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Posts from — October 2006

Shows Gone Wild

It’s the end of Oct. A time of ghouls and goblins. A time of warmer jackets and pumped up heaters. A time of, you guessed it, television. For as the leaves fall and the suns sets earlier, what’s more inviting than curling up on the couch with your remote?

Trouble is – where have all the good shows gone?

There are the handful of early cancellations, like Smith. And possibly Studio 60 (if it hasn’t happened already). Or the disappearing acts, like Kidnapped. The ones where they show us a marathon, then yank ‘er down. Poof! Gone. Like Prison Break. It disappeared after hooking us in with killing a-plenty, but at least that one’s back. Grey’s Anatomy? Come and gone. Not left-the-building gone – they’re treating us to repeats. Double whammy repeats. As if those who wanted to watch had missed the first couple of eps. Come on! Ditto for House. Why why why? Those who like ‘em, like ‘em a lot.

If you want to hook newbies, do the new/old combo platters. But don’t punish the rest of us. Or go the CSI/Law & Order route – flick and you’ll catch it ‘cuz it’s on all the time. That seems to be working with some new faves – Heroes, The Nine, Six Degrees. They seem to be on different times, or at least different channels, every week.

Will the real Thursday night please stand up?

Y’know, Thursday. It’s always been the best night of the week – for going out, obvo, but also for staying in. PVR or not, Thursday night was line-up night.

How’s a fan s’posed to be loyal? How’s a PVR s’posed to work? I asked you, what’s an addict to do? The only shows that seem consistent are Thursday stalwart Survivor – and who even watches that anymore – and newbie Ugly Betty. Both Thursday nighters to be sure, but hardly worthy of line-up status on their own. Besides, you need 3 shows for Line-Up. Otherwise, it’s just back-to-back. And that’s a Sunday thing.

Once upon a time, Sunday was nearly the new Thursday. It had Arrested Development, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s. But the braniacs ditched smart funny, moved medical and left us with Desperadoes and Studio 60 (which if it stay on, also airs Monday).

So does that make Monday the new Thursday? Prison Break, 24 (as of Jan) and Studio 60 if-you-missed it. Nope, ‘cuz Studio 60 is too clever clever and will be gone soon. Friday Night Lights isn’t bad, but will it stay on Mondays or be moved? It really should be on –duh – Fridays.

Tuesdays are good. And Wednesday too. But no triple-threats. Donnie and Marie used to be Friday specials. And even last year loyal viewers were rewarded with Nip/Tuck. But not this year. Not in Canada. Which leaves us with Saturday. And puh-lease, is anybody watching on Saturday nights anymore? The lineup of yesteryear – Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Saturday Night Live – has gone to TV heaven (or, ahem, should be).

What’s left? TV thumb. The affliction which comes from the constant flipping around to find what you want, when you want (so you can record it and watch when you really want).

Maybe it’s a sign. Time to get off the couch. Time to get out of the house. And hit the Cinemas instead!



ABC thought we was all watching Ottawa KICK the Leafs ASS! Nah. It’s the World Series. No networks blow ratings. Viewers are too busy watching guys spit, scratch and stare from 90 feet. In 2 weeks the ball game’s over and ALL NEW! And we in the Dark Ages, sans PVR, can finally catch up baby!

1:08 PM

Anonymous said…

Too bad “the good die young”. Studio 60 is/was a great show. Well written, interesting character development and a peek into the inner workings of a “Saturday Night Live” type interestingly warped mind. Almost makes me wish I was there. Love the fact that Matthew Perry is not funny all the time!!! Too bad its over. Well whats next?? Hopefully we have moved on and the reality show has died a quick death and not lingered for us to have to painfully channel surf through the muck. The Prince marrying some drunk blond thing is sooo over. “Mother of all Mavens” become pro active, give us somthing we can embrace on Sunday nights!!!!! Now!

