THE NUTSHELL: Food Fighting, Rickrolling And Doppleganging

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


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?”


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:” 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. 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?



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.


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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THE NUTSHELL: The Riots, Canoe Dancing And The Selling Of Toronto

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


  • Well, I suppose it has to come under the banner of sports, but, the rioting in Vancouver only lands in this category because of its proximity to Game 7 of the Cup Final. Watching a group of a-holes jump up and down on a police car, I got to thinking that if there was any justice in the world at all, one (or preferably more) of them would bust an ankle, or an arm. If there was justice, it’d be one of these clowns that suffered a compression fracture of the vertebrae, or a concussion, not Mayson Raymond or Nathan Horton. To those of you rocket surgeons who posted your pictures and proud anarchy status updates on Facebook, I say “bravo.” You are just as smart as I figured you were. To the VAST majority of Vancouverites who would never partake in this garbage and are, in fact, embarrassed by this criminal nonsense, don’t be. There are morons everywhere. It would be nice to be inoculated against that kind of gene pool pollution, but no city is immune.
Mason Raymond. You know, if it were me, I’d wear that thing UNDER my shirt to make it look like I’ve got ripped abs.


  • Speaking of Mayson Raymond, did you see him at Game 7? For a moment, I wondered if he was actually one of the many entertainment celebs that had graced the Stanley Cup Final. Perhaps, one of the injured cast members of “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark.”
  • NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman really got an earful at the Cup presentation, didn’t he? That was some lusty booing. But, I wonder if he considers it a success considering he only had two shoes, an iPhone and one “Green Guy” thrown at him. Bettman could have avoided this, if he’d only taken one of my suggestions, and done the Cup presentation up right.
  • Steve Nash fired out this tweet, just before Game 7 started: Nerves. Excitement. Longing. Pride. It feels like the night I entered manhood….@vancanucksWonder if that night turned out the same for Steve as did Wednesday for Canuck fans. Incredible anticipation followed by an inglorious exit and, perhaps, some crying.
Make that outfit out of sequins and you’ve got an Olympic sport.


  • Watching the Colbert Report the other night, I saw a piece on something that I didn’t even know existed. Freestyle canoeing. But, I like to call it “canoe dancing.” Have a look, (the guy’s routine starts at about the 1:15 mark) then come back for  some smart ass comments. Okay. This has now taken over from “extreme ironing” as my favourite niche sport. I think it’s a sport. Could be an art. Or, an affliction. As great as this is, I think they could ramp up the attractiveness, just a bit, by adding a portage portion to the competition. Guy, on land, dances up to the shore, spinning the thing over his head like it’s Jamie Sale. Can’t wait for the “reality” show based on this, “Dancing with the Oars.” They could pair paddling celebrities with freestyle canoe pros. Silken Laumann, Marnie McBean, Adam Van Koeverden, all doing the watercraft equivalent of “Battle of the Blades.” Heck, let’s make it ex-NHLers and call it “Paddle of the Blades.”


  • Arby’s and Wendy’s will no longer be affliated. It’ll be a contentious divorce, with a pitched battle over who gets custody of the cholesterol.
  • The “Webby” awards were handed out this week. Acceptance speeches were restricted to 5 words. That keeps the show moving, and ensures Kanye West has very little chance of interrupting a winner’s speech. “I’ma let ya finish…but… ‘’ had one of the best proxy servers of ALL TIME!!”
  • The movie “Super 8” is tops at the box office. About time they did something to answer the competition. I mean, “Holiday Inn” came out, what, 70 years ago? Can’t wait for the blockbuster “Radisson.”


