100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #26.


It means different things to different people; to most of us it’s a word we see solely in fiction. “She was a warrior on a quest of redemption for accidentally poisoning her entire tribe of Amazons with the wrong variety of berries in their strudel. She is… Elsa, Warrior princess of Iceland!” I doubt I could find anyone in the so-called real world that is on a genuine quest for redemption.

And that’s why so many of us throw away the precious gift of existence. We’re convinced we can never undo the mistakes of the past and so we strive to “move on”, until the weight of our sins becomes more than some of us can bear.

#26: The Quest For Redemption.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming anyone for feeling burdened by their past; in fact, I applaud anyone who is willing to acknowledge their errors and take ownership of them. I only wish my own progenitors were brave enough to shine in a light on their lives and the wreckage they’ve been responsible for. I sincerely hope that my mother is at peace now but I’m the first to admit that she was never able to accept and understand just how much her mistakes affected those around her.

Being human means you’re going to screw up your life at times. Being a parent means you’re going to screw up the lives of your offspring as well. There is no getting around these truths.

The Big Question is: What are you prepared to do about it? How far are you willing to go?

Okay, technically, that’s two questions. Shut up. And here’s another one, just to really piss you off: What exactly is redemption anyway?  Try wrapping your head around that one, Sparky.

Can a person make up for a lifetime of mistakes with a few acts of kindness?

I’ll be damned if I know, but I do know this: Allowing oneself to be crushed by the weight of one’s errors with suicide is never the answer. No one ever found redemption by taking their own life.

Maybe it’s not about succeeding at atoning for your sins but simply taking that sometimes-painful first step, and then another and another, and so on, on the road to the Land Of Redemption, or whatever you want to call it. Just trying to be better, especially if you know you won’t ever make it, is heroic and worth living for, in my opinion.

What most people don’t realize about giving to others is that it can be addicting; once your heart starts to open you want to replicate that feeling, you get hungry for it.  And it’s the kind of hunger that won’t leave you so large they need to tear down a wall to get you out of bed. Start small, treat people that have been a pain in your ass in the past with kindness. (It throws them for a loop and that can be fun as hell.)

Reach out to co-workers that seem lonely and detached. Give forgiveness where you’ve been denying it. Take a step.

And then another.

And another.

Trust me, it’s worth trying. It may not make the pain go away at first but you’re not really doing it for you anyway. It’s about the bigger picture, my friends.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #27.

A picture of Ronnie popped up on my home computer as I sat down to write this today; I didn’t mean to call it up, it just appeared as though someone was giving me a sign.

Message received and understood, Rockin’.

So here we go.


Today my wife went out to visit a friend, leaving me home alone like that kid in that Christmas movie whose title escapes me at the moment. “My Career Is About To Peak And I Can’t Even Drive Yet: The Christmas Movie”, was the title I think. At any rate, I ‘ve been on staycation from the hotel all week and I haven’t really done too much except for seeing Doctor Sleep (The Hook highly recommends it, by the way) and taking it easy.

So today when Jackie left I did what most husbands do when their wives go out. No, I didn’t visit any Tube sites, I vegetated on the couch and watched some videos of a non-carnal nature. But then I felt guilty for doing nothing when my lovely bride works so hard at home and so I did the dishes.

Great story so far, right?

But then, as the dishes began to dry in the holder thingie (I’m a stickler for details) I decided to do something I haven’t done in forever. Again, no I didn’t log onto a Tube site, jeez Louise, you people are randy!

I danced. With myself. To Billy Idol (guess which song, you can do it).

Now I’m the first to admit that I’m as white as Brooke Shields when it comes to rhythmic movements set to music, so you can only imagine what a spectacle it was. The dog ran for cover amongst a pile of winter accessories we’re sorting and still hasn’t come out. But it was fun.

I forgot about my IBS, my enduring heartache at losing my best friend, and a million other things, and just danced like a white boy.

It was glorious. We all need to take a moment to bust lose and make fools out of ourselves every once in a while. Go for it. I dare you.

See you in the lobby, kids…

100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #27: Dancing With Yourself.



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A Winter’s Tale From The Bellman Chronicles.

As I’ve often said before, there is a ridiculous amount of downtime when you’re a bellman; guests arrive in waves rather than ripples so I find myself seeking out deep, meaningful conversations with my fellow hospitality wage slaves.

I rarely find such convos but I don’t exactly come up empty-handed either.

Not by a long shot.

