Tuesday, April 29, 2008

208th Post - Quick Anecdote

I was running back to work after a too-long lunch hour when I heard someone say, "Bev, is that you?" I turned and agreed that it was, indeed, me. "It's me, Jeanne".

I went to high school with Jeanne. I went to university with her, too. She wouldn't date me. Lord knows I tried. She wanted to date... good looking guys with self-confidence.

Hadn't seen her in, gee, about 8 years. And that time, 8 years ago, had been the first time I'd seen her in 10 or 11 years. That she recognized me after all this time is a testament to my incredible good looks and clean living. My chiseled features have remained strong and well-defined. I am not bragging. It is just the truth. Don't judge me.

Turns out that Jeanne is separated from her husband of many years. "Does that mean we have a chance now?", I asked, hopefully. Jeanne was nonplussed. "I mean, Greg and me. He's hot!". Jeanne laughed, and remarked that I hadn't lost my sense of humour, or irony. Ha ha.

She asked if I had a business card. That is one thing I don't have for my new job. Not sure why, but I don't. I told her my e-mail addy, and that my name is in the book.

I hope I hear from her soon. It is always nice to hear from an old friend.

Did I mention that the overtime is pretty much done?


207th Post - Another CJCH Update

I keep hearing, and reading, really strong rumours that the CJCH Hotline, the talk show hosted by Rick Howe, will not survive the station's transition to FM. I am pretty sure that the FM home for the station will be 103.1. I keep tuning in to that frequency to see if they are testing their signal. Still nothing there. Feel silly, tuning into a radio frequency expecting to hear something. Only do it when I am alone. People wouldn't understand. Please don't tell anyone.

Once they have tested the signal sufficiently, they will be ready to make the flip. The question is, what will the format be? Oshtur, Crom and Mitra know that there are already stations that play what we would call Oldies, music recorded when I was but a pup. Kool FM plays such music, and I am not much interested in listening. So does Q104, and as much as I personally like the rapport of the jocks on the morning show, and admire J.C. Douglas, I find it hard to listen to the same damnable rock songs over and over. Hal FM is all about old, "classic" rock, songs that we're all sick of hearing. They as much as acknowledged that on the air last summer, but they still play that shit over and over and over again. C100 plays some vintage music. 780 Kixx plays old country songs. Why do we need yet another oldies station in this market? Frig, I'd pee on a spark plug if we could end up with a station in this market that had a truly compelling format, one that made me want to quit my job, sit home in my underwear all day, and listen to it to the expense of personal hygiene and social interaction.

CJCH had that format, for a while at least. Strained my relationship with Patricia. In 2002, when they started playing music again, they played music that you couldn't hear anywhere else, not even by Stan Carew on CBC every weekend. They played some jazz, some big band, some really obscure 1950's era pop, that I enjoyed very, very much. The morning show lead nicely into the 9:30 scrum with Brian Phillips, Rick Howe and Doug Reynolds (now Deb Smith) talking about the issues of the day. Then, Rick would do his Hotline for 3 hours, before we were treated to more of that wonderful music. Sigh.

And, every December, they would play interesting Christmas music played by no other station. Double sigh.

But they dropped the big band music, the older stuff, and replaced it with stuff from the 1960's and '70's, songs played to death by other stations. It is hard to get behind that music. I still miss the Andrews Sisters! I want to hear Glenn Miller! Where is Les Brown and his Band of Renown when a fella wants to hear them?

While they still have that morning scrum, it now doesn't start until at least 9:45, and now, closer to 9:50. I enjoy that interaction with the 3 hosts (these days, Rick, Deb, and news reader Chris Mills). But when the Hotline is over, I stop listening to the station until the next morning. Just don't want to hear the music.

And, the way they keep canceling their spoken word programming (Just Between Us, Renovations, the X Zone Radio Show, etc.) all makes me think that the Hotline is toast. Very sad.

Giddy. Overtime done. Hee hee.


206th Post - I'm Back!!

The overtime I have been putting in the last couple of weeks is so nearly finished that I just had to celebrate by posting a blog message!!

We had an immoveable deadline. We had to be finished by April 30th. And here we are, with an hour or so of work to finish in the morning of the 30th.

Feels good.

I have missed regularly posting to this blog. Every day at work, or driving to work, or driving home from work, or in the shower, or whatever, I think of something I'd like to add to the blog. But reality intruded, always. I worked 17 hours of overtime over the weekend. Got home late on Monday night, and didn't sit down to the computer until 8:15, working for 3 hours. Tonight, I worked 2 hours of overtime, finishing at 9:45.

I am happy to report that a week or so ago, that someone else in local radio has agreed to an interview avec moi. This person has been on the air for over 20 years now, and I am thrilled that he/she will sit down with little old me and answer my questions. Once we have met and the final draft has been approved of, it will be posted for your reading pleasure.

I have a day off this coming Friday. Man, do I need it!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

205th Post - Bill Spurr Was There, Too!

Bill Spurr was Karen Begin's sidekick at Magic 97 back in 1990-91. He is now a columnist at the Halifax Chronicle Herald. He attended Karen's funeral, too. He sums up and describes the funeral better than I did, or could. Please feel free to read about it.


Friday, April 25, 2008

204th Post - Karen Begin's/Darian O'Toole's Funeral

I nearly didn't make it to the funeral. I was in the emergency room of the Halifax Infirmary Hospital until 2:30 Friday morning. Never mind why just yet. I'll talk about that later.

Got home at 2:45 and slept for 5 hours before getting up and preparing for my day. For some reason, I thought that Karen's funeral was at 11. Re-reading the obituary at 9:15, I saw it was at 10, so I dashed out the door and drove as fast as I dared to the church, a 30 minute drive from my home.

