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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken...)

a poem by Charles D. Chicken

Thanksgiving may be fer tha birds
But here's two birds that didn't heards
(tha news...)

We's survivors, after tha American holiday
Happy ta be Canadian birds, we must say.

All you hoomans that cook your gooses
Get stuffed, ya upright mooses!!

Cluck fer now.....

Friday, November 29, 2013

My Latest Column - El Cheapo-O

Do you know someone that goes on a holiday, THEN decides to follow excessive prudence measures?

You might recognize this guy then:

Holidaying With Scrooge McDuck



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark...

...Be Afraid Of The Dork - well, not all dorks, just the technologically savvy ones.

Other run-of-the-mill dorks are just mousy goofballs.....


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thinking About Starting A New Business

I was a big fan of Sanford & Sons when I was younger - boy, that was one funny show.

But would running a scrapyard REALLY be that much fun??

I mean, I like junk, but do I want to spend my whole day looking at your junk?

I guess one way to know if this is the business for me would be to ask for readers to send me pictures of their junk - then I would know if...

Pardon me?

Say what now??

Junk is slang for....

Oh dear..................

You know, I was a big fan of Gilligan's Island when I was younger - maybe a travel tour operation would be a good business to get into......


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Snow" Man Identified

A rumoured "snow" man contortionist linked to Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been identified, pictured here in an apparent disguise, while attempting a difficult yoga pose.

Known in the criminal underground as Fross T, this notorious dealer has also been connected to drug deals as far reaching as the sordid 2007 Elves Gone Wild bust, and at least one Miley Cyrus video session.

Not a big proponent of wearing pants, the tree in the foreground is not just a seasonal prop...


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken)

Howdy hoomans! Sunday mornin' comin' down!!


Juss getin' mah Sunday best on fer church - ah bin a lil ramiss with attendin' as of late.

I mean, I did get out that one Sunday in 1983...


Ah may be thwarted tho - I can't keep mah pants on in this suit!

Don't help that ah'm a Size 2 inseam, an these cluckin' pants are a 30!!

Ah kud mebbe borrow Tom Curuise's elevator shoes??


Why am ah thinkin' about goin' back ta mah flock?

Well, there's tha wine fer one thing...

An...OK...I'll be honest here - Church ladies!!

Ah'm gonna clean up mah act, an get me sum attention frum tha chicks at church - like Christian Mingle without the user fees!!


I can't see anything goin' wrong with THIS plan!!!

Cluck fer now!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Calgary Folk Club 11 22 13 - Lunch At Allen's, with Ashley Condon

Calgary Folk Club
Lunch At Allen's
Featuring Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan & Ian Thomas
with opener Ashley Condon

The Saturday Morning "Before-Noon Entertainment Review": The Calgary Folk Club, 
featuring Lunch At Allen's, and Ashley Condon

A gathering of icons...

A flock of fantastic folkies...

For the final night of the 2013 portion of the Calgary Folk Club's current season, the members and guests attending were invited into an intimate evening with four of Canada's most enduring and successful artists - there were moments over the expanse of their two sets that I felt like pinching myself to make sure I really was wide awake and less than 20 feet away from some of these greats.  Two at least were a significant part of the soundtrack of my youth.  

More on the collective that is Lunch At Allen's in a moment though. Let's start with the young lady that warmed up the crowd on a chilly fall evening. 

PEI's Ashley Condon didn't take long to endear herself to the appreciative crowd, who sang along to the captivating stories and memories shared in her songs.

I had the good fortune recently to sit down and ask her a few questions while she was in Calgary two weekends ago for the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards (she was a nominee herself). I posted that last week - but you can still read it now by clicking here.

Having previewed her YouTube channel ahead of last night's performance, I was already sold on the title track of her latest album, "This Great Compromise". However, it was quickly apparent that with heartfelt songs like "Sea and Land", or "Betty's Song" (dedicated to and inspired by her mother), her nomination for this album was more than well-deserved. 

With an easy-going charm and gentle humour to fill the moments between songs that ultimately linger with you, Condon 's folk music star is surely on the rise...

Check her out online for yourself!

