Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Off-line; in Seattle 'til Saturday at...


Boys and girls
They come from all around
From dear old Stockholm
To Copenhagen town
Forget their troubles
In tasty riddum n' rime
So here you are
And now it's party time
Wrap your mind
Around this sound
And let the goodness ripple down
Goodbye to Lonely Street
You're in the Catbird Seat

If you got backpacks
And pointy little shoes
Late-model roadsters
Or just those walkin' blues
A case of heartache
That you're too numb to fight
A secret sorrow
That keeps you up all night
Well don't you fret
It's not your fault
Just lay it all on Don and Walt
Just trip out on these hits
The groove that never quits

[Sax Solo]

So buy a program
And/or a hat
You don't pass up a deal like that
It's only promo stuff
But hey it's good enough
Monday, July 28, 2008
Never Coming Near What He Wanted to Say

Combing aphids out of the runner beans at 5:45am, sun slowly leaking up into the sky. Cool wind, that peculiar dusty light that says, "Fall." Green tomatoes on massive vines, a few beans setting here and there. Cats distributed throughout the jungle, just waiting for the first pigeon or crow desperate or dumb enough to come after the sunflowers. The whole overgrown balcony totally visible from the street, green and tangled in contrast to the rest of the building's flawless white facade. Complaining strata council members and downstairs neighbors bought off with promises of fresh squash and heirloom tomatoes. The sneaking suspicion that the garden symbolizes many other CJB-initiated projects, which rapidly overstep "boundaries," much as glacial rivulets overrun their banks. My complete lack of social aplomb, viz. yesterday's discussion of the working classes' infiltration of what, at least in Vancouver, remains an upper-middle-class playground. The possibility of creating a parallel structure that reproduces only the best features of the social system it mirrors. The refusal to continually facilitate others' creativity for free. The critique of others' productivity only as an aspect of one's own practice, which is what I suppose my friend R. means by "writing as an artist."
Anodyne Inc.

Previously unaccounted-for distributions:

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .04167/unit = $46.21 (15 July)

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units x .105/unit = $378.11 (15 July)

Cash balance, $3087.70

Purchase: Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 300 units x $9.92/unit = $2976.00 + $25 transaction charge

Current portfolio:

Dominion Citrus Income Fund (DOM.UN): 12,346 units
E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): 7 shares
Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares
Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares
Norbord, Inc. (NBD): 1820 shares
North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units
Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3901 units
TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units
Amerigo Resources, Inc. (ARG): 1895 shares

Cash balance, $86.70

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Team Cat and friends, Needle Peak summit. Left to right: CJB, Rose T. Cat, Doug, Al, Denis
Friday, July 25, 2008
LA Field Trip

"We met with industry professionals such as the band's tour management, the venue staff, the artist liaison, the promoter reps, and venue managers. We were able to learn about budgeting, production, and settlements, and stand in an elevator with Walter Becker.

. . . .

While music engineers were working tirelessly at Capitol Records, music journalism/concert promotion students learned how to enjoy the perks of working on major tours. 'This is the best thing ever,' said Jenay Ross as she ate the homemade donuts."

Long generous article on new works by Incredible Talking Cat co-owner SGB, depictions of "a [city] where no one without relatives or a personal connection to the place would likely vacation or visit":

"Borda's pictures are not a catalogue, and she is not a journalist. Her photographs are compositions with their own language and the exhibition is a conceptual artwork and an ode to the area. There is a payback in terms of civic pride, however. 'Like the Antiques Roadshow, my pictures assign value to things,' she says.

In that her alien accent is helpful, as is the legitimisation of an RIAS platform. Three years on from her East Kilbride residency, reviews of that project are still appearing in the US and Canada.

Borda believes that Scotland is missing a trick in restricting its tourism pitch to the history of Bruce, Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots. And she is absolutely sincere.

'There is a real nostalgia for the 1950s and 1960s, and an appetite for cultural tourism to see public art. Gregory's Girl is still very popular in North America - there could be a market for timeshares in Cumbernauld.'"

