Corrie Street May 29/16

Posh Food

Monday, Gail gets in the posh food for Carla’s pamper party. gail unpacks posh foodThousand Island dressing – check, iceberg lettuce – check. It’s hard to believe that even Gail could argue that those classic culinary items of long ago would meet Carla’s standards of posh. But it was funny, if an easy joke. “Scotch eggs?” Bethany queries. “Extra tasty Scotch eggs,” Gail assures her.

drinks-and-nibblesI was looking forward to seeing the mini marshmallow and pineapple salad come out of the refrigerator. But sadly, in Tuesday’s episode, the party was cut short. Sarah Louise and her unending haunting by the ghost of annex-Callum put an end to the girly fun.

need-to-take-him-to-hospitalWanting an excuse to get baby Harry and herself away from the house, Sarah held a thermometer over a steaming kettle. Look, I told you he had a temperature. They all took off for the hospital and left Carla sitting on the couch.

She probably was relieved. It looked gruesome. First, the Platt women kylie-mops-up-beside-foot-bathbickering all around her while she’s got her feet in a foot-spa. Then, in full party mode, playing party games of awkward questions.  Welcome to the family. This is your future.

platt-party-gamesIt was probably best that this hideous pre-hen-night party was cut short. Carla might well have tried to commit harikari with a can of Vienna sausages had it continued much longer. At the very least, it probably would have caused her to cancel the wedding. Marrying Nick is one thing, calling the Platts your family is quite another. Devon is not far enough away.

Super Superdogs!

pc superdogs logoCame home smelling of strange dogs tonight.  I’d been to see the PC Superdogs at London’s John Labatt Centre [now Budweiser Gardens].  My dogs are now sitting either side of me, as close as they can get.  Maybe they’re afraid I’m going to trade them in.  They’re not in any danger of being replaced, but the Superdogs were awesome.

Big, little, purebreds, mongrels, shelter dogs, pound rescues – they’re all there, and Poles - Sheepdogthey’re brilliant.  We sat in the front row in floor seating.  Sometimes dogs that veered off the path came right in front of us.  We took pictures, held our breath when they jumped hurdles, cheered “our” dogs on in races until we were hoarse.  It’s regular people with their regular dogs, a little bit of glitz with rhinestone collars and sparkly scarves.

A bit of clowning with Pot Roast, a bulldog who couldn’t really jump or weave around poles but had a good time trying.  Dogs sometimes doing incredible agility feats, sometimes starting out brilliantly then just kind Superdogs Jack Russellof losing track and going off to sniff the floor in search of popcorn.  The ‘dog freestyle’ Rottweillers turned out not to be in a dancing mood, so pretty much just goofed around.

After the show, everyone got to meet the dogs.  They enjoyed being the stars and loved the pats and kisses.  When the arena cleared out, some of the pups in training came out and played around with each other and the audience members who were still hanging around.  I think we were the last to high hurdlesleave.  The arena security people were telling us and the remaining dog handlers which exits to use, as in it’s time to leave now!  It’s a great show – kids and adults alike loved the show and the dogs.  If you have a chance to see them, it’s well worth it.

PC Superdogs tour dates

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, May 8, 2010. Here are the cities and dates for the 2016 PC Superdogs Canadian tour covering Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

I’ll Have Another

Barbaro-findagrave-17738583-J-Griffith
Barbaro 2003-2007

This was first posted on my St. Thomas Dog Blog, May 10, 2012. This Saturday, May 7th, 2016, it’s Derby Day again. It feels different this year – it’s the first anniversary of the beginning of American Pharoah’s successful run for the Triple Crown. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Barbaro’s Kentucky Derby win. Sadly, he was injured in the Preakness and he died Jan. 29th 2007. 

coffee mug from Kentucky Derby MuseumThe 1st Saturday in May, this is the mug I pour my first cup of coffee into.  Last Saturday, the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another came from the middle of the pack and passed the frontrunner. At 15-1 odds and in the 19th position, he wasn’t considered a serious contender.

His jockey, Mario Gutierrez, raced at Hastings Raceway in Vancouver, or as the announcer put it, “the small-time circuit up in Canada.”  It was Gutierrez’ first Derby ride.  The owner of I’ll Have Another, J. Paul Reddam, is originally from Windsor, Ont.  As a university student, he got interested in racing by hanging around Windsor Raceway.  Two racing lives honoured in the winner’s circle of the most I'll Have Another at finish line 2012 Kentucky Derbyprestigious race in North America, both nurtured on Canadian tracks.

