Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scientific Research Paper

Scientific Analysis of Trajectories and Aerodynamics of Stuffed Toys as Hurled by Recumbent Passenger Seat Apparatus in Mini Van.

This column just placed 3rd in the writing contest, and has been removed for the moment. To read the column please click on this link:

Happy Fathers Day indeed!

Column - Beach Bonanza

We just took the kids to the beach for the first time this year. We had a wonderful picnic of French bread, grapes, sand, sunscreen, ants, sausage, cheese, and a delightful drizzle of stray-dog slobber on our sandwiches.

It really is delightful to wade along the shoreline in spring. The quite brisk water temperature induces sudden intakes of breath such that the mosquito problem disappears, and your lower extremities become immediately numb which is great if you’re stepping on sharp rocks or bottle shards.

As a bonus, males emerge from the water with two belly buttons!

We went fishing off the dock too, and by "fishing" I mean "standing on the dock with a plastic bucket trying to figure out how to fish with just a plastic bucket."

Of course, for the Fisheries Officer, we were just playing around with the sand and not really fishing at all, honestly officer.

We did spot a real turtle (Myrtle) under water. Alive too! This was a very exciting discovery in a "no minnows or anything else alive down there this is really boring Dad" sort of way.

We also denuded the rocky beach of all available skipper-type rocks. This led to a delightful children’s rhyme: “Skipping stones may not break Dad’s bones but separate his shoulder.” Something like that.

As I was loosening up my pitching arm, area medical staff rushed up to me, citing reports that a middle aged man was having some sort of fit at the beach. After several impressive throws, the paramedics helpfully turned me around to face the water so that they could attend to the beach goers whom I, in my pain-induced delirium, had just pelted with rocks.

While tossing skippers it occurred to me that the real motherlode of these rocks would be found between 10 and 30 feet out from shore, where all the thrown skippers lay nestled on the sandy bottom. I may invest in a large, waterborne rake device to retrieve these gems for future resale at enormous profit back to beach hurlers. Investors wanting to pitch money my way for this venture can form a line on the left please.

Speaking of investments, I discovered that my fancy new touch screen cell phone would also make a great skipper in that it is flat, about the right shape and heft, and in the water.

Note to self - remove cell phone from shirt pocket before bending over at the waist to closely examine the beach for skippers. Ditto for sunglasses, billfold, keys to vehicle, mortgage documents, martini shaker and other accoutrements that seem to have disappeared.

The kids don't quite have the arms for skipping rocks yet, so we shouted encouragement at large splashes and called them 'one-skippers'. This, according to the parenting books, will preserve their fragile self-esteem and prevent them from becoming neo-Charles Manson’s in their later years.

Thumbing my nose at the SPCA, I mused with the kids that perhaps Myrtle the Turtle might enjoy going for a skip across the lake. She would have too, if she hadn't wisely latched onto my throwing finger with her beak, causing intense pain, gushing blood, and an even more distorted pitching style that has impressed the scouts and could lead to a major league contract with the Cubs.

I'm also learning it's a good thing I don't write newspaper columns by hand. Typing with this bloody great bandage on my finger is awkward and painful.

Does Workers Comp cover this type of thing?

And does anyone know how to determine the sex of turtles? Or if they can get rabies?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Humor Press Contest etc

I have recently submitted my Tool Drool column to Humor Press for their current contest. Last time I placed 5th with the Do You Myth Your Kids? piece. We'll see how it turns out this time.

I have no idea when the judging will be done - probably in a month or so.

Check out their site at Very funny stuff...

Also - check out Paul Molyneux' site

Paul is one of my secret weapons - he makes me a much better writer. He is a retired teacher and he is also a very helpful member of my writers group. He is very, very good at what he does...

Anyway he has selected a couple of pieces to appear in his online magazine, September and November editions I believe.

Thanks Paul!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Hate Quick People...

You've hopefully read my Tool Drool piece from a while ago.

So I polish it up some and hit the Send button to the newspaper.

I call the editor...

"I just wrote a tool column."

"Autobiographical huh?"

I hate quick people...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lesson from History

I was doing some historical reading about the attack on Pearl Harbor ("Run for your lives!""Oh, wait...") on the weekend, when I was distracted from my studies by one of the ginks names.

The U.S. Navy commander at the time of the attack was Husband Kimmel. Before I could digest his tactical decisions and analyse them for the many flaws to be found there, I got all bent out of shape by his name and had to put the book down.

Who names their kid Husband?!? "Mr President I'd like to introduce Admiral Husband Kimmel and his wife, Wife Kimmel."

