In Memory of Punkin

Today, after a life spanning 20 years, we said goodbye to Punkin.

Punkin was born in the spring of 2003, in St. Andrews, Manitoba. She, her mother, and her siblings were taken to the Winnipeg Humane Society, which is where I met her, shortly after Christmas, 2003.

When I saw her, she was the only member of her family left at the Humane Society; Everyone else had been adopted. When I picked up this little orange fluffball and started brushing her, she fell asleep in my arms.  That’s when I knew she was meant to be with me.

A photo of young Punkin – bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

The Humane Society had named her ‘Rebecca,’ but I changed her name to Punkin, named after Punkinhead, the mascot of Eaton’s Toy Land. 

With a plaque of her namesake, which was gifted to my by a total stranger

She came to live at my condo on Stradbrook, joined shortly after by Kurtis and Sam.  While Punkin was not a fan of Sam at first (despite Sam’s obvious love for her), they eventually learned how to live with each other – and, I think, loved each other in their own way.

Sam so wanted to snuggle, and would gradually move closer and closer – until Punkin noticed.

After a few years, we moved to our condo on Portage.  Moving day was stressful on both Punkin and Sam (and Kurtis, who had to corral them), but they quickly adapted to their new home.

Staircases offered a whole world of new vantage points.

We lost Sam a few years ago, and Punkin definitely felt the loss.  Her personality also changed – the patio, previously a place where she ventured out with trepidation, became a favourite hangout.  She also became more vocal than ever, no doubt missing her partner in crime.

Late in life, the patio was her favourite place.

If you met Punkin, you know she had a unique character – even her colour was somewhat unique, as orange cats are, more often than not, males.  She had stubby little legs, but always criss-crossed them when she walked, like a little model.  She loved people; Even with dozens of people at our house for a party, she would be in the middle of everything… Usually on someone’s lap. She never met a lap she didn’t like and, often, would hang her legs over each side of yours, like a lion sitting on a branch.  She also had a little ‘lion’s mane’ – tufts of hair around her shoulders just a little longer than the rest. And a big, gravelly meow for such a little cat.

Always the life of the party – even in her sunset days

She was photographed by a few professional photographers in her time (including Colin Corneau and Mike Peters) and has been painted/drawn by Jess Dixon and Paul Grindey.  Julie Kentner also had a gift to capture Punkin at her very best in photos.  Thanks to you all for these images.  I will treasure them always.

“A Portrait with Your Pet” Fundraiser Photo by Colin Corneau
By Mike Peters, who shot Punkin (and our house) for CAA Magazine
Punkin and Sam, by Jess Dixon
Thanks to Paul Grindey for this beautiful portrait, which I will treasure always.

Punkin had so many great people in her life, but I’d like to especially thank those who took care of her for us when we went away: Karen, Nico, Eric, Julie, Sharmyn, Jamie, Neil, Mary Ann, Adam, and Andrea… And I’m sure there are others I’ve missed. You fed her, snuggled with her, played with her, brought her toys, and even sang to her.  Thank you for your kindness.

Julie always helped Punkin to find her light

Thanks also to Dr. Hawkes and the staff at Pembina Veterinary Hospital.  As Punkin aged and her health issues mounted, she became a regular at the clinic, and the staff has always been kind, compassionate and friendly – even when the little old lady was feisty.

We were lucky to have her with us as long as we did. But it was still hard to say goodbye.

Sunbeams were her favourite

While I’ve had many pets in my life, Punkin was in my life the longest, and had the biggest impact.  She was one of a kind and, although she was a little cat, she leaves a huge hole in my heart, and countless memories I will never forget. 

Some Of my Favourite Olivia Newton-John Songs

If you know me, you know that Olivia Newton-John is “my” artist. Almost everyone has one; The artist or band that you discovered when you were young, and followed for most of your life. Olivia was mine.

Her passing after a long battle with breast cancer had many people remembering Olivia. For me, I almost feel like I lost a family member. Olivia’s music and career had a profound impact on me and my life. I even talked to CBC Radio about it.

Yeah, I’m a fan.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favourite Olivia songs – some well-know, some a little more obscure. While many people know Olivia from her role in Grease, she has so many other great songs. My favourite Olivia era was 1978-1992, so many of my favourite songs are from those years.

Magic (1980)

When asked for my favourite Olivia song by CBC, I chose Magic (from the Xanadu soundtrack). It’s an all-time favourite, and some of the lyrics hit especially deep in the wake of Olivia’s passing. I love this version (from the movie), because the way she reads her lines is at once sweet and enigmatic. Much like Sonny Malone’s character, we’re instantly beguiled.

