Thursday, March 31, 2011

ROBBLOG# 243


Just another day in New York City.

We certainly had a varied selection of weather during our New York Stay but warm, spring sunshine was best.

Today, we decided to hop on the Subway to get us places fast. We loved walking but to cram in as much as we could on one day, we decided to take NY Transit. After a hearty breakfast at the Tick Tock Diner in the New Yorker Hotel, we headed across 8th Avenue to the subway. The “red line” would take us further south to Greenwich Village and Christopher Street- New York’s Gay Village.
We bought a “Metro Pass” for 10 bucks which gave us 4 ½ rides. As we moved through the turnstiles we looked at the signage. Good Lord! It’s much easier when you just know the way, rather than having to read a multitude of signs. We stood on the platform hoping we were waiting for a subway car, heading in a southerly right direction. While we waited, I noticed a lady standing just a few feet to our right. She was also waiting for a southbound train. She wore black slacks, a blue ski jacket and a pair of fabulous, fashionable sunglasses with plenty of sparkle on the earpiece. I just had to ask her if we were travelling in the right direction.

“Pardon me,”- I said as I approached her, “Does this train go to Canal Street?”
She turned to me and sized me up for a second.
I had said Canal Street being that it was just a couple of blocks south of Greenwich Village. Tom and I had been told vendors lined the street with cheap goods. Mostly styuff that had “fallen” off trucks! Maybe I could buy a cheap New York watch. That was on my “to do” list.

As she looked me over, she smiled warmly and said- “Yes, it does.”

The train was just pulling into the station, so we walked through the open doors and sat down. I pulled out the subway map, still wanting to be sure of where we were going. I was a little twisted around. Tom had a better sense of direction. In a minute or two, the platform lady spoke to us. I guess she could see we were fretting about our destination. Surprizingly, she had taken a seat nearby us on the subway.

“Look, don’t warry. This is the right direction. So, why did you want to go to canal street?”

“Oh, just that it’s close to Greenwich Village and Christopher Street.” I told her.

“Look,”- she says again with an outstretched hand, “You could get awff at Christopher Street and then wawk…” She stopped and looked out the window. The car had stopped. The doors had opened and were about to close.

“Oh!” She paused. “That was your stop.”

We laughed.

“Look, nevahmind. You’ll get off at Huston with me and I’ll show you where to go. “ Again, she paused and looked me in the eye from behind dark New York Shades. “So, why do ya wanna go to Canal Street?”

“Oh, because we had heard there were places to shop.” I had the sinking feeling she didn’t think it was a good idea.

“Look, I’ll show you some nice streets and you can see Worshington Square. You should see Worshington Square and then it’s just a couple of blocks to Christopher Street and the Village!”

Gilda's

This was a savvy New Yorker who just happened to live in Greenwich Village. She told us so.
“That sounds great! We don’t mind walking.”

The car stopped and we followed her off the train and up the stairs into the brilliant New York Sunshine. By this time I wanted to ask her if we could grab a “cawfee” and “tawk”. She was so nice and oh so New York. It was like were in a movie. I almost looked around for the cameras. She pointed us in the direction of where we should walk and what we should look for. She gave us some final instructions and we were off. I looked back, watching her cross the street, content in the happy fact that she had helped a couple of strangers.

We walked on a few blocks. Along the way we saw the red door for Gilda’s Club of New York. Our friend- Heather, would appreciate a picture of that- with me in the frame too of course! A left turn at 6th Avenue, then a quick right and there we were in Washington Square. Basically, it was a little park with a lot of benches, some gardens and a huge arch. It’s best to have a look at the picture. It’s worth a thousand words.

Washington Square
 We left the Square after stopping to pet a couple of pooches being walked in the early afternoon sunshine. Then, we walked east- about two blocks, and saw a street sign that said- “Christopher Street”. Like Church and Wellesley in Toronto’s Gay Village, Christopher Street is the iconic street for all things Gay in New York. We crossed the street and there was the Stonewall Inn. The outside needed a new paint job. The sign above the window was un-assuming. The rainbow flags were all faded and the window needed a good spritz of two of windex.

A decade and a bit before the infamous Bath House raids in Toronto that spawned the Gay and Lesbian movement here, the road to New York City Gay Rights began when a bevy of Drag queens and their friends decided they just weren’t going to take it from the New York Police- anymore! A street fight ensued. It’s a hallowed, historic spot for American Gays and Lesbians. The plaque pictured here tells you that. We had a quartette of European’s standing along beside us who appeared to be in awe that they were standing on the very spot of the Stonewall Inn.

The Stonewall Inn

We browsed the street and hopped back on the subway once again. We were pros now! This time, we rode north, all the way north to 59th Street and the southernmost entrance to Central Park at Columbus Circle. There it was right in front of us- famous Central Park. New Yorkers are proud of this huge green space and rightly so. I guess you could say in the same way Orillian’s are proud of Couchiching Beach Park, Centennial Park and Veteran’s Park that line our Downtown Waterfront. Inside the gates we could see trees and bridges, horse and buggies, bicycles and dog walkers- just like in the movies. We wandered here and there.

Bethesda Fountain
 I wanted to see the Bethesda Fountain- famous in the movie Angels in America, The Producers and others. After asking directions, we walked along The Mall bordered on each side by healthy American Elm trees all protected in this Central Park environment.

Just ahead I could see the top of the steps leading down to the fountain. The very steps that Meryl Streep and Company walked down and through the arches below, to stand in front of and eventually sit along the edge of the fountain. The Angel of the Waters- Bethesda, was perched in the centre. I couldn’t believe I was looking at her- in real time. Google her or Central Park NYC to find out more
She was beautiful. I had to sit on the edge and have Tom take a picture!

New York... She’s a Hell of a Town.

Still to come- a tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Centre and a Broadway opening night!

Central Park

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ROBBLOG # 242


Me on the Red Steps overtop TKTS Times Sq.
More New York Adventures

Don’t get the idea that New York City has a better degree of weather than we do right here in Orillia or any part of Ontario for that matter.

One day it was quite miserable when we woke up. Thirty-one floors above 34th Street, the rain splish-sploshed against the window. It was quite windy. The sky was misty and cloudy. I could see people below scurrying along holding tight to umbrellas of every colour but there was no sign of the Hudson River or “New Joisey” through the fog.

I poured a cup of water into the coffee maker that the girls at the front desk had so nicely arranged for me during check-in. There’s a bit of a story there.
Are you surprised?
After we had booked our stay, I was reading the New Yorker Hotel website a little more closely and discovered- to my dismay, that not all rooms had a coffee maker.
What??
An iron, ironing board, wide screen TV, ice bucket and phone- but not every room had the luxury of a simple coffee pot. How in the hell was I going to start my morning with a smile devoid of caffeine?
I began to worry.
When I told Tom I could tell he was apprehensive too. He didn’t even want to think about a “no caffeine in the morning” scenario in a hotel room in New York City. So, when we checked in at the desk, I told my sad story to a pair of New Yorker staff. It went something like this-

“Look ladies I don’t think you would want to see me come down here in the morning in my fuzzy pink slippers, chenille housecoat- curlers in my hair, cutting through the lobby of the New Yorker- unshaven and in a miserable mood, crossing 8th Avenue to procure a McDonald’s coffee would you?- Well, would you? So please, may I have a coffee maker in my room?”

The gals called housekeeping and assured me I would have a coffee maker, cups and stir sticks in our room within 10 minutes.
What a relief!
I thanked them broadly and we all had a great New York laugh. Not that laughing in New York is any different than laughter anywhere else. You just had to be there, I guess!

