The Hook’s Guide To Being A Non-Sucky Traveling Dad.

They put the “over” in overwhelmed, the “father” in fatherhood and at times, the “dumb” in dumbass.

They are everywhere, across the highways and byways of the global hospitality industry. They are legion. I walk among them, but I am not one of them.

They are traveling fathers and I have spent the last seventeen years serving/observing them. I’ve been carrying luggage- and dealing with baggage – for families and other eccentrics for almost two decades in Niagara Falls, Canada. As a father myself, I’ve paid particular attention to the actions (and mostly, in-actions) of my brethren.

The modern dad means well, (I think), but for the most part, he needs to step up his away game considerably. Luckily, I’m here to help. Here then, are a few tips for the Modern Traveling Dad. The first one needs to be implemented long before you leave the house…

10)  Don’t sit on the sidelines during the planning phase.  Or to be more accurate, don’t sit on the couch watching the game while your spouse books the rooms, hollers at the kids to pack their bags, stuffs your clothes into suitcases and generally steers the entire ship.

Get involved. Scour the web for deals. If you really can’t afford that trip to Niagara Falls… don’t go! Never put yourself into the red just to get away for a week. You’ll wind up with crushing credit card debt that will outlive you and your spouse.

Helping the family pack is an area in which Dad can truly be indispensable. As a bellman, I encounter over-packers every day; you can keep things tight by at least trying to eliminate the clutter in your clan’s suitcases, Dad. The shock absorbers you’ll be saving will be your own.

9)  Lay down the law.  With the kids, I mean. Only a fool would believe he has a chance to laying down the law with his wife. Your progeny may be scarier than a mother-in-law convention, but if you establish your dominance early, you’ll be good.


8)  Whether you’re traveling or not, keep your eyes open – always.  Fair warning: this one was inspired by the Middle-Eastern dad I ran into this morning. Hard. You cannot stop in the middle of the lobby during the check-out rush – especially if you’re carrying a baby – and expect to escape unscathed. I bet when this guy woke up in the morning, the last thing he expected was to get an assfull of luggage cart – but that’s exactly what he got.

By the way, the baby and father were fine. The cases of pop on my cart? not so much.

7)  If you’re driving, don’t wing it.  Let’s be honest, 99% of family vacations become disasters long before the family ever arrives at their destination. You can’t shove parents, siblings (and sometimes pets) in a cramped metal box on wheels for hours and expect nothing less than a rolling heap of misery. Dads need to be able to gauge the needs/desires/tolerance levels of their brood and plan accordingly. MV5BMTgxNDU4NzQwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTgwOTY2._V1_SX640_SY720_And no, I’m not just referring to planting devices in your kids’ hands, fathers. In fact…

6)  Tech can be the enemy!  Yes, I’m bashing technology. On my blog. (Irony rocks, right?) I see it every day: entire families traveling together but completely isolated from one another, their heads bowed while praying to the pagan gods of Microsoft and their brethren.

So keep the tech addiction to a minimum. (Yeah, I know. Shut up and go with it.) Again, this point leads into the next…

5)  Talk to your kids – every day.  You may not believe this… but your kids are more than tech-addicted, gaseous, sugar-raged howler monkeys in overpriced designer garb, they’re real, mini, not-quite-fully-developed human beings with hopes, fears and dreams.

So spend time with them while traveling. Get to know them. They may just surprise you. And if they don’t? Well, that’s why God invented wine, bunky.

4)  Don’t let the kids spend all day in the pool!  Yes, I know your kids will be begging you to let them loose in the pool as soon as you arrive at the hotel (and probably before), but I have to advise you to be wary of the easy out. Spending more than eight hours in a ridiculously-over-chlorinated pit of water, chemicals and the bodily fluids of strangers will leave your kids looking like tech-addicted lobsters.

3)  Become fast friends with the concierge.  Bellmen are great sources of local knowledge and lore, but the concierge is plugged in, folks. The concierge will be able to direct you away from tourist traps and help you become the hero of the day in your family’s eyes. Just remember to tip them accordingly.  

And speaking of tipping…

2)  Use – and tip – the bellman, baby!  Nothing is more cliché than the following scenario:

  • Little Timmy, loaded up with ten bags strapped to his person and resembling a hunchback begging for death – at ten years old.
  • A baby stroller overloaded with luggage to the point where the only thing keeping it upright is a steady hand.
  • Grandma’s wheelchair/walker converted to a luggage cart.
  • (Don’t ask me where the baby and grandma are. I never know.)
  • An actual little red wagon transformed into a makeshift luggage cart.
  • A green metal garden cart converted into a makeshift luggage cart.

All so some schmuck can save five bucks while looking like a complete and total moron in the eyes of his family and the world. Don’t be a schmuck.

I’m here to help. So use me.

And finally…

1) Have fun!  Most of us have not-so-treasured memories of family vacations gone awry because our parents lost it on us, each other and scores of innocent bystanders. In my case, there was even property damage on an epic scale. But I rarely revisit those memories except to remind myself of the dad I’ll never be.

A mother is the glue that holds her family together but it’s not easy being glue. So help your wife out, dads. Be there for your family.

Don’t stare at other women in front of your wife and kids.

