THE NUTSHELL: Food Fighting, Rickrolling And Doppleganging

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.

POP CULTURE

Saw a billboard, the other day, advertising cottage cheese. The slogan: “Anything Goes.” Well, that’s certainly a bold statement. There’s a picture of a burger, slathered with cottage cheese. I can’t help but think Nordica cottage cheese’s new-found cockiness might run them afoul of Miracle Whip’s “we rough up burgers” and “we will not tone it down” mentality.

Condiment warfare: Are these guys "Cheesies" or "Whippies?"

Could this lead to a street fight, a la West Side Story? Should we fear a coming crossfire of cottage cheese and mayonaise-like substance on our streets anytime soon? Will rival factions turn our city into a giant food fight? Will our streets run white with the ooze of alternative burger toppings? Or worse? Is it possible that Nordica cottage cheese and Miracle Whip will fall in love with each other’s outlaw style and go on a Bonnie and Clyde crime spree? Is Nordica Woody Harrelson to Miracle Whip’s Juliette Lewis? Are they “Natural Born Fillers?” Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Start crafting your buzzwords for the looming crisis. Burg-ocalypse. Burger-geddon.

So, Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek foiled a burglary, did he? A woman snuck into his hotel room and tried to make off with cash and a few other items. Trebek awoke, and gave chase, but not before ensuring his, uh, microphone was not swinging in the breeze. “I realized immediately someone had been in the room. I put on my underwear and ran down the hall to see if I could find her.” Correct. Alex Trebek sleeps in the nude. Wonder if his wife makes it a true daily double. I also wonder if  Trebek interrupted when police starting reading the suspect her rights and asked “What is Miranda?”

POLITICS

The U.S. debt ceiling crisis may have some people nervous, others, poised. Apparently, 33 Mexican soldiers being carried in 4 Humvees were spotted on the American side of the border, in Texas. Might I suggest waiting for the U.S. to default before invading, guys?

Nycole Turmel? Or "Peter Pan"?

The White House has been accused of “Rickrolling” a concerned citizen. When a Twitterer messaged them to say the deficit ceiling news had become boring, the White House tweeted back:  “Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun: tinyurl.com/y8ufsnp.” That link led the Twitterer to THIS. Unleashing that on an unsuspecting victim with a link is called “Rickrolling.” Have fun. Better than planking.

Toronto Councillor Doug Ford claimed he wouldn’t know Margaret Atwood if she walked by him on the street. That led Newstalk 1010 Host Jim Richards to invite listeners come up with titles likely to be found in a Doug Ford book club. Great premise, but, I take it more literally. If Doug had a book club, I do believe it would be a club with just one book. Of the comic variety. Or, an actual club that he’d use to beat up on books.

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Or...is it?

Sure, it may just be me. But, does anyone else think the NDP’s Interim Leader, Nycole Turmel, is a doppelgänger for Sandy Duncan? I think she’ll do a fine job, but, know who’d be a really great interim NDP Leader? Bob Rae. What’s he doing these days? While on the subject of look-a-likes, the “1 year to  the London Olympics” celebration seemed to be hosted by Gary Busey. What were Londoners thinking when they voted Mr. Joshua in as mayor?

 

SPORTS

Generally speaking, I abhor excessive and silly celebrations after goals or touchdowns. Because a goal or touchdown is a fairly usual thing in any game. Over-the-top celebrations of such events feel goofy. Imagine if we all went around doing that. Score a good parking space, right in front of the mall, get out and do a choreographed dance number. Barbecue a perfect steak, pull out a sharpie and sign a guest’s forehead. However, having said that, click here, for an exception, in my mind. An Icelandic soccer team with some creativity. The guy playing the flopping fish is particularly good.

The St John’s AHL team has a name. Former Newfoundland And Labrador Premier (and Club President) Danny Williams made the announcement, today. They’ll be called the St. John’s Ice Caps. I’m sure Tim Hortons is pleased.

Found out this week that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary is $7.5 million. Actually, that only makes him slightly overpaid. After all, he played the same number of NHL games as Wade Redden last season.

FINAL THOUGHT

A company selling reproductions of Kate Middleton’s ring says each comes with a certificate of authenticity. They’re knock-offs. Shouldn’t that be a certificate of “not-thenticity”?

