Thursday, April 30, 2009

781st Post - Unusual Songs

I grew up a rock and roll fan. Not much I can do about it. I just like the stuff.

As I have grown a bit older, I have come to appreciate other genres of music. I can now listen to country music, some classical, Big Band, and so on. I even like Paul Anka enough to have shelled out some coin to see him in concert in December of '07. We had a pretty good time that night; if he ever returns to Halifax, we'll go see him again.

Anka has written hundreds and hundreds of songs, and had many hits with them. Others have recorded his tunes as well. Anka is so rich, he could buy anything he wanted to. He could buy the letter "H" and make people pay him a royalty everytime they laugh. That he hasn't done so, is a testament to his qualities as a human being.

A few years ago, Mr. Anka released an album of songs he did not write. They were rock songs recorded much more famously by other people. You either like this stuff or you don't. There is no middle ground. But you have to at least give these tunes a listen.

Here is Paul Anka, performing Van Halen's "Jump":

Still with me? Want some more? OK! Paul Anka, doing "Smells Like Teen Spirit":

Lastly, David Lee Roth of Van Halen will do anything for a buck. A few years ago, he re-recorded "Jump", but with other musicians, and as a bluegrass song. Yeah. I have always seen the tune that way. And now, so will you:

Good night!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

780th Post - Rhapsodic

I have been thinking about the music of Queen today. I am not sure why. I was not a particular fan of theirs in their heyday. Even when their songs were hits, I was tired of many of their tunes. "We are the Champions" is overplayed to such an extent that any and all entertainment value the song might have been possessed has been drained from it. While their music was once like a big, juicy grape, now it is like one of those raisins you get in a box of Raisin Bran.

However, some of their songs are still entertaining. Several years after Freddy Mercury's death, "Too Much Love Will Kill You" became a hit. There is a brief Wikipedia article about it here.

Queen still exists as a musical entity in some capacity. From time to time, the surviving members get together and tour a bit, perhaps in the same financially ghoulish way that the two surviving members of The Who still hit the road occasionally.

In 2003, Queen performed this song with, fer goodness' sake, Luciano Pavarotti. Maybe they enticed him with a boatload of Philly Cheese Steaks; who knows? It is a surreal moment as Brian May and Pavarotti share the stage, singing this tune in two languages. I thought I'd share it with you.

Maybe he was singing, "Too Much Cake Will Kill You". Does anybody reading this know Italian? Just wondering.

A few months before his death, Freddy Mercury made his final public appearance. He doesn't say much, or do much; but you can tell that not all is well. Check it out:

You know you're welcome. I love you.


779th Post - Coming Down!

It is 10 pm, and I will be going to bed soon. I spent more than 3 hours last night working on the Moe Dunn interview, finding all of the websites associated with the people, places, and things that Moe mentioned. I had to source all of the music videos I embedded in the interview. I had to upload the pictures and video. It all takes time, more than you think.

I haven't spent any time transcribing the two latest interviews in the last two days. It is late and I won't be doing any tonight, either. A visit to Costco on Thursday evening will take a big bite out of my leisure time, leaving little time for transcribing. Life gets in the way sometimes, doesn't it?

I will let you know that two more people, radio people of course, will be interviewed for this blog in the month of May. And, I am not finished with Moe Dunn. He wants another sit down, to discuss his life and career since the 1980's. He was pressed for time on April 5th and I want to do right by him. Sometime in late May, a month or so from now, we'll talk again, and you'll see the results here.

The two new folks are both looking forward to meeting with me. I am with them, too.

More in a moment.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

778th Post - Interview With Big Dog FM's Moe Dunn

Moe Dunn, April 5, 2009.

I am willing to go anywhere to conduct these interviews. For this one, I drove an hour from my home all the way to Truro. We conducted this interview at the studios of Big Dog in that lovely town.

Morrissey Dunn was kind enough to drop by his station after church. Pressed for time, we concentrated on the early part of his career, back when I knew him best: His years at Annapolis Valley Radio. It was a fanboy's dream!

Moe, I would like to sit down with you again, sooner rather than later, to discuss your years since you left CHNS. K?

Thanks for the opportunity, Moe!

What are you waiting for, people? Read!

How did you get your start in radio?

Moe Dunn: It was virtually an accident. It started in high school. The guidance counsellor at my high school basically took his crack at every Grade 12 [student]. His question to me was, "What do you plan on doing?"

I said, "I'm going to stick with the band", because I was in a band at the time called Road. We are going to go to Kodiak, Alaska to start playing clubs and work our way East.

He looked at me and said, "Your mother's not going to like that." He shuffled all these papers around on his desk. He had no idea what he was looking for; his desk was such a mess. Out of the bottom of the pile he pulled this pamphlet and said, "Here. Do this." He didn't even know what he had passed me.

It was Radio/TV Broadcast Production. It was the first year the Radio College was to be in the Valley: Kingstec.

Bevboy: I'm from the Valley.

MD: So, you know which one I'm talking about.

BB: Exactly.

MD: I was graduating in '76 from high school. I had no intentions of doing that. I brought it home. My mother saw it. She was glad to see that it was something other than playing night clubs in Alaska!

One thing led to another, and I went down for the audition. I remember it was 35 degrees, driving down to the Valley. I had never been to the Valley before.

BB: This is from Cape Breton?

MD: Yes. A hot day in North Sydney would have been 21! So, I go down to do the audition. I get accepted. The next thing I know I arrive in Kentville at my billet's place with two Nike bags and a radio. That was it. I went to Radio College and I got hired on by AVR a couple of months after I was in the course.

BB: I remember hearing you on the radio in 1977. I have this weird memory for dates.

MD: Is that right? Where were you living at the time?

BB: I was living in Port Williams. That's where I'm from.

MD: My first gig at AVR would have been writing copy three days a week after school. I'd go to AVR Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 3 o'clock and write copy until five. Then Thursday, Friday, Saturday I'd go down after school and get ready for the six to midnight show. So, I'm still going to school and I'm doing this.

BB: That was considered work training? You weren't paid for that?

MD: No, I was paid for this. I was hired first, and then two guys after that, for part-time work. I was the first time to be hired full-time as well. The day I graduated, I think I started in copy and on air.

BB: So, this was 1977?

MD: The same year you remember.


What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received, and who provided it?

MD: Hmm. You know what? I was very fortunate to receive so many pieces of advice that there is no way I can extract one, because so many people have influenced me over a grand period of time just by [offering] one bit of advice. Neil MacMullin, Tom Fredericks, Merv Russell. All of these guys at one time or another will have said something to me that made me say, "Wow! I'm going to remember that." I may be doing right now that I will have picked up on 30 years ago.

I didn't lock away any one golden rule. I know one thing that someone told me. In 1982, I was doing a fashion show. She owned a modelling agency. She said to me, "You're gonna need to get yourself an agent." I was working in the Valley at the time, and there was no real need to include someone else and give them 15% of what little I was doing in the Valley. But that advice was really good because I wanted to branch out and do other things; I didn't want to do just radio. Her advice was to get someone to keep your business intentions controlled, and that's what an agent would do. They help control your passions, etc.

Way back when I was in school, we took courses like History, English, Law. The best course I took out of that was Typing. [chuckles]. Believe it or not, to this day I thank God that I paid attention in Typing.

BB: Home row.

MD: Yep. We started on a manual. I graduated to an electric. And now there's so much going on that demands speedy responses. My ability to type with the best of them in this business has certainly helped.

I guess everything from determination to honesty and never thinking that this gift is going to go on forever. You're always going to have to apply yourself. I've been doing this now ...

BB: 32 years.

