Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ottawa from the 28th floor

...which is really only 27 stories from street level, because the Marriott at Queen and Kent Streets doesn't have a 13th floor. Who are they kidding?
Anyhoo, I took these shots while having lunch today at Merlot, the revolving restaurant which occupies said 28th floor.
This truly is a beautiful city.Parliament Hill (Duh! Yeah, really)
The Canadian War MuseumThe Supreme Court of Canada. If you look closely enough, you can see workers in fluorescent vests, cleaning snow off the front steps.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ohmygawd, the sky is falling!

How will this country survive with less Ben Mulroney on TV? Oh, the pain... (sarcasm intended)
CTV cancels Canadian Idol for 2009

Rob Salem
Television Critic

Canadian Idol, once a competition-crushing ratings juggernaut for CTV, will not be produced in 2009, the network confirmed tonight.

Citing a less-than-idyllic "economic climate," CTV said Canadian Idol will be taking a "rest" for the broadcast year.

But CTV still retains its Idol licence, and says it has every expectation of bringing the crooner competition back again the following season.

Times must indeed be tough for the network to suspend production on the second most-watched Canadian-originated show in the entire country - right behind CTV's other adopted franchise, So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

But even with impressive ratings that ranged between 1 and 1.5 million in the final weeks of its sixth season in September, that is still roughly half the Canadian audience for its sister sing-a-thon, American Idol.

The American show, also cutting costs this year by cancelling its annual American Idol Gives Back fund-raiser, returns for its own eighth season January 13.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My datebook is full as far as lunch dates go

So we had our staff Christmas party on Saturday, and there were draws for several great prizes, including free parking for a year, a week of vacation time, Senators tickets and more. I won the $1,000 tab at Sami's Grill, the lunch counter in our building run by the sweetest Lebanese couple you could ever meet.

Now, all of a sudden, I have more people offering to have lunch with me. Fickle freaks.

But I'll tell you one thing: It sure felt good this morning, when I bought a coffee and a muffin, to say in my best announcer voice, "Put that on my tab, please."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So there's a transit strike in Ottawa

Don't let the exaggeraters fool you. The city has NOT ground to a halt.
Sure, it's a pain in the ass, especially if you have to drive on the Queensway during peak periods, but it still isn't the 401 on the best of days.

And one advantage of an OCTranspo strike: Fewer buses on the road. Just STO buses from Gatineau. AND Rideau Street outside the Rideau Centre isn't as creepy as usual, because there are fewer freaks hanging around the bus stops.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Finally, justice is done...

...and its name is OJ.
May you soon be some big guy's bitch.
Rot in jail, you murderous scum.
How dare you try to portray yourself as a victim, and stage that tearful act of contrition. Maybe you're not such a bad actor after all. But for that, too, you should be ashamed.
Rest well, Nicole and Ron. It took a while and on another case, but the end result is a small measure of justice for you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Merci beaucoup, Mme Gouverneur-General

May sanity prevail.
I will preface my next remark with the caveat that I did NOT vote Conservative in the October election.
Stephane Dion is a bitter, pitiful little man who is running his own deficit of brain cells. He can't even run a party well enough to get a recorded address delivered to the TV networks on time, and in a format they can use.
I don't know what to think of Jack Layton right now.
Gilles Duceppe, I must say, is crafty as a fox. You don't have to support his party's raison-d'etre, but you have to agree that he's taken advantage of a big gift being handed to him.
As little as I want another election right now, I say bring it on. I will vote Conservative, just because I'm so disgusted with the rest of them, and their disregard for the way our political systems works. And I predict a massive Conservative majority, for the very same reasons.
Take electoral defeat with a bit of class. If you don't like the system, work from within it to change it. And don't put personal goals and ambitions ahead of the good of the country.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Devil and Coffee Cat

Poor "Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever" (it's really her title, registered with Buckingham Palace and everything) just lived through four days of HELL (lower case just doesn't convey the severity).
This is why:
Sandy, who you'll notice, has many of the same letters in her name as Satan does. Sandy's earthly body is that of a one-year-old terrypoo (half Jack Russell terrier and half poodle). She has chosen my aunt and uncle to feed and house her. The three of them were guests in my home from Friday afternoon until this morning, under the guise of my aunt and uncle attending the Neil Diamond concert on Sunday. It was all a ruse for Sandy/Satan to unleash HELL on poor, unsuspecting Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever.

Sandy/Satan portrays a playful, lovable, affectionate, full-of-kisses puppy. But if Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever was actually a boy named Johnny, there would have been a fiddle-off, with the stakes being Coffee's soul up against a golden fiddle.
Sandy/Satan took over the entire house, playing with Coffee's toys, running around like an orangutan and worst of all, dominating Coffee's Daddy's attention -- not to mention Coffee's favourite snoozing place, between her Daddy's knees when he's reclining in his Lazy Boy chair.
Now, Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever is no wuss. She knows how to defend herself and her territory, even against tactics from HELL. When Sandy/Satan would get too close and/or try to get Coffee to play her devilish games, Coffee would let go with a devilish hiss that even made Sandy/Satan back off. I did not witness it myself, but I'm told that at one point Saturday afternoon, Coffee even tempted fate by belting Sandy/Satan in the head, knocking her for a loop. And all weekend, Coffee kept Sandy/Satan at bay (most of the time) with a stern leer from six or eight feet away. "Go ahead, Devil," the leer conveyed, "make my day. My food and water dishes might have been relegated to the basement to keep you from using them, but I will prevail!"
Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever is now claiming victory. Sandy/Satan has gone back to Cochrane with her earthly hosts, and Coffee's soul is still intact. She is now once again the dominant creature within these walls. She can now brag that she has been through HELL and back.
Touché! Now, about that golden fiddle...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Does anyone interpret dreams?

