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  • Archive for May, 2009

    May 27th, 2009

    Political Scribblers

    Bob Robertson

    My agent called recently to ask whether I was available to entertain some folks after a dinner in St. Catherines. I said I was ready to go. She called a few days later to say that, unfortunately, they had chosen someone else; a local member of parliament, and the reason they chose him over me was that he gave them a better price. He was doing it pro bono. For those of you without Latin training, pro bono means “I’m doing it because the prime minister ordered me.”

    Why, if politicians are now the second-most reviled profession in the world, beating out lawyers for the first time in centuries and closing in on the Sham Wow TV pitch man, who still retains top spot. Why would we want to see and hear more from politicians than we already do?

    This was reinforced today when I read that Vladimir Putin had written his first column for a Russian newspaper. The column was titled “Why it’s Hard to Fire People”. I only read bits of the column, like where he said “I usually call people into my office, look them in the eye and say ‘there are concrete complaints’”. I’m guessing this is from his weekend job running a cement factory. Anyway, the point here is why would newspapers think that we are interested in what politicians have to say? Yesterday, I read a column written by Michael Ignatieff about the Liberal’s proposed EI changes. A laugh-a-minute gabfest it was not. My daily broadsheet has been, of late, jammed up with columns from politicians like Bob Rae or Diane Finley, all pro bono. This pro bono thing got so bad, as you know, that even Sonny Bono, Cher’s old sidekick, became a politician. He also probably wrote newspaper columns pro bono, or pro sonny, maybe. Sadly, he was killed by a tree that jumped out at him on a ski run.

    When I was a boy, and there were wolves in Wales and Canadian hockey teams that won the Stanley Cup, after-dinner speeches were delivered by people who actually needed no introduction and newspaper columns were written by writers, real writers who got paid to write great columns.  No wonder newspapers are in trouble. When the entire editorial page is being clogged up with politicians flogging their many dead horses, all I can say is thank goodness George Bush never learned to write.

    May 20th, 2009

    What the Duck is Going On?

    Linda Cullen
    I lead an incredibly busy life. My days are jam packed. For example, every other day, I have to scour newspapers and magazines in order to keep a running tally on Brad and Angelina’s offspring. I believe at last count it was three thousand two hundred and eight. I also have to put in at least 3 or 4 hours daily trying to solve that age old problem; If train ‘A’ leaves the west coast at 4 o’clock traveling a hundred miles an hour, and train ‘B’ leaves the east coast at 5 o’clock traveling 110 miles an hour, at what time will ‘Happy Hour’ start on train ‘A’, and more importantly, why am I cut off after only 7 Cosmopolitans? On top of all of that, I have to fit in at least 3 high-quality, intensive beauty naps. So, you can see, there is very little time left for anything else.

    However, at this time of year, I take on the heavy burden of trying to keep all of the Animal Kingdom alive…well, okay, not ALL of it, but a big portion of it, if you consider a big portion of the Animal Kingdom a dozen or so baby ducks. You see, I live in a townhouse complex that has as one of its desirable features, ponds and streams running behind most of our places. And so, over the years a number of ducks have made these waterways their home. And for most of the year they go about their duck business, you know, rooting for Anaheim in the play-offs, that kind of thing. But every spring, because Mother Nature seems to demand it, we have babies. And of course, when you first see the little puff balls, it’s as if you are discovering these rare elusive creatures for the very first time. “Ah, what an interesting puffball. I think I’ll name this species Daffydoopidus Cullengoofitus!” Oh, yes, there’s a lot of squeeling, and clucking…and these are the human beings I’m talking about. “Ohhhhhhh!! Loooook at the widdle baby wabies!! Oh my god, they’re soooo cuuuuute!!”

    And that day arrived yesterday. We have our first batch of puff balls. Ten of them. And they are just so cuuuute! But now, I have to stand guard for hours on end, trying to make sure that, first of all, the crows don’t get at them. I’m not quite sure how the crows do it, except that I know they’re smart, and they work well in teams. I think what happens is, they get a couple of them to go to the front door and ring the bell, and then when I go to answer that, another bunch of crow thugs hold down my husband, so he can’t protect the babies, and then they snatch a few. Plus we have hawks, and a hawk is just your basic deadly duck hunting machine. Not to mention cats, raccoons, and who knows what other creatures are lurking out there in the dead of night, I’m too afraid to look.