MD: ... 32 years. You did the math. I never, ever once take for granted that this gift will continue.

BB: So, every day is your first day on the air?

MD: You know what? It is! I have to do my morning show as if there is a young, 23-year-old scratching at the door to get in to do my job. I have to be aware of the fact that that person not only wants to, but could do a better show than me. So, every day, at 52 years old, I come in here and bring my best game with me. And, the next day, it's got to be better. That keeps it exciting, you know. If you're on an assembly line, or if you have a job that requires you to repeat a function day after day after day, there isn't that demand for you to do a better album, or do a better show, or whatever. So, I thank God that I am in an area where I can contribute the most to the Arts.


Who were your influences in radio when you were growing up?

MD: This is easy. Brother Jake Edwards.

BB: He was in Cape Breton? I had no idea.

MD: Yeah, he was in Sydney at CJCB. Let me give you a quick little list. Brother Jake Edwards. Dave Harley.

BB: Yes.

MD: General John Cabot Trail. He used to be the night jock at CJCB when I was going to high school. Fred Denny was the morning man at CJCB. When I was in junior high, high school; and now, a couple of generations later, the guy is still doing the morning show in Sydney.
Jay Bedford was on the radio while I was there, and I had the pleasure of working with him.

BB: His son is at C100, Zach.

MD: Yes. I had the pleasure of working with Jay not only at CJCB, but at CHER.
So, that's pretty much who I grew up listening to in Cape Breton. We're talking about a place with two commercial radio stations. CHER was an independent stand-alone. CJCB had an easy-listening FM station, which is now CKPE.

BB: Which station had the Talk Back show?

MD: That was CJCB. It just died a couple of years ago.

BB: It's a shame there's no forum for people to call in and complain about stuff, or to call in and comment on local issues. The last vestige of that I guess was the Hotline.

MD: That's absolutely true. One mandate on doing my morning show which is a combination of music intensive and entertainment chatter, but I want to include listeners. In any given hour I could have two or three listeners on the air.

Now, focus research dictates that only three to six percent of your audience is the active audience. They are the ones who participate in contests. They are the ones who will call in during talk shows. The other ninety-three to ninety-five percent of your listeners love listening to listeners just like them. They don't want to BE on the radio; but they enjoy the Hell out of listening to other people be on. It's eavesdropping. It's a high tech form of eavesdropping. Talk shows allowed people to eavesdrop on other people. It did give people a chance to vent on everything from politics to power, to pot holes to you name the topic of the day.

Talkback on CJCB gave me one of the best moments of radio I had ever experienced, and I was just a kid. You could get to know listeners by their voice when they called in. Two hosts of the show at this time were Dave Reynolds; and when he couldn't do the show, Dave Wilison would be his back up.

BB: Dave Wilson, the MLA?

MD: Now he's an MLA. And, one day, this guy called in. He was greeted on the air by the host. [The caller said] "How are you doing? Is this Dave or Dave?" The host said, "Dave". [The caller said] "Oh, good. Hi, Dave". [chuckles]

BB: [laughter]

MD: Anyway, just little snapshots of comedy. "Is this you, Dave?" [chuckles]


Of all the station formats you have worked within, do you have a favourite, and why?

MD: I would say, my favourite radio format would have to be when I worked at CHNS, and the Oldies format, probably because of it being age related. The music we played at the time just so happened to be what I grew up on. I never did like 50's music. I really only started digging music from about '67 and up. All of the '70's. That was CHNS' core library when they were Oldies. I had the fortune of doing the morning show there, and mid day, and program director while this format was on.

So, that was hands down my favourite format. And there still is a world for an Oldies format to survive. Now you have to re-think it because you have FM: You've got restrictions and regulations, how many hits and non-hits, and so on.

BB: I thought that the CRTC had allowed an Oldies format to exist in FM?

MD: Since I haven't been a program director in so many years, I haven't been paying attention to the fine print. Those [restrictions] were challenges that we had to face. It used to be a 49/51% hit/non hit ratio. We had to play so many instrumentals. They've relaxed that.

BB: We might see one of those again in Halifax, because 780 KIXX has been bought by Rogers. They're moving over this summer. They're speculating what the format will be. I've been hearing it will be an Oldies format.

MD: Is that right?


What is your opinion of satellite radio?

MD: To be honest, I haven't listened to any satellite radio. Not because of any particular boycott. It's just because I haven't had the opportunity to listen. It would be like watching a movie uninterrupted, but you're going to pay twelve bucks to do it.

I can't see myself paying to listen to radio. When it first came on, it came on with a thunder because they announced these huge salaries. [Howard Stern's] contract is worth more than 100 million dollars. Just late last year, we hear stories that financial troubles are creeping into the world of satellite radio. The end of satellite radio in my opinion is just a matter of time.

BB: Well, they've never had a model where they were making any money. It was just that they were losing money at a slower rate. How can you run any kind of business that way?

MD: You know what? To be truthful, I am uneducated in that area because there was nothing in what I knew on the surface of satellite radio to entice me to learn more about it let alone to become a customer of it. To me, I really don't have much to say about it because I don't know much about it.

BB: Fair enough

I moved to Halifax in 1988 to seek fame and fortune, the same year you began working in Halifax at the old CHNS. How big an adjustment was that for you, moving from a rural market to an urban one?

MD: You do your homework.

BB: Well, I'm like the James Lipton of radio.

MD: You did your homework! I'm impressed with you.

The adjustment? First of all, let's go back to the phone call I got. I'd been offered to work in Halifax two times previous to this. For one reason or another, there was no need for me to pack up and go. I had just met my future wife, who was currently living in Halifax, so...

At that time, I received a phone call from CHNS, to do mid days, and at the time I was doing morning and program director at Magic 97.

BB: That was a good station when it first started.

MD: Well, thanks to Neil MacMullin and Tom Fredericks saying, "Morrissey, here's your station. Now, put it together. Open it up."

The best part of that station was the first part.

BB: The first few years.

MD: Yes, we had quite a successful few years.

So, it was quite hard for me to walk away from something that I had personally built, that I had put so much blood, sweat and tears into. But the sell point from CHNS was mid days, Monday to Friday. So, duh! Not a whole lot of heavy lifting there. And, my girlfriend/fiancee was in Halifax at the time, so I took [the job] on.

Mentally, I had to adjust because, now, there was a whole new set of rules. The format was tighter. They did focus research. They had top-notch people in charge of Production. They had three people in their writing department.

And, the competition was overwhelming. Our competition at CHNS, directly, was CJCH. The era of Brian Phillips and that gang. I had always looked up to [him] as well. I was all of a sudden playing on the same ice surface as these guys.

The adjustment was the overwhelming competition, and the air of competition in Halifax was pretty strong. At that time, it was pure radio: Live jocks, morning, noon, and night. You had the personalities that you listened to: 2, 3, 5, 7 of them. If it was Parade Day in Halifax, they were all in the parade. If there was a concert somewhere, they were all at the concert. So, you had this impression that radio was a significant part of entertainment. At this time, in 1988, it was the driving force behind entertainment. And, I was now a part of it. I came from a little, sleepy hollow of the Valley in Kentville.

Yes, there was a big adjustment. And I adapted quickly there because I knew what was there. But it was a big change.


I will list the names of people you know, knew, or worked with. Please say something about them.

Wally Milan - Wally, Wally! He's our man. If he can't play it, no one can!

MD: When I got to the Valley, he was the night time jock at AVR. He was the only guy; it was the only game in town. He was the one the kids really looked up to.

I enjoyed working with Wally Milan. Doug MacMillan is his real name.

BB: Oh, really?

