Detective Duos I’d Love to Watch

On Tuesday night, I was bored and there was nothing good on TV, so I decided to watch a rerun of a show whose title had intrigued me for a long time: “Houdini and Doyle.” From what I understood, it was about a detective duo at the turn of the century, and I love detective shows. One of my all time favourites is the updated version of Sherlock Holmes called Elementary, starring the irascible Johnny Lee Miller, and Lucy Liu as Watson. I also adore Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC version of Sherlock, which I’ve rewatched several times on Netflix, so I thought I’d give Houdini and Doyle a whirl. All I knew is that Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-American magician, and that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the Scottish author of the Sherlock Holmes series, among other things. I love magic and I love Scottish fiction writers (albeit a very small group) and I had high hopes for its ability to keep me happily occupied for the next hour while Atlas slept. Unfortunately, the TV show was—and I’m being polite here—absolute sh*t. Here are my main complaints:

  • The plot was ridiculous. This episode took place in a town where everyone except the local doctor and a little girl suddenly died. People were just lying on the streets in their period costumes, or keeled over their dinners of mutton and ale. Even the dogs were dead. And so were the mice—I know this because Houdini pointed out a nest of dead mice under a porch in a very obvious way in order to prove—well, I’m not actually sure what he was trying to prove. Houdini and Doyle eventually decided that everyone died due to a large cloud of carbon dioxide which had escaped from a nearby mine and which had asphyxiated the entire town. And as convoluted as that all sounds, it wasn’t even the ridiculous part. The most illogical part of the whole thing was their explanation regarding the survival of the doctor and the little girl. I was hoping beyond hope that since the show revolved around a famous magician that there might actually be a supernatural or magic-y rationale, like they were both alien mutants with cosmic lung capacity, or immune to the biological weapon that the government was experimenting with or something cool, but no. The doctor was in bed having a nap, and the little girl was sick and was also in bed. Therefore, they were BELOW the gas cloud and escaped its nefarious and deadly clutches. At which point, I yelled at the TV, “WHAT ABOUT THE DEAD MICE UNDER THE PORCH?! ? WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TELLING ME THAT ALL THE DEAD DOGS WERE TALLER THAN THAT KID’S BED?!” Yep, it made no sense whatsoever.
  • It made even less sense later, when having “solved” the first mystery, Houdini and Doyle then prevented the assassination of the President of the United States at a hotel because they had found a note with the words “King Edward” on it, and after thinking it was about killing the King, they realized it was the name of a hotel and got there just in time. All in one episode of 45 minutes (not counting all the commercials).
  • There were no magic tricks AT ALL. Considering the show stars one of the most famous American magicians of all time, there was a surprising LACK of magic-type stuff. Not even a f*cking card trick. They should have had Houdini in a locked closet, tied up with padlocked chains, racing against time to escape and thwart the assassination. Instead, he just knocked the gun out of the guy’s hand. Boring.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish, yet he spoke with an English accent. Yes, they sound different. The English always sound like they’re trying to schmooze you, and the Scottish always sound like they’re mad at you, thusly:
    English: Darling, can you please be quiet?
    Scottish: HAUD YER WEESHT, CHEEKY WEE BISSOM!!
    But Doyle was always like “Good Heavens! What the devil happened here, my good man?” instead of “Whit? Awae wi’ ye, numptie!” Yes, I know that the actual Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was well-educated and spoke the “Queen’s English”, but it would have added something to the show if he’d used spicy phrases and unintelligible dialect. The plot didn’t make any sense, so why should the dialogue?
  • Houdini sounded Canadian and the whole show had a distinctly Canadian feel ie: it was kind of amateur-ish, like Murdoch Mysteries, where a Canadian detective in the 1890s “uses radical forensic techniques of the time, including fingerprints and trace evidence, to solve gruesome murders” (imdb) along with his partner, female coroner Dr. Julie Ogden . An episode was once filmed in the town next to mine—we were at Wine Bayou bottling wine, and when my mom found out, she ran out on us mid-cork just for a glimpse of Yannick Bisson, who plays Murdoch. I’ve never seen her move so fast. Anyway, I wasn’t sure WHY I felt like it was so Canadian, then I googled it, and it turns out that the show “has Canadian producers and comes from the same production company as Murdoch Mysteries.” Mystery solved.
  • Last, throughout the show, Houdini kept insisting that you always know when you’re dreaming because “You can’t read in your dreams.” This is patently untrue. Just last night, I was reading Facebook posts in my dreams and some of them were just as annoying as they are when I’m awake—I don’t give “amens” to anything, and NO, I will not copy and paste your anti-mask rant regardless of my state of consciousness. But the kitten videos were a-DOR-able.

