Saturday, September 28, 2013

ROBBLOG #509

We can be mad bastards at times- can’t we?
 
We can spew forth our views with little heed of the damage or hurt they can cause. Sometimes, views can be expressed in person, face-to-face with the target of our ill-will.
This has been one of the most popular ways of telling people what you think of them or their actions since the beginning of time. You know, when Adam stood naked with Steve in the Jardin d’ Eden.
Yes, they spoke French back then.
Very popular in the garden where everyone pranced about totally starkers.
Of course, in the beginning we’re just talking Adam and Steve but eventually there was much more nakedness about when one day, a nudist colony opened up in the enchanted Forest
 
From time to time Adam would tell Steve exactly what he thought of him- especially one day, when Steve pinched an apple from Adam’s prized Apple tree. After all Adam had won the blue ribbon three years running for his home-grown apples at the Jardin d’Eden Fall Fair and he didn’t need Steve messing with the product. Adam once told Steve-
“Messing with my bits is one thing but please Steve, keep your hands off my apples.”
Grow a Pair and have a pear instead.
Adam could get very angry at Steve when the occasion arose.
He told Steve in no uncertain terms and Steve took it like a man- many times, the mad bastard.
 
 
 
Today when one goes Online to read the news, many newspaper websites allow readers to add immediate comments, right after posted articles. This is a quick way to get all fired-up about something you’ve just read and immediately tell the author just what you think of their asinine point-of-view. Take that guy spotted walking down an Orillia street with a shotgun the other day. Scads of police surrounded the area where citizens had said he was seen.
A local newspaper reported the story.
In one of the first comments beneath the online article, the writer felt the entire police presence was an exercise in futility and made the point that the gun-toting fellah was perhaps just walking from house to vehicle with his shotgun.
See?
Mad bastards.
 
Sometimes, folks can have opposing views on local policies and procedures or perhaps the goings on at City Hall. That can sure get a gal or guy riled up. Why every day a local citizen asks- “What are you mad bastards thinking? What do we pay you for- to make stupid decisions?”
 
This same line of questioning can also be put forward when it comes to commenting on our politicians who take our views to Parliament Hill or Queen’s Park.
Well, not actually our views- their views under the guise of being our views. After all, they were the ones elected to power- not you or I- the damn fool on the street. They’ll say what they want and when they want as long as it ensures they’ll get re-elected…again.
 
Yes, having a view can be dangerous, especially if you want to share it. Your view can be especially dangerous if you share it with someone who doesn’t want to hear it. Maybe someone pulling in 60 or 70 thousand a year doesn’t feel that they have to listen to the “likes” of you. After all they have the job- not you.
They know what’s best because they are the paid expert- not you.
Yes, occasionally they will listen to a view- or views, to make it look like they are doing their
60 or 70 thousand dollar a year job but really, it’s just smoke and mirrors.
 
In the end you are really just hurting yourself when you express your own feelings. Your blood pressure goes up and those frown lines on your forehead deepen. You clench your buttcheeks and the red in your face glows like a light on a Christmas Tree. We are lucky today that we have so many people and so many ways in which to express how we feel and get all pissed off and out of sorts because we do so.
 
Poor old Steve in that Garden couldn’t express his views to any other person- other than Adam.
He just had to stand there in bare feet and naked ass with his balls drawn up tight while Adam went on about his prize apples.
 
Aren’t we just mad bastards at times?
 
 

Monday, September 23, 2013

ROBBLOG #508

It’s all about the Drama in Life.
 
Rodney enters the dining room of  Portwright Manor. He finds Lady Hacknell sitting at the breakfast table. She is glancing off into space.
 
Rodney: Why Lady Hacknell are you feeling ill this morning?
 
Lady Hacknell: Oh…no My Dear.
 
Rodney: Are you entirely sure you are fine?
 
Lady Hacknell: Yes. Of Course. I was just mulling through the events of last evening in my mind.
 
Rodney: Well, I am glad that you are not ailing and that I find you well this morning.
 
Lady Hacknell: Thank you My Dear. It was a most enjoyable evening- albeit tiring.
Now do help yourself to the breakfast buffet. It’s quite delicious.
 
