Archive for December, 2012

The Toronto Star Offers No Comment on this News Story

December 27th, 2012
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Toronto mayor Rob Ford, the politician most hated by The Toronto Star, wins a victory in court against a plaintiff who won a sweet  deal from the previous council, and then sued Ford when he questioned the process. The Toronto Star, Toronto’s largest newspaper, has no comment:


screen shot at 9:41PM

At 9:41, the Star story on this said:

A judge has dismissed the suit brought against Mayor Rob Ford by businessman George Foulidis.

More to come

Note the comment time (bottom left) and the current time (top right)

Note the comment time (bottom left) and the current time (top right)

Note the first comment is at 5:19PM: more than 4 and-a-half hours after the decision, the paper that has opinions on Ford’s dinner choice will get back to you on that.

Media doesn't matter, Newspapers ,

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

December 25th, 2012
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by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

imgp5930I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth’, I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men’.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men’.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And a little music to go with the poemI Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Everyone

Christmas, Classical Guitar

In The Workhouse Christmas Day

December 24th, 2012
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In what’s becoming an annual tradition, I have posted this for many years now on Christmas Eve:

In The Workhouse Christmas Day, by George R. Sims

It is Christmas Day in the Workhouse,
And the cold bare walls are bright
With garlands of green and holly,
And the place is a pleasant sight:
For with clear-washed hands and faces
In a long and hungry line
The paupers sit at the tables,
For this is the hour they dine.

And the guardians and their ladies,
Although the wind is east,
Have come in their furs and wrappers,
To watch their charges feast:
To smile and be condescending,
Put puddings on pauper plates,
To be hosts at the workhouse banquet
They’ve paid for – with the rates.

Oh, the paupers are meek and lowly
With their ‘Thank’ee kindly, mum’s’;
So long as they fill their stomachs
What matters it whence it comes?
But one of the old men mutters,
And pushes his plate aside:
‘Great God!’ he cries; ‘but it chokes me!
For this is the day she died.’

The guardians gazed in horror
The master’s face went white;
‘Did a pauper refuse his pudding?’
‘Could their ears believe aright?’
Then the ladies clutched their husbands,
Thinking the man might die
Struck by a bolt, or something,
By the outraged One on high.

But the pauper sat for a moment,
Then rose ‘mid a silence grim,
For the others has ceased to chatter,
And trembled every limb.
He looked at the guardian’s ladies,
Then. eyeing their lords, he said,
‘I eat not the food of villains
Whose hands are foul and red:

‘Whose victims cry for vengeance
From their dank, unhallowed graves.’
‘He’s drunk!’ said the workhouse master.
‘Or else he’s mad, and raves.’
‘Not drunk or mad,’ cried the pauper,
‘But only a hunted beast,
Who, torn by the hounds and mangled,
Declines the vulture’s feast.

I care not a curse for the guardians,
And I won’t be dragged away.
Just let me have the fit out,
It’s only Christmas Day
That the black past comes to goad me,
And prey my burning brain;
I’ll tell you the rest in a whisper, –
I swear I won’t shout again.

‘Keep your hands off me, curse you!
Hear me right out to the end.
You come here to see how the paupers
The season of Christmas spend.
You come here to watch us feeding,
As they watch the captured beast.
Hear why a penniless pauper
Spits on your paltry feast.

‘Do you think I will take your bounty,
And let you smile and think
You’re doing a noble action
With the parish’s meat and drink?
Where is my wife, you traitors –
The poor old wife you slew?
Yes, by the God above us
My Nance was killed by you!

‘Last winter my wife lay dying,
Starved in a filthy den;
I had never been to the parish, –
I came to the parish then.
I swallowed my pride in coming,
For, ere the ruin came,
I held up my head as a trader,
And I bore a spotless name.

‘I came to the parish, craving
Bread for a starving wife,
Bread for a woman who’d loved me
Through fifty years of my life;
And what do you think they told me,
Mocking my awful grief?
That “the House” was open to us,
But they wouldn’t give “out relief”.

I slunk to the filthy alley –
‘Twas a cold, raw Christmas eve –
And the bakers’ shops were open
Tempting a man to thieve;
But I clenched my fists together
Holding my head awry,
So I came home empty-handed,
And mournfully told her why.

Then I told her “the House” was open;
She had heard of the ways of that,
For her bloodless cheeks went crimson,
And up in her rags she sat,
Crying, “Bide the Christmas here, John,
We’ve never had one apart;
I think I can bear the hunger, –
The other would break my heart.”