Times Square at Night!
 Back to our rain-soaked, miserable morning.
After a cup of Java, we showered, shaved and headed out for another day, wearing winter sweaters under our jackets, scarves wrapped around our necks and gloves in our pockets. After breakfast at the Tick Tock Diner, we stepped outside into the rain, umbrellas firmly in hand! You haven’t lived until you’ve spent a day walking around New York in rain, drizzle, wind, sleet, hail and snow. We had it all that day. I thought walking around St. John’s Newfoundland in the rain was ridiculous, this put the icing on the cake!
Around noon, we took refuge in Macy’s- The World’s Largest Store, on 34th Street. Miracle on 34th Street- the movie, is all about Macy’s and Gimbal's too, however like Simpson’s and Eaton’s, Gimbel’s no longer exists. At Macy’s, I wanted to see the entrance where the US Thanksgiving Day Parade passed. It was on Herald Square just off 34th Street. The street area was much smaller than it looks on Television. We walked through the main doors to find a nice man in a black suit, offering a clear plastic bag for our umbrella.
We didn’t even have to pay a nickel for it!
Now that was service!
As it turned out, many stores as well as the Hotel did the same thing for customers that day.

Inside Macy’s there were shoppers and salespeople everywhere. All in uniform. The salespersons I mean. It was like going into our own Eaton’s or Simpson’s Department Stores back in the 1960’s. Maybe the Queen Street Bay Store retains some of the earthy feel that Simpson’s once did. I haven’t been in in years. At Macy’s, cash registers were to be found in each department- none of this lining up at checkouts. We headed to an escalator after asking a delightful man at an Information kiosk where we would find the electronics department. Believe it or not, the escalators were made of wood! They clicked and clacked as we stepped on. Remember when Eaton’s in Downtown Toronto had the same thing? How wonderful! It just gave such a nice feel to the store. It was like stepping back in time. You’d need a few days to see all of Macy’s by the way.

Larger than Life photo outside Theatre

Later that day we decided to see another Broadway show. This time- The Addams Family. A “live” musical with the same familiar characters from the television show. I know what you’re saying- Lurch and the Addams' family members singing?
Yes!
You should have heard the pipes on Lurch, portrayed by Zachary James. He’s about 10 feet tall too!
Nathan Lane had been Gomez up until three weeks before but Roger Rees had just taken over. Bebe Neuwirth was Morticia with Brad Oscar (The Producers/Young Frankenstein) as Uncle Fester. Jackie Hoffman was Grandma. Both Jackie and Bebe were original cast members.

Once again- like with La Cage, we were lucky enough to get seats right down front, on the aisle this time, only eight rows from the stage.

The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was beautiful with several chandeliers and gold trim as part of the decor. The show was amazing. It was very amusing, although I didn’t come out humming the songs. There were tunes like “Full Disclosure” and “Just Around the Corner”- or ‘coroner’ as Morticia joked. They were fun and well-executed.
Tee Hee! A bit of Addams Family Humour there.

The sets were large and moved quietly and effortlessly across the stage. Lighting was extremely well done! Well, it was Broadway after all.

The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre home of the Addams Family

After the show we spoke with Brad Oscar who was standing at the rear of the theatre- still in his Uncle Fester makeup. We said how much we enjoyed the show and the fact we had seen him previously in the Producers- which we saw the last time we were in New York. We had also hoped to see Mr. Oscar in Young Frankenstein when it played at the Princess of Wales in Toronto last year, however, an understudy had stepped in the day we saw the show.

“Oh yes,”- he mused, “I had to take a few performances off because I had a previous engagement. Don’t take it personally!”- Brad said, “I didn’t stay away because I knew you were coming!”

We laughed.

“I loved being in Toronto!”- he added.

We made a donation to “Broadway Cares” by plopping a few bucks into the bucket he was holding. He thanked us and offered us a Playbill programme which had been signed by everyone in the cast!
That was a nice gesture!

Coming up- buying cheap watches, visiting Greenwich Village, Christopher Street, Central Park and another show! This time a “real” Broadway Opening Night!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ROBBLOG # 241


More New York Stories

It’s hard to believe that New York City is so close to us. It’s less than an hour’s flight from Pearson International to Newark, New Jersey and Liberty International. A very nice airport. Not too busy and an easy monorail ride- similar to that at Pearson that connects the terminals, to the New Jersey Transit rail station. From the NJ Transit station it’s a 25 minute ride to Penn Station.

The cost? NJ Transit is just 12.50 per person each way. A cab from La Guardia (LGA) night set you back 40 to 50 dollar not to mention the additional travel time, honking taxis- and the traffic headaches in Manhattan.

Our hotel was an easy one block jaunt away from Penn Station- north, on 8th Avenue. Oh, here’s something to know when visiting. New York pedestrians don’t pay much attention to traffic lights. They are apparently there as a guide only. As soon as the traffic flow ceases, New Yorkers are off in a mad dash across the street. It takes a bit of getting used to but once the way is clear you cross against the red light too. It makes one feel so naughty!

Harvey and fans outside the Longacre Theatre

We were able to catch three Broadway shows while in New York. The first was La Cage aux Folles starring Harvey Firestein. Harvey actually wrote the show for Broadway- from the French version, 28 years ago. Now, he says he is “elder” enough to play the lead- Albin, opposite Christopher Sieber as Georges. In regards to the show, Harvey says be careful what you wish for. It may come back and bite you in the ass 28 years later!
Harvey and Christopher are a well-matched duo. We got front row centre seats. No, we didn’t know anyone at the theatre. We just went to the box office, smiled sweetly, flirted with the gentleman on the opposite side of the glass and voila! Obviously he attended the same church as we do!!

At any theatre, when sitting in row A, it’s quite close enough to see the actor spit. Harvey even sat on the steps right at our feet a couple of times. It was marvellous. It was as close as if he were sitting across the dining room table. You could see his eyes twinkling. The Cagelles were terrific! Each and every one built like a brick *hit house. If you’re not familiar with the show, the Cagelles are all guys- in Drag, who at times wear the teensiest of costumes. The location is a Drag Nightclub in St. Tropez after all!

The audience loved the show and a standing ovation was in order. After the show- as with most New York theatres, it’s quite appropriate to wait to meet the cast at the stage door. Not everyone does but we did. Later, on the street, I heard some fans complaining that Robins Williams didn’t come out to greet them after his current broadway show.
You win some and you lose some.
Back at La Cage, the cast began to leave the theatre one by one. Mr Sieber was engaging- although I didn’t speak to him. Finally, Harvey walked through the gate and past the one security person. He signed some Playbills for fans opposite to where we were standing. Then, he approached us, looked down and saw we didn’t have an outstretched hand holding a Playbill. He began to move on.

“Harvey!”- I said, “I just wanted to say that we saw you in Fiddler on the Roof in Toronto and after the show we ate at Fran’s and there you were sitting at the table opposite us. We wanted to say hello but you were eating and we didn’t want to bother you but I did want to say hello this evening.”

He smiled and said in his famous raspy voice- “I love Fran’s and that is the nicest thing anyone could have said to me. Thank You!”
He moved along.
Tom and I watched him talk to other theatre-goers and we snapped a picture or two- as you can see.

After chatting to fans, he stopped briefly to chat to a nearby New York Cop- who by the way all seem to be about five foot seven with beefy builds like little musclemen- only wearing uniforms. As Tom and I walked along the sidewalk on West 48th Street, we watched Harvey cross the street and disappear into a parking garage- alone.
No one followed him. No one bothered him for another picture or autograph.
One lady called out- “Safe trip home, Harvey!”
That was nice of her!
“Thanks!”- he replied as he walked at a fast clip. He had both a Matinee and an Evening show to do the next day- Wednesday.

East side of Broadway "Palace Theatre" in Times Square
We proceeded to Times Square and took a bunch of shots of all the flashing screens and billboards. Right in Times Square at the Palace Theatre, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is currently on stage. It had played for over 3 months in Toronto at the Princess of Wales before opening on Broadway a week ago- after a month of previews. As far as I know the same cast is intact- including a few Canadians. We hadn’t planned on going since we saw the show twice in Toronto.

Walking about in Times Square, one feels very safe with all those bright lights and people. Of course you keep a hand on your wallet or Murse just the same! I even do that at home. You have to keep you wits about you in areas where they aren’t tons of pedestrians. That goes for everywhere you travel- even in Downtown Toronto. For instance walking along 42nd Street to 8th Avenue later that same evening, we stopped at Timmie’s. (see yesterday’s Blog) There were a couple of questionable gentlemen on the street. They were a little loud for my liking. There appeared to be a Hip Hop club a few doors away. Its best- I think, to be aware of what’s going on around you, yet look like you’re unaware as far as watching them or listening to what is being said.
Do you understand what I mean?
You have to watch and listen, yet go about your own business.