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BLOGGERNAUT: Stubler’s Defence Looks Familiar To The Argos

NOTE: TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COLUMN ON THE ARGO WEBSITE, CLICK ON THE PHOTO BELOW.

Friday night, at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the Toronto Argonauts will stare into the teeth of what seems a familiar monster.

A Rich Stubler defence.

The Eskimos are riding the crest of a 4 and oh start and, while that streak has been crafted in large part by a fairly potent offence, it’s Stubler’s trademark bend but don’t break (actually, it could be referred to as a bend, then bend again, then bend a bit more but don’t break) defence that has really turned heads. In four wins, the Eskimos have given up nearly 1500 yards of offence, yet merely 74 points. It’s a story Toronto football fans have seen before.

Stubler worked minor miracles while employed as the Argos’ Defensive Coordinator from 2003 to 2007, and earned a reputation as a bit of an evil genius (well, evil to opposing offences) with his penchant for befuddling quarterbacks and offensive coordinators around the league.

His defences are like cotton candy for opponents. Yes, they gobble up plenty of yards and it sure tastes sweet, but in the end, it’s just empty calories.

How then, to decipher the code of the evil defensive genius’ brain?

I know. With the burgeoning evil genius brain of another who was trained by Stubler, that’s how. Argo Special Teams Coach Mike O’Shea. O’Shea certainly qualifies as a mad football scientist, already having a fake conceded safety and a myriad of other fake punt schemes on his resume. And he was at the centre of Stubler’s perplexing Argo defences, too. So, he’d be good to size up what the Eskimos have done over the first four weeks.

“I haven’t watched their defence. Not a lick,” said O’Shea, with a little grin. “I don’t have time. I’ve got my own (bleep) to worry about.”

Then let’s talk about how it was when you played for him, Mike. People talked about you being the on-field brains of the operation, right?

“No. It was Orlondo (Argos Defensive Backs Coach Orlondo Steinauer, who was their Free Safety at the time).

Okay, let me try a different approach, Mike. It seemed that after a team was allowed to march for big yards in the middle of the field, the defence would change schemes as it got backed up. Is that true?

“I don’t know.”

Oh, come on. What is this? Is there some kind of code, like the one magicians have? Where you don’t explain how the trick is done? Or is O’Shea just so canny that he doesn’t want the Eskimos to think he can help dismantle their type of defence, one he played so well?

“No, I don’t think they care about what I know,” he laughed. “I think that they know that I barely know the kicking game.”

I figured I could loosen the lid on the jar of O’Shea’s vast storage of Stubler knowledge, just a bit, though. Enough to glean a few nuggets of inside information. So I persevered. Just what was it that made Stubler’s Argo defences so successful? So popular with the players?

“Wherein lies his genius? Part of it was allowing players to make decisions. The other thing that was interesting was meeting as a group.” (As opposed to splitting off into different sub-groups; linemen, linebackers, defensive backs.) Having that much time as a group led to a greater understanding of what everyone else was doing around them and how our (individual) play affected everybody else’s. Part of the deal that made him good with us, was he gave us ownership. He gave us direction but, as we progressed he gave us the freedom to do a lot of things.

But that still doesn’t give us any pointed details on just what makes Stubler’s defences tick. I’d always heard it was an exceptionally difficult concept to master. Difficult to execute. Why?

“He kept football simple.”

Come again? You’re shattering a myth, Mike. (or as I like to call him, “Coash.” It’s a hybrid of the word coach and his nickname, “Osh.” Feel free to use it.

“The defence we played could be as intricate as we wanted to make it. But the basic principles, the basic idea of it… sure it’s tough to learn for a newcomer, I think… but once we got a handle on it, as a veteran group, we could just keep on expanding it as far and as fast as we could take it. For a coach to let us do that, facilitate that… I think therein lies what made him different.”

O’Shea was able to sum up the apparent paradox of Stubler’s simple/complicated scheming, by using a vivid memory he has of a particular game.

“I just remember there was one game where we were in the same defence like forty plays in a row. But it looked different every time. It can be different every time. The defence allowed you to go in so many different directions (as far as sets go) so it looks like different defences all the time.”

