Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This is my last blog post ever. Here, anyway.

I have been asked by the bosses at CHEZ to move my blog from the "blogger" website to the corporate blog website. This way they can add it to the main-page blogroll, and find another picture of me in my underwear to put beside it. Also, this way they get credits for the page hits. The new location of my blog is here:

I will eventually figure out how to make it work like this one did. Until then, please be patient!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The dangers of early Christmas shopping

I have always thought it would be neat to finish Christmas shopping neat. I tend to be a last-minute guy, like actually up to the eleventh hour, December 23rd at 9 p.m., type individual. Not my wife, who just loves shopping for the kids and the families and she will get it all done as early as possible. So last week, we went shopping for everyone - and we're done! It's over! No more shopping or stress or worries until Christmas, right? Not only that, but we have money left over!

Or, we did. Now we had enough money to go to the humane society and pick up another dog. And so we did. Now Muffin (I believe her picture is up in the corner) has a playmate, another tiny dog who is still five times her size, who was found wandering as a stray near the CHEZ studios. They are still a little standoffish, but they tend to ignore each other and not attack each other, so far so good.

At least the spending was done...right? Nope. NOW, we have a lot of time before Christmas. Time, which we can now spend looking for new, better toys and gifts for the kids and the family and so forth. So getting the shopping done doesn't really mean that it is over. It just means we have covered our bases. And now, we have the time to spend three times the amount we had budgeted for Christmas before the big day arrives. THIS is why we men (frugal, clever beasts that we are) shop on December 23rd. It is almost impossible to go over budget when you have only two hours to shop.

NFL picks week 12

So far this year, I am 110-50 straight up, 94-65-1 against the spread. I have also moved up from 37th place to 11th place in the CHEZ online football pool. Three Thursday games this week!
Green Bay (10.5) at Detroit: The Packers need to take the easy ones when they can, and they won't be letting up on the sadsack Lions. However, the Lions all of a sudden looked really really good last week. Of course, that performance came against the Browns. Packers, 27-21. Verdict (Packers, 34-12). I thought the loss of Aaron Kampman and Al Harris would really hurt the Packers, and that Stafford would be able to complete some big throws. It turns out that the Lions are still the Lions, and I won't have any idea how rough the Pack's defense actually is until next week.

Oakland at Dallas (14): You can't take the Raiders lightly. Especially now that they appear to have ended the Russell experiment. That win against the Bengals was no fluke. Dallas is in serious trouble now, as evidenced by their loss to the Packers in convincing fashion and their barely-eked-out victory over the awful Redskins. I'll take the Cowboys at home, but this will not be a convincing win by any stretch. Cowboys, 18-17. Verdict (Cowboys, 24-7). All of a sudden, Dallas found their offense again. Or did they? It WAS against the Raiders. And Russell or no Russell, it appears the Raiders can't handle a defense like that of the Cowboys. Either that, or the Raiders only come to play every second week.

New York Giants (5) at Denver: Both these teams started 5-0. And both lost four in a row soon after. It looks as though the Giants may have righted their ship somewhat with a tough victory over the decent Falcons, while the Broncos have just collapsed, utterly. Still major questions on New York's defense, but bigger questions with Denver's offense. Giants, 26-20. Verdict (Broncos, 26-6). I couldn't have been more wrong about this one. No more questions about Denver's offense. Noshawn Moreno is a force. Still huge questions about New York's defense. And their offense now, I think. This was a far more dominant Denver victory than even this score would indicate. The Broncos still play KC twice and Oakland once, and they will finish 10-6, which could be good enough for the wild card!

Miami (3) at Buffalo: The Dolphins can smell a wild card berth, as long as they can continue to knock off the weaker teams on there schedule (and there aren't many). The Bills finally found T.O. and some offense last week - and still lost the game. They will lose this one as well. Dolphins, 18-14. Verdict (Bills, 31-14). Well, the Dolphins are now done. They needed to knock off the Bills, couldn't get it done, and now they have a really tough grind to the end of the season. Too bad, I like watching this team, and I would have liked to see them in the playoffs.

Carolina at New York Jets (3): A very tough game to call. The Panthers looked very good playing spoiler the last few weeks until they ran into a hungry Dolphins team. And the Jets did as well as could be expected against New England. I will take an NFC 4-6 team over an AFC 4-6 team. Panthers, 21-20. Verdict (Jets, 17-6). Not that the Panthers could have been considered a "spoiler" against the Jets, but they could have put more effort into the game than this. The coach says that putting Jake Delhomme under centre gives his team the best chance to win. That's true. But Delhomme also gives them the best chance to lose. Which makes this team impossible to predict!

Cleveland at Cincinnati (14): The Bengals were shocked by Oakland. The Browns put up 37 points on the Lions. What gives? Not like the Browns can do that two weeks in a row. Can they? Bengals, 22-18. Verdict (Bengals, 16-7). The Browns could NOT do that two weeks in a row. But they were still game, and held Ochocinco and the rest of the Bengals offense in check for most of the game. They just aren't a good enough team to beat Cincy. Or to score points against non-Lions opponents.

Indianapolis at Houston (no line): The Texans are very good, but they have run into some teams that are slightly better in recent weeks. Unfortunately for them, they are running into another team that is better this week. Colts, 24-21. Verdict (Colts, 35-20). The Colts are, indeed, better than the Texans. I was going to complain about that pass interference call that turned the game around and gave the Colts some life, but it ended up not mattering at all. Who cares about a gift TD early on when you end up winning by 15? And with the way the Colts have played in the fourth quarter this year, I never doubted them for a second - even down 17 points early.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (11.5): The Falcons are falling, and fast. And the Bucs are a really interesting up-and-coming team. But has this gap closed enough to permit a Tampa Bay win? I don't think it has. Falcons, 23-17. Verdict (Falcons, 20-17). It hasn't. Quite. With Matt Ryan out, I thought this game was done. The Falcons weren't doing anything on offense until that last drive. But what a finish!

Washington at Philadelphia (no line): The Eagles should have hammered the Bears, but they didn't. The Skins should have beaten the Cowboys, but they didn't. Washington is just a bad, bad team. Eagles, 33-16. Verdict (Eagles, 27-24). Again, what a finish! The Eagles should have hammered this team. And what was Andy Reid thinking with that onside kick to open the game? Against the Saints, I get it. Against the Skins? What gives?

Seattle (1) at St. Louis: What a crappy game between two crappy teams. Then again, that's what we all thought about Browns - Lions last week. Rams either get their first home win, or Seahawks get their first road win. Rams, 14-12. Verdict (Seahawks, 27-17). I guess they should have won. Still don't care.

Kansas City at San Diego (13.5): This might be the eliminator pick of the week. Although the Chiefs won a big one last week, and Matt Cassel finally looked like a real NFL QB, does anyone think they can do it two weeks in a row? Especially against the suddenly unstoppable Chargers? Chargers, 27-10. Verdict (Chargers, 43-14). Look out! The Chargers may be the only team capable of even looking at that second seed in the AFC.

Jacksonville at San Francisco (3): The Niners are coming apart of late, and although they made a late charge at Green Bay, they also let the game get out of reach early on. They have one win in their last five games. Jacksonville, on the other hand, are quietly putting up a good record, and are currently sitting in what would be a wild card spot. They have one loss in their last five games. Make that one in their last six. Jacksonville, 26-21. Verdict (Niners, 20-3). Give it San Fran. Once they had the Jaguars down, they never let up, and kept their foot on Jacksonville's neck the whole second half.

Chicago at Minnesota (3): The Vikings are, in my estimation, the most complete team, and the best team, in football right now. Better even than the Colts and Saints. And they will steamroll the Bears, who have totally lost touch with their identities of late. All the Vikings need in this game is a win, and they have one more Lions game to run the table in their division. They want that. By the way, for some reason the opening spread in the CHEZ pool is 3 points - for the Bears! That's a misprint, likely, but a gimme at 16 points, isn't it? Vikings, 38-13. Verdict (Vikings, 36-10). Why was Brett Favre still in this game in the fourth quarter? Ah, crap! I was off by one.

Arizona at Tennessee (no line): The Titans have been coming on really strong, with four wins in a row after starting the season 0-6. They really think they can run the table. They can't - they do play the Colts at one point. But they can certainly win this game, with their secondary healthy. Chris Johnson will have a big, big day. Titans, 20-16. Verdict (Titans, 20-17). Ah, crap! I was off by one. This was one of the most exciting finishes I have seen all year. Gotta love Vince Young - hey, wouldn't it be bonkers if Tennessee made the playoffs? They would need a lot of help but, don't look now...

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (no line): The Ravens are still very, very dangerous. They have to hate the way they have lost so, so many close games this season, especially to teams in their own division. The Steelers have a few question marks, especially at QB where Big Ben Roethlisberger could be hurt for this one. If he is, it could be a brutal offensive showing for the Steelers against a still-rough-and-tough D. The Steelers lose their 3rd straight. Ravens, 20-17. Verdcict (Ravens, 20-17). That's the first time all season I have called the score exact! I am feeling so good about myself...except for all those other losses...

New England at New Orleans (3): The Saints are an awesome force. An unbelievable offense, and a sneaky, opportunistic, ball-hawking defense. If they get through this game, they play Washington, Atlanta and Carolina on the road, and Dallas and Tampa Bay at home. With the exception of Tampa and Washington, those are reasonably tough teams. But the biggest chance at an upset to ruin the perfect season comes this week against the Patriots. It won't happen. It won't quite happen. Saints, 32-30. Verdict (Saints, 38-17). I think it says more about the Patriots that they rolled over and died in the third and fourth quarter than it does about New Orleans. Sure, it was a blowout, but New England is a bully who beats on bad teams and curls up in a ball once they are getting crushed.