Empire State Building on 34th

Food is everywhere in New York. It’s on every corner, along every street and right on every street courtesy of the plethora of vendors. Back at the New Yorker Hotel we ate at a diner called “The Tick Tock Diner”. Great Food. Fast Service. Clean and bright. We ate there many times. Prices were very reasonable and with the Canadian Dollar soaring against the US Geenback it was a win- win situation.

Oh listen, the Americans have dollar coins now that are about the same colour as our Loonie. I didn’t hear any “pet” names for the round buck and the dollar bill was still there too- in abundance.

More New York next time. Another show, Macy’s and a 4 dollar watch!

Monday, March 28, 2011

ROBBLOG # 240


Do I love New York?

Indeed I do!
Having spent three nights and four days there last week, the Big Apple is a wonderful place to be tucked away as it is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the Empire State.

Expensive?
Not this time. The Canadian dollar stood proudly at a dollar and six cents opposite the Yankee buck. Most things that were already a bit cheaper- were a real bargain. Take a Tee Shirt for instance. A month ago I bought two tee shirts at Giant Tiger Boutique here in Orillia for 2.99. At one store on 34th Street, I almost bought a New York logo’d tee for 3 bucks. Actually with the exchange it would work out to be $2.82
The reason I didn’t buy it?
I have plenty of Tee Shirts.
I did pick up two New York Mugs however, one for 2.99 and another- with a Broadway logo, for $8.99- less the exchange.

Macy's on Herald Square
 We stayed at the New Yorker Hotel, an art-deco hotel on 8th Avenue and 34th Street. Yes, that’s a hop, skip and a jump from Macy’s- the World’s Largest Store! A block south was Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. A few blocks west along 34th Street stood the Empire State Building. We went inside the lobby but we didn’t go to the observation deck. The day was rainy and it was very foggy up top. One of the guides tapped on a frosted window and said to us- “that’s what you see when you go up!”
So we didn’t.
It was $21.50 per person to get to the observation deck plus another 15 bucks to get to the upper-most point. We didn’t need to see the view that badly! Besides, we had a bird’s eye view flying into Newark’s Liberty International Airport, just across the Hudson from NYC.

Getting back to the New Yorker Hotel. www.newyorkerhotel.com

The New Yorker- 8th Ave & 34th St.

It was a great hotel. A bit of history- it’s been around a long while, with art deco design everywhere. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Our room- although not huge which is typical of New York City Hotel rooms, was clean, neat and bright. We were 31 floors up and looked out onto 34th Street and the Hudson River. If I had to say anything of a negative nature, the complimentary Internet was not very good. For instance it continually interrupted the Swisssh Radio stream, so I gave up. One could read the Packet online and The Star however, at times pages loaded slowly. To upgrade it was 9.95 a day. We were there to tour and see a show or two, not to spend our time online.

While on the subject of news and newspapers, one wouldn’t know that Canada was a short 55 minute flight away. Nothing about the Federal election that was to be called and was called- eventually, before we left was on their news. Being able to keep in touch with the news back home is a plus these days with the internet. Even last year in Hawaii, I kept up with my daily papers through their online sites.


Tim Horton's on 42nd Street
 So what had changed and what impressed me?
How about Tim Horton’s for a start? We saw two. One was in Penn Station and another right on 42nd Street along with all the theatres and bright lights. We bought coffee, hot chocolate and a couple of donuts at the 42nd Street location. The donut selection was small maybe because this particular location had an ice cream parlour attached. I’ve seen one on Yonge Street in Toronto like that as well. The coffee was good. The sign said it was manufactured in Rochester. Nowhere inside would you know that this was a “famous” Canadian coffee chain. Just that it started in 1964. The US logo is a bit different too but the words “Tim Horton’s” remain in the same font. It did make our littlepatriotic hearts flutter seeing the sign from a distance as well walked along 42nd and Broadway in the same way as when we saw a huge Maple Leaf Flag snapping in the breeze right in Rockefeller Centre. We don’t know why it was there just in front of a huge water feature but there it was in front of a tall building with a Chase Bank located on the lower floor. Across the way on the opposite corner- Radio City Music Hall.

More New York City next time on this blog.

I’ll tell you about the shows we saw- including the opening night Broadway performance of Trey Parker and Matt Stones’ (the creators of South Park) The Book of Mormon. I also have a story about meeting with Broadway star Harvey Firestein and seeing Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey & Judging Amy) and Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader.

Friday, March 25, 2011

ROBBLOG # 29 W E E K E N D Edition


I just flew back from the "Big Apple"- New York City. Boy are my arms tired!
Badduh-Bing, Baddah- Boom!

No, really. I spent the week in New York.
Saw three shows- even a Broadway opening. How many people do you know who can say that? Hey, I met a couple of famous people and saw a few more but you'll have to wait until I get a chance to write a new blog over the weekend.
That's because I'm laundering, shirts, socks and my poo poo undies.
In the meantime, here's a story I wrote a week and a half ago from a little idea that sort of just popped into my head.
Tom would say- You've been dreaming again...
It's a bit of a "gay" little thing. I hope you'll enjoy it.

At the Carousel 

“Would you like a little beverage?” Jake looked back at me as he stood on the steps leading into the trailer. His blonde, tussled hair shone in the late morning sun.


“Like what?”- I asked.

“Umm. Like some Coffee?” He smiled. "With some Bailey’s."

“Coffee with booze? It’s barely noon!” I paused- “What are you mixing it with?” I knew what the answer would be.

“Come on Dale. Be the big boy that I know you are- I’m mixing it with more coffee and a bit of whipped cream- if you’re lucky!”

“I an lucky you know, lucky to have met you.”

“You say the nicest things!”
With that he disappeared through the trailer door. A few moments later, I saw him step up to a counter which appeared to be a sort of makeshift kitchen within the trailer, a can of coffee in his right hand.
I had a rather perfect view of Jake. He set my heart to thumping. I was just a short distance away but I had a more than pleasant view sitting perched on top of a gorgeous white horse. I felt like a bit of a cowboy on that steed!
Heigh-Ho Silver!
All right, so two things here.
First of all the horse wasn’t real. It was on a merry-go-round, a carousel as Jake had pointed out on our way to the park. Secondly, I felt more like the Queen of England rather than an Alberta cowboy. I just happened to be riding side-saddle. Anyway, I had left my tiara at home. No, the big beauty upon which I sat was a part of the Carnival Carousel- the Toplin Park’s premiere attraction. It was very pretty- just like Jake. There were fifty - maybe even sixty, horses on the merry-go-round, in all colours and various stances. The herd looked magnificent beneath the carousel’s ornate, Victorian-style roof. Hundreds of coloured bulbs lined the pitched ceiling.

I could see through the open door of the trailer where the controls for the carousel where located and apparently the coffee too! Jake twisted off the cap of a bottle of Bailey’s and poured a bit into each mug of hot coffee. Even from high atop the white stallion, I could see the steam rise from the mugs.
He came bounding down the steps, a mug in each hand-
“Here you go, beautiful. Hope you like it!”
“I’m sure I will. I mean I already like what I see!” I smiled.

“You’re cute. You know that Mister!”

Handsome, forthright and complimentary too, I thought.
“So this is the famous Carnival Carousel that you told me about, eh?”

“Yup.” He looked around at the horses held in captive motion. “This is it. Aren’t my girls beautiful? I designed each and every one. The roof too. Don’t you think it’s pretty. All that sparkle up there!”

“Strikingly so. Just like you as a matter of fact!”

“Flattery will get you anywhere and everywhere!”- He laughed. “So, Dale, you get right to the point don’t you.” He smiled that smile.

“I call ‘em as I see ‘em and like I said- I do like what I see!”
I can’t believe I just said that to this handsome man in the tight jeans with the fashionable tear across each knee. I quickly changed the subject-
“So, you were saying you designed this carousel yourself?”