Headliners Lunch At Allen's are a tour-de-force of enduring Canadian hit-makers. The foursome is comprised of Marc Jordan, who has penned hits for Cher, Josh Groban, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart ("Rhythm Of My Heart") and many more, to name but a handful - as well as enjoying commercial success on his own with " (Living In...) Marina del Ray"  

Jordan is joined in this endeavour by Murray McLauchlan - who I am reluctant to admit I haven't seen live since the late 1970's. That was happily rectified last night...

With a wealth of chart singles himself, he showcased fine chops on piano, guitar and harmonica last night, and surprised me when he shared stories of songs I wasn't aware he had either written or co-wrote. 

Ian Thomas sure brings humour to this combo, but he's not the only one - every member of Lunch At Allen's has a quick wit and that was as much a part of the enjoyment as the songs were last night. 

He also brings decades of songwriting skills -  alternately funny, but often poignant. His "Painted Ladies" took me right back to 1973, but his "Six Teams In The NHL" makes me wonder if I'll be thinking of THAT song in much the same way 30 years from now...

Cindy Church rounds out the foursome, an alumnus of Ian Tyson's band, Great Western Orchestra, and Quartette - in addition to racking up awards  on her own along the way.

Some of the quietest moments in the hall last night were when Church was helming lead on the vocals - an amazing, sweet voice that combined wonderfully with the gentlemen surrounding her.

The evening was essentially a showcase for Lunch At Allen's Christmas album "Zuzu's Petals" ( I think they may have performed every track, or darned close), but no one was complaining. The songs were a reflection of the camaraderie between the four - warm, funny and on occasion poignant.

No surprise these folks can fill a room all these years later, never mind evoking fond memories or winning over the crowd to their new music. It was a walk down Memory Lane is some instances, but more than anything, it was a time to be proud of what Canadian music has done, and continues to do for audiences - combining the two acts las tnight, there's clearly no end in sight on that note...

You can find out more by clicking on:

(Google him, there's more sites to choose from...)

and, as always - remember to check out The Calgary Folk Club, or become a member and support live music!!



Friday, November 22, 2013

Stage West Calgary's "Love Train - The Soul Of Motown" Review

Stage West Calgary
"Love Train - The Soul Of Motown"

The "Before-Noon Entertainment Review"
 - Stage West Calgary's production of 

"Love Train: The Soul Of Motown"

If you want to be "getting your groove on" over the next couple of months, you could make that happen much more easily with the assistance of the wide-ranging array of soul hits presented by the hum-dinger of a cast in Stage West Calgary's latest musical revue.

If there's one thing that almost always ensures a sure-fire hit at this theatre, it's the combination of well-known hits and top-notch performers - in many cases igniting applause as soon as the audience recognizes the songs that Timothy French and Howard Pechet have chosen to be showcased in this expansive reflection on the pervasive influence of soul on the music charts.

If your tastes go as far back as Big Mama Thornton and Etta James, or stay a little closer to modern times with Beyonce and Bruno Mars, you are guaranteed to find songs that will connect and make you wish there was a dance floor somewhere in the immediate vicinity. 

Having just opened, the first few performances before media viewings are typically an opportunity to work out any kinks before we get in to gauge the show for our reviews.

What kinks??

If these 10 singers get any better, they'll want to record a show or two live off the floor and sell CDs in the lobby!  When you hear the precision of the songs presented, like "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", "Hound Dog", "This Magic Moment", or "Up On The Roof" - I can't even begin to list the highlights here! And those are just in the first act!!

Troy Adams, Aurianna Angelique, Tafari Anthony, Andrew Broderick, Starr Domingue, Rob James, Cavelle-Nell Romeo, Katrina Reynolds, Jeremiah Sparks, and Lee Siegel take turns showcasing their own capabilities, as well as songs that just never get old - even if they are so contemporary you can still hear them on the radio. Or internet - whatever your choice of technology may be...

I'll post a link when my official Calgary Herald review goes live online and in the paper next week, but for now, I hope you are getting the gist of what I'm trying to say here - put on your boogie shoes, unpack your leisure suit, and get on down to Stage West Calgary for this show - this production has an abundance of irresistible soul!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

One Day Early - My JFK Anniversary Piece

Hello Readers!