I sat near the back of the church. I felt a little awkward being there. I was neither a friend of Karen's, nor a family member. An older man sat behind me, who knew the family. He remarked on some of the negative things said about Karen on the web and shook his head. "These people don't know the effect they can have on the family, who may end up reading these comments. Karen is not around to defend herself against them". I agreed, adding that Karen was not perfect, and nobody is. He rejoined with the comment that there had only been one perfect person, and we crucified him.

I don't want to discuss the intimate details of the funeral. It doesn't seem appropriate somehow. I am not Catholic, so I don't understand some of the symbolism of Catholic funerals. A young lady sang part of the funeral. The priest spoke in a general sense about Karen, alluding to her personal demons ("she struggled with her weaknesses, as we all do"). They carried her ashes out for the burial at a nearby cemetary. I have always felt that an interment ceremony is meant for family and close friends, so I chose not to go.

After the funeral, I met Johanna Begin, Karen's sister-in-law. She has posted to this blog. Hello, Johanna. It was nice to meet you today. And it was also nice to see J.C. Douglas again. I was flattered that he recognized me before I had had a chance to re-introduce myself to him. J.C. knows a lot of people, and for him to recognize a humble blogger like me was more than I expected.

There isn't much left to say. The funeral was respectful. It was over within 45 minutes. There was no bulletin for some reason, or I'd put it up for you to read. Don't know why there was no bulletin. First funeral I ever attended where there wasn't a bulletin.

Afterward, as I sat in my car, I reflected on what could have been, and should have been with Karen. Had she sought assistance, had she accepted the assistance offered her at crucial stages in her life, then there would not have been a funeral today. She would have lived to be an old woman, an outspoken, fearless denizen of a senior citizen's complex feared and respected for her caustic wit and asides on the issues of the day.

Her death was such a goddamn waste.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

203rd post. Overtime blogging

Haven't had much time to Blog this week. Lots of late nights and overtime as we fight a tough deadline.

Couldn't resist getting picture of Newbie sleeping just now amidst my papers.

Back to work. Another few hours tonight should just about do it for the stuff I promised to do today.

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Saturday, April 19, 2008

201st Post - Random Fact of the Day

There were six Stooges. Three at any one time, but six in all.

I can name them all, along with their years of service. One Stooge had interrupted service. He started with the troupe, left, and came back.

Who else can name the Stooges? If you are a local person reading this, and can name them all, I'll take you to lunch. I'll spring for dessert if you can tell me which stooge had the interrupted service.

Answer via responses to this post. I'll randomly select the winner from the inevitable thousands of entries.

Tick tock, Clarice.


Friday, April 18, 2008

200th Post - Interview with Deb Smith of CJCH Radio

Patricia and I were standing in front of the Pogue Fado by 11:58 on Tuesday, the 15th of April. Two minutes early for our meeting. Patricia, wanting to make an impression on our guest, wore a skirt. I had brushed my teeth, combed my hair, and shaven that morning, using the same razor I have been using for 6 months. Check out the post from March 31st or so for that amazing money-saving tip.

At 12:02, apologetic for being late, and explaining that she had to prepare the noon hour news report for Amber LeBlanc, Rick Howe's producer, Deb Smith arrived and said hello.

We went into the Pogue and selected our lunches. The pizza I asked for turned out to be the smallest pizza in the world, barely enough to sustain a super model for more than two days. Patricia's perogies, once again, were insufficient to keep a real human being alive. Deb ordered a club house sandwich with fries.

We started to talk.

1. How did you get your start in radio?

I managed to get a summer job at CIGO in Port Hawkesbury, also working weekends during Grade 12. I decided to pursue a B.A. at SMU, but I couldn't get radio out of my mind. I left SMU and studied radio journalism in Woodstock, New Brunswick. I landed a work term at CJCH radio in 1996 as a production assistant on the Hotline, back when Brian Phillips was the host. Rick Howe, the news director then and now, eventually offered me a full time job, and I have been there ever since.

2. What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

I can't remember who told me this, but it has stuck with me. Be Yourself. If you try to fake it, if you have to pretend to be something you're not, you'll never make it on the air.

3. Whom would you say was or is your mentor? Someone professionally or in your family you really look up to?

Professionally, I would have to say Barbara Frum. I was a big fan of hers back when she was doing the Journal on CBC. I loved the whole CBC news package back then, with Knowlton Nash and then Barbara on the Journal.

Personally, it would have to be my parents. My father passed last year and it was at his funeral when I realized how much he was respected and liked by so many people.

3.a: Deb, it may be a year or more before I lay eyes on you again. But when that day happens, you will look at me and smile, and say, "Hi, Bev". How do you have such a memory for faces?

It's voices, too, Bev. It is just my line of work. I have to remember people's voices from all the time I spend on the phone. And I have always had a good memory for faces.

4. Back when you were producer of the Hotline with Brian Phillips, and then Rick Howe, you had an opportunity to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. Politicians, entertainers, etc. Which person surprised you the most, for good or bad?

Delta Burke. She wouldn't go in studio with us until her hair and make up had been done. Rather than wear the headphones the normal way, which would have disrupted her hair, she wore them upside down during the radio interview. She was a bit of a diva, a real southern belle.

I was also deeply impressed by Mr. Wrightman, the holocaust survivor. And Eydie Hartnett who survived the Halifax Explosion, had wonderful stories to tell.

Loved Denny Doherty. After the interview with us, he hung out with us in the newsroom for a while.

5. What happened with Just Between Us?

CJCH has been granted permission to jump from AM to FM. The women who did the show owned it, and with this upcoming "flip", we would have potentially no place to go. No other FM station that plays music carves out time for a talk show.

