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Friday, July 31, 2009

Ah yes – back home, things here are returning to normal, such as using my home computer regularly once more, along with the accompanying curse I bear that is called “Windows Vista”. At the very least, the version loaded onto this computer. Dysfunctional has a new name, and it is “Vista”…

We are literally getting back to normal now (or as normal as things will be these days), as my sister departed last night after a visit here in the Such Is Life household. Right on the heels of our return from New York, we had no chance to get back into the general move and groove of our everyday lives. Hence the continued late-start of this blog. Which ain’t such a bad thing, all things considered.

It’s been a while since I’ve used the Google tools to see what’s been driving traffic to this “site”. I’ll do that over the next few days, once I’ve had a chance to respond to the e-mails we received while we were on our sabbatical (sightseeing our faces off). Hopefully I still have a chance to collect that Nigerian fortune the poor prince who keeps contacting me needs help sorting out.

Better sign off, I hear that there is a sliver of sun forecast for today, so I’d better dry off our soggy lawn chairs, and try to capture a small glimpse of summer weather.

Chow for now!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You know, it seems like there has been a rather lengthy stretch herein – where I’ve lost my sense of the nonsensical.

Oh, sure – we’ve had goofy event reviews, and LOTS of quirky journal-style entries – primarily related to what feels like incessant traveling and family time. But where has the trademark strangeness of this site gone off to?

To better understand (what we hope is a very short-lived phenomenon) this trend, let’s consider a few possibilities:

1) I have regained my senses, highly unlikely as THAT scenario might be.

2) I have accidentally taken a “serious” pill, or some other form of remedial medication that is blocking the goof muscles of my brain.

3) Aside from the apparent bottomless pit of ongoing bizarre conspiracy theories plaguing coverage of the late Michael Jackson, there is just not enough silliness left over to invest in the writing of this blog.

4) Allah has reprogrammed my brain.

5) A dingo has stolen my baby.

6) I have mentally thrown in the nonsensical towel, admitting defeat in the face of Craig Ferguson’s brilliant musical parodies, a recurring treat on The Late Late Late Way Too Late To Watch Regularly Show

7) Aliens have sucked out my mojo, and are currently making an omelette of it.

8) My silliness thought patterns have been invested in the decades-old search to determine why do fools fall in love…

9) As of this morning's writing – I had nothing.

If you guessed #9, you’d be awfully close to the truth…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OK, so I’m still on “holiday schedule”, here in the blogosphere. Busted!

Even though our travels are over, we’re not back to normal just yet. My sister is here visiting, so expect a return to normalcy (such as THAT may be in THIS space) by the beginning of next month.

It is nice to be back from our excursions – to mow lawn that we aren’t using, visit Gerald (our resident gopher), and enjoy continual scattered showers instead of all that wasteful sunshine stuff. Who needs to soak in rays during the summer? Not us Canucks!

Not sure what’s on tap for today. I had a column deadline, which I have now sent off. I should start to plug through the 400+ e-mails that I’ve just downloaded, many urgent, many offering wealth or appendage supplementation. I imagine if you combined both of those options, you’d be sitting on a literal goldmine.

Better run, the day is beckoning, and I think I may see some clouds parting out there. I could score four minutes on a lawn chair!

Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The “Tried To Get It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – CONCLUDED! – Back Home In Cowtown…

That’s a picture of The Burton Cummings Theatre – he of Winnipeg origin, and the former vocalist of The Guess Who. He of “Stand Tall” fame, which is currently enjoying a second life as a commercial background song – still can’t remember for what product though.

Well, our travels ended yesterday. We got a late flight out of Dodge, after squeezing one last visit in – colleagues of Mrs. That Dan Guy. A quick meal and visit, enroute to the airport. I don’t think the Burton Cummings Theatre came up during the visit, so why in god’s name I posted the picture is beyond me. C’est la vie…

Arriving late last night, we unpacked, set our alarms, and are now up and at ‘em, frantically trying to prepare for a visitor arriving this morning. We do encourage action-packed living, here in the Such Is Life household…

Chow for now!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The “Tried To Get It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Conclusion (and clearly we got NOTHING out of our system) - Day Four (and one-quarter) – Winnipeg

And now,

The End Is Near,

So we face, the final curtain…

Something like that – my memory isn’t what it used to be… Bottom line, our travels are over, and now we wing back to Calgary, where my sister will be stopping by for a visit, as we missed her while we were here.

Yesterday, it was a day spent at my ancestral family homestead – if ancestral can be accurately employed when describing the typical war-time two-storey home so prevalent in the neighborhood where I grew up. Whatever, it seems ancestral to me.

A fine afternoon of visiting, and BBQ. Nothing says summer in Canada like an afternoon spent inhaling singed beef fumes, and fending off mosquitoes the size of sparrows. It was a pleasing, relaxing end to the formal part of our travels. Plus I learned a whack of computer and cell phone tips from my niece, which is always a side benefit to someone that was weaned on rotary-dial telephones, and knows about as much computer technology as Popeye. There are times (like last night) when I watch someone youthful on a piece of modern technology, and can’t help but feel that maybe I SHOULD have read one or two of those owner’s manuals over the years…

Soon, we check out, grab lunch, and hope to see a few last familiar faces before we depart.


Chow for now!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Note: even though it's been less than 12 hours, I already miss my sister-in-law's i-phone...