“Yes, I did. It started as a dream back as a kid I guess. I was always mesmerized by carousel rides- especially the over-the-top, really beautiful ones. You know with lots of glitter and gold.”

“So you have a thing for stiff horses?”
Damn did I really say that- stiff?

He choked on his coffee.
“Stiff? You filthy thing!” He grabbed a breath and laughed. His blue eyes sparkling.

I could feel the red begin to rise in my cheeks.
“Oh, I…I didn’t mean…”

“No, no that’s cute. Of course you meant it. Listen after last night, feel free to call it whatever you like- stiff or otherwise!”

“Jake, I want to be serious here. It was really great last night. I enjoyed every minute of it. If I kept a diary I’d be writing for a week! Believe me.”

“Well, now, I don’t know about that but what I do remember is a whole lot of squealing going on at some point- if I remember correctly!”

“Oh, like you don’t scream like a little girl!” I gulped the coffee.

“Guilty as charged but only with the right man and if I may, I’d like to say- I think I have found him.”

I blushed again. He saw that I might need a moment and quickly continued.

“Look, Dale, you may think my beauties are- well..” He turned to me and chuckled- “stiff’ as you called them but there’s really quite a lot of life in each of them.”
He ran his strong hands over the backs of several of the horses as I hung on every word and believe me, hung was the “right” word to use in Jake’s case.
Aren’t I awful?
He went on- “All you have to do is imagine them being brought to life and look for it. Most important of all, you just have to believe.” He threw a solid arm around the neck of a particularly robust, ebony stallion.

“Just look at this fellow’s eyes. Look at the ‘life’ in there. It’s like he’s ready to jump off the pole he’s attached to and gallop to the nearest field.”
You could tell that this Carousel for Jake was his greatest achievement.
“Yes, impressive. I must admit, they all look very real. Quite believable and solidly constructed!” Shit, I said solidly and I’m sure I glanced right at his bulging chest.
Serves him right for wearing one of the tightest white tees I had ever seen!

“How’s your coffee holding up” He pointed to my mug.

“More?” he smiled.

“Yes. Yes of course. I’ll have a bit more.”
“Bailey’s too?”

“No, I think I’ll pass on that just coffee would be great!” This was quite perfect. The day. The coffee. The man. I think I was happy.

“Hey…” Jake yelled from inside the trailer. “You wanna go see that show tonight?”

“What show?”

“You know the show we talked about last night. The one about the Drag Queens out in the dessert.” He held a fresh mug of coffee in each of his big, well-tanned hands and bounded down the steps. “I think it would be fun!”
He passed me a mug.

“Oh you mean Priscilla? There’s no horses in it Jake-you know that?”
He handed me the glass. “I know but there’s plenty of beef- isn’t there?

“Yes, there’s plenty of “beef”. Music and dancing too but mostly beef- just like a Harvey’s Hamburger!”

“Great, let’s see if we can get a pair of tickets and go. We can stop buy your place first for your stuff and then do dinner and then the show. After we can go to that club that...”

“Okay Cowboy- whoa!” We do what and then what?”

“Am I moving too fast? Sorry.”

“No, no…well, maybe a bit. My poor brain has to take this all in, you know.”
I was overcome. Can this be happening and all in a matter of days? I had just met Jake through a friend less than a week ago. It was moving fast but I had to admit, it felt so natural. So right.

“Look, Dale, we’ll go easy…”

“Oh, that’s what you call last night!”

He was firm. “We’ll go easy. I don’t want to muck this up. You decide but I know you feel the same way that I do. It’s Kismet, you know.”

“It’s what?” I stared at him mid-sip. “It’s Kismet?”

“It’s Kismet. It’s meant to be. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and I want the rest of my life to be with you and only you! It can be that easy…and no comments from the peanut gallery!”
“You did say ‘peanut’ just then- didn’t you?” I started to laugh.

Jake just stared at me. An warm, intent stare.
I quickly contained my mirth- “Wow. Kismet. The rest of our lives. That’s not that fast- is it? That’s just eternity. Forever and ever.”

He smiled. “An eternity with you. Forever.”

“You say the most beautiful things. Promise me one thing?”

"What’s that?”- He put down the mug and stood with his hands on his hips.

“Just don’t ever put a saddle on me and tie me to a pole like your girls here?”

“You’re sure about that. Sounds like fun to me?”

“Look big boy, dinner, a show and then we’ll talk. We have an eternity- apparently.”

He stepped forward and wrapped his strong arms around me and kissed me on the lips harder than he had the night before.
I melted. I felt safe…but most of all- I felt happy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ROBBLOG # 238


You all know Rock Hudson right?

Did you know that for his entire movie, television and stage career, his public and fans thought him to be a heterosexual?
A straight man.
A breeder.  

You may also know that once he contracted Aids, he came out to the world- before he died. It set a precedent and brought the plight of Aids victims and the “Aids Crisis” from obscurity to the forefront of headline news around the world. It was a good thing Mr. Hudson set himself free towards the end.
If he had of contracted Aids today, he would have lived a much longer, healthier life. It was sad that he had to live his life as a lie- at least to most of the world.  Friends, family, the Hollywood studios and gossip mongers knew the truth however. They even covered for him. The studio married him to a woman no less, yet all the while he was having man-to-man sex. He would invite men- especially blonde men, to his Hollywood Mansion to parties- pool parties, if I remember correctly from reading his biography.
Randolph and Cary in their Pool


He wasn’t the only actor to lead a double life back in those old Hollywood days- and nights. Cary Grant shared a home with Randolph Scott. They lived together, attended parties together, went on holidays together even swam in pools together.
Now, come on…I don’t have to tell you what else they did- do I?
Okay. I will.
They starred together in a movie back in1940 called “My Favourite Wife”.
Irene Dunn was the wife.
Guess who was the husband?
Cary Grant. Tah-Dah!
You see, in the mocie Randolph and Irene spend time together-shipwrecked or something, on a desert island. They return home unexpectedly.
When Irene finally tells Cary she wasn’t quite alone on the island, Cary goes to Randolph’s hotel and finds the strapping lad in the pool in a rather tight and skimpy bathing suit.
Yow!

Now, another cutie-patootie- Montgomery Clift, also wore his loafers rather lightly. It’s why I always have a difficult time buying into his character in the movie From Here to Eternity. Monty was a close friend of Liz Taylor who- like Doris Day and others, were female magnets for the Gay Boys in Hollywood.
Fag hags to be more specific.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
All Gay Men had and have their Fag Hags. It’s a right of passage that goes with the territory.

Getting back to Rock, I watched a Mr. Hudson movie recently. That’s why- in part, I have written this blog about Mr. Hudson and men of his”ilk”. The movie was All That Heaven Allows and was made in1955. Rock’s co-star was Jane Wyman. The movie was a schlocky bit of stuff that pulled at your heartstrings- especially the scene with the cute little deer that wanders into view through the window of an old mill that Rock has converted into a home with his own two, bare hands.
My, he was a handsome bit of man in that movie.

In a nutshell here’s a synopsis of the film.
Jane Wyman’s husband has died.
Rock is the gardener who prunes her bush.
Now, don’t get ahead of me!
Eventually, she falls in love with him.
Her cronies/friends at a cocktail party she attends with Rock are enraged and talk in front of as well as behind her back.
Skags!
Her grown children are even more put off and tell her so.
I would have “bitch-slapped both of them and returned their Christmas Gifts!
Finally- after Rock has an unfortunate accident- he falls off a snowy cliff, Jane comes to her senses, rushes to his bedside at Christmastime and-
Cue the deer at the window.
The End.

Rock holding Jane's Bush...er tree!
 There is quite a funny line buried in the movie. I have to laugh when I hear it. Rock and a friend are out in the bush being “manly”, shooting at quail or ducks or something that flies.

Rock takes aim at a passing duck and misses!
His friend says: “Try putting bullets in that thing!”- pointing to his rifle.

Rock looks down at the gun in his strong, sun-kissed hands and says all sober-faced-
“I can’t shoot straight anymore- I guess.”