I had a very vivid one last night or this morning.
It took me back to my hockey trainer days in Iroquois Falls. (To the uninitiated, a trainer does not train anyone -- hell, I can't even skate -- but is the first aid guy/den mother for the team). Queen Elizabeth was a special guest at the game. She was supposed to be performing a ceremonial face-off partway through the game, not at the beginning of it. The face-off was right in front of our bench. Although Her Majesty was supposed to be performing the face-off, the referee -- who just happened to be a guy I worked with at the TV station in Timmins -- dropped the puck, right onto Her Maj's head.
She swooned, I jumped over the boards and grabbed her arm to prevent her from hitting the ice. She took off her fancy hat (that chick has great taste in hats!) and I removed the toque she was wearing underneath it. There was nary a mark on her royal head, but I called out to someone on the bench to get me an ice pack. I was thinking to myself that even though she was the Queen, my old trick of using an ice pack as a placebo to calm down a player and make him think he was getting better when he was never really hurt in the first place, would also work on her.
Before I could get the ice pack, the Queen's protocol director appeared, announcing that the visit was over, and the Queen must leave. So I let her hold my arm while I walked her around the edge of the rink to the exit on the far side, rather than just leave the ice at our bench, some three feet away.
As we walked, she said she would rather stay. I told the protocol director that it was just an unfortunate accident, and Her Majesty was not injured, but he just clicked his tonight behind his teeth in that tsk-tsk sound, making it very clear that he did not believe that, and the visit was indeed over. The Queen pointed out that she had no say in anything, must obey the protocol director, and that every second of her life was dictated to her.
As we walked out to Her Majesty's rock star bus, I asked if she had ever played hockey. She said no, but that she did ice skate quite often.
As we got to the bus, a huge black bodyguard stepped off of the bottom step, offered the Queen his arm, and shook my hand. The bus then left, and I returned to the game. Several spectators sitting behind our bench cracked a lot of jokes about the entire affair, and roared with laughter when I told them I could walk them home, as I had done with Her Majesty.

Tell me, Dr. Freud, am I crazy? What does this dream mean? Should I lay off eating garlic like it's an apple before going to bed?

My first fireplace fire!

Last night! I took pictures! I used the timer on my camera so I could get in to some of the pictures! I'm such a loser!

Monday, November 24, 2008

How Natives get their names

(Before we get started, let me state that my Native name is Plays Baseball Like A Girl, which is a name I adopted in adulthood, and not my Native birth name.)

"Father," asked the young brave, "How do Native children get their names?"

"Well, my son," his father replied, "when a Native baby is born, he is named after the first sensation experienced by his father immediately following the birth. Hence, it could be Buffalo Hooves Stampeding, Eagle in Flight, Wind Rustling in Trees, or Cry of the Wolf, for example. Why do you ask, Two Dogs F**king?"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Misster Kitty will be proud of me

Man, for a straight guy, I sure can be a bee-ahtch at times.
I was just out to get a sandwich. A crabby looking old lady was waiting to come out the door that I was going in. Several people kept crowding past her. I held the door open so she could get out. As she swept past me, I loudly and clearly said "You're welcome". Then behind me, I heard a feeble "Oh, thank you."

Thank you. Thank you very much.
If I get brave enough, I might try my hand at a bitchslap. Get it? Try my HAND at a bitchslap?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finally, pics of my house

As you probably know by now, I just moved into the first home I have ever owned. It is a three-bedroom townhouse. Here are some pics of the exterior and the ground floor. I'm not ready to share pics of the rest of the house. You'll also notice a few boxes still evident. They have mostly photographs with which I decorate, but my shui isn't fenging right now. I must be patient with that -- it'll come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Silly melancholy feelings

I admit it: I'm a real moosh.
Today, I went back over to my old apartment to get the last few things out of it and clean it up a bit. I tell ya, I swept up enough cat hair to open a charity to make wigs for cats who have cancer.
Anyway, as much as I love my new place, I did really like that apartment, too. It was the nicest one I've ever had. So as I'm cleaning, I'm getting a bit melancholy -- not regretting the move, but just getting a little melcancholy.
Sweeping reminded me of Carol Burnett, and next thing you know, I'm singing "I'm so glad we've had this time together..." and picturing myself as her washer-woman character.
Yeah, I'm a moosh -- and a nutbar.

I'm just about at the point in the new place, where I am ready to take and post pics of the main floor, and maybe the master bedroom. Probably tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I just bought new salt and pepper shakers, cuz the other ones got broken during my move. So far, that's the only casualty, so not bad.
The only problem is the new shakers aren't labelled (yet). One has three holes, the other has five. I'm guessing that it's three for salt, five for pepper. Am I right?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lest we forget

"...If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Move is Complete

I have not yet begun to enjoy the extra space of my three-bedroom townhouse, because I am still surrounded by boxes. I got some unpacking done yesterday, but none today, because I do volunteer work on Wednesday mornings, and then had to come in to work.
I was counting on getting more unpacking done tomorrow morning before coming in to work, but now the boss wants me in at 9:30 am for a half-hour session with the company lawyer on libel and other legal matters related to news. Oh, well.