Tracks that, at least in Ontario, face closure.  Premier McGuinty’s government decided that the long-standing profit-sharing agreement between tracks and the OLG would not be renewed.  Until now, OLG and the track shared the profits, with OLG getting the lion’s share.  Still, the 10% that the tracks get is crucial to their economic survival.  Slot machines and rooms that house them cost far less to maintain than do barns, tracks and horses.

Another side of tracks: history and tourism

All racetracks, including Churchill Downs, rely on slot machines and other forms of gambling for income.  When we toured Churchill Downs, our guide said the only day of the year on which the track 1907 Postcard of bookies at Woodbine Racetrack Torontoactually makes money from racing is Derby Day.

But the pride, prestige and history of Churchill Downs is in the racetrack and barns.  It is a tourism draw, with tours, gift shops and a museum.  Restaurants, motels and stores in Louisville also benefit from the dollars that come with these tourists who come to Horse Mecca and buy a commemorative mug.  Do non-gamblers make a special trip to tour a casino, other than in Las Vegas?

A racetrack is a huge operation, employing many in track and horse maintenance.  Also the breeders and trainers who spend years refining bloodlines and preparing juveniles for the track.  The stars are the horses and they are expensive to maintain.

Amazon link for Northern Dancer Legend and Legacy
Click for Amazon

Meanwhile in Ontario, racehorses are being sent for slaughter.  If the tracks don’t have the slot machines, they likely will close. There will be nowhere to race horses so breeders are getting out of the business.  That means getting rid of living horses.  It is said that newborn foals are being killed before they stand up – that way insurance will cover their “loss”.  Many of those thoroughbred foals and their mothers and fathers have the blood of the great Canadian Northern Dancer in their veins.

Thoroughbred and harness racing are part of our national history.  If Harness racing at Western Fair track London Ontario ca 1934profit sharing with slot machines keeps tracks alive, that also keeps alive our horses and our presence in the sport of kings.  McGuinty’s tinkering with what worked just fine for long before he became premier is now costing the lives of horses and livelihoods of horse people.

Corrie Street May 1/16

Fabulous Pablo

“Be fabulous,” Maria said to Pablo Wednesday as she gave him a farewell kiss and sent him off to London to a new and fabulous life. luke-comes-to table of fabulous Pablo and MariaOh, I hope he comes back to Weatherfield.

He is Maria’s green-card husband. His lover Ash is in London, and he wanted to join him. Maria, while in Cyprus, provided the solution by marrying Pablo so he could get legal immigrant status. One might ask, as Luke did, why he didn’t just go the direct route and marry Ash. Pablo’s parents don’t know he is gay, to which Luke asked “have they not met you?”

Maria hadn’t known how to tell Luke, so she didn’t. Tuesday, Luke a-double-expressosurprised her with a huge bouquet of flowers at a restaurant where she was supposedly having lunch with a school friend named Anastasia. Instead, she was lunching with a good looking guy.

She made the introductions: Pablo, this is my boyfriend; Luke, this is my husband. Smooth, Maria, smooth! While Luke was trying to digest Pablo looks at Lukeall of this, a waiter came by. Poor man, he suggested ‘expresso’. “It’s es-presso not ex-presso,” Luke exploded. Then a tirade about the frequent mispronunciation and how it drove him demented.

Fabulously OTT

Waiter corrected, Pablo open-mouthed and Maria worried, Luke stormed out, shoving the flowers in the arms of a woman passing by, leaving her stunned.

have-they-not-met-youNext day, Pablo came to explain. Buenos Aires’ finest 80 proof ‘moonshine’ and a plea for Maria’s forgiveness because “she looks so ugly when she cries” would do the trick. That last one ticked Maria off but It worked, eventually.

Maria and Luke patched it up and they became engaged. As Sophie said to Luke, it’s “you and Maria and the gay husband.” How are she and Pablo going to convince British authorities that they have a legitimate marriage?

Pablo says not-like-we-are-sleeping-togetherI hope it means Pablo will be back. This despite the fact that I no longer look with delight at newcomers on the Street. Far too many cast members with very little to do and no real reason to care about them. But Pablo? He is indeed fabulous.

Actor Shai Matheson plays it over the top, teetering on the edge of farce but not going over. He and Luke are brilliant together, Luke’s woman-holding-flowers as Maria and Pablo watch Luke leavefrustration and fury beautifully matched by Pablo’s shrug of ‘what, me?’ Pablo and Maria are great too. I think he’d be wonderful with anyone. In an interview with Samia Ghadie on Bluenose Corrie, she said she had asked the writer of these episodes: “Please can we keep him?” I second that. Please please, can we keep him?