Hah! Hah! Hah!

When he says it, he is just so “dead-pan”.
I wonder what passed through his mind as he said the words?
I know what went through mine…

All those blonde boys with the golden tans and the bulging biceps, swimming naked across the shimmering water of his Hollywood Hills pool.

Friday, March 18, 2011

ROBBLOG # 237 W E E K E N D Edition

A Conversation with the “Big Guy”.

Good Day everyone.
Today I am very excited- to say the least. I have the pleasure of welcoming God to the RobBlog interview couch.
Hello God. Thank you for coming today

You are very welcome, my Son. It’s a pleasure.

Now first off, Almighty- may I call you God?

Certainly.

God, the presence I see before me, is that the image you project to people you meet every day?
What? This Stephen Harper look? No, Rob, I did it for you. Are you not pleased?

No. Not really. I am no fan of Stephen Harper, Sir.

Oh, I heavenly apologize for that. How about this?

Celine Dion? Really? Your majesty...

Who would you like to see when you gaze upon me?

Ummm. Anyone I like?

Yes, I am the “Omnipotent Almighty” after all.

How about Hugh Jackman?

An excellent choice! Bomm Challah!

Wait! Bomm Challah?

It’s a little thing I say- like abracadabra. It’s a little showbiz, A little “flashy”- but it’s Heaven!
~poof!~

Oh that is good. You look just like Mr. Jackman- although I must admit- I did expect him to be wearing a shirt.

Oh well, if you’d rather…

No! No! This is fine. I can deal with this. It’s…very nice.

Actually Rob, I quite enjoy sitting here in the image of Mr. Jackman. He’s quite the big man, isn’t he? Look at this tremendous chest I have- uh, he has. It’s really more than I could have ever hoped for when making a man- even Adam, don’t you think?

Yes. Definitely. You did good God. ..but Adam? Really??

Sorry, sometimes I get all caught up in the hype!

So, how would you sum up the earth today and your people? Are your people a disappointment to you or are you pleased with where they are today.

Well Rob, to be truthful, the cavemen and women were much easier to handle. They didn’t require much and they pretty much kept to themselves but you take people today- the Catholics and the Baptists for instance- Whew! What a bunch of work and just who died and made him Pope?
I see.

Oh yes indeed. They’re all- give me this. Give me that. Questions like- what can I do O Great Redeemer so as not to burn in the fires of hell for an eternity.
So, there is a Hell then, Hugh- I mean God.

Oh ~chuckles~ no, of course not. That’s just something that Satan and I made up, you know, to keep the “peeps” in line.

Satan? You mean he really exists?

She.

She?

Well, the last time we had lunch it was she. Satan changes his- uh, her “looks” a lot. Typical women- when she is one.

Oh, like you?

Oh Goodness no. I just do this for fun. For you. I don’t keep up this charade of being, well, Mr. Jackman. This is simply a party joke- if you will. No, Satan grabs an idea and sticks with it. Like this woman thing. She who will be obeyed! She even has Tee Shirts made up.

Wow. Sounds a bit quirky!

Oh Rob, you don’t know the half of it. No, I work closely with her. A person in my position up there in Heaven has to have some way of keeping the infidels in order and threatening the weaker folks- those that can’t think for themselves, with Hell and Damnation seems to do the trick. I mean that is a nice way, Rob.

What about the rest of us?
Oh, you mean the so-called “unbelievers”?

Yes.

There’s no such thing- even though the Baptists would have the world think that everyone who doesn’t “toe the line” is thrown into the pits of fiery old hell. Say, you know what really burns my supreme being ass?

No what?

A flame about so high!! ~Laughs~ Good Lord, I love that joke. ~laughing~

So, what you’re saying is this religion thing all a charade. It’s just something…

Something mortal man made up Rob. Oh yes, I’ve been sitting up there in Heaven for generations trying to mind my own business but the human race just got so whiny. No one could make a move without hearing something from a higher authority. Why do you think the Gods of Mount Olympus just sort of disappeared?

Why?
They got fed up with all the belly-aching. They live in another Galaxy now and are quite happy. I visit them every summer for a week. You see earth-bound folks just yearn for attention- even if it has a debilitating effect on their fellow human beings. They want direction. They pray for that. Funny though…

What?

Well, I never asked for that. They started it. Oh, I intercepted a few thoughts that people started sending my way, so I listened- when I could. I never expected it to get out of hand. Look Rob, each and every one of you have the power to think and do for yourselves. You can all make decisions. You all know right from wrong- well except for those who don’t quite get it. Those that kill and maim and oppress. Otherwise, life is an absolute gift. Enjoy it. You know, someone should just rise up and tell those oppressors to stand down and shut the fuck up! Get on with living.

Oh my!

What? You’re surprised that I throw in a “naughty” word now and then? Look I had this idea for a book a couple of centuries back. I had the draft written. It was not finished by any means. Then, when someone passed on years ago and just happened to go to the same country club up in Heaven as me…

Wait! You have a country club in Heaven?

We’re not savages Rob. Anyway, this person was having a martini with my friends one afternoon and I just happened to have the manuscript with me and it doesn’t say anything about using that word. I should know. I wrote the damn book.

You were having a Martini?

Rob. You don’t get out much do you? Who ever said that a little Martini or two was a bad thing? Certainly not Karen Walker! Or me- for that matter.

Karen Walker? But she’s just a character on a TV show!!

Is she? Is she really Rob? Or is she a Goddess sent down to earth by me?

Well…I…um…maybe…

Cat got your tongue? Listen, Rob there are many great things in Heaven and Earth that can’t be explained- including "house of worship". I love that phrase- “House of Worship”. What is it with some of you people and the need to worship something? You see, nobody needs to worship me and build a massive, ornate cathedral or even a mud hut to express that purpose. It’s all a bit of earthly hogwash! Mortal man made all that stuff up- not me. I was out on the links one day and I come back home to find that a bunch of guys had sat around a table and decided this was how it was going to be. I never asked for that. They decreed this was “the” book of all books and the people followed- at least some did. Where is it written that you can’t lead a happy and fulfilled life without attending some organized “sing-me-a-song” and “fall-down-on-your-knees and praise a higher power”- church.

I see. So, we have it wrong.

I never say anyone is wrong Rob, You. We. Me. We all do what we can each day and hope that we learn a bit and get better with age- like a fine wine. Which reminds me, just to bring us back on topic.

You mean the Martini.

Yes. So anyway, there we were sitting having a little drinky-poo and I guess this person grabbed my manuscript, had a look at it and was able to transmit what I had written back to earth and bing, bang, boom, next thing I know it’s something called a Bible and people are taking it verbatim. It was just a book. A book of stories, Rob. Nothing more. Its a sad fact that it’s all gotten out of hand and don’t get me started on the Koran or that fellah in Utah either. Good grief, I don’t know how you people keep it all together here on earth sometimes…Oh, look at the size of the calf muscles I have! Well, well, well!

They’re the result of Mr. Jackman’s hoofing.

His hoofing?

Dancing. He’s a dancer.

Oh yes. That’s right. He is. Wait until I show the angels these beauties. He certainly has the legs of a sturdy Rockette.

Rockette? You know the Rockettes?

Oh Heck yes. I’ve been to the Christmas Spectacular a dozen times.
I’m not even going to ask.

Yes, I like the “feel” of these gigantic gamms of Hugh Jackman. I might just come up with something similar for me, you know, for the days I spend walking along Heaven’s beaches. So, do you think that legs and a chest like this would turn Heavenly heads?

Heavenly heads?

Don’t you look so surprised, Rob, there is a place for vanity in Heaven too.

There is? Does Hugh know you have his, that is to say, that you look exactly like him at this very moment.

Oh, good gosh no! What you see when you look at me is simply a mirror image. I just “conjure” this up. Heavenly Power. Your head would explode is I told you how it’s done. Besides, I just use it for a while. The true image is still Mr. Jackman’s property- rest assured.

Well God, you certainly have enlightened me- all of us, if I might presume. Listen. Will you come back again? I’d like to continue this conversation.