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Leg Three - Day Three (and one-quarter) – Winnipeg

The “Such Is Life” traveling road show steering into a marathon family gathering yesterday, on Mrs. That Dan Guy’s side. There was plenty of smokin’, drinkin’, cussin’, laughin’ and weepin’ - and then we went over to the family get-together.

Kind-of a belated birthday gathering, along with a few surprises – a few family members that the guest of honor hadn’t been expecting to see, plus some old friends of the family – the sort of magical day that you just can’t plan for – especially when we’re involved in the actual planning part. Couldn’t have asked for a better blend of visiting, reminiscing and general whooping (it up). We always enjoy a good whooping…

Even if that whooping lasts until almost 3 AM, which may be great for a Matchbox 20 song, not so good for my beauty sleep. I can confirm that my beauty component this morning is comprised of a baseball hat and both my eyelids resting on my lower cheeks. I’d give a bullfrog a run for his money today, if we were seated side-by-side in a restaurant.

Well, off to my side of the family tree today, after choir practice and an hour of Spanish lessons online.

Hasta la vista, bay-bee…

Chow for now!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chicken Scratch

Hello, ya scruffy-lookin’, early-weekend-mornin’ humans…Ole Charlie is takin’ over today – and I bin gone so long, I don’t cluckin’ care if the Tour Across America iz still goin’ on… A chicken’s voice haz gotta be herd!!


Well, ya mite be wonderin’ how we’ve been keepin’ busy, here in the coop, whilst our landlords have bin away travelin’ the globe – we’re gettin’ by just fine lemme tell ya. Got some money comin’ in with a nightly floatin’ crap game,and I ain’t talkin’ the chicken variety!


Plus, did Banjo Boy think we’d forget there’s a whole big bar, stocked with (cheap, low-end product, mind you) booze? Ya only hafta stack so many books, and then “boo-yah”! Happy Hour is now open!


So, the heartless bastard has decided not to run my posts for almost three weeks now. Mebbe I won’t run HIS crapola for a few days – I’m in the cluckin’ driver’s seat now, and havin’ both wings on the wheel feels pretty cluckin’ good, if I dew say so misself…


Oh buggers… Huey, Dewy an’ Louie are burnin’ somethin’ in the toaster again. Where do those mammals keep the fire extinguisher???

Rubber cluckin’ rooster knuckles…

I’m outta here!

Cluck for now…

Friday, July 24, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Leg Three - Day One (and one-quarter) – Winnipeg

That shot is a photo of a river in Winnipeg, close to The Fork. Or The Spoon – cutlery of one kind or another, for sure – that much at least I can recall with some certainty. Captured from our hotel room, here in the city that both Mrs. That Dan Guy and I were born and raised in. It is the city where I grew the massive fingers that I now find so incompatible with a mini-netbook computer keyboard. I feel like a giant, trying to read Braille on a grain of rice, when I try typing on this blasted thing.

Ah well, a rant for another day.

We are here to wrap up our travels, before returning home to host my sister, who will be stopping in to visit us there. While we’re here, we plan on enjoying a slower pace than the first two legs of this “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” tour – with family time, and a few visits to favourite old haunts. Maybe we’ll even tip a cow, or some other such prairie tomfoolery – it’s not like we live here anymore!

We’re not here long, so it may not be such a leisurely visit after all – both of our families are here, so we’ll be sprinting around somewhat. We’re sprinters when we need to be (even if technically we are “sprinting” in a rented Toyota Yaris).

For the official record, today is Recycling Day One, in Winnipeg…

Chow for now!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Nine (and one-half) – New York City!! (“The End Of The Line, We’re Outta Here”…but we don’t have to like it)

Tom Jones!! Strolling down the road, beside Central Park! By the time I fumbled my camera out of its case, all I could capture was the back of his head – but that’s TOM JONES!!

Before Tom walked by, we were all excited to see Regis again, this time with his TV co-host Kelly Ripa, filming a commercial for TD Bank, ironically a Canadian institution with a presence now down here in the U.S. Even though we got great pics of them, I had to run with Tom, even if it was just his back fading into the city landscape… Egads, man – the stars love NYC!

We spotted all those celebrities yesterday, in the wrap-up run of the city. We had just walked over to Lincoln Center, but due to renovations we weren’t able to snap any photos (although we have now exceeded that magic number, with 1008 pics on the camera). We even accidentally ran into the Naked Cowboy – a New York fixture, now running for mayor. What a town…

From Lincoln Center, we bee-lined over to Carnegie Hall, closed to tours during the summer. Bummer. That left us time to visit Grand Central Station, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Waldorf Astoria. One last trip to Macy’s for Mrs. That Dan Guy, and we wrapped up our day at B.B. King’s “Lucille Bar & Grill”. Caught some fine eats, and some finer live blues. Can’t remember the gentleman’s name, but he was a fine player. A fine time had by all.

Now, we are barricading ourselves in our room, as the bellman informs us that our cab is waiting. He’s gonna need some help…

Next stop, our home and native land, literally. Winnipeg, if they can pry us out of this room…

Chow for now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Eight (and one-half) – New York City!! (“The Beginning Of The End”…but we don’t have to like it)

The Wednesday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” concert review: Paul McCartney, CITI Field, Queens, New York City

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

Mama Mia, are there ANY superlatives that can describe the concert experience juggernaut that is Sir Paul McCartney? Let alone seeing that concert in CITI Field, which used to be Shea Stadium, home of an iconic performance by The Beatles? I don’t think so. But, in light of having this space to fill, I suppose I should try.

