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


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

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!