Thursday, 15 December 2011

Merry GIFTmas!!!

Let me start by saying that I don't consider myself a religious person, and haven't for quite some time. But I needed to get this off my chest. A good friend said he thinks we should actually remove or change the "Christ" in "Christmas", since apparently Christmas doesn't really involve Christ anymore. Let's take a HUGE leap, and assume that this is in fact the case (which by the way it is not...not by a long shot; there are still plenty of folks in this world who believe in a Christ at the core of their Christmas tradition). But even if it were true that the vast majority of people who celebrate Christmas around the world did so in a purely secular way, is there really any point to changing the name of the day itself? It's one thing to say that we must right the wrongs of the past, such as slavery and segregation. But must we now go so far as to whitewash every single vestige of tradition, to the point of renaming a day which has never in any way been meant to oppress or marginalize anyone, but rather to spread a feeling of love and kinship? Should Hanukkah be renamed, since many Jews who celebrate it are not regularly practicing their faith anymore? I mean, come on - it's like trying to erase the word "seminal" from our vocabulary, because it connotes the predominance of the male of the species in the act of procreation! (This was actually a rule imposed upon me in university by a GEOGRAPHY professor!) Really? How many people actually think of that when using "seminal"? Holy Crap! Or should I say, "Secular Crap!" God forbid I refer to something being Holy! OOPS! I just said, "GOD forbid!" Now every atheist is going to feel slighted and hard done by. The point is this - let's stop wasting our precious time, energy and resources looking for things to be offended by (particularly word origins and semantics) and instead let's just try to TREAT each other with compassion and respect...regardless of race, colour or creed (or lack thereof). Honestly, people...words are a powerful thing. But where do we draw the line with respect to rewriting the English language? ACTIONS, my friends, are what really matter. Remember the saying, "Actions speak louder than words?" But wait...maybe we should quiet down our actions, because isn't it rude to speak louder that others? The words might be offended! Another great saying is "DO unto others as you would have them do unto you," not "rewrite and edit unto others..." Sorry again - I believe that is technically a saying rooted in the Christian tradition, although I'm sure there are similar sentiments at the heart of most if not all religious traditions. I guess we better ignore it, though, and pretend it was never said...despite the simple and powerful wisdom held in those few words. We wouldn't want to offend anyone by making sense, now would we? Merry Giftmas, everyone! SP

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Stick a fork in the road...I'm done!

We had well-known TV and radio host, George Stroumboulopoulos, on HumbleAndFredRadio.Com today. It was great to hear from him. My personal and professional relationships with George date back to our days as on-air personalities at 102.1 The Edge (Toronto's New Rock). He was just someone you knew was on his way to great things. And that was fine by me, because, George also happens to be one of the most sincere and compassionate guys I've ever met. We also used to have some good laughs together, back then, when we were both just starting our careers. In fact, we got along so well, that for a brief time, the Edge management was considering having us do the morning show if and when Humble and Fred moved on to MOJO Radio. It's funny how life presents you with these key moments of opportunity, and depending on how you react, and how others involved react, your future can be drastically altered. Although initially interested, George decided not to pursue the morning radio option, opting instead to further develop his burgeoning MuchMusic career. As most Canadians now know, he was hugely successful there and has since moved over to the CBC, where he hosts Canada's longest running evening talk show (George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, formerly The Hour). Mind you, part of the reason it has run so long is it takes almost half the show just to say his name - HA! In his position of notoriety and influence, he works tirelessly to make the world a better place, be it on an environmental or social level. He even hobnobs with mega stars like Bono of U2! Pretty cool! I'm sure he still has many decades of success ahead of him, and he deserves every bit of it! And as for me? Well, what can I say, our paths diverged, and I have blazed my own little trail...which has led me to my current status as a singing piece of cereal, working for free on the most downloaded podcast in Etobicoke.  Hmmmm...I wonder if George needs a driver...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Full Circle...Jerk

Hey there. Time to pass GO and collect $200! Well, OK, I'll have to settle for passing GO for now. I started my radio career in the late 90's when I barged into Humble and Fred's studio, dressed as a medical intern - white lab coat, head lamp, and doctor's bag full of props - on 102.1 the Edge in Toronto. Although security wanted me arrested, Humble and Fred decided to reward my act of unsolicited initiative with the opportunity to work on the show for FREE, in the hopes of eventually landing some sort of paying gig, if all went well. Three months later, I got my first job at the station, writing traffic reports over the Christmas holiday. Not exactly Hemingway, but it was a few bucks. Within another few months, I was a regular fixture on the show, writing and performing many a parody song and funny bit, hosting live events, and doing various character voices, including my popular (and twisted) alter ego - Uncle Vince. Over the next few years, I also developed a "side career" as a voiceover artist, thanks in large part to Humble introducing me to his agent. Eventually, I left radio to pursue my musical dreams, all the while making a decent living in voice work.

Fast forward to today, and Humble and Fred surprisingly find themselves without a commercial radio gig, after some two decades as beloved (and "be-hated"), innovative morning show hosts. They have decided to live on the leading edge yet again, by starting their own podcast radio show: HumbleAndFredRadio.Com. I jumped at the chance to get involved as imaging voice, producer and content contributor, partly as a way to properly thank the guys who took a chance on me when I had nothing and no prospects. But I also knew that, even after all this time, there is still no other environment I would rather be a part of, and no other guys I would rather work with. So here I am again, having come full circle - working with Humble and Fred for FREE (for now)! The big difference this time around is of course that I actually have a paying job, so I am truly doing this for the love of the game and the two guys who first let me play in their super-cool sandbox! All indications are that the show is already a hit...but no matter what happens, I am enjoying the ride. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the daily podcast. I puts mainstream commercial radio cheese to shame. And no one can tell us what to do or how to do it. Aaaahhh...I love the smell of FREEDOM in the morning! SP