From the RIAS website:

"For the realisation of this project, [Borda] has endeavoured to create both a photo archive and a conceptual artwork of the Glenrothes urbanscape. In the production of the artwork, the juxtaposition of ‘ordinary’ images of landscape and objects regularly decontextualise the geography so a viewer might read the pictures in relation to colour, form, and composition; however, the images are themselves actual representations of a specific location. Influenced by the work of photographers Stephen Shore, Geoffrey James, Lewis Baltz and William Eggleston, the suburban attributes of Glenrothes have become part of an interplay between the familiar and the uncommon."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Stop the presses!

"The typical concert goer at last night's Steely Dan concert was a 50 year old male in hiking shoes" (my italics)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kitteh: I Can Has. Caption: CJB
A whole lot of anger lurching and crackling inside. A drive east, through Dollarton, concluded on the sloping brown lawn above Deep Cove beach. Little Real Estate Weekly-wrapped cardboard box of cod and chips, wee plastic tub of tartar sauce. A happy black lab swims straight in to shore, tail working furiously back and forth. Clown on cell phone wanders 'round the parking lot, letting the whole world know that he "FUCKED 'ER DUDE!" Sculls and kayaks moving out on the open water. The ambient heat from the Korean grocery's freezer cases.
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why So Serious?

The ever-changing scar story: a psychopath's Aristocrats, "full of sound and fury." All detail. No analysis, no core.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
" Word of the Day - anodyne: serving to relieve pain."

(Via four different correspondents, more or less simultaneously)


Someone on the Squamish reserve has a good sense of humor. Courtesy dru's eagle eye.

Some popular favorites

"I bought the Mingus Dynasty album on an experimental basis. I'd never heard him and all I knew was that he was the bass player on Charlie Mingus' famous Massey Hall concert but I liked the cover -- Mingus wearning an absurd Egyptian hat. The first time I played it, I thought it was terrible. I thought the band was a mess and I couldn't figure out why people kept yelling. On the other hand there were some great solos. About a year later, I put it on again, thought it was brilliant, and couldn't stop playing it. There was something about the rootsy feeling that I had come to accept. It was angry, with a lot of church and blues feeling. My older cousins would take me to The Vanguard or Five Spot in New York and we saw Mingus round about this time -- 1962. I was knocked out. It wasn't like a concert, it was a visitation from another universe. Mingus was really brusque with the musicians. Then he began drinking and became nasty to people in the audience too. 'Stop tinkling that spoon in that glass.' Then he started lecturing us on the problems he was having with his record company. It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. The last time I saw him, he'd grown enormously fat and was wearing a bathrobe with what appeared to be calamine lotion all over his body, as if he had the worst ever case of poison ivy."
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soundtrack for a cuckoo's egg (q.v. Chic's churchbells, below)

Markhor Peak/Needle Peak NE Ridge Scramble
(Trip report cut-and-pasted from

"Just tell how you climbed the god-damned mountain." (Fred Beckey's advice on trip report writing)

[ members] Burndug, dblair, Spectrum, cjb and Rose T. Cat traversed Markhor Peak and Needle Peak's NE Ridge yesterday. Beta, some of it sketchy, was provided by dru, who's done the route something like five or six times, and by Matt Gunn's Cairn Publishing website. We completed the route in approximately 8.5 hours, and did not use a rope. Less experienced scramblers will probably want a rope, slings, a few small chocks or tricams, and familiarity with their use. Helmets, needless to say, are a good idea for scramblers of every experience level.

This report is being written in a highly abbreviated format because a/ there's a lot of information to convey, and, b/ the writer is achy and sore this morning and wants to get the whole writing and photo-uploading process over with before dropping dead of exhaustion. So, onward:

To follow our route, drive up to Coquihalla Summit. Everybody Else says park at the MOH snowshed, as for the Needle Peak trail. Don't. Instead, drive under the highway and park at the Zopkios Ridge washrooms/snack stand. This location is highly trafficked and provides added security for your car. The snack stand provides cold drinks and/or reasonably good food at the end of the day. The washroom provides cold water, soap, and paper towels, so that when you arrive sweaty, exhausted, and covered in krummholz (foreshadowing!) you can clean up before beginning the long drive back to Vancouver.

