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Did He Blow Up

August 16, 2007 @ 10:25

Today we have to play the "where were you" game. It always happens on the anniversary of big events in history and today it's the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

Where were you and what were you doing when you found out that Elvis Presley had died.

I was in Scarborough and I had just driven my 1971 Yellow Ford Pinto to my girlfriend's house on Antrim Cresent from my house on Chopin Ave.

As I walked in the front door, my girlfriend's mother, who is now my mother and law, exclaimed.

"Freddie, did you hear about this?"
"Hear about what?" I replied.
Thinking of recent pictures I'd seen of the king I replied
"Did he finally blow up?"
"No!" said Joan. "He died."

I quickly came to the conclusion that Joan would be in no mood for my dark humour so I walked into the room with a look of concern on my face and saw the tail end of a report on CBS News.

Elvis had been found dead in the bathroom of his bedroom at Graceland and details were still sketchy.

There was film of women freaking out of the street and already there was a vigil being organized in front of Graceland.

I'd like to say I felt terrible at that point, but I didn't. I felt bad because a guy was dead, but I didn't feel any worse because it was Elvis.

In 2007 I appreciated who Elvis was and what he contributed to the world, but at the time I couldn't have cared less about Elvis. When I was a kid, I always considered him more of a character or a novelty as opposed to an artist.

In 1977 I was into Billy Joel and Elton John and I was still spinning all my Beatles records.

Elvis was something yahoo's listened to. Like all those guys drinking 25 cent draft and pumping dimes into the juke box at the Knob Hill Hotel at Danforth and Eglinton.

The death of Elvis had no affect on me. None. And as quickly as I heard the news on that August night in 1977, I forgot about it because I didn't care.

It sounds cold and callous - but it's the truth.

Having said that, I recently paid a visit to Memphis and I did the touristy thing and visited Graceland.

In case you missed it, go here and enjoy my tour.

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Another Dead Guy

August 15, 2007 @ 09:49

Yesterday I received this reply to my posting about Merv Griffin. It's from Rob Johnston, the creative director and wiz-bang producer at the Edge.

"There was another very sad death this weekend in the world of entertainment. Many people might not have ever heard of Tony Wilson, but if it wasn't for Tony there would not have been a Joy Division, a New Order, a Happy Monday's and perhaps never a Brit-pop scene like we had in the 90's with Blur, Oasis, Elastica et al.
Now to some this might not mean much, but if your a fan of CFNY/Edge then you should know about Tony.
He started up Factory Records back in the late 70's and helped put Manchester/Madchester on the map. Famously he never had a contract with any of his bands...they were always free to do what they wanted. And rumour is Factory's manifesto was written with his own blood. To get a sense of Tony Wilson and his legacy, hit up this link.
Also, get a copy of the 2002 movie "24 Hour Party People". It's a must for any music fan and semi-autobiographically follows his Factory days.
Tony died from complications related to kidney cancer and many people thought if anyone would beat it, it would be Tony. Maybe that's why it was a shock to some of us who, while not personally knowing Tony, knew what he did in his life and what he brought to everone as a fan of music. He always took on a challenge, somehow blagged his way through it, and really didn't care who he pissed off along the way. To him, it was always about the music."

Robbie J

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Toronto Mike Wants To Know

August 14, 2007 @ 10:10

Toronto Mike is a good boy.

He's an internet wizard and really knows his stuff when it comes to building and maintaining a website. Mike helped with the new and improved that made its debut in February.

Mike has a very interesting a popular site of his own called "Toronto Mike" and from time to time he does feature interviews.

Today, he features me. I'm flattered that he thinks enough of me to think I'm worthy of such attention, but he was always a big fan of the Humble and Fred Show has supported both Howard and I since we met our radio demise.(s)

Please, take the time if you can to visit "Toronto Mike" and witness the Fred Patterson interview.