As I will have reviews posted tomorrow and again the day after of events I am tasked to attend over the next two nights, I thought I would just jump the gun by a day to post a column I wrote several years back, that never did get published.

I don't think I need to do much more by way of explanation than that - here's the piece:

“Covering Chaos” in Dallas

Long before CNN, smartphones, embedded reporters and every-day civilian social media sites made news-reporting instantaneous, a routine appearance by the President Of The United States in Texas ultimately sparked a frenzy of activity by news outlets worldwide, as they scrambled to relay to listeners and viewers that John F. Kennedy had just been shot by a sniper. 

Television was really still in its infancy back then, and radio was primarily providing the light entertainment menu of the time. Newspapers (if you can believe it now with the state of the business here in 2013) were considered the most important medium for hard news devotees. 

The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza in Dallas is a permanent exhibit dealing with the life, times, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, housed in the infamous former Texas School Book Depository Building. From the sixth floor of this historic building, employee Harvey Lee Oswald was believed to have fired the three shots that killed President Kennedy, and wounded Governor John Connally.

In late June 2005, as a member of the National Society Of Newspaper Columnists, I was part of a group that had a sneak peek at a fascinating temporary exhibit, entitled “Covering Chaos”. 

The efforts put into recreating the reporting timeline between the initial gunshot fired, to the somber reading of Kennedy’s passing by Walter Cronkite was nothing short of spellbinding, given the limitations for news delivery that were standard in the media outlets of the day. 

From November 22-25, 1963, wire services, print media, radio and television stations covered the event, and their efforts were recounted in this temporary exhibit. Two videos were broadcast in this exhibit room continuously, showcasing the ongoing news footage of the era. Just a few of the journalists highlighted were Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Bob Shieffer, & Jim Lehrer.

One entire sidewall of the museum featured newspapers from around the world, released as news of the shooting began to spread. Another area featured actual network TV cameras, reel-to-reel tape recorders, and other tools of the reporter’s trade, circa 1963.

Standing at the window, looking down at the curved roadway that the President and his wife had been traveling along in their motorcade, you can’t help but feel a rush of history. This setting and scene has been played over and over hundreds of times on television and in movies, countless times in print. 

Markings on the road indicate the approximate location of the car carrying Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy, when the unexpected and unthinkable happened. 

Our group of columnists at this preview had the additional privilege of attending an address by three individuals who were on the scene at the time of the assassination. Bert Shipp was a Forth Worth TV news reporter, and Hugh Aynesworth a former reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Even amidst the gravity of recounting the situation they found themselves in, humor found a place, as Aynesworth recounted a story of borrowing a giant wooden pencil from a schoolboy on the side of the road, to write up his article. 

Jim Leavelle was the former Dallas police detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald, when Oswald was shot and killed by businessman Jack Ruby. He had the attention of everyone in the room as he recalled not only the events leading up to Oswald’s arrest, but the drama that unfolded in front of him, as Ruby stood out and killed the man that had shot “his President”. 

Heading back to our hotel on the shuttle after our special access event, one colleague from California admitted that he hadn’t expected it to be so emotional. He was one of the luckier ones. We heard later how other attendees just broke down into tears. Even being a Canadian just-a-little-too-young to have experienced the magnitude of the event at the time, you can’t walk away from this place in history without feeling affected. 

If you are going to be in Dallas area, especially close to this sad anniversary, I can’t advise strongly enough to take the time to check out this moving and history-filled exhibit facility. 

The Sixth Floor Museum is located at 411 Elm, Dealey Plaza, in Dallas Texas. 

To find out more about this exhibit, go to

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I think my palm tree just died....

The thing about a stereotype is that typically some part of the exaggeration associated with it is typically true.

Here in Canada, The Great White North, we struggle to overcome the stereotype that we are a frozen, uncivilized wasteland 90% of the calendar year.

Then I take a look outside, and see the snowbanks, the -20 degrees Celsius, and wonder if our work on that front just may be insurmountable.

As for the uncivilized aspect, I just have to watch the drama unfolding across the other side of the country with Toronto's troubled wild-man mayor, and I must concede that the stereotype may be closer to reality than exaggeration...

Oh Canada....


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You Know It's Cold When...

Well, winter seems to be officially setting in here in Calgary - even if it is a bit ahead of schedule.

