KICK IN THE ARTS BY BRIAN GALLAGHER

December 5, 2019

IMAGE COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

How do you celebrate the holiday season dear readers? Dashing through the snow? Roasting chestnuts on an open fire? Do you spend it with family? Do you travel? Do you shower your significant other with lavish gifts?

Good for you. Enjoy. This year we have decided not to give each other gifts, with one exception. You see we have been together for a long time (not compared to some of you wonderful married people out there but in hamster years we have been together, well, almost forever). A long blessed wonderful time. Magical, really. So we realized that we don’t need any gifts or some commercialized version of happiness and goodwill towards people …. We just need the gift of each other’s company. Okay, stop. Obviously the sweet addition of Baileys in my coffee this morning has brought out the Harlequin romance or Hallmark card writer in me. Better switch to whiskey to get back on track. Give me a second beautiful people – back in a flask (oops, ‘flash’).

There, m...

November 21, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK 

Now don’t get the wrong idea here dear readers. Don’t start talking about what you think I might be talking about when I’m not really talking about what you think I might be talking about. Did that make sense in your head? It almost did in mine, I think.

And to further substantiate your suspicions about what you might think my column is about this week let me tell you what I’ve been watching on Netflix this past week. The bio-pics and documentaries on Woodstock, The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. Groovy, man. Far out. Although the Scorcese movie of Bob Dylan’s tour had interesting insights on some of the great artists of the time, I really enjoyed the Woodstock documentary because it wasn’t really about the music but about the organizers of that iconic event and what they went through to put it all together. And of course all the original footage of the event itself was a real trip.

But I digress (as I am wont to do)…Yes in full disclosur...

October 31, 2019

Why hello there dear readers, I hope you are well. There’s a bit of a change of pace to this weeks’ column because I’ve been feeling reflective lately and somewhat melancholy. Let me take you back to this past weekend:

My bestest half and I were winding down on Friday after a good day of chores and tasks around the house. I had just finished making the happy hour martinis when the phone rang with tragic news. The rest of the weekend we just hung around the house and although we did get some leaves raked and patio work accomplished on Saturday we spent most of it trying to get our heads around the sudden and unexpected death of our brother-in-law.

He and his wife who recently celebrated 40 years of marriage were also celebrating the fact that three weeks ago they both finally retired from the rat race and were ready to go out and do all the things they had talked about for so long. First item on the agenda was a majestic three week excursion for two in South Africa. A trip they had always...

October 24, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

If you sing it with a drawl, it almost sounds like a country song doesn’t it? If it was, it would be my ode to the large pine tree in our front yard which has only recently stopped shedding its 7,874,241 pine needles all over our yard.  Right now I know what you are doing dear readers…

1) You are asking yourself, “He actually COUNTED each needle he picked up? How bad is this guy’s OCD?!

2) Why can’t I get that country song out of my head?! (C’mon you know you’re singing it).

Seriously though beautiful people, when we bought our palace here in Shangri-la last year I loved the old crooked pine tree on the corner. I even put a sign up on it that said ‘Crooked Tree Corner’ since it was the focal point of the property. I should have known…. Remember that kid’s book ‘Everybody poops?’ Well it’s true. Everyone and everything including my crooked pine tree. Pine cones in the spring, small pine buds in the summer that come off in the wind and pepper the roof on the side...

October 10, 2019

I have to tell you my friends; Thanksgiving is a bittersweet holiday for me and my better/best/bestest half. For years we have had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving Sunday with our dear old neighbours from Glengarry County, Ontario. Each year the day was filled with songs, toasts, stories and laughter surrounded by Bob O’Connor, his lovely (and well-loved) wife Joanne and her extended family; of which we were honoured to be thought of as included in this special company. After the initial song and toast to loved ones dearly departed (Mes chers amis, mes chers amis, lever votre verre…), accompanied by the pre-requisite shot of Fireball of course, we would set off for a happy hayride jaunt through the fields and forests of Glengarry stopping not only for pee-stops and haunted houses, but for more songs, and of course, more Fireball (nasty stuff that is, but does keep the cockles warm).

After we are all glowing happily it is time to head back and watch the kids giggle and screech as th...