Before that, I just want to mention that Mrs. That Dan Guy and I finally took our first NYC subway ride to get to the concert – and that was a hoot in and of itself. Although nothing to rival the concert, I will admit.

Arriving at the ballpark, we were greeted by a looped recording of information that we had already received by e-mail: no cameras, video or audio recorders, and no umbrellas. Admission to the park would be denied if you were found to be in possession of these items at the gate. So, I left my camera at home, and despite rain all day, forecasted into the evening, we also left our umbrellas at home. Not only did we see people with cameras and video recorders in the stadium, we saw small umbrellas, large umbrellas, and beach umbrellas. I’m pretty sure they employed the Mr. Magoo Security Firm to handle the searches. Bummer… Oh well, at least we got a few shots on MTDG’s camera phone, rudimentary as they will be.

At any rate, after a hasty and healthy dinner of hot dogs, popcorn, potato knish and ice cream, the show got underway, although about an hour late. Irish openers The Script we rather non-descript – but that could be due to the traditional opening act sound. I could swear at one point they said they were from Dubdin, Wirewind.

Soon enough, they were gone, and shortly thereafter, a cool techno remix tape of sampled Beatles and McCartney music started to support a video scrolling images from his career. Pretty cool, but not what we were there to see. When he and his band strolled out, and kicked into “Drive My Car”, well, there was an orgasm of delight in the crowd. Not speaking for myself mind you, just a general observation…

Then, for almost three hours (over SIX songs in the encore alone), Mr. McCartney (Sir) kicked out songs from The Beatles, Wings, The Fireman – just a mind-boggling catalogue of the past 40 years. “The Long & Winding Road”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Paperback Writer” “Back In The U.S.S.R”, along with so many more. A wealth of his solo stuff, especially tracks from the iconic “Band On The Run” album.

Without a doubt, the best parts were tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison. McCartney was walking down Memory Lane last night, talking about when he and his bandmates played Shea Stadium back in the ‘60’s – but he really paid tribute to the late members of the group. At one point, he segued from one song into “Give Peace A Chance”, and the crowd went nuts. Surreal..

Even more surreal, I shot some camera video when he performed “Yesterday”, and when I stopped the camera, the screen displayed “11:11”. I kid you not. What is up with that???

Highlights? What wasn’t? The pyrotechnics at the end of “Live & Let Die”? The sneak peek at graphics from the upcoming Beatles version of Rock Band? Finally seeing McCartney in concert? Freakin’ priceless…

Oh yeah, we also toured Madison Square Garden, and just happened to have Belgian Waffles for breakfast, on Belgian Independence Day.


Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Seven (and one-half) – New York City!!

Man, are our dogs barkin’ – we hoofed more than a furlong yesterday – even thoroughbreds wouldn’t gallop as far as we wandered in the city.

The plan was to see NYC, and that we did. Also an emotional day in the city, with reminders of the violence that can shadow a big city, this one in particular.

We started the day off by cabbing out to Ground Zero, the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. You’d think that would be hard enough to view, but it was the stop beforehand at Saint Paul’s Chapel that affected Mrs. That Dan Guy even more.

That’s the tiny church that survived the attacks and collapse of the twin towers, and became a staging point for the recovery efforts. They have an incredible display there which still affects you, all these years afterwards. Powerful images and remnants on display – and also a remionder of one of the odd quirks whenever we travel – visiting and snapping pictures of churches. I wonder what that’s all about?

From Ground Zero, we wandered the Financial District, and Tribeca, where my flippin’ camera battery died. Which would explain why we fell short of 1000 pictures yesterday (total, not just single day – wattaya think we are, nuts?). Mrs. That Dan Guy snapped a few on her camera phone, but nowhere near the images I might have captured. C’est la vie…

The second stop that was pretty emotional was in Soho. We stopped to view the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Annex NYC. Quite a facility, and loaded with rock history. A replica of the historic CBGB club, outfits and guitars from Buddy Holly, Elvis, George Harrison – handwritten lyrics from Dylan and Jim Morrison, Bruce Springsteen’s convertible from his “Born To Run” period – crazy nuts for fans.

The museum had a feature exhibit, “John Lennon, The New York City Years”, filled with items from his time in the city. Pianos he composed the final recordings of his life on - clothes, glasses, and even the Grammy he won.

The emotional part was the bloody paper bag containing the clothes we was wearing when he was murdered outside his apartment. Yoko Ono has made this a graphic plea for changes to gun laws, indicating that John was “the King Of The World – he had everything any person could want, but at the end of his life, he came back to me in a paper bag”. Sobering and powerful.

We left the Annex, and made our way out of Soho, stopping at a neighborhood restaurant for a late dinner, not too far from Washington Square Park, which we visited after our meal. This is the park where you always see chess players engaged in games, unless you stop by on holidays, and try and find them. We couldn’t even find Frisbee players.

Crushed, we moved up along 5th Ave., straddling the borders of Greenwich Village and West Village, eventually passing through Gramercy and Chelsea before getting back to Times Square.

So, we really got a flavor of the city, in just 90 minutes of gentle strolling. Whew.

