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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sayonara March! May April bring warm trade-winds, if such a thing can actually happen up here in Canada…

Hey, last night Mrs that Dan Guy and I attended the Calgary Flames/San Jose Sharks game, virtually guaranteeing that the hometown heroes would fall on their faces. I’m not sure why this is, but whenever we attend a live sporting event, the team we cheer for fails miserably. Although, in this case the dust-up ended as just 2-1 for San Jose, so it’s not like it was a horror show. But with the Canucks hot on our heels for First Place in the Division, this was a game we couldn’t afford to jinx for the locals.

However, we did, with Calgary ending on the short end of the stick twice, only recovering once. The disaster was forged early on, with a 2-man advantage for the Sharks in the first few minutes of the game. If you aren’t terribly familiar with NHL hockey lingo, just know that The Sharks used to have the most popular line of jerseys and such on the market, and maybe they still do.

We’ve joked before about being in the rafters, but last night we were tucked away in part of the Saddledome’s attic. MTDG almost blew a lung walking up the flights of stairs to our seats, and I had to rely on my enhanced sense of touch after the low oxygen levels made us dizzy and disoriented. The gentleman next to me was kind enough not to punch my lights out when I started to eat from HIS popcorn container…

Still no matter how far away you are from the action, there’s no substitute for attending a professional sporting event, live. The action just seems to spring right off of the ice, even if it looks like ants are carrying the hockey sticks.

Maybe next time we’ll be able to see the hometown heroes actually win a match. We snuck out after the last power play of the third period, when it became painfully obvious that our boys were never going to pull ahead. Of course, anything can happen, but knowing what albatrosses we are to the fortunes of the locals, we thought they might stand a better chance if we vamoosed.

Twas all for naught…

Chow for now!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Well, we’re certainly getting into the home stretch of March, aren’t we? Just a couple of days left. Barely enough time to bake a cake, or defrost a leg of lamb. Where does the time go??

Our time yesterday went to viewing the 2009 Juno Awards, commonly referred to as “Canada’s Grammy Awards”. Technically a stretch, because we do tend to participate in the actual Grammies, and only give out one “international” award throughout the evening’s broadcast (picked up by Coldplay, for their mega-selling 2008 release).

Aside from that one little detour from Canadiana, the balance of the evening is spent deriding any successful Canadian musical acts – something we quite relish. Any artist or group with even moderate success on the global stage is mocked, or dismissed as sell-outs. That’s how we treat our musical royalty here in Canada. Although, long-timers like Loverboy managed to pick up inclusion into the Canadian something-something Hall Of Fame – it may have been “rock and roll” – it could have been “leather and spandex” – I nodded off during the announcement.

It is kind of funny – there are so many Canadian acts topping the charts worldwide right now, but something in our national “hip” make-up just can’t bear to recognize that collectively. Whenever someone Canadian becomes a superstar, we prefer considering that as some sort of blemish on their integrity. Go figure!

But that could just be me, flapping my typing fingers again…

Chow for now!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wouldn’t it be fun if we all talked like Donald Duck? What would someone with an accent sound like, talking like Donald Duck? Paying a traffic ticket?

These are sorts of the things that make me go “hmmm?”

Or how about if we all talked in that exaggerated inflection that Bob Dylan uses? That could be fun as well. Try saying “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in Bob Dylan’s voice, and see what a hoot that can be.

Or how about classic Sean Connery – from his Bond era, to order food from the drive-thru? “I’d like to try your curly fries, Goldfinger…”

I for one can’t see any reason NOT to give any of those options a shot – if for no other reason than to cast aside a bit of the late-winter doldrums. Considering we got another half a foot of snow overnight, our late-winter doldrums could use some casting aside.

Hey, maybe that little Martian character from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons – he has a distinctive voice you could use when you go to buy pillows at Wal-Mart: “This goose down is making me very angry…very angry indeed…” Hee Hee!!

Well, it’s worth a try – don’t cast aspersions before you even give it a try.

Chow for now!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chicken Scratch

Well, how-dee human beans! Ole Charlie is delighted to announce that we’s done gone and bought a dog! Ain’t he a bright lookin’ little feller??


Course, he WOULD have a vision problem, but we picked up some used eyeglasses, and now he can at least see his food dish. To be honest, we originally thought he weren’t much brighter than the mast er of the house here. Master in his own mind – we all know who really runs the roost in THIS joint!!


So, we’re callin’ him “Grey Poupon”, cause he’s grey, and he’s still a pup. Cool, eh? You bet your cluckin’ pinfeathers it’s cool! Now I got me someone I can actually rely on, to fetch my mornin’ paper. The three stooges were too hyper to handle that chore, and ole Cornelius, well, let’s just say that I’ve seen balloons with more between their ears…


Aw, crap! Poupon, NOT ON THE CARPET!!!

Cluckin’ shucks-a-roonie – that ain’t no litter box, ya addle-headed canine!! Better, get Hen Rietta to fetch the broom, or mebbe a mop. And mebbe I should switch his diet over to something better than chilli and enchiladas…



Come on, Poupon, let’s go for a walk – yer name may be more practical than I actually even considered…

Cluck for now, humans!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A month or so ago, we had noticed a wee delight in the seafood section of our neighborhood supermarket – they actually carry Dungeness crab!