MD: Did you ever hear of the world-famous lumber conglomerate, MacMillan Bloedel?

BB: Yes.

MD: His father is MacMillan! [chuckles] He wasn't in radio because he needed the money. He was in radio because he loved it.

Wally Milan. Blonde guy, running around the control room, his hair falling all over the place. Young girls loved him. And he had this look about him, right?

I remember one stinger that he used to have on the radio: "Here's Wally! Who? Wally!"

BB: Yeah, yeah!

MD: I could have thrown that out the window. But that was his. But, a couple of things about Wally Milan. He had a black belt in karate. Where he is now, I have no idea, but I always liked the guy. He showed me how to do my first night show, six to midnight. At AVR, we had a system of checks and balances, and he is the one who took me through the whole thing so that I could do it on my own the next night. He was my instructor for one night.

BB: Pretty generous guy, was he?

MD: He had no qualms about teaching anybody anything that he may have known. I don't know how much experience he had before he got to AVR. But, I liked the guy.

BB: I won my very first record album from Wally Milan/Doug MacMillan in 1977. He used to have a little column in the newspaper, [and a contest on the radio]. He would give some facts about a band...

MD: Oh, I remember that!

BB: And I think I still have one at home. It was about KISS. He was giving away a copy of their newest album, called "Love Gun", and I won it. The very first thing I ever won off the radio was from him. I remember driving my bicycle from Port Williams on a rainy Friday in the summer, to go to the radio station and pick up my winnings. It was the biggest thing that ever happened in my life, was winning that record.

MD: How about that?

BB: And I got there, on Oakdene Avenue. I was soaking wet. Wally Milan walks by. "Are you Bev Keddy? Here's your record!" That's the only time I saw him face-to-face.

MD: Is that right? [chuckles]

BB: Yes. So, I had to ask about Wally Milan. Thank you for that.

MD: That's Wally!

Bob Billings

MD: There is an original idea that only the Valley could come up with. Block your Sunday morning programming with this [religious] programming that made them a ton of money. And, to prop that up, make your Monday to Friday morning guy, a minister! When I was in the Valley, he was the morning man.

BB: The march around the breakfast table!

MD: His real job was as a minister. He just happened to be the morning guy at AVR.

BB: I wonder how he multitasked like that?

MD: Well, he had an interesting approach, an interesting delivery on air.

BB: You're being diplomatic.

MD: I'm being very diplomatic. As an example, when the radio college opened, and new young guns like me and Kevin Meredith and Dave Bannerman and Eddie Davidson, started walking in there, we were bringing fresh ideas to AVR. And, guys like Bob Billings and Don Hill were witnessing that our new ideas were being embraced. And, here Bob was doing a morning show where his entertainment feature was based on marching around the breakfast table. You could sense that these guys could hear the footsteps behind them.

As was the case with Bob, his days as morning man were numbered, but not as an employee, because he was a valued, very dedicated, honest man, hard-working. They moved him from on air to Production. They gave him the opportunity to work as long as he wanted to there, and he embraced it. He knew that the jig was up, so let's do a new thing, and he did.

BB: Excellent. So, you're not saying anything bad about the guy. You're just...

MD: No, no. He had as unique a delivery as any other announcer may have. How can you insult an individual based on their abilities and skills? He had his own unique approach. He was the morning guy. Me being a rock n' roller, he wasn't my cup of tea. Professionally, that's not the kind of jock I want to listen to. Personally, he was a wonderful man. I leaned on him for advice more than once.

BB: Is he still around?

MD: Yes. Apparently, he still has a church in the Valley.

Ian Robinson

MD: [Chuckles]. Jakey!

BB: Jakey? How did he get that name?

MD: We're from the nickname capital of the world. I do a stand up comedy routine. Depending on where I am, one of my bits will be on nicknames. I'm from the Sydney Mines area of Cape Breton. Everybody had a nickname. Ian Robinson's [nickname], that I gave him, is "Jakey". There was a guy who owned a corner store. We thought he was 3 sandwiches short of a picnic. His name is Jakey. We thought he was funny, thought his name was funny, so now we call each other Jakey.

Ian was a few years behind me. I was in radio when he graduated in '82 or '83 from Memorial. He was much like you. He had and still has a passion for radio when he was growing up. He could recite line, verse, chapter of radio in Sydney and in Halifax. I love his sense of humour. I love his laugh.

In the old days, he would sort of look up to me. Nowadays, we're equals. He has certainly made his accomplishments in the business. But I still look at him as my little brother. He's my little brother.

BB: He tells me that 20 years ago you guys hoisted a few at a few downtown bars, too.

MD: Oh, yes. We'd do that. We worked together at CHNS, or he'd be at CJCH. We'd still go out. "Meet you at Cheers!"

CJCB had a reunion a couple of years ago. Ian was instrumental in putting this thing together. He helped bring together people from all over North America. They came to Sydney on [that] weekend because they had worked at CJCB. There were some faces; there were some stories. And Ian's laugh can be heard at the tail end of every one of them. He has this great big thunderous laugh.

BB: Yeah. It's almost like a giggle sometimes, too.

MD: I will always enjoy Ian Robinson. I think he still has on tape, my first all night show at CJCB in Sydney in 1978. He's got more tape on me than I do!

Denyse Sibley

MD: Denyse worked here in Truro radio back in the 1980's when she was very young. I think she worked at the old CKCL. Then, she ended up in Halifax at CHFX where we worked together. She worked at the country station. So, we worked together for eight years.

BB: On Barrington Street? 1313 Barrington Street?

MD: Yes. First, on Tobin Street. We were only there for a couple of days before moving to Barrington and Morris. We shared traffic with Cindy Greer. I was doing the morning show. Denyse would pop up and share the mornings with me. She was hard to keep up with. I couldn't understand how a woman could go that fast, do so many jobs, never break a nail, and walk in stilettos. And, here she was, doing traffic. I think she still does all of that.

And, when she was here [in Truro], she liked it; everybody liked her. But Halifax [MBS] was tugging at her, and she couldn't resist. She tried it here, but she decided that Halifax was her home, so she went back, and everybody still loves her.

Shawn Rosvold/Shawn Kelly

MD: Let me go back to Magic [97]. When Neil MacMullin gave me the ok, he said, basically, "Here's your frequency. CKWM-FM, 97.7. Here's your budget. Now, turn it into something. I had been in Pasadena, California. He had sent me to Los Angeles for a programming convention. I came back, and I took [with me] little bits of all these other stations that I saw and heard all over the States, and put together Magic 97. The writing, even the style of lettering, from one station, in Philladelphia. I liked the word "magic". I also wanted to play on the "M", as in CKWM, so that could also be incorporated into Magic.

Before he gave me the key to the place, [Neil] said, "Do a good job". He said, "We only have one crack at this". With that, I took it to mean, "Don't make any mistakes". And, if you do, be smart enough to fix them. I thought the most important thing was going to be, "What's our line up? What's our content going to include?" I thought it should include some of the best jocks I could get my hands on. We already had one in-house, Jamie Dodge. I had to recruit somebody who was young, who knew music up to that point, and was going to be passionate and eat every bit of information he could from that point on so that he could be our music director. I found him. His name is Mike Mitchell. He's been there from Day One. He is still there. So, he was a part of the roster.

Getting back to Shawn Rosvold: His application came in. I was excited that someone with such a polished delivery and a rock-solid resume, actually wanted to work at a radio station that I was going to help build. He was the only guy that I ran into Neil's office with his resume and his tape and the whole thing, and I was excited. I said, "You've got to listen to this." That made Neil happy: The fact that I was excited about this guy. It was Shawn Rosvold.

