Blue Menu’s rumination


With all due respect to the Barenaked Ladies, I’m dying my beard – just like Brian Wilson did.

The Playoff Beard has played a key role in the annals of sports lore.  It has been used to bring teammates together, and to galvanize fan support.  But few have effectively used the playoff beard in its secondary role – i.e., to scare the shit out of competitors – than Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants.


Seriously, this guy is a genius.  Who else would have had the temerity to not only grow a classic Kris Kristofferson beard, but to inexplicably dye the beard black?  Wouldn’t you be scared if Billy Mays came out of the grave and began throwing 96 mile-an-hour fastballs at you?  You would be.  At the very least, you’d be a little confused, which would explain why the Phillies abruptly stopped hitting every time this guy hit the mound.

While there’s no way to tell what the hell is going on in this guy’s head (seriously – he is crazy), it’s not hard to tell where he sought inspiration from for his beard.  It’s equal parts:


 Billy Mays (may he rest in peace);

Yukon Cornelius (may he rest in peace);

Crazy Mel Gibson; and

Bat-Shit Insane Joaquin Phoenix

Either way, I’m thinking twice before I step into the batter’s box.  Especially if I have a serious alcohol problem.

With the happy news that at least two members of the Food Court Lunch team are expecting children in the new year (congratulations, General Tao and Butter Chicken! You make a great couple), we thought we would take the time to make you parents to be aware of some of the cold, hard realities of parenting. 

You may be expecting, but are those expectations realistic?  For those parents-to-be, we present the Food Court Lunch Top Ten Irrefutable Laws of Parenting“, brought to you by Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. *Please note that these are not the actual laws of parenting (i.e., the Criminal Code), but rather the time-tested observations of anyone who has ever dabbled in human husbandry.

1.     Children Never Sleep In. Ever

Even after Superbowl Sunday.  Or St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the more sleep you need, the more likely your kids are going to wake up early and have some kind of accident involving chocolate pudding and a step ladder and you will have to go to the hospital looking like you shat yourself.

2.     There is an Inverse Relationship Between the Amount of Time Spent Preparing a Meal and the Amount of Food Your Kids Will Actually Consume

My wife made me put this one in here, but if you have ever taken the time to prepare a homecooked meal for a child, you know this is true.  My wife’s gourmet macaroni and cheese, with aged Balderson Cheddar and pancetta?  Nice try.  In a cruel twist of fate, the kids prefer my noodle and ketchup concoction.  Like rottweilers, kids can sense fear.  And when they can sense that you’ve poured your heart and soul into something, they will choose rolled up bologna slices instead.

3.     Eight Planets Must Align in Order for You to be Able to go Out for a Night on the Town

Remember those days when a friend would call and say there’s a keg party downtown, and you’d grab your coat and go?  Me neither.  Now it’s all we need a background check for the babysitter, or the baby monitor range won’t work more than 3 miles away, or I can’t drink and breastfeed at the same time.  On the plus side, because you’ll now only be going out once every six months, you will be inclined to drastically overdrink on those occasions as a way of cramming as much fun as possible into the night (which takes us back to rule #1).

4.     Only Suckers Buy Expensive Kids Shoes

Kids – or rather, boys (I can’t even imagine what’s involved in raising a girl) – will destroy footwear faster than you can possibly imagine.  I’m pretty sure my boys have a belt sander hidden somewhere in the house.  You’d have to be an idiot to buy your kids that miniature pair of Air Force Ones or vintage Vans.  Or an insufferable hipster who isn’t good with money.

5.    Never, Ever Buy a Toy that has a Remote Control

This was a lesson that I took years to learn.  Just look at the commercial!  It looks amazing!  It can turn left and right!  It can go off jumps!  There should be a disclaimer on the box: WARNING: This toy may disappoint you by (i) starting too quickly to be controllable, (ii) being limited to a 5 foot range, and (iii) running out of batteries before you have a chance to ram it into the dog’s legs.