Here's an unedited version of an old newspaper column, which appeared back in 2008. Unfortunately, the online versions are all gone, along with their website.

But I dug this up, just for shiggles:

You Know It’s Cold Outside When…

Hey, if you’ve got “dog days’ of summer, are there “polar bear days” of winter?  

No matter where you may live in Canada, there are a few days each winter that rank right up there, amongst the coldest times of any given year. Colder than a paperclip in a popsicle. Colder than a penguin’s freckles after sundown. Colder than a snowball in the root cellar of an Arctic igloo…

Yes, there are days when it certainly feels chilly. But if you want to know for sure just how cold it may be outside, what are the parameters that define just how cold a day really is?  

Well, you know it’s really cold outside, when a water balloon that you toss at the side of a house buckles the retaining wall…

It is definitely frosty outside when you’re out for a walk, and you stumble across what appears to be an extremely lifelike ice sculpture of geese migrating, displayed by the roadside. Then one of them faintly honks…

It is a definition of extreme cold when you jokingly try to see your breath, and it comes out like one of those solid dialogue balloons in the comic strips.

You know it’s really cold outside when you answer a knock at your door, only to find a bear with his pyjamas on, asking if he can spend the rest of the winter in your rumpus room…

It is seriously frigid outside if the local TV station’s meteorologist describes current wind chills as “cold enough to pucker a tortoise’s teeth…”

You know that the mercury has dropped substantially when your just-delivered morning newspaper tries to crawl away from your front porch, and heads under a car that’s warming up in the driveway next door. 

It is totally freezing outside when you try to convince the dog to go out and do his business, and he pulls a “go ahead punk, make my day” stance on you…

It is mind-numbingly cold outside when you are out for a walk, and you come across what seems like a remarkably lifelike ice sculpture of clowns on tricycles, displayed by the roadside. Then one of them faintly honks… 

You know that it’s bone-chillin’ cold outside when the sun comes up, wearing a scarf and earmuffs.

There is no question at all that the weather outside is frightful if you glance through your windows at the fruit trees in your yard, and they appear to be much closer together than they’ve ever been before. You’d go so far as to say they look like they’re snuggling…

You know that it’s humongously cold outdoors if the thermostat for your furnace is reading “I think I can, I think I can…” 

You can bank on it being frostbite time outside when you are out for a little exercise stroll, and you notice what appears to be a tremendously lifelike ice sculpture of a marching band’s horn section, displayed on the main street of town. 

Then one of them faintly honks… 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Pre-Club Interview With: Ashley Condon

Calgary Folk Club
November 25, 2013
Interview: Opener Ashley Condon

An Interview With 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee 
Ashley Condon - 
appearing at 
The Calgary Folk Club, 11/25/13, 
opening for Lunch At Allen’s

During the weekend that the Canadian Folk Music Awards were held here in Calgary this past Nov. 8th-13th, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Ashley Condon, a nominee herself for an award. 

Ashley also happens to be appearing this coming weekend (Nov 22) to open for the musical revue “Lunch At Allen’s”, which features Canadian music icons Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan, and Ian Thomas.

While Mo Kenney ultimately won in her category of New/Emerging Artist Of The Year at the awards, she has been riding a wave of success with her latest album, “This Great Compromise” - including an appearance at #1 on Galaxie’s Folk/Roots channel.

Coming from a musical family, Ashley learned to play guitar at 15, then went on to study theatre in university. Blending those two skills together for 10+ years, she has emerged as a storyteller in her songwriting, wanting her audiences to feel like they have been moved when they hear her songs. She shared in our conversation that she carries that through in-between songs when performing. 

Aiding in that ongoing effort for her sophomore album was three-time JUNO-award winner David Francey, a winner at those very same 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards as English Songwriter Of The Year, for “So Say We All”.

Listening to the title track from “This Great Compromise” on her YouTube feed recently, I can safely say that the Calgary Folk Club audience is in for a treat Friday night - she stays true to old-fashioned straight-up folk with a gentle but compelling style reminiscent of artists like Nancy Griffiths, or Liz Longley.  

