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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Harp Traders

If the collective philosophy is correct, we're all going to be standing around all day up in Heaven, plucking harps for all of eternity. Are we sure this is Heaven??

I'm betting there's a pawn shop or two up there, where after a few millenia the folks that get tired of the endless drone of millions of harps can sneak off in the middle of the night to unload the damned things. From there, I guess they have to go under the radar, which would have to be a bit of a problem what with it being Heaven and all - maybe this is part of the recruitment program for Hades?? I know that even with my easy-going nature, I'd probably want to clobber someone with a harp if that's all I heard all day and all night!!

Just sayin'...


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

11 (Possible) Secret Herbs & Spices

When I have free time on my hands, I like to speculate (ie: - take scientific wild-ass guesses that hopefully will not be taken seriously enough so as to lead to litigation) on a variety of subjects. I may speculate on just about anything under the sun, given enough free time.

Anything - like what might be some of the long-guarded 11 secret herbs and spices used in coating KFC chicken parts...

1) Myrrh - why not? What else is myrrh used for? Does anyone even have the slightest clue what myrrh is?? Hopefully, it is delicious if it is indeed used in coating KFC chicken parts...

2) Love - isn't everything tastier when it's coated in love?? And crispy...

3) Edible oil by-product extractions - YUM!!!

4) Eye of newt  - a time-honoured tradition, possibly ALSO a delicious secret ingredient making magic on KFC chicken parts coating...

5) Kentucky Bluegrass - hey - the best is the best, be it for a shimmering, lush lawn or coated chicken parts...

6) Riboflavin - Riboflavin? Ribo-flavour!!

7) Gravy Dilute - Not entirely sure if this is even a thing, but back when KFC chicken part coating was created, there couldn't have been that many ingredients to choose from in an industrial kitchen...

Well, just a few guesses - who really knows what composes the ACTUAL 11 secret herbs and spices? Probably a scientist, or anyone that knows how to cook.

For now, these are some of my conclusions. Not to be taken seriously. Or litigated...


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Working In A Cold Mine...

You'd think that with modern technology, mine companies could afford to run some sort of heating into their mine workplaces. But that old pop hit about working in cold ones indicates that might not be happening.

Is it time to start a campaign for warm mines? Don't workers deserve a comfortable workplace?

Where were the unions when these companies started building cold mines? Seems to me a no-brainer - just find a way to keep things warm in there!!

I must find out a bit more about this phenomenon....

I'll get back to you, after my research is done!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Back. To The Future!

Going through cupboards and dresser drawers yesterday, I came across some archaeological curiosities - one of which was my VHS copy of the first instalment of Michael J. Fox's "Back To The Future" franchise. I've long since purchased the trilogy of DVD, which is almost as extinct now as that old VHS tape.

I do tend to collect these things. I know that in a box somewhere in the house (OK, several boxes), I have unseen episodes of "Dallas", "Growing Pains", and "Wheel Of Fortune" I will have to one day unearth and watch, before I can let them go.

Don't even get me started on my 8-tracks - why doesn't anyone still sell the players??



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bad Year in Famous People Losses So Far...


I can't find the link I stumbled across last week, but that one suggested there have been over 90 celebrity deaths so far this year - and they are some pretty big names from film, stage, music, sports and more.

Click here for a similar list...

I had forgotten just how many big names are no longer with us...


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chicken Scratch

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


I wunner why that there helli-chopper keeps circling' above tha house?

Ackshually, it keeps hoverin' - juss above tha house???


Ah cud swear it feels like it's shootin' some kinda beam into tha house - THIS HOUSE@!?!

Wut tha cluck????


Oh boy - ah better go hide tha medicinal vegetation ah been storin' fer...a friend!!


Is that a dog I heer barkin' outside??

Oh, sweet lard!!



Ah'm too pretty ta go ta jail!!

Time ta use tha chicken door ta skee-daddle!!!


Cluck fer now!! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pulling Up My Socks!

Wait - I'm not wearing socks????

Ankle fat????

Oh boy......

That can't be good.....


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Merrily We Roll Along?

I'm betting that song WASN'T sung by rowers on viking ships....

Just sayin'...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Can't Whistle

We are a unique combo, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I. She can't snap her fingers, and I can't whistle. By contrast, I can snap the fingers on BOTH my hands, while she can whistling like a steaming kettle on a hot stovetop.