Pass back under the highway. Look due SE and note two big open slabs on Markhor Peak's north face. Cross a little creek and work up S by SE through open forest, steepening after 15-20 minutes, to reach the base of the lower slab. Cross the toe of the slab and traverse due E through forest to reach the base of the larger slab. Smear steeply up on excellent clean granite, low 2nd-3rd class in parts, to reach the upper end of the slab. DO NOT CONTINUE STRAIGHT UP FROM THE TOP OF THE SLAB. Instead, traverse due E through some of the thickest bush known to man. Smack your colleagues in the face with branches. Lose your trekking poles' baskets. Swear. Step in a hidden seep. Fall in holes. Swear some more. Eventually, just as your patience is running dangerously thin, cross a small, fast running creek. At this point, turn due S (uphill) and work your way up through more bad bush, keeping just E of the creek, until you emerge into a rock-and-heather bouldery meadow basin below a huge granite cirque. Again, DO NOT CONTINUE STRAIGHT UP, or attempt to gain the ridge above the cirque by climbing to the west (climber's right). (There are major cliffs to the W, invisible from this angle, that prevent contouring around Markhor). Instead, traverse due E, boulder-hopping or travelling on remnants of snow, to reach a heathery ramp that skirts the eastern edge of the cirque. Climb the ramp until above the cirque's cliffs; then, when possible, begin traversing due W on heathery sloping ledges until some steep scrambling allows you to obtain the wide ridge crest. Take a breather; you have now reached the beginning of the route, approx. 2-3hrs. from the car.

Hike easily along the ridge to reach a distinctive "sandy col" between Markhor's summits. Scramble easily up to the higher summit. The rock here is crumbly Coquihalla granite, and detachable hand- and foot- holds are something to be anticipated. Take a photograph of your favorite stuffed animal on the summit. The rest of the route now comes clearly into view (Photo #1 on the Cairn Publishing website).

The objective now is to get down to the Markhor-Needle col. Make a descending traverse down Markhor's SW face. In general, you want to aim due SW; too far S and the face cliffs out; too far W and you run into the cliff band that prevents traversing around Markhor from the approach. Most of the descent is vegetated. Our access to the "easiest line" was prevented by water and slime running down a key slab about halfway down the face. After a lot of hunting around, we descended a long (80') contact between two slabs: a distinctive 8'-10' deep crack that ranges from boot width to 1' wide. Some exposure; few handholds. We made a variety of funky moves ranging from butt-sliding to foot-jamming to laybacking to descend this awkward pitch. It would be easy to break a leg here; use caution. From the bottom of this pitch, easy walking leads down to the Markhor-Needle col.

The real work now begins. Ascend the "first bump" visible in the Cairn Publishing photo. We were surprised to discover a very cold wind blowing from this point; though it was a sunny July afternoon, most party members wore jackets and/or hoodies for the rest of the climb. It would definitely have been uncomfortable climbing in shorts and t-shirts. From the top of "bump 1," there is a steep exposed descent down a narrow ridge to the col with "bump 2." ("Crux 1" on the Cairn description). Climb down the very exposed ridge on big holds (low 4th class). Drop off the N toe of the ridge to reach a stance. Scramble around onto the S face (exposure) on bad sandy holds and back up to reach the col.

Scramble up the S face of "Bump 2" from the col. Though neither dru nor the Cairn web site mentioned difficulties here, we reached an impasse at a distinctive dead tree beside a large detached flake. The climbing is sketchy on bad holds, and after scouting around we could not find anything resembling a safe alternative. We overcame this pitch as follows: step behind the flake and shed your pack. Climb straight up the crack behind the flake (low 5th, awkward; CJB, who led the pitch, was given a foot boost by dblair for balance). Reach a stance. Climb straight up for another 5'-6' on terrible loose rock (exposure; no holds). Traverse left to pass below another dead tree directly above the flake. DO NOT PULL ON THE TREE; IT WILL NOT SUPPORT BODY WEIGHT. Be aware that anything you kick off here will go straight down on top of your partners. Also be aware that a fall from here will send you straight down the face. We found this unnerving pitch to be the crux of the climb, and essentially unprotectable.