6.     Nationalistic Pride be Damned, Do Not Under any Circumstances get your Kids Involved in Hockey

That is, unless you’re prepared to sign away your weekends for the next 18 years while you traipse across the continent attending invitational tournaments in podunk towns like Brandon, Manitoba or Pittsburgh, PA, just for the chance that your kid might be able to play in an intramural league while he studies English Media at some liberal arts university.  Repeat after me – My child will not become the next Sidney Crosby, no matter how many double-doubles I choke down.  You’d be lucky if he became the next Kyle Wellwood, for crying out loud.

7.      Your Choice of School is More About the Kind of Parents You Want to be Associated With than your Child’s Best Interests

Go ahead.  Slap a uniform on him and send him to a private school so he can get his baccalaureate (trans. “Licence to be Beaten Up”).  After all, if you can afford private school, you can probably afford for your kid to live on the basement couch for the rest of his life as well.

8.     You Will Be Interrupted Often

While you’re on the phone.  While you’re sleeping.  While you’re having sex.  While you’re watching Dog the Bountyhunter.  And especially while you’re drunk.  And you will be polite about it and try to teach them a lesson about being patient and they will not care and will interrupt your lesson.

9.     You Will Be Sick Often

When the end of days comes and we are all consumed by antibacterial-resistant organisms, they will trace the root of the infection back to a single daycare facility in Akron, Ohio.

10.     In Spite of it All, You Will Laugh

See? It’s not all bad.  It might be the first time you see your son dip his finger into his own urine stream.  Or it might be the first time you watch your kid give another kid a forearm shiver while cherrypicking in a soccer game.  Either way, you’ll know that your kid is just like you, and you will be proud.  Fearful, yes, but proud.

An insightful look at the headlines that shape your world

Now That He’s Gone, Let’s Take a Moment to Appreciate Roy Halladay

You know, it’s not like I can find fault with the Jays’ decision to finally trade him.  No, what’s frustrating is that in the decade-plus we had him, most of Toronto barely acknowledged his greatness.  “Well, I guess he’s pretty good.  But did you see that powerplay goal Kaberle scored last night?”  Speaking of which,

New Indignity for Kaberle as Maple Leafs Struggle to Maintain in Headlines

Oh, boo hoo.  Let’s be honest: Being an ‘assistant captain’ is basically like being the treasurer on student’s council.  Nobody’s counting on you for much.  In any event, Toronto’s got to be the only place where taking the letter “A” off someone’s sweater is a bad thing.

For Nigeria’s HIV-Positive Muppet, Being Typecast is Akin to Death

What are you going to do? That’s what you get for letting Jim Henson stick his hand up your ass.*

What’s that Floating in the Pool? Delhi Belly Causing some Hysteria at Games

Similarly, I’m so nervous about Canada’s chances in the synchronized diving that I could literally shit my pants.

Catch ‘da Pleadings Motion?: Another Lawsuit Alleges Alomar has HIV*

Add “spitting on umpires” to the list of risky behaviours connected with HIV transmission.

Police Confirm Cause of Gary Coleman’s Death: ‘We Stopped Thinking About Him’

Personally, I’m not convinced.  Does Emmanuel Lewis have an alibi?  Apparently, Willis should have been talkin’ bout low-cholesterol diets.

Study of Gay Parents Reveals Kids are Adjusted, Fabulous*

Yes, I imagine that would require quite an adjustment.

*Wow. I’m really starting to sound homophobic.  Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t be responsible for the humorous news those people put out there.

Americans might not be aware that until recently, most of the television fed into the Toronto area came from Western New York.  That’s right, America: Everything we’ve ever learned about the United States came from Buffalo!

WGRZ, WIVB – these were our portals into American culture.  Linda Pelligrino, Irv Weinstein, the Lockport Gambinos – these were our guides on the great American adventure.  And it was through Buffalo that Torontonians came to feel a kinship with our neighbours to the south.  Maybe it was the fact that we both have goofy accents.  Or maybe it was the fact that we could understand why they had a chip on their shoulder.  After all, what’s more Canadian than watching your team make it to the Superbowl and then get spanked 4 times in a row?