We have uploaded most of the interviews to Apple itunes, and we have had more hits from that, from both men and women discovering the show for the first time, than we had when we were on the air. I invite Bevboy's Blog readers to sample the show through itunes! And the website, http://www.betweenus.ca/ is still up and running.

We are exploring options, looking for a new home for the show.

6. You have been the morning person on CJCH for about 4 months now, while Brian Phillips has been recovering from knee surgery. How has this new role expanded and changed your on air experience? Do you feel more confident in this role now, or do you look forward to returning to doing the news? How does it feel to be the only woman in metro radio to fully host a morning radio show?

I didn't realize I was the only woman fully hosting a radio show until you brought it to my attention.

I feel much more comfortable now than I did a few months ago. But it is a different set of priorities than doing the news. I am busier now, and have a different set of priorities. I may mention to Chris Mills, the newsreader, something that he had just said on his newsreport, that I hadn't heard him say. Brian used to say things to me that he hadn't heard me say on my own news reports a few minutes earlier, so I know how Chris feels.

7. You described yourself as being shy in a previous e-mail to me. How does a shy person function as an on air person? Is it hard to speak on the air? How do you control your nervousness, if you have any, that is?

Radio people are often shy, Bev. They are one person on the air, and an entirely different person off. I am supposed to offer a toast at a wedding this summer. I am very nervous about it! It is a different situation, speaking in front of a group of people, than it is on the radio.

On the other hand: Remember Jared Taylor, that "race realist" who debated with Peter March on the Hotline last year? I was in studio that morning doing the news. Taylor sat next to me as I read the news, and there were all these tv cameras shooting the guy 3 feet away from me. It is a small studio, as Patricia knows [Patricia was a guest co-host on the Hotline in April 2006; I called in and proposed to her on the air]. I got in my comfort zone and read the news, with all the commotion going on around me.

Bottom line: I just have to find my comfort zone, and I can go on from there.

8. This is a question for the ladies and Harold the crossdresser on Spring Garden Road. You mentioned on the air when CJ was involved with the IWK radiothon that you would spend $15 on a thing of lipstick. Many women I know expressed surprised that you could obtain a thing of lipstick at such a good price. Where do you buy your lipstick?

My sister sells Mary Kay cosmetics, so I get the family rate. And I buy lipsticks from drug stores too.

And I have a Harold story. I was in town for something during high school. I was wearing a blue shade of pantyhose. We went to the Dairy Queen on Spring Garden Road for lunch afterward. An older man stood behind me and remarked on how attractive this shade of pantyhose was on me, and where could he get a pair for himself. I looked behind me, and there was this man all dressed up like a woman.

9. I make Patricia tell me the names of the colours of her lipstick as I find them amusing. What is the strangest colour name you can think of?

Toast of New York
Patricia: Fizzy from Clinique.

And there are funny names for lip balms, too, Bev. [Deb takes a balm out of her purse and shows it to me, and has me sniff it. ] Say hello to Satsuma, Bev!

10. Do you have any Karen Begin stories you want to share?

I didn't know her well, but I found her very friendly and funny. Her death was a real loss.

Bevboy has a story. Back when we had those long conversations at night, she told me once she was fascinated by my first name, Beverly. She asked me if it was the result of an operation, or had I actually been born with testicles.

Around this time, it was time for us all to leave. Deb's work day was over, but ours sure wasn't. Patricia and I thanked her, and we took our leave.

You can hear Deb Smith on CJCH radio every weekday morning from 6 until 10. You can find her at 920 on the AM dial. Alternatively, you can listen to her through the internet at http://www.cjch.ca/ .

Bevboy, out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

199th Post - Darian O'Toole/Karin Begin in Frank Magazine

The latest issue of Frank Magazine, #531, features a cover story on Darian/Karen/Karin. The cover shows a picture of her, along with the caption, "Celebrity Killed the Radio Star".

Having read the piece, I have to say that it is balanced, showing a warts and all approach to Karen. Those who knew her much more than I ever did (remember: I was the mote of dust in the book of her life) will be nodding their heads a lot as they read it. Frank does, however, stick to the fiction of the spelling of her first name. It was spelled with an "e" and not an "i". I would love to know why she changed the spelling of her name, though. My sister Gayle changed the spelling of her name many years ago from "Gale" to what it is now for reasons I have never understood. Perhaps it is a woman thing and as a guy, I am destined never to understand such vagaries.

Since Frank spilled the beans, I will now reveal what I was asked to keep to myself last week: Karen's memorial service will be held on April 25th (a week from Friday) at St. Thomas More Church in Dartmouth. It's across the street from the I.W. Akerley campus of the Nova Scotia Community College system. I still don't know what time of day it will be held. Most funerals are held at 2pm, however.

I remember reading Frank back in 1991 just around the time she left Magic 97 and the country to try her luck in the U.S. They were not complimentary to her, calling her a name I prefer not to report here. I am glad, at least, that this final article on her, the only one discussing her death that I have seen in a Nova Scotia periodical, is balanced and, from my point of view, fair.

I will still post a link to Karin's obituary when it is published in the paper. It will have to be soon now. It will be a separate post, but not #200. That is what I'll be working on in the morning and hope to post on Friday. It will be the best Bevboy's Blog post so far.

For reasons I am not prepared to discuss, yet at least, tomorrow will be an extremely busy, long, and trying day. A few people reading this know the details and I trust them not to tell people unless and until I choose to do so here or elsewhere. I doubt if you will hear from me before the weekend, although I may reply to a comment or two if any are left as a result of this post.

Have a great evening, Constant Reader. I hope you are looking forward to post #200 as much as I am.


198th Post - Yawn!

Hey, everyone.

Worked until just after 11pm last night, after working all day. Got a lot done, though. Can't complain.