‘All through that ever I watched her,
Holding her hand in mine,
Praying the Lord, and weeping
Till my lips were salt as brine.
I asked her once if she hungered
And as she answered “No,”
The moon shone in at the wondow
Set in a wreath of snow

‘Then the room was bathed in glory,
And I saw in my darling’s eyes
The far-away look of wonder
That comes when the spirit flies;
And her lips were parched and parted,
And her reason came and went,
For she raved of her home in Devon,
Where her happiest days were spent.

‘And the accents, long forgotten,
Came back to the tongue once more,
For she talked like the country lassie
I woo’d by the Devon shore.
Then she rose to her feet and trembled,
And fell on the rags and moaned,
And, “Give me a crust – I’m famished –
For the love of God!” she groaned.

I rushed from the room like a madman,
And flew to the workhouse gate,
Crying “Food for a dying woman!”
And came the answer, “Too late.”
They drove me away with curses;
Then I fought with a dog in the street,
And tore from the mongrel’s clutches
A crust he was trying to eat.

‘Back, through the filthy by-lanes!
Back, through the trampled slush!
Up to the crazy garret,
Wrapped in an awful hush.
My heart sank down at the threshold,
And I paused with a sudden thrill,
For there in the silv’ry moonlight
My Nancy lay, cold and still.

‘Up to the blackened ceiling
The sunken eyes were cast –
I knew on those lips all bloodless
My name had been the last;
She’d called for her absent husband –
O God! had I but known! –
Had called in vain and in anguish
Had died in that den – alone.

‘Yes, there in a land of plenty
Lay a loving woman dead,
Cruelly starved and murdered
For a loaf of parish bread.
At yonder gate, last Christmas
I craved for a human life.
You, who would feast us paupers,
What of my murdered wife!

‘There, get ye gone to your dinners;
Don’t mind me in the least;
Think of your happy paupers
Eating your Christmas feast;
And when you recount their blessings
In your smug parochial way,
Say what you did for me, too,
Only last Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Everybody


A Cat’s Christmas

December 23rd, 2012
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In what’s becoming a tradition, I offer a story I wrote going back more than ten years now: A Cat’s Christmas:

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy

“Button! Get out of that tree!”

That’s twice. And he’s walking this way. Chris. He’s not even my person, he’s Janet’s person, and Janet is mine. None the less, Chris is walking this way and the second time was louder than the first so I have to respond; I look at him like he’s grown an extra eye in the middle of his forehead.


That’s three and he’s almost at the tree. I jump down and run to the other side of the room. Stop. Lick my paw, just to show I didn’t get down because of any old person told me too. I got down because I had some dirt on my paw that had to be dealt with right away.

“Janet! Your stupid cat has been playing with the presents!”

Now this is a bit tricky, he wasn’t supposed to notice that. What do they expect though? Has he ever stuck a piece of thread in front of me that I don’t play with? They know my weaknesses. So now he wraps up presents and puts shiny ribbon around it, and I’m supposed to know it’s not for me? It’s probably better if I just leave, but with dignity. No running away, walk slow, tail in the air to let them know I’m appalled by the accusations being made against me. Some things must be done right; just as a ballerina must point her toes when doing a pirouette, a Cat must raise her tail when leaving a room amid accusations and slanders.

I walk slowly out of the room, stopping at my food dish. Empty! Who do these people think I am Gandhi? Not in this life, although maybe in my last life I was Gandhi or Mother Theresa or Elvis. How else do you explain that I am a Cat in this life? I give off an indignant meow to protest the service at this establishment, but the staff here could care less.

Chris goes running past with the present I had been playing with ten minutes ago, wrapping paper, ribbon and bow torn to shreds in his arm. He must be planning on re-wrapping that one; this could be fun. He’s taking it downstairs so I follow behind, stealthily so he doesn’t see me. He sits at a table and pulls out wrapping paper, new ribbon and a new bow. I want the ribbon, but timing is everything when you’re a Cat. I settle about two feet behind him and start licking my paws; it is most important to be cleaning, in case he notices me here. My attitude must be as if I am saying ‘I always come here to clean, and what are you doing here?’ Of course, we both know what he’s doing here; he’s re-wrapping Janet’s present and he’s just putting the tape on. That means the ribbon is next, so I move directly under his chair. He wraps it around once, then crosses the ribbon and wraps the other direction. Just as he’s about to tie it, I pounce. He never saw me of course, until I was on the present and grabbing at the ribbon. Grabbing and chewing furiously I completely ruin another wrap job for him before running back up stairs. He throws the roll of ribbon at me and yells “Button! You stupid cat!” The ribbon misses, but it’s close enough that I pounce on the end and roll downstairs, all the while fighting off the offending ribbon. Once at the bottom of the stairs I jump back up on the stairs, being sure to go around the balustrade at the bottom. Success! I have completely un-wrapped the roll of ribbon and it winds up and down the stairs looking like the stairs had been decorated for Christmas by a dog.