When I asked what her most memorable moment onstage in her career so far might have been during our brief interview, she was quick to remember her first exposure to a national audience - Toronto’s Hugh’s Room, about 2 years ago. Not only was that a high-water mark for performing in a noted venue for her chosen genre, but that’s also where she first saw Francey live.

Warm and approachable in person, I'm personally look forwarding to this Friday night's upcoming event - I expect I’ll be walking away with a copy of a CD or two by the time her set is over.

Discover more for yourself before the show at:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Something In The Way She Moves....

...makes me wonder if she may be trying to smuggle fresh vegetables out of the supermarket....


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken..)

Pilgirm, this coop ain't big enuff fer tha both of us...


Cluck fer now friends, this ain't gonna be pretty!!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Thank Gord It's Funky!

Put on your boogie shoes, and get the funk into the weekend!!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

And Now, The End Is Near...

...of this brief sentence, so I will simply conclude with a period.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rooting Around

It would be just plain rude to compare a highly-paid, trained dental professional to a truffle-sniffing pig, but I suppose the comparison isn't all that far off.

While pigs are able to sniff the ground to discover the rare delicacy, a dental specialist will be rooting around this morning under a crown in my mouth, looking for the reason I get recurring infections, swelling and sharp pain.

I know why, I just get frustrated at the cost of remediation. This will be the third such specialist to inform me that a former dentist broke off a file tip, and left it in there when he finished off a root canal, and installed a costly crown. That tooth also abuts a sinus, so when it swells, the clash is just like a cold front meeting a warm front - stormy.

My gripe is that I am having to pay ginormous sums of money (funny, Spell-Check didn't even blink an eye over ginormous...) for someone's professional incompetence, even with insurance coverage.

Have you ever tried going to your bank and borrowing against the values in your teeth? I guarantee the loans officer will be regaling his colleagues with THAT story for years if you ever did give it a try.

Well, a top-of-the-line Mercedes is awfully expensive, and those doctors do have to keep up their appearances. Who am I to complain about diverting our six-month holiday to Europe, Australia and Jupiter into a single affected tooth?

Grumpy, I guess....


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Little Known Facts About The Quaker Oats Man

What You Never Knew About The Iconic Gentleman In The Quaker Oats Logo:

1) For decades, Q.O. Man was mistaken in bars and restaurants for Benjamin Franklin.

2) Q.O. Man was known among his friends and family as an avid collector of butterflies.

3) In high school, Q.O. Man had an ongoing battle with acne, which prevented him from sowing his own wild oats until his college years.

4) In 2012, executives at Quaker Oats tried to encourage Q.O. Man to retire, as they had hoped to introduce a younger, more virile spokesperson. Feisty as ever, he requested the executive "go pee in their hats"...

5) Q.O. Man suffers from gluten intolerance - life can be so ironic...

6) For the iconic sketch session that provided the corporate logo that remains to this day, Q.O. Man insisted on wearing nothing below his pickling smock...

7) Mrs. Q.O. Man played piano in the Quaker Butter Churners Ensemble in the late 1960's.

8) A shy boy for many years while growing up, after a pal once told him he needed to "let his hair down" he never again cut his hair - thus the flowing locks pictured...

9) Q.O. Man suffers from thigh chaffing during the heat of summer.

10) His middle name is "Yoder"...

Now you know!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Backstage @folkawards - Celebrating Canada's Best Folk Artists

Well, if you're not a fan of folk artists, or Canadian folk artists, or Canada for that matter - this past weekend must have been tough on you following along on the Such Is Life posts.

I'd say that's NOT the case though, as my Calgary Folk Club review link has been the highest it has ever been since I began them, as I shared my thoughts of the opening night of nominee showcases. As of this morning, it is five times higher than the closest post for the rest of the views (although I must admit my Leon Russell review is burning up the view charts as well right now...).

So, despite missing Saturday night's showcases due to other commitments (Leon Russell), I had the chance to help out last night with working the social media feed for the Canadian Folk Music Twitter, along with a colleague beside me on another computer, and a third accomplice live-Tweeting from the audience.

Clearly, this has to be very close to how Santa is able to pull off Christmas in just one night. A team of well-organized behind-the-scenes maniacs working in tandem to flawlessly bring updates instantly to the audience that was actually watching the awards live, but as well to all those spread across the country that weren't so fortunate to be there themselves.