Coffee the Prettiest Cat Ever seems to be enjoying the new place, too. She was pretty freaked out by all the boxes during packing, and the unusual activity leading up to the move. She voiced her disapproval to being shut in to the bathroom yesterday morning while the movers got their truck loaded. But once I got her to the new place, she walked around as if to say "Nice place, Dad. Is that OUR furniture? Cool!" After a bit more exploring, she hopped up on the back of the recliner -- one of her favourite perches -- and took a cat nap. We also had a chance to take a snooze together in the same chair -- one of her favourite bonding activities -- while waiting for Cable Guy to show up.

If anyone knows a spell that will result in all the boxes being unpacked and everything put where it belongs, conjure away.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is TORTURE!

Almost 3:30, and still no call to pick up my house keys! ARRRRGGGGHHHH!
Oh, the humanity!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is just for Kitty

Not one for the squeamish! This is courtesy of my buddy Chris.

Woman swallowed whole by leopard

I thought it was one of those fake emails too, until I saw the photo below. Somehow the woman was lodged in the leopard's throat and they finally *cut the leopard's head off to let the woman escape.

She was unharmed.... Unbelievable!!

Photo follows...may be too frightening for some viewers

Scroll down

Woman swallowed whole by leopard! You just had to look didn't you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is it ironic...?

...That the word pronunciation is frequently mispronounced?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seven more sleeps...

Number 8 will be in my new home. MY home. Owned by ME.

Woot woot.

That is all. Thank you and good night.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm learning from Kitty

You'll be proud of me, Kitty.
This morning, there was a voicemail message awaiting me at the Assignment desk. It was from a sarcastic arsehole who called just before midnight last night, while evacuated from his apartment because of a suspicious package found in the building. He berated 'A' News as being number three in the market and a bunch of idiots, ending it by saying he would check with CBC today.
So I called him back this morning (thank Gawd our voicemail systems records the caller's number). You should have heard the nervous laughter when I identified himself and told him I didn't appreciate the tone of his call, but understood that he was in a stressful situation. He was amazed that I called back, and apologized. I pointed out to him that CBC doesn't even staff its newsroom on weekends, and that he would be lucky to even find a phone number for CBC or the local CTV station.
We ended the conversation sharing a laugh over the way police apparently handled the entire situation, ordering an evacuation, but some people ignored it, and leaving those who obeyed to freeze in the cold, damp night for over two hours.

I do believe you have emboldened me, Kitty. I also know that we should only use our Force for good, but can we use it for evil once in a while, just for shits 'n' giggles?

By the way, I met the fancy cat with the leopard spots last night. He's amazing!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My, like, language-related rant of the week

I challenge everyone under 30 to go an entire day without using the word "like".
Hell, I would be happy if one of you could get through an entire sentence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Note to Steve, Steph, Gilles and Jack:

Canadians obviously were NOT in the mood for yesterday's election. Woe be the tide whoever causes us to have another one in the next three years.

And not to forget Liz: With all due respect to your Party's raison-d'etre, what the hell were you thinking, especially actually believing you could beat Peter MacKay in Central Nova? Give your head a good, hard shake.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Verbing nouns drives me crazy!

I'm the cranky old fart in the 'A' Ottawa & The Valley newsroom who rails at young reporters and newswriters about things like using the wrong word, misspelling, misprounciation (including pronouncing pronunciation as "pronounciation") and many other things. I've even been referred to as being pedantic (look it up).

What really tightens my colon -- but not my semi-colon -- is verbing nouns, as Calvin and Hobbes call it. That is, using words like transition, reference and access as verbs.

Today, I thought of a couple other nouns that are commonly used as verbs: party and beer, as in "When we were partying and I finished a beer, I hollered over the music to you, who were standing near the fridge, and said 'Yo, Dude! I gotta dead soldier over here. Beer me!'"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Next week's cover of The Economist

With thanks to my old hockey buddy Chris...

Monday, October 06, 2008

So let me get this straight...

American financial institutions need a 700-billion-dollar bailout, using tax money paid by John and Jane Q. Public.
One of the companies leading the way down the financial toilet is Lehman Brothers.
Yet as the big hand was reaching for the flush handle, the top executives at Lehman's were being paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and dividends, led by the CEO, who picked up a cool 200-million himself.
"Crass" and "criminal" aren't nearly strong enough words to describe this debacle. This, while nest eggs are being eaten by possums.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"It's too late to turn back now..."

With apologies to The Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose for the heading...
All of the conditions have been cleared, and in exactly 30 days, I will own my own home!
Now, the fun part: de-cluttering, packing and the actual move. I have an estimator from a moving company coming over Friday morning.
Any packing and/or moving tips? Horror stories? Come on, dish.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Catching up on something else significant

I'm on vacation this week, because Little Bro Dan and Pretty Christine are in town visiting. I decided to take some reserve time, so that I don't have to always say "Aww, I can't go, I have to work." As luck would have it, the time has also come in handy for doing home-purchase stuff, too.

