Thursday, May 26, 2011

Past Deadline: Oh Bedtime, You've Changed

The kids’ bedtime used to be my favourite time of day.

Forgive me if I have uttered this thought before. It’s something I think about pretty much every night, so it is constantly with me.

When the kids were really small, bedtime was lovely on two levels. First, and most importantly, it was quiet, cosy, snuggle time involving warm baths and stories and lullabies and nightlights and just...softness and sweetness. (Awww....)

Secondly, and most importantly (wait – did I say that already?) it marked the end of a busy day of kid stuff and the beginning of quiet grown-up time, whereupon I could do myriad chores or crash in front of the TV and watch a cop drama. Whatevs.

I have always thought there were good things and bad things about every phase of child rearing. Newborns are portable and sleep in most places and people like to play “pass the baby” when you visit so you can share your little bundle. On the other hand, babies poop and cry a lot.

When they get older they become more independent and you revel in their continuing innocence and enthusiasm for everything. On the other hand, there are the tantrums. (Aside: do the tantrums ever stop for girls? Oh, never mind. Don’t answer that.)


During these phases of growing independence, the bedtime ritual changes, too. Diapers disappear. Baths require less hovering. People are anxious to brush their own teeth. It’s kind of nice. On the other hand, there’s the stalling.

I bet we all remember stalling. I know I have written here about the weird obsessive-compulsive routine I had as a child. Every night I would concoct a question and wander downstairs to pitch it to my parents. Some of the questions were really dumb. I’m sure they wanted to say, “Oh, Steph. You can do better than that.” There was also some nightly goofing around in the bathroom, some playing with toys and some peering out of windows. It all had to be done.

That’s why I can only shake my head knowingly when I see some of these things popping up with my own children. For example, for a long time, Boychild asked for a second tuck-in every night. “Fluff the sheets and be of good behaviour,” Groom-boy and I called it because it reminded us of the phrase “Keep the peace and be of good behaviour” from our old court reporting days.

Then there’s Girlchild with her nightly, “I need to get something downstairs” and “I need to go to the bathroom again” and “Lemme just tell you this one thing.” And persistence. Man oh man. It goes on. And on. And on.

That’s why I split a gut when someone sent me a link to a new book by Adam Mansbach. It’s a book for grown-ups made to look like a children’s illustrated book (Danger! Place on very high bookshelf!). It has bad words in it and it’s all about kids going to sleep – or not going.

At our house most of the swearing would be in our heads, but we live the sentiments over and over – WHY won’t the children just go to sleep? Why? They are small and young – they need lots of sleep – so sleeeeeep!

I guess, however, I have to remove myself from my current reality of not understanding why people wouldn’t want to get a good sleep when they have the chance, and remember how exciting it was when I was a child to try to stay up later and later.

That’s why I’m so very torn. My five-year-old daughter likes to sleep with the door open, but that means I can see her and hear her as she putters around instead of, you know, sleeping. I want to tell her: “You know, if you were to keep that door closed, Mommy wouldn’t know what you are doing and, thus, you wouldn’t drive Mommy bananas with your goofing around at bedtime.”


I know. Not a win. And, like the swear words in Mansbach’s book, I’ll probably just keep that little thought in my head while I think whistfully of the lovely bedtime days of old.

Published in The Perth Courier, May 26/11

Past Deadline: Yoo Hoo...Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Are you okay?

You know I am one of your biggest fans. I consistently speak highly of you in glowing terms peppered with words such as “verdant” and “amazing” and “inspiring.”

I am, however, a bit concerned. I think, perhaps, you may have dozed off and forgotten that now, amid the teens of May, we could be feeling a tiny bit warmer and, possibly, a bit drier if you believe in that “April showers bring May flowers” thing.

I don’t want to pester or cajole, but I found myself cooking a pot roast on Sunday because it felt like November. As I write this, I am considering turning on the furnace. I put away some winter coats just the other day, but maybe I was hasty? Boychild is growing. I thought I could put off buying a stash of pants until closer to Autumn – am I wrong? Are you in cahoots with Hydro One to get more money? I’m asking because my drier is working overtime while my clothesline is idle.

What gives?

Groom-boy and I got married one May a buncha years ago. The year before the wedding we went canoeing along the Tay and observed how much light we would have later in the day for photographs and what sort of foliage we might expect. That year it was warm and sunny with ample spring flowers and blossoming trees and leafy branches. “Hurray!” said we.

