My Week 272: I Get Good News

I got a congratulations letter in the mail the other day, and it was very special. No, it wasn’t a response to a short story I’d submitted—usually THOSE emails are more along the lines of “We regret to tell you…” and they make me sad instead of excited. At least I’m averaging one acceptance for every twenty rejections so in other words, I’m no Stephen King but I don’t feel terrible 100% of the time about the fact that no one appreciates my weird writing. Anyway, this letter was from someone named Linda Rabenek. First, she thanked me. Then she told me how pleased she was to be writing to me. Finally, she congratulated me. About what? Well, apparently, my colon is a ROCK STAR. You might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my experience taking a colon cancer screening test—it seems I passed with flying colours and I didn’t even have to study. It would have been the best test ever if it hadn’t involved poo. But I’m thrilled to know that I don’t have colon cancer and also very gratified that Linda is super-pleased with me and the way I “take care of my health by getting checked out with the fecal immunochemical test (FIT)”. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the word “Fitbit”:

Person 1: Ooh, I really like your new watch.
Person 2: It’s a FITBit.
Person 1: So it keeps track of your heartrate and steps and stuff?
Person 2: Something like that…

Therefore, in honour of this joyful occasion, I’m pleased to offer you some thematically related ideas for TV shows that I had:

A beach scene. People in uniform milling around. A body lying on the sand. Camera pans to a large poo beneath a palm tree. Cut to Danny.

Danny: It’s not looking good, boss.
Horatio: Tell me what you’ve got, Dann-o.
Danny: Large male, judging by size. Probably a vegan, based on the amount of broccoli and the self-righteousness smooth texture. Well-hydrated. Looks like the Number 2 Killer has struck again.
Horatio: (gazes sternly into distance). I’m making the Number 2 Killer my number one priority. He won’t get away with this sh*t again. Let’s roll.

Camera cuts away and credits roll to the sound of “Squeeze Box” by The Who. The title appears: CSI: Excremental.

Awesome, right? There’s also a new twist on Sherlock Holmes which I call “Alimentary”. It’s the same basic premise as CSI: Excremental, but with more deductive reasoning:

Sherlock: I’ve come to the conclusion that our victim is indeed a beet farmer.
Watson: How could you possibly know that, Holmes?
Sherlock: For God’s Sake, Watson—look at the colour of his scat. That slight pink tinge is a dead giveaway. Have I taught you nothing?!

Then there’s the “HBM” version of Game of Thrones:

Tyrion Lannister: The war is finally over—the Starks have won the Iron Throne!
Jon Snow: I don’t know about iron, but this throne is certainly cold.
Tyrion: Why is your face so strained, Jon Snow? Is winter coming?
Jon Snow: Something’s coming but it isn’t winter.
Sansa: Not enough Bran, if you ask me.

Other related titles:

Friends: The One Where Ross Takes A Dump
Breaking Wind
Bojack Horsemanure
Brooklyn Two-Two
The Deuce
Brown Is The New Black
Unbreakable Kimmy Sh*t
Poopernatural
Going Pains
Mad About Poo
Law and Order: Special Rectum Unit
The X-crement Files
The Big Bowel Theory
Hawaii Two-O
Shart Tank

Narrator: I sincerely apologize for this incredibly juvenile blog post. An discerning audience such as yourselves deserves better.
Mydangblog: Here’s a picture of a vintage cookie jar that looks just like a poo emoji!
Narrator: Sigh.

My Week 174: I’m on TV, People Who Know People

It was a rather exciting week for good ole’ mydangblog. Exciting, as in full of disruptions to carefully-attended-to routines, mingled with a certain amount of terror. You see, dear reader, I was asked to appear on a local TV show to promote my new novel. That was all fine and well, but I’ve never been on TV before—aside from being on Big Al’s Ranch Party when I was very small (I won the birthday cake and had to speak to the host, a frighteningly large man wearing a cowboy hat and a sheriff’s badge),  a childhood appearance on Romper Room at the age of 5 (I drove the director crazy by insisting that it was Saturday and jumping up and down like a frenzied squirrel), competing on a Canadian game show called Definition at the age of 19 with my brother where you had to buy letters to fill in the blanks to solve a cryptic puzzle (damn you, “Kookie Sheet”—you will forever be my nemesis), and being interviewed by a local news station after witnessing a man run into a burning barn—actually, in retrospect, I’ve been on TV a lot. But I was still really nervous. Couple that with the fact that I had to go back to Toronto Sunday night to go to work on Monday, then come home Monday after work for the taping, then go back to Toronto on Tuesday night, then come home again on Friday…luckily, VIA had given me back all my train points so I was able to travel with minimal cost. And the upside was that I got to meet some very interesting people…

