After writing about my excellent experience eating at a great new place last week (The Ki Sum Cafe), Rob Maguire tweeted to ask me whether there was a restaurant I’d ever given a bad review to. The truth is, I thought I was actually critical when it comes to food reviews. I like to paint a picture of what the average person would experience when they walk in —- a man on the street sort of vibe. However, for the record, the policy at Planet S is that if the place is so terrible that we can only say bad things about it —- then we don’t review it. Our Mother’s taught us that if you can’t say something nice (at least one thing!) then don’t say anything at all. That’s why you’ve never seen Tomas the Cook between our pages. And again, for the record, our reviews are no paid reviews. I can’t believe people still think that. I can tell you that my poor editors get a lot of angry phone calls from restaurants based on why my little ole’ pen does —- droppin’ truth bombs! Haha. Anyway, I thought I’d repost this classic review on Chili’s for Rob, one of the worst restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. It’s fun from a food point of view, but it also answers the question —- ‘why would anyone in Saskatoon care about Chili’s opening?’
by Craig Silliphant
Originally appeared (in a slightly different edited form) in Planet S Magazine.
A few weeks back, I found that people were in various stages of ecstasy over the opening of the new Chili’s Restaurant across from Preston Crossing. My head was filled with stories of delicious and amazing meals. I was intrigued; as far as I knew, Chili’s was just one of those ‘sit-down-fast-food’ chains, where they serve a lot of processed, frozen ‘food’ in a sit down meal environment. This isn’t normally the sort of restaurant we’d talk about within these pages, but I was curious to see what the hubbub was all about.
To combat their giant-sized menu, I brought 11 people with me who would best represent Chili’s target audience. Our Chili’s experience started as soon as we walked in, with a half hour wait in the lobby area amongst about 40 other people. While waiting, I noticed that the ambience of the place was surprisingly generic. Similar ‘sit-down-fast-food’ joints each utilize visual flair for branding purposes; Boston Pizza is bright and resplendent with neon and Montana’s has that ‘Of Mice and Men’ ranch house feel, but Chili’s didn’t really have the Tex Mex vibe I was expecting.
Though the service would prove to be excellent overall, I did overhear several inappropriate comments from staff while waiting for our table, including two waitresses loudly complaining about another staff member and ‘whose job it was to do what.’ Customers should never, ever be privy to these kinds of conversations —- it gives them an unglamorous look behind the wizard’s curtain and presents the establishment in an unprofessional light.
Onto the food! Most of my favourite restaurants serve food that is cooked fresh, from scratch if possible, using fresh ingredients (and local, if possible). Chili’s is the antithesis of this idea; most of their menu items are boxed frozen goods, mostly made with chemical preservatives and the like. A lot of restaurants do this, and I enjoy eating at some of them, so I refuse to single out Chili’s for this, but what I’m trying to say is that I’m surprised more of the public don’t make this distinction when hyping up what a supposedly wonderful experience Chili’s is.
As the meals started hitting the table, I looked at what everyone had ordered and quizzed people on what they thought about their food. A few had quesadillas, which were just dandy. They contained chicken breast, grilled onions, and Monterey jack cheese, served with sour cream and pico de gallo (a sort of salsa). Other than the fake tortillas, these were one of the freshest meals, mainly because it’s a lot of veg and cheese.
Next: burgers and sandwiches, some of which fared better than others. One person had a burger that he really enjoyed; all though it was a processed frozen chemical patty. Why not use real beef patties? That stale chemical patty flavour was masked by virtue of the fact that the burger was smothered in aged cheddar and topped off with apple wood smoked bacon, which never hurts. Bacon fixes everything!
There were also chicken sandwiches, and those who went with the grilled chicken generally enjoyed their fresher meals more than those who chose the deep fried processed versions.
Unfortunately, there were a few meals that went out of the kitchen with zero quality control. One diner ordered the grilled chicken sandwich and received a dry, overcooked piece of chicken. Her sandwich also had BBQ sauce instead of the honey mustard that was described in the menu and her fries were undercooked and lukewarm.
