Mailbag: Stephen Harper, interstellar intercourse, the Old Spice Guy

SCOTT FESCHUK has all the answers

Welcome to the Mailbag, where those seeking some fine summer songery for the waning weeks of the season are recommended to sample and delight in the following:

Sleigh Bells: Rill Rill, Kids

Tennis: Marathon

The Drums: Let’s Go Surfing

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse: Little Girl (that’s Julian Casablancas of The Strokes on vocals)

Broken Bells: October

Male Bonding: Year’s Not Long

All songs guaranteed at least 85% awesome.

Also, if you’re a comedy geek – and, especially, an enthusiast of Kids in the Hall, or of how comedy is made, or both – don’t miss Kevin McDonald’s Random Roles at the Onion’s AV Club. Fascinating.

To the mailbag. The following questions were actually submitted by actual readers. And remember – there are no stupid questions, unless you’re asking whether members of the Sun editorial board want you kids to get off their property.


Dear Scott:

I was devastated to hear that Inky Mark was retiring… the truth is I thought he had retired as a Reform MP in the late 90’s. Is there a record of Inky’s accomplishments anywhere? – TheJones

TheJones –

I don’t know if you have any freedom to travel this summer, but there is a comprehensive retrospective of the Inky Mark legacy that’s currently on exhibit in The Trunk of Inky Mark’s Car. Just climb inside and follow the directions to the banker’s box marked Stuff to Take Home. Make your way past the pens he’s swiping and, there on the left, you’ll see his award for Ongoing Excellence in the Field of Existing. Stop. Stare. Marvel.

I’m kidding, of course. I’m sure Mark has advanced the cause of his constituents, the people of Canada and certainly all those whose names make them sound like characters from a children’s book (Poor Inky Mark – his hands were all messy!). It’s just that Mark had the poor fortune to serve in the government of Stephen Harper. When cabinet ministers have the profile and influence of backbenchers, where does that leave a backbencher like Inky Mark? Answer: Preferring to be mayor of a town of 8,000 people, apparently.


Dear Scott:

Why does Luiza Ch. Savage get to use a two-letter middle “initial” when the rest of us have to get by with one? What does it stand for? Is it still an initial if it has two letters? – A_logician

A_logician –

I don’t know. I don’t know the answers to all those questions. Could I have taken the time to investigate and thereby discovered the answers to those questions? Absolutely. But that would have involved work and a degree of interest I can these days muster only for Mad Men, fantasy baseball and wondering if that “skin tag removal” product actually works of if there’s a chance I could wind up losing, like, an arm or something.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I assume that the “Ch.” in “Luiza Ch. Savage” represents Luiza’s maiden name. I also know that her maiden name was quite long: “Chwialkowskawaskawiktoskiwiczson,” I believe. So immediately you can see the benefits of chopping that thing down a bit. Could it be that she chose “Ch.” instead of “C.” to denote the fact it’s her maiden name and not her middle initial? Possibly. Is this common practice among married women? Maybe. Could I have confirmed or discounted this theory with a simple Google search or email? Obviously.

But let’s not lose sight of what’s important here:

a)    The “Ch.” looks way cool. I wish I’d thought of it first. Scott Ch. Feschuk. That looks all distinguished and shit, the kind of name that should come with a monocle and a copy of the Financial Times. Now who’s made something of himself in this world, attractive high school girls who shunned me??

b)   The “Ch.” always makes me think of David Bowie. I can’t read a Maclean’s piece analyzing the U.S. political landscape without humming “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Saaaavage!”

I am dumb.


Dear Scott:

How does The Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper inspire you? – PMO Staffer

PMO Staffer –

Well, I’d never before been inspired to expect so little from a national leader. So credit where it’s due. Keep up the good work.

More important: Do you by chance happen to be the PMO Staffer who got stuck with the office behind the handicapped-persons toilet on the first floor of Langevin Block? That’s the worst place to have an office, isn’t it? Reid put me there for six months and I hated it. HATED. IT. I think it was punishment for me being more popular, talented and familiar with the oeuvre of REO Speedwagon than he was.