Case in point: Twenty years ago during a quiet, dark, icy winter’s night I engaged in a chat with Heather, a front desk agent whose heart was as big as her blonde locks (and for that matter, her smile and her chest). Heather worked the desk at a hotel on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls where I began my hotel journey. The Comfort Inn is long gone but Heather’s unique outlook lives on in my consciousness and now my blog.


Heather was Penny long before The Big Bang Theory was even an idea


On this particular evening she was slightly rattled by the appearance of a former rock ‘n roller beau who was hanging out in the lobby to meet some visiting friends from Vancouver. This dude looked like Sheldon Cooper and Jon Bon Jovi produced offspring. Naturally, I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass me by…

THE HOOK:  So what’s the story with you and Mr. Poindexter-turned-Rocker?

HEATHER:  We had a first date that ended badly.

THE HOOK:  So he struck out with you?

HEATHER:  No, we had sex! He really tried to pork my brains out!

THE HOOK:  (Nearly choking on my  Coke. Before my IBS appeared I used to chug the stuff by the truckload. Fun fact, right?)  I’m confused. You had sex but it still ended badly?

HEATHER:  Yeah, he really tried, but I didn’t like it very much. Well, actually, I liked the first part… A lot!

THE HOOK:  So his oral skills extend beyond bad cover songs?

HEATHER:  Definitely! But the rest of it wasn’t very good at all.

THE HOOK:  So you stuck it out, so to speak, even though you didn’t enjoy it?

HEATHER:  Right. I just waited until he… finished, and then I got up, thanked him, got dressed right away, and left!

THE HOOK:  That must have been… slightly awkward… but I still don’t understand why you didn’t just ask him to climb off you immediately.

HEATHER:  I didn’t want to be impolite! My mother made a point of that.

THE HOOK:  Your mother made a point of instructing you to always wait until after a sexually inept partner finished his… business on top of you before exiting the situation?

HEATHER:  Exactly!

THE HOOK:  Wow. Your mother was oddly specific. You should be taking her advice and writing a “Ms. Manners” column.

HEATHER:  I know, right?

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Would You Watch This Show?

SETTING: A hotel’s HR office where an Independent Contractor is evaluating hotel employees. He is assisted by a human resources representative.

IC:  So who’s next?

CAROL:  That would be The Hook.

IC:  Okay… wait, did you say “The Hook”? Is this chain employing pirates now? Or is this another (makes air quotes) “special needs” case, like the housekeeper who’s been banned from the valet deck because she barks at cars?

CAROL:  Oh no! The Hook is a righteous dude!

IC:  I thought that was that Ferris kid we saw earlier…

CAROL:  His last name is Hookey, but you can call him The Hook, everyone else does.

IC:  Everyone?

CAROL:  Oh yes! It’s very official!

IC:(Peering down at The Hook’s employee file.)  All right, but it’s not like it’s in his file or anything… Oh wait, it actually is. Well, this should be interesting.

CAROL:  You have no idea…

She walks to the door and ushers in The Hook.

IC:  Have a seat and we’ll get started… (IC realizes The Hook is wearing a bath robe, pajamas without a top and fuzzy clawed slippers.)  Uh, did we get you out of bed for this?

THE HOOK:  Casual Friday.

IC:  It’s Tuesday.

THE HOOK:  Daylight Savings Time?

IC:  That’s not how that works.

THE HOOK:  It is in Canada…. You’re American, so you may not realize that.

IC:  All right. If I didn’t throw in the towel when a 400 hundred pound asthmatic maintenance man with multiple personalities requested maternity leave because one of his personalities was pregnant… I’m not going to start now!

But seriously… What’s the deal with the bathrobe and half your pajamas? I know there’s a better explanation. Hell, even they (gestures at the audience) knows there’s a better explanation. And don’t you think they deserve one?

THE HOOK:  (Deeply sighs like a man defeated – or a husband caught in a lie.)  Fine… I had to deliver some packages to the party suite last night for a convention of vets…

IC:  You mean veterans?

CAROL:  No, actual vets. Veterinarians of Denver, specifically.

IC:  So… the entire hotel had VD?

CAROL:  Incurably so, yes.

THE HOOK:  So, I delivered these boxes after just as my shift was ending for the night and being the consummate professional that I am…

IC:  Who walks into a meeting half-dressed in a bathrobe…

THE HOOK:  Be… that… as… it… may… I could hardly refuse a group’s request spend some time informing them of the hotel’s amenities as well as the many attractions Niagara Falls has to offer…

IC:  Well, that sounds reasonable.

THE HOOK:  And of course I couldn’t say no to a dose of animal tranquilizers, could I?

IC:  I suppose not… Wait, what?

