A Fly On The Wall Named The Hook…

I may have a wealth of adventures on my own, but a bellman is often simply a fly on the wall, one that is never bored.

They were a middle-aged couple waiting for an elevator. Both were reasonably-fit. He was blonde like a California surfer past his prime, moderately fit and still had his hair (lucky bastard). She was the type of woman most human beings of both genders would kill to be with. Picture a ginger Kim Kardashian that you don’t want to murder. Clearly, he had cash and she liked it. A match made in what passes for Heaven these days.

All good? Then we’ll proceed.

HIM:  So what do you want for dinner tonight?

HER:  Oh, so now you’re paying attention to me?

HIM:  H’uh?

HER:  You really have no idea, do you? I’ve been talking to you for ten minutes!

She really had been. Don’t ask me what she was talking about; I was too busy thinking about my next call while waiting for the explosion I knew was sure to come. (My instincts, honed over nearly two decades, never fail.)

HIM:  Well, how am I supposed to know what you’re talking about? You say so many things, I lose track!

At least he was honest. Not that it helped him.

HER:  You’re something else! Has it always been this way?

HIM:  Hell, yeah! When we first got married, I barely recognized that you had a head!

Told you he was honest.

She huffed, puffed and looked at me with a “Do you believe this guy?”, type of look.

ME:  (While shrugging my shoulders.)  Hey, I’ve been married twenty years, miss, I know better than to get in the middle of this! At least he’s honest. Don’t women want that in a mate?

He broke out in laughter.

HIM:  He’s got a point, honey.

HER:  (While still huffing and puffing.)  You both suck!

At that point he pulled her close, grabbed her ass and kissed her neck while whispering (but not that quietly), “I’ll make it up to you in the room!”

ME:  Just make sure you wait until you get to the room, sir! We’re slammed right now and I really need to get on this elevator with you!

HIM:  You heard that? You got good ears, man!

ME:  Comes with the territory! It helps when you’re trying to hear through hotel room doors!

HIM:  Nice! Bet you’ve heard some interesting stuff.

ME:  You have no idea.

She gave me a come-hither look which inspired my next comment.

ME:  But I try to stay on the sidelines whenever possible.

HER:  (In a husky, no-longer-upset-at-all voice) Oh! You mean you don’t want to join in, Mr, Bellboy?


HIM:  (While chuckling, but not surprised at all.)  She’s something else, isn’t she? See why I love her?

ME:  Yeah, it’s quite clear, sir. To answer your question, miss, I’m afraid my own wife and I have an understanding.

HER:  What’s that?

ME:  She’d kill me… and I understand that.

They both took a moment to ponder my words. Then they broke up in raucous laughter.

We got on the elevator together. They groped each other furiously but kept it PG. Relatively.

That’s where our sorted tale ends, I’m afraid. No “Fifty Shades of Hook” this time. Or ever.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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A Short, But Wicked Sweet One…

Any bellman worth his salt knows humor is one of the most powerful weapons in his arsenal.

That, and a medium-sized suitcase that “accidentally” strikes an obnoxious guest in the face, of course.

At any rate, put plainly, this summer has been a brutal one. Not that I mind, especially after I spent last summer on my porch rather than in the hospitality trenches. But back to this summer; yesterday was particularly insane, with one guest elevator down, Dragon Boat racers leaving the premises all at once and the usual surly suspects adding fuel to the fire.

So when I found myself in a crowd of hot, exhausted, increasingly-frustrated travelers who were not content to wait quietly for an elevator, I knew there was only one thing to do.

And so I launched into a brief stand-up routine.

  So, I see there are a lot of married couples here. I just became a widower myself… I’m pretty excited about that. I look awesome in black. And I’m getting more tail than ever! Turns out grief is a great aphrodisiac. Who knew?

The crowd gasped.

They were shocked.

They were stunned.

They broke up in one giant wave of laughter.

My job was done. My mission a successful one.

Until the wife reads this, that is.

See you in the lobby, kids..

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Fan Expo Canada: Pros and Cons.

Two weeks remain until Fan Expo Canada 2015 is unleashed upon the Multiverse, kids. 459-11709785_959013420816915_8226764061119911324_o

If you’re a hardcore nerd like me that statement has you shaking like Donald Trump in a room full of armed Mexicans. If you’re not… then why are you still  reading this?

All right, let’s get serious. Oh wait, we’re talking about a comic con here; serious is the last thing we want to be. After all, cons are about FUN! So let’s have some, shall we?

We’ll start with the Cons. I find it’s easier to get the unpleasant stuff out of the way fast; it always works when the wife add veggies to my dinner. Or when she requests foreplay…

(And yes, I’m going to pay a heavy price for that one.)

