May 19th @ Free Times Café

I’ve been travelling the last little while – I’ve been in Ottawa and Vancouver – and I’ve seen the same TV commercial in those cities that I’ve seen in Toronto and I feel compelled to tell you about it.

The commercial is for a dating site called Silver Singles. As you might gather, it is a dating site aimed at older folks – who apparently are all made of silver. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with a dating site for older people, we all need love and whatever works is fine with me. So it’s not the fact that there is a dating site for older folks that bothers me about the commercial.

The ad opens on two healthy, fit older folks (a man and a woman) having a drink from huge wineglasses. And what it about these gigantic wineglasses by the way? They appear designed to hold half a bottle in a glass but still look like you’ve just had “a splash.” Anyway that is not the issue with the commercial either. These are two adults, if they want to kill a bottle of wine between them on a first date that’s certainly OK with me.

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April 21st @ Free Times Café

I was a bit confused recently when I read an article saying that the Ontario government planned to legalize tailgating. Why, I wondered did the government want to encourage people to drive too close behind other cars because, after all, that is the definition of tailgating.

As it turns out there is another definition however and it appears that the government wasn’t legalizing reckless driving but rather the practice of barbequing and drinking before a sporting event, which is also known as tailgating. This latter form of tailgating is particularly popular in the United States (as is the first form of tailgating) and the Ontario government’s embrace of this type of tailgating perhaps explains the new motto shortly to be found on our licence plates – “Ontario – more like Buffalo every day.” Makes your heart swell with pride.

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April 11th @ Annex Hotel

Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room was invited to perform their unique style of “extreme folk” music for a private party at the newly opened Annex Hotel, in the heart of downtown Toronto. It is believed they were the first musical performers in the new venue, which features loft-style hotel rooms and a generous common area to eat, meet, and drink.

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March 24th @ Free Times Café

I was thinking recently about Spiderman. He obtained his superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, which when you think about it is a lot better than what he would have got if he’d been bitten by a regular spider – big blister, rash, headaches, nausea – I mean he really lucked out.

The reason I was thinking about Spiderman was that I wondered where my superpower came from. And what is my superpower you ask? Why I can turn any type of cord into a jumbled impenetrable mass in a ridiculously short period of time. I mean it. You should see my phone cord at work. I always have to use the speaker phone because when I try to lift up the handset the cord is so twisted and knotted that I end up lifting the whole phone. Many people have tried but no one can entangle the phone card. It is a modern day Gordian Knot.

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February 17th @ Free Times Café

I remember the first time I saw the word ‘stomach’ in print. I was six or seven years old and I was reading a comic book – I can’t remember the comic but I think it was a western. Now I knew the word stomach, although I probably used the word tummy more often. Still, even though I know what the word stomach meant it was odd to see it in print. I mean stomach is just a weird looking word – look at it – really look at it – if you didn’t know that this is how stomach was spelled you wouldn’t think this was the word for stomach.

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Robbie Burns Night @ Free Times Café

Okay — This is it! The biggest shindig of the year and you’re invited! 

Date: Friday, 25th January   

Time: 8:00 pm start (Bagpipes join in at 9:30pm)                            

Place: The Free Times Café (320 College, near Spadina)

Please join us for another evening of ​friendly fun:

Some Burns. Some Scottish music. Some dance. 

… and… of course, the Haggis!

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January 13th @ Free Times Café

My first full time job after university was working for a public broadcaster in Toronto. I won’t name the broadcaster but it wasn’t the CBC and it just broadcasts on TV in Ontario. I wasn’t in the production end of things, I was in something called Learning Systems Design (yes – LSD). At one point I was asked to write a position paper on some type of restructuring for part of the organization (and you are quite correct to wonder what qualifications I had to embark on such a task because I had none).

I don’t remember anything about what I wrote but I do remember the meeting where it was discussed. There were a bunch of people in the room – not just from LSD but from other departments as well. It would have been cool if there were departments of Potential of Technology (POT) and Systems Produced Enabled Engineering Design (SPEED), etc., because it just would have been fun to play duelling drug acronyms – but the place didn’t really have a sense of humour so that didn’t happen.

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December 16th @ Free Times Café

You know what we need in Canada now? And please don’t stop reading this and go away to think hard about what we really need in Canada now and engage in weighty discussions with friends and family and then, in a week or two, email me your considered comments, because I’m not really interested in what you think we need in Canada, this is just a literary device to let me say what I was going to say in any event. And what I was going to say was what we need in Canada is a holiday in November.

I know we have Labour Day in September and Thanksgiving in October, which is where it belongs, not in late November like they have in the U.S., and then after a bit of a wait we have Christmas and Boxing Day and that works out to four holidays in four months which is one a month and that seems about right. And of course there’s also Hallowe’en which isn’t a holiday that you get to skip work for (which is really what a holiday is all about) but it’s still a holiday.

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November 18th @ Free Times Café

I recently learned of a survey by Dalhousie University that showed that Canadians are eating less meat. A number of articles following up on the survey pointed out that this has led to restaurants changing the fare that they offer their customers. Being the intrepid investigator of social trends that I know you expect me to be, I took on the task of eating at a bunch of restaurants, all in the name of research, to see what this really means.

I had assumed, naïvely as it turns out, that I would see restaurants offering more vegetarian and vegan food options. Some restaurants might have also added more pescetarian choices (and I should point out that when I first heard the word “pescetarian” I did figure out that it had to with fish but I couldn’t figure out whether pescetarians worshipped or ate fish – or perhaps both – anyway if you’re wondering, it is (b) – ate fish).

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October 21 @ Free Times Café

One of the great things about my work is that I get to travel across the country. There is nothing like going from town to town, playing my music, having intense, intimate relationships with people, getting ideas for new songs, sharing the stage with other great musicians… wait, sorry, that’s not my life at all – that’s sort of what I fantasized my life would be when I was in high school – not sure how I ended up sharing this.

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