Thursday, April 19, 2007

More ass painting...will it ever...end? So to speak?

I have been commissioned to make four more ass-paintings. Various charities would like to auction these off, and I am happy to oblige. This weekend, Operation Go Home is having a Night at the Races on Friday night at The Rideau Carleton Raceway. I will be dropping off a brand new painting there on my way out to Navan for Hunks With Hammers, a dinner for ladies to raise money for cancer research. I have made a painting for them as well. So I had to pick up the supplies yesterday, in order to create some more masterpieces.

I had forgotten just what a messy process it is. I put down a bedsheet I could afford to lose, grabbed a bath towel I could afford to throw out, and went to work. Before I was done, the chair, the walls, the floor, the ceiling were all covered in paint. My whole body was covered in paint. When I went upstairs to shower, I discovered paint in my hair, under my arms, and all over everything else also. Fortunately, I was not being filmed this time, so I did not have to wear women's underwear. Or any underwear, for that matter. I have gone through so may pairs of underwear during my tenure with the Doc and Woody show that I can't keep up with the few pairs I get every Christmas from my parents.

As I made my way back downstairs, I realized that I had been somewhat careless. I guess I had touched the walls on my way by, stepped on the carpet with my paint-soaked feet, and somehow even brushed against the ceiling fan as I passed by. Don't ask me how, no idea. So in the end, a two-hour painting process turned into a three-hour cleaning process. And, I think sometime in the near future, a six-hour painting job. That would be wall painting, not ass-painting. At least you don't need to listen to a muse in order to do that.

The ownership of a dog and the neutering of it's owner

I recently, through a series of events not worth relating, became the somewhat unwilling owner of a dog. Not that I dislike dogs, merely that I was prepared to dislike this particular one. I'm a fan of dogs with whom I can wrestle. And you can't wrestle with a toy poodle. However, the poodle has grown on me, and I am now somewhat of a fan of Muffin. Of course, I did not name the poodle. I would have named it T-Bone. Or Hank. Or Godzilla. Anything, really, but Muffin. It is very difficult to maintain any air of masculinity while calling for your dog, named Muffin, outside. However, I gave up any hope of my neighbours considering me masculine long ago, when I began coming home in french maid uniforms and belly dancing outfits. I proudly believe I may be personally responsible for the lowering of many property values in Kanata.

Today I was told to take Muffin in to be groomed. There's a Pet Agree store about 20 metres from my house, so I can carry the dog. Well, she weighs nine pounds. I could carry her to Orleans, really. But the idea of having my poodle groomed creeps me out a small amount. That seems like the first step on a road that will lead to manicures, tanning salons, matching socks and Anne Geddes pictures in my living room. But I did it anyway, because she is now having a little difficulty seeing, and I didn't want to be the one to take the scissors to the hair around her eyes. I'm clumsy at the best of times, and I've stepped on her so often that our mutual trust is on shaky ground as it is.

The final nail in the coffin of my masculinity, however, was upon delivering Muffin to the groomers, they ask for her name. And it's not having to say "Muffin" that bothers me, at least, not any more. I'm used to that. It's that Muffin now needs a last name. My last name. The groomers assume that your dog is a family member to such a degree that it's only natural you would give her your own last name, as though she was one of your children. If I ever had children, I would give them my last name, sure. But if I had a boy, I would like to think that he would read books, play sports, and grow up to be more of a Clint Eastwood than a Hugh Grant. And if I had a girl, I would like to think she'd be more of a Hilary Swank than a Meg Ryan. What I am saying here is that I would like to think I would not be the father of a toy poodle. And yet, like it or not, I am. It occurred to me that if I did in fact have kids, and they turned out to be Richard Simmons or Celine Dion, I would support them anyway. So I support Muffin as a member of my family. Now I'm going to take her for a walk. There's a bit of a chill in the air, so I will put on her tiny pink checkered coat, leave my stones in the groomer's purse, and take it like the man I once was.

The ethics of drunk betting.

