Closing Time

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This one hurts too much to write something original, so I’m just cutting and pasting what I sent out to our newsletter subscribers on Thursday evening.

After a great deal of soul searching, Becky and I have made the incredibly difficult decision to close our store. This is not a decision we’ve arrived at lightly, but it’s the one that’s best for us going forward.
 
Over the past 31 months, we have been fortunate, no make that HONOURED, to serve the amazing people of this fantastic city. During that time, some incredible people have walked through our door, and we’re better for knowing them.
 
Starting Friday morning, all in-store merchandise will be 25% off. Our fixtures will also be available for sale…everything must go. If you’ve been coming in like clockwork or even if you haven’t been in for a while, we’d love the chance to say goodbye in person. It would mean a lot to us.
 
We cannot thank you all enough for your support, and in many cases friendship, over the past two and a half years. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we know the ride wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.
 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
I owe a great deal of thanks to all of you who have supported us along the way, who have popped in from way out of town in order to help us out. It meant a lot to us both.
We have no idea what the future holds, but we’re both grateful we had this opportunity to work together and manage not to kill each other in the process 😉  It’s been an absolute blast.

Eight items or less

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Yesterday, I was at the grocery store picking up my provisions for the Super Bowl. I’d talk more about the game, but I would hate for someone to have to tell me to get over it again. I saw something while in line at the checkout that both pleased and annoyed the hell out of me.

I steered my cart towards the 1-8 items line, but a quick inventory revealed I had 11 items in my cart. Not wanting to be that guy (you know, the one who completely ignores the item limit), I moved to another, slower moving lane. From the next lane over, the same 1-8 line, I hear a grown man start to bellyache.

“THEY WON’T EVEN TAKE YOU IF YOU HAVE NINE ITEMS!” he moaned, loud enough for everyone to hear. He tossed his merchandise back in his cart and moved to another lane. I took a quick look at his cart to see how much stuff he had and whether he had a legitimate beef or not.

The man had 10 cases of pop and at least nine cans of something that looked horrendous. By my math, that’s 19. Not nine. He knew he was over the limit, then still acted like a petulant child when he couldn’t get his way. He moved to the line two down from mine and continued with his complaining until, mercifully, another register opened and he was served. I think it was done to get him out of the store as fast as possible.

When it was my turn to check out, I looked over at the young lady at the till where Boris the Boor was rebuffed and gave her a quick thumbs up for not letting this clown bully her.

Cashiers are people too, and incredibly important ones….they’re the ones who make sure your eggs aren’t scrambled and your loaf of bread hasn’t been converted to flatbread before you get home.

It costs nothing to be nice to people who work retail…and I’m not just saying that because I own a store!

“Alternative Facts”

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If you know me, even a little, you should know how much I love the comic series Saga. Since the debut issue, I’ve had this series in my must-read list, and it’s easily one of my favourite series ever. One of the amazing characters in the series is Lying Cat, pictured above.

Lying Cat has the ability to, for all intents and purposes, smell bullshit. If someone tells a fib in her presence, she blurts out the world LYING. After the debut press conference of new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer,  I think the world at large, and specifically the White House Press Corps, needs a Lying Cat of their own.

Spicer stepped up to the mic and made five statements. Four of them were lies, lies that were easily verifiable by anyone with access to Google. In this case, getting 80% is not something to be proud off.

Why did he do it? Who knows…welcome to the Trump World Order.

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This is Kellyanne Conway. When she’s not auditioning for Hamilton or dressing as a human nutcracker, she’s a key member of the Great Orange Satan’s staff. On Sunday, she appeared on Meet The Press and she was asked about Spicer’s flagrant flaunting of the truth.

Her reply? Spicer was offering “alternative facts.” Forgive me, but what in the bloody blue hell is an alternative fact? A fact is a fact is a fact. An alternative fact is nothing but a lie with a comb-over.

When I worked in journalism, we had a mantra in our newsroom: we didn’t need to be first, we needed to be right. We prided ourselves on never once misleading our readers and never once presenting facts as anything but the truth.

Conway was last seen boarding a plane for San Diego, where she’ll soon start her part time job as centerfielder for the Padres. She’s also appearing on the big screen as Wonder Woman in the summer before hibernating for the winter in a cabin she bought from Bernie Sanders with Nuka-Cola bottle caps. Wait, that’s not true? Well, it’s an alternative fact so it must be!

The Trump administration is setting one hell of a precedent with this. Lying to the press corps does nothing but tarnish their already damaged image. It doesn’t make them look cool…it makes them look like they have something to hide.

 

Forty four years ago yesterday. a classic episode of Doctor Who aired starring my favourite Doctor, Tom Baker. In the episode, the good Doctor was trying to stop a war between two alien races. He uttered the following missive, one that’s incredibly important to remember as we deal with the Trump World Order going forward.

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Fiction Fridays Volume 1

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You guys are awesome for my ego, you know that?

The other day, I asked if anyone had any interest in reading my fiction writing, and the result was a resounding yes. Holy crap, you guys, thank you! This is a pretty big deal for me, putting my work out there like that. Sure, I used to write for a living, but that was all fact and opinion based. For me to share my fiction like this? Uncharted waters, my friends.

So before I chicken out, here’s what I penned, purely stream of consciously, in response to the prompt “the cloud was my worst enemy.” It’s short, it’s rough, It’s probably not great, but it’s a start.