Doug Ford (L) and Mayor Rob Ford discuss how much they think they could get for selling ad space on Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong’s lapels.
  • Rob and Doug Ford floated an idea, down at City Hall. Raise some much needed cash by selling the naming rights to some city-owned properties, like subway stations. Some of them wouldn’t even have to change their name. Dupont, Yorkdale, Woodbine, Royal York. Others would need just a wee tweak: Mr. Christie (thanks for that one, Anne), St. Clairol, Victoria’s Secret Park, Humber College, Old Mill Street Brewery and Elmwood Spa-dina. My personal favourite comes from Global TV’s Jackson Proskow: Bed Bathurst and Beyond. (Note: After I published this blog, Jackson let me know that I should credit “The Torontoist” for the Bed, Bathurst and Beyond line. so, consider it done.) It’s a good idea. Let’s start by selling the naming rights to the mayor. And take Ford Motor Company out of the equation. Not nearly fun enough.
  • Anthony Weiner has resigned. Now that he’s got so much spare time on his hands… oh boy.
  • Yet ANOTHER woman has come forward to say that she got dirty messages from Weiner. Geezuz, this guy is the Tiger Woods of sex scandals. No, wait. Tiger Woods is the Tiger Woods of sex scandals. Right now, Tiger is the Anthony Weiner of golf.
  • Weiner’s media conference was kind of bizarre, in that, in the face of all that heckling, the man who posted crotch shots on the internet came across as, well, dignified. The conference reminded me of one of my all time favourite political hecklings. Poor Ben Konop, who ran for mayor of Toledo. While trying to address the media, some goofball who looked like one of the Klopek’s from the movie “the ‘Burbs” kept riding Ben from a chair on his porch. The video is here.


“Woofstock” was held in Toronto last weekend. Bunch of long-haired Shih Tzus and their rock and roll and their peace and free love crap. Get a haircut, you hippies!


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

7 Cool Ways The Commish Could Present The Cup

We get the same thing every year. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman walks out amidst a chorus of mostly boos, grabs the mic like he’s a principal about to admonish an unruly assembly crowd, and quickly and without much pomp or circumstance, hands over The Cup. Then gets the hell out.

We need something new. Fresh. Exciting. We need the attention-grabbing daring of Lady Gaga. The head turning style of Michael Buble. The “what the hell?” quality of a Kardashian YouTube video.

Here are a few suggestions. 7 cool ways the Commissioner could present the Stanley Cup:

“And now..ow…ow…ow…I’d like to sing…ing…ing…Kei$ha’s Tick Tock…ock…ock.”

1.  Lights dim. The strains of “Phantom Of The Opera” blare. A single spotlight hits an upper corner of the arena. Out of a massive cloud of dry ice, there, in a cape and a half Gerry Cheevers mask, The Commish emerges. With a bellowing, evil laugh (the kind usually reserved for a thwarting of Jim Balsillie), he tucks the Cup under an arm, grabs a rope with the other, and swoops down to centre ice.

2.  The players gather at the Zamboni entrance, lined up on either side of it. They drop their sticks, take off their gloves and start clapping in time with the music. That music? “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins. Out comes Mr. Bettman, in acid washed jeans, white shirt and skinny tie, perfectly mimicking Kevin Bacon’s incredible mid-eighties dance moves. All the way to centre ice. Not necessary, but pretty great, would be to get John Lithgow to stand at the end of the line in minister’s garb, arms folded, shaking his head in disgust.

3.  Bettman doesn’t present the Cup at all. Instead, Charlie Sheen, drives a Zamboni out, complete with gaggle of his “goddesses” as passengers. After a short, meandering tour of the ice, the Zamboni slams into the boards, knocking everyone off. They scramble to their feet, and start to stagger toward centre ice, sliding the cup along the ice. Sheen throws up in the Cup, points to the victorious captain and says “winning.”

4.  In a nod to the top-of-mind status of Anthony Weiner, the Commish strides to centre wearing flip-flops and a towel. The Cup is there waiting for him. He smiles, devilishly, then sticks it between his legs, takes a picture  with his iPhone and immediately posts the shot to Twitter. Then announces: “We have a wiener!” Congratulations Vancouver/Boston!”

