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]

Rookie MP Guidebook Part 2: Handling The Media

Today, a further look at the top-secret guidebook given to each and every one of Parliament Hill’s 105 rookie MPs.

In this installment, excerpts from the guidebook’s tips on handling the media.

Media scrums can be intimidating for a new MP.

As you make your way through the wonder of your first federal political term, you will find there are times when you are inevitably faced with the scrutiny of our friends in the media. These tips will help you survive these encounters, perhaps even find them enjoyable.

Be cordial. Smile. Offer them a mini-Toblerone from your jacket pocket. DO NOT offer them a mini-Toblerone from your PANTS pocket.

Compliment a reporter on past work. “I really enjoyed your piece on the budgetary fallout from the (insert applicable subject matter here).  It read just like a chapter from All The President’s Men!, can go a long way toward blinding a journalist to your simmering disdain for them and their entire lot.

Dangle the possibility of a patronage appointment. Say something like: “Damn if you don’t remind me of a young Pamela Wallin. If you wore more leopard prints, I’d swear you were already a senator!”

When faced with a situation in which you do not under any circumstances wish to comment, DO NOT say “no comment.” “No comment” now actually means “you got me,” or, “you know more than I do at this point,” or, “I didn’t know I couldn’t use government stationary to prank my university buddy into thinking he was being audited over his distribution of campus weed.”

Instead, offer up one of these newly-minted phrases designed to avoid a straight answer:

Rex Murphy. I believe this is a headshot from the time he starred on the TV series “Room 222.”

1.  “Good question. It’s one I’d certainly like to hear answered by the Honourable Member from South Simcoe-Dunder-Mifflin-Galt. They certainly have some explaining to do.” Then duck out the nearest door while the reporter pulls out their blackberry to find out who that is.

2. “Answer a question? Here? Now? What are you, from the Stone Age? Check my Twitter feed.”

3. “Look! Rick Mercer and a camera crew just followed Rona Ambrose into the ladies’ room!”

If being interviewed by Rex Murphy, do not look directly at him. He WILL hypnotize you. Usually, it’s just to get a straight answer. But he has been known to make the occasional rookie MP behave like they are the Minister of Silly Walks for an entire day, just for his own enjoyment.

An appearance on “Power & Politics” may be in the offing, at some point. If so, be sure not to tell CBC’s Evan Solomon that he’s “kinda like the journalism version of Doogie Howser.” He’s actually much older than he looks.

Conservative rookies are reminded NOT to greet members of SunMedia with the secret handshake, in public. A healthy slap on the back and a rousing “dude” will suffice.

NDP rookies are reminded NOT to greet members of the Toronto Star with the secret handshake, in public. A nurturing hug and a whispered “friend” will suffice.

Liberal and Bloc rookies: You are instructed NOT to greet ANYONE with any handshake of any kind, as you may still be contagious.

Green party rookies are rookie is reminded not to greet members of High Times with the secret handshake, in public. They won’t remember it, anyway.

Although it may be difficult not to, please remember that napping during an appearance on CTV’s “Question Period” is not actually acceptable for anyone other than Craig Oliver.

Avoid scrums, if possible, at all times. A group of Parliament Hill reporters will often take on the dynamic of the diseased victims in the “Resident Evil” film franchise. Although they will not eat the flesh of veteran politicians, you, as a rookie are susceptible, as your skin has not yet built up protective layers of cynicism and bitterness. Seriously, you’ll be like veal to these people.

Enjoy your relationship with Parliament Hill media! However, do everything humanly possible to sidestep an encounter with Chantal Hebert. She’s smarter than you. She’s smarter than all of us. Beware.

[box]Previously: Rookie Mp Guidebook Part 1[/box]

[box border=”full”]Next: Rookie MP Guidebook Part 3[/box]