Anyway, in keeping with the current trend of unrealistic detective duos, like Murdoch and his Victorian female coroner partner, or Houdini and Doyle, I came up with a couple of my own.

1) “What The Dickens!”: This show stars Charles Dickens and David Copperfield, played respectively by Gerard Butler and Shia LeBoeuf. Because why the hell not? In the show, Dickens has time-travelled to the future and meets American magician David Copperfield. Together, they investigate the disappearance of many large buildings and monuments, and battle their arch-nemesis Uriah Heep, played by Betty White, who is as immortal as any supervillain. After they’ve solved every mystery (turns out it was Copperfield all along), Dickens returns to his own time and writes a very long novel called “David Copperfield” where he makes a LOT of stuff up, (he got paid by the word, after all) but leaves out the detective/magic part because he doesn’t want his heirs to get sued by Copperfield in the future for revealing his magical techniques.

2) “Fitzgerald and Wife”: In keeping with the fine tradition of married couple detectives, this show stars F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. Every week, they are presented with a new mystery which they fail to solve because they are too drunk.

3) “Robbie and Doug”: This is a Canadian show starring famous author Robertson Davies, who almost won a Nobel prize, and Doug Henning, a Canadian magician who ran for Parliament as a candidate for the Natural Law Party, which believes that all the problems in the world can be solved by learning the art of “yogic flying”. In the show, Davies just grumbles a lot about everything because he’s 90 years old and Scottish, and Henning solves all the crimes by flying around and meditating. The show is cancelled when viewers discovered that Henning isn’t REALLY flying—it’s only special effects. Yogic flying is actually just bouncing in a lotus position, and everyone knows you can’t solve crimes by bouncing.

As a side note, I know that neither F. Scott or Zelda were magicians, but I liked the concept too much to leave it out on THAT technicality. Also Ken just read this, and got really huffy:

Ken: I can’t believe you criticized Murdoch Mysteries.
Me: I didn’t criticize it.
Ken: You called it poorly made and amateurish.
Me: That was a generalization. ALL Canadian shows are poorly made and amateurish.
Ken: The BBC is just as bad.
Me: What are you talking about? The BBC is awesome!
Ken: Next time you’re watching Masterpiece Theatre, pay close attention to the terrible production values!
Me: OK, Ken.

Ken and I would make a great detective duo:

Me: Ken. The puppy just threw up.
Ken: It’s 4 o’clock in the morning…what does it look like?
Me: Pretty solid. Doesn’t look like food. Kind of stringy.
Ken: Stringy…string…rope. Ah ha! He swallowed that little chew rope he was playing with earlier.
Me: I don’t see it around here anywhere. Good deduction.
Atlas: Better out than in.

In other news, I was recently interviewed by Jenna Neece, writer and editor. If you’d like to learn more about The Mystery of Mydangblog, you can read it here

My Week 203: Another Mystery, Titus and I Talk Movies

My life is shrouded in mystery. If it’s not blonde hair in my condo, it’s porn on my porch. There are forces out there that cannot be explained…

So last Sunday, I followed my usual routine. I got up, sat down in front of my laptop and wrote for a while. Ken was in his office working on his photography portfolio (he just got accepted to be an ‘official’ contributor to Istock/ Getty), so when I was done, I came upstairs to see how he was doing. I was standing in the doorway to his office and we were talking when I looked down and saw it. I stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed, “What the holy f*ck is THAT?!”

Ken: What’s wrong?
Me: I—I—there’s a MOUTHGUARD on the floor here. Whose is it? How did it get here?
Ken: A mouthguard?
Me: Yes! Like one that a dentist would make. Where did it come from? It definitely wasn’t there a few days ago!
Ken: Kate used to have one. Maybe it’s hers?
Me: And it just randomly appeared on the floor outside your office?!

Um…what?

But I remembered that a few years ago, we had a nightguard made for Kate. Maybe she’d left it at the house the last time she and his girlfriend, the lovely V, had stayed over. So I messaged her with a picture of the mysterious mouthguard, and here is the verbatim transcript of my gentle attempt to discover the truth.