5.  Dressed like Moses, the Commish slowly, stoically, makes his way toward the players gathered at centre ice. He’s carrying two stone tablets. As the camera zooms in, we see that the tablets have the NHL’s constantly changing headshot rules carved into them. He puts them down, picks up a composite hockey stick from the pile nearby. He waves it slowly, and the players part, the Stanley Cup appearing in the middle of them. Of course, the stick breaks as he does this.

6.   Royal Wedding theme. The Cup, in a bridal veil and mini-dress with a long train. The Commish in a Prince William uniform knock-off. Or the other way around, if you prefer. A carriage ride to centre ice. Carrie Underwood as Pippa, following dutifully behind the Cup, carrying the tail end of it’s train. Prince Harry, played by…well..who else but Sean Avery? Peter Mansbridge narrates.

7.  Salute to Seal Team 6. The Commish, in full commando gear, is juggled and nose-bounced by a line of 6 actual seals towards a mini compound-like structure at centre ice. Gary kicks in the door, the walls fall down and we see an Osama look-a-like sitting on the floor with the Stanley Cup in his grasp. The Commissioner fires a few paintball rounds into him and secures the Cup, as well as “Osama’s” DVD collection. He announces that the discs are “NHL 2010-2011 highlight DVD’s, now available at!”

Honourable mentions as themes: Jersey Shore. Bettman in drag as Snooki, guzzling a margarita from the Cup. Star Wars. Take the base off the Cup, and the Commissioner can wear it, like he’s R2-D2. And “Enchantment Under The Sea.” Of course.

[box border=”full”]To see Gary Bettman’s Winnipeg quotes translated, click here.[/box]

Gary Bettman’s Winnipeg Quotes Translated

Not that I’d ever accuse the Commissioner of the National Hockey League of doublespeak. However, I do believe his keynote address at the media conference announcing the NHL’s return to Winnipeg may have been filled with statements that could use some clarification. What follows, are his direct quotes, followed by my interpretations:

“It is clear that times have changed for Winnipeg as an NHL market and this is a wonderful time to add a club to Canada.” – If the Thrashers deal didn’t get done, there are four or five others we could have dropped in here.

“The NHL has a different economic system that allows the so-called ‘smaller markets’ to compete.” – Due to the free fall of the American dollar because of the incredible mismanagement of the U.S. banking system, we no longer refer to the Canadian dollar as a “Mexican subway token.”

Gary Bettman: “Umm, global warming has made Winnipeg just like Vancouver, right?”

“The NHL is coming off another season of record revenues in both Canada and the United States, and our prospects remain extraordinarily bright.” –  With the Canadian dollar flying high, we could move a team to Moose Jaw and make money, if we needed to.

“This venue, the MTS Centre, will be a fine, fine home for an NHL club.” – Did you know there’s a Boston Pizza right in the place?! There’s a Boston Pizza right in the place!!

“And there is the strength of the prospective ownership group.” – I’m hoping to convince David Thomson to buy a few more franchises. Like an art collection.

“…to be candid, this isn’t going to work very well unless this building is sold out every night.” – I know this because I have extensive experience with empty seats. We once…umm..twice..had teams in Atlanta.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises. ” – At least, not out of Phoenix.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises.” – I don’t own retirement property in Atlanta.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises.” – Not my fault. Sometimes franchises let themselves go, stop going to the gym, stop dressing nice for me after a I get home from a hard day of commissioning. Tough love. You’ll thank me later.

“The fans in both cities have been through a lot in the past several weeks and hopefully everyone is now in a position to move forward.” – This doesn’t have to be all weird, right? Let’s be friends, Atlanta.

“We get to be back in a place we wish we hadn’t left in 1996.” – Ya gotta believe me, baby, I’m not the same man! Sure, I left you when you were down on your luck and broke. And, sure, I took the car and all your cd’s…but…but…baby…I’ll never do it again! I’ve chaaaaanged! Come on, now, sugar…I brought you a present….