So far this week I am 11-5 straight up (121-55 overall), and 8-8 against the spread (102-73-1 overall)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

If I'm not in tomorrow...

I went to the liquor store last night to purchase products for my wife, who still likes the girly drinks in a big way. I walked up to the counter with a six-pack of Bud Light Lime and apple-flavoured Sour Puss. The lady at the counter looked at me skeptically, raised one eyebrow and said, in a joking manner, "Bud Light Lime and Sourpuss? Really?"

Feeling as though I ought to match her jocular mood, I decided to make a joke of my own. I tried my very best to look seriously confused and worried, and I said "yeah...unless you can think of a better way to seduce a fifteen-year-old". Her jovial manner was no more. She asked to see my ID. I think she was fully aware that I was older than 19, she just wanted to memorize my address for when she called the police.

So anyway, if I'm not in on Monday morning, it's because I am trying to explain a very awkward situation to Chris Hansen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Man up, Stephen Harper!

It occurred to me, watching FOX "News" as I tend to do for a laugh, that the right-wing nutters are right. Barack Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor. He bowed! Like, in submission! He may as well have begged the man for the opportunity to lick his toes and fetch his newspaper! That is not the American way. A real American does not greet foreign heads of state in the manner to which they are accustomed! Had John Wayne met the Japanese emperor, he would have shaken the man's had hard enough to crush most of his small bones. Clint Eastwood would have punched him square in the belly. George W. Bush would have held hands with the man, or given him a creepy back rub. What's the matter with the President?

Then something else crossed my mind - here is a golden opportunity for Stephen Harper! If the American President is going to be the sycophant of the world, why can't Canada become the tough guy? Stephen Harper is doing a decent job already - check out the photo of him in India - he's wearing the traditional head garb, but his smarmy look says "I think I look stupid". That's a good start. But perhaps, before he leaves, he could say goodbye to Pratibha Patil with a traditional Canadian head-butt. Next time he's in China - purple nurple! In France - wedgie! In Italy - noogie! (Who wouldn't want to give that loveable Berlusconi a noogie?) And the next time he meets that spineless supplicant weakling Obama, he should kick him square in the nuts. Goodness knows, Obama would just take it, being the lily-livered yellow-belly he so obviously is!

And, as I understand the logic, this would solve all of our problems. Canada would become the Toughest Country In The World. All other countries would see us as The Godfather, and they would pay us tribute, thus eliminating our national debt. The Taliban, seeing how tough we were (after all, our whole country kicked the entire United States in the nuts!), would pack up their weapons and admit defeat in Afghanistan, thereby solving our war problems. Stephen Harper, it's time to man up! You'd be stupid not to do this!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A baby seal walks into a club...

And by that I mean, the exclusive club that is the Parliamentary restaurant, now serving seal meat along with their standard menu favourites of of caribou burgers and puffin bacon and condor eggs. Now, I understand the need to make blanket statements on Parliament Hill. I understand that the only way to make it clear that all parliamentarians are in favour of the seal hunt is with this grand gesture of menu management. But why stop there? Why don't they make it clear that all parliamentarians believe global warming is a hoax by serving polar bear?

I have eaten seal. It tastes bad. So there is no real reason to bring it here other than some kind of political statement, right? I mean, I understand the logic behind our Governor General eating seal with the Inuit people up north. They hunt the seals, they kill the seals, they eat the seals. That is their culture. But perhaps I'm off base. Maybe these seals have been killed solely for sustenance. Maybe Stephen Harper is in danger of going without food over the long winter if seal meat is not provided. And maybe he has been secretly visiting ice floes and clubbing the seals himself, to ensure a ready supply on the hill for those days when he is peckish and wants a seal club sandwich.

Wait - that doesn't make sense either. Stephen Harper doing something secretly? Impossible. Had he really been out culling seals, we would all have been treated to pictures for weeks, as that would have been a tremendous photo-op.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NFL picks week 11

I am now 97-47 straight up, and 82-61-1 against the spread. Stupid Broncos. Back to 16-game weeks now and remember, Thursday night games now!

Miami at Carolina (3.5): The poor Dolphins have managed to run into every good team in the league this year, right when that team was getting good. The Fish are a pretty solid football team, and given an easier schedule they could be 6-3 right now. But they didn't have an easier schedule. They had this one. And they will be 4-6 after this game in Carolina, where the Panthers once again look unbeatable. It may be too late for Carolina, but they will cause some serious problems for good teams from here on in. Panthers, 27-20. Verdict (Dolphins, 24-17). Hmm. Without Ronnie Brown and all that he brings to the wildcat, Chad Henne and Ricky Williams were more than enough to shut down the Panthers, who looked great on their first two offensive drives, and pretty bad from that point on. Until late in the fourth, when it was too late. I would say look for the Fish to do damage from here on in, but look at their schedule for the rest of the season - Bills (win), Patriots (no), Jaguars (maybe), Titans (no), Texans (maybe), Steelers (no). Panthers' remaining schedule might even be worse. Both these teams will finish out of the playoffs.

Indianapolis at Baltimore (1): Do you think that there will be a letdown after that Sunday night dramatic win? Or now that the Colts have all but wrapped up home field advantage in Week Ten? I doubt it. I think this team will get to 12-0 before really being tested. Colts, 26-21. Verdict (Colts, 17-15). I shouldn't have phrased it that way - the Ravens really did test the Colts - their defense. And with the big INT at the end of the game, they came through. The Ravens are still very good. But they can't finish against a great team. Yet.

Washington at Dallas (12.5): Both these teams surprised me this week. The Redskins by showing up, and the Cowboys by NOT showing up. The Cowboys are starting to slip, as they always do later in the season, but Tony Romo just lost his first ever November game, to Green Bay. He won't do it in back-to-back weeks, not at home. Skins are 0-4 on the road, 0-2 in their division. Cowboys, 23-17. Verdict (Cowboys, 7-6). Two weeks in a row, no points for the Cowboys in the first half. This week, they waited until there were like 2 minutes left to score their first points. Thankfully for them, they were playing the Skins, and the one score was enough to win. Remember earlier this year when the Skins just, just barely beat the Rams, and we all realized there was something terribly wrong with them? Same goes for Dallas just, just barely beating Washington. Something is seriously wrong with this team.

Cleveland at Detroit (4.5): The Super Bowl of crap. Imagine - Detroit with a TWO win season! That is, statistically, infinitely better than last season. Lions, 9-6. Verdict (Lions, 38-37). Are you kidding me? THIS was the most exciting and awesome game of the entire season? I couldn't have been more wrong - I called 12 points, total. There were 12 total points by the 40 second mark in this one. Wha-happened? By the way - the Browns scored 32 percent of all the points they have this season in this game. And they still lost.

San Francisco at Green Bay (5.5): The Niners may have beaten Green Bay's division rival Bears this week, but truthfully they looked awful doing it. And the Packers looked amazing against the Cowboys. Packers, 31-21. Verdict (Packers, 30-24). Just barely covered the spread. Aaron Rodgers looked amazing and apparently got enough protection for once. But that defense let the Niners back into it late - a concern.

Buffalo at Jacksonville (8): Jacksonville and Maurice Jones-Drew had their way with the Jets. The Jets are better than the Bills. The Jaguars will have their way with the Bills. but who cares? Jaguars, 27-20. Verdict (Jaguars, 18-15). They made it a nail-biter, didn't they? The Bills held MJD to 66 yards on the ground. Terrell Owens finally broke out with a 200-yard game! And they STILL lost! The Bills suck.

Pittsburgh (10) at Kansas City: Having lost both their games to the Bengals now, the Steelers must pretty much win out to take their division. They will not let up on a weaksauce opponent like KC. Steelers, 33-17. Verdict (Chiefs, 27-24). On the plus side, you didn't lose any ground in your pool - nobody else picked this outcome either.

Seattle at Minnesota (11): The Seahawks are coming on a little of late, but if they can't beat the Cardinals given the opportunity (and they certainly were), how can they hope to compete against the Vikes? Vikings, 35-13. Verdict (Vikings, 35-9). I am so close to exactly right, that it's tantalizing. The Vikings could be the best team in football.

Atlanta at New York Giants (no line): One of the most intriguing matchups of the week. Both teams are watching their division slip away. Both are 5-4, and their seasons could go either way from here. I would even go so far as to say the winner of this game is the team I think will win one of the wild cards this season. And that winner will be...the Giants, who HAVE to turn it around sometime. Giants, 21-20. Verdict (Giants, 34-31). If the Giants can build on this win, they still have a very very good chance at their division.

New Orleans (12.5) at Tampa Bay: Why even analyze? Saints, 44-7. Verdict (Saints, 38-7). Why even analyze indeed!

Arizona (9.5) at St. Louis: The Rams probably feel decent this week, having finally won a game then played the Saints so tough. But Arizona is looking elite at the moment. Cardinals, 23-10. Verdict (Cardinals, 21-13). The Cardinals had a tougher time than they ought to have had with the Rams. Then again, most teams have had a tougher time than expected against St. Louis of late. Gotta love Stephen Jackson!