Ten Fan Expo Canada 2015 Cons

 1)  I have to wait two weeks until Fan Expo! You have any idea how many sleeps that is? No seriously, do you? I hate math.

2)  Jennifer Morrison cancelled. It took her awhile, but my daughter, a ridiculously-dedicated Oncer, understood. These things happen. (You’re still getting an exploding cake in the mail, Jennifer, sorry.) 

3)  All my attempts at gaining super powers before September have failed, thus annihilating my chances at being the first real superhero at a con. Turns out microwaving a spider doesn’t make it radioactive, it just pisses it off – assuming it doesn’t explode first, that is. Plus, their bites hurt more when their bodies have been heated up.

4)  Apparently I’m “too old” to play with LEGOs with the other kids at Fan Expo. I love the wife, but I may have to let her go.

5)  RIP, Yvonne Craig. (That’s a “con” on any list.) You’ll be fighting crime – while looking crazy hot – in our memories and our hearts forever, Batgirl.

Batman-1100Oh, Yvonne, the things you did to us…

6)  Despite numerous requests, no vendor at this year’s con will be serving bacon-wrapped cats. My dog is pissed.

7)  Despite numerous requests – from me, this time – no vendors at this year’s con will be selling telepathic howler monkeys with adamantium skeletons. Gotta say, I’m deeply disappointed. Do you know the fun I could have with a simian companion with such abilities? The hospitality industry would never be the same…

8)  All my attempts at gaining super powers before September have failed, thus negating my chances at being the first real super-villain at a con. It’s just as well, I suppose. My lungs always cut out halfway through my mad scientist laugh. Plus, I’m Canadian, we’re too innately nice to be evil.

9)  Mads Mikkelsen will be there. He’s television’s Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I don’t know about you, but he gives me the creeps. Yes, I realize that’s his intent but I’m still steering clear of this guy. The Hook’s not winding up as the good doctor’s Canadian bacon.

10)  There will be approximately one gazillion nerds in attendance at Fan Expo Canada 2015. Of all those souls, the chances of me meeting someone who hates my guts – or has read my book – are pretty high. With my luck, I’ll run into a guy dressed as Deadpool – who talks like Matthew McConaughey in those Lincoln ads. I need a reasonably-priced bodyguard.

Okay, enough of this doom ‘n gloom stuff! Time to lighten the mood. let’s blow the roof off this here blog, shall we?

Ten Fan Expo Canada 2015 Pros

 1)  IT’S A CON!!  Please forgive my enthusiasm, but let’s face it: even a comic convention held in a burned-out Detroit slaughterhouse would still be a comic convention. There’s no such thing as a sucky con, not really. And Fan Expo is an exceptional con, to say the least.

2)  There are too many ass-kicking, mind-blowing, record-breaking, celebrity/comic/horror/sci-fi/anime/gaming/internet/cosplay/authors/voice actors/guests to name here. (I’d crash WordPress once and for all.) Most nerds measure a con by the size of their guest list. Fortunately, Fan Expo is ready to rock the house to its foundations.



3)  Fan Expo Canada envelops the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre, folks. That’s more square footage than Bob the Builder can measure with his bizarre talking tools. Told you they don’t mess around…



Does that not look like a superhero HQ?

4)  They have some of the coolest swag in the nerdverse for sale. San Diego seems to have cornered the market on exclusive merchandise for the discerning geek – but Fan Expo is breathing down their necks. Personally, I’ve been saving my allowance all summer so I can score this sweet tee…



5)  BILLY DEE!! BILLY DEE!!  Yes, I already covered guests (sort of), but Billy Dee Williams kicks 1,800 types of ass – before breakfast. Simply put, people love this guy. He’s cool/self-deprecating/likable on an unimaginable scale. And he was, in my opinion, which is the only opinion that counts here, the smoothest Harvey Dent to ever grace the silver screen.


6)  Comics! They get overshadowed by video games, celebrities and other aspects of the modern con, but you can’t have a comic book convention without comic books, kids. Luckily, Fan Expo has all the comic books a geek like me could possibly want. I plan on burning out my retinas. Should be wicked cool.

7)  The InnerSpace gang will be there! The irrepressible Teddy Wilson. The amazing Ajay Fry. The magnificent Morgan Hoffman. Individually, they are young, nerdy kids with hearts of gold. Together, they are a force of fandom nature. And they’ll be giving away swag, signing autographs and posing for free pics. So get in line, Spacers.


