Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cat Basin

My wife and I were having a frank exchange of viewpoints...

“Honey!  The cats are in our bathroom sinks.”

“I know – aren’t they cute?”

“Cute schmoot!  I need to brush my teeth!”

“Use a cup of water like when we’re camping.”

“What?  We’re at home - not camping.  I don’t think I should have to ‘rough it’ at home.”

“But the kittens love sleeping in our sinks.  Aren’t they cute?”

“They are getting less and less cute as time marches on.  Once again a family pet is forcing me from my personal zones.  First we needed to buy a huge bed so the dog could sleep with us.  Now the cats are taking over my sink.  Will they be wearing my clothes soon too?”

“No dear, they have good taste.  Why don’t you use the kid’s bathroom?”

“Because I think the Health Department condemned it a while ago.  I don’t even want to go in there, let alone touch anything.”

“You don’t have to eat off the counter or sink in there dear – just brush and spit.”

“That’s not the point.  We have our own, individual sinks, paid for at great expense when we built our house, and said sinks are now filled to the brim with cat.  I can see where you’re going with this.  Pretty soon you’ll suggest we install sinks just for the cats, won’t you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, dear.  I would never do that.  I would just move your stuff downstairs so you could use the powder room or the basement bathroom.  That way the cats can use your sink all the time.  Aren’t they cute?”

“I don’t think I like this.  Look, there is hair everywhere in my sink.  That’s disgusting. I assume it belongs to the cats?”

“It must be, dear, you haven’t had any hair to fall in the sink for some time now.  I think you’re just jealous.”

“I am not jealous!  I just don’t see why I have to clean up their hair and my own.  These pets are starting to take over the house.  What are towels doing in there?”

“I put towels in there so the sink won’t be so cold.”

“Honey – they have fur.  Also, this is a sink, not a bunk bed.  Please stop encouraging them to sleep in my basin.  They are probably scratching the counter.”

“It’s granite, dear.  Cat claws won’t scratch granite.”

“They might if I turn on the water.”

“You leave them alone!  Why don’t you just brush your teeth in the kitchen and get it over with.”

“Because I want to go to bed, not traipse downstairs and spit all over the pots!  I just want to do my ablutions and go to bed.  I’m tired.  My life used to be so simple…”

“Well if you had cleaned the pots before coming to bed you wouldn’t have this problem now would you?”

“You’re doing your circular reasoning thing again.  Please can I just brush my teeth?”

“Honey just pick up the cat and put him on the bed, then brush your teeth.  Everything will be just fine...”

“Thank you for your understanding.  Sheesh.”

“…and you can grab a Snuggie and sleep on the couch tonight.  The cats seem upset and I want them to get a good sleep.  Good night dear.” 

Holding the Fort

During a recent pitched battle in our basement, I was being pummeled by pillow fire from the far side of the room.  In a desperate charge, ignoring my many wounds and hurling my pillow grenades, I heroically advanced upon my dug-in foe.

My enemies had well-prepared defensive positions which proved impossible to break through.  I was so close I could see my enemy’s beady little eyes through the slits in their defensive armament. I heard some giggling too.

Retreat was my only option.  Taking a final look at my antagonists, I blew several raspberries at them to show my warrior spirit, then made my way back to my own, battered fortress.

It was apparent I had taught my kids the fine art of fort building too well. 

I come from a long line of Cushion Masons you know. 

Being an expert, I write articles for Architectural Digest about this pastime.  The magazine doesn’t know I write these articles, and the court order does not permit me to phone them anymore, but I do write them. 

As a gifted pillow architect, and not an ‘immature crank’ as some (many) have suggested, fort building is a combination of structural engineering, logistic planning, and mental obsession.  It is art, science, and a way for grown men to make sound effects like artillery explosions and crashing boulders. 

Fort building is innate in most males, and usually manifests itself while shopping with their wives.

The wife will be using her actual brain while looking at a new sofa, analyzing the size, shape, colour, fabric texture and so on. 

Her husband, on the other hand, will examine the same piece of furniture and only think, “These couch cushions would make a great fort.”  It’s the guy way.

Finding your inner fort builder is easy, once you have clarified the fort’s purpose.  Is it massive, to defend against foreign invaders?  Or is it stealthy, where a good book can be read in secret, or where poisonous intestinal gas bombs can be deposited for your little sister to discover at a later time?  

The actual use of a structure is vitally important for the designer/engineer to understand.

With interior forts, for example, big couch cushions are used primarily as walls, which in turn support roof cushions for overhead protection.  A useful way to hoard your cushion supply is to tip the couch on its side, thus freeing your building materials for other duties like tunnel walls, entrance doors, or nuclear ‘bunker buster’ projectiles. 

Blankets make for excellent doors but are not structurally sound, something I learned by attacking a weak-looking blanketed structure via high-altitude bombing, only to find hidden cushions beneath the blankies, much to my chagrin and my kid’s ‘Nya! Nya!’ delight. 

Most forts carry strict admissions guidelines.  Members of the opposite sex, for example, and their attendant cooties, are not welcome, on pain of a face washing with a snowball in the case of exterior forts. 

Structurally, a simple wall or partial snowman will suffice for a winter fort.  Roofs are rare, since all you need the fort to do is be a hiding place while making or lobbing snowballs.  The fort itself can also be cannibalized into snowballs when desperate, life-saving measures are called for (alien invasions, World War III, etc.)

Summer forts are usually in or behind trees.  My fort (excuse me – my kids’ fort) is in the park behind our house and features many modern conveniences, such as a two by four nailed to a tree.  Sticks are added for decoration and/or camouflage, and an old tarp completes the ensemble. 

This fort currently has an occupancy limit of about six kids for secret meetings.  No adults are allowed, of course, since they carry grown-up cooties.

Oh.  There’s the phone ringing.  It’s probably my editor at Martha Stewart Living magazine.  I write for them too, you know. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A crowd had gathered…
The screen goes all wavy and blurry as we travel back in time…
“What is it?”
“I don’t know – I’ve never seen one before.”
“Neither have I.  Funny green colour, isn’t it?”
“Sure is.  I’ve never heard of them appearing here.  I wonder if I should touch it?”
“No!  It might disappear!  Just stand back and watch, see what it does.”
“I heard someone say they saw one a few summers ago.” 
“I’m taking pictures with my cell phone.  Hold something up for scale.”
“I can’t believe it.  To think that I’m seeing this with my own eyes…I think I’m going to cry.  I want to tell my grand kids about this…”
We were standing around the arrivals screen at the airport, staring in wonder at an announcement that said, as amazing as it sounds, “Early.” 
We were in awe.
“Usually you only see ‘Cancelled’ or ‘Delayed’ ones.  I’ve seen some ‘Arrived’ ones too.  But never this.  What do we do?”
“Dunno.  I work here so I’ll check the Operations Manual, but I’m pretty sure there is nothing in it about this happening.”
“Maybe the baggage guys will know what to do.”
“I just checked with them.  They’re playing football with the fragile stuff.  How about the ticket agents – can they help?”
“I doubt it.  I told them a flight was early and four of them fainted.  Maybe the Fire Department knows what to do.”
“Nah – they’re on break, watching the full body scanner videos with the security guys.  I think we’re on our own.  I’m so scared…”
“This is eerie.  I remember something like this happening on an X-Files episode once.  I think it had something to do with time travel.  Or aliens, maybe.  Or maybe it was just David Duchovny wanting to get into whatsername’s pants.  I can’t remember.  But it was at an airport, anyway.”
“Well that was helpful.  Now listen, people.  We all know airlines say their flights have arrived as soon as they’re within 500 miles of the airport.  This may be a conspiracy of some sort, something to make us think they are doing something about on-time service…”
“Maybe solar radiation caused the plane’s DNA to mutate…into something horrible!  Who knows what we’ll find on that aircraft.  I feel a bad movie script coming on…”
“What a bunch of sissies!  Can’t you just accept there might have been a tail-wind and they showed up early?”
“Dude – it’s the holiday travel season, and its winter.  If arriving early were even remotely possible, the airlines would have a surcharge for it.  Don’t be an idiot.”
“Shush!  Here’s a PA announcement…”
“Your Attention Please.  Listen to the sound of my voice.  You are getting very sleepy.  You will not remember any of this when you wake up.  An airline flight has not arrived early.  There is no reason for alarm.  Your eye lids are very heavy now.  You will remain calm.  You will have a drink of water from any of the convenient water fountains at the airport, and the water will not taste funny...”
“There are no mysterious green blobs aboard the not-early aircraft.  You will not remember coming to the airport.    You will gladly pay the ticket on your vehicle windshield and will not write to the mayor.  You will not remember any of this.  I will now mutter something unintelligible and you will be wide awake and refreshed.  Thank you.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Limerick Time

Said a boy to his irksome young sister
“I am going to belt you with fister"
"Please open the app
That will close up your yap"
Then he swung, but his sucker punch mister.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Roman Empire - Part Eye

I thought I’d take a stab at writing about Roman Emperors, since getting stabbed seems to have been their favourite pastime. 

First, some background.

Rome, known as ‘The Eternal City’, or ‘City of Quality Leather Goods, For You Half Price’, was founded way back, before the fifties even.   Back when years were counted in reverse.  Women loved this time period...

Ancient Woman #1: “How old are you this year, Madge?”
Ancient Woman #2: “I’m turning 28 BCE you know.”
AW #1: “Wow.  It seems only a few years ago you were 39 BCE”
AW #2: “It’s a great time to be alive.  If only we had underarm deodorant…”

It was also a time when mathematics was undergoing a transformation, brought about by chariot drivers like Ben Him…

Ben Her: “Nice move out there!  Gimme Vee, man.”
Ben Him: “Wha?  How about we invent the number five – it will sound better.”
Ben Her: “Okay.  Gimme five.  I like it!  Hey – we’re going for a beer later – say around IX-thirty.  Wanna come?”

So you can see, great changes were under way in the Roman numeral empire.

When it came to leadership back then, around the year Minus 59, a guy named ‘Orange’ Julius Caesar stabbed everyone and began dictating, since he was now a dictator and that’s what they do. 

For his crown, he glued leaves of Romaine lettuce to his head, giving him an idea for a great salad…

Julius then focused on his conquering business and did quite well, despite looking like a goof with lettuce wrapped around his head.  He was quite the rascal, invading places like Gall, Germ, Sputum, Frank and Virus. 

He also invented gold coins, wrote country music (“Ruby Conned Me and I Ain’t Goin Back,”), chased his old partner Pompeii around (a race which Caesar won by a head), invented the swimsuit calendar, and came up with brilliant slogans like “Render all money unto me!”

The problem was, while everyone was rendering unto Caesar, a gink named Brutus was idly rendering Caesar, ushering in another stabbing tournament.  "Masters Stabbing coverage is brought to you by Central Plumbing and Heating of Rome – your one stop shop for hypocausts, baths, and all your aqueduct needs.  In business since Minus 200."
These tournaments were held in coliseums where all the wannabe Caesars were seated in an area along the first base line, an area known as…wait for it…the Caesarian Section (rimshot). 

So after Julius got ventilated, his adopted grandson Augie took over and maintained the family business, Caesar Construction and Conquering (“Specializing in roads and ruins.  Offices across the known world.  Legions of fans.  Gaul today!”). 

Augie also found time to name a month after himself (April, I think), and have a fling with whatsername in Egypt (the one with the nice asp).

It was Augie who started off this whole Name Yourself Caesar thing, and after him came Caesars named Tigger, Coagulate, Claudia, Aero, Posh, Vespa, Trojan, Venereal, Hades, Constance, Romero, Shakespeare and a bunch more.  Jeez, you could fill a book with these guys, and get this - they were all stabbed too!

By the later years of the empire, any emperor worth his celery would just hang around all day, drinking spicy beverages containing clam and tomato juices, waiting to get stabbed.  It was a dangerous and lonely existence, especially given all the visible Goths that were allowed into bars back then.  It was these visible Goth people (let’s just call them Visigoths for short), who brought on the Dark Clothing and Makeup Ages, which continue to this day.

Well, we seem to have run out of space for this chapter, students.  In future history lessons, we’ll learn why all the leaders of heroic uprisings resembled Kirk Douglas, and why Roman sculptors could never quite get the arm thing right, probably due to stabbing. 

Until then.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crime Running Rampant!

Look at these people.  Their ski's have been stolen from them in broad daylight and they just don't seem to care.

Is crime so common these days that criminals just go unpunished?  We've got to get organized people!

This message paid for by the Cross Country Skiing Victims of Robbery Association.