Jeff Brown made a bet during Toys For Boys. Jeff Brown was drunk at Toys For Boys. Ergo, he made that bet when he was drunk. His claim that he does not recall the placing of any wager holds up. I believe him. It does not logically follow, however, that such a wager had never taken place. The bet was as follows: Should the Leafs manage to squeak into the playoffs, Carly would wear a belly dancing outfit on the corner of Thurston and Conroy, and belly dance for all to see. Should the Leafs end up on the golf course, Jeff was to wear Carly's outfit, and belly dance himself. These are the basic facts.

I remember once making a bet when I was under the influence. My best friend and I had hooked up with two girls at a bar. The following day, we realized that we wrote down their names and a date. We were suppose to meet them for a date. As it turns out, it was a blind date, since neither of us had a clue what the girls looked like. The arrangement was, whoever had the better looking girl would pay for dinner. What happened, however, is that we didn't remember making that bet until AFTER we got back into the beer. (I paid, incidentally.) So betting is much like studying. If you study drunk, you need to write your exam drunk. (Another trick he and I noticed two weeks later during our third year calculus exam.) So if you bet drunk, you need to pay up drunk.

But Jeff can't have beer on the air...well, maybe he can. I know I'M not allowed to have beer on the air. But I think perhaps there is some precedent-setting case that I'm not aware of. Or at least that I won't be aware of until the next lost weekend. So, Jeff getting wasted and belly dancing is not an adequate solution. What stuns me is how scared he is to do this. It's just belly dancing! Finger cymbals and hip jiggling and you're done. So he has decided to really up the ante. HIS solution, which is much worse, I think, is to go what he calls "double or nothing". It's not really, though. Here's his new plan: He will shave his head, paint both sides with Senators logos, belly dance, and let people pee on his Doug Gilmour jersey IF the Senators make the Stanley Cup finals. Of course, this is MUCH worse than just dancing on the corner. But such is the denial, bullheadedness and inability to accept defeat that is inherent in the most rabid Leaf fans.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Best Bluesfest ever. Without the blues.

Let's be serious. Bluesfest has not been about blues for many a year now. Every year there's a Black Eyed Peas or a James Brown or a Sting headlining, which takes it further and further from actual blues with each passing year. But, blues purists be damned, this year is the best there's been since day one. Bluesfest is back at Lebreton Flats this year, which is fantastic, because that Laurier City Hall site was as irritating and confusing as it was confined and small. And they will need all the space they can muster for some of this year's big names. Here are just a few;

Bob Dylan! That's right, this year you can go see Bob Dylan outdoors, where no one will take your smoke away. And where beer costs less than fourteen dollars. But is still pretty pricey. Steve Miller! The Joker himself, which is about as close to blues as the really really big acts get this year. George Thorogood! This is not really news, because he comes to every third Bluesfest, but it certainly indicates that there will be at least one night of heavy drinking mayhem. Blue Rodeo! I know, no one cares about Blue Rodeo. And rightly so. They're here every year, and they never get any better. Also Randy Newman, Ten Years After, Gary US Bonds and Buddy Guy. These are the ones I expect people to know. Here are some others that people should see:

1. George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars. George Clinton is an enormous, towering figure in the history of R&B and Funk. The founder of classic, revolutionary funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic, and the absolute circus of side projects associated with them, Clinton apparently still puts on one of the best shows around.

2. The Robert Cray Band. Some of you may have been lucky enough to watch Robert Cray open for Eric Clapton, and he is one of the world's greatest living guitar players. A must-see for any aspiring guitarist, and for anyone interested in truly fantastic music.

3. The White Stripes. One of the few bands of today that are actually good, and doing something different. Although I would suggest that 98 percent of today's popular music is derivative and lousy, these two (former husband and wife Jack and Meg White) are an exception.

4. Joel Plaskett. A Halifax artist who broke onto the music scene with a truly fantastic band called Thrush Hermit on the East Coast in the early nineties (I don't know if you can still buy Thrush Hermit albums. If not, download some. But don't say I told you to do so.) Recently played with the Joel Plaskett Emergency, but he's billed here as a solo artist, so I assume he's all alone on this one.

5. Michael Franti and Spearhead. For those of you who have been able to get past that blind hatred of rap music, check out Franti's original group, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Likely the smartest, most insightful political rap album ever made was their early-90s effort, Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury. Franti then split off and formed his own group, Spearhead. While he no longer raps as such, and plays more of a fusion of jazz and reggae and folk and a little hip-hop, he is still as culturally scathing and prescient as ever.

6. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Three wonderful Canadian musicians who are actually greater than the sum of their parts. Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson have been in our studio, playing their latest release, Let's Frolic, and their most recent album is terrific as well. Check this one out. It appears also that each of them will be performing a solo set as well.

7. Many many others. Also worth checking out: Xavier Rudd, Leo Kottke, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jonny Lang, and the featured acts at the Solid Gold Dance Party - if you're into disco - are The Village People, Thelma Houston, Taste of Honey, Anita Ward and Peaches and Herb. Steve Marriner, formerly Southside Steve, who has been a frequent guest on the Doc and Woody show, will be playing one night as well, and puts on a terrific show. And, as far as today's rappers go, Kanye West is one of the better ones. But the crowd for his show, I predict, will be OBNOXIOUS. As will the crowd for Alexisonfire and Metric, neither of which are worth paying any attention.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reading is tremendous. I recommend it.

I love the fact that we're giving books away in the Paltinum Nation. It means I get to read them before they go out. Which also, by extension, means I have to be far more careful with them than I am with my own books, since I can't spill whickey on a copy of a book that is then going to be given away as a prize. Before our vacation, I read Maximum Rock and Roll, the AC/DC biography. Fascinating book, involving many a brawl with other rock bands, including Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and very complete. Over the week off I read Memories of John Lennon, which was a wonderful book we gave away yesterday. Compiled by Yoko Ono, it's a bunch of other famous people and not-so-famous people writing their memories of Lennon, whether they ever met him or not. The best one is by Ronnie Hawkins, who let John and Yoko stay at his brand-new house right after one of their famous bed-ins here in Canada, but then they got so stoned in the master bedroom that they forgot to turn off the bathwater, which led to the ceiling caving in. Any fan of John Lennon would do well to pick this one up.

Now, next Monday, I highly recommend the Johnny Cash autobiography we will be giving away. Grab it if you can, it's wonderful and well-written. Lots of Jesus stuff, what with his born-again Christian stuff, but also lots about forest fires, painkiller addictions, ostrich attacks and hallucinations. Anyone who has lived long enough to be hospitalized by an ostrich has likely enjoyed himself immensely. And if you are the one who initiated the conflict with that ostrich, then you're also a bit of a maniac. Cash remains to this day (at least until the book was published) the only person tried, convicted and fined for setting a forest fire. He was forced to pay the equivalent of 1 million dollars in today's US money. He also told Faron Young (a huge name in the history of country music) that if he kept swearing, God would rip the tongue out of his head. Two weeks later, he got into a car accident where his tongue was bizarrely wrapped around the steering wheel of his car, and for all intents and purposes, ripped out of his head. Weird. Pick it up - Johnny Cash is as rock and roll as anyone who ever lived.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rush is coming...whee.

Perhaps the most painful thing I have gone through in a while was this morning as I was forced to make all the pertinent Rush announcements on this morning's show. I DO dislike Rush, b ut I understand that others don't, and they need this information. So why can't I give this information, plain and simple, without the added smarminess? Why must Doc torture me even more by forcing me to read a series of cue cards that said things like "I'm Eric the Intern and I love Rush!" Why???? I suppose it's because he is responding to the public demand that my head be removed from my shoulders, placed on a spit, and planted in the ground outside the Rush trailer upon their arrival at Scotiabank Place like it's Lord of the Flies and I'm Piggy.

Doc showed me one of these emails today. It was great. "Eric has outlived his usefulness." (I paraphrase. This portion has been edited for spelling, grammar and the desire to convey a basic command of English.) It went on. "It's about time the internship is over, and Eric needs to be kicked to the curb, sacked, and maybe beaten with a wiffle ball bat." The crux of the matter was, of course, my disdain for Rush. "Eric is there to promote every musical artist you play, and to convey a sense of excitement for every band on CHEZ. This is his sole purpose, and his personal opinions concerning musical artists should never be voiced publicly. Anyone who dislikes Rush must be a complete moron, and obviously Eric never gets laid."

