Monday, February 28, 2011


I don’t know how I got to thinking about “treasures” the other day.

It reminded though of a time, long ago, when I was a kid living down on Victoria Crescent- right on Lake Simcoe. One blisteringly hot summer day, I had found a treasure in the most unexpected of places.

We lived in a cottage that was not built for the purpose of being inhabited as a year-round home. Several small homes had been built along the Lake Simcoe water front where Victoria Crescent turned into a dead end. Some were nothing more than sparsely insulated summer cottages with no cozy central heating, running water or in the case of our little house- indoor facilities.

Our family home at 176 Victoria Crescent, no longer stands. It was bulldozed years ago. In its place today stands a new, large, solid brick, waterfront home. When I drive by today, all I see that reminds me of my childhood summers at the lake is the iconic waterfront and the same pair of huge trees that at one time stood on each side of our dock.

It’s funny when I think about it, over a decade most of my memories are of the summertime- with the exception of a few Christmasses and a Hallowe’en or two.

In the 1950’s, summer was just the best.
Days were filled with swimming and boating and just playing around.
Making play forts in the bush.
Riding my bike along the Crescent and Forest Avenue.
Looking for bullfrogs under the dock and along the shore.
Watching the big boats cruise their way to the narrows and under the Atherley Bridge which opened up to allow the boats to pass through. You see, when a huge boat came along going from Simcoe into Lake Couchiching- or vice versa, vehicular traffic had to be stopped in both directions along Highway Twelve.

Back then, there were a few weeks every summer when our neighbours Mae and Stan Trodd would have their grandkids visit. I always referred to the Trodds as Auntie Mae and Uncle Stan- with good reason. They always treated me so well and they were good friends to my parents. Their grandchildren- Wayne and Warren, would come to the Lake from Orillia, which seemed like a huge distance when you were a kid. Driving into Orillia in the 50’s was always known as “going into town”.

“Are you going in to town for milk?”

“I have to go in to town to see Gramma Reid today.”

“I’m going in to town to pick up a paper.”
It always seemed like a big deal.
I would never have thought to ride my bicycle in to town back in those days. It just seemed too far. My life revolved around the lake and Victoria Crescent in those times.
Today, it seems like such a short distance to ride.

Some days- when we were told that we had to stay out of the water for a couple of hours and find something else to do, we would go looking for stuff to do.
Things to do.

One particular day- when there weren’t too many city people around at their cottages- it was mid-week, we decided to explore, clad only in our bathing suits and nothing else as was the norm in the summertime. After all, we were told to “find something to do”.

It was a very warm summer afternoon as Wayne, Warren and I strolled up the dusty, dirt road along back of our houses looking for an adventure. There was no breeze this mid-July day, not even off the lake. We felt so hot as we walked up the street past the Staffords, raising a cloud of dust with our bare feet. We stopped and burned up a bit of time feeding plantain weeds to the chickens in Grandma Rutherford’s Chicken Coup. After tiring of that we continued walking up the small grassy hill past the Rutherford’s House to the Dunn Cottage- stopping only long enough to gaze into the silver witch’s ball in Grandma Rutherford’s English Garden. The roundness of the mirrored ball distorted our faces.
We laughed.

The Dunn Cottage stood just on the top of the small, grassy hill. Next door was the Scott Cottage but they appeared to be not at home. Probably they were “in town.”

The Dunn’s cottage was hunter green in colour and when they weren’t “in residence” the windows were closed and covered with shutters. That’s how we found the cottage this particularly hot summer day. Stinking hot as my parents would say!

The cottage sat on concrete blocks placed a couple of feet high at each corner of the structure with support from several piles of brick at various points underneath the frame of the floor. You see the cottage had no basement. It was totally open underneath. In fact, if you layed down on your stomach on the grass on the lake side you could see right through to the back of the cottage and the road side.

This particular day we sat on the Dunn’s front steps and looked out at the Lake. As we did, Mr. and Mrs. Burnett were paddling by in their cedar canoe.
We waved.
They waved back.
Their son Greg sat in the middle seat of the canoe. He was so brown from the summer sun we called him little black Sambo.
Not to his face of course.

He was much bigger and stronger than any of the three of us and we figured he wouldn’t like being called “‘Sambo” let alone little or black!

As the Burnett’s canoe paddled out of sight, Wayne suddenly broke the quiet stillness of the humid summer day.
“Look! What’s that laying there?” He was pointing underneath the edge of the cottage.

Warren and I looked and could instantly see the object what Wayne was pointing at.

It was something shiny sticking out from under a few dried leaves at the corner of the cottage. We all scrambled off the steps and got down on our bare stomachs and rummaged in the leaves. It was a spoon. A silver spoon and next to it was another and another. As we shuffled more leaves around we found a half dozen forks and knives as well- even a large, shiny silver platter that when held up reflected our hot, sweaty faces.

“What the heck is this stuff doing here?”- cried Warren.

“Beats me”- says Wayne.

“Gee, I wonder if there’s more neat stuff under here”- I added.

We stared at one another briefly, wide-eyed with the treasures we found, then, set to work crawling around under the cottage. In a few minutes we found teacups and saucers. Some with small chips out of them.
An eggbeater with a red wooden handle.
An old coffee tin.
A pair of pliers and a wrench.
A bicycle rim.
A picture of a bowl of fruit in a brown, wooden frame. The glass covering the picture was in near-perfect condition. Wayne liked it.
Then. I came across the piece de resistance.
An alarm clock.
It was turquoise in colour. Not a mark on it. I wound it up and it ticked away- like new.

“Hey a clock like this must be worth a whole dollar!” I was dumbfounded, “and it’s just laying here for nothing!”

“Wow!”- said Warren and Wayne in unison.

We all crawled out from under the cottage and headed home.

I couldn’t wait to show my Mum what I had found! I ran into the kitchen absolutely beside myself at the treasure I had found. However, my Mum didn’t quite feel the same way as I did. I showed her my turquoise clock. I was beaming.