Sunday: My seat partner was a man who apparently had no personal space issues, and didn’t seem to recognize mine. He sat OVER the space between the cushions, because apparently he was raised by wolves. He bumped my elbow on several occasions, and insisted on talking very loudly on his cell phone to someone who I assume was his wife. The gist of the conversation was this: their son, a very academic and motivated young man, was upset because the family was going on vacation right before exams, and he was worried about not being able to study and pass said exams. The guy next to me was very clear with his spouse that “teachers just push them through anyway—he has nothing to worry about.” In his case, I can only assume that the apple fell VERY far from the tree. At this point, I put on my new Bluetooth headphones. A few weeks ago, I was ranting that the future wasn’t living up to all that I was promised as a child, but these headphones almost make up for the fact that there are still no flying cars. Almost.

Monday: On the way back home again, I started to go to my seat. After Sunday though, I was a little gun-shy, and when I saw that there was only one person sitting in the foursome seats, I plunked myself down there, kitty corner to her. She smiled. I asked if she was going all the way to London. I also got a very strong whiff of marijuana. She started talking. She was going home for the first time, having been working on the east coast for a couple of years, but she’d been in the hospital and wanted to see her family now that she was better. Where had she worked on the east coast? I asked. A “medical dispensary”, she replied. A medical MARIJUANA dispensary? I inquired. She sheepishly smiled. Yes, the distinctive smell of pot was coming from her. Now, this might seem exactly the situation that I would want to avoid, but she was intelligent and delightful despite being stoned, which I’m starting to think is probably par for the course. Also, she knew the guy who had just won the first round of a new TV singing show called The Launch, which reminded me of a few weeks ago when I met another young woman who was the cousin to the guy who plays for one of Canada’s top curling teams. And I was like, Damn—I’m getting to know some minorly famous people by riding this train so much, and also, Is it weird that I’m super-introverted yet I strike up conversations with strangers?

So on Tuesday, I got up and put on my new dress (the day before, I had gone to Winners with two friends from work, who helped me pick out something that would look good on camera) and went to the TV station. I was super-nervous, mostly because I had no idea what they would ask me, and I didn’t want to come off like a babbling idiot, but my lovely auntie was there and she made me a cup of tea. The two co-hosts of What’s Up Oxford? were young women who both worked for Goodlife Fitness as trainers, and they made me feel comfortable, and just slightly like I should be exercising more, but the problem was that no one said anything about when the taping would start or where I should look. They all had headsets in, and at one point they just turned away from me and exclaimed cheerily, “And we’re back!” And it reminded me of the time when I was the principal of an International Languages school, and I would be asked to “say a few words” on special occasions. I would be waiting on the sidelines as someone addressed the crowd in whatever language, practicing how I would say Happy New Year in Vietnamese or whatnot, when suddenly I would hear, “And Suzanne!!”  It always took me by surprise, and I would have to then run to the stage in a panic and say “Chúc mừng năm mới!“ Then the crowd would laugh and clap, and I would hope to god that I’d said “Happy New Year!” and not “These chickens are green!”.

Anyway, things were going pretty well, what with them asking questions and me answering them, until suddenly one of the women said, “Can you hold the book up for us so that everyone can see it?” and I did, but I had no idea where to look, so I’m sure that when the show is broadcast, it will feature me looking around wildly at some point and then just closing my eyes and hoping for the best.

Tuesday: On the way back to Toronto, my seatmate slept all the way there. With her mouth hanging open.

Friday: One of my new colleagues takes the train home sometimes, so we swapped seats with other people and sat together. It was nice. We drank wine and chatted. Also, she’s tiny, so there was no encroaching over the gap between the seats. She’s the perfect seat partner.

