Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Mind of a Mower

Doing yard work today, cutting the grass, strange thoughts and conversations occur to me.

"Our grass is growing up Dear"

"Yes. Maybe one day we'll watch it graduate from lawn school."

I am deeply sorry for that one. Made me chuckle mowing the lawn though...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hotel Battleship

A recent road trip produced a most excellent game of Battleship.

The setting: kids in one queen bed, Mom and Dad in the other.

Dad initiates battle with scarf found lying beside bed. Scarf lands on opposing kids face.


Back comes scarf. Direct hit on Mom's still sleeping face. Oops.

"Hit!" She had to get up anyway.

The big guns are now deployed now that the game is well underway.

Pillow number one is launched by my number one turret.

"Miss!" Damn! That could cost me. Got to get the range or I'm a goner.

Return pillow comes hurtling over the horizon onto Mom again. My positioning on the bed is clearly an advantage.

"Miss! Well, missed me anyway."

I launch my next salvo - a double shot that separates perfectly in mid-air and wallops both kids simultaneously.

"Ack! Hit! Hit!" I don't know about you but my day was made by this point.

And so battle was joined on all sides.

The kids later boarded our ship in a pointless attack that failed miserably, other than the cuddling, tickling and semi-smothering that ensued. They also tried to burrow underneath my ship in a series of tunnels which were all poorly engineered and collapsed before reaching their goal.

In a last-ditch attempt to induce surrender, a series of aerial kamikaze attacks was initiated from their aircraft carrier. Thanks to my early warning systems (mainly consisting of the Mark I Eyeball and a keen sense of hearing) I thwarted these attacks with fierce anti-aircraft fire using my 16" pillow batteries.

After the coffee was ready in the room, the battle ceased and my opponents amused themselves by rehearsing future attacks and conducting aerial reconnaissance of the battlefield.

Miraculously, no casualties have been reported thus far.

Ear Stuffing Gem

On a recent road trip, my daughter began cramming kleenex into her ears to act as ear plugs. I didn't know this at the time. All I saw was a kid in the back seat cramming something into her head.

"Why are you stuffing kleenex into your ears?" I asked.

"Pardon?" she replied.

I cracked up...

Short and sweet are the best jokes aren't they?

We're getting her hearing checked today...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

El Nino

Before I begin my learned discourse about the phenomenon of El Nino and how it affects climate change, let me tell you about an actual Nino.

Nino was the owner of the local By-Rite Super “A” food store when I was growing up. I don’t remember a thing about him. You see, he had a distractingly voluptuous daughter whom nature had graced with an impressive bosom (note for the record that any girls who had actual bosoms were automatically included in the ‘impressive’ column of my puberty-laced brain).

My one foray into car thievery came to a crashing halt as an indirect result of Nino the local grocer whose daughter had big bosoms.

My brother, you see, worked for Nino, packing groceries, stocking shelves, and surreptitiously eying Nino’s daughter as she languidly arched her back, smearing baby oil all over her naked…DELIVERIES! He also made deliveries for Nino.

One day, in a fit of youthful inspiration (see puberty references above), I realized I could ‘borrow’ my fathers car and take it for a short drive, with no one being the wiser. Yes – teenagers are idiots aren’t they? I had not even imbibed intoxicants from the back of my father’s liquor cabinet to come to this conclusion. It was an original, sober idea.

So off I went.

As only the unlicensed can, I skillfully navigated my way around town.

Thirty seconds into my journey I was cruising merrily along when I noticed the vehicle coming towards me was the delivery van of local grocer Nino of the Distracting Chesty Daughter.

The driver of said van was my brother.

In a fit of hysterical panic, I floored the accelerator in a desperate race to get home before he did. Off I dashed at high speed, around a corner on two wheels, crashing my way up the driveway and screeching into our garage. Shut down car, grab keys, slam garage door, race inside, hurl myself upon couch, try to relax, bestill my beating heart.

Work on story begins. “No, it wasn’t me, it must have been, uh, someone else who drives a car just like Dad’s and who looks just like me, a gawky teenager with terror and zits upon his face and no I’m not breathing hard or lying or anything I’ve been here the whole time...”