Chris’s yelling brings Janet to see what is all the fuss about, and finds that the fuss is her Cat is being cute and her person is allergic to cute. At least that’s how I explained it, but these simpletons can’t, or won’t speak Cat, thus I come off sounding much worse than I was. She’s sympathetic to me anyway, and says, “She’s just playing Chris.” She’s technically right of course but she’s made a minor error of distinction: She thinks I was playing with the ribbon, but I was, of course, toying with her person. I don’t bother sticking around to correct her impression and I’m certainly not helping to clean up the mess I’ve created, so I walk upstairs and take a comfortable spot under the tree for a nap.

I love Christmas!
It’s Christmas Eve and the house is silent. What’s the poem say, “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? I can personally attest to the fact there are no mice in this house, stirring or otherwise. The people are upstairs sleeping, visions of sugarplums no doubt dancing in their heads; I never could figure out what a sugarplum is or why it would be dancing. No dancing down here though, everything is quiet. Unlike other nights, however, it won’t stay quiet for long.

I do a quick circle of the main floor to make sure everything is in order. The outdoor lights are on so that Santa can find the house and the Christmas tree is left lit so Santa can find it in the dark easy enough, good. The stockings are hung by the chimney; as usual, however, there are only two stockings. But what about that ball that fell off the tree. Better see if I can fix that. Unfortunately, every time I try and lift the ornament it rolls away from me. Soon I am chasing it around the living room, batting at it with my paws and pouncing on it, batting and pouncing.
I don’t hear him come in, the first I realize I’m not alone in the room is when I hear him Laugh. “Oh, ho ho ho. Button, you are such fun,” says Santa. “I am glad to see you again.” By way of greeting I rub my head against his big black boot, and he reaches down and strokes me behind the ear. He immediately sets to his work, and before you know it Chris and Janet’s stockings are stuffed full. Silent as a cat, Santa walks to the tree and starts piling presents under it. On his way back to the chimney, he notices the milk, cookies and carrots that Janet left out.

“What’s this then?” he says, as he lifts a cookie to eat. A minute later the cookies are eaten and the glass of milk is half-empty. “I bet you wouldn’t mind a bit of this Button.” He pulls over the plate that only a minute before had held three big cookies and pours a bit of milk on to it. I quickly run to the plate and lap up the milk as fast as I can, purring my pleasure at developments. Santa laughs and re-fills the plate before leaving. “And don’t you worry Button, I didn’t forget you live here.”

I look up from my milk wondering what that means, but he is gone. I can hear him on the roof feeding the reindeer Janet’s carrots, and then he is off. The excitement is over and I go upstairs and make myself comfortable at the foot of the bed. Sleep, however, comes difficult as Santa’s parting words to me run through my head and I try to make sense of what they mean.
Chris is the first one up, and he wakes Janet immediately. “Merry Christmas honey,” he says and gives her a kiss.

“Merry Christmas” she says back. I walk between them, purring and rubbing my head on the bottom of Janet’s hand. “And Merry Christmas to you too Button” she says in her cute baby talk voice. The women is an accountant, you’d think she could talk to a cat without reducing herself to inanities. She can’t, however, and I have to take them as I find them. I purr an acknowledgement of the day and let her pet me for a minute.

We gradually make our way downstairs, and they head immediately for the stockings. I think I detect relief from Chris, no doubt he was expecting a potato or a lump of coal. He avoided that fate, however deserved I think it would have been, and happily digs into his treasure. Janet comes over a minute later with coffee for two and settles into her prize.

Once the stockings are exhausted and the coffee done, we go to the tree. Janet sits beside the tree and digs out a present for herself and one for Chris. I don’t want to miss any of the fun, so I settle myself on Janet’s lap, at least until there is some free wrapping paper I can play with. Soon, they are opening with vigour and I am playing merrily with a sheet of wrapping paper that has ribbon taped to it. It is then that I hear Janet say, “here’s something for Button. Chris, did you buy this for Button?”

“Yea right,” says Chris, “like I would actually buy the cat a Christmas present.”

“Then where did it come from?” says Janet “I didn’t buy it.” Santa’s parting words last night come back to me and I jump on to Janet’s lap. It is a plastic stocking with a toy mouse, a package of soft dry food, and a catnip ball, whatever that is. I don’t care what it is, I am the happiest Cat in town and I dive for my toys as soon as Janet gets them out of the stocking.

I leap on the mouse and start batting it around the room. Pouncing, jumping and whacking at it like I am playing a game. I chase it out of the room, and then back into the room. It bumps into the catnip ball and I pounce on the ball. Wait a minute, what’s that smell? Something smells incredible, a smell unlike anything I have ever smelt before. It’s definitely coming from the ball, and I grab the ball in my mouth to have a taste. Wow! This must be the catnip. This is incredibly, and I now chase the ball all around the room, grabbing it my mouth every chance I get.

Soon I am no longer Button the Cat. I am Queen Button the Lion. I climb to the top of the Christmas tree and wait for prey. It is not long before a warthog comes sauntering along. I wait patient and silent until he is in just the right spot. Claws out, teeth ready, I seize upon the warthog. Not a warthog! Chris!! Surprisingly, he acts like a wounded warthog and I find myself sliding across the floor of the room like a bowling ball. Good thing it’s a wood floor, carpet would burn. I jump to my feet and race into the kitchen where Janet is eating breakfast at the table. I jump up on to the table and slide across it, landing on the floor on the other side of the table. Now I could use some carpet.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel great. I run into the living room grab my ball and run upstairs, only falling twice, to chew on some more catnip. I leap up on the bed and … miss? I hit the side of the bed with some authority, and decide the floor is a good place for a nap, thank you very much.
I slowly make my way down the stairs. It is dark and quiet. Christmas is over for another year and Chris and Janet are sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. I see space between them, not much just an inch or two, but it’s enough. I crawl between them and snuggle in, purring like an idling Honda. Chris reaches down and starts stroking my back, I let him, but only because it’s Christmas. Janet also starts petting me too, scratching under my chin. The tree still smells like a tree, giving the room a pine forest aroma. There is a fire on the fireplace that Santa came down last night. Somewhere in the background Christmas carols play, but quietly, nicely. This is nice, the Cat’s meow in fact.

I love Christmas!

For the record: copyright by Brian Gardiner. Use by permission only.

A Cat's Christmas, A Christmas Cat, Christmas , ,

The Freedom of Music: The Season’s First Christmas Present

December 23rd, 2012
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Early this month the website Landmark Report had a Mark Steyn/Jessica Martin Christmas CD, Making Spirits Bright, giveaway. Write us about your favourite part of Christmas (“what’s you’re favourite?” as Buddy the Elf might ask), and the top ten will win a CD. Seeing as I like to write, like Mark Steyn and Christmas is my favourite, I dutifully sat and composed a short essay on Christmas music. sidebar-1

I am glad to say, I won. Here’s what I wrote:

For me Christmas is about the music. All of it. The deeply religious music of the baroque, the pop standards of the post war era or the rock pop songs that have become so common. Give me a snowy day in December and a song with the word Christmas somewhere, anywhere, in it, and I am somehow moved.

“There’s something about Christmas time,” Bryan Adams sings. In what is an otherwise mediocre song, I get chills when Adams sings about Christmas. The week before Christmas my iPod runneth over with repeat playings of Debbie Gibson singing Sleigh Ride. Music I would never listen to otherwise, becomes must listen, and begins to define how I feel. I even love angry, hate-filled, right wing columnist to the world types singing about a world made of Marshmallow. Tres fromage, for sure, but somehow wonderful.

It’s not all bad, however. Besides Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man Desiring or Handel’s Messiah, masterpieces at any time of year, the popular culture has produced some wonderful Christmas songs. Whether Irving Berlin’s White Christmas or one of the many beautiful versions of Silent Night (my personal favourite), popular music has it’s moments of sublime Christmas beauty. Consider the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York, a lush piece with surprising depth; Murray McLauchlan, with Paul Hyde and Tom Cochrane, three Canadians doing the Celtic tinged Let the Good Guys Win; Heavy Metal kings Twisted Sister turning O Come All Ye Faithful on it’s head to wonderful effect.
There is something about Christmas time, something that brings the very best out of a wide variety of artists.

I could probably have gone on from there and, in truth, on rereading the essay feels unfinished. But it was good enough to get the job done, and sometimes that’s enough.

My CD dutifully arrived at the median point between when I won it, Dec 4th, and Christmas. That is to say, I’ve had it now a little over a week.

The CD itself is fun, and throughly enjoyable. As a singer, Steyn thankfully has a day job. It’s not that he’s bad, mind, it’s that the style of music usually requires better. The duo get away with Steyn’s singing because: he never takes himself too seriously; he takes the music seriously; the arrangements are excellent; so is Jessica Martin. A big part of the fun of the CD is listening to Mark Steyn have fun – you can hear the grin on his face.

Christmas is a fun light time, and this is a fun light album. It is, in fact, my new favourite.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Bah, Humbug! Edition

December 22nd, 2012
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorChristmas Miracle, some are calling it. Gone off his bloody meds again, others whisper.

London’s infamous “tight fisted hand at the grindstone,” of whom it is said blind man’s dogs avoid, has had an apparent overnight transformation. Last heard mumbling over a bowl of gruel in front of the fire about underdone potatoes and gravy, Ebenezer Scrooge himself woke up recently dancing in his nightshirt and yelling at passing children to “go and fetch the prize turkey.”xmas-fluffincolor-150x150

The Beadle had to be called when he attacked Mrs. Dilber, the washing woman, in the stairwell, but as no actual harm had come and a promise of money, plus higher wages was given, all was forgiven.

While some suspect his clerk had slipped a nip of “the best gin punch in all of London,” into Scrooge’s broth bowl, others that his Nephew Fred rattled him the day before offering Christmas greetings. Either way, he’s become a bloody nuisance and there is talk of boiling him in his own pudding if he doesn’t knock off the “Christmas the whole year long” routine.

fluffincolorScandal is brewing in Bedford Falls, NY, as the manager of the Savings and Loan is about to be indicted for misappropriation of funds. It appears something in the neighbourhood of $3,000 was unaccounted for when the bank inspector arrived for a surprise accounting. Local banker, and board member of the S&L, Henry Potter, has sworn out a complaint for the arrest of George Bailey, manager of the business that has been owned and operated by his family for 2 generations.

Bailey has cut and run, getting into a bar fight before crashing his car into a large tree not far from the waterfall. A Christmas Eve fundraiser put on by Mary Bailey, George’s wife, is being held at the Bailey house. All are invited.

fluffincolorYa! for Hohman Indiana’s saviour, Ralphie Parker.

Local bad guy, and his marauding horde, Black Bart, recently attempted to maraud on the Parker household. The young hero Ralphie fought them off with some dead-eye shooting with his Red Ryder Carbine Action, Range Model Air Rifle, with a compass on the stock and a thing that tells time.

Black Bart rode off after the encounter vowing to return, but left his horde behind, unconscious and seeing little birds, so a return seems unlikely anytime soon.

fluffincolorOh, oh, Christmas Eve in the slammer for The ElfMan. Buddy Hobbes is the six- foot tall man/elf who recently learned he’s not really and elf, but a human. He journeyed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of curly, twirly gum drops and walked through the Lincoln Tunnel, arriving in New York hoping to find his real father.

While working at Gimbel’s Department Store, Buddy spotted the store Santa, and accused him of being a fake. After accusing the Santa of sitting on, “a throne of lies,” Santa attacked. The ensuing melee caused carnage at the store, resulting in arrest and banishment from Gimbel’s for both Buddy and Santa.

After being bailed out, it is rumoured that Buddy went nightclubbing with Lindsay Lohan.

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Fluffernutter Friday: All I Want for Christmas is for the Leafs to Win the Cup

December 21st, 2012

Ho-Ho-Ho: Go Helix Go!

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Where Were You 30 Years Ago?

December 17th, 2012

I know where I was:

I was actually at Maple Leaf Gardens for the show the night before, which was identical to the “farewell show” that happened Dec 17, 1982.


The Freedom of Music: Gettin’ Sassy in the S.U.N.