In any event, we feel like we know you now, America.  And that is why I can definitively say that I have identified the person with the single worst job in the United States.

 So who is it?  Who has the worst job in America?  You might think it’s an insurance adjuster in North Tonawanda.  But it’s not.  It’s this guy:

His name is “Steve” and he is the spokesman for Valu Home Centers, a small chain of hardware stores operating in an around Buffalo.  For as far back as I can remember, every Valu Home Centers commercial ends with “Steve” awkwardly doing the Cabbage Patch or Cauldron Swirl while the “Valu has … everything you need!” jingle peters out in the background.  With all due respect to “Steve”, who comes across as a pleasant hometown guy, he is today’s version of the dancing bear.


The look on “Steve’s” face while he does the dance tells you everything you need to know.  It’s a mix of forced smile and bemused confusion that says: “I am a frustrated actor.  I took this job to cover my child support payments and now I am resigned to the fact that I am destined to do the Cabbage Patch until I die, or Valu goes bankrupt.”

 In an age of complete internet transparency, “Steve’s” true identity remains suspiciously guarded.  I can only assume that this is because if people knew where he lived, they would camp outside his house and demand that he do his signature dance every time he ventured outdoors.  And the fact that I cannot find a link to any video showing the dance in question on Youtube tells me that, although “Steve” may resent the path he has taken, he’s not going to let just anyone use his likeness for their own agenda.

But how did he let it get to this?  I imagine his first commercial shoot went something like this:

Director:     “Okay, that’s a wrap!  Great work, everybody.  We got ourselves a commercial.”

“Steve”:     “Hot diggety dog! A Paycheque.  Who’s laughing now, Dianne*?” [Spontaneously does awkward Cabbage Patch dance]

Director:     Wait a minute.  Do that again.

“Steve”:     Do what?  I thought we were wrapped.

Director:     That dance thing.  Do it again.

“Steve”:     [Sheepishly] C’mon, man.  I was just messing around.

Director:     You want to go back to doing radio spots for Topps? Do. It. Again.

“Steve”:     Fine. [Does Cabbage Patch].  You happy?

Director:     [To cameraman] Got it? Perfect.  Let’s add it in at the end.

“Steve”:     You’re going to put it in the commercial?  But I look like an idiot!

Director:     And you’ll be the richest idiot in Cheektowaga if you just shut the fuck up and remember who calls the shots around here.

“Steve”:     Sorry, Mr. Eszterhas, [Puts on coat and leaves.]

*In this scenario, “Dianne” is “Steve’s” mother-in-law.

And thus a local TV celebrity is born!  Now he’s getting recognized wherever he goes in Western NY.  No more line ups at the Anchor Bar or Friendly’s.  He’s getting comped at Wegman’s and there’s talk of a bobblehead giveaway at the Sabres home opener.

But, as Mel Gibson knows, fame comes with a price.  And in the case of “Steve”, the Valu Home Centers guy, that price is significant.  With every stir of the pot, “Steve” can see his dignity sink to the bottom of the cauldron, leaving behind the husk of a man once so full of pride.

So you might complain about your job, but take a moment out of your working day to consider the plight of “Steve”.  But for the grace of God, any one of us could be in his place.




An insightful look at the headlines that shape your world

I’m Pretty Sure this Headline in Backwards: Teen Left Alone After Mother Deported

It’s like ‘Not Without My Daughter’, but in reverse.  Or, alternatively, ‘Smokey and the Bandit’.

Jobs Hurt Students’ Performance, Lazy Profs Say

I’m pretty sure profs feel the same way about real jobs.  That’s why they’re professors.

Today in Canadian Sports Headlines: Bum Knee Sidelines Finger

I’m pretty sure there are some commas missing from this headline.  Or it’s a list of things Jeff George has sat upon.