Another had a nightmare of a chicken ranch sandwich; the ‘crispy’ deep fried breading was soggy, making the chicken feel and taste like it was coated in oil slicked oatmeal, which also made the bun wet. If I had to guess, I’d say the kitchen was using a fry vat with the temperature too low. Needless to say, she couldn’t finish it. Like the previous meal, the ranch sauce described in the menu was nowhere to be seen, and the fries were also undercooked and lukewarm. Seriously —- no self-respecting kitchen would have ever let these meals cross the threshold into the dining room. Things were going downhill quickly.
We had better luck with the sizzling fajitas. One diner was satisfied with his sizzling Buffalo chicken fajita, which was placed before him on a fun black skillet that hissed with heat. It was tossed in Buffalo chicken sauce and served on peppers and onions, with blue cheese crumbled in and more of that delectable smoked bacon. I have to point out that for some inane reason, the chicken was basically a deep-fried chicken burger that was cut up into strips, which is less than classy as far as I am concerned.
The ironic thing about this whole experience was that I actually had one of the best meals on the table. I went with the fajita trio, which featured grilled steak, grilled chicken, garlic and lime grilled shrimp, with onions and bell peppers. It was served with yet more processed tortillas, but with pico de gallo and sour cream. The steak was slightly overdone and the ‘sizzler’ plate had lost any semblance of hot sizzle long before it left the kitchen, but the shrimp was bursting with perfectly seasoned flavour. My meal was probably the freshest of the bunch, though it was also $23.99; quite a stiff wack to the wallet.
All in all, 8 out of 11 of my experimental diners were either disappointed or didn’t see what all the hype was about. The one thing that stood out over all the mix ups and poor quality control was the price —- everyone commented on it, as meals were between around $14 and $25 dollars. To give you some context: I had lunch at both Truffles and the Yard and Flagon in the next few days —- fresh food with fresh ingredients, made to order, and each meal was more than $10 less than my lunch at Chili’s. I would expect a much more exotic meal and exciting surroundings for Chili’s highly inflated prices.
The story of the Emperor’s new clothes came to mind when thinking back on the fuss that surrounded the opening of this Tex Mex chain. The reason people flock to Chili’s is because they perceive it as a big chain that we’ve never had before. Its appearance, to some, means we are growing and that’s thrilling.
However, what many don’t realize is that these processed food chains aren’t the way of the future of good food in Saskatoon —- and we are paying double or triple the amount for a reduction in ambience and food quality. If you want to spend $15 - $30 on lunch, or even dinner, there are more engaging restaurants in Saskatoon to frequent, especially other south of the border-inspired places like Amigos, Las Palapas, La Bamba, or EE Burritos.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t being a Mr. Snobby-Food-Snob-Guy; most of my lunch mates were in agreement. One of them did mention to me that Chili’s would be a good place to have a drink and some guilty pleasure appetizers, which I thought sounded right. I just don’t think I would ever go back to this restaurant for a meal again on my own volition, but each to his or her own, I suppose.
Here is another fun music article from the vaults about naming your band. Ironically, I’m now in a band called “The Browntones,” which usually has me explaining what it means. It’s a reference to “that brown guitar sound”…and okay, perhaps there’s a bit of Swiftian scatalogical double entendre there. Most people think it’s a reference to the “brown note” that makes people poop their pants. I suppose people can interpret it anyway they want and we don’t care too much.
What’s In a (Band) Name?
by Craig Silliphant
originally published in Planet S Magazine
Without exaggeration, overstatement, or hyperbole —- the best band names in Canada come from Saskatoon. You don’t have to take my word for it —- ask local act Carbon Dating Service (CDS), who just won the ‘Best Band Name’ category in a recent CBC 3 online poll. Which got me thinking —- what’s in a (band) name? Would that which we call Carbon Dating Service sound as sweet by any other name? Obviously, a band’s music is the most important factor in deciding their credibility, but their name can be an integral part of who they are, and in many cases, a handshake to people hearing of them for the first time.
Like it or lump it, a musician that wants to be heard beyond their parent’s basement can’t escape image in some form, whether they’re stinking up the charts in a mainstream boy band, or chillin’ like Dylan in an uber-cool indie outfit. A band name is a brand name, and an important indicator of the image being portrayed. Hardcore anti-establishment types might consider marketing terms like ‘image’ and ‘brand’ to be dirty words. However, even the absence of a recognizable brand name is a comment on image in general, and however inadvertently, an image in itself.