So Dano and I went out yesterday and bought our outfits for the wedding. It's a Jamaica beach wedding, so we got nice khaki-coloured Dockers. Dan got a white shirt, and I got a light blue one. It's subject to Bride Approval, to make sure it goes well with the Maid of Honour's turquoise dress.

Thursday night, both families went out for supper to celebrate Christine's new job. The Pretty One has finally landed a job in her field, after working retail and clerical for the two years that she has lived with Dan in Timmins. She has a BA in psychology, and starts as a counsellor with a family counselling centre on October 7th.

Tomorrow night, we're gathering for a big meal at The Pretty One's family's home in Rockland.

My Dano is such a fine young guy. He knew that I was searching for Wii Fit. Thursday afternoon, he called to make sure I was still looking, and said he would "set me up with it." That night, he gave it to me. It turns out he was in WalMart, saw Wii Fit and bought two -- one for The Pretty One and one for Big Brother Bob. He wouldn't hear of letting me pay for it.

Anyway, that's what else has been going on in my life lately. How've you been?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The worst part is over

The offer has been accepted, all conditions met or removed, and we move on to the closing. The money-sucking lawyers have five weeks to do what little they have to do, and I take possession of my first home on October 31. So now, I have to get off my duff and start packing.

Oh, wait: I take back the "worst part" bit. Packing and moving are collectively the worst part. Hopefully, this will be the last of that nonsense for 14 or 15 years.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

To Greg, on his 50th birthday

This is my buddy Greg. Today would have been his 50th birthday. He was killed in a car accident when he was 22.

Greg and I became friends when we were 13 and in Grade 8. We became part of a group of seven guys who were absolute best of friends in our teen years. Our parents called us the Dead End Gang. The other five guys and I remain very close to this day. We might not always communicate often enough or get together often enough, but when we do, it's like we had left off yesterday. We know that the other guys are always there for us, at least in spirit.

It's the same thing with Greg, even though he's been dead longer than he was alive. I'm not sure I believe in an afterlife and communication between this life and that one, but Greg has provided evidence that could be used to convince me. For months after his death, I would wake up at night, at precisely the time we were told he had died on the highway between Timmins and Iroquois Falls. Greg frequently shows up in my dreams, acknowledging that he's dead, but popping in anyways. And this morning, at precisely 4:44, something startled me awake. Four is the hockey sweater number that Greg always wore.

I was a young newspaper reporter when Greg died. My column that week was a tribute to Greg and our friendship. I wrote that friends might die, but true friendship like ours never does. I believe that to this day. I also miss Greg to this day.

Happy Birthday, Buddy. I'm always here for you, and know that you're here for me, if only in spirit.

Friday, September 19, 2008


There was a wee bit of back-and-forth, and I ended up offering $100 more than the listing price, but I got it!

Moving Day is Halloween Day!

Can I please have two "woot"s?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The offer is in

I should know by noon tomorrow whether it has been accepted.
I looked at several today, and this one just felt SO right in every way, I decided to put in an offer right away.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The house hunt is on

I'm 50 and have never owned my own home. It's for a number of reasons, among them the fact that until the past few years, I didn't make enough money, and wasn't sure where I would settle (even though I lived in Timmins for almost 14 years, but low-income years).

I am ready for home ownership, and the switch to putting a huge chunk of my monthly income into paying the freight on my OWN place, instead of someone else's. The timing is good, too, because with the stock market the way it is, home ownership is the only really safe investment that you can count on to give you a decent eventual return on your money. My mutual funds are in the tank.

So I've been pre-approved for a mortgage and have consulted my cousin, the realtor. Tomorrow morning, we go on six showings.

Wish me luck. I'll update as I can.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A nice story about a fine young man

I work with a young guy who actually just turned 25 yesterday. I knew he was a good kid with a kind heart, but something he told me about last week convinces me of that.

Brent has legally changed his last name to his mother's maiden name. His dad abandoned Brent when he was just a little guy, and has not been a part of his life since, so he and his brother were raised by their mom. His grandmother has been a big influence in his life, too.

Brent says he's been thinking of this name change for a long time, and that his father's last name has no real meaning or significance to him. So he did it, and presented his new birth certificate to his grandmother as a gift for her 84th birthday. His mom and her aunt were there, too.

Brent says his grandmother has never been much of an outwardly emotional person, but the smile she displayed at her birthday gift spoke volumes. And then later, when no one else was around, she turned to him and said "Your grandfather would be very proud of what you've done." Brent didn't know his grandfather, either -- he died either before Brent was born, or when he was very young (I can't remember which, although he did tell me). Brent says that he knows that his grandmother was also telling him in her own way, how proud she is, too, and how much the gesture means to her.

I am so impressed with this young man. That is a big thing to do. Your name is such a part of you and your identity, and to change it for any reason is huge.

Brent often calls me Papa Bob, saying I'm kind of like a surrogate dad to him. That's quite alright to me. And being a very outwardly emotional person, I couldn't help but hug him, to show him how proud I am of the gesture that honours his grandmother.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Crunch time for telemarketers

It's not just me: Two co-workers have noticed an upswing in the number of telemarketing calls the past week or two. I've been getting three and four a day.
I can't confirm this yet (although it might make a good news story for 'A' News next week), but we suspect they're rushing to get in all the calls they can, before the Do Not Call List takes effect September 30.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's up with Maria?

