Sunday, December 5, 2010

Urgently needed new Government service

Ok, I know some people hate the thought of "big government" out there. I've heard frequent condemnations of the "nanny state" and the fact that government services, as they stand, can't be maintained. But here's ONE service I'm sure we can all agree to.

"Name That Tune"- a service from the federal government. How many times have you had a tune stuck in your head and were unable to remember what it was called? We DESPERATELY need a government-funded service that allows us distressed citizens to call in and hum the offending tune. Efficient civil servants would quickly and cheerfully identify the music, putting our minds at ease and halting the drain on the resources of our mental health facilities.

How could it go wrong? Think of the great service we ALREADY get when we call a government office. The speed! the friendliness! The accuracy!

hmmm.......maybe I should just hum it to you. Hmmm HMMMMMMMMM hmm hm HMMM hmmmmmm....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pollocks Hardware-best hardware store ever!

Usually there's not too much to get excited about going to a hardware store....unless it's Pollock's Hardware in good old Winnipeg.

Pollocks has been around for decades. It was always the kind of place where you could buy interesting quantities of "stuff"; like three nails if that's all you needed, or test your TV set vacuum tubes. For a while it was closed down, as it's original owners retired. Recently, however, it's re-opened as Pollock's Hardware Co-op, in which I am proud to say I am a member.

As you see from the pictures, Pollocks is still a place where you can buy most everything. Need a cast-iron fry pan, wash-board or glass bubble to a coffee percolator? Go to Pollocks. Need a genuine Radio Flyer wagon or a balsa-wood glider? Pollocks! Need three nails? Obviously, don't look anywhere else.

I know there's a real nostalgia element to my fondness for the place, but I also can't help but admire a place that just doesn't want to throw things out. Sometimes keeping a piece of the past because it makes you feel good to have it around is all the reason you need for holding on to those freakishly-smiling MacGregor Socks displays. Hey, where else can you find "stuff", other than Pollocks??

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ottawa Team Names

Sometime in the next couple of years, Ottawa is supposed to again have a CFL franchise. I'm delighted by this, partially for the football fans in Ottawa, and partially for the league, which I have always felt needed to have 10 teams to be truly representative of the country. Ottawa will just bring it back to nine, but it looks like Halifax may round it out one day.

As for the Ottawa team name, I'm partial to their original name, the Rough Riders. Oh, I know the Saskatchewan fans feel they have dibs on that name, but hey, it's not the REAL CFL without two teams named "Rough Riders" (or "Roughriders", for those of the green persuasion). Since this, unfortunately, won't be possible due to the "world's greatest fans" getting all snotty about it, here are a few alternate ideas for the new Ottawa Football Club.

1-"The Ottawa-Gatineau Oh-Geez". This one ties in the region's multicultural status with the inevitable fan response as they watch their team try to grow from scratch. "Oh Geez, they dropped the ball again. Oh Geez why didn't they tackle that guy?"

2-"The Ottawa Elevens" or "The Ottawa Twelves" (depending on when the franchise starts, 2011 or 2012). One of the new owners already runs a minor league hockey team called the "67s", named after Canada's official first year as a country, 67 A.D.

3-"The Ottawa Ottawas". Sure, I just copied this from the original name of the Blue Bomber football club, when they were known by the incredibly imaginative name the "Winnipegs". Their cheerleaders could be called the "Lady Ottawas".

4-"The Ottawa Rainbow Narwhals". This has nothing to do with Ottawa, I just like the sound of it. Try to imagine the iniform, then see if you can get to sleep tonight.

I'm sure the owners in Ottawa have something they feel is regionally representative and cool enough to promote jersey sales. I'm just hoping it's not just a verb like the "Ottawa Thrash" or a landmark like the "Ottawa Provincial Trunk Highway 417".

Go Rainbow Narwhals!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My second film!! Check it out!

We just finished and posted our second film-"Billy the Kid meets the Vampire Dinosaur"-it's on YouTube at this addy:

Check it out!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mission to Mars-my first film

Here's a link to my first-ever attampt to make a cheezy 50's sci-fi film. It was strung together with random memories of half-a-dozen actual films, including Rocketship XM and Missile to the Moon. AGF supplied the voice of all the women, and I popped the corn for the meteor storm. Here we go and please's supposed to look cheezy!

Here's that link:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rediscovered! Elmer the Safety Elephant!

