Thursday, August 30, 2007

I loved you in Growing Pains

As one of the readers pointed out to me I received a comment yesterday from someone directing me to their blog. Given all the doomsday stuff I saw I'm pretty sure it was Kirk Cameron. That's pretty cool. Thanks for reading Kirk. It's great to hear from a fellow creationist.

Upon further review I think the reader is actually forming some sort of religion of his own and may be refuting the more traditional teachings. So maybe it's not Kirk. I don't think Kirk refers to himself as the Messiah either. On the guy's profile he lists one of his favorite movies as "Michael" starring John Travolta and Andie MacDowell. That doesn't sound like something the old or new Mike Seaver would be into. He also lists the B-52s and C+C Music factory as two of his favorite bands. Imagine you had been convinced that someone was the messiah and given up all your worldly posessions only to find C+C Music Factory playing when you arrived at the compound. Hopefully you kept the receipt for the jumpsuit and Keds.

Well I guess I've lost that reader. Not to worry, I set all sorts of records yesterday so who needs him. I guess it just proves the age-old adage "everyone loves old gay dudes getting busted in public restrooms". Speaking of...George Michael reportedly spent 3.5 million pounds on something called "Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain" recently. It's a glass tank with a suspended black calf pierced by dozens of arrows. It's either a condemnation of organized religion or an ad from the veal council. I'll have to check my art history textbooks to confirm. It is not known where he will show his new piece (Minneapolis airport?). Apparently he has a gallery in Dallas, Texas with his partner. I think it's in the mall beside the Applebee's. I wonder if he also carries Thomas Kincaid prints and those motivational posters about Teamwork and Determination. You know, the one's with the rowers or rock climbers. Perhaps my image of a gallery in Dallas is a bit unfair to George. How about I order a dozen Anne Geddes posters to make it up to you.

The NFL season starts in one week. I have my fantasy team ready to go and BA's outfit all picked out. I just ordered my new Bills jersey. I was tempted to go with "J. Christ" #1 on the back but backed out at the last minute. Albeit hilarious, the joke wouldn't have been worth losing Kirk Cameron's respect. Instead I went with Posluszny. It's coming from Korea which means it's fake and will probably give me some sort of terrible rash but, Hell, I saved about $50. That'll buy a lot of ointment. I'll let you know what it looks like when it arrives.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I can't quit you, Sen. Larry

Many of you will have read the transcript from Sen. Larry Craig's public statement yesterday. If you had, you may have missed some of the subtleties that could be seen and heard from the live video feed. For instance, the transcript would likely have ommitted the fact that Sen. Larry walked to the mic with the club mix of "Never gonna give you up" by Rick Astley playing. Now I'm no political advisor but I would have perhaps chosen something a little less "man's man". A new country or Christian rock track would have put forth more of a meat and potatoes Idaho man image. Perhaps something like "Put her in the buck" from 2 Live Crew would tell everyone how much you like the ladies. On the plus side his handlers (and I don't mean that in a lewd way) made the right decision going for the short sleeve shirt with the button down collar. I'll give them points there. Of course, the fact that they let the Senator take two 45 minute bathroom breaks during the statement more than outweighs their one good decision. They should also clearly point out to the Senator which one is his "wife". It was very awkward when he grabbed his lawyer's hand after admonishing the media for what this "witchhunt" had done to his wife. He then grabbed a passerby, the podium and a foot-long turkey sub before finally figuring out who is wife was supposed to, is.

There's one piece of the text that I would have changed. Instead of saying "I am not gay" he should have said "I am not a gay". Old guys who have never seen or met an actual gay person tend you use the term gay as a noun not an adjective. By using proper terminology you made yourself look a little less ignorant than you could have. If you are trying to maintain the image of a "values-based" Republican you need to play up your ignorance. That's the character you're supposed to be playing, Larry.

This really is all very sad particularly if his wife believes his act. If she's just a prop who's in on this then it's not as disturbing. Hell, there's a reasonable chance that Sen. Larry believes what he's saying. He may not consider himself gay. He's just a guy who loves his wife and occasionally looks for fast love with other dudes in Midwestern airports. That's the farthest thing from gay.

I'm not sure what's worse, Sen. Larry's reaction to his gay scandal (or gandal, for short) vs. that of Sen. Mark Foley or the Rev. Teg Haggard. The latter two admitted to their trysts, inappropriate e-mails to young male pages in the case of Foley and meth induced man-love with a call boy in the case of the good minister. The fact that Sen. Larry still denies he's gay despite the mounting evidence (again, not meant as a joke) against him makes him a bit more pathetic in a sad, old, wounded animal kind of way. Foley tried to blame his gayness on booze. That's unfair to gays, and drunks. How does a few drinks turn you gay? Are you sitting around with the guys and one of them after the fifth jack and coke says "man, I love this guy" and then suddenly you're antiquing together? Booze can't turn a straight guy gay. I doubt anything can. It's not something you hear about and say "hey, I've never considered that but it sounds like fun. All I need is a few drinks". It's not like hang gliding or cow tipping! The Haggard thing is even more absurd, not to mention the obvious hypocrisy of it all. His trip to gay rehab just makes it all the more ridiculous. I guess what's most ridiculous about it is that people out there believe you can turn gay by drinking too much and can get "cured" by going to bible camp. Idiots.