I’m getting this. Sort of. Simple, but elaborate. Like a Jackson Pollock painting. Maybe that’s what it is.  Rich Stubler is not a defensive coordinator, he’s an artistic director.

“Is it art? Well, I would suggest with the DB’s we had, if I could’ve just turned around and watched them, it would have been like watching art in the making. When you’ve got a free safety like Steiny who can run it back there and make sure guys are in the right spot and he knows exactly what offences are doing… he can think the way the offences are thinking… I mean, he ran it.”

And with that, I’d been schooled in the, uh,  intricate generalities, I guess, of Rich Stubler’s confounding concoction. I must have had a somewhat flummoxed tone in my voice because O’Shea then said:

“I’m available for more, but, you sound like you’re at the end of your rope.”

Not at all, Mike. Just staring at that Pollock painting and trying to connect the dots.

 

THE EXTRA POINT

When he arrived as an Argo rookie in 2007, running back Andre Durie was part of the scout teams that mimicked opponents’ offensive tendencies during practices. So, he faced Stubler’s defence there. Will that kind of experience help him when the Argos play the Eskimos Friday night?

“Yeah, I think so. I worked with coach Stubler a lot, to see different things in my game, to be effective against defences. I got a chance to see that defence and see what kind of stuff I could do to exploit it. So, I think it’s gonna work really well in Edmonton.”

 

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The Gist Of It – July 27, 2011

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Don wonders how it is that Bill isn’t excited about the new movie “Cowboys and Aliens.” As well, the boys talk over the NFL’s new deal, the passing of Amy Winehouse, Canada’s tarnished image as a peacekeeper, the Winnipeg Jets’ new logo and the debt ceiling fiasco in the United States.

THE NUTSHELL: Too Hot To Bother

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.

THE HEAT

The Don Valley Parkway, Toronto, Ont. July 21, 2011. 4:48 pm.

My apologies if this version of “The Nutshell” is a little shorter. It’s just too hot to type. Maybe if I moved my computer inside from the top of my barbecue. It’s just that, no one on tv told me I shouldn’t word process in this heat, so I guess it’s okay. I mean, they CONSTANTLY remind you to put on sunscreen, stay hydrated and look for a place where you can cool off, but no mention of not blogging on the top of your barbecue. So, I’ll keep going. Seriously. Could everyone on TV, in radio and in print STOP telling us we need to wear sunscreen, drink water, find shade and “not overdo it”? Or, are there really people out there who would forget to drink something if they feel thirsty?

A guy on tv said we could go and cool off at “one of Toronto’s 3 world-class water parks.” I didn’t even know there were different classes of water parks. And we’ve got three WORLD-CLASS ones? Suck on that, Paris. Eat it, New York City. Hey, London, how many world-class water parks are you rockin’? Thought so. Go cool off in “the tube,” or something.

Weather guy put a block of ice on the station parking lot last night, as an experiment. He did some weather, then the camera came back to that block of ice a wee bit later. There was a slightly smaller block of ice there, with a small puddle of water underneath it. It was melting. Oh, my, look what the heat can do. Important to remember, folks. If you’re taking your pet block of ice for a walk in this weather, first slather it with some sunscreen. And keep it hydrated. Oh, and for God’s sake, don’t let that block of ice overdo it.

 SPORTS

Tiger and Steve. "Misty, water-hazard memories..."

Tiger Woods dumped his long-time caddie, Steve Williams. Big mistake, Eldrick. What if Steve decides to write a tell-all book and you come out looking…  never mind.

 

POP CULTURE

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Canadian super-brain, Marshall McLuhan. All he did was predict the internet 30 years before it happened. He also predicted that the continued advancements in communication would shrink the planet into a global village. He DID NOT predict that Twitter would unleash legions of “Global Village Idiots” on us. Well, maybe he did. Meantime, I chatted with McLuhan’s son, Michael, and tried to track down Marshall’s old couch, yesterday. You can read about it in my blog: “Where is Marshall McLuhan’s Couch?”

POLITICS

President Obama auctions off the state of Delaware at a debt-ceiling charity dinner.

