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.


  • 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?




  • 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.


  • 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.


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

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


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




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

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


  • 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.


"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.


  • 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.


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]

[box border=”full”]To hear this week’s podcast, click here. [/box]