San Diego at Denver (no line): Here is the moment the season ends for the Broncos. They started 6-0, but they will finish out of the playoffs. You heard it here first. San Diego will win this division easily, thanks to their victory this weekend. Chargers, 30-24. Verdict (Chargers, 32-3). The Chargers have won five in a row, the Broncos have lost four in a row. And they got absolutely hammered in this one, in every facet of the game. Call it now - this division is OVER.

Cincinnati (9.5) at Oakland: The Raiders lost to the CHIEFS. 'Nuff said. Bengals, 36-16. Verdict (Raiders, 20-17). Again, the plus side - nobody else in your pool will have picked this one either. Always take Oakland to cover against good teams and NOT cover against bad ones.

New York Jets at New England (11): The Patriots are just way, way too powerful for the Jets. This game hinges on their response to that last-second defeat at Indy. If the defense is mad at Belicheck, they could lose. If, on the other hand, they are just generally pissed off, they will crush the Jets. Patriots, 27-13. Verdict (Patriots, 31-14). Yeah, they crushed 'em. This New England team doesn't get fazed by anything, and they are still (maybe) the most dangerous team in football. The Jets are done.

Philadelphia (2.5) at Chicago: The Bears looked like the worst team in football against the Niners last Thursday. And they have had an extra-long week to think about it. The Eagles need to start winning now, and stop licking their wounds and looking stunned. Eagles, 27-23. Verdict (Eagles, 24-20). There are still problems in Philly - the Bears aren't this good. This team is really, really missing Westbrook. Perhaps Michael Vick would make a good option out of the backfield at this point? He looked pretty good on that 35-yard run...

Tennessee at Houston (3.5): This is, actually, the toughest game for me to call. In Tennessee, I would pick the Titans in a heartbeat. I just don't know about Houston. I won't know about them all season, frankly. They could be the best team in football one week, and get beaten by Cleveland the next. Well...maybe not Cleveland. I think that coming off the bye, Houston will show rust, and the Titans momentum will carry them through. But only just. Titans, 21-20. Verdict (Titans, 23-20). Yep. Only just. The Texans didn't really show a lot of rust, coming out firing early. But the Titans are just plain winning with Vince Young at the helm.

I am 13-3 straight up this week (110-50 overall), and 12-4 against the spread (94-65-1 overall).

What I did on my Autumn vacation Part Five

Obviously, I didn't blog on my vacation. I can tell, because I have written five posts today. Doc's sick after his vacation, so I'm at his computer and I have lots of time. A few last things about my time off, which was really just work without getting up early.

I bought a cookbook for the first time in my life. It's a cookbook all about barbecuing and grilling. It was a little bit useful, but then it goes off the rails halfway through. There is a section on grilling s'mores. It says to put a marshmallow on a skewer, and roast it over the barbecue. Then make a s'more. I'm never buying a cookbook again.

I somehow got into tutoring some kids, to make a little extra money before Christmas. I tutored a nice young girl in Grade Eleven physics (they have physics in grade 11 now!) one Sunday morning. Her father, (my friend Mike) left the house to go grocery shopping while I was there. Only later did it occur to me to be offended. Five years ago, no one would ever have left me alone in their house with their daughter! Now I feel old. And safe. And a little bit lame.

My sister is back living with me for the time being, as she does her teaching placement at Alta Vista school. One of the teachers with whom she works has asked me to come in to talk to the kids about radio and so forth. Which is cool, I have done that many times before at many other schools. I go in, I talk to one class at a time and ask them questions and they ask me questions and I give away some stuff and make jokes and it's all very informal. But I just got an email as I came off vacation saying they had booked the auditorium for me, and did I need power-point equipment, or something called a smart board for my presentation? I think I may be in over my head this time...

What I did on my Autumn vacation Part Four

On Saturday night, I hosted a benefit gala for Operation Come Home. It was a really good time - a 60s-themed event that featured Pierre Belanger, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, dressing up in Ringo's suit from the Sgt. Pepper album cover. For a guy who complains about having to speak in public and worries about his speech, Pierre sucks it up and performs. Love it! Also performing were Gamut, a local band who were just terrific - I asked them to play, and they insisted upon doing the event for free, just to support the charity. They were great, but it was the NAC. Which meant that every twenty minutes, someone from the NAC came into the room to ask them to turn down their music. By the end of the evening, they were barely miked at all. I guess their sound was bleeding a tiny bit into the main hall where some other band was playing.

Great bunch of guys in Gamut - aside from doing cover tunes at shows like this one, they also do an Alice Cooper tribute show called mAlice & Monsters - their next show is this coming Friday at the James Street Pub. You can check out their website here.

There were a few speeches from some of the clients of Operation Come Home. Kids who have been helped by the organization in the past, and kids who are in some of their programs now. Simon, Miranda and Nicole did a great job and really highlighted why OCH is so important in this community.

The night wasn't all good, however. You see, there were two silent auction tables filled with all kinds of goodies. And my wife decided to bid on a few items. Which was fine - there was some incredible beaded jewelry done by the OCH kids in their Beadworks program that Jen wanted. And she got it. And that was great. But there was also a big pink box of Britney Spears perfume that she bid on. And although I begged the crowd to outbid my wife on this item, they did not. And we went home with a big pink box of Britney Spears perfume. Which doesn't smell like I thought it would. I thought it would smell like stripper, or like fake tan and dog food and the inside of a sweatsock. But it's actually quite nice. I just don't want it in my house, on principle.

One more great thing about the gala - I was talking to city councillor George Bedard about the 24 Hours of Homelessness event we do every year, where we sleep outside for 24 hours in January to raise awareness of the plight of kids living on the streets. And he said he would love to be a part of that event, and join us this coming January! So I'm putting it in writing right now, Mr. Bedard. I WILL be calling you early in the new year to confirm your participation!

What I did on my Autumn vacation Part Three

A few times during my time off, I had to go to work anyway. (I had twelve events in my 14 days off, so really "vacation" for me means not getting up at 2:00 in the morning.) I went off to sell leather, and home renovation tax credits, and football at Tail Gators and so forth. And twice I had to come into the office to add my voice to commercials for those events. Being a little sour at having to drive such a long way for what proved to be twenty seconds of actual work, I took a rather abrasive tone for my Tail Gators commercial. I suggested that no one would be able to beat me at poker. That was a safe bet, I figured - in a WPT tournament populated with giant poker nerds, I had finished seventh in the first event and fifth in the second. I figured I would finish third and then first. Right? Makes sense to me.

When I walked into Tail Gators on Sunday, I was met with many irritated faces, and several people who took exception to me personally. Partly because I had been so aggressively pompous in my commercial, and partly because the poker tournament had been moved to 2:00. And I had been advertising 4:00 for two weeks now. I tried to explain that had someone told me the time of the tournament had been changed, I would likely have adjusted accordingly. And I apologized profusely for not having been informed. But I stood by my tough talk. I WAS going to win this tournament, even though I was starting an hour late. I was dealt in, and had the low chip stack at my table, but right away, on the first hand, I was dealt two aces. Some sucker beside me went all in. Some other sucker on my other side went all in. And I of course followed suit. (No pun intended.) And I lost. First hand of the game. I was out. So I sat and watched football and ate chicken wings and drank beer and gave a way a ton of shirts and hats and DVDs for the rest of the afternoon.

At least the Packers won!

What I did on my Autumn vacation Part Two

On Hallowe'en night, I hosted a benefit for the Ottawa Humane Society dressed as a Teletubby. (I have the costume, may as well make use of it!) Les Emerson and the Hitmen played, which was a big draw, but not quite big enough to fill up the Ukranian Hall on Byron. There were a bunch of door prizes, some of which were hot air balloon rides and hotel stays, some of which were cat food. I met a lovely young lady from the Humane Society, who took several pictures (including one of a charming older lady wearing my teletubby head). But in the intervening two weeks, having been on vacation and having left parts of my brain behind here and there, I have forgotten her name and lost her business card. So I won't be posting those pictures. But a good time was had by all, I think. All of the fifty or so people who were there.

What I did on my autumn vacation...Part One

I was pretty worried when, on Day One of my two-week vacation, I came home to find one of our walls painted. There was a ladder in the house, and paint cans and paint rollers and tape and drop cloths and so on. My first thought was, of course, that since I had two weeks off work, my wife had found something time-consuming for me to do. This turned out not to be the case, however, and I was much relieved. This was her project, and hers alone, and she didn't trust me to do any of this myself. So I installed a towel rack (which is about the extent of my handyman ability), raked some leaves, and got snow tires put on the cars. And my around-the-house job was done.

Then on Saturday morning I went to Home Depot for a live commercial where I was trying to convince people to come in for a seminar on the Home Renovation Tax Credit. And I started kicking myself - we (or, rather, my wife) had started a whole series of home renovations, and we hadn't kept any receipts and had no idea how much we'd spent. Then I discovered that the credit applies only to home renovations that cost more than $1,000. And even then, it's a tax credit that's really worth your while when you approach ten grand in home repairs. I think we may have spent $78. No tax credit for us.

Just a thought - the Home Reno Tax Credit (HRTC) is applied to the 2009 tax return. You have until February 1st of 2010 to spend your money in order to be eligible for this one-time tax credit. The idea, I guess, is that it's a way of stimulating the economy through more people purchasing more things. Which is fine. But it still hasn't passed in the House of Commons. And although every party has said that they will keep the HRTC intact, they're still asking people to do these projects on faith. Assuming that the thing will pass before it's too late, and assuming that the repairs and renovations they are doing now will be covered. I'm sure it will all work out in the end...but to ask people to do something this big now, where they have to get it done before they even know for sure whether they can claim the tax rebate, requires a pretty big leap of faith.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NFL picks week 10

I am now 87-42 straight up, and 74-54-1 against the spread. Make your picks early - Thursday games start this week!