With the temperatures soaring on Thursday, all trains in Toronto had to travel much more slowly, because the heat was so great, it actually expanded the rails. This meant that gravy deliveries to City Hall were delayed. Not to mention that the heat curdled the gravy.

U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech, today, on that country’s looming debt crisis. Said Obama, of the possibility of defaulting: “The United States doesn’t run out without paying the tab. We pay our bills.”  Let’s hope so. Because you know that if they get evicted from their country, they’re all gonna need a place to stay. And we’re the rich relatives right now.

Silvio Berlusconi was denied in his bid to have his sex trial moved from a Milan court. I wonder what strip club was he hoping to hold it in?

FINAL THOUGHT

Global warming? More like global scorching. Or scalding. Hell, I don’t know. That’s it! Global helling.

[box border=”full”]To read a previous THE NUTSHELL, click here.[/box]

 

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WHERE IS MARSHALL McLUHAN’S COUCH?

And As Importantly,  Am I Fit To Sit On It?

Funny how the dots sometimes get connected. I posted a tweet about Marshall McLuhan on this, the 100th anniversary of his birth. A friend of mine saw that tweet on Facebook. She sent me a message saying she knew McLuhan’s son, Michael, and that she’d once sat on McLuhan’s couch at a coffee shop, in Owen Sound. “Interesting,” I thought. “Wonder if that couch’s energy made anyone who sat on it instantly smarter. Or clairvoyant.”

Couple of clicks on the internet, a phone call from my cell (on which I pressed a little button and was able to record the conversation) and I had an interview with McLuhan’s son Michael.

Twitter. Facebook. Google. Cellphone. Internet blog. Voila. The mediums are the message. (The media are the messages would be grammatically correct, but not so clever, no?)

Marshall McLuhan. Bet he knew I'd write this blog.

Michael happened to be en route from the Owen Sound area, where he pursues his career as a photographer, to a Toronto event marking the anniversary of his famous father’s birth.

“Is it true,” I asked him, that one of your dad’s old couches made it’s way to a coffee shop in Owen Sound?”

“It was actually the couch out of the livingroom,” he replied, with a chuckle.

It was pretty old and beat up so I actually put it out on the curb for pick-up. I’d  thought of recovering it at one time, but it was quite costly. But, the landlord of the coffee shop came by and suggested he could find a really warm and loving home for it, so that’s where it went.

I paused. I felt excited. I actually felt like I wanted to go and sit on Marshall McLuhan’s old couch and, yes, would drive to Owen Sound to do it.

“Is it still there?”

“According to my wife, it’s not there any more.”

“Aw, that’s too bad,” I replied.

“No, it was pretty old and ratty, you know? It was 50 years old. I’d put it in the basement for the kids to romp on.”

Stymied. Can’t hope to receive any magical, prophetic insights from the cushions upon which the great thinker had once sat. Obviously, that couch was much more a symbol for me than it was for Michael. “It was just a couch, you know?”

Just a couch. And I suppose Marshall was “just a dad.”  More on that couch later. First, some of Michael’s insights into his father, merely one of the greatest thinkers in communications history.

McLuhan On McLuhan

Could Marshall McLuhan have envisioned Twitter?

“Absolutely. Twitter is a Marshall McLuhan phenomenon.”

Michael McLuhan: ""It was just a couch."

When we think of McLuhan, two phrases immediately come to mind: “Global village” and “medium is the message.” At one time, they were called, or characterized, as theories or possibilities. Or even bunk, as was certainly thought by more than a handful of McLuhan’s contemporaries. For Michael, his father’s assertions never were in question.

“I’ve always seen it as a statement of fact, and not a theory. He wasn’t a futurist, by any means. He said in order to perceive the future one only has to live in the present. Problem with most people is they live in the past.”

Michael McLuhan feels some frustration surrounding the mythology of his famous father.

“There are a few things that are different from the public persona. In terms of the last couple of biographies…they’re picturing him as a more eccentric, if not nuts sort of person. He was very sane. He was very kind, very loving and very generous. He was very loyal to his friends. I think it’s wise for the world at large to go with the scholarship that’s out there, in terms of his work,  and ignore a lot of the peripheral crap.”

Did the chattering naysayers bother his father?

“It was something that he was quite used to living with. Did it make him happy?  No. But if his work wasn’t infuriating people, then he wasn’t doing his job.”