 [box border=”full”]To read MR. BETTMAN, TEAR DOWN THIS LINE, click here. [/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Bush, Bettman, Flutie, and Popsicle Sticks

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


  • If this Winnipeg deal ever gets done, I’ve some ideas as to how Gary Bettman should make his grand re-entrance to Winnipeg. If he wants to keep it simple, may I suggest he just step onto the escalator at the airport and, as he descends, spread his arms wide and bellow “I’m back, baby! Miss me?” Parachuting in to Portage and Main would be way cool, but would come with the possible hazard of the good folk of Winnipeg converging and beating the living hell out of him for taking their team away in the first place. Best to keep one’s distance. So, being carried to the dais at the media conference, in a giant egg, and bursting forth in latex would seem to be the ticket. It would prove he’s hip with the pop culture of the day, and also keep him protected from the masses for as long as possible.

  • While watching Hockey Night in Canada, I heard the comment that Wayne Gretzky was one of the best ever at dumping the puck in. High praise, indeed. Got me to thinking: What other superstars were really good at mundane sports chores? For my money, nobody in the history of baseball issued an intentional walk better than Nolan Ryan. I’ve never seen a quarterback take a knee like Doug Flutie. I know, I know, Joe Montana was really good at it, too. I just think Flutie was a little better. No argument about this one: No racer ever followed a pace car like Mario Andretti.


  • Just another reason to bemoan the passing of Donald Trump’s presidential ambition: Trump/Busey would have been one hell of a ticket. Had they actually won, Gary Busey would have become probably the 2nd craziest Vice President in U.S. history, right behind Dick Cheney.
  • The NDP trotted out its “shadow cabinet” this week. Or, as the Tories call it, “cute.” Leader Jack Layton has vowed that his team will not heckle government speakers. But, I didn’t hear him rule out dressing in orange spandex bodysuits and dancing up on them.

  • Bob Rae accepted the job of Interim Liberal Leader. He was, at a caucus meeting, asked  if he had any skeletons in his closet. He joked: “I said I don’t have any skeletons in my cupboard; they’re in my living room.” Actually, there are skeletons littering most ridings across Canada, all wearing “Ignatieff 2011” buttons.


  • So long, Oprah. Your extended goodbye was so long. So… so… long.
  • There’s the growing notion that China’s factories are feeling the energy squeeze and that some of them are becoming too expensive to run. Global Sticks, manufacturer of wooden popsicle sticks, is relocating from China, to Thunder Bay.I just hope they’re not ever bought out by one of those fancy-dan composite popsicle stick manufacturers. Call me old school, but I like my popsicles on good ol’ sticks of wood, not those crappy, new-fangled carbon fibre deals. Sure, they’re lighter and make it easier to lift a popsicle to your mouth, but they shatter too easily when you try to bust your popsicle in half on the counter. Not to mention that $49.95 seems a little steep for a popsicle.

    A worker at Harpo Productions cat naps on some of the materials used to build Oprah’s self-indulgence.
  • Porter Airlines can dress up their little raccoon mascot all they want. It’s just like a defence attorney getting his client a haircut and new suit before trial. Because, no matter how often I see their commercial with that respectable, well-behaved raccoon walking through the terminal in a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, I know – I KNOW- that little felon dumped my green bin all over my front yard before the airport limo came by to pick him up.
  • Bob Dylan turned 70 this week. Apparently, friends took him to Dairy Queen to celebrate with an ice cream cake. It was there that Dylan told the young woman behind the counter: “Ya gotta soft-serve somebody.”



People in Toronto won’t cheer for the Vancouver Canucks because the west dumps on Toronto all the time. Because of this, people in Vancouver will dump on Toronto. Because of that, people in Toronto won’t root for the Canucks. Because of that… (cue Elton john singing “Circle of Life.”)


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THE NUTSHELL: Gaga, Arnold, Bettman and the Gremlin.

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things. This is the first edition.