I just returned from a trip to one of my favorite stores of all time, "United Unlimited", the "King Solomon's Mine" of the surplus, off-price, factory second and just plain bizzare. Want some of those "Spice World" or "Backstreet Boys" trading cards? Looking for a set of furry handcuffs? Need ten bras but only have a dollar? "United Unlimited" is the place for you!

Today I was lucky enough to find two vintage school workbooks (the "Mammoth Practice Book"...only 10 cents!!), and on the back I found an old friend...Elmer the Safety Elephant. To those too young to remember, Elmer was a perky little elephant with a "Lord Fauntleroy" collar and tie and, if that didn't make him "cool" enough to us school kids, displayed his name on a sailor cap on his head! To me he always looked like an image you'd find on a popcorn box, but I guess Elmer was capable of multi-tasking.

Elmer was found in every school, decorating walls with safety-first-type posters reminding us to "look both ways before crossing streets" and when there was no sidewalk (a real problem in those days) to walk on the left-hand side....FACING traffic. I clearly remember this being stressed....FACE the TRAFFIC. A few wags suggested is was so you could see who was about to run you down, but those negative nellies didn't discourage the rest of us. The safety tips from the back of this work-book were typical of the art and tone of those posters. I especially like # 2-KEEP OUT from between parked cars. It looks like the poor bloke in the plaid cap is ignoring the threat of parking in front of an Edsel. I also like #4-Play games in SAFE places away from traffic. It kind of looks like this SAFE place is in front of a plate-glass window, but at least it was away from traffic.

I remember that schools who demonstrated excellence in traffic safety were awarded by flying Elmer's flag above it, the safety elephant himself looking down joyfully at all the kiddies WALKING when they left curbs, and riding their bikes SAFELY. I don't think our school ever got to fly Elmer's flag, but that's OK. If only he would have left us some popcorn.

Friday, July 2, 2010

ROAD TRIP! My odd-yssy to Monster Bash 2010

Well another Monster Bash has come and gone. In case you hadn't heard of it, Monster Bash is an annual classic Horror/Science Fiction movie convention that takes place in Bulter Pennsylvania each year. This was my fourth year attending but my first a) with my brother and b) driving there and back again. Here are just a few thoughts and observations of the trip:

Day 1-Minneapolis-perhaps appropriately, there is a thick fog on the highway for the first 45 minutes out of town, and not just in our heads. There was a classic late 40's-early 50's Mercury pick-up truck parked on my street when I left. I took this to be a good omen, as it lokked just like the truck used by the linemen in "It Came From Outer Space", just before they are absorbed by the one-eyed alien. Did I say a good sign?

The trip itself was uneventful, but there were delays around Minneapolis due to construction on their speedways, er , freeways. The motel was Ok, but the staff was surley and the phone in the room didn't work. I won't rat them out by saying their name, needless to say it is a motel chain numbered somewhere between 5 and 7.

Day 1-Chicago-I like to call this "hell day". Actually it was more like "hell afternoon" as the morning was quite nice. Drove through Wisconsin, a refugium for cheese and fireworks stores (we actually used this as an exclamation..."cheese and fireworks!!"...we hope it will catch on better than "gee whiz"). Also plently of big-box porn stores along the highway. Played "what's that smell" several times. The cow, pictured above, was from a cheese store in said state. I love Wisconsin.

Afternoon, approached the Chicago freeway system with well-deserved dread. It seems like construction and detours are the name of the game this year, and we wound up getting lost TWICE before we actually reached our motel. Saw endless signs for "Krazy Klein" the firework king, offering "buy one get SIX free"! The sign directing us to our motel was about 4 feet high and approxmately the size of a shoe box (again, the motel chain number between 5 and 7). The TV in the room didn't work, the staff was again surley, and we were caught in a torrential downpour after walking next-door to have dinner. After we reached our TV-less room, the power went off briefly, leaving us laughing a lot like Lionel Atwill in one of the movies we love to watch.

Day 3-back-tracked through a toll-gate to get out of Chicago, but otherwise a nice smooth trip across Indiana and Ohio to get to Pennsylvania. Saw the best road name ever: Fangboner Road. I would LOVE to live on "Fangboner Road"

Day 4-5-6: MONTER BASH Always a great time, but the Bash seemed a little subdued this year. Got to meet Julie Adams from "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and Ann Robinson from "War of the Worlds". Watched the Mexican schlock classic "Little Read Riding Hood Meets the Monsters" and listened to UFO researcher Stan Gordon talk for what seemed like 6 hours on the "kecksburg" incident and how UFO's and Bigfoot (Bigfoots? Bigfeet?) seem to be related. Mused at the irony that EVRY ONE of his slides seemd to be blurry. Didn't sleep much, but had a great time!