“You have to take that back, Rob. The Dunn’s just probably store some things down there. You guys had no business being over there.”

“But it was under the house Mum!”- I cried. “They were probably throwing it away-weren’t they?”

“Maybe they don’t have room for everything inside the cottage, so they store some stuff underneath Rob. Now, be sure to take it back and tell Warren and Wayne to take everything back they took as well!”

“Take it back? Now?”

“Yes”- Mum said. “Now.”

Some treasure hunt!
I did as I was told and Warren and Wayne took the picture as well as the red-handled eggbeater too even though I really loved the look of that little clock.

As a matter of fact, even today I would snatch up a clock like that- if I found one.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I have a question.

If someone said to you
“Yah, I’d like to go to Florida but in Miami you have to deal with all the Hispanics”
“The Chinese in Toronto are terrible drivers because they have no peripheral vision”.
“The problem is all those Blacks along Jane Street.”

Is that Racist or should it be filed under hate?

It's at the very least a hint of someone having an unhealthy attitude to "some" others. These thoughts often just roll off the tongue as easily as saying the sky is blue. Many of us may have these thoughts but they are not always verbalized in public or put on record.

I hope it’s something that can never be attributed to me. However, I am not entirely without guilt. When I hear someone make statements about “Hispanics” or “the Chinese” I should speak up.
I don’t always do that.
Every time I read about a stabbing or shooting in Toronto, I think “black man” before I even read the story or see a picture. The fact is much of this kind of trouble and lawlessness comes from that community because of drugs or whatever.
The papers are full of it.
It’s a pre-conceived notion that the media has plugged into my head. Can I be faulted for that?

This "hood" mindset is born in a small percentage of young men and women and yes a lot of the problems centre on that Jane/Finch area in Toronto or the Asian community. That being said “whites” are just as much to blame for lawlessness and outright stupidity. I mean many “white boys” have that “yo yo yo” mentality with their pants hanging around the cracks of their lily-white asses and knit woollen caps pulled down over moist brows when the temperature hits 30 degrees!
These “white kids” stab and shoot and kill and yell obscenities too.
Maybe it’s the rap music?
I dunno.
There certainly is a pre-conceived notion that the “yo yo hip-hop, rap nation” is all about drugs and hurting one another. Maybe I have blinders on. I don’t know.

Then, there's the recent attacks on members of the Gay Community in the Church Street Gay Village that are very alarming. I have always felt totally safe walking along Church and Wellesley in Toronto but maybe with the trouble of late- the copycat “slushing” thanks to the TV show Glee, I need to re-think about wearing that security blanket. Although not “racist” in nature, these acts are certainly “homophobic” or about “hate” at the very least.
I don’t believe it’s a problem that will go away easily- whether its racial comments about Blacks and Hispanics or Homophobic barbs, this kind of attitude is here to stay. Many of us keep it deep inside but occasionally it creeps up over the teeth and tongue and sees the light of day.

Maybe we all need to do a bit better and start correcting individuals possessing this verbal mindset.
I don’t know.

I do know it is the right thing to do but I don’t know…

Friday, February 25, 2011

ROBBLOG # 226 W E E K E N D Edition

Today on ROBBLOG- Movies to miss…or watch if you haven’t anything better to do like tweezing your nose hair.

MacGruber comes to the big screen from a short sketch on Saturday Night Live to a full-blown, corny movie. Nice to know that there’s money around for this stuff. Really, not very funny at all. Cunth (that’s the name of the bad guy) and Dick jokes abound.

Why anyone would think that MacGruber (Will Forte) making loud, grunting sex noises just before he orgasms is funny- only God knows or the Director. A bright spot in the movie- besides Kristen Wiig, is that good looking guy- Ryan Phillipe. In one scene Phillipe’s character mocks an earlier scene that had MacGruber fully naked with a piece of celery stuck up his behind. It was supposed to be a distraction for the bad guys.
It was.
Unfortunately, it was a distraction for the audience as well.

Eventually, Ryan is naked from the waist down. It’s quite a shame he’s not totally naked like MacGruber was earlier. He must have had an “I won’t take off my shirt in any scene in this movie”, written into his contact. It would have been the lone bright spot in an otherwise ho-hum film. The huge piece of celery stuck between Ryan’s butt cheeks is kind of cute though. The celery had a leafy top, just like the kind of stalk you’d use in a Bloody Caesar. He either laughed like Hell filming that scene or cried silently in his trailer after the shot was complete. There’s Ryan with celery sticking from his arse and his man-jewels cupped in his hands watching his career gently fade away.

Movie Number Two.
Drag Me to Hell.

It’s not a bad demon movie, really. A little, old lady casts an evil spell on a young, blonde loan manager who is looking for a promotion within her bank. She makes a decision to not approve the loan to impress the bank manager. It backfires and the old lady casts away. She’s kind of engagingly annoying but God her teeth are disgusting. She probably smells and has nasty, yellowed chipped fingernails.
Nice touch. Yuck!
A lesson for all those loan managers and officers in banks who turn down loan applications to borderline customers: You might just get cursed and forced to eat a bucket of live maggots or get covered in blood and guts, if you refuse a loan. Especially to a little old lady that just happens to resemble a demon from Hell.
I’m just saying…

There’s even a corpse rolling out of a coffin at a wake that the loan officer just happens to crash when she’s looking for the old lady to tell her she has the loan after all.
Awww, isn’t that nice of her to reverse a decision?
The pretty little loan gal hopes the horror of the curse will end when she grants the loan.
She’s too late however.
The old lady has snuffed it.

So, the loan gal walks into a wake at the old lady’s house and just happens to stumble into the coffin, knocking it to the floor. The blonde loan arranger falls to the floor too. Of course, the corpse rolls out of the coffin right on top of her, leaking dark, green muck from its open mouth right into the cake hole of our heroine. Not a lot of laughs in this one.
Sounds like a typical Charlie Sheen night out, doesn’t it?
You’ll not eat guacamole for a week after this movie.
There’s a lot of “eek”!