The Guess Who used the name game to their advantage. In the 60’s when Canadian bands were having trouble staying on the radar, The Guess Who’s label released a single under the name Guess Who? to create the buzz that Burton and the boys were secretly The Beatles. The strategy worked, and The Guess Who had their first hit in both Canada and the US.
The Guess Who turned a marketing gimmick into a well recognized name, but we can’t all pretend to be The Beatles, at least not without being dragged away by men in white coats. Let’s say you’re starting your own fictional band —- what would you name it? What image are you going for? Do you want people to see you as funny? Sleazy? Literate? Your name is your ambassador!
The first important consideration is to avoid giving yourself a moniker that will inadvertently hurt you. If you name your child Cornelius, it’s a good bet that he’s going to get his arse handed to him everyday on the playground. Smart parents think ahead when naming their offspring, and so do smart musicians. To give you an example of this theory at work —- the mediocre 90’s band Garbage, were once summed up in an album review as “aptly named.” They sort of dug their own grave there, didn’t they?
Once you’ve weeded out the bad choices, one obvious place to start is with onomatopoeia —- making your band name a description of your sound. For example. The name Metallica quickly inspires notions of raging metal music, bursting with earsplitting guitars. Though in light of the recent documentary where the band seeks counseling for their (ha-ha) feelings, perhaps they should change their name to The Whiny Babies.
You can also augment your image by illustrating your political mandate. Public Enemy (PE) was a brilliant name for the militant rap group that believed that African Americans were public enemies in white America, and thusly wanted to empower their fans to throw off the shackles of oppression. PE were dangerous, and even us pasty white kids felt like bad asses listening to them.
Another popular angle is to cull designations from obscure references —- literary or otherwise. The Afghan Whigs took their name from a white Muslim motorcycle gang who opposed the Vietnam War, and Saskatoon’s own New Jacobin Club is named after a French political movement from the 1700’s. Or if you want to portray something less literary, then sexual innuendos are always a good time. For example, The Scissor Sisters, are alluding to a lesbian sexual position. Once again —- be careful of irony. AC/DC chose their name innocently by reading it on a sewing machine, thinking it sounded powerful and manly. They were later surprised to learn that AC/DC was slang for bisexuality in many countries, portraying the opposite of what they intended.
You can also name your band after a song you dig —- Radiohead was named after a track by The Talking Heads. You can make drug references, like Dexy’s Midnight Runners (named after the drug Dexedrine); or even the absence of a drug, like London’s Placebo. You can describe how your music was made, like The Postal Service, which is collaboration between two artists through the mail. You can go for a long name (…And You Will Know us by the Trail O Dead); a ‘the’ name (The Strokes); or there’s always an acronym, like the MC5 (Motor City 5) or OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark). Remember the whispered speculation that Kiss stood for ‘Knights in Satan’s Service,’ or that W.a.s.p. stood for ‘We Are Sexual Perverts?’
If your audience is anti-establishment, creating a negative buzz can be good for business. Jello Biafra named his band The Dead Kennedys, incorporating the image of the Kennedy assassination to shock and offend people. As a side note, this has also backfired on others, like post-punk band Joy Division. The phrase ‘Joy Division’ was a reference to young women that the Nazis kept in camp for the pleasure of Nazi officers. The band took the name more as a statement against such practices, but rumours of Joy Division’s involvement in Nazism spread anyway. You can see how image is a factor, even if you’re loathe to consider that fact.
In anything where your image counts, it’s important to stay ahead of the pack. The latest bands don’t even have proper names, like the dance rock band !!!. To pronounce their name, you repeat any one syllable, percussive sound, three times in a row, like so: “chk, chk, chk.” This promotes an image of exclusivity, because the very band name itself is a secret handshake, its pronunciation known only to dues paying music geeks.
When Homer Simpson was in a barbershop quartet, the band wanted a name that like The Beatles, seemed witty at first, but less funny each successive time you heard it, so they settled on The Be Sharps. Carbon Dating Service does this for me. I thought it was clever and funny when I first heard it. As I’ve settled into it, the CDS name implies that the band might be an erudite group of people with a great sense of humor. And that description suits them —- CDS are indeed an intelligent and amusing band, whose name compliments their music.