There were some surreal moments, like watching the artists gather together just before they went onstage to perform between award announcements. Canadian musical comic Lorne Elliott was pacing like a jungle cat before he went out and delighted the audience with his little guitar - and no, that's not a euphemism. He does have a very little guitar...

Trying to Tweet on my own feed in between, I had to scroll past all the tweets that were coming in from the team as we were tweeting them.

Sitting for over 3 1/2 hours though, I should maybe have been twerking while I was tweeting, because I was getting pretty tsore. Twattaya gonna do? It was worth it being part of an amazing night of celebrations here in Calgary - truth be told, no nominated artist should have gone home without a trophy. We are fortunate folks here in Canada, when it comes to our folk music..


Appropriate For Today

I'll post a recap of working behind the scenes at last night's Canadian Folk Music Awards in just a moment.

First however, in respect for today, I will re-post this column that first appeared somewhat slightly differently in my weekly humour column when it ran, but also nationally in my monthly column back on Nov 9, 2012.

Lest We Forget....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leon Russell @ The Deerfoot Inn 11 09 13

Leon Russell
Deerfoot Inn
Calgary Alberta Canada
11 09 13

The Saturday Morning 
"Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway" Concert Review: 
Leon Russell

Leon Russell was there when classic rock was taking its enduring place in music history - and his piano and songs are so much a part of that era a listener now could be forgiven for thinking Russell was just covering some of those songs last night. When you realize (Google him if you aren't familiar) he played on so many of those records, and wrote many of the songs - well, for me I just get the chills.

Hearing his unmistakeable vocal and piano styles on monster hits like Ray Charles "Georgia", The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses", and his own "Delta Lady" (made famous by Joe Cocker) was like being transported back in time to the era. He sounds and plays as great as he did over 40 years ago - just another perk of the evening!

Never mind the other rock classics he ground out - songs that have never gone out of favour from The Beatles, Little Richard, and the percolating "Roll Over Beethoven" that he came back for in his encore - a work-out-and-a-half for him and his crackerjack band...

Of course, there were his own amazing songs as well, and only so many that a guy can perform in 90 minutes - including a fantastic solo set that included "A Song For You"".  

Russell is also a compelling storyteller between songs, getting a little misty-eyed looking back on his career - one song he wrote for a female friend who passed unexpectedly recently, and a story about blues great BB King wanting to record on of his songs - hard to imagine when you look back over the list of artists he has been associated with for over 45 years...

Who knows? Maybe Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus will also have adoring fans misting up hearing their "hits" 50 years from now. 

Not having achieved a fraction of what Mr. Russell has contributed to popular music for decades, I wouldn't hold my breath on that...

There's certainly some songs I wished would have been included last night, but when he kicked into "Tight Rope" - just to single out one highlight, who can really complain? The audience got their money's worth and more.

We had opted to stay overnight for this show. Going up to our room after we checked in, who should enter the elevator along with us? Mr. Russell and a couple of his band members. Man...

I have to say, we have seen some great acts here in The Inn's Chrome Showroom. As a matter of fact, I got my freelance reviewer gig at The Calgary Herald thanks to one of these unofficial blog reviews going viral several years back.

When Billy Bob Thornton went a little angry during an appearance on CBC some time ago, my review of his show here became the number one Google search result for about a week. 

That's why I keep doing them...

You can learn a lot about Leon Russell from the Wikipedia page that comes up, but visit his own
music site for the official goods!


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Calgary Folk Club 11 09 13: Canadian Folk Music Awards Showcase

Calgary Folk Club
11 09 13
2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominees Showcase

The Saturday Morning "Before Noon Entertainment Review": 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee Showcase, Calgary Folk Club


Helen Austin, The Log Drivers, Alexis Normand, Lenka Lichtenberg,
Ken Whiteley, The Sweet Lowdown

It's funny - with as many years as I have following live music and supporting Canadian acts, events like last night remind me how vast the spectrum of talent is that our country harbours, and how much I still have to learn about some of those artists.

The 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards are being held here in Calgary this year, and the weekend kicked off with the first of FOUR nominee showcases, one of two being held at the long-running Calgary Folk Club.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, there are three different opportunities to see some of these performers TONIGHT - so please check out for the locations and schedule. Many are already sold out, and there are also workshops throughout the day today and tomorrow, before the gala evening and awards presentation.