Fun fact: Olivia didn’t know how to stop on roller skates when she filmed this scene.

“We’ll see each other again. Bye, Sonny.”

A Little More Love (1978)

“Totally Hot” is probably my favourite Olivia album. It’s her “country-pop crossover” album (Yeah, Taylor Swift owes Olivia a huge debt of gratitude), and this song is just pop perfection. The chord modulation, the production… The chorus. It just works.

The Rumour (1988)

This song (and album) is an underrated gem. The album was co-produced by Elton John, and he sang backup vocals on the title track. If you listen closely, you can hear his unmistakable voice. It sounds like an Elton John song, as sung by Olivia.

Recovery & Stranger’s Touch (1981)

My two favourite songs from Olivia’s iconic “Physical” album were not released as singles… Although, in a music industry first, she made videos for EVERY SONG ON THE ALBUM, and released it on home video (and Australian TV). These two songs are impeccably produced by John Farrar, the videos tell stories, and I just love them.

Jolene (Physical Tour, 1981)

Yes, THAT Jolene.

Originally covered by Olivia on her 1976 album, “Come On Over,” her performance of the Dolly Parton classic during the 1981 “Physical” tour is a whole new, sped-up take on the song. Plus, the end wails of “Jolene” in this version are iconic, and show Olivia’s vocal range – Dolly would be proud.

Shaking You (1984)

Six years after Grease, Olivia re-teamed with John Travolta for a mess of a movie (which I absolutely love) called “Two Of a Kind.” While this song wasn’t as popular as “Twist of Fate,” and “Livin’ In Desperate Times,” it’s a heart-wrenching song of a relationship that’s just run its course.

I Honestly Love You (1974)

Of course, this is one Olivia’s most well-known and best-loved songs. But this song holds a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Some of them are too personal for here… But I also performed this song in a teen talent show (circa 1990) at the North 40 Saloon in Brandon… So it will always have a special place in my heart.

There are so many more I could share – and maybe I will in the future… If you’ve gotten this far already, thank you. This post is as much for me as it is for the rest of the world. I’ve lost “my” musical artist. But I’ll never forget her.

Rest in peace, Olivia. We honestly love you.

Please, Please, Please Memorialize Your Loved Ones On Facebook

As you’ve probably noticed, my blog posts thus far have been all about pop culture, and are meant to (hopefully) make you laugh.  But there’s been something more serious that I’ve wanted to write about for a while.

When someone you love passes away, it’s hard.  There are often lots of decisions that need to be made and tasks that need to be done – and it’s all happening when you’re in the throes of grief.

Funeral arrangements to make, credit cards to cancel, wills to execute… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  But what about your loved one’s digital footprint?

You can deactivate a loved one’s Twitter account and memorialize their Instagram. But let’s look at Facebook, as its design has more features that make memorialization even more important. Today, a friend posted that her dad’s profile had disappeared – and that’s what prompted me to finally get on the laptop and type this post.

Also, the five-year anniversary of my mom’s passing is coming up next month, so she (and that time in my life) have been on my mind more than usual lately.

How do I do it?

Facebook has a section in its help center that can walk you through the steps – but there’s something you can do right now to make it easier should you find yourself in the position to memorialize an account.  Ensure that you’re a verified family member of… well.. your family members. Then, when the time comes, you simply need to contact Facebook with a copy of the death certificate (or other documentation) and the account will be memorialized.

What happens when I memorialize an account?

There are many reasons to memorialize a Facebook account.  Here’s what Facebook says will happen:

  • The word Remembering will be shown next to the person’s name on their profile
  • Depending on the privacy settings of the account, friends can share memories on the memorialized TimelineScreen Shot 2019-02-18 at 6.36.50 PM
  • Content the person shared (ex: photos, posts) stays on Facebook and is visible to the audience it was shared with
  • Memorialized profiles don’t appear in public spaces such as in suggestions for People You May Know, ads or birthday reminders
  • No one can log into a memorialized account
  • Memorialized accounts that don’t have a legacy contact can’t be changed
  • Pages with a sole admin whose account was memorialized will be removed from Facebook if we receive a valid request

Why should I do it?