8)  There’s a MY LITTLE PONY stage show! No, I won’t be performing. But I am willing to concede that millions of people love this franchise so it must rock.

9)  The attractions. Breakfast with the Stars, a special event in support of SickKids! The Horror Howl! An Evening With The Doctor’s Companions! The LEGO booth! (Excited yet?) The fun goes way beyond the convention floor.


10)  I’m going to rip off a major comic franchise, but for many, cons are a safe haven from a world that fears and hates them. I’ve met some of the nicest, most well-adjusted souls in the world at Fan Expo; many of these folks have been persecuted their entire lives.

But not at Fan Expo.

Let’s face it, this is not the easiest world in which to be different. But at a comic book convention there are no losers or transgender freaks. You won’t find anyone who feels out of place. Indeed, if you asked anyone at a con if they would prefer to live in a society modeled after a convention they’d probably begin to weep at the prospect of such a society. Fan Expo is one of my favorite places on the planet (it’s right up there with Niagara Falls Comic Con, of course), and with good reason.

Fan Expo Canada isn’t really a con at all. At its core, it’s home.

See you on the con floor, kids…

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SuperGirl May Be The Most Important Comic-to-TV Adaptation Ever.

And that’s not comic book hyperbole, kids.

Here’s a snippet of a conversation from a few months back that has been looping in my house (with subtle variations), for years.

ME:  So, we going to Ant-Man?

MY 16-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER:  Ant-Man? Is that going to be another huge sexist superhero spectacular where women are barely featured and reduced to the same tired damsel-in-distress role Hollywood has been selling for years?

ME:  Well… yeah, I guess. But it’s got Paul Rudd… and it won’t be a huge sexist spectacular… because Ant-Man is… you know tiny. Like an ant.

DAUGHTER:  You’re not funny, Skippy.

ME:  I’m a little funny. But listen, superhero movies are getting better. Look at Black Widow –

A fatal mistake in my part. The words barely escaped my lips when my daughter jumped in like Jessica Drew.

DAUGHTER:  Don’t get me started on Black Widow! She was a love-struck girlie-girl in the last Avengers movie and they even made her a damsel-in-distress after introducing her as a butt-kicking, fully-empowered female in the first Iron Man! And look at Felicity Smoak in Arrow; she was a full partner at first and this season she was reduced to wearing low-cut dresses and hopping from Ray Palmer to Oliver faster than Barry Allen!

She was just getting started.

DAUGHTER:  It’s the same thing all the time, it seems. Females aren’t incredible, spectacular, mighty or invincible in the movies or TV shows. Iris West isn’t as concerned with her writing as she is with Eddie, Barry, or “The Streak”. Agent Carter was only a limited series. And we still haven’t seen a Black Widow or Wonder Woman film. And what’s happening with Captain Marvel? We make up most of the audience for these shows. Don’t they care about us?

Admittedly, she had me with that one.

But I recovered nicely.

ME:  Orphan Black has a ton of strong female characters…

DAUGHTER:  All played by the same actress. Who I bet only gets one paycheck!

ME:  You’re killing me. But I’m still swinging. What about Supergirl?


DAUGHTER:  What about her?

ME:  She’s getting her own show. Granted, it’s on CBS, but still…

And with that, my daughter pulled a Jesse Quick and disappeared to her headquarters (her room), to Google the six-minute Supergirl trailer. She emerged ten minutes later.




Again, she was just getting started.

DAUGHTER:  You didn’t tell me Marley Rose (Melissa Benoist, for those of us of a certain age) from Glee is starring as Supergirl! She’s AWESOME!

ME:  And she was in The Longest Ride.

I scored major “street cred” with that one.

DAUGHTER:  It looks like they’re not going to show Superman, who would just overshadow Kara. They have the original movie Supergirl and a TV Superman!  And the tagline rocks! “It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Girl!


 ME:  So they’re on the right track? Young girls will be satisfied? A corner may have been turned and new age of nerdy equality is on the horizon?

DAUGHTER:  Maybe. But Hollywood has A LOT of work to do to appease all the nerd girls out there.

ME:  The never-ending battle continues.



Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

100 Reasons Murdoch Mysteries Rocks: Part Two.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ME:  I am a white, Canadian male in his forties who has never been arrested. (Doesn’t mean I’ve never committed a crime, though.) And above all, I love my family… and Murdoch Mysteries.

How much do I love MM? I insist my wife begin every lovemaking session with “What have you, George?” That’s how much I value the integrity of this program.

And now, let’s put this list to bed, shall we?

48)  Murdoch Mysteries is heading into SEASON NINE. This show’s a contender.