What did you name your band? For my fictional band, I wanted my image to depict a band that would be perceived as a rip-roaring bash, and I wanted people to come out in droves to my gigs, so I chose the name —- Free Beer. Put that up on any marquee and you’re guaranteed a packed house every time.
Don’t write it yourself. Hire a real writer. Thoughtlab Media. Clear and concise communication. www.thoughtlabmedia.ca.
This was a really fun article from a few years back that has since disappeared from the Planet S archives due to technical glitches when they switched over to the new site. It was originally published in Planet S Magazine right as the Junos were gearing up to come to Saskatoon. It’s about trying not to look like starstruck bumpkins, as highlighted by the fact that Saskatoon is stalking Joni Mitchell, though our actual ties to her are more tenous than the average Saskatonian realizes…
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OF JONI AND THE JUNOS
Does Saskatoon’s Obsessive Love For Joni Mitchell Spell Disaster For Junofest?
By Craig Silliphant, originally published in Planet S Magazine
“I think it was a really sweet event, but it was overwhelming. Sometimes it was like The Day of the Locust…I was pinned in and I couldn’t get to my parents. There were people there whom I hadn’t seen for 20 maybe 40 years, but I couldn’t get through the mob.”
- Joni Mitchell (regarding having to be whisked away from the crowd at the Saskatoon opening of “Voices” at the Mendel Art Gallery)
With Juno fever all set to hit Saskatoon, it might be a good idea to sort out a few things before the madness takes hold. Now, we all know that if we do a great job of boosting our beautiful city and making our Juno visitors feel welcome, it will help garner Saskatoon a reputation as a friendly, cosmopolitan centre, on the “A-list” for future events. What we may not realize though, is that isolation from the rest of the universe often causes us to lose perspective.
To put it bluntly, there is a well meaning but excitable group of the population who are at risk of making an embarrassing scene in the face of visiting celebrities and Juno dignitaries. This poses a significant problem —- if we can’t be calm and collected, than we might as well just relegate ourselves to being the least cool city in Canada. And no one wants to party with a city full of wieners.
You’re collectively looking at me with big puppy dog eyes asking, “Why are you telling us this? We’re cool.”
But are you? Are you really?
Well, how about one particularly egregious example that would suggest the answer is, unfortunately, not always? I had hoped I wouldn’t have to expose this jarring truth, but for the good of the city, I’ll do whatever it takes. The painful reality is —- Saskatoon is stalking Juno Hall of Famer Joni Mitchell.
Uh oh. The puppy dog eyes are turning to uncomfortable glances. Yes, it’s true. There are facts that They don’t want you to know about, creating a conspiracy of misinformation that has pushed us past the brink of obsession.
“But we love Joni,” you say. “She belongs to us!”
Sorry —- that’s like, the mantra of all stalkers.
“But she’s from Saskatoon!” you counter, which is a perfect segue to the very truth that They don’t want you to know: Joni Mitchell isn’t from Saskatoon at all.
Here’s the rub: Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson in Fort Macleod, Alberta in 1943. She was raised there for almost a decade, until her family moved to Maidstone, North Battleford, and eventually to Saskatoon. Anderson went to Aden Bowman and then promptly left Saskatoon to attend art school in Calgary. After a year, she moved to Toronto to begin her music career, where she married a musician named Chuck Mitchell. Anderson took his last name, and thus, Joni Mitchell was born. Semantics maybe, but the truth remains, Mitchell only lived in Saskatoon for a couple of years.
Its true Ms. Mitchell has frequently visited Saskatoon over the years to see her parents. In fact, I literally bumped into her myself in the Bess once. And she has indeed said that she considers the prairie an important part of her upbringing. But we have taken our pride and respect for this incredible and influential woman way too far, to the point of obsessive mania.
We held a show at the Mendel Art Gallery called The Amazing Childhood of Joni Mitchell. It featured everything from old report cards and drawings, to stranger items like her prom dress, and perhaps most unbelievably —- a lock of her hair! If that doesn’t sound like the Hollywood movie cliché of the stalker’s creepy shrine, then I don’t know what does.
