Monday, December 16, 2013

Go Deck Yourself

How many times has she insisted she is not competitive? Too many to enumerate.

How many times have I insisted no one will pull the wool over my eyes? Same answer.

It was a few month ago when Susan announced she had signed us up for the “Santa Shuffle” on Mount-Royal. The event has been happening in Montreal for several years; conclusive proof, yet again, my address remains, “lives under a rock”.

She had also signed us up for the 5K “Color Me Rad” run last June, which turned out to be fun and quite survivable for someone with zero appreciation for running. She explained the “Santa Shuffle” was also a 5K run for which participants dress in festive colors and garb.

To me, it also sounded like harmless fun!

We left the house early December 7th and, without issue, found parking on Mount-Royal. The day was bright and sunny with a slight bite to the air. The wind chill was listed at -10 Celsius.

We found the starting line at the chalet right on top of the mountain. I had done some token training; running on the treadmill at the gym for a few minutes here and there. Stupid, really. It was meaningless training and probably begs the question, “why bother?”

At the starting line
With impressive dispatch, Susan had already completed the popular “Couch To 5K” running program, while I, with equal dispatch, perfected the far less effective “Couch To Kitchen” version of the program.

Surrounded by holiday hats and Christmas tuques and armed with several warnings on the part of organizers about icy running conditions, the run began. I started running, making certain not to set off at too aggressive a pace. Running too quickly at the outset would surely burn out my non-existent energy reserves in no time, plus, after sweetly offering to run with me for the entire distance, I didn’t want Susan to complain I was running faster than she wanted.

Most of the time, I ran behind her, cautiously, quietly muttering and cursing myself. Most of the time, she chatted away, inevitably ending verbal sequences with a question. I was sure she was deliberately torturing me! I could neither find enough air to answer beyond a desperate one-syllable grunt, nor could I find enough air to compose rational thoughts!

In the end, I tended to ignore her questions when they came. It might have been more considerate to have at least spray-painted the letters “SOS” on my forehead. That way, when I didn’t answer, I could, between  deafening heaves, turn my message in the direction of her indignant gaze.

Finally, after three kilometres or so of straight running, I asked if I could walk a bit. She sweetly agreed. People roared past. Santas roared past. Elves roared past. Dogs on leashes roared past. Lopsided squirrels with their cheeks full of nuts roared past. With only the slightest hint of impatience in her voice, she asked when we could start running again.

A few moments later and against my better judgement, I resumed the run.

Please allow me to go down on record here as saying how much I hate the runners who effortlessly floated past me in those final kilometres, cheerily singing Christmas carols! Go deck yourself.

There might have been less than a kilometre to go when we circled the marker signalling the final stretch of the run. As we circled the marker, we could see the runners who were behind us. Sensing my fragile mental state, as well as my embarassing physical state, Susan exclaimed, in a barely patronizing tone, “Look, you’re beating all these people to the finish line.”

At least it wasn’t a question.

Laboring mightily, I gasped, “There’s only one person I want to beat.” Sweetly, she responded, “Don’t worry, I’ll let you beat me.” At that point in the run, it consoled me to know that if ever I were to write a memoir, I would be able to get some positive-sounding mileage out of this infernal run’s finish. The thought provided my sputtering tank with a meagre spark.

I thought I was falling backwards when, with 100 yards to go until the finish line, she suddenly sprinted ahead. I hoped it was a nightmarish scene from an exhaustion-induced hallucination! It wasn’t. I sprinted after her and I use the word “sprinted” here very loosely, because what I did was more like stumbling, toppling and flailing in a pathetic effort to catch her long, bobbing Christmas hat.

Gleefully, she streaked across the finish line well before my tattered form. I wouldn’t talk to her. In truth, I couldn’t talk to her; my head and eyeballs were spinning in opposite directions!

On so many levels, the outcome served me right. It served me right for believing she wasn’t so competitive that she would trounce her struggling husband. It served me right for failing to put in the adequate training I’d need to defend my pride in the event my true love were to make a sudden and ruthless dash for the finish.

She says she’ll be signing us up for the "Santa Shuffle" next year. Oh, good. Scarred though I may be, with my vision newly-obscured by a wooly substance, I will probably be there for next year’s Santa Shuffle, as unprepared as usual. After all, it’s a time of year for spreading good cheer and if Susan can spread her own at my expense, we seem to be good with that.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Biggest Boss

I’ve had the date on my calendar circled for a long time. It’s the date Chris Hadfield visited our studio for an interview! He arrived Wednesday at least an hour before his scheduled time slot of 8:40AM. He had begun his day’s media rounds long before arriving at Global Montreal.When I heard he had arrived, I dashed down the hall to welcome him and to thank him for coming in to our station!

I introduced myself. He locked his eyes on mine, then slowly and deliberately stood up. I could swear that as he extended his hand, the theme to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” began playing nearby. He graciously thanked me for the invitation and introduced me to his son, Evan, who, as he put it in his New York Times bestselling book "An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth", helped him “corner the market on wonder”.

I hurried back down the hall to our studio, jumped into my chair beside Camille, turned to her and remarked, “He exudes cool!”

After so enthusiatically commanding the world's attention from space for 144 days, Chris Hadfield, scientist, author, teacher, pioneer, master tweeter, retired astronaut, former ISS commander and planetary inspirer, was right there in our office and I figured it would be much more compelling for viewers to see Chris Hadfield on the television with us, than us alone; besides, he appeared to be chilling. In fact, whatever he does, regardless of its complexity, simplicity, predictability or unpredictability, he always seems to be chilling! In truth, he had phone interviews with other media outlets lined-up, which he did in our edit suites.

Our producer agreed we could get him to do some other stuff on-air, like the weather with Jess! After he’d finished his phone interviews, Jess and I eagerly asked him if he would be willing to do the weather. He agreed. He came into studio as we were starting the last half hour of our show. As I got a 30 second cue in my ear, I grabbed a spare chair, dragged it to the desk, urging Chris to sit between Camille and I and that’s where he was as our last half hour opened!

To her credit, Jess didn’t give him any more information about the morning's weather maps than he needed and, not surprisingly, his performance as guest forecaster was stellar! See for yourself:

http://globalnews.ca/video/994334/out-of-this-world-weather

With massive humility, Chris Hadfield has done and continues to do so much for science, education, music, communication, social media and Canada! I got to ask him many questions and his answers were always sincere, thoughtful and captivating. On and off air, it was a privilege for us to be able to sit with him in our studio and ask questions.