Back to last night, which could not have gotten off to a better start - Children's Album Of The Year nominee Helen Austin mixed her adult fare with the nominated album's title track "Always Be A Unicorn" to engage the audience.

Performing with her daughter, the crowd helped out by singing along to songs that went by too quickly in the shortened sets that accommodated the robust lineup. 

Check out Helen's website to find out about picking up some of her music, or all the high-water marks she has enjoyed to date in her career. Spoiler alert - there are plenty!

Before the first break, Instrumental Group Of The Year nominees The Log Drivers stepped up the Celtic with Irish bagpipes, fiddle and even flute - along with step-dancing from Calgarian guest member Heather Cameron. 

Band mates Spencer Murray and Nate Douglas kept the energy moving along with selections from their debut album like "Dixieland", and "The Shaggy Dog". Plenty of self-deprecating humour and a wide assortment of instruments on the stage really afforded these talented musicians a chance to shine. 

Find out more about The Log Drivers here!

In the "sandwich set", French Songwriter nominee Alexis Normand made me think about comparing her to a Francophone Sarah McLachlan - a comment which I live-tweeted actually. 

What is it about French language songs (and performers for that matter) that can be so inherently charming? Ms. Normand performed some spell-binding selections, and as an unfortunately lapsed French Canadian, I won't embarrass myself trying to mangle spelling those song titles.

You can ensure finding the proper titles by clicking this link.

Putting the world in the World Solo category, nominee Lenka Lichtenberg offered a hypnotic set of Yiddish, Czech and Slovak inspired songs - back by the most exotic instruments of the evening. 

The opening number literally transported listeners across the globe, and her haunting vocals caressed the foundation of piano, lute and percussion beneath. 

Float away to her site, which introduces you to her unique style as soon as it loads...

The concluding segment of the Nominees Showcase started with a Canadian folk veteran - Ken Whiteley, up for Traditional Singer

Powerful, captivating, and making a strong case for his nomination, Whiteley was at the top of his game with help from a few guest artists. 

Rousing gospel, traditional folk, blues, and even a Christmas song were plenty well received - again far too short a time for a versatile journeyman of the scene. 

There is wealth of education for you (if you need that) on his own site.

Closing this exceptional evening were three ladies nominated for Vocal Group. The Sweet Lowdown was indeed exactly that, a terrific trio to wrap up the night.

Funny how the combination of fiddle, guitar and banjo is pretty much the exact configuration of The Dixie Chicks, but the sounds of the two groups are worlds apart by comparison - clearly no less talented however.  

Lush harmonies, solo showcases throughout provided a glimpse into their nod for an award. Personally I really enjoyed "May", "You Can Find The North", and "Lights Across The Water".

These musicians reside online here. I'd recommend you give their website a visit.

If you want to see top-notch Canadian talent in intimate venues, make sure you take in at least one of these showcases this weekend - check first for tickets though!


Friday, November 08, 2013

The Return Of The Throbbing Molar

A day off work yesterday to attend to medical appointments.

Happily, Mrs That Dan Guy's eyelid issue is currently NOT a concern. Without going into great detail there, she was concerned about a potential problem, and we had to wait to see one of only two eyelid specialists in all of Alberta. The worst part is one only works on right eyelids, and the other solely on the left. Not sure who handles any Cyclops clients, unless they alternate...

I kid, but it could have been true - if only I had pursued a medical career in my youth, I'd be seeing one-eyed squinters myself....

On the dental front, I indeed had an abscess in the area of my miserable molar, but this time in my upper gum-line.  It was streaming, much like my internet - but with a foul substance that requires antibiotics to tame.

As this has been going on for far too long, and now happens more frequently, I have also booked a specialist appointment, which means there is a driller outside of the oil business here in Calgary that will be rubbing his hands in glee, and perhaps upgrading a Mercedes or BMW soon.

Mrs. That Dan Guy simply needed a filling replaced, when a piece of gum dislodged one earlier this week. Shouldn't they post warnings about that sort of risk on the gum packaging?

At any rate, we are off work today as well recuperating.

