Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The middle toe and other potentially unnecessary things

...I wasn't even halfway through the powerpoint presentation when Gayle interrupted me. "So let me get this right. You want us to put our name on a care package full of complicated books, land mines and famine. This is quite frankly the worst presentation I've ever seen." With that she got up and stormed out of the board room. That's why "Oprah's least favorite things" didn't make it to shelves in time for Christmas. We're hoping for better luck in 2008.

On my way off to work last week I decided to quickly turn back for one more hug with little Charlie. What should have been a heartwarming moment between father and daughter quickly turned into an excruciating moment between bedpost and middle toe. In my haste I inadvertently booted the corner of my bed. After suffering through a day of nagging pain it had become quite evident that this was more than just a stubbed toe. The removal of my left sock quickly confirmed this diagnosis. My gnarled black toe was a clear indication of a bad sprain. The news hit hard. One minute I was in perfect health, the next I was facing a life-changing injury and a long, arduous road to recovery. At least that's what I thought. After a bit of research I quickly learned that having a sprained toe has actually zero impact on the injured party. Despite having an appendage being rendered absolutely I managed to go about my routine as I always have. Half-ass was not diminished to one-third or even one-quarter ass. I would not require the services of the "Make a Wish" foundation after all, which is too bad because I've always wanted to go to space camp.

What I learned from this harrowing ordeal was that not everything you view to be critical is so. Absence can in fact illuminate the fact that you are, in actuality, not missing anything at all. This had me quite worried as my wife and daughter are heading out of town some much deserved Florida sun (Charlie's been busting her ass studying for her SATs and learning how to drywall). What's to say that, to her, I would be the equivalent of that middle toe. Will a week or so away from Dad show her that I am completely superfluous? Anyone can make stupid faces and play the "blast off" game with her. Beyond that, what critical needs do I meet that can't be fulfilled from other sources? I imagined I had at least until she turned 14 before I became expendable. Suddenly I was completely convinced that day had already come still months short of her first birthday.

Luckily I arrived home a few nights ago to the reassuring sound of "Dadadadada". Despite the fact that that is all she ever says I immediately knew that if it wasn't for me she wouldn't be saying it so happily. Though admittedly not a signed contract there was something in that excitable expression and nonsensical babbling that clearly promised she would miss me and would be thrilled to see me upon her return. That split second immediately told me my worries were completely unfounded. I may be a lot of things but I am not, as of yet, unnecessary.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breaking the chains of television oppression

....steam room scene and full frontal! Sign me up. I've never heard of this "Eastern Promises" but it sure sounds good.


Last night I spent a quiet evening at home with Charlie and my HD as Mrs. Holt enjoyed a well-deserved night out. The night was spent flipping between the Raptors game against the Spurs and "Ross Kemp on Gangs" on National Geographic. The former was an ugly affair with the Raptors never giving any indication that they would possibly win the game despite the fact that the score was very close at the end. The latter was an altogether more entertaining affair. Ross Kemp is a UK actor and star of Eastenders. This series has him travelling around the globe investigating the world's most notorious and violent gangs. It's truly fascinating content which is made all the better given that it is all shown in glorious HD. Kemp is either one fearless bloke or just good at acting like one. I enjoyed the show so much that I decided to honour it with the inaugural "save all episodes" status on my PVR. Perhaps if it weren't for the writers' strike I would have chosen something else but this is the hand I was dealt. Congraulations Ross Kemp. Now go make me proud. After nearly a month I have yet to re-train my brain to adjust to my new PVR life. I still watch appointment television and get upset when I miss something someone says or only catch the back half of a scrolling headline. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone older than I am to adjust to the new relationship between viewer and content. It could take years. Perhaps there is some sort of reprogramming available that would allow us to more fully utilize this wonderful technology. There could be a retreat in the mountains where those of us who grew up with "must see TV" can learn to retake our lives back from the major networks.

The first thing I will do once I fully accept personal video recording into my life is to eliminate all Canadian-produced commercials. I know this is not a unique complaint but last night struck me as unusually annoying. Perhaps it was just my frame of mind, though I was actually in a pretty good mood. Allow me to just mention a couple of the more blatant offenders:

Tim Horton's "Chicken, Sausage, Ham": Here's the premise, the boss at what appears to be a small sporting goods retailer takes sandwich orders from his three employees. One asks for chicken, one asks for sausage and one asks for ham (who asks for a sausage sandwich? That doesn't even make sense). He, being the boss, is such a mouthbreather that he needs to repeat "chicken, sausage, ham" to himself as he walks to the Tim Horton's. Upon arrival he notices a sign for their new sandwich which has chicken, sausage and ham. He then buys three of said sandwiches, returns to his shop and delights his empoyees with their sandwiches, none of which is what they actually asked for. Are we to believe that none of the three would be upset by the fact that their orders were completely butchered by this idiot? They made very specific requests. Now you hand them something that is no longer kosher or halal, not to mention the allergy or dietary issues. Are they so hungry that they'll take whatever scraps you hand them? If that's the case, why go through the whole farce of asking them what they wanted in the first place? This ad is a trainwreck from start to finish..and the sandwich looks disgusting.

Home Depot, "You can do it, we can help": My problems with this are not so much with the ad as much as they are with the slogan. I spent about 45 minutes at a relatively uncrowded Home Depot on Saturday. While I have proven with every home project that, in fact, I can not do it, you (being Home Depot) didn't hold up your end of the bargain either. No one was around and those who were were about as helpful as using a Pickton brother for a character witness. Let me correct your erroneous slogan, "I can't do it, you're of little help, when does Lowe's open?"