Darkness filled the sky over my head. Not a metaphorical darkness like so many wax poetic about, but an actual tangible darkness.

It was all because of that damned cloud.

One cloud, the lone aberration in an otherwise perfectly clear sky. One cloud, seemingly tasked with covering the sun. Denying me heat. Denying me comfort. Denying me love.

For I am a sunflower, and I am enamoured with the fiery ball in the sky. I crave its warming rays, but it’s more, so much more than that. I rely on those rays to exist. Without them, I’ll wither and die, both physically and spiritually.

My nemesis seems unable, or perhaps unwilling, to release the sun from its insidious clutches. I think it’s doing it on purpose, as if I’ve offended it somehow.

I just want my sun back. Please give me my sun.

So there we go. My first attempt at something that’s not a sports story or piece about a celebrity death affected me. I hope you like it.

 

 

Mount Rockmore 2017 Edition

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Facebook’s On This Day feature is a great memory jogger, especially for old farts like me.

Today, I was reminded that five years ago, I challenged former co-workers Mike and Ian to pick their perfect four-piece band: vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The only catch was you couldn’t pick two members from the same band.

My initial list included Matt Bellamy from Muse on vocals, Slash on guitar, Sir Paul McCartney on bass and Dave Grohl on drums. After an initial spazzing on my part, I devised an all deceased uber group: Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious and Keith Moon.

I’ve updated the list over the years, but it’s high time to do it again…and this time, I’m doing it without repeats. Without further ado, here’s Mount Rockmore for 2017:

Vocals: Dave Gahan
How in the blue hell have I gone this long without the singer from my favourite band ever on this list? For shame, Scotty…for shame.

Guitar: The Edge
Another band it’s taken me waaaaay too long to get a member from onto this list. What The Edge does with a guitar is utterly sublime.

Bass: Jimi Goodwin
I can picture some of you asking who the hell is he? He is the singer/bass player for the grossly underrated and underappreciated band Doves. They’re about 75 kinds of awesome.

Drums: Stewart Copeland
Back in the dark ages before the internet, people used to camp out for concert tickets for highly sought-after shows. There was only one band I’d have contemplated camping to get tickets for, and that was The Police. Copeland was always my favourite member of the band, and he’s the perfect drummer to keep my band in line.

My All-Deceased Supergroup consists of David Bowie on vocals (like it was going to be anyone else after this year?), Prince on guitar, Lemmy on bass and John Bonham on drums. Eclectic? For sure. Cohesive? Hard to say. Awesome? Undeniably.

So there’s my list. Who’s yours?

A quick question for you

Earlier this year/week, I made mention of a writing prompt book I received from my lovely wife for Christmas. Today, while enjoying a brief interlude from serving customers at the shop, I googled writing prompt generator and ended up on a pretty neat site that, well, randomly generated writing prompts.

I found one that struck a chord, and I ran with it. It was “The Cloud Was My Enemy.” I put pen to paper (literally…I hand wrote it out) and went all stream of consciousness on it. When I was done a few minutes later, I had written something that wasn’t too shabby if I can be a little horn tooty.

So that brings me to my question for you, dear readers. Do any of you have any desire to read any of this stuff? A few of you out there have read my attempt at fiction before (Annie, Robyn and Howie I’m looking at you) but for most of you, these would be uncharted waters.

So what say you? Yea or nay on posting what may amount to copious amounts of drivel?

Hi…I’m here about the coaching job

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Call me strange, but I’ve come to enjoy the end of the NFL regular season than the season itself. Why, you might ask? Because almost immediately after the season ends, a lot of coaches get fired and jobs open up around the League.

Sure, that mindset reeks of schadenfreude, but without this coaching bloodletting, I wouldn’t have a seemingly annual blog topic. It’s time again for me to declare my desire to coach an NFL team.

At the time of writing, there were six vacancies across the league: Buffalo, Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. At first blush, the the two most appealing jobs seem to be Denver and San Francisco: Denver because of their amazing defense and the 49ers due to the opportunity to rebuild the once-proud franchise back to its glory days from the ground up.

Buffalo’s vacancy is interesting, as it’d be the easiest to get to every day without having to find a home across the bridge. Los Angeles, while tempting, would be far too distracting, especially once I turned the Rams into the city’s “it”team and had celebrities clamouring to take selfies with me and people asking me to produce their films.

That leaves San Diego and Jacksonville. The Chargers would be great to coach, with a likely Hall of Famer at quarterback in Philip Rivers. The city is spectacular, the Padres could be interesting and there’s Comic Con, which I’d finally be able to attend.

Despite all that, given a choice I’d rather hang my hat in Jacksonville. I have an affinity for Florida, mainly because that’s where we honeymooned but also because my love of college football was born in the Sunshine State. It was Christmas 1982, and we were visiting my Grandma in St. Petersburg. I remember going to get the newspaper and reading about all the bowl games being played. My access to college football at the time was negligible at best, so this was like being introduced to a whole new world.

I can use that passion to help the Jags add the missing pieces to their already solid roster. I can use my real world football experience to be a leader of men and get the best out of my players (I won the Super Bowl on Madden a lot and was undefeated playing VCR Quarterback in the 80s).

So with that I say Mr. Khan, I’m here to help. Let’s work together and bring the Super Bowl to north Florida. I eagerly await your call.