Chicago at San Francisco (3): Both these teams have looked weaker and weaker of late. The Niners, however, looked a little tougher to me against a suddenly-good Titans team, while the Bears appeared to throw in the towel early on against the Cardinals. Niners, 24-20. Verdict (Niners, 10-6). Well, I said the Niners would win by four. And they sure won by four. Thank goodness I don't play over-under! A solid defensive battle, but the Bears killed themselves. The fact that they even had a shot at the end of this game to win it was ridiculous. They got penalties on every play. Cutler threw five interceptions, several in the red zone. Frankly, the fact that this game was not a blowout for the Niners says more about the poor play of the Niners than it does about the defense of the Bears.

Detroit at Minnesota (16.5): Well, as far as no-brainers go...the Lions looked pretty awful in the second half against the lowly Seahawks, who spotted them 17 points before storming back. The Vikings will not spot the Lions 17 points. They will just obliterate them. Vikings, 35-10. Verdict (Vikings, 27-10). Well, they covered the spread, I guess. I thought they would win a little bigger. Oh well, it took the Vikings a little while to start rolling on offense. But what a powerhouse team this is.

Atlanta (1.5) at Carolina: The Panthers are all of a sudden a pretty dangerous team. Although they lost to New Orleans, they played awfully tough and held onto their big lead for much longer than I thought possible. In a divisional matchup, anything is possible. And I think the Panthers loss to the Saints was more impressive than the Falcons win over the Skins. Panthers, 21-17. Verdict (Panthers, 28-19). Look out for Carolina. I wouldn't pick them to make the playoffs...yet...but they will most definitely make things difficult for every team they play from here on in.

Denver (4) at Washington: Just what the Broncos need to get off their mini-slide. Sure, they've lost two games in a row. And yes, they have been exposed both on defense and on offense by two pretty good teams. But the Redskins are not even close to the Steelers or Ravens, and they will help Denver work out the kinks. Broncos, 27-21. Verdict (Redskins, 27-17). The Skins are not this good. It appears that Denver is really, really coming back down to Earth. And the Chargers will now win this division with ease, as everyone expected they would early in the season. Figures it would happen in the only game of the season where I pick the Broncos!

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7): The most interesting game of the week, I think. The Steelers are in fine form, and have looked very impressive since their shaky start. The Bengals are likely the most under-rated team in football. Bengals are perfect on the road, Steelers are perfect at home. And the winner will have a huge leg up when it comes to taking the division. I am a little more confident in the Steelers, still. Apparently, so is Vegas - two almost identical teams, record wise and otherwise, and the Steelers are favoured by SEVEN? I don't think so. Steelers, 24-21. Verdict (Bengals, 18-12). Huh. I guess the Steelers shouldn't have been favoured by seven. Or, maybe, they shouldn't have been favoured at all. The Bengals are the better team.

Tampa Bay at Miami (10): The Buccaneers made all the right moves last week. Rookie QB comes in and tears it up, the team gets a bounce in their step and gains a huge amount of confidence. On the other hand, they are still Tampa Bay, and the rest of the team is still just awful. But all of a sudden they have some fight in them. Dolphins, 27-25. Verdict (Dolphins, 25-23). Bang-on! For the second time this week! I feel so good about myself...Tampa really does have some fight in them now. Look out in coming weeks.

Jacksonville at New York Jets (6.5): Remember when the Jets looked like they might be the best team in football? Yeah, me either. The Jaguars are a hit-and-miss team, and if Maurice Jones-Drew gets going they could blow up the Jets. If they can keep him even a little in check, they should be OK. Jacksonville just barely squeaked by the awful Chiefs this week, and I'm going with the Jets off the bye. Jets, 22-17. Verdict (Jaguars, 24-22). The Jets looked pretty rusty off the bye, and they couldn't stop MJD. The Jaguars covered the spread, but they could have won by much, much more.

New Orleans (14) at St. Louis: The Saints are on such a roll right now, they would be favoured over any team. They are still beating even the tough teams by double digits week in and week out. They won't have nearly that much trouble with the Rams. Saints, 44-13. Verdict (Saints, 28-23). The Saints losing this game (and they could have lost) would have been the biggest upset of the season. I am inclined to believe that the Rams covering this spread almost qualifies as the biggest upset in itself!

Buffalo at Tennessee (6.5): The Titans are seriously thinking they have a chance to make the playoffs. Seriously. After starting the season 0-6, they have won two straight, and would need to run the table just for a shot at a wild card. They will continue the attempt against the hapless Bills. But 6.5 points IS too many. Six is enough. Titans, 27-21. Verdict (Titans, 41-17). OK, six was not nearly enough. Look out for these Titans! 9-7 could be a wild-card in the AFC!

Kansas City at Oakland (1.5): Who cares? Well, I guess gamblers. Oakland's at home. That's almost, kind of, an edge I guess. Raiders, 13-10. Verdict (Chiefs, 16-10). Yeah. Who cares.

Dallas (3) at Green Bay: My heart really, really wants to believe that the Packers can win this. But they just let the winless Bucs kick their asses, and Romo and the Cowboys are on fire. Dallas is always terrific in November. But wait until December and the cold weather...wait! It's cold in Green Bay! Packers, 17-16. Verdict (Packers, 17-7). I hate to complain, but a shutout would have been nice. The Packers are not all that good, although they played a great game. The Cowboys are most definitely over-rated, and their slide begins now.

Seattle at Arizona (8.5): The Cardinals look to be rounding into form at the midway point of the season. But they are 1-3 at home and really have not played well there. Then again, the Seahawks are winless on the road. They should remain winless, but it will be closer than it should be. Cardinals, 33-29. Verdict (Cardinals, 31-20). The Seahawks were game, but the big-play Cardinals showed up in the second half to decide the game. The Cardinals may be an elite team again.

Philadelphia at San Diego (2.5): The Eagles have been sadly, and tumultuously, inconsistent this season. So have the Chargers. The Chargers can smell blood (I hope they can, anyway) now that the Broncos have lost two straight. But I will take an above-average NFC team over an above-average AFC team in any game this year. Eagles, 29-27. Verdict (Chargers, 31-23). Is this the beginning of the Chargers resurgence? Or the end of the Eagles' greatness? I am betting on the latter, since the Chargers are now tied for the division lead with the tanking Broncos, and they will win it easily.

New England at Indianapolis (3): Always a huge game. Always a good one. The Colts have squeaked out a couple of wins of late against lesser opponents, but there's no way they aren't getting up for their arch-rivals. And right now, the Colts are the better team. Colts, 30-25. Verdict (Colts, 35-34). I am not one of those people who are calling for Belicheck's head after that 4th-and-2 gamble. Either way, they were going to have to stop the Colts from scoring. And I don't believe they could have done so, regardless of field position. Their only hope was to hang on to the ball and run the clock down. The downside for the Patriots (other than the loss) is that the defense might feel pretty slighted by Belicheck now, and he might have cost them a lot of confidence in the coming weeks. That could end up being bigger than this loss to a great team.

Baltimore (10.5) at Cleveland: The Ravens ARE over-rated. Their defense is not what it used to be, and their offense is sketchy. But at their worst, Baltimore is still 10 points better than the Browns. There are high school teams that are three points better. Ravens, 30-17. Verdict (16-0 Baltimore). What was I thinking picking the Browns to score 17 points? I must have my head up my ass. The rest was pretty accurate though.

I am currently 10-5 straight up this week (97-47 overall), and 8-7 against the spread (82-61-1 overall).

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I attempted to upload a video in my last post of actor Tony Plana, giving a cheesy, painful, yet badass speech in his role as the warden in the Steven Seagal suckfest Half Past Dead. I introduced that clip by claiming it was Yankees skipper Joe Girardi talking tough in prison. But the video didn't appear to work. Had it actually worked, it would have been very, very funny. But since it didn't work, it was not funny, and made little sense. I am leaving that post up, hoping that the site hosting the video gets fixed, and then you too can get in on the joke. In the meantime, I will provide you with a few photos:

Two are of Girardi, two of Plana. See how similar they look? Wouldn't it have been funny to see the video of the tough talk with Steven Seagal, thinking it was Girardi? I'm almost ever so clever.

Congratulations Yankees

I like Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui and Mariano Rivera. Those are about the only good things I can say about the Yankees, a team I loathe. But they won the World Series, and I stayed up to 1:00 last night hoping against hope for a Phillies comeback. So congratulations. The best thing about the series being over is that I will no longer have to look at that irritatingly serene and smug look on Girardi's face on the bench. Here is a clip of Girardi being smug and irritating, in prison:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NFL picks week nine

After last week, I am 79-37 straight up overall, and 65-50-1 against the spread.

Washington at Atlanta (no line): This pick is more about the Falcons than it is about the Skins. Washington's season is over. It has been done for a long time, even when they were 2-2 they were still downright awful. The Falcons put up a seriously tough, spirited and impressive fight against the Saints this week, and I think they will take out the frustration of that too-close loss on the hapless Redskins. Or, they could be crushed and demoralized, and let the Skins get within ten points. Falcons, 33-10. Verdict (Falcons, 31-17). Yep. The Falcons won by 14 points. They must have been demoralized.