When we were in San Francisco a few months ago, we lived on Dungeness crab. We often had it for lunch, dinner and breakfast. We had it for late-nite snacks. We used it to floss with before going to bed at night. We couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

Knowing we could have another tantalizing taste of it here at home prompted us to plan a night where we would bring home a few of the little beggars. Along with some melted butter. Last night was that night.

On our way home, we stopped at the supermarket, and asked the helpful seafood clerk to steam up one of the culinary delights, while we did some other shopping (looking at how big the one we chose happened to be, we decided one claw-clacker to share would be plenty). That took about 25 minutes, of drooling anticipation. Which reminded us that we needed to pick up a couple of bibs.

After we raced home with our freshly-steamed dinner, we changed hastily into clothes that we could afford to spatter onto, and buttered up a couple of mini-bagels, to go along with our crab. Which to be honest, we never should have named.

Chester looked almost as lively as when we had initially chosen him from the tank, even though he was clearly beyond feeling anything, let alone lively. Mrs. That Dan Guy immediately felt pangs of guilt, for subjecting him to a fatal hot shower.

That guilt notwithstanding, I began the process of splitting his riches for consumption. I yanked off each of his little legs, and started to use a can opener to break up his shell, body-proper. That was when we discovered that unless we are really unobservant, there’s nothing edible on the body-proper of a Dungeness crab… Which left us just a few scrawny little legs, to try and glean a meal from.

By the time we had cracked open everything we could find with meat on it, our dinner plates had more bagel than crab meat on it – a less than drool-inspiring proposition. However, by this time, we were too hungry to care – we made short order of our short friend, and noted not to bother trying THAT idea again.

Oh yeah, the icing on this crab cake was the cost – Thank God we only decided to have one! It was just over thirty dollars, for a hint of crab!!

Clearly we need to think things through more, before we rush out to treat ourselves…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This would REALLY be one of those mornings where I should have a handy list beside the computer, filled with topic ticklers or items of interest to discuss. A little groggy this morning, all I can think of is “how do the sheets of paper actually work their way through the tiny little lines leading to and from the fax machine?”

This, you see, is the curse of flying by the seat of your pants. Every once in awhile, you get lucky and something jumps out of thin air – and you have something to write about.

Then, on barren mornings like this, you wish Charlie ran 5 days a week, or that you could remember what the international symbol for “I surrender” might be. Or the international symbol for cinnamon, for that matter…

As much as I desperately glance around my office, nothing is coming to me. I realize that I have written more than enough silliness about snowfall, and the coldness of a Canadian winter. Can’t do that again (at least not yet – there’s still April & May to get through…).

So, I will simply throw in the towel, and a few dirty socks as well for good measure. Why a person would measure ANYTHING by dirty socks is beyond me, but that’s exactly why I’m having such a struggle this morning – I got nothin’…

Respectfully yours,

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I’ve got to be very, very quiet. Mrs. That Dan Guy is getting ready, and I’m trying to have a healthy breakfast (Bran Flakes, covered in Bran Seeds, with just a smattering of 100% skimmed milk). She thinks I only eat unhealthy food products for breakfast, which is part of the fun.

Historically, even since my toddler years, I have started my mornings with two pieces of toast, day after day after day. Two pieces of toast, with peanut butter, and either honey or jam. One morning, after DECADES of this relentless breakfast offering, I began to get bored. I needed something new.

So, I started to make it appear to MTDG that I was eating terribly unhealthy things, while all the while I was REALLY eating things like fresh apple slices, and Bran by the bowlful. There’s a potentially crude comment I could tie in with that last statement, but just in case you haven’t had YOUR own breakfast yet, I will behave myself and not expand that train of thought… You’re welcome.

So, while I have truthfully been eating twigs and berries every morning, I’ve had to parade a parade of horribly unhealthy products, to get the crazy lady off the trail. I’ve pretended to eat Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Chocolate Chip Eggo’s with strawberry syrup, and butter sticks. I’ve put forth the illusion that I’ve been eating sautéed bacon and deep-fried sausage links. I once tried to create the illusion that I was dining on homemade Egg McMuffins, covered in peanut butter and honey. That one actually sounds pretty good..

Is there any particular reason for this behaviour? When it comes to the way MY mind works, there really isn’t a proper answer for that question. All I can say is that I am compelled to action, and then the chips (chocolate) will just have to fall where they may.

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It was fun while it lasted. But like all good things, it had to come to an end. I knew it couldn’t last forever, as good as it was. And believe me, I tried to extend it as long as humanly possible…

My period of “immunity” is over.

For almost a week, I was like a foreign diplomat – I could do pretty much any darn thing I wanted to, then claim “IMMUNITY”, and get off Scot-free, which incidentally is not just restricted to foreign diplomats from Scotland.

This came about thanks to a particular soft-spot Mrs. That Dan Guy has for when I become vulnerable, or ill. I had a bad cold after our recent holiday, so the stage was set for those very favourable diplomatic conditions.

I tested the waters several nights ago, by waving a napkin full of crumbs over the floor, hollering “IMMUNITY” whilst doing so!! As flabbergasted as she may have been, the power of immunity is so great that all MTDG could do was drop her jaw, blink profusely, and then surrender to the power of the over-riding diplomatic magic wand.

From that point on, until yesterday when my ragged cough was the last grasp I had on the shield remaining at my disposal, I was able to pretty much get away with murder, if by murder you mean shooting elastic bands at her, among a number of other questionable ways to behave for an adult almost ready for the nursing home.