Still jazzed over the source material Patricia and I gleaned for post #200, yesterday at lunch time. I will start typing those notes today during my lunch hour. With a bit of luck, I'll get them all typed in and sent to that person for final verification, today.

Skipping Toastmasters tonight, and taking a day off work tomorrow for reasons I am not yet prepared to discuss on this blog. A few people know; the news has slipped out here and there like a bilobial fricative during a church sermon. But until the event has transpired, and the coast is clear, I will not discuss it here, if I do at all.

You'll notice I use a lot of similes on this blog, and very few metaphors. I hate metaphors. If something is "like" or "as" something else, then I get that this is a poetic/narrative device meant to explain the original concept, or to portray it in a new light. But to say that something "is" something else, or to give the impression that it is something else, is just so dishonest and confusing to my little brain.

When I was in the height of my spin class craze, the instructor would sometimes yell at us to, "Stand up; no bounce!". That meant we had to peddle and remain at the same height for those couple of minutes. Very challenging at the best of times, but it nearly killed me the first few times I did it. Anyway, this little Spin Nazi would play what I thought would be the perfect song, "Pony" by a young fellow named Ginuwine. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

Ginuwine](timbaland)(check it)
To all my ladies (what? )
Who wants to ride my pony? (ginuwine, what? )
To all my honeys (uh)Who wants to ride my pony? (timbaland, uh what? )
To all my babies (remix)
Who wants to ride my pony?


I used to request this song during spin class, and people would look at me, bemused, even nonplussed.

I thought this was a song about bloody horses! I thought it was about a jaunty young fellow who, in an attempt to curry favour with members of the opposite sex, walked around town offering rides on his young horse (the "pony" in question). A shy man, who found it difficult to meet women, who believed that his pony might be a conduit through which he might get a date. Something like that.


A woman in my class later told me what the song was really about.

I am glad she told me this. I was all ready to contact the producers of the Kentucky Derby and inform them they should use this as their new theme song. I'd accept a finder's fee, of course.

You see, if this Ginuwine guy had written a few "likes" or "ases" into the lyrics, I would have cottoned on to the sordid truth of this ditty. But he didn't. He used my weakness, my Achilles heel, my kryptonite: The metaphor.

Someday, Mr. Ginuwine. Someday.


Monday, April 14, 2008

197th Post - Long Day, and Long Weekend!

Haven't written since Saturday morning. The post from Friday night was fleshed out on Saturday morning and re-submitted. Sorry about that, but as I explained a few days ago, I will be busy with work for the next couple of weeks, and something has to give. That something will be consistent posts to this blog.

Worked several hours of overtime on Saturday; even more on Sunday. And today, I worked all day, and then put in 4 hours of ot this evening. Got a lot done, but it is a tad tiring, and there is quite a bit more to do.

Tomorrow, Patricia and I will have lunch with someone who will participate in the 200th post of this blog. That 200th post may be delayed for a day or so as I prepare this extra-long post for your reading pleasure and enlightenment. I look forward to sharing that post with you, my devoted readership. I promise you it will be worth it.

Some of you read this blog who work with me. I suppose you could follow me to the Pogue Fado at noon AST and find out what nefarious scheme I am developing, and what possible reason I would have for visiting this place at that time. Or you can just wait until I post #200!

Patience, my friends. Patience.

Keyed up from the overtime. Hope I can get to sleep in short order. Three coffees today didn't help. Should really only have one.


Friday, April 11, 2008

196th post. Casino night blogging

(Click on the image for it to blow up real good.)

Out 2 nights out in a row. Will be working all weekend so I had to have a little fun

You are looking a picture I snapped on my BlackBerry last night at Casino Nova Scotia of a young fella named Martin Dube. He is a singer and impressionist with apparently more than 400 voices in his repertoire.

I won the tickets off CJCH radio on April 11, not knowing until I won them that the show was for that evening! I was busy all morning getting some important additions made to my home (enigmatic little bastard, aren't I?) and then running the roads in the afternoon. Managed to carve out 45 minutes for a nap before having a quick dinner at Patricia's (we both swear off, and at, the President's Choice Reduced Fat Chicken Strips, which have no taste whatsoever), and driving to the Casino for the show.

After seeing Larry the Cable Guy on Thursday, and Dube on Friday, I have to report that it will be my last night of fun for a few weeks. I will have to put in some overtime between now and the end of the month. We absolutely must be finished by April 30th, and that means my nights and weekends will be snatched away like that pebble on Kung Fu.

Not complaining, of course. I am just explaining that my blog posts will be fewer over the next little while. I do have plans for post #200, coming up sometime next week. You'll recall that #100 consisted of some pictures, and #150 had the "alphabet game" version of an incident from my youth. #200 will also contain something special, something I have never attempted before. I laid some groundwork for it on Thursday the 10th. On Tuesday the 15th, the next part of this grand scheme will come to fruition. After that, I'll just have to assemble the material created that day, based upon that groundwork I just mentioned, and that will be post #200. And there should be a picture or two, as well.

A couple of people reading this blog already know what #200 will be about, because they're involved in its development and creation.

Be here. It will be good. Life affirming, too.

Time to take Cindy Clawford to the vet's. And then, back here to work for the rest of the day.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

195th post. Sky box blogging

Blogging from the Halifax metro centre. Larry the cable guy is about to start. For the first time I am in a sky box. Get to look down on the riff raff for a change.

Love it

FX101.9 is the official radio sponsor for tonight. No wonder I didn't know anything about it until this week.

Pass the caviar please

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

194th Post - The Speech, Revised

I have received word about Karen's/Darian's funeral, that the obituary will be published sometime next week. I know a little bit more than that, but have been asked not to publish it here. So I won't.

