Caitlyn Jenner is back, like a fresh batch of hemorrhoids

So there I was in 2015, sitting in Bart’s Pub across a table from my dear friend Bruce and, without prodding, he offered a high hosanna to one of the most ballyhooed people on our Big Blue Orb.

“Caitlyn Jenner rocks,” Bruce said.

At the time, Jenner had recently appeared as a newly minted, very air-brushed transgender female on the cover of Vanity Fair, and her soon-to-be-doomed self-opus, I Am Cait, was a recent arrival to our flatscreens, airing on E! Channel.

I winced and scoffed.

“Nobody will be talking about Caitlyn Jenner two years from now,” I told Bruce.

Sure enough, the Homage to Herself became a ratings Hindenburg, with I Am Cait plummeting from 2.7 million sets of eyeballs at the outset to less than 500,000 by the time someone at E! Channel had the good sense to mercifully pull the plug on the 10-months, two-seasons run.

There was no mystery why viewers tuned her out: The High Priestess in the Cult of Cait was utterly unlikable.

Although vowing to “reshape the landscape” and “change the world,” Kitty Cait was a rude, abrasive, aggressive, interruptive, cruel and power-addictive attention hog. She had the warm-and-fuzzy qualities of a desert cactus plant, and was hopelessly ill-informed on transgender reality.

Kitty Cait spent the majority of her time flouncing about the United States—Road trip, girls!—with her faithful flock of fawning followers, and when she and the Trans Troop weren’t toodling around on dirt bikes, drinking wine, roller skating, drinking wine, swimming, drinking more wine, and kissing Boy George’s ring finger, Kitty Cait could be found cooing over Candis Cayne or in a clothes closet the size of Manhattan, fretting over what to wear for a sleepover at Candis’ abode. Or she might have been bragging about the cost of her store-bought, trophy tits.

“What a responsibility I have towards this community. Am I going to do everything right? Am I going to say the right things? Do I project the right image? My mind is just spinning with thoughts. I just hope I get it right…I hope I get it right…ya,” the transgender diva said with much theatrical emphasis in Episode 1, Season 1.

In another episode, she insisted on using her dead name, Bruce, in order to curry favor with a fancy-schmancy Los Angeles golf club. So, she was a she unless being a she prevented her from sharing oxygen with the beautiful people, in which case she would revert to being good, ol’ Bruce Jenner, Olympic champion. Such a pesky inconvenience.

All the while, I would watch and cringe, wondering to myself, “Do people think all transgender women are such total ditzes and mean-spirited bitches?”

But, like her self-opus, Jenner vanished from our consciousness, unless we happened to glance at the cover of one of the trash/gossip mags in the supermarket checkout line and learn that another of the Jenner/Kardashian brood had abandoned her.

Alas, Caitlyn is back, like a fresh batch of hemorrhoids, and she wants to govern all the good people of California.

One presumes that includes transgender girls, although Governor Wannabe doesn’t want to see them running, jumping, throwing, skipping rope or playing rock-scissors-paper with “real” females. Under a Caitlyn Jenner administration, trans girls in the Golden State would be expected to stay in their own special lane, which would reduce them to non-female lesser-thans.

We know this to be true because a TMZ snoop caught up with Governor Wannabe during a Saturday morning coffee run, and he probed her brain pan for nuggets of insight.

“This is a question of fairness, that’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls sports in school,” Jenner said while shooing her black lab into the back seat of an SUV. “It just isn’t fair, and we have to protect girls sports in our schools.”

The temptation is to suggest that if transgender girls are still “biological boys” then it surely follows that the transgender Caitlyn Jenner is still the biological Bruce Jenner, no matter how pricey the store-bought boobs, the extensive face-sculpting and whatever other slicing and dicing has been performed on the former Olympic champion’s body.

But we don’t want to go there because it would be insulting, improper and incorrect.

Suffice to say, Jenner’s take on transgender girls in sports is deeply disturbing, demeaning and hurtful, but not at all surprising given her odious behavior and dreadful talking points on I Am Cait.