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Good Reading

August 13, 2007 @ 09:17

My trailer friend Gerry likes to frequent garage sales and a couple of weeks ago he paid 25 cents for a book he thought I might like. And he was right.

It called "The Love You Make - An insider's story of The Beatles."

It's not a new book; in fact it's quite old written in 1982 by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines.

Gaines was a writer in New York City at the time and upon meeting Brown in 1974 badgered the former Beatles business manager to write a book with him.

Brown knew all the inside "dope" on the fab four, and after receiving permission from the Beatles, agreed to do a tell-all book that is extremely captivating.

Over the years Brown was a member of the Beatles management company, he was a director of Beatles and Co. a partnership company and eventually became COO of Apple Corp.
In the book Brown tells stories of the Beatles adventures with drugs, their long and sickly history with STD's, John Lennon's homosexual experiment with Brian Epstein and their many financial nightmares.

It was the financial stories that I found most intriguing. It's amazing how little of the money they made, the Beatles actually saw.

Through bad management and through being pioneers in so many areas - John, Paul, George and Ringo were ripped off at every turn - and the biggest thief was their home and native land.

The taxes in Great Britain at the time were staggering and at one point in the late sixties, the Beatles were in a 96 percent tax bracket. 96 percent. And that's precisely why George Harrison wrote the song "Taxman."

For most of their careers, while they were the Beatles, the band actually worked for nothing more than to pay back taxes, and it got me to thinking.

How bizarre that a huge business or corporation like The Beatles could do so much for the economy of their country yet they were literally robbed by their government.

Meanwhile, the Royal Family, which does absolutely nothing for Great Britain, or anybody else for that matter, lives tax free.

The Beatles paid 96 percent while the Queen and her band of inbred wankers pay nothing. Tell me that isn't perverse.

Again, the book was written in completed in 1982 but that doesn't matter because since 1982, obviously Beatles history has not changed.

If you can, give it a read.

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Tim Horton's Enters The 21st Century

August 12, 2007 @ 09:30

I don't have this on the strictest of authourity, but it looks like "Interac" is coming to Tim Horton's.

I went to my local Timmy's this morning and the two people in front of me tried to use their interac cards and were abruptly don't they weren't accepted.

This has always bewildered me. Given today's almost cashless society, it seems odd that Tim Horton's wouldn't offer this service up until now.

I've asked several times why they don't accept interac but I've never received a concrete answer. It's run the gamut from the administration is a needless expense, to having people swipe cards and push buttons would hold up the already sizable lines on a day to day basis, to not wanting to bother because most receipts are below three dollars and who the hell doesn't have three dollars in their pocket.

Today when I once again asked the lovely young attendant why "Tim Horton's" doesn't accept interact she didn't give me a reason, she gave me a reply.

"We're going to accept them very soon." she said.
"Why haven't they accepted them up until now." was my retort.
"I don't know." she offered.

But I was satisfied. I'm glad Horton's is finally going to accept interac and I look forward to the day they do.

More and more I find myself with less and less cash in my wallet. There's really no need for it. Between using my credit cards to pile up "aeroplan" miles, and using my interact card for most other things, I rarely find the need for cash.

I realize that using interac for small transaction's isn't the smartest thing to do because of service charges at the bank, but when you get into buying lunch at Horton's, or buying several coffees for a group, it sure will come in handy.

And it's about time.

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Rapid Response

August 11, 2007 @ 11:21

Wow, Friday's are usually a slow day around but not yesterday.

My posting defending by beloved town of Brampton really got people going and that's great. Especially those people who live in Oakville.

Good on you Oakvillians - defending your town the way you have. I wish more people from Brampton would do the same thing.

I know Oakville is a great place to live and so are Mississauga and Georgetown if it suits the lifestyle you want to lead.

That was my point. As someone who lives in Brampton, and who has to listen to a lot unfounded Brampton bashing it becomes tiresome when you know in reality what a great community it is.