The speech is about 30% different than it was just 7 days ago.

I present it in just a few hours. Wish me luck!

A Whole Other Side of Bev
April 3, 2008

A number of years ago, Patricia and I had dinner with an old friend of hers. His name was Kerry. I was meeting him for the first time, but within a few minutes it was as if we had known each other for years.

I liked Kerry. He was a thoughtful man, with an outrageous sense of humour. We had some food, some beer, some conversation, a little more beer. We took our leave for the evening. I was looking forward to seeing him again.

A year or so later, Patricia called me to tell me that Kerry had died the night before. Colon cancer. He was only 42.

In 2007, 8700 Canadians died of colorectal cancer. It is Canada’s third highest cancer killer for both men and women. At the same time, it is one of the most preventable and curable cancers. If caught in time, there is upwards of a 90% survival rate.

People can have the classic symptoms for years, and because they deal with a part of the body that we don’t like to talk about, the symptoms are often ignored until it is too late.

It was a few months after Kerry died when I discovered blood in my stool.

I didn’t do anything about it at first. But the problem persisted, so I sought the advice of my physician. He scheduled me for a meeting with a specialist.

A few months later, I finally met with him: A kindly, older man named Dr. McKeevin, who had spent the previous 35 years perusing people’s patooties. He wanted me to have a colonoscopy.

As he began to explain the details of this procedure, something strange happened. One minute, he was telling me what he was going to do to me. The next, I observed him run around from behind his desk to prevent my face from hitting his blotter. I had fainted.

As preparation for my colonoscopy, I would have to take a medication that would help me go to the bathroom, a lot, to make sure my colon was cleaned out. "Doctor", I said, "do I have to take this medication with food or water?".

"Bev", he said to me pityingly, "it’s not going in that end!"

The day of the procedure drew nigh. Early that morning, I took this medication, which had a nice soft tip at the end of it and resembled a tube of toothpaste. I was still renting an apartment at that time, and remember thinking to myself, "Boy, I hope they don’t have a fire drill right about now!"

Sure enough, shortly after I had applied the medication, I found I had to visit the Little Toastmasters Room. I was there for a while.

Thank Goodness for Entertainment Weekly.

And TV Guide.

And The Coast newspaper.

And Frank Magazine.

A few hours later, I gingerly made my way to the hospital, where I was asked to put on one of those johnny shirts, with the opening in the back. Looked like a great big Kleenex, the kind that doesn’t sustain more than one sneeze. I then had to sit in a waiting area with a bunch of other similarly-attired people.

When it was my turn, I went into the room I was directed to. Dr. McKeevin greeted me warmly and asked me to lay down on a gurney. (Or is that "lie down on a Gurney? I can never keep that straight!) There were two other people in the room: A nurse, and an assistant to the doctor, or so I assumed.

I assumed also that it would be Dr. McKeevin who would perform this procedure. I was wrong. It was actually his assistant. SHE was perhaps 30, blond, and very attractive if you don’t mind my saying so. I could have lived with the old man performing my colonoscopy. Every male insecurity came to the fore when I realized that it would be his female assistant. I finally understood why so many women prefer having female doctors: Kindred spirits, and similar body parts.

I lay in a fetal position, and the procedure commenced. She inserted a long, thin tube and moved it so far up I swear I could feel it tickling my tonsils. As she did so, she muttered strange words to the doctor, who nodded sagely and told her to give the tube another big twist. Meanwhile, the nurse held my hand. I prayed that the woman administering the procedure was in a happy, healthy relationship based upon mutual trust and understanding.

After what seemed like 4 days, but was more like 10 minutes, she carefully removed the tube. Doctor MacKeevin looked at me and smiled. "Mr. Keddy", he said, offering me some dignity which I gratefully accepted, "I want to apologize to you for making you wait so long for your procedure, and putting you through all this stress. You can thank government funding for that. Normally, we’d prepare a report and send it to your doctor, who would review it with you. But I want to tell you right now that we didn’t see anything. You’re fine".

Relief? That’s not the word for it. I began to sit up right away, until the nurse cautioned me to slow down and keep myself covered, lest she, the doctor, and her comely assistant see yet another side of me.

I got dressed and went home, walking a bit more gingerly perhaps than usual, but relieved and happy.

If I had to put my finger on one aspect of that day’s activities, I’d be hard pressed. But there was one thing I just can’t forget. One thing that was so humiliating, so invasive, so hurtful. I, I, I don’t know how to say it.

That doctor. She never writes. She never calls.

Despite the experience I endured, I would recommend a colonoscopy if you have any inkling that you might have a problem "down under". People are so timid about that part of their bodies and tend either not to notice any problem, or pretend that everything is just fine, when that may not be the case. If I, Mr. Leave-Me-Alone-Don’t-Touch-Me-Get-Out-of-my-Personal-Space Guy, can go through this procedure, then so can you.

If you’re wondering what the warning signs for colon cancer are, check out www.cancer.ca.

The "bottom" line: If you have any of these classic symptoms, then get your ass to the doctor.

Madam Toastmaster?


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

193rd Post - A Couple of Karen Obituaries

Not the main one. Not the one that comes from her family. But linking this one and this one anyway.

This is starting to sound cruel. People are speculating that her death announcement is a fake. I am confident that Karen/Darian is dead. People I know well, people who worked with her, have been in communication with me in recent days. Don't really want to get into who they are, because they were very forthright about her, and in their feelings about her. Some of those feelings were not very positive; let's leave it at that.

When I see the obit that comes from her family, I'll post that link, too. But that will be it for Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole posts on this blog. I think we're all getting tired of them and there are other things to discuss. Like my cat. Like what I ate for dinner last night. Like the speech I'm doing tomorrow night about my colonoscopy. Earth shattering things like that.