Chris Hadfield admits thinking like an astronaut is counter-intuitive because instead of visualizing success, he says you must sweat the small stuff and visualize defeat. He also says he doesn’t live retrospectively, longing for the past. That’s probably a useful perspective on things, although it’s one I have yet to master!


As soon as the interview was over, his son, Evan, pushed open the door to tell his father they were behind schedule. I had kept him on-air longer than expected. I’ve never seen anyone take pictures so efficiently! In the space of what seemed the next thirty seconds, he posed for four or five pictures with different people, including myself, before being whisked out the door!

For the picture I posted on Instagram, my son commented, “biggest boss”. No argument here. Through his dedication, vision, hard work and willingness to invest in his fellow human, Chris Hadfield has made the world a better place.


The Global Montreal Interview here:

http://globalnews.ca/video/993724/commander-chris-hadfield 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fun Times Baby

I don’t know what to say. Once again, I’m sorta dumbfounded!

In the space of nine morning shows, I’ve had the crazy pleasure of interviewing Murray Head, Matt Dusk, Jason Derulo, James Blunt and Gino Vannelli! For a musician and music fan, it’s been pinch-myself fun! I know I’ve talked about how cool it is to interview musicians before, but even I've gotta admit, that’s a pretty stupid nine-day stretch!

I grew up listening to Gino Vannelli! I remember the moment my attention first locked onto the sound of the instrumental section in the middle of “Powerful People”. That led me to other great songs on that album, including, of course, “People Gotta Move”! I soon discovered that on top of great music, he was a Montrealer! I’ve always paid attention to his music and own several of his records. The story of how the singer, songwriter, musician, composer got signed to A&M Records is absolute legend! When I met Gino today, I asked him about that original encounter with Herb Alpert!

I remember attending GinoVannelli’s “Inconsolable Man” show at the Spectrum. When I came out of the show, my car had been towed and, suddenly, I was the inconsolable man!

My Top Ten Gino Vannelli songs:

10) Just a Motion Away
9) Hurts To Be In Love
8) Black Cars
7) Powerful People
6) Living Inside Myself
5) I Just Wanna Stop
4) Appaloosa
3) People Gotta Move
2) Wild Horses
1) Brother To Brother

I also grew up listending to Murray Head. Clearly, his song, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe”, is destined to stand the test of time! While researching the interview, I learned the propulsion-packed tune, “One Night in Bangkok”, was from a musical, and I also learned Murray was part of the original soundtrack of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. He visited Global Montreal to promote a big show coming to Montreal in the summer of 2014.

Singer, songwriter James Blunt got the most hits on my Facebook page!


He was on our show to promote his terrific new album, “Moon Landing”. He talked about how incredible it is to be able to sing songs for people who love his music.

As I pointed out on Instagram, R&B artist Jason Derulo is chill. He visited our show to promote his new album, "Tatoos". He’s good-natured, gracious and forthcoming, happy to talk about his life and his music!

I knew Matt Dusk’s name and knew his latest album features Chet Baker songs. Having sang Chet Baker myself, I was interested in meeting him to ask about the challenge of making Baker’s iconic vocal tracks his own. My wife wanted to take her Mom to see Matt’s show at Theatre Symposia. My son offered to go with them and I went along as well, not really sure what to expect. His show absolutely blew us away! He was easygoing and charming as he visited Global Montreal studios for an interview, clowning around with guests and agreeing to help me sing “Happy Birthday” to our fitness columnist, on-air.

He was just as easygoing, charming and funny on-stage.


He had some hilarious bits, and touching ones. He told the story of how he wallowed after a tough break-up. At one point, he met a songwriter who had an unfinished song. Matt and the songwriter eventually finished the tune and then recorded it. He did a first take of the song and then insisted he “could do it better”. The songwriter replied, “Yes, but you’ll never feel it better”. According to the story, that original take is the one that was released. He finished the story and began singing, “Five”. Promptly, tears began streaming from my eyes. Luckily, my wife and son didn’t notice! I’ve written in this blog many times, about how they mercilessly slaughter me when I get overly sentimental! Close call!

We discovered Matt Dusk is a great talent, with great energy, great tunes, a great band, performing in a hall with great sound! The day after the show, I added ten more Matt Dusk songs to my ipod, a fact I tweeted, and a fact he "favorited".

We met him after the show, along with a crowd of people. He generously gave everyone time and attention. Thankfully, we avoided calling security by finally managing to pry my mother-in-law's arm from around his waist! Another close call!

All of these impressive, talented people were so patient and happy to oblige guests, visitors and Global Montreal staff with pictures and autographs!

Also within those same nine days, were live performances in our studio by members of “Eclipse - The Pink Floyd Story”, and the passionate, ethno-classical duo, Beija-Flor.

Fun times, baby!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Apple Away

An apple orchard in St-Joseph-du-lac sent us a half-bushel of Cortland apples this morning. I refrained from offering any to our morning crew, wanting to have the bag look as full as possible when we showed it on the air.

Right before 7, we talked about how, at Vergers Lacroix, it's currently prime picking season for Cortland apples. As Camille read the note from the orchard, I clutched two impressive, softball-sized samples of the fruit, holding them up for viewers to see. Inevitably, I took a bite out of one and during Camille's next newscast, hurriedly ate it up! 


After we showed the apples on the air, I went into our control room with the bag and offered apples to our crew. Our producer took one, but our directors were too busy. I brought the bag of apples back into the studio with plans to mention Cortland picking season once again, later in the show.

The next guest to come on the show was David "Avocado" Wolfe, an enthusiastic proponent of super foods. His interview with Camille finished, we shook hands and they left the studio. Camille also stepped out. When she came back in a moment later, she spotted the apples by the door and exclaimed, "I should offer an apple to the guest!" I agreed.

She dashed out with the bag and it never returned.

Apparently, she generously offered the guest some apples and he very gratefully took the bag and left!

I'm confident this particular guest wholeheartedly appreciated the quality and quantity of the apples!

Camille was apologetic. I got a juicy, sweet, crisp apple out of the deal, so it's all good! Not only was it an  honest mistake, it's one that's hilarious to its core!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Envy No More

For the longest time, I’ve marveled at stories about singers and other artists being discovered as a result of their postings on youtube. I envied artists with their stuff drifting out there in cyberspace. It’s all about possibility.

Envy no more. My goal heading into the studio August 3rd was to get some of my own stuff out there in the youtube universe!