Blogspot says her blog has been removed.
Maria, where art thou?

Define "sport", please

I have been part of more than one discussion about what constitutes an Olympics sport.
Our sports anchor at work (salt of the earth, lovable retired CFL player who played football without a helmet once too often) was questioning race walking the other day.
I was questioning floor exercise, acknowledging that our other sports anchor, who happens to be on maternity leave right now, would kick my ass for it, because she's a former NCAA gymnast. I mean, it's definitely an art and requires a high degree of athletic ability, but a SPORT?
What do you think should or should not be an Olympic sport?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's happening to the CBC?

Right up to front, I will state what some may perceived as a bias. I work in broadcasting, as a news producer at 'A' Ottawa (until this past Monday, it was A-Channel). And we at 'A' are guilty of some of the same type of transgressions about which I am about to rant.

Now that that's out of the way, the national public broadcaster used to be the showcase of proper English, how to write it and how to speak it. That appears to have become a thing of the past.

A handful of examples illustrating that point:
-When I was on vacation, I was listening to a national program on CBC Radio (I believe it was "Sounds Like Canada" or possibly a newscast), and a reporter used the word "influx" as a verb, as in something was influxing. I add that to my list of nouns that cannot and should not be used as verbs (or "verbed" as Calvin says in one particular favourite edition of the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes").
-Last week, local CBC Ottawa radio reporter Nick Gamache was filling in as a newscaster. this gentleman usually covers issues in the Outaouais, which is the area of Quebec across the Ottawa River from Ottawa. While mentioning that Adam VanKoeverden would be Canada's flagbearer at the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, he pronounced the last name properly, but the first name was pronounced a-DAM. Yes, I know, that's the French pronunciation of Adam, but this was on the English CBC.
-This afternoon, again Nick Gamache, mispronounced the name of CBC Toronto reporter Philip Lee-Shanok, who was doing a report about the aftermath of Sunday's propane explosions, and said that many people suffered "trama". Methinks he meant trauma.

Showcase of the English language, eh?

P.S. As I was proofreading this, the 5:30pm CBC news came on. Gamache was describing a robbery suspect with a sparse moustache, and pronounced it "spairse".

Thursday, July 31, 2008

So what song is going through YOUR head?

Prism is coming to Ottawa next week, and Bill Welychka is going to interview the boys in the band. So several of us here in the A-Channel (soon to be 'A") News centre have been singing about a solar-powered laser beam guitar for the past hour or so.

Every night is a different flight to a different galaxy
Do a sold-out show, then I hit the road in my starship limousine

Get so damned tired and uninspired doin' all these one night stands
It's a giant leap for Rock'n'Roll...but it's too much for just one man

I'm a Spaceship Superstar... gotta solar-powered laser beam guitar
I'm at the top of all the charts on Mars...I'm a Spaceship Superstar!

On Mercury, they're crazy about my stellar rock'n'roll
And I always sell out in advance at the Martian Astrobowl

The fans, they swarm like meteorites to our concerts on the moon
You should have seen us knock'em dead on Venus doin' all our favorite tunes

I'm a Spaceship Superstar...gotta solar-powered laser beam guitar
I'm at the top of all the charts on Mars...I'm a Spaceship Superstar!

The latest on the Scrabulous debacle

From the news wire:
Scrabble knockoff returns to Facebook with changes after short gap
NEW YORK - A popular Scrabble knockoff is back on Facebook. It comes with changes that could help it skirt copyright and trademark laws.
On Tuesday, the creators of Scrabulous voluntarily removed their version of the word game from Facebook, the online hangout.
The Indian brothers behind Scrabulous made the decision after the owners of Scrabble's North American rights filed a federal lawsuit.
Now, the game has reappeared with the name Wordscraper.
The change could help it avoid any confusion with Scrabble. And the game itself has also changed. Instead of Scrabble-like square tiles, for instance, Wordscraper has circles.
(The Associated Press)
10:26ET 31-07-08

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scrabble vs. Scrabulous

Okay, here's what's up: The company that owns Scrabble has brought the big corporate down on facebook's Scrabulous application, forcing Scrabulous to pull itself from facebook in Canada and the U.S.

I have been playing Scrabble online for years, on a website called WordBiz. The url is . It's based in Romania, and you can play people all over the world. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh yeah: The vay-kay

I promised when I posted the loon photos that I would report about my vacation. Truth is, it wasn't a lot to write home about. The weather was the s**ts for most of the time I was up North.
But I did go to best friend Bill's son's wedding. Groom Billy pulled a stunt on Honourary Uncle Bob. The maid of honour recognized me from my TV news anchor days, and insisted on being introduced and being photographed with me. That being done, Groom Billy told all the guys in the wedding party to get close enough to me at some point during the evening to bug me about being a big TV star celebrity. The best man -- who I had never met before -- got his chance at the urinal next to mine, while I was draining some of the gallons of beer that I drank that night, from my bladder. "Hey! I've never had a p**s beside a celebrity before" was one of his comments. Needless to say, Groom Billy got a real chuckle out of the trick he played on me.

