Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm taking a little break from the blog at the end of the week as I fly to Buffalo for the World's largest Disco. In anticipation, here's a little Thanksgiving cheer from the New Yorker. Enjoy!

The Turkey Wish

After Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid, my dad would make me pull the wishbone apart with him to see who would win the “Turkey Wish.” I always thought it was kind of stupid, but my dad took this tradition really seriously. Here’s how it went:

1988: I win. I wish for a pony. Dad says I can’t wish for that because it’s too expensive. I wish for a dog instead.

1989: I win again. Dad yells a word I’ve only heard in R-rated movies and then hits his hand down on the table, hard. I wish for a Nintendo.

1990: Dad wins. He is really happy. He kisses my mom on the mouth and yells “Now who’s the loser?”

1991: I win. Dad locks himself in the bathroom. There’s a loud crashing sound like a pane of glass shattering. I wish for us never to play Turkey Wish again.

1992: Dad says my previous wish doesn’t count and makes me play. He wins. He wishes for a new son who isn’t “such a failure at everything he sets his hand to.”

1993: I win. Dad moves to Wisconsin.

1994: Thanksgiving morning, 5 A.M. The phone rings. It is my dad pretending to be an old lady. It is a bad impression. He asks if any one remembers the tradition of the Turkey Wish. I can hear him sobbing softly in the background. He makes up some excuse about needing to go put on his “old lady dress” and hangs up. The next week I receive an envelope in the mail with twenty broken wish bones soaked in tears.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous Quotes II

Having to talk to your 96 year old great-grandmother is a lot like talking to a junkie who's just shot up. There's lots of mumbling and nodding off.

What the Hills is Going on???

Last night's episode of The Hills was like a bad high school flashback. Audrina heard a random rumor from a nebulous character named "Dino" and proceeded to alienate her best friend and her boyfriend as she spun out of control. I have had to experience the same sort of situations repeatedly in the past, and watched it with a mixture of horror and hilarity. Of course, I was 16 at the time.

What is it about the ladies of the Hills that have landed them in some sort of prolonged adolescence? The saddest part is that, despite the many, MANY, protestations from both of the accused that they had not, as the rumor insisted, "Hooked up" Audrina just kept asking over and over again. It was like she wanted to believe the worst about them. The confrontation culminated in Lauren telling Audrina that she was worse than Heidi, because she had made this mess all on her own. Ouch!

The previews from next week's episode show an unapologetic Audrina looking surprised that her sister thinks she should tell Lauren she's sorry. Let's hope that the Britney Spears crazy room is still decorated and operational - looks like it may be needed soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hold on to your Hills

The preview for tonight's episode of the Hills looks CRAZY. It all starts when a rumor on the internet claims that Lauren has "hooked up" with Audrina's boyfriend Justin Bobby. The intro clip (see below) has a series of serious confrontations and a lot of tears. Lauren actually tells Audrina that she's worse than Heidi. Madness.

Needless to say, you all know what I'll be doing tonight. A full run-down tomorrow, I promise.

In the Velvet

Joey B and I caught a matinee of "Wicked" yesterday at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Chicago. I have seen the show a couple of times before but, as always, was blown away by the unique take and new life that every subsequent cast brings. Joey B had never seen the show and was impressed by the score, the superb acting and the wonderful set.

As I have mentioned before, I attended a Performing Arts high school and had the distinct honor of staging our high school productions in the World Famous Shaw Festival's Royal George Theatre. I have loved the stage for as long as I can remember but, due to stage fright that I developed about 8 years ago, I have not been on one in some time.

Last night, following the show the cast entreated the audience to provide donation to Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS by dropping whatever one could spare into the silver buckets being held by cast members in the lobby. They also mentioned that there was a raffle (at $20 a ticket) to win a chance to perform for one night along with the cast on stage. The odds are 1 in 500 - cross your fingers.

Theater for me has always elicited a very visceral reaction. I have, many times, found myself welling up as the lights dim and the orchestra strikes up the few opening bars. Yesterday was no exception. As a caveat, I should mention that my house warming/birthday party was this past Saturday night and I have been known for years to cry easily when suffering from the "Booze Blues". But in the theater, this is never the real reason.

In the fall of 2003 my Mother purchased tickets for myself, my younger brother Ian, my older brother Andrew and his wife Sheelagh to see an evening performance of "The Lion King" in Toronto on a Wednesday night. I was working at a job that I didn't really enjoy and was very, very resistant to working an entire day and then driving, in rush hour traffic, all the way to Toronto for a show. I was short tempered, irritable and (in case you haven't already guessed) not much fun to be around for the drive up.

