November 30, 2009

I Have a Question

Why is the Art Gallery of Ontario hosting a King Tut exhibit, while the Royal Ontario Museum is hosting the Vanity Fair Cover photography?

Anyone else confused?

Choir Boy Angels

Okay, I knew this would happen;)

In today's column, I write about Christmas crafts I used to do WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG. Stop snickering.

And somebody (I think I know who, but I'm not sure) wants to know how to make choir boy angels. Here's a link that tells you how.

They use Reader's Digest magazines, which make nice little choir boys. I used to use the Eaton's catalogue, which made choir boys on steroids. And my poor mother used to have to store the stupid things somewhere, though you know what? Now that I think about it, I haven't seen them in decades. Do you really think someone stole them? My mother would never have lost them. Or set fire to them. Hmmmmmmmm.

November 29, 2009

Words & Pictures

First, the words. I looooooooove words. And while I don't feel the need to pepper my work with two buck words when a nickel one will do (the word is 'use', folks, not 'utilize'), I do adore our crazy language. Cool article in the Star today, examining how some words morph into very different meanings, and as it had 'ostrobogulous' in the title, you just knew I had to read it. Take a whiffle through the list, but please don't fluff if there is anyone else in the room.

Moving right Okay. This is mean and cruel, just how you like me. There were a couple of articles yesterday on Mississauga's mayor, Hazel McCallion. There's no point riffing on her age; I've seen younger oak trees three men couldn't join hands around. But now she's allegedly gone and been caught mucking about in her son's business deals. Which a court will decide, not a blogger, but here's the part that made me raise my eyebrows: there is apparently a fundraiser calender that was made featuring celebrities. Two of the celebrities are Hazel and her son, Peter.

Now, follow that link, and tell me what the hell they did to poor Hazel to make her look like that. They've tarted her up! It's nuts! And, Peter? Yeah, not so much, cowboy. Step away from the car, and maybe I'd buy the calendar. But in my world, black-stetsoned pretend moguls from Mississauga don't constitute celebrities. And mostly I'm shuddering that this guy is Mr. January. January is my month. Shudder.

You step on toes if you diss the Hazel. Let me say it once, very loudly: Term Limits.
No politician should be holding the same office for more than two terms. Period. Familiarity breeds far more than contempt; it breeds entitlement, it breeds favours, it breeds laziness and it breeds fear of power over respect of process.

Speaking of entitled a**holes, perhaps you're following the horrific case of the Toronto Humane Society. Tim Trow, the head ass, is finally getting called on the carpet for indescribable events going on with your money. (An aside: Your money will now be used for the legal defence of those who harmed those animals you've been trying to help be saved.) Yeah, all those sobby ads on TV pleading for your money. Which has apparently been going to all manner of things, very few of which result in appropriate care for animals. Terrible conditions, and, wait. Do you remember that pitbull that started the whole pitbull ban? The one who nearly killed a 3-year-old 6 years ago, and had bitten others, and was judged - by a court - too aggressive to live? Yeah. That one. Still living in the office of this Tim Trow. Who just wuvved this puppy so much!

In defiance of court orders, five years - and more biting - later, this animal went after a cop who went in the office to secure it. The cop pepper sprayed it. Should have shot the stupid thing. I love animals; I love people more.

They found a mummified cat in the suspended ceiling. At the Humane Society. Apparently this cat wasn't wuvved quite so much by Trow.

The video of the poor cat is awful. But at least they didn't paint it up with lipstick and pose it beside a car. Like our Mississauga cover girl.

November 27, 2009

CH Live@5:30 Friday

Are all preteen girls little tarts? If so, is the media really to blame?

Well, no, they're not all tarts, and there's plenty of blame to go around.

Join us on CHCH at 5:30, repeat at 11:30.

November 24, 2009

Justin's Dad

You may have heard of this guy before, but it is the single, only, good reason I've found to let Twitter live.

A 27-year-old young man just writes down whatever his father says.

It's called Justin (shitmydadsays).

The G&M did a bit a couple of months back, but for obvious reasons they couldn't put in the best ones.