You are now in the col directly below Needle's beautiful NE ridge. Climb straight up the ridge, always picking the easiest line, until you reach a crux just below the summit: a headwall surmounted by traversing around on the S face (low 5th; exposure; crumbling holds; Cairn Publishing's "Crux 2"). Cross this section quickly and confidently, then scramble another 80'-100' up to reach Needle's summit cairn. The major difficulties are now over.

When ready, descend Needle's W ridge (2nd-3rd). Wander down the center of the ridge until it steepens near the toe. Some well-meaning idiot has flagged a trail down an eroding gully on the S face here. DO NOT DESCEND THE GULLY. It is a/ sandy; b/awkward to enter; and c/ totally trashed from foot traffic. Instead, head right to the end of the ridge and follow flagging to make a awkward descending traverse on solid rock (2nd-3rd) to reach slabs and a well-worn trail coming up from the meadow below. Follow the gorgeous well-marked trail down the W ridge through open heathery country, then steeply down to reach the highway just W of the MOH shed.

Refreshments and wash-up available at the Zopkios Ridge pull-out; delicious food (if slow service) at the Wildcat Grill, off the Aggasiz-Rosedale exit from Highway #1, just W of the traffic roundabout before the bridge. Tuesday is all-you-can eat spaghetti (delicious!) for $7.95, or prime rib and spaghetti for $15.95. Congratulations, you're done.

Cyclist (Study for a Picture), 2008

"About 56 of the Old World species and 3 of the New World species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds. The best-known example is the European Common Cuckoo. The cuckoo egg hatches earlier than the host's, and the cuckoo chick grows faster; in most cases the chick evicts the eggs or young of the host species. The chick has no time to learn this behavior, so it must be an instinct passed on genetically.

Female parasitic cuckoos specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host. This also seems to have been aided by natural selection, as some birds are able to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own, leading to those eggs least like the host's being thrown out of the nest."
Sunday, July 13, 2008

"I had a dream," says K. "You and I went to Ikea and I found a whole bin full of Rose T. Cats. But they were all cleaned-up mass-produced ones, white instead of grey."

"That'd suit her just fine," says CJB. "In her mind she's always been the next Pokemon."
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tuesday's destination. Foreground ridge left to right, then straight up that gorgeous sloping skyline to the summit.

I want them to hate me
I want them to hate me

I don't feel so far away from you lately
Love me on the sly

"Music meme," via Don English: Pick a "most important album of the year" to you for every year since your birth.

1970 Duke Ellington, New Orleans Suite
1971 Miles Davis, A Tribute to Jack Johnson
1972 Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man
1973 Neil Young, Time Fades Away
1974 Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic
1975 Bee Gees, Main Course
1976 Steely Dan, The Royal Scam
1977 Steely Dan, Aja
1978 Marvin Gaye, Here My Dear
1979 Talking Heads, Fear of Music
1980 Steely Dan, Gaucho
1981 Talking Heads, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
1982 Donald Fagen, The Nightfly
1983 R.E.M., Murmur
1984 Thomas Dolby, The Flat Earth
1985 Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
1986 Elvis Costello, Blood and Chocolate
1987 David Sylvian, Secrets of the Beehive
1988 Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
1989 The Blue Nile, Hats
1990 Pet Shop Boys, Behavior
1991 Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Weld
1992 Sugar, Copper Blue
1993 Built to Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994 Ginger Baker Trio, Going Back Home
1995 Miles Davis Quartet, Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel
1996 XTC, Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977-1992
1997 Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Year of the Horse
1998 R.E.M., Up
1999 MF DOOM, Operation Doomsday
2000 Steely Dan, Two Against Nature
2001 Destroyer, Streethawk: A Seduction
2002 The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
2003 Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
2004 Madvillain, Madvillainy
2005 Nine Horses, Snow Borne Sorrow
2006 Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, Knives Don't Have Your Back
2007 Miles Davis, Complete On The Corner Sessions
2008 Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple
Friday, July 11, 2008
GUY WE THREW OUT TWO YEARS AGO: I wonder if you can help me! I'm in a jam. I'm working tomorrow and I can leave my tools -- [HOLDS UP GREASY TOOLBELT] -- all I need is $6 and I'll pay you back tomorrow when I come collect the tools.