The conversation wound back toward the object of my obsession, the old couch. Did McLuhan allow his family to, as many of us do, perch on the old chesterfield and watch some boob tube?

“Of course he did. We watched television as a family. We gathered around the tv almost every night when I was a kid.”

Hard-hitting news, documentaries and brain food of that ilk?

“Perry Mason, Have Gun Will Travel, Car 54 Where Are You?, The Ed Sullivan Show… I don’t think there were a lot of news and documentary shows on at that time…late 50’s, early 60’s.”

Marshall McLuhan’s esteem for the visual medium (McLuhan would admonish me for that, he declared it a medium of audio and that the visual was less important) began to wane, says his son.

“By the late 60’s and early 70’s, he had a lower and lower opinion of television. He did move the TV into the basement. But all the kids had left home by then.”

Still, one can’t help but notice the possible symbolism of that move.

But wait…Back To That Couch

After my conversation with Michael, I’m not deterred. Maybe his wife is wrong. Maybe that couch is still there. So, I called The Bean Cellar, in Owen Sound, and spoke to the owner, Kay Robinson. Heartbreak. And hope.

“No, it’s not here, anymore. We had it for 3 or 4 years, but it’s gone.”

The Bean Cellar: Is it there?! Is it there?!

“It was a tacky, blue, floral patterned couch, in pretty rough condition. I’m sure it was wonderful in it’s day, but it was pretty worn out. “But I wanted it because of what it was, who it belonged to.”

Did she think the couch had any special karma?

“My then future daughter-in-law thought it was special. She was going to university at the time and did many assignments sitting on that couch because it made her feel inspired.”

Yes. The medium IS the message. In this case, the medium being a 50-something year old blue floral couch. Still out there. Still being honoured for what it is and for the man and family it once belonged to. Because Kay told me she didn’t trash that couch.

However, she can’t remember who got it. Just that it was someone who wanted it, like her, because of what it is and who it belonged to.

Somewhere in this great global village, Marshall McLuhan’s old family couch lives on. But where? Can the social media that he predicted, and exists today, help me find it? Tweet me. Facebook me. Email me. Get me on LinkedIn…. You know what?

We should dispense with all those “verbs.” Whenever we want someone to contact us, we should simply say “McLuhan me.”

Because the man knew the message.

 

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The Gist Of It – July 20, 2011

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This week, the boys try to beat the heat. Or, more precisely, complain about it. Don thinks there’s an opportunity for weather greatness, while Bill can’t see it. The Rupert Murdoch pie is a topic of discussion, as are Argo Quarterback Cleo Lemon, Jays’ great Robbie Alomar and aggressive drivers. As well, the attraction of Darren Clarke, the greatness of Marshall McLuhan and…can you beat “Echo Beach?”

THE NUTSHELL: Harper And Ford In A New Boy Band? Clinton Cashes, Indy Crashes And “Owling” Takes Over From “Planking”

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.

I rarely ride my bike. Should do it more often. So, this week, I pedaled it over to a friend’s place. In order to offset the possibly harmful effects of the exercise, on the way back, I pulled into KFC. Because I saw a sign for the “Double Down.” Bill Hayes and I had talked a wee bit about it on this week’s podcast (hear it here).  We also discussed the pulled pork parfait. Which is a real thing. And sounds like a good idea to me. The Double Down ought to be called the Double Back. Because it felt like my stomach was going to insist on a u-turn. I’m not saying there’s too much salt in that thing, but, if you tossed a Double Down into Lake Ontario, pretty sure you could then float on your back all the way to Rochester. Look. I like KFC. I’ve fond memories of being a kid and my parents ordering up the do it yourself buffet. Chicken, fries, gravy, macaroni salad and Grecian bread. Still have the old jingle rolling around in my noggin. But the Double Down (another name might be the “We Double Dare You To Try And Keep It Down”) is an experience I won’t have again. Put it this way: Woodstock was great and all, but you needed to stay away from the brown acid. Speaking of acid, I need to stop writing for a second so I can go pop another Zantac.