1:50 PM

Anonymous said…

The TV flip-eroo is nothing new– though it seems more extreme and random this year. Here’s a trick- if you missed it in primetime, record it in timeshift! Who knew Weeds was also on at 1:10am the same night? Not I– but I do now. And why is it Canadian programmers think they know better than US programmers about when we wanna watch? Face it, TV is all about the States– Corner Gas, my ass. At least when you watch on a US only channel (Buffalo’s not only for shopping, y’know!), you get to watch the previews for next week– for some reason, our Canuck TV execs are teaser-averse. Lost at 8 or Lost at 9? At least that one didn’t get “lost”.


October 27, 2006   No Comments


Go Cheap or Go Home

Is cheap the new black?

Sexy, hip, flattering.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But is cheap the new black?

Erm, not at Zara. Yeah, it’s chic ‘n cheap but it’s also crap. And not in the disposable way Le Crapeau…I mean Le Chateau… is crap. We’re talking ripped-while-still-on-the-hanger crap, as opposed to wear, tear, and toss crap. Oddly, their kids’ line is not crap. Mind you, it ain’t cheap. But it’s stunning – especially for boys.

Ditto H &M. Awesome duds for the kids, but for ladies? Duds of a different kind. For this gal at least. Believe me, I’ve tried. But ’twas not to be. The fit, the fabric, or just the itch factor – there was always something a bit off.

Winners? Dirty. Old Navy? XXXXXL. Fairweather? Puh-lease. And the list goes on.

So I stuck with fancy. The supersoft shirts, yummy sweaters, perfect pants. All mine. For a price. A very hefty price. And y’know what I found? That a lot of the high end stuff was crap too! No sooner had I washed and worn than I’d find a little teeny tiny hole. Or a snag. Or an unravelled cuff or jagged hem. And don’t get me started on cotton tees that start to ball. It’s the worst.

But what’s a fashion victim to do? Shelling out the big bucks didn’t work. And the cheap and cheerful left me feeling anything but…

Until now.

There’s a new kid in town. Let’s call him Joe. For real. ‘Cuz the place is called Joe Fresh and basically, it’s clothes shopping at Loblaws.


Before you delete and think I must’ve completely lost my mind, read on. I actually debated sharing this dirty little secret. In fact, some friends kindly suggested I keep my mouth shut (at least until after they’d checked it out themselves). But alas loyal readers, you’ve earned it. You’ve shared my blog, you’ve liked my blog – you’ve actually read my blog! So here’s a little tidbit for you.

Joe Fresh. As in Joe-who-used-to-own-Club-Monaco. As in the guy who got lured away by the kind folks at Loblaws. As in who the hell cares? You won’t. Cred be damned! If you can get over the fact that it’s, well, grocery shopping for fashion, you’ll be glad that you did.

Housed in suburban Superstores and in the Old Caban space beside, yup, Loblaws, you will meet Joe Fresh. Nice, plain, simple. And did I mention, cheap? Tees for a tenner. Jeans under $30. And yoga pants and tops that fit and feel EXACTLY like your Lulus – but without the hefty price tag (pants are $29)(that’s right, no type-o: $29)

AND not only are the clothes flattering – the sizes are somewhat generous too. So you can try on stretchy jeans and check out your butt – or thighs, or hips or calves – and marvel at the fact that you’re wearing a size smaller than you thought. Who doesn’t love that? Especially compared to all the fancy pants around that were definitely not designed for women of childbearing age. Paige Jeans excepted.

I got a bit carried away this morning: jeans, shirt, vest, sweater, and more. What with these prices…And the turnover is crazy fast as the stuff flies off the shelves…’Cuz at these prices… Finally, I do hear you, skeptics. It may all turn out to be more disposable fashion crap. Only time will tell. But again, at these prices…


Anonymous said…

Went today and it’s like Club Mon of old, although not as styley. Very good basics, although for me the pant cuts were not nice. Very cheap store-like, although, not the yoga pants which are fab and will be worn on the plane by a non-outside yoga pant wearing person. But I take great offence to your dissing of Winners and Fairweathers. You’d be surprised what basics you can find there that don’t feel disgusting. And well, Winners is for hunters and you ain’t ever been one of those. I have some wicked stuff from there and now I add Joe to my list of easy basics. Thanks for the tip.