Former Togo Coach Banned for 3 Years for Leading Fake Team Thought he was in a Fantasy League

So let me get this straight – The person who was caught leading a fake team is banned for 3 years from leading the real one?  C’mon, Togo.  Let’s get some laws with some real teeth!  You’re not Benin, after all.

Randy Quaid, Wife Face Burglary Charges as Brother Dennis’s Dread of Upcoming Thanksgiving Mounts

There’s something about the name “Randy Quaid” and the word “squatting” appearing in close proximity that makes me feel uneasy.

Man Arrested for Masturbating in Wal-Mart Toy Aisle Insists he has a Coupon

“Actually, sir, I’m pretty sure that’s a flashlight”.  Also, is Wal-Mart marketing directly to hermaphrodites in the attached picture?

BP to Conduct Test to Show if Gulf Well Dead: “It’s Well Dead, All Right”

The real victim in all of this? That’s right.  It’s those of us who have to pay more for gas just because we like to gun our gas-guzzling SUVs into groups of pedestrians.

Giant Hay Bale Kills Former ELO Cellist as God Officially Runs out of Revenge Scenarios

Years later, the incident would become known as “The Day the Horrible Music Died”.

An insightful look at the headlines that shape your world


Obese Orangutan Relocated as Gerald McRaney’s Nightmare Ends

Speaking of nightmares, I am reduced to writing this post on a Mac, which I offer up as an excuse for why the formatting is even more screwed up than usual.


Cover-up Alleged in Gibson Case? Sugartits Talks

And the Zionist conspiracy continues….


Consumer Reports Ranks McDonald’s Hamburger America’s Worst, Has Apparently Never Had a Hangover

Worse still? Arby’s.  Seriously. It’s awful.


Ron Artest Pulled Over in Indy Style Car; Kobe Bryant Rapes Woman

Just imagine the insurance on that thing.  It must be especially high if you are a violent lunatic.


Hit My Baby One More Time? Guard Claims Britney ‘Savagely Hit’ Her Son 

I’m pretty sure the only thing Britney has ever ‘savagely hit’ is the splash guard on the salad bar at the Ponderosa when they’re out of butterscotch pudding. Oh, and probably a crackpipe.


Katie Holmes Not Planning Another Baby; Unfortunately, Choice Not Hers

Somewhere, L. Ron Hubbard laughs diabolically.


Tot Swallows Ecstasy; Somehow Bobcat Goldthwait Not Involved

The real crime? Bobcat’s criminally short movie career.


Man Killed by Propeller at Airport Probably Slept Through Raiders of the Lost Ark

Seriously though, our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased.

Because I bought my TV receiver from Skymall, I only just now learned that Canada’s entry into the 2010 Little League World Series lost its game against Chinese Taipei on Tuesday by a score of 23-0!  You read that right – 23 to Zeeeerooo.  What’s more, the game was called after 4 innings!

What kind of heartless bastard tells his team to go out and run the score up by 23 runs?  And just what the hell is “Chinese Taipei” anyway? 

Out of respect for our scrappy Canadian boys, I felt compelled to take to the internet to find out more about these Dragos of the little league baseball world.  Turns out “Chinese Taipei” is the name China calls Taiwan, as a way of distracting the world from the fact that Taiwan does not want to be part of China.  That’s all I could discover from Wikipedia, because I instantly became too bored to keep reading.

Judging by its showing in this year’s Little League World Series, Chines Taipei long ago gave up on international diplomacy to focus instead on worldwide pre-teen baseball diplomacy.  And based on the steady stream of lead-laced toys making their way to our shores from Taiwan on a daily basis, I can only assume that these diminutive powerhouses subsist on a diet of melamine and BPA which gives them the superhuman ability to drive in runners in a clutch manner.

But 23-0?  Talk about a ‘Taipei” personality.

“The Canadian players kept smiles on their faces despite the lopsided loss.”  Well sure, because they’re kids, and they know their parents are still going to take them to Dairy Queen for Peanut Buster Parfaits.  But how did those heartless bastards from Chinese Taipei celebrate their win?  You guessed it: They returned to their hyperbaric chambers at the Cobra Kai Dojo and Baseball Training Centre, awaiting their next victim.