Anyways, hopefully Senator Larry will come to terms with who he is so he can get back to using airport men's rooms for their intended purposes. He likely won't have to worry about his senatorial duties for too much longer so he'll have some time to search for Mr. Right. Perhaps he's already found him. Back in 2005 he co-sponsored a bill with a Congressman "Butch" Otter, and I'm not making this up, to:

"recognize and encourage "the contributions made by cowboys to their communities," the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution designating Saturday, July 23, 2005 as "National Day of the American Cowboy."

Ride on, cowboys!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just a couple of innocent misunderstandings

There are two recent news stories that I have found particularly entertaining. Both are connected by the fact that the main character (is that the protaganist?) is probably not being completely straightforward with us. The first is the story of Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs being charged with improper lane usage and leaving the scene of an accident after his wrecked $350k Lambourghini was found on the side of the highway. The crash took place at 3:15AM and only involved Mr. Briggs' ride. Briggs was nowhere to be found. Later the following day he met with police and was charged with the minimal offenses I previously mentioned. Obviously you don't need me to point out what is fishy about this story. If Briggs had nothing to hide (booze, drugs, Eddie Griffin's DVD collection) why did he abandon his $350k car? Isn't that a bit of a risk to take just so you can get home to bed? It was 3:15AM. It's not as if you had to get back in time for Conan. Since no one was injured it appears as though there will be no investigation. Whatever it was he was doing that caused the crash will apparently go unpunished by the law. Sheriiff Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, however, will likely suspend him for life.

The second story is much more entertaining. Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig was recently arrested for lewd conduct after allegedly trying to get some "improper lane usage" of his own in an airport men's room with a plain clothes officer. Here's an excerpt from the story on

"Sgt. Dave Karsnia made the arrest after an encounter in which he was seated in a stall next to a stall occupied by Craig. Karsnia described Craig tapping his foot, which Karsnia said he "recognized as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."

Sen.Craig (R:Idaho. It's rather redundant to mention that he's a Republican as the one's that frequent gay prostitutes always are) claimed that it was all a misunderstanidng due to the fact that he "has a wide stance". That's hilarious. Not only do you have to reveal that you're gay but you also have to disclose how you go about your business. There are no more secrets now, Larry.

Wait a minute. I'm sure I've tapped my foot in the stall of an airport bathroom. Hell, I'm tapping my foot right now. I need to avoid airports. Charlene, cancel my flight to San Francisco, through Key West.....with the layover on Fire Island and the connection in Turkey. Oh crap, what other "signals" are there that I may be unknowingly giving? I just sratched the back pocket of my assless chaps. That must mean something. What will I tell my daughter?

Here's another related thought, is using a plain clothes officer the best strategy for a gay sting? Don't you think that the plain clothes make his cover less believable? Perhaps I'm stereotyping but wouldn't the Land's End mockneck and Haggar slacks make the John a little suspicious? I think they need some fabulous clothes officer if they really want to clean up the men's rooms of America.

So to wrap up, Briggs gets off too easy while Sen. Craig doesn't. That's inappropriate.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Surprisingly useful baby merchandise

If I had more time and energy I would actually have a long list to share with you under the heading of "things you should buy if you're having a baby". Instead I'll just concentrate on the item on that list which I am most pleasently surprised by. At first it would seem like a ridiculous luxury. Now having used it I'm not sure we could go without. It's a video monitor, that's right a video monitor. My wife was given the video monitor at a shower thrown by her work colleagues. Since she works in television they thought it was fitting that she have the latest in video technology (hint: she was one of the Designing Women but I won't tell you which one...just a second, Delta...oh crap, I've said too much). As you can imagine I was very skeptical of what I thought would be a complete waste of money. Luckily it wasn't my money so I didn't really care.

Now that BA has reached 7 weeks we felt it was time she tried sleeping in her own room. As such we needed to use our fancy new monitor. "What to look for in a baby monitor" was never a question I had asked myself. If I had I may have seen the merits of a video monitor sooner. The base purpose of a monitor is to allow you to leave your kid and get on with your business. The better the device is at facilitating this the better the monitor it is. Presumably the best monitor in the world would not just check to see if the kid is awake and/or crying but then rectify that situation. In the absence of Irona, a video monitor is about the best we can hope for. We live in a very old house that creaks with the slightest movement. The kid's room is actually the worst in the house in this regards. A more traditional monitor would require that we sneak into the room every now and again to see how the baby is doing. Having the kid on screen allows us to skip this step thus lessening the chances that we actually wake her up. That's just the start of what makes this monitor great. Think of the tricks you can play on people. I can't wait to hand the monitor to a visiting well-wisher while placing the camera in various hilarious places. Imagine being told "Here, look at our sleeping beauty" and then seeing an image of the neighbor's dog, an autographed 8 by 10 of TV's Craig T. Nelson or a pressed ham? Technology is a wonderful thing. Embrace it!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Brush with Greatness

Having your team do a West Coast swing is great when you have a newborn. With the Jays in LA playing the California Anaheim Cougar Mellencamp Evert Llyods (the team constatly changes it's name. The best jokes are definitely the one's that need to be explained) I actually had something to watch while I tried to get BA to go to sleep. More importantly it was something to wacth that didn't require volume or my constant attention. Add this to the list of things that are better when you have children.