Doorbell rings. Uh oh.

Open door, trying to look innocent. There stands our neighbour, Mr. Brindle.

Make that, Constable Brindle of Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“I presume you were spotted by someone during your little drive because you came home in a bit of a hurry there, son. Maybe have your Dad check the underside of his car – you bottomed out pretty good there. Have a nice night.”

Shaking like a leaf, I thanked him profusely for not throwing me in jail. “Oh, get up,” he said. “And stop licking my boots.”

I went immediately to my room for a change of undergarments, then onto the couch where I decided to retire from my life of crime and work at furthering my career as The Pimple that Walked the Earth.

I’m lying of course. I hotwired my brothers motorcycle scant weeks later and had a marvelous time outrunning the cops, robbing banks and just generally carrying on as most teenagers do. But that’s another story.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled column topic – El Nino and how it affects Global Warming:

It has something to do with oceans.

Thank you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Name Game

There is a lady in our office whose name is Sally and I just want to say right here that I think ‘Sally’ is a great name. You don’t meet many Sally’s these days. If you do, the spelling is usually corrupted to something like ‘Sallye’ or ‘Sallii’ or ‘Hank.’

When it comes to current names, people these days think you have to spell it funny to ‘express your individuality’ or some other new-age hogwash. Just go up to a ‘unique individual’ with a name like Skye or Twitt or Rootfungus and ask them if they would like to sock their parents in the chops with a free range corn on the cob for giving them such an idiotic name, and I bet you they would love to.

Would they prefer a name like Sally or Harold or Fred? Of course they would. Unless they are a girl, in which case Fred wouldn’t work.

In the old days you had your usual suspects. John, David, Betty, Wilma, Fred, Barney and so on. In our family we also had nicknames, including Blob, Huff, Fatboy, Aag and Pooba but we're not going there today mmmkay?

My point, and I think I’m going to get to it eventually, is that there were some really stupid names back then as well.

I was reading a history book the other day, and learned the U.S. Navy gink in charge when Pearl Harbor was attacked was named Husband Kimmel. ‘Husband’!? What kind of person would name their kid Husband? Obviously, persons who would raise a child to park all the big ships in a nice, neat row to be bombed and torpedoed, I guess.

If I can just slander the poor family a little more, I wonder if Husband’s middle name was Duh.
‘Husband Duh Kimmel.’

Duh: “Dad, I’d like to change my name. Kids are making fun of me.”

Dad: “Well, Duh, what would you like to change it to?

Duh: “I’d like to just use my first name – Husband.”

Dad: “Sure, now let’s go line up your rubber ducks in the tub outside while I tell you how much liquor we drank the night you were born….”

So Husband is a dumb name we agree. There are many other old names you just don’t see these days too though, like Jedediah, Marjorie, Milton, Pituitary, Hector, Victor, RCA or Clementine.

The only time you see names like these any more is on the signs of stodgy old law firms like ‘Bedford, Puswad and Clank,’ or ‘Sterling, Typhus, Belch and Percival.’

On the world stage there are some awesome names to poke fun at so long as they don’t send roving death squads our way. For instance, the leader of Bhutan is King Jigme Wangchuk. Isn’t that a great name? “Yo, Jigme! Pass the ball next time instead of using your machine gun to get a first down.”

In Albania, if you weren’t afraid of getting your head lopped off for doing so, you could change President Bouteflika’s name to ‘BootyFlicker’ and have some rollicking good fun at his expense.

Some just plain great names include Prime Minister Tertius Zongo of Burkina Faso (Bikini Fatso), and Fiji’s Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama (which instantly becomes ‘Bananarama’ of course).

I like Prime Minister Manny Mori of Micronesia simply because his name makes him sound like a pretty cool guy – someone you could relate to. “Hey Manny – how’s it goin? Say listen, could you do something about us sinking into the ocean here? It’s this whole climate change thing. Wanna beer?” His name alone makes him an approachable head of state I figure.

I reserve the Best Name in the Whole Wide World, however, for President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria!