Day 7-END RUN AROUND CHICAGO-we REALLY didn't want to be trapped in Chicago and environs so we booted it across the border back into Wisconsin. Stayed at a larger-numbered motel chain (between 7 and 9) and watched public-access political opinion panels from Kenowsha (should smoking be banned in restaurants and bars? Didn't we go through this about 10 years ago?) Saw a sign for the greatest recreational facility in the world: the "Bong Recreational park". Oh yeah.

Day 8-END RUN AROUND MINNEAPOLIS-again, trying to avoid the freeway experience. I think I understand why some people go "postal" if they have to deal with that every day of their lives. Stayed in St. Cloud for the night, home of the St. Cloud River Bats (great logo, a baseball bat with little bat wings. I thought I could hear people singing " tra-lah-tra-lee-hocus pocus")

Day 9-home again home again. The border crossings were acually quite civilized going both ways. Driving at 60kph in the city felt like I was walking slowly. Home safe and ready for next year!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The alternate title was "Barroom Blintz"

Here's a little re-wording of the "classic" song by Sweet, Barroom Blitz

Bingo Blitz (with apologies to Sweet)

Are you ready, Steve? What?.
Andy? Huh?
Mick? Eh?
Alright, fellas, let's go!

Oh my artieries are so hard
Livin' with the pills they sell to me, aha
Oh my dreams are getting so strange
Getting up six times at night to pee

Oh, I have a sore back
As a matter of fact my eyes are red as the sun
And a girl with the walker used to fly a Fokker
'Cause she flew in WW1

Oh, yeah, it was like lightning, my chest was tightening
And the music was soothing, and my bowels started grooving
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

And the man at the back said
I'm having an attack and it turned into a Bingo blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Have you seen my warmer?, it'll turn into a Bingo blitz
Bingo blitz, Bingo blitz, Bingo blitz, Bingo blitz

I'm reaching out to switch off...
Using the Clapper's all I ever do
Oh, I softly call you over
By the time you hear I can't remember you,

Now the man with the back
That's ready to crack as he lower his hands to the sea
And the girl in the chair with the lavender hair
Had it paid for by AARP
My hearing aid's electric, how do I connect it?
And the kids started leaving, 'cause we all stopped breathing


Hey what was that, lightning?, my chest is still tightening
But the Fibre was soothing, and my bowels started moving
It's it's a Bingo blitz, it's it's a Bingo blitz
It's it's a Bingo blitz, yeah, it's a Bingo blitz

Monday, May 10, 2010

Things I Learned this Week

Every day can be a learning experience if you give it a chance. I decided to try to recall what I learned that expanded my overall knowledge of, and appreciation for, my little corner of creation.

My friend's cat, "Molson" likes to steal wallets. I don't know if it's part of my friend's retirement plan, but if so, it's a darn clever one

Tap dancing is a heck of a lot harder than it looks. If I wasn't awed by people like Fred Astaire, Gener Kelly or Ann Miller before, I bow down to them now. Imagine running a marathon while smiling (and not sweating), making people think you are not expending any energy at all, and you have tap dancing.

My girlfriend does an awesome impersonation of Dr Who as played by David Tennant. She's able to mimic his expression absolutely perfectly, and with little-to-no preparation time needed. Convention scene, here we come.

Like Hannibal Smith from the A Team, I also "love it when a plan comes together". This week I went to a UPS store with some images on one of those little memory-stick thingies left here by aliens (I'm sorry, there's no way a speices that can't even pick up it's own garbage can independently invent a small black square that holds thousands of encyclopedias worth of knowledge). My plan was to print them out on 11 x 17 paper and they ALL turned out better than I thought. Apart from being able to save them to the alien stick in the first place, I was pretty jacked about my success here.

First I thought: Mother's Day must be a bit of a let-down for Mom. No matter what you do for her, it's probably going to leave you feeling like you haven't done enough to celebrate Mom's efforts for you over your lifespan. Then I thought: Mom is getting some gifts, a free meal AND instilling a little residual guilt in her offspring. Mother's Day actually works perfectly.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rally Round the Flag ??

For the most part, I like flags. They are a tangible representation of pride in one's country, community or organization. Many flags use a number of traditional heraldic devices and images, giving them a timeless look. Sometimes, though, a community seems to have an artistic grand mal seizure, and produce a civic emblem that is neither artistic nor inspirational (unless you count slight stomach upset as a type of inspiration). Here's a few that I have recently seen. Keep in mind my comments have nothing to do with the good folks who live in these places.

