning television is a bit frightening – how did Bob Saget manage to stay on the air for so many years with his pathetic hosting job on America’s Funniest Videos? Even his own mother had to have told him THAT effort was lacking a visible skill set...

We’ve tried unscrewing the plasma TV from the wall here in the room, but they sure make access difficult. Our room is at the end of the hall, close to the stairwell, and we haven’t seen any noticeable surveillance cameras – but I doubt we’ll get at that third screw, in the middle of the wall brace. We’ll probably have to settle for a few hand towels.

For our transportation here in Kelowna, we rented a small car, knowing we wouldn’t be doing that much driving. We were assigned a Toyota Yuris, which I think is Russian for “teabag”. Considering we’ve owned bigger dogs, it seemed rather spacious. I was often able to keep both arms inside the cabin, even if one needed to be tucked back behind my shoulder blades. And here I thought I had lost most of my Olympic gymnast flexibility…

So, I hear Mrs. That Dan Guy starting to get ready, which means we’ll be leaving as soon as her preparation ritual is over (2.4 hours). We will bid a fond adieu to Kelowna, and return to the land of cowboy hats and oil wells.

Hope it didn’t snow while we were away…

Chow for now!!