October 3, 2019

One of summer’s annoying chores has come to an end for another year, dear readers. I just cut the grass for what I believe is the last time this year. I say I believe because the weather has been so nice in September I am holding dearly on to the whimsical notion that maybe old man winter will mistake us for some Floridian outpost and decide to pass us by completely, dumping our allotment of snow on Repentigny instead (nothing personal folks – but it was either you or us). Remember Woodstock? If we all concentrate real hard, then maybe we can make the snow go away…

Again I digress. The title of this week’s column refers to my faithful lawn companion of over 20 years. Back in the day he was a glorious shiny eager Craftsman 5 hp mulching cutting lawn warrior chomping at the bit to get out there and work the fields mowing down any grass, leaf, twig, Tim Hortons cup or one blue glove with ease.

But alas, ‘Ol Yeller’ isn’t chomping at the bit as much to get out there on the range. Lately we h...

September 19, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Well here it is beautiful people, two days away from fall. Autumn. Winter’s pre-season. Almost time to put away the lawnmowers and bring out the snow-blowers. Almost time to put away the garden gnomes and put up the inflatable snowmen. Thank goodness I never bothered to take down my Christmas lights since this year’s yuletide season is almost upon us. Yes, Christmas is imminent. Soon we will be at Xmas Defcon 1. No but seriously dear readers, look outside your front window (I’ll wait)… I’ll bet if you look around at your friends’ and neighbours’ facades there is at least ONE that is as lazy as yours truly and has their holiday cheer on full display 365 days a year. Maybe that ONE person is YOU.

Stand up proudly procrastinators and layabouts! At least WE will not be the ones freezing our derrières off fervently trying to clip on those annoying lights to our gutters in the wind, sleet and rain. WE will be the ones enjoying a dry martini with three olives in it w...

September 12, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

You know that old nugget, don’t you dear readers? And it’s not that I don’t have anything ‘nice’ to say, I just don’t have anything ‘funny’ or ‘witty’ (some might say ‘stupid’ instead) to say. I’m way past my deadline, my benevolent editor has sent me a few pointed (yet polite) reminders that I have dutifully ignored but has now resorted to copying me on those annoying chain letters to ramp up the pressure. I feel I’m going to miss out on that $1,000,000 Nairobian dollars or that if I don’t forward that sun-shiny happy day poem then I will have bad luck for seven years… And the reason for my tardiness you ask? Yes I have to admit beautiful people that the well has run dry. The Muse has packed her bags and left Shangri-la. I am bereft of commentary. Is it simply because I have just turned the corner and am one year older? One more week will tell. Check back in with me next Thursday – unless the big boss lady who runs the joint finally comes to her senses and t...

August 29, 2019

So this past Thursday I took the wife out on date night. Couple of King-cans and a bag of Cheetos sitting out front in the garage in the old lime green folding chairs. Yes, beautiful people, I know how to treat a girl right.

Truth be told I took her to the Hudson Village Theatre to catch ‘Marion Bridge’ before the show’s run was over. Now I had to see this play just because of the fact that it’s set around three sisters getting together in their mother’s kitchen chatting, reminiscing, and occasionally screeching at each other. But this play really hit home with me, dear readers, because it was like a page straight out of my past.

You see you could simply replace these characters with Betty, Millie, and Ethel who were (in order) my mother and her two sisters. And being set in Cape Breton, this also could have been my Aunt Millie’s kitchen table (although there was not one pot nor one cup of tea visible in the play).

And to boot, my Mom and her sisters were all 95 per cent deaf. So the word...

August 22, 2019

PHOTO BY MONIQUE BISSONNETTE

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A guy walks into a bar. Actually not ‘a’ guy, more specifically – this guy. And it wasn’t actually a bar it was a restaurant. Well, to be clear they call themselves a ‘bistro,’ not a restaurant. Sigh… You see, beautiful people, this is why I don’t tell jokes. I’m just not good at it. At all. I should stick to drawing stick figures and origami.

Back to my story – I was chatting with four very nice ladies who were at this establishment last Friday evening. As I approached the table these ladies were giggling and passing their phones back and forth to each other clearly sharing some exciting secret message or illicit photos that they have stored in a locked folder away from prying husbandly eyes. I could not have been more wrong.

Now before I continue with this little story I have to explain a term to you good and faithful readers only because this is a ‘PG’ column and I don’t want anyone to misconstrue any intentions or c...

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