 

My Week 122: Racists Are Stupid, Spoiler Alerts

Friday: Racists are stupid.

So I’m probably not telling you something you don’t already know about racists with THAT title. I just wanted to reaffirm it for all of us. Oh, I’m sure there are some of them who claim to have high IQs, but still, they’re stupid in the ways that matter. On Friday night, Ken and I were watching TV and a show called “Marketplace” came on. It’s kind of an investigative news show, and it’s on CBC not Fox “News”, so you know it’s totally legit, because the CBC never lies. I think that’s actually their motto or something. Anyway, the show hired actors to portray white supremacist/neo-nazi types (by the way, spellcheck just told me to capitalize the “n” on nazi but I’m not going to, because nazis don’t deserve capitals. Then spellcheck tried to autocorrect the “n”, and now I’m worried about you, spellcheck.) They had fake T-shirts printed which said things like “White Power”, “White Pride World Wide”, and “Make Canada Great Again”, then they went to three places to see how many Canadians would buy them. First, they went to Alliston, Ontario, the home riding of current Progressive Conservative Leadership candidate and alt-right queen, Kellie Leitch. She’s the one who wants to screen immigrants, refugees, and visitors to Canada to make sure they have “Canadian Values”, values which, as evidenced by Marketplace, many Canadians don’t have themselves. Several people in Alliston bought the shirts, and Marketplace tried to interview them afterwards, without much success, except for one woman who said, “If you want to come here to support Canada, then support Canada—live our way. You know, if you’re not happy with it, keep it to yourself, celebrate your own way but don’t change who we are or what we stand for.” And Ken and I were like “Huh? Who is she talking about?” And this is why racists are stupid. The first thing I did when she said that was look up “Are immigrants to Canada happy?” According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, of the 43 immigrant groups who’ve come here, only 3 said they weren’t as happy as they were back home. One, Columbia was discounted, because they weren’t really happy in Columbia either. The other two were New Zealand and The Netherlands. So, is this who she’s referring to? Does she think wind turbines are the insidious Dutch way of trying to convert us to their crazy windmill religion? Or does she believe that New Zealanders want us to start speaking their own weird language (which is English, but maybe she thinks it SOUNDS foreign)? I jest, of course—you and I both know that, although she didn’t say it, she meant non-white people.

Another intellectual giant explained his purchase in this way: “Different races are trying to change our way of life that’s been going on for hundreds of years”. HUNDREDS. Canada has only been around since 1867, so is he talking about the Neanderthal way of life? I could understand this logic if he was a member of the First Nations, but no, he was just a stupid person. This whole idea of “Our way of life/don’t change who we are” is, again, alt-right propaganda. It usually rears its ugly head around Christmas, where social media is full of memes like, “If I say Merry Christmas, how many people aren’t afraid to say it back?” The answer is NO ONE. It’s CANADA. The Southeast Asian guy who owns the gas station on the corner of my small town had free coffee for all his customers on Christmas Day. The Muslims in the International Language School I used to run gave us Christmas cards before the holidays. No one is trying to change your way of life, scared white lady. Except maybe the atheists. After Christianity, which makes up 67% of Canadian religious affiliation, the next largest, and growing affiliation, is non-belief at almost 25%. All those other religions you’re so worried about make up 7.2 % of Canada’s population.

The second woman who bought a shirt said this gem: I am anti-immigration. I believe that we have to worry more about ourselves. Close the border completely. Don’t let anyone in. It’s MY opinion.

When the reporter questioned her further, she said she had nothing against non-white people; in fact, she “has a lot of coloured friends”. Somehow, I doubt that, just like I doubt her ability to get herself dressed in the morning without a little help. As I always say, her level of stupidity is so deep that I would get the bends trying to come up from it. I don’t know how long she’s been in Canada, but she should be happy that people didn’t have that attitude when HER ancestors came here. Could you imagine what Canada would look like today if the founding fathers had said, “OK, we’re good. No one else gets to come in”? We’d be a nation of 30 blind guys with no hands and tiny penises. Also, there would be no Tim Horton’s. Again, do your research, silly girl. Canada has a declining birth rate. Without immigrants, we will have no skilled workforce within 25 years. If you really want to close the border, you better start having lots of babies. But this is the thing that Kellie Leitch won’t tell you: Canada already has a very stringent screening process for immigrants, starting with “Find out if you’re eligible to immigrate to Canada”, which I just tried to fill in and pretty much failed because it kept telling me to fill in a particular field, which I did, but it kept saying to do it again and again until I gave up. So guess what, Canada? This 37-year-old single dude from Azerbaijan will NOT be immigrating any time soon. (I’m not sure where Azerbaijan is—it was just the last country that started with A and it sounded cool).