Greeting him would sound like he’s departing all the time. Think of how short your state visits would be with a name like that.

Obama, extending hand: "Goodluck?"

Goodluck Jonathan: "Thanks! Bye!"

Sorry Moon Unit, Dweezil, Peachfuzz, Wormhole or whatever. My guy wins. Hands down.

Goodluck Jonathan.

Garden Variety Wonder

Foolishly, I had volunteered to edit the Garden Society’s newsletter, and the chair of the board of directors of this august organization was coming over to inspect our garden.

The stern looking old broad - EXCUSE ME! - charming matron arrived promptly at the appointed hour.

“Good morning, ma’am!” I said. “Welcome to our garden! I cut you some fresh flowers to celebrate the occasion.”

“Thank you Mr. Crawford. Those are dandelions, not flowers,” the old battle-axe said. “May we begin our tour please?”

“Dandelions?! The kids and I thought they were flowers. Rats! I’ve been fertilizing and, uh, weeding them all spring.”

“No, Mr. Crawford, they are not flowers, and please stop holding them under my chin.”

“You like butter! Never mind. OK, here is our yard. In front here we’ve got Hostages, Doozies and this is Dogbone.”

“Hostas, Daisies and Dogwood, Mr. Crawford. I’m not entirely sure your garden knowledge will be sufficient to edit our journal. By the way - what’s that on your chest?”

“Oh! Ha! Ha! That’s a Venus Fly Trap stuck to my nipple. The kids and I were fooling around, and boy, that stuff sure is sticky!” I said.

“I see. Tell me about this brown patch.”

“Oh that? Well, I was squirting weed-killer along the edges here when this wind gust came up and, well... That stuff sure works doesn’t it?” I said, cheerfully.

“Now take a look at these low-growing flowers,” I said. “They have a uniform stem and a rather bizarre flower structure. Quite colourful though.”

“Those are Nerf gun darts that your son has obviously stuck in the ground, Mr. Crawford.”

“How do you know they are not some sort of flowering mushroom?” I asked.

“I have grandchildren, Mr. Crawford. Any idiot knows that N100 darts are not compatible with the N400 gun lying over there, so your son has obviously done something creative in the garden while waiting for his Dad to buy the correct ammunition.”

“Well, OK then. Sheesh. Now over here we have the Happy Patch.”

“Oh dear.”

“We planted a bunch of those little packets from the garden store on that dirt pile over there. We love the result. See where the carrots are, right next to the pansies and onions and weeds and lilacs? Yeah. So that kinda worked but we might try something different next year.”

Mrs. Outhouse or whatever her name was went over to the pile and closely examined one of the growing things.

“I can’t believe it. This is a Blue Rose! Mr. Crawford, are you aware that scientists have been trying to create a blue rose for centuries, and you’ve got several growing on your dirt pile here?”

“Oh yeah, we have lots of them. There’s more by the cucumbers in the flowerbed over yonder. They’re a real pain. They take over everything in the garden. I might get the weed-killer on them if they keep growing like that,” I said.

“No! Mr. Crawford this is a triumph! You have grown something the world has desired for millennia! You are going to be a very famous man when the world hears about this! I am in awe, sir!”

“Yeah, sure, whatever… So, does editing the newsletter pay anything? The kids and I could use some more seeds…”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dave's Library

Library Column by David Crawford

One of my great pleasures as a columnist is to sit in the public library and observe people reading the free copies of our newspaper, thus denying my publication the revenue it needs to get a new computer for us writers. I hate sharing this one. That other guy leaves crumbs on the keyboard which makes some of the keys stickkkkkkk…

Break! Break! Break! Start again…

Library Column - take two

It gives me enormous pride to watch someone in the public library reading the newspaper and chuckling at my column.

There are also those who, for some reason, do not read or laugh at my column, forcing me to beat them senseless with a dictionary…


EDITOR: please ignore above. My delete button isn’t working properly. It sticks (see above).

I’ll start again.

Library Column - take three

You know, I really love libraries, but my fevered brain has always wondered why there is no competition for them in today’s marketplace. I know my past business ventures (waterless car wash, door-to-door fridge sales) have failed, but you’ve got to wonder why there aren’t other libraries out there. Competition is good isn’t it?

