Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time For An Opinion

I'm most likely one of thousand typical Canadians that are quite apathetic when it comes to our political "system" if you can call it that. The dictionary definition of system is this: "the living body considered as made up of interdependent components forming a unified whole " I find it kind of strange that the government then really isn't a system after all especially with what is currently happening in the capital. One thing we do that I am proud of is that we get a chance to vote. With the current "system" whatever happened to my vote???? Mind you I'm not a complainer but I found an email address that you can use just to give your opinion on what is taking place in the "system". In the event that you would like to "sound off" send an email to info@gg.ca

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yet Another Clown Story

Ahhh....Tommy White is at it again. He sent me this story about his earlier "Clown Days" when he and Mario Piva were in business together. After reading about their exploits I am still in awe that they continued to book event after event. So, for you 'older' guys....get out your depends; you're going to need them : ) The following is in Tom's own email that he sent to me.

Hi Jack

Remember our discussion at the banquet about Piva, well here are the stories I promised for Christmas.

Somehow I had been expelled from the clown team, so Piva and I started Sparky and Banana's...our own team. We got fairly busy at Christmas and most Saturdays we did two shows.

Well one fateful Saturday our first show was for the South Windsor K of C. Piva had decided we should have a new finish to the show. Instead of us singing jingle bells with the kids to usher in Santa, Piva wanted to do a grand illusion. He had rigged a mayonnaise jar lid with gun powder. He had cut the end off an extension cord and soldered the ends to each side of the lid. Then a fine wire was soldered inside through the gun powder. At the precise time I would plug in the extension cord and puff Santa would magically appear out of the smoke.

I was leery but the stage was set perfectly, Santa entered stage right, at the front by a podium and the stairs to the stage.

The show came to an end and it was time for Piva's big trick. Sparky waved a big cape and mumbled magic words and I plugged in the extension as Santa opened the door and made his grand entrance. Santa stepped right into the explosion ( I think Sparky put too much powder in the lid) Santa started to cough and scream obscenities as he fell down the stairs and the kiddies started to cry and panic for fear the clowns had killed Santa. It was mass confusion as the smoke filled the room.

It was time for us to leave after showing them about ventilation practices. (I remember Piva getting interested in PPV ventilation after that)

We hurried to the next gig and I warned him all the way to the new Caboto club that we were doing the old finish. We got there and were amazed at the size of the new addition. I know some Italians like cement but let me tell you the wood in the new part sparkled.

The floors went on forever. No dividers and miles of new wood. This place was ginormous. Sparky looked at me and said these were his people and in a place this big what could possibly happen. The show was for the members' children and was the first event in the new addition. All the good old boys were there.....

So the show went off without a hitch.......... and then it was time to bring in Santa.... Sparky had explained the trick to him and there I was again getting ready to plug in the extension cord. Little did I know Sparky had added more gun powder to offset the size of the building. I plugged in the cord and kaboom the biggest darned explosion you ever saw. Santa was ok, he was far enough away this time but through the smoke I could just make out the scorch mark and hole in the floor. The new floor.... with all the members watching.... Well here's another fine mess you got me into. The smoke got really thick and we were packing up and leaving when the screams started and the old guys went nuts.

In one day he ticked off the Knights of Columbus, all of Italy and I think even the Pope.....

For months we were worried someone would make a new pair of cement clown shoes for each of us and throw us in the river.

Well we both made it to retirement...... can you believe it???

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Grease Fire Extinguished

This is a great video of the dangers of kitchen grease fires. Too many people are injured every year due to these types of events.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Five Years TODAY!!!

Wow.. 5 years ago today a bunch of us were celebrating my retirement from the Department. Time sure flies when you're having fun : ) Here are a few pics of that night way back when at Kokopelli's. I especially like the last photo. Whoever thought that he'd become a union guy? ; )

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tom W was a clown too

Here's a story from Tommy White and one of his experiences with the old WFD clown team. A very funny story!