So, the biggest problem I can see with this information is that there are some jobs I probably wouldn't qualify to work in, as a result of my inability to whistle:

1) Lookout for bank robbers - without a whistle to alert my colleagues of approaching law enforcement, I would be finding new accomplices every other week. Scratch this one off my list.

2) Mom on a working ranch - I suppose I could use a bell or something, but don't most whistle for the workers to come to lunch?

3) Mine worker - don't all of them whistle as they work??

4) Lothario at beach, or construction site - this has to be the oldest whistling situation to find oneself in, whistling at pretty girls walking by. My efforts just sound like an asthmatic donkey...

5) Dog caller - again, perhaps other oral commands might replace a sharp whistle to prompt Rover's return - but amongst all his dog pals, they would probably have a laugh riot over my human whistling shortcomings...

Yessir, I can't whistle. Oh snap!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Once Again, I Am Bereft...

Well, here we go again - I've got nuthin'...

My brain is blank, my skewed sense of sensibilities is snafu.

I'm sure if I really put some thought to it, I could come up with something. But at this very moment, watching my fingers lumber along the keyboard, I can see my cup of coffee over there on the table, and I believe that is where my focus truly lies.

So, to recap - I got nuthin'. Humble apologies. We'll try again (as usual) tomorrow.

Hey - get outside and enjoy the day, why doncha??

Hello coffee my old friend, I've come to snarf you up again...


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chicken Scratch

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


Saturday - tha worss day uv tha week!!


Chores, insted a snores, as I hafta git mah clothes eyerunned up fer tha club tonite.

Cleerly, ah needs tah git mahself a helper aroun here!!


Whoever invented duds that need ta be eyerunned in tha firss place???

Ah also needs tah take care not ta burn tha feathers on them clothes...


Well, ole Charlie haz werk ta dew, so why don yew all git back ta werk yerselves??


Cluck fer now...

Friday, July 18, 2014

If I Had It To Do All Over Again...

I'd spend time in a Mariachi band - maybe as the guy that plays that really big guitar...

I'd have taken up hunting. And pecking...

I might have played more croquet - although as an adult, you don't get that many chances to have a quick pick-up game....

I would have become a weatherman - what a great job, never having to ensure that whatever I say will actually happen when I say it will. Hey, is it too late to become a politician??

I would have had two or three times more freckles added to my face, as a conversation starter.

I would avoid smokin'. Ah, who am I kidding - I've always been smokin'....

I would have joined Hair Club For Men far, far earlier...

You know, it strikes me that I can still do all of this and more - where the heck did this train of thought come from??

Come on Friday - let's do this!!!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Johnny Winter - Glad I Got To See Him Live

I've been running through some of my old newspaper columns for the past little while, trying to find a column I wrote a few years back. When I heard that legendary bluesman Johnny Winter had passed, I hoped to re-post that piece.

However, can't find it. I had probably made a mention in a piece and I'll have to comb through them all one at a time - at any rate, I saw him back when he was still filling arenas. He came to Winnipeg, and put on a hell of a show that I remember to this day. I'll also never forget his warm-up act - Little Richard! There was a showman, let me tell you.

Digging out some music to listen to while I work of the greats...


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today In History - Newsworthy Tidbits Stolen From The Web!

So, apparently today in history - 463 to be exact- was the start of the Lunar Cycle of Hilarius - you just can't make stuff like that up.

Although, I did just copy and paste that nugget from a website I know nothing about, so maybe that is completely fabricated, just for shiggles by the site administrators. I could have egg on my face, and NOT from my breakfast dish!!

At any rate, I know absolutely nothing about the Lunar Cycle Of Hilarius, but I will presume on the record here that this cycle is the reason we still continue to find mooning people so funny, centuries later. That's my educated guess.

I could just be a little lune-y though...


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Blog For Today's Calgary Herald - Las Vegas Elvis Festival Notes

I just Tweeted my link to today's Calgary Herald blog post, and already my Twitter feed is blowing up as I type this - that's the power of the enduring popularity of Elvis Presley.

Read about my walk down Memory Lane, and in the actual places he walked himself during his Vegas run by clicking here.

What a crazy experience!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Back Home!