Come along for the ride.


Monday, April 7, 2008

192nd Post - Still Not There

No, Karin Begin's/Darian O'Toole's obituary still has not been published. Will check again before I go to work on Tuesday.

Had a headache this afternoon. Deciding to be a tough man and not take my special headache pills, which was a mistake. Had to have a lie down when I got home, and my cat wouldn't leave me alone. Kept me company most of the time upstairs. Got up and went downstairs, made a sandwich, and now I am in my office at the computer, while Newbie supervises every word I write.

Found out today that one of my favourite writers of my youth and early adulthood, died in January. Edward D. Hoch wrote a story every single month for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, a mag my parents bought me a subscription to when I was 12. Hoch had a story in that March, 1976 issue, and at least one in every issue since then until the present day. I don't know how far ahead Hoch wrote, but he will have a story in the May issue of EQMM, marking a (posthumous) 35 years of unbroken "service". Some months, he would also appear in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, or Mike Shane's MM or the former Saint MM. He also wrote a few novels, and I have one of them.

As a child, and a young adult, I avidly followed Hoch's stories, sometimes reading his story and nobody else's in a given issue. My favourite ones were probably the ones concerning the series character Nick Velvet. Velvet was a thief who stole only worthless items, like a used teabag, or snow off a mountainside. The one I remember the most was inspired by the editor at the time, Fred Dannay. Dannay speculated what it would be like if Nick Velvet stole... nothing at all. It inspired Hoch to write such a story, and it is one of my favourite in the series. It was published in... 1977 if I recall correctly. I may still have that issue and will dig it out the next time I visit my parents.

Getting tired of talking about dead people on this blog. I'll try to be a bit more cheerful tomorrow.

Damn, I have to get back to my TM speech. I have to deliver it in front of a very discerning crowd in a mere 2 days.



Sunday, April 6, 2008

191st Post - Sunday, Sunday

Got up just before 4am to make my bladder gladder and to feed Newbie, who gets rambunctious at that hour. Came back upstairs and turned on the radio in time to hear the news of Charlton Heston's passing.

Well this is our chance: Let's try to pry his cold, dead fingers off his rifle. Hee hee.

Never mind.

Went back to bed and half-listened, half-slept to Coast to Coast AM Ian Punnet's interview with Neal Adams. Had no idea this interview would be taking place. May end up buying it from their website as I missed so much of it.

Went to Patricia's after lunch where we finally finished re-watching season one of "Rescue Me". Save for the special features, we can finally start with season 2 in a few days. What a great show! Never really "got" The Sopranos. Loved the first two seasons of Deadwood. But, so far, "Rescue Me" with Denis Leary beats them both. We have seasons 2 and 3 to wade through on dvd. I am hoping season 4 will be re-broadcast on Showcase so that I can tape 'em. And it has been renewed for season 5. Presumably, Denis Leary will get out of bed tomorrow morning and resume work on it, knowing that at least a couple of recent converts to the show are looking forward to seeing it as soon as they see seasons 2-4.

No, Darian O'Toole's obituary hasn't been published yet.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

190th Post - No

Karen's/Karin's/Darian O'Toole's obituary has not been published yet.

Had a busy day. Up early to bowl for the Bowl for Kids thing for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. At my work, I meekly attempted to field a team and was delighted to learn that there was enough interest to field 2. Our two teams raised nearly 10% of the funds raised during the 2 hour time slot allotted to the provincial government, where I work.

People were thanking me afterward for organizing this. I didn't do much more than ask if they wanted to play and make sure that they had what they needed to raise money for BBBS. Of course, I'll take the credit, though. I am like that.

Afterward, I was looking forward to a nice nap, but Patricia wanted to do the stained glass thing with a gf of hers. I dropped her off there and am now at a public library, blogging my little heart out, with the after effects of an exra large double-double coursing through my veins. May run a marathon in 30 minutes or so. And paint the house (internally and externally) .

Oh, by "gf", I mean "girlfriend", not "garlic fingers". Wanted to get that out there. I find that "gf" is an ambiguous letter combination. It is all about context. I mean, when a woman flirted with me about 5 years ago and asked if I had a "gf", I figured she wasn't hungry (for food, at least) and told her all about Patricia. She burst into tears and slinked off. When a pizza place advertises a special Large Pizza With the Works and a Free Medium GF, they're not offering a free woman along with a pizza. Certainly not for twenty dollars! Although, come to think of it, pizza and beer and a woman is a nice combination. Slippers. I want slippers. Pizza and beer and a gf and a pair of slippers. And a hockey game. Yeah! Pizza and beer and a gf and a pair of slippers and a hockey game on the tube. I'm there.

Patricia and this gf of hers will join me for dinner at a place called Lefty's a little bit later on, right after I peel myself off the ceiling and the XL DD wears off a bit more. Patricia and I went there for dinner a week or so ago, or tried to, but found that there was a large line up. I don't do line ups to eat. I am not a horse queuing up for the trough. I am Bevboy and I shouldn't have to wait to eat.

Time to go off and slay a dragon. I'll never have an XL DD again!!


Friday, April 4, 2008

189th Post - Karen Begin/ Darian O'Toole 1990 Pub Shot

Got these scanned today, and cropped them just now. Note the spelling of her first name. It was an affectation as I have it on good authority that her first name was spelled with an "e".

I read the 1990 letter she sent me. It is a very friendly, flirtatious letter that includes her then phone number in Kentville. I wonder who has that number now? Hmm.

I'll not post that letter. I am also not posting the note she sent me with the Christmas card that year. The note you see was written on the back of her pub shot.