Baltimore (3) at Cincinnati: The Ravens knocked off the unbeaten Broncos, exposing both their offense and their defense as over-rated. But then, the Broncos were of course over-rated. The Bengals remain under-rated, having started the season 5-2 but not factoring into any discussions of the top-flight teams. Here's the thing though. The Bengals, who have been surprising and terrific, are just mediocre at home. Carson Palmer has been mediocre in Cincy. And I believe the Ravens are hungrier right now than are the Bengals. Ravens, 21-17. Verdict (Bengals, 17-7). Nope. The Bengals are hungrier. And they are under-rated. And the Ravens are over-rated. Maybe they really did deserve to lose those three earlier games.

Kansas City at Jacksonville (7): It is now the part of the season where team defense rankings and team offense rankings actually start to mean something. The Chiefs are third-last in the NFL in offense, and third-last in total defense. They have been coming on of late, but not enough to beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are far better at home than they are on the road, and the Chiefs have been just dreadful away from KC. Jaguars, 21-17. Verdict (Jaguars, 24-21). Jacksonville is still not a good team. They may be 4-4 but they are inconsistent and they struggle to win games they should dominate. They need more than MJD.

Green Bay (10) at Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers are the last winless team in the NFL, and they deserve to be. They have been simply awful, all season long. And there is no respite in sight. The Packers pretty well kissed their chances at a division title goodbye with that loss this week to the Vikings, but I have to think they are one of the top contenders for a wild card berth in the NFC. They need this game, and they will destroy the hapless Bucs. Packers, 27-7. Verdict (Buccaneers, 38-28). Ummm...any given Sunday, right? At least I have the comfort of thinking this one might have knocked some people out of my eliminator pool!

Miami at New England (11): This is (seriously) a very tough call. The Dolphins are much better than their record indicates. The Dolphins have a very good run defense, although their pass defense has been suspect so far. Then again, they have played some very very good passing offenses. The Patriots are a great passing offense (#3), but they can't run the ball too well. Miami can. They are the third-ranked rushing offense in the whole NFL. If they can control the clock, and there's a good chance they can, they have a really good shot in this game. The Patriots are unbeaten at home, and likely to stay unbeaten at home, but this could easily be a trap game. Patriots, 24-21. Verdict (Patriots, 27-17). The Pats may have won by double digits, but it was closer than that. And although New England did a pretty darn good job of shutting down the wildcat, they still had way too much trouble with the Dolphins, who have had a really tough schedule and are still better than their record.

Houston at Indianapolis (9.5): The Colts had a real shock this week, as the Niners came very, very close to winning. Too close. I think Indianapolis had just about their worst game of the season, and although the Niners deserve a lot of credit for the way they played, it was more a bad game from Indy than a good game from San Fran. Now, Houston has been a team of ups and downs all season long. Luckily for them, those ups and downs have been coming within games of late, and the Texans have been able to win those games. Against the Colts, that will not be possible. Houston needs a full, 60-minute, hard effort to even keep this one close. I think they'll get it. And keep this one close. Like, within a touchdown. Colts, 27-21. Verdict (Colts, 20-17). Yeah, Houston's best effort isn't quite enough to knock off the Colts, missed kick or no. By the way - what was with Houston waiting at the 2:00 warning at the end of the first half? They don't run a play, when they clearly could have, letting the clock run down, taking the two-minute warning, and letting the Colts look at the video and ask for a challenge. Instead of going in for a TD, they lose the ball on a touchback. The most important play of the game, and the coaches screwed up bad. Just run a play!

Arizona at Chicago (3): What is up with the Cardinals? They beat the Giants convincingly, then lose to Carolina. Convincingly. I am convinced of nothing. They are 1-3 at home, 3-0 on the road. The Bears are 3-0 at home, 1-3 on the road. And what's up with the Bears? They have a winning record, but they have beaten only one good team all season - the Steelers in Week 2, when Pittsburgh was in disarray. I just don't think the Bears are good enough to hang with a good team. So if the good Arizona Cardinals show up this week, they will beat the Bears. I think they probably will. Cardinals, 32-25. Verdict (Cardinals 41-21). The good Cardinals showed up. And the Bears aren't good enough to hang with a good team. I think Chicago's season is over.

Carolina at New Orleans (no line): The Saints are unstoppable. How do you beat this team? Well first, you have to score on every possession. (The Panthers were doing that this week against the Cardinals.) Second, you have to score touchdowns on every possession. Third, you can't turn the ball over. And fourth, you have to control the clock - long, tough, grinding drives that leave Drew Brees with no time to come back and score. So make sure you get your points less than 30 seconds before half time. How do you avoid turning the ball over? Don't throw it near Darren Sharper. Or the corners. In fact, just don't throw the ball. So the only way to beat the Saints is to run the ball, on every play, and get four yards every single time, and score TDs without throwing the ball. Do you see the Panthers doing that? Me either. Saints, 49-17. Verdict (Saints, 30-20). New Orleans survived another scare, and proved once again they can come back from a huge deficit in just one half. Or one quarter. Or two minutes.

Detroit at Seattle (10): Another fascinating game involving the Lions. Ugh. The Seahawks are awful, but they aren't quite Detroit awful. Yet. The Seahawks are ranked near the middle of the league in both offense and defense, and the Lions are near the bottom in both. After this game, Seattle could have a winning record at home! But they will still be garbage. Seattle, 20-13. Verdict (Seahawks, 32-20). The Seahawks really came back hard after the Lions leaped out to a giant lead early on. The Lions have the ability to do that. They just don't have the ability to hang on to that league. And Seattle now has a winning record at home.

San Diego at New York Giants (4.5): This really is the most interesting matchup of the week. The Giants were exposed by the Saints, and now all the other teams can see their defensive shortcomings. And they have taken advantage of those, for three straight games. If any team (other than New Orleans) has the firepower to exploit those weaknesses, it ought to be the Chargers. But they have not been able to put a huge effort together all season long. Both teams desperately need this game, but I just don't trust the Chargers to be able to game-plan as well as the Eagles or Cardinals or Saints. Giants, 24-22. Verdict (Chargers, 21-20). The Chargers were able to game-plan decently. But they relied on a virtually miraculous finish after throwing that pick and managing to hold the Giants to a field goal. Gotta be good to be lucky, and so forth.

Tennessee at San Francisco (4): The Titans throw in Vince Young, finally. And they win a game! Finally. And they win convincingly! Finally. Now, the Jaguars are pretty bad, and the game doesn't mean that much, but San Fran needs to win games like this one if they hope to be in playoff contention this season. The Titans are coming on, and they could be a handful, but the Niners should win this matchup in San Francisco. But it won't be easy. Niners, 21-20. Verdict (Titans, 34-27). Could the rumours be right? That the Titans will run the table and make the playoffs after starting 0-7? It is entirely possible. They proved they were tough today, and although the Niners looked tough for a while, they couldn't hold it together.

Dallas at Philadelphia (3): The Cowboys have won three straight, the Eagles two. Both teams are 5-2, both are 3-1 at home and 2-1 on the road. They are both 4-1 in their last five. They are 4-1 in conference and 1-1 out of conference. The Eagles are #10 in defense, Dallas is #2 on offense. The Cowboys are #22 in defense, the Eagles are #15 on offense. (15+10=25, 22+2=24.) There appears to be very little daylight separating these two teams. But look a little closer. Say, at the two losses. The Eagles were without Donovan McNabb when they lost to the best team in football, the Saints. Then they had that crazy blip where they lost a fluke to the Raiders. The Cowboys have lost to the Giants (who no longer look so impressive) and Denver (I would say the same thing about the Broncos). The Eagles beat Carolina by 28, Dallas beat them by 14. Philly beat Kansas City by 20, Dallas beat them by 6. Dallas beat Tampa Bay by 13, the Eagles beat them by 19. Dallas has beaten one good team - Atlanta, in Dallas. They will not beat another. Eagles, 35-18. Verdict (Cowboys, 20-16). Maybe I over-analyzed this one. Maybe the Cowboys are...actually good. When the Eagles get healthy again (IF they do), look out!

Pittsburgh (3) at Denver: The Broncos were exposed this week. Laid bare, as it were. I don't think they'll have a fall like the Giants have since being knocked out of the ranks of the unbeaten. After all, in the next few weeks they play San Diego and the Giants at home, and their other games come against Washington, Oakland and two against Kansas City. If it weren't for two road games against Philadelphia and Indianapolis, they'd have it really easy. They could still go 13-3. But they won't, because Pittsburgh is all of a sudden looking like the team that won the Super Bowl last year. And they are similar to the Ravens both on offense and defense. Similar enough, anyway, to watch this week's game tape, and find all the holes in that Broncos defense. And the Broncos offense. I'm calling it right now. The Broncos will finish the season 11-5 and their slide starts Monday night. Steelers, 24-20. Verdict (Steelers, 28-10). Well, it took a half, but the Steelers sure figured out how to exploit that Broncos defense. I don't know what adjustments they made, per se, but I imagine other teams will be looking at that game tape closely. The Broncos might be starting their slide just as the Chargers (finally, maybe) are coming together. Thank God I was right about this one, which salvaged my bad week a little bit.

I am now 8-5 this week straight up (87-42 overall), and 9-4 against the spread (74-54-1 overall).

Friday, October 30, 2009

My vacation has begun. Now the work starts.

I'm on vacation the next two weeks. Which means I will likely not be checking email, or answering my phone. But I will be working. As follows...