47)  My late-father-in-law (more on him soon), used to watch this show at least three times a day. If it was being broadcast, it was on in our home – and we’ve never grown tired of it.

46)  MM may be the most interactive show in television history. The MM geniuses actually created an episode outside of an episode, The Infernal Device. Part web mystery, part live-action adventure, The Infernal Device lured fans away from their screens and out into the so-called real world. It was an absolutely clever and unforgettable multi-media experience.

45)  My recent visit to the MM set allowed me the rare opportunity to observe Insp. Brackenreid himself, Thomas Craig, in his fake/natural environment, and I have to tell you, he was glorious. There he stood, radiant in the midday sun, his forehead glistening as he greeted fans. A Murdochian minion approached him with a bottle of water and I’ll never forget his bellowing response:


He then proceeded to beat the subordinate with a rolled-up script, thus reaffirming his dominant status in the MM hierarchy. Granted, I’ve exaggerated this tale somewhat. (I tend to do that.)

It was a pint he requested. He is British, after all.

44)  The ridiculously talented and cute Arwen Humphreys plays Brackenreid’s wife, Margaret. Mrs. B is the prototypical wife: well-mannered and overflowing with social graces in public and naughty in the boudoir – and even in her husband’s office on occasion. The turn-of-the-century minx.


43)  Dingoes have never stolen a baby on the set of MM. I don’t know about you, but I sleep better at night knowing that.

42)  Murdoch is no Dark Knight Detective (he’s much more lighthearted), but he does have his own Joker. Portrayed by the incomparable Michael Seater, James Gillies is a criminal genius/scumbag and prides himself on always being one step ahead of our intrepid hero. Seater burns up the screen with wild abandon.

41)  The brilliant Peter Stebbings is James Pendrick, a recurring character. Pendrick is an inventor ahead of his time – with the worst luck ever. His wife was a con artist. He was swindled out of the electric car biz. He had to destroy his flying machine before it fell into the wrong hands. I thought my life was complicated…

40)  Thomas Craig was on Coronation Street. You may be giggling right now, but Corrie rocks. You either get it or you don’t. Period.

39)  Nikola Tesla has appeared. How cool is that?

38)  Constable Henry Higgins is the most unassuming police officer you’ll never notice. He means well, but he’s the Charlie Brown of Station House Four. He’s brought to glorious unassuming life by Lachlan Murdoch. No he’s not related to that Murdoch…

37)  In real life, Arwen Humphreys smells like boyhood fantasies come to life. And for some reason, nutmeg.

36)  MM has won a butt-load of awards. You gotta respect that.

35)  The themes of personal honor and friendship are paramount on Murdoch, something I respect, especially when one looks at some of the dreck on television today.

34)  Chief Constable Giles, as portrayed by character actor extraordinaire, Nigel Bennett, is menacing, powerful and ultimately, a tragic figure whom Det. Murdoch is forced to send to prison for conspiring to cover up the death of a fellow officer years prior. Giles was a thorn in Murdoch’s side throughout the series’ history but even Murdoch couldn’t help but feel shattered when it was revealed Giles was a homosexual who was being blackmailed by said fellow officer. What else can I say? Bennett is a remarkable actor.


33)  Constable John Hodge. A man of great honor who appeared throughout MM until it was discovered he murdered a fellow constable to prevent Chief Constable Giles, a detective at the time, from being blackmailed. I’m not ashamed to admit my heart broke for Hodge. Brian Kaulback is also a remarkable actor – with the coolest muttonchops since Wolverine.

30032)  My dog loves to curl up beside the TV whenever MM is on. Any show that can make that energetic little devil relax for awhile should be on forever as far as I’m concerned.

31)  “Bollocks!”  Another great catchphrase, courtesy of Brackenreid. It’s dirty but not dirty enough to get you into real trouble in North America.

30)  MM has been on for nine seasons and yet, the characters haven’t just aged, they’ve evolved. Brackenreid has been beaten down, inside and out and emerged stronger. Det. Murdoch finally got laid. Julia Ogden has switched professions at as time when it was unthinkable for a woman to do so and in the process, discovered her place in the world. Crabtree became a writer and maybe even a detective in his own right. (His fate is still very much up in the air.) And Dr. Grace? Well, she’s the subject of this next entry…

29)  Murdoch Mysteries may be on the CBC, but fortunately, the CBC has never been afraid to shine a light on mankind’s darkest corners. Case in point: Emily Grace is a progressive gal who isn’t afraid to let George Crabtree know she’s interested in him. A dalliance with a cad ended that relationship, after which Emily wrapped herself in the Suffrage movement, a move that led her to a young lady named Lilian Moss, with whom she fell in love, reluctantly at first and then head-on (so to speak) after much soul-searching. This direction is going to lead to some brilliant/controversial storytelling, no doubt.

