Bons mots

Slips of my tongue

The Leader of the Pack

Ellie Greenwich, songwriter, singer and record producer of some of the most wonderful and indelible pop songs of all time, died today. The music world has lost another genius.

 

 

 

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August 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Heaven at The Gladstone

Toasted marshmallow fudge brownie with pomegranate balsamic glaze.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thunder and lightning, I tell you it’s frightening…

Download now or watch on posterous

Lightshow 3.wmv (2937 KB)

Last night’s light show, captured from my balcony.

 

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ray Charles covers Johnny Cash (Boing Boing)

They used to have the most wonderful variety shows in the 70s. Enjoy this gem while I go out and buy “The Best of the Johnny Cash Show”.

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ll die before the endgame, says Terry Pratchett in call for law to allow assisted suicides in UK | Mail Online

I always believed in dying with dignity. And if I leave this mortal coil with as much dignity as Terry Pratchett plans to, then I will die a happy woman.

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek.”

John Hughes passed away yesterday and the news made me sad and a little melancholic. You see, I was in my teens in the 80s and watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles in the movie theatres when they were released (when admission was only $4!). Hughes’ characters became very personal to me; somehow, this 30-something adult male managed to accurately capture the angst, ennui and joy that lived in every teenager. I remember crying when Andie had her heart broken by Blaine (“Blane? His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!”). I remember how hard I laughed at Ferris Bueller, that righteous dude. And I always wanted a Jake to call my own. (Where art thou, Michael Schoeffling)? 

Hughes was one of the defining filmmakers of the 80s, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  His cinematic legacy may not stack up to that of Hitchcock, Wilder or Allen but his influence was just as large. Think about it – ask any person over 35 what their favourite John Hughes movie is and you will get a definitive answer. Hell, you can ask a 20-something the same question and they’ll tell you their favourite, too. 

When I get a moment, I will watch Pretty in Pink on DVD (with the alternate ending where Andie chooses Duckie). I will also unearth the soundtrack (which I still have on vinyl) out of storage and create a little altar to pay my respects to the man. Surrounded by sixteen candles, of course.

 

 

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday night was all right

The recent spate of celebrity deaths have taken some amazing and talented people away from us.

Ed McMahon, sidekick and Publisher’s Clearing House spokesman, was part of my parent’s Tonight Show, which I shunned because my 14-year-old, punk-ass self, completely consumed with the sardonic humour of SCTV and Saturday Night Live, thought it was passé. (It was only when I bought a DVD box set of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for my dad and watched it with him that I later recognized Carson’s genius as a funnyman. But that’s another story.) 

Farrah Fawcett, pin up queen and television star, was the girl you wished you were – for the generation of women before me. When my friends and I role-played Charlie’s Angels, I always fought to be Kelly Garrett. For me, Jaclyn Smith was the girl I wished I was. I think it was the brunette thing.

As for Michael Jackson, well, as far as I’m concerned, he died after Thriller.

But the recent suicide of Martin Streek has affected me more deeply.

The power of radio has diminished for me in recent years, but in my teens, twenties and early thirties, my world was consumed by CFNY. The station saw me through unrequited crushes and all-night study sessions. It introduced me to bands that I never heard before and opened up within me a deep interest in music that has grown exponentially. Before iTunes and internet radio, CFNY was it. And then Martin Streek came along and it got even better.

If I wasn’t at the Phoenix dancing my ass off underneath the booth where Streek performed his magic, you would find me at home, lying on my bed, headphones on, listening to Streek’s voice as he was broadcasting “LIVE TO AIR”. I haven’t listened to the station much since it re-branded itself as “The Edge”, so I was unaware that Streek had been fired in May, which is another example of how far the station has strayed from being “the spirit of radio”.  Whether his dismissal had anything to do with his death, we may never know.

The important thing for me is this: Martin Streek introduced me to a lot of great music and, for that, he will always have my deepest appreciation.

To show yours, join the Facebook group set up to honour his memory.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

“Have a happy period” – how (oxy)moronic.

Below is a letter from one Wendi Aarons, a frequent contributor to literary websites such as mcsweeneys.net, to one James Thatcher, brand manager for Proctor and Gamble, regarding their Always feminine products. It was sent last year (and was voted PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’
choice for best webmail-award-winning letter) but I posted it now because: one, it still resonates; and two, it’s a good example of brands and the emotional ties people have to them, which is a topic I recently studied in class. It goes to show you that no matter how good your product is, your brand should be better. Read on for a great laugh; my comments follow the letter.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: “Have a Happy Period.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness—actual smiling, laughing happiness—is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong”? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.

Best,

Wendi Aarons
Austin, TX

There is really not much I can add to this. It’s brilliant.

My question is: What kind of focus groups did they run? Was it made up of five-year-olds? Men? I kind of understand the logic behind the HAHP brand – they are trying to make a negative experience into a positive one. But having a menstrual cycle is like going to war. You don’t want to do it but you know it must be done. You grit your teeth and trudge into battle, Advil in one hand, chocolate in the other. There is nothing happy about it, P&G. Just give us the equipment we need to fight and wish us luck. Would you wish a soldier a happy war? I didn’t think so.

(On a side note, I enjoy the camaraderie menstruation creates between women, even if they are strangers to one another. All you have to do is mention you are having your period and no words need be spoken – a simple roll of the eye and nod of the head is confirmation that yes, they feel your pain. It’s like Lee Marvin telling John Cassavetes about the shrapnel in his leg and Cassavetes just nodding, pointing to his own leg and handing Marvin a cigarette. It’s a bonding experience.)

I guess Aarons’s letter didn’t have the intended effect. If you visit the website for Always, the greeting is still there, wishing you and yours a very happy period. The US site even has games, recipes and tips on throwing a HAHP party. (What would happen if you get a group of menstruating women in one room? You wouldn’t stick around long enough to find out, that’s what would happen.) If a box of Always products  had a voice wishing you a happy period when you opened it, it would probably be very cloying and aggravating, the same voice that tells you your call is in sequence and will be answered by the next available customer service agent.

That is why I no longer purchase Always products. It was a hard decision, as they do have some great offerings. But I do not like to be patronized by my feminine products. It’s bad enough I have to pay the GST on them.

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 9 Comments

Please pass (on) the salt

A blogTO post from January 11th has an interesting redirect to a site call Lobbythem. Lobbythem is an online petition site that enables you to sign on and support issues that matter to you as a disgruntled Torontonian. And there is a lot to make me disgruntled, specifically the use of salt on roads during the winter. I’ve racked up many dry-cleaning bills to rid my pants of those telling white stains. How many cans of shoe cleaner/protector have you gone through?

This doesn’t end there. What about the damage to cars? The environment?

I don’t know if this site has been successful, but for what it’s worth, click here to show your displeasure. Your pants will thank you for it.

(Note: you have to register first.)


January 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

   

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