I’ve written more than 120 original songs and, over the years, recorded close to half of them. The last time I went into a studio to record music was in 2003. I recorded several jazz standards. Since then, my jazz trio has performed on telethons, at Montreal’s tennis event and in Dominion Square Park.

To help me finally get music on youtube, I enlisted the help of  monster jazz bassist, Dave Watts and videojournalist, Matt Consalvo.

My knee hasn’t been the same since I fell carrying my bass drum up the stairs at home. It happened as I was loading the car with my drums to go to the studio. I still feel it.

My plan heading in, was to record eight songs! Ridiculous. I recorded six, but none of them sound the way I hoped they would. Realistically, I should have planned to record two or, at most, three. Sure, I spent 11 hours in the studio that day but, inevitably, ran out of time and money!


I wrote a country song for the first time in my life and recorded it, along with two covers, including Chantal Kreviazuk’s incredible love song, “Invincible” and the Tears For Fears classic, “Mad World”, which I posted on youtube. I love Dave’s moody playing of the bass with a bow.

Later on Facebook Dave wrote, "I've never seen anybody work so hard in a session, you must be exhausted." For me, it was all play; eleven hours flew past in a blink, with just two bananas and a bag of trail mix for lunch and supper!

I re-recorded a song I had done a few years ago about the arrival of my son and did a song I wrote in 1985, called “Never Turned Out”, which I put on youtube.

Finally, I recorded “A Mere Diamond”, a song I wrote last summer. Matt did a nice job filming and editing it and I was happy to post it on youtube earlier this week. I also posted the lyrics in this blog. I included a rap in the song as a nod to one of my bomb bands, Linkin Park.

I appreciate all the comments I've been seeing and hearing about my stuff. Truth be told, I could live in the studio and I hope to get back there soon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Mere Diamond (lyrics)



A MERE DIAMOND



A little girl, in a great big world

lived up the street, seemed so sweet



I knew she was out there

but never knew she could be mine.



She is the sun in my day, nothing gets in her way

her approach to life, is all about today



She’s taken us so far above

already given me – a lifetime of love.



(CHORUS)  All this for a mere diamond.



For love she shares her love, she shares her life

she feeds her body to me, in the night



It’s the one thing that makes me thrill

and I burn - for her still.



I can’t take my eyes off her, I watch her read

does she know that when she looks at me, it’s off what I feed



If I land on unfamiliar ground

her smile tells me - I am found.


(CHORUS)



I’m slowing down, I’m losing hair

she must see it happening, but doesn’t seem to care



She gives me motion

With her devotion, yeah.


(CHORUS)


(RAP)
At times it doesn't seem real, but I believe what I can feel
If love has some grand scheme, then I an living in a dream.


(CHORUS repeat and fade)


Song written - July 2, 2012.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Studio Bound

I’m super stoked! It’s always exciting to be heading into the recording studio! My plan is to record four covers and four original songs during a multi-hour session. I recorded some jazz standards at a topnotch Montreal recording studio in 2001 and again, in 2003. I haven’t been in a recording studio for my own projects since then. The material I'm recording this time around is more pop-oriented. I'll be singing, playing guitar, percussion and drums. Montreal bass player Dave Watts has performed with me in-studio, on-stage and as part of a telethon. He’ll be part of this recording project. Gotta get on YouTube! It is such a mind-boggling and powerful tool for publicity and networking. I’m hoping tomorrow’s session will allow me to post a few music performances on YouTube! I'll definitely provide links when I can.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Lap of Luxury


I'm wrapping up my first week in a long time, anchoring news. It's been nearly six months since I last hosted a newscast.

Talk about a change of pace!


I’ll anchor Global Montreal’s 6 o’clock evening news for two weeks. As it turns out, compared to the morning show, I feel like I’m living in the lap of luxury!

The sometimes grueling and unpredictable nuts and bolts of preparing, building and presenting an automated news program have been hidden from my view this week. I merely write the news and then walk into the studio to present the news.

Glitches, technical problems, line-up issues, choice of visuals, rundown changes, banner spelling, supers and a million other aspects of live television, for the most part, happen somewhere else. The control room for the evening news is in Edmonton. There’s no fumbling for the teleprompter foot pedal under the desk, or forgetting to cue it to the right place, it’s all taken care of, thank-you very much.

By contrast, the morning show control room is right in front of us our desks, so we are, inevitably, intimately aware of the multitude of extraneous variables that can hamper smooth show preparation and presentation. The growing pains over the last six months have included, but not been limited to, software oversights and random technical glitches, as well as connection problems and sudden on-air equipment crashes!

We operate our own teleprompter, which, at least in my case, has, at times, posed some minor attention challenges!

Alas, the morning show is three hours of unscripted fun, high energy interaction between co-hosts, columnists and interview guests, whereas, the evening news is thirty minutes of scripted, serious news delivery. Either way, I’m so fortunate to be part of the Global Montreal team.

The biggest visible change, though hardly jarring, may involve wardrobe! A couple of months ago, as I wrapped up a morning show interview with my buddy, trumpet player Ron Di Lauro, he boldly wrestled a necktie over my head and around my neck!

I know he’s happy now.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

So Much More To Learn

Without a doubt, after presenting news for so many years, it’s tremendous fun to let loose on the air! As host of Global Montreal Morning News, in virtually constraint-free circumstances, I get to be myself. I’ve always loved being able to interview people and, consistently, many of the people I’m privileged to meet are incredibly talented and interminably fascinating! In the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Juno award winning singer, Lorraine Klassen.


She had been on the show in March as a Juno nominee and, after waiting for several weeks for her Juno to be engraved, she finally returned to the show this week and spoke energetically about winning the award, her latest recording project, ailing icon Nelson Mandela and signing the Golden Book at Montreal city hall. She was on the show Friday and came in for the interview in spite of a sore throat! We quickly ushered out  members of the band, Tcha-Badjo, after their live performace and had very little time to put a microphone on Lorraine, carefully remove her Juno from its box and take the cue to begin speaking! Through all the last second mayhem in our studio, she was smiling, gracious and sincere.

I also spoke with bassist Alain Caron this week about his jazz festival show. Alain had just been named recipient of the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s 2013 Oscar Peterson Award. He’d won it once before as a member of Uzeb. He’s won 11 Felix Awards, been named “Best Electric Bass Player” eight years in a row by Jazz Report and had recently released his eighth studio album.

After interviewing Montreal saxophonist Joel Miller last month about winning his Juno Award, I had a chance to meet and speak with Juno-winning saxophonist and jazz composer, Christine Jensen. I own her third album and was delighted to meet Christine and speak to her about her inspirations and jazz festival show.