Finally, a movie called Stonehenge Apocalypse from a Canadian Production company aligned with Corus, The Movie Network and Movie Central. Now, because there’s some Yankee Dollars (Movie Central) in the mix, the story has to be an American one because the producers haven’t the guts to set at least part of the movie here in Canada. There’s also this idea that American audiences won’t buy it. That’s part of our Canadian inferiority complex we’ve apparently had for decades. What’s hard to take is the fact that you can plainly see it was filmed in B.C.- even the Stonehenge bit that is supposed to be in England.
Overall however, it’s probably a good idea that we’ve been left out of this movie’s plot.

Here’s the end of the world coming as a result of electro-magnetic shit seeping out of the pyramids in Egypt, from Stonehenge and another Egyptian pyramid that’s buried somewhere in a New England farmer’s field. This latter pyramid eventually rises from the bowels of the earth and takes up space in the middle of an empty field.
Nobody notices. At least not the media or the neighbours. It’s pretty much like any other Thursday.
I say that because it just felt like a Thursday.
Don’t ask. It’s too much to unravel.

There’s also this US General too who seems to control the outcome of the world’s partial demise with a handful of army guys and a couple of jeeps. This part is laughable and the guy couldn’t act his way out of a 97 cent re-usable Wal*Mart shopping bag. He has the blessing of “World Leaders”, so he orders in a jet to drop a nuclear bomb on Stonehenge to stop all the insanity. The bomb is dropped- I’m talking about the one from the jet not this movie- but doesn’t quite make it to the ground because these electro-magnetic charges coming from Stonehenge make it disappear into thin air.
There are just so many things wrong with this movie but it’s interesting to note that once again someone somewhere has money to produce this crap.

So, there you have it. Three flicks to look out for on the Movie Network or your On-Demand service.
In order of bad to worse.

Drag Me to Hell.


Stonehenge Apocalypse.

Maybe you should just tweeze your nose hair instead…

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is going to be a short Blog.

I may not have much time.
Well, in reality, I think I have some time.
I mean I am feeling fine. I am healthy. I exercise. I moisturize and my waist size is still smaller than it was a couple of decades ago. I am still able to remove my shirt in public without too much embarrassment and I can wear a rather form-fitting tee shirt and hold my own with many guys my age or in the case of a few friends, 10 years under my age.

My ego is in tact too- as you can see.
That being said, I am definitely starting the slide down the other side of the mountain that is life. Actually, I have been sliding the past decade. What is the average life expectancy for a Canadian Male anyway?
Somewhere around there.
So what’s up Rob?- I hear you say.

You dragged it out of me.
I applied for my Canada Pension the other day.
The Canada Pension Plan.
I downloaded the pages from the Service Canada site.
By the way, what is that all about?
That name.
Services Canada?
It makes me feel old just hearing the name not to mention reading the site.
There has to be a better name.

Anyway, I am feeling sad. As you read in my last Blog, I was already feeling a little blue, what with the show I was a part of- closing last Sunday.
Now, this.
I read a column in the Star on Tuesday about choosing to take my CPP early. I had already made up my mind to do just that over the past year. This article suggested that I apply around the 6 month mark- before actually turning 60.

Gawd, that number looks old when I see it in print. I have always liked the numbers 6 and the number 0- except when they happen to be temperatures on a thermometer in fall and winter months!

So, I downloaded the pages from the Services Canada website. I answered the questions. Then signed the document. Slipped it into an envelope, stamped it and mailed it. All in about 15 minutes. Now I just wait to see how much pension I will get that will see me through the first few years of “old-age-hood”.

I’m on a roll. I Think I 'll do a pre-planned funeral next...that ought to be just as much fun!

My life as I know it is practically over- don't you think?
So, I am on the slide. I am down to the last few hundred metres on the far side of that big hill- until I reach bottom. Then I get boxed, heated to about a thousand degrees and plopped into a nice little urn and placed in a niche for eternity.

Oh yes, I must tell you, I watched a movie the other night called "Drag Me to HELL". It was a quirky little film filled with gore, maggots, an old witch, flying hobgoblins
and...well, you get the picture.
It gave me a few ideas on how much fun I could have in the years- maybe even decades I have left.

The End… almost.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I have an empty feeling today.

No, not because I haven’t had any contact with my family in over a month and I miss them terribly.
No, it’s not that…I don’t.
I’m used to that scenario.
It’s happened a ton of times before- like 5 years ago when Tom and I were planning for our marriage- the official one as far as the laws of the land of Canada are concerned. Nobody talked to us for three months. My brother never came to the nuptials and as far as I can remember he has neither talked nor asked about the ceremony- or anything.
Maybe he’s seen pictures.
Maybe not.
Not to be outdone, there were missing links from Tom’s side of the family too.

However, this is not what this blog is about.

I am feeling empty because a show that I was in has just finished.
“Looking” from playwright Norm Foster’s pen and presented by Mariposa Arts Theatre, has just finished it’s two week run at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House. I have felt this way before. There’s always a closing to a show. Unlike Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia, eventually the show’s run comes to an end. People that you have worked with and been with for months becomes as unimportant to your day-to-day routine as someone you pass in the street or sit next to on a bus. It’s just a fact of theatre. You have this close-knit family for a certain stretch of time and then the curtain comes down and that’s it.
That’s it?
Yup, that’s it.

L-R: Me, Phyllis Johnson, Jim Dwyer & Patti Scott
 Doing this show with a cast of four and the backstage crew of twice that number, has been a wonderful experience. I learned much. It was a departure for me. The character I portrayed was nothing like me- except for the fact that he was a radio broadcaster for a Jazz station. A format- it just so happens, I have never worked in.