Lady Gaga: If she’s so powerful, how come not everyone goes to work in a giant egg?
  • Lady Gaga (I prefer to pronounce it with the emphasis on the last syllable, by the way. Try it, it’s fun!) has just been named, by Forbes Magazine, the world’s most powerful celebrity, bumping Oprah Winfrey to number two. If that gets you a little down. Ms. Winfrey, just do what I do and try to buy your way out of that depression. For me, it might mean new shoes, or tickets to a game. With your spending power, it might mean, oh, I don’t know, a state, say. “Oprahoma” has a nice ring to it.
  • Someone needed to tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that non-natives can’t be President of the United States. Then he wouldn’t have tried so hard to be like Thomas Jefferson.
  • Downside: An 89 year old pastor in the U.S. predicts the end of the world this weekend. Upside: The “Glee” 3D movie will never see the light of day.



  • The NHL was given the League OF The Year Award, Wednesday, by Sports Business Journal. Nice get. I can see how they’d beat the NFL, NBA, CFL and MLB. But beating The Justice League of America, well, that’s very impressive. Commissioner Gordon? He couldn’t carry Gary Bettman’s codpiece.
  • The State of Ohio has passed legislation making it a-okay to carry concealed weapons in places such as bars and open-air sports stadiums. David Letterman used to make a joke about “Hard Liquor and Handgun Night” at Yankees’ games. Nice to know that some of those level-headed, mask-wearing drunks in the Dog Pound at Browns’ games might now be packing.
    “Why can’t I get Ben Eager’s deal?”
  • That now-infamous moment in Game Two of the Canucks – Sharks series where a young woman flashed ’em at the penalty box? Wasn’t she showing she was, in fact, more eager, than Ben? And about as smart?
  • My Argos season tickets arrived today. If you’re a season ticket holder of any team, in any league, you know the unbridled joy and pure, pure giddiness this inspires. Honestly. What is it about the arrival of my season tickets that makes me feel like I’m 10 years old, it’s Christmas, and I just this moment opened a package with my brand new “Super-Slider Sno-Skates” in it?
  • Those Honda Civic ads I see over and over and over AND OVER on Hockey Night In Canada make me pine for the days when I saw those “Roll Up The Rim” ads over and over and over AND OVER again, during The Brier. Not sure who I’m supposed to be most like. The zombie? The masked avenger? (The Avenger, now there was a good car) The troll putting on make-up? The cartoon samurai girl come to life? The trans-gendered lumberjack? Well, at least the accompanying tune is cool. But I need some sort of gimmick before I get a Civic.



  • Here’s a little nugget from Jane Taber’s Ottawa Notebook in the Globe and Mail, re: Stephen Harper’s ridiculous Senate appointments: “One of Mr. Harper’s MPs suggested that the Prime Minister is no longer trying to kill the Liberal Party but has instead decided to become the Liberal Party.” Ouch. Wonder who that was. Doubt it was Peter Kent, who doubled back on criticism of The Party during the campaign after waking, one morning, with a horse’s head in his bed. Well, whoever you are, GREAT line. The hell of it is, you’ll never get credit for it, if you know what’s good for you.
    Stornoway: Check for bed bugs. And any ex-Liberal MPs who may be squatting.
  • Michael Ignatieff has moved out of Stornoway. Now, I’m not saying Jack Layton and Olivia Chow face a huge mess when they first open the front door. But I do know that if the place is in half as bad a shape as the Liberal Party he left behind, Iggy ain’t getting his security deposit back.
  • Donald Trump has decided NOT to run for President. Too bad. Pretty sure he would have tried to take a chunk out of the national debt by building a lavish casino in the West Wing. Then, inviting Chinese President Ma Ying-jeour to the place and comp’ing him the Lincoln Bedroom, all the while ensuring he takes a bath at the tables.


They’ve brought back the Volkswagen Beetle. They’ve brought back the Mini-Cooper. Now, dammit, it’s time. bring back the AMC Gremlin. Stylish, affordable and way cool. Tell me it isn’t prettier than the Nissan Cube.