Dumb kids.

Yes, I know, we had been alive for a lot of years by then, but apparently we had forgotten about how temperamental Spring can be. The wedding year? Not so lovely.

I was reminded of this as we shivered our way into May 2011. This year was even worse than our wedding year. The weather, I mean. Perhaps Heck is finally freezing over?

I am certain there are meteorologists out there who are tut-tutting and pointing to statistics and who would tell me to get a grip, and that’s fine. Others would argue it could be much worse. But I’m cold.

I suppose the silver lining to this past weekend of rain and wind and cold temperatures was that it wasn’t conducive to gardening, which was handy because I had to work anyway.

That’s it, though. Enough already. I want to use my trowel on the holiday weekend.

Maybe I just have a bad attitude and complain too much (who, me?). After all, I look around and see creatures making the best of it and forging ahead. Two little wrens are nesting in Boychild’s birdhouse. The blossoms are starting to peek out on the apple tree. Bees are busy pollinating and terrorizing Girlchild with their mere existence. If it were warm enough to open the windows I would hear frogs calling.

It’s all good.

I suppose this gives you licence, Mother Nature, to write a snarky postcard response (assuming there is no postal strike) to tell me to “Suck it up, buttercup” and suggest I wear a parka while I weed. Maybe you will point out that after the weekend of rain, even though it was a cold, the grass is greener and the leaves are bursting and the lilacs are blooming.

It’s just…I’m shivering (she whined).

Groom-boy called home the other night while he was out on a milk run and asked if I wanted something from Dairy Queen. I don’t think history has ever recorded me saying “no” to that offer, but I did. “It will make me colder,” I said. I had, after all, spent a few hours out in the rain that day helping to set up for the Archaeo Apprentice school program at Murphys Point this week.

Which reminds me: by the time this column hits the paper, I hope you will have adjusted the forecast so that it doesn’t rain every day during the program. Rain-or-shine archaeology is great and all, but I think the shine is more fun.

So, Mother Nature, I hope this letter finds you well and ready to turn on the charm for a while. Oh – and I should clarify that some heat without humidity would be a great way to make up for the junky weather we’ve been getting.


Published in The Perth Courier, May 19/11

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Past Deadline: Beeps and Flashes

When I was in high school, I had a part-time job at Burger King. It was great fun – despite the polyester uniforms of the early days (it got better). My friends were there, I learned lots and we had a grand time.

Sometimes, though, there can be too much of a good thing.

Working lots of shifts on a weekend meant a bigger paycheque, but there were drawbacks. I’m not just talking about the things grown-ups would worry about, such as less time for school work and the possibility of too much fast food and getting home safely after night shifts and such.

I’m talking about the beepers in one’s head.

I remember some times when I’d work a couple of long shifts in a weekend, and if they were particularly busy – maybe on a holiday, for example – I’d come away from it in a bit of a stupor.
Then I’d dream about the sound of the beepers: timers indicating when the fries, chicken, fish or onion rings were ready. Not to mention the ping of the microwaves and the beep of the drive thru.

That place was full of beeps.

When I’d dream about beeps and then have to get up and go in to work the next day—those felt like really loooong nights.

Then there’s Tetris. In university I occasionally felt compelled to procrastinate. I know...that’s hard to fathom coming from someone who writes a column called “Past Deadline.” (I seldom was actually past deadline with anything, but I was frequently working to deadline.)

Anyway, back in those heady days of computers equipped with DOS (that means the olden days, kids), the height of procrastination games for me was called Tetris. Little coloured shapes would fall from the top of the screen and the player had to spin them around so that they would fit into available spaces at the bottom of the screen. With each passing level, the speed of the game would increase.

I like to think this was a way to practise manual dexterity, not to mention brushing up on geometry, which is really important when one is taking an arts program. It was also a great way to unwind before starting on some great, lofty essay or assignment, unless, of course, you did it for hours and hours, and then it’s just plain straight stupid procrastination.

Tetris was my “beeps” for that era. I would go to sleep (often short sleeps since I would be cramming after wasting so much time) and in my dreams, dancing across my eyelids, would be innumerable coloured shapes falling at varying speeds.

So. Not. Restful.