And real world change. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

28)  As a bellman I’ve met thousands of people from all walks of life, some of whom are more willing to open up to a stranger than their own families. Shortly after Dr. Grace came out on Murdoch, I met a young lady with whom I struck up a lengthy conversation – that led to a revelation: she had decided to come out to her family after watching Georgina Reilly do so on MM. A mere TV show inspired this girl to take control of her life and reveal her true self to her family, regardless of the consequences.

Just think about that for a moment.

Done? Then we’ll continue.

 27)  MM may be a decent honorable show with a strong moral center, but that doesn’t mean it’s staffed by monks…


26)  Slugger Jackson. He’s really Kristian Bruun. He’s on Orphan Black. He rocks.

25)  MM shoots on a back-lot in Toronto but they also shoot scenes all over Ontario – and even England once – thus supporting dozens of local economies. Don’t these guys rock?

24)  Murdoch Mysteries is known as The Artful Detective in the United States. As a lifelong comic book geek I love the whole dual identity thing.

23)  In addition to their tireless social media onslaught, the MM production team manages to find time to hold an annual Murdoch Mysteries Fan Day. Fans were able to tour the sets and back-lot, and meet the cast and crew. Demand was so high this year they had to add a second day. It was a religious experience, kiddies.

22)  During Fan Day the MM crew gave out bottles of cool, refreshing H2O to thirsty/sun-stroked fans like yours truly. Most crews would have delighted in seeing fans drop like flies, but not the  MM gang.

21)  The MM crew is comprised of some of the nicest, coolest, only mildly frightening individuals I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. Every single one of them is approachable and willing to share their wisdom and experiences.

20) As a comic book geek, I love crossovers. And so I was in Heaven when Murdoch Mysteries and Republic of Doyle teamed up for “Republic Of Murdoch.” On MM, the great, great, great grandfather of  private eye Jake Doyle crossed paths with Det. William Murdoch in 1901, and, later, young Bill Murdoch, the great, great, great grandson of the famed detective, headed out to The Rock to aid Jake Doyle in the present day on Republic of Doyle. CBC awesomeness. Times two.




19)  Even recurring guest-stars like Peter Keleghan got in on the action during MM Fan Day, showcasing their “serious side”.




18)  One of the most underrated actors of all time, Victor Garber, (Alias, Argo, etc.), appeared as Murdoch’s predecessor. He knocked it out of the park of course.

17)  Yannick Bisson considers himself a mere cog in the machine, but there’s no denying his brilliance as Det. William Murdoch. It may be a cliché but it’s true: this is the role he was born to play.

16)  The unimaginably funny Sean Cullen once hammed it up to Shatneresque levels as a cycling coach/con artist. Funny stuff, kids.

15)  Nine seasons in and MM remains one of the CBC’s mostly highly rated programs, bringing in 1.4 million viewers every week. Without using zombies, gratuitous nudity or any of the usual tricks.

14)  The MM team manage to transform a back-lot on Eglinton Avenue (Sullivan Studios), into early-century Toronto every week. When you tour the set and see what they actually have to work with, you are amazed beyond words.

10955328_819751448103319_5884034604616753452_n There’s actually a RONA right across the street…

13)  One lucky fan from each of MM’s Fan Days won a walk-on role. That was unbelievably cool and gracious of the MM team, no?

Not to worry, folks, I didn’t win, so there’s no chance your television sets will explode…

12)  Before the weekly series was born, three television movies, Except the Dying, Poor Tom Is Cold and Under the Dragon’s Tail, aired in 2004. (They rocked, by the way.) Peter Outerbridge was William Murdoch and he even appeared last season alongside his successor.

11)  The show has great tie-in swag.


10)  I don’t know about you, but I’m knackered! Are we there yet? (I know what my wife is going to say when she reads this. “Boy, that sounds familiar!”)

9)  Det. Murdoch invented Silly Putty. You’re welcome, kids.

8)  Det. Murdoch’s chalkboard is as much a part of the show as any of the characters. An old school Mac used to great effect.

11049072_778140565597741_1704587266_n7)  I cannot recall a single MM episode that left me disappointed.

6)  The MM cast once appeared at Fan Expo, one of the coolest comic cons of ’em all. I love Fan Expo.

5)  MM once did a zombie-episode-without-actual-zombies. Hey, it made sense at the time.

4)  I have to give Yannick Bisson props for being bilingual. I can barely manage one language…

3)  Bat Masterson once appeared on MM. I love the Old West.