I hope you have nothing else to do for the next 15 minutes. And anything you're eating will be out your nose.

Thanks to Roz for the link

November 21, 2009

Darwin vs Genesis

I wasn't sure what to expect when I plopped down at the table with my morning paper this morning. 'Darwin vs Genesis' declared the headline. 'A literary smackdown'.

Ugh. I wondered what was coming. Some magical muttering about how sacred the bible is? Some stab at Darwin's ponderous scientific treatise? Well, yeah. Both those things. I mean, how the heck does ol' Charles stack up to God? He doesn't. His (Darwin) declarations were more along the lines of 'the wee-toed, hinge-jawed, spear-tailed gnat eventually lost its sense of sight because it lived at the back of a cave and had enough to eat without ever coming out. For ten thousand years.' Now, how does that compare to a thunderous 'In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth'. Hell, which movie would you go see?

But I read it to the end, because my tea was the perfect temperature (searing) and I had a cat on my lap who begged me not to get up. And there is nothing better than the Saturday paper when you've already done the grocery shopping the day before, so before the lads even wander into the kitchen you can already say 'yes, there's tons to eat, stop bugging me'. Well, yes, there is one better thing: when one of those lads can finally drive himself to work and you can remain in your jammies for an extra hour or two.

Read the piece until the end. It's worth it.

She said, all bossy boots.

November 19, 2009

From The Guardian...

Oh boy. Every had one of those kinds of talks with your kid?

Nah, not sex. Swearing.
This post has swearing. It's also hysterical.

14 Weirdest Things Found On The London Subway

1.Two and half hundredweight of sultanas
2.Lawn mower
3.Breast Implants
4.Theatrical coffin
5.Stuffed eagle
6.14-foot long boat
7.Divan bed
8.Park Bench
9.Garden Slide
10.Jar of bull's sperm
11.Urn of ashes
12.Dead bats in a container
13.Vasectomy kit
14.Two human skulls in a bag

I took this from a List Thingee. In the Timesonline, for purists who must have a source. I'm too lazy to C&P two things.

I drive, and it's been years since I've been on a subway or bus. Actually, since my son got his licence, it's been a year since I've been in my own vehicle. But I still can appreciate how weird this list is.

A 14' boat? Really? How drunk do you have to be to forget your boat? Or to let someone else forget their boat? I can almost understand forgetting your implants. Unless they have already been implanted. And the whole 'two human skulls in a bag' thing, well, they were in a bag, after all. And if a bag isn't making any noise, it might be easy to forget. If the bag is barking, people will notice.

I'm wondering if the jar of bull sperm wasn't found along with the vasectomy kit. And is this a do-it-yourself vasectomy kit? Is there such a thing? Most guys I know can't even think about the process without blacking out, but I suppose with a shot of whiskey and a mirror, anything is possible. Maybe it was a used vasectomy kit. Hence the bull sperm. Call me in 9 months; I can't to see how that one turns out.

The urn of ashes is probably not that rare. We kept Dad on the top shelf of the closet until Mom died. She'd spent most of her life waiting on him; it only seemed fair he had to cool his heels 3 years so they could go together. Urns of ashes are odd. Nobody really knows what to do with them. They should be strewn to the winds or the waves, but mostly they're sitting in their elaborate cookie jar (or, more often than not, a brown cardboard box) awaiting instruction. When you go, make sure you've left instructions. And make sure it's your friend who has a car who gets custody.

I find weird things in my van all the time. Retainers, floss, toothbrushes - anything a dentist might give us remains in the van. Nobody brings it in. Instructions for anything electronic - they rip it open in the van, fling the box and instructions, and start pushing buttons until something lights up or makes noise. Usually Mom.

We have half a dozen half empty water bottles, flung to the floor to empty out cupholders when something new appears. They roll around in the muck, pitching to and fro as the brakes are used. It's irritating; and they get covered in slush and are all gross, but eventually somebody will need a swig of water so badly they will drink them. When you have a couple of Tylenol melting on your tongue and that's all you can reach, it's nectar of the gods.