It was terrific fun to meet and speak with Mikael Kingsbury, two-time World Champion moguls skier.

He spoke about his incredible season, his training and the upcoming Olympics. I had forgotten to ask him to bring in the Crystal Globes, which are awarded to freestyle skiing’s world champions. I'm grateful that he kindly remembered to bring them in for the interview! The 20 year old is a dedicated and highly talented young athlete, as well as a credit to our province, our country, Quebecers and Canadians!

I haven’t even missed a day on the morning show yet and, already, I’m eagerly looking forward to settling back into the hosting chair!

There’s so much more to learn!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Punting Nostalgia

I bought a bunch of songs by the Canadian prairie band, Streetheart, a couple of weeks ago. Now, every time I listen to them, I’m transported back to Currie Gym, when, as students at McGill, some buddies and I went to a dance featuring the band.

I was a fan then and, after recently downloading the Streetheart songs I remember from the late seventies and early eighties, I discovered I’m still a fan!

Streetheart’s “Under My Thumb” remains my favorite version of the Stones’ classic song!

The band earned six gold albums, four platinum albums, a gold single and a Juno Award, yet another reflection of my good taste in music!

I hate climbing into my time machine. Feeling nostalgic and dismayed over the lightning-fast passage of time rarely proves to be an enjoyable experience but, in the case of Streetheart, I can’t resist; besides, when you crank their tunes up loud enough, wistful nostalgia is punted aside in favor of the urge to flat-out rock!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Morning Twist

He was in our studio a few weeks ago, eloquently promoting McHappy Day! I’ve met the diving sensation before and, as usual, Alexandre was a pleasure to interview. He just happened to be at our studio on, as Camille pointed out, “No Socks Day” and he happily lifted his leg to show he was celebrating appropriately!



Having already heard rumors, I peppered him on-air with questions, prompts and provocations in the hopes Despatie might spill the beans on our show, but to no avail! The beans were spilled today, as we learned one of Canada’s greatest athletes is changing platforms.

Quebec’s anglophone community certainly wins, with two Montreal-based English language morning shows. Communities are being connected and that’s wonderful news! Quebec’s anglophone community is being connected with francophones and francophones are being connected with anglophones and, of course, anglos are being connected to each other.

All of it promotes communication, understanding and unity; we hope, essential ingredients in Quebec's quest  to keep moving forward.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

No Mistake Here

Since I was a young child, music has been my therapy, recreation and salvation.

Up or down, music has put me back on track and keeps me there.

I thrive writing it, performing it, listening to it and observing its performance. I’ve performed as part of an orchestra, combo, duo and as a solo artist. I’ve had the honor of singing national anthems in front of hundreds and tens of thousand of people. As a musician, I’ve experienced attention, appreciation, standing ovations, adulation and I’ve basked in one of the great life fuels – applause.

I owe music so much.

Even now, privileged to be working in television in an incredibly vital city, I am committed to exposing music to people and people to music! Up until now, our new morning show has travelled to musicians in order to tape musical segments with Effusion A Capella, MIJF Blues Camp, Paul Deslauriers and Dawn Tyler Watson.

We have not yet had artists perform in our morning show studio, but, my boss, Karen, vows it’s a goal toward which we are working.

To that end, a few Global Montreal musicians, Paul, Alain, Phil and myself, jammed in the morning show studio yesterday so our directors could put our equipment and themselves to the test, with a view to having more acts perform on our show.

By all accounts, the test went well!

Whether it’s John Paul Jones, John Densmore, Ben Harper, the Appice brothers (see last blog), Walter Rossi, Chubby Checker or Judi Richards, who I listened to when she was singing with Toulouse, working in the media has afforded me the opportunity to meet and speak with so many great musicians!

Johnny Reznik of The Goo Goo Dolls
Yesterday, I met Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls and, through Global Montreal, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Brightman (see "Dazzling Diva" April 20, 2013) and Steve Hill (see "Stellar Steve" June 8, 2012).

Many of the friends I had in college, have gone on to impressive music careers and it’s been fun interviewing them on various occasions! The exception would be Ron wrestling a necktie over my head as I interviewed him at the beginning of April! Lol

I’m eager to go back into the recording studio in early August to record some new songs.

It was Nietzsche who commented, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

No mistake here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Drum Interview Snared

At first, I thought I was the goat in a skit by Abbott & Costello, but Carmine and Vinny were perfectly serious! They’re brothers with the same last name, pronounced differently!

Carmine Appice pronounces his last name, “apiece”. Vinny Appice pronounces his name “AH-pissy”, like “apathy”. They told me their brother Frank Appice pronounces his last name, “AH-peachy”.

Between the two of them, the drumming brothers have played with such rock greats as Edgar Winter, Rod Stewart, John Lennon, Black Sabbath, Vanilla Fudge, Jeff Beck, Rick Derringer, Ted Nugent, Dio, Heaven & Hell and Cactus!

Uh, impressive a bit.

Carmine (left) and Vinny Appice
I had the pleasure of interviewing the Appice boys this week! As a young drummer, I would always take time to read the album jacket to see who was drumming on the records I bought. Carmine’s name was often listed.

They were in town to promote their touring show, “Drum Wars”, which features drum battles, solos and music from both of their careers.

While Vinny points out Carmine was the type to throw televisions through windows while out on tour, he says he was more likely to toss his ipod through a window.

After reading an article in which drummers Liberty de Vito and Kenny Aronoff talked about their drum-related injuries, I asked Carmine and Vinny, off-camera, about career-related aches and pains. Both admitted to serious shoulder problems and rotator cuff surgeries. Carmine, who wrote such hits for Rod Stewart as “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks”, confessed he no longer mounts his cymbals up high and has lowered them to a more physically manageable height.


As they were leaving the studio, I mentioned I was a drummer. Carmine asked if I could play “Wipeout” and when I assured him I could, they both invited me to go up on stage during their show to play.

Interviewing Carmine and Vinny was great fun and, from a drummer’s point-of-view, getting to meet them was a smashing stroke of luck!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Call Me Crazy

I refuse to accept the notion that “degrees” cannot be used when referring to the humidex! I hope someone is good enough to notify Edward Lear; nonsense runs rampant within our meteorological service!

Clearly, we invented humidity! The humidex was used in Canada before anywhere else in the world. The current formula was developed in 1979 by two scientists at Canada’s Atmospheric Environment Service. It allowed scientists to calculate what the temperature feels like to the average person once the effects of heat and humidity are taken into consideration.