Today, we hope to see Madison Square Garden, and do some shopping before we head out to what used to be Shea Stadium, to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert. Being a stadium show, this is the first day of rain, predicted to last through the night.

Excellent. Super-good…

Chow for now!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Six (and one-half) – New York City!!

New York City, The Discovery Of, &/Or Pre-Conceived Game Plan continues to be an evolving thing, much like learning to type on a Fisher Price-sized netbook keyboard. It can be done, it just required patience and flexibility.

During our travels, we noticed that comic and ex-husband of Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold was going to be appearing at Caroline’s, a comedy club right on Broadway. We thought that could be a genuine hoot, but have since abandoned that optional event, in lieu of trying to see as much of the city that we still have to see, as time is rapidly running out. Sorry, Tom – maybe next time.

Hey, before I forget, there’s a major American commercial going on right now here on TV (can’t remember what product – that can’t be good for the marketing campaign) that uses “Stand Tall”, by former Guess Who member Burton Cummings, from our hometown of Winnipeg in Canada.


Anyway, trying to clear items off of our to-do list yesterday, we opted to hike out to Central Park, hence the unimaginative photo today. It is from Strawberry Fields though, so I defend my choice.

We explored Central park for about 40 minutes yesterday – I remained a fresh and vibrant flower, whilst Mrs. That Dan Guy wilted like lettuce in a toaster. Clearly, my beer and pretzel diet here is showing dividends. That’ll teach her for eating salads all the time.

We explored the aforementioned Strawberry Fields, The Lake, and The Ramble – not even one-tenth of the massive greenspace. Having gone over 40 minutes without a Starbucks, we were lagging, and needed to find our caffeine provider – almost impossible in this city – they’ve only deemed to build a single location for every block in the city - many you have to cross the street kitty-corner to access!

We endured, made it to one, and then made it back to our room alive, with coffee products.

After a break, we headed off for the sunset Harbor Lights cruise, a semi-circle boat ride around Manhattan, viewing the city skyline from the water, as well as The Statute Of Limitations. Maybe it was The Statue Of Liberty – it was large and green. A good decision, the trip was a lovely conclusion to the formal part of our explorations.

Finally, we managed to do what we’ve wanted the past few days, but kept running out of gas before we did stop in – we checked out a little piano bar for drinks and a snack – “Don’t Tell Mama”. What a howl – more singing wait staff, more incredible talent.

A cigar on the walk home, and we were two contented campers.

Today – Ground Zero, Tribeca, Soho, Little Italy, and Greenwich Village, God willing…

Chow for now!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Five (and one-half) – New York City!!

The Sunday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” concert review: Mandela Day, Radio City Music Hall, New York City

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

Before we left Calgary, Mrs. That Dan Guy was doing some preliminary research, and somehow stumbled upon the event we attended last night. Mandela Day concerts have been going on for years, in cities all around the world. Last night was the first time this carnival has rolled into America, and we had tickets for the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday. In..are you ready for this…THE ELEVENTH ROW!!

OK, that’s only interesting for us, but the concert itself was the most star-studded event we have ever attended. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, with guest appearances by Forest Whitaker, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, and more, the Radio City Music Hall burst at the seams with a galaxy of music stars from every genre, and every nation. It was like the NATO of Boogie…

Opening the show was disco diva Gloria Gaynor, kickin’ up her heels to “I Will Survive”. Hard to believe how much legs that song still has – even the young ladies (under 20) beside us were singing and dancing along, not missing a single beat. What a start!

From there, the blend was a mix of the best artists from Africa and South Africa, European stars, and of course, some of the top names in America. Including, but nowhere near limited to Cyndi Lauper (performing a chilling and lush duet of “Time After Time” with Lil’ Kim), Jesse McCartney, Queen Latifah (killer…killer…), and Josh Groban. Josh Groban would later duet on “You Raise Me Up” with…if you can even believe it…ARETHA FRANKLIN!! The goldarn Queen Of Soul, who practically proved beyond a doubt that Radio City Music Hall is one of the most perfect sonic environments on the face of the earth. The crowd went ape-doodie during her songs, and rightfully so.

Beyond those highlights, how about Wyclef Jean, and of The Black-Eyed Peas? Smokin’. What if Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics performed a duet with Carla Bruni – the First Lady of France? He did! Want a monster collaboration between Alicia Keys and Angelique Kidjo? You got it last night…

All of these performances were underpinned by the astounding Soweto Gospel Choir, who performed on their own as well, but were present to augment each and every performer – to insane effect. Truth be told, there were many occasions last night we felt like we had gone over the deep end. Of sheer delight!!

Bringing this surreal evening on home was the legendary Stevie Wonder, who closed the show with his version of “Happy Birthday” for Mr. Mandela – while the entire cast of stars and performers came out to join in.

This was like anything else we have ever seen – or may ever see again. Three-and-a-half hours of nonstop glitz and glam, in support of an amazing individual. Inspiring, entertaining, and downright mind-boggling…

Oh yeah, we also toured the Empire State Building.

It’s very tall…

Chow for now!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Four (and one-half) – New York City!!