Heavy weekend of entertainment as well, so expect the weekend chicken to get bumped, and plenty of reviews in his place.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Maintenance Day

We are both off work today for medical reasons.

Mrs. That Dan Guy has finally received a specialist appointment for her eyelid - there are only two specialists in all of Alberta that work on eyelids - go figure. We are most anxious to get that looked at, no pun intended...

We both have emergency dental appointments later today, as she had a filling decide to make a midnight move the other day, with no advance notice - the gaping hole left behind makes it great for whistling, but the sharp pain while doing that - not so much fun...

I have a flare-up of a problem molar that requires some relief, and I am half-inclined to just bang it out with a hammer and be done with it.

Hard to maneuver a hammer into that space, so I will instead be half-reclined while a dental professional takes care of the job.

Great day off!!


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles...

...when you:

a) hit it with a hammer,

b) slam your king-sized coffee mug down on it accidentally after stubbing your toe while walking and reading a newspaper without paying attention,

c) a light fixture crashes down on it after coming loose during an earthquake,

d) another cookie, consumed with jealousy, pushes it off the countertop during a hissy fit,

e) when you didn't bake it long enough and it falls apart everywhere when you pick it up to give it a taste,

f) a migrating kangaroo hops atop the kitchen counter, shattering it into a thousand pieces as he bounds around the room.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Getting Colder...

Alas, poor Canada - tis winter now indeed, and...and...

Who the heck am I kidding?? -13 Celsius, snow, biting Arctic winds...why don't we live in Bora Bora??

I must examine my life, and see if we can't be doing this from Costa Rica, or the barren deserts of Las Vegas.

Surely there are options for a pair of kindly, gentle souls that really don't care for windchill chaffing and frostbite.

Work to be done, methinks!! Unless I have angered Vladimir, is there really any reason to be living in Siberia???


Monday, November 04, 2013

Getting A Bit Ahead of Myself: Herald Angels

I know November is only just a few days in, but for some reason this is on my mind:

"Hark, The Herald Angels Sing".

I get that the town crier commenting is asking people to listen. But technically, shouldn't the phrase be "Harp - The Herald Angels Sing"??

We have always been led to believe (in Christian circles anyhow) that angels spend their days in long white robes plucking harps. While that has always been the travel brochure used to get both the faithful and the sinners onboard, I personally would prefer shorts, a tank top, and a sandy beach for my eternity. Give me a ukelele, keep your heavy, awkward harp thanks very much.

Hark? Sounds like a dog with a cold...

Harp? I think that would be much more appropriate...

Just my thoughts folks - don't feet your underwear in a knot...


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Stay At Home Day

With winter pounding us with a sledgehammer of snowfall yesterday and today, I do believe we will opt to stay in today. As it is, I have several deadlines that would have encouraged that thought process, but we are fond of monkey business during our days off, so we may have opted to go out if the weather were nicer.

How bad is it? It took me over two hours to get back home yesterday after serving as MC for the Canadian Diabetes Association Calgary Fall Forum. Normally, that trip is about 25-30 minutes...

If our freeloading rabbit is still in the yard, we can't see him or her - that could just mean he or she is buried under the fresh snow - kind of a Hare Popsicle.That's the life, man - hibernate as the elements of nature conspire against you.

Which is kind-of what we are going to opt to do, until we have to go battle the elements during the drive to work tomorrow...


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken...)

Chicken Scratch: really bad, illegible handwriting.

Chicken Scratch: poor pay for work.

Chicken Scratch: feed for chickens

Chicken Scratch: A breakfast offering that is likely going to backfire on me this morning, as Charlie discovers this in his food dish while still hung over...

Cluck for now!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Canadian Diabetes Association Expo This Saturday Morning!

I'lll be posting this again from my online diabetes personas, but thought it would be prudent to spread the word here too...

Saturday morning if you are in the Calgary area, you may want to stop by the Coast Plaza hotel for the free annual Fall Forum - a diabetes expo with displays and a panel discussion on self-management. If all those amazing resources weren't reason enough, I am now going to be the ringmaster as MC of the event.

Find out more by clicking on this link. Register online to assure yourself admittance!

Look forward to seeing you there, Calgary and area!!