CJB: How are you going to get paid? I mean, if you go to work without your tools?

GWTOTYA: Ya don't get me guy. I'm leaving you my tools my FUCKING TOOLS.

CJB: Yup. Out.


CJB: Fuckin' tool!

City of Lost Gloves

nb. #37, 42, the latter found in Vancouver and looking pretty spectral, if I do say so.

Solitary Man

Neil Diamond cover by Jay and the Americans, 1971. Strings and horns arr. by Mssrs. Becker and Fagen. Special guest appearance by Mr. Bluto Blutarsky.

Also up right now, two favorites and three deep obscurities:

The Second Arrangement

Here at the Western World

There Goes My Baby (arr.)

I Got the Bear

I Mean to Shine (no kidding!)

Overheard on the express bus:

PLAYER #1: What about [GIRL'S NAME]?

PLAYER #2: Fuck [GIRL'S NAME]! I've got more pussy than a no-kill shelter!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Anodyne Inc.

Previously unaccounted-for dividends and distributions:

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .04167/unit = $92.42 (15 May, June)

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units x .105/unit = $756.22 (15 May, June)

Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares x .10/share = $176.90 (10 July)

Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x .21/unit = $45.57 (2 July)

Norbord Inc. (NBD): 1820 shares x .10/share = $182.00 (21 June)

Cash balance, $2663.38

Still hanging on as the wings shake and the engines drop off and the nose gyrates wildly up and down. I had always hoped to experience an honest-to-God bear market, and I guess I'm getting my wish. The markets and I apparently don't agree about much at the moment, and disagreement with judgement (any judgement) takes patience and a certain measure of humility. LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO WORRY ABOUT THE MARKET, say the big Skytrain station ads touting index funds, or "index-protected notes" or such similarly silly products. STOP THE MARKET, I WANT TO GET OFF. Frowning -- "thoughtful"! -- middle-aged faces shot in extreme close-up: the H.R. manager, the liberal studies prof, the accounts receivable supervisor. Take my money, please, and my worries while you're at it. I just want something safe, that goes up and up and up. Not this.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stylin' up the ridgecrest. Photo: dru

The author soaks up some Vitamin D, while Team Cat plots escape. Photo: dru.

Getting Denis' truck unstuck. Photo: dru.

Mount Baker and the North Cascades.

CJB, happy. Photo: dru.

Team Cat. Left to right: Denis, Doug, dru, Scat, Rose T. Cat.

North Nesakwatch Spire, 2008

South Illusion Peak Death March and Gear Walk -- 7 July 2008
(trip report shamelessly cut-and-pasted from

[ members] Dblair, burndug and I seem to be in a race to thrash our way up some of the steepest trails in Southwest BC. Two weeks back, we had the implausible idea of climbing Pelion Mountain from Sigurd Creek in a single day, a trip which, even when shortened by relentless dive-bombing bugs, bear scat, and the realization that six hours of mountaineering on top of ten hours of relentless elevation gain, slide alder crossing, and deep, fast-flowing creek crossing makes for a less than awesome day. The Sigurd Creek Valley is full of enormous old growth mountain hemlocks, waterfalls, and, according to the nice First Nations lady who signed us in at the Ashlu IPP gatehouse, two grizzlies. It is one of the most amazing places I have visited in SWBC, but I was not really able to enjoy it at the time due to, a/ exhaustion, and, b/ hordes of mosquitoes, black flies, etc. etc., and, c/ totally trashed knee.

We took last week off to recover.

This week, we headed out to the Chilliwack Valley with Dru and Dblair's pickup truck in tow. Our destination was "the poor man's Yosemite" of the Illusion Group, a long granitic ridge just north of Mount Rexford on the divide between Nesakwatch Creek and Centre Creek. The Illusions see little traffic; the small cairns on their summits suggest they are climbed only once every few years.

The Nesakwatch Creek road is pretty heavily cross-ditched. Denis' truck was useful in getting us back to the Mount Rexford trailhead, about 5km. in from the Chilliwack Lake Road. In particular, there are several major washouts and one huge, tank-trap style waterbar to contend with.