Rodney: I will Lady Hacknell. I most certainly will! I believe the guests quite enjoyed the dancing last evening.
 
Lady: …and the orchestra was quite delicious.
 
Rodney: As are these scones and the fluffy eggs. I wonder what the poor people are having for breakfast.
 
They laugh with glee
 
Penelope enters the breakfast room in high spirits. She is wearing a rose petal pink morning dress. Her hair is tied in a bow
 
Penelope: Morning! Isn’t it a beautiful morning…and I am sure the day will be absolutely charming as well. Don’t you just believe it will?
 
Lady Hacknell: Well, someone appears to be in rather high spirits after dancing the night away,
 
Rodney: I’ll say. A cup of coffee Penelope?
 
Penelope: Why yes Rodney. That would be lovely. Looking out the French doors towards the garden Oh isn’t it wonderful? The view I mean.
 
Rodney: Yes, indeed. He passes her a cup of coffee I was just saying to Lady Hacknell- as you so gaily pranced in here, that guests really quite enjoyed the dancing last evening.
 
Penelope: Oh I am quite sure they did!
 
Rodney: It is certainly going to be remembered as one of the highlights of this season. Do you think as much Lady Hacknell?
 
Lady: Why yes…I suppose I do. To Penelope Breakfast is on the sideboard Dear.
 
Rodney: Oh yes Pen, the eggs are an absolute out of body experience.
 
Penelope: Then, I shall try the eggs based on your suggestion and recommendation Dear Rodney.
 
Lady: So Penelope, your little walk in the garden last night with that handsome Derrik Tomlinson was enjoyable?
 
Penelope: Why Lady Hacknell, whatever do you mean?
 
Rodney: Come, come now Pen, both Lady Hacknell and myself saw you float through the garden doors with that brute of a man. Was he all you hoped he would be?
 
Pen: Oh yes!
 
Lady: We saw you laugh and drink champagne for an hour at least.
 
Rodney: Rather!
 
Pen: Yes and after the champagne he took those huge, strong, hairy hands of his and shoved them up underneath my gown. It was quite titillating!
 
Rodney: Oh so he went for those too did he?
 
Lady: Rodney! Really. I am trying to partake of my toast and marmalade!
 
Rodney: Sorry Lady H.
 
Pen: Yes, I fear I shall quite never be the same ever again.
 
Lady: No Dear. I suppose you never will. You young people. You have to go all the way don’t you? All that touching and feeling and grabbing. Getting all hot and bothered. Whatever is wrong with a simple and sweet peck on the cheek of one’s admirer?
 
Pen: Oh Lady Hacknell. You do make me laugh. After breakfast I shall ride out into the fields and tell every chipmunk and robin I see what you have just said. I shall speak it to the wind.
 
Rodney: Maybe I’ll ride with you Pen. I feel the need of something stiff against my face this morning too. Uh…a stiff wind I mean.
 
Lady: Lady Hacknell laughs Come now Rodney. I may be older in years than I once was but I still catch your drift. It’s more than a stiff wind you desire to be brushed across your charming face.
 
Pen: Is that so Rod?
 
Rodney: Well…I…perhaps. Flustered  Why don’t I just meet you in a half hour in the stable.
 
Lady: Have a lovely day Rodney Dear!
 
 
 
Pen: Catch you in a few moments. Lance is out in the stables this morning. I’m sure he’ll mount you!
 
Rodney: Yes. Thank you for that turn of phrase Pen.
 
Pen: These eggs are wonderful!
 
Lady: Yes they are at that!
 
Lady H and Pen titter between themselves as Rodney leaves the breakfast room
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ROBBLOG #507

You know those cigarette packages with the nasty pictures of rotting lungs and dis-coloured organs?
 
You see them lying around trash bins, on street corners, at bus stops, on the lawn at local Secondary schools and outside those cheque-cashing stores.
 