Along with the above-mentioned features of memorialization, there are other good reasons to ensure your loved one’s profile is switched over:

  • It keeps it from hackers – If hackers gain access to your loved one’s account, all sorts of things could happen. Could you imagine seeing your name tagged in a Ray-Ban ad “posted” by your loved one… or worse? And what happens to hacked accounts?  If reported, they get deleted.
  • You can still post on their wall – As long as the person allowed wall posts before, you can still post on their wall after they’ve passed… To share a memory or thought. You can still read message histories, too.
  • It protects their pages – Lately, I’ve been getting ads for dormant business pages (one was a seniors’ residence) – but these businesses were selling erectile dysfunction medication.  When you memorialize your loved one, it removes them as admins from their pages as well so this won’t happen.
  • It Lets Other People Know Your Loved One Has Passed – As Facebook friends range from close family to casual acquaintances,  it’s possible that some people may not be aware your loved one has passed away. Memorializing a page lets people know, so they’re not wondering why messages haven’t been answered or wall posts aren’t acknowledged.

What can I do?

  • Spread the Word – Share this post, talk about memorialization with loved ones. I tend to think the main reason pages don’t get memorialized is because people don’t realize it can be done.
  • Leave a Directive – When writing your will, include a section about your digital footprint – what you want to be done, and who you want to do it.  An interesting (if somewhat unrelated) fact: loyalty club points (like PC Optimum, HBC rewards, and so on) can only be transferred to immediate family members if it’s laid out in the will.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled snark and stuff.




Some of My Favourite Songs of 2018 – In No Particular Order

Hey, it’s me… I’m back!

Yes, it’s been over a year since my last post.  But as I sit here in my sweatpants on New Year’s Day, I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my favourite songs of the year.  That, and someone mentioned they liked my 2017 list. (Hi, Michelle!)

When I saw that Robin Skouteris had released his always-epic year-end mashup, my first thought was “I don’t know about pop music this year…” But then, upon listening, I realized that there were some pretty darn good songs that came out – some of them are in his mashup, and some didn’t make the cut. I also realized that Ariana Grande kind of ruled the music world this year – and I’m totally OK with that. (As the kids say, I stan for Ariana.)

Anyway, without further ado, some of my favourite tracks of 2018 – and no, they’re not all Ariana Grande. So let’s start with this one:

Dance to This – Troye Sivan feat. Ariana Grande

Hey, technically this is Troy Sivan FEATURING Ms. Grande.. So it’s not an Ariana song by definition.

This understated (and underrated) song was my unofficial “song of the summer” – it has an easy flow and the best 80s-style drum break (at 2:45)  since, well, the 80s. Ariana and Troye also seem to be having fun – and I kind of love the idea that they’re besties.  And speaking of summer songs…

Rosette – Single for the Summer

This one was seriously under the radar (as evidenced by the 1213 views of this video on YouTube), and that’s a shame. It’s got a bit of a retro dance groove that I dig – this song makes me want to drive faster than I should. It’s an excellent companion piece to Semi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer.”  What is it about bending rules for the summer, anyway?

Kim Petras – Heart to Break

As far as bubblegum pop goes, this may be my favourite song of the year. It’s just plain fun, and catchy as all get out. I can’t remember where I first heard this song, but it instantly became a new favourite.  Kim Petras is definitely an artist to watch, as she’s a trailblazer… She’s a bonafide pop princess – and she’s also an out and proud trans woman.

Meghan Trainor – Let You Be Right

I’ll admit, mostly due to its being overplayed, I REALLY don’t like “All About That Bass.” For that reason, it’s taken me a while to get into Meghan Trainor.  However, this summer she released “Let You Be Right”, a fun neo-disco number that bubbles and percolates… And I think anyone who’s been in a relationship can relate to the theme.

Ariana Grande – thank u, next

C’mon, you knew this was coming…

Everyone has their opinion on Ariana Grande – some love her, some can’t stand her, and some can’t understand what she’s saying – but there’s no denying that “thank u, next” was a bonafide pop culture juggernaut this year. The single came out of nowhere (it wasn’t part of her recently-released “Sweetener” album), and it became her first #1 song (I was surprised about that, too.).

And then the video dropped.

While we all know that “novelty” videos can really suck if they’re not done well, but Ariana NAILS it. The recreations of some of Ariana’s favourite movies (Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going On 30 and Legally Blonde) are spot on… But even more impressive is the number of cameos, Easter eggs and other details that make this video so much more than it initially seems.  If you have 12 minutes, this video breaks down most of them – it’s really pretty mind blowing.  Jennifer Coolidge is amazing, Kris Jenner is actually pretty funny, and Jonathan Bennett seems to have not aged a day, reprising his role as Mean Girls’ Aaron Samuels.

aaron samuels
Hair pushed back or not, he still looks sexy as all get-out, 14 years later.

Add in Troye Sivan, and “thank u, next” ended 2018 with a bang.