This morning, my runny nose likely won’t be cutting it anymore. If I hope to pester the lady, there may be actual repercussions to my actions.

Like the kid that pokes a beehive, I guess we’ll just have to find out how much that might sting…

Chow for now!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The above video does a rather lousy job of illustrating just how much a foot of snow looks like when it falls abruptly, I will admit. But it does seem to illustrate that we won’t be mowing the lawn anytime soon…

Hey, there are bright sides to winter returning, right in the midst of spring’s arrival:

1) For one thing, the neighbourhood cats won’t be digging up our garden anytime soon. That reminds me, I need to replace our buckshot supply…

2) This new fluffy layer of white frosting on the ground may buy me a little more time to replenish our suntan lotion inventory – I used the coconut butter one when I ran out of ingredients for a cake mix a few weeks ago…

3) If Mrs. That Dan Guy sees her shadow, we get another week of Vegas this year…

4) There’s a whole new natural cushion surrounding the house, for when I go up on the roof to take down our “Happy 2007” signage.

5) PETA members, I know we haven’t corresponded in some time, but I was just joking in Point #1…

6) With all that snow on the ground, it’s like the clouds are looking in a mirror!

7) A foot of snow?? OMIGOD, MTDG will have to buy taller boots! Fire up the toboggan!!

8) The prairie tumbleweeds are covered for another month…

9) The Canadian snow shovel industry is saved!

10) While not entirely related to snowfall, how about that season finale of “Big Love” last night??


Chow for now!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well, our brief waltz with warm weather has certainly vamoosed. It started to snow before we went to bed last night, and continues to do so (profusely) even at this late stage of the morning.

Up until this snowy reminder that we do indeed live in Canada, we had been enjoying a very temperate thaw for the past few days. Which had actually given us a recurring unique daily phenomenon related to the thaw and freeze. Or, more work for poor, ailing Mr. That Dan Guy…

As each day brought sun and warm weather, the snow packed on our yards in the neighborhood would begin to melt. For some inexplicable reason (Dan’s Inescapable Attraction Of Murphy’s Law), snow between our yard and our neighbor’s formed a bit of a glacial icefield, pouring slowly but surely across the lawns, and cascading over the public sidewalk, which we are required via by-law regulations to keep clear and safe. This icefield would eventually cover about 12 yards of concrete in ice as thick as a steel plate, at least to my poor old plastic snow shovel.

This occurrence had me routinely out applying driveway salt to the sidewalk, even though I was almost completely hobbled by a cold that did everything in its power to hobble my iron will. Over the course of a week, I began to feel like I was salting a 10-mile meatloaf, a couple of times a day.

No more worry about that now, I’m happy to report. Any ice lurking on the sidewalk is now comfortably resting beneath a foot of snow. These are the times I’m truly happy that I bought Mrs. That Dan Guy her brand-new top-of-the-line Acme Wide Scoop snow shovel. I think I feel faint – must have overdone my cold meds last night…

Chow for now!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken Scratch

Mother of Goose!!


He’s gone too far this time, I swear by all that clucks and waddles!!

Just because he got a bad cold, and some heartless reader out there suggested chicken soup, Banjo Boy actually decided to listen to that advice!! He bought some broth, and now us chickens has gotta skitter-skatter, pronto!!


It’s every man woman an poultry for hisself now – a real-life Survivor of the feather-wearers in this joint. I always thought he was close to the edge, but now he’s done scrambled his last egg, and we’re all up for the soup! Not if I can help it, you moustachioed meat-eater!!


Sure, ya probably think ole Charlie’s over-reactin’. Well, lemme tell ya what I found in the garbage last night – take out containers from A & W – WITH CHUBBY CHICKEN DINNERS!!! He was previewin’ what we’d taste like!! Holy Torpedo!!

BUK-AAAAWK!! I say, I say boy…

Well, I ain’t standin’ for it. He’s gotta fall asleep at some point, and when he does…heh heh heh…we’ll see whose goose gets cooked first…

Cluck for now!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am pleased to report that after just three days, thanks in no small part to my iron will and superhuman constitution, I have pretty much licked this cold/flu bug. Oh sure, I still have a few minor lingering side effects, like tightness in my chest, a raspy cough, phlegm build-up that sounds gross whenever I cough, post nasal drip that isn’t always caught on time, and as of this morning, soreness in my lower back. Buy hey, other than that, I have sent that holiday cold packin’!!

Happily, Mrs. That Dan Guy hasn’t caught it (yet). I’ve had to keep her at arm’s length through this test of my inner strength – she’s got a Florence Nightingale complex, and still believes that I’m sick. Bah Humbug!!

I strong, like bull!!

Chow for now…

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If there is one consistency in our lives, here in the Such Is Life household, it is that following a vacation either myself or Mrs. That Dan Guy will get a brutal cold. This time around, it was myself. Starting off as a dry cough on the last day of our holidays, it became obvious that I wasn’t allergic to poker chips by the time we got on the plane home. By yesterday, my chest had become congested, and my nose was running like a Kenyan marathoner.

Now, unlike MTDG when she gets sick, I am a pillar of strength when stricken with ill health. I remain upbeat and positive, knowing that this bug will just have to pass through in its own time, whilst I bravely fight off the unpleasant effects. I did pruently cancel a few obligations for yesterday and today, so as not to test any other pillars out in the community...