Like Oakville, like Mississauga, Georgetown and every other community on earth.

If it's your home and it serves your needs and purposes then super, you've got it made.

Again, let me repeat, good on you Oakvillians who responded quickly and passionately to defend your community. To be honest, that's the kind of community I'd like to live in.

I must say however, the people of Mississauga really didn't answer the call.

A little lethargic I'd say. Not even my feisty mother who's a new Mississaugan responded.

One more point I'd like to make. The replies to yesterday's piece once again display how the word "racism" has been battered a bruised.

My posting was about community rivalry - the bricks the mortar, the parks and the plazas.
Nowhere did I mention race or ethnicity.

How sad.

But anyway, good job Oakvillians - Brampton and Oakville should become sister cities - even if Brampton has to be the ugly sister.

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Brampton The Beautiful

August 10, 2007 @ 13:06

I'm glad to see Brampton mayor Susan Fennell has come out to squash a ridiculous rumour that's been making the rounds in recent weeks.

I had a few people actually say it to me in the last month or so and it made me laugh.

Rumour had it that Brampton was offering between three and ten thousand dollars to people in the Jane/Finch corridor to move west. The money would be used as a down payment on houses in new developments.

Of course this threw Brampton residents into hysterics fearing the "gang element" would move west, and it made the smug bastards in Mississauga happy because it was another slam against the city they can only dream of being.

It's a popular pastime for Mississaungins to take shots at Brampton, and it really is quite amusing.

I grew up in Scarborough and I've lived in Brampton for the past 27 years. I still hold Scarborough near and dear to my heart and I have only good things to say about Brampton.

Amusingly both communities are pissed upon by the rest of civilization.

I've raised my kids in Brampton and love it just as much or more than I do. It's our home and it's been a good home and it still is to this day.

It's interesting how images are established and then fed upon by those who don't know their ass from their elbow.

Per capita, Brampton has more parks, recreational facilities and open spaces than any other city in the GTA.

Granted, Brampton has some pockets that aren't so great - but Mississauga has more, and I could even take you to some dumpy areas in Georgetown and Oakville. Conversely, Brampton has some areas that rival or surpass anything else in Southern Ontario.

I'm in a position right now where I could move anywhere I wanted to, but it keeps coming back to the same thing. I can't find anywhere better than Brampton.

I could move to Mississauga amongst all the condos and traffic and box malls - but I choose not to.

I could be a real sucker and move to over-rated Oakville where you pay way more for a house than it's actually worth and then realize Oakville's entire reputation is based on a small downtown area full of snobs who live in million dollar bungalows - other than that, it might was well be Brampton.

Correction: Other than that, it wishes it were Brampton.

I've thought about Georgetown but the thought didn't last long - and then there's Toronto, but with almost four years of David Miller remaining, I'd be better off in Havana.

No thanks. For the time being, I'll just stay in good old Brampton and become a little more thick skinned.

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Back Up And Running

August 2, 2007 @ 10:53 has been stagnant for a couple of days for two reasons. One is my responsibility, and the other is not.

On Tuesday morning, I went golfing with a few trailer buddies. Eighteen holes at Katchiwano Golf Club near Lakefield in the Kawarthas.

I didn't drag my wide ass out of bed until 8:10 so I didn't have enough time to update the website prior to hitting the links.

We didn't tee off until nine o'clock and as you know the heat was punishing. By the time we were finished, I was exhausted. I really can't explain it.

I've walked 18 holes before, but on the heels of a road trip last week and a very busy day on Monday, by the time I was finished golfing my legs and arms felt like cement. And by the time I got back to the trailer it was so hot I really didn't feel like dealing with a slow internet connection, so I took the day off.

What a stroker.

Yesterday, it wasn't my fault. My server or provider or platform or whatever else Mike Boon calls it let me down.

I couldn't access my site builder. All day long, I kept trying to log on and I just couldn't do it. It was aggravating and made me feel quite forlorn.