It was a funny show. It was a delight to hear the audiences laugh. To deliver dialogue and hit them with a second or third punchline- just as the laughter peaked and started to fall. It’s a real good feeling when the audience and the actors are in sync. But now it’s done. It’s over. The dialogue will start to disappear from my memory banks over the next weeks and months. I always wonder how I can keep it in my head for several weeks. Then, as soon as my brain gets the message that the show is over, the dialogue starts to fade.

The one glimmer of hope for this show is the fact that it might be re-mounted as part of
a Summer Theatre lineup.
That would be exciting if it comes true.
I am waiting to hear.

Cast & Crew
So, the emptiness will stay with me for a few days as I wean myself off the show, the character and the relationships that have been forged since last October.

As one of my lines of dialogue within “Looking” says:
Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.
Truer words…

Friday, February 18, 2011

ROBBLOG # 223 W E E K E N D Edition

Out in the Barn
…with Betsy, Lilloweth and Helen. PART II

“Look at that glorious morning sunshine! Isn’t it grand, just Grand?” exclaims Betsy as she looked out the porthole window in her stallhome.

Lilloweth- who lived next door, was nudging a small bunch of hay into a tiny pile with her nose. “Yes, it does make one’s heart glad. Land’s alive it does!” She began to chomp at the hay on the floor of her stallhome.

“Lilly, toss me some of that bright yellow hay you have there will you? It looks so yumm.”- says Betsy.

“Certainly Doll.” Lilloweth tossed a hearty bunch over the wall of her stallhome into Betsy’s. “Munch away on that. Isn’t it delightful? There’s more in the bin down by the harness hook. It must be from Farmer Frank’s south fourty, it is so delish!”

“So, Lilly, what do you want to do today?”- asks Betsy as she munched away.

“Well Doll, there’s this radio show on CBC all about bugs at eleven. I have to tune in of course but the rest of the day is clear!”

“My Goodness Dear, the things you listen to on that old radio!” cried Betsy, “I guess that’s why you know something about everything these days. That radio and you are quite the twosome - aren’t you?”

“I suppose so,”-Lilloweth conceded, “I just love the music and- oh! The news! That’s how I find out about that big, wide world outside that window of yours Doll!”

“I guess that world is pretty huge out there Dear, I mean beyond that south fence.” Betsy daydreamed for a short moment. Her dream was only broken only by the sound of Helen’s voice.

“So Girls, what’s the scoop this fine, sunny morn. Oh, I had the best sleep last night. I dreamt about Roger!”

“You mean that black bull from Hodgepodge Farm?”-Betsy seemed shocked. She turned and stuck her pretty head out the entrance of her stallhome. Helen stood just a few feet away.

“The very same Toots! He is sooo dreamy. Have you seen the size of his hoofs?”- Helen both gushed and blushed! Blushed as well as any “bovine” can, of course.

Lilloweth turned her huge backside towards the side wall of her stallhome, turning to see Helen she says- “Good Gosh Helen, you sound like such a tramp sometimes! Honestly, but you do!”

“I know!”- Helen gleefully replied. “Isn’t it wonderful! So Ladies I see you are both finishing breakfast. Sorry to interrupt you.”

“No, you’re not interrupting Helen, we were just talking about what we would do this lovely sunny day.”-says Betsy. “Lilly is going to listen to a radio programme first and then the day is free!”

Helen thought for just a second, then says- “I know! Let’s go down to the big oak, near the stream. We can munch on the tender grass in its shade and who knows, someone special might wander down into those woods on the other side of the old log rail fence!”

“Helen!”- Betsy cried, “You know very well who might wander down there. You’re hoping to see that Roger fellah- aren’t you?”

“That’s it Betsy! That’s what she is hoping for! Of course that’s exactly what she hopes will happen after her sordid midnight dreams!”- mooed Lilloweth.

“And just what is the harm in that Lilly? C’mon, it’ll be fun. We can take a salt lick and make an afternoon of it!” Helen’s eyes began to sparkle!

Betsy mused about the prospect. “Okay. Why not? Maybe some of those other boys will wander down too! It could be a picnic!”

“Yes, remember there’s that spot in the fence where we can hop over- or maybe the boys will wander over to this side. It’s a good thing the cedar bushes are so full there. I’d hate to think what Farmer Frank would say if he saw us cavorting with the boys from Hodgepodge Farm!”

“Then, it’s set.” Helen was ecstatic! “I better go give my hooves a polish. Oh! I can wear my new bell!”

Lilloweth looks up from her breakfast- “More jewellery Helen? You have more jewellery?”

“A girl can never have too much bling!” Helen winked. “Oh, listen gals, there are some apples in the wooden box under the tool shed window. I’ll throw a few in my bag- just in case you-know-who shows up and is hungry!”

“I guess I could bring my radio along for entertainment.”- Lilloweth added.

“Your radio? Now, how in the name of lumpy logs do you expect the cord to reach all the way down to the stream Dear?” Betsy had posed a sensible question.

“You have a point Betts. Better grab my MP3 Player with the attached stereo speakers instead!”- says Lilloweth.

“What? Now you have an MP3 player Dear?”- cried Betsy.

“Yes, of course. Doesn’t everyone these days? It came via CanPar just last week. What a nice delivery person too. He was ever so polite and handsome for a human. He tapped gently on my stallhome door and wished me a pleasant day!”

Betsy and Helen looked stunned.
It was a perfectly logical response thought Lilloweth.
Helen suddenly broke the lull. “You Ladies. You do make me smile you know. See you later, say noonish?”

“We’ll be ready- with bells on!” adds Betsy.

“As if!” Helen sauntered back to her stallhome.

Meanwhile, Lilloweth swayed back and forth to a new country song on the old Philco radio. Betsy got busy tidying up her stall as the brilliant morning sun shone through her window, flooding the floor beneath her feet with warm, gentle light.

It was indeed another lovely day in the Barn.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This is going to be a rather strange read for some of you.

This Blog comes from the “Spiritual” side of the universe- from the spiritual side of me if you like. I was asked to open my channel and listen. The “person” sending the message has been having difficulty having someone make note of what they needed to say and pass it along.
I guess my door was open.