I believe we have found our new Las Vegas. New York City is so full of energy, excitement, and diversity of entertainment options, I’m not so sure we’re ever going to think of Vegas the same again…

And, we’re trying to cram every bit of each of those options in, during our short run here. For a couple of aging tourists, the bones tend to creak a bit more with every new day that dawns. We have yet to even leave Manhattan, but there’s still so much to see and do here. Today, the plan is to hoof it over to Macy’s (the one immortalized in the Christmas classic “Miracle On 34th Street”), and from there finally trek over to the Empire State Building. Other than that, we are attending the first-ever Mandela Day concert celebration tonight, a star-studded gala at Radio City Music Hall – featuring Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Morgan Freeman, and many more artists and actors. Should be positively surreal.

We started our day yesterday (once we finally dragged our sorry carcasses out of bed) with “brunch” at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a retro cafĂ© that features singing servers. But not your run-of-the-mill singing servers- all of these platter jockeys are currently IN Broadway productions of one sort or another, and was that ever obvious when they each took their turn at the microphones. Holy Torpedo!! You could have spent your entire day just sitting there, soaking in the ambience, and hoping to digest the chili dogs without embarrassing incidence. A must-do if you ever make it here to New York.

Once we reluctantly moved on from The Stardust, we made it over to Radio City Music Hall, to take the behind-the-scenes tour. What an incredible facility that iconic hall is, and what a preview we had of what to expect tonight. The hall is stunningly beautiful, and of course, the sound is beyond belief – I believe the Soweto Gospel Choir was just coming onstage, while we were in the viewing area adjacent to one of the audio visual booths. We’d better bring smelling salts for this one…

After the tour of Radio City, we made a preliminary trek down to the Macy’s I mentioned earlier, just to see it and take a few of the 117 pictures I shot yesterday (we’re just under 400 so far, at this stage of the trip). We only had a few minutes to look around, before we hauled ass back to our hotel, to grab another super-sized street vendor pretzel for supper, and get ready to see our second Broadway play.

Wait a minute! We also stopped along the way in Times Square to grab a Tim Horton’s coffee – a little taste of Canada, in the heart of Manhattan. A true delight, and I’m happy to report it was just as busy there as it is back home.

Funny enough, we had wanted to see one dramatic/comedic production, and one musical. The hope had been the award-winning “Billy Elliott”, or “Wicked”, but both had sold out before we were able to snag tickets. Our “consolation choice” was “Blithe Spirit”, a star-studded production of the Noel Coward comedy, and a comedy it was. Featuring Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, and the legendary Angela Lansbury, we howled along with the rest of the audience during this madcap romp. Lansbury, despite her age chewed up the stage in her riotous character of medium Madame Arcati – even performing several Jackie Gleason-style dance maneuvers throughout the show. What a delight (even if she ducked out a side door without greeting the audience outside the stage door). I know she’s forever linked with “Murder She Wrote”, but I’ll always remember her as Elvis’ mom in “Blue Hawaii”.

After the show, we walked across the alley to get a few treats at Junior’s – yet another Broadway eatery. We have vowed to eat somewhere different every day, but know that we will not see even a fraction of the restaurants to choose from.

It won’t be without trying…

Chow for now!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Three (and one-half) – New York City!!

Well, NYC is clearly out to kill us – we had hoped to make it over to Rockefeller Center this morning to catch The Today Show, which happens to feature the Toyota Outdoor Concert Series during the summer. Scheduled for today, rockers All-American Rejects, whom even a couple of old farts like us enjoy.

Alas, after a manic day of stuffing as much into our sock as possible, we awoke AFTER the show had finished. Technically, we rejected the All-American Rejects

However, we did manage to fill our day nicely yesterday, all things considered:

1) We trekked down from our hotel to Rockefeller Center, and booked ourselves into the NBC Studio backstage tour. Pretty cool stuff – even though photography is prohibited during the tour. We got to stand in the NBC Nightly News studio, and view where MSNBC runs like a well-oiled…TV news station. No celebrities in sight.

2) We stopped in at the freakin’ Saturday Night Live studio, and got to sit in the bleachers used as general seating – whilst gazing at the mainstage, the music stage, and the stage most of the skits are staged. I’d have liked to have taken a picture there, but being tackled by an NBC page and ejected from the building wasn’t on my to-do list for that day. Still, to sit where Belushi, Akroyd, Farley, Farrell and so many more have filmed bits for my TV at home, was pretty darn cool.

No celebrities in sight…

3) We saw the make-up room, and a mock news studio, where a couple of the common tourists were able to do news and weather. If there had been animals, Mrs. That Dan Guy would have been in like Flynn – she’s done it before, and crushed a young child’s heart in the process. Don’t mess with MTDG and the chance to get up close with a critter…

No celebrities in sight. Technically, we would have been allowed to see Jimmy Fallon rehearsing for his show, but The Jonas Brothers were in for his show, so the building was sewn up tighter than a 12th-Century virgin’s chastity belt.

4) Leaving NBC, we booked and took the Rockefeller Center tour, and went up to the Top Of The Rock to take photos of the city. Sadly, it was pretty overcast, so our photos were less than impressive. As it was, we barely took a little over 125 shots throughout the whole day!

5) Racing back to our hotel, we grabbed a pretzel for dinner, and got ready (hastily) for our first Broadway show – “God Of Carnage”, starring the stellar Marcia Gay Harden, the radiant Hope Davis, the suave Jeff Daniels, and…James Gandolfini!!

What a show! A blistering social study masking as a comedy, the play centres around the four lead actors, initially meeting civilly over an awkward moment regarding their children. Needless to say, the civility disintegrates shortly thereafter, and the humour is relentless from there to the conclusion. What a howl!