We still communicate with each other. Is he still in New York?

BB: The last I heard, he is still in New York and is a producer on satellite radio, for, uh...

MD: Is it Jay Thomas?

BB: Jay Thomas! Yes.

MD: So, anyway, Shawn Rosvold: He was my first big-time ringer. I'm proud to say that he was there.

BB: Didn't he become program director [after you left]?

MD: I'm sure that after I left, yeah. He would have taken over after I left in '88.

Frank Cameron

MD: Oh, Frank. There's my man. The first time I met Frank, we were celebrity M.C.'s. There was me, Frank Cameron, Laura Lee Langley. The three of us were celebrity editions on some variety program. They did caricatures of all of us. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with my caricature.

The first time I spoke with Frank, I found him to be personable, not an ounce of ego. He was pleased to be in our company, and he always gave 110%, especially when he was in front of people.

I learned a little something from hooking up with Frank, and that is how he worked in front of people. A big part of my career is how I work in front of people, which it is.
I had the pleasure of working with Frank briefly at CHNS. I was not program director at this time, so I didn't hire him. I have nothing bad to say about Frank. And, of course, he's been in broadcasting since the 1800's. [chuckles]

BB: Since before they had broadcasting.

MD: Right.


How did you get the job at Annapolis Valley Radio? 1977, if I recall correctly.

MD: It would have been early '77 because I was still going to school. I had to share my time with the school. I would go to school up to three o'clock, and then run down over the hill and work at the radio station until five. Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, they had me working part-time in continuity.

BB: It was a steep hill, and you could just roll down.

MD: Thank Heavens it was coming down at the end of the day. Then, Thursday, Friday I did the night show; and then Saturday afternoon, I did the Saturday afternoon show at AVR.
Those were the days when the format was a little loose, little looser than it is now. We were allowed to bring our own music.

BB: Really?

MD: I must say that the Valley learned about groups like Suzi Quatro. I would bring old Doobie Brothers with me. Deep Purple...

BB: Before Mike MacDonald?

MD: Yes. Before Mike pasteurized the Doobie Brothers. And Minglewood? I used to play until the needle fell off. Minglewood's Red Album? I don`t know if you remember that or not. Matty's first record, with "Caledonia".

So, I would play this, and the program director at the time, he hadn't a clue what I was playing. It was like, "What are you playing?" I'd bring Jethro Tull in, and he would say, "This Tull guy has got to go!" [laughter] I think at that point I realized that sooner or later that program director's going to go. And he did.

Your first job is always the most valuable. I challenge anybody to say anything different. It may not be the best job you've ever had. You may not do your best work at that job. But your first job is going to be where you pour the cement. And AVR gave me that ability, that latitude, for me to learn about myself and to learn about broadcasting, and to put experiments into action. Because, you were allowed to fail. Back then you were allowed to fail.

It's almost like the fall is that much worse today if you do fail. It could be your research was wrong. Some stations may put so much emphasis in one phone call that could really dictate what your next project is going to be, a success or a failure. Back in the old days, when we had room for failure, because you failed did not mean you were on thin ice. And I'm not saying that it should be that these days. I'm not saying we should change.

But I'm thankful that I'm in radio at the time I am now, and that I learned when I did. I think these days, in the current conditions, to learn about radio and get in radio at ground level at 18, 19 years old, as I did, in 2009... I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think you can relate, Bev. We're a similar age, maybe a little younger. Still, you know what I'm talking about. It was all fun. It was shits and giggles back then. But you still got the job done. I'm just glad I had the people: The Neil MacMullin's, the Tom Fredericks'ses, the Merv Russells, who did hand over the key and say, "Here. Go ahead. Knock yourself out. Do your best. We'll evaluate it later." It worked out well, I think. 32 years later, I'm still here.


I remember you became the morning man at AVR around 1980, 81. You replaced Bob Billings. What steps did you take to modernize that morning show? How difficult a challenge was that?

MD: It was 1979 when I came back to AVR for the third time. I had left AVR twice there. I had left in 1978 for CJCB for six months. Then, I came back in late '78 and went to CHER radio. One of the sales guys at CJCH in Halifax had gone down as manager and wanted me to go down. It was very successful during its brief six or seven month stint, but disaster was just around the corner. There was an opportunity to get out because Tom Fredericks called and said, "Do you want to come back to AVR as program director?" This was a big step for me. This was my first job as p.d., so I came back in late '79 as program director.

BB: You were really young, too.

MD: Yeah, I was 23. So, that was huge. I was program director not only of AVR's four AM stations, and CKWM-FM. I had to learn how to p.d. those stations. Neil bought the radio station in May of 1979. He had a vision. He wanted it to grow; he wanted it to progress; he wanted it to be better; he wanted it to sound more polished. He had been around the business, so he knew what he wanted. Therefore, he gave the manager, Tom Fredericks, the budget to get the tools. Me coming back as p.d. wasn't a stretch.

Early, maybe 1980 as you said, it was time to start to grow, to start to get a little hipper. Neil knew of my abilities as a jock, so he wanted to take advantage of that. In addition to being program director he wanted me to be on air. Mornings would be the place to, let's say, reinvent AVR.

So, Bob [Billings] had to be moved to a different area. That's when he was moved into Production.

BB: It wasn't his choice?

MD: You know what? I'm not 100% sure. I think perhaps Bob was encouraged to step aside and let some young blood in. He was not kicked to the curbside.

So, that was one of the changes that I had to make. We had strong on air people in the Valley at that time. We also had to grow mid days. We had to grow afternoons. I knew all too well what these day parts sounded like, and I knew what Neil wanted them to sound like, because my counterparts in Halifax were Brian Phillips in the morning, Randy Dewell midday, Gregg Lee at night. You had these big jocks.

I had to create a Valley-type of sound. We did that by hiring a jock from Charlottetown, John Morgan. He went to mornings.

BB: Yeah, John Morgan. I remember him very well.

MD: I found it was too difficult to do mornings and be program director, so he came over as mornings later on, but to make the changes in '79, '80, '81, Eric Smythe came over from the Creative department, and we put him on air. He was a very strong announcer. He was part of that change to make AVR hipper.

We expanded our news department to include sports and weekends, etc., to make it more community relative if you will.

That was the toughest two years of my whole life. "OK, Kid. You've got to grow up now. You've got to ruffle some feathers. You have to make some changes. The boss wants this sound; you're going to have to give it to him."

BB: Was there resistance from listeners?

MD: Yes. We got resistance from one group of people who resist change. But some of these people probably balked at colour tv, too. You're going to inherit some people who will oppose no matter what you do.

We also had a group of people who were vocal in their relief that their radio station that they had to endure for years and years was finally getting a window dressing.

BB: I was one of those people.

MD: Oh, thank you. It was this time, too, when Commercial Street in New Minas was ... it seemed like all you had to do was add water and businesses were popping up. There were McDonald's, Burger King, shopping malls. And, you, and thousands of other teenagers and people in their young twenties, it was realized that these people had control over a certain amount of income as well. So, the radio station, to basically show our sponsers, our advertisers, that we were aware that our population was changing, we changed our programming. We enhanced it. I don't say we "changed" so much. It evolved. I had to make that evolution.

I think we did that in the same way that here in Truro, this radio station (Big Dog) came, as a result of a bad format known as Easy Rock; and before that, another bad format of The Mix; and before that I don't know what. If you have the right people in place during evolution, what you recognize as the end product is going to be well worth it, as it is here at Big Dog. We had some people who didn't like the change, but the vast majority... yes, it was well worth the trip.
The same with AVR. It was a tedious, two year period there where we had to grow, we had to dress it up, we had to go colour and leave behind black and white. And we did it very well.