I suppose it might win her some votes and friends among Republicans in the California gubernatorial race—Piers Morgan has already given her sound bite his official okie-dokie—but stepping on the little people is one sad way of going about your business.

I’d say Jenner has betrayed the transgender community, except I don’t believe she has ever truly been part of it.

A close encounter with Mr. Cough Up A Lung…things that make me go hmmm…Ellen and Portia in their Alcatraz mansion…NHL teams still spending…at home with TSN…reinventing the sports page…and other things that make me go hmmm

So, I had my second WTF pandemic experience while at the market the other day and, of course, it was unpleasant. With gusts up to ghastly.

Standing in the checkout line, I heard coughing a few feet to my aft. It wasn’t just a controlled, clearing of the throat kind of cough, understand. This was hork-up-a-football kind of stuff. Hack! Hack! Hack!

I turned and observed an unkempt man of substantial girth.

I noted, with an appropriate level of alarm, that he wasn’t covering his mouth and—get this, kids—he had a protective face mask dangling from his freaking neck. Now, I realize those things are optional, but this dude was under the misguided notion that his green mask was a fashion accessory from the Armani COVID-19/2020 Spring Line.

I cringed and edged toward the checkout counter, whereupon Mr. Cough Up A Lung attempted to cut me off. The gall.

I glared as only a prunish, little old lady in a supermarket checkout queue can glare. (It’s a stern look that strongly suggests you don’t want to get prickly with me, buster.) He backed off, as if I was packing heat, but not without a grunt of disapproval.

“You were in line before him,” the store clerk quietly confirmed scant seconds later.

We both glanced in his direction. He wiped his nose with a bare left hand, and I just about lost the fried ham-and-egg sandwich I’d had for breakfast.

I paid for my goods, hurriedly packaged them and left my cart for an employee, who correctly noted that I seemed edgy. She sprayed the cart with a bottle of disinfectant, then wiped it down, and a thought occurred that I might have her hose me down, as well. Or perhaps have her dial 1-800-COVID-19 and report the cad. But I chose to scurry through the exit instead, like there was an unpaid-for rump roast hidden under my cape.

I squirmed during the entirety of a five-minute trek home, knowing the back of my garments and hair were coated with the oaf’s spittle and phlegm.

I can only hope I got rid of all his creepy-crawlies, but there’s no guarantee.

Like I said, it was a WTF moment.

Things that make me go hmmm, Vol. 1: There’s supposed to be approximately six feet of physical distancing between us while we’re out and about during the pandemic. Or, in Canadian measure, the length of a hockey stick. Hmmm. Judging by the closeness of folks I saw on the street, they think it’s the hockey stick Wayne Gretzky used when he was a toddler.

Ellen’s Alcatraz

There are good jokes, there are bad jokes, and there are jokes that fall flatter than any 10 miles of Saskatchewan tundra. Ellen DeGeneres knows all about that, because the TV gab gal did a blah, blah, blah thing from home last week, and not even the laugh track from an Archie Bunker rerun could have saved her.

“Today,” she said, “I am filming this in my living room because it has the best light and sound and all the other rooms in my house are filled with toilet paper.”

I giggled. Then this…

“One thing that I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that people—this is like being in jail, is what it is,” she regretfully continued. “It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.”

That’s $27 million, 8,188 square feet, six bedrooms and 8.24 oceanside acres worth of jail. In lovely Montecito, Ca. The Crowbar Inn it ain’t. Oh, and Ellen’s cellmate? Why, that would be her her bride, Portia de Rossi, who’s gorgeous and lovely. Such a hardship that must be.

Ellen has yet to offer a mea culpa for the offensive portion of the video, but she, or a convenient flunky, performed a hasty edit and the reference to her personal Alcatraz no longer exists.

Interesting to note that Portia de Rossi, when not working the camera and lighting for the daytime TV diva’s home show, is teaching herself to cook during the lockdown. Main course? Ellen’s Humble Pie, of course.