When we arrived I kept up a steady stream of comments about the parking lot attendant, pedi-cabs, our fellow theater-goers and a number of other topics - I am amazed that my brother didn't see fit to drown me in the nearest puddle as we walked along King Street to the theatre.

We settled into our (very nice) seats and I was obstinately prepared to thoroughly detest the show (being a purist, I thought that no good could come of a musical based on a cartoon). Then the lights went down and actors, in the wonderful costumes created by Julie Tamour, began to pour through the audience toward the stage and I was overwhelmed with emotion - tears pouring down my cheeks. I was suddenly so happy. I was exactly where I should have been on that dark, damp October night. I was in the velvet and everything was right with the world.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

DTV... blah, blah, blah

Is everyone else as sick as I am of hearing about how in February broadcast TV is going to become DTV and if you don't get a digital converter box... blah, blah, blah.
At first I thought, "Great, they're making a real effort to let the public know" and now I'm thinking, "Who the F is the dumbass who still has no idea about DTV and is forcing me to sit through these GD PSAs???" They are beyond irritating and they're on every channel, including PBS! It's like being forced to watch an ad campaign that really annoys you (*cough* *cough* Wendy's men with red pigtails - I'm looking at you) except that it's everywhere. Throw in 30 minute informational programming about DTV in sub-prime time and I am about to swear off TV altogether.

Why don't I bother with cable again? I wish I knew...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cartoon Madness

In the list of topics my brother provided me with yesterday, to ensure prompt blogging, he mentioned cartoons that make one nostalgic. In particular, he mentioned Eek the Cat - a show I did not remember until a quick search on YouTube brought it all flashing back. The morbidly obese pink girlfriend, the penchant for unlucky situations, that usually left him burned, blown up or otherwise severely injured. Aah, FOX.

As a result, I have dug up some of the fabulous cartoons I loved as a kid. Some of them may be very Canadia-centric, but I loved them. They include; The amorphous Barbapapas (for the record, the show had an English theme as well - I just preferred the French), Dr Snuggles (an inventor who travels the stars in a homemade rocket and the Silver Hawks (from the creator of Thunder Cats).

What cartoons are you nostalgic for? Drop a few lines in the comment sections and let the world know!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get to Bailing

I, personally, drive a Japanese car. There are many reasons for this, the foremost being that the vehicles built by GM, Chrysler and Ford do not meet with my standards on gas mileage or safety. That being said, I think that we HAVE to bail out the big three.

American made cars have a much smaller global market because these companies have pumped millions of dollars into lobbying Washington to block foreign competition and maintain the status quo instead of being the visionary, innovative companies they once were, but the past couple of years have seen some dramatic changes. I am actually excited for the Chevy Volt to come into the market and have watched with interest as American car manufacturers have begun planning to convert their more popular models into hybrids. The companies themselves, while they must shoulder most of the blame, were not in it alone. Consumers who demanded bigger and badder SUVs and large trucks must also assume some of the blame for the current crises.

The fact of the matter is that, with the bailout money, we can see a new dawn in the American automotive landscape. I think that, as a proviso of the bailout, the current managers and CEOs should be replaced with managers with a track record of innovation. But I must be clear - now is not to time to throw out the baby with the bathwater, nor should we plunge millions of Canadians and Americans out of work by forcing the big three into bankruptcy. The industry needs a financial band aid if it is going to heal. I encourage congress to get out the First Aid kit.

Quotes are all the Rage - I

In an effort to force me to update the blog every day my brother sent me a list of possible topics. The one I thought I'd begin with is our beloved wall of quotes.

Before moving to Chicago, I lived in the "guest house" at my parent's place. One of the highlights of my time in the "pebble" - so named because of it's relative cosiness - was a lerge sheet of paper Ian and I pasted over the French doors that led into the house. On this wall, over the years, we wrote funny quotes that we had heard in our favorite TV shows, movies or while out with friends and family.

The sheet is not stowed away in a bedroom closet, so I am working from memory, but I thought I would reproduce some of my favorites here for your amusement. Also, I will be posting random quotes under this headline every month so please, if you hear anything that tickles your fancy, send it my way.

Bart, you're getting vomit on my prince!

Brown sweaters are for Nancy Boys.

In the library, people have SEX in the bathrooms.

I don't date. I'm too niche.