I would love to report that my addiction for this era is something like vegetables or swimming or yoga or horticulture or reading classic literature or finding the cure for cancer...but, no. In my world it always seems to come back to light and sound.

So my current addiction? Can you guess? I introduced “him” a couple of months ago.

Yes, it’s George. Or, as I like to call him, Mr. George BlackBerry, my executive assistant.

CrackBerry, indeed.

I do love George. He has a calendar that alerts me when I need to be somewhere. I can be away from the home office and still get important messages. I can get a little work done while standing around in line. I can chat with friends when I feel lonely. He cheerfully pings and dingalings when he has messages for me.

I play with George. Probably a bit too much. I’m still learning about some of his interesting features and apps. So far there is no Tetris.

I’ve been at a few meetings and gatherings recently where questions have arisen and George has been able to answer them. “What was the theme song for CHiPs?” someone asked the other night. George found it and played it. “How long does it take for a robin’s eggs to hatch?” was another recent question. George’s query revealed it is 14 days. This is important stuff!

Yes, I am addicted to George. Some days he feels like too much coffee. Some nights I feel a little queasy as I shut him down.

If I start hearing beeps or seeing colourful shapes in my sleep, I’ll be certain.

Published in The Perth Courier, May 12/11.

Past Deadline: Downsizing the Wheels

It feels good to downsize.

About four and a half years ago I wrote a delighted column outlining how excited we were about the purchase of our first minivan. As much as the word “minivan” was associated with such other dubious descriptors as “grown-ups,” “suburbia” and “environmental disaster,” we had overcome our anti-ness and embraced the space the vehicle offers.

There were times when it felt big enough to house our family of four. Fortunately it never came to that.

On that theme, though, we waxed rhapsodic about how wonderful it would be to be able to climb into it if faced with nasty tornado-like weather while camping in our tent. We were also gleeful about the fact it had roof racks for our canoe.

Ah, the glorious space! When we first got the van, both of our kids were still in big car seats, which fit into the van like a hand in a glove. We no longer had to pull the front seats up into the dashboard in order to accommodate the children, which is handy when you are a tall person.
Not only that, but we could easily stash a stroller, a diaper bag, three babysitters, groceries, a playpen, a pony, sleds, bicycles, a big-screen TV, camping gear and a small flock of sheep in it whenever we wanted to go anywhere.

It was dreamy.

Life has a funny way of happening, though, and lots of things changed. For one thing, over the last couple of years we found ourselves travelling less and rarely camping. The canoe (sadly) has become a monument in my parents’ backyard. The kids are bigger and only one of them needs a car seat. We no longer require strollers, playpens, diaper bags, ponies and small flocks of sheep. Also, their interests do not include anything that requires scads of gear, i.e. hockey bags, to be lugged from place to place. At least so far.

When I wrote that cheery column in 2006 I called myself a hypocrite and dismissed my environmentalist sentiments by basically saying, “Oh, well, at least it wasn’t a Hummer” and by justifying the family’s need for space. Our choice was, really, no different than the trailer-pulling, wood-panelled station wagon of my childhood. I suppose this means I chose to ignore anything I learned about consumption over the past few decades.

Anyway, here we are, in 2011, and the fact is we simply don’t need a vehicle that is big enough to live in. Not only that, but since those heady days of early minivan ownership, there has been another rather significant change. Groom-boy isn’t driving to work a few blocks away, he’s now commuting to Ottawa every day.

For various reasons, commuting in our personal vehicle is the most reasonable option for him at this point. I use the term “reasonable” loosely, however, because of the $#@^%$ gas prices.
For another litany of reasons, we opted at first to try the one-guy-in-a-van-commuting thing. Purchasing a second vehicle wasn’t in the cards, and I was enjoying the fact that by having a one-car family, I was losing a few pounds by hoofing it all over town.

Eventually, gas prices rose to the point that we realized we could buy a brand new car with better mileage rates for cheaper than what we were paying for gas alone for the van. We returned to the dealership we have frequented for more than 10 years and traded the van for a peppy four-door wagon. It’s smaller, but roomy and has a hatch design that gives us plenty of storage space. The kids like it and it actually fits properly in our teeny tiny driveway.

The coolest thing, though, is that it feels like coming home. I like smaller cars. I like being able to tuck them into small spaces. I love how they manoeuvre. And holy cow, how we are looking forward to spending less money on gas! (Assuming it doesn’t climb into the buck fifties too quickly.)