Tomorrow night it's the Humane Society benefit concert at the Ukranian Centre on Byron. Les Emmerson and the Hitmen are playing, only 25 bucks to get in. Call Sharon at 613-792-3481 for tickets.

Tomorrow from 11-3, then again on Thursday 2-6, and once more next Saturday from 11-3, I'll be selling leather at the big leather sale at the Embassy West hotel. I have officially run out of things to say about leather after three years, so I am taking suggestions on location for new takes.

November 14th, Saturday, from 8:00-noon I'm doing a live commercial at Home Depot. I don't yet know which Home Depot. Or what I will be selling.

November 14th in the evening, I'm hosting the Operation Come Home 60s themed gala event at the NAC. Tickets are still available at, and Gamut will be our band for the evening. (They are also doing their Alice Cooper tribute show the previous evening, Friday November 13th, at Greenfields on Greenbank.)

November 15th is the next NFL event at Tail Gators. The first time I played in the WPT event there, I finished 7th. Last time I finished 5th. There are two more events, I plan to beat the brains out of the poker nerds and finish 3rd and 1st. And make no mistake - there are poker nerds there. Once again, free pool for all CHEZ nation members all day long at Tail Gators, a free poker tournament with excellent prizes, and I will be bringing a bunch of great prizes for halftime myself. It all gets under way around 3:30.

After the Tail Gators event, I will relax for half an hour and go to bed. Then it's back to work.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interview with director Pepita Ferrari

Pepita Ferrari is a Canadian documentary director who recently released Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary on DVD. It's a really fascinating...documentary...about documentaries. And the people who make them. I know, it sounds really nerdy. And, to an extent, it is. But it's also a good film, and I hope that people who aren't documentary nerds will watch it. To hear the interview I just did with Pepita Ferrari, click here. To check out the website (where you can watch pretty much the whole film), click here. I think you'll be glad you did.

Trailer for new John Lennon movie "Nowhere Boy"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Humane Society event coming up Saturday

This Saturday - Hallowe'en night - a fundraiser at the Ukranian Hall (1000 Byron) for the Ottawa Humane Society. Les Emerson and the Hitmen are the featured entertainment, and there will also be a bunch of prizes for costumes (animal and non-animal alike). I'm hosting. Space is limited, so you have to reserve your tickets ahead of time. Do so by calling this number:

Sharon - 613-792-3481
Here is a picture of a dog to tug at your heartstrings and convince you to go:

Some videos, if anyone is interested

'Cause I'm not, really. Here's Slash with the Black Eyed Peas last night at the Rose Bowl in L.A.

And here's Van Halen lip-synching "Unchained" on some French TV show in 1981:

And Gov't Mule (Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers) with Joe Bonamassa from Sunday:

Okay. That's it. New videos are everywhere.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mark McGwire isn't so bad. He's only rock & roll.

I looked carefully while I toured the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, but I saw no asterisks. I assumed that there would be little asterisks beside the names of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain and The Doors and the Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company and Bob Dylan and Crosby Stills and Nash and the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and Guns N Roses and the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground and Blue Cheer and Gram Parsons and the Byrds and the 13th Floor Elevators and Shadows of Knight and Johnny Cash and the Faces and the Small Faces and the Yardbirds and Eric Clapton and Cream and Traffic and Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly and Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. And others.

After all, weren't those artists aided by performance-enhancing drugs? Didn't they take LSD and heroin and quaint '60s drugs like qualudes, whatever those were? It should at least be acknowledged that their musical superiority was not a result of their hard work and natural talent, but rather a chemically-induced excellence that was more smoke and mirrors than it was blood sweat and tears? Pardon the awful pun...

It occured to me, however, that we have a pretty big double standard when it comes to drugs and celebrities. We mock Lindsay Lohan because she's 25 and looks like Keith Richards, but we do so only because she has never released an album like American Beauty. When Sylvester Stallone gets busted with steroids, who cares? If Hugh Jackman took steroids to look ridiculously huge for Wolverine, who would care? It can't be any less healthy than Christian Bale losing 210 pounds for The Machinist or Robert DeNiro putting on 210 pounds for Raging Bull. All of this is just performance enhancement. But if you take steroids and then hit 50 home runs, we care. We care deeply. And we wring our hands and tear our hair out because the integrity of the game is at stake!

This supposes, of course, one of two things. Either music and movies and Hollywood in general don't have anywhere near the integrity of Major League Baseball, and we hold them to a lower standard. But I don't think that's likely. After all, Lawrence Taylor is still one of the most revered figures in sports. Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry are still remembered with fondness. Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter on acid! And losers like me remember the feat fondly in blog posts. But if we ever met Manny Ramirez, we would kick him square in the balls for sullying the image of the game we love so much. What's the difference here? Steroids make people bigger. Heroin doesn't. That hot chick at the bar would probably pick me over a guy on heroin. But she would probably pick the guy on steroids over me. And I'm jealous. I could take up heroin, but I would look less and less attractive, and I would never release Nevermind. Or, I could take steroids and look more attractive. I would never hit 30 homers, but I might go home with that redhead.

Now Mark McGwire is the St. Louis Cardinals' new hitting coach. And from what I am hearing, this means the end of Sports Integrity and possibly the end of American Civilization. This is true. The four horsemen are, indeed, nigh. Jimi Hendrix is now teaching guitar to your kids. And he's wearing that acid-dispensing headband. And isn't it time we took that Oscar away from DeNiro?

New Cynical Cinema reviews

The Tournament - One of those movies where assassins compete for tons of money by killing each other off. I am embarassed to say I enjoyed it. But I did.

Tales From the Darkside Season Two - Still campy and fun after all these years. Lots of aliens!

The Fugitive Season Three Volume One - I hate TV DVDs that are split into volumes. But I like The Fugitive. It was good.

Mannix Season Three - There was never, in all of history, a good private investigator TV series. Mannix might have been the best of the crap.

The Guardian Season One - A weird early-200s show about a lawyer doing good deeds. Or something. It was all over the place.

Where the Wild Things Are - Beautiful, but boring. Like Jennifer Aniston. And paintings of fruit.

Land of the Lost - This movie is lost. And by that I mean it sucks.

Year One - This movie also sucks. Michael Cera and Jack Black notwithstanding. Or withstanding. Whatever.

Oh, the Cleveland Browns.

It was kind of sad to see the Browns fans filing into their stadium on Sunday. Downcast already at the prospect of yet another humiliating loss, having already given the game up as a foregone conclusion. The stands were at maybe 3/4 capacity at kickoff, a little less after the first quarter, and down to about 50% by halftime. More people left during the third quarter than left at the end of the game, and by the time my Packers wrapped up their 31-3 dismantling of one of the NFL's worst teams, few Browns fans remained to lament the loss.

Part of this was, of course, due to drunkenness. The people we befriended during the tailgate party before the game were long gone, having been hauled away during the first or second quarter by security and police and other official folks who were not inclined to let fans sleep under their seats or vomit on children. Of course, we commisserated with those new friends after the game, agreeing that of course the security people are Nazis. Sure, we said. The least they could have done was to allow you to finish urinating before leading you away from the hot dog vendor's garbage can.

The people in Cleveland were uniformly friendly, whether sober or drunk. We felt that with our Packers jerseys on, we would be the target of some unfriendly stares, or at the very least some good natured ribbing. But this was not the case. Instead, we were met with vacuous stares and brief acknowledgements that our presence in the city was at least a little helpful to their economy. The beer part of it anyway. With many of the locals we talked football. Although they seemed to have entirely blocked the subject out of their collective minds.

I would mention the flu epidemic sweeping the Browns' locker room, and be met with the same vacuous stare.
"How about the Braylon Edwards saga?"
"He's that guy who punched LeBron's midget friend? I think I remember him. I might even be wearing his jersey, I'm not sure."
"Isn't it time to put Brady Quinn back in for Derek Anderson?"
"Quinn...Quinn...does he still live here? I thought he was selling his house."
"No, he's still here. He plays backup quarterback for the Browns."
"Maybe he should punch one of LeBron's friends. At least he'd get to leave this stupid team."

I couldn't tell whether the beer was meant to numb the pain that was sure to be incurred watching the Browns play, or whether they were intending to steel themselves for the beating their team was sure to suffer in a few hours. Either way, by halftime I realized that the game was irrelevant anyway. They would be gone after a quarter of "football" anyway. It wasn't just the Browns fans though. The friendly Packers fans from Long Island who were beside us in the parking lot had been ejected within six minutes. I could have seen that coming, I suppose. After all, by the time the game started they had taken more shots than Pacino did in Scarface.

They missed most of what proved to be a pretty uninteresting game. It was over by the time they were tossed out, six minutes in. The Browns operation is a pretty bare-bones excercise. No cheerleaders, nothing going on in the commercial breaks, no halftime show of note, just fans and beer and terrible football. And I love it. We sat near enough to the Dawg Pound to watch some of the more interesting conflicts and displays that arose during the game, which was better than any cheerleaders or halftime show could have been. It appears that at least forty Cleveland Browns fans will support their team through thick and thin. Things are pretty thin right now. So don't talk about Braylon Edwards or Derek Anderson. Soon LeBron James will be playing basketball. And then the whole city can forget that football even exists until next season begins.

NFL picks week 8.

Seattle at Dallas (9.5): Which Tony Romo will show up? The one who torched the Falcons last week, or the one who played the other five games for the Cowboys this season? I don't think it matters. The Seahawks are weak and just getting weaker. But they aren't 10 points weaker than Dallas. Cowboys, 27-20. Verdict (Cowboys, 38-17): I didn't think the 'Boys would stomp Seattle this badly, but all those injuries on the Seahawks are taking their toll in a big way. This will be a pretty bad team from here on in.