I guess I need a little context here. The "Hallowe'en" reference was the party she invited me to in 1990 in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

I got there, not knowing a soul other than Karen. As I recall, she wasn't there when I arrived. Whe she did appear, she spent much of the evening in the bathroom, doing God knows what, leaving me with these strangers. She eventually came out, wearing black clothing and having smeared black make up on her face. A picture was taken of the two of us. I do not have that photograph. Wish I did.

Like I wrote in a previous post, there is no way I could call that get-together a date. I can't imagine that any rational person would.


188th Post - The Fourth Post About Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole

Well, I am in receipt of some e-mails from people who worked with Karen over the years. One of them has given me permission to post the e-mail here, so I am doing so.

Some of the e-mails contain comments uncomplimentary to Karen. I get where they are coming from. I think it best not to post those comments here. I have my own misgivings, my own mixed emotions, my own conflicted feelings, about Karen and how she treated me back in the day and have articulated them as best I could.

Shawn Kelly/Shawn Rosvold hired Karen at Magic 97 in Kentville back in 1988. When she left Canada to try her luck in S.F., she wanted him as her co-host. They moved to New York for her show there, and he remains in New York as a producer at Sirius radio. Feel free to check out his website.

Here is what he wrote me earlier today:

Hi Bev,

I sent an email to Gerry McCracken. Thanks for the heads up!

This is the first time I've read your blog. You've covered just about everything. I don't have anything else to add.

I spoke with Mike Mitchell on the air on April 2 for about five minutes concerning Karin/Darian.

I had forgotten that Gerry, our old program director in San Francisco, gave her the name.

I have her final, non Opie & Anthony (minus the laughing, comments, etc.), show on my site here: http://www.rosweed.com/WordPress/wp-media/audio/darianotoole.htm

It's really sad to listen to this. It's something I have heard too many times before.

You can post this if you want. I don't have a Blogger account and I don't want to use my Gmail address to log in.


Bev again. I have the Opie and Anthony show where they mock poor Karen's final show. I have heard it once, and that is enough for me.

If anyone has other shows that Karen did that I can grab the mp3 of, let me know. I want to hear some good, funny Karen/Darian shows.

More in a minute.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

187th Post - Even More About Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole

I have been given permission to reveal that Karen/Karin/Darian will be cremated in California. And that there will be a mass in Dartmouth. I do not know when the mass will take place.

Q104 in Halifax will discuss her on the morning radio show on Friday or Monday. J.C. Douglas still has a show on Sunday evenings, and he will likely mention her there then. And their webmaster is working on an online memorial to her.

I swear, as soon as I see the obit, I will post the link here. I'll look for it before I go to work on Friday morning and link to it here right away. You have my word. I want to know as much as you do. And I have every intention of attending the funeral mass. I will blog about it afterward, if anyone reading this would be interested in knowing about it, that is. Let me know.

I have heard some things about Karen, just this evening, that are opening up some old wounds from 1990. I have long since moved on; I am engaged to a lovely woman who is bemused by these blog entries, but understands why I must write them. There are things involving Patricia which are of much higher importance than an unrequited attraction from 17 years ago, even if new details of that period in my life (regarding Karen) are coming to light now. These are details that do not cast her in a good light, and which make me feel, and perhaps even look, foolish. I realize this was not the intention of the person who told them to me; but it is nonetheless the result. The truth hurts.

All these years later, I prefer to think of Karen/Karin/Darian as being a caustically funny radio personality working for a radio station not known for that type of jock, and living in a community whose citizenry expects to hear hog reports during the noon time news. Karen was a square peg in a round hole who, years and years after she left that market, is remembered with nostalgia and a smile.

In a world where many people do little more than take up space, being remembered in a positive context after one is gone can only be a good thing. And Karen, judging from the hundreds of hits this blog has received in the last 30 hours or so, resonated with her listeners in such a way that it is hard for us to accept that she is gone. It is hard to accept that we cannot turn on a radio and hear her say something wickedly funny. It is hard to accept that we will never hear her again.

I did find those letters that she wrote me in 1990. I think I'll read them before I turn in tonight. And, can I get that old scanner of mine to work? I think it's time to find out. I want to put that pub shot up.


186th Post - A Little More About Darian O'Toole

I didn't sleep well last night. Lot on my mind, including Karen/Karin/Darian.

I knew she had problems. She was fired from Halifax's Q104 in 2004 after a Saturday evening on air performance that required her to be removed from the air during a shift. She ended up in S.F. and was fired from that station after she was drunk on the air. She was interviewing an actor. Opie and Anthony famously played that interview, and I downloaded the mp3, which I still have.

My, plenty of people blogged Karen over the last 12 hours or so, chancing upon this blog! While that is gratifying in its own right, my own relationship (if that is the word to use at this early hour, in my bleary-eyed state) with her was so tangential, so long ago, so far away in a virtual sense, that it doesn't count for anything more than a mote of dust in the book of her life. I still have the two letters she sent me. I still have a circa 1990 pub shot of her. I am pretty sure I still have a couple of Nova Scotia tv appearances from her from 1991, and will dub them to dvd as soon as I can find the vhs tape. This was probably the same month she left the province to try her luck in the U.S.

Checked her old radio station's website this morning. Well, it is sort of her old radio station. Magic 97 is no more. It is now Magic 94.9. They post their newscasts online, and I saw no mention of Karen. Shameful, really. People still remember her down there in the Kentville area. The lady who cut my hair in the neighbouring community of New Minas, just a month or so ago, fondly recalled Karen and her onscreen antics. And Karen left in 1991!

I also checked the local paper this morning. Did not see her obit in that paper. I will keep checking.

My thanks to Gerry for posting the origin of "Darian O'Toole". There was a local interview with her about 10 years ago, though, in which I recollect that she was responsible for coming up with that name. I am confident that this was more of Karen's... self promotion. Yeah, let's use that phrase.