Was that particular toilet designed for the use of disabled people? Yes. Was there another, bigger washroom just around the corner? You bet. Were several of my PMO colleagues too lazy to made the arduous trek. Yep. Some would even come into my office to tell me they were about to use the washroom. I guess they wanted me to know that that specific flush was theirs. Pride of ownership and such. And yes, you could actually hear the flush.

On the upside, the window did offer a lovely view of a Dumpster and various ministerial drivers sitting in their cars playing Brickbreaker on their Blackberries. So there’s that.


Dear Scott:

Do you personnally, as a member of the lamestream media, really hate the troops so much? – I love Tim Hortons

I love Tim Hortons –

The member of the what? Sorry, but is that some sort of typo? I’ve heard of the mainstream media but not the…. ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh, you devil, you! I see what you did there. You replaced the “main” in mainstream media with the word “lame.” You know – to denote the “lameness” of the mainstream media. Jesus, that’s clever. You Internet people are clever. We “lamestreamers” don’t stand a chance against you and your ability to almost rhyme.

/waves white flag


How do I get a question answered? – Shakois

Shakois –


Dear Scott:

DirtyOldTown was (un)kind enough to alert me to the existence of this photo of Nickelback in concert:

It’s kind of like seeing a friend get nailed in the pills with the orange hockey ball; sure it’s funny, but it makes you feel sick to your stomach too. I’m not sure why I’m writing…. it’s not that I like Chad Kroeger….. nor am I a Ned Beatty fan, but I never want to see Deliverence again either…….

I mean……whose idea was this? What the hell does it mean? – danby

danby –

It gets worse. I personally took this photo of the massive head of Stephen Harper hovering over Trafalgar Square in London during Canada Day festivities.

Alert the military: Stephen Harper’s giant video face has gone global! Surely now it will devour all our crap-rock bands and unsuspecting expatriates!


Dear Scott:

This weekend I tried to rip a page out of Tony Clement’s communication playbook and it backfired on me.

My girlfriend somehow got the impression, probably through the words I had said to her, that my sister had phoned on Saturday and asked me to come over to plan our parents’ upcoming 30th wedding anniversary. In reality my sister had phoned and told me she was planning the anniversary and wanted me to put my thinking cap on for fun party ideas.

I actually went out to play poker with my buddies Saturday evening.

Well my girlfriend found out about poker and is upset. I keep telling her that I had merely represented what I believed my sister had told me over the phone.

Where did I go wrong and how would Tony have done it better? – Dan

Dan –

Rookie mistake. Listen, Dan, if you want to do things the Tony Clement way, you can’t be a slave to such minor details as the glaring and wholly obvious truth. You’ve got to stick to your guns even when those guns are pointing directly at your face. Just keep pulling the trigger, man. Eventually, people will come around to your way of thinking. Or you’ll run out of face.

Here’s how Tony would have done it:

– I know you played poker last night.

I didn’t play poker last night.

– There are poker chips in your pockets.

Those aren’t my chips. Or my pockets.

– Your buddies called and left a voice mail message thanking you for playing poker last night.

Telephonic technology is, in the context of the entirety of the space-time continuum, still in its infancy. I can’t be held responsible for hiccups in its reliability.

– The factual accuracy of the voice mail message was confirmed and duly authenticated by a licensed notary.

[Long pause.]

No, it wasn’t.

Yes, it was.

No, it wasn’t.

Why are you waving your hand in front of my face?

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.


Look, just because our relationship was working well before doesn’t mean we can’t improve it by forcing upon it changes that would make it, in a very measurable sense, worse.

/girlfriend packs clothes to leave for good

See Dan, problem solved. Now you can play poker any time you like. You = welcome.


Hey Scott:

What’s up with Andrew Potter’s latest fixation? Is alien space sex the new beemer parking? – David_M.