Of course, I have also (simply as a defensive measure to keep MTDG happy) undertaken a minor self-treatment regimen, which includes (but is hardly limited to) the manufacturer’s recommended three-day dosage of COLD-FX, Benylin All-In-One Cold & Flu Medication, Neo-Citron Lemon Mix, Tylenol, Midol, whiskey, jelly beans, and liberal eye of newt, whenever I pass through the kitchen.

I know what you’re thinking – this guy is a rock, how does he do it?

I have a deep well of inner strength to draw from. And flannel pyjamas to crawl back into bed in…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

There’s always good and bad about returning home after a great vacation – the bad part is that it’s over – the good part is that we have access to a 21st Century internet connection again, which is pretty sweet.

The only complaint we have about our whole getaway was the spotty-to-fleeting internet in our hotel room. Otherwise, it was a blast, filled as usual with the customary Such Is Life tomfoolery. Not ones to typically lie on sunny beaches for a week or two at a time, we try and cram in as much as humanly possible on vacation, often going on to add just a bit more kibbitzing, to tax our endurance. I am personally filled with endurance, it’s that ole Mrs. That Dan Guy that has to scramble to keep up…

Or maybe it’s gas that I’m filled with...

Regardless, a good time had by all. Plus, we had a celebrity sighting in our own hotel (The Mirage – first time we’ve ever stayed there). Walking back from some sort of tomfoolery one night, we passed by a crowd gathered around a couple of recognizable TV faces, from NBC’s “The Office”. Actress Kate Flannery, who plays Meredith, and Oscar Nunez who plays…ummm…Oscar were in our casino hotel – graciously posing with fans for a few photos. I was too star-struck to take out the camera I had been carrying around all day to snap pictures of flippin’ buildings and marquee signs, to record the moment. Brilliant.

We also caught Ms. Flannery while she was waiting for a cab to get to the airport a day later, but had no camera at that time. Such is life, as they say.

Better run. We got to bed last night around 1:30 AM, which is something we can’t be doing now if we want to get through our days. May be filling my cereal bowl with Red Bull this morning…

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And so it ends - with about as appropriate an image as we could find – “Big Elvis” a surprisingly popular attraction direct from the Vegas Strip. Playing three shows a day five days a week at Wild Bill’s Saloon, this hefty impersonator draws the crowds – young and old. When he describes himself as “big”, he ain’t kidding. He’s the only Elvis tribute artist I’ve ever seen who performs primarily while sitting down.

What a crazy trip! We’ve visited casinos and sights we haven’t seen in years. We caught a news item about the hotel chain we are staying at, and how much financial hot water they are in right now. Which you might find hard to believe, judging by the massive crowds here this past week. However, it just so happens that we wound up here the very same time as American spring break – so that could be part of the reason for the crowds.

What can I say – we’ve had a ball, we’ve done our part to help the U.S. economy (Canada just needs to find a few more beaver pelts and we’ll be back on track), and caught about 4 shows that we might likely never see back home. We do love our live shows. We must have walked about 2 hours a day, each day – at least. Our dogs are totally barking right now.

We had a nice meal last night, the first crab we’ve had since San Francisco. A delicious treat. Plus having it down here guarantees you actually have a leg or two with a sliver of meat. In Canada, any crab legs you get look like the “before” picture on those old comic book bodybuilder ads – pretty anemic. This crab looked like he was seriously on steroids. But tasty steroids.

Now, we must pack. Though tears will surely stain our luggage.

Until next time, Las Vegas!!

Chow for now!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chicken Scratch

OK, Mr. That Bald Boy,

Take off to Vegas, an leave ole Charlie behind...see if I care...


Maybe if I use this Barry Manilow box CD set as a litter box, you won't forget to bring me NEXT time!!
Cluck for now, you heartless beast!!
Yesterday we had to arise before the birds to rush clear across the Vegas Strip to attend a gospel brunch, at the House Of Blues in Mandalay Bay. We’ve talked about doing this for years, but after the many trips we’ve taken here, we have learned that there is no such thing as pre-noon in Las Vegas. For a couple of old birds that go to bed early at home, it is ridiculous how late we stay up here…

At any rate, are we ever glad we made it to this gig – what a hoot! First off, the brunch is held in a groovy theatre in the basement of the HOB – the décor alone is almost worth the price of admission. Then there was the food – literally a spread spanning all three meals of the day: breakfast fare, lunch, and dinner, plus the fourth and most important meal of the day – dessert. Absolutely mind-boggling choices – so much for any diet plan we may have been on.

Finally, there was the entertainment. From the moment the curtain opened, to the time it closed 90 minutes later, these guys blew the roof off the joint – just like a musical performance scene from The Blues Brothers. This group of brothers sons cousins and uncles smoked the joint – we were up dancing and waving napkins with every hearty Hallelujah – and trying to sneak in the odd spoonful of scrambled eggs in between. Unforgettable.

We ended up beside a really nice family from Minneapolis that had spent time in Calgary, and are about to head up to Jasper/Banff in a few weeks, both of which are right out our back door – it is a small, small world indeed.

Later in the day, we were walking by the lake in front of The Bellagio, and just at that moment, the dancing water show began, with a song from our wedding! My God, talk about harmony, and being attuned with this city!! It just speaks to us.

