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The 2005 Ninnies Awards

Head table Everybody got duded up for the annual Ninnies Awards show on Wednesday, 13 April. As well as the usual pokes at profs and fellow students, this year's graduating class took the opportunity to say thanks to long-time Department Head Blaine Allan (seen here in tropical shirt and fedora) who is stepping down from that position soon. (See below for Blaine's parting speech to the student body.)

Young Blaine
Costumes for the evening were to represent people or movies from 1980 (the year Blaine started working at Queen's) and Chris showed up as "the young Blaine Allan."

Airplane
Who would have predicted that the most popular 1980 movie for costumes was Airplane! (as in "There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?")

And although you might not recognize Siobhan (on the right) it's not hard to identify her costume.

Animals
All of The Raccoons and their sheepdog were in attendance, and here one of them gets a suspicious look from Carl and his gopher (from Caddyshack.)

Popeye
I yam what I yam... Some of the staff and faculty were comink as Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto ("I'm so damn mean") from Robert Altman's quirky 1980 musical adaptation of Popeye.

Blaine's Speech

As Joe Pesci said, accepting his Academy Award — and how can you go wrong starting a speech, "As Joe Pesci said..."? — "It's a privilege."

Actually, that's all he said before he got offstage. You won't be so lucky, though I'm not going to go on long.

Over the past couple of months I've been confronted with a rumour about me, which I'd like to set straight.

Not that rumour.

Not that one, either.

Or that one.

Since the word got out that I won't be department head after the end of June, I've been told about, and asked about, a rumour that I'm retiring.

Let me advise you that these rumours of my retirement are highly exaggerated—probably by about fifteen years.

Perhaps I'm flattering myself in thinking that I've been asked out of interest and concern, rather than with hope.

Either way, let me also suggest that ... if you were inclined to contribute towards a privatized pension account that would allow me to live the rest of my life in a manner to which I would like to become accustomed ... I could consider making some of your hopes come true.

I'm not retiring, though I will be on leave for a year.

This means ... well, some of us have already seen the last of one another in a classroom, whether in Dunning, Ontario, or the Grad Club.

But for some of you, at least, I expect we'll be reacquainting ourselves a year from this September, when I'll be presenting whatever courses I've been assigned by whoever is in charge down there.

For the meantime, well, I'm no one to offer advice, so instead let me offer you a few suggestions of things to do while I'm gone.

If you haven't seen Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past, with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas, or even if you have, rent it and watch it. You'll learn about desire, despair, love, lust, greed, and all those other things that make it all worthwhile.

If you haven't seen Chuck Jones's classic Daffy Duck film, Duck Amuck, watch it, knowing that you've seen my life so far, summed up in seven minutes.

Tell Linda Graham, "Thank you," for everything that she does, and tell her that you like her hair—maybe just not tonight.

Eat at Luke's sometime, firm in the conviction that bacon makes everything better.

Listen to some Frank Sinatra, with arrangements by Nelson Riddle, knowing that some days it's Only the Lonely ... but on other days only Songs for Swingin' Lovers will do.

Explore a part of Canada you've never explored before, whether it's the other side of the country, north of 60, or north of the 401 ... or whether it's a Canadian movie.

Remember, especially for those of you who've taken 430 the past few years, "Never was a bull that couldn't be rode. Never was a cowboy who couldn't be throwed."

And sometime over the next year, wear a tropical shirt, like this one, which I acquired in Chicago not long before I left to return to Canada in 1980, or a new hat, like this one was when I got it down to the S & R not long after I got back ... or do anything that helps convince you that, in the words Jim Jarmusch, in Down By Law, put into the probably not-entirely-comprehending mouth of Roberto Benigni, "it is a sad and beautiful world."

And for now, "... 'scuse me while I disappear."

13 April 2005


Go back to the 1960's CCR revival at the 2001 Ninnies or the 1970's disco of 2002.

See also the 1980's movie costumes of 2003, or the movie stars and DVtles of 2004.

See the earlier Ninnies Scrapbook.