Most certainly. May I change back into more “comfortable shoes”- if you get my drift, if you don’t mind.

Of course, please do, God.

It is one thing to sit on this couch but to get up and walk around with this “six-pack” would take some getting used to. Believe in me, Rob.
~Poof!~
There! Lordy! Although, I really liked being in Hugh Jackman’s body, it’s nice to be back looking like this.

Oh my Goodness!!

What? You don’t like Jack Layton either??
Uh, thanks for this God.
This is Rob Reid for Rob Reid Online and ROBBLOG.
Until next time!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ROBBLOG # 236


Sometimes I need to get a life.

I throw some days away and accomplish very little. That comes from being retired- at least in the Windmills of my Mind.

Truthfully, I don’t always sit and vegetate. Today, I wrote a six page story about an interview I did- with God, of all people! It came to me when I woke up this morning. I started to write and I could hear the interview in my mind. God was talking too.
He was great. Maybe she. He/She asked me in what form I would like to see him/her resemble. I said Hugh Jackman and with a snap of a majestic finger I was talking to God who just happened to be in Hugh Jackman’s form.
God was pleased.
So was I.

The entire interview will be published on the Rob Reid Online Blogspot and probably Swisssh the Website too. There’s something in it for all of us to learn about God. For instance, God loves the Rockettes!
Who knew?
Maybe I’ll be the new Ron L. Hubbard or Mormon fellah- what’s his name?
I can see the headlines now-

“GOD TALKS ONE TO ONE WITH CANUK- Peter Mansbridge fumes!”

But here's something else I did that same day.
I thought you might get a chuckle- if I told you.

I was looking at one of my Swisssh Radio servers to determine what countries were listening to Swisssh Radio at that precise moment. I do that throughout the broadcast day. Now, I don’t want to freek anyone out- you understand. I think I did that already when I said hello to someone listening in a European Country.
Co-incidence?
Maybe.
I don’t do that anymore, although here I am writing about it.

Maybe I should think about changing the names of the country to protect the listener’s identity.

…This is me thinking about whether or not I should do that…

…This is me answering- Naw…

You see, I am able to see where listeners are located- anywhere in the world. A Google map displays country names. I can look at a satellite view as well.
A little Star Trekky- isn’t it?

Among many listeners to Swisssh Radio, are people living in various cities in Germany.
I know not why.
In fact last week I had Tom record a station ID for me in German- since he was born in Berlin and that is his first language. When I see a bunch of listeners from Germany, I throw on the ID. Usually it happens in mid to late afternoon because of the 6 hour time difference between Canada and Germany.
Haven't got an e-mail from anyone- yet. The e-mail address is mentioned in one of the recorded German language ID's.

I have a listener or two in Turkey. Probably in a "cave" out the desert.
Oshawa Ben Lahden! !
That's what I thought too.
Maybe I found him and he listens to Swisssh Radio!
What would the world think about that?
Now today, I had someone listening from a new place in the country of Turkey.
Someone was listening from Istanbul, on the shores of the Sea of Marmara which connects via a river from the Black Sea into the Sea of Marmara and then into the Aegean Sea towards Greece.
I even had someone in Thessalonia listening a week ago.
Small World?
Yes.
Now the water might actually might flow the other way from the Aegean to the Sea of Marmara and then to the Black Sea. I can’t tell from the Google Map.
As I looked at a map of the City Of Istanbul and it’s various streets, I had a thought- Why not play "Istanbul-not Constantinople" by the Four Lads over the radio.
So I did.
What fun, eh?

Then later that same afternoon, I had someone listening from London, England.
Jolly good!
The Queen maybe?
No, someone a few blocks from Buckingham Palace. It was actually in the neighbourhood of The British Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. I know the area. I've walked along that very street.

I have this Swisssh Radio Station ID I play from time to time that features Queen Elizabeth. Okay, so I do her Majesty's voice. It’s not the real Queen Elizabeth.
I couldn’t afford her.
The “Queen”in the promo, says she loves to listen to Swisssh Radio-hem, hem, hem! The announcer part tells the listener that Swisssh Radio is for Central Ontario and just maybe Buckingham Palace too.
I played it over the air and wondered what that person listening to Swisssh Radio- just a few minutes from Buckingham Palace and a hop, skip and a jump from Westminster Abbey, might think.
Once again- no response..

Fun though, isn’t it?

Educational as well. It certainly has improved my geographical skills- tenfold!

By the way, if one day The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) knocks on my door- speak well of me well, while I’m gone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

ROBBLOG # 235


Out in the Barn Part III- Summer Sausage

“Hello Girls! What’s shakin?”

It was Helen from housestall twenty-two.

“Hey Helen. Nothing much. Lilloweth and I just watched a moovelous old moovie starring Rock Hudson.”-gushed Betsy.

“Such a handsome human. He was quite the looker in his day-wasn’t he?”- says Lilloweth.

“I suppose.” Helen sighed. “If you like that type of human”. Helen’s gaze was taken away to the north end of the barn where Farmer Frank was pitching fresh hay into the stalls. His forearms were bulging.

Betsy noticed her heavy sigh.
“Why Helen, I declare you have a thing for Farmer Frank and at your age too!”

“She has a what?” Lilloweth shut off the television and the Blue Ray player. “a crush on Farmer Frank?”

Helen was a little bit embarrassed. She looked at the barn floor and raising her head slowly said- “I’m not sure it’s a crush Lilly, it’s more of an appreciation for humankind. Just look at those brawny arms. See how strong Farmer Frank is? Why it’s as if he’s heaving nothing at all!”

“For goodness sake girlfriend. Get a grip. Yes of course we all think Farmer Frank is nice.”

“Kind too.”- Lilloweth added, “Most kind. Why he even bought me this lovely TV so I could watch my movies.”

“That’s right!”- says Betsy. “Now just how many farmers would do such a thing?”

“Oh I know he does all these kind things girls but...” Helen stopped mid-sentence.

“But what?”-quizzed Betsy.

“But. But. He still is a very handsome man and I just like to look. Why remember last summer when we were sprawled under that big old tree down by the swimming hole on that very hot summer afternoon?
The girls nodded.
“When all of a sudden along comes Farmer Frank.”

“Oh yes, I remember. He was clad in just a pair of little red bathing trunks.”-says Lilloweth. “He was just so darn handsome and human.”

“He was and do you remember what he did gals?”- Helen looked back and forth at Betsy and Lilloweth.
The gals shook their heads no.
“Well Dears I do. I remember only too well. He stopped at the big rock at the edge of the pond and looked this way and that.”
Helen demonstrated.
“Then he rolled those little red trunks down his belly and hind legs, crawled up on that big old rock and jumped with all the gusto he could muster right into that cool water!”

“Oh yes. It was quite the splash!”- cried Betsy. “Now that I think of it, Farmer Frank was the picture of athleticism that day! For a humankind at least!”

“Oh mooore than that!”-Lilloweth bellowed. “I remember thinking for a human, he was quite moovelously…”
She stopped for a moment and started to giggle. Betsy joined in.

“Girls! Girls! Get a grip!”- Helen was trying to hush the girls for she was certain that Farmer Frank would wonder what all the commotion and cow-giggles were about.
“Ladies!” Helen brought a hoof to her lips and motioned to Betsy and Lilloweth to be quiet. “Now, I am serious here. Keep your voices down. My goodness! What if Farmer Frank heard you cackling like a little schoolcow?”

Betsy gasped for air and through bovine tears of laughter she cried- “Helen do you remember what we all saw when Farmer Frank lumbered out of that pond that hot summer afternoon?”

Helen looked perturbed. “Of course, I remember Bets!”
She tried to keep a straight cowface. “We all lay there under that big old tree and when Farmer Frank came out of the water we all saw..?

“Yes? What did we see? Say it Helen!”- Lilloweth prodded her to tell the story.

“Helen continued. “We all saw him in the most humanist…”

“Yes! Humanist and…?? ” Betsy and Lilloweth could barely contain themselves.

Helen looked up the housestalls at Farmer Frank who was still pitching hay and said-
“Oh Girls, I’ll say it then. We saw his big human weenie!”