Well, this isn’t over, Chinese Taipei.  And we haven’t forgotten your failed foray into 1980s dance pop. Consider yourself officially on Canada’s shitlist.  And don’t be surprised when you get boarded from behind by a 6’1″ 12-year-old grain-fed Albertan at the next Little League Stanley Cup Finals. 


A mercifully short look at the headlines that shape your world

(Apocalypse) Coming Soon: Labatt Blue, Brewed by Molson

Canadians are expecting an identity crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since the “I am Canadian” guy was arrested for possession of child porn.

Muskoka Bear Cub Comes to Toronto to Have Broken Leg Fixed, Leaves with Heroin Habit

If I’m a mama bear and I’ve got a cub with a broken leg, I’m going to get it looked at in Sudbury? Yeah right.  Even wildlife know that Toronto is the centre of the universe.

Wyclef Jean Said to be out of Haiti Presidential Race, Fugees

Turns out the first four questions on the application form are: (i) Are you a resident? (ii) Do you Speak French or Creole? (iii) Do you operate a Fraudulent or at least incompetent charity? and (iv) Can you hold a tune?

Bully Street Broads? Women’s Hockey Debated at Summit

As a purist, I am heartened to see that the women have adopted the whole ‘playoff beard’ tradition.

Many US Kids Confused by Equal Sign Also Have Difficulty with Similes

That hasn’t seemed to stop them from using ‘like’ as every third word when they talk.  [ed. note: I hate teens].

Woman Dies in Hwy. 69 Crash, May Have Been Upended

Either that or she was going the wrong way.


Setting: Sparsely decorated hotel room.  Bruce Springsteen plays loudly through iPod speakers while a man sings along in shower.

Telephone rings; An agitated Peter King enters room in bath towel, dripping wet.

Peter King:     Where is that damn Blackberry!  Hello?  Hello?

Don Banks:     Hi, Peter, It’s Don Banks.

Peter King:     Donnie Boy! How’s it hanging, good buddy?

Don Banks:     Things are great, Peter.  Thanks for asking.  Listen, the reason I’m calling is –

Peter King [interrupting]:     You seen Dexter yet? I’m hooked.  Did you get the DVDs I sent you?  You better watch them soon, because they’re from Netflix.

Don Banks:   I did get them, and thanks again.  You didn’t have to –

Peter King:     No problem, D-Man.  Hey, when are you and the missus finally going to check out our new digs?  We’re right in the heart of Beantown, you know!

Don Banks:     That’s very thoughtful, Peter.  I’ll have to check with Alissa and let you –

Peter King:     Say, I ever tell you about the time I was sportfishing in Chesapeake Bay with Bum Phillips?  Guy was half in the bag and nearly fell out the boat when his line got caught in the motor.  Hilarious!

Don Banks:     Yeah, I think you mentioned it once.  Hey listen, I just wanted to ask you a fav-

Peter King:     – and all I could think was – What kind of a name is ‘Bum’ anyway?  Hey – you know what’d be funny? If his last name was Butkus.

Don Banks:     Peter – I need to talk to you about something imp-

Peter King:     Bum Butkus!  That’s what his name would be!  Come to think of it, Dick Butkus is a pretty funny name too.

Don Banks:     That is pretty funny, Peter.  But listen –

Peter King:     Hey Donnie – Are you going to be in town for the SI event next week?  We should go for ribs!  I know this place called Tony Roma’s.

Don Banks [becoming agitated]:     Peter.

Peter King:     It’ll be just like old times, buddy.  K-Man and Donnie Brasco, out on the town!

Don Banks [yelling]:     PETER!

Peter King:     Hold the phone! What is it, Donnie Boy?

Don Banks:     That’s just it, Peter.  Now don’t take this the wrong way, but I was wondering if you could cool it with the nicknames in your columns for a while.