Does anyone know if Morgan Freeman has fallen on hard times? The reason I ask is that I'm about 73% sure he was announcing stops on the subway yesterday. It was pretty awesome because it felt like the trip home had a narrator. Perhaps it's not a financial issue and he's simply preparing for a role as a subway driver. I guess there's a chance it wasn't him and I've just made a mistake. I was also pretty convinced that I saw Posh Spice coming out of the Curves on Danforth and Hakeem Olajuwan pushing a double stroller on Carlaw so maybe I'm just imagining things. I admit the Posh sighting was probably not her but I'm still convinced it was The Dream. He was about 7 feet, spoke with what very well could have been a Nigerian accent and was with a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf. He also looked like a nice guy, as he purportedly is. Dream, if you're in town please leave a comment so people believe me. Also, I just rode the elevator with Sinbad and Merv Griffin. Okay, now I'm just lying. On that subject was I the only one who thought Merv Griffin had been dead for years? Thank God I didn't actually run into him on the elevator recently. I would have thought he was there to inform me I was dead. My condolences to the Griffin family. I guess the world is now out of Mervs.

Speaking of movies, if you ever want me to not see your movie, advertise that "it'll have you dancing in the aisle and/or singing along". Why the hell would I want to do that? If I felt like dancing or singing I could go to church or a Phish concert. Seeing how I have little interest in either, particularly the latter, why would I even imagine going to your stupid movie? Besides, I heard Letters from Iwo Jima wasn't that good anyways.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ron Mexico, role model

As you all know by now Michael Vick has decided to plead guilty and now faces anywhere from 18 months to more than five years for his involvement in an illicit dog fighting ring (I guess all dog fighting is illicit to some degree so that's probably an unnecessary adjective. Sorry to waste your time). Apparently his defense team was prepared to go to trial up until the last minute when Vick decided to take the plea. The defense strategy was two-fold. First, the lawyers were to present the case that Vick, a life long Price is Right fan, had taken Bob Barker's trademark sign-off far too literally. Though horribly misguided Vick was simply trying to do his part to help control the pet population. If anyone is to blame it's Barker and Mark Goodson Productions. Vick's crime was one of caring too much while being too dumb. The second prong of the defense was simply that Vick "is a cat person". Interesting approach.

It's definitely for the best that Vick decided against trying his luck in court. While you never know what may happen with an NFL football player on trial his prospects looked particularly grim. Football players can get away with killing people (OJ, Ray Lewis, Bill Belichick's efforts to kill his own linebacker) but you're SOL if you hurt an animal. Also, I would hate to have Bob Barker's legacy tarnished by being dragged into this as an accomplice. This way we can just remember Bob as the kind old man he was...minus the dirty old man part with the Beauties.

So why, you ask, did I ever dream of using the headline that I did? I actually think its quite fitting. Vick showed us that there comes a time that lying won't work anymore. After denying his involvement in the illegal enterprise up until the very last moment, beyond a point where even his most ardent supporters had thrown in the towel, Vick taught us an important lesson about the truth. Always, always try to lie your way out of things until its so obvious you're screwed then make a deal. The last two U.S. Presidents preceded Vick's example with their own displays of delayed fessing up (the current guy hasn't quite got to the truth part yet but I'm sure it's coming). With role models like these out there my daughter basically doesn't need me anymore.

Also if you're going to do something illegal don't involve anyone named Purnell Peace. I've known a handful of Purnells in my day and you can't trust any of them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eat it, Supernanny!

Perhaps all it took was a bit of time watching some bad parenting. Little BA went down at just before midnight and awoke at...brace yourself...6:45. This was after we saw an episode of Supernanny where the Mom kept nursing until the kid was 14 months. I think that creeped BA out. My guess is that she thought she'd act like a big girl as to avoid an awkward childhood of public nursing. With six plus hours of uninterrupted sleep I feel like a whole new person. I was shockingly sharp in my first meeting of the day and even smiled at some passerbys on my walk to work. Hell, I've written this whole paragraph without using my hands or having the computer even plugged in. Watch out world, Daddy's got some sleep!

Here's some advice which I've received from parents who have subscribed to those weekly baby progress updates...don't. They tend to do nothing but make you feel like you're child is delayed in way or another. Every child is different and will likely have their own timetable for development. If something is really wrong you'll know (or at least your doctor will know). As long as they're doing something right focus on that. If they walk but can't do a simple puzzle, fantastic. Your little one will make a great Pussycat Doll. If they talk but don't hold their head upright don't worry about it. Talk radio or telemarketing beckon. Being one-dimensional is by no means a barrier to success. If all they can do is follow your finger with their eyes, celebrate that. Make them the best damn finger follower in the world. It's about time the current champion's rein comes to an end anyways. Who even watches finger following anymore now that there's no question who's going to win? I also have some advice on the subject, even if you decide to follow these updates with your children for God's sake cancel the subscription once they grow up. My mother called me the other day to check if I'd met my targets for week 1,568. Apparently I'm supposed to have developed a taste for Phil Collins music and the ability to fake laugh when co-wrokers make dumb jokes. Let me move at my own pace, Jeanne. I'm also supposed to be able to bathe myself. F that!