Things that make me go hmmm, Vol. 2: Some cab drivers have refused to transport nurses to and fro. Some banks and pharmacies aren’t allowing nurses to enter their facilities. Some scoundrels have stolen medical equipment from nurses and paramedics. An Asian nurse was hit with an umbrella and spat on. A guy hurled a huge splat of spit on the floor buttons of a Vancouver apartment elevator. Hmmm. You don’t suppose there’s a special corner in hell reserved for those people, do you?

Can you count to 19,027,499, kids? That’s how many American greenbacks National Hockey League outfits committed to just nine greenhorns in the past six days. Leading the way was Dylan Samberg, a runny-nose rearguard whose $3.525-million deal with the Winnipeg Jets included a $92,500 signing bonus. Cole Holts ($92,500), Cameron Crotty ($92,500), Cole Schwindt ($92,500), Alexander Barabanov ($92,500), Mark Kastelic ($80,000) and David Tendeck ($50,000) also were handed bonuses for doing squat. Hey, I don’t blame the kids for the cash grab, but it seems to me that there’s something totally tone deaf, also odious, about NHL teams signing players to six- and seven-figure contracts when half the people in North America are wondering when their next paycheque will arrive.

At home with Rod Smith.

This week in jock journalism…

TSN resurrected its signature SportsCentre, which had been put on the shelf for two weeks because there just wasn’t anything to talk about other than COVID-19 shutting down the playground. Turns out there still wasn’t much to talk about other than COVID-19 shutting down the playground, but Rod Smith gave it his best shot.

Rod anchored the gig from his home and, get this, not once did he grumble about jail, hoarding toilet paper or the number of gay people in the room.

I don’t recall Rod saying who was working the camera, but I’m guessing it wasn’t Portia de Rossi.

Anyway, as mentioned, the show was low on substance and high on vacant blah, blah, blah and, truthfully, the most interesting aspect was our peek-a-boo at the various TSN personalties’ dwellings.

Smith, for example, sat at a desk with a shelving unit as a backdrop. It included: Books, two footballs (one deflated, no doubt autographed by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick), a vintage radio, a vintage camera, a mini Team Canada jersey, a coffee mug, two ceramic beer mugs, and a football team photo.

At home with James Duthie, Dregs. Pierre LeBrun and the Bobfather.

The rest of the roster looked like this:
Mark Masters: Bobble head dolls, books, a world globe, a framed document, a cap.
Frank Seravalli: A pair of skates, a Gritty doll, a typewriter, a hockey helmet, a mini Stanley Cup, books, Canadian and American flags, a mini Liberty Bell.
Gino Reda: A goalie mask, a pic of Gordie Howe, a hockey puck, a golf flag from a Wayne Gretzky tournament, some kind of medal, three books, a big red Maple Leaf, a mini Grey Cup, a trophy.
Darren Dreger: An old fashioned radio microphone, sports books, a bobblehead doll, a framed picture, a Gemini Award.
Bob McKenzie: A glass bowl, a plant, a framed print, three gold candles.
Pierre LeBrun: A pic of 2004 Team Canada from the world championships, a framed pic of Martin Brodeur (I think. It might be Bill Ranford).
James Duthie: French doors, family photos, two tall glass thingies.
Matthew Scianitti: Books, a football, the word “Believe.”
Farhan Lalji: Various framed pics and newspaper clippings.
Dave Naylor: Books.

Paul Maurice

Both Paul Maurice and Kevin Cheveldayoff emerged from hiding to flap gums and wag chins with news snoops and, naturally, the Winnipeg Sun and the Drab Slab dutifully recorded their pearls of wisdom. I didn’t read a word of what the Jets coach and GM had to say, but let me sum it up for you in 21 words: “Yes, we’re disappointed the NHL season was put on pause; yes, we’d like to see the season completed; wash your hands.” Let me know if I’m wrong.

Memo to the boys on the beat: Just because Maurice and Cheveldayoff move their lips, it doesn’t make it news.

On that note, interesting comment from Steve Simmons of Postmedia Tranna: “Rather than talk about possibilities of completing the season or playoffs, why doesn’t Gary Bettman just say this: When there’s something to announce, we’ll announce it. Until then, we’re staying home and social distancing. The regular peddling of hope comes off as either disingenuous or delusional.” Here’s a better question: Why do the Postmedia papers run a story every time the NHL commish opens his mouth? If what Bettman says is “disingenuous or delusional,” shouldn’t Postmedia stop reporting it?