Province of Ontario: "There's no place like this..": Really, there's no place like Ontario? Really? You're being serious? Of all the places in the world you could be, you're going to go with what, Sarnia? Oshawa? Richmond Hill? Forget Disneyland kids, we're going to Cambridge! You're bound to bring in the real discerning tourist with this completely unsubstantiated claim particularly when its being delivered in an irritating gingle performed by a poor man's Rob Thomas.

These are just three of many irritants which I will hopefully be rid of one day soon. Only then will I truly be free.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Don't mind him, he's just old...and a total ass felt good to laugh again, that was until the staples in my spleen ripped. It then felt terrible to laugh.


I'm just going to say one more thing about football and then I'll move on until at least the draft run-up. I promise. This is a quick message to Ted Rogers, "Ted, shut up". Maybe you've gone completely senile in which case this is a message more for your nursemaids and bag changers. If so, keep your patient away from microphones. From all accounts Ted is, however, still very much "with it" other than the fact that like many men who've reached his advanced age he has shut off any filters between his brain and his mouth. His performance at the press conference yesterday announcing the Bills games in Toronto was atrocious. While his "we'll charge as much as we possibly can" for tickets honesty was welcomed by shareholders and local media it showed a complete lack of tact for those that are legitimately worried that we (being Toronto) are stealing their team. Bills owner Ralph Wilson approach to the issue showed a bit more sensitivity but still did little to calm those of Western New York that see us as the Yankees, Cowboys and Haliburton all rolled into one. Jerry Sullivan, the long-time Bills columnist from the Buffalo News, described Rogers as having "the smug, lascivious expression of a fox who had just been invited into the henhouse". Wow, sounds like something I would write only more coherent. With Ted essentially giving the people of Buffalo a big "go F yourself" he is fostering a rather uncomfortable environment for existing Canadian Bills fans who still want to travel to the Ralph to watch a game with actual fans. You might as well take a piss on old glory while calling Jim Kelly a tranny. He is doing to us what Dubya has done to Americans with passports. The figure representing us publicly has turned us into absolute pariahs. I could already sense some tension last year after word of a pre-season game coming north began circulating. Things will get significantly worse thanks to the actions of old man Rogers.

At that moment Ralph suddenly thought "My God, what have I done?"

When I first heard about this press conference I was worried more that Ted and Ralph, at a combined age of 238, would embarrass themselves in some sad way as you'd expect from a couple of very, very old guys. I imagined they would start arguing about something being too loud or that things were taking too long and they may miss "Murder She Wrote". Instead I was embarrassed for completely different reasons. Ted, some may say your "straight talk" in showing that you care about nothing other than maximizing every dollar you can stuff in your front pocket is refreshing(Ted Rogers has no back pockets because he can no longer reach his own ass. True story. I used to get my haircut at the same place he did...terrible tipper apparently). Obviously, I would disagree. Ted, of course, would not be so frank when discussing cable rates or cell phone prices as he needs to maintain some semblance of customer service. He has no financial reason to show any compassion to the fans who have spent their hard earned money supporting this team for decades so he doesn't bother. Forget my little complaints about how I'll be treated and worry about how you're treating the good people on the other side of their border. They're having quite a tough go of it in that part of the country. Having the rich old guy from the big city callously bragging about how much he could sell tickets for a team that many people struggle to pay an average of $46 bucks to see is, quite frankly, appalling. Ted quite clearly is not, and has never been, a fan of sports or of anything other than making as much money as he can before he kicks it. His clear disregard for the importance of the Bills to their hometown is a clear indication of this.

So go on people, sign up at for your one in a million chance to get royally screwed. The Inflated Cable Bills tickets will go fast and quite clearly Ted needs the money. Hopefully he can use it to buy a touch of class.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The tears of the Un-undefeated

...he slammed the door to his hotel room behind him and tossed his keys on the dresser. At that moment he noticed a handwritten note folded on the bed. "Adeus Tom. The time has come for me to leave". He clutched the note to his chest, crumpled into his chair and began sobbing...they were the tears of the un-undefeated.

I apologize to you my readers and my employer for getting in a bit late today. After a long night of dancing around Pat Patriot's funeral pyre with all the ewoks I was a wee slow this morning. What a glorious evening it was. What began with duck and fennel scotch eggs (thanks to my brother-in-law for those) ended with the wonderous sight of a dejected Patriots team slinking back to their locker room with forked tails between their legs. While everyone is talking about how unlikely an upset this was I am not so shocked. History has taught us that evil will eventually be defeated as long as hope and goodness still lie deep somewhere within the hearts of men. Eli and company, thank you from all of us.

"Yeah Tom, here in the back. I've got a question. 'You suck'."

I am, however, a bit hesitant to fully let my guard down. Perhaps I've watched a bit too much 24 but I'm somwehat concerned that the threat posed by the vile Patriots has not yet fully passed. Could there be some sort of contingency plan? Did Belichick sneak out some back stairwell into the sewer system only to emerge on the Celtics coaching staff tomorrow? Was he actually the mastermind of all this or are the Chinese somehow involved? Did Victor Drazen have another son we don't know about? and who was Nina speaking german to? The Patriots are defeated, but are they really gone?

All this being said, it is probably time that I move on from slagging the Patriots. It is no longer neccessary to act as the sole dissenting voice in a sea of Patriot panderers. Clearly the tide of public opinion has turned against this team and their coach in particular. Now I feel as though I may even be guilty of excessively piling on and kicking an opponent while they're down. That's very Rodney Harrison of me and quite unbecoming. I shouldn't be taking this much pleasure in one team's defeat no matter how repugnant their behaviour has been. It is time to make ammends and move on. New England, great season, glad you lost. Let's just put all this ugliness behind us and start fresh in September.