When he tried to stick his toe in my ass, I knew it was time to get out of the hot tub.

He was five feet of crazy and three inches of nuts.

(said of a boy with large protruding ears) Look, you can see his love handles.

(said of an Indian drag queen) She's off to bend it like Beckham

Update: I just read this quote and had to share it. It's about Tyra Banks (snaps to the Go Fug Yourself Girls) - She is amazing. And crazy. She is cramazing.

Note: While I recognize that some quotes may offend, they are meant to be taken lightly and in good fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

I have loved this rendition, by Greg Laswell, of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" since it was featured in an episode of The Hills. It always amazes me when an artists original take complete changes the tone of a song.

The video is un peu cheesy (I would have used a montage of homeless street kids) but even I can't deny that it's evocative. See what you think.

Anderson Cooper: 360° of Rage

I have had an ongoing beef for years with Dan Savage. It all springs from a series of articles he wrote during the late 90s that I found distasteful and set off a decade long debate between Liv and myself. To be honest, Liv and I have nothing but decade long debates - the most prominent being whether individuals with "new" or "old" money are ruder. Guess which side of that coin I'm on.

Anyway, the fallout continues in the Proposition 8 debacle in California and Anderson Cooper recently welcomed Dan Savage and Tony Perkins (not the actor from Psycho) to debate the pros and cons. I have to say that it is comforting to have Savage on my side. His parting shot is particularly worthy. Let us all say, Amen!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Modeling Debut...Gah!!

As a freelance writer and, self-proclaimed international cultural attache, I have had my photo in many publications over the years. Some on contributors pages, some involving inebriated friends at random events and fundraisers, but I have recently added another notch to my belt - Dog product model.

Ok, it is actually my super star dog, Soleil, who is the star of this particular show but imagine my surprise, on viewing the results of her latest shoot on barkerandmeowsky.com to learn that I myself am featured in the photos. I just wish I had taken the time to shave... or lose 10 pounds. I do, however, take comfort in the fact that Soleil is so cute that most people won't even notice me. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ABC can suck it!

I love to watch shows online. It is embarrassing to admit, but I don't have cable. I keep meaning to get it hooked up, but with everything I love being available online, it just doesn't make much sense. That being said, I have a long standing hate on for the ABC full episode player.

It is choppy, slow and incredibly frustrating - to make matters worse, they are constantly "updating" it to make it even more cumbersome. Today I just finally had enough!

Why don't they just get it right first, and then tinker with it? I work crazy hours and often don't get to see Ugly Betty on Thursday nights, so I try to catch up on it when I can during the weekend or following week. It has gotten so frustrating that I've stopped watching altogether because the story moves so quickly from week to week.

I don't understand why it's so hard! NBC has an amazing player. For that matter, so does MTV. ABC brass, take note, when the ads you inject into the online shows are flawless, while the content skips like a broken record - you need to (to borrow a line from my favorite SNL Weekend Update Analyst), "FIX IT!"

I'll be waiting.

And the Comments Rage On

This is an email conversation between myself and my brother Ianovitch regarding my sort-of-friend and Tonight Show celebrity Ross Mathews:

Ian: poor ross <at his wits end , he is!

Paul: I am watching now. I'll let you know what I think.

Paul: Poor Ross. That is the real down-side of being a public figure. What sucks is how hard it is to prosecute cyber-harassment. The man is entitled to his opinion, but when he breaks the rules of the blog and/or sends threats to an individual there needs to a quick, precise method to intervene.

It is so sad, in this day and age, to see someone being so bold in putting their bigotry out there. I'm afraid that the passing of Prop 8 (not to mention the measures passed in Arizona and Arkansas) has made these people feel justified in their bigotry and homophobia. It's so sad to think that we've taken one step forward in terms of racism and two steps back in terms of homophobia.

This may sound weird from someone whose blog is purported to be all about Rage, but this is a space for taking the piss out of advertising and pop culture, not a place to attack anyone. And it's very tongue in cheek. Sometimes the anonymity of the internet can bring out the dark side in certain people and they say things they would never dare in real life. This to me seems cowardly. My parents always used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Wise advice... maybe we should all try a little harder.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Holidays from Rage-A-Holic

Everyone could use a little extra bread in their pockets, and I have an inside scoop for you. If you visit www.facebook.com/sears and become a fan, you will get a free gift card.

The number is limited, so go soon and pick up a little something for someone you love at Sears.

Just Asking...