Like John Denver famously sang - hey, it's good to be back home again. Despite preferring to be still away, it was time to get back to everything I have on the go here.

And back to my crappy home internet, after even worse wifi experiences on the road. My word, what a terrible experience - I need to look into something that won't kill me financially, yet can still offer at least some degree of consistent online accessibility while travelling.

To top things off, I may have been hacked while on an unsecured wifi connection, so I apologize in advance if anyone has been spammed from "me". I'll get on that this morning - and have something new and exciting for my Calgary Herald blog space tomorrow.

Until then, I work no towards finally switching home internet providers, as my day has already been stalled by glacial speeds - speeds is so far tongue in cheek I can't swallow...


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chicken Scratch

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

Classic Chicken Scratch

Due to internet connectivity issues, we look back in the vaults today - an episode from July 19, 2008.


Cluck fer now:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Read It Now - My REM Column is live today!

Thank heaven for small miracles. My worst travelling internet connectivity EVER continues - so happily I can just link you to my latest column this morning (afternoon??), while I have a brief moment of apparent online connection.

Read it here - Real Estate Aptitude Test - and bear in mind, it is a humour column, in case you were hoping to really find out how to be successful :-)



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just a Quickie Today...

Wait - not that kind of quickie!!

(Although, the day is young, after all.......)

Trying to post on slow, and perhaps not even all that secure hotel internet, so let me just say that I hope to have something more tomorrow.

For now, this fulfills my mandate to post something every day - WHOOOPS!

I see an error message - better hope this does post after all, and I'll try again tomorrow.

Be safe out there,


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I Have To Ask... it REALLY wrong to have an ice cream sandwich for breakfast? I'm out of toast.

Asking for a friend.


Monday, July 07, 2014

Flawtography, Episode #021 - George Strait

In 2009, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I settled into the Saddledome to see the legendary George Strait live in concert - good thing we did, he's now recently retired from touring!

What a show, and as you can see from the photo, he looks terrific! He was literally shimmering with energy and enthusiasm!

I did review the show for this blog space, so if you'd like to see how that show went, just click here.

Happy Stampedin'!


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend cowboy and guest blogger, Charlie Chicken...)


Itz tha Calgiry Stampeed, folks - giddy-up!!


Bein' born inna farm, Ah'm about tha only awwthentik cowboy yew might see here this week!

Ah gots mah spurs sharpened an polished, an mah cowboy hat is at the ready, fer when a cute cowgirl winks at me!

Ah LOOOOOOVES Stampede!!



Ah also kinda enjoys tha authentic foods of tha ole west, like these here minnie-donuts! Yowza, makes a beak slobber like a fountain at a outdoor pool - Mama Mia!!!


After a strennu-us couple hours a bull ridin'  a bird gets a hankering' fer donuts. Pardner...

Yessir, fella, yew kin dip 'em in sugar, ah ain't gots tha diabetes mahself!!



Now, excuse me folks, ah gotta sashay over ta tha shade, this here sunny wether is gonna burn tha pinfeathers right offa me!!


Cluck fer now - Ya-Hoooooooo!!!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

"Avenue Q" at Stage West Calgary Is Puppet Perfection!

"Avenue Q"
Stage West Calgary

My "Before-Noon" Theatre Review: 

"Avenue Q

at Stage West Calgary

Directed & Choreographed by Mark Bellamy

(5 out of 5 Stars)

What a way to end the latest season over at Stage West Calgary - the award-winning (albeit frequently naughty) "Avenue Q" won over the audience last night with real-life struggles portrayed by shadier versions of The Muppets. 

While not at all a production of the legendary Sesame Street or Muppets creator Jim Henson, you can't ignore the comparison - it's "felt" throughout by the main characters, a variety of puppets and monsters that move the storyline along, while visible puppeteers actually move them through their scenes.

It all works unbelievably well - there are moments when you don't even realize that the puppeteer maneuvering the character that they are holding isn't the actor actually voicing them. Without any effort to hide the humans, they do end up blending in visually, in deference to the puppet leads.

Here though is where I have to say that from a vocal standpoint, this may just be the strongest cast of singers to date at Stage West Calgary - and there have been some amazing vocalists on that stage over the years I have attended. In the roles here, with multiple voices to alternate between, each and every actor delivers wonderfully vocally, and emotionally. Director Mark Bellamy noted that the songs were terrific in an interview prior to the media night presentation, and he wasn't kidding. Who needs "Bring Him Home", when there are so many witty melodies, like plays on racism "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist", or online surfing "The Internet Is For Porn"?? 