Keep your temper controlled to non-Hulk levels.

tumblr_inline_myztgqSiv41rt6qr4Instill a sense of respect in your children – for themselves, your spouse and others.

Find out all you can about your destination, especially all those little details you rarely find in guidebooks.

Be the hero of the day. You won’t need a mask or superpowers to make it happen.

See you in the lobby, dads…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

A Bellman Is…

HOOK’S NOTE:  A little rehash for you today. I’ve covered this topic before, but Fan Expo Canada comes in like a nerdy wrecking ball this week, summer is winding down and I’m just plain knackered, so here we go again, with some new wrinkles added in for good measure…

A bellman isn’t just the guy you toss a few coins/bills at in the hope he’ll go away quickly after delivering your belongings to your room. He isn’t just the guy who curses your entire existence if you stiff him. He’s so much more. A bellman has layers, baby. He wears many hats, you crazy cats.

When necessary, a bellman is…

1)  A human pin cushion.  Hotels are open to everyone – if they cough up the requisite amount of coin, of course –  and so I have to deal with, among others, hardcore gamblers who live on the razor’s edge. Working in close proximity to a casino means my path will cross with various representatives of this demographic at least once a day. These souls are at the mercy of the flick of a dealer’s wrist or worse, the outcome of a pre-programmed slot machine. One wrong turn and these folks can be down tens of thousands (or more).

And guess who they’ll take their frustrations out on?

But you have to take it, that’s the job. Of course, anyone with even a passing familiarity of The Hook knows he does not suffer fools lightly. To say the least. But over the years I’ve taken more than I’ve dished out. To say the least again.

2)  The willing prey of cougars on the hunt.  Wait, scratch that. Let’s be honest: if they’re conscious, cougars are always on the hunt. That’s what makes them cougars in the first place, right?

Again, I’m willing to take it in stride; at least cougars are rarely miserable. I’m willing to engage in some harmless flirting as long as it means my pants will swell a little. (With tips, I  mean. grow up.) And so I let them fling their stares and tired lines in my direction. I let them get away with the odd “accidental” brush against my pasty-white person. In the end, it’s all grist for the blogging mill. 

3)  A master Tetris builder.  Loading one’s trunk with luggage and shopping bags – especially when it’s half-full already – is no easy feat. Quite the contrary. The average traveler has a rough idea how to stuff their suitcases, duffels, garbage bags, laundry baskets, IKEA and Home Depot bags into their vehicle, but after nearly two decades, they don’t have my skill set.

(Not to mention, my charm.)

And trust me, when your family is dozy, hungry, cranky and ready to hit the road, you don’t have the time to spare packing your trunk. That’s when the bellman becomes a minor hero. I can stack bags like nobody’s business. Admittedly, that sounds dirty but it wasn’t intended as such.

4)  A dodger of bullets.  To clarify, a bellman will often be called upon to help others avoid bullets. Like when a longtime, repeat guest (who often travels alone), forgets about the hooker he arranged – on the same weekend he brought his wife with him to Niagara Falls.

Yes, that was a sticky wicket, indeed.

Fortunately, I’m well-trained when it comes to hooker-wrangling. And no, that wasn’t meant to be dirty.

5)  A structural engineer.  Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had to dissuade guests from copulating on furniture or in various locations throughout the hotel that would never support their combined weight? No, I haven’t done the actual math. (I hate math.)

6)  The Housekeeping Department’s greatest ally.  Believe it or not, I have a company-wide service award for going above and beyond with guests and my fellow wage slaves. It is not unusual in the least to see the doors of the service elevator open to reveal The Hook surrounded by dozens of garbage bags.

Yes, my life really is that glamorous, thank you very much.

7)  Security’s unofficial sidekick.  Obviously, I’m less-than-ineffective in a physical altercation but after seeing my height, most guests assume otherwise. Plus, I have an expansive, booming voice that can be quite intimidating – to everyone but my immediate family, including the dog.

8)  A shoulder to cry on.  To clarify: I’m quite tall so my shoulder isn’t quite accessible to most guests, but I do my best. The age of social media has transformed society into a place where individuals feel comfortable opening up to virtual strangers and so I’ve become someone who can give Dr. Phil a run for his money. Of course,  I don’t have that cool ‘stache, but I am nearly bald so… 

9)  An “expert” on… pretty much anything.  A seasoned bellman could give new brides tips on faking it. Period. Want to talk sports? I love your team! Hate the Kardashians? So do I! (For real this time.) You name it, I’ll gab with you about it until we’re both blue in the face.

10)  The guy who can get you what you need.  A good bellman will quickly realize he needs to be part concierge, part… everything else, really. Guests will often turn to the guy delivering their bags, away from the prying eyes and ears of the public – and law enforcement – to secure items that one would not ask for openly.

MALE BOSTONIAN GUEST:  Hey, Boss… you know where I can get some marijuana? And maybe a girl?

ME:  That depends, sir.. are you sure you want both? You sound a little uncertain about the female companionship.

MBG:  What? No, no, no! I want the tail! (Guy was a real romantic, right?)

ME:  Well, sir, I’ll tell you what: I can’t directly get you what you need… but I can point you in the right direction.

And so I did. Because that, kids is what a bellman does. He does whatever he has to.


Not quite a typical shift for me… but close.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

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 , , , , | 29 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…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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