Thursday, October 30, 2003

The Shaggs--the Musical!

The girl band The Shaggs, famous for being bad, are the subjects of a musical at an L.A. theater in November. Buy your tickets here for the show:

A musical play by Joy Gregory
with music by Gunnar Madsen

World Premiere

The Shaggs is the strange but true story of one of the worst bands in rock 'n roll history - a real-life, so-called "outsider" girl group that played in and around their home town of Fremont, New Hampshire during the late '60s and early '70s. The Shaggs' first album, "Philosophy of the World", was recorded before the girls knew how to play their instruments and, with the attention of Frank Zappa and NRBQ, it has since become a cult classic. John Langs directs.

Road trip! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Do "The Zombie Stomp" while reading this post

Yes, it's a website devoted to New Jersey's greatest B-movie surf band, The Del-Aires, who co-starred in Horror of Party Beach with what the website calls a "bratwurst monster".

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Catholics relapsing

While I am catching up on a few things, please have a look at my blogging friend Kathy Shaidle's fine weblog.

Monday, October 27, 2003

The line forms to the right (of course)...

Monday, October 27, 2003
Edmonton Sun: Ex-magazine staff still owed
Wondering why ad money isn't going into paycheques

Nearly six months after it folded, some former employees of the magazine once known as Alberta Report say they're still waiting for their final paycheques.

Meanwhile, the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy - the non-profit advocacy group that replaced the magazine - has launched a costly campaign of radio ads against the Canada Pension Plan.

"I'm just surprised that the centre is proceeding forward with these very ambitious efforts when there's still that lingering stuff from the collapse of Citizens Centre Report," said Colby Cosh, who spent eight years on staff at the magazine.

Citizens Centre Report - the final incarnation of Alberta Report - laid off all its employees without notice when it succumbed to financial problems in May
[Wrong. It died on June 23. RH].

Cosh, who now does freelance work for the National Post, figures he's owed two years of vacation pay and about eight weeks' severance.

"I don't understand why there's been this silence all summer while people have been struggling to get by. It was a bit startling to see that one chapter had begun without the previous chapter being closed entirely," he said of the radio ads.

"A candid acknowledgement that we're not going to be paid and that we should screw off would be nice, but they've kept us sitting for five months."

Cosh said he's reluctant to seek legal advice, and he still hopes the situation can be resolved.

Kevin Steel, a former senior editor at Citizens Centre Report, says he's owed about $5,000 in severance and holiday pay and is now dealing with the Labour Relations Board.

Steel said Link Byfield, former owner of the magazine and now chairman of the Citizens Centre, didn't seem too concerned about it when he met with him in late August.

"I'm not too pleased," he said.

"It's disheartening."

The magazine's staff were employed by United Western Communications and not by the centre itself, which is a separate entity, Byfield told the Sun yesterday.

"I'm not denying that we owe them money," he said, adding that United Western Communications' bank account is virtually empty. "The amounts are not huge, but they're big enough that people will be concerned about it."

The company hopes to get money back from the federal government in the form of a GST rebate, "which will certainly cover some of it," Byfield said.

[Comment: For what it's worth, I don't think that Link means to stiff us. I say "us" because although I was a freelancer, I had done two weeks of newspaper clippings, my contribution to the Record and all the reporting for a story in the issue that was about to be published when Link decided to kill off the magazine. A "widows mite" to recognize this would be appreciated, but if I don't get it, well, I would shrug and remember the many years of paycheques I cashed from the Report magazines.

That said, I would advise Link that he explain to my former colleagues how he plans to make things good, if he is able to.

Link doesn't want to plant the idea in anyone's head that if Joe Albertan gives them something (like work for pay, in the case of my former colleagues), that he won't follow through on his side of the bargain and try to do what he said he would do. That sort of apprehensive thinking could deter contributions to a political campaign.

I would like to think that Link will do the right thing if he can. But he, more than anyone else, should know that journalists are sceptical and need concrete reassurances--in circumstances like these--that he will try to make things right.]

