Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prepare for a major announcement.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Feed my Fish!!

Please feel free to feed my fish to the right there. Click your mouse anywhere and watch them eat! What a perfectly useless thing to do - I like it very much.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Popcorn Playhouse and Other Memories of CFRN

For some reason I was recently flashing back to the Edmonton TV show Popcorn Playhouse (as were you obviously). We loved/hated it but watched it religiously.

It featured Klondike Eric interviewing 5 and 6-year old kids, in the belief that whatever comes out of a child's mouth will be funny or adorable - in the Art Linkletter mold I guess.

Often you would see such journalism feats as these questions: "How old are you?", "What's your name?", or "What revolting object have you just plucked out of your nostril?"

The highlight of the show was when either a kid licked the microphone, or when some kid shoveling sand into the 'gold mine' struck it rich with 5 or more foil wrapped coins.

It was only recently I wondered where the parents of these cretins were at the time of the shows airing - were they just behind the cameras? Or were they holed up in a room somewhere, pounding back scotch and inhaling unfiltered cigarettes with wild abandon?

I also liked the worst puppet in creation, that being Muskeg the Moose - a moose head hanging on the wall with a string tied to his chin ("And the Emmy for Set Decoration goes to..."). I think he told riddles or something.

As a grownup I can feel the pain of the talent involved. The poor hosts must have become alcoholic wretches after that much exposure to that many children.
One of my deeper regrets in life was never being a guest on this show. I think it should be resurrected just for that purpose someday, now that we could appreciate it.

I may be mixing memories here, but I think the Great Gaby Haas and the Ipecac Orchestra would sometimes entertain on this show. You haven't lived until you've rocked to Gaby and his accordion stylings of Beatles tunes believe me.

The only other thing from CFRN TV I recall were the news broadcasters.

There was the goofy-voiced Bruce Hogle, the news director, and also Sid (Syd?) Lancaster, the anchor who smoked. You could see his cigarette sitting there on the desk, smoke swirling upwards, as he gamely tried to introduce news stories.

TV really was dreadful back then wasn't it? How could we ever get excited about a TV camera aimed at a radio announcer reading the news and smoking? Well we did, and it was wildly entertaining let me tell you.

I wonder if his news copy ever caught fire. Try THAT Entertainment Tonight...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Guide to Heavy Equipment

In my role as a leasing broker, I get to finance a fair bit of what is called “heavy equipment.” We define “heavy” equipment as big things that will squish your pickup truck if said big thing is dropped upon said pickup.

We call heavy equipment “Yellow Iron”, because it is a rugged and masculine term, and also because our wives think it has something to do with helping with the laundry.

Ironically, yellow iron is not just yellow. It is also available in green, red, orange, blue, taupe, peuce and a fabulous mushroomy brown.

Equipment makers include such well known names as Caterwauler, Moose, Cash, Komacho, Gesundheit, Honeydew, Evinrude and others.

So sit back and let me back fill the hole in your foundation of knowledge. That was equipment talk right there by the way...

The Excavator. This is the toy (sorry – tool) of choice for men of all ages, including itinerant leasing brokers who sometimes get to play in them while customers sign documents. I deliberately create mountains of paperwork for these lease transactions, even though only one page is required. I get more play time that way. Please don’t say anything.

Now your excavator can do a lot of different things. You mainly dig holes and trenches with it for sewers, pipes, converts, gutters, drains, knuckles, fibs and sprouts.

The machine makes it easy since you have a variety of tools at your disposal like scoops, buckets, slicers, packers, rams, raiders, eagles and jets.

Most excavators have a thumb too. This is an attachment that is useful for picking up rocks or culverts, and also to hitch hike to the next job site. Excavators have no loyalty whatsoever and will extend their thumb and hit the road without a moments notice, the dirty hoes.

Next you have your dozer, which is a large machine on tracks which has a big blade out front, used for pushing aside construction worker’s vehicles that were parked in the wrong place. Popularized by the movie “Cheaper by the Dozer”, the dozer is the backbone of most construction sites except maybe bathroom renovations.

Dozers often get parked at job sites overnight, which was a source of amusement to me when I was a child. A small dozer was left in our primary school yard, and playing on it one day, we kids (well – me) discovered that if you pressed the “Start” button it would jump forward a bit. Thus we proceeded to scare the bejabbers out of ourselves as a bunch of us lurched around the schoolyard in a bit of harmless motorized vandalism.

No wonder us kids (excuse me – men) get such a kick out of driving these things.