Is there something in radio you have not done, that you would like to do? I think you've done everything except sweep the floors.

MD: I've done that at a number of stations! Don't forget: When you lock up at AVR, it included the broom.

The one thing I have thought about often is that I would enjoy doing a talk show. Here's a piece of wisdom from Merv Russell: When it comes to talk shows, you don't have to have all the answers. But a good talk show host knows where to get them. I believe that one thing I would like to do is a talk show. I can use these people that know me, and use my resources of the people I know, to connect our listeners to a question whether it be about politics, religion, sports, you name it. I may not have the answer, but I can get the answer for you; you just hold on the line. That's all these people need, is a facilitator.

BB: Do you think there's a possibility of their being private radio talk shows again?

MD: I hope so. I don't know if AM is going to come back and just be given to spoken word, of if there's going to be a free for all on the digital network. I think you're going to hear in some way, shape, or form, an arena where listeners can be heard, at random, and en masse, in what I call radio eaves dropping.


Tell me about your acting/mc/public speaking/voice over jobs.

MD: This goes back to '82 when a dear friend of mine, Carol Lesbriel, said to me during a fashion show that I was MC'ing with her, "Man, you're going to have to get yourself an agent". Only because I was getting more requests to do work, and some of the projects were in Halifax, where you could swing a cat and hit 20 good jocks, or MC's. Not only did I have to get an agent, but I had to make sure that whatever I did was damned good and better.

I finally got an agent in '86. The first project he got me was a TV commercial. What I was actually after was just to do voice over work. The first project I got was for a Vogue Optical tv commercial, which turned into a series of them, so I did four. At the time, everywhere I went, whether it was the mall, or church or where ever, it was like, "Oh, there goes the Vogue Optical guy!".

Then I got a series of shopping mall spots which Denyse Sibley and I actually did together. We were husband and wife. [They were] for Atlantic Shopping Centers. The same agent called me one day and said, "You've got an audition for a movie role". I think that was mid to late '80's for the Bruce Curtis Story.

BB: I've seen that movie.

MD: I was a lawyer in that movie. These are projects that I didn't intend to go get. Long story short, I auditioned successfully for the role of the lawyer in the Bruce Curtis Story. I got bitten by the bug. I said, "That's it. This is what I want to do".

In amongst all of this, Merv Russell and I got to be good friends. He is probably the most connected guy in media or business that I have ever met. He still is. Everywhere we travelled together, he would introduce me to someone of influence or somebody that had something that I wished I was a part of. That led to MC jobs, after dinner speaker work. That's what led to me doing stand up comedy routines.

I had that in the bag; I had that going for me. And the movie acting: I would get one audition after another. I was in the first season of Black Harbour.

BB: Was that a recurring role?

MD: Yes. It was a recurring role. "Harold Bullard" was the character's name. He was a government official. At the same time, I was in a movie called "Love and Death on Long Island".

BB: With Jason Priestley?

MD: Yes. I played the role of Jason's sitcom dad in the movie. On my first day on set, Jason and I met in make up. He was in the chair next to me, and I looked over and said, "They're going to have to do a little work on one of us!", because he was 26, and I was 38 at the time. And I'm supposed to be his father. I said, "How the Hell are we going to pull this off?" He was quite a nice guy; we got to be good friends.

I was very fortunate. I was in [Shattered City]; I had a great role in it. Before that, I was in Westray Mine disaster documentary. After that was the Halifax Explosion movie. I thought, "Is this all I'm going to be in? Explosion movies?"

Somebody said I had been a big name in some little movies, and a little name in some big movies, but I was never the big name in a big movie. [chuckles]

BB: What's the most recent film you've been in?

MD: The Halifax Explosion. I was an American doctor in that. That was a two part series; I was in the first part. Big speaking role in that one. It was a prominent role. I have to tell you a funny story about that. My son had three or four of his posse together at our house a couple of years ago. I was upstairs getting my ceremonial afternoon nap. Nevin was getting ready to go out with these guys. They were sitting in the living room. While Nevin was getting ready, he just popped a dvd in the machine for these guys to watch, just to keep them company, to kill a little time. What he popped in, inadvertently, was the Halifax Explosion. at the point where I walk into the movie!

It ran through a couple of scenes I was in. These guys watching this have no idea that who I am. They know that Nevin's father is Moe Dunn, but we had never met. So, just as I come off the screen, when I get punched out, I walk downstairs, walk into the living room, and I look at the boys. "Hey, how are you doing, guys?" Well, all their jaws dropped because they had just seen me on screen.

So, there were some cool moments of me in the movies. It's treated me very well. I stopped actively pursuing the movie trade if you will only because finding out in Truro driving back and forth for an initial meeting, and then for an audition, and then for a callback, and then maybe a second callback. And then you'd go in for wardrobe, sizing, etc. That was a lot of trips, and right from the very first minute of someone expressing an interest and you're getting the movie, any actor will tell you this: You're unmanageable. You can't live with them, because that's all you're thinking about. "I have to get that movie role. I have to learn these lines." You're consumed by it. And the kids running around the house, and your wife... They're trying to conduct their lives as normal as possible, but here I am. This will go on for weeks and weeks. And the travel back and forth. It all got to me. If I do get a call from someone who wants me to be in a specific project, then I would be more than happy, but since then I have not had an active agent. I have enough freelance work that keeps me going to Halifax on a semi regular basis, as my home is Truro.


Wrap Up

BB: Well, thank you very much for this interview. It's been very fascinating for me to walk down memory lane with you and to talk about the old days at Annapolis Valley Radio. I listened to it for many years, so thank you very much for your time.

MD: You're most welcome, Bev.

BB: It's been a pleasure meeting you. And... spread the word of the blog! I want to interview every on-air radio person in Halifax, but I'm going to spread it now so that any on air radio person in Nova Scotia I would like to meet them, sit down with them and interview them for the blog.

MD: Consider it done. We'll link you up with Big Dog and Moe Dunn website for starters. We'll get you linked up.

BB: Excellent! Well, thank you once again.

MD: My pleasure.

777th Post - Things That Don't Make Sense In Halifax (Part One)

For this special post, number 777, I thought I'd inaugurate an irregular feature here at Bevboy's Blog: Things in Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense, or the TIHTJDMS column. In this feature, I will discuss things that may at first blush appear quaint, historic, funny, whatever. But upon reflection, sober second thought, whatever, it doesn't make any sense.

The first item is in the above picture. I'm not going to comment on the quality of the food at the Waterfront Warehouse. I have eaten there once or twice and never spat anything out, which goes a long way in my book.

Years and years ago, the front of this building, facing Lower Water Street, was a Wacky Wheatley's electronics store. It left the downtown to Kempt Road, before it moved to its present location in Bayer's Lake. Afterward, the building was empty for a spell before the above restaurant moved in.

It looks fine inside, but the outside looks awful. There is rust on the roof, or perhaps faux rust. It is not an inviting place to enter. It looks unfinished. Why should one go into a place, when one's perception is that the roof may collapse?

Every time I walk past this place, as I did today on my lunch hour when I snapped the above, I wonder what the Hell the owners were thinking when they decided to have fake rust on the roof of the place. I keep wondering just what other neat ideas they have up their sleeves for future restaurants. What next? A faux crackhouse? Pretend dead hookers strewn about while you decide on your entree? Needles on the table that are actually breadsticks? Furtive-looking, malnourished waiters and waitresses taking your order?

Face it: The Waterfront Warehouse just doesn't make sense.