Betsy and Lilloweth dropped to their knees and started to laugh so hard they could barely catch their breath.

“Now stop it you two. You are terribly bad. Look. Hush up or Farmer Frank will throw down his pitchfork and come see what the trouble is!” Helen’s tone was firm. She tapped her hooves on the housestall floor.
Eventually Betsy and Lilloweth contained their laughter. Lilloweth spoke.
“Oh Dear Helen. That was quite a site to be sure. Why even the bulls were speechless. Who knew that human males could sling such sausage!”

In a brief second Betsy and Lilloweth were drowning in laughter once again.

“You two are just too much. I’ll see you both later when you have reached a certain level of decorum- for ladies of your “milk” that is.”

Helen sashayed away to her housestall. If she could have blushed, she would have. Her heart beat just a little faster too. As she turned into her housestall she grabbed another quick glance towards Farmer Frank and smiled sweetly.

If only…

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ROBBLOG # 234 W E E K E N D Edition

Didyaever? Well, did ya?

Didyaever wish you could always remember where you last put your glasses?

Didyaever want to be able to grow Palm Trees in your yard?

Didyaever think that things in life couldn’t possibly get any worse than they are- and yet they do?

Didyaever want to be 20 again? Maybe 40? OK. I’ll take 50!

Didyaever wish that people who send you “SPAM” e-mails- about making your Penis bigger, would have their computers blow up in their face.

Didyaever think what it would be like if either Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) or Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) were your neighbours and they cut the grass a couple of times a week shirtless?
I know.
I am a tramp…and proud of the fact.

Didyaever hope that just for a change someone else would say “I’m sorry”?

Didyaever wonder why young people “spit”? Why can’t a huge gust of wind come up and throw that mouth gizm right back in their face.

Didyaever think seriously about global warming after the first week of this blasted month of March? What a charade.

Didyaever stop and think- why bother?

Didyaever wish that people were “colour” blind?

Didyaever put two and two together and eventually find you were wrong?

Didyaever cry during a movie or when your vet calls to tell you your yellow lab’s growth is benign?

Didyaever want to see someone who’s “passed on”- just one more time?

…..well, did ya?

Friday, March 11, 2011

ROBBLOG # 233

For pete’s sake, will March ever lighten up and give us a string of warmish, sunny, spring-like days?

I am fed up with all the snow and now- all the rain.
Of course, we don’t have to shovel the rain- do we?
Before you read further, I must warn you, I am in a bit of
a mood. Blame it on the rain. Some of the stuff that follows
is blunt to say the least. So you have been warned.

I see the Harperites are at it again. Running the Government of Canada…..uh….excuse me- The Harper Government, their way. Hardly seems like “our Canada” some days does it, yet many Canadians would gladly stand in line to kiss Harper’s big Conservative ass! Of course guess who would be first in line. So, if you are a dyed-in-the-wool reformer you couldn’t be first to smooch a lily-white buttock.

Like I said in a blog a few days ago, maybe it’s time to give Jack Layton a chance. Too bad we didn’t have a strong person running for the NDP in Simcoe North. See, if we could vote locally and for a leader we could place an “x” for Jack. Of course in our democracy we can’t. Soon in our dictatorship- run by one man and his party, there’ll be a lot of things we won’t be able to do.

What’s this crap about a “tea party north”. Can’t we ever come up with something on our own? Why as Canadians do we all have our lips firmly planted on American Ass? I mean really, there are some American asses I would love to kiss but the idea of a tea party in this land? On the other hand- or cheek if you will, there are some pretty cute Canadian asses I’d plant a smooch on too like Allan Hawco of CBC Television’s “Republic of Doyle”.
Now that’s Canada Grade a Prime!

Allan Hawco
 Do you remember me telling you in a blog a couple of years ago about that group of five guys who threw six dozen eggs on our house one Sunday evening in June about midnight? They not only threw eggs, they screamed- “Faggot!” Then they all ran up the street under the cover of darkness like the bunch of “pussies” they were- and are.
Charming eh?
I also told you the police dropped the investigation- at least we believe they did. You see, no one every told us one way or the other what happened with the on going investigation.
Then yesterday, I’m waiting to turn into my drive when I see two of these guys walk past on the sidewalk in front of our garage.
My heart skips a beat- and not in good way, every time I see them. One guy even nods and they both smile. Isn’t that nice and neighbourly?
I know their faces from the pictures the cops showed us. Guess we still have to live with these homophobic bastards living just up the street from our house.

So that monstrosity of a public library is taking shape on Mississaga Street, West- next to the Opera House. What do you think of it? Take an up close and personal look. Just walk around the back wall of the Opera House and look up. It can only get better but I think it’s going to be an albatross on the streetscape of Downtown Orillia.
That’s it for now. I feel a bit better. Bitching can be a good thing now and then- can’t it?
Hope you feel better now too.

Until next time…

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ROBBLOG # 232


I watched a great little 10 minute video the other day.

Don Andrews a radio friend sent it to me.
I think he was prompted to do that after reading the last blog I wrote about Swisssh Radio turning four years old on March 7th 2011. It was a fascinating little video presentation from one of those “smart” fellows that do fascinating little videos.

This guy posts his stuff on You Tube and gets many thousands of hits and I presume, turns it into profit- somehow. The video talked about economic behaviour- and purpose.

Do you have purpose?
I believe I do.
Some days it doesn’t seem like I do but then I look around me and I realize I am quite the lucky guy because I do have purpose in my life- even today at my age.
Age.
That is another story for another time but as I get closer to my 60th this year, it is on my mind a lot. I believe it is good to have purpose at this advanced state of decay.

In a nutshell the video was talking about companies- employers, allowing their workforce to come up with ideas and such and not get results exclusively based on how much an employee gets paid.It was saying one should allow individuals to have and find purpose and they’ll blossom and the outcome will be tenfold. I don’t think I have covered all the angles here but you probably get the drift.

I believe in a small way, this is how I have always treated people and do so today especially with Swisssh and my theatrical group The Garage Door Players. I have purpose and allow people to develop purpose and ideas. Let them- as well as myself, challenge what they do. It is strange economic behaviour but people need to be challenged and have a purpose to do better. To be satisfied with the final result.

I challenge myself all the time.
I most certainly don't make much money at it.
I mean look- I just wrote one stage show back in the late summer /early fall. I directed it and hired the talent and starred in it in December- along with a terrific cast. We even managed to donate 600 bucks to a local non profit organization.

At the same time, I was also learning dialogue for another show- 450 lines of dialogue as a matter of fact in varying sizes. The longest was a page and a half monologue.
Challenging indeed!
All that dialogue took me weeks to learn.
That gave me purpose.

At the same time, I write almost daily- my RobBlog is just one example. I keep Swisssh Radio on the air and Swisssh the Website current on a daily basis.
I don't know how I do it all sometimes- or why I do it. There are times when I would just like to close everything down and sit and knit in a corner. That would have some degree of purpose- wouldn’t it?
Oh wait!
I just remembered.
I can't knit!

Sometimes there is payback. The show I just finished for Mariposa Arts Theatre called "Looking" is being picked up by another production company. They have hired the same actors and a couple of Stage Managers. The show- a Norm Foster comedy, will be part of the summer season at the Gravenhurst Opera House in July- fingers crossed. There are still some “t’s” to be crossed and “I’s” to be dotted.

Back to “purpose”.
I worked for Rogers when a local radio station was Lite FM and then JACK FM. All Rogers cared about was the profit margin. They made fewer of us at their Orillia station do the work of many.
There was no purpose. We should have been a vibrant part of the community we served. For the most part we were a masquerade. The staff lost purpose and we did less than we had ever done.
Many of the same staffers who worked their butts off for a radio station called “EZ Rock” just didn’t have the same drive for this company called Rogers.

I do far more these days for me, since retiring.
I am self-directed- that’s the term used in this video.
However, I don't make a ton of cash. I like being able to say to people- Hey, I am self-directed. It would be even more satisfying to have a million dollars in your bank account as you say it. The moral to this story and the video I watched?