Another piece of equipment you see on road building sites is your steam roller. I think they are called packers officially, but we know the truth. They are steam rollers, and they are used to run people over and flatten them like pancakes, just like in cartoons.

Further, you can’t tell me that the people operating them aren’t thinking this very thing. There they’ll be as you drive slowly past, perched under their little umbrella, peering over the side of their steam roller, trying to look intense and focused like there is a skill involved here, when you know they are really thinking that they could just flatten that foreman who annoyed them earlier and then peel him off the road like Wile E Coyote.

I know these things, because that is exactly what I would do if I was stuck driving one of them, out of my mind with boredom, lazing in the hot summer sun, thrilled a little at being the first person to drive on the new roadway, but really just thinking steam roller thoughts about flattening people and objects.

I seem to have drifted off topic a little here so to wrap up I’ll just say if you find your equipment’s starter motor is burned out one morning, it wasn’t me. You can’t prove anything. You have no evidence and dozers are notorious liars.

Join me next time when I show you how to brand a herd of skid steers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BC Twistory Pt. 1

In honour of our province’s 150th birthday, we now present the first in a series of concise, slightly edited versions of British Columbia History.

8000 BCE/RW (Before Common Era/Raquel Welch) – Wooly mammoth, tired of the cold in what will eventually be called Alberta, opens first gated retirement community beside retreating glacier in what is now Kelowna. Neighbours immediately complain about overdevelopment, parking, noise.

1492 – Christopher Columbia and wife Myrtle sail ocean blue looking for Hudsons Bay store, seeking multi-coloured, striped blankets. After realizing Hudsons Bay has not been discovered yet, drops anchor in WalPort instead, where natives trade for everyday low prices.

1741 – Russians begin trading along coast. First Nations people trade furs, carvings and a Tim Hortons franchise in exchange for 2 forwards, 2 defencemen, and smallpox. These negotiations have no Bering on final stats for season.

1787 – Captain George Dixon names large islands on the North Coast after his wife in Britain, who had certain facial features which some found unattractive.

Gorilla Islands” later re-named Queen Charlotte Islands.

1789 – Spanish explorers build fort in Nootka Sound. Build bed and breakfast. Can’t stand constant rain so they leave and create Mexico.

1790 – Father Vernon Mission sets sail from England aboard HMS Penticton and somehow discovers Okanagan Lake. Becomes ill from Montosoyoos Revenge, issues boil water advisory.

1792 – Captain George Vancouver charts most of Georgia Straight (population: 6), begins publishing counter-culture newspaper. Newspaper goes broke searching for appropriate name, identity, subscribers.

1803 – Good ship HMS Boston, sister ship of more famous HMS Lollypop, has bad day in ironically named Friendly Cove, where all aboard are killed by natives under Chief Maquinna, who was a little cranky that day.

1812 – Captain James T. Cook on HMS Enterprise explores west coast where he is eaten alive by mosquitoes, then goes on vacation to Hawaii, where he is eaten alive.

1830 – First grapes grown in Okanagan, become first wine made in BC. Baby Duck goes on to great success with desperate teenagers everywhere.

1840– Canadian Bay Company (CBC) builds Fort Gerrussi near Gibsons to sell relics to itinerant beachcombers. This proves difficult since powered vessels were not yet invented, nor was beachcombing. Fort Canceled built on site after cutbacks at CBC.

1842 – New British colony founded on lower mainland, the name Vancouver coming from the words Vanc (meaning ‘swiftly forming bad traffic’) and Ouver (meaning ‘device for sucking filth out of carpets’). Settlers immediately begin clear cutting old growth forests, which at this point are about a foot tall. Travelers experience volume delays on Port Mann rope across river.

1843 – First Starbucks opens on Robson Street

1844 – Captain Langley Richmond-Surrey explores and maps coast of area now known as British Properties in West Vancouver. Immediately demands neighbours cut down trees blocking his view of Lions Gate Bridge, which has mysteriously appeared in our narrative, never to return.

1851 – W.A.C. Bennett born and is crowned king of all British Columbia, which he will reign over for the next

130 odd years.

1853 – Fort Nanaimo founded as sweatshop to manufacture delicious confections.

1854 - BC Tooth Ferries established to transport children’s teeth at high speed to factories on mainland where they are made into coins. First known use of the slogan “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”

1850 – First snobby private school opens in Fort Victoria. Students from other, non-snobby schools immediately steal lunch money from snob children and use it to fund teachers and nurses unions, thus forming what is now the NDP. Merchants, being more social people, take credit for this scheme, which becomes the germ of an idea…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Well this is exciting...

My column titled Do You Myth Your Kids? has won a contest it seems.