   
 
I got to thinking that I could add a few more warnings regarding why a person shouldn’t smoke.
Maybe those pictures of rotting, puss-oozing gums are just not frightening enough. Maybe Health Canada needs to slam smokers where it really hurts- in their self-worth.
So, I sat down at my typewriter, lit up a Player’s Plain and as I blew smoke towards the ceiling, I came up with these few gems below.
 
The top15 additional warnings that could be placed on packs of ciggies.
 
Smoking can cause…
 
you to look refined- in a bad way.
 
   
 
you to look ghetto-ish.
 
you to look like you don’t have a pot to piss in.
 
you to appear to be an addict.
 
    
 
you to look like white trash.
 
you to appear like Lon Chaney. (Google it)
 
you to appear uneducated.
 
you to appear less-than-smart. (I didn’t want to say stupid!)
 
   
 
you to leave your children motherless or fatherless.
 
   
 
you to smell like a backed up sewer. (use a New York accent)
 
   
 
you to lose friends.
 
you to never reach middle-age.
 
you to appear lazy.
 
   
 
you to look like a street person wandering without a purpose.
 
you to look “cool”.
 
   
 
Okay with that last one, I’m yankin’ your chain here.
 Cool?
I don’t think so- James Dean aside…
 
   
 
(If you have others to ad. Just make a comment below using anonymous in the drop down menu.
You can still add your name in the body of the note- if you like.)
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ROBBLOG #506


 

I watched a Chickadee fly under our verandah the other day, right near the spot where a Morning Dove is bringing up two youngsters- in a nest, housed in an old, wooden Clementine Orange box. The Chickadee was fluttering back and forth from a light suspended from the verandah ceiling to the bargeboard that trims our verandah. It appeared that she wanted to visit the baby birds in the box. From that observance comes this "quirky" short story.

Henrietta Chickadee had been a Chickadee for as long as she could remember. 

She thought it had been at least four summers since she had left her parent’s nest. It’s just that she had been so busy since, she had lost track of the time. This particular late summer morning Henrietta was swooping high above the Maple Tree in the Shenanigan’s front yard. As she looked downward Rex- the Shenanigan’s black Labrador, was laying quietly in the shade of the Maple’s huge leafy branches. A stainless steel bowl of fresh, cool water sat on the grass nearby. 

Henrietta was glad she was a Chickadee and not a pussy cat or a big dog- like Rex. As she skimmed past the uppermost branches of the tree, she could see Mr. Dungerman had started to deliver the mail to the households along Beech Street below. It must be close to nine in the morning what with Mr. Dungerman starting his Beech Street route and all. She had better head over to Doris Dove’s place right away. 

Doris had been sitting on that nest of hers for a month- probably almost two, as she hatched and then nursed her kids. Doris had had two families that summer- one back in mid-June and now another much later in the summer. Howard- Doris husband of several years, was a Catholic and it wouldn’t do if he didn’t have at least four, maybe even six chicks each and every summer. Doris was a good bird wife and accepted his advances willingly. It wasn’t that bad really. Howard was an attentive father and helped Doris with the chores and even fed the kids right alongside his lovely Dove wife. 

The light morning breeze felt refreshing against Henrietta’s little face as she flew to Doris’s Nest. Henrietta had dropped by the nest the day before- just to say hi. That was when Doris asked if she would be able to kid-sit for an hour or so. Doris had been longing to fly down to the park with Howard and sit on one of the water-washed rocks along the shoreline and just look out at the water.
 
Henrietta was glad to say yes.
Anything for a feathered friend and Doris was a fine one. 

Henrietta flew quickly to the Ringwald’s house next door and carefully swooping under the ceiling of the front verandah, she arrived right on Doris’ neststep- right on time.


“Morning Doris!”- she chirped.
 

“Hi there Girl!”- I’ll be right there. I’m just fluffing my wings.”
 

“Take your time Honey”- chirped Henrietta. “I am in no rush. I’ll say hi to the kids.”
 

Henrietta was stroking each of the baby dove’s heads just as Doris appeared from the upper reaches of the nest.
 

“Well, how do I look Dear?” Doris fluffed.
 

“Wonderful!”- says Henrietta, “And look, don’t worry about a thing. Just have a good time.”