Sports sections (those that survive COVID-19) have a chance to reinvent themselves with activity in the playground on pause. Rather than ignore the existence of the Internet and continue to churn out the same old, same old copy that’s ancient news by the time it lands on a reader’s doorstep, they can be delivering more of a magazine-style product. Give us some quality deep-dive reads, give us a package of quirky quick-hits, give us some Q&As that delve into social issues, give us off-beat, give us personality and entertainment. Just don’t keep giving us boring.

Got a kick out of this line from Mad Mike McIntyre of the Drab Slab: “Sam Katz has worn many hats in his lifetime. Which is why his take on the COVID-19 pandemic—from government response to the short and long-term impact on citizens, communities and even sports clubs—carries plenty of weight.” Oh for gawd’s sake. Sam Katz is relevant like the back of a garbage truck is a salad bar. He has nothing of significance to add to the coronavirus discussion. I spent 30 years in jock journalism and I never met a phonier man than the Winnipeg Goldeyes owner. And that’s saying something, because I covered a lot of boxing.

And, finally, things that make me go hmmm, Vol. 3: Donald Trump, the apprentice president of the U.S., seems to think the COVID-19 pandemic is more about his TV ratings than body counts. Hmmm. If the guy can’t be Time Magazine Man of the Year, he’s a shoo-in for TV Guide Man of the Year.

Sleepless and drunk on world news as the beat goes on

The sirens were loud and objectionable, much like so many newspaper and television opinionists, when they first awakened me just beyond 11 o’clock, about three hours after I had lowered my eye lids on Friday night.

patti dawn swansson

They are wailing again, two and a half hours later, disturbing my sleep for the final time.

This is the worst part of living downtown. The noise. Although I normally find the small hours of the morning a time for peaceful reflection, it is different this night. More sirens. My upper body is in conflict, with pain in my shoulders suggesting I’d participated in a sporting endeavor not so long ago, and I feel hung over, which isn’t possible given that a pint of the nectar last passed my lips on Tuesday, about dinnertime. All I’ve done in the three days and four nights since is research, write and watch TV.

Perhaps I’m drunk on the news, much of which is sour and somewhat scary.

When I was a kid, we feared the Soviet Union, convinced it would lob nuclear bombs in our direction. There was a nut named Nikita Khrushchev in the Kremlin. He was the boogeyman of my youth. Now it would seem that the boogeyman lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump has provided ample evidence for me, and others, to consider that he is off his nut. A crazy man with nuclear codes. No doubt he frightens citizens beyond the boundaries of the United States, perhaps not as much as many of his own people, though.

For the most part, I’d ceased contemplation of nuclear war in the 1970s. Now, with Trump presiding over the 50 United States and territories that include a weather-ravaged Puerto Rico, which he largely ignores, apocalyptic thoughts sprout again as North Korea flexes its military might and the president responds by ratcheting up the rhetoric of war.

If he has surrounded himself with women and men of sane, rational thought and structure, not to worry. Except, as he emphasized this week, his is the only “attitude” that matters. He vows to do “what’s right for the world,” because North Korea is “really a world problem.” I imagine North Koreans see Trump as “really a world problem.”

My mind is in scurry, darting to and fro, from Trump and nuclear warheads to people who like to play with guns…to ruinous, deadly wild fires in California…to ruinous, deadly weather in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico…to a ghastly sexual harassment/assault scandal that has toppled a Hollywood movie mogul…to the hate and hostility being spewed on social media, most notably Twitter. So much chaos and destruction of life, property and hope. So many days of despair.

Nothing can be done about Trump, fire or hurricane weather, and there seems an unwillingness to holster gun play, but women have risen up against sexual predator Harvey Weinstein and those of his ilk. Also Twitter. A 24-hour boycott of the social media platform by many women has spawned a promise from Twitter to be better. Less uninvited, vulgar sexual improprieties. Less hate language. Less violence. Less nudity. Less obscenity. Alas, no mention of zero tolerance.