Growing up I never knew any kids with that name. I didn't know anyone named Sherm or Ezekial either but still...Husband?

I know, I know - our generation has Moon Unit and Dweezil and others. Don't go there. Frank was an artist and can be forgiven.

My fevered brain is currently coming up with about 25 different jokes when I think of his mother calling him, or kids beating him up in the school yard and so forth. But - I'm not going there. I had nicknames when I was a kid and making fun of peoples names is lame - they've heard every single variant before and you are not being original.

Make fun of his new haircut instead...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hotel Spitting

I'm working on a column about hotels and the joys to be found therein.

Since I always seem to flash back to some idiotic personal experience at some point in every column, I was just reminiscing with myself about the Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton.

We used to stay there all the time, with Mom and Dad in one room, and us little kids in an adjoining one. One of the first things we always did was to open the windows, lean out, and commence raining gobs of spit down upon whatever was below us.

I would hereby like to apologise to any unfortunately rained-upon guests or pedestrians I may have bombarded during these moments that were so much fun we almost peed ourselves laughing.

I am deeply ashamed and promise never to do it again.

When anyone is watching.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's with the Djibouti thing?

You've no doubt been wondering about the news from Djibouti thing I have up there and over on the side.

Nothing really. Pretty much a non-sequiter.

It comes from me being a smartass to people.

Whenever someone asks if there are any questions (like in a corporate training session that is putting me to sleep), I'll ask something idiotic like "Yes - what is the capital of Djibouti please?"

This is actually sort of a humour test. If they come back with a wiseass answer themselves then I'm happy - they have a sense of Ha ha and we'll get along just fine.

No Ha Ha means I'm in for a long day.

To actualy find a Djibouti news feed thing delighted me no end, so I had to put it in there.

By the way, it is a trick question. The answer is Djibouti City.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I never know what to write about myself.

Being Canadian and sort of awkward about self promotion, I get all weird trying to think of interesting or funny things to say about myself. I know I'm going to have to be shamelss about my wonderfulness when the book comes out, but it feels funny.

For the recent contest win and placing I had to submit a bio with the entries. I'm going to need one for the book too.

I tend to think I'll make mine something like this:

David Crawford has 6 PhD's, one each from Harvard, Yale, MIT, London School of Economics, Princeton, and from Bertha's Community College (Welding).

He has donated several of his kidneys to prominent statesmen, including Ghandi, Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

His first Nobel Prize is used as a toilet paper holder on his bathroom counter, while his second got melted down and spent on survival weapons and materials (including beach type metal detectors (thank goodness).

Mr Crawford owns one hockey stick, which he treasures.

He has written extensively about nose hairs, belching, wine, stabbing himself and power tools.

Please send money.

Tool Drool

My son’s Cub Scout troop was paying a visit to a cabinet makers shop the other day.

It was pretty amazing and I remember most of it even though I lost consciousness after walking through the front door. I’m not sure if it was the sound of choirs singing in my head that did it, or if it was the blinding white, halo-like glow emanating from each blessed tool.

It was…spectacular.

It was the…Garage Mahal.

As I looked around I saw little animated stars go “Ting!” off of all the shiny, new, undusty surfaces.

It was a huge shop, well lit, equipped with an amazing variety of tools, and it had radiant heat and dust extraction tubing built into the concrete floor! (Most tool guys reading that sentence just fainted).

Now this may not sound like a big deal, but there was also a two-bladed table saw with a computerized, robotic fence! (The fainted tool guy bodies laying behind you just started twitching because of that information).

Naturally we had lots of questions on the tour.

“Do you know how to actually work all these tools mister?” someone asked.

“Yes – I use them every day” said the carpenter.

“So, do you know what the really little lines are on a tape measure and everything?” another asked.

“Yes – and I know how to use them too” he said.


Then we let the kids ask some questions.

“I see you’re using a three-phase pre-framulation unit on your dingle-arm reciprocator, does it work as well as the 4 phase synchro-mizer?”

I made a mental note to smack that kid. When we got home.

“Do you ever use swear words when you’re building stuff like Dad does?” another smart-aleck kid asked.

“My Dad marks his lumber with a crayon and he uses a housewife apron in his shop” said another.

The men all pointed and laughed at that father.

“Heh heh that was pretty funny yes sir oh boy am I gonna get him when we get home” I said under my breath, smiling proudly.

OK so I’m not the handiest of guys when it comes to tools. Big deal. That does not mean I can’t envy another mans table saw, or check out the angles on his cordless 18 volt tool package.

I’ve analysed the visceral appeal of tools to guys (not too much mind you) and I figure men like tools because they enjoy flirting with danger. Knowing how quickly your money (or digits) can disappear while operating these babies gives them a certain appeal, like fast cars and breathing women.