I was watching SNL last night, and the host, Aziz Ansari, referred to the new phenomenon, the “kkk lite”, people who don’t dress in creepy costumes but who hold the same kind of attitudes. Except until now, they just pretended NOT to be racist. Now, they feel empowered to buy racist T-shirts in public, and say “It’s MY opinion,” like they have the right to be morons. I was on Twitter yesterday, and I saw Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed “white nationalist” or “kkk lite” guy, get punched in the face while he was being interviewed by reporters. First, why the hell is ANYONE interviewing this douche-canoe? Why does anyone care what the little weasel thinks? Second, he looked really hurt, not physically but like EMOTIONALLY, after he got cold-cocked, like he wanted to cry because he couldn’t believe it had happened. Personally, I can’t believe it doesn’t happen more OFTEN. And the fact that he didn’t believe he deserved to be punched in the face for being a racist twat tells you how stupid he is.

Imaginary conversation with the kkk lite.

Me: Why are you dressed like a cheap-ass ghost? You know Hallowe’en isn’t until October, right?
kkk guy: I’m not a ghost. I’m a wizard. A grand wizard.
Me: Whoa there, Hogwarts. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. You haven’t done any magic yet. Can you turn lead into gold? Where’s your wand? Is it hiding under your Ikea bed sheet?
kkk guy: Ergh. Immigrants are taking all the good jobs.
Me: What? You can’t even do a card trick. You’re a sh*tty wizard–an immigrant could do YOUR job better.
kkk guy: Please don’t punch me.

But it’s not all bad. For every racist who bought a T-shirt, whether it was in Alliston, downtown Toronto, or Barrie, Ontario, there were plenty of other people who confronted the actors to tell them they were offensive, called the police, or yelled at them to f*ck off with their racism because “This is Canada.” Let’s hope so. But what I really want to know is this: if Kelly Leitch, through some bizarre set of Trumpian circumstances, does become the Prime Minister of Canada, will she also deport people who don’t adhere to the values of tolerance, freedom of religion, and equality like the idiots on Marketplace? Now, THAT would be smart.

(Just for the record, I compiled all the information above by researching it on something called “the internet”. I wish people would use it more often, before they say stupid things like, “Immigrants are taking all the good jobs”, or Kevin O’Leary will Make Canada Great Again.” It’s already great, thanks.)

Saturday: Spoiler Alert

spoiler-alert

In more television news, Ken and I were watching a show last night, and a trailer came on for a new 6-episode mini-series about a female doctor who kills people with a hypodermic needle. The show is called “Mary Kills People”.

Me: Way to give away the ending.
Ken: Well, the whole commercial showed her killing people. It’s not like the title was the REAL spoiler here.
Me: Couldn’t they leave just a little bit to the imagination and call it “Mary May or May Not Have Killed People”?
Ken: At least we don’t have to watch it now.
Me: It’s such a dumb title. Can you imagine if the first Star Wars movie was called, “Luke Blows Up the Death Star”? What would be the point of seeing it? Why would anyone read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ if it was called Elizabeth Marries Darcy? I like the trailer for Cardinal better.

“Cardinal” is another new 6-part series, but I have no idea what it’s about , except that there are two detectives investigating a murder in a cold town somewhere. The trailer doesn’t show much, except the one detective says to the other, “I’m happy to be working this case with you,” and then a block of ice containing what looks like a body is pulled out of a frozen lake. See, THIS is how it’s done, because at the end, I was like “What?! I need to watch this show and find out what happens. And who the hell is Cardinal? Is it the guy? Is it a bird? I need to know.”