6) Our celebrity spotting was far more successful outside of the NBC studio – after the play we got to see each of the stars (and solicit signing of our playbill), PLUS watched Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) pick up what we presumed were her parents, AND comic/writer Bruce Vilanch (Hollywood Squares). I confess – we ogled. We are SUCH shameless tourists…

7) Finally, after the show we were lured into an off-Broadway comedy club, where we actually caught a comic that we had seen at the Calgary Comedy Festival, earlier this year. Too funny – both his set, and the coincidence.

So, in light of filling our day to the brim, something had to give, and it was The Today Show. Clearly, we will be back – this place is waaaaay more addictive than Vegas.

If only we weren’t trying to get all this OUT of our system…

Chow for now!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day Two (and one-half) – New York City!!

Our first-ever trip to New York City got off to a pretty good start yesterday, once we made it through the laborious process that is getting in to see the Late Night With David Letterman show. Even having pre-arranged tickets before leaving Calgary, you can’t start to breathe easy until you’ve got actual tickets in your hot little hands. Seeing as how I will be writing an official column about that process, I can’t say much about it right now. Let’s just say, it would be easier to get elected Excelsior Of Pago Pago, which is something I have checked out online recently.

What I can say is that we were present for history being made, with guest Paul McCartney appearing on the show for the first time in his career. If you watched the show last night, he elaborated to Dave on why.

Hey, wait – I’m getting ahead of myself! Before the show, we stopped in at Hello Deli, owned by Letterman recurring character Rupert Jee. His business was the trivia question I answered correctly, to get our tickets. It just felt proper to reward him by taking up space in his deli, to split a roast beef sandwich. I even kept his hand-scribbled note, indicating we ordered the “Brian” sandwich (although he should maybe have been a prescribing physician – it looks more he wrote “Pmai”).

After lunch, we’ll skip ahead again, to where we finally got the tickets in our hands, and were waiting to get into the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Just above us, on top of the Late Night marquee, Sir Paul was doing a sound check for a mini-concert he was doing as part of the show. “Get Back” – Holy “Let It Be”, Batman!!! Shiver me timbers…

Among our wanderings between getting the tickets, and getting in line, we wandered towards Radio City Music Hall, and ran smack-dab into Regis Philbin, crossing the street towards us, although it is unclear whether or not he even knew we were there. I think when he told me “no pictures please”, he had noticed us.

In the theatre, we ended up in the second row, off to the side. We were about 5’ from announcer Alan Kalter – 20’ from the man himself whilst sitting at his desk, with Sir Paul. We had a clear view of The CBS Orchestra, and hammy cohort Paul Shaffer. The whole thing just made your head swim. Even more surreal when action star Bruce Willis strolled out to do the Top Ten list. Fine sense of humour, Mr.Willis. He also turned up for the concert afterwards.

Oh yeah, the concert – McCartney did a half dozen songs, even though only two were broadcast as part of the show. Great blend of Wings, solo and Beatles stuff – just got our appetities whetted for the full concert next week.

But, I ramble – and we’ve got to a city to see. Tonight, our first-ever Broadway show, actually performed ON Broadway. Yee-Haw!!

Chow for now!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Reloaded Tour 2009 – Day One (and one-half) – New York City!!

Whoa! Sensory Overload!! Despite what you’ve seen on TV or in the movies, if you’ve never been to NYC before (like Mrs. That Dan Guy and I), this city will absolutely blow you away. We arrived late afternoon yesterday, and after checking in and grabbing a bite at the French restaurant attached to our hotel, we hit Times Square. It hit us back, with explosions of sight, sound, and smell. Some smells less pleasant than others I’ll admit, but overall – fascinating and exhilarating. We’re actually staying right in Times Square, right around the corner from Broadway, which we also explored last night. I bought a 16G memory card for our camera, and could have filled it to capacity in an hour. We are SUCH hopeless tourists…

Along with all the theatres and city sites, we checked out all the little restaurants, cafes, eateries, patisseries, holes-in-the-walls, nooks and crannies, to try out after some of the shows we’ve come to see. Somehow, we’ve managed to not only pre-book a number of different New York essentials, but now that we’ve been here a whole 15 hours or so, we have now OVERBOOKED ourselves – we’re booked solid!! At the top of that list – WE’RE SEEING PAUL FREAKIN’ MCCARTNEY!!!!! TWICE!!!!!

We found out that McCartney is doing three concerts here, and we were able to pick up tix for next week’s show, in Flushing. I know, the name sounds a bit funny, but I’ve been writing all year about how much I’ve wanted to see him live, and now, we are mere days away.

Actually, much like any other average day, I stand corrected. We are mere hours away from seeing him in person. Mrs. That Dan Guy had tried to get us tickets for Late Night With David Letterman, and while we were in Las Vegas a few days ago – we got the call – WE GOT TICKETS!!! HOW MANY MORE CAPS CAN I FIT INTO THIS POST???

Letterman’s only guest tonite? PAUL FREAKIN’ MCCARTNEY!! In the Ed Sullivan Theater, where The Beatles exploded into America, on the Ed Sullivan Show. Even my goose bumps have goose bumps. This is going to be, as the kids say, off the hook…watch the show tonight, and look for the ear-to-ear grins in the audience, with security standing closely by...