Better load this puppy, before the frickin’ tin can and string internet service crashes again…

Chow for now!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Sunday Evening “frickin’ unreliable hotel internet” “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” Concert Review – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

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

NOTE: Charlie Chicken may be back as early as Monday morning – we’ll see…

OK, so the second reason we came back to Vegas so soon after the last time we were here was the chance to see the legendary leader of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli. Sweetening the pot was that he was appearing along with the aforementioned Four Seasons. However, when you view that short video clip above(video unavailable - thank you, turderrific hotel internet connection!), it becomes pretty obvious that the four gentlemen singing background are anything but seasoned. They’re barely even ripe, for Pete’s sake. However, after realizing he’s grooming a new generation of seasoning, Valli’s backup gang turned out to be a pretty talented foursome. Just not the original gang.

That didn’t prevent last night’s show from being a killer – there were people around us that had driven in from California, Arizona, and Texas to see this show last night. Not that California and Arizona are all that far, but Texas – those guys deserved a door prize for their efforts.

Mr. Valli was in exceptional from last night, chewing through his extensive Four Seasons and solo hits (of which there are just too many to perform). His voice was right on the money, and with about 40 years of experience under his belt, he knew how to keep the crowd in the palm of his hands. Come on, the guy oozes charisma – he was a recurring guest star on The Sopranos! I don’t know if he got whacked in the last season of that show or not, but there was more whacking going on then than in a Black & Decker test lab – who could keep track??

This was one terrific show, and a highlight was a few samples from his brand- new album – which I will have to track down in my travels.

Speaking of travels, this concert was NOT in Vegas proper – we had to get out to Laughlin Nevada to catch this in the lush outdoor Rio Vista Amphitheater – an amazing venue to see a show like this under the stars.

By the way, here’s a handy travel tip:

RIPOFF ALERT: Do NOT rent a car from a hotel rental agency on The Vegas Strip. Pirates have more class…

We thought (from prior research) that there were shuttle services to Laughlin from Vegas, but it turned out they only ran Monday to Friday. So we had to end up renting a car. By the way, here’s a handy travel trip on that subject:

RIPOFF ALERT: Do NOT rent a car from a hotel rental agency on The Vegas Strip! The Vikings were more pleasant while they were pillaging.

The drive is about 90 minutes out of Vegas, through what is essentially a buffet of desert, not desserts. If you’re into mesas, buttes, and cactus, you’ll love the drive. Keep your eyes peeled, there may even be a wily old coyote chasing a roadrunner…

Hey, if you do decide to make the trip, here’s a small piece of advice for you:

RIPOFF ALERT: Do NOT rent a car from a hotel rental agency on The Vegas Strip. Uninsured elective surgery in the U.S. is considerably more cost effective.

The best part – having to return to the strip hotel where we had rented the car from (not the one we’re staying in), and ending up driving on the Vegas strip – which I cannot recommend highly enough- avoiding!! What a circus act, and not de Soleil…

However, we made it back, and now after we auction one of my spleens we can pay for the rental car.

All in all, yet another Such Is Life household adventure!!

Chow for now!!

(Look for Charlie, coming back soon)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Saturday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” concert review: Dr. John & The Neville Brothers

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

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Charlie will be MIA until Monday or Tuesday morning, due to a few of these upcoming reviews. Don’t get your pinfeathers ruffled.


Well, the reason we ended up back here in Vegas so soon after our most recent trip (and with such short notice) was the chance to see these two acts, both New Orleans legends, and both headliners of this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. After checking out the lineup for that show, we desperately wanted to attend, but with an upcoming trip to California, just couldn’t swing it. This show was a best-case scenario to get a flavour of the fest, AND see these two personal NOLA favourites.

Of course, if you scroll back a couple of years here in the archives, you will discover that we have already seen The Neville Brothers, a couple of years ago – they opened the show for Linda Ronstadt, and did a superb job back then. More on them later – I should probably start this review at some point…

The co-headlining tour started last night with the ultra-cool Dr. John. You may have heard “Iko Iko”, or his big 70’s hit “I Was In The Right Place (But It Must Have Been The Wrong Time)”, or his terrific duet with Rickie Lee Jones on “Making Whoopee”, from the “Sleepless In Seattle” soundtrack. He’s much better known for his New Orleans music, which is just a delightful blend of jazz, blues, funk, gospel, and styles I can’t even begin to describe. His latest album, “The City That Care Forgot” is an outstanding example of his sound, and we got to hear a few tracks from that recording last night. Highlights? Too many – he had the crowd going insane right from his strut onstage – of all the cool cats we’ve seen to date, this dude personifies cool. His gruff voice, his raw musicianship - just amazing. And, he plays a mean guitar, which I did not know. As an ambassador for New Orleans, this fellow brings that feeling right into the concert hall. I could almost taste the crawfish etouffé…

What can you say about the Neville Brothers? As headliners, they were free for this how to jam out, and jam out they did. They kicked some serious buttockal area up there, and had us old farts up dancing in the aisles several times. There were several solo moments for the four brothers to shine, which they did profusely (OMIGOD, am I gushing? I think I’m gushing…) – over and over again. When Aaron Neville did a virtual acapella version of “Amazing Grace”, you could have heard a pin drop – hell, you could’ve heard a cloud breaking apart.

For the first of our concert events this trip, the bar is pretty high now for the balance…

Chow for now!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Assuming this blog actually posts, I’ll be having a better start to my day than I did yesterday, with respect to the god-forsaken in-room internet service.

