Thursday, October 31, 2019

Name Game

Longtime readers may remember my list of baby names, or the 42 names I had in mind if I ever had a child.  I should note, that post was written over eight years ago and I'm still childless today, so yeah, the dating life is going great. 

BUT, since I knew that this was inevitable, or that I'd have slightly fewer than 42 children if I ever did become a father since it's not like I'm Robert Baratheon or something, I've had my list of names on offer for years.  It's become a running joke that, whenever a friend is expecting, I'll forward them that list as a suggestion.  I say "running joke" since it's technically tongue-in-cheek, but let's be real, I want this to happen.  Imagine the follow-up blog post it would inspire!

This you're reading that very follow-up post now, then....well, you're underwhelmed after all the build-up, but the bigger story is that it's happened!  Two friends recently welcomed a little girl into the world, and named her Lily, thus firmly and delightfully removing one of the names off my list for good. 

Now, technically, Lily may have been a family name on both of their sides, so I don't want to claim that my list was the sole inspiration.  Tied for first, sure, but not the SOLE inspiration.  Still, I'll claim it, after all this time.  This was an exhausting as actually being a parent, in many ways.

One down, 41 to go. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Waits So Serious?

Move over Joaquin Phoenix.  And, I guess, move over Heath Ledger, as even though he was literally born the same year as this interview, surely he must've seen it at some point while growing up in Australia.

I guess this video has been floating around the web for some time now but I'm only seeing it (and being floored by it) now.  Fast-forward to 1:44 when Tom Waits sits down.  I always felt that watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and seeing Larry David in full bloom somewhat detracted from Jason Alexander's legendary George Costanza performance since it became clear that Alexander was to some extent just impersonating David, and I can't help but similarly feel that this Waits interview takes just a bit of the steam out of Ledger's take on the Joker.  Then again, I guess at most Ledger lifted the voice.....I somewhat doubt that in part two of the interview, Waits offers to show the host a pencil trick.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Ol' Dipsy Doodle

Every grandparent uses old-timey expressions, and everyone who spends time with their grandparents inevitably picks up some of those expressions and carries them forward through the ages as sort of a rhetorical time capsule.  One of my grandpa's favourite turns of phrase was "the ol' dipsy doodle," which was basically his go-to term for any kind of tricky reversal. 

If, for instance, someone made a big comeback in a family game of rummoli, they didn't just turn the tables on the opponents --- they pulled the ol' dipsy-doodle on them!  And then a fistfight usually broke out, since my family took games night pretty serious.  My grandma throws a mean right hook.

Perhaps with my brain was jarred from my grandma's punch, but for some reason, it took me until 2019 to actually look up "dipsy doodle" and, lo and behold, it was a hit song from the 40's?!

Tommy Dorsey was the first to perform it, and it was a hit for both the Andrews Sisters and Ella Fitzgerald within the next few years.  So the next time you complain about too many covers or too much sampling in today's pop music, don't forget that back in that day, it wasn't uncommon for the exact same song (maybe with a different arrangement) to be re-released several times within a few years' time.

If I had to guess where my grandpa really adopted the term, it was probably from an old Andy Griffith Show episode, as Otis the town drunk apparently used to sing it over and over.  So this must be where I inherited my habit of having 50% of everything I say come from TV and movie dialogue.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Back in 1990, Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel co-created a TV series called "Lookwell," starring Adam West as a washed-up actor who takes his old role as a TV detective too seriously and begins to investigate (a.k.a. meddle in) actual crimes.

Now, if I told you this exact same premise was being used by a new show coming on the air today, you'd clearly watch, right?  This is the kind of thing that would be a Comedy Central staple for five seasons minimum, or easily be picked up by Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/insert your favourite streaming service here.  Unfortunately, "Lookwell" was too ahead of its time for the early 90's and the series wasn't picked up, but the original pilot did indeed come to light so we can enjoy at least one episode of this could've-been-classic series.
One wonders what would've happened if "Lookwell" had actually been picked up and run for even a season or two.  Perhaps Conan would've focused on this show and not continued to write for SNL, or never written for the Simpsons, or never become the host of Late Night.  Comedy history would've been irrevocably changed had perhaps just one more network executive been on board with watching Adam West wear the hell out of those mock turtlenecks.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Departure Suite

It's technically Thanksgiving and all, but October 14 is also the day of the Sudden Departure, so....bit of a downer.

btw, most beautiful musical score in TV history?  It's got my vote.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

NBA Predictions

Hey, the Raptors are the reigning NBA champions!  Isn't it wild that that actually happened?  Turns out that the Raptors' win didn't cause the universe to collapse into itself, so they're going to go ahead and have another NBA season this year, and thus I have to make a new set of picks.