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Don't wait for Harrismania

I like Ted Byfield's column of this morning, which argues, based on history, that Mike Harris may not be the answer for the new federal Not the Liberals But Some Kind Of Conservative Thingy Party. I commend it to your attention.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Rick's Miscellany, now with the Ivan Panin seal of approval

The Gematriculator:
says that according to the number theory of Ivan Panin... is
31% evil, 69% good

"This site is certified 69% GOOD by the Gematriculator"

Aside to my mother...the Gematriculator lists my favourite evangelist's website (you know who) as 71% bad!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Pay Up

My friend and former colleague Kevin Steel is also perturbed that Link Byfield has money to launch a expensive media campaign without paying his former employees what he owes them.
What my old boss is up to

Link Byfield's new lobby group has launched a campaign to "Opt Alberta Out of the Canada Pension Plan".

Link writes:

The Citizens Centre and Alberta Residents League are working to advance what is now called the Alberta Agenda, which would see Alberta regain control of areas which fall under provincial jurisdiction but have been given up to Ottawa. These include a provincial police force to replace the RCMP, provincial personal income tax collection and a provincial pension plan.

"We want to initiate a province-wide discussion on this important issue," Byfield explained. "In addition to our radio campaign, we are holding public meetings across the province and encouraging the public to take a close look at the issue."

Fair enough, but wouldn't these things benefit the other Western provinces too, such as B.C., which had it's own provincial police force for many years? Indeed, when there was some grumblings amongst local politicians in B.C. that we return to a provincial police force to save money that we outlay on the RCMP I tried, unsucessfully, to suggest that The Report use this as a news peg to write about the issue.

Hopefully, Link will find ways to make these issues relevant to his former readers across the West. They sound like good ideas.

All that said, I do agree with Colby that Link has some unfinished business to take care of. Hopefully some of the pin money left over from this campaign will help with that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

All points bulletin!

If you like my blog, please help my friend and fellow blogger Kevin Michael Grace. He needs your assistance, as explained at the linked item.
Will the real James Bond please stand up?

Thanks to my friend and former editor Terry O'Neill for the following guest post:

Remember last week, when the news was full of stories about the "real James Bond" having died? The man named was Patrick Dalzel-Job.Typical was the Guardian story here.

However, I noticed on page 419 of How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman (a book that a good Scotsman such as Rick has surely read) that Herman states: "Few people realize that Ian Fleming's fictional spy was supposed to be a Scot....Fleming himself was of Scottish descent; her certainly modeled Bond after a Scot, Commander Fitzroy Maclean, a leading commando during World War II.

A Google search provides many more hits linking James Bond to Maclean than to Dalzel-Job.

Strange, that in all the obits for Dalzel-Job that I read and heard, there was scant acknowledgement given to the contentious nature of the "model for James Bond" assertion, yet most sources say Maclean was the actual model. For example, acknowledges that Maclean is the most often mentioned model, but declares Bond is fictional. A good Sunday Herald piece from January 2002 makes the case that Bond was actually modeled on Fleming himself.

Thanks Terry. I feel like I am watching an old episode of To Tell The Truth. "I'm the real James Bond", "No, I am the real James Bond"... Where is Bud Collyer (the 1950s/early 1960s host of the show) when you need him?

PS. I haven't read the book that Terry mentions. Perhaps some day.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: The Comic Book

Now being sold on EBay by someone with a wry sense of humour:

"The book includes this disclaimer 'The events contained herein are fictional, and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.' So don't say you weren't warned. Santa Claus DID NOT in fact actually conquer the Martians; even though he probably wanted to. I hope that revelation does not detract from the suspense of this tome, and you still will bid with confidence. "
'Tis the season to be wacky

To get you in the mood, a display of strange and unusual Christmas LPs featuring Colonel Sanders, the Brady Bunch and the Six Million Dollar Man.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Canada's top weblogs

My friend Colby, following some careful calculations, posts his list of Canada's most popular weblogs.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Goatburger! Goatburger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!

Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern must be a pretty interesting place if it spawned both the Saturday Night Live "Cheesebuggah! Cheesebuggah!" sketch and the curse on the Chicago Cubs. Follow the link to the history of the bar for all the details.

Thanks to Tim Blair.

Friday, October 17, 2003

"'It seems no matter what you do, you don't have a voice.'"