2)  Aaron Ashmore guest-starred as Jack London.

 1) My father-in-law John Fisher, the greatest man I ever knew, passed away in March after battling emphysema bravely for five years. He lived with us during that struggle and in that time he watched an incalculable number of Murdoch Mysteries episodes.

This is why the show means so much to me. There were days Dad couldn’t summon the strength to rise from bed. The darkness of those days was lessened by the light Dad derived from watching Yannick Bisson and company bring Det. William Murdoch and his world to life. Dad was an old school gentleman who sometimes felt lost in a modern world. Watching the world as it used to be put him at ease.

When Insp. Brackenreid was nearly beaten to death by dockside hooligans during an unforgettable season finale, Dad lost it once he realized he’d have to wait an entire summer to see “Brik ‘n Brak’s” ultimate fate.

“What do you mean we have to wait until September to see what happens? You mean he has to lie there all summer? That hardly seems fair!”

I sat with Dad for thirteen hours the day we lost him and among the maelstrom of thoughts racing through my mind that day, one kept recurring…

“Murdoch just won’t be the same without Dad.”

In spite of that, I’ll never stop watching Murdoch Mysteries. Simply put, it isn’t just a TV show in my house. 

It’s a way of life.

See you in the lobby, kids.

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

100 Reasons Murdoch Mysteries Rocks: Part One.

This vanity post was inspired by my recent visit to the set of Murdoch Mysteries. If you’re not a fan of the show, you should be, but please bear with me and who knows? I may convert you by the time you reach the bottom of the screen.

I’m a cut-to-the-chase kinda guy – and not just in the bedroom. (Isn’t my wife a lucky gal?) So I’m going to get right to it, assuming you don’t mind? You don’t? No wonder we get along so well.

For the uninitiated: Murdoch Mysteries is a CBC television drama, produced by Shaftesbury Films derived from the novels by Maureen Jennings which follows detective William Murdoch’s adventures in early-twentieth-century-Toronto. Murdoch uses up-and-coming forensics techniques and an unconventional approach to nail the bad guys while wooing and eventually winning the hand – and other body parts – of his lady love, Dr. Julia Ogden.

Now that you’re up-to-date, Poindexter, let’s get to it.

100)  The show is a portal to a simpler time; a day and age when people still had honor and the world appeared to be a less-complicated place.

99)  It’s on the CBC, which is a Crown Corporation. This means the Canadian government owns and runs the network using tax dollars. I have, on rare occasions, actually paid my taxes. This means I own a infinitesimal stake in Murdoch Mysteries. I like that.

98)  Detective William Murdoch is portrayed by actor Yannick Bisson. I’ve met Yannick Bisson. He’s a righteous dude, who, unlike many celebrities I’ve brushed elbows with, is isn’t so full of himself he’s on the verge of generating his own black hole.

97)  My wife loves Yannick Bisson’s “sexy knees’. And that’s all I have to say about that.

96)  Their prop master, known far and wide as Prop Monkey, is the head of Monkey Lair Labs and he is absolutely delightful. He is a mad genius on par with Doctor Doom. Minus the iron mask and world-conquering agenda, of course. All Prop Monkey wants to do is make good television. In that regard, he fails. He doesn’t make good television… he makes great television.

95)  The beefcake factor is ridiculously high on Murdoch. According to one of my regular guests, a young lady who recently moved to Toronto from Texas…

“Those Murdoch guys make me hotter than a virgin bride sitting bareback on a wood stove!”

Of course, it should be noted that the young lady in question vomited immediately after making that statement early one Sunday morning, though I doubt the two events are linked in any way.

94)  Murdoch doesn’t skimp on the cheesecake factor either, though. The ladies of Murdoch are not only as radiant as the sun rising over the CN Tower, they’re incredibly capable actresses. (I had to include that statement to ensure my daughter, a budding feminist, won’t kill me, but I really meant it.) But more on the ladies of Murdoch later.

93)  Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Even without a dog and four meddling kids, Murdoch Mysteries manages to spin a heckuva mysterious tale week after week.

92)  They’ve got horses! Girls go nutty for horses. In fact, my next-door neighbor has portrayed a coach driver in several episodes. That makes me semi-famous by land association.

91)  Catchphrases abound on Murdoch. “Bloody hell!” is among my favorites. We’ll get to the res tin due course. This is a long list, after all.

90)  The show is proudly Canadian; you can see it in every plot, mannerism and the overall niceness of the cast. Heck, get close enough to your TV and you’ll even smell the maple syrup and back bacon…

89)  The show regularly mines actual history to create exceptional fiction. Clever and Canadian? Awesome.