*obligatory "the conferences are absurdly lopsided, the West is ten times better than the East" comment*

I will say, this is the first time in ages (ever?) when I've actually had to put some thought into NBA predictions.  The league is so often ruled by a superteam that it's been very easy to just phone in a provisional pick of the Warriors, Spurs, Heat, or Lakers for the better part of the last two decades.  This season?  At least a half-dozen teams look like potential title contenders.  So into this brave new world, I'll go out on a limb and choose....the team who had the best record last season.

(stars indicate wild card teams)

Pacific: Clippers, Warriors*, Lakers*, Kings, Suns
Northwest: Nuggets, Trail Blazers*, Jazz*, Thunder, Timberwolves
Southwest: Rockets, Spurs*, Pelicans, Mavericks, Grizzlies

Central: Bucks, Pacers*, Pistons, Bulls, Cavaliers
Atlantic: 76ers, Celtics*, Raptors*, Nets*, Knicks 
Southeast: Heat, Hawks*, Magic, Wizards, Hornets

West finals: Trail Blazers over Clippers
East finals: Bucks over 76ers

NBA finals: Bucks over Trail Blazers in six games

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

I Know What I'm Doing

Folks, I'm sure you read this blog week after week and think to yourself, "wow, Mark is just the coolest, most with-it guys there is."  And while you're correct, even a perfectly wound clock is wrong twice a day....wait, that's not how that goes....ok, maybe I'm wrong three times a day.

The first two errors, a.k.a. examples of the ongoing cloud of stupidity that hangs over my head at all times, took place last week.  I was making dinner one night and cooked up some rice using my legendary recipe.  First, I pour a cup into a bowl.  Then, I pour a cup of water into the bowl.  Then, I put the covered bowl into the microwave for five minutes to cook, and then leave it in there for five minutes longer to let the water entirely soak in.  (Why the good people at Michelin haven't seen fit to award me at least one star is anyone's guess.)  So for this latest meal, I prepared my usual routine, and after ten minutes I headed downstairs to the kitchen....only to discover that I had forgotten the water.  So it was just a bowl of very hot, uncooked rice on my hands.

No matter, this was just ten wasted minutes of my life.  The second error was a bit more bothersome.

It involved doing the laundry, and as per routine, I simply dumped my clothes into the washer and headed upstairs to wait out the wash cycle.  (There isn't a Michelin Guide for laundering clothes, as far as I know, though I will modestly admit that my technique isn't anything special.)  After an hour, I went downstairs to move my clothes into the dryer.....only to realize that my clothes were *already* in the dryer.  Yes, that's right.  I'd dumped a load of dirty clothes into the dryer, tossed in a batch of Tide powder, and then walked away like a dope.

On the bright side, at least it wasn't liquid detergent.  That would've caused a much bigger problem than my actual, still-annoying problem, of having powder all over the place.  Well, it was nothing a quick once-over with the vacuum cleaner couldn't fix, and the only lasting damage was to my pride.

And now you know the truth, folks.  Your humble narrator isn't perfect.  It must be a hard thing to realize after all these many years, but look on the bright side.  At least you didn't spend ten minutes of your life vacuuming out a laundry dryer.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Diner Lobster

SNL just made a new batch of their old sketches (well, "old" as in a couple of years old) on YouTube available to international viewers, and the list of material includes....DINER LOBSTER.  One of the true laugh-out-loud, instant classic, "what the hell is going on?" sketches of in recent SNL history.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

NHL Predictions

Hark!  A new hockey season is upon us!  Now that the Blues and Capitals have each ended their long Stanley Cup droughts, could another team be next?  Say, a team from Toronto? 

"Oh, did the Marlies get promoted to the NHL?"

Quiet, you.

CENTRAL DIVISION: Avalanche, Predators, Jets, Blues*, Stars*, Wild, Blackhawks

PACIFIC DIVISION: Golden Knights, Flames, Sharks, Coyotes, Oilers, Kings, Ducks, Canucks

ATLANTIC DIVISION: Maple Leafs, Lightning, Bruins, Panthers*, Canadiens, Sabres, Red Wings, Senators

METROPOLITAN DIVISION: Capitals, Hurricanes, Devils, Penguins*, Islanders, Flyers, Blue Jackets, Rangers

(the stars indicate the wild card teams)

Western Conference finals: Golden Knights over Jets
Eastern Conference finals: Capitals over Bruins (I'm sorry, I just can't pick the Leafs until it actually happens)

Stanley Cup finals: Golden Knights over Capitals

See, just like I said, another long-suffering franchise will finally get its first Stanley Cup.  Enjoy the title after three long years of waiting, Vegas fans!