I hadn’t planned to write a Blog for today. In fact I have been working on another segment of- “Out in the Barn”- The story of Betsy, Lilloweth and Helen. You can read Part I on yesterday’s Blog. Part II will come Friday.

So, today or rather late- early in the morning Thursday, I had this “message” come to me. It will make sense to someone who reads my Blogs or it may be someone who is reading my Blog for the first time. I have never, ever been asked to relay a message in this fashion- but what do I know?
The message for that “someone” will be found in a container of some description. It will be a sign for someone. I am told it will be an affirmation, perhaps that there is more- much more, after this time.

There is a symbol involved which resembles two crescent moons interlocked, with the top points of each moon intersected with each other- like two Letter “C’s”- one being a mirror image of the other. It could be a lock of some description. When the “C’s” or “moon’s” are turned clockwise and counter-clockwise at the same time, the movement will unlock something. There will be a quiet “click”.

This lock will be found attached to a piece of leather or rawhide- which may be one and the same.
That’s what I was told.
I don’t argue.
Keep in mind that sometimes these symbols or pictures are not precisely translated. It could be precise or just a single, small part of the description I receive.
It is not exact.
Sometimes the messenger fails to send me a clear image.
I am just the “receiver” of the message after all.

This “lock’ is attached to a container- possibly made of porcelain. The container has the shape of a “bell jar” on top. It sits- or sat, on a small walnut-coloured table to the right of a raised floor, in front of a large pair of French Windows. There’s a balcony outside the doors with perhaps a lake or ocean on the other side. There appears to be a breeze because side curtains are blowing lightly in a breeze.

It is not clear but I think I am being told that this description of place is where the “container” once sat. It may not be there now but it will be in the memory of the person or persons this message was intended for.

I am also being shown a picture of Bob Hope in his younger movie days- when he did those travel films with Bing Crosby.
I know.
This sounds nuts.
I thought this was strange too but Bob Hope did make an appearance here in Orillia decades ago when he was appearing at the CNE in Toronto.
I feel the message is for someone in this area.
It may not be for someone who knows me at all.
In particular, I am being told to look at the shape of Mr. Hope’s nose.
I do not know why.

This container will have something inside which will have great meaning for those that either have this container in their possession or are about to have it in their possession.
I believe the former, rather than the latter.

From the outside, this moon-shaped “locking” device will look like a decoration. Only the person who placed the message- it could be a note or another object, will know its true meaning as well as the person or persons who open the vessel upon understanding this message.

So, there you have it. I have never forwarded a message such as this before. I was ready to retire for the evening when the message came through to me.
I don’t always understand what I am being told.
It’s not for me to unravel it’s meaning or comment about the content.
The message is not for me but it could be for you if you are reading this RobBlog today.

Good Luck.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The other night we were driving back home from the Casino- where we had gone for a Valentine's Dinner. As we drove along the Rama Road, the following story came to my mind.
I do not know why.
It's called:

Out in the Barn

One night out in the barn, Betsy stood quietly in her stall, silently chewing on her cud. As she did, she felt a cool wind caress her hind quarters.

Lilloweth, who stood in the stall next to her, was listening to a country music show on the old Philco Barn Radio. Her tail was jauntily swissshing left and right to the strains of a banjo and steel guitar. “Country Roundup” was her favourite radio show and Farmer Frank always left the radio on for Lilloweth- not only on Thursday evenings when Country Roundup was aired but on every night of every week.
Something about contented cows he said.

“Lilloweth Dear.”-Betsy spoke to her over the sound of the “old country” station straining from the radio’s 4 inch speaker- “Do you feel a bit of a breeze?”

“Well we do live in a Barn, Betts” says Lilloweth, “We always feel a breeze, especially when that old north wind howls through the cracks in the barnboard.”

“No Dear, it’s not that it’s more of a “whoosh” not just a breeze. Helen Darling…”

Helen lived in the cow stall on the other side of the wooden pillar- supporting the overhead loft, near the big barn door. “Helen, Darling, can you feel that breeze over at your place, my goodness it’s positively “cruel shoes” over here.

“Cruel Shoes?”- laughed Helen. “Holy cow Betts, I haven’t heard that one in years. I just love Mr. Steve Martin!”

“Yes Dear, so do I but more to the point, how’s the air over there?”-Betsy was impatient as well as cool!

“Now that you mention it Toots, it is a bit breezy. I guess my country two-step was keeping my tushy warm”- added Lilloweth from her housestall.

Helen turned her head and looked in the direction of the big barn door.
“Betsy, I see the problem. There is a leakage of warm air.”

“Really”-mooed Betsy, “How so?”

“The door is open about 6 inches or so. I’ll have it fixed in a jiffy Hun.” Helen manouvered her 600 pound brown and white body out of the stall, backing it out very carefully.

“I really appreciate that Dear!”- Betsy yelled over her stall wall.

Meanwhile, Lilloweth was stomping all four hoofs on the floor of her stall as Foggy Mountain Breakdown blasted from the radio.

“Almost there Sweetie”- called out Helen. She reached the door a minute later and lifting a massive rear leg, gave it a huge push.
It slammed closed with such fierceness that bits of chaff and dust fell to the barn floor through the cracks in the floor of the loft above.

“Done Darling. The offending door is closed and the breeze has been quelled.” Helen called from the doorway.

“Helen, you are a Dear!”-cried Betsy.

“Oh for pete’s sake don’t mention it. Glad to do it for you.” Helen said with a broad smile.

“You Dear, sweet bovine, I can feel the warmth encircling my backside already.”-says Betsy in her most loving and warm tone. “Sorry to have bothered you.”

“Oh Hun, no problem. I was just browsing through my latest Hello Canada Mag. Nothing more. No big whup!

“Well I am grateful nonetheless.”- said Betsy.

Turning to Lilloweth she says-
“Lilly, it was the big barn door. Helen says it was open just a few inches. That’s why I could feel such a draft.”