It’s a certain fact that people HATE spoilers. Have you ever just seen a fantastic movie and you want to share it with a friend, so you only tell them the beginning? And then they say, “So what happens at the end?” and you have to first confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will NEVER see it themselves, because you don’t want to be the one who spoils it for them? Have you ever accidentally given away the end of a book, and had people look at you like you just kicked a puppy? There are people who deliberately give away the endings of movies just to be a dick, and they’re hated more than racists. And probably get punched in the face more. In fact, I think the only way Donald Trump’s supporters would turn against him is if he finished every press conference with “And by the way, the head in the box was Brad Pitt’s wife. Such a great movie.” So the people who decided to call the series “Mary Kills People” are not very astute, in my books. Unless…maybe the series isn’t really about a female doctor who kills people. Maybe it’s just a ploy to get SOME people to watch because there’s nothing better on, and then those people will be all like, “OMG, it was SO good! I can’t tell you what happens, but it’s not what you expect…Oh god, I wish I could tell you! Are you sure you’re never going to watch it?!” And maybe the body in the lake in Cardinal was put there by a female doctor named Mary. Don’t tell me. Don’t spoil it.

My Week 112: It’s the Sh*t, I’m An Enabler

Wednesday: I consider recent movements

Today’s topic is something that we’re all very aware of. We do it every day. We were fascinated by it as children—in fact, some children like to make art with it. As adults, we examine it, consider it, pretend it never happened, or fixate on it, but we rarely discuss it. It goes by many names: dump, turd, doodie, dingleberry, fudgebunny, rosebud, or in my own family’s case, trump. Yes, I’m talking about poop. Admit it—we all, in our own way, are interested in this subject, at least our OWN subject. Most people really don’t care to think about other people’s sh*t—well, their LITERAL sh*t anyway. In fact, most people are FAR too interested in other people’s figurative sh*t for their own good, and are always happy to express their opinions on things that never concern them.

At any rate, I realized lately that I may just be weirdly interested in poop. It started a while ago, when I was in the hospital after having major surgery. In the bathroom, there was a chart that had images of different kinds of poop on it, and descriptions of what each one meant. Like there was the “normal” poo that looked like a sleek log, then there was the bulky poo that looked like really long, dry cookie dough and was described as “a sausage shape with cracks in the surface”, which meant the person was somewhat dehydrated. (If you’re interested in more of this, just google “Bristol Stool Chart”—I know you’re saying out loud “No way”, but we both know you’ll secretly look at it). Then, a while ago, I saw a giant poo in the doorway of a defunct sushi restaurant down the street from my condo. Right away, I was like “Whoa! That’s the biggest poo I’ve ever seen! Also, its owner needs to drink more fluids.” Later, it was still there and I tried to point it out to a friend, but she was like “No! You need to stop. I do NOT want to see some homeless person’s poop.” I realize some people are just really uncomfortable with random feces, but this was like World Record stuff—it literally haunted my thoughts for days, and every time I passed the doorway, even though it was long gone, I pondered the size, and diet, of its owner. Then last week, the topic of my obsession with the doorway poo came up and my manager asked me what it was all about. I embarked on the merry tale, and how awesomely large the poo was, but we all know how terrible I am at oral storytelling, and I think most of the story was just me going, “Wow—it was just so—yeah—like this huge juggernaut—amazing”. Everyone laughed, but I realized that just maybe I should keep my fascination with poo to myself. At least while at work. But here—well, here, I have carte blanche to write about whatever the hell I want, and you can judge me, but you can’t argue with the fact that deep in your secret heart, you also think poo is, if not cool, at least interesting and informative. Seriously, nobody is watching as you nod and smile. Or when you look into the toilet in the morning to inspect your offering. The other day, I felt the urge, and afterwards I snuck a peek. My reaction? “Huh. Impressive!” Then I giggled a little, because I said it out loud, but no one else was in the bathroom to hear me. And please don’t try to tell me that you have never passed judgement on your own sacrifice to the porcelain god, because we all do it. We’ve all gone, “Holy hell! What did I eat yesterday?” or “Why doesn’t corn digest like regular normal food?”, “Alcohol sure does a number on my bowels”, or just “Good one!” I think the world would be a much happier place if we all discussed our poop on a regular basis—after all, no matter what colour, gender, or religion you are, it’s something we ALL have in common. Even the Queen enjoys a satisfying voiding of the royal bowels. Trump trumps. Obama boom booms. Trudeau pops out little smiley faces that sparkle. I was thinking last night about how best to use modern media to bring us all together via bodily waste and I came up with a TV show that would address the issue :

A beach scene. People in uniform milling around. A body lying on the sand. Camera pans to a large poo beneath a palm tree. Cut to Danny.