David_M. –

You know the old saying: write what you know.


Dear Scott:

Any truth to the rumour that Steve Harper chartered up a boatload of Tamils to distract us from gazebos, census forms and veterans? – Kevin

Kevin –

One of the perks of being Prime Minister is the honour of residing at 24 Sussex Drive, which has an expansive basement storage area – including tables for entertaining, linens for fine dining and countless pre-fabricated distractions to help out in any political crisis.

The PM need only go downstairs and fill out the usual forms to obtain the needed materials from the requisition clerk. Tamils, culture wars, phantom conspiracies, photos of Michael Ignatieff looking effete – it’s all at his disposal. When I was in government, we kept Belinda Stronach stored down there for weeks and then, one day, boom: In your face, non-confidence vote!


Dear Scott:

It seems as if the end of days is upon us. Prime Minister Harper is hanging out with celebrities, Michael Ignatieff is showing something resembling competence, Ottawa keeps getting hit with thunderstorms and downpours, and the Toronto Argos are over .500. My question is this. How should I spend my last few days on earth before the apocalypse? I’m a bachelor, so I don’t have to waste my time with that ‘loving my family’ mumbo-jumbo. I put my last few days on earth in your hands. (also I only have a few vacation days left this year…I can probably add on a sick day or two, but long distance traveling may be out as well for time reasons). – WDM


The end of the world would suck for a number of reasons (high among them: I just finally painted the steps along the side of my house). But the one sucky aspect that no one ever talks about is the unrelenting pressure it would put on men. It’s the end of the freaking world! And the end of the world means one thing and one thing only for males: it’s time to have some smoking hot apocalypse sex. Get down, get funky, get vaporized. Movies and literature agree: Apocalypse sex is the best sex!!

That’s an awful lot to live up to. And I have absolutely no doubt that I would choke in such a situation. With mere minutes left in mortal form, I’d make a few half-hearted attempts to work my seductive magic on passing ladyfolk (“We’re all going to die!!!! CAN I PLEASE SEE YOUR BOOBS?”) But I have every confidence that I’d end up spending my last moments watching Rick Sanchez read end-of-the-world tweets live on CNN. “David in Virginia says: ‘Goodbye cruel world!’ while Miguel in Santa Fe disagrees, saying, ‘Whazzzzz up yo??????’ A riveting debate.”

An aside: One of the many downsides of getting older is that even your fantasies become infected by the buzzkill of mundane reality. A young man would imagine the apocalypse with glee, picturing a hot three-way with Scarlett Johansson and a second Scarlett Johansson he created with the Human Duplicating Machine he invented just that moment in his fantasy. Wheee! Whereas I now dwell on practical realities like whether my Human Duplicating Machine would have time to boot up and whether my Ryan Reynolds mask would fall off. Growing old: I can’t recommend it.

As to your question: pottery can be fun.


Dear Scott:

Props and other detritus from Lost are being auctioned off. What would you bid on?

PS: I do not believe any of Evangeline Lilly’s underthings are included in the auction. – LostSinceLostWasLost

LostSinceLostWasLost –

I was thinking of bidding on the profound sense of disappointment created by the finale, but I don’t have a room big enough to display it.


Dear Scott:

When will you challenge the Old Spice Man to a duel? He’s been stepping on your manly turf for some time now, and I think it’s high time for a Feschuk / Old Spice Man throwdown. – DirtyOldTown

DirtyOldTown –

Hello, Old Spice Man. Look at your crotch, now back to me, now back at your crotch, now back to me. Sadly, your crotch has been punched by my fist. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on the floor, writhing in agony with the crotch my fist punched at. What’s in your hand, back at me, I have it – it’s the solitary, girlish tear you cried upon being punched in the crotch by my fist. Look again, the tear is now a third testicle that I’m also punching. Anything is possible when you disregard the rules of gentlemanly conduct and resort to punching your vastly superior rival in the crotch with a fist. I’m on a horse.