Monthly Archives: June 2009

Badness Comes In Threes

The old saying is that badness comes in threes.  This week, Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett and (as I was writing the Farah Fawcett piece) The King of Pop, Michael Jackson died suddenly.

Like most people I will readily admit that I liked his music, as much of his later work was superb.  The Jackson Five stuff, was formulaic pre-digested musical pudding, but later works like Thriller were new, innovative and remarkable. 

It was his ‘private’ life that creeped a lot of people out.  I’m not going to bother to list it, as the list is too long and much too weird to even want to write it down.  Don’t worry, it will all be reprised for your guilty pleasures in a number of rapidly written tell-alls.  Expect one or two in the next four weeks. 

The National Enquirer and that ilk will be wall to wall for the next three weeks.  With any luck we’ll have stories that Jacko was sharing his hyperbaric chamber with Farah Fawcett in her last days, or other such madness.

Which, unfortunately, detracts from his musical accomplishments, but is still part of his legacy.  There is some considered opinion that Jacko could be repackaged after his death, much like Elvis.

Elvis, if you recall, died from a stroke while on the toilet, an overinflated caricature of himself, full of bad medicine.  Today, the only Elvis is the lean, handsome 1968 version:  The 1977 Elvis has been erased from our collective memory by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. 

The same is starting to happen with Jacko, as the media replays the Jackson Five and Thriller videos, but it is only hours into the repackaging that will happen. 

Remember Jacko, sure, but remember all of him, not just the the tiny little happy snippets.

Farah Fawcett

Cancer has claimed Farah Fawcett at age 62 unfortunately. She was a 1970’s icon, plain and simple:  An entire generation was influenced by her particular look, style and demeanour.

If you don’t believe me, troll some blogs, or facebook and look for that peculiar hairstyle of the 70’s.  Women either had a parasol perm or a FFM feather cut.  It was required as a test of citizenship on Planet Earth.

Now, this is not to say that the 70’s were the ne plus ultra of style, far from it, but Charlie’s Angels, which launched Farah Fawcett, was very much a groundbreaking show in six ways.  FFM’s left and right one, Jaclyn Smith’s left and right one and Kate Jackson’s left and right one.  Not eyes either.  Charlie’s Angels helped coin the term “Jiggle Show”, quite possibly the first.

This isn’t to diminish the acting chops of Fawcett, Smith or Jackson, but still, you didn’t watch Charlie’s Angels for the deep philosophical challenges.  You didn’t watch for the bracing characterizations or the remarkable plot twists. You watched for the swimsuit shots, the nipple shots or the glamour shots.  And you hoped, nay prayed that something would fall out or be overexposed.  It never happened, but you hoped.

Fawcett did other work and her documentary on her cancer is almost too moving to watch without having to hit pause several times.  And her passing puts a close on the documentary.

Is her passing a end of an era?  Not really, but it is the end of an icon.  The same as the passing of Ed McMahon was the passing of a 60’s icon, the passing of Farah Fawcett is the passing of a 70’s icon.

And if you are to believe the news reports right this minute, perhaps an 80’s icon is about to pass too.

Ed and Johnny Together Again

Ed McMahon passed away overnight, at the age of 86, surrendering his role as the prototype first of and at the same time, the last of, the television sidekick.

For most of his career he was paired, inseparably, with Johnny Carson, the IronMan of late night talk shows.  As an aside, Pat Weaver (that would be Sigourney Weaver’s dad) was the guy who back in the mists of time figured that America needed some kind of late-night gabfest with a host and a sidekick and a band on TV to while away the after-11 pm hours.

McMahon’s job was to have a hearty laugh and do the live commercials from time to time.  Of course, McMahon did more than that, but the job description is only a paragraph or two, if you stretch it out.  Ed McMahon was very much the master of playing straight, or feeding a line, or simply being Ed to the Tonight Show machine.

There was of course, much more.  He was a fighter pilot with the Marines in WWII, then flew as a Tactical Air Controller and artillery spotter in Korea, retiring with the rank of Colonel.  You would have never know it to look at his public persona.  He was Brigadier General in the California Air National Guard.