Two blankets, one pair of gloves, 5 pairs of sunglasses, hand lotion, Rockets candy, gum, a nail file, a dozen pens, 3 notebooks, 2 Toronto Life magazines, a golf ball, a football jersey, sunscreen, 6 CDs, couple bucks in change, somebody's cleats and a hoodie that fits everyone.

I think I'd notice a boat.

November 17, 2009

404 Error and NPR

Oh, that is great. You know when you get that 404 Lost Error for a web page?

Here's one you wouldn't mind getting.

Sarah Palin & My Cat

Have you read Sarah Palin's new book yet? Neither has she.

I caved to temptation and watched Oprah yesterday. I knew what it would be. It was. Out pops Miss Alaska, and my first thought was, "my, doesn't she have great hair! And look at those highlights. Hmmm."

You see, this is a problem. You're not supposed to notice highlights like that. I bet none of you see me and think, "why, it looks like Lorraine spends 150 bucks on highlights!". No. You don't think that at all. You just notice this overall stunning effect from my overpriced tending. Right?

I can see Sarah's highlights from my porch.

Oprah, we never knew ye. How dare you softball this Vanity Project in a Pair of Heels? You eviscerated James Frey for stretching the truth; you smiled warmly at Sarah Palin for re-inventing it.

And for all the nutters believing she has been redeemed? Really? Let's sit around and talk about our kids, and our clothes. Let's discuss making dinner. That crap is easy to talk about. Oprah mentioned a few lines from the book, and Sarah looked at her blankly like she was hearing it for the first time. A friend howled at the script of how Todd reacted when she told him their unborn son had DS. Oprah had to remind her of Todd's reaction - 3 times - until she remembered.

I'm still angry at her for never acknowledging what Obama did when the media descended on her family. He loudly, and eloquently, and immediately, told them to back off. Back off of her family. And she still refuses to acknowledge this class act. Oprah had to press her 3 times on that one as well, as she tried to waltz around. Trust me; anyone with children they were desperately trying to shield would have remembered this forever. So that leaves these choices: she is the one person who didn't hear him, she didn't care about protecting her children, or she's a liar.

I'm still not sure I understand her explanation of why she looked like a moron with Katie Couric. Can you really not name a single magazine you read? Really? By that point, the woman had been in more airports than a piece of luggage that Air Canada has lost. All she had to do was glance at the stand. And let's be real: the only person who could have given her a more tender interview than Katie Couric was Bambi.

She's a very attractive lady. She's also arrogant, stubborn and as introspective as my cat Maggie, who is sitting here eating an entire piece of pizza she found. I told her it wasn't good for her. She didn't care. I told her she'd bitten off more than she could chew. She didn't believe me. I explained that her ambition - to consume an entire piece of pizza - was bigger than her capabilities.

Maggie just walked away from the pizza. Wish I could say the same for Sarah Palin.

November 16, 2009

"Going Rouge" & Other Things That Make Me Red in the Face

Of course everyone has heard that Sarah Palin's new 'book' - Going Rogue - hits the ground (trailing a long swath of slime behind it, no doubt) tomorrow. Now, what cracks me up is I've read half a dozen blog postings in various places referring to it as "Going Rouge".

And these are the people who support her. And like her. And are helping her sell her book by making us think it was ghostwritten by Max Factor.

My back is killing me. Right between my shoulders, has been for a few weeks. I think one of the kids changed my chair setting and now I must sit here spinning my magic words in pain. This makes me not clean the bathroom or make dinner either. I believe there is no limit to what I should stop doing in order to make my family pay for altering my chair. Except figuring out where the chair should be set, however.

Actually, there's another reason I hate cooking for this lot. Ari came in the other day, and picked up a piece of a granola bar box. There was my handwriting on the inside.
"What's this?" he asked.
"A recipe," I replied.
"For what, disaster?" he said.

I couldn't think of a topic for my Wheels column today, so I asked my editor. Which of course gave him yet another opportunity to say 'here's something you can write for your wishy washy lifestyle crap'. Which is what he calls my work.

My chimney needs to be rebuilt.

We were with friends the other night for dinner. They are very lovely people with three young daughters. We had Chinese food. Christopher thought it would be a good thing to tell them the best way to read fortune cookies. By adding 'in bed' after each fortune. I was so proud.