We could advertise “lower fines, better selection, 2.9% financing, free delivery. The latest authors now available! While they last! Shop today! Everything must go! And come back!”

I can see me now, on TV, wearing a really nice, plaid sports jacket…

“Check out this baby…a classic 1981 Cujo by Stephen King – clean interior, great for the pet owner, yours for only, uh, well it’s free as long as you bring it back within 3 weeks.”

“Isn’t that amazing? That’s how we roll here at Dave’s Public Library! Everything in the store is FREE!”

“How about this 2005 J.K. Rowling. It’s a Harry Potter and is great if you have kids. This one has seen a few muggles, but is in great shape with a shiny new dust jacket. And look! It’s no charge! Did you hear that people? It’s free! Everything here at Dave’s Library is absolutely free!”

“Or check out this Margaret Atwood. It’s a 1985 Handmaids Tale, first edition, owned by a fellow who was trying to look sensitive to his girlfriend. It was only read on Sundays when she stayed over. Low, low page-turns means an incredible deal! And today, just for you, it’s free! Just like the rest of our massive inventory.”

I think I’m onto something with this whole ‘no charge’ idea. Dragon’s Den here I come!

"Buy local and Save with Dave! Unbelievable value! It’s a free enterprise!”

“Pick any volume from our stacks and take it for a test read. That’s right – take it off the shelf for a no-obligation test read. We’ll even throw in the Table of Contents absolutely free.”

“Push, pull or drag your behind into one of our comfy chairs and read a winner! No reasonable offer refused. If you want it - you got it. No hard sell here – just hard covers and compact paperbacks.”

Maybe I could get the federal government to come on board with me. Lord knows they’ve backed some really DUMB ideas before – maybe it’s time they supported a good one for a change…

“Take a look at this baby. It’s a 2005 Freakonomics. Excellent value for when you attend dinner parties and you’re looking to justify idiotic economic positions. Today only, it’s Get One Free with Every One You Get Free!

“How do we make money at Dave’s Public Library you ask? In a word – volumes. We do serious volume in volumes. Our tremendous buying power translates to significant savings off the other guy’s borrowing prices. It’s just simple economics folks!”

If I could capture just 10% of the market, goodbye column writing.

“That’s Dave’s Library! Drop by and save on books today! Enjoy a free hot dog this Saturday during our Grand Opening!”

“Newspapers available on approved sense of humour. Must have valid reading glasses.

Void where prohibited. Your page count may varyyyyyyyy.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sprinkler Fiddling

You may have seen the phrase 'hilarity ensued' before. Well, I am the reason why that sentence was created.

Yeah. So I was fiddling with the sprinkler heads on the back lawn the other day, and one of them wasn't rotating as it should have. We have those ones that slowly squirt back and forth over quite a wide area.

Anyway, I go get the little screwdriver thingy with which you are supposed to adjust such things. Now, I thought the little adjustment screw on the top was to change how much water squirted out, not the rotation of the sprinkler.

Turns out I was adjusting the thing to spray in all directions, instead of just squirting MORE.

"Ah," I said.

The, uh, sprinkler head in question was right by our back patio, which we have turned into sort of an outdoor room, with chairs, a carpet, blinds to provide privacy from neighbours, priceless artworks, and so forth.

After turning on the sprinklers and forgetting all about my adjustments, I proceeded inside to while away my day.

Later, I happened to look down from the kitchen window and saw our patio was wet - which it should not have been.

I rushed downstairs to see what was going on, opened the sliding door, and got a face full of water spray. Like an idiot I just stood there, in shock at my misfortune. Our TV and interior furniture also stood there in shock, getting soaked like idiots as well.

The sprinkler slowly turned, I rushed out and shut everything off, and surveyed the damage.

Thankfully it was just water so there was none. Or at least, none I'll admit to.

The planter got watered though, which was one of my assigned tasks for that day, so that was nice.

All in all I'd call it a successful tool adjustment, because that's just the way I roll.