A few things bother me about this one. And by bother, I mean, make me laugh. First of all, if we are giving away dirty shoelaces that I found in my Grandma's shed in the Platinum Nation, should I then talk about how awesome the oil stains are on those shoelaces and how terrific they would look on an equally old and ratty pair of shoes? Or perhaps, a more realistic example. On cynical cinema, I do my best to review the movies we are giving away in the club before they come out. Should I therefore give them all a good review, because we have them? What if they really suck? Wouldn't people be mad when they spent their points on the movie and it really did suck? Number two, the suggestion that perhaps you need to enjoy Rush to...get laid? Unless my Rush fan friends are atypical, the standard Rush fan is also the guy who sits in his parent's basement learning to program computers, survives on peanut butter and jelly, bathes seldom and grows his hair down past his butt, not because he likes the style, but because he's too lazy to have it cut. And my friends that fall into that category...I don't hang out with them any more, because they get ALL the girls!

Minor hockey

Last night, I hosted the end-of-year banquet for the Ottawa Sting minor hockey assicoation. It was great, seeing all those kids and hockey parents in the same room. I have always liked and supported minor hockey, since I used to do play-by-play for the Nepean Raiders in the CJHL and the Ottawa Raiders in the National Women's Hockey League. There wasn't much for me to do there, I just brought a pile of CHEZ 106 prizes and gave them out, and introduced a few people. The Sting were the Ottawa Major Midget champions this season, and they had brought their giant trophy, which was awesome.

They do something I think was great. They don't give out MVP awards, they give out Most Sportsmanlike, Most Dedicated, things like that. Which is great, because when I played baseball at Fisher Park as a youth, the MVP just automatically went to the coach's kid. Every time. I remember one year, our pitcher threw two no-hitters, hit 40 home runs and batted .800. The coach's kid had one nosebleed per game, led the league in errors, and cried during at least 60 percent of our matches. He won the MVP. I can't complain, though, my dad was a pretty good coach.

Bachelor parties...the ups and downs

After the wrestling event, I cabbed as quickly as I could to McLaren's on Elgin so I could join my buddy Mark Lindsay's bachelor party in progress. I made it just as they were preparing to leave for the peelers, so I drank the pitcher they had left in about three minutes, then off we went to Barbarella's on some street...Queen? I don't know. It's under the Glue Pot. A sub-par strip club, I think, but I also consumed a mickey on my way there, so I could be wrong. Mark is not a strip club kind of guy, so on the walk there I entertained him with stories about the last time I had been to this particular club.

A couple of years ago, a guy was there for his bachelor party. Not a friend of ours, but some guy in the club at the same time. Some feature dancer was there and handcuffed him to the pole, then some girls came out to dance. As they got things started, the feature girl crammed this guy's face into her chest. And broke his nose. Before long, he could not hold it back, and the blood started flowing out of his nose, all over his bare chest and the dance floor. The strippers panicked. They couldn't find the handcuff key. So the bouncer had to come up with bolt-cutters and snap him off the pole.

The last time I was there, I was kicked out. It was another bachelor party, but this time it was Valentine's Day. My friend Matt Gower was getting married February 16th, and I'd be damned if he was going to spend Valentine's Day with his fiancee two days before the wedding. So I threw him a bachelor party. The peeler bar was sparsely populated with women, since it was Valentine's Day, so we couldn't get enough together to do the on-stage embarassment thing. But two girls were kind enough to suggest that if we went in the back room with them, we could all sit around the boardroom table and watch Matt get embarrassed. I paid 100 bucks. The girls put him on a chair, then did one three-minute dance where they paid no attention to him at all. Just to each other. Nice, I said, but I want HIM to be the focus of this thing, this is what I'm paying for. Another three minutes and 100 dollars later, same result. They ask if I want to pay for another three minutes. I say no. They say to Matt, "too bad your friends are so cheap". I asked them to go to the kitchen and get me a spoon, and then I made a colourful suggestion about what I would like them to eat with that spoon. We were tossed eight seconds later. I guess they don't have a kitchen.