Hi Jack
Your clown story sparked some old memories of mine too.That Piva was at the bottom of many a clown fiasco.
Listen to the pot calling the kettle black....
My fondest clown memory...........
Old Ernie Meloche had hosted the fund raiser at Christmas for needy kids for years. We were working out of down town and Ernie was grooming young Ray Sequin( better known as redass) to take over for him. Ray was going to take over the event at the big Christmas show at the imfamous Odion. The clown team would provide the entertainment.
All the clown heads got together and decided to do the same skit we had used the easter before with Frank Moscardelli. We would dress Ray up in dress blue and intro him as the chief in charge. Then Mario and I would do some magic on him . We prepared him well. His jacket arms had be ripped off and tacked back on.
So the big day arrived and the show was packed on a saturday morning in December, with at least a thousand screaming brats and their mothers. What a show they were about to get. We collected all the canned goods and gifts and the show went great. Then the big finish....... The chief, Ray came out and thanked everyone and we started to help him and do our stuff.
We broke eggs and poured milk in his hat and then put it on his head, we took his watch and put it in a paper bag and smashed it to pieces, he complained of the heat and we ripped the arms off his jacket, we cut his tie and couldn't restore it, and then the big finish he had on flowery boxer shorts and a pair of Bob Coles pants. The pants were way too big but were held up by bright red suspenders.
We had rocks in the pockets and I would cut the suspenders and the pants would fall and there would be the flowery boxers....
Well I cut the suspenders but the pants stayed up.........panic......Sparky pull his pants down your right behind him...well Piva reached down and grabbed the pants and the boxers and pulled them down around Ray's ankles for all the world to see.........The screams started and Ray died, there he was in all his glory, hanging there for all the kiddies and mothers to see.... He wanted to kill us all, he chased us off stage and the crowd roared.....
Shortly after, Ray's hair turned white and started falling out..........Thanks to Piva.......
God I wish we had that on film........

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clown Fears

Ah… fond memories of the WFD Clown Team… and an afternoon with Pat Cushing and Mario Piva. It was innocent enough. Just an afternoon with 500 of the toughest kids under 12 in Windsor and a Charity event where the entertainment was performed by the Clown Team itself.

During our antics on stage at the Odeon Theatre Pat Cushing decided to take a cast iron coffee mug and, taking aim, hit me in the middle of the forehead with the mug. It was a gentle blow with a nice hollow sound to it and by the response of the audience of 500 under 12 year olds it was an enormous success. In my “wisdom” I asked Pat to do it again and knowing Pat he decided to be a bit more theatrical. Asking Pat to replicate the act of humour has made me question my sanity since that day. In his exuberance Pat nailed me right in the middle of my forehead with such a blow that I thought I had been hit with a sledgehammer! All I can remember was Pat laughing hysterically and the mob of 500 little kiddies laughing uncontrollably. I swear that I saw my life flash before my eyes and I thought…’Hummm….. So this is what it's like before you pass on’.

When I gained consciousness the kids were still laughing and Mario was about to perform his juggling act while he was ‘blindfolded’. It was a pretty good trick because the act was performed by standing sideways to the audience. When Mario juggled these large hoops it appeared that he was doing it completely sightless. The trick was that the blindfold had a huge hole over one eye so that he could see perfectly well. I stood in front of Mario about 10 feet away holding the hoops and asked him if he was ready… “YES”, he answered in a booming voice. It was then that I threw the hoops at him and they hit him in the chest between his outstretched arms and landed on the stage floor. The kids laughed again. While he was pretending to search on the floor for the hoops I would come over to volunteer to pick them up and hand them to him. With great animation he would throw one up and grab that and then the next one. After some time he was juggling all the hoops at once. The crowd went crazy at his “talent”! It was then that he decided to turn his face towards the kids in the seats. That’s when it got very scary. The silence in the theater was deafening! The little kiddies just stared at us and then started to boo and yelled at us calling us ‘cheats’. Then they charged the stage enmasse! I was pretty certain that my life passed before my eyes for the second time within a half hour! We were very lucky that the stage was a lot taller than they were and the ushers showed up to help us. It’s hard to be a happy clown when you’re under attack.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's New???

And the hits just keep on comin'! The Phoenix has a brand new app just over there to the left of the page! You can now vote on any poll. The first one I've decided is the upcoming election in the US. Go ahead and vote; it's free!

Angels of Another Sort

Have you ever wondered why there aren't any Hell's Angels in the Middle East. This short video might explain why that is.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Toronto Propane Fire

The following story was taken from the Canadian Occupational Safety magazine (link below)


As most of you may be aware Jeannie and I are heavily involved in the Canadian Red Cross and the article below is regarding comments made by John Saunders our Provincial Director, Disaster Management & International Response, about Toronto Fire and their exceptional response to the recent propane explosion in the city. It goes to prove that quality training is a very important part of the problem solving practice.

Some experts say the timing has made a huge difference. The first explosion happened around 4 A.M on a Sunday morning when most people are still asleep in their bedrooms.

“It was sheer stroke of luck”, says John Saunders, provincial director of the disaster management program at Canadian Red Cross. “There was nobody on the street, otherwise that could have been devastating.”

Saunders says the quick response by Toronto Fire Services was a huge factor in the containment of the fire and prevention of what could have resulted in more serious, even fatal, injuries.

“This type of incident could have very easily escalated with more multiple explosions had they not acted quickly on the scene. The professionalism that I saw from Toronto Fire is bar none.” says Saunders, whose team has been working with other organizations to provide shelter and clean up assistance to area residents affected by the blast.

Fire Find

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