So, to summarize, we are here on our “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System tour, but I fear that we have done anything but, now that we have made our first-ever visit to New York. More like “Won’t Be Able To Get It Out Of Our System”…

And, to make us feel right at home, the toilet here in our hotel room runs – just like the ones that taunt me back in our home in Calgary.

It is a warm and fuzzy feeling…

Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Start spreadin’ da nooze…

We’re leavin’ today…”

After a brief recess back here in Calgary, The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 resumes this morning! Any guesses where we’re off to?

Hint: It’s our first time ever! As Billy Joel once said - it's a state of mind...

Chow for now!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I suppose I should learn to read instructions a bit better. If you hit that link to Ticketmaster yesterday (which was premature, by the way – perhaps YOU should learn to read instructions a bit better as well…) it led to nowhere, and may continue to do so. I foolishly added a link to this here blog-site in my submission, which is a no-no as per the rules. I am a dunderhead.

Oh well, I can always try posting a different concert review – there’s certainly enough of them here at any given time…

Whoops! I also forgot about Charlie again – he is gonna be one ornery bird, when he gets back in front of the computer.

At least our gopher seems to be behaving while we were away – our lawn is still in pretty decent shape. And that reminds me - I had better call Bill Murray, and see if he is still handling pest control problems…

Chow for now!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Sunday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” Concert Review: George Strait

Well, I stand corrected. This time, somebody did ask me – you can check out this review online as well at:, about 72 hours after today's posting. Go figure!

Last night, we caught country superstar George Strait in concert here in Calgary – even though we had to shrug off only two hours of sleep after taking what was essentially an early morning red-eye in from Las Vegas, just to be back on time to attend this show – part of the 2009 Calgary Stampede concert line-up I might add. Yee-Haw, pardners!

For the uninitiated, George Strait has enjoyed a stellar career spanning over a number of decades – from which he has amassed over 50 Number One hits. How do you plan a 90-minute show with so many hit singles, plus all the other songs that have been popular, but didn’t climb all the way to the top of the charts? Well, you either perform medleys, like so many other artists do, or you just select a balance of your early years, the middle years, and your newest hits, like Mr. Strait chose to do last night. Diplomatic, and reflective of his staying power – there wasn’t a dull moment in The Saddledome, even when he performed a brand–new song.

My wife and I have been fans since the early 90’s – back to singles like “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind”, and “All My Exes Live In Texas”. Sound like there might be a theme there? Yep, George Strait wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Texas, with many of his songs reflecting his home state – one song in particular even admitting unabashedly that he wouldn’t be where he is today, if it hadn’t been for Texas. He’s a one-man musical convention and visitor’s bureau. With a bit more popularity…

What I’ve always loved about George Strait is that so many of his songs tell a story, which endears them to his fans, and has afforded him the rarity of a long career in the music industry. It’s been a long wait to finally see him live, but the wait was worth it – he really is The King Of Country.

Opening act Gord Bamford was just the icing on the cake – with an album out right now stacked with hits (plus his timely and appropriate theme song for The Calgary Stampede “This Old Hat”), he put on a high-energy set to get the crowd warmed up for Mr. Strait – I’m a fan, and it was great to catch him on the same dance card.

All in all, some fine times in Cowtown for country fans last night…

Don’t forget, check back later for this at: - if I'm lucky enough to have it posted there.

Chow for now!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Day Five (and one-half) – (Leaving Las Vegas)

Programming note: Charlie has been bumped to Sunday morning. God help us all…for now:

The Saturday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” concert review: Jack Jones

There aren’t many left, and the ones we’ve seen have been amazing – seeing legendary crooner Jack Jones last night was no exception.

So, the reason we ended up back here in this city was the chance to see one of the few remaining song stylists of a generation that still has an effect on today’s music – for stars like Michael Buble, and any one of the Sixties-styled singers cropping up – like Adele, Duffy, and anyone else that can only come up with a single name. A contemporary of singers like Tony Bennett and Robert Goulet (who we were both fortunate enough to see in concert as well), Jack Jones has lost NONE of his pipes – he hit notes last night I don’t think even Mariah Carey can find any more. Smooth as silk, and professional as they come.

Of course, if you’re still scratching your head trying to figure out who he is, he is forever immortalized from his cameo in the hit film series “Airplane”, crooning the theme to the “Love Boat” TV show, which he made famous. Hey, that makes two “Love Boat” celebrities that we’ve seen now – we also caught Bernie Kopell in a dinner theatre production back home. I wonder when we’ll catch Gopher, or Mary Ann?

Wait, wasn’t Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island”? I clearly need more sleep before I do this stuff…

He’s also a regular performer for the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which for the record, is held at the South Point Hotel & Casino, which was where we caught this show.

The show? Oh yeah – almost 2 hours of smooth traipsing down Memory Lane, hearing classics from popular music, Broadway, and jazz. Star quality, man. Star quality.

Better run. We’ve come to the end of the line, and we have a gruesomely early flight to catch back home.