This time, I got into a fight with a stripper over the dress code. I had checked my hat, but somehow got it back later, and without thinking, I put it back on. A girl approached me and told me to take it off, which tipped off a fairly long and philosophical discussion about modern day chivalry.
"We make you take your hat off so we can see your eyes."
"You want to make sure I'm...NOT? staring at your chest?"
"It's a chivalrous thing to do in the presence of a lady."
"You gonna kick me out for not pulling out your chair?"
"It's a sign of respect. We're a very organized place here."
"So is H & R Block. And I leave my hat on there."
"Then I have nothing more to talk to you about. It's time you leave."

Wrestling...professional style

I decided that the relatively small confines of the Greater Ottawa Redneck Drunken Backyard Sumo Wrestling League could hold me no longer. Determined to break through that barrier, I took the next step on Saturday Night. I joined up with Provincial Championship Wrestling and decided to try my luck with wrestling, professional-style. I was paired up with a six foot nine, four hundred pound behemoth called the Hickster, and I was in his corner for a match between him and The Wild Ace, a six-foot five, 280-pound behemoth. It was a tag team match, so we let the Wild Ace and his partner believe that I was to be the Hickster'd partner. Which meant that Ace made me a bet on the match, since he was fairly certain they could beat a tag team that involved me.

This was not the case, however, we just made it seem that way. There was another wrestler, whose name I forget but whose real name is Frank, who is appearing on WWE's Smackdown later this month, who was the Hickster's tag-team partner. Ha! So I won the bet. Now, on June 2nd, it is Ace who will have to wear the dress when he and I participate in a sumo wrestling match against each other. I figured it's no big deal for me, since wearing a dress is something I do on a bi-weekly basis on the Doc and Woody show. In point of fact, I think the sumo diaper (or "muwashi") is likely more embarrassing than a dress. But I won the bet, so HE will wear the dress when I take my wrestling career to the next level in a month and a half.

The thing about wrestling, professional style, is that no one there seems to take acting lessons. It seems to me that the professional wrestlers you see on TV, and I don't watch a lot or know too much about it, all have similar wrestling ability. I'm certain that many of the wrestlers who participate in our local PCW have an ability roughly equal to that of the WWE pros. All it really takes is a lot of practice, some bovine growth hormone, and a willingness to abuse one's body for the amusement of some really odd fans. That's fine. But what sets the big stars apart is their ability to create a character that people will either love or hate, and their ability to be convincing and sell that character. As I took the mic for the big stare-down mid-show, I used multi-syllabic words, I spoke phonetically, and I made my points clearly and calmly. Lost the crowd in eight seconds, I did. The other wrestlers grabbed the microphone from me, yelled small words, phrased in a non-0grammatical way, spit a lot, and shoved each other. The crowd went wild. Perhaps I need to take a different tack and become the villain. A well-spoken, erudite sumo wrestler, the biggest heel of all! June 2nd, Jim Durrell recreation centre.

Leather leather leather

I had ten vacation days, and somehow I managed to rope myself into working for nine of them. Five of those days, I was hocking leather. Jackets, gloves, boots and of course chaps. All chaps come without an ass. Calling them assless chaps is redundant, like saying over-exaggerate or female dancer. The smell is what got to me after a while. It's fairly pungent, and by the time I was done my five-day tenure, I smelled just like that guy from the Village People. It wafts into your nose the second your walk into the Embassy West Hotel, and lingers for a while.

The one thing that happens at these events is usually people ask about bonus codes. If there IS a bonus code, I will mention it on the air. If not, I will discuss the prices of leather and make several references to Rosie O'Donnell in Exit to Eden. That's a LOT of leather. And that's a reference I had to make on occasion, because Jacques, the man who was running the sale, wanted me to push the fact that there were some really great prices on leather jackets for enormous ladies. How exactly do you say that on the air without being really offensive? You can't really say "for you fat folks..." so you name-drop some large people and hope for the best. John Goodman and Rita McNeil in leather...mmmm.

I've never really experienced a response quite like that I got from one bonus-code crazed individual. The exchange went something like this:
"You got a bonus code?"
"Nope, just leather."
He crushed my foot with the heel of his boot, turned and walked out. Amanda, the tech, looked at me as I sat there stunned, and asked "that happen often?" It seemed reasonable to her that perhaps this might happen on a semi-regular basis. However, it was certainly a first for me. My foot was fine, but it still took me a little while to grasp the fact that I had been assaulted over the lack of a bonus code. Leather chaps soothed me.