Me: WTF, KATE???
K: what is that
Me: A mouth guard!
K: whys it under a table
Me: I DON’T KNOW
                is it yours?
K: if it is its from kung fu
Me: How did it get by dads office?
K: the dog probably
Me: not what I expected to see under the table in the foyer!
K: that’s not my dentist mouthguard
                I have that here

So Kate’s theory was that the mouthguard had fallen out of her kung fu bag when we were cleaning and that the dog had carried it upstairs and left it under the table outside of Ken’s office. Plausible, despite the fact that Titus insisted he had nothing to do with it and “would never put something so disgusting in his mouth”. But then we realized that Kate’s kung fu mouthguard was a black ‘boil and bite’ so it couldn’t be that. I was deeply disturbed by all of this, so I left the thing exactly where we found it. When Kate came home this past Friday, the subject came up again. We went upstairs and all stared at it in disbelief, like the strange plastic harbinger of doom that it was.

K: It’s definitely not mine.
Me: Then who the hell does it belong to?!
Ken: Maybe it dropped out of the cleaner’s pocket?
Me: Of course. Steph was carrying her nightguard around with her during the day while she was mopping, and it dropped out under this table 2 weeks ago, and she still hasn’t noticed it was missing. Obviously. Come on! You know, I had one of these when we were first married. Do you think it’s mine? I mean I haven’t seen it in almost twenty years, but you never know. Let me just try it on…
K and Ken: Oh my god, no! It’s filthy! Don’t! You don’t know where it’s—EWWW!
Me: Nope, not mine.
K: Mom, that was disgusting. You’re going to catch some kind of disease.
Me: I’ll just swirl some wine around my mouth. There—germs all killed.
K: Ugh. I can’t believe you did that.
Titus: I know, right?! Gross.
Me: It was a ploy. If any of you knew anything about it, you would have told me to stop me from putting it in my mouth. It seems that you are all truly innocent.
K: Well played, I guess…

But the question—and the mouthguard—still remain. Where did it come from? Is my house haunted by an anxious ghost with bruxism? Do I have a VERY forgetful cleaner? Did someone break into our house, take nothing, but leave it behind as a warning of further dental incidents to come? We may never know.

Titus and I Talk About The Movies

Me: So hey, my blogger friend Often Off Topic is doing a Dog Blogathon in a couple of weeks so for the challenge, I’m supposed to write about dogs and movies.
Titus: Cool, cool. I’m a huge movie buff. I’m still pissed off at you for not taking me to TIFF.
Me: Right, like I was going to take a chance on you trying to high five Sam Rockwell and slapping him in the face?
Titus: Fair enough. But I do love “the moving pictures”.
Me: Really? What’s your favourite movie?
Titus: Citizen Kane. Good old Rosebud.
Me: I know, right? That shot of the sled at the end gets me every time.
Titus: What sled?
Me: The sled. Rosebud.
Titus: Rosebud wasn’t a sled. Rosebud was the guy.
Me: What guy?!
Titus: The main dude with the big castle.
Me: THAT was Citizen Kane.
Titus: I thought Rosebud was his nickname or something.
Me (rolls eyes): What else do you like? How about Star Wars?
Titus: Meh. That giant cat was really annoying.
Me: You mean Chewbacca? He was a Wookie.
Titus: Chewy cookie? Yes, please.
Me: No, Wookie. So you didn’t like it?
Titus: It was confusing. I could never tell who the bad guys were. Luke and Leia made a cute couple though.
Me: They were brother and sister.
Titus: WHAT?
Me: And Darth Vader was their father.
Titus: You’re sh*tting me! Thanks for the spoiler!
Me: You don’t pay very close attention to what you’re watching, do you?
Titus: I like to multi-task.
Me: If by multi-task, you mean ‘beg for popcorn’, then no wonder you miss so much. So what are some dog movies you’d like to see?
Titus: Um…Slumdog Millionaire. That sounds GREAT.
Me: It’s not about dogs.
Titus: Huh?! OK, what about Reservoir Dogs?
Me: Again, not about dogs.
Titus: I thought it was some kind of nature documentary. Dog Day Afternoon?
Me: Nope.
Titus: The Dogs of War? Wag The Dog?
Me: Do you know any movies that are actually about dogs?
Titus: Apparently not. By the way, Soylent Green is people.
Me: I already knew that, but nice try. Here, it says on this website that Old Yeller is the number one dog movie of all time.
Titus: Sweet. We could watch that. What’s it about?
Me: It’s about a dog that gets…then the boy…uh…Reservoir Dogs it is!
Titus: Awesome–I love a good documentary.
Me: Do you want popcorn?
Titus: Is Jaws a shark?