It meant would be down for two days straight and it wasn't even the weekend. It made me feel cheap and inadequate.

Anyway, it's back up today and I'd like to thank all those people who kept checking in.

Funny how things work, on an average day when I update the site I get about one thousand unique visits. When I don't update the site on a weekday I get more than that.

Obviously, people check in several times a day looking for an update, and they stretch it over several hours which drives up the uniques.

Admittedly, about five hundred of the visits are my mother, who gets downright ornery when I drag my ass and fail to write anything.

Sorry Junie.

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Star Creep

August 2, 2007 @ 10:51

Richard Steele was at old City Hall on Monday testifying at a preliminary hearing into the Jane Creba murder.

It's widely believed that Steele was the intended target on Boxing Day 2005, but unfortunatley the bullet missed its marked a took the life of 15 year old Creba, an innocent victim who was downtown shopping with her mother.

Since Steele was subpoenaed in April to testify in the case, he's popped up in the news a few times displaying a shameful attitude, exposing his type of street punk for what they are.

Cold hearted.

Although police of taped phone conversations of Steele actually boasting that he was standing beside Creba, he fought to the subpoena arguing it was a death sentence. If he testified, he'd surely be targeted by those responsible.

Thankfully, the judge assigned to the case refused Steele's request, he must spill the beans, and that's why he was at the preliminary hearing on Monday.

Unfortunately, his appearance was not without the usual dose of creepiness that Steele possesses.

When asked if he should be considered a "star witness" Steele responded with this.

"No I shouldn't - I'm a star, but not a star witness."

Wow. The only thing that Richard Steele is known for is having a long criminal record for gun and drug possession. He recently finished serving a jail sentence.

If that makes him a "star", we should all be very concerned. That's the problem with the gang culture that currently plagues the city of Toronto.

These guys really mark their status by the what they've accomplished in their seedy underworld and Richard Steele is no different. Despite crying and whining to a judge back in April that he didn't want to talk, he sure has enjoyed mouthing off since then.

And through all of it, I can't help but think of the Creba family who have to listen to this shit and continuously re-live the horror of Boxing Day 2005.

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Final Notes

July 30, 2007 @ 09:41

Some final notes on my trip through the American south.

I realize a few of you have probably made the trip and don't care about mine, or you haven't made the trip and still don't care about mine - but I thought given today's technology, and the ability to log such an adventure through the internet, rather than close down the site for a week, I'd take you along for the ride.

I spent the weekend in Memphis and it was great. I did a drive-by Stax Records, and took tours at Sun Records (the attached picture is me at the door Elvis and Johnny Cash walked through to record their first records), the Rock and Soul Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum which was built at the Lorraine Hotel, site of the Martin Luther King assassination.

I especially enjoyed the National Civil Rights Museum. Standing in front of the Lorraine Hotel gives you a weird feeling and part of the tour allows you to see the actual room that Dr. King was staying in, and from there you can easily see precisely where he was standing when he was gunned down.

Who actually pulled the trigger is still open for debate. There's a whole section at the museum that raises the conspiracy question.

Conspiracies may bore some, but in this case, much like the assassination of JFK, there are some legitimate questions that should be asked.

Given Dr. King's power at the time, and the problems he caused for the American government, it's hard to believe that James Earl Ray acted alone, if in fact he acted at all.

Bottom line - if I was an American I would certainly want more answers to these killings.

It's interesting to note that FBI files on King's murder have been sealed until 2007. It's not a stretch to think that arms of the American government had a hand in killing both Kennedy and King, but that debate will go on forever.

Finally - Beale Street. Similar to Bourban Street in New Orleans, the street is close to traffic and is filled with merry makers, young and old, short and tall, fat and thin.

Here's clip from Friday night on Beale Street. This guy was one of the many street performers we encountered and I was drawn the guy. Have a look.

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