Jessica, our weather specialist, got all preachy and finger-waggy last week as she argued the humidex is unit-less! It feels "like 40", she insisted, it cannot be and never will be, 40 “degrees”! There are no “degrees” of temperature when referring to the humidex! Almost vehemently, I argued, persisted and whined for good measure. She suggested, simply, I let it go.

Let it go.
I can’t!
Let it go.
I can’t!

If the temperature is 30 degrees Celsius and the calculated humidex is 40, then that, to me, means the humid heat feels approximately like a dry temperature of 40 “degrees” Celsius!

Hello!

What else is there; 40 used tissues, 40 cows under trees? Of course in Canada it refers to degrees Celsius! I urge you, end the masquerade!

Call me crazy!

If I hear a number mentioned with the humidex, it obviously means “degrees”! There’s no point mentioning a number if it’s attached to nothing and is not calibrate-able! There is nothing else BUT degrees! Aargh! I’m afraid that logic defines the limits of my tiny universe.

Apparently, there are descriptive phrases associated with the unit-less humidex numbers! Less than 29 means “little or no discomfort”. Between 30 and 34, means “noticeable discomfort”, while a humidex of between 35 to 39, means “evident discomfort”. A humidex of between 40 and 45, means “intense discomfort, avoid exertion”, above 45 means “dangerous discomfort” and above 54, means “heat stroke likely”.

It actually reached 53 in Carman, Manitoba in July 2007! Yuck!

As we all know, summer forecasts in Montreal are humidex-heavy! When I hear the humidex number, like the wind chill in winter,  I hear “degrees” after it! It's understood. I can’t help it and it’s not likely to change. It’s the only way I can relate to the number. Without the “degrees”, the number is capital “P”, pointless! Don’t even talk to me about humidex number if we can’t talk “degrees”! Where humidex is concerned, I’m done with numbers! I’ll make do with descriptive phrases, thank-you.

If you mention a number, brace yourself, I will be forced to cluck and squawk!

Three steps after I’m out the door on humidex days, I break into an intensifying sweat and my clothes begin clinging to my odor-enhanced frame. No, not my favorite weather.

The idea that “degrees” cannot be mentioned when referring to humidex makes zero sense! The applicable descriptive term for "zero sense" would be, “dripping with stupidity”.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dazzling Diva

I’ve interviewed some rather prominent sports figures, including Michael Phelps and Wayne Gretzky. I had the pleasure of interviewing John Grisham and William Shatner. In the music world, I’ve interviewed John-Paul Jones and John Densmore, who sent me a signed drum skin afterward.

My interview yesterday with Sarah Brightman was among the most exciting I’ve done! The world’s biggest-selling soprano was in Montreal, promoting her eleventh studio album, titled, “Dreamchaser”.


I learned her immense talent is only outdone by her gracious demeanor.

Credited with pioneering the classical crossover genre, Sarah Brightman has performed with such international musical stars as Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. She sang at the Beijing Olympics before an estimated worldwide audience of 4 billion people.

The original cast album of Phantom of the Opera, which, of course, included Sarah Brightman, is the biggest selling cast album of all time, having gone six times platinum in the US, nine times platinum in Germany and 21 times platinum in Korea.

Her new album reflects her fascination with space.

In Houston, she received medical clearance to begin training as a cosmonaut, with a view to visiting the International Space Station in 2015. When I asked her whether she was looking for anything up there in space, she explained she wants to see the planet from a different perspective. She believes that if everyone had the chance to see how beautiful and delicate our planet is, “We’d look after everything more and actually take care”.

She's about to launch a new world tour which will bring Sarah Brightman back to Montreal for a show in mid-September! She spoke enthusiastically about performing and visiting Montreal.

At one point in the interview, I did mess-up the name of her new album. As terrible as I felt, she quickly put me at ease.

She politely agreed to pose for a picture and once the interview ended, she said, getting up from her chair, “Thank-you for the lovely questions”, which made any jitters I might have had - entirely worthwhile!

Listening to her sing, I highly doubt any energy drink gives you wings.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Harry

I think about him every day, every time I hear the word, “cancer”. Every day, I am reminded the disease is out there, lurking. Statistics, stories, research, fund-raisers, they swirl grimly. Every day that I'm reminded, sadly, I remember Harry.

I knew him as Harry Schaffer, radio disc jockey and pal. His real name was Nicholas Fostaty, son of Helen and Gerald Fostaty. He was Debra’s husband and Zack’s proud father.

I remember him bringing his baby son to a gathering we were having at the rock radio station where we both worked. We both drove Hyundai Ponys, his was white, mine was blue. He was sick and hopeful.

As I read my newscasts on his shift, we would lob crumpled paper balls at each other!

We got to the field early one September afternoon in 1987. We were there to play softball for the station team. As we were warming up for the game, Harry snapped this picture of me.


He liked taking pictures.

I don’t remember many of our conversations, but every now and then, he would make a point of telling me he liked my radio commentary and why.

April 18th is Harry’s birthday.

On the twentieth anniversary of his death, his family, Deb and Zack, put his picture in the paper. I cut it out.

Last year, his wife and son wrote, “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it.”

I never told them how much I enjoyed Harry's company.

He’s been gone for 24 years. He was an easy-going, fun-loving, decent guy; the world is short on those and it misses him.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

That Sinking Feeling

Our sink problems, though not overly serious, have been well documented here. More accurately, sink problems directly related to my misguided zeal, have been well documented here.

There was the sink I basically wrecked in the August 23rd 2012 blog titled, “I Can Do Stuff’. Then, of course, there was my admission of having dropped two butter knives down the drain of the kitchen sink in the October 31st 2012 blog titled, “Honk If You Understand”.

We had another problem with the kitchen sink this week! As the plumber worked away, I casually mentioned I had dropped two knives down the drain a few years ago. He looked at me and suggested we remove them since, as he put it, “we’re here anyway”.

I clarified. I explained I was rinsing utensils when, in the midst of all the clattering, I thought I saw a knife suddenly slide down the drain. Unsure it was even possible, I held another knife and slowly tried to fit it through the slots in the drain. It fit. It also slid out of my hand into the drain along with the first knife!

I could see their teeth flashing back at me as I shone a flashlight into the dark drain. I tried to calm them down, explaining we would undoubtedly send a search party one day in the not too distant future. Deep down, I knew this was nothing more than a pipe dream.


Tuesday was the day. After poking and prodding, the plumber handed me the two mucked-up knives and I posed for a picture, simply because the story has come full circle, ending happily. I talked about it on the air this week and even showed the picture. I desperately hope the story of my carelessness can now be stricken from the family legacy.