There are other great songs that came out this year (some of them don’t even include Ariana Grande), and they also deserve some love.  Honourable mentions include:

  1. Diana Ross’ return to the charts with a mashup remix of Upside Down/I’m Coming Out 
  2. Celine Dion poking fun at herself in both the video for “Ashes”(from Deadpool 2) and a brilliant, hilarious commercial for her new kids’ clothing line.
  3. Betty Who’s new take on the “All Things” theme song from “Queer Eye.”
  4. Shawn Mendes looking adorable (and sounding smooth as silk) in the very grown-up “Lost in Japan”
  5. 90s throwback Juliana Hatfield paying tribute to the legendary Olivia Newton-John with an album of covers. Some covers work better than other, but her version of “A Little More Love” is the highlight of the album.
  6. Miley Cyrus proving (once again) that she’s more than a punchline (and that she is, indeed, a major talent), with the Mark Ronson collab, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”  and a kick-ass cover of Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” 

So, it turns out 2018 produced a fair bit of pretty great music – here’s to even more in 2019!



My Favourite Weird, Wacky and (sometimes) Wonderful, Obscure Christmas Tunes

Welcome to the Island of Misfit Carols

So, the holidays are here, and you’ve no doubt heard Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” a kajillion times.  You’ve probably also heard Boney M’s entire Christmas catalogue dozens of times over.  The great thing is, there are lots of other holiday tunes out there – some are awful, some are awesome, and some are awesomely awful… But chances are you won’t be hearing these jingles in the malls anytime soon.  Presented in no particular order, I give to you some of these misfit carols.

Heidi Klum – Wonderland

What’s the German word for “steaming pile of reindeer crap?”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me my Heidi Klum.  She’s a fabulous host on Project Runway, she always looks fabulous, and she’s just plain awesome.  But, as this song proves, she probably shouldn’t step into a recording booth again anytime soon.  Auf Wiedersehen, Wonderland.

Janice Dickinson – Twelve Days of Christmas

Speaking of models-turned-reality-show-judges-that-probably-should-step-away-from-the-microphone, “World’s First Supermodel” Janice Dickinson gives us 12 days of ridiculousness. I love Janice, but this is all just a little too… Janice Dickinson.

Burton Cummings – 8 Days of Christmas

I’m from Winnipeg, where we have a community centre, theatre and, probably, public toilet named after Burton Cummings.  There’s no doubt he shaped rock and roll with the Guess Who – but this ditty, composed in 1970, and performed here in 2010, won’t be getting him into any halls of fame.  In case you were wondering about Burton’s drug use back in the day…  Well…


(And boy, does he get excited about that).

A true Winnipeg hero. Or whatever.

Colin & Justin – Mary’s Boy Child

Having worked many years in retail, Boney M’s Christmas album gives me hives at the best of time, but this charity single from Colin & Justin takes an annoying Christmas song and makes it unbearable.  I love these guys, but this song is just wrong.  It’s just. So. White.

Olivia Newton-John – Christmas Time Down Under

Full disclosure: I am a HUGE Olivia Newton-John fan… But this ditty (from 1965) is just bizarre.  Yeah, we get that things are different in Australia, and that Christmas is in the middle of summer, but this is just odd.  Also, it appears that Australian teens are forced to work in Christmassy labour camps, like The Christmas Pudding Detention Centre here.

Donny & Marie – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Christmas specials in the 70s were pretty fabulous.  Here, Donny & Marie take a song with the word “rockin'” in the title, and turn it into something disco-riffic.  Also, D&M were totally down with the “ugly Christmas sweater” trend 30-some years before it was a thing.

There are so many more Christmas oddities, but hey, I gotta save something for next year, right?

To end off this collection of holiday weirdness, I have to post a TV Christmas special that very few people have seen.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a bizarre holiday special aired that was low-budget and bizarre – so much so, it has become pop culture legend.

No, not that holiday special!  This one…

Rupaul’s Christmas Ball

Before Drag Race, RuPaul was a B-to-C-list celebrity with a small cult following and a few hit dance songs.  Then, in 1993, the UK’s Channel 4 gave Ru a Christmas special… And boy, is it special. The Onion’s AV club has a great article about the history of this piece of ridiculousness.  To paraphrase SNL’s Stefon, this special has everything:

  • A-list guest stars: Elton John, Nirvana
  • B-list guest stars: Eartha Kitt, Boy George
  • …and LaToya Jackson.
  • Oral Sex References (courtesy of Taylor Dayne)
  • Laugh-in Style jokes courtesy of New York Club Kids

And so, so, so much more.  It looks like it was produced on a cable-access budget, but it’s just so gosh darn giddy you can’t help but watch it in all its WTF’ness.