BA's amazing feat of slumber was one of two highlights this week, the other being Sunday brunch. After a not so restful night I offered to take her out for a walk on Sunday morning so Momma could get some sleep. I figured I'd just keep walking until she was clearly calm (read asleep). This occurred about 6 blocks in to the trek. At this point I sought out breakfast assuming I'd be limited to a McDonalds or Starbucks due to space and stroller constraints. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked by Barrio on Queen St. East and noticed there was more than enough room for the kid's wheels. I was able to enjoy a leisurely brunch of eggs benedict (good, but take the home fries over the over-dressed salad) with a couple of coffee refills while she slept. Not only was I able to eat but I was also able to catch up on some reading for work. I could have read half the newspaper if I was so inclined. The whole episode should have been taped and shown at pre-natal classes as a pep talk for dads-to-be. Dads, don't be afraid to take the kid out on your own, even at an early age. The key is finding the right environment. A fellow dad asked me if I was worried that I would upset fellow patrons. Not at all, if she went insane I could have calmed her or, failing that, left. A couple of peeps from a cute baby are much less intrusive than the vast majority of inane Sunday morning conversations had by the Toronto brunch set. I'd much rather hear the sounds a baby makes as opposed to tales of guest lists and velvet ropes being spewed by some chick wearing a windshield where her sunglasses should be. Shockingly, I don't care which of your sorority sisters or high school friends you ran into at the Drake so maybe you can keep it down...and by the way, if you run into one of said individuals at one of those typical haunts it's not a "small world". It's a mathematical probability, you frigging douchebag! Stop mis-using that term!

Calm down, big fella. Look at how quickly I went from cutesy baby talk to railing in anger. Even my typing got louder. I have a problem. Anyways, to recap: Babies can sleep through the night at six weeks and you can take your daughter to a resto-pub (bar-staurant?) without ruining your meal or that of those around you, unless of course you want to.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Premature Evacuation

That headline doesn't make as much sense as I thought it did now that I see it written down. Well now that I keep delaying the subject it looks even stupider. Let's get started. Jeers to the unnamed exec at the CBC who decided against airing the final 13 minutes of the Rough Riders v. Eskimos game on Saturday night. A power outage at the stadium in Regina (apparently no longer called Taylor Field) caused a delay in the game. Instead of sticking with the broadcast when play resumed (in a close game) the unnamed civil servant in charge at the time decided to air "The Good Thief" starring Nick Nolte. She had actually decided to cut the game across all markets before being convinced by the producer to keep the broadcast going for viewers in Saskatchewan(though inexplicably Edmonton got Nick Nolte).

I am not a fan of CFL football but I stand in solidarity with my fellow sports fans. This is an absolute outrage. If some unnamed executive in Toronto decided that the broadcast of one of my team's game would be cut short to air a bad movie I would be apoplectic. How dare you? CTV, if you decide to pull this crap with a Bills game you better have Sue Thomas FB Eye on call because I'll probably do something crazy.

I call for a full investigation before hockey season starts. We need to know whether this was a case of incompetence, malice or simply blind adherence to the rules. My bet is on the latter. Bureaucrats don't tend to be the best at making decisions on the fly. There can be no logic, be it based on commercial or artistic merits that would justify this decision. It's not as if they were going live to breaking news or a Christmas special featuring the Rankin Family, Anne Murray, Great Big Sea and Rita McNeil. Apparently federal law states that if the aforementioned concert happens all channels with switch to CBC and if you're not watching TV your television will actually turn itself on to the CBC. I'm sure the three people nationwide who were staying in on a Saturday to watch a Nick Nolte movie could wait another 13 minutes. Presumably this isn't the most desireable demographic for your advertisers so why cater to them? Some have mentioned the instance where NBC cut the overtime of the Sabres/Sens playoff game to air the Preakness pre-race show as a precedent. At least that was justified based on commercial interests and they kept the broadcast going in the hockey-friendly markets. This latest debacle is completely inexcusable.

Western Canadians, this is not a "Toronto hates the West" thing. This is either a "CBC hates sports" thing or "CBC hires people that Global or CTV won't" thing, or both. There's also a slight chance that Nick Nolte is behind all this. He could probably use the couple grand he got in residuals from the broadcast.

That's it for today. T-minus 20 days until the Bills opener.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Answers I don't have

I heard an old Depeche Mode song the other day (to pre-empt your jokes no, I didn't borrow Emmanuel Sandu's iPod).

"What makes a man hate another man?"

This got me to thinking. How am I going to answer these questions when the kid grows up? I'm completely devoid of insight into these sorts of philosophical issues. "Why is the sky blue?", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and "Are there really only four or five qualified actors available for all Canadian commercials and if so why did they pick this group of losers"? Crap, I have no idea especially in regards to the last one. Maybe it's some sort of reaction against the Perv from the Alexander Keith's commercials whereby the background checks are so onerous that only the two dudes from the listerine ads, the redhead and the annoying blonde passed. That would also explain why Snake from Degrassi no longer shows up in Canadian ads. My gut tells me that a search for skeletons in his closet turned up a few things...a few very disgusting things. This is about a nanosecond away from turning into a rant against the Canadian advertising industry. All I ask is that anyone who's ever done any work on a Tim Horton spot have their advertising licenses revoked. Send them to rehab where they'll have to watch all the Holiday Inn commercials with the three business travellers in order to discover what funny is. So far they've got "irritating" down pat, let's see if they can learn "funny". (Note: do yourself a favour, go to YouTube and watch the Holiday Inn ads including the pre-quel job interview. Very little in the world is funnier than that. If I knew how, I'd include the links)

Let's get this back on the rails. I need to prepare myself for the inevitable day when little BankAtlantic Bancorp (they won her naming rights just beating out Red Bull and Grey Power Insurance. We call her BA for short) starts to wonder aloud about the great mysteries of life. I've never had any interest in tackling these subjects but presuambly she'll be much more thoughtful than her old man, at least I hope so. Let's start with a handful of question that I can work through. Let me know if you have anything to add.

"Why is Ultimate Fighting so popular?"