 

Doris smiled and wrapped her left wing around Henrietta’s little birdie body.
“What did I do to deserve you as a friend?”
 

“Nonsense”- said Henrietta, blushing just a bit. “Now you run along and have a wonderful morning. The kids and I will be just fine. Oh. They aren’t leaving the nest yet- are they?”
 

Doris chuckled- “Oh Goodness no but I am hoping by the end of the week. Either they fly on their own or I’ll shove the little buggers out myself!”
 

“As if!”- Henrietta laughed and dropped a small pile of bird poop in the middle of Doris’ nest.
 

“Shit! I’m so sorry. I’ll get that. Where’s your broom and dustpan?”
 

Doris pointed towards the kitchen- “It’s behind the pantry door. Listen I’ll leave you to it. Gotta fly!”
 

“You do that and I’ll see you later. Have a great time.” Henrietta disappeared into the kitchen.
 

Shoving off from her front door, Doris swept up from under the edge of the verandah roof into the morning sun. Soon, she was feeling it’s warm rays dancing off her wings. 

She set off across Beech Street rising up higher into the air just above the Peckerman’s front porch. As she did so, she let fly two huge dollops of pure, white Dove excrement right on the front steps. At about the same time, Mr. Dungerman was climbing those same steps to deliver the monthly bill from Canadian Tire to Alice and George Peckerman’s mailbox. 

Mr. Dungerman didn’t see the two huge dollops of poo land on the second rise of the Peckerman’s front steps. In a flash of a moment, Mr. Dungerman slipped on the gooey poop, tumbling backwards into the air, where he landed hard on the cement walkway below. Letters and bills flew everywhere. With the brute force of the backwards somersault and subsequent landing on the hard stone, Mr. Dungerman broke his arm and was off work for two months- recuperating.

The End

 

 


Monday, September 9, 2013

ROBBLOG #505

Having seen the Garage Door Players through 10 years of productions I have to say the theatre road is a difficult one to tread. 
 
I have always considered my productions "professional"- not Community Theatre. Actors and crew get paid. No, we are not Equity. No, we do not receive grants- municipal or otherwise. Part of the reason for that is I have not officially claimed "non-profit" status. The hoops you have to jump through are involved and laborious. I often refer to the Garage Door Players as a "never-make-a-profit" theatre company. That fits us to a "T".  

Orillia "Sadie Flynn" Cast
 
Our "profits" all go to paying our production expenses- as well as cast and crew. You know, it's not easy to secure money from sponsors and put “bums” in seats. Sometimes, I'm as successful as throwing a 20 dollar bill at a slot machine at Casino Rama.
But I continue. 
 
We have just finished a short summer run at the Gravenhurst Opera House to terrific audiences, all part of the Gravenhurst OP's Summer Season. It was a wonderful experience. We co-produced the Norm Foster Comedy “Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak” with the Gravenhurst Opera House- something we have never done before. It certainly eased my workload as the Gravenhurst Opera House did all the promotion for the summer season. Even when we use non-theatrical facilities, we pay top price and still have to bring in much of our own equipment and crew and promote the show as best we can with limited funds.
 
This “Sadie Flynn” Show played in Orillia as well, back in May and June. We could not get theatre space so, we found ourselves in the Stubley Auditorium at St. James once again. Yes, a church auditorium. I always try to downplay that fact and just refer to the show location as the Stubley Auditorium but many media outlets just have to promote the hell out of the fact that it’s a church.
Oie!
It’s not the best of situations but the Deacons at the church have been generous with The Garage Door Players. They know I don’t perform full-frontal nudity or use gritty cuss words, so I get a green light on my productions. We staged Sadie Flynn on the floor this time just in front of the Stubley stage. I wanted a change, so we played on the floor with the audience- in the round” as it is usually called. It was fun to play it that way and have the audience almost surround the actors. The audiences enjoyed it as well.
 
 
In Gravenhurst, we performed our Sadie Flynn in the upstairs theatre- equipped with terrific sounds and lights, with three new actors who did not appear on stage in Orillia. Although none of our actors are Equity, all of them have had many years of experience- some decades. I say this because there are some theatre people who get their knickers in a knot regarding Equity and Non-Equity but as a friend said to me recently- who directs Equity actors- “I just do a different type of theatre than you do.”
My director friend is right. I don’t work with unionized cast or crew.
 