Check it out at http://www.geocities.com/culbertsonmccaskey/contestannounce309.html

The 'Humor and Life, In Particular' contest is quite a large contest with judges and everything! Quite flattering to think I can actually compete let alone win anything.

I must also thank Carl Vine for some suggestions he made on how to improve my piece ("Re-write the god-awful thing!") - many thanks Carl.

Thanks also to the Academy...no wait.

Thanks to all the gang in my online writers group for their help and support. I can't wait to receive the hefty cash prize that is no doubt on its way to me via parcel post.

No cash prize you say? Well, I can't wait to receive the large gold statuette that is being couriered to me forthwith.

Ahem. Well - let's all look forward to seeing the announcement on the website then mmmkay?


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shampoo - Now With A Fresh Clean Scent!

The woman in front of me at the grocery store express line (12 items or less) had 18 items. I counted. I was generous in my assessment, even with controversial items like 2 bunches of bananas, which I counted as one item.

She had 18 items. She knew it. I knew it. The people behind me knew it.

As she turned and put her now empty basket into the pile with the others, she sheepishly looked at me and said “I guess I went a little over the limit.”

“Well then get out of the line you illiterate moron” I said, smacking her with a National Enquirer.

I didn’t really do that. I wanted to though. I’m sure the people behind me did too.

I was buying a single bottle of shampoo (note my strict adherence to line regulations), and until I was distracted by the selfish twit in front of me, I had been quietly musing about the growing trend of putting food on our hair.

A stroll down the shampoo aisle is puzzling these days, in that it seems unguent manufacturers want to cover my remaining hair with salad.

Ingredients from the produce department include peaches, kiwis, coconuts, mangoes, oranges, cucumbers, fructises, ostriches, black forest ham, and, I think, celery.

Granted, celery does grow quickly, which would be great if this attribute was imparted to my head. Celery is also green and grows in clumps however, and it is these features which do not (currently) appeal to me.

This whole idea of your hair smelling nice got started with a product called Jeez Your Head Smells Terrific. Or maybe it was Hey Your Nits are Cleared Up. Something like that.

It was yummy smelling and beat the heck out of that baby stuff. When I heard that girls liked boys who used it, I bought a case or ten, in the jaundiced belief that it would drive women wild with passion, with me this time, based purely on the smell of my noggin.

Understand this was back when I had long hair. It was really quite nice – curly, clean, and long enough to almost make you think your daughter was dating a rock musician.

I had the long hair until the day after I embarrassed my family at a friends wedding. It had been a hot day, we had to stand a lot, and I remember my vision going all wonky. Then I awoke looking heavenward from between the pews.

A gentleman in the row ahead of us peered over and whispered “Is she ok?”

Off came the hair. On went a scruffy beard.

What does this have to do with shampoo? Well nothing, but I appreciate the opportunity to do a little mental cleanse from time to time.

So what can we look forward to in the world of shampoo ingredients you ask? Personally, I hope to see hair condiments with back to nature themes.

Products like Bark Mulch Conditioner or Carbon Neutral Cleanse. OrganoCrud maybe.

Roast Beef Rub? How about Gee Your Hair Smells Like Beans?

In the interest of science, I’m going to let our kids start experimenting with other foodstuffs and see what works in the follicle department. They tried dumping oatmeal on their heads when they were younger, so now maybe we’ll try Alpha Bits or Shreddies. Maybe even in the bath tub this time.

If cereal cleans hair, think of how much faster we could all get ready in the morning! We’ll have to work out where to put the sugar bowl in the shower of course, but that’s a minor detail.

I also figure washing your hair with, say, Caesar salad might give it a fullness you had heretofore lived without. Having a head smelling of garlic might be tantalizing. Then again, the croutons would probably scrape your scalp, and you might get those little fish in your ears when rinsing. That particular trend may take a while to catch on.

I suggest you stick with mainstream produce in the meantime, until our research is complete.

Johnson and Johnson fruit salad anyone?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is YOUR cell phone Nipple-Enabled?

This morning I turned on my new, ultra cool, touch screen cell phone, and placed it in my shirt pocket as I was getting the kids into my car for the ride to school.

After setting off on our journey, I heard a faint voice coming from my left chest region. I lift out my cell phone to see I had inadvertently dialed my office speed dial number with my left nipple.

Do YOU have a Nipple-Enabled cell phone?

Would anyone else in this wonderful world be howling with laughter at such an occurrence EXCEPT someone who writes humour columns?

Will I get a column out of this? I have no idea. I'm not sure I can milk (sorry) an entire column out of one event. But I had to share.