Like Les Miz, there are refrains of some songs throughout, like "B.A. In English" and "It Sucks To Be Me" laments that are reprised, nicely anchoring the theme of disappointment that runs throughout the production, while maintaining the heavy sense of humour that dominates the story. 

photos courtesy of Stage West Calgary

Make no mistake. This is an adult show, with graphic scenes and language. Stage West did a great job letting potential audience members know that in advance, in case anyone wasn't already familiar with the show. In the spirit of the story, the naughtiness all worked to big laughs. Despite the lack of a tidy, happy ending, I'd wager that most of the audience left more than satisfied with the experience.

As usual, I have to retain some material for use in my official Calgary Herald review (linked here when that's live in the paper and online), but quickly - Jeremy Crittenden (
Princeton/Rod) and Madeleine Suddaby (Kate/Lucy) were outstanding as were their colleagues Christian Goutsis (Nicky Trekkie) and Selina Wong (vocal powerhouse Christmas Eve), as well as Katrina Reynolds (Gary Coleman), Katherine Fadum, and Daniel Williston (Brian).  

You can find out more by visiting Stage West Calgary, and you can access the piece I wrote earlier for my Calgary Herald Blog, when I sat down with director Mark Bellamy.

You can view that interview on my YouTube Channel, or download it from my podcast site.

Again, I'll post a link once my actual Calgary Herald review runs, but for now, make plans to go get your puppet on at Stage West Calgary - this show is as good as it gets, human or otherwise!



Friday, July 04, 2014

My First 4th Of July (Have A Safe & Happy One, Friends!)

This piece is pretty old, I wrote it after attending one of my annual NSNC conferences (National Society Of Newspaper Columnists) in 2006, and a version of it appeared in my old weekly newspaper column. I may have even posted it here in the past, so if you've read it already, I do apologize.

Still fun though, so enjoy, and to all my American compadres, have a safe and happy 4th of July!

My First Fourth of July

After decades of celebrating Canada Day here at home, my wife and I had a chance to experience our first-ever Fourth of July celebrations on U.S. soil, around this time last year. We happened to be in Boston, a city literally brimming with history.
However, this story has two parts, beginning on the 3rd of July. 

That morning, we were getting an early start to our day, having breakfast in our hotel - The Omni Parker House. The restaurant in this hotel has seen a fair share of history itself. It happens to be where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie. It also boasts Malcolm X as a former busboy. I understand a couple of recent American Idol contestants are going to be future waiters there...

After breakfast, we had time to fill, so we rushed off to Prudential Center, where we caught a  "duck" ride, a city and river tour on a World War II amphibious vehicle. Over hill and over dale, that was a total hoot - even though technically ducks don’t hoot. 

Zipping back to our hotel afterwards, we caught our breath before we had dinner, and took in a pre-4th of July Fife & Drum concert, in the courtyard of Old City Hall. Very cool! Made me wish I had taken my high school fife lessons more seriously... Boston is one history-filled place to attend the Independence Day holiday!!

All of this time-filling led to our eventual destination - we closed our evening with the free dress rehearsal of The Boston Pops, on The Esplanade. You literally enjoy the exact same 4th Of July show that will be broadcast live on national TV the next evening. We saw the entire dry run, with hosts Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw, plus guests like Steve Tyler & Joe Perry doing a couple of huge Aerosmith hits. And of course, The Boston Pops masterfully running through the famous “1812 Overture”. Absolutely surreal... 

After experiencing the dress rehearsal for The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular however, we thought we might not want to be in a cozy little crowd of 500,000, for the real deal. So, we booked ourselves onto a “fireworks cruise”.

Which is how we eventually spent our first-ever Fourth of July, in the United States…

When we arrived at the harbor the next afternoon, there were a couple of ships lined up, so we settled onto a bench, chatting with a nice couple from Chicago.

There was one cruise boarding before ours, and we were surprised to notice that a modern, sleek twin-hulled catamaran was being loaded for that one. An older, somewhat rusty tub appeared to be the only one left for the next group - our group. You could hear the ripples of concern begin to circulate throughout the crowd on the dock...