Oh, and it’s vivid blue. And every time I get into it to drive I turn the key and say, “Wheeee!”

Downsizing is good. Now, if I could just downsize the clutter in my house, I’d be living the dream.
Published in The Perth Courier, May 5/11.

Past Deadline: Drinking Beer with the PM

I debated long and hard about whether to drive the old Armchair Express™ around the block one more time before the election.

When is the federal election again? Oh, yeah. Next week. And then possibly again in a few months.

Anyway, I couldn’t let this week go by without some sort of rambling ramble about the goings on.

I thought a really good place to start this edition of the Armchair Express™ would be by asking a pertinent question. Which of the leaders would you like to have a beer with if he or she were prime minister?

Because yes, sadly, it seems to have come to this.

Here’s another question. Can anyone tell me what the issues are that we are supposed to be considering? Or who is promising what? I’m just wondering if we’re all keeping track.

Sure – the parties are all talking about the economy and health care and education. We’re getting promises for families, businesses and corporations. We’re hearing about new taxes and old taxes and no taxes and social programs and balancing budgets. Environment? Not so much. Certainly not in a carbon tax kinda way this time.

But what this election really seems to be about is things like parliamentary procedure, contempt of parliament, integrity, coalitions and How to Form a Government 101. All related to this is stuff like who is allowed to attend rallies, who is getting kicked out, who is using a teleprompter, who is not and who is allowed to speak to the leaders.

Which, I suppose, all comes back to the beer question.

Although it would be nifty to be able to hang with the PM and have a chatty beer, is that really what we are looking for in a leader? Sure, it’s important for a leader to be able to communicate on a variety of levels in order to reach all audiences, but I’d rather he or she be working at important running-the-country things than sitting around and making me feel comfortable over a beer.

Elections, unfortunately, are as much about optics and personalities and spin as they are about issues. The leader who can successfully convince the population that he or she can manage the important issues facing our country in terms of economy and environment and health care and education (not necessarily in that order and, arguably, all of equal and interlinked importance) while having a beer with us, is probably going to be the winner.

And he may or may not be sporting a cane while doing it.

Which brings me to one of the most interesting things that has come out of this election campaign – the rise of the NDP. Look at Jack Layton go! On the weekend he had risen to second place in the polls (which are for dogs, I know).

This, of course, gets a lot of different people excited. There’s one statistician who is frequently called upon for comment on the late news who I think has gone through a transformation since the NDP began to climb in the polls.

When the campaign started this guy looked pretty bored while talking about all the numbers, which seemed a little strange since that’s his gig. Now, however, he’s all smiley and keen as he talks about the shifts that are taking place here and there. I suspect it makes the math more interesting.

And what math it is – because even though a whole bunch of people may have decided they really like Jack and that they never want to drink beer with Steve, that could very well mean they will have drink beer with Steve anyway.

In fact, our system is such that even though most people don’t want to drink beer with Steve, if they can’t decide between drinking beer with Jack or Iggy, then they’ll be hanging out on the patio with Steve and even more Harperites than before.

I picture everyone silently drinking beer (because Steve doesn’t like his people to talk to anyone), until he comes along to play the piano and sing a song.

All this while the other band, Reckless Coalition™, packs up its gear and trudges off.


I don’t even like beer, by the way.

Published in The Perth Courier, April 28/11.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Past Deadline: Will Power Skipped Town

The other day I was walking down the street when a lady I have known since I was just a wee kid pulled up beside me in her car.

“How’s the diet going?” she asked cheerfully.

I was puzzled. “Pardon?” I asked.

“Your diet! How’s it going?”

“Oh, that!” I laughed nervously, vaguely remembering something about telling the world via my column in the newspaper that I was going to watch what I eat.


I keep forgetting that I tell people things. On the one hand it’s a good motivator because, as you know, if you see it in print then it must be true.


Or sort of true.

The “diet” isn’t going well. I think a lot about eating the right things, but somehow the right things don’t always make it to my mouth. I know exactly what I should be eating, but you won’t see my face on a Healthy Snacking Role Model poster anytime soon.

And that nemesis of mine – snacking in the evening – is back. Big time.

I blame Will Power. Has anyone seen him? I think he skipped town.

The need for improvement hit home on the weekend.

