There are lots of things I’ve been meaning to post about, so I’m going to squish them into one rambling post.
Former Blue Jays pitcher Roger Clemens is in the news, and this time it’s not for his pitching but because he might end up in the big house (and I’m not talking about the baseball hall of fame). He has been indicted, accused of lying to Congress about taking performance enhancing drugs. I have no idea if he is guilty of this or not, nor if he in fact took the juice. In general, I don’t have much time for sports cheaters though. Either change the rules so that players can take all the drugs they want (the guy with the best pharmacist wins) or be serious about creating a sports culture where winning without cheating matters.
The CNE is opening up this weekend. For those not from these parts, the CNE is the Canadian National Exhibition. When I was a kid, it was a big deal. There wasn’t so much competition for our entertainment buck and the CNE was a tradition. I loved going to the midway, taking in the carnival atmosphere, walking through buildings and displays until my dogs were howling. When I used to go with my parents, they convinced me not to eat what they considered the “dangerous” food available in the kiosks throughout the grounds. Sometimes we would bring a lunch, but more often, my parents liked to take us for the so-called better food in, where else, the Food Building. Here we would enjoy healthy treats like back bacon on a bun and those little donuts fried on the spot and dipped in powdered sugar. My father particularly loved the bags of toasted coconut marshmallows sold in the food building. Whenever I see these, it reminds me of my dad.
We threaten to go to the CNE every year, and once in a while we do go, and mostly its a trip into our pasts. Here are some of the attractions this year.
Tribute bands (I’m not making this up)
Chef Michael Smith demystifying chocolate chip cookies
Bobby Vinton (my mom really liked him singing My Melody of Love)
Deep-fried butter (power-slam those arteries shut, friends)
The CNE seemed vital for so long and then all of a sudden it seemed old. But there’s a charm to old, and this year I’d kind of like to go. I may pass on the deep-fried butter but the deep-fried mac ‘n cheese, that’s another story.
One really strong memory I have of a visit to the CNE was not really a happy one. The late Junior Wells was scheduled to play the Bandstand. This was only months before his death, so it must have been in 97. The band came on and warmed up and then Mr. Wells came to the stage, but was unable to perform more than a couple songs due to ill health. I had seen him perform a number of times in the past, and you never knew how good the show might be – sometimes he was fantastic. It was so sad to see this blues legend unable to perform. I didn’t know at the time that he had cancer.
Yesterday, Rob Ford was back in the news. For the benefit of the non-Torontonians out there, Mr. Ford is the blowhard tough-talking tight fisted right-wing City Councillor who is taking a run at the mayoralty job. It seems as if each week more news surfaces pointing to this fellow’s unsuitability for the role. A ten-year old arrest in Floriday was the topic in the news yesterday. Strangely, it looks as if Mr. Ford is going to continue with his bid for the mayor’s job. At least it’s giving us something to talk about in an otherwise lack-luster campaign. Is anybody really going to vote for that guy though?