Peter King [deflated]:     You don’t like ‘Donnie Brasco’?

Don Banks:     Listen, you’re a good friend, Peter, but lately your columns make it sound like we’re two childhood friends.

Peter King:     I don’t know what to say.  I was just trying to send a little love to a good friend.

Don Banks:     It’s just that I’ve been getting some ‘uncomfortable’ emails from some of your fans lately.

Peter King:    What are we talking about here, Donnie?  Because if you’re talking about the so-called [ahem] ‘cock shots’, that’s Brett thing.  I was barely even there.

Don Banks:     I just think you might want to tone down the friend angle for a while.  And maybe cool it with the twitter updates.

Peter King [defensive]:     Oh, I can do cool, Don.  In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been at this game for a while.

Don Banks [back-tracking]:     I know, Peter.  You do top-notch work.  I never meant to-

Peter King:     I mean, I practically invented the hip and irreverent top 15 sports format!

Don Banks:    I know, Peter.  Everybody loves your columns. I love your columns.

Peter King:     They just want to hear about real life, Donnie!  That’s what I give them – a window into life on the gridiron!  I’m sorry if sometimes people think that makes me a hack.

Don Banks [defeated]:     Listen, I’m sorry I even brought it up.  Let’s forget I mentioned it.  Hey – how’re your Red Sox holding up?

Peter King [mood lightening]:     Don’t you count out my Sox just yet, good Buddy!  They’re not cooked yet!

Don Banks:     Attaboy, Peter.  Listen, I should let you go.  Please give my best to –

Peter King:     ‘Youk’s still got another post-season run in him yet!  Say, we should catch a game and some brews sometime.

Don Banks:     Sounds like a plan.  Bye for –

Peter King:     – or we could go for coffee!  Doctor says I need to stay away from the stuff, but a man’s got to have his java, am I right?

Don Banks:     I really do need to go now.  Say hi to the kids for me.

Peter King:     Speaking of Laura and Mary Beth, when are we going to set them up with your two boys?  Then we’d be in-laws!

Don Banks:     I don’t think it works that way, Peter.  And anyway –

Peter King:     You checked out that Tebow kid yet, Dubs?  I got a good feeling about that kid.  Good head on his shoulders.

Don Banks [perturbed]:     Okay, Peter, I’m going to have to hang up now….

Peter King:     And that body!  When I saw him at the Combine, I was ready to get on my knees and praise the Lord.  Talk about upside potential!

Don Banks [pretending to hang up]:     Click.

Peter King [pausing]:     You still there, Donnie?  Reminds me of the time I was interviewing Ralph Wilson over the phone.  I thought he fell asleep, but turns out he had a stroke!  Can you imagine?

Don Banks:     Peter….I really need to go –


Don Banks [hanging up]:     Click.

An insightful look at the headlines that shape your world

Indian iPad Rival to Cost Just $35, is Made Entirely of Lead Paint

So far, the only available app is designed to give users diarrhea.

When Teens Want Tattoos: Your Guide To Interpreting Underage Tramp Stamps

When my five-year-old came to me and said he wanted a Bakugan tattoo, I decided to turn it into a learning experience.  As in, ‘let’s learn about which childhood playthings are likely to become cultural icons and which ones aren’t’.


Crimes Against Humanity, as Seen by Alanis Morrissette: Khmer Rouge Chief Jailer Gets 35 Years

Could have been worse.  He could have been handed over to the dreaded Khmer Bleu.

Pamela Anderson, Foie Gras Foe, Vacuous Tit Model

Seriously though, is there anything meat-related that this woman isn’t against?

Billy Corgan Collapses on Stage in Self-Indulgent Triumph of Tortured Artistry

If whining were an acceptable form of singing, then this guy would be a rock star.


Genny Ultra Strong: World’s Strongest Beer Launches as $762 a Bottle

You don’t even want to know what a tallboy costs.

 Paralyzed Therapy Cat Inspires Patients with Touching Hommage to the Futility of Life

Toonces: The Aftermath

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