11:20 AM

Anonymous said…

This is Dave’s friend Rob… my Wife has been bugging me about this Lulu crap for months now. I sent her right over to the super centre and now she has her Lulu knock off’s and is loving life. Thanks for the tip. You rock. By the way, I personally know one of the managers of Winners and the biggest and best hidden treasures are at the Winners in Barrie right off of the 400. There is a tip for you!


October 12, 2006   No Comments


Oprah Move Over

Yes, I have hobbies other than television.

Yes, I am literate. Ahem. Quite, thank you.

Yes, I have taken to giving away my books.

And yes, I’ve ended up buying books I’ve read before.

What does all this mean? Why should you give a rat’s ass? I’ll tell you why. Because, at long last, I am giving the people what they want: the eagerly awaited, long anticipated, not imitated: MOAM BOOK CLUB.

I don’t know why I wrote “not imitated”. Book clubs are a dime a dozen. And many of you may have even read some of these winners. But not all of ’em. Besides, this is my answer to the oft asked “read any good books lately?”.

The answer, a resounding YES.

So here, in no particular order, are my top picks for the past year. Give or take a couple of months. Most have been out for a while, ‘cuz I like to wait for paperback. Not just because I’m cheap, but also, who wants to lug a hardcover book around? They’re heavy, they’re not great in bed, and they only look good on your bookshelves if you give a shit. And, as someone who’s taken to giving my books away, I don’t. So….

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. We need to talk about this book. We need to talk about Lionel Shriver (aside: she’s a woman. Lionel. That’s right.). She’s also a genius. This is a chilling, twisted book about a high-school shooter. Told by the kid’s mother. Those who are parents will be looking for signs of sociopathic tendencies in their own children. Those who are not will wonder if they should dare procreate. Kids these days…

A WOMAN IN BERLIN. An anonymous writer shares her memoirs from the fall of Berlin after the 2nd World War. It was, essentially, a rape-fest. This book was banned in Germany and only republished after the writer died. It’s brutal. And it’s excellent.

MAPS FOR LOST LOVERS. Nadeem Aslam. Set in a community of immigrants from the subcontinent who have moved to England in search of a better life. Culture clashes. East meets West. Old vs. new. Communities on fire. Oh, and loves lost too. Not as melodramatic as I’m making it sound.

A BLADE OF GRASS. Lewis de Soto. Ditto. But this time it’s White woman+ Black woman + unnamed Southern African country. Don’t worry, it’s NOT Cold Mountain. Way better. Way smarter. Way sadder.

CROSSING CALIFORNIA. I haven’t forgotten you, boys. Adam Langer’s spot on and hilarious coming-of-age novel set in the Chicago of the 70’s. Especially funny if you lived it. And even funnier if if you had older sibs (or friends with older sibs) who did. You’ll laugh out loud. You will.

Books on Film:
LITTLE CHLDREN. Tom Perrotta. Bored suburban mom takes up with bored suburban dad. And that’s just the start. Movie version is coming soon. Very very soon. read it first so you can discuss which is better.

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Augusten Bourrough’s hilarious account of his wild ‘n crazy childhood. One of those truth-is-stranger-fiction books. Way stranger. And way better.

Finally, my two faves of the past year:


THE HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss.

Where to begin? I don’t want to ruin them in any way. STUNNING. I read them back to back, GENIUS x 2, and they’ve become more or less one un-f&cking-believable book in my head. AWESOME in every sense of the word. Even better, I just learned that these two extremely young and incredibly brilliant writers are a couple. A COUPLE!!! Is it an urban myth? A simple rumour? Does it matter? Read these two babies and imagine that the authors are in love. How could either find anyone better?!

So there you go. I haven’t bothered with the ones that didn’t come close to the hype. Or the real duds. Nor shall I. Between the life, the kids and the TV, who has time for a bad book? And yeah, I don’t doubt that for every book I’ve listed, someone has many more I’ve missed. Sorry, kids. My blog, my books. That said, I’m always looking for the next best thing and of course all suggestions are most welcome….


October 9, 2006   No Comments


The Happy Hookah

Doing dinner.

Sounds great, right? Except for the dreaded question: where to go. French? I don’t get the fuss – the fussy food or the big deal. Southeast Asian? Done done done. Tapas? Some slabs of piggy and olives? Can be tasty, but naah. Chinois? Soooo not Saturday night fare.