Just sayin’…

Well, our “free” days are behind us now, here in the City of Neon and Poker Chips. From this point on, we have shows and other events pre-purchased, so stay tuned kiddies- there should be lots to read about here over the next few days! Should you have a desire to live vicariously through our misadventures…

So, far, this has been a really astounding visit, in terms of general kibitzing – even all around kibitzing. The casinos have been kind to us so far, and we have been hitting them rather hard, all things considered. Yesterday we walked all the way from The Mirage to Mandalay Bay, a two-hour round trip if you were wondering. Of course, there were a few rest stops along the way – Mrs. That Dan Guy is like a moth to a flame where slots are concerned… I just sit nearby and watch.

You know, it dawns on me that we are doing what WE can to help the economy recover. It feels good, to give CPR to the economy, even if it could have quit smoking earlier, or tried a bit of light exercise once in a while…

Well, I won’t push my luck, better see if this posts. By the way, just to warn you, Charlie may be bumped to Monday of Tuesday, we’ll see…

Especially for you, col.sanders!!

Chow for now!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Man, me and technology lately…we are going to part ways, and it won’t be pretty…

This morning, we had some “technical difficulties” with the internet here in our hotel room. Technical in that it would have been a miracle if would actually have worked.

Bear in mind, you pay Lexus pricing in Vegas hotels for 24 hours of connection privileges, and end up getting 1972 Ford Pinto value. It blows.

To make matters worse, I tried to use my Blackberry to do the posting, but I kept getting error messages on THAT device.

I will confess, I have never had much patience with inanimate objects. That trait has only worsened with all the varied electronic devices that seem to plague my daily life, each and every flippin’ day. The Blackberry took flight, towards our bed, but somehow managed to find a gap between the headboard and the mattress, and I had to go fishing for it. None of this makes Mrs. That Dan Guy very happy. I am the Hulk when these things frustrate me, which is too often for my liking. Hulk hate technology…

Our first day, arriving into Vegas just after dinner time locally, went pretty well. We flew in on the 11th, and cleared customs through Wicket Number…are you ready for this…11!!! Our hotel room number adds up to eleven, and there are four ones in the hotel phone number. We had plenty of other signs with my consecutive number phenomenon, and it boded (bade?) well for our first night here in town. We done good.

Better, run – I just came back up to see if the internet problems were finally resolved, but I left MTDG down in the casino, on her own recognizance. That could be a fatal error, this early in our trip…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Farewell, Canadian winter! Sayonara, cold spell!! It’s been nice knowin’ ya, snow shovel!! We are outta here!!

We are departing in just a few hours, to ride a big silver bird away to a much happier climate – in many cases, our own personal “happiest place on Earth”. I’m sure some of you may have guessed by now where that may be (for the rest, stay tuned for tomorrow morning’s blog posting).

This recent blast of frost and snow here at home is going to be a fond memory, for a week anyway. I’m actually packing shorts. Shorts!!

Good thing we didn’t try taking a chance on some of our other options for this holiday getaway. Both Bruce Springsteen AND Leonard Cohen tickets have been subject to scandalous scalping practices, by the very organization entrusted to sell them. And now, our choice of attending the Coachella Music Festival in California would have been a partial bust, with Amy Winehouse recently arrested in not-so-jolly Old England, for assault. She is now unable to attend. Maybe she SHOULD have gone to rehab, no, no no…

Gotta pack! The big silver bird is calling our name!!

Chow for now, winter!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Post # 1111

Today just happens to be Blog Post #1111, a number that haunts me for some reason. I see it everywhere. That this post barely missed running on the 11th hasn’t been lost on me, let me tell you.

However, my newspaper column runs tomorrow, and I did decide to write a bit about this quirk of mine (shared my many others, I should say). Here’s a sneak peek, and maybe I’ll post the whole thing after the piece has run in the paper tomorrow…

Last year, I could have just given you a link to the online version, but for months now I’ve been bumped out of that space by an entertainment writer. Such is the life of the humour columnist…

Here’s the peak:

I See Numbers

Since the advent of digital displays on clocks and devices like VCRs or DVD recorders, there has been a frequent worldwide phenomenon of what I believe is called “recurring numbers”. That would be when you glance towards a device, and happen to see something like “11:11”, or “2:22”. I don’t know about you, but I see this sort of thing more often than I care to. And believe it or not, it’s a big topic of discussion in cyber-space – but then again, so are dancing cats.
If you go to surf The Google, and type in “11:11”, you will find a number of theories with respect to the possible meaning of this occurrence. For example, the “11:11” website offers a rather simple and logical explanation. They believe a “force” is causing people to look at clocks at that very exact moment, to see those numbers. That “force” would be Spirit Guardians, Midwayers, or in other words, fun-loving angels as their site describes them. I don’t know about you, but my idea of being a “fun-loving angel” would probably involve something more than spending eternity alerting Joe and Jane Public to recurring or sequential number occurrences. Were these Spirit Guardians accountants in their former lives? Boy, those accountants really know how to live it up in the afterlife!

There you have it – a taste of what I spend my days thinking about. Well, that and worrying about if there really ARE two scoops of raisins in every box of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran

Chow for now!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

A week or so ago, I began final preparations for what will likely be the last desktop computer I will ever own. After a sudden bout of erratic behaviour, a tech dude confirmed that the hard drive was beginning to fail. It was going to be time to say farewell…

Luckily, we were able to salvage the contents of the hard drive – including (but not even slightly limited to) over 12,000 e-mails. Cyberspace has given me a whole new world of things to save, as a lifelong saver…

I’d have to go back in the archives to see how long I’ve had that old relic, but it’s easily been 5 or more years – an eternity in computer years. Since that time, we’ve supplemented the little beggar's workload with a couple of laptops, and enjoyed the freedom that owning a portable computer allows us for travelling. We even got into wireless internet, thanks in no small part to a certain “gg”, who was light years ahead of us on that one. Now, we are often wireless, and we love it.