Next, when I get around to it: An upscale restaurant whose name conjures up an unsavoury aspect of Halifax's history.


Monday, April 27, 2009

776th Post - A Tip of the Hat to the CBC!

I posted a few minutes ago on hobo's, which made me think of the Tunes for Troubled Times show Patricia and I attended last month. The CBC has been running the show, most recently this evening at 8, finishing up about an hour ago. Alas, I missed it. Drat! I wanted to hear it again. It was that good.

Anyway, I went to the CBC Radio 2 website, seeking more information about the show. They do discuss it. And...

They mentioned this blog.

I wrote at length about the show last month, and it was that post that they linked to.

Here's the link:

Here's the bit you would want to read:

All of the above were at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorum in Halifax this spring to perform in front of an enthusiastic audience. How enthusiastic? Well, as Bevboy'sblog blogger (who was at the show) put it: "We hooted. We hollered. We clapped. We had a grand time."

Wow! The CBC quoted my blog, and provided a link to it, too. Is that cool or what?


775th Post - King of the Road

There are nights when I sit down to update this blog when I am not sure at all what I'll write about. This was one of those nights.

I have been transcribing the latest interview this evening. Country singer Hank Snow was discussed at one point, which made me look him up on google. Which got me to thinking about hobos. Which got me to thinking about an aunt and uncle of mine who used to take them in.

They are both gone now, but I distinctly recall them both telling me of the time they had a knock at their door one evening. A man who was walking the roads, a hobo, asked for an evening's lodging, which they provided. This was the 1970's. It was a different time. People would not do this now. They did then. Remember that this was a rural part of the province, too.

Anyway, Bob and Helen let the man sleep in their living room. He stayed the night and left early the next morning, with his thanks. To test the man, they left some money in plain sight, but it was not touched.

Over the years, I'd go visit them. From time to time, there would be a stranger at the kitchen table, described to me as a friend of one of their children.

I never thought anything of it at the time, but a month or so before Helen died, I asked her about these people. She replied that quite a few hobos had visited over the years. There must have been some hobo signs nearby alerting these guys that there was a kindly couple who would take them in. For all I know, those signs may still be there.

When Patricia and I attended the Tunes for Troubled Times show last month, we were treated to many songs of the Depression Era. One of them was "Big Rock Candy Mountain". It is a song best known today as a children's tune; but back in the day, it was about a hobo's idea of what Heaven must be like. Plenty of money, no hard work, the police can't chase you. That kind of thing. Read about it here.

If you are curious about what I mean when I say "hobo signs", there is an article about hobos here. Part of this article shows various hobo signs.

Fascinating stuff. They still have a hobo convention every Summer in Britt, Iowa!

Jack Bauer's on. Please excuse me.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

774th Post - A New Picture of Newbie

My camera offers me a mode by which I can physically get very close to a subject and then take a picture. Rather than use the optical zoom, I waited until Newbie was on my lap Friday night and then used that mode to get even closer, before taking this picture.

Looks pensive, doesn't he? Like he's thinking about something? Probably food, or new ways to torture me.

Kinda like a woman in that respect. Sigh.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

773rd Post - Larry King Was Wrong!

This afternoon, Patricia and I watched an edition of Larry King that I had taped a couple of days ago. It featured a pretty decent interview with Beyonce. Larry is not known for his research skills; he has always prided himself on sometimes not even knowing who his guests will be on a given night.

At one point he quizzes her on what it was like to sing "At Last" for the Obama's at his inauguration in January. She explained it had been a great honour and that she didn't think she'd see the day that an African-American would be elected President. Larry then mentioned that the song had first been a hit for Jimmy Dorsey.

Hmm. Something smelled fishy. Larry said that Dorsey had a hit with "At Last" in 1958, but everybody knows that Jimmy Dorsey died in 1957. Had Dorsey been like Tupac and stockpiled tons of posthumous recordings? Or was Larry misremembering?

When I got home this evening, I sleuthed a bit and found that the song had in fact first been a hit for Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, back in 1942. Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gorden, it has been recorded by many, many people over the years, but Glenn Miller was the first to have a hit with it.

Nice to know that a big band hit from more than 60 years ago can still be popular today. Not that fans of Beyonce would know, of course.

Here: read more about it.

Here: watch a presentation of it by Glenn Miller, vocals by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday.

And, yes, that's Harry Morgan, later Sherman T. Potter of M*A*S*H* fame, in the scene.

Do you still want to see Beyonce sing the tune? OK. So do I. Here you go:



Friday, April 24, 2009

772nd Post - A Busy Day Off

Hi. A quick post, as I have had a busy day.

The highlight was the latest blog interview. We drove to Dartmouth Crossing during the lunch hour, arriving at the Swiss Chalet there around 12:40. We went inside the restaurant and waited for him to arrive, which was shortly before 1pm. We started chatting, ate lunch, and didn't finish talking until about 3:30! I got some photos inside and outside. As we were about to take our leave, he began to tell one more story about how he had met a famous heavyweight champ of years gone by. I whipped out my voice recorder and asked him to start again, which he did. We didn't take our leave until 3:45!

Amazing stuff. It will be a long, fascinating interview, and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

He knows several other old-timers and has promised to help get me in touch with them. Talking to these guys about what radio was like 40 and 50 years ago, or even longer, will, I hope, be as fascinating to you as it has been to me.

We talked about Danny Gallivan, Foster Hewett, an incident involving Frank Sinatra and a hockey player, and so many other stories. His story of how he broke into radio was so fortuitous that one can only imagine some invisible hand guiding him toward this career path.

I can't wait to share these stories with you. Keep your eyes peeled for this amazing interview.

Gee, I have 2 interviews to transcribe now. I'd better get to work on them both this weekend.

Patricia and I plan to go for a drive tomorrow, taking our cameras with us. Expect lots of photos on my facebook, and the most interesting ones here.

The blog is getting to be more fun for me every day!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

771st Post - A Health Scare

Not a health scare for me, thank goodness. One for my friend Mark Dooley.

I have known Mark for several years now. We became acquainted through the afore-mentioned Tony Isabella message board. When I decided to leave that board in '07 and launch Bevboy's Blog, he is one of the people I tried to stay in touch with.

Mark had a health scare recently. A talented writer/artist, he decided to put it in comic strip form, to excellent results. And he has graciously granted me permission to post them here.

Thank you, Mark, for letting me run these terrific strips. And I hope and trust you're doing better. Keep in touch, my friend.

All art work is copyright 2009, Mark Dooley.

And, do I have to remind you, my readers, that you can click on each strip and see an expanded version of it? No, of course I don't.

All the best!


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

770th Post - A Rare Youtube Find

I don't know how many of you have heard of the Fantastic Four. It is a comicbook that's been published since 1962. There have been numerous cartoons. And there have been a couple of FF movies made in the last couple of years, 2005, and 2007 to be exact. Seen the '05 one. It was all right.

But there was a 1994 FF movie that was never meant to be seen by anybody. It was shot, edited, prepared for release, in theory, but never came out. It was done to retain a copyright. Nobody told the director, the actors, nobody.

I remember reading about the movie in a trade journal 15 years ago. I kinda knew it was in trouble when I learned that Roger Corman was the mastermind behind it. He doesn't spend 5 cents more on a film production than he has to. He hasn't lost any money over the years doing it, so I guess I can't argue with success.

This film never came out, but for many years illegal dupes have been available at comics conventions. Someone put a copy up on youtube, and I am providing a link to it now. Sue me.

There is a mythos about this film. Some prefer this el cheapo production to the big budget ones made in the last couple of years.

I got this from Fred Hembecks' site.