Up at the Gravenhurst Opera House never once did an audience member ask the question- "Are you Equity or Non-Equity". It's like apples and oranges. Equity is one facet of theatre, the Garage Door Players are the "oranges".
Equity does not automatically give you experience or make you a better actor. Only the actor can do that by working hard at his or her craft. Equity protects an actor's rights. Equity allows time to pee. Time to eat. Time to rest. In non-Equity theatre we are the slave drivers. We have reckless attitudes and never give a thought to the well-being of cast and crew. We work ‘em till they drop to their knees and plead for food and a warm place to sleep. 
 
In the Orillia/Muskoka area I don't believe most people even give Equity a second thought. In Toronto it's a different basket of apples- especially in the big theatres. Look what happened to Dancap when they brought in a terrific non-equity show a couple of seasons ago. A great show but some critics like Mr. Ouzounian over at The Star panned it. Mostly, because of the non-equity component. A good show got a bad review. Other Toronto reviewers loved the show- even though it was not unionized. 
 
 
When we began the run of Norm Foster's "Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak" our Friday/Saturday numbers were low. By Thursday they were creeping up and by showtime on Friday and Saturday we had substantial houses.
Why?
Great advertising and media coverage for one thing but I also believe those theatre-goers who saw the Tuesday through Thursday shows spread the word.
So, if we weren't "professional" enough for these audiences- or "good enough", why would they pass the word? Because we were good enough and professional enough and we did it with local actors and crew from Orillia and Muskoka.  
 
The question I did hear several times?
Why are you performing at the Gravenhurst Opera House and not in Orillia?
Again- apples and oranges
 
Some days you can't win for trying but we are going to keep trying and producing new shows and using the "local actors" we choose who have long resumes of successful stage productions. 
 
As Orson Hubble says in Sadie Flynn- "A person can't ask for more than that can they?"

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ROBBLOG #504

Heaven must be getting awfully crowded these days.
 
Not the “religious” Heaven but just plain old “Heaven”- our next level of existence where we rest from the toils of this earthly plain.
 
Plain old “Heaven” is a beautiful spot with sunshine, green grass and condominiums to house all those who have gone before- no matter what station they held on this earthly plain. I know this to be true because one day many years ago, Tammy Faye Baker had a guest on her television show who had travelled to Heaven and back. Sometimes, I watched her and Jim Baker because I couldn’t believe there were so many gullible people who sent money to support their Christian nonsense. It was frequently good for a smile. This particular guest had in fact been in Heaven for a few minutes and came back to “life” to report on what she had seen there.
I remember her saying “condominiums and green grass”.
Apparently Heaven was abuzz with construction. Condos were being built absolutely everywhere. Tammy Faye didn’t even bat a six inch eyelash.
She truly believed and probably contacted a “Heavenly Real Estate Agent” that very afternoon.
 
But I digress.
We have lost another “angel” on earth and I sincerely hope they are still building those heavenly condos.
 
Bernice Haley passed on Labour Day Monday.
 
Grannie B "marshalling" the Santa Claus Parade
 
Bernie was always a great supporter of Swisssh Radio. She told artists- who eventually sent me CD's, about this eclectic online radio station from Orillia (www.swisssh.ca)
She gave out Swisssh Business cards and even encouraged me one year, to set up Swisssh at Mariposa. That year I met Dave Gunning, Ron Nigrini and Susan Aglukark among others. Swisssh still plays their music along with several others she suggested- local artists too.
 
She also supported my Theatrical Group- The Garage Door Players- one year helping us sell tickets, as well as tearing round the downtown, taping up our posters in storefronts. She didn’t want to take money for doing it but eventually she did.
 
She was always there supporting the LGBTQ2 community both at the flag raising and at Pride events.
She volunteered every year at the Orillia Santa Claus Parade. A true Santa's Helper. 
 
Bernie was a true multi-tasker.
 