That old computer helped with the creation of my first book, and held the meat and potatoes of a few more, upcoming. I’ve got years of humour columns and articles pitched and/or sold to magazines and newspapers on that old hard drive. I had a long-broken link to a dancing hamster on my “Favourites” internet link. Never again will I be able to play FreeCell, where my High Score was an insurmountable number unheard of in Western civilization – writer’s block is a dreadful blight for a creative mind…

And so now, with our remaining computers free of desktop confines, and the (future, delayed) Mac laptop that will one day (sometime this fall) fill the empty space below my fingertips, I think I can truly say that my desktop computing days are a thing of the past. Which is great, because there was much too long a walk from my office to the TV room, for “The Price Is Right” every morning…

Chow for now!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Check out the (short, amateur-hour) video footage of our snow storm last night. After several days of temperate weather thanks to a visiting Chinook weather system, the far more typical Canadian winter conditions returned with a vengeance last night. I’ll be dusting off our snow shovel after posting this blog… Just press play!


So, on that note - today I will confess that after deciding initially to stay put for Mrs. That Dan Guy’s upcoming holiday break, we have recently made some last-minute plans to depart this God-forsaken prairie hinterland. If a higher power expected us to endure snow and cold year round, airplanes would never have been invented.

We had tossed around a number of options. One at the top of the list was flying somewhere to see Bruce Springsteen in concert, he who has thus far eluded us. We must see The Boss.

However, what with the recent Ticketmaster scandals, we didn’t want to pay $800.00 each for the privilege, as well as flying somewhere to boot. The only person I’d feel like booting is the CEO of Ticketmaster – who should really be boiled in oil for putting together a ticket-scalping system within the umbrella of Ticketmaster. For shame, CEO!!

A first option had been to fly out to California, for the annual "Coachella Music Festival", headlined this year by none other than former Beatle Paul McCartney, and also featuring Amy Winehouse, and Leonard Cohen, among many other huge concert draws. Alas, we are showing our age – we no longer salivate over standing in boiling sun for 12 hours a day, hoping to avoid eventually using an outdoor biffy, where some other concert-goer has disengaged his breakfast of hot dogs and Peach Schnapps all over the toilet seat. Pass, thanks…

The option we had alluded to yet never revealed was a return trip to New Orleans, for the annual “Jazz & Heritage Festival”. They have an AMAZING line-up of entertainers over the course of two weekends in April, and we would have gone in a heartbeat, except that we are already committed to a conference coming up in June. We ain’t the Rockefellers, so we must incorporate SOME prudence in our jet-setting..

The winner, later next week – a compromise getaway – with a flavour of the New Orleans festival! A place we are well familiar with, AND just happens to have two of the headline New Orleans acts in one Mardi Gras Mambo show, which will be a total thrill – Dr. John, and The Neville Brothers. On the same stage that we recently caught Barry Manilow!!

Ooops!! Did we give away our getaway? Stay tuned, read all about it!

Now, where is that friggin’ shovel…

Chow for now!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Chicken Scratch…

…is postponed for this weekend, due to…umm, well, the unexpected side effects of rehearsals for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day party…



Cluck for now…

Friday, March 06, 2009

There are days where I just have to wonder:

How is a person supposed to fill the time between now and “National Squirrel Month”?

Often, it just can’t be done…

On that note, here’s what is pressing and top of mind this morning:

* I read in the paper today that actor Vince Vaughn is apparently engaged to a lady from Calgary. As they used to say back when newspapers still existed: “STOP THE PRESSES!!”

* We had a weird melt-off the past few days (thank you, Chinook!), before temperatures plunged again. This phenomenon created a bit of a glacier on our front sidewalk, which we are responsible for clearing. I’ve had to don my Mountain Man gear, to chip it down to size, then applied salt to try and melt away what was left. Funny, you’d think pepper might work, but all it does is look like scrambled eggs if you use that ineffective seasoning..

* Penguins are flightless birds. But not all birds are flightless penguins. This puzzles me…

* The Calgary Flames will win the Stanley Cup this year, and sweep all the available awards. You heard it here first, folks. Just call me Kreskin.

* I often use soup spoons for eating cereal. What must Emily Post be thinking??

* I often use cereal bowls for eating salad. What must Martha Stewart be thinking?

* I often eat an apple a day, and yes, it has kept the doctor away. There is a fundraiser for his clinic this weekend…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

One of those mornings…

I always try and get these postings scribbled and posted promptly every morning, but every once in a while, there are forces outside of my control that conspire to thwart my efforts.

In no particular order, those forces would be:

1) My own lack of preparation – failing to have even the faintest clue of what to talk about after the computer boots up.

2) Windows – Vista specifically. Even though I have to admit this bucket of bolts is running rather well-behaved lately (and I opted to postpone my switch-over to a Mac), there are still mornings where my patience is a-tested. If only, like the scarecrow in “The Wizard Of Oz”, I had the patience to deal with that…

3) Program updates that download just as I am trying to post my blog – this happens more often than you might think, and often these updates require a system reboot. It takes (on average) five minutes for this Windows-based OS to go through all the start-up functions, before I can use it. And even that is extended by a couple more minutes, as I reset all the functions that didn’t load properly in the first place. Yes, I’m a fan!!

