Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Jacob vs. Big Brother Benjamin vs. Uncle Evan. Mantle vs. Maris vs. The Babe, Step Aside

One of the most exciting times of my early teens was 1961 when Mantle and Maris both jumped off to such a great home run derby that by mid-May, the New York papers were listing comparisons to Babe Ruth’s home run sprint to 60 in 1927. Of course, in mid May, they thought the player who was attacking the record was the Mick. Little did they know.

Well, it turns out, we’ve got one of those barn burners going on in the grandchildren race to catch Uncle Evan. Baby Jacob just came back from his 1 month checkup today, and he’s already neck and neck with Brother Benjamin and Uncle Evan. At this rate, both nephews might reach the coveted target of Uncle Evan, that is, handsome, brilliant, tall, slim, and adored by his sisters.

Oh wait, Ben and Jacob don’t have a sister. Stephanie, pay attention here.

Still, it’s early in the race and we shall see.

We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Canada Headed For a Spring 2011 Election?

For those of you living under a rock, this is the week that Japan got hit with the 4th worst earthquake in recorded history followed by a tragically destructive Tsunami and a potential death toll approaching 20,000. Also, this is the week when the world, including Canada went to war with Moammar Gadhafi. And, this is the week that the Liberals and NDP are most likely going to bring down the government and force a spring election. Bizarre.

Granted, Harper and his parties’ arrogant, thumb your nose at the rules of parliament, law, and anything else they can find to thumb their noses at style of government is unacceptable, at least unacceptable at anytime except now. I don’t think that the electorate in Canada will see this election as anything other than navel gazing.

Politicians have a long history of not understanding the electorate. David Peterson, one of our most popular premiers, who in his last mandate in Ontario won 95 of the possible 130 legislative seats, the second largest majority in the history of Ontario also called an election when the people weren’t interested. Scratching beneath the service rhetoric, the real reason for the election is that Mr. Peterson actually thought he could do better. Well, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but this wasn’t one of those times, and the electorate voted in a very surprised and unprepared NDP Party, good at opposition, not so good at running the government. Although, despite the criticism, I am one person who thought Rae Days were a brilliant solution, and after the 2008 collapse, scratch again, and you will see, widely implemented around the globe.

So, back to the potential fall of the government. It’s a mistake, and one that might finally get the Harper Conservatives the majority that they have been denied since taking power away from the Liberals.

As is so often heard shouted in the chambers of parliament, shame, shame, shame.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Martini Time or How to Host a Perfect Party

Years ago, My Love and I discovered the vodka martini. We started traditional with a cosmopolitan, and through the years, have expanded to many other variations on a theme. And now, for your enjoyment, I am about to reveal the recipes for our Top 5 Favourite Martinis.

But first a few words on entertaining the relatives. In every family, there are one or two people who take on the responsibility of the holiday dinners. In our family, within the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), the hosts were Uncle Louie/Auntie Kaye, and the Beauty and I. With time, the Uncle Louie/Auntie Kaye torch was passed to their daughter, Cousin June.

So, with at least 20 years of family dinner party experience under our belt, we know that if you don’t want verbal fisticuffs to break out, get ‘em mellow and quickly. In other words, while they are taking off their coats, hand them a drink. For many years, that meant Margaritas, on ice (hint: frozen is not for drinkers, it’s for a Caribbean vacation).

Some ten or so years ago, we expanded to Margaritas for the under 30 crowd, and Martinis for the more sophisticated, elder statesmen types. Or, the “alter-kakers” as our peers were described last week on The Good Wife.

That’s pretty much the history of how I became an expert on Martinis, and now, what you’ve all been waiting for, my top 5 recipes.