THE HOOK:  And let me tell you, those horse shots will kick your ass!

CAROL:  Sounds like those vets know how to party.

THE HOOK:  I’ll say! I woke up this morning in the laundry room on a folding table without a stitch of clothing on. I found this lovely ensemble in Housekeeping’s lost and found box.

A stunned look falls over both IC’s and Carol’s faces.

IC:  That’s your story and your sticking to it, right?

THE HOOK:  Of course I am! Do you have any idea how long it takes to come up with this stuff?

Well, what do you think? Would you be willing to sacrifice the time you normally spend watching cat videos (of various natures) on some Tube sight to watch my imbecilic brilliance?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Hudson & Rex.

Someone once said that the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.

Personally, I think the hardest thing is learning to do is my family’s laundry without having a repeat of the “Strawberry Shortcake incident of 2003” during which I turned a beloved t-shirt of my daughter’s into a tea towel.

But that’s just me.

Either way, there are plenty of reasons why human beings need a break from reality, a safe place where they can forget their troubles and decompress.  And if they learn a thing or two about themselves and their environment in the process? Well, that’s a bonus.

 On the surface Hudson & Rex is a Canadian “cop show”, based on the Austrian drama Inspector Rex, but in this nerd’s opinion Hudson & Rex is the cure for what ails humanity.

Not to oversell it or anything.

At any rate, here are a few reasons why you should tell your kids to make their own meals and free some time in your schedule to watch the episodic adventures of Detective Charlie Hudson of the St. John’s Police Department and his faithful k-9 partner, Rex.

 1)  Diesel vom Burgimwald as Rex.  I dare you to gaze upon Diesel’s literal puppy dog eyes, that contain more humanity than 99% of working human actors today, and not pledge your immortal soul to his work like it was Beelzebub himself. Even cat people, with their wicked, frozen hearts are helpless before this canine thespian’s acting chops. He plays a cop, but this doggie dominates steals scene he’s in. And he may be a dog but Rex has more facial expressions than Donald Trump.

Okay, so maybe I missed the mark on that one. Moving on…


2)  John Henry Reardon as Det. Hudson.  JHR (I can refer to him in that manner because we’re that close) is one of those guys that people look at and say:

  1. “That guy should be an actor!”
  2. “I better keep that guy away from my wife!”

Yes, I love slammers. Shut up. My point is, JHR has a background in sports but he was born to be an actor. he’s slipped into the role of a reserved, slightly naive detective like it’s the full length coat his character is so fond of. Incidentally, the good detective’s coat, with it’s high collar, is reminiscent of Columbo’s weathered raincoat and has immediately become his hallmark.


3)  The two leads fit together like two puzzle pieces that spell, “Death and Taxes”.  JHR and Diesel have an effortless rapport that any pet owner (though it’s tough to say who “owns” who, really) can admire and aspire to duplicate. Rex is a multi-scent trained German Shepherd with an excellent ear for unique sounds and the show utilizes his talents to the fullest. This law enforcement puppy pulls his weight and has saved his two-legged partner on more than one occasion.

H&R even had its own Lassie-inspired “What’s that, girl? Timmy’s trapped in the well? Again?” moment and it was glorious instead of cheesy.


Image result for hudson & rex

“Okay, try to look serious for The Hook’s ten followers, partner.”


4)  This is the cleanest show on television, damn it!  Seriously, television’s standards have been eroding faster than Trudeau’s approval rating these days; they’re even swearing on CBC these days. But you can watch this show with your evangelical grandma who still swears your mom was conceived by immaculate conception and she’ll love it.


5)  It may be “clean” but they’re not afraid to tackle the BIG issues.  A recent episode, “Over Ice” focused on the murder of a figure skating coach but at the midway point the episode took a turn no one could have seen coming. A female suspect,a young ice skater, was questioned abut illegal steroids that Det. Hudson (and the audience) assumed were meant to give her a competitive edge. But as it turned out, the drugs were intended to assist the character in her transition to the opposite sex.

You could actually feel the weight of the issue permeate the episode but to their credit, the writers and cast handled the storyline with the respect it deserved. This episode inspired this post and my eternal love for Hudson & Rex.

Other episodes have dealt with families torn apart by substance abuse and dark secrets. The H&R scribes are fearless and the show is stronger for it.


6)  You’ll find the best guest stars on TV on Hudson & Rex. Exceptionally-talented actors like Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope, Murdoch Mysteries), Robin Dunne (Sanctuary), Lauren Lee Smith (she’s Frankie Drake!), Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea (if you don’t know who they are we have nothing more to talk about), and millions of others (my math may be slightly off) have visited H&R’s world and that alone is a testament to the show’s success. I mean, it’s not like actors just go where the paycheck is, right?


