Congrats America, You’re Officially Cool Again!

(photo courtesy of Boston.com)

On November 5th, 2004 I drove across the border from Canada into Upstate New York, to do some shopping at a local outlet mall. Being the day after President Bush’s re-election what struck me was how quiet everything was. Everything and everyone.

Despite the Greater Buffalo area having the appearance of a red state — that is, yellow ribbons on every door and “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers on every SUV — the mood there was anything but celebratory. I particularly remember looking around the tables at a small diner and watching all the sullen eyes staring downwards while John Kerry’s Concession speech blasted on the wall-mounted TV. It was as if every patron in the joint was thinking the same thing:

“Here we go again…”

And now on this Inauguration Day 2009, it seems that America’s got its groove back. It has once again become the land of opportunity and seems primed for (and I’ll take credit for this phrase) Camelot 2.0.

As a dual citizen of Canada and the US and A I wish all the best for my adopted second homeland. Please don’t mess this up, okay?

Of Poverty, Racism and Guns

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While I certainly don’t think there’s any excuse for firing shots at people who are trying to rescue you, I do agree with the growing opinion that America’s poor, non-voting black population has not been a priority in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last week.

I visited The Big Easy for a corporate gig at SIGGRAPH in 1996 with fellow Second City alumnus Doug Morency; on one of our nights off we went to hear some jazz in the “black part of town”. It was a great club, out in the middle of nowhere, and we had a great time. But the evening will be forever soured by the cab ride back to our hotel. The guy who picked us up looked every bit like the prototypical Klansman, and as soon as we were underway turned ‘round to sneer at us and say “Whut y’all been doin’ in this neckuh-the-wood?”—thankfully his attention was turned to some dude crossing our path on a bicycle, who received the most hate-filled utterance of the n-word that I have ever been a witness to.

Now being a left-wing, commie peace-nick I’m all for gun control, but I can at least appreciate how some black folks might see fit to to arm themselves in this kind of environment. It makes me wonder too, if all the gunplay going on in our own backyard is evidence that Toronto isn’t the utopian cultural mosiac it’s supposed to be…

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Here We Go Again

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(image courtesy of JeffRense.com)

Four years ago I can clearly remember watching the non-results of the 2000 U.S. Election from my suite in the Vancouver Sheraton, in the midst of a Labatt-sponsored, cross-Canada campus comedy tour. Four years later I watched John Kerry concede on TV while chowing down a two-dollar hot dog at a greasy spoon in Niagara Falls, New York… How’s that for progress?

With tours of Asia and Bosnia, plus some high-profile Whoser-type gigs, I can’t really say that my career has suffered in the past four years, but the mood is certainly different. Back then it seemed like the sky was the limit; now I breathe a sigh of relief when any work comes my way.

It’s gonna be a long four years, folks…

Found It

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… The beach, that is! Just a few blocks behind my hotel is a wonderful stretch of sand, bordered by the hilly community of Palos Verdes on one end, and Redondo Beach Pier on the other. I’d post more photos, but of course I forgot to pack the transfer cable for my digital camera.

Yesterday I paid tribute to some of my old haunts in Santa Monica, then offered up a personal tour of LA for the kind young lady that showed me around E3 Wednesday afternoon. Today I have so many people to visit I don’t know where to start! If you’re on the list and don’t make the cut, don’t feel bad; I might, in fairness, slip away this evening without seeing anyone.