The wedding was in Timmins. Little Bro Dan insisted that I stay at his place, instead of at the hotel with all the rest of the revellers, telling me he would come and pick me up when I was ready to leave. I told him not to worry, I'd probably be ready by 11pm. Famous last words. I called him at 1:15am, and woke him up. The usual nightowl had fallen asleep watching a movie.

I spent a couple more days in Timmins, delivering on my promised housewarming gift to Dan and Pretty Christine, supplying everything needed to paint a room, and helping Dano paint it.

It was also the 15th anniversary of our Big Brother match while I was there. I gave Dan the gift I got to mark the occasion: A hard-covered book with mostly photos of our 15 years together, and some text in tribute to our match called "Fate Gets It Right". I made it through the website . I am really pleased with the way it turned out, and Dan likes it too.

I also spent time in Timmins with good friends Mark and Cathy; in Iroquois Falls with good friends Ray and Lisa; and just outside Matheson with Bill (Groom Billy's Dad) and his partner, Lise-Anne.

Needless to say, I got in a good visit with Dad and Stepmaman, caught up on a lot of sleep and read four or five books in the two weeks I was up there.

That's about it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I finally got some half-decent loon photos!

It has been a quest of mine for many, many years, to get close enough and have the right camera to get some photos of the loons that are on our small lake every summer. Finally, with my Canon PowerShot S3IS, I have succeeded! And on the final night of my vacation at the cottage, too!
That doesn't mean that my quest is over. I know these pics are not perfect, and know a few ways that I can improve on them. Plus Milky will probably have a few pointers (hint-hint) and I hope to take a digital photography course this fall.
In the meantime, though, these will suffice. And, oh, I also shot a bit of video with my camera for the first time. It is also a work in progress.

More on the vaykay later. I guess it's nice to be back.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's getting closer

I am now part of the travel group going to Jamaica for Little Bro Dan and The Pretty One Christine's wedding next April. Pardon me -- I need a pause -- getting a bit misty here. Okay, I'm fine now.
Next Monday is the 15th anniversary of the day Dano and I were matched by Big Brothers. I'll be up North then on vacation, and hopefully with Dan at least for a few minutes on that day.
Have I ever mentioned how he's my pride and joy?

Friday, July 04, 2008

The inhumanity of humanity

Man, I'm pissed off at my species right about now.
We just got a call here in the A-Channel Ottawa newsroom from the Ottawa Humane Society, hoping we can do a story this weekend about its shelter being overcrowded with dogs and cats, so that adoptive families will come forward.
It's not unusual for a lot of cats to be in the shelter this time of year. What makes it different this year is the number of dogs. Apparently, there have been a few cases of people dropping off their pets and giving them up for adoption or euthanasia, simply because they're going on vacation and don't want to be bothered with the animal anymore. CAN YOU FREAKIN' IMAGINE?
I'm having an obsessive near-breakdown, because on Tuesday, I'm leaving Coffee The Prettiest Cat Ever for two weeks -- the longest I've ever left her. And I know that my young neighbour, Philippe, takes great care of her. He feeds her twice a day, and spends up to an hour just playing with her, so that she's not alone 24/7.
By the way, as soon as we have a camera operator available, we're headed over to the Humane Society to do a story for our 11pm news tonight, and 6pm tomorrow. Anything I can do to help, short of tracking down the former owners and swatting them upside the head with a bat.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Beyond a doubt, we live in the best country in the world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life in perspective and what I learned today

Today, after attending my niece Caitlin's high school graduation (see post below), I went out for lunch with a young friend of mine, who is Cait's age and graduated from high school yesterday. The one big difference is that he took his final year of high school at CHEO -- the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Misha was a goalie on the first hockey team I worked with as trainer after I moved to Ottawa. His dad, Angelo, was one of the coaches.
Mish had to take Grade 12 at CHEO, because just over a year ago, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. I actually hadn't seen him since the end-of-year hockey party two years ago, but recently re-established communication via Facebook, after hearing third-hand of his illness, and that he was dying.
I actually picked him up at CHEO today, where he had been for blood tests. Right off the bat, I attacked the situation head on and asked him what is up. He told me without hestitation about his diagnosis, and doctors telling him that surgery was risky and could cause all kinds of complications, but without it, he wouldn't live to see two more Christmases. He said that made his decision simple.
So they removed the tumour and started him on chemo and radiation. He said physiotherapists told him he would never regain use of his left arm and leg (the arm is now in a sling, the leg has a brace on it), and that he would never walk again. He refused to accept that, and told them that he would be up walking within a week and a half -- and was!
Mish kept repeating to me how he's too stubborn to give up, and that what his medical team sees as hurdles and handicaps, he sees as challenges. He also told me that he intends to play hockey again, admitting that he'll never play at a high level, but he will play.
I asked him what his longterm outlook is. He says his doctors have quit telling him such things, because he doesn't accept them anyway. He does know that he won't live as long as he would have, had he not had cancer, but he's going to make the most of it.
Misha now volunteers three days a week at CHEO, working with other kids. He says he doesn't understand how people his own age who he has seen receive similar diagnoses to his, can just go into their rooms, turn off the lights, and give up. Things like that frustrate him more than his own condition and his continuing chemo, which initially saw him so nauseated, he dropped from 150 lbs. to 118. He's now back up to 135.
He's registered to attend Carleton University in the fall, to study psychology. He says he's very interested in how people tick, and how they react to various things, based partly on his own experience of the past year or so. He also told me about a couple of very interesting projects he already did for his Grade 12 classes, including going to a Senators game dressed as a clown, to study people's reactions.
I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing Misha today, but that quickly dissipated. I am very impressed and proud of him. When I dropped him off at home, we promised each other we'd get together again, and that he'll call me any time he feels like it.
Do I pity Misha? Not in the least. Do I buy into his upbeat, positive attitude? You bet. Cancer or not, no one ever knows what might come, so whatever does, just face it head on, and do your damnedest to beat it, not allowing it to beat you without a damned good fight.
Thanks, Mish. You might be less than 40% as old as I am, but you taught me several new lessons today, and reinforced a lot of beliefs that I already had, but might have let go dormant. I admire, honour and respect you.

