November 27th @ Free Times Café

It will come as no surprise to those who know me, even casually, that I am not the person to approach for fashion advice. I think the last time I gave any fashion advice was in university when I told my friend Stan, before we went into class, that he should zip up his fly (I realize that this might not count as fashion advice, but I think we can all agree that it was good advice).

It’s not that I can’t dress myself, I can, but understanding fashion means understanding (or caring) about trends and also having some colour sense. I do know the basic colours – red, green, black, yellow, blue (are there more?) – but with fashion those colours aren’t enough, not even close. For example just this week I was talking to a friend (yes I have more than one friend) and she told me that her soccer team was considering cyan for their uniform. I could have pretended that I had the faintest idea what she was talking about but I couldn’t even try. Cyan, really? I’m still struggling with taupe.

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October 16th @ Free Times Café

I realize I may be coming a bit late to the discussion but I recently became aware that there is a presidential election going on south of the border. I suppose I should have known about it earlier but it’s been a pretty busy time. There’s the Blue Jays of course, and then there was that European soccer tournament earlier this summer that I followed quite closely (though for the life of me I can’t remember who won). And then of course there is the Brangelina split which has occupied a lot of my time as I’m sure it did yours.

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September 18th @ Free Times Café

Now that September is here it’s time to get serious about baseball; the playoffs are around the corner and the Toronto Blue Jays are in the thick of it. For people who allow sports to occupy some or all of their waking hours, this means it’s a fun time (and now you’re wondering – fun or serious which is it? – OK, it’s serious in the sense that any fun diversion can be a serious thing – that makes sense to me which admittedly is setting a pretty low bar).

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August 21st @ Free Times Café

Sorry to report that we are rant-less today as Jonathan is in Australia, or at a cottage – cannot remember which. John-Marc Hamilton suggested I give it a try, and more precisely he said this:

“You start by mentioning the recent heat wave, then go on to discuss how hot weather affects instruments and the performers, how bright lights make your head sweat and your hands stick to the guitar while performing, segue into a selfless promo for the band’s next gig, then end with a joke about all the hot air it takes to work the bagpipes. See, easy.”
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July 17th @ Free Times Café

A few years ago our washer stopped washing, or maybe it was the dryer that stopped drying. In any event there was a laundry issue at the house. When machines like washers or dryers stop working the thing to do is call the appliance repairperson (I am stating this position in a gender-neutral fashion although I have only known appliance repairmen; I hope that, if nothing else, this choice of words is aspirational).

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June 19th @ Free Times Café

We are regularly told that we are all unique. We are like snowflakes in that no human being is exactly the same as another (and how do we know that about snowflakes anyway, wouldn’t they melt when you got them to the lab?). The exceptions of course are identical twins or triplets or quadruplets etc., who are exactly the same and are therefore great subjects for medical testing and horror films.

But is that really true; is there no one who looks just like us? When I was in university there was a guy that I saw occasionally at a pub and he looked just like me, and he held his beer just the way I did and he slouched against the wall holding his beer just like I did. The Germans have a word for this – doppelgänger – meaning someone who isn’t a twin but looks just like you (and so since we have words for this too why are we using a German word anyway, especially one with that annoying umlaut over the ‘a.’)

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May 15th @ Free Times Café

I read this week that Cineplex, the company whose business model is selling overpriced pails of popcorn, had a very successful last quarter. The success was due to increased attendance for animated films aimed at kids and films with live actors based on cartoons aimed at teenagers and adults. Among the films that helped propel Cineplex to its dizzying heights was Batman vs Superman.

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April 17th @ Free Times Café

It’s interesting how music is so often associated with significant events in our lives. Being in a band, I get the pleasure of sometimes providing the music for those events. At Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room we’re pleased to play at holiday parties (either secular or religious), divorces, wakes, circumcisions, bar or bat mitzvahs and sweet sixteens (although I’m not really sure what adolescent would pick us as the band to play at their major life event) and of course, weddings.

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March 20th @ Free Times Café

I don’t know about you (a pretty safe bet since I send this little missive to lots of folks so there is a good chance that I don’t know about you, although I might, depending on who are you, because some of you I know a lot about). O.K., this isn’t going well at all. I’m think I’m going to start again without any reference to you other than to acknowledge that you are reading this (and probably regretting it). So let us (well not us, me) restart.

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February 21st @ Free Times Café

So there’s this type of liquor that is popular in the Middle East called arak (no, that’s not how the country got its name). It has a liquorice flavour and I’m not particularly fond of it. On the other hand, it’s not like I’m terrified of it. But apparently not only are some people terrified by the drink but there is even a name for the terror people have of that drink – arachnophobia.

Wait a minute, I have to check something.

OK, turns out I was wrong about that; arachnophobia has something to do with spiders apparently. Speaking about fears of other living creatures, did you know that there are people who are afraid of an imaginary rabbit used to sell cereal? Really. People who have this fear have what is referred to as triskaidekaphobia.

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