When I told him the two trapped knives in the kitchen sink had finally been freed, my son admitted he’d just shared the story, in writing, as part of a class assignment! I’m not sure I can describe how I feel about that; wait, yes, I can - and the feeling is definitely a sinking one.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Aaargh KMF

There were a number of technical issues with today’s show. At one point, we were planning to talk about Camille and Jessica’s stint yesterday at Free Cone Day, when a picture of me, holding two butter knives, popped up on-air, instead!


I stopped by Ben & Jerry’s for Free Cone day! I waited in line, made a donation to the Action Centre and was competently served by Camille herself!


One of the other problems this morning, unfortunately, involved my interview with actress Caroline Dhavernas, one of the stars of a new television series, called “Hannibal”.


The star of such TV shows as "Wonderfalls" and "Off The Map", plays Dr Alana Bloom, an FBI profiler. I had managed to convince a competing network to provide us with footage to use during the interview. They graciously agreed after I assured them we would put up a courtesy during the footage. As it turns out, the courtesy randomly appeared toward the end of the interiew, long after the footage had appeared! Not only that, the microphones of our show co-hosts switched on halfway during the interview, so we heard other voices on-air as I spoke to Caroline. Frustratingly, these are not things I can control.

Aaargh! KMF.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fingers Remain Crossed

Right off the bat it was a pretty good week because it was a day shorter! We had the Easter Monday off, which made for a welcome four-day week.

It was also a pretty good week, technically.

We slowly continue to beat back the technical mistakes on our show and there appears to be a more concerted effort on the part of workers in other cities linked to our technical equipment to be more attentive to potential oversights and glitches that could impact our show here in Montreal.

We dare not un-cross our fingers yet!

Is perfection in sight? It’s difficult to say. I see some sort of shapeless, sparkling mass way off in the distance. There’s no way I can determine whether it’s perfection! It could be a mirage. Does anyone have binoculars?

Over the course of this four-day week, I had the pleasure of interviewing more terrific people, including award-winning author and journalist, Sally Armstrong and documentary filmmaker, Rob Stewart, whose new film, “Revolution”, is getting a lot of international attention.

I also had a chance to chat with SebToots!

The snowboarding phenom just won the slopestyle competition at the Europe X Games in Tignes, France. We watched his big run at that competition and talked about his appearance at the Ride Shakedown competition at Mont Saint-Sauveur. Sebastien Toutant was happy to pose for photos with everyone!

You can check out the interviews at globalnews.ca/montreal

I interviewed Isabelle Charest, three-time Olympian, former short-track speed skater and Olympic athlete ambassador. She’s now a spokesperson for a product and came on to talk about motherhood and her career.

Aidan Burrows is an elementary school student who just headed off to the World Championships in Orlando as part of the Canadian Cup Stacking team!

During this week’s interview, I asked him to demonstrate his blistering cup stacking technique in slow motion so I could actually “see” what he’s doing, but, even in slow motion, it was all a mind-boggling blur! Aidan and his coach, Harry Antoine, kindly left me a set of stacking cups and a DVD, so I can work on my technique!

The week ended well since Camille got her groceries reimbursed! She told the story on-air about buying groceries and arranging for delivery. They never showed up at her home! She went back to the store, famished and frustrated, but was reimbursed and given a gift certificate. She bought a new batch of groceries and, this time, chose to carry them home herself!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pack Your Bliss

After work Friday, we spoke at the English Montreal School Board’s "Career Fair". At 16, I loved music and what I thought music was all about. I already knew I was a performer, but wasn’t sure whether I’d be in a position to make performing part of any eventual career.
 
Camille, Jess and I wait to speak at "Career Fair"

The truth of the matter is, at 16, I couldn’t even spell the word, “career”! I wasn’t thinking about “career”, or any part of the rather ethereal concept! I knew I would stay in school, but wasn’t sure where it would take me. At 16, I didn’t really worry about it too much. At 16, I’m not sure you should.

At 16, the possibilities are limitless and infinite, more so today than when I was that age. Keep moving forward, listening, learning and exploring as many of the possibilities that stray into your field of vision as possible.

Always have fun. Work hard at what you like. Never forget what you enjoy. If you can’t follow your bliss, at least pack it and bring it with you as you travel life’s road; it’ll likely save you later.

I probably would not have predicted two of the basics of schooling, reading and writing, would become cornerstones of my career.

The three groups of students we spoke to Friday didn’t have too many questions. Some were more enthusiastic than others and some listened more attentively than others. I certainly listened attentively as Camille and Jessica spoke about their career paths, at this point, significantly shorter than my own. Both their career paths shine with promise. It’s kind of funny that our career paths intersected about three months ago.

Fate has been treating me well. Is fate, destiny? Is destiny, fate? Are destiny and fate the work of a higher power? Whoa! That’s a whole other blog; or series of them!!

At one point during Friday’s Career Fair presentation, Jessica turned toward me and said the live feature reports I used to do on Global’s former morning show every day, helped provide her career with direction. After seeing what I was doing, she said she knew that’s what she wanted to do in broadcasting.

Pretty cool.

At another point during Friday’s Career Fair presentation, I was handed an unopened bottle of water. I twisted off the cap and guzzled the entire thing. Some students noticed. I managed to convince my stunned co-hosts the bottle I had guzzled wasn’t full when it was handed to me!

There’s a career in there somewhere.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frantic Floor Manager

This morning, for a refreshing change, the problem didn’t appear to be based in Vancouver, or Alberta. Instead, our technicians concluded the problem, more likely, originated locally.

For the first half hour of our show, we were off the air, but, in that half-hour, Camille and I practiced the show without audio to see whether we could go to air and still offer a viewers a sensible program. It seemed to work fine, so we decided to go on-air at 6:30 this morning.

Normally, we have earpieces that allow us to hear all the sounds connected to the show. Those include the music at the beginning and end of each half hour, the reports and sound bytes we use, live reporters, phone-in winners and all our cues for timing, as well as when to start and stop speaking.

We scrapped a planned pre-budget live and were unable to speak on-air with the winner of today’s Oprah tickets, Jen, in Prevost.

When we went back on the air, Jessica, who was live on remote, didn’t realize we had no audio in our ears. She only realized when Camille told her, off-air, later on in the show.

Our boss was in early this morning and acted as floor manager, giving us our cues visually, or verbally. Occasionally, the floor manager appeared frightfully frantic, frazzled and frustrated, gesturing to delinquent anchors who, in spite of clearly communicated wrap cues, went ahead and asked guests just one more question!