Some western conservatives are dismayed by the proposed Tory/Alliance merger.

A little bird tells me that if The Report was still in existence, we would be all over this story, bringing forward a lot of details and ideas that the Canadian media is going to miss.

Oh, well.
"....It is perhaps useful to be confirmed in one's necessary faith that all politicians, without exception, are savage and false sons of bitches down to the very soles of their shoes..."

Colby on the PC-Canadian Alliance merger deal.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Narrated by Boris Karloff

Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla
I'm Felix Unger compared to this guy

The messiest bachelor suite on the internet:Ben's old apartment.
I'm Felix Unger compared to this guy

The messiest bachelor suite on the internet:Ben's old apartment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Recall says "I'll be bahhck!"

One online column that argues that U.S. states need more recalls. In Nevada, for examples, there are efforts to recall the Republican governor of that state after he brought in tax increases.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Mmmm, good

Here's a link to Magiric, a cooking and recipes weblog...the recipe at the top as I write is honey garlic chicken nuggets.

Friday, October 10, 2003

No Terminator 4, Detroit Tigers 3

Unfortunately, being elected governor of California will likely end Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie career. Although, some of the Hollywood experts in the linked story won't rule out a return to films entirely.

Thursday, October 09, 2003


I recently finished reading James Cockington's wonderful pop history of Australia in the 1960s: Mondo Wierdo. Here's something from it that will hopefully inspire you to buy the book, which now seems to be out of print but still would be available at places like

[This is accompanied by a newspaper shot of Ms. Bordeaux with a bunch of knives stuck into the wall around her. She has a bandage wrapped around her left arm.]

Michelle Bordeaux featured as the most accident prone human target in a knife-throwing act, Trio Fantastic, which toured the clubs and sidehow alleys of Australia in the mid-sixties. Partner Bob McGowan, often as not
blindfolded, threw the knives and fired bullets at Michelle but had a bad habit of hitting what he was trying to miss. Three times in [the decade], Michelle became a human dart-board. Each time she dismissed the accident as an occupational hazard.

December 1964, Melbourne. Two successive knives gashed her left arm. A crowd of 300 saw McGowan, blindfolded, wound Michelle twice with 30 centimeter knives. She made no sound as the blades slashed her arm and the thrower did not learn of his mistake until his blindfold was removed.

June 1966, Auckland. Michelle was shot in the face during a show at Heathcote Services and Citizen's Club. She put her hand to her face and said "Oh" before running from the stage with blood streaming from her wound. A bullet from the .22 calbre rifle passed through the side of her cheek.

November 1966, Adelaide. Six stitches were inserted in a wound across Michele's left hip after a knife went off target during an act at the Port Adelaide Football Club's premiership dinner.

"In this business you have to expect this sort of thing," Michelle said. "The audience makes me much more nervous that the knives or bullets. The audience just let out a gasp when it happened. I think they enjoyed it."

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

How to fake faith healing... described in a 1977 interview with erstwhile "evangelist" Marjoe Gortner.
Watch for this Arnold quote from last night in a Democrats TV ad in 2006

"I will not fail you. I will not disappoint you."

Pride goeth before a fall, Arnold.
Bearding the blogger

Colby Cosh comes to terms with shaving off his beard after many years.

Must be nice to be able to grow one without looking goofy.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Campaign slogan: "Yes! Oh God, Yes!"*

The other social liberal/fiscal conservative running for Governor of California.

*Coined by Tim Blair, whose weblog is always worth reading.
Landlord, be sure to ask *nicely* for the rent

The neat news story of the day seems to be the one about the man who was caught keeping a pet tiger in his New York apartment. This story link has video footage of the tiger.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

How would Rod Serling have said "D'oh"?

Other fans of original Twilight Zone TV show might like the website The Fifth Dimension, in particular their nominees for The Twilight Zone Hall of Shame

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Hmm, I wonder if I will start getting hits looking for "Ben Mulroney, Playboy Bunny."

Courtesy Hot Links, a collection of Playboy Bunny Photo Albums

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The Canadian Alliance is finished...

...and 13 other truths about the PC-Canadian Alliance merger talks.