Which brings us to his passing, assuming they have television in the Afterlife, there will be one heck of a Tonight show, tonight.  Johnny and Ed.  The original Tonight Show band leader, Skitch Henderson is sitting in and Freddie de Cordova, the long-time director is up in the booth. 

As for the guests?  A lot of it would depend on who the bookers could get:  Judy Garland?  Groucho?  Ernie Kovacs? Jack Paar?  Frank, Dino and Sammy?  Senor Wences?  George Carlin?

Perhaps there will be a piece with Carnac the Magnificent telling Ed McMahon’s favourite joke:

Sis boom, bah. 

Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.

Good night Ed.

Lock the Doors

You know there is a time when you should just lock the doors and drive away as fast as you can.  Today would be one of those times.

Rumour has it, North Korea has a seagoing freighter with a missile and a nuke onboard steaming towards Hawaii.  The objective, at least if you read the runes with the right kind of eyes, is to nuke Hawaii and piss off the US of A. 

Let’s see, what would the global response be?  Oh, I don’t know, probably China will turn all of North Korea into a glass lake.  China knows if they don’t, the US will.  There is that issue of South Korea being next door, radiation, millions of casualties and so on, but the essential response would be massive, violent and permanent. 

Of course, Kim Jong-Il could just be goofin’ with us, but we really don’t know for sure and he is just nuts enough to try.  We really should get him the Diamond level Hair Club for Men membership, free of charge. Perhaps then he’d eff off and leave the rest of the world alone.

In other comforting news, the Iranian elections are all upside down.  Mahmoud “Mike” Ahmadinejad has either won, straight up, or had pulled off one heck of a sleight of hand move and got caught.  Protesters who technically do not exist, at least to the Iranian media, are beeping and mooing with a fair amount of nerve in a theocratic dictatorship. 

The Iranian government has found that total control of the media doesn’t mean the story is capped, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the rest of the social media.  Supreme Religious Leader Ali Khomeini has even said “Sit down and shutthefokup”, to no avail.

The Braidwood Enquiry of the RCMP in the Taser death of Robert Dziekansky at Vancouver airport a couple of years ago, had a 500 pound manure bomb dropped on proceedings.  An email between two senior RCMP supervisors suggests that the four officers responding to the airport discussed a plan to use a Taser on Dziekansky before they even got to the airport and knew what was going on.

The email was leaked today and commissioner Thomas Braidwood just about blew a head valve.  Essentially, everyone from the RCMP said they felt threatened by Dziekansky and figured that zapping him five times would be fine.  So would two guys kneeling on his neck as they wrestled him into cuffs.  We’ll overlook the lack of pepper spray, baton, command voice, or even just a boot to the nuts.  Cut to the chase and zap the poor mook.  Ooopsie, he’s dead. 

The Braidwood Enquiry is on hold until September 22 while Commissioner Braidwood has asked the RCMP to “Get your shit square, you assholes and stop jacking me around.  Tell the friggin’ truth or I will take a Taser to your effin’ eyeballs!”  I think that quote might not be accurate, but I can’t tell from here.

At a Wendy’s in Jacksonville Florida this week, an employee got annoyed at another employee, went home, got a gun and shot his colleague dead.  At a Denver McD back on May 21st, a Denver cop felt it was taking too long to fill his order at the drive thru late one night.  He flashed the tin, then waved the piece in a way to encourage faster service.  Even the meat-related automatons at the drive thru recognized the level of hostility as inappropriate. Who says fast food is bad for you?

Next year might not be a great year for motorcar racing.  The Formula One Teams Association has invited the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile to go spoon a goose.  Essentially Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone have run the FIA like their own Dutchy of Grand Fenwick. 

The F1 teams, tired of Max and Bernie behaving like Idi Amin without the charm, are considering putting their own formula and series together.  This would mean Idi Mosley and Bernie Amin would own the pre-eminent motor racing series in the world, with no cars.  The racing might be better:  Significantly quieter, but better. 