SPORTS

  • The Blue Jays traded Juan Rivera to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Uh, cash considerations? From the bankruptcy-protected Dodgers? I think it’ll unfold this way: The Dodgers will consider giving the Jays cash. Their lawyers will consider that hilarious and tell them they don’t have any.

    The player to be named later? Maybe he'd offer Bautista a little protection in the batting order.

  • Plaxico Burress is targeting the Jets,Texans and Eagles as teams he’d like to play with. Of course, with his aim, he could wind up anywhere, really.
  • The Honda Indy, run through the streets of Toronto last weekend, was filled with crash after crash after crash. Dan Aykroyd was the Grand Marshal, so I guess it’s only fitting that everybody drove like it was dark and they were wearing sunglasses.
  • Why do punters run around in the end zone when conceding a safety even when their team is BEHIND? Isn’t that like detouring into a construction zone when you’re already late picking up your kid at daycare?

 

POLITICS

 

  • While playing cowboy at the Calgary Stampede, Prime Minister Harper also found time to pal around with Hollywood’s traditional cowboy foe. While visiting the Blood Tribe Of Alberta (I’d originally thought this was a nickname for the Conservative Party) he was made an honourary chief. His name: “Chief Speaker.”  No politician should be named anything other than “Chief Talking Point.” I don’t know about you, but seeing the Prime Minister in a head dress and knowing full well his prodigious musical chops, I think he’d be an excellent member of a Canadian version of The Village People.

    "Am I delighted to be here? And how."

    Where Rob Ford might fit in, I haven’t quite figured out yet. Can he sing? We know he can dance. Proved it at the launch for the festival formerly known as Caribana. (Scroll down the page in that link a bit to see the video) The mayor danced with some fully costumed flamboyant revellers. Kinda like the Pride Parade. Bet he’s sorry he missed that now. At any rate, if he joins the Canadian version of Village People, we can rewrite the lyrics to their signature hit “YMCA” for him. “It’s fun to REE-move the Jaaaar-vis bike lanes, it’s fun to REE-move the – uh, Jaaarvis bike lay-anes….” I grant you, forming a letter “B” with your body wouldn’t be easy.

  • Apparently, Bill Clinton has made just under 76 million dollars, in speaking fees alone, since leaving the White House 10 years ago. Maybe he ought to be named Chief Speaker. Clinton charges an average of $181,000.00 per speech. More, I’m told, if you want him to do his dead-on impression of Hillary. The magic tricks he does for free because, you know, chicks dig it.

POP CULTURE

  • Tom Hanks met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge earlier this week. Hope that, when he shook his hand, Hanks bellowed: “WILLIAAAAAAAM!”
  • Conrad Black has been ordered back to prison by September 6th. Well, at least he’ll still be able to march in the Labour Day Parade.
  • They ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, again. Kids’ play. Because, in Denia, Spain, they have a little thing known as diving with the bulls. Yes. When you run with bulls, they can merely trample or gore you to death. Diving bulls can trample, gore OR drown you. That’s a man’s game.

    "Owling." Where's a rampaging bull when you really need one?

  • Apparently, “planking” is over. It’s so 2011. Or, so earlier 2011. It’s being replaced with – wait for it – “owling.” People crouch on things, or perch, like an owl. then snap a picture and send it to everybody and hilarity ensues. No thanks. No planking, no owling. I’ll wait for something really cool, like “raccooning,” where people take pictures of their buddies eating out of somebody’s green bin at 3 in the morning.
  • A guy tried to sue the CBC and Dragons’ Den because some of the Dragons were mean to him.  They didn’t like his idea and spurned him gruffly, with one of the Dragons, Jim Treliving (Boston Pizza) telling him he was “blowing air up a dead horse’s ass.” (Another possible photo alternative to planking) I love how, in the Globe and Mail story I’ve linked to, that line is followed by “He did not receive the investment he sought.” Right. Because Jim sells pizza. But if he ever does get into the business of blowing air up dead horses’ asses, I like the guy’s chances of a triumphant return to The Den.

FINAL THOUGHT

Headline: “Toronto Overtakes Vancouver As Canada’s Most Expensive City.” I think Vancouver was slowed by bridge traffic.