“Well Darling, I am glad you’re feeling the warmth now”- said Lilloweth, “by the way, doesn’t the straw seem to smell so sweetly tonight?”

“Yes indeed.”- Betsy scooped up a mouthful. “I watched Farmer Frank sling pitchfork after pitchfork into the loft just yesterday. It must be a new batch from the straw shed.”

“I suppose Darling. Gee Betsy…” says Lilloweth, “I can hardly wait for the first day of spring. Just to smell the fresh, green grass.”

“Neither can I but I fear we have a few weeks yet before we feel that warm sunshine on our broad backs”- Betsy sighed.

“At least it’s on the way.” Lilloweth replied with glee.

“What are you two ladies going on about?” It was Helen. She had strolled down the barn to Betsy’s stall.

“Oh Helen Dear, we were just dreaming of spring.”- mooed Betsy.

“Can’t come too soon for me, my Sweets. I just hope we are all here to enjoy it.” Helen sounded serious.

“What?”- cried Lilloweth above the country twang. “What are you talking about?”

“Well cow kids,”- Helen’s tone sounded more severe. “There’s always the chance that one of us girls might find our days numbered here at Farmer Franks Happy Hollow Farm.”

“Oh don’t be ridiculous Helen. I don’t want to hear that kind of talk!”-cried Lilloweth.

Helen looked at Lilloweth and said- “Oh Lilly, it’s just a part of life. We have all known the story for years. Remember Flossy and Ursella and Candy and Brownie. When they left in Farmer Frank’s big trailer, did we ever see them come back to the barn?”

“No, we didn’t!”- Betsy gulped.

Lillowth was speechless!

“Why do we need to think about that now? I can’t believe that Farmer Frank would sell us down the road. He likes to have us around too darn much. Why look he even bought Lilly that new radio just last month.” Betsy was starting to get a headache. She thought about laying down on the soft, clean straw.

“Yes Hun, you are right about that- even though that old Radio on the shelf above Lily’s house stall is older than the three of us combined!” Helen sounded smug.

Lilloweth stomped her right hoof hard on the stall floor. “Look Ladies, lets look on the bright side. Betsy’s right. Even I have heard Farmer Frank say in “human speak” many times that he would never get rid of the three of us. He says we are like family. So Helen, let’s not worry about something that may never happen.”

Lilloweth paused, thought for a moment, then continued- “Besides we have too much fun and living yet to do. I for one will not dwell on possibilities. Now look, let’s get a deck of cards and take our minds off this “hogwash”. Betsy, can you make a pitcher of Martinis? Helen have you got some chips and cow dip in that old stall of yours?”

Helen smiled. “Why yes I do. Indeed I do. I’ll be right back. You know Lily, you are right. Let’s live for the moment. We have this wonderful, warm barn. Lots of fresh hay. Clean, cool water and….”

Lilloweth cut in. “Let’s not forget the music on that old radio!”

“and…the radio too, of course. C’mon gals let’s get this impromptu party started, only don’t tell the pigs. You know what party animals they can be!”

Helen marched off to her stall to fetch the food.
Betsy made a pitcher of martinis, then helped Lily set up the card table- all in the warmth of Farmer Frank’s barn.

Finally, they turned up the Philco- just a notch.

Friday, February 11, 2011

ROBBLOG # 220 W E E K E N D Edition

Another opening. Another show.

This time it’s Looking- a Norm Foster comedy. This show has been a big job for all concerned. I think I auditioned way back in late September.
I am told each of the actors have an average of 450 lines of dialogue.
That’s why it felt like so much work.
The results of our months of work are on stage now at the Opera House Studio Theatre. There’s only four of us in the cast- Patti Scott, Jim Dwyer, Phyllis Johnson and me but we pack a punch!

There’s also a large backstage element here. That because set pieces have to be constantly moved on and off stage. A theatre-goer remarked after the show last night that there are so many scene changes!
There are.
The same scenes but they are constantly shuffling.
As an actor, just try to keep all that straight in your head.
I have notes posted in my dressing room wall regarding my costume changes and back stage I have two notes taped to the back of that “window” in my apartment. You’ll have to see the show to understand “the window”.
The notes tell me where I am and what I am about to say as my character “Matt”.
It can get confusing.

Backstage, there’s makeup and costumes from Shimera, Deb and Bev. Props by Susan. Susan even helps move set pieces on stage left. She’s there to help me shove my arms into a shirt during a fast change sequence.
Up in the production booth Tom and Claude do the light cues and music and SFX. Downstairs Lisa is on a headset connected to Tom and Claude. She sets the actors in motion.

Then on stage right- where Andy and Matt disappear a few times during “Looking”, there’s more props, set pieces and Krista- who is also connected to Tom and Lisa via headset. She cues our entrance back on stage as well as shoving a beer bottle or two at us and in Andy’s case a couple of drinks for the ladies as well.
It really is a well-oiled machine. We all have to keep on top of it.

For the actors- besides remembering the dialogue, we have to remember what scene we are about to do. The stage crew has to place the right set pieces in the right spot on stage so everything is placed there, waiting for the scene to begin.

An actor friend- who joined us for the opening night celebration at Brewery Bay after the show, was impressed by the large number of stage crew.
We need every one of them too!
We even have a couple of students who are not only deepening their love of theatre but are also fulfilling their 40 hours of community service during their high school years.

So, here we are up and running- finally.
If you want to spend an enjoyable winter evening and have a few laughs some and see us.

“Looking” runs until Sunday February 20th and tickets are available online at the Opera House website, on the phone at 705. 326.8011 or in person at the Box Office at the Opera House.

Hey, we’d love to see you and offer you a night of great theatre!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Dress rehearsal time can be stressful.

The show I am currently in is “Looking”- from Mariposa Arts Theatre. It’s a very funny 4 part comedy from the genius of Norm Foster. Norm’s a Canuk boy and he writes brilliantly funny stuff set in plain, everyday situations. We only have a couple of dress rehearsals to go and then- yikes, it’s opening night!