It’s the thought that counts, Karen!

This morning was hardly the ideal scenario but, as Julie, our Mosart director, declared, it was much better to be on the air dealing with the audio problem, than off the air with no show to offer viewers.

We like to think some viewers want to watch the show as much as we want to do the show!

Friday, March 15, 2013

KMF

If it’s a show you can’t depend on, why depend on it? The question is completely logical. We want to be the morning show Montrealers can depend on, which is why our absence for two hours yesterday morning, was desperately frustrating!

It was frustrating for us and for many of the viewers we heard from.

From our directors, to our producer, our microwave truck team, camera-people and on-air talent, we had worked hard to make yesterday’s show as special as every other we do. Granted, our shows don’t always go as smoothly as we would like but, believe it or not, many of the noticeable on-air difficulties are beyond our control. We sometimes find ourselves stranded in awkward, uncomfortable situations but, Camille, Jessica and I, just try to roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

As strange as it sounds to us and you, many key technological components of our show are routed through Calgary and Vancouver. Any oversights or glitches at those two locations have a huge impact on our show here in Montreal. Earlier in the week, another problem out west, meant we only had one of our two robotic studio cameras to work with, which explains why Jessica was at the desk with Camille and I. Not that we have a problem with Jess at the desk with us; on the contrary, she does an awesome job and, this week, went above and beyond, coming in to work, though drained, sniffling and coughing!

Yesterday's difficulties generated e-mails that travelled both far and wide, and high and low. It remains to be seen whether they'll lead to meaningful change for our show here in Montreal.

Yesterday was Pi Day and extraordinary math teacher Jean-Francois Deslandes showed up at the station bright and early, eager for his interview! Aidan Burrows, a student at Heritage Elementary and member of the Canadian Cup Stacking Team, was coming in to demonstrate cup stacking! Gary Masse of Expo Sante Manger brought in a variety of products for us to taste and talk about. We greeted them at the door with flimsy explanation and considerable embarassment.

The 8 to 9 o’clock hour we did get to air was a difficult one, technically, but, we keep moving forward. Today’s show was better and brought the promise of eventual, albeit elusive, perfection.

We’re looking forward to Sunday’s St-Patrick’s Day Parade and hope to see you there. We have direction in common with the parade.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What You See...

Nice.

Last week, we had a brand new digital clock installed in our studio! I tweeted about it a few times on the morning we got it. Now when I do time checks, they’re to the minute! Too often, I can’t resist making the time check to the exact second, especially if we happen to be on the air as the minute changes. Now, I tend to say stuff like, “It’s coming up on 8:56, in 3-2-1; precisely 8:56, according to our new clock!” I imagine myself at home, checking all my clocks to make sure they, too, have just switched to the new minute!

Thanks to our technical crew, Alain, Ziad and Richard, for setting up the clock. It’s been very helpful and I no longer have to fumble, panicked, for my iphone to check the time right before we go on-air!

I’m hoping we’ll soon be able to have musical guests in-studio. I know when I was hosting “Focus Montreal”, the station’s interview show, having live musical performances was always a highlight, both for viewers and performers!

Jessica bumps into us at a downtown bus shelter!

I’m having fun hosting Montreal’s new morning show. I know as a viewer, I enjoy seeing and learning about behind-the-scenes stuff, along with spontaneous, natural interaction. Whether I talk about their nail polish, or tendency to hog the dressing room until the last possible second before showtime, I often try to catch Jessica and Camille off-guard with the comments and questions I drop on them. They’ve been pretty cool customers, so far. I always urge them to do the same to me and some of our funniest moments have resulted from that spontaneous approach.

To me, there are many places to get information in the mornings, but I’m hoping what sets Global Montreal Morning News apart are the personalities of the people in front of the camera. Rest assured, whether Camille, Jessica and I are laughing, chatting, grimacing, riding high or falling flat, what you see is who we are.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hey Nineteen

I’m delighted to say, our brand new Global Montreal morning show show is doing considerably better technically these days. My co-hosts, Camille and Jessica, are both pros and determined to offer viewers the best product we possibly can.

We roll with the ever-dwindling problems and keep moving forward! Today, we wrapped up our nineteenth show!

Credit to Julie and Jim, our stalwart Mosart directors, for keeping our heading true while faithfully steering us through the rough patches! We all hope the waters are calmer from here on out.

I’ve already had the opportunity to interview some interesting guests on our new show, including microbiologist Dr. Matthew Oughton talking about the importance of hand-washing, multi-Olympian Doug Yeats discussing the IOC decision to drop wrestling from the games, CHUM cardiologist Dr. George Honos talking about boomers’ lifestyle choices and, from McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, Dr. Ariel Fenster on the chemistry of love.

More great guests are inevitable!

Our columnists are terrific, passionate people. Jay Walker talks music, while Eric Cohen covers movies! Pearle Nerenberg and Vanessa Perrone are both highly-qualified nutritionists who’ve already offered me and our viewers a generous helping of dietary enlightenment! Pearle put a yummy oatmeal muffin recipe up on our website and Vanessa made sure I understood that while hot cereals are good for you, heating-up my favorite sugary cereals doesn’t qualify! Apparently, hot cereal is powerful stuff; Linda Staal, mother to Marc, Eric, Jordan and Jared, told me on the show today the secret to raising four professional hockey players was oatmeal!

Who knew?

Susan made Pearle’s muffin recipe and it is yummy!

We’ve been giving away some cool prizes, including all-inclusive sun vacations and, along with 92.5 The Beat, tickets to the Grammys!

Jessica Laventure really is an adventure! The self-confessed weather geek persuaded the morning show team to post our version of the Harlem Shake. It’s out there and it’s out there, if you know what I mean!

I’m looking forward to show twenty! I was hoping to have fun on our new show and, I must say, nineteen shows in, so far so good!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Low-Flying Birds

Perfection’s the goal and we hear the path to the goal is straight ahead, so we keep moving forward.

Our Mosart news automation system is a massive challenge and our Mosart directors, Jim and Julie, are the only ones in class who pay attention; thank goodness! They are Cirque du Soleil-worthy jugglers of terribly technical tasks!

On yesterday’s show, we said good-bye to Mike and Annie, two Mosart masters who flew back to Vancouver, leaving Jim and Julie to fend for themselves. Jim and Julie have been shoved from the nest and yet, thanks to their tireless and devoted flapping, they’re somehow keeping the entire morning show afloat!