  1. Cosmopolitan

1 oz. Vodka

½ oz. Triple Sec

½ oz. Lime Cordial

½ oz. Cranberry Juice (we use the frozen stuff from the grocery store)

(hint: put some cranberries in the bottom of each glass, frozen or fresh both work)

  1. Lychee Martini

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Lychee Liqueur (in Toronto the brand is Soho)

a dash of Lychee juice from the container that the canned lychees came in

(hint: add a lychee to the bottom of each glass)

  1. French Kiss Martini

This is my creation, and wonderful. It’s a derivative of a martini that we had at The Boca Raton Resort called a Key Lime Martini. We couldn’t get the vanilla liqueur used at the Boca, but we found a brand called French Kiss. So, I improvised as follows:

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. French Kiss(tm) Liqueur

It was a hit. So much so that it became our favourite Martini for a few months. Then, we ran out of the liqueur and when we tried to replace it, they were out of French Kiss and we settled on a “superior” brand. The problem with the superior brand was that the vanilla flavour overpowers the martini. Stick with French Kiss.

  1. Ice Wine Martini

We were re-gifted a bottle of Vineland Estates Vice, a Vodka Icewine. It’s been sitting in the basement since Christmas. Last week, I cooled it and followed the instructions for drinking (pour into a martin glass with ice). GREAT. GREAT. GREAT. We thought it was great.

Now, I’ve investigated recipes on the web and came up with equal parts vodka and icewine, with a few frozen grapes in the bottle of the glass (nice touch). We haven’t tried that yet. But, if you can get it in the pre-mixed version, it is worth the investment.

  1. Rumtini

This recipe is compliments of Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica. The menu published ingredients, sort of, I took it from there.

1 oz. Rum

½ oz. Blueberry or Blackberry Liquor

2 splashes of Sprit to give it a bit of bubbly action

(hint: add a berry or two to the bottom of the glass)

Anyone with some other recipes, I’m willing to try them out and let you know my opinion.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Look Like Groucho? No Way.

Above are pictures of Groucho and me. The picture of me is taken from a 3 page article that I wrote while still at Peat, Marwick in 1984. That picture shows up on the bottom left side of column 1 above a brief bio of me. My kids call it my Borat years. I think it's my Groucho years. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember that at the Christmas Party that year, every one of my staff wore those fake glasses/ big nose/ and mustache that could be found in any party store. I thought they looked great. You bet your life!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baby Jacob and What to Sing to a New Born Grandson

I love to sing. Just like my mother in law. We sing to everything on the radio when we’re in the car together. And, just like my mother in law, my range is very very limited. I can sing songs that range from E4-G5, maybe A, but that’s about it. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped me. So, now that we have a new grandson, I decided to see what the rest of the world thinks I should be singing to a newborn.

Here’s what Robin Raven, a Break Studios Contributing Writer lists as the top 10 baby boy songs.

“When it comes to looking for great music to lull your little one to sleep, you will find some great options with this list of the 10 best songs about baby boys. Although you may find that a lot of music for kids are targeted toward little girls, there is a rich song catalog for little boys. Some of the best songs may just be by artists that will take you by surprise.” So, here are his song choices, Pooh Corner (Kenny Loggins), Sweet Baby James (James Taylor), Baby, Baby (Amy Grant), Beautiful Boy (John Lennon), A New Day Has Come (Celine Dion), Godspeed (Dixie Chicks), Danny Song (Kenny Loggins), Reach Out For Me (Olivia Newton-John), Forever (John Stamos), Baby Love (The Supremes).

I’ll deal with these 10 in a later blog, but armed with this knowledge, I felt I was in good shape to renew my singing career with Baby Jacob. Well, tonight was my chance. Everyone was busy with something and my job was to hold and serenade the baby. What pops into my head? Yikes, I find myself singing Lydia the Tattooed Lady. And, of course, Baby Jacob loved it. He did the eye contact thing, he smiled (sort of), he definitely enjoyed himself. And so did I.

Actually, Lydia and I have a history. In 1972, when I first began wooing the Beauty, I also had that song fixated in my head. Lydia was the Beauty’s landlady, a very sweet old lady who lived in a big house while Susy lived in what was probably a servant house when the Smithtown, N.Y. property was owned by a wealthy family, who knows, maybe even Lydia’s family. Susy’s house was a kitchen, a bedroom, and another room which was big enough to be a dining room/ living room.

Continuing with tonight’s story. When Baby Jacob went off to sleep with his Mommy, I decided to look up Lydia’s origins on the net. You’re gonna love this, especially the introduction when Groucho explains that he met her at “The Worlds Fair, 1900, marked down from 1940”. Enjoy….