St. Louis at Detroit (no line): Well, this is the game everyone will be recording on their PVR, isn't it? Or not...the Lions have a chance to win two games, which is better than most thought they could do. This might also be the best chance the Rams have for a victory all season. My bet is that they won't get it. Lions, 21-20. Verdict (Rams, 17-10): Barnburner! Now Tampa Bay is the only winless team. And the only one with a chance to match last year's Lions!

Miami at New York Jets (4): The Jets looked incredible while thumping the Raiders last week, but then it was the Raiders. Miami looked incredible (for the first half) against the Saints. I'll take one half of terrific football against New Orleans over ten games of terrific football against Oakland. Miami wins this one as long as they can hang on in the 4th quarter. Dolphins, 33-30. Verdict (Dolphins 30-25): Pretty darn close. The Dolphins' wildcat didn't look terribly effective against a tough Jets defense, but Ted Ginn is worth something after all! He sure can't catch, but if he does that every week, keep the man around! Even if he does it once a year, keep him around!

San Francisco at Indianapolis (11): Poor Niners. They had a chance for a big comeback win over the Texans, but fell just short. Now they have to go to Indy, where they will be running into the Peyton Manning buzzsaw offense and a pretty darn good defense. The Niners will need to throw the ball well to stay in this game - but they haven't thrown for more than 200 yards all season. It won't happen this week. Colts, 37-24. Verdict (Colts, 18-14): Those Niners made it pretty dang tough. I like San Fran still, and I think they will have a reasonably successful season, but the Colts proved at the end that the Niners are still not in Indy's league, even when they have an off day.

Cleveland at Chicago (13.5): Just the tonic the Bears need to wash the taste of last week's beating out of their mouth. The Bengals crushed Chicago about as thoroughly as one team can beat another. As did the Packers, to the Browns. The Bears are a better team. Much, much better than the Browns, who are putrid. Bears, 20-6. Verdict (Bears, 30-6): Close, again. The Browns are indeed putrid.

Denver at Baltimore (3.5): The Ravens have lost three in a row, thanks to questionable officiating in the first two (against very good teams) and a last-second missed field goal against the then-undefeated Vikings. What this means is that the Ravens are not as good as we thought they were three games in. But they are awfully close. And coming off the bye, they are going to turn things around. It starts with Denver at home, and another undefeated team comes back down to earth. But the Broncos will cover. Ravens, 17-14. Verdict (Ravens, 30-7): Well, I picked the Broncos to cover. And they sure didn't. I think it's back down to earth time for Denver, and the Ravens are headed back to the top of the league. Finally.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (3): A lot depends on the health of Brian Westbrook, who suffered a concussion on Monday night against the Redskins. And who would have thought the Giants would lose two in a row after starting 5-0? Who would think they could lose three in a row? Well, me. If Westbrook is healthy, the Eagles win this game. I'm betting he will be. Eagles, 36-31. Verdict (Eagles, 40-17): Even without Westbrook, the Eagles hammered the Giants. After that Saints game, it looks like every team knows just how to exploit the Giants defense, which has been hurt by some injuries. Things aren't looking up in NY.

Houston (3.5) at Buffalo: The Texans sure are Jeckyll and Hyde. I'm thinking, however, that the Bad Texans showed up in the second half against the 49ers, and therefore it's out of their system for this game against the weak Bills. Despite some surprising wins against better teams, the Bills are still terrible. Texans, 24-17. Verdict (Texans, 31-10): Houston is, again, Jekyll and Hyde. This time, Hyde showed up in the first half, while Jekyll pulled out a destructive attack in the second. If this team could put a full game together, they'd be formidable.

4:00 -- Jacksonville at Tennessee (3): The Titans are, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment of the season. They have looked absolutely dreadful in just about every single game, since taking the Steelers to overtime in Week One. Both these teams are coming off a bye, so there is no edge there. But the Titans are coming off a bye and a 59-point drubbing at the hands of the Patriots. If nothing else, they have had two weeks to find a way to restore their pride. I'm betting they have done so. Titans, 21-17. Verdict (Titans, 30-13): The Jaguars are awful. Simply awful. A little bit (a very small amount) of pride is back in Tennessee.

Oakland at San Diego (16.5): The Raiders are back where they should be - getting hammered by teams like the Jets. And the Chargers are back where they should be - destroying teams like the Chiefs. Kansas City and Oakland are similar teams. So this game should end with a similar result. Chargers, 33-13. Verdict (Chargers, 24-16): You just can't trust those Chargers to cover a spread, ever. And you also can't count on the Raiders to lie down and take it when they ought to. Big win, however, for San Diego.

Minnesota at Green Bay (3): I'm holding my breath here. I am picking against the Vikings for the second straight week. I have yet to be wrong on a Vikings game all season, and they looked pretty darn good even in losing to the Steelers last week. The Packers looked fantastic against the Browns, but then that's a poor indicator of their actual level. I thought Minnesota would win in Minnesota, and I thought the Pack would win in Green Bay. I still think that. Packers, 23-21. Verdict (Vikings, 38-26): It looked like a blowout for a while, but Aaron Rogers and the Pack are a tough bunch. I loved the way Rodgers played in this game, but Favre always seems to rise to the occasion, doesn't he?

Sunday night -- Carolina at Arizona (9): The Cardinals are coming on, in a big way. The Panthers are falling farther and farther every week. But I think they still have some pride left and will make it fairly close. Cardinals 29-22. Verdict (Panthers, 34-21): Maybe it was moving the game to make room for the World Series. Or maybe it was just the Cardinals having a really, really off day. Either way, this one seems to be more of an anomaly than anything else. Delhomme outplays Warner, by a lot. On what planet?

Monday night -- Atlanta at New Orleans (8.5): This will be something of a test for the Saints. But if they get through this game with a win (and I think they will), then they will be playing Carolina, Tampa and St. Louis in weeks 9 10 and 11. Which means we will see them go to 10-0. Saints, 38-28. Verdict (Saints, 35-27): Darn close. If only the Falcons had gone for the TD instead of the field goal at the end there, and missed...anyway. Now the Saints have won games every possible way this year, even those games (this one) where they tried to give it away. The Falcons could prove to be the toughest opponent the Saints face all season, as they steamroll through a pretty easy schedule from here on in.

I am 10-3 this week straight up (79-37 overall) and 7-6 against the spread this week (65-50-1 overall).

Cleveland Rocks. A little bit, anyway.

Or, rather, Cleveland rocked. But it's over now. Mike, Jeff, George and I took the 7-hour trip down to Cleveland on Saturday for the Browns-Packers game (which ended up being a rather boring rout). We left early in the morning Saturday, and got to Cleveland about 4:00. We were staying at a hotel about three blocks from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and we figured we would hit that before dinner. Which was fine, but when we arrived they told us they were about to close - they close at 5:30! Every day, even Saturdays! They told us that if we wanted to come that late in the day, we ought to come there on a Wednesday. Wednesdays they are open until 9:00. Wednesday being a gigantic tourist day, and all.

So we had to sprint through our tour in an hour and a half. Most of that was OK. I wouldn't spend a huge amount of time inspecting a U2 head cover or David Bowie's sequined outfit or John Lennon's glasses. I am comfortable passing quickly over photos of cops protesting Ice-T and some contract signed by Jay-Z and a bunch of Madonna stuff. I did stop to read Ian Curtis' handwritten lyrics to Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart", and some handwritten Lennon lyrics. But after reading all of these songs in their handwritten form, I realized that I already knew the words to those songs, and that I could read the lyrics online were I really curious. So I had stopped reading handwritten lyrics by the time I got to the two-floor Bruce Springsteen exhibit, the top floor of which consisted almost entirely of handwritten lyrics.

I must say, I did find the Hall of Fame to be disappointing. There were some cool things in there - cars owned by Elvis and Springsteen and stuff like that, and little things like a letter some kid wrote to the Rolling Stones in the late 60s about how much he (or she) and their classmates and every kid I know hates, hates, HATES the Stones and hope they stop making music. That was neat. I read that whole thing. And there were some really cool displays about Janis Joplin and the Who and so forth. But the most disappointing thing for me (other than the very rushed nature of our tour) was that there was no actual "Hall of Fame". Unless it was in that one section that was closed off because the museum was closing.

That's what I wanted to see. Maybe not plaques and stats like in Springfield or Cooperstown or Toronto. But at least a list, of some kind, of everyone who has been inducted into the hall of fame. I know, certainly, that KISS is not an inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Because they are up for induction this year. But there was a bunch of KISS crap in there anyway. And I am certain that Metallica IS in the Hall of Fame, because they were inducted last year. Or the year before. But I don't remember seeing any Metallica-related items. Now, I was rushed. And I got a pretty poor tour of the whole place. And this actual Hall Of Fame might have been behind that one closed door. But that's what I was expecting, and I sure didn't see it.

Of course, the souvenir shop does not close at 5:30. That stays open, presumably forever. So I bought some souvenirs for the kids, and we went to dinner. The cabbie driving us seemed to be a little lost, and went around the same block about three times. Then he got a call on his phone, fiddled with his GPS, and said "oh, Cleveland OHIO" as though he had just discovered where he was. We got out and walked. The area with the restaurants in Cleveland reminded me a lot of Old Montreal, where you can walk down the street and check out a number of restaurants (although they are all pubs in Cleveland). We went into a place that brewed their own beers, and most other places offered the Cleveland beers as well. I recommend the Olde Leghumper to anyone who goes.