    It just about drove me cuckoo last year, because when they have these big families, there’s always one knucklehead in the group that doesn’t pay attention when mom turns left, ‘cause he’s busy playing pocket Nintendo or something, and BAM! The whole family is gone, and he starts squeaking incessantly, like a rusty water pump, or a Jessica Simpson song. So I had to wade into the water, and start doing a fairly decent, if I do say so myself, impression of mom, in order to get him to swim toward me, and off in the right direction…which he DID! Yeh, I don’t think they’re very smart.

    And it’s the same this year. I was out this morning yelling at one of the Mallard males, because when it comes to being a parent, they suck. I’m tellin’ ya, like that Oscar winning rap song said a few years ago, “You know it’s hard out here for a duck.” Or something like that.

    I’m so worried about them I can’t sleep, I can’t eat (who’s kidding who, I could do with about 20 pounds of worry) because I just want to keep the babies alive, so that when they’re adults, and they fly over my place, in their happy quacky duck way, I can wave at them and say “Hey duckies, if you drop one more of your stinking payloads on my patio furniture I’ll KILL you!!!”

    May 11th, 2009

    Just Say No to Algorithms

     Bob Robertson
    Monday, May 11, 2009

    I was really bad at math in high school. I was, obviously, very good at fooling around which has provided me with a nice career and a decent source of income, but math! No, if you looked at my report cards you’d see marks for math that looked like the speed limit signs in Vancouver - ‘50 maximum’. Even though I couldn’t understand how I would use it in my life, in the early days, I actually enjoyed figuring out how far a frigate would travel in a fortnight, although I, otherwise, never used the words ‘frigate’ and fortnight’ in any daily conversations. For example, this would never be heard; “Hey Bob! Are you going to the dance tonight? No, Eric, I’ll be on the frigate again. Probably back in a fortnight.”

    I was way in over my head with geometry and algebra, but when we hit algorithms, I was snookered (which is where I spent most of my time instead of attending math class).

    Now, the reason I bring this up is because here in British Columbia, we are having a provincial election tomorrow. As well as electing a government, there is a ballot question that asks us if we want to switch voting systems from the First Past the Post System to one called the Single Transferable Vote System. In the STV system, you vote for more than one candidate and after the ballots are counted, your vote could be sent to another less-deserving candidate, sort of electoral philanthropy. The proponents of STV say these decisions will be made using an algorithm formula. Why did I feel like heading to the pool hall when I heard that? Look, I have enough trouble right now picking just one candidate. With the STV system I’d have to study up on just about everybody who’s running and, really, when would I have time for cocktail hour? So, I’m saying no to STV, mostly because I don’t want my democratic rights guarded by an ‘algorithm formula’. Weren’t the Hanging Chads of Florida enough to make you worry about computers in an election? Speaking of Hanging Chads, Al Gore may have invented the internet but don’t believe him if he says he invented algorithms and named them after himself. He’s been sniffing way too much greenhouse gas.

    Listen to Bob Robertson every week at http://doublexposureradio.com/podcast.html

    May 10th, 2009

    Happy Mother’s Day…Love, Nelson The Cat

    Linda Cullen

    Dear Mom/Linda/Supplier of all my needs,

    After years of observing the habits and patterns of you and your kind, I have come to notice that on this particular day each year, you cram yourselves into cars with your mothers, and head en masse to all the restaurants in the area, where you cram yourselves into a table, because this is their busiest day of the year, and then proceed to cram as much food into said mothers as possible, in order to say “Thank you Mom, for pushing me out through the vaginal canal.” As much as I appreciate the sentimentality of this tradition, being a cat, I’m afraid I don’t own a car. Come to think of it, I never did get my license, not to mention I’m not very good with big crowds, or traffic, and finally, and I believe most importantly, I have absolutely no money. So, dinner on me is a no go. However, I feel compelled to take a moment on this special day, to let you know how I feel.