So as not to allow those of us who had arrived early to get cold feet, they began to board The Rusty Tub. In the surprising crush of people anxious to embark on what looked like a retired tugboat, my wife and I ended up in the lower level, where we were about to enjoy a cozy three-hour sauna.

Once finally underway, I imagine it was with our safety in mind that The Rusty T made its way out to the “general area” of the fireworks, but kept to a very safe distance of what seemed like several miles away, in case I suppose any of the fireworks embers might ignite the original wood hull. We became concerned that we may ironically end up watching "The Spectacular" on a cell phone screen. Several Lions attending an international conference were quietly planning a mutiny, gathering up a supply of the onboard hot dogs - stiffer than billy clubs...

Suddenly though, the Floating Rust Barge hauled anchor over to another vantage point, where we could see the illumination of fireworks, from behind a row of tall buildings. The crew simulcast the audio of The Boston Pops over speakers throughout the ship. I’ve never, ever seen anything like it before. It was unforgettable...

We all had a few laughs on the cruise back to port, and nobody seemed to mind the accommodations that much anymore. 

Rust is relative after all, as long as it floats you back home… 


Thursday, July 03, 2014

I'll Huff, and I'll Puff...

...then the wolf put his oxygen mask back on, and decided just to stay in his chair and rest.

What? That fable is a couple of centuries old - even big bad wolves age...


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Feathers, Fur or Hair?

Like most people, you've probably had a bad hair day of two over the years. Wouldn't it be far more desirable to have something that DIDN'T create such havoc when you've slept in, and need to get ready quickly before you rush out the door, late to get to work??

So, hair as we humans know it seems to be the problem. What if instead we had either fur or feathers?

1) Fur seems to stay composed even after hours of sleeping in a sunny spot, on a couch back or on top of a dresser. And as a side benefit, you don't see too many bald cats or dogs, so how did we humans end up with a depleting resource on our scalps?

I vote for fur grafts, to see if that would be easier to manage after a morning of tossing and turning on a lumpy old mattress...

2) To be honest, I've never seen a bird of any sort laying down on his or her feathers (certainly not on a feather pillow!), so I can't say that those would be a viable option. It is too politically incorrect nowadays to wear one of those headdresses you could buy in the store as a child for games outside, which you could then test drive whilst snoozing.

I will try and find a bird of some sort to experiment with, but at this time, I believe that feathers, while quite ornate and fanciful, may be as much a nuisance as human hair when it comes to getting ready in the morning.

I suppose I should have thought of a few more options, but those two seemed like the most natural choices. Corduroy? Gravel? Choice to explore another day, I suppose...


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

David Sedaris Continues To Elude Me...

No picture today - we were informed at David Sedaris' Calgary reading and book signing last night that photos were NOT allowed. I'll take that to presume that a downloaded cover of one of his books wouldn't be appreciated either...

So, here's the thing, which will probably sound like heresy to most anyone reading this. I just don't get David Sedaris. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books from his canon, but I have yet to see anything that measures up to his wild popularity.

I know he's funny - I've seen him on Letterman, and listened to downloads of his reading excerpts from his books. But I've started two books now, and walked away from both. Both "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" and his newest release "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" - neither one gripped me in any way that compelled me to read further than a few chapters in.

Attending his live reading last night was more of a last-ditch effort to see if I am missing something that other readers (hundreds of thousands, I might add - maybe even more) see in his books. Granted, I haven't read his earlier best-sellers, so maybe I should make one last effort to see if I can find anything that endears his work to my attention. Not that he needs MY attention. His reading last night was peppered with stories of touring the world reading his work live, and the venue was packed to overflowing, standing room only.

I will admit, there were funny moments last night, even a few laugh-out-loud moments. But from a fellow that tops best-sellers lists with each new release, I just don't personally see that in the books I've started.

I've had the pleasure of hearing or even meeting some of the funniest authors in Canada and the U.S., and I have a really broad sense of humour, so it's not that I don't give his writing a chance. For all the hoopla, I just expect much more in the way of laughing from someone who is clearly such an accomplished writer and humorist.

Could be just me - and as I say, there were funny moments last night, just not what you would expect from such a huge name.

On the plus side, we got to hear brand-new pieces, that will likely end up in another book I'll probably start, then abandon...

What do I know??