You decide:

After that, you can try these links:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9 of 9

You know you're welcome, right?


769th Post - Quick Blog Update

Hello, loyal readers.

I thought you might like to have a quick update on the blog, and the interviews I do for it.

Late Tuesday evening I finally finished transcribing the interview I conducted on April 5th. This is not as long an interview as some of the previous ones. It is just that the Easter holidays slowed me down; I couldn't find as much time to type as I really needed. Anyway, he has the text. I have asked him to vet it and request any changes like dumb typos that I made. I hope to publish that interview next week.

On Thursday, at lunch time, I meet with my next interview subject. This is a guy who's been on Halifax radio pretty much non-stop since the early 1980's. He is one of the guiding forces behind Q104. I am excited about this interview!

On Friday, I interview another person. I purposely scheduled this interview for my day off because I know this will be a long, long interview. I have cleared plenty of space off my digital voice recorder. I have 2 spare batteries in the little pouch I store the recorder in. This fellow's memories of Halifax radio go back to the 1940's. I have prepared some extremely obscure questions, and he tells me he is up to the challenge. I actually have a picture of a caricature of a radio personality who was on CJCH in the late 1940's, and will publish it with this interview!

I just hope I am up to the challenge of finding my way around (ugh!) Dartmouth Crossing. I mean, I support the idea of (ugh!) Dartmouth Crossing, if for no other reason than it will keep people over in Dartmouth who might otherwise come to Bayer's Lake, on God's side of the harbour. It is just that I haven't quite figured out, yet, how to find my way around (ugh!) Dartmouth Crossing. It was touted as an easier way to get around than my beloved Bayer's Lake; but I have found the opposite to be the case.

The interview subject told me today during lunch that the Swiss Chalet is easy to find, just off the highway. Yeah, right. Sure it is. I have no doubt about that. Really. Uh, huh. I realize this man doesn't know me, because if he did, he would never have said that to me. As I have stated here before, there exists no set of directions so fundamental that I cannot misinterpret them to my disadvantage. You tell me to go right, I go left. Not out of spite. Out of misunderstanding the difference between right and left. Same with up and down, East and West. Let's not even discuss the space/time continuum!

(Yes, my BlackBerry has a GPS built into it. It doesn't seem... sporting to use it, though. You understand?)

(Besides, GPS stands for "Global Positioning System". I just don't think they work in my world.)

Patricia will come with me on Friday to keep me from losing my mind, driving to (ugh!) Dartmouth Crossing, and finding this Swiss Chalet place. I will make sure the car has a full tank of gas. I will use most of it, driving around and around and around.

Easy to find! Bah! I'll show you easy to find!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

768th Post - More Jeff Cogswell Stuff

Video's now up on youtube showing Jeff Cogswell rolling down a hill whilst wrapped up in bubblewrap.

I shot video, too. Let me try to put that up, as well.

In the meantime, here's the embedded link from youtube:

And, have you seen the video of his being arrested? Hmm?


Here's the last piece I shot.

I do apologize for the shakiness of the footage. I was laughing so hard during the whole thing, I couldn't keep a steady hand. Trust me: This was a good time.


767th Post - Say Hello To Sam

This is a cat that started visiting Patricia last Autumn. I was finally able to get my camera trained on him a couple of days ago, and this is what he looks like.

We know he's a boy cat. Let's leave it at that. We know he isn't fixed. We'll be delicate about that, too. We're pretty sure he's homeless. That's the really sad part.

We named him "Sam" because, well, he looks like a Sam to us. He makes his rounds of the neighbourhood, hitting people up for food, which we and others give him. He has been inside Patricia's place a few times, too, but with Cindy Clawford living there, we don't want to disturb her.
Sam somehow made it through the Winter. He would show up from time to time, looking cold and frost bitten, before moving on to someone else. He is extremely timid around humans. He will let Patricia pet him, but only for a moment. If I show up, he takes off. It is a wonder I was able to snap these photos, and a few others, on Sunday.

I am not sure what my point is here, or if I even have one. "Sam" is but one of potentially a couple hundred thousand homeless, abandoned, even feral cats in the Halifax area. Those are numbers that the average person cannot grasp. What we can hold on to, look at, even fall in love with, is "Sam", who did not ask to be treated this way, or to end up in the predicament in which he finds himself.

If only half the jerks who get cats and abandon them, would just get them spayed or neutered beforehand, then much of this problem with homeless cats would be fixed. Instead, they get kittens that, once they become a burden, or too expensive to keep, are thrown out and left to fend for themselves.

Maybe, if he ever trusts us enough, we'll take "Sam" to the vet's and have him fixed. At least, then, he would be unable to knock up other cats, and a little bit of the damage his previous owners wrought can be repaired. Maybe he'll let us keep him.

If we're good enough for him.

After all, you know what cats are like.


Monday, April 20, 2009

766th Post - Ugh!

I must be sick. Newbie has been with me all night. Got home from work around 545 and been in bed ever since.

The flu? I hope not.

Did wake up in time to watch 24. Excellent as usual this season. Jack Bauer's condition has worsened again this week. How does he get out of this one?

Back to bed!

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

765th Post - Funny Commercials

It is late and I have to get up early. I have spent a couple of hours today transcribing the latest blog interview, and I still have about 7 minutes of material left to put into text. What a shame there is no software that exists that will let me take an audio file and translate it to text.

Anyway, I thought I'd embed a couple of funny commercials. The second one is a little more significant because the commercial was found to be very amusing by the late talk show host, Tom Snyder, back in the late 1990's. He booked the lead actress on his show and interviewed her. It was refreshing to watch a young actress, new to the business, who hadn't been seasoned yet. The interview was interesting in its honesty. I wonder if I still have it on tape somewhere, here in the house?

Herewith: funny commercials.

And, the one Tom Snyder liked so much:


Saturday, April 18, 2009

764th Post - The New Hard Times

The New York Times website has launched a series of videos, mostly brief, showing folks discussing how tough times were during the Great Depression of the 1930's. These people are in their eighties and nineties now, and what they have to say about those times should mean a lot to us and what we're going through now.

Here is the website.


763rd Post - A Pretty Cool Day!

You can go ahead and congratulate me if you want. I don't mind.

I attended the 2009 Area 9 International Speech and Table Topics Contest this morning at CFB Greenwood in the Annapolis Valley. Turns out that there were six contestants for the TT contest. I came in second!

Because there are only 4 Areas in what we call Division D, we are allowed to field two contestants from the Areas at the Division D contest in early May. Division D is all of the clubs in Nova Scotia. The competition will be fierce. I am allowed to participate and I'm gonna do my best.

It occurs to me that many of you reading don't know what the heck Table Topics is, and how much this means to me. I will take a paragraph or two to let you know.

In Toastmasters we do many things to help people control their fear of public speaking. Table topics is one of them. It is a section of a meeting where you are given a topic, and you must improvise an up-to 2 minute talk on that topic, on the spot.

At the contest level, the rules are formalized. It is the same question for each participant. All but the first participant were not allowed in the room. I was the second to go. When it was my turn, I was escorted into the room by the Sergeant At Arms, given the question on a piece of paper, and the Toastmaster read the question to me as well, twice.

Any sign that I am communicating with the audience, even non-verbally, is an indication for the timers to start the stop watch. If you want to take a few seconds to think about the question, you must remain implacable, inscrutable, doing nothing to tip off the timers.

I heard the question, read it over, and started talking.

The question was along the lines of what advice would you give a young person starting out today. I spoke about the mistakes I had made as a young fella and would urge a young person not to do some of those things. "You should always ask your boss two questions each and every day. 1: How high? 2: What colour? "

I went on to say things like you should always do what your boss asks you to do. Dress appropriately. Get the rings out of your nose, your lips, your face.

