Category: Blog

And I’m Never Going Back To My Old School…

The great late film critic Jay Scott, during his 1982 review of the legendary teen classic Fast Times At Ridgemont High for the Toronto Globe & Mail, wrote that high school was the last truly democratic institution we encounter during our lives.  Those sentiments rang so true a few weeks ago when I attended the farewell event for Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute which has now been shuttered for lack of enrollment.  Permanently.  Closed. Ferme.  SchlieBen.  Threw that last one in because they used to …

Palm Springs Weakened

I’ve been watching some TV lately.  I don’t know why.  You can blame some personal struggles, the late winter, the inability to finish a Chabon novel.   HBO is currently running a free preview promotion.  I killed my subscription a while back because I don’t see the value if you were not a fan of Game Of Thrombosis or there isn’t a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm to sop up like chicken soup and a loaf of challah.  I took the opportunity to check …

In Memoriam

The Emmys are coming up and I have noticed in recent years that in this show and in others like the Oscars, Grammys and Teen Choice Awards I look forward with morbid curiosity to the scroll call highlighting the significant names lost during the past year.   It’s a bittersweet interlude to the festivities, mournful and  astonishing,  for the way these distant stars and their work impacted us so significantly during our lives.   There’s that sudden sinking feeling when a face comes up that …

My Lover The Car

I had breakfast with my father this morning and he openly talked about the end of his driving life.  Granted, at 91, he is doing way better than most including what’s left of his friends who aren’t parked permanently underground.  However, even I didn’t expect he would bring it up.   If my father has any unique talent, it is behind the wheel.   It has been a consistent quality of his for as long as I have known him even with his most recent …

The Night The David Letterman Experience Came To Toronto – A Truish Story.

I thought for years that I could rise in the business to a level where I could guest on Letterman and then “hijack” the show with this story. That, of course, never happened but very few of us have a good personal Dave yarn. Let me share mine. In the late spring of 1979, I was dividing my time at the Toronto Sun between the news desk as a ne’er do well Jimmy Olsen and the entertainment sandbox where I saw myself as …

Buddy Boy

Years ago, decades ago actually, the great actor Jimmy Stewart sat beside Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show and read a poem to his beloved dog who had passed away.   Back in my callow youth which, to be truthful, should have at that point long morphed into responsible adulthood, I wrote it off as the maudlin ramblings of a slightly addled old man. My opinion changed a few days ago.  I lost my wingman. Technically Buddy wasn’t even my dog.  My ex brought him into the house after …

An Affair To Dismember

I can’t get back the thousands of hours spent absorbing The Dick Van Dyke Show and Flintstones reruns. Even though I had a short itinerant career in television – the highlight on the reel is a story credit on the Seinfeld episode The Fusilli Jerry – the hours could have been better spent.  Perhaps a little more homework or even a little more time with my mother who didn’t live to see my 20th birthday. These days I watch a lot less TV.  …

Full Metal Motorcyle Jacket

“C’mon Gramps, you’re too slow!” The rain was coming in sideways and I had two inches of water in my boots as I steered the crappy little Yamaha back to the top end of the speed/stop drill in which you had to get up to a relatively deadly pace before braking hard in front of the drill instructor who bore a striking resemblance to “Large Marge” of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I could barely see through the visor in the monsoon-like conditions as …

Sole Surivor

  “…time for these boot heels to be a wanderin…” – Bob Dylan I think I just might be done with shoe stores.   Seriously, I know it’s not completely realistic but if push came to shove, if my fortunes took a sudden tragic downturn, or I gravitated to a cult that advocated abstinence of the sole (you had to see that coming), I could subsist to my projected expiration date on the current ‘roster’. I have a solid rotation of Monday to Friday …

Marjorie’s Yahrzeit

Last year it was at a wedding  for the son of a good friend.  I drank heavily, danced heavily on my bad knee and got up and rapped with the band to the Run DMC variation of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way: “…I was a high school LOSER, never made it with the LADIES…”.    No kidding. Late in the evening the mother of the bride made a point of coming over and reminding me that she had been in my sister’s cabin at summer camp …