The Rexford Trail makes the Lake Lovelywater Trail look like a walk around the Seawall. It begins up a spur road, then ascends steeply through a clearcut, which at 9am was dripping with dew. We all got wet. At the top of the cut block the trail traverses south into old growth, crosses a creek (mega-views of huge, implausibly steep overhanging granitic walls high above), and then ascends steeply up a ridge (windfall; blowdown; unrelenting elevation gain). Soon enough you emerge into a rocky basin below North Nesakwatch Spire. The trail works its way up alongside a huge granite wall on the north side of the basin. Still lots of hard snow here, which was not suitable for boots and poles. We made our way up through rocks and scrub, then boulder-hopped our way across the huge boulder field of the upper basin to arrive at a col between North Nesakwatch Spire and the unnamed 2010m. bump to its north. We left the trekking poles here.

We traversed the bump, then descended into the steep gap between the bump and South Illusion Peak. 3rd class, minor routefinding difficulty, some exposure, lots of loose rock and hungry krummholz, which ate Denis' ice axe and helmet right off his pack and didn't want to release them. The easiest route we found was to drop off the right hand (eastern) edge of the bump, and to then cut back west (left) heading down. Lots of exposure on both sides of this non-technical line!

From the col, South Illusion Peak is another half hour of 2nd class boulder hopping and snowfield traversing. There are two summits on the ridge. The south summit is higher, but we climbed them both just to make sure. The full scramble of the ridge is intensely scenic and not hard.

North Illusion Peak is separated from the South Peak by a steep nasty gap. A supposedly aesthetic mid 5th-class route involving some rappelling exists here, but by now there was no gas left in the tank and we had no desire to descend the Rexford Trail by moonlight. Back to the col, up to the bump, down the boulder field, down the trail, through the clearcut, home to Chilliwack. The Vault Pub was technically "open," windows blacked-out, due to some live musical event. Friendly Mike's Pub has cheap good grub but isn't.

Some random notes:

1. Ibuprofen worked really well on my trashed left knee, enabling it to bear weight throughout the day. "Sore but not painful."

2. Ropes and climbing gear are heavy. Carrying gear-filled packs up steep slopes builds good physical fitness for more demanding trips.

3. Trekking poles and hydration bladders look pretty silly, but work really well.

4. A helmet and an ice axe might not be a bad idea for this scramble.

5. No bugs!

A great day out with good friends.
Sunday, July 06, 2008

Team Cat and friends are up above the world. Back soon!

(Photo credit: tomorrow's objective, the Illusion Peaks -- first climbed by my artist friend and occasional hiking partner Arnold Shives in 1961 -- courtesy dru and John Scurlock's wee yellow plane)
"A Steely Dan concert is akin to witnessing the passage of a single multiplex vehicle the size of a motorcade or convoy, its various segments comprising limousines, ice-cream wagons, hearses, lunch-carts, ambulances, black marias, and motorcycle outriders, all of it Rolls-grade and lacquered like a tropical beetle. The horns glint, as it rolls majestically past, splendid, a thing of legend, and utterly peculiar unto itself."

Via YVR's other Obsessive Fan, one of my favorite writers.

From the Ottawa desk:

"Artists can be quirky people, but ahead of last night's Steely Dan show, the group's manager e-mailed [Ottawa] Bluesfest artistic director Mark Monahan to request a police escort for Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

'We've had all kinds of strange requests,' said Mr. Monahan, 'but this was a new one. They said it was never a problem in U.S. cities. I said it would probably be a problem here, but I'd ask.'

Becker and Fagen, the legendary creative core of Steely Dan, arrived by private jet from Montreal and apparently wanted the royal escort so they could avoid red lights and other inconveniences of modern day motoring -- though on a Saturday afternoon in Ottawa, those inconveniences would be minimal.

Mr. Monahan contacted the Ottawa police who even for a fee turned down the request as 'an inappropriate use of police time.' Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen, who asked for separate SUVs to carry them from the airport, settled for a Bluesfest van to guide them into the downtown."

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