And the list goes on. And on. And on. The hipster spots are too busy. The neighbourhood spots too, well, neighbourhoody. You go through the city, street by street, trying to think of somewhere new and different and then it hits.



There’s a new kid in town. Our town. Sorry foreign readers, you may want to stop now. But locals, keep readng. It’s down on Queen Street. Past the throngs of Queen West, but not too far deep into the newly-minted trendoids of Queen West West West. Look closely and you’ll find it, Banu: an unpretentious, delicious and totally unique vodka-and-kebab experience.

That’s right, experience.

If you find it. Banu has no sign, only Farsi writing overtop a blue-tinged sepia photo on the glass door. Once inside, you may be a bit confused – the place feels more spa than supper. Actually, it feels like a Hammam. I know I’m mixing my cultures here, but it feels like whatever the Iranian equivalent of a Turkish bath is. But go with it.

Pick your vodka – you’ve got about 14 to choose from. Pretend you’re an afficianado and try try try. Or just go for one of their delicious martinis: sour cherry, pomegranate or (yawn) plain. Then open your menu. You’ll find 3 starters, 3 salads, 3 yoghurts. That’s right, yoghurts. And a whole slew of kebabs.

Aaaaah, the humble kebab. It’s not just a late-night drink absorber anymore. Banu takes these humble meat sticks and turns them into an art form. We skipped the lamb balls and heart (I swear!), opting for more traditional fare of ground beef, marinated beef tenderloin, lamb chops and saffron chicken. Yum, yum, and yum. (Note only 3 out of four ‘yums’. Skip the chicken.)

Food arrived family-style, on a plate lined with traditional bread – I haven’t a clue what it’s called. It’s thinner than pita but it could be just that. Also on the platter were green onions, radishes, and a handful of greens. Herbs, that is: mint, basil and tarragon leaves.

And that’s it. A lovely restaurant. Looked pretty. Tasty food. The end.

Or so we thought. Boy we were wrong. ‘Cuz with the dessert menu came something else. A little thing some people like to call a Hookah.


Water pipe, bong, call it what you want. We had a choice of around 10 flavours and went for the blackberry. And for those of you who are thinking we sat around getting high – maybe we did. But it was on blackberry molasses.


I know, I know. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. I’ma hookah virgin. All’s I know is we sat around the table, inside the restaurant, smoking! Yes, smoking. But nary an evil eye in sight. ‘Cuz with no nicotine, tar, or nasty bi-products, this was a totally natural, delicious way to lounge. And for those of you with an aversion to other people’s, erm, spit, fret not – every one is treated to their own hermetically sealed, totally non-gross plastic pipe.

The hookah went for an hour (insert porny jokes here). We smoked. We watched it bubble and burn. We marvelled. We smoked some more. Look at us! We’re so rad! Check us out! Tourists in our own town!


We topped it all off with Iranian desserts and tea and marvelled at how, well, different it was from your average night out for dinner. It was, as they say, an experience.


Are you experienced?


jojo said…

Now this I relate to!!!!!! Martini’s, tasty food and hangin’ out smokin’ !
I must admit it reminds me of us 40 years ago! You know who and you know who…… our Sat. nights[with gin martini’s though!]
We must try this place. Thank you for the review!
I wonder what Joann Kates would say? I’ll bet she has been keeping Banu a secret for a while!
Take Nanu to Banu; it will cheer her up!
Silly arn’t I?

6:50 PM

scribbit said…

That is some experience. Never knew you could get “virgin” hookahs. Too bad I’m 2000 miles away.

6:01 PM

Anonymous said…

So happy to hear that there is a Hookah cafe in Toronto. Went to one in Washington DC last summer and thought it was great. Chose the apple flavour. Yummy!

All I kept thinking was how great it would be to have a similar place in Toronto, but how tight-assed the city was and it would never be allowed.

Let’s keep Banu our little secret.

Oh yeah. Would love to join the 2 of you there one night when we have a baby sitter.

-Vooolfie and Vern.


October 2, 2006   No Comments