This same son actually used the term 'bros before hos' today. Yep. Proud.

It is getting to that in between temperature now where I can't decide if I need the winter duvet and normal sheets, the lighter duvet and flannel sheets, or the winter duvet and flannel sheets. Either the weather - or me - has to make up its mind.

Just as predicted, the hallway is hanging in tatters, and the Poor Sod went back to work. I may just staple Christmas paper to it and ride out the holiday season.

CHCH reran a show I did for Live@5:30 earlier this week. I came home on Saturday night to an email from a gentleman essentially telling me I was frigid. Hmmmmm. Guess it's the winter duvet AND flannels, after all.

Even though the boys put out the garbage and bins last night, nobody emptied the smaller bins inside. They are teetering and overflowing. And I have a thing of celery in the fridge that I could tie into a bow. Maybe I'll make a wreath out of it for my festive hallway.

I'm sure I'll think of more things to whine about later.

November 12, 2009

So, When is the Baby Due?

This might be the single stupidest question you could ask a woman. Some comedian said unless you see a baby's head emerging from between her legs, you never ask a woman that. I know someone I love very much who is very close to me ::cough::Roz::cough:: will never, ever ask someone that question. Again.

Speaking of faux pas, (or faux pi, maybe) Harper's office made one. No, no, I know most of what Stephen Harper does is faux (concern for voters, concern for women, concern for children, concern for anyone who doesn't wear grey suits and have a side part), this one was better.

There was a shindig in Toronto so that Harper could faux care about Canada's military. A rumour flew around the room that Margaret Thatcher was dead. 'But didn't she die years ago?' you ask yourself. No, like many old British battle axes, she was just put out of sight of company and hauled out when someone needed a good story or two about why people on welfare are killing the world. Or something like that.

Anyway. 'Thatcher has died' flew around the room, and landed in Harper's ear. This is how things that are shared via the most annoying thing in the world - tweeting - happen. They land. Like bugs. I do not know if it was a tweet, but it was some kind of instant message, which is quickly becoming a shorthand for instant stupid.

Harper's office immediately flew into overdrive putting together condolences. Now, let me back up here. Margaret Thatcher turned 84 on her last birthday. You'd think they'd at least have a rough draft kicking around somewhere, no? Anyway, someone finally emailed the British PMs office. Or maybe they tweeted him. I'm not sure.

She ain't dead. Thatcher the cat is dead. John Baird, the Transport Minister, actually named his cat Thatcher. After Margaret Thatcher. Which just seems both cruel and unusual. I mean, my cat's name is Maggie, but I'll pretend I named her after Atwood before I'd say I named her after Thatcher.

So. The feline Thatcher was dispatched to the great catnip cloud in the sky. And Margaret Thatcher is no doubt wondering why these silly Canadians can't wait to bury her.

Anyone in British parliament have a cat named Harper, you think?

November 11, 2009

Those Sommerfeld Girls

So. You're probably asking yourself what those Sommerfeld girls are really like. Well, one of them doesn't call herself a Sommerfeld girl anymore, but we know better. Gilly.

Anyway. I happened to receive links from both of my sisters today. And I thought it would be insightful for all of you to see the heights to which Sommerfeld intellect soars.

Gilly just sent me this YouTube link, asking that we help make it viral. Now, Gilly is very cute. I suggest you watch it, laugh, and send it around.

Not to be outdone, Roz fired this over to me this morning. I admit it's a little more involved - you will be required to draw a pig - but it's a hoot. Or a grunt. Or whatever sound a pig makes. Dad would have known. He had pigs on the farm. But he's dead. So I'm just going to say go draw a pig. And get back to me.

Those Sommerfeld Girls could become a regular feature. Tell Gilly and Rozzy to keep sending me links like this. I know it's far more fun than the political crap that WebGod Jeff hates so much. Or travel sites with little darts that sidetrack me. Or long-winded Vanity Fair pieces that make Roz fall asleep faster than the New York Times links I put up. Or the New Yorker stuff that only I find funny. Or...forget it.