A dog of discerning taste.

 

Black and White Challenge Week 6

 

My Week 96: A Salty Mystery, Ikea Cultural Kitchens

Thursday: Life’s little mysteries

I’ve certainly had my share of mysterious events throughout my life, and if you come here regularly, you’ll have heard about the inexplicable presence of long, blonde hairs in my condo, the strange case of the missing earring back, or the sudden appearance of a deer’s jawbone in my backyard. But what happened on Thursday night tops it all. And that’s not just a bloggy clickbait to get you to keep reading—it was truly the most random thing imaginable, and I’ve yet to find an explanation, either plausible or implausible, to account for it. Here’s the scene:

Ken and I were watching the Democratic National Convention. No, that’s not the weird thing. I mean, yes, it’s a little weird how I’ve been watching both conventions obsessively, since I’m Canadian. But I just find American politics fascinating in the same way that some people can’t seem to look away from a car crash. And right now, American politics is as close to a train wreck as you could possibly get. I can’t even write about Donald Trump anymore, because nothing I invent even comes close to the sh*t he actually says. I recently re-read some of my previous posts about Trump—the wall (Week 49), his first meeting with Justin Trudeau (Week 64), his conversations with other five-year-olds (Week 88)—and they all seem extremely, nay frighteningly, realistic. Aside from my imagining of Kanye West as his VP pick, I might as well be channeling him directly. On the other side of the aisle is Hillary Clinton, who I know virtually nothing about. Well, except for the bizarre nicknames that Trump has for her, like “Crooked Hillary”, which isn’t even particularly creative. Although I think if he went with something more sophisticated and alliterative, like “Heinous Hillary”, none of his supporters would know what he meant, since the vast majority of them look utterly baffled when he says anything other than “wall” or “muslim,” or “Constitution”. So after watching the gong show that was the RNC, I really wanted to see what the Democrats would be like in comparison. The DNC was certainly more upbeat—nary a hint of an appearance by the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse—but the reporters all kept talking about how Hillary needed to be seen as more human, which I thought was strange, given that Trump is simply a caricature and compared to him, my fish is more human. (There Mishima—I gave you an honourable mention. Now you can stop whining about how I talk more about the dog and cat than I do about you.)

I believe it was partway through Katy Perry’s performance on Thursday night when I first ran my fingers through my hair. You know, the way people do when they’re relaxing, and maybe a little bored, waiting for something interesting to happen, like a Bernie Sanders supporter disrupting the performance by running across the stage naked, a la the streaking fad of the 70s. But something felt weird—on my head, that is. It felt like there were grains of sand in my hair. I pulled one out, and looked at it closely. It was clear and crystalline. I put it in my mouth, bit down on it and realized it wasn’t sand. It was SALT. I had salt in my hair. A LOT of grains of salt. I turned to Ken:

Me: WTF?! I have salt in my hair!
Ken: How did you get salt in your hair?
Me: You tell ME!
Ken: Were you shaking the salt shaker really vigorously at dinner? Maybe some of the salt flew up in the air, and landed in your hair.
Me: I think you and K would have noticed if I was using a salt shaker like I was playing the maracas. This is insane. How could I get this much salt in my hair?

At this point, I actually Googled “salt in hair” to see if there was some rare, little-known disease that might cause one’s body to spontaneously produce salt crystals. All I got was “using Epsom salts as a hair rinse to prevent dandruff”. Which I had definitely NOT done. My only choice was to bend over and shake all the salt out of my hair. It was so distracting that I only paid half-attention to Hillary Clinton’s speech. From what I could tell as I was upside-down, she seemed to have better and more specific plans for America than Trump, from whose platform I could only discern that “things are gonna be SO good”. And despite the criticism of the guy on PBS who kept trying to mansplain to the two female PBS anchors that Hillary’s speech was flat, I thought she came off as VERY human. I, on the other hand, seemed to have turned into Lot’s wife.