If I could take what I know and mix it with the collective knowledge of a few friends and associates who have the same “bent”, it would translate our purpose into cash flow. I am talking about Net Radio Broadcasters if you are having difficulty following my thought. Our purpose would become greater and we'd be able to pay the bills and fly to Hawaii three or four times a year!!
That's the part that doesn't work.

Many people and organizations have economic purpose and expect me to put stuff on Swisssh the Website and Swisssh Radio for free.
They have purpose.
I have purpose as well.
I didn’t used to be so free but today- most of the time, I do it because it gives me purpose. I tend to be more selective- but not without purpose and definitely not profit.

The video is at http://www.thatvideosite.com/

Thus endeth my lesson.
I'm tired now.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ROBBLOG # 231


Swisssh Radio has been on the Internet as a Radio Station for 4 years March 7, 2011.

Happy Birthday to us,
Happy Birthday to us,
Happy Birthday Swisssh Radio-
Happy Birthday to us!

Please, if you must sing the song, do it quietly and under your breath. Somebody might be listening and charge you royalty fees on the song lyrics or music.

Yes, Swisssh Radio has made it to the 4 year plateau. Four years broadcasting 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. There were a lot of problems getting the station to run smoothly in the beginning. There were days when I wanted to throw several computers out the studio window. However, with Charles’ technical savvy, the station stayed on-air and is in a good place today. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Charles.
Thank you Chuck!

The streams are smooth and consistent- unless Mr. Rogers decides to throttle the broadband which affects the encoders. He received a “stiff” e-mail letter from me two weeks ago and later that evening the throttling business stopped. Then again, that same week the CRTC also slapped his Net wrist and said- “stop what you’re doing to your customers. We know you’re throttling because we get letters!”
Once again they heeded the bosses at the CRTC.

Today on Swisssh you still hear great music. Eclectic and diverse. We’ve had “live” programming over the years from the likes of K.C. from California, Don Andrews from Studio B in Toronto and Phil Kushner from LG 73 in Vancouver. None of those shows are in existence today but there’s hope that Don Andrews will do something “live” again- if some sponsors get involved.

You still hear Don’s voice on commercials and station ID’s. I am so grateful for his help and he does it all whenever I ask and for a “pittance” too! He says it keeps him in coffee for Studio B.

Russ Horton- another Net Radio friend, runs D-Moos Halton Hills Radio in Georgetown.
He’s also ready to record a spot or two when I ask. I return the favour. Thanks Russ!

K.C. in Northern California at Humboldt 101 also does the occasional spot for me.
I am lucky in that regard.

Don Andrews could be in “living, breathing colour” daily- in the windmills of your radio mind, if we could just nab some high-profile sponsors like a Tim Horton’s or McDonalds etc. I have been trying but with no sales department and no contacts it’s a huge mountain to climb alone.
I have hope.

Today, Swisssh Radio has become an international station really. That’s why- in part, I don’t bother with fetching new, local advertisers. Half of the broadcast day listeners are from outside the Orillia area. I don’t know why locals aren’t listening. I guess like most things in Orillia, if there isn’t a hockey stick attached, most people could care less. Many may still not grasp listening to radio on the Internet. In Europe for instance, it’s second nature.
In the formative years of Swisssh the Website and Swisssh Radio, I did tons of local stuff. There were interviews, reviews of shows and stories. I was even on location at local events. It was fun but time-consuming. I started to do less.

There was no payback in most cases. Everybody wanted it for free. Nobody wanted to pay for something on the Internet- even though it took hours of my time. Initially I would get a couple of advertisers and then that stopped. The website Swisssh.ca will be 5 years old on July 20th.

Today, there are other sites out there. Some have come and gone but I keep plugging away. I am waiting for the day when larger advertisers will tie-in. As for the website, there used to be about 100,000 pages viewed each month. I don’t think I’ve checked the stats in more than a year. In fact I am toying with the idea of the website being strictly for Swisssh Radio and the “players” that allow you to listen. It would once again be a lot less work for me. For now though, the community info will remain on the site.

This celebration today is for Swisssh Radio. A happy 4 years old!
Listeners are diverse. I posted a blog a few weeks ago listing the city and country names of listeners. I can add to that again.
Swisssh Radio has listeners in:

Verona, Italy
Preston, U.K.
Lvov, Ukraine
London U.K.
Hsinchu City, Tawain
Moca, Puerto Rico
Beverley Hills, Florida (who knew?)
Pasali, Turkey
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Titz, Germany (Tee Hee!)
Thesssalonia, Greece
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Westchester, Illinois USA
Alcita, Japan
Richmond Hill, Ontario,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
Schleiz, Germany,
Buxtehude, Germany,
Hamelin, Germany
Munchberg, Germany
Gladbeck, Germany
Becsvolgye, Hungary,
Dublin, Ireland,
Durham, North Carolina, USA
Gaborne, Botswana
Jerrabomberra, New South Wales, Australlia

Quite a list n’est ce-pas?
There’s more too.
Germany is the country with the most Swisssh Radio listeners. Many of them are daily listeners. Eat your heart out CBC Radio!
It’s difficult to build an advertising base on such widespread listenership. That’s why I have that little PayPal “donate” button on the website. If you have a PayPal account you can simply wish Swisssh Radio a happy 4th Birthday by slipping a few bucks our way to pay for the servers that send the signal to your computer.
I would be humbled.

Yes, much has changed in 4 years. Net Radio is more portable. I listen to Swisssh in my vehicle through my iPad. You can also listen through an iPhone. I know of several listeners who do using an FM transmitter. They’re cheap at The Source.

Finally, thanks for listening and the support that comes from those of you that listen to Swisssh Radio or at least browse the website. We love to get your e-mails- swisssh@rogers.com

It is sincerely appreciated!

Friday, March 4, 2011

ROBBLOG # 230 W E E K E N D Edition

That cutie-pie Jack Layton is having surgery.

It happens Friday and he hopes to be up and walking for the weekend. Olivia- Mrs Layton, Chow has high hopes. He’s been stumbling around on crutches trying to keep hairline fracture damage in his hip, to a minimum. It hasn’t helped so he goes under the knife.

Jack hopes that he’ll be back in the House of Commons for Harper’s budget. In fact from what I have read, it may be Mr. Layton who actually saves Parliament. It would give the Harperites a few more months to “hang” themselves or to…no, hang themselves.

Here’s a wish I have.
Let’s just vote for Jack and the NDP this time and see how he runs the country. I think it would be good.
It would be a change.
God at this point a moose living at 24 Sussex would be a welcome change.

Hey did you see where the words- “Harper Government” has effectively replaced “The Government of Canada” on official forms.
Can you believe it?
That Harper guy must have had his lawyers look into the legality of “Harper Government” because he is within his rights- apparently.

Here’s how I feel.
First of all, Jesus, Mary and Joseph help us all if he gets his majority but a lot of us are just playing stupid right now. Stupid and mad at anything that’s Liberal.
We wouldn’t want to vote NDP- that’s commie stuff, right?
Yet, how soon we forget all the monkey business pulled by the Harperites over the past five years.

It’s just that in my mind the Government of Canada is my Canada and it is much more than Stephen Harper- or the Conservative/ Alliance/Reform Party.
Bloody redneck Baptists that they are!
Guess you know that I am not a fan.

Don’t feel bad about my intense dislike of Mr. Harper and what he believes in.
It’s nothing that personal, Steve.
Look, I feel the same way about Jesus and organized religion too.
You should just read yesterday’s blog about the Pope making the Jews feel all better. Releasing them from their guilt as it were.

The Government of Canada is more than a federal party.
It’s the history, the freedom and the maple leaf flag as well as all the various departments that make up our government.
It’s not just the Harper Government.
That should just remain a “media term” and nothing more.

So Jack, I hope you mend well and fast. Seeing you in person at Pride the past two years you seemed healthy and happy. Yes, the prostate thing has been unfortunate and now your hip surgery but you’ll get by and be well.

Your time is here now and you have respect which is more than that other fellow could ever hope for or attain.

P.S. He's a good hugger too as I experience at Toronto Pride two yaers ago.