I was at the fabulous Build a Bridge Bash on Friday night. (This was a dinner/dance for the Friends of Murphys Point Park, Tay Valley Cross Country Ski Club and Rideau Trail Association to raise funds to help build a bridge on a trail we all use at Murphys Point – and it was awesome! Thanks to everyone who supported the event!)

Usually when I am at events related to the Friends, I am behind the camera capturing the scenes. This time I pawned off the job to Groom-boy, who has been known to take a dandy photo or two.

As I sorted through the images a couple of days later, I found one taken while I was speaking with a microphone, and I look like a lounge singer. It makes me laugh.

There were a couple that did not make me laugh. One is a picture of someone else entirely, but there I am in the background, chatting with someone with my back to the camera. There is another shot from behind while I am sitting at a table.

Oh, dear.

My goodness. I am much wider than I thought I was. In fact, I think we might have faulty mirrors in our house because I could have sworn I was about half that width – at least from the front.

Perhaps I need meds? Or new glasses? Or to train Groom-boy not to take pictures of me from behind?

Or – reality check – to eat better and get more exercise?

Yeah...that last one, I think.

These are the sorts of photos that one tapes to the inside of the cupboard where the cookies and crackers live to prevent one from eating anything but fruits and vegetables ever again.


Another thing I have rambled about in the newspaper recently (yes, it’s true, I sometimes ramble and babble) is the Kilt Run. I signed up for this fabulous Perth event that takes place on July 2.

Because I have spilled the beans so many times in print, this naturally leads people to ask, “How’s the running going?” or “Are you still running?”

I have a hard time answering this.

The short answer is “Yes, I am still running,” but if you were to ask for proof you would be hard pressed to find it.

I am not running as often as I would like to. That said, I did manage to run 8K without dying not long ago, so there is, presuming I run at least a few/several times between now and July, hope that I will actually be able to go the distance.

The important thing, though, is will I be able to fit into the kilt? A measurement was submitted when I registered, and an assumption was made that I would be able to at least maintain that size, but with the recent photographic evidence...I dunno.

I blame Will Power for all of this. He has skipped town, thereby forcing me to snack whenever I choose and on things that are not fruits and vegetables.

It’s all his fault. The bum.

Published in The Perth Courier, April 21/11.

Past Deadline: Snippets of Spring

Spring can be tricky.

Do you remember that warm spell sometime back in March that teased us into spring coats and persuaded us to leave the long johns in the drawer? And then remember how it got frigidly cold again with that mean old wintry northwest wind making our cheeks smart and our eyes water?
And recall how hard it was to pull out the long johns again and wear the hat down over the ears and ease back into the winter coat?


It’s hard to know how to dress kids in that kind of weather.

Girlchild likes to wear dresses to school, and that is all well and good in cold weather when snowpants are the norm. When it’s not snowy enough for snowpants, but not warm enough for tights alone and you have a Diva who turns her nose up at splash pants (which, in my opinion, are the perfect compromise outerwear), things can be difficult.

Let me tell you, snowpants worn in the spring pick up a lot of dirt and sand from a winter’s worth of sidewalk plowing. If anyone needs a truck load of sand, I think you can find it in my kitchen. I should have been saving it all along to see if I could sell it back to the town for next year.

If you’re looking for another sign of spring, you’d better use your ears. I’ve been hearing it for the last couple of weeks. Spring peepers. When these teeny tiny chorus frogs emerge and start yelling for a mate, their high-pitched peeps can be louder than any freight train. I know the grass is always greener and some of those (arguably lucky) folks who live beside swamps or water bodies may feel the peepers are more irritating than joyful, but I love the sound.

Since the peepers had already announced the arrival of spring, it was with much disdain that I recently looked out my kitchen window into the backyard toward the little patio we had set up last summer to see it still completely encased in ice. See, the nice thing about the patio is that for a good chunk of the day it is shady, which is great news in the summer. In spring, though, that means it is literally the very last part of the backyard to thaw out.

I even tried to hurry the season along by grabbing my long-handled ice chipper and hammering the snot out of the thick layer of ice one day. I made some progress – getting far enough across the ice field to expose nearly half of the patio stones – but my arms vibrated for the rest of the night and my hands actually ached for two days from gripping the handle so tightly.

I tried to go at it the next day, too, but my upper body said, “Woman, knock it off. We have sun and rain coming to take care of this. Let go of that ice chipper or we will stage a bloody coup, just like your hair wants to.”

(Ahem. You had to be there.)

So now, thanks to elbow grease, sun and rain the patio is free of ice and awaits the Great Clearing of Debris and Dirt™. This will happen in my Spare Time™. Hahaha. Little joke there.

But – this all sounds an awful lot like too much complaining. Really, I am so glad it is warmer. It is so nice to see the robins and the summer birds returning and to hear their mating songs.

As awkward as it is to have to negotiate winter gear and spring gear as they all congregate together in small spaces, it’s nice to see rubber boots instead of winter ones and ball caps instead of toques.

At this time of year as the sun brightens and gleams through spotty windows and illuminates previously gloomy spots, I make the annual list of things to clean and sort and fix.

You know what that means – I think I am almost caught up to Spring Cleaning 2007 now....

Published in The Perth Courier, April 14/11.

Past Deadline: Armchair Express™ All Gassed Up

(Yeesh...I am waaaaaay behind in posting these!)

I know, I know. The federal election call was last week, so I am way overdue – past deadline, even – in terms of getting ye olde Armchair Express™ shined up and rolling. (Caution: overuse of trademark symbol ahead.)

Since last week’s column was a gripping soliloquy about my crazy hair, I think the giant photo on the side of my bus should feature me wearing a bird’s nest on my head.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I may be talking silly, but I am a bit of a political junkie. You won’t hear me saying, “I’m sick of the election rhetoric already!” Nevertheless I needed a good week to think about what I could say in this space that wouldn’t count as rhetoric.

I’m still thinking.

It’s not working.

There are, though, a few things worth dragging out. I mean barfing up. Um, whatever.
One of my favourites – I joyfully roll my eyes every time I hear it – is the use of the term Reckless Coalition™. I think it would be a good name for a band.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper thinks such a thing would be The End of the World™. At least that is what he would like us to believe. Now, I happen to know there are a good many people out there who have travelled outside of this country (more than just Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff) or who are at least vaguely aware of things that happen elsewhere (other than royal weddings or Charlie Sheen’s latest catch phrase). I have heard that in some other countries there are such things as coalitions, and they aren’t The End of the World™.

In fact, some people think a coalition here in Canada might simply be People Working Together So We Don’t Have to Look at Stephen Harper and the Conservatives So Much™. With this in mind, I had a good hearty chortle the other night when, on the late news, I heard that a recent poll indicated more than half of Canadians surveyed would be in favour of a coalition. I’m not sure if they were asked about it being “reckless” or not. One would assume not.

Now, some dead politicians used to contend polls are for dogs, while other living ones say the only poll that counts is the one on election day. But that doesn’t seem to stop the parties from paying for polls.

It’s always fun to hear how the numbers change when the same questions are asked a different way.

Speaking of which, communication is a pretty hot topic this time around with the whole matter of who is allowed to speak and when and to whom and where and so on. Don’t you find Mr. Harper’s laid back, relaxed and spontaneous style of campaigning to be completely refreshing?

Oh – sorry – I meant to say “rigid” and “orchestrated.”

Suits him, though. The part where he is sticking the media behind a fence half a mile away from him (I’m exaggerating a little, but not much) and limiting them to five questions a day is have no idea. Bizarre? Restrictive? Control-freakish? Un-Canadian?

Sorry – was that rude?

I wonder what prompted our uber-orchestrated prime minister to challenge Mr. Ignatieff to a one-on-one debate? Clearly he lost his head, since he quickly backed away when Mr. Ignatieff agreed.

As interesting as that would be, I’d still prefer to hear from everyone, including Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who was included in the leaders’ debate last time but not this time. It’s interesting considering the Greens field candidates in most ridings in Canada, while the Bloc Quebecois, who are included in the debate, are only in Quebec.

Naturally this begs the questions: If the Greens were to win seats in this election, would they be invited to form part of a Reckless Coalition™ if one were to form? More importantly, would said Reckless Coalition™ produce a hit single? And who would play the drums?

By the way, since déjà vu seems to be a theme for this election, I was amused when I looked back to see how I started my last Armchair Express™ column in 2008: “With the high price of gas and all, it’s a darned good thing my armchair runs on hot air.”

Yep. Some things never change.

Published in The Perth Courier, April 7/11.