The next day at lunch, I was still freaked out by what had happened, and I decided that maybe K had played a joke on me.

Me: I have to ask you a really weird question. I swear I’m being serious.
K (suspiciously): Um, OK. What?
Me: Last night at dinner, did you shake salt into my hair when I wasn’t looking? Like, as a joke?
K: (laughing hysterically): What?! Did I do what?!
Me: Don’t laugh! I found a sh*tload of salt in my hair last night and I don’t know where it came from.
K: How did you know it was salt?
Me: I tasted it.
K: What?! Why would you TASTE it?!
Me: BECAUSE I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS!
K: What if it was poison?!
Me: Why would anyone sprinkle poisonous salt in my hair? Just be honest. Did you sneak up behind me and do it?
K: No, Mom. I did not put salt in your hair.

I still have no idea where all that salt came from. I’m going to file this under Life’s Little Mysteries, along with the blonde hair in my condo, the missing earring back, the deer jawbone, and how Donald Trump became the Republican candidate for president.

salt

Friday: Ikea Cultural Kitchens

Currently, there’s a commercial playing non-stop on TV here for Ikea Kitchens. In the commercial, a large Italian family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is running around to the strains of “Mezza Voce”, trying to prepare the meal. Suddenly, a tiny grandmother dressed all in black appears, and tastes the spaghetti sauce. The music abruptly stops, as she yells “Tutti Fuore!” which means “Everyone Out!”, and the whole family scatters in fear as the music swells up and resumes. I guess they were making sh*tty spaghetti sauce or something, and she’s going to fix it with her magical Italian grandma powers. I don’t know a lot about Italian culture, but their grandmas seem pretty scary, according to Ikea, which seems to be doing a lot of heavy stereotyping in the commercial. And then I wondered how Ikea would portray other cultures in the kitchen, like, say, my own cultural backgrounds of English and Scottish…

A large Scottish family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is having a wee dram, and sword-dancing to the strains of bagpipe music. Suddenly, a stocky grandmother dressed in the clan tartan appears. She peers into the oven. The bagpipes stop abruptly—well, they kind of just die off, like the last gasps of a large farm animal—as she announces, “The haggis is no done yet!” and slams shuts the oven door. Everyone sighs and there are mutters of “Thank God”, and “Pour me another dram, Jimmy.” Someone hands the grandma a tumbler of Scotch. She tosses it back, and the bagpipes resume, like a large farm animal which has been suddenly been revived.

A large English family has gotten together for dinner. Everyone is enjoying a nice cup of tea whilst singing “God Save the Queen” acapella. Suddenly, a bespectacled grandmother appears, wearing a cardigan and slippers. She peers into the oven. Everyone keeps singing until the song is finished, because you never leave the Queen hanging. Then they look expectantly at the grandmother, who says. “Dear me, the roast isn’t quite gray enough yet. And I believe those potatoes need to boil for at least another half an hour.” The family nods in agreement and there are calls of “Very well, then,” and “Cheerio”. Someone mutters, “Couldn’t we just order an Indian take-out?” The grandmother looks stern and pours herself a small glass of sherry, as the group begins to sing “Jerusalem.”

Ikea: Swedish for common sense. And stereotypes.

My Week 93: Plagued by Aliens

Thursday: Plagued by aliens

At the beginning of June, K went on a bus trip to Washington D.C. She also went to 6 Flags Amusement Park, where she won a life-size, blow-up purple alien. It’s called “Trumbo”.

Me: Oh! You mean like Dalton Trumbo, the American writer and director who was unfairly blacklisted by McCarthy for being a suspected Communist?
K: What? No, our bus driver’s last name was Trumbo.

It was bad enough that half of K’s prom pictures feature her and her assorted friends hanging out with Trumbo, but SOMEONE in the house (Ken) keeps posing him in very human positions, and in very unsettling places. The first time I came downstairs and Trumbo was staring out the window with his hands on the sill was bad enough. Then he was wearing a hoodie and standing by the door, looming over me on the hall tree, or lying prostrate on the floor in front of the door after a “night on the town”. Currently, he’s leaning casually against the couch in the back room. The other day, my aunt was over and thought it was K wearing a costume, that’s how realistic it looks. So, in the near future, if I suddenly disappear, you’ll know I was abducted by aliens. And no jokes about anal probes. I’m serious, Ken.

Trumbo 1

Trumbo 2