Then we went to the football game. And did other stuff. More on that later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Football picks week seven

I am sitting at 60-30 straight up, 50-40 Against The Spread. Not great so far.

Chicago at Cincinnati (1.5): The Bears are coming back down to earth after a quick start. The Bengals lost a head-scratcher last week. The Bengals haven't played well at home, the Bears haven't played well on the road. I am going to assume the Texans had one of their "on" games last week, and that the Bengals remain a better team than the Bears. But only just. Bengals, 22-20. Verdict (Bengals, 45-10): I don't know how many people would have seen this coming. The Bengals are good, but not this good. I think this says more about the Bears than it does about Cincy. The Bears may not be nearly as good as I thought they were.

Green Bay (7) at Cleveland: The Browns are awful. Just awful. And now a bunch of them have the flu and might be out for Sunday's game. I'll be in Cleveland to watch this one, and I had better get a win out of my Packers! Packers, 27-14. Verdict (Packers, 31-3): A solid effort from the Packers against a really, really weak team. Browns fans have come to terms with the fact that their team is simply awful. The stadium was half-empty at half-time.

San Francisco at Houston (3): A tough call for me. The Texans look like world-beaters one week, then like chumps the next. The Niners looked great for a while, then looked simply dreadful. I think Mike Singletary will have them up for this game, and I think the Texans will sag after yet another promising win. Niners, 23-18. Verdict (Texans, 24-21): This time, the Jeckyl-and-Hyde Texans showed up - in the same game. Houston jumped out to a big early lead, then let the Niners claw their way back into it, just barely managing to hold on. Perhaps that gets the weak effort out of their system, and next week they will be the Good Texans again.

San Diego (5) at Kansas City: I really thought the Chargers would be up for the Broncos, knowing they needed that win. But they weren't. And the Chiefs have looked better every single week. They are still nowhere in the league of San Diego, and I think they'll have a little letdown after their first victory of the season. But it won't be a big one. Chargers, 27-21. Verdict (Chargers, 37-7): Is this the Great Chargers Team that was supposed to show up early in the season? It's tough to tell against KC, but the Chiefs have indeed been coming on and playing better and San Diego humiliated them. Maybe the Chargers have finally snapped out of it. Maybe.

Minnesota (4) at Pittsburgh: I really hate to go against an undefeated team. But the Vikings are on the road, they have just managed to squeak out a couple of wins, including their last one, and the Steelers have won three in a row. With Troy Polamalu healthy, that makes Favre a little less dangerous. Then again, the Vikings have that last-second magic and the Steelers have been awful in the fourth quarter. This one comes down to the wire. Steelers, 21-20. Verdict (Steelers, 27-17): Finally, the Steelers were able to put a team away in the 4th quarter. And finally, the Vikings looked human in the 4th. But a great effort from both teams and both still look terrific. Here come the Steelers!

Indianapolis (13.5) at St. Louis: The Rams have been playing teams tough of late, covering a lot of spreads and making things interesting. They are still awful though, and they have been playing mediocre teams at best. The Colts are no mediocre team. Colts, 33-17. Verdict (Colts, 42-6): There was never any doubt, was there? The Rams are better than Tampa, or the Browns. But they are simply no match for the elite teams, and right now the Colts are the best team in football.

New England (15) at Tampa Bay: This tends to be the part of the season where great teams become complacent and weird upsets start shocking them (witness the Raiders and Eagles last week). But the Patriots only recently became a great team again and they still have early-season focus. I think the 59-0 blowout is not something to get that excited about - it was in the snow, the Titans are awful, and they gave up pretty early on. But the Bucs are the worst team in football. Patriots, 27-6. Verdict (Patriots, 35-7): Lots of blowouts this week! I wonder if the fans in London were as bored with this foregone conclusion of a game as we were with our similar one in Cleveland!

Buffalo at Carolina (no line): Not exactly a gimme. The Panthers are not the team they were last year. And the Bills are coming off a very surprising, very big win. But I think that win said more about the Jets than it did about the Bills, and I can't imagine Carolina letting Buffalo punch them in the mouth at home. Panthers, 23-14. Verdict (Bills, 20-9): Carolina let Buffalo punch them in the mouth, at home. I now give up officially on the Panthers. Jake Delhomme is throwing a lot of interceptions against suspect secondaries. Then again, the Bills have picked off a lot of passes the past two games. Maybe they're coming on? I doubt it.

New York Jets (6.5) at Oakland: The Jets are falling, and fast. This will be one ugly game if Mark Sanchez can't turn things around, and we could see a competition between Sanchez and JaMarcus Russell for Worst Starting QB In the League honours. Well, when Derek Anderson isn't around. I think that last week the Jets showed that they were not an elite team. And the Raiders got lucky when the Eagles laid a huge egg. So I will take the Raiders to cover. But I can't quite see them winning outright. Jets, 14-12. Verdict (Jets, 38-0): I certainly didn't see the Jets defense coming back to pitch a shutout. In the end, I think all this game tells us is that the Bills are much better than the Raiders. But then, I knew that.

Atlanta at Dallas (3.5): I don't, for one second, believe Dallas is an elite team. But I am tempted to say the Falcons are one. Atlanta has looked very, very good in their last few games, while the Cowboys have fallen more in my estimation every week. Falcons, 33-23. Verdict (Cowboys, 37-21): Remember Tony Romo? That guy who plays quarterback? He showed up today. That guy is way, way better than the Tony Romo who throws interceptions. When he's around, the Cowboys can beat almost anyone. Even the Falcons.

New Orleans (7) at Miami: The Dolphins are better than their record would indicate. And that wildcat will confuse the Saints defense. But the Saints offense is, quite simply, unstoppable. They will not stop. And they will win big. Saints, 38-29. Verdict (Saints, 46-34): I watched most of this game at a bar in Cleveland. When I got to the bar, the Saints had fallen into a big, big hole thanks to the wildcat which did, indeed, confuse their defense. And I don't know if anyone watching this game remembers it as a double-digit blowout win for the Saints. Brees has to get the ball eventually, and then he will not be stopped. Saints are resilient, as well as powerful. That doesn't bode well for the rest of the NFC.

Arizona at New York Giants (7): The Cardinals are looking good again, and the Giants had a major setback last week. But I think that Saints loss will smart, a lot, and the Giants will come into this game looking to make a statement. New York, at home, I'm taking it. Giants, 28-17. Verdict (Cardinals, 24-17): I'm sure the Saints loss still smarts. But I'll bet this one feels worse. The Cardinals played a tough, hard-hitting game and looked like the better team. And the tougher team. And the more dangerous team. A very impressive effort.

Philadelphia (7) at Washington: Who should be more embarassed after last week? Well, the Eagles. They are a vastly superior team to the Redskins, and have much more to play for this season. They will rebound nicely, and batter the Skins the way they ought to. Eagles, 33-10. Verdict (Eagles, 27-17): The Eagles are still an elite team, despite their loss to the Raiders. But they ought to be able to put a team like the Redskins away once they go up by 17 points. Also, they need to figure out how to put together a solid four quarters of football. But they will. Oh - and figure out their wildcat, and how properly to use Michael Vick. That's about it.

I was 9-4 straight up this week, and 8-4-1 against the spread. Making me 69-34 overall, and 58-44-1 against the spread. Better this week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More details on Humane Society fundraiser

I wrote a blog post last week about the Humane Society fundraiser with Les Emerson and the Hitmen on October 31st. I will reprint the details at the end of this post so you don't have to go searching for it. When I first received all the information about the event, the only way to get tickets was to call Sharon at the number provided. I suggested to the organizers that maybe there should be another way of getting tickets as well. Like picking them up at a store, or at the Ukranian Hall, or something like that. So the organizers heeded my words, and came up with a second way to get tickets. You can now email the Hitmen at

When you email them, they will respond to you. With the telephone number. Then you can call and get tickets. Or, you can call Sharon (phone number provided later on in this post). And now, there is a second phone number you can call - Sylvia, at 613-680-4955.

Call them. Get tickets. This will be a great event. And the capacity is limited to 300 or 350, so they don't want to do tickets at the door in case thousands of people arrive and can't get in. So reserve your tickets in advance. Here are the details, again:

The Ottawa Humane Society's "Breaking Ground" campaign is holding a fundraiser at the Ukranian Hall (1000 Byron Avenue) in Westboro on Hallowe'en night, October 31st. I will be hosting the event, which stars Les Emerson and the Hitmen. Les, as you may well know, is the biggest name in music in Ottawa, having formed the Five Man Electrical Band in the 60s. That alone should sell you on this event. But if you need more incentive, here are more details...Cover charge is $25, proceeds going toward the Ottawa Humane Society.

There will be a myriad of door prizes, including a hot air balloon ride with champagne, tickets to Mamma Mia, a stay at the Wakefield Spa, a weekend cottage getaway including a day of fishing with a guide, and much more. Even prizes of dog food and cat food. There will be a 50/50 draw, which should entice Doc and his ilk to attend, and prizes for animal costumes and non-animal costumes as well (it IS on Hallowe'en).

The doors to the Ukranian Hall open at 7:30 that evening. For tickets, call Sharon at 613-792-3481. Come one come all, for a good time and a great cause! And of course, the best music you'll hear in the Ukranian Hall all year. I have also created a group on facebook...or an event...or something. Click here to find it.