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is the New York Post's seminal column, Page Six. Alongside all the delicious dish, they run blind items under the heading "Just Asking". It was a blind item about a politician who was spending a lot of time in New York that first busted John Edwards for his ongoing affair, and ruined his chances, not only for the Presidency, but also for a cabinet post. Who cheats on his terminally Ill wife?

But I digress, I have decided - having called the Edwards report - to create a just asking pool. Check out today's column (below) and let me know who you think they're talking about? I'll make a note of it and, down the line if it turns out you're right, I'll give you a cyber shout out. Who knows, there may even be prizes involved. So hit me with your best shot:


WHICH wife of a top Lehman executive went on a $132,000 shopping spree at the Americana Manhasset Mall the day after her hubby filed for bankruptcy? . . . WHICH skirt-chasing Euro-billionaire tried to share the bathroom at Rose Bar with a young businesswoman who rejected his offer to perform a disgusting act? . . . WHICH hot downtown eatery employs a manager who's notorious for hiring and promoting women she can sleep with, despite the fact she's "married" to another woman?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's official - I've seen everything

Joey B and I are up very early this morning because we are shopping for furniture today - my new place is a little sparse at the moment. In lieu of springing into action we got roped into watching a nature show. During a commercial break I was astounded to see a dog wearing a slutty outfit, raising it's derriere towards the camera. I immediately turned to Joey B and said, "I have to blog about this!"

Yes, Ragers, we are now about to be inundated with small toy dogs wearing Eurotrash outfits, replete with lots of "bling" a la "bratz" phenom. These little creatures are from a toy company called, "Tini Puppini". (Click here to see the official website).

In doing a little research, I get the sense that these skanky dogs are going to be the "gotta have it" item for the holiday season. You've been warned.

As many of you know, I have no compunctions about dressing up dogs in coats, Halloween costumes, etc. My own dog, Soleil, is featured prominently as a model for barker & meowsky and has even had her modeling photos appear on Martha Stewart, but I have to say this is entirely different. These toys have all the patent panting horniness of Heidi Montag or Tila Tequila - why not buy little Suzie a "Betty Blowjob" action figure, (Now with crack pipe and spitting action - Order now!).

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but when did a painted up tart (even a furry one) become the perfect toy for a child? Take my advice, if you see this dog just keep walking. That bitch hangs out at the free clinic.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Palin: I'm Sorry

It has been 2 days since the people of America voted overwhelmingly for change and so, it was about time for those who had supported McCain's candidacy to start laying blame. First and foremost, FOX News.

All I can say is that the "Straight Talk Express" was a bus, and now they are throwing Governor Palin under it.

This seems incerdibly sexist to me. What do you think? Comment below.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am working on a holiday campaign about the power of individuals to, not only give gifts to their loved ones, but also to grant their wishes. Part of this campaign has involved soliciting peoples "Wishtories" (a hybrid of Wish Story + History). The touching stories have moved me and have inspired me to share with you a woman who took the time to write to a young boy who dreamed of being a writer.

As a child I attended a french school by the name of École St Antoine in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was a rambunctious and (to be completely honest) hyper-active child but, put a book in my hands, and I would sit quietly for hours - engrossed. I had an inate sense of the order of words. I remember, when first learning about the many rhyming schemes in poetry how something just clicked - it all made sense to me.

Throughout my years at St Antoine my essays, stories and poetry were occasionally recognized with prizes and I, a ham to the core, would often be called upon to read at assemblies in front of the school and once, as the winner of a province wide poetry contest, at an educators convention in Toronto. I remember that I wore my favorite yellow cable knit sweater (it was the eighties!) and that I wasn't even nervous. A photo, snapped of me that day as I read, still resides in my parents study. Years later, when I began experiencing stage fright, I looked back in amazement at this young boy who stood alone on a stage, in front of a darkened crowd, in a massive auditorium, and spoke the words with a confidence - almost a nonchalance - that I would never be able to recreate. My confidence came from a certainty that this is what I was meant to do. I knew for certain that this was my path because a very kind woman, a writer that I came to respect and admire, had told me that it was possible, maybe even probable. That woman was Jocelyne Villeneuve.

When I was in the fourth grade (Grade 4 for Canadian readers) I told my teacher, Madame Naccarato, that I wanted to be a writer. She, in turn, told me of her cousin - who was a writer and poet - and suggested that, if I wanted, I could write a letter to find out more about writing, and she would pass it along. This small suggestion made all the difference. Shortly thereafter, having delivered my first letter for Jocelyne, I began a correspondence that lasted for years. Jocelyne encouraged me to imagine, she encouraged me to try many different styles until I found my voice but, most of all, she always spoke to me as an equal.