Great question, BA. This is one I had to reflect upon for some time. My initial thought was that the "sport's" popularity was simply an illustration of a bloodthirsty society craving senseless violence. That's probably too simplistic as there is already plenty of violence out there. What is it about UFC etc. that has so captured the male 16-30 demo? Finally I figured it out. There are two things that it has that comparable sports/entertainment lacks. First is complete randomness. In boxing, for example, strategy, skill, training and heart play a big part in determining who wins. How boring is that? People don't line up at casinos because strategy, heart and training pay off. They want randomness. In UFC a couple roided-up dudes grapple, one guy lands a lucky punch, the other guy falls back, the lucky guy jumps on top of him and it's over. 50:50. That's entertainment! It's like roulette without the zeroes. The second and biggest draw is clearly the homo-eroticism of it all. Male-only adult films are obviously out of the question for the vast majority of North Americans. Instead, Joe and John Camaro can spend the night watching a couple of dudes in underwear rolling around on the ground together with a fair amount of groin on face contact. Don't worry guys, we won't judge.

"If you could go back in time and kill someone because you knew they would commit atrocious acts against mankind would that be justified?"

Another toughie. I wondered this myself the other day while listening to an easy listening station. About five years ago I was at some corporate schmooze fest in LA where David Foster was showcasing his latest crop of "talent". Amongst a handful of soon to be obscure acts was Josh Groban and Michael Buble. Imagine the pain and suffering I could have saved the world by taking out Foster (the guy responsible for bringing Celine Dion to the masses), Groban and Buble! The debt of gratitude owed to me by the world would have been immeasureable. I say, go for it...unless that person is me or your mother, or Bills' Quarterback JP Losman. Also, if you build that time machine let me know. I forgot to take out the garbage last week and your diapers are piling up.

"Is there a God?"

Well, one day I guess we'll all know for sure but you're here so I'm going to say "I think so".

Quite clearly I've got some work to do to get ready for these conversations. I'll probably screw it up but hopefully she'll be happy that at least I tried and if nothing else, I can always teach her how to golf.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Office Decorum


Love the columns. I was wondering if you had any advice as to how I can appropriately discuss my bowel movements at the office. I understand it's a private matter but sometimes you just need to communicate.

Thanks in advance,

Gerry Wipscott (Craig's brother)
Ft. Wayne, Indiana

At first glance I would presume there is no appropriate way to openly discuss your "business" but perhaps that's an intellectually lazy response. After spending some time thinking about this I've identified the following rules that should guide you on your way.

1. The Warning. A subtle "stick with the first stall" to a co-worker entering the men's room shouldn't be considered crude by anyone in their right mind. I deem this very acceptable discourse
2. Self-affirmation. Congratulating yourself on a job well done shouldn't be limited to your vocation or charitable endeavours. You've worked hard, now enjoy the accolades. The key is to be appropriate. Here's an example:

"Man, that was textbook".

You may want to follow that with a loud clap. As far as the rest of the office knows you could have just made a big sale or re-negotiated favourable terms with your biggest supplier. Getting someone else to congratulate you may be a bit more difficult. The best hopes lie with the office kiss-ass. Try looking in the sales department. He'll instinctively praise you as you're self-congratulatory behaviour will make him think you're important. It'll be funny when you tell him why he's congratulating you.
3. Humour. Again, the key is to identify the aspects of the event that are tastefully humorous not disgusting. Also, don't make any references while still in the men's room. Your audience requires some space between the subject and the jokes as to limit visualization. Try out a couple of these tomorrow morning around 10:45 (that's my usual appointment, yours may differ) and watch your status at the office skyrocket.

"Next time I'll take the doctor's advice and opt for the C-section".
"So that's where I left my keys..."
"I tell you what, I have a newfound respect for Richard Gere"

I hope that helps, Gerry. Hopefully you won't mind the bigger office and extra vacation time.

As a follow-on to yesterday's note, my buddy from Africa never showed. My idealistic image of him has been shattered. If he has been pinched for smuggling blood diamonds I just hope he's taking those jerks at DeBeers and Birks down with him.

All the best and whatever you do, don't look at your investment portfolios today. You'll also want to avoid tall office towers. It could start raining stockbrokers at any moment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reader mail and thoughts on Africa

Dear WWNW,

Did Jamie Campbell really say "Chone Figgins marks his teritory in the batter's box" last night?

Rich Mouthfeel
Saginaw, Michigan

He sure did. Kinda weird, but it sure made you look up in a hurry didn't it? Thanks for the question.

I wonder how Rich got my e-mail. Perhaps this will evolve into an advice column. Whatever the readers want I will provide. So far the combination of parenting advice, inappropriate humor, thoughts on midgets and Ted Bruschi-bashing hasn't really drawn a massive audience.

I'm supposed to be meeting up for dinner/drinks with an old friend tonight who has spent the last few years doing relief work in Africa. And when I say Africa I'm not talking the nice parts, he's been in places like the Congo and Zimbabwe where Madonna and her teams of publicists wouldn't dream of going. Madonna only steals babies from the more stable nations of Africa.

Anyways, this friend of mine is not a do-gooder by nature. He's actually a regular guy who likes to drink and have a good time(at least he used to). That's what makes his career decision so admirable. He's not finding himself or working off some liberal guilt, he's just doing what's right. At least this is what I imagine. I haven't seen him in a couple years so hopefully he's not just using the cover of aid work to smuggle diamonds to Yorkville or babies for Brangelina.