Danny: It’s not looking good, boss.
Horatio: Tell me what you’ve got, Dann-o.
Danny: Large male, judging by size. Probably a vegan, based on the amount of broccoli and self-righteousness smooth texture. Well-hydrated. Looks like the Number 2 Killer has struck again.
Horatio: (gazes sternly into distance). I’m making the Number 2 Killer my number one priority. He won’t get away with this shit again. Let’s roll.

Camera cuts away and credits roll to the sound of “Squeeze Box” by The Who. The title appears: CSI: Excremental.

I know, right? There’s also a twist on the new Sherlock Holmes drama which I call “Alimentary”. It’s the same basic premise as CSI: Excremental, but with more deductive reasoning:

Sherlock: I’ve come to the conclusion that our victim is indeed a beet farmer.
Watson: How could you possibly know that?
Sherlock: For God’s Sake, Watson—look at the colour of his scat. That slight pink tinge is a dead giveaway. Have I taught you nothing?!

So the next time you secretly poke through your dog’s crap with a stick to see if he ate some tinfoil, or jump with joy at your baby’s ginormous diaper dump, know that you’re not alone. Here’s a vintage cookie jar for you that looks just like the poo emoji.

poo-jar

Friday: I’m an enabler.

Me (spills wine on bedspread): Titus! Stop licking the covers!
Titus: But it’s so delicious. Spill some more.
Me: No!! OMG. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Titus: What do you mean? Wine is nice.
Me: You’re such a dick. I love you.
Titus: I know. Spill some more wine.
Me: Oh for god’s sake, here. Just lick it off my finger.
Raven: For the record, I dragged my butt across the carpet and sneezed on your pillow. Can I have some wine too?
Me: Sigh.

 

My Week 93: Detective Duos, Plagued by Aliens

Tuesday: I am befuddled by detectives

On Tuesday night, I was bored and there was nothing good on TV, so I decided to watch 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. My current favourite 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 and that little hobbit who plays Watson in the BBC version of “Sherlock”, 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 fictions writers (or should I say “writer” haha) and I had high hopes for its ability to keep me happily occupied for the next hour. 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 super lung powers 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?! 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, regardless of my state of consciousness. But the kitten video was 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 (because he’s a hunky Scotsman, of course—I wouldn’t watch it otherwise) and Matt LeBlanc, the guy who played Joey from Friends. 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. Because why the hell not? After they’ve solved all the mysteries (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, 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 like 90 years old and Scottish, and Henning solves all the crimes by flying around and meditating. (Sidenote: For my readers outside of Canada, it’s important that you understand we DON’T have a two-party system. In fact, when Henning lost the election as the Natural Law Party candidate, he came in 6th out of 10. He beat the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Abolition Party, an independent candidate, and the Green Party. We also have the Communist Party, the Pirate Party of Canada, and the Marijuana Party. I am not sh*tting you. The Communist Party wants to make Canada a Communist nation, the Pirate Party is against copyright infringement and parrot abuse, and the Marijuana Party is all about Constitutional reform and women’s rights. Obviously. No, I’m kidding—all they care about is weed. My favourite party is the Rhinoceros Party, whose platform in the last federal election included creating a lottery where players could win a seat in the Canadian Senate, which is like winning “Cash for Life”, and pledging immediate orgasms at the ballot box to anyone who voted for them.) Anyway, back to the show. It was cancelled when viewers discovered that Henning wasn’t REALLY flying—it was just special effects. If you’ve actually ever seen yogic flying, it’s actually just bouncing in a lotus position, and everyone knows you can’t solve crimes by bouncing.

(PS: I know that neither F. Scott or Zelda were magicians, but I liked it 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!

Ken’s very patriotic, at least about TV. Another thing I love about him.)

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