The first one is from the district of Hudson's Hope B.C. Probably a friendly little place, with salmon leaping joyfully out of the streams and onto the resident's barbeques, while kitchen taps dispense Red or White wines, rather than Hot or Cold water. What struck me about this one was the motto: "Land of Dinosaurs and Dams". WOW! Was this a statement of civic pride or a warning to unwary travellers? Is this the only alliterative motto in B.C., or are there others? (Kelowna, Land of Kitchens and Ken dolls)

The next is from Flin Flon Manitoba. This is one of a group I like to call the "corporate logo" school of flags. Looking at it, you may suspect Flin Flon is a mine and a pine tree stuck in the middle of a lake. Just having the words "Flin Flon" in such a plain type on the flag makes me think they were going to add the phrase "what of it?", but didn't want it to look too crowded. Flin Flon is actually a pretty cool place, with a wonderful statue of a fictional character after which the town was named. I wish more towns had the guts to name themselves after completely unreal characters. I, personally, would love to live in "Yoda, Manitoba", and would insist on helping design the flag for that one.

Number three is the city of Calgary, a bustling, modern, heavily urbanized centre that should have had more foresite than to have Pac-Man chewing on a cowboy hat as their flag. Oh sure, I know Calgary likes to promote it's cowboy-ish heritage, and the Calgary Stampede brings millions of dollars and hundreds of cattle to the city. But really, doesn't it look a little bit more like a placemat than a flag?

The fourth continues the "Pac-man" theme. This time Alma, Quebec combines the abstract with the sensual, as their flag looks like the passionate coupling of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Perhaps this is where they went away for their honeymoon? Does Alma have a surplus of dots, fruits and pretzels floating down their streets that attracted these famous celebrities? Only Alma knows for sure.

Finally, we have the flag of Lethbridge Alberta. I'm not sure what to call this one, but the old "cubes and stripes" comes to mind. I've tried to see something of the city in the design of the flag (a fort? a cow? a letter "L"?), but the only thing that comes to mind is their proximity to the United States. Maybe this was one of those "better safe than sorry" civic decisions at a time when it looked like the country may be in danger of breaking up (no, no, we're ACTUALLY part of the States, see??)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Lately I've seen a couple of TV commercials that actually impressed me with their sheer audacity and entertainment value. No, I'm not talking about that mayonaisse commercial where an obnoxious group of young pretties spasms around at a rooftop party while the announcer tries to sell you on the idea that eating that brand of mayo makes you the most daring thing since the flapper. (They're eating MAYO? ...on a SANDWICH???? why they're so radical and "in my face"! I'll abandon everything I thought I knew and start a cult in their honor)

On commercial that made an impression with me was for....wait for "egg cracker"! Have you seen this? The first time I saw it I was waiting for the evidence that it was some kind of joke, but it never came. Apparently someone came up with the ultimate kitchen gadget, a device that will crack eggs "perfectly" every time. The announcer starts by reminding us of the shame we felt over the poorly cracked eggs in our past, and asks if we are "tired" of finding egg shells in our omlettes (as a woman spits them out disgustedly to prove the point) or of having to wipe up those egg spills on the stove (ain't THAT the truth). Well, with Mr. Lickedy-Split (or whatever it was called), you no longer have to live in fear of hen fruit. The offer also came with (and I'm not lying about any of this) a device to scramble your eggs while they are still INSIDE THE SHELL!!! Land o' Lakes, what a device! It looked like a little pen you jam into the bottom of the egg to swirl up the contents before using the egg craker to dispense them sanitarily into your fry pan. And you can get BOTH of these for....wait for it...."TWO EASY PAYMENTS OF TEN DOLLARS"!!!! Now realitically, the only people who would have THAT much problem with eggs either lack opposable thumbs or have tried to have their dog crack their eggs for them. For the sheet stones it takes to sell such a product, though, I LOVED THAT COMMERCIAL!