I assume about four or five drinks in I'll make some claim that "I should really get more involved" or "I'm going to give some money away". I know it because that's what I do. Usually it's just a "we should totally do that" or "let's get everyone together for" whatever it is that seems like the world's best idea half way through the third bottle of wine. With the usual "promises" there aren't really any ramifications or expectations. That being said, it's not a good personality trait and something that I should rid myself of now that I'm a Dad. Tonight will be different. Mark my words, whatever slightly drunken commitments I make tonight will be followed through on. It'll be good for me and good for Africa. Hopefully Sierra Leone has high speed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Where's the brochure on this!?!

Here's something my half-ass weekend crash course on parenting didn't prepare me for. Just after midnight last night I was trying to coax my now five week year old into falling asleep. After what had been easily her best behaved day on record I expected a bit of a fight. Quite the opposite in fact. Rather than stirring and crying she sat their peacefully and gently drifted off to sleep in my arms. What happened next was completely unexpected and somewhat horrifying. As I stared at her I inextricably started crying. It wasn't just a little watery eye like you'll get when you read one of those "small town high school football team lets challenged kid play in the last game of the season" stories. This was real uncontrolled sobbing.

Now in the sober light of day (don't worry, I wasn't drunk. It's just a way to start a new paragraph) I've come to terms with my Dorothy episode. While I was a bit shocked by it I'm not embarrassed. Personally, I'm adding staring at your newborn while listening to hippy, nature sounds to the list of "acceptable crying" events. Future Dads, you'll know what I'm talking about one day. Here's the rest of the list:

- Brian's Song (the original not the Disney version)
- Wide right (Why didn't you take the extra few yards when you had the chance, Thurman?)
- Little people are people too (Charla's speech after getting eliminated from the Amazing Race the first time, by the second time I couldn't have cared less)
- The Christmas Shoes (listen to the words, you heartless monsters. Those poor little buggers are going to lose their Moma and they can't afford new shoes)
- Births
- Funerals

Admittedly the Christmas Shoes makes me a big pansy. The rest is legit. Now if you'll excuse me I have to put my skirt on and go back to work.

Friday, August 10, 2007

On the PGA Tournament and Misguided Nationalism

As a follow-on to a couple of my previous posts I am publicly stating that I am pulling for John Daly over Stephen Ames this weekend even though Ames is Canadian (technically). From all accounts, Ames is a bit of a douche which was recently illustrated by his whining about the greens at the Canadian Open. John Daly never whines, not even after his wife tried to kill him.

Daly just bogeyed the first hole. C'mon John, pull it together.

I am....John Daly

Within a few hours there's a good chance that John Daly will have gone triple, double, double and find himself struggling to make the cut at the PGA. Before that happens let's take some time to celebrate the unlikely 67 he shot yesterday for John Daly, with all his warts, represents what's great about professional sports. Here's a guy who looks and acts like the rest of us. Like most of us he's been slashed in the face by his deranged wife but still had to get up and go to work the next day. He drinks, he smokes, he gambles, he doesn't eat well. Simply put, he's just a regular guy. When you're a kid you can look at your favorite athlete in any sport and think, "that'll be me one day". When you get a bit older and you haven't developed the ability to run a 4.5 forty, shoot the three or bench 300 pounds you realize that "one day" has arrived and that's not going to be you. Daly gives those childhood dreams life again. Thanks John and here's hoping you find a way to keep it up.

Daly's resurrection was only one of two such events yesterday. Rick Ankiel, the ex-St. Louis Cardinals picher became Rick Ankiel, the current St. Louis Cardinals outfielder. Six years after flaming out as a young pitching phenom Ankiel returned to the major leagues last night going 1-4 with a dramatic three run homer (which even brought the steely Tony LaRussa to tears, though in LaRussa's defense he was probably a bit drunk). The enormity of this occurence goes well beyond a mere position change. Rick Ankiel had literally gone crazy after going from one of the hottest young pitchers in baseball to suddenly being unable to come within three feet of the strikezone. Ankiel's story, like Daly's was one that brought a ray of hope to those who had none. Comebacks in sports are usually completely blown out of proportion. Some guy gets injured, is treated by a team of world-class specialists and comes back to play after spending his free time rehabbing (which he has alot of because he's still being paid millions of dollars). Nice work, doctors. Either that or they retire too early and quickly learn they lack the skills or desire to operate in the real world so they come back to their team. Both cases get far too much attention. Rick Ankiel's comeback probably won't get enough. A broken leg or a steroid-induced stroke can all be treated with the right medical help and rehab, a shattered psyche is something altogether different and much more difficult to mend. Congratulations Rick and kudos to the Cardinals for sticking by you all these years.

Now for today's whine. The contrast between Daly and the average pampered, tightass PGA player could not be more clear. All we hear about from the other players (and the golf media) is how bloody hot Tulsa is. Daly, at 50 or more pounds overweight, should be the most uncomfortable yet he manages. You know why, because all he has to "manage" is a round of golf. If Davis Love III was a roofer I would be very sympathetic to his plight of having to spend all day in 100 degree heat. Except he's not, he plays golf. Golf is something you do because it's hot out. NFL teams are in the midst of two a days and they seem to manage (except for the odd guy who drops dead).

Have a good weekend and enjoy the wedding. We will all try to break Matt Stairs' record of five straight doubles. Consider it a tribute to John Daly.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Can I be honest with you?

I just had a co-worker come into my office.