    So, thanks Mom, for coming to the shelter 9 years ago and choosing me, out of all the others. Even though I know you were looking for a kitten, and I was the only kitten there, I still like to think you saw something special in me. Thanks for not taking me back to the shelter a few days later when I decided to jump up and attach myself with all of my needle like claws to your butt when you were standing at the sink. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Your screams told me something very different. Thanks for bringing your Dad’s cat Mitzie to live with us after he died. I really loved Mitzie. She was like a second Mom to me, and I especially liked it when she would grab hold of me with both her paws and start licking my head. And remember how she would blast out of the litter box every time she did some major work, and she’d tear around the house like a rocket ship. Man, we would laugh and laugh. She’s keeping your Dad company now, but I’m glad I knew her. I’m not so crazy about the bonehead you brought home to replace her. He likes to spend hours licking me too, and as much as I enjoy it, don’t you think that’s a little creepy? Not that there’s anything wrong with it…I’m just saying. Plus he’s really noisy, and he’s always cleaning up my food dish. Oh well, at least he’s not a dog!

    I also want to thank you Mom, for not getting mad at me when I poop outside the box. You see, I’m a lot like that guy that was on the Ally McBeal show, remember? When he went to the bathroom, he always wanted a fresh bowl. I’m very much the same, and I’d prefer it if you could get upstairs to clean the boxes every hour or so, but, I know, you’ve got a life. So, I leave my deposit on that nice mat you put in front of the box. From where I sit, it seems to be a win/win situation. And thank you Mom, for not ridiculing me because I’ve chewed most of the hair off of my underside, well except for the bits covering my dangling participles…which I believe you had stolen from me, not that I’m bitter…but I leave that bit because otherwise I think I’d be a little chilly. I know I used to be a handsome devil, and now I’m a bit of a freak, but you still seem to love me, so I’m good with that. And a real BIG thank you for getting me to the vets last January right quick, when my penis was blocked. WHEW!! Enough said.
    So, Mom, you’ve told me many times that you didn’t have real children because you were allergic, and that having me and the bonehead has made your life complete. Well, I couldn’t be happier. And in order to show my love and appreciation for all you do Mom, I’ve hacked up something pretty impressive on the hallway carpet. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

    Listen to Linda’s comedy podcast every week at

    May 3rd, 2009

    Facebook, Why Don’t You Like Me?

    It’s terribly disturbing and embarrassing to come to the realization, at the age of 49…okay, 50…yes, yes, alright, 50 and a HALF, that I am a terribly needy person. I suppose if I paused for a few quiet moments of navel gazing, I would conclude that a) this started a long time ago, and b) I should really clean out my navel more often, there appears to be some kind of trailing foliage growing in there, but…oh sorry, you don’t want to hear about that right now. Yes, I remember one time, as a young child, going to some girl’s birthday party, and making a real obnoxious point of asking the birthday girl which gift she thought was the best, assuming, of course, that she would say mine. I was stunned, dismayed, shocked…wait, let me get my thesaurus…bewildered, startled and astounded, that she replied, “Oh, I don’t know, everybody’s present was the best.” Yeh, right. What kind of lame cop out is THAT? I mean, come ON!! I got her a Super Whamo Spinmaster Thingy Do Dah…in all 3 colours! That had to come in wayyy ahead of the stupid kid that got her a ball of string and a bag of Cheese Doodles. She probably works for the U.N. now- “Oh, yes, I believe we are all created equal, and all humans are good.” I mean, really, who believes that kind of…ah, you see, I thought I had that stuff under control. Now, I blame my neediness on my mother weaning me at 3 months, and then feeding me Pablum, which I immediately returned to her in a fun Linda Blair kind of way. At any rate, for almost a year now I have been somewhat casually working on my Facebook page. At first I didn’t think a whole lot about it. I’d write a few things, throw on a picture or two, and get on with my life. But over the last few months, something changed. It’s begun to bug me that I keep getting bumped down when I write my little What’s On My Mind comment, i.e. Linda Cullen just noticed that when she breathes in, her throat gets cool! Crucial things like that. And it really bugs me that no one comments on it, or even just gives me an ‘I like this’, thumbs up. Are my status comments not stimulating enough? But then, I noticed the Highlights column at the side. Fantastic, I thought. That’s where I want to be, in that highlights column. But no matter what I do, no matter how many pictures I load onto my page, no matter how many important announcements I make, I can’t get myself into the highlights. But I’ll look down it, and there’ll be some schmuck who’s RSVP’d to the Fruit Fly Protection Society’s Annual BBQ & Banana Rotting Gala…and they get into it!! So now I start asking myself, “Who’ve ya gotta fu…pardon me…poke…to get on the highlights column!!!???” Well, I have come to the only logical conclusion a needy 50 something like me can come to…Facebook is JUDGING me!! Oh, did I mention I might also be paranoid?