The other was for Old Spice body wash. It started with a young male model type wearing a towel and a smile as he speaks to you from a sauna. He asks the ladies watching "look at look at your look at ME again.." We quickly see he is Mr. Smug humorously personified, as he tells the ladies that, while hubby may never match his uber-glam male beauty, they can SMELL like him with the Old Spice Body Wash. This commercial was REALLY well filmed, as Mr. Smug walks from the sauna onto the deck of a ship, frequently calling up examples of things that drive the women-folk mad (e.g. "two tickets to that thing you want to see") and the similar effect the body wash will have with the poor shmoe husbands out there. The point made and pitch finished, Mr. Smug ends by pointing out "I'm on a horse". After seeing this commercial for the first time I had to pause for a couple of seconds deciding if I liked it or not. As it turned out...I LOVED THAT COMMERCIAL!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hint Hint-Really Great Links!

Since I've had all this extra spare time, I've been able to follow up on some projects I've been working on. One of them involves the creation of what I think is a pretty cool game I'm going to formally announce in the next little while. In working on that and other projects I have found some very useful sites where you can download AT NO COST, and apparently virus-free, software that works REALLY WELL! Here's what I found:

Working in Microsoft Wordpad and need to send a document in Word? Look up "Open Office". You can download an office suite where EVERYTHING is compatible with EVERYTHING. They have a Powerpoint-style slideshow creator, an excel-type spreadsheet and other great applications. Best of all, if you have a "Works" document and you need to send it in "Word" format, it will save your document in a Word compatible file.Now why couldn't Microsoft figure out how to do that??

Need to manipulate images? Take a look at "Irfanview". You can create photo-slideshows, add special effects, and for my purposes, resize regular 72 DPI images 9or any size for that mater) as publishable 300 DPI images, the kinds that printers always ask for! I've only used this today, but it seems to be a very easy and capable program!

Looking to kill some time? wht not visit the Museum of Unnatural Mystery? It' at Lot's of weird things to look at and discover, and unlike the supermarket tabloids you scan while waiting in the "express" line (is it mandatory for people who use this line not to bathe?) you end up feeling kind of smarter, in a Rod Serling sort of way.

Looking for a job? Go to It's kind of a meta-job-search-engine that displays pretty much ALL posted jobs from multiple sites. Of course, you can personalize the search to your own parameters. Another cool timewaster, has a great recipe for making home-made slime among other cool experiments. Surprise your friends at work, or plan for that extra-special stocking-stuffer. The way science SHOULD be. Mad.

SO....if you have a lot of time on your hands you can EASILY fill it with creative and nutty exercises from there great sites-check 'em out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nerd Thoughts-on being a Nerd

I found out I was a "nerd" several years ago. A friend from high school (who has since married one of my nerd friends) admitted that she always considered my little group a bunch of "nerds". Now of course, we were shocked and awed by this. Being nerds, one never actually thinks they are a nerd. Why we were on the yearbook committee! Sold oranges to support the band! Avoided athletics! And most of all, quoted Star Trek and Monty Python endlessly and accurately. (Yeah, I know, it sounds like a cheap old stereotype, but stereotypes exist because they include a great deal of truth. Don't believe me? Go visit your employer's IT department on some pretext. I guarantee you'll see little plastic R2D2's and 6-packs of pudding cups everywhere).

What makes a Nerd? Well, if you've ever wondered if Vulcans can knock themselves out with their own nerve pinch, AND considered it a pretty cool skill to have, you're probably a bit nerdish.

You may hear the word "nerd" spoken where it clearly wasn't. AGF and I were watching an old rerun of The Rockford Files (Jim Rockford being definitely not a nerd) when there was a scene with Jim (I'm sure I can call him that, we're old buds) talking to a client who was taken to the hospital. The man groaned and when Jim asked him what happened I was SURE he said "I was hit on by a pack of nerds". Sure, probably not the original dialogue, but it sure sparked up a fairly routine episode.

Actually I kind of like my nerdish status. "Popularity" has too high a price for my tastes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the plus side....LOTS of time to do things now

Well I've just had a life experience that millions of other people have had, but one which I have never experienced until now. I was laid off on Thursday.

Now in the indusry I was in, it was always possible that my job would disappear, and in the last little while, it became more and more obvious that something was going to happen. When the training guy doesn't have anyone to train for months, and it doesn't look like there would be for many MORE months, well the writing was on the wall. To be fair, my ex-company was very good to me, and I'm on no financial distress now or for the next several months at least. However, it did present me with the following insights.

1-my house is REALLY dusty. Having the time to actually look in corners, behind televisions and under sofas made me realize I've bee a bit derelict in my cleaning duties. Now I'll finally have time to test that Shamwow.