4) System update – which is happening right now, and which will require a restart once done. Previously, it would just go ahead and restart with no warning, which I can tell you was a delightful experience, mid-blog. Windows failed to save any of those documents at the time, so I was often left with a big smile on my face, but curse words in my heart.

5) A runny nose – hey, post nasal drip is just a fact of life, here in frost-bitten Canada…

Chow for now!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Well, that’s a first!

I thought I had already posted my blog for today, but when I couldn’t seem to remember what I had written about (only a few minutes ago), a quick check of the site brought me to the conclusion that I am completely delirious, either with fatigue or Pago-Pago Fever. I can’t recall being bitten by an Ecuadorean sea turtle, so it must be fatigue…

Frankly, I don’t see how fatigue could play into this either. We went to bed right on time last night, and to the best of my recollection, I slept like a baby – essentially hairless, and with a teddy bear. SO, why am I all foggy this morning?

Who knows? Is it because (once again) I have nothing to write about this morning? Probably, but I shouldn’t be sharing THAT with you, my dear readers. More than likely I am just suffering from a bit of early morning malaise, brought on by the continuing efforts to restrict caffeine intake, if by restrictions you mean a cup of instant coffee, followed by a drive through the window at Starbuck’s, for a latte…

Well, there you have it. Mystery solved. And my post is ready to go.

All is well in the world again…

Chow for now!!

(Did I say we drive THROUGH the window at Starbucks?? Good grief...)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

It dawned on me the other day, much like it does every morning when the sun comes up.

No, wait a minute…I think that I had wanted to actually make a statement of some kind back there, not just a commentary on daylight streaming through our bedroom window. Now what the heck WAS the commentary??

Oh yeah!

It dawned on me (much later in the day, long after sunrise as a matter of fact) that we don’t seem to have any spiders here in Calgary. At least not any which are visible in the interior of our home.

That is in stark contrast to our last home, in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. We pretty much shared our home with spiders of every possible make and model. Not only were “Daddy Long Legs” spiders a common sight when you peered into a corner of the living room, there were also these hairy beasts called “wolf spiders”. Wolf spiders are like the Navy Seals of the arachnid world, buff and hairy, with tattoos and attitude. I can’t say that they are any more dangerous than an unlit birthday candle, but just spotting one hanging in a corner of the ceiling instantly sends shivers down your spine. Our timbers were often shivered by those intruders, I will admit.

Mrs. That Dan Guy is not one to enjoy a spider spotting. She’s probably queasy just reading this post today (in that case, my work here is done). But she bravely put up with these creepy crawlers back in Kelowna, because there really was no alternative, aside from wearing a bubble suit. And believe me, it’s not like she didn’t try THAT route…

We even had Black Widow spiders in our area of the country. More often in heavily wooded areas, but also occasionally in small dark spaces, like the nest that an exterminator found under the siding in our home one summer while spraying for ants. I kept that little nugget a secret for a few years, until one night out at a gathering with some friends a few suds loosened my lips, and somehow it just came out.

The efforts for a bubble suit intensified shortly after THAT verbal faux pas…

Oh well, water under the fridge, as they say. We’re here now, and we seem to have left the spiders of the world behind us. I’m sure they provide some valuable role in the eco-system, but we’re much happier not knowing how they go about it…

Chow for now!!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Man, we have been concert-bereft thus far for 2009 – is it possible that we’ve only seen ONE show so far this year??


Of course, there have been many shows coming through town, but either we have no interest, or we’ve already seen them. The latter is especially true of country stars, who are making second and third trips back into our fair burg, but having already seen them, we find it hard to rush back out to the ticket wicket and wave our VISA card in the air.

Looking at our long-term calendar, there are only TWO local dates pencilled in for '09. What is this, Siberia?? What have we done to deserve this cruel fate? Last year, we were pretty much hiking up to concert venue rafter seats about every two weeks. Now, we’re going to get entirely out of shape – it’s like someone has arrested our dealer, and we’re going through entertainment withdrawals!! I’m twitching even as I type this out!!

Hopefully, there will be some sort of shift in the landscape, and we can begin to satisfy our (OK, “MY”) basic human desire for amusement, before I strap on a guitar and start strolling through the local shopping malls, singing “Kumbaya”.

That wouldn’t be pretty…

Chow for now!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Sunday - the day of the week that dull and uninteresting chores must be attended to, here in the Such Is Life household. I am deliriously tickled, and filled with bubbling enthusiasm for the day…

(Cough! Cough! Cough!)

Oh dear! I think I may be coming down with something viral – like whooping cough, or malaria!

I may not be able to help ole Mrs. That Dan Guy with the chores today – aw shucks! Shucks–a-roonie!!

I suppose I could supervise her, as some small part of assistance? She’d appreciate that, I’m sure!

Yes, yes…I am definitely starting to feel weak, faint even. My pulse is actually a bit thin, when I press my hand against my ear – as a matter of fact, I can barely feel a pulse! Maybe I should call a paramedic!!

You know, if I just sit a spell perhaps – settle down in our reclining sofa and regain my strength, maybe I’ll be able to help with the chores NEXT weekend.

It would probably help me to recuperate if I had some nutrition – perhaps some beer and pretzels??

Just sayin’…

Chow for now!!