In fact, I think it is perfectly normal for a man to sneak down to his workshop at night and softly caress the gentle curves of his drill press, to drink in the perfume of his off-cut lumber, or shudder in anticipation of using his 10 inch sliding compound mitre saw.

“Dad! Wake up! You were moaning and twitching again and the show’s almost over.”

“I’m sorry son – I must have drifted off” I said.

“You do that all the time. I think I’m old enough to watch Mike Holmes by myself don’t you think?”

“We’ll talk about it son.” I said.

“Here’s a Kleenex for the drool on your chin too Dad. Now just run along to bed, OK?”

“OK son” I said, sleepily.

They grow up so fast don’t they?

Monday, May 11, 2009

They Grow Among Us

Here in the upper jungle, there lives a particularly gigantic species. They lurk in the shadows, hidden from all observation, growing more rapidly than any other life form. They can reach enormous size relative to their habitat, while remaining completely undetectable to the human eye. Then, when mature, they shoot up to their full height in what scientists believe is a display that will possibly attract a mate.

When they spring from the undergrowth, far above the surrounding flora, they cause shock, awe, and considerable consternation in the eyes of observers.

They have also been known to knock people’s glasses off.

Known officially as Gigantis Folliculae Eyebrowitus, they, along with their evolutionary cousins Folliculae Earlobia, grow in shaded areas of the human face, undetectable during normal grooming procedures.

Stealth hairs.

These mutants stick out several inches from your face, undetected (by you) for days, causing snickers and stares, until you catch one in the light and recoil in horror from the mirror.

"How long has that thing been waving in the breeze?" you ask yourself, reaching for the chainsaw.

Usually several shades lighter or darker from your regular (eyebrow) hairs, they somehow remain invisible until the TV interviewer zooms in for a closeup, or you are leaning in for that romantic first kiss.

Regardless of the circumstance, at the point where every eye in the place is keenly focused on your serious, intense face, out bursts the hair like the spring in a cheap ball point pen. Or a piston rod shooting through the hood of a NASCAR car, or some other humourous metaphor that I cannot think of just at the moment.

Scientists are currently attacking this growing (ha!) problem; looking for answers to questions like "Can these hairy beasts be controlled with Roundup or other herbicides without you looking like your barbecue blew up?"

And, "How can these things grow so big and so long yet remain undetected, then suddenly appear like a giant Douglas Fir in a sea of bent-over Poplars?"

The usual breeding ground for these monsters is on the faces of tweedy, eccentric British history professors, wandering about their gardens, muttering imprecations at their rose bushes. Their eyebrows are always a collection of huge hairs, growing in wild profusion, adding character and depth to their craggy faces. They wouldn’t be proper eccentrics without these outgrowths, so society has no problem with this style.

Sometimes though, the hairs branch out into smaller outcroppings. They become the Lone Wolves of The Facial Range.

El Solo Molo.

More elusive than a mere ‘Eyebrow Shooter’, El Solo Molo is a far more stealthy hair, emerging only under cover of darkness, growing to hideous lengths in short periods of time. Their habitat is wide-ranging, but ideal growing conditions are limited to the facial moles of the elderly, and some pets.

More distracting than cleavage to the human male, observers of El Solo Molo’s cannot take their eyes off these outgrowths. Most people feel an urgent desire to retrieve a pair of scissors and start snipping away at them, which sometimes occurs when the elderly are napping.

More than one senior has found their hand impaled on small scissors after sleepily swatting at the irritant tickling their face, only to find an obsessed nephew or niece stooped over their sleepy form, a wild look in their eyes, attempting to get rid of the offending foliage.

These pests truly are the scourge of the adult grooming world, and must be eradicated at all costs, according to government officials.

As the world anxiously awaits a solution to this alarming spectacle, notwithstanding the waxing special down at Myrtle’s Hair Salon and Exfoliatery, scientists will continue to experiment with various formulations of smelly ointment to rid the world of this menace.

That would be Neet wouldn’t it?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Magic as Performed by an 8 Year Old

8 year old daughter: "Dad, want to see a magic trick?"

Me: "Sure."

Daughter: "What number is on top of this thing I'm holding in my hand?"

Me: "Um, six?"

Daughter: "Nope. One."

The End.

Talented huh?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Underground Economy

Reprinted with permission from The Midwest Marvel Newspaper, Chicago, Ill.

The Underground Economy by David Crawford

The workers wait on their usual street corner here in Middle America. Homeowners cruise past, eying the lineup of illegal aliens.