I summed up by saying, "Do as I say. Don't do as I did."

I got a nice round of applause, went to my seat, sat down, and started breathing again. I thought I had done well, or at least as well as I could have done.

Imagine my surprise when I came in second. The woman who came in first had spoken ahead of me, so I really don't know what she said, but it must have been good.

The next step is the provincials on May 9th. I am looking forward to them. I will be psyched.

If you want to, and are in the Dartmouth area on May 9th, it should not be a problem for you to attend this event. Let me know and I will let the power that be know.

Long day. Going to bed soon.


Friday, April 17, 2009

762nd Post - A Special Bevboy's Blog Contest

I work with a lovely woman named Moe. She is a huge, huge fan of the Nascar driver Tony Stewart. You can ask her why.

Moe is about to retire, and we will all miss her. I thought it would be nice if I poked a little gentle fun at Moe, and that's where you, my legions of readers, come in.

Lately, I have taken to making gentle digs at Tony Stewart. Stuff like, "I heard that Tony Stewart fed heroin to a bus load of school children the other day, and then drove them off a cliff". Or: "I understand that Tony Stewart was helping an old lady cross the street the other day. Then, he tripped her, and she got run over." Stuff like that.

I can't think of these nasty things every day, people. It is not in my nature. I'm not saying it is in yours, either, but perhaps if we all work together, we can each conjure up something inappropriate to say regarding this alternate-universe Tony Stewart that I can say in passing to Moe, just to brighten up her day in the weeks leading up to her official retirement.

I know you can do this. I know it.

The most disgusting, most vile, alternate-universe Tony Stewart comment will win a special prize. I am not sure what it will be yet. I will repeat these things to Moe. Whatever she thinks is the worst, wins.

Enter now. Enter often. Contest ends on May 15th, 2009 at 11:59pm E.T.

Send your suggestions right here



761st Post - A Funny Radio Promotion

I heard that my friend Jeff Cogswell of Z103.5 would be trying this silly promotion this morning. It was worth it, skipping breakfast, to make it to the downtown.

Whoever it was who decided this, they managed to convince Jeff to let some of his colleagues wrap him up in bubble wrap and then roll him down Citadel Hill.

Sounds silly, I know; and it was. It was also one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.

Gradually, they wrapped him in bubble wrap to the point where only his feet and head were exposed. Then, they gently lay him on the ground and pushed him down the hill. We roared the whole time.

But the funniest part was when the police came and "arrested" Jeff, placing him in handcuffs and leading him off to the paddy wagon.

I shot a bunch of video for this special event. I'll put one piece of it here, and the rest on my facebook, as soon as FB lets me do so, that is. It is especially temperamental this evening.

Jeff, my friend, you are a good sport. You gave Patricia and me a good chuckle when we sorely needed one. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In the mornin', I pile in my car and drive for two hours to participate in a Toastmasters Table Topics contest. Then, I drive back here. I hate driving that much.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

760th Post - Anybody Here Watch Fringe?

I tried to like Fringe. It is produced by J.J. Abrams, of "Lost" fame. I like his work. It featured some actors I liked. But I was bored to tears after the first episode, and haven't watched any since.

I am certainly aware of the show, though. A gradual mythology around it is growing.

A recurring character on the show is referred to as The Observer. But what some fans don't know is that he has been, well, an observer in some episodes where he didn't speak a word. He was like a Hitchcock cameo: There, and then gone. It is pretty clever.

Someone found many of these earlier appearances and mashed them up and put them on youtube. Check it out if you want.

The character has shown up in the oddest places. Like on an NFL game broadcast:

And what is a little Nascar without The Observer?

Finally, there is this live edition of American Idol. The character is not referred to. He's just there.

What's next? He is in the background at a trailer park on Cops, as they bust another shirtless perp? Walking past a re-enactor on America's Most Wanted? I can hardly wait.

I have to admire the marketing of this show and of the character. Who would have thought to cross-polinate this character from show to show? It is a brilliant marketing strategy. Perhaps it would work for Bevboy's Blog!

What do you think? Should I give "Fringe" another chance?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

759th Post - She Really Can Sing

One of our favourite summer shows is "America's Got Talent". It is produced by Simon Cowell. He is not allowed to be on the show as Fox owns all broadcast rights to Cowell. But he is on the British version of the show, "Britain's Got Talent".

I am unable to embed this video, and I regret that; Youtube is making more and more of its entries unembeddable, if that is a word. But I can provide the link. If this doesn't prove to you that you can't judge a book by its cover; that you should never underestimate anybody, ever, then nothing will.

Meet Susan Boyle.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

758th Post - Who Has the Time?

Are you like me, and you want to appearable knowledgeable of things, when in fact you are not? This insecurity on my part extends to things like sports and cars, and sporty cars, as well as cars driven by sports people.

As well, it extends to tv shows.

I have the best of intentions. I have analog cable hooked up to four televisions in my home. I have a digital cable terminal hooked up to a fifth tv. I have, what, 10 movie channels, beaming in commercial-free content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, I have video on demand for these channels. With the press of a couple of buttons, I can watch a subset of the content of these channels.

I also have many non-digital channels that I can watch whenever I want.

But who has the friggin' time?

My gosh, I work five days a week. Come the weekend, I am running the roads, trying to loosen my load, sometimes with in excess of 7 women on my mind. Patricia, my mother, my sisters, and three or four others who come out of the ether and who act as utility players on an as-needed basis. You understand. I'm a busy fella.

There are tv shows that I enjoy very much, and I make every reasonable effort to watch them. I adore the Jack Bauer Show, a.k.a. "24", a.k.a. "The Jack Bauer Razzle Dazzle Comedy Revue". I used to watch "Lost", but the show got away from me last Spring, and I haven't been able to get caught up on it. We both watch "Supernatural", and find it has gotten better and better over the years. There are others. "Dancing with the Stars" is a guilty pleasure. The women are practically nekkid on that show. Nekkid, I tell you.

There are shows that are on week after week that I don't follow, but many of my friends and colleagues do. How do I discuss a program I don't watch? What to do? What to do?

Why, it's obvious!

Look online to various websites that provide show recaps. These blogs/message boards/whatever are designed more to discuss shows with people who have already seen them, to point out things that viewers may have missed. That sort of thing. But they can also be used to provide a summary to people like me who don't have time to watch the show, but want to keep up-to-date on it.

"But, Bev", you wail, "I don't know what any of those websites are. Can you help me out and tell me what a few of them are?"

Of course I will. I am glad to.

The granddaddy of all show recap websites has gotta be "Television Without Pity". It is all about recaps for nearly every show you watch, guaranteed. One writer who produced recaps for "Alias" a few years ago was actually asked to provide an audio commentary for an episode of that show when it was released to dvd, season three I think. That commentary is hysterically funny.

There are other such websites. Every Tuesday during my lunch hour I have to read the recaps of "The Jack Bauer Show" that appear on the Entertainment Weekly website, the TV Guide website, and the Zap2it website. The latter website has its recaps in the "It Happened Last Night" link.

They all provide interesting insights into my favourite shows, and point out things I might have missed otherwise. Other times, they point out things I had already noticed, like Tony Almeida's reaction to the news that Kim Bauer had been found and was about to see her dad. His reaction was interesting to say the least, and may shed some light on the closing moments of the show last night. If you have seen this week's episode of "The Jack Bauer Show", you'll know what I mean.

Now, you, too, can appear knowledgeable about tv shows you haven't seen.

You're welcome. You know I love you, don't you?