If I could save time in a bottle...

It's another one of those landmark days for my family. The baby of the McIntyre family, daughter/granddaughter/niece Caitlin graduated from high school this morning. She's an Ontario Scholar (80%+ in at least six Grade 11 and 12 credits, as I understand it) and headed to Laurentian University in Sudbury in the fall, to become an elementary teacher.
Her dad (Bro-in-Law Den) and I were talking on the way into the school this morning, about how time flies. I think it was 1996 that we brought his (and Sister Dale's) two girls, their niece and Little Bro Dan to Canada's Wonderland. Now, one of them is a paramedic in the third year of his career and a homeowner engaged to be married in ten months; two of the girls have a year of university left, and Cait is off to university.
Cait, you're all grown up now, but you'll always be the baby of the family. Oh, and your Uncle Bob will always love you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Doc, I need help -- fast!"

"Vaht iz ze problem Rrrrrobert?"
"Well, Doc, for the last several months, camouflage print has been trying to make its way into my life and my wardrobe. It's relentless."
"Yez, continue."
"Well, before I went to Dubai last November, camouflage kept beckoning me, but I resisted. Since then, it has been getting stronger."
"And then before going to Mexico in March, the urge to buy camouflage clothing was taunting me worse than ever. I even gave in a teensy bit, buying a backpack in Mexico that just has a bit of camo trim on it. But it wasn't enough. It's still constantly beckoning."
"Today, I was out shopping for summer clothes, and everywhere I turned, there it was, almost calling out loud 'Buy me, Bob'."
"Weeerrrrryyyy inderezding."
"It was difficult, Doc, but I resisted again. What should I do?"
"I zay you should give in to your urge and ze beckoning. Go camo!"
"No! For goodness sake, Doc, I'm a 50-year-old white guy!"
"You azked for help, zat iz my advize."
"No! I want a second opinion!"
"Okay: you are veird, cuckoo in ze coconut, az well."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A word of warning

I feel like I'm writing one of those annoying emails that makes its way around the cyberworld an infinite number of times, but I'm not -- I'm just posting on my blog.

Yesterday, a co-worker was out in a company vehicle, and stopped to gas it up. She put the company credit card on the counter just while she signed the credit card slip. In that short time, someone stole the card.

With the price of gas as high as it is, it stands to wonder that such incidents are going to happen almost as much as gas-and-dash. So beware.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good grief. What's next?

So now plastic shower curtains are toxic. WalMart must be watching linen shower curtains flying out the door. Sheesh.
This week's other hazardous substance is the lowly tomato. So a few people in the Excited States of America get sick -- from tomatoes, although the FDA still isn't sure how they became infected -- and the whole world panics. One-hundred-and-sixty-seven cases in a population of 300-million: I would say the odds of NOT getting sick are pretty good.
As a working member of the media, I share the blame for the panic these apparent news stories cause. We ramp 'em up and the viewer/reader/listener panics. Mission accomplished.
The fast-food industry goes tomato-free, and American tomato farmers scream at the FDA to clear their tomatoes, so they don't go broke.
I just had a tomato-free chicken breast Subway sub for lunch. The sandwich artist (artist? For slapping meat and veggies between a couple slices of bread?) told me that they'll have tomatoes back tomorrow.
Corporate types have been covering their collective fat ass by pulling tomatoes from their stores, afraid of someone beating the 167 in 300-million odds, contracting salmonella (I went to high school with an Italian goombah named Sal Monella), and suing them -- the litiginous that has crept across the border into Canada, much like the fearmongering Republicans claim the 9/11 terrorists crossed in the other direction.
Good grief. What next?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stompin' Tom's Hockey Song -- not gonna happen

There are several reasons that I don't see "Hello out there, we're on the air... etc." as the new Hockey Night In Canada theme:
-Stompin' Tom had a feud with the Corpse over the use of his theme for Marketplace ("Yes we are the people, runnin' in the race, buyin' up them bargains in the old Marketplace..."), and ended up pulling it. And as I understand through various sources, Tom carries a grudge.
-CBC has already announced a contest for a new theme.
-Do you really think the artsy-fartsy, granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing powers-that-be who have been totally screwing up the Corpse for the past several years would really adopt such a bourgeois song as The Hockey Song for the theme?
-You can argue that as simplistic as the song might be, it's true grassroots Canadian folklore, and I would agree. But again, the artsy-fartsies running the Corpse are totally out of touch with the grassroots, and would very quickly turn up their noses at the very notion of being so undignified as to actually return to their true mandate as the national public broadcaster.