Looking is a winner for Norm Foster. It was first performed in 2006. It’s about four middle- aged characters- two gals and two guys, looking for love in all the wrong places. Three of the Characters Val (Phyllis Johnson), Andy (Jim Dwyer) and Matt (that’s me) have been married and divorced. All three have kids. Only once character Nina (Patti Scott) has remained single. She’s a cop in the show.
That just might have something to do with it.
Nina Gregorian apparently is only used to putting the criminal element in handcuffs. Maybe she should try it with the men in her life. She might get and keep a man for a lengthy while. Without giving away the plot to this fast-paced comedic romp, Nina does “score”- eventually.
Is it a lifetime relationship?
Foster doesn’t really tell the audience.
He doesn’t jump too far into the future but I think, the audience thinks, she does find love in the “right” place- or bar, at least.
What about Matt- the character she “pairs” up with in Looking? As the actor “playing” that character, I believe she probably ends up with him- for a good while at least. Matt’s quite taken with Nina being a cop you see. He likes the “Cop” terminology like “mirandize me”.
Matt is possibly “looking” to settle down again. That may not work in the long term since Nina would be moving into a ready-made family with kids- albeit both kids are in University.

On the other hand, poor old flustered Andy can’t seem to win in either love or business. He meets Val. They don’t quite hear violins when they meet but the music does start to play towards the end of the story. She’s a nurse. An OR nurse. He sells or rents plastic containers. I am sure by the end of the play, the audience is quite satisfied with what the future holds for both of them.

Looking has been a difficult play to do. Comedic dialogue in this Norm Foster comedy has a nasty habit of repeating in either different or identical situations. It’s been a bit of a nightmare to memorize and now perform. We all have a handle on it now. So don't worry.
Thank goodness.
Opens night lurks on the horizon!

As an actor, one can only be as good as those surrounding him allow him to be, while honing his craft. There is always so much more to mounting a show than what the audience sees down on the stage at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House.

It takes a committed, focused Director like Dave Graham. I last did Out of Sight, Out of Murder with Dave two seasons ago. The show was a huge success and for that reason alone, I am back to work under Dave’s directorship.

The Stage Manager is Tom Ruechel who knows the ropes and keeps cast and crew both in line and in place. He’s ably assisted by Lisa McKinzey whom- it seems, has the middle initial “O”- for organized.

Then there’s hair and makeup from Shimera Dione. She is the absolute best! Look what she did for me (The Garage Door Players) with A Chatty HANKmuss. Shimera’s wigs and makeup made that Holiday show. There would have been no Dame Clare without the professionalism and know-how that Shimera brings to a production.

Susan Canfield and crew prepare the props and make sure the “correct” liquid is in the beer bottles and glasses at the bar The Private Dick, featured in this comedy.

Bev Totten both finds and gives the final okay to costumes. She has a fine eye and never offers a snap decision.

Max Durnford has the unforgiving task of building a set that looks “real” as well as being functional for the actors.

Phil Hull as Producer, gets the word out about the show as well as lending his support and finding a competent backstage crew to be there- backstage, for the run of the show.

All these people and departments must come together in one focused team effort to make this show a winner.
I think it will be.
Now, it’s your opportunity to be the judge- and the critic.

“Looking” presented by Mariposa Arts Theatre, opens Thursday February 10 at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House where their main concern is “safety” for one and all.
Actually, it’s not just a concern.
It’s a lifestyle.
A mantra.
A way of life.
A day to day albatross that has been flung around their collective necks and weighted down with chains and links heavier than Marley’s ever were!
It’s something they live and breathe daily.
A case for which there is no argument if one wanders from the set course.
Well, you get the idea.
So be assured, your visit to the Studio Theatre during the run of "Looking" will not only be a humorous one- but a safe one.

Get your tickets before this show is sold out!
Ahhhh. They always say that- don’t they!
It’s supposed to get lazy bums- such as you, into the seats at the little Studio Theatre inside the O.H. right at Mississaga Street West and West Street North, in downtown Orillia.
The Box Office number is 705.326.8011
Tickets are available online too. Just Google Orillia Opera House.

On with the show!

Friday, February 4, 2011

ROBBLOG # 218 W E E K E N D Edition

Every once in a while I Google “Swisssh or Swisssh Radio” just to see where it falls in respect to search results.

Usually it’s the first ten results of a search. However, there is a new Internet Radio station in England that uses the same name.
Different spelling.
It’s Swish.

I am sure they have a much larger listening audience, since the Brits are miles ahead of us Canuks when it comes to listening to Internet Radio Stations. Remember, this is the same country that sent ships out to sea to “play” radio in the 1960’s when there was just the BBC, which only allotted an hour or two per week to Pop hits.
Radio Caroline was born.
That country is on the cutting edge- even though they can’t make hot toast and coffee refills in restaurants are not complimentary!

This upstart Brit station decided to use the name as well. I don’t know where it came from but it is appearing on searches for Swisssh even though the spelling is completely different.
Why do I mention this?
You can help me keep Swisssh Radio on the top for searches form Swisssh,simply by plopping Swisssh or Swisssh Radio into the Google search bar and hit “enter”. When you see a “Swisssh” result, just click on it to go to the website. That will keep Swisssh Radio at the top of the search.

Thanking you in advance for the Google thing.

That's me relaxing in Muskoka with Kiki

I also do random searches of my name- Rob Reid. I am nowhere near the top of the list of Google results that appear on my computer screen. There are many that bear the same name and consistently beat me to the top- at least as far as I can see, no one is saying anything "bad" about me.
Who are these imposters you may well ask.
Here are a few of them and what they are “famous” for.
Wat up wit dat?

Rob Reid- born in Toronto, Ontario on January 22, 1955, is a Victoria, British Columbia athlete, community activist and entrepreneur.