"Can I be honest with you....?" He asked. What followed those five words is irrelevant and I would probably be breaching some sort of rules about revealing workplace conversations. One of the most important traits of a successful "life coach" is being able to keep secrets (note: I'm not really a life coach. I have a real job). Anyways, back to my original story. Is there any worse way to start a sentence? You immediately know that person is going to say something that insults you, brags about themselves or both. The only exception was a sales guy I used to work with who started every sentence with a grand set-up ("I'm going to be honest with you", or "Not a word of a lie") but finished with something completely innocuous. Example: "Not a word of a lie, I had breakfast this morning). Every thing he said was a complete letdown. He'd build it up and then finish with a thud. He was the 1987 Jays of conversationalists.

So this guy (the guy who came into my office this morning not the big start, no finish guy) may or may not have had something wonderful to say but it didn't matter. He had already put me in a mood that I wanted the conversation to end. Point being, don't start a conversation with "can I be honest with you?". In keeping with that topic here's a short list of sentence beginnings that indicate bad news/generally something you don't want to listen to is on it's way.

"I was watching Jim Cramer last night and..."
"A Russian-built aircraft..." (probably could substitute Russian-built anything)
"Can I speak with you..."
"I'm Rachel Ray..."
"Remember when you said you'd..."

On an unrelated note, here is a list of songs that my cranky daughter seemed to like.

1. Tall Grass. Favourite Sons
2. Three Seed. Silversun Pickups
2. There Goes the Fear. Doves
3. Ignition (the remix). R. Kelly

The latter two are in heavy rotation usually but the first two I had mostly overlooked. They shouldn't be as they're great tracks. My one month year-old daughter apparently has better music taste than 98% of North Americans...and she can walk.

Speaking of R. Kelly. I believe NBC's decision to have him follow Mark Philippoussis as the star of next summer's "Age of Love" is completely inappropriate. Shame on you, network execs, shame on you.

Afterword (8/15/07): Here's another one to add to the list of terrible sentence beginnings: "I'm the farthest thing from a racist but...". Chances are they are not as "far" as they had previously advertised.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Toronto at its worst

I was starting to think that the tone of my stupid ramblings tended to be a bit too negative. As such I thought I'd find something nice and heartwarming to share with you like a "feel good" story about a crippled pet who inspires local firefighters or the re-opening of Kandahar's only online dating service (cram it with walnuts, Taliban!). Unfortunately my subway ride in derailed all that. Perhaps I shouldn't use the term "derailed" in the same sentence as my subway ride. You may have had a quick thought that I was writing to you from beyond the grave. No, I'm not dead but around 8:30 this morning I certainly wished I was. My subway ride this morning was a truly infuriating experience. Due to an "equipment faillure" the car I was on sat idle for 10 minutes and then had to be taken out of service. That was probably #4 or #5 on my list of what pissed me off about the trip. In keeping with my effort to limit the negativity I'll just mention two things. My first complaint is directed at the 18-22 year old ginger who I noticed sitting comfortably when I stepped onto the crowded, sweltering train. You know who you are, pock-marked and awkward version of a young Eric Stoltz with a bad lid and glasses. Though you had fairly thick glasses you could clearly see so I'm not sure how you missed all those people standing uncomfortably around you. I am not including myself in that group as you had as much right to that seat as I had (though I'm 8-10 years older than you I had a decent sleep last night so I'm fine to stand). There were two constituents of people that you should have noticed and dutifully given up your seat for. Firstly, if you had any decency you would have offered the seat to any of the 4 or 5 woman above the age of 45 near you. They're older ladies, you're a young dude. I know we don't take civics classes anymore but presumably you've at least seen such a move on a TV show. Secondly, if you had a brain (and/or a pulse) you would have offered the seat to any of the handful of cute, young girls nearby. What better way to get people to overlook your red hair than to wow them with basic manners. From what I've heard the moral standing of girls your age ain't what it used to be so it may have been very much worth your while. Instead you just sit there not making eye contact as if we're to believe you don't see anyone. I hope you enjoyed your seat as you chose it over treating your elders with respect or getting some, or both. Secondly, when you're asked to exit a subway car it would make sense to move beyond the exit as it makes it a bit easier for others to get out. The perpetrators of this crime against human decency acted much the same way as the mouthbreathing redhead as they inconvenienced everyone around them. Their heads were sort of down and eye contact was avoided. I guess that indicates that part of them knew what they were doing was wrong. Unfortunately it was a small part, the larger part was focussed on being douchebags. How we got the image for being so polite is absolutely beyond me.

That's it for the complaints. Despite the commute I've had a great day. The markets are up, I had a decent conversation with a solid B-list local celeb and most importantly the kid got a clean bill of health from the doctor. What was most impressive is that she offered her seat up to a less healthy kid in the waiting room.

The Bills first pre-season game is Friday and JP will get 12-15 snaps. That should be enough for three touchdown drives. I look forward to seeing the new offensive line in action. They'll need a name. How about "The guys who will manhandle the horribly overrated Ted Bruschi twice a year"? Now that's got a certain ring to it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Advice on raising children from an idiot

An evening spent trying to convince a one month year-old to go to sleep gives you an interesting perspective on life. I presume a short stretch in a Vietnamese POW camp would achieve the same thing (no disrespect Sen. McCain, I said "short stretch"). As such, I'm a bit delirious today. I think she's upset because she's developed some baby acne. The pressures of this celebrity-obsessed society are just too much for her. Luckily her prom is about 18 years away so I think she'll be good by then. Regardless she'll only be allowed to date if I've passed on so she'll probably be spending prom night at home.

