Saturday, July 30, 2005


Doors open.
Doors close.
Sheepdogs sleep.

Just sent column 7,127 down the pipe.
I'm okay with it.
Saved this photo for this day. Sweet.
It looks at me every time I turn on my computer.
These columns kept him in kibble.

Guess I should also save a complete file copy here--in case it's not posted to the canoe website Sunday. By accident, of course.

EXIT RIFF: This is my last column for the Toronto Sun.

Those who just muttered "Good" can probably stop reading.

The first dunf column surfaced in the third issue of the Sunday Sun. That was September 1973--about 7,127 columns ago. Not bad for a part-time job.

From Trudeaumania to Prime Minister Dithers and Premier McFib, from the Tiny Perfect Mayor and North York Bananaman to Amiel, the Black Queen of King Street, it has been an all-too-enjoyable ride. Did I hear somebody request the Christmas Glove joke? Too late.

If you remember any of those columns, get to a clinic. You may be what we doctors call "an effin' boomer." Boomers are despised by ad agencies and young alike. Quick, get in the van. Enjoy our ride to the dump.

The clever columnist keeps two file folders.

One is the Alibi File, in which you place any favorable mention. Notes from Allan Slaight, Leonard Asper, Gary Lautens, Jim Carrey and years of in-house high fives. You frantically wave this folder the day you zig when you should have zagged and fear they might fire you. Mercy!

The other folder is labeled Last Column. Here, you save any final effort by a Royko, a Breslin that manages to touch your heart or shows some class, a generosity of spirit. You hope to marshal the same. If you can't, you can always scalp theirs. Hey, just kidding. That would be wrong.

Many exit columns celebrate mentors and guardians. Daily columns can only be grown by master gardeners. Mine would include the amazing Kathy Brooks, insightful pal John Downing, wise Trudy Eagan and quarterback Peter Worthington--who saved me from ever being sacked by a Bassett. And of course, tabloid newsdom's founding god of grins, Doug Creighton.

Barbara Amiel once wrote that to survive at the Sun you have to learn ballroom dancing and how to be a good sport. She danced with Doug. I once danced with Eagan. They were kind enough not to laugh. Or demand to see our Alibi Files. They were good sports. But hey, I've mastered the limbo.

To be a happy Sun reader, you need two things. Good toonz and good teeth. Try the new CD by jazz singer Chiara Civello for the first. And if you fear dentists more than a Liberal majority, find Anesthesia Associates in North York. Superhero "Dr. Dave" was not an invention. Dr. David Isen is real. So is being zonked, dentalphobes. Anyone for pre-med? Me!

I'm sorry we never solved the mystery of Mickey Mouse's dog, Pluto. He's half Mickey's size. Is Mickey a giant mouse? Or is Pluto no bigger than a thimble? Goofy--Mickey's next-door neighbor--is also a dog but walks on two legs. Does Pluto never look over the fence and cry: "Hey, I got a dog house. Look what that dog has! You're my pet now, cheese-breath."

Please, no sobbing, Sparky. There's no key to turn me off. Did I mention I've been blogging for a month? See proof at

Eight years ago, my late, great accountant asked how long I planned to write a column.

"Until they beg me to stop," I joked. "The Sun's been very good to me." Arthur Gelgoot, guru to so many media idiots, let a gentle smile flicker about his cozy Bay St. office. "You can stop any time, you know."

I nodded. He meant financially. I thought emotionally.

Years later, I had a conversation with somebody at the Sun I suspected might be my boss. A freelance writer, I never really knew who was my boss. Nobody ever talked to me about yesterday's column. Nobody asked what was in tomorrow's. They left me alone. AND paid me. Holy crap. Unique.

"Hey, when the day comes, just say the word," I assured one of the editors. "I won't go away mad. I'll just go away."

"Like hell you will," he laughed. "Everybody goes away mad." Wrong, dude. Page Six died screaming. But not me.

Exit laughing. Y'all have a great life. Thanks for the ride, gang.

Beer? dunf

Dunf's e-mail:


Tom Williams said...

When you retire, there will no longer be any reason to read The Sun.
I hope you continue your unique take on things here.
Perhaps now you can tell the truth as to how Quebecorpse made The Sun "The Little Paper That Couldn't"
Good luck Dunf

MouseMeat said...

Hi Fuzzy.

Well, you know by now that 'it' made it.

If it was not consensual, I blame your position on Karla. Your stand on the matter does not serve to sell newspapers. And I was happy to see it. :-)

Keep blogging. I have you book-marked.


Ottawa Watch said...

I'll always remember the day you tossed the computer across the newsroom floor, back in the summer of '80. Did they make you pay for that machine? I was sitting a couple of desks away and I couldn't believe you did it, but the damned system kept crashing on deadlie, killing our stories.

Mark Bourrie

Peter Yourkevich said...

Well Dunf, you'll be missed my many Sun readers. I know that my weekends will be lesser without your always enjoyable column. I'll miss your stories about your dog and your personal take on current issues.

The 'original staffers' are fewer with you gone and the Sun will be poorer with you gone.

I am bookmarking your blog and will expect you to keep all of us readers up-to-date (at least occasionally) here on your life and adventures in the Ontario wilds.

Enjoy retirement... speaking from experience, it's GREAT, and so are you!

david mills said...

when blatchford left the sun, all i could say was "well, we still got dunf"...when they ditched doonesbury in the sunday funnies, all i could say was "well, we still got dunf" the previous posters are right...there's no reason to read the rag anymore...but rest assured i've bookmarked your blog and will be keenly watching for your latest posts...enjoy the rest of the summer,'ve earned it!

--katted one-- said...

Hey Gary, to be completely honest, I just discovered your column about a month ago (I never read the Sun that often before, honest). And GAWRSH! you're leaving me already?! Drat!... thank heavens you've got this blog, I sincerely hope you continue to keep us all amused at least some of the time on here, because maan, yours was a colmun I was really becoming addicted to! Now my lunch breaks just wont be the same *sniff* ahh well. I really hope you enjoy retirement and enjoy the rest of your Sun-free life. Just know, ( to be rather blunt) You Rock! --Katherine

Colar Bear said...

What can one say?

The ability to successfully write day in and decades out is no small skill when the public is the consumer.Well done!

And Creemore Springs sold out to Molson's. And Brian Redman's SON won races.

I'm feeling very old now.

Sudsy said...

Gosh, but I'm going to miss your columns! It was getting harder and harder to find them in the paper after you left page 6. I was an infrequent correspondent but I must admit that it was fun to sometimes see my comments published in your column.
You did good and you will be missed!


barnweasel said...

There's a Dunford-shaped hole in newspapers today. We'll miss u Dunf. Who will remind us that Hammy isn't dead, only gone to a better place?
Keep blogging. We keep reading. Works for me.
Da weasel.

John Cosway said...

When the Toronto Sun shone brightest, those under the huge umbrella included Doug Creighton, Les Pyette, Christie Blatchford, Jerry Gladman, Andy Donato, Mark Bonokoski, Gary Dunford and many others. While the ouster of Creighton was criminal and the departure of Blatchford a huge blow, the exit of Dunf, aka Page 6, Page 43, Page 56, Page 98 etc., is unimaginable. It leaves yet another void in the hearts of longtime Sun readers and current and former co-workers who admire his unique style. Blog on Dunf. You have come a long way since you KOed a tempermental newsroom computer with a nasty right that sent it crashing to the floor.

anne said...

No reason left to read the Sun. Please don't stop writing. I've got you bookmarked, you're the greatest!


Tommy D said...
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dunf said...

Gee folks.
You're all wildly generous.
What can I say? Thanx?


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