88) William Shatner is a fan of the show.

87)  William Shatner has filmed an episode – appearing as Mark Twain, no less. If that doesn’t give a show street cred, I don’t know what does.

86)  The show began as a series of TV movies, became a series on City-TV – and was cancelled by season five. Then, like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes, it moved to CBC and became a worldwide TV juggernaut.

85)  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once filmed a cameo as a desk sergeant. Let’s see Obama compete with that.

84)  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fascination with the history of hockey inspired an episode. Let’s see Donald Trump compete with that.

83)  Murdoch Mysteries does not feature twincest, dragons, killer medieval ghosts, zombies or any of the salacious/supernatural elements that dominate television these days. All you’ll find is good solid television delivered old school style, kiddies.

82)  This show has never featured a Kardashian. That alone makes it must-see TV.

81)  Detective William Murdoch is an inventor, responsible for creating everything from Scotch tape to the lie detector. Not that he ever receives credit for his inventions, though. He merely “expands upon the work of others.” and never seeks fame or fortune. How Canadian is that?

80)  No one on this show has ever been convicted of cattle rustling. As far as I know.

79)  Detective William Murdoch is a deeply religious, incredibly honorable man who is in danger of becoming a dinosaur as the world around him degenerates into the world we know and sometimes loathe. This is no cookie cutter archetype, folks.

78)  Murdoch’s boss, Inspector Thomas Brackenreid is a man who enjoys a good glass of Scotch, an even better donnybrook and above all, he loves his family. And saying “Bloody Hell!” He’s not above bending the rules to advance the cause of justice.

77)  Stand-up comic Jonny Harris is Constable George Crabtree, the best assistant/partner/subordinate a detective could ask for. Crabtree is…

  • A futurist.
  • An exceptional comic foil.
  • A writer whose imagination never fails to amuse.

76)  Crabtree has become the focus of a Twitter campaign. #FreeCrabtree refers to George’s current plight; he’s currently incarcerated for a murder he’s confessed to but clearly didn’t commit. Or did he?

75)  The Murdoch team has embraced social media – the ultimate marketing tool of our time – and utilizes it more effectively than any show I know.

74)  The show’s social media team follows me on Twitter. So you know they have good taste.

73)  Hélène Joy brings Dr. Julia Ogden to glorious life and does so with turn-of-the-century gusto. Julia has always been William’s on-again/off-again/on-again/off-again (my math is off; I’ve lost track to be honest), love – and eventually his wife -and all the while, she’s never failed to be her person. Julia, has in fact, had several occupations over the course of the series, something that would have been unheard of in that actual time period. And to say Joy is easy on the eyes is to suggest Lizzie Borden was merely acting out.

72)  The always-delightful Georgina Reilly is Dr. Emily Grace, the perkiest medical examiner this side of Quincy. Emily is open-minded (more on that later), fun-loving and possesses a curious and agile mind.

71)  Georgina Reilly’s eyes. They’re so filled with fire and power, they get their own entry. Reilly could speak her lines with only her eyes if necessary.

70)  Murdoch Mysteries is entirely gluten-free. Apparently that’s a big deal these days.

69)  You’re giggling right now, so I’m going to skip this one entirely.

68)  Treasure hunters are in for a rare treat every time they tune in. Murdoch’s production team has assembled the coolest and nearly-impossible-to-find items from days gone by.

67)  Hélène Joy’s smile. That thing could light up my hometown of Niagara Falls.

66)  Arlene Dickinson once appeared as an early-century version of herself. She’s no Meryl Streep but she was funny and willing to laugh at herself.

65)  Det. Murdoch wears a bowler hat. Bowler hats are cool.

64)  Wealthy Barber David Chilton (my favorite Dragon of all time and a helluva nice guy), guest-starred as – you guessed it – an early-century version of himself. Chill rocks.

63)  Kevin O’Leary has never appeared on this show. That’s actually a point in their favor.

62)  “What have you, George?” Arguably the best catchphrase in Canadian TV history.

61)  The bits ‘n pieces of Jonny Harris’ stand-up brilliance that bleed through into the script. If you haven’t seen Jonny’s stand-up routine, you haven’t really laughed.

60)  That haunting, inspired theme music.

59)  The cool logo that almost surpasses my own. Almost.

58)  Peter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers, a Canadian secret agent who loves his stogies almost as much as he loves conspiracies and saying “I’m afraid that’s classified, gentlemen.”

57)  Murdoch’s 8pm broadcast time is before my bedtime, so that works out well.