Scanning the room last night I noticed a couple books on baby names. If this isn't the biggest scam in the history of the world I don't know what is. The more "creative" of these books are nothing more than a listing of random words sold for $29.99. One of the books had sections titled "colours", "verbs" and "flowers". To all you struggling authors out there, forget trying to put together some made up pap for the book club set. Just simply grab a dictionary, randomly chose some words, write them down and send them to your publisher. You'll save alot of time and you won't have to hang out with Oprah. Here's an excerpt from my upcoming "Book of Awesome Names that assure your child will be a successful hedge fund manager or personal injury attorney".

Prudholme Bay
Pvt. Craig R. Wipscott

If I went any further you'd owe me $20.

The whole obssession with baby names is a bit tiresome. I doubt our parents wasted much time stressing over what to call us. Usually they just went to their chosen religious text or their family tree for ideas. My Dad named me after the first thing he saw when I was handed to him. Personally, I love the name "Blanket".

As we all know expectant parents are suckers for overpriced, unneccessary crap with their susceptibility to being "taken" only surpassed by brides to be. I was not prepared, however, for just how bad the rip-offs are. Now that the kid is actually here my suspicions as to the useless-ness of much of what is peddled to first-time parents have been confirmed. The World Wide Net Web lacks the bandwidth to list all of the examples of highway robbery I've encountered so I'll just give you a couple examples. The first is a "hooter hider". This is a $40+ item used to facilitate public breastfeeding. Great idea. Fortunately its already available. It's called an apron. They're pretty easy to find. You may already have one. Pottery Barn Kids know what, the fact that there is a Pottery Barns Kids pretty much makes my point for me.

Luckily the most egregious profiteering is at the expense of those with more money than sense so it's somewhat of a victimless crime. If hundreds of $35 cupholders are sold to the North of Bloor set who really cares? The problem is that the "status-ization" or child rearing creates demand from everyone. It's consumerism at its worst. Don't feel bad enough that you just gave birth and aren't sleeping? How about we layer on some feelings of inadequacy because you can't afford some organic baby clothes or a Kate Spade diaper bag. You really must be a terrible parent. Hopefully your kid enjoys life as a crack whore.

For some reason society deems what I do as important enough to pay me a decent wage. As such I can afford this crap and despite my reluctance have been tricked into trying to keep up with the Junior Joneses with numerous purchases (I own a Bugaboo stroller and must admit it is a wonderfully engineered product). I'm not sure how you completely avoid it. My only advice is that maybe wait for a few weeks before splashing out for that $75 change pad cover. When something is covered in shit people don't tend to look at the label.

Note 1: After further review, Running Groups may be a bigger rip-off than name books. You pay good money to have some douchebag tell you where to run and for how long? Can't you figure that out on your own? I tell you what, I'll take 25% off what they're charging and I'll tell you to run even further. Now that's value.

Note 2: Expectant parents. If you're really sick of being asked what names your thinking of, tell people Jon-Benet is at the top of your list. That should end that conversation.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Confessions of a Matchmaker

I really don't think A&E's Confessions of a Matchmaker is getting the attention it deserves. Admittedly, the base concept is a bit weak: a reality show that chronicles the action at a professional dating service. If this show took place in LA, or New York, or Toronto it would be completely unwatchable. Especially Toronto. I couldn't stomach watching some "jeans and blazer" douchebag trying to impress his junior trader date as they bounce between the mono-syllabbic bar/restaurants of the city's idiot district. What makes "confessions of a matchmaker" is the fact that it takes place in the Queen City - Buffalo, New York. It's entertaining simply for the instances where Lackawanna gets mentioned on national TV. The sweet accents, the fact that the most romantic restaurants in town have neon Bud Light signs (thanks to Marty for that observation) and the foul-mouthed matchmaker make this one of the gems of this summer. I highly recommend the episode with the self-proclaimed "King of Chippewa" who brags about not having to pay cover (from recollection the "it" bar on Chippewa had a $5 cover, so big f-in' deal swinger) and being a "day trader" (cool if it was still 1999, now just pathetic). There's also the surprisingly heartwarming bits where old, fat and/or awkward people find love. The "King of Chippewa" episode was a great mix of a self-important douchebag getting his comeuppance and some old lady enjoying a date with a nice old man. The best of both worlds.

I also wanted to call attention to the fact that Cellino is back. All is well in Western new York as "your" injury attorneys are back together again. I wonder how Barnes feels about the return of his partner. Was he enjoying his independence? Did he get used to the increased attention he received in the absence of the more gregarious Cellino? Cellino had been gone so long that people had probably gotten used to Barnes being the boss. He got to plan the Christmas party and pick out fixtures for the office men's room. Now, Cellino will be back with his stupid opinions on everything. Barnes was able to listen to his favorite radio stations on the drive to the office and now he has to go back to listening to Cellino's crap.

It will be interesting to watch their body language in upcoming commercials. I can imagine the following exchange:

Cellino: "Have you been injured in an auto accident?"
Barnes (shaking his head): "Why did you come back? Things were going so well without you. People had finally stopped calling me "ambulace chaser". Just leave, leavvvvvvvve." (runs off screen sobbing uncontrollably)

Cellino may sue him at that point, or shoot him. Either way it'll make the commercials more fun to watch.

Enjoy your civic holiday, Canada!