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[box border=”full”]To hear this week’s podcast, “THE GIST OF IT,” click here. [/box]

 

 

 

The Gist Of It – July 13, 2011

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This time around, Bill and Don talk over what Major league baseball’s responsibilities are with regards to fan safety. As well, they wrap their brains around bike lanes, raccoons, Rupert Murdoch’s shame, Stephen Harper’s new name, and the importance of the Brady Bunch. Pulled pork parfaits, running with the bulls and trying NOT to get kicked off St. Andrews are also on the topics list this week.

THE NUTSHELL: Shakespeare A Pothead? Obama Tweets And Kate Gets Gripped

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.

POP CULTURE

  • An anthropologist from South Africa, by the name of Francis Thackeray, would like to know if William Shakespeare should actually have been named William Bakespeare. He has a theory that the bard partook in the smoking of the marijuana, and that an exhumation of Bill’s bones can definitively answer the question.

    Doobie, or not doobie?

    I, myself, am a little conflicted on the issue. It seems to me that if Shakespeare smoked pot, his most famous soliloquy would actually have read: “To be or not to be….ummm…what was the question?” However, let’s dig deeper and explore the possibilities. I can easily make the case that Shakespeare was often high, without having to disturb his 400 year slumber. A floating dagger, Faeries (I believe that is the correct Shakespearean spelling), a donkey-headed man…. Hello, yeah, had to be the dope. In Romeo and Juliet: “What light through yonder window breaks….” It WAS Juliet, but probably the glow off her spliff. King Lear wasn’t mad when he took a stroll in the storm, it was just a bad trip. When Lady Macbeth cried “out damned spot…” she probably had just dropped an ash on the bedspread. Don’t even get me started on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” That’s just one long, long, continuous bong hit. Maybe it’s just much ado about puffing. Mr. Thackeray, if you really want to investigate a dead writer’s drug habits, go with Dickens. Had a character named Marley in “A Christmas Carol.”

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (great little starting point – maybe one day they’ll be the Count and Countess of Kitchener) stopped off in the Territories during their Royal Tour. William took part in a ball hockey game and went oh for 3 on penalty shots. If these were the good old days, the goaltender would have immediately been escorted to the gallows. A breach of protocol occurred when Kate stood a little too close to the stick rack and was mistakenly grabbed by a young player and used to win a critical face-off.
  • Lady Gaga decided to sport some full underarm hair, dyed green. Nothing I haven’t seen at a Saskatchewan Roughriders game. Actually, wearing a hollowed out watermelon on her head would probably be a fairly blaise thing for her to do.

POLITICS

"What the hell? I thought we shut down Weiner's Congressional Twitter account."

  • Statistics Canada released a poll this week, with results based on reasons given by eligible voters as to why they didn’t exercise their right to political choice. Nearly 4% said they merely “forgot.” The Prime Minister immediately appointed them to The Senate. Over 50% just couldn’t really be bothered. Guess Rick Mercer could have done more. He could have physically taken people to the polls.
  • Barack Obama held a Twitter Town Hall this week. His first answer to a tweeted question was 2,300 characters long. That’s about 2,160 characters too many. Obama may be a good President, but, he’s no Richard Nixon when it comes to editing.

SPORTS

  • Ron Artest is seeking to legally change his name to Metta World Peace. I’d poke some fun at this, but it’s just nice to see a pro athlete making a court appearance that doesn’t involve a plea bargain.
  • Dillon is a fictional town. A good thing, too. Because if it were real, how could it ever overcome the incredible ongoing drama that was, Friday Night Lights. The critically acclaimed television show about the best little field house in Texas, airs its final episode tonight. next Friday. Political intrigue and backstabbing, a self-defense killing, racial disharmony, drug scandals, unwanted teen pregnancy, jail terms, affairs, fist fights…how in the hell did they ever find time for football?  So long, coach Taylor. Thanks for the hospitality, Tammy. I got used to reuniting with that big, beautiful, dysfunctional gridiron family every Spring. I’ll miss y’all. What I may miss most – that way cool opening theme song, by Snuffy Walden.

FINAL THOUGHT

I think William is taking this “Duke” thing to a John Wayne level. And, hey, isn’t that Debra Winger from “Urban Cowboy”?

 [box border=”full”]To see a previous “THE NUTSHELL,” click here.[/box]

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