Rob Reid Ministries, a non-profit organization committed to promoting the liberating message of Jesus of Nazareth. Apparently, he has personally experienced the freeing power of the Gospel of Jesus.

Rob Reid, Founder of Frontrunners and recent Mayor candidate (2009) for Mayor of Victoria B.C.

Rob Reid was appointed Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer in May 2005 for Air Canada.

Rob Reid- the author- New Books in the Works.

Rob Reid (lawyer) practices in the areas of labour and employment.

Rob Reid, Senior Revenue Analyst at CBC.

Rob Reid is a singer/songwriter based out of Chicago.

Rob Reid, founder and chairman of

Rob Reid, co-founded Mainspring Productions, a commercial, documentary and narrative-based film company, 2008.

Rob Reid: An assistant Scientist

Rob Reid Memorial site at

So there you have it. A few of the “imposters” who have swiped my name and are actively seeking their own fortune and fame! I also did a search for “pics of Rob Reid”. My own “mug” actually came up a few times. That was surprizing!

Now it’s your turn. Be brave.
Type in your own name and see -
“wat up wit dat!”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Dear Readers:

I hate when a writer starts a piece with "Dear Readers" but I just have....Haven't I.

Let me explain. Every week Steve Caston (A Chatty HANKmuss)
copies me in on Something he calls the Wednesday Lift. This past Wednesday he sent a small film- with a score he wrote, about a small troll-like creature that was sailing and dancing -among other things.
Suddenly, the following story came to mind. No, it's not the same troll as in Steve's film.
Anyway, here's my story.

The day dawned bright, clear, sunny and warm.

Dorik, a small, gentle little creature with a chartreuse hank of hair shooting up from the centre of the top of his head, rolled over and gazed at the tiny gold-coloured clock on his side table.
It was 6:23.
“Goodness!”- he chimed, “I’ve slept to 6:23? That is amazing. But how rested I feel.”
Dorik always rose precisely at 6:19, so sleeping in to this “late” hour filled him with amazement. However, having a short attention span, he moved on to the next order of business on this fine summer morning-

He clamoured out of bed and headed down to the kitchen of his tiny, perfect cottage- which sat next to a big oak, alongside the babbling brook- and plugged in the coffee maker.

“What shall I have this morning?”- he thought out loud stroking his huge tuft of hair.
“I know!”- he yelled excitedly- “I’ll have “mossy bark”. Yes, “mossy bark” is my coffee flavour of choice. He plopped a couple of heaping tablespoons of “mossy bark” into the filter cartridge of his coffee maker, filled the reservoir with water and pushed the red “on” button. In seconds the aroma of fresh coffee permeated the kitchen.
It was so good to wake up and be alive for another day.
He was absolutely beaming!
Pushing open the door that led from the kitchen to his garden, he took in the fresh, early morning air, scratching himself in the most private of places as he gazed out upon his garden and open fields beyond.
The coffee finished dripping. He paused his daydream-mode for a second while he stepped back in to the tiny, perfect kitchen and filled a mug with the steamy, hot liquid.
He returned to the outdoors, mug in hand.

Reclining on his favourite turquoise-blue lawn chair, he drank it all in. He couldn’t help but smile-
“Was this not just the most perfect of days in a most perfect world?”
An ivory-white butterfly flitted among the flowers in his perennial garden. It stopped for brief moments on the blossoms of his Jackman Clemantis.
“How pretty. How full of nature my garden is…”
How many times had he thought that very thought?
Many times, he was certain.

The sun’s rays lit upon his face. He smiled, feeling comforted by the sun’s warmth.
Suddenly, in the open field on the other side of the babbling brook, he could see a huge baboon- driving a front end loader with its blade fully engaged in the “down” position, flying across the field towards his little cottage, beyond the row of hollyhocks at the south end of his garden. The contraption travelled at break-neck speed, ripping up grass and trees- even the row of hollyhocks, as it crossed the babbling brook it lept skyward coming to rest right on top of the turquoise-blue lounger where Dorik the troll lay reclined on this sunny morning with his cup of “mossy bark” coffee.

Now a final word from the author…

"Pardon me?"- you say.
"What’s that?"- I say.
~mumble, mumble`
"Oh, I hear you."- I say. "I hear you asking ever so politely-
“So, what happened to Dorik the Troll?”- you say.
Well, poor, sweet, adorable, well-rested Dorik was squashed flatter than a pancake on the breakfast menu at the Golden Griddle.

On another much happier note-
Didn’t that “mossy bark” coffee sound delicious?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Oh My God….

By the time you read this you could be buried under tons-
literally tons and tons of snow.

SnowZilla- some are calling it.

Armageddon of the winter world.

Forign news channels and local stations in places like Bumnectedy, Connecticut have been broadcasting warnings in advance of what is being billed as the most “hugest snowstorm”- ever! This could be the end of “normal”, for weeks to come.

Why even here in our own “Homeland” media is brewing a tempest in a storm cup. Run for your lives they are telling us. Work from home. Don’t go out. Hide under the bed. Buy salt and sand and shovels- even if you don’t need to. Flee to the tropics.

Good God, it was weather such as this that swept through the Yorkshire Dales in England back in November. Some people were buried at their local pubs for 6 or 7 days until a backhoe could get to them.
But they survived. The British Bulldog made it. They weathered the storm. It eventually melted.
Some of it.

Take heed from this story and learn from the mistakes of others. Don’t go to Metro or Foodland. You might get stuck in there for the next week.
What would you eat?

What if you missed Little Mosque on the Prairie while you were snowbound at your local groceteria?
So, a storm is coming. It’ll lay down maybe 40 or 50 centimetres of snow in places like Hamilton.
Chicago got 60! That wonderful town.

So that’s it. The warnings are out. The Environment Canada website has been flashing Winter Storm Watch. In bright yellow for hours now.

Just be aware that this might be it.
Yes indeedy do.
The end of the world.
The final battle between good and….and…and…


Deal with it!