Every little thing our robotic cameras do must be coded. Every time our microphones are turned on or off, it must be coded . Whether it’s a two-shot or a single, each and every camera shot must be coded and every time the camera shot is switched, it must be coded. Incredibly, even stomach rumbles are coded.

If any part of the regular morning pattern is broken, the crashing dominoes caused by sudden change don’t always allow for the smoothest sailing. It’s tough to code Mosart for flashes of chaos.

This morning’s Grammy Awards ticket draw was simulcast with Montreal radio station, 92.5 The Beat. Even though the logistical challenge was a mightily unfair assignment for Jim and Julie on their fifth day of nest-free living, we got it to viewers! It was exciting for everyone involved!

We also had celebrity chef, Chuck Hughes, on the show, as well as our Food Columnist, Na'eem Adam. Overall, our first week has been an absolute blast, made even more gratifying by all the positive feedback we’ve been getting from viewers, happy to see an English morning show back on the air in Montreal!

Jim, Julie, senior producer Rob, me, Camille and Jess, we try to roll with the punches! Again, perfection’s the goal and while we may not always look like we know what we’re doing, we always hope to look like we love what we’re doing, because we do!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Lid's Off the Box

I didn’t really have time today to explain on-air why I decided to launch our new morning show by performing Michigan J. Frog’s one mega-hit!

Back on October 24th 2011, News Director Karen Macdonald was heading out for a quick bite to eat with Managing Editor Alexandra Henderson, Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard and Mike Omelus, currently a Senior Director for Shaw Media. Karen suggested I tag along, so I did.

At the restaurant across from our office at Peel and Ste-Catherine, they were explaining to Mike who I was and what I did in the newsroom. One of the women described me as the frog in the 1955 Bugs Bunny cartoon, “One Froggy Evening”! They told Mike, like the cartoon frog who suddenly performed when his box lid was opened, I suddenly perform when the cameras come on!

That I was the performing frog, was news to me!

When Karen offered me the position as host of the new morning show January 3rd, I thought to myself, these crazy people are swinging open the box lid and letting the performing frog loose!

Singing Michigan J. Frog’s trademark number to launch Global Montreal Morning News this morning, seemed, to me, entirely fitting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Drench City

We arrived in New York City late Friday afternoon and by the time we got our dogs, Moose and Spike, settled-in at the hotel, the clock had begun ticking! Tristan had his eye on limited edition headphones at the one and only Beats store in the world.

Our hotel was on West 46th, between Times Square and Avenue of the Americas, right around the corner from NHL offices. Undaunted by the pouring rain, we headed off to this one and only Beats store in the world.

We walked in the rain for about six kilometres to Green Street in Soho, asking directions from various New Yorkers along the way. All of them were eager to help, although some, had us heading back from where we had come, before others returned us to the proper heading.

In the end, we made it to the store before its 7 o’clock closing time. We were drenched and some of us had aching feet – moi! The two brothers who run the store, David and Drew, were impressed with our blistering trek, claiming the headphones had been sold-out until that very day!

We snapped a few pictures of the one and only Beats store in the world and began the walk back to the hotel.


Walking is a great way to see New York City; even in the rain!

On the way back, we, inadvertently, walked past a murder scene on Spring Street in Soho. There were obligatory stops at Hollister, Bath and Body Works and the Supra store. We walked by Grace Church, with its stunning Gothic revival architecture, near East 11th and Broadway.


We got back to the hotel, saturated with New York City rainwater, but stoked the headphones had been available at the one and only Beats store in the world.

Final News Final

Someone on the crew turned out the studio lights just as I was about to pull open the door. It was January 8th and I’d just finished my final “News Final”! Wistfully, I turned back to watch the studio darken.

I’d been doing “News Final”, Global Montreal’s late-weeknight newscast, for more than a year. Since news about the morning show was officially released yesterday, I can finally admit to viewers I am no longer anchoring “News Final”.

There are exceptions, but, generally, newscasts are well-defined, with no real mysteries. I know when to start talking and when to stop. I know when tapes start and when they end. Everything is timed and scripted. I can build the newscast and move stories around in order to differentiate “News Final” from our earlier, evening newscast. In terms of writing and story line-up, “News Final” reflected my news judgement.

It was fun and I was happy to work at attracting more viewers to the show. I had a great team of people working on the newscast, including Alfred, Kevin, Trena, Cam, Adam and Robyn, aka “Klash”! They ran tapes, put up supers, worked prompter, checked timing, solved problems, gave me my cues and helped fulfill the illusion of competence on my part. I appreciate their professionalism, dependability, humor and attention.The goal, for us, every night, was perfection! '

Circumstances conspire and confounding variables, lurk. We worked every night to avoid spelling mistakes and technical glitches and when we succeeded at avoiding those, I’d, inevitably, stammer, gag, or crack my voice. My tie might be crooked, a glaring white flake might be perched on the shoulder of my jacket, or a hidden piece of turkey sandwich might suddenly dislodge itself from between my teeth, only to soar, in a slow arc, toward the camera!

As he did his nightly rounds, Jerry, the security guard, would graciously ask how the newscast had gone. I would rate them on a scale of one-to-ten.

While filling-in on the December 4th evening newscast, I can remember doing a “five”! We were testing a state-of-the-art newscast automation system called Mosart. Kinks were being worked out. The script for every story would appear in the teleprompter and then, promptly, disappear! Normally, with relatively minimal stumble, I would continue reading from the paper copy on the desk in front of me, but, that night, the newsroom printer had smudged all the words on the right-hand side of the page, beyond intelligibility.

Even in giganta-font, which I use so my eyes have an easier time reading off the page, I couldn’t decipher the smudged words! As a result, I had to guess how sentences on the paper in front of me were meant to be written! Fortunately, every time a two-minute report aired, I would ask the crew, who I hear in my earpiece, to read me the full sentences of stories coming up, so that I could hurriedly scribble the missing right-hand chunks, in ink!

Offered the huge opportunity by Global Montreal News Director, Karen Macdonald, earlier this month, I’ve decided to host Global Montreal’s new morning show. It’ll be challenging and fun. I’ll have a chance to be creative and stretch myself in directions I’ve always enjoyed. Much of the three-hour show is unscripted and not nearly as defined as my thirty-minute "News Final" broadcast! Nevertheless, I’ll continue striving to do the best job I possibly can.

The day after my final “News Final”, I participated in a photo shoot in Verdun, where I met Camille Ross and Jessica Laventure.

Nutbars!