2-I'll be able to go bowling on a weeknight. Usually weeknights have been reserved for mundane maintenance duties like laundry, grocery shopping and shovelling snow/ cutting grass, depending on the season. Now I'll be able to wear those supernaturally comfy rent-a-shoes whenever I want. BTW, did you ever look at the word "weeknight" and read it as "wee knight"?

3-I'm surprisingly unperturbed. A lot of this has to do with the generous settlement my ex-employer has given me, but right now I'm pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Someone, somewhere apparently said that everyone has three or four careers in their lifetime. Looks like I'm in for my next one-what will it be??? Male model? Lunatic reclusive candy maker? Shamwow salesman? It's like the entire universe is suddenly my oyster, and I'm the irritating bit of sand that will make me a pearl!

4-If I want, I can sit in my PJ's and eat macaroini and cheese all day long.

5-telling your friends and family is the worst part of the entire experience. Having to repeat bad news several times is like living through it all over again. I think it's especially hard on the last person to be told. While they're coming to grips with the shock of the news, you're already onto blase. I think we all need a loud-mouthed schnook in our lives who will happily spread bad news for you.

Anyway, that's what's new this week. Now I'll have plenty of time to do more blogging :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Confusion...or correction??

Ever notice how easy it is to mistake or transpose words you've heard or read? I'm becoming convinced that our minds are actually correcting the mundane and blase, and making the world as entertaining as it really should be. Here's a few smidgens from the last day or two.

I was listening to Steve Miller singing "Jet Airliner" on the oldies station in the car. For some reason I was singing "sweet old jet airliner", and I think I like that version better. AGF (awesome girl friend) told me about a co-worker of hers that has been singing "it's a family of bears" to the song "It's a family affair". Now THAT is infinitely better than the original.

Today I went to a friend's used bookstore (Zed Books-if you're in Winnipeg, check them out!!). I bought a copy of Rita Mae Brown'd mystery "Catch as Cat Can", which she "co-authors" with her cat, "Sneaky Pie Brown". When my friend checked through the book he said "I though this said "Sneaky Brown Pete". Again, a MUCH BETTER NAME.

In my office at work I have a copy of a 1950's-era wrestling poster, featuring a match with someone named "Dirty Dick Swailes". As if that name wasn't goodenough, a co-worker caught a glance at the poster and said "I thought his name was Dirty Dick Sweaty Balls". Easily, the BEST WRESTLING NAME EVER!!!!.

Mistakes? Or raw, unexpurgated creativity???

Thoughts on Mo-Town

Last week I returned from a two-week business trip to Detroit, Mighigan. The motor city's economic woes have been well documented over recent years, and they are still evident in parts of their downtown, where you can see 30 storey buildings boarded up from top to bottom, and struggle to find a retail outlet larger than a pharmacy. Instead of belabor the obvious, I thought I'd share some good points about my visit to Mo-Town.

Greektown-I ate here on a number of nights, and the food and service in every restaurant was great. I especially liked some of the older places, where you can still still on a wooden chair at a wooden table covered with a red-checkered tablecloths, or sit in a booth. One place had the best deep-dish pizza i think I've ever eaten.

The Detroit Red Wings- I was able to see a Wings/LA Kings game on my visit. The Joe Louis Arena (or the "Joe" as people call it) is an older place designed as one large bowl, rather than in a series of decks. Every sight line is great and they served the world's best beer, Lienenkeugal (sorry about the spelling), shipped in from Wisconsin. They even played Stompin' Tom Connor's anthem "The Good Old Hockey Game" at the start. Lots of tradition, great beer and a free water bottle.

Windsor Ontario. OK, so Windsor isn't officially part of Detroit, it's south, across the river. It was nice to see the skyline of Windsor, and from my hotel room, I was able to see part of Caesars hotel and casino between the towers of the GM headquarters in the Rennaissance Center. Unfortunately, all I could see were huge red letters spelling "SARS", but hey, it was a nice view.

Great popcorn-one night I went to see "Sherlock Holmes" in one of the Rennaissance Center movie theaters. I have to admit, their popcorn was probbaly among the best I've tasted, and I think they used real butter.

Folks=the people I met were generally nice. At the place I usually had breakfast (Anton's breakfast and lunch), I was usually addressed as "honey" by the lady taking my order. For a city with a reputation for violence, the people I met were quite nice.

In a way I kind of feel bad for Detroit. they are struggling with rebuilding their downtown, like a number of cities in North America. Unfortunately, they are facing the old chicken/ egg conundrum of which should come first, the people, or the shops and services to attract the people. Here's hoping the people of that city can turn their fortunes around