Every day these workers stream across the seemingly open border, crossing open fields, rivers, always on the lookout for the Border Patrol.

They do the jobs Americans either don’t want or are no good at. Jobs that are back breaking. Jobs that have no scheduled breaks of any kind, not even lunch.

No unions support these people – they work for cold cash. Nobody fights for better conditions or a contract for

higher wages.

They carry only the clothes on their backs, and the tool of their trade:

Snow shovels.

Yes, these are the migrant snow shovelers from a land called Canada, a land rapidly becoming a tropical paradise because of global warming, and where everyone used to shovel their driveway. Times are changing, and so are the patterns of weather – and work.

As the Arctic lows from their country spread far and wide, so too do the itinerant workers.

Heading southward in November and December, these illegal aliens are easy to spot by authorities. They wear goofy looking wool coats in red or green plaid, and snow hats they call toques (rhymes with Lukes. We were told it is NOT pronounced "Ski hat").

They carry snowshoes on their backs, always prepared. Enormous mittens, some with strings up their sleeves, round out their attire. And they chew on the rims of their paper coffee cups and look underneath. Why? No one here knows.

They speak a strange dialect, when they talk at all. Hard to understand what language it is.

“Shovel-yer-driveway-mister?” they say in their foreign tongue. “S’only-ten-bucks-for-a-driveway-or-twenny-


We wanted to learn more about this lifestyle and these people so we spoke with one of the fellows who looked like he was in charge. His name was Lloyd Robertson.

“So – been doing this kind of work long Lloyd?” I asked, slowly, hoping he understood.

“Oh-ya-we-been-comin-down-here-for-a-long-time-eh,” he said in his still indecipherable lingo.

The more I listened to him talking, the more it occurred to me he was speaking a form of English! It was clipped and crisp and hard to understand at first, but there it was. English!

It finally occurred to me where I’d heard that dialect before.

Peter Jennings.

“Why do you come here? And what do you say to all the 10 year old American boys whose jobs you are taking?”

“Well, sorry, but we’ve got no other choice but to sneak over here and hopefully not get caught because we are desperate. We have families back home that are counting on us and we need this income. At least until the hockey pools pay off. We don’t stay long on account of the beer and all. Sorry.”

“Plus we can smoke pretty much everybody at road hockey. We haven’t had this much fun since we burned down the White House in 1814. No offense of course. Sorry.”

Very polite these people.

The migration patterns and tactics are becoming familiar to authorities.

Officer Fred Johnson of the U.S. Border Patrol: “In spring, as warm weather moves north, Mexican labourers move with it to pick fruit, harvest crops and do summer yard work. In the fall, the wave of illegal migration reverses, and Canadians flood across the border, hot on the trail of the Mexicans, shoveling as they go.”

“We pick up this pattern when sales of doughnuts start to rise,” says Officer Johnson. “There are other tracking methods too. Cashiers report people asking for “Double double’s, and the trail of KitKat candy bar wrappers is also fairly distinctive. We don’t have those down here. Tasty.”

And so they go – these itinerant laborers who carry the load for us Americans, and who put an extra ‘u’ in their ‘or’-ending words.

Are they a burden to society who should be deported without pause? Or should we embrace these illegals for what they can do for our economy and lifestyle, not to mention our hockey teams when we could use a ringer or two?

Until Rush weighs in with an opinion we can work with, we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fruit Bag Conundrum

So I bought a bag of grapes the other day, and this morning as I was putting some in my kids lunches, I noticed something that made me scratch my head.

There is a zipper type of plastic closure on the bag of grapes. A bag with a lot of fairly large holes in the sides.

For what purpose was this useless appendage added to the bag please? Was this conducted under the auspices of a government initiative of some sort? Is the thinking that this device will somehow assist in the retention of overall freshness in some way? Would this device not be better suited to the produce department bags that do not contain any holes in them? If the device is to prevent the grapes from hurtling out of the bag, why do they not add these devices to the other, flimsier bags in the produce department?

I would appreciate some clear answers Your Honour...

Yours in befuddlement I remain,

Your Humble Servant.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Do people with artificial lawns still go out with their now silent mower and make tracks around their lawn once a week just to make it look good?

I think I would if I had it - just to fake out the neighbours.

I think I would also enjoy the envy of my neighbours in the middle January, coming by and asking how do I keep my lawn so green? What fertilizer do I use etc?

Tee hee...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ice Cream Truck

The ice cream truck came by just now - first time this spring.

Which begs the question: if you invited the driver over for dinner in September, and the movie The Sting came on the TV, would they go mental, foam at the mouth and kill everybody?


That music is really annoying after the 25th time, let alone all summer.