Moving on…


7)  H&R is filmed in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.  Put on Olivia Newton-John’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, get thee to Google Images, and prepare to fall in love forever. There’s really nothing more to say. You couldn’t ask for a more rugged-yet-civilized, serene-yet-overflowing-with-crime, locale for a police procedural drama featuring a human/canine duo.


8)  The supporting cast is A+ – for a bunch of humans. Mayko Nguyen is Hudosn’s CSI and gal pal; the potential for a “will they, won’t they?” relationship is intriguing. Kevin Hanchard is Hudson’s boss, Superintendent Joseph Donovan who had a powerful storyline involving the effects of drug abuse on families that he deftly handled. And Justin Kelly is H&R’s IT specialist Jesse Mills, “the man in the chair” who cracks wise while feeding his allies all kinds of useful info while delivering lines like (but not exactly like):

“I ran the suspect’s credit card history and there are charges for a shotgun, shackles, ether, a chainsaw and a book series called ‘How To Slice Your Spouse Into A Gazillion Pieces And get Away With It.’ Though I’m just tech support, so I have no idea who the killer is.”


9)  Hudson & Rex is co-produced by Shaftesbury Films.  They produce Murdoch Mysteries. Do I need to say more? Because I’m not going to, so this could get awkward…

This is how I feel about people who don’t “get” MM…

10)  The H&R team are good people.  How do I know this, you ask? While on set Diesel has full star treatment with his own trailer, chef and chauffeur. Let’s face it, this goes above and beyond; there are non-animal stars who get a scrap of crusty bread and a bowl of lukewarm water once a week. Yes, things really have gone downhill since Matt Lauer left NBC…


So there you have it, ten reasons why Hudson & Rex is deserving of your invaluable time. But if I’ve failed to convince you then feel free to return to your weekly lineup of Kardashians, cat videos, and biased news reports.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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Just A Few Thoughts I’d Like To Share…

Last night our daughter gave us a wicked, albeit early, 25th wedding anniversary gift: two premium seats to an upcoming production of The Phantom of The Opera (insert booming musical score here) in Toronto.

Yes, next year marks a quarter of a century of wedded battles bliss for my lovely bride and I, and I can honestly say that I’ve never loved her more. And how great is my kid? Her funds are limited and she spent $200 a ticket on her parents so they could relive a pivotal moment from their honeymoon and watch a woman become fascinated with a scarred man who wears a mask and reminds her of her father.

It’s true. Look it up on the interweb.

Work has been as wacky and as hectic as ever; every single construction project that started over two years ago is still going-anything-but-strong and guests are embracing their inner-wackadoodle in larger numbers. I’d weep for humanity but it’s all too fascinating to complain too much about.

There have been plenty of online bargains on comic book trades and graphic novels lately: I’ve been scoring Marvel books and a few Batman adventures. So I’m a happy nerd.

All in all, I have a pretty damn good life compared to billions of lost souls and Trump supporters.

So why am I so damn sad?

I walk to work shrouded in the darkness that grips Niagara like an icy sheet and I listen a collection of songs on my electronic device… And every one of those tunes reminds me of Rockin’ Ronnie in some way. It’s been two years and my life has been anything but static but while there are (finally) more good days than bad, the pain still rises like bile in my soul and I can’t seem to purge myself of it completely. I know there was nothing more my family (both immediate and at work) could have done to help Ronnie find his way back into the light but logic and emotion collide quite often in my brain.

And logic rarely wins.

There are moments during which I’m sad in a way I’ve never known before. There are moments during which I don’t know who I am or what I really want out of my life. But those moments fade relatively quickly, especially when I speak of them. Online, I mean.

So here’s where I am: I’m still wrestling with guilt and loss but I’m honored to be a husband, dad, bellman and a generally offbeat but fascinating human being. This human condition is a tough thing to understand but it’s certainly worth exploring.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Every damn day, Ronnie…

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And Now… The News, With The Hook

Nothing new to report, the hiatus continues as The Hook is as mentally blocked as an eleven-year-old boy who just used his parent’s Visa to order ten quadruple cheese pizzas while they were at counseling.

I’m feeling pretty good (with the exception of daily bouts of IBS induced agony, of course) and life is good overall but my mind is still a creative wasteland.

Just thought you’d like to know.

You may now return to your regularly-scheduled lives of Murdoch Mysteries episodes, cat videos on YouTube, Trumpian crises on CNN, and whatever else fills your days.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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