Who knows, maybe Montreal will get its’ race back.  The sound of no cars racing around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in front of the advertising hoardings sold by the FIA, to finance Ecclestone’s personal Malaysian toast chef or Mosley’s escapades involving professional talent and uniforms.  It could happen.

Finally, the CBC’s Don Newman is hanging it up after 30 years on Parliament Hill.  He was a superlative journalist, of the old skool, where you knew your stuff, asked intelligent questions and didn’t take a sound bite for an answer. 

The eternal mystery however, is Newman’s upper lip.  It never moved.  Ever.  It was like the middle part of his face was carved out of bird’s eye maple, immovable and immutable.  All the federal parties respected Don Newman and at the same time, feared him as he wouldn’t always play softball with the questions.  Which is what a journalist is supposed to do.

Catching Up

Sometimes life intrudes and if your job has a lot of writing in it and your past-time has a lot of writing in it, there comes that point where you don’t want to write, unless the paycheque demands it.  Which sometimes happens. 

Believe it or not, writing takes a fair amount of energy, sometimes physical energy, but also mental energy and for the last few weeks, work has been taking the cycles available.  Oh well.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been outraged here and there and by way of a catch up, here we go:

GM in Chapter 11.  The Poncho brand is gone and GM looking for a buyer for Hummer and Saab, but can’t find a Russian oligarch with enough money, but not quite enough stupidity to buy the two red-headed stepchildren of GM.  Needless to say the couple of thousand dealers who got their walking papers are going to ensure that what’s left of the GM brand is tarred, feathered, keyed and pissed upon from a great height.

Chrysler.  I’m not sure I could actually care less.  Their cars were designed by a cabal of un-medicated bipolars.  They could design the Viper and engineer it with true skill and then turn around and float a turd like the PT Cruiser.  The couple of thousand dealers who took it rectally from Chrysler are also going to ensure that any product that comes out will be tarred, feathered, keyed and pissed on from a great height.

The Chalk River Isotope Fiasco.  Let’s see, AECL knew 30 years ago that the NRU had a 25 year operating life.  That was 20 years into its’ lifecycle as the producer of the majority of the medical isotopes on this planet.  For some reason AECL felt that simple concepts of time and space did not apply to their organization, so they ignored the calendar.  Now NRU is cold and will be for the foreseeable future.  Yet, the folks who run AECL still have jobs and the Minister, who might as well be in the Witless Protection Program, have nothing to say.

Shootings, Stabbings and General Mayhem in Toronto.  It seems that every second day there is a new act of violence here.  If the garbage workers go on strike during Pride Week, we’ll be up to our midsections in trash in a six days.  No, I don’t mean because of Pride Week.  I’m a bit more inclusive than that.  Trashy people can have Pride too.  I’m talking legit garbage.

Iggy and The Psychotic Cuttin’ A Deal.  The Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and the Poster Child for Haloperidol (in massive doses) met three times one day this week and decided not to have a Federal Election this summer.  Nice of them to ask us.  Unfortunately, they’re right.  If we did have an election this summer, the leaders of the various parties would have to campaign by video link, as voters might do them physical harm.

eHealth.  This pool of fermenting fecal matter is so symptomatic of the greasy sense of entitlement that certain sections of society have, that I can’t even get outraged about it.  It’s nothing more than the filthy rich looking after each other with untendered contracts, insane levels of compensation, no financial controls and a whole culture of a wink and nod with millions of tax dollars.  Do they care about actual health care?  Of course not.

The Wayne County Scarlet Airfoils were defeated by the Pittsburgh Flightless Sea Birds.  For some reason the planet continued revolving the next day.  Apparently someone didn’t shake hands with someone else afterwards.  Oh and the Blackberry guy wants a team in Hamilton so bad he’s willing to move all of Hamilton to Arizona, or something like that.  That’s the News in Sports.

I always wondered why people drink to excess.  I’m starting to realize why.

Tomorrow is another jour.  We move on.