She had lived up the street from us until the house fire in the spring where she lost everything- even her precious CD’s. The community responded and she had enough money to see her through. Around the time of the fire she found out she had Cancer. Bernie had been fighting other “demos” too and Cancer must have been the icing on the cake. She was tired of it all so
she chose quality of life and left us all behind a few days ago.
 
Will she be missed?
Of course.
It would take ten of us to replace her.
 
Recently during an interview, she told a friend- Nathan Taylor of the Packet: 
"I'm just going quietly into the good night."
What?
Our Grannie B?
 
Never.
 

Monday, September 2, 2013

ROBBLOG #503

Tom and I have lost someone very near and dear to us this day.
 
Our friend Sienny passed away this morning.
 
Cancer.
The cancer had been there inside her small- yet robust body, for a year and a half. She fought it...no, wait.
I think P ignored the evil within her. A disease that was destroying her 92 year old Dutch soul.
I am sure she would have had 100 years in her, if it wasn’t for that blasted, unrelenting cancer.
 
Fuck that Goddamned disease!
 
Mrs. P- as we called her, should have gone on forever. You always have this crazy idea that people like her will.
 
In the past year when we took her out to dinner, she asked us a couple of times why- after such a wonderful life, does there have to be so much pain. We told her we didn’t know but agreed it was unfair.
 
She was a best friend.
She loved chocolate. What’s not to like?
Sienny was the best friend that Tom and I ever had- even though when we moved from Mississauga to Orillia almost 21 years ago she referred to us as the “shitheads”.
She was upset that we were moving away from her life with us just down the street at                    21 The Chase.
 
Once day after the move, we called telephoned her daughter Jaki’s house near the shore of Lake Ontario. Her young granddaughter answered the phone. When I said who it was, she laid the phone down to ran to tell her Grandmother. I heard the young voice say-
“the phone is for you Omi. It’s the “shitheads”.
Apparently she had overheard P referring to us by that term and she used it. Quite freely.
Good Gosh did we laugh at that one!
I’ll never forget it.
 
Sienny was a confident. We could tell her anything- and we did.
She was mothering- although we never considered her that. However, on our wedding day she
was a surrogate Mother to both of us. There’s the sweetest picture of P looking up into Tom’s face while cradling it in her hands. Those perfect nails of hers.
The perfect makeup and the gold- everywhere.
 
 
 
Mrs. P was
Sincere.
Loving.
Close to us.
She loved her Bloody Caesars and salty snacks.
She was fun.
Adventurous.
Smart.
Intelligent.
Modern.
Brash.
A clothes horse. She’d change a hundred times a day when she stayed with Tom and I at Pine Tree House. It was just who she was. Her appearance was important and it showed.
 
Sienny was lively day or night- unless she dozed off in the chair and then she snored contentedly.
 
She was Fearless- even in the face of Cancer.
She was so very loving. Her heart burst with love.
She kissed our cheek every time she saw us.
She talked of Holland, the war and her years in South Beach in Fort Myers and of course her husband Dick. She’s seeing him again now after so many years.
 
Our “Petunia”- another of our pet names for her- was all these things and more.
 
 
 
Like Tom and I, Sienny was not a believer in God and all that hocus pocus.
There’ll be no funeral.
We often talked about what lurks “afterwards” many times over the years.
A few times over the past year especially.
If there was even the slightest chance of an Imperial Deity- which there isn’t, would a God wouldn’t make his/her people suffer.
Of course not!
Where the hell does “love” come into that fucked up idea of a superior being that made both Heaven and Earth and demanded subservience?
 
She hated being unwell. It just didn’t fit her life.
 
Now, our Darling Sienny knows the truth.
 
I am sure she is asking all the right questions as she adjusts to the next plain of existence.
“Vhy” (think “why” with a Dutch accent) right up there at the top of her list.
She would also say “listen…” and you’d know she was about to ask a very important question and you had to answer it.
If you didn’t it was followed by another “Vhy?”
 
 
 
So Darling “P” you have moved on without us and we can’t wait to see you once again- and we will. You can be sure of that.
 
We can hear her voice now…