And, actually, Ru’s “Little Drummer Boy” is pretty damn good. It’s just surrounded by more wackiness than you generally see anywhere outside of a bad acid trip.

As I snuggle up with my kitties and a glass of eggnog by the tree, I cap off this list with a song that is a little more well-known, but still pretty wacky…

Barbra Streisand – Jingle Bells?

Babs’ take on this classic is manic, ridiculous and, for my money, just plain awesome.  From the frenetic pace of the song to the “ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jingle bells, ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jangle bells” and, my favourite part – “Upsot?!” – this song is a Christmas classic for me.

What did I miss?  Let me know your favourite Christmas oddities!

Wishing you and yours all the best for this holiday season – and here’s to a fabulous 2018!

My Top Songs of 2017, featuring MUNA, Dua Lipa and Tove Lo

Tove Lo, Muna and Dua Lipa are NOT characters from the new Star Wars Movie. They made my favorite songs to listen to in 2017.

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the things that made my year awesome – including my favourite music.

Some highlights – Carly Rae Jepsen brightened our summer with Cut To The Feeling, Kesha roared back, and Demi Lovato (with Jax Jones) continued to slay. Oh, and Katy Perry took a great, dark diss track and made ones of the worst videos of all time.

But three songs totally rocked my world this year – and the three artists behind these songs have some things in common – they didn’t get nearly enough airplay or attention in North America, and their names sound like they could be characters in Star Wars.  They all have a neo-disco vibe, too… But that’s just kind of my jam.

So, without further ado, here are the three songs that I’ve had on constant repeat for 2017. Full disclosure: Some of these songs were released before 2017, but hey, this is my list and I can do what I want.

3. Muna – I Know A Place

So, the song was released in 2016, but the video came out in 2017… So it totally counts.

In case you haven’t heard of Muna, they’re a trio from LA… But they have a very European sound to me. Like, I could tell you they’re from Ireland and you’d totally believe me.

At any rate, this song gives me hope for humanity.  Lots of pretty awful stuff happened in 2017 – from Las Vegas to Manchester and beyond.  And if I wanted a moment to dream of a better world, this song helped me get there.  It’s all about recognizing the humanity in each other, and creating peace through understanding.  We’re a long way from this idealism, I know.  But this song has a message of hope and peace.

It also reminds me of a time in my life that I cherish – my mid-twenties – when going out dancing with friends would make the world disappear for a few hours, and unconditional friendship love flowed all around.

“If you want to go out dancing, I know a place…”

One of my friends from that time in my life passed away suddenly this year and, although I doubt she knew of this song, the message of love reminds me of her.  This one is for Moni.

2. Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind (Mwah)

In the latter half of 2017, Dua Lipa broke out in North America with “New Rules” , and it’s a damn good pop song. But for my money, “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” is the single that, well, blew my mind.

Dua Lipa is from England by way of Kosovo. And her music is Hotter Than Hell, if you ask me.

It’s the sixth (!) single from her self-titled album, and it has a driving beat that I can’t get enough of. The chorus rocks my socks, and the build-up to it is the stuff that pop perfection is made of.  Bonus points for using the f-word in a way that is organic, yet punctuates the lyric perfectly.

If my life had a soundtrack, this song would be featured heavily. It is the definition of “strut-worthy.”  It’s the kind of attitude and self-confidence we wish we could all possess.

Dua Lipa deserves to be a major worldwide star. Let’s hope that 2018 treats her well.

1. Tove Lo – Disco Tits

Warning: This video is not quite suitable for all audiences.  There’s some language some may find offensive, and some PG-13 scenes.

My favourite song of the year comes to us courtesy of Tove Lo. Ms Lo is from Sweden, home of other artists I love, including ABBA, Robyn, and (to follow the “rule of three”) Roxette.

Many people will know Tove Lo from her hit single “Talking Body”  and that time she did a super sexy duet with Nick Jonas.

But then on September 1, she released “Disco Tits” on Spotify – and then it disappeared. A lot of Twitter users (OK, me) freaked out.

Luckily, it was back online in a week, and I went back to obsessing over the somewhat random lyrics and the amazing production.  It’s not a deep song, but I loved it.

Tove Lo has said the song is “losing yourself with your new found love” – the whole “love is a drug” thing.  But holy crap, the songs just drew me in and I couldn’t get enough of it.

And then the video came out.