The infatuation doesn’t end at drooling while stroking locks of Ms. Mitchell’s hair. We have an edifice on the U of S campus called the Joni Mitchell Building; Greystone Theatre held a version of the musical Joni Mitchell: Songs of a Prairie Girl; there have been smatterings of plans for a bench with a statue of Mitchell called Joni Mitchell: Beside Herself; there is a drink at the Second Avenue Grill called Joni’s First Juno; there’s been talk of a Joni Mitchell International Music Festival, as well as a Joni Mitchell Café at the Mendel. Speaking of which, did you know that we allowed Mitchell to smoke at the Mendel during the exhibition of her own paintings in 2000? Though we later alienated many citizens and businesses with the smoking ban for the excellent cause of health safety, we just couldn’t say no to Joni. Its okay, Joni —- we absolutely love your second hand smoke!
None of this is even the worst of it. There have also been not one, but two tentative plans for permanent places of pilgrimage, including a proposed Joni Mitchell Discovery Centre (whatever the hell that is) on the new River Landing and another Joni Mitchell Centre at the Mendel. The Discovery Centre is purported to be up to 2,500 square feet in size, so apparently people are sleeping in our streets while we’re building temples several times the size of my apartment to worship a ‘somewhat local’ folk singer? The weirdest part is that there is debate over whether it’s even feasible to build both. So now we’re actually fighting amongst ourselves about whether we can afford two Joni Mitchell shrines. We’re about to pave paradise and put up a bunch of buildings and name them after Joni Mitchell.
And if we can’t even get along with each other, where will our Mitchell fixation lead us next? A pre-emptive strike on Fort Macleod, in case they one day decide to lay claim to Mitchell? Will we have to construct a massive Saskatoon berry catapult to rain berry-fire from the heavens if the Albertans decide to build their own statues and Discovery Centres (whatever the hell they are)?
But I digress. To be fair, this could happen to any isolated friendly little city that can lay claim, however tenuous, to a true celebrity. I’m sure Joni Mitchell is not at celebrity cocktail parties regaling Bob Dylan with stories of a quaint little Canadian city that seems to be oddly over familiar with her. I’m sure she loves Saskatoon and is proud to have spent a few formative years here. But the next time she’s walking down a dark LA street, she shouldn’t have to whirl around to catch a glimpse of the top of the Bessborough, furtively peeking out at her from behind a lamp post.
So when Junofest arrives, let’s show all the visiting luminaries that we have both decorum and street cred. No screaming, pestering, following or fondling any celebrities and no suggesting we build them a token Discovery Centre (whatever the hell that is). Instead, if you happen to meet a VIP, suggest they check out the riverbank, a good local band, or one of our top notch restaurants. And please, whatever you do, don’t mention that we once had ‘a thing’ with Joni Mitchell.’ Joni went on with her life, and it’s time we went on with ours. Like a city of cool little Fonzies, let’s just check our hair in the mirror, say, “aaaaayyy,” and enjoy Junofest —- because if we do it right, we’ll be seeing a lot more of those musical celebs back here in the future.
To get back to the main page, click the link: www.thoughtlabmedia.ca
To get back to the main page, click the link: www.thoughtlabmedia.ca
Welcome to the brand spankin’ new Thoughtlab Media blog! We’re still in our soft launch stage, so I’ve been asked to throw something up for experimentation’s sake. First off, special thanks to Sheena Summach of beanDesign for putting this webpage together. My first attempt at making a media savvy-looking site was beyond ghetto, and Sheena was able to take my wish for a minimal design and make it happen. She also bakes amazing fudge.
As for today’s content —- I’m re-posting the editorial I did on Nickelback that originally appeared in Planet S Magazine. Unfortunately, Planet S lost a lot of their archives when they switched over to their great new site, so some content was lost. I’ve had a lot of requests for this article, so this is a great place to re-air my grievances!
by Craig Silliphant
(article originally appeared in Planet S Magazine)
The horrible shame of Hanna, Alberta, rock band Nickelback is running back to Saskatoon on May 29th to put good taste on trial in their kangaroo court.
It used to be that people were ashamed to admit that they were fans of Nickelback. The shows would sell out, but you’d be damned if you could find anyone that would admit to going. I bet they all wore creepy pervert masks at the concerts to remain anonymous like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut.
However, with the rise of social media, people give us way too much information with earnestly pathetic status updates like, “I can’t believe she left me! Doesn’t she know I love her?” Similarly, Facebook is making Nickelback fans cocky, sporting status updates that decry, “I don’t care who knows! I’m a Nickelback fan!”