Just call and ask for Gilly or Roz.

November 9, 2009

Dunnville River Arts Festival

I'll be at the Dunnville River Arts Festival tonight at 7pm. Lots of great authors and artists over the course of the week.

Dunnville is out that way. Look on a map. Point to St. Catherines, then move your finger to the right a bit towards Lake Erie. See? There it is.

CH Live@5:30 Monday

You've no doubt heard of Ashley Madison, the website that not only tells you it's okay to fool around on your spouse, but makes it happen! Find like-minded people, fool around to your heart's content, or until the divorce summons arrives! Your choice!

Join the usual crew, me and the founder of the website and author of (of course) the book that apparently is needed to compliment the site.

CHCH Live@5:30, repeat at 11:30

November 8, 2009

Hey, Can I Get a Butler, Too?

I read this big ad in the Toronto Star today. It caught my eye because it's basically a 3"x4" block of solid script, in the midst of a Domestic Help section that typically contains ads that run to about 8 words: "wanted exp. cleaning lady must not steal" - something like that.

But this ad, which I cannot find on line, is freaky. The only clue I could dig up is here, where, by sleuthing the address, it has been determined that it is a member of the Rogers clan who is seeking a live-in butler.

Oh, but so much more. For $71,400 per year, they want someone who will work full time, live-in but be available to work nights and weekends. They will be the household go-to person for all family members, 'reception and looking after guests, full chauffeur duties including care & maintenance of luxury automobiles' (they don't just call them cars, like I do), 'all services of food & beverage' 'event planning' 'valet duties' 'packing of suitcases for travel' (really? so I'd get to blame Harold the valet if my black boots - no, the other black boots, not those ones - got inadvertently left out?)

They want a university grad who went on to graduate from Butler School. Excellent oral and written skills. Calendar management (though I don't know what that means - when the month is up, I just flip the page), household inventory management (Mom! we're out of Corn Flakes!), wine cellar management (oooh. I could do this. 'Madam, I'm told Tuesday was a very good year for this plonk'). Running of errands. Personal shopping. Simple cooking. Must be honest, have common sense, be tactful and discrete. (I just threw my app in the garbage).

Highly motivated. Energetic. Self-starter. Polished appearance. Must get CPR training.

Now, that last bit makes sense to me. If they actually find someone who can be all these things to all these people in all these ways, and be able to hire them for an essentially 24-hour a day job, for $71,400, they're gonna need to have someone who can revive them when they fall over in a dead faint.

November 4, 2009

Ewwwwwwww. Kids Today.

Okay, somebody tell me if this is the real deal.

I'm not even gonna write about it, except to wonder if this is really what tampons are for....

Wust-i-chest-i-shire Sauce

We love this stuff. That stuff. In the title. And that is the way we pronounce it, because everyone knows that proper English words always have at least 6 extra syllables hidden deep within their letters. It's so they can sort the natives from the tourists.

Anyway. Cute article which reveals the recipe for this stuff. The authentic, real, disgusting recipe. The good news? It makes about 150 litres. So, go ahead. Make it, and then drop me off a little bottle.

The bad news? You might choke when you read what's in it.

November 3, 2009

Kiss Your Afternoon Goodbye...

Oh, now this is a blast. Read this piece from Slate first, please. I'll wait.

Now, bring up your Google browser and enter a few words. This is hysterical. Well, kind of sad sometimes (are people really this dumb?), but funny.

Suggested: 'how do I', 'how do you' 'how do you get'....

Short Story al a King

A couple of months back, I was all whiny about a short story that appeared in Esquire by Stephen King. It was shite, I believe I said, though it's possible I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, for a guy who is capable of hitting 'em out of the park, I get peeved when he serves up lousy work.

Well, here's a link to a way better piece, in the New Yorker. I like it. It's typical twisted King, but he's obviously worked the gore and stupid out of his writing and returned to what he's good at: normal people.

Headline Day

Let's play Ring Around the Headline today.