That beat shall go on as surely as the wailing outside my window.

The sirens. The sirens. They persist. But what is there to be alarmed about? All of this is just the world being the world.

Things that are on my mind this morning…

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

Random thoughts in the wee hours before dawn’s early light…

I keep reading about the United States being the “land of the free?” What makes the United States the “land of the free?” What freedoms do Americans have that we don’t enjoy in Canada? Oh, that’s right, they get to play with guns and we don’t. How’s that working out for them?

I no longer use the phrase “You know you’re getting old when…” I now say, “Now that I’m old…”

As the day when there are 66 candles on my birthday cake approaches, I surrender to the reality that time is running short for me to take my first selfie. That is not, however, on my bucket list, so I shall be ashes in an urn before I engage in that self-serving ritual. I’ll continue to talk about myself, write about myself and look at myself in the mirror, but snapping a selfie is a non-starter.

I really like my dentist, but why does it cost so much to have her peer into my mouth? How do we know dentists aren’t ripping us off?

I find it interesting, also odd, that I can fly clear across an ocean to England for less money than it costs me to fly most places in Canada.

Someone told me that Americans would never be so dumb as to elect Donald Trump president. No? Then explain the voters in Minnesota electing a professional wrestler as governor and the voters in California doing the same with a body builder.

The Spice Girls: Did I miss anything?
The Spice Girls: Did I miss anything?

While watching Mel B on one of the late-night gab shows recently, it occurred to me that I could not name one Spice Girls song. So you tell me, have I missed something?

Someone once said, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be,” and I agree. Whereas certain of my childhood friends go on Facebook to reminisce about the good, old days, I sometimes wonder if I even had a childhood or good, old days. They drop names I don’t recognize. They write of events I don’t recall. For example, the other day someone posted a comment about walking to high school in a group that apparently included moi. I have no recollection of that. I remember almost always walking to and from school alone or with one of the Lowery girls.

I witnessed the rarest of sightings the other day: Two people sitting in a pub, talking to each other instead of playing with their smart phones or tablets. That was nice.

I was a 10-minute walk from the Royals on Saturday, so I had a choice: Make that 10-minute walk and watch Kate and Will deliver the Royal wave, or sit in the pub and order another pint. I’m pleased to report that that other pint tasted real good.

Why was security on highest alert when Kate and Will arrived in Victoria on Saturday? Were the motorcycle cops and those men in sun glasses and long, black limos afraid one of our homeless citizens would insult the Royals by asking for spare change?

If the cost of rent continues to soar in Victoria, I might soon be one of those homeless citizens begging the Royals for spare change.

I missed the Royal wave from Kate and Will.
I missed the Royal wave from Kate and Will.

I have nothing against the Royals. I have something against fawning over faux celebrities. Or any celebrities, for that matter.

I tried to watch The Voice last week, but I can’t get past Miley Cyrus. I’m not sure what it is about Billy Ray’s little girl, but she’s a most irritating bit of business. Her nails-on-chalkboard voice is grating and those teeth that look store-bought don’t seem to fit her mouth or face. She’s over the top with her rebel-with-a-cause schtick, too. I’ll pass on The Voice this year now that I know she’s a coach.

On the matter of The Voice, the adolescent bantering between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton became painfully tiresome about three seasons ago. How often do those two mooks have to call each other an “idiot” before the audience and producers decide the schtick is just childish and not funny?

I was a fan of country music in the 1980s, when I hitched my horse in Calgary. That was a wonderful decade for the genre, with the emergence of George Strait and Clint Black and Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and Randy Travis and Reba and Alabama and Dwight Yoakam and Roseanne Cash and Ricky Van Shelton. So what happened? When did Nashville become a haven for the vocally challenged? I mean, you’re telling me that Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan are mega-stars? George Strait and Alan Jackson were right when they sang Murder on Music Row. It’s a crime what’s happened to country music.

I really like Renee Zellwegger. She makes me laugh.

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