It wasn't until my adolescence that I learned of her debilitating illness, nor the car accident that had left her bound to a wheelchair in 1967. It wasn't until my adulthood I learned of her passion for haiku, nor that she was, in many ways, its most prominent Canadian champion. It was difficult for me to align the woman of my adulthood with the correspondence of my youth. Her letters were so positive, her poems so transcendent - I had no idea of the difficulties she had experienced because she had not made them important. That was my greatest lesson.

The world lost Jocelyne 10 years ago but I had lost her about 5 before that. Wrapped up in my life, like any teenager, I lost touch with her. Even years after we had stopped exchanging letters, I would still get a Christmas card from her every December. I was lucky to have known her and am heart sick that I never got the chance to thank her properly for everything that she had given to me. So, thank you Jocelyne, for reaching out to a child you never met, and changing his life.

Haiku for Jocelyne - 11/04/08
Autumn day, so warm
that I leave my coat at home
and walk in the leaves

Jocelyne Villeneuve



Perhaps better known for her writing of French-language stories, poetry and journalism, Jocelyne Villeneuve was nonetheless no stranger to publishing in English. She lived in Sudbury, where she was a champion of Franco-Ontarian culture. Wheel-chair confined as a result of illness and a car accident in 1967, the former librarian worked for many years as a freelance writer.

CLICK HERE to browse Jocelyne Villeneuve's work.

Notice biographique: Jocelyne Villeneuve (1941-1998) est née à Val d’Or, Québec et a vécu en Ontario de 1953 jusqu’à sa mort. Elle a poursuivi ses études primaires à l’École Saint-Jean et son secondaire au Collège Notre-Dame à Sudbury. Elle a aussi étudié à l’Université Laurentienne et à l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle détient deux baccalauréats de l’Université Laurentienne, l’un en économie (1962) et l’autre avec spécialisation en littérature française (1973). En 1964, elle a obtenu un baccalauréat en bibliothéconomie de l’Université d’Ottawa.

En 1964, elle a travaillé comme bibliothécaire et chef de département au service des acquisitions de la bibliothèque à l’Université Laurentienne. À la suite d’un accident de voiture en 1967 et aussi dû à des problèmes de santé, elle opte pour la littérature et le métier d’écrivaine. Des gestes seront posés a paru aux Éditions Prise de Parole en 1977, ceci représente un premier roman de la plume de cette auteur franco-ontarienne qui a vu publier un bon nombre de ses articles et poèmes, contes et nouvelles. Un recueil de contes pour enfants intitulé Contes des quatre saisons a paru aux Éditions Héritage (1978), ainsi qu’un recueil de contes pour adultes intitulé Le Coffre (1979) aux Éditions Prise de Parole. La version française de deux légendes, Nanna Bijou: Le géant endormi (1983) et La Princesse à la mante verte (1983). La version anglaise de Nanna Bijou: The Sleeping Giant a paru chez Penumbra Press. Deux recueils de poésie ont aussi paru aux Éditions Naaman: La saison des papillons (1980) et Feuilles volantes (1985). Le livre Ménagerie (1985) qui a paru aux Éditions des plaines du Manitoba, sa neuvième publication littéraire rassemble cinq contes mettant en vedette des animaux. De plus, “Les feux Saint-Elme” a paru dans Rauque (Revue de création) en 1985. Un récit poétique Terre des Songes (1986) et Le geai bleu et le papillon (1992) ont paru chez les Éditions du Vermillion. En 1987, Contes de Noël est publié par les Éditions des Plaines et en 1988 Greenmantle a paru chez Penumbra Press, ainsi que Marigolds in Snow (1993).

Jocelyne Villeneuve est décédée le 8 mai 1998, à Sudbury.

Reader Rage

I have just gotten a "Trans-Atlantic Smack Down" from my brother about the infrequency of my postings. I plead no contest because, despite the fact that I just moved into a new place, and am working long, long hours, it's not as though I never have time to jot down a few lines.

I am trying to find a way to work the blogging into my daily life, and Joey B and I came up with a greatly monthly column idea over the weekend... but more on that later.

Stay tuned for a posting later on today about someone who helped to inspire me. It's a posting I've been working on for a while. To Ianovich, and all readers, I apologize for my wayward ways. I assure you that I will do my best to post a little something every day. Remember, rage is always a click away.