Unlike Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish,” the video for “Disco Tits” actually improves on the song.  To channel SNL’s Stefon, this video has everything:

  • A muppet puppet with his own talk show
  • Self-referential mocking of Tove Lo’s unique name (and the fact that Americans don’t get it)
  • A dramatic, non-musical break (Although who orders barbecue sauce with fries?!)
  • Simulated Muppet puppet foreplay, sex and dancing
  • a “blooper” at the end



The video is ridiculous, and just adds to the awesomeness of the song.  Sure, it’s not Shakespeare.. But it makes me happy.  And isn’t that one of the things music is meant to do?

Thanks, Tove Lo!



Diana Ross’ Fannypack Made It Onto TV!

After an epic AMAs performance, the ultimate Diva turns the fanny pack into the ultimate accessory.

So, if you’ve been following my blog (or my social media feeds,) you’ll know that I’m kind of obsessed with Diana Ross and her fanny pack (which she lost at Marshalls.)   ICYMI, she tweeted about it, spawning a social media flurry.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.46.12 PM

Tonight, Diana appeared on the American Music Awards to accept a well-deserved lifetime achievement award.  And not only did she accept the award, she TURNED IT OUT with a medley of some of her greatest hits.

For the finale of her performance, she invited all of her family onstage, including her grandson who tried so hard to upstage her.  I give him credit, but c’mon kid… Your grandma is Diana Ross.  There is no upstaging the diva, no matter how many times you’ve watched her perform with Michael Jackson.

Anyway, her whole family was onstage with her, including the fabulous Tracee Ellis Ross, who did a great job hosting – and rocked many of her mom’s iconic outfits.

As if an epic Diana Ross live performance wasn’t enough, someone brought HER FANNY PACK ONSTAGE.  I don’t yell at my TV very often, but I was SCREAMING with delight when this happened.  Diana’s performance brought tears to my eyes and made me fundamentally happy.  When the fannypack appeared, I lost it. LOST. IT.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 10.12.37 PM
The world’s most famous fannypack – and one of my favourite pop culture moments ever.  I literally cannot, you guys.

My friend also found this interview from Jimmy Kimmel live, in which Tracee Ellis Ross provides background to the story and tells the world that, fashion be damned, Diana Ross always loves a good fannypack – but only one – and will use it until it wears out.

What mysteries are in this fanny pack?  We can only guess.

As much fun as this whole fannypack saga is, I sincerely hope this jumpstarts a new appreciation for Diana Ross’ contribution to music and pop culture.  Diana Ross has always been one of my favourite divas, and tonight on the AMAs shows why – she’s a consummate performer and ultimate Diva… And also a caring mother and grandmother.


Driving Through the Plot Holes of American Horror Story: Cult

I pretty much didn’t have to hate-watch this season… But that’s not saying there aren’t plot holes big enough to drive a bird-killing spray truck through.

**SPOILER ALERT #1** – This post will talk about some key plot points from AHS:Cult. If you haven’t watched the whole series yet, and still want to be surprised, you may want to skip this post.

**(NON-)SPOILER ALERT #2** – Despite a relatively linear storyline, Ryan Murphy once again Ryan Murphy’ed all over this season of AHS by leaving lots of “untied loose ends” and plotline dead ends.

I’ve watched every season of American Horror Story, and I find them entertaining and compelling. But every season, without fail, the show goes off the rails – whether it’s ridiculous plot twists or characters that appear, then disappear… Never to been heard from again.  That being said, this season of AHS was better than most for this, but there were still some things that ALMOST turned me into a hate-watcher.

Let’s discuss.

The Wizardry of Oz


First off, young Cooper Dodson  did a great job on AHS: Cult as Ozzy. His performance was spot-on and, let’s face it, he probably saw some crazy stuff on set, even if it was “movie magic.”  But Oz’s greatest power?  Disappearing.

After his mom and nanny met their demise, you’d think Ally would spend all her waking moments with Oz… But throughout the series, he’d disappear for episodes at a time. Even if we assume Kai locked him in a room by himself, you’d have to think that he’s be pretty damn scarred.  In the finale, he seems perfectly well adjusted.

Who’s Running Beverly’s News Show?!


It was good to see Dylan McDermott Dermot Mulroney as Beverly’s boss on AHS, and his death scene (along with that of his attic-bound “friend”) was truly disturbing… But by the end of the series (especially when reporting on Gary’s untimely demise), Beverly looked like absolute crap, and yet she was allowed on air. In reality, no news producer in their right mind would allow this to air.  Reporters are (sadly) judged on their looks on a regular basis, and Beverly’s devolution into hot-messedness would garner more angry viewer voicemails than WNEP Scranton’s backyard train. Who’s running this show now that Bob Thompson’s dead? Another cult member? Did Bev get a promotion?  We’ll never know.