56)  Winston Churchill (yes, that Winston Churchill), showed up in Murdoch’s Toronto once. And he was a laugh riot.

55)  The whole family can watch Murdoch Mysteries and be satisfied. How many shows can make that claim these days? Not Game of Thrones, that’s for sure.

54)  All CBC programs taste great and are now less filling. That’s your tax dollars at work, kids.

53)  The show isn’t afraid to tackle religion persecution. Murdoch is a Roman Catholic in Protestant Toronto, and the show highlights the prejudices that he encounters as a result.

52)  Are you as knackered as I am right now?

51)  Geraint Wyn Davies, one of Canada’s finest thespians, portrayed Arthur Conan Doyle in three episodes. Davies never disappoints. It’s actually uncanny and almost disturbing.

50)  The Murdoch team is very hip ‘n happenin’. As a result,  several short run web series have also been created under the Murdoch Mysteries banner. Web series are cool.

49)  The Murdoch team takes their work very seriously. I like that.

All right, I think we’ve reached a good stopping point. Much like one of William’s creations, I’m running out of steam. We’ll pick this up again soon. (As soon as I pick 49 more reasons out of my consciousness, that is.)

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Never Mind The Zohan, Don’t Mess With The Hook.

I am a walking study in contradiction, friends.

In my “civilian guise” as Robert Hookey, I’m a fairly mild-mannered Canadian lad. The wife assumes control if we encounter hostile individuals while out and about, and I am more than happy to let her do so. (Not that I have any choice.)

But when I don a certain loose-fitting grey and black monkey suit, the kid gloves are tossed aside and to quote Rodney Dangerfield…

“I don’t take shit from nobody!”

And believe me, I don’t. Granted, one must adhere to a professional code of conduct whenever possible, but one can find plenty of wiggle room if necessary. Of all the stand-offs I’ve had with guests, only a handful have resulted in a conversation with supervisors – who quickly realize they aren’t going to gain any ground where I’m concerned. After eighteen years in the hospitality trenches it’s safe to say I have a developed a rhythm that not only keeps my pockets full, it keeps my pasty white butt out of HR.

(Sorry for the unsavory imagery.)

Here’s something to distract you…

The lovely and talented Ned Hickson!



No? Uh, let’s just carry on, shall we?

Sometimes though, it’s necessary to cross a line or two – without fully admitting to it, of course.

Case in point: A corporate raider once checked into the hotel during one of the busiest weeks we;ve ever experienced. This asshat was a total tool. I mean, he made Kevin O’Leary look warm ‘n fuzzy. He made Piers Morgan look like Santa Claus. He made Simon Cowell look like Mother Theresa.

Get the picture, kids?

So this goofball drives his leased Jaguar onto the valet Deck, berates the doorman…

“Hey, asshole! get over here and get a car jockey to park my car. Now! And don’t even think about letting him scratch it”

…stores his luggage at the Bell Desk and heads to the check-in counter. Naturally, he screamed at the young female clerk when he was informed the room wasn’t ready…

“Who does a guy have to eat to get a room in this dump?”

…and he gave us a line of bull when it came time to have his bags delivered…

“Yeah, I won’t be in the room but you can just dump everything in the room, right?”

Wrong. We never drop bags off without a guest being present. Someone has to verify every bag arrived safely, to say nothing of the fact that Hook’s got to get paid!

And so two separate bellman attempted to drop this schmuck’s bags off at various times… to no avail. In each instance he told us he’d be there but wasn’t. Finally, he called our desk fuming.

“I want my bags delivered… NOW! I’ve got meetings and I won’t be there, so just drop them off! Got it?”

Oh, we got it, all right. The gauntlet had been thrown down and it was up to me (maybe), to pick it up. As a result, the following events may or may not have occurred:

  • A bellman arrived at Mr. Personality’s room.
  • The bellman, upon realizing the blinds were open and every light was on – in the middle of the day – decided to close the blinds and kill every light.
  • Mr. Personality’s bags were then placed directly in front of the door. Maybe.

Time passed, as it tends to do. Buddy Boy arrived back at his room, along with a companion (hooker).

And promptly wiped out over his own luggage.

How do I know this, you ask? Well, the hooker in question happened to be friendly with one of our female security personnel and promptly spilled the beans as she was leaving later on. (I never judge, I merely giggle and blog.) Turns out Mr. Personality was so embarrassed by his fumble he couldn’t… how shall I put this? Well, it turns out he couldn’t “erect” a bridge to Happy Land.

The poor bastard. Karma really is the B-Word, right?

Remember, this may or may not have happened as described. See you in the lobby, kids…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments