Wednesday 29 June 2016

CANADA DAY - Pass the Hootch

July 1st is Canada Day.  This is the holiday in which we celebrate the birth of Canada by getting stuck in traffic for hours and hours and throwing firecrackers at each other.  Canadians are a hardy lot.

I want to be serious for a moment and give some thought as to how this country was born (definitely a breech birth with lots of screaming.)

Canada became a country in 1867.  I wasn’t at the original Fathers of Confederation gig in PEI.  But I suspect it went something like this.

Father 1 of Confederation: “So.  Do we all want to band together as one country and get ourselves universal healthcare?  Pass the hootch.”

Father 2 of Confederation:  “Yeah, okay, eh.  Sounds good.  Pass the hootch.”

Father 3 of Confederation:  “Snore….”

Meanwhile, the Mothers of Confederation were busy doing useful things like making bannock and throwing venison on the barbie.  And when they found out…well, let me just say there was hell to pay.

“You bozos didn’t include a Caribbean Island??  Come on Mildred…Abigail.  We’re buying a trailer in Florida.”

Because you see: Canada is cold.  It is particularly cold during the months of winter, which can fiendishly usurp months from autumn and spring, and hold them ransom until summer.

And then, just to be contrary, the guys with the hootch made Ottawa the capital of Canada.

Why did they choose Ottawa?  Apparently they were afraid the Yanks might capture the capital if they put it in some desirable place like Toronto.  (Too close to the border, with great shopping and restaurants.)

I’m told that Ottawa and Moscow are considered the worst places to be posted if you are an Ambassador.  This is because they are the two most northern capitals in the world…well, capitals of any country to which humans might actually want to go. 

Personally, I think this is a great exaggeration.  No one wants to go to Ottawa and Moscow.

Okay, Okay.  Ottawa can be a pretty place in summer.  Thing is, it is held ransom by Jack Frost most of the rest of the year.  Look at a map.  Ottawa is dangerously close to the Arctic Circle.  (In actual fact, so are Aurora and Newmarket.  If you’re wondering why your commute into Toronto takes so long…)

In hindsight, I figure the Fathers of Confederation did a pretty good job after all.  Since 1867, Canada has never been invaded by Americans.  We have universal health care.  And best of all, we get rid of our politicians by sending them to Ottawa every winter. 

Talk about punishment.

Monday 27 June 2016

This Wednesday! Mega-selling Brit author Peter James in Conversation with Melodie Campbell

Honoured to be hosting Peter James at A Different Drummer in Burlington

Wednesday June 29 7pm
A Different Drummer Books
513 Locust Street Burlington
Admission Free--Please Register at
(905) 639 0925 or

Peter James, internationally celebrated and phenomenally successful creator of crime fiction, recipient of many honours including the vaunted Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association, visits the bookshop to introduce the twelfth entry in his gripping series featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Brighton, Love You Dead.

"Peter James's Roy Grace is a main contender for the title of crown of UK police detectives...[his] series is going from strength to strength. Full marks for readability, plot, character, sense of place and, perhaps above all, an attractive sympathy displayed by the author for his many characters, major and minor." --Maxine Clarke, Eurocrime

"Peter James has penetrated the inner workings of police procedures, and the inner thoughts and attitudes of real detectives, as no English crime writer before him."--Marcel Berlins, The Times

Mr. James, a highly entertaining raconteur, will discuss his craft and his fascinating career in the vivid company of Melodie Campbell, former Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada and author of the delightful, award-winning Goddaughter mystery series. 

Join us for a rollicking evening with Peter James and Melodie CampbellWednesday June 29 at A Different Drummer Books. Admission is free, but please contact us to reserve a seat, at (905) 639 0925 or Thank you!

Monday 20 June 2016

Are you a Dad? Take this quiz to find out...

Just in time for Father's Day, here's a 10 point quiz to help you remember if you are a DAD:

1.  Do you own at least one painted rock paperweight?

2.  Do you know all the cheapest restaurants in town?

3.  Does your night life involve Children's Tylenol?

4.  Would you sell your soul for a sitter on Saturday night?  How about your first born?

5.  Do you habitually run over unidentified plastic action figures when mowing the grass?

6.  Have you ever gone miles out of your way on vacation to find a clean washroom?

7.  Do you jump when any little voice yells "Dad!"

8.  Have you ever encountered "The Phantom Piddler?"  In the car?  On your pants?

9.  Have you ever prompted your boss to "say the magic word?"

10.  Does your concept of an ideal vehicle include sound-proof glass between the front and back seats?

How to Score:  (Not THAT kind of score...)

0 to 2:  Nope, not a Dad.  Although it's possible to know where the cheap restos are and locate clean washrooms, failure to answer No. 4 with a resounding "YES!!YES!!" is a dead giveaway.

3-10.  Yup.  Dad material.  Get ready for another painted rock paperweight this weekend.

But there is a bright side to this career.  The Dad in this house once stunned an entire room of professionals playing Trivial Pursuit, with the correct answer to 'Portuguese for 'open''.  He learned it from Sesame Street.

Friday 17 June 2016

THE HAMMER WILL ROCK TONIGHT! (okay, well it might shimmy a bit...)

Tonight!  GOH Guest Speaker
In which, we might want to invoke 'The Warning' (Pee before you attend this)
Laubach Literacy Ontario and Ontario Native Literacy Coalition Conference
Mohawk College

Wednesday 8 June 2016

ROAD WARRIOR! (probably my most popular stand-up routine from the early days)

This post was my single most popular humour column/stand-up routine (with appropriate gestures) back in the days when I wrote under Funny Girl.
(With apologies to gorillas.)

Who needs a telephone booth?  My guy can step into any car and become:  ROAD WARRIOR!

There must be a primitive instinct that overcomes a male each time he gets behind the wheel of a car, and which also makes him forget that he actually got beyond the evolutionary stage of the giant African gorilla. 

Because every day, millions of men the world over climb into their twenty-first century chariots of steel to hear a voice from the heavens proclaim, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”  At which point all lads who possess a scrap of testosterone drop into first, stomp on the gas and lay a trail of smoking rubber in an attempt to beat the other blokes away from the lights.

I can remember traveling in my guy’s car down Gerrard street one day, when a red Camaro, which was traveling about two miles an hour faster than we were, pulled up beside us and tried to pass.  Whereupon, the man I promised to love and honour until death do us part – or at least until the next tax year – stepped on the gas and roared up the street doing a wheelie, in case, of course, the Camaro might just DARE to cut in front. 

The driver of the red Camaro, not wishing to appear shortchanged on his giant gorilla genes, immediately dashed up alongside, and proceeded to make extremely rude hand gestures while shifting gears and controlling a skid, all at the same time.

The two cars jerked their way down Gerrard, both drivers screaming at each other through closed windows, until my own true love slammed on the brakes, effectively blocking two lanes of traffic and the entire Jarvis Street intersection.  He then got out of the car.

Now the occupants of the Camaro were the sort of people one would expect to see driving a red Camaro down Gerrard: guys with names like Carlos and Guido, whose idea of a fun Saturday night is counting the notches on their machine guns.  And if I hadn’t started screaming and fainting in the manner of Fay Wray with King Kong (another gorilla) we would probably all still be there; my guy standing out in the middle of the intersection flailing his arms, ready to “teach them a lesson.”

What was he going to do? Kick their tires?

Of course, we females don’t participate in ridiculous behavior like this. We’re far too busy shopping for things we don’t need.