More later. I should get some breakfast and wash my dishes before I start my day.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

185th Post - Tonight's Toastmasters Meeting

Meeting went well. I just got home, in fact. It was just a few minutes before 10pm before I got through the door.

We had a special guest speaker tonight. It was Valerie Mansour, the restaurant critic for the now-defunct Halifax Daily News. She was very entertaining, answering our questions with plenty of patience.

And I re-presented my speech, the one about the colonoscopy, the one I will be presenting at the next level in a week's time. The members, and even Valerie, lovingly ripped it to shreds, offering me lots of feedback, and suggestions for how to improve it for next week.

Much of the commentary was about my delivery. I can't disagree with these comments. I hate it when someone makes an excuse about something, but I had an extraordinarily crappy day. I mean, work is keeping me super busy, and I am not complaining about that. But this morning, a couple of things happened with Patricia that required my immediate attention, resulting in an ability for me to prepare for the speech the way I had intended to.

Damn, I don't want to let the club down, and myself, too. I will be taking the speech to bed with me tonight and begin another rewrite. I will think about the wording, and the phrasing, and the pauses for dramatic effect that need to be there. I will have to kill some darlings, as hard as that is to do. Every word will have to justify its existence for it to remain in the speech, or to be added to it.

When I have rewritten the speech, I will post it here.

Time to get to work. It is only 10:30. Early yet.


184th Post - Death of Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole

I read this afternoon of the death of radio personality Darian O'Toole. Her real name was Karen Begin, although sometimes she spelled her first name as "Karin".

I met her in 1990 and got to know her a little bit. We went to the same Hallowe'en party in Kentville that year. I wouldn't call that a date, and I doubt if you would, either.

But we did have quite a few phone conversations for about 6 weeks there. She'd go on about the people at the station she didn't like, her on-air partner at the time (she liked him, and he works for a local newspaper nowadays), and the like. I knew she was very ambitious, and felt that she had the talent to back up this ambition.

She left that Kentville radio station in 1991 (I have a thing for dates, ok?) a short time after her second "spat" with Kiefer Sutherland took place. He claimed not to know her at all; she asserted that they met while he was filming "The Bay Boy" in 1984 or so. Footage of background extras on the set of the film showed a much younger Karen, or at least Karen said that person was she.

I have a tv appearance or two of her on an old vhs tape from the spring of 1991. If I can ever find that tape, assuming it still plays properly, I'll dub it to dvd for posterity's sake.

This was a considerable period of time ago, when I knew her and we'd talk in the evenings. I enjoyed those chats. Something like an old boyfriend re-entered her life and she said she'd rather be with him than become interested in me. Pretty much end of story. It hurt at first, quite a bit to tell the truth; but life goes on and things happen for a reason and all that tommyrot.

I still have a couple of hand-written letters from Karen at home. I think I know where they are. I think I may dig them out over the next day or two and re-read them for the first time in years.

Karen is from Dartmouth, across the harbour from Halifax. I am guessing that her funeral, or a funeral of some sort, or a memorial service, will take place there, as her parents continue to live there. If I see an obituary online, I'll post the link in this blog.

People have been googling "Darian O'Toole" all day since the news broke and chancing upon this blog because I mentioned Karen a week or so back. I am sorry that I don't have more information to report than that she died in an Oakland hospital on March 31st from a respiratory failure while recovering from a broken leg.

If I do hear anything else, which is unlikely, I'll report it here.

My condolences to Karen's family.

Bevboy, who will miss the raven-haired radio wench.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

183rd Post - Messy Eater

So, on Sunday, when I made dinner for Patricia and me, I made a mess. It was pasta with meat sauce. Guess where the tomato-based liquid ended up? Yep. On one of my dress shirts. One of the shirts I wear to work.

Unfortunately, it was not the "pink" shirt. I say ""pink"" because it is really not pink. It was red and faded. Honest.

Anyway, when I got home that evening, I put stain remover on it. Let it soak in the soaking tub next to my washing machine, overnight. Washed it in the regular cycle, which is fairly violent.

Stain was faded but still visible.


Used more stain remover. Put borax on the stain. And club soda. Let it soak some more over night. Got home tonight to discover that a box above the sink had fallen in the sink, and dye from the box got on the shirt. Thank God, I was able to wash that out tonight with plenty of detergent and borax.

However, the stain, while faded yet more, remains on the shirt.

Just put some more stain remover on it. Will soak it some more over night and wash it yet again tomorrow evening.

I only paid a few dollars for this shirt. I have had it for years. I don't even like it that much. It's a pale yellow with pin stripes for goodness' sake. Yet, I am willing to spend more money on cleaning products to clean this damn thing, than the shirt is worth. It has become a point of pride for me to clean it thoroughly. To wash that stain away.

I shall persevere. I shall not rest. I shall not flag or fail. I shall clean on to the end, I shall clean in France, I shall clean on the seas and oceans, I shall clean with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, I shall clean, whatever the cost may be, I shall clean on the beaches, I shall clean on the landing grounds, I shall clean in the fields and in the streets, I shall clean in the hills; I shall never surrender.

And, then, I shall take the shirt home to Mommy to clean it for me.


182nd Post - Another Comics Death

I just spent some time getting caught up on Mark Evanier's News From Me blog. Love that stuff. But I didn't love reading about the death of Jim Mooney.

I read so many comics drawn by Jim Mooney as a child that it is difficult to remember my favourite. I guess I loved his Ghost Rider. I loved his Spider-Man. And, of course, his Omega the Unknown, written by the late Steve Gerber, is a long-time favourite of mine.

Sad, sad, sad.