Okay, I'm becoming fahrklempt. You have your topic, discuss amongst yourselves.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The latest on the HNIC theme: CTV shoots and scores!

CTV buys rights to former `Hockey Night in Canada' theme song
TORONTO - CTV has acquired the rights to the song that's been CBC's `Hockey Night in Canada' theme for the past 40 years.
CTV and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls use of the classic song composed by Dolores Claman, announced Monday afternoon that CTV acquired all rights to the song in perpetuity.
The network says it will use the song on NHL broadcasts on TSN, RDS and during the broadcaster's coverage of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
CTV says it made an agreement in principle Friday with Copyright Music and Visuals after CBC announced a contest to find a new theme song.
The contest announcement followed months of negotiations that failed to result in a new licensing agreement between CBC and the agent.
CBC's licence to use the song expired at the end of the Stanley Cup final last week.
(The Canadian Press)
15:54ET 09-06-08

I am particularly proud at this moment to be an employee of CTVglobemedia. Which network REALLY reflects Canada to Canadians now?

A hopeful sign

This just in, off the newswire:

CBC Hockey Song, (ENT-CBC-Hockey-Song)
TORONTO - CBC appears to be making a last-ditch effort to rescue
the popular Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

The public broadcaster has asked Toronto sports lawyer Gord Kirke to mediate negotiations between CBC and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls the song.

CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore says CBC feels it's worth one last effort to save a theme song that evokes such passion among Canadians.

CBC's licence for the song, written by composer Delores Claman and a staple of Hockey Night in Canada since 1968, expired last week following the Stanley Cup finals.

The parties were in negotiations late last week before CBC announced Friday it would begin the search for a new theme song.

The broadcaster has asked Canadian musicians to vie for a $100,000 prize by submitting their own original compositions to replace the theme.

I gotta tell you, though, that my spidey sense is tingling. The newsguy in me isn't ready to conclude anything, but suspects that this is just all a publicity gimmick, just like the protracted, eleventh-hour contract negotiations with Ron MacLean and Don Cherry a couple of years ago. Or, maybe CBC management has enough brain cells to realize that the stupid move to kill the theme really did raise the hackles of hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Canadians.

One co-worker commented last week that the $500 the CBC pays every time the song is aired is "our money". To which I replied that it isn't, because Hockey Night In Canada is a cash cow for the Corp (or as Frank Magazine calls it, The Corpse).

Friday, June 06, 2008


The CBC might be getting rid of our unofficial second national anthem. They're still in talks with the composer to renew her contract, but it's not going well.
What a no-brainer! Give the lady what she wants.

I have joined a facebook group aimed at saving the iconic piece of Canadian sports and broadcasting history. I hope you will, too. Here's the link:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Okay, I call "Uncle!"

Damn you, Kitty and N@.

Here's my response to being tagged. I open the nearest book to page 123, find the fifth sentence, and transcribe the next three sentences. And then I tag Milky, XUP, Maria, Mark (I know you're lurking) and JB.

Here goes. It's from Mark Abley's "The Prodigal Tongue", and I make no apology for being a word nerd. It's just what I do, okay?

Douglas emerged blinking into the spring sun. The traffic along Pico Boulevard was steady but not alarming. Even so, he shook his head: "In the next decade, they're predicting another five million people here..."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jay Bee...

Happy Birthday, Jay Bee
Happy Birthday, dear Jaaaayyyy Beeeeee
Happy Birthday to yooooooooouuuu.

Many more, JB. Keep rockin' and noodlin'.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Those rabbits I see...

What colour are they? Holy crap, they're WHITE! In fact, they're as WHITE as the snow that's still on the ground in South Porcupine! WHITE, I tells ya.

Yeah, yeah, Ma, I know: "Bobbycakes, you're an ass!"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Man, I'm relieved

I just got back from producing an on-location hour of TV from outside Scotiabank Place. A-Channel News Live From Your Neighbourhood: Kanata was a resounding success.
Aside from interviews with people from Kanata including someone from the local art gallery, the two city councillors who represent Kanata and a representative of the Chamber of Commerce, we featured The Capital City Chorus. It is a 97-member, all-male acapella barbershop style group, and it totally made the show.
I'm basking in the success of my first-ever effort at producing such a program. Tired, but very happy.
If you want to see any of it, check out .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My pride is showing -- again

This handsome young couple is Little Bro Dan (a.k.a. Dano) and his fiancée, Christine (a.k.a. The Pretty One).
They're getting married next April in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I will be his Best Man.
They live in Timmins, where he works as a paramedic and she works as membership coordinator and receptionist at a gym, while she completes a Human Resources course to combine with her B.A. in psychology.
Here's why my pride is showing this time around: This young couple, who both turn 26 later this year, is in the process of buying their first home together. They have decided that they're wasting money on rent; done their homework; and are now buying a beautiful little bungalow in Timmins.
See why I'm proud? Does it show?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Okay, who DO I look like?

My Mom's pic is in the last post. Here's Dad:

This is my favourite pic of my Dad. My friend Cathy took it a couple of summers ago. It just totally captures my Dad, doing one of his favourite things in one of his favourite places: having an after-supper cup of tea at the kitchen table at the cottage.