December 16th, 2012
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Late spring 1982. I was done school and wondering, what next? Plan A was guitar player: Rock Star, back-up player, studio musician, any and all choices where acceptable. Hey, I wasn’t picky – I just wanted to make gobs of money doing what I loved doing.sidebar-1

When an 19-year old decides what they want from life, they often then need to get an apprenticeship to learn their craft. In the music world, the apprenticeship is playing in a band. Rehearsing daily, learning a lot of songs in a short time, developing some stage craft and learning a few moves without throwing the song off are all requirements of the job. To that end, I set out to find a band.

At the time, there was a musicians classified service out of Toronto. You registered with them, then called the number daily and they would give you contact info of people looking for what you were offering: “guitar, rock” in my case. Using this service, I went on a number of auditions for various bands at various levels. Dutifully lugging my number 2 guitar – a Gibson S1 that I never could get the hang of playing (#1 was a beautiful, and now extremely valuable 1979 Antigua Stratocaster – sold in the mid-1980’s for a relative pittance, that a friend had borrowed and was using on the road) – around Toronto.

One day I went to a house where the band was living. They were older and had a female lead singer. The band was set up in the basement and the gig would require me to live at the house with the band. They had a record deal, I was told, and we were to work on developing the songs as well as gigs to keep the money flowing. All that’s required was to pass the audition.

The audition did not go well. I always struggled with the intonation on the S1 and was basically out of tune the whole time. As well, I could never get the S1 to do my bidding in any real way. Top it off with the fact that I wasn’t that good, and these guys were, and looking back I can only marvel at how nice they all were to me. I had forgotten I even went on all these auditions until something jogged my memory a few years back. Thinking about it after 20-years, I realized I had tried out for Sass Jordan’s band.

Tell Somebody, her first album and single, would propel Jordan onto the charts six years later and ten years later Jordan would release her masterpiece, Racine, still one of the best Canadian albums ever produced. Just imagine what she could have done if she’d taken a chance on a young, not very good guitarist back in 1982: the mind boggles.

Lately, Jordan has teamed up with an internet pal of mine to produce one of the best rock records of the last few years. I began interacting with Michael Devin when he was playing bass for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and I wrote a bio of him and other relatively unknown members of the band. Devin moved on to Whitesnake with his favourite rhythm section partner, Brian Tichy, and together they spent 2011 touring the world in rock star style.

Moving to guitar, Tichy and Devin teamed up with Jordan and drummer Tommy Stewart to form S.U.N. (Something Unto Nothing). The four decamped to an abandoned cabin in “the mountains of Canyon Country,” and spent two weeks writing songs. The result was a hard rocking album straight out of the 70’s that inspired it.

When two Zep-heads like Tichy and Devin formed the rhythm section for former Coverdale/Page singer David Coverdale’s Whitesnake, I expected a Zeppelin sounding album. It wasn’t so, and these guys so influenced by 70’s rock still sounded like an 80’s band. That problem has been corrected on Something Unto Nothing. Opening with Burned the Zeppelin connection is obvious: Burned is Black Dog dressed differently. Even the production sounds more open and ambient in the Jimmy Page style, rather than the tightly compressed sound that most producers go for these days.

That’s not to say Something Unto Nothing is just a Zeppelin clone. It is influenced, not taken from. Many of the songs play to singer Jordan’s strengths, tight melodic lines interspersed with occasional bursts of belting it. Did Me No Good is a great example of this, while Mobile Again shows off how good the rhythm section is, playing off the funkiest groove I’ve heard in years.

The album’s first single, I’m The One, is doing fairly well charting in the mid-50’s in the weeks since the albums release. It is, again, just a straight ahead piece of rock and roll, well played and fun to listen to. If I Was You slows it down a touch, sounding like a classic Sass Jordan song on first listen. Mid tempo Wide Ocean, bluesy , S.U.N. a Bad Company-esque 7 minute power ballad: all excellent songs that get better on repeat listenings.

The bottom line is, if you miss the days when rock music was loose, fun and ambient, if you miss when rock was considered danceable and dynamics where encouraged, you’re gonna love Something Unto Nothing.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Upskirt Shot Without My Underwear Edition

December 15th, 2012
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorIt was Led Zeppelin weekend in Washington as the band, along with David Letterman and Buddy Guy among others, were honoured at the Kennedy Center for the Arts Honors Gala.

In his speech at the White House gala, President Obama cited their wild lifestyle, noting there where 3 inch windows and secret service around the room. “The artwork is expensive guys,” he noted with a laugh.original-fluff-lid1

The next night, the surviving members of what Jack Black called “the best rock band ever,” did something they have never done, gone on an American television show. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones paid a visit to fellow Kennedy Center honoree David Letterman’s late night talk show. While they didn’t play on the show, they did chat with Dave for almost 12 minutes.

fluffincolorThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally gets one right. After inducting The Beasty Boys, Blondie and Run-D.M.C., the hall has inducted Canadian rock legends Rush.

The members of Rush are said to be very pleased, with singer/bassist/keyboardist/chicken roaster Geddy Lee telling Rolling Stone, “it made my mom happy, so that’s worth it.” Woah with the big head there Geddy.

I’d say the Rock and Roll Hall finally had it’s act together if they wen’t also inducting Donna Summer and Public Enemy while the guys in Kiss and Deep Purple have to pay $22 to get in just like the rest of us.

And while we’re at it, any self respecting Rock Hall would lose the ‘and’ and go with Rock’N’Roll Hall of Fame.

Also inducted in the class of 2013 are Heart, Randy Newman, Albert King, Lou Adler and Quincy Jones.

fluffincolorIt’s been a tough week for that Korean guy you had never heard of his time last month, Psy. Not expecting U.S. fame to come upon him in this lifetime, the rapping, dancing phenom was caught out when a ten-year old video of him bashing the U.S. surfaced. Since, other video’s of the rapper at anti-U.S. events have also come to light.

He has apologized and made his excuses and, lets face it calling for the death of American citizens isn’t exactly supporting traditional marriage, so all is forgiven and he met with President Obama this week.

Meanwhile in Ireland, a 46-year old father of 3, Eamonn Kilbride, suffered a heart attack while doing the singers “Gangnam Style” dance moves at his wife’s birthday party.

Speaking as an Irishman in his late-40’s, we shouldn’t be doing any style dance moves, let along aerobic Gangnam Style ones. I suppose, however, the Guinness and whiskey wants what the Guinness and whiskey wants…

fluffincolorMiley Cyrus seems to have left childhood in her rear view mirror. Last Saturday she appeared as a special guest at dubstep DJ Borgore’s Christmas Creampies show in Los Angeles.

Cyrus had a marine haircut (after cutting off her hair a few months ago), wore a somewhat revealing crop top, skin tight pants and thigh high leopard print boots. While Cyrus performed her new song Decisions, a stripper in thong and nipple covers was dancing on a pole beside her.

No word on which hospital daddy Billy Ray was taken too after having a coronary, but we’re reasonably sure he was.

fluffincolorEh Tu Anne?

Anne Hathaway’s new movie, Les Miserables, was premiered at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theatre in New York last weekend. Arriving via limo, Hathaway, dressed in a side slit gothic dress, accidentally revealed her underwear choice for the evening.

Unfortunately for Anne, like Britney, Lindsay and Paris before her, her underwear choice was not to wear any

fluffincolorActor Frankie Muniz, Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle amongst other teen roles in the early oh-ohs, suffered a mini-stroke while riding his motorbike last week. He was riding in Phoenix when he went numb, blind and lost his ability to speak (no word on whether he could suddenly play a mean pinball):

I couldn’t say words I thought I was saying them and my fiancee was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

To be sure I’m being clear, let me restate: Frankie Muniz, teen star of ten years ago, 26 years old, had a stroke this week.
fluffincolorThe Superbowl! Manly men pounding each other, beer, chicken wings and chili. More beer. Add in some half-time entertainment and you own the 35+ male demographic for a Sunday night. You can almost hear the planners discussing the half-time entertainment: “we’ve done The Who, Springsteen, The Stones. Who’s next? Led Zeppelin? They won’t come. AC/DC? Aerosmith? Bob Seger?

Beyonce? A-ha! Those 50-year old men will love that.

As part of a $50-million deal with Pepsi that will see the Cola maker own Beyonce in a sponsorship sense, Beyonce will headline the Pepsi sponsored half-time show at the years Superbowl in New Orleans.

The NFL better hope it’s a close game or they’ll lose their audience for the second half.

fluffincolorAnd so it comes to this. A&E was once truly an arts based station with quality programming. Now? It’s being sued by Dave Hestor, “star” of Storage Wars, for $750,000.

Hestor, a former cast member of the “buy a locker and overprice the goods for the camera” show, is complaining in a lawsuit that the show was rigged. According to the lawsuit, the show’s producers would regularly hide “valuable and unusual effects to add effect.” While I’m not sure what a valuable effect is, the bottom line is the producers are salting the lockers. Or, as the lawsuit puts it, “nearly every aspect of the show is faked.”

If you run a TV network, here’s a good rule of thumb. Lie down with the greediest half dozen people you can find, you’ll wind up in court, guaranteed.

fluffincolorRavi Shankar (1920-2012)

In the 60’s rock fans and musicians raced to sit at the feet of sitar player Ravi Shankar after George Harrison took lessons from Shankar and then used the sitar in the hit song Norwegian Wood. Soon, Brian Jones would have one, and The Animals and The Byrds would be using a sitar in songs.

Shankar performed at Woodstock, collaborated with Jean-Pierre Rampal and John Coltrane and is father to Grammy winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones. His influence on rock and pop music, and in bringing Eastern music to Western ears is immeasurable. Upon his death this week, Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh called him a National Treasure.

Shankar died this week in Southern California. He had upper respiratory and heart problems after having heart valve replacement surgery last week. He was 92.

May he Rest in Peace.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Lighten Up Edition

December 2nd, 2012
Comments Off on Saturday Fluffernutter: The Lighten Up Edition

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorJaimie Foxx, courageous artist speaking truth to power:

Last Sunday at the Soul Train Awards fox said, “… give an honour to God and our Lord and Saviour, Barack Obama.” melissa-glick-warhol-fluff-for-web

Foxx, being not much brighter than the average bear, is now shocked, shocked! to discover these remarks are deemed controversial by Christians. Instead of complaining, or wittily noting that Obama is indeed miraculous if “he did succeed in convincing Jaimie Foxx… that God does exist,” they should lighten up, says Foxx, who no doubt will be nice and light if he’s referred to with a racial epithet during the next Catholic Music Awards.

Next time maybe Foxx can be truly courageous and say, “praise be to the prophet Barack Obama, peace be upon him,” and learn what uptight religious guys really look like

Yea, that’ll happen.

fluffincolorJaimie Foxx has nothing on Justin Beiber when it comes to political scandal. Beiber, in Toronto last weekend to perform at the Grey Cup – itself not a move without controversy – had an official meet and greet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (or is that, Prime Minister Harper had a photo-op with Justin Beiber? ed.)

Problem is, The Beeb wore coveralls, with one shoulder strap undone, street style, for the meetup. Scandal! Disgrace! A man should dress appropriately to meet the Prime Minister. I disagree. If your meeting Justin Beiber, you look like a tool in a suit, period. Prime Minister Harper, as Jaimie Foxx would no doubt tell him, needs to lighten up in his dress.

fluffincolorNo fan of Two and a Half Men am I. Whenever I mention it here I always describe it as a “sitcom,” complete with irony quotes. So when 19-year old Christian Angus T. Jones refers to it as “filth,” who am I to argue?

Problem is, Jones is the “half” of the Two and a Half Men playing Jake, since 2003. In a YouTube video, Jones calls himself a “paid hypocrite”, the show “filth” and suggests people shouldn’t watch it.

A-men brother, I say. However, Jones has no actual intention to, say, quit the show, and has issued something of an apology, saying:

I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked over the past ten years.
Chuck Lorre, Peter Roth and many others at Warner Bros. and CBS are responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences in my life to date. I thank them for the opportunity they have given and continue to give me…
I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed…

fluffincolorLindsay Lohan is back on the Fluffernutter page. On Wednesday night she got into an altercation at a Manhattan nightclub with psychic Tiffany Mitchell.

Mitchell says she had a premonition about Lohan and wanted to do her reading, and Lohan then hauled off and nailed her one (or something like that). Lohan then referred to her by the apparently racial epithet of Gypsy. Why she didn’t have a premonition that Lohan was going to do that history does not record. Nonetheless, Lohan was taken away by police and spent a night in a Manhattan holding cell.

Lohan for her part says she did not punch her, but she did call her the name in question. The upcoming court case is likely to be lively as Mitchell has hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred and Lohan has hired a private detective to investigate claims Mitchell has a history of using “her ‘psychic abilities’ to extort money from people.”

There’s much at stake for Lohan, who is on probation for a California necklace pilfering case, and could be sent back to jail on that charge.

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