Chow for now!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Day Four (and one-half) – Las Vegas

Ugh…down to the last night, before we fly back (briefly) to Calgary, to recharge before the next leg of our “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009. We’re earning our flyer miles, let me tell you…

Hey, last night was the Vegas version of a Broadway sensation – we caught “The Lion King”. What a production! Seeing a show here where the theatre has been set up to accommodate a permanent run allows for more elaborate special effects, which this show abunds with. Is abunds a word? I want to say abounds, but that doesn’t seem to do the thing justice. This show explodes with visual delights – right from the stunning opening number, which pretty much rattles your larynx – for lack of a better analogy. Frankly, it rattles your eyeballs, but larynx sounded more scientific.

There’s no doubt that this is a family show, which may explain why it lagged in a number of spots for me. The hyenas got old really fast, but I imagine they were a big part of the story from the original Disney movie, so they had to have been a shoo-in for the musical theatre version. Hey Disney – here’s a tip for the next time around – vampires, or sorcerers…

All in all though, time well spent – the puppetry and masks are incredible in transforming the actors into their characters. The music has been ingrained in our minds beforehand – and the Vegas references made it a little more fun for Mom & Dad – or it was at least intended to, if Mom & Dad hadn’t slipped out after the curtain raised to go shoot craps.

So, this trip has been about seeing things we haven’t seen here before. As many times as we’ve been to this burg, we still haven’t seen a few of the popular casino hotels. So, we trudged in the 110° heat to see the Rio (where the World Series Of Poker was going on – not that we could find it anywhere), and the Palms – home of the only Playboy club (not that Mrs. That Dan Guy let me find it anywhere…)

We also discovered a new indoor connector form Mandalay Bay, all the way to The Excalibur. How James Bond is that?

Tonight, another show, and another new hotel to finally discover. We are a-tingle!

Chow for now!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Day Three (and one-half) – Las Vegas

Post #1234!! Whoa!

The Thursday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” concert review: Howie Mandel

The first of our three shows here in Das Vegas was a fellow (if not former) Canuck – the host of “Howie Do It”, and “Deal Or No Deal” – although one audience member last night was under the impression that he was ANOTHER Canadian – Monty Hall of “Let’s Make A Deal”. A distinction Mr. Mandel turned to great comic material. That was the best part of the show, as Howie improvised off of the chatter from the audience – an audience I believe may have been under the impression they were still on their sofa back home, yapping at the TV. Howie never really ran out of banter material.

If you are a fan of his clean-cut TV stuff, bear in mind – he’s a stand-up comic, and as such, there are no boundaries for a live show. Well, he never plugged anyone with a round from a six-gun, but he did (as did opener John Mendoza) utilize quite a bit of salty language – if indeed anyone other than retired pirates would still describer swearing as “salty”. To use a bit myself – he was frickin’ hilarious!!

He was on top of his game last night, using the same sort of observational material that Jerry Seinfeld wielded so well when we saw him not too long ago – but the interaction with the audience is what made this show extra-special, like finding an old M & M under the bed that’s still pretty fresh when you bite into it. Mmm-mm-good!

What we probably won’t forget anytime soon was his opening video – a throwback to an old late-nite talk show, o r maybe even the Lawrence Welk Show – an older gentleman singing a very repetitive song, repeatedly. You have to see it to believe it.

Howie, you do Canada proud!

Tonight, a Vegas version of a Broadway smash – stay tuned!

Chow for now!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Day Two (and one-half) – Las Vegas

Still beastly hot – I heard that it hit 111° - which frankly would have been pretty cool. Someone said that it was like “walking around in a blow dryer”, and I’d be hard pressed to argue that point. When I do my daily freckle inspection in the morning, I swear they have melted off…

We had planned on seeing a show last night, but opted to skulk around in the air-conditioned buildings here, rather than swelter with the rest of the unwashed swelts. Turned out to be a good idea – Lady Luck was obviously tagging along, and the entire day essentially cost us nothing. Ask Mrs. That Dan Guy – nothing makes me a happier camper. Well, I suppose other things do as well, but that scenario surely ranks right up there.

So we now have shows to attend the next three nights, and it will be a mixed bag – comedy, concert, and musical theatre. Yet Carrot Top remains elusive, as his show was “dark” last night. There’s always next time, considering our being on a “Gettin’ It Out Of Our System” tour is pretty much the same thing as hearing that proclamation from Cher.

Today, we explore a few places we have never been to before. At least that’s the game plan, subject to change as it always is here.

(Note to self: Consider finger liposuction, to better work way around this netbook keyboard. Must price that out in our travels…)

Hey, thanks to Sistah Eldest, who pointed out that today is 07 08 09, for someone in her family that seems surrounded by interesting numbers. Still not sure what that is all about, but I can’t wear my aluminum foil hat here – way too hot.

Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The “Getting’ It Out Of Our System” Tour 2009 – Day One – Las Vegas

Well, even though you could get the mistaken impression that we are in New York right now – that is in fact a shot of the New York New York Hotel & Casino, where we used to stay for years when we came here to Vegas. We’re not staying there this time either, but it sure is picturesque…

Beastly hot – over 100° - the sidewalks are actually soft…

Hey, someone we saw here a few years back with some fellow family (good morning, g’s) got into a bit of trouble recently: Not sure if that link will work, but worth a view :-)

Hey, this is the start of Day Two - we got in late yesterday afternoon! This could get confusing…my apologies.

Wow – the keyboard on this dinky netbook computer is small – I’ve massaged larger dimes. And with my big gorilla hands, the postings may be shorter than normal.

OK, there’s no need to be THAT happy about what I just said!

Better run – we got a day to plan!

Chow for now!