Random things that have caught my eye of late. This morning on the top left of page one of my Star, I see a throw for a story inside. Now, I only know this is called a throw because I had an editor tell me he was going to throw a story of mine once, and I gasped and said "you're throwing my story? Why? What did I do wrong?" and he gently explained that it was a good thing. A throw is a little teaser on the cover to haul you inside. It's the newspaper equivalent of a sign out front that says Girls Girls Girls.

Now, this throw was a flag with 'I WON' in it, and the mini headline, 'Lawyer Declares Victory Over Real Estate Industry'. I jumped from my chair with a resounding 'Meh'. Who do you hate more than lawyers? Maybe the real estate industry. Who do you hate more than the real estate industry? Probably lawyers. It's like watching Peter Brady win a sprint over Chris Partridge. Who cares? Who even knows who they are? (You'll need a little 70s TV lore to play this game, obviously.)

I did read the piece. It's about those discount brokers. And regulation. But it's still about a lawyer. I'm just thinking if they want people to get excited, don't say the lawyer won. Say people won. You know the ones. "Sell your house for 1.5% commission" blah blah blah. They supposedly show you now to keep more money for yourself so your real estate agent doesn't keep winning the lottery by flipping your house. Sorry, selling it. I see signs, For Sale By Owner, and I figure if you want to sell your house the same way you give away free kittens, that's up to you. But I'm more likely to get a kitten from you than a house. Just so you know.

Moving along this morning...there's been an ongoing case of a doctor in Toronto who submitted false claims to OHIP. As far as I'm concerned this is the greediest thing a doctor can do. Being wined and dined by the pharmaceutical industry is gross, but submitting false claims - $65,000 worth - is more gross. Our system is in huge trouble, and this leech is submitting false claims.

But they decided she was nuts when she did it, so it's fine. What were the nature of the false claims, you ask? Get this: filing claims to OHIP if she spoke to her family at dinner. Seriously. Let's say you're a doctor, and your kid says to you, "Mom, I stubbed my toe..." "Well, darling, you are a klutz. Now go get your backpack and go to school." And if you're this woman, you then fill out an OHIP submission and get paid for that advice.

Now do this 65,000 dollars worth. 2700 individual billings. Then say you didn't know you were doing anything wrong. Then say you were in a decreased mental capacity (ya think?). And then have the judge buy it. And then get off. But during this whole time, while you are Crying Crazy, keep working as a doctor at a clinic.

Can't suck and blow at the same time folks. You want to know why this didn't get to a jury? Because we would have thrown stuff at her.

A couple of weeks back, Disney announced they would give full refunds to idiots, er parents, who purchased Baby Einstein DVDs for their babies. Infants, actually. The advertising goes from zero to toddler, or something. Zero - when they have no necks. When they sleep, 23 hours a day, in a crumpled little ball. Like a boneless chicken. In a sleeper. Yes. They need DVDs.

Anyway. Disney had to admit, to the dismay of arsehole parents everywhere, that propping your progeny up in front of a TV screen will not make them geniuses. The fact parents would believe this lets me know the kid is already on a slippery slope to the short bus. I am so over this crap of people thinking they can create intelligence with anything other than attention, time and attention. Did I say that twice? Maybe because I'm right. Plunking little Albert or Rayphaeleya in front of the idiot box, regardless of what junk you plug in, will not help.

I knew a woman once of painfully average intelligence who decided she would birth geniuses. To achieve them, she used to flashcard them to death. Poor kid strapped to a high chair watching a mad woman hold up cards with 'red' or '1+1=3' on them. All those kids learned was learning was painful, and if they got something right, they got a goldfish cracker. I know dogs that would learn flashcards to get a goldfish cracker. Kid going to look mighty stupid in college searching for his goldfish cracker every time he gets something right.

Moving right along...Tinky Winky Suspect Sought in Armed Robbery. That's the headline. On Halloween, Tinky Winky robbed a woman after midnight in London, Ontario. Now, this is what happens when children's beloved TV characters have their personal lives dragged through the mud. You might remember the giant controversy, second only to who shot JFK - is Tinky Winky gay? He never admitted it, but now he's sunk to robbing people on the street, you can't help but wonder if the stress of such ruthless tearing into his private life didn't push him into a life of crime. We really need to respect the private life of public people. Geez.