Thankfully, rebellion has reared its head in the form of the pages: ‘Can this Pickle Get More Friends than Nickelback?’ and ‘Every time Nickelback is Played, God Kills a Llama.’ As a lover of all creatures, I’m appalled that people are allowing the senseless slaughter of innocent llamas, for Nickelback of all things.
There’s a YouTube video of Nickelback being booed off stage and pelted with rocks in Portugal. Chasing them out of the country with torches and pitchforks is indeed the appropriate response. But why are music lovers and the Portuguese alike so repulsed by this band? Is it fair to pick on them, and by extension, those who willingly listen to them?
Listening to Nickelback is as passionate an experience as reading a crusty old magazine in a dentist’s office. This band is not for music lovers, it’s for music ‘likers’; those Bud-slinging knuckle draggers and soccer mom consumers for whom music is less about passion and more about something in the background that vaguely cuts through the silence while they’re engaged in everyday life. What Nickelback does can’t be called music with a straight face; it’s a four minute marketing jingle designed to sell a product, and that product is Nickelback, the President’s Choice generic brand of sub-mediocre safe-rock.
First of all, they’ve been churning out the same bad album over and over again, plagiarizing themselves to create a black hole of the pedestrian (that apparently sucks in llamas without mercy). Nickelback’s post-grunge sound is an anemic rip off of better bands; influences go through a homogenization machine, where the chugging guitars of Alice in Chains or the sick riffs of Nirvana are transmogrified into colour-by-number guitar parts that lack any semblance of imagination.
Even worse are Chad Kroeger’s vocals; Eddie Vedder’s trademark low growl goes in one end of the machine, and the sound of a constipated otter comes out the other side. All the style of Vedder’s delivery is lost, like an image that has faded from being Xeroxed repeatedly. Grunge was a counter-culture movement that was co-opted by corporate America, and Nickelback is the flagship of that slick, fake fleet.
However, Nickelback’s instrumentation is Mozart compared to the lyrics. They practice the ‘anything for a rhyme’ discipline, writing like every cheese eating high school boy. On the song Rockstar, Kroeger croaks, “Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars / and live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars / the girls come easy and the drugs come cheap / we’ll all stay skinny ‘cause we just won’t eat.”
And that’s before you throw in the raging well of hate and misogyny that Kroeger seems to have festering in his chest. On the track, Something in Your Mouth, he wrote lyrics that were inspired by a woman walking by him eating an ice cream cone. Crafting a metaphor of Shakespearean proportions, the ice cream becomes a phallus when Kroeger blurts, “You’d look cuter with something in your mouth.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and I was weaned on sexist Motley Crue lyrics. But Nickelback lyrics are on-the-nose anthems for date rapists.
Wow. That’s hilariously bad, and yet it’s what passes for award-winning music when they’re handing out Junos. The saddest part is that neither the band nor the fans who support this abomination seem aware of just how bad Nickelback really are.
Okay, I can hear the haters now. “Can’t you just let people enjoy the crap they like and take your hipster, music snob, holier-than-thou attitude to preach the gospel of how cool you are in a dank pub somewhere?”
Tempting; but nope, sorry.
The problem is, I care about the state of Canadian music, and how our music is viewed across the world. What if the fine citizens of Portugal and other nations around the world identify Canadian music with Nickelback? There is so much amazing music being produced in Canada, and much of it goes unsung. I don’t want Nickelback representing my country’s musical interests abroad, because it makes us look like a race of misogynist cave dwellers who hate music.
Here’s my solution; in the recent spate of disaster movies, the governments build arks to blast people into space. I say we build a Nickel-ark, throw the band and all their music into it, as well as any fans that want to go with. Then fling that crazy rocket to the moon. Let the moon people deal with them! Don’t feel bad for the moon people; in space, no one can hear Chad Kroeger sing.
Think I’m being too harsh? Well, making fun of Nickelback is like shooting fish in a barrel. But Nickelback is critically bulletproof, anyway, so I doubt Chad Kroeger will read this and sit up crying at night (assuming he can read). He’ll do just fine; he probably sleeps like The Simpsons’ Rainier Wolfcastle, “on top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.”