Poisoned Ivy


As an AHS newbie, Alison Pill is a great addition to the American Horror Story family – also, she’s Canadian!   Her cherubic, innocent face is the perfect red herring to disguise her character’s motives… Although keen, fashion-savvy viewers may have realized she was probably in on it all along.

“Horizontal stripes make me look stabby. Plus, I only own, like, three shirts. Except wardrobe forgot to make sure my ‘killing shirt’ had the same stripes as my ‘non-killing shirt’.”

But Ivy met her demise and was placed in the world’s worst makeshift morgue/lye dispensary.. But in one of Kai’s last visits to his parents, Ivy is nowhere to be seen in the room.. And in the finale, Ally visits Ivy’s grave. We can only assume that after the FBI raid, they found the bedroom/graveyard and gave Ivy a proper burial. Kai didn’t take credit for Ivy’s murder, so how did that go down? Was he found guilty anyway? Is it an unsolved mystery? Did Ivy get buried between her lye-ing and that time Kai started hallucinating? Did they blame Speed Wagon? We’ll never know, and are left to connect the dots however we want – But this isn’t Gestaltism, it’s FX.  That’s not art, Ryan Murphy – it’s lazy storytelling.

From Shrill to Kill


Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some Sarah Paulson… But AHS:Cult’s first few episodes were hysteric-Ally screamy and cry-y. Then, all of a sudden, AFTER her shrink and her partner bite it, Ally gets all super confident and clown-friendly. Coulrophobia is real, kids – and so is anxiety and many other mental illnesses.  It’s not something you get over in a hot minute. I’m not buying it.

There were also the dead end plot points of the creepy spray trucks, Lena Dunham and Frances Conroy showing up because they wanted to, and many others.  And the teased, much-hyped, then unceremoniously dropped bee plot point.

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What’d I miss?  Let me know in the comments, or lambast me on Twitter.

All this being said, once American Horror Story: Cult hit its stride a few episodes in, there were some great moments.  Billy Eichner was a revelation, Billie Lourd is just plain awesome and, story-wise, the lack of “paranormal stuff to explain plot holes” was refreshing.  I’m also hoping that Donald Trump stumbles upon the show and, confusing FX with Fox News, thinks that AHS:Cult is a documentary.

I’m still going to watch American Horror Story – and I’ll definitely be tuning into Ryan Murphy’s next season of American Crime Story – The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Not only am I a fan of Versace, I’m a fan of Darren Criss in (and out of) a Speedo.


What did you think of AHS: Cult?  Let me know!

Diana Ross’ Twitter is My New Favourite Thing

Call her Miss Ross – if you find her missing fanny pack.

The great thing about Twitter is that it gives famous people a chance to show their fans a glimpse into their everyday lives, and express their personal thoughts and feelings.  I mean, yeah, Donald Trump’s Twitter is terrible… But Cher’s Twitter is pretty awesome – it’s kind of like if your 71 year-old grandmother was on Twitter… If your Grandmother was a super-progressive, politically active living legend.

Speaking of living legends I love, Diana Ross is also on Twitter.  She isn’t nearly as prolific as Cher, but a recent post from Ms Ross has made me love her even more.

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Let this sink in:

A) Diana Ross wears a fanny pack!

B) Diana Ross shops at Marshalls!

THIS IS AMAZING.  Picture it, if you can: Diana Ross thumbing through racks of off-price sweaters. She sees a cute little cashmere number from Ann Taylor.  Oh, but it’s a V-neck.  She was looking for a crew neck.  Hey, there’s an adorable blouse on that clearance rack!  Oh, it’s Ivanka Trump. Diana Ross moves it to the back of the clearance rack, next to the clear-knee mom jeans.

Diana Ross takes a red sequinned gown that she found in the “gowns only Diana Ross could get away with” section, and goes to the Marshalls fitting room.

“I got THIS one at Nordstrom Rack!”

Oh, the red gown doesn’t fit.  Diana Ross leaves Marshalls, wondering if the TJ Maxx down the street got a new shipment in today. Diana Ross, oddly enough, doesn’t shop at Ross Dress for Less. That’s a little too “on the nose.”

She gets home, and is craving a Scotch mint.  She always keeps a few in her fanny pack because, you know, she’s 73 year old lady.  But her fanny pack is nowhere to be found!!  Diana Ross is inconsolable – it was a free gift with purchase from when she did that workout video in 1981, and it was the last one she had!

But then some kind soul finds it and returns it to her.  Could you imagine being the person that found that?  You see a well-worn fanny pack in Marshalls, you open it up, and you see DIANA ROSS’ DRIVER’S LICENSE staring back at you!

And Ms Ross was grateful to get her beloved fanny pack back!  Like, two-tweet grateful!

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I mean, if I lost my wallet, I’d be pretty ticked off.  Could you imagine Diana Ross on the phone?

“Hi, this is Diana Ross.  I need to cancel my Discover Card.  I lost my fanny pack at Marshalls….  Yes, THAT Diana Ross….  Yes, a fanny pack…. Last time I used it?  The Saks Off 5th at the Beverly Center.  I found  a wonderful feather boa at a price less than you’d find at department stores.”

It would be a pain.

So, to conclude – Diana Ross, the ultimate diva is also Diana Ross, frugal shopper, fanny pack wearer and grateful human being.


“This outfit can hide, like, 15 fanny packs!”

Let Us Now Sing the Praises of Deee-Lite

How do you say, “Deee-Timeless?”

In 1991, when I was a young lad of 15 (and a half), I was still taking the bus to school.  I lived in the country, and it was the only way I could get to school until I received my precious driver’s license the next year.  I did have something that made my bus ride bearable, though – a Discman… Or – more specifically – a Toshiba portable CD player, and a dozen of my favourite CDs.

You know it’s fancy because it has a base that you could plug it into at home. It didn’t charge the batteries or anything – but hey, it kept the discs from skipping.

And while I had some of 1990’s biggest names (Amy Grant, C+C Music Factory, Black Box), I also had Deee-Lite’s World Clique as part of my selections.

I first heard Deee-Lite (as many kids of the 90s did) at a MuchMusic Video Dance Party – the song, of course, was “Groove Is In The Heart.”  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Now, for a 15 year-old from Brandon, Manitoba, this video was mind-blowing. They looked like they were from the 60s, but also from the future! Those colours!  The cultural diversity! Those shoes (Fluevogs, it turns out)!

After seeing this visual treat, I bought the World Clique CD for $356,651 – or whatever obscene price CDs were in 1990.  (They were expensive, kids.  Ask your parents. We would even RENT them like videotapes.)

Fast-forward to today – the CD is still in my collection, and my iPod has a substantial amount of Deee-Lite on it.  And you know what?  It holds up.  Here’s the thing about Deee-Lite: while they helped define 1990s pop culture, there’s really no other (mainstream) act like quite like them.

I did a quick Google search for the term “Bands Like Deee-Lite” – you know what I got? A bunch of dance-pop acts.  Admittedly, good stuff – a post about the genius of Cathy Dennis is percolating – but I’m sorry, Black Box, C+C Music Factory, and even Ms. Dennis are none of the following:

  • Deee-Liscious
  • Deee-Lovely
  • Deee-Lectible
  • Deee-Vine
  • Deee-Gorgeous
  • Deee-Groovy
  • Deee-Lite.

They were also socially conscious (or, woke, as the kids say) before it was cool.

Lady Miss Kier’s annotation, not mine.

I’m sure commenters may prove me wrong, but for my money, there has been no other mainstream’ish act quite like Deee-Lite. While they may have influenced performers and musicians like Tove Lo sonically, and influenced fashion trends (I remember being so excited for my bell-bottoms from Le Chateau), I can honestly say that Deee-Lite were (and still are) one-of-a-kind.

They brought a unique mix of disco, funk, psychedelia, trance and just plain fun to pop music – Bootsy Collins, for heaven’s sake – to the world in a time of drum machines (Hey, Technotronic!) and grunge.  And I bet if you play “Groove Is In The Heart” in any crowded room, a substantial portion of the people in that room will groove, sing along, or bust out some dance moves you never knew they had in them.


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This is from “Runaway”, the lead single off their amazing album “Infinity Within.”  Recommended.

Although Deee-Lite is no longer together, Lady Miss Kier is performing, DJing, and still being ridiculously fabulous.


DJ Towa Tei is still DJing and creating music in his native Japan, with a decidedly Deee-Lite Influence:

…and DJ Dmitri? Ummm… He’s on Facebook.

And although they may not be making new music, their brief time together as a group (1988-1996) created art that influenced many and inspired me (and inspires me to this day).

I highly encourage you to fall down a Deee-Lite Youtube hole. Along with “Groove Is In the Heart,” you’ll find some wonderful quirky, inherently danceable neo-disco grooves.

Thanks, Deee-Lite.

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