Monday, August 31, 2009

The Heads of Babies

My son has a flat portion of his head. He doesn't realize it yet, but when he's older and decides to shave his head in some desperate act of teenage rebellion, he'll find out the hard way.

He wouldn't sleep on his tummy as a baby, and even with blankies rolled up to block his movements he would always sleep with his head just so. Now he has a large flat spot to show for it - babies heads being somewhat soft and pliable of course.

I was ruminating on this phenomenon just now as I read a birth announcement for someone in the office.

In the maternity ward, you could always tell the vaginal delivery kids from the "C" section kids. By a mile.

The vaginals would have a sort of squished look to them, whereas the 'rounders' as I call them were just that - round.

I never said anything, and I doubt people ever do, but you've got to know people are thinking it. I know we sure did.

"Wow - look at the squished head on that kid..." Then you'd look at the mom and just know...8 pound kid, slender mom - yup - this kids gonna have some work to do to get his head popped out and back to normal over the next few years.

I am obviously desperate for something to write about this morning.

I wonder if you'll ever see sports teams with names like the Rounders or Vaginals? Curious.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fanning the Flames

We were camping.

I was performing my manly duty – actively managing the fire by appearing to stare blankly into it.

Some would describe this open-mouthed, slack-jawed appearance as ‘stupor,’ or ‘alcohol poisoning.’ It is, in fact, intense concentration and relaxation, all combined into one blank gaze.

I display the same focused look when scrolling through TV channels, or when firmly yet gently scratching my privates. Sometimes both simultaneously, which can be wonderfully therapeutic.

While fire-tending makes me appear to be comatose I am, in fact, planning my next daring manipulation (of the fire). There is a lot to consider: bark side up or down? New log touching a neighbouring log or free-standing? Full Round piece or Quartered? Direct thrust into the coals for immediate ignition or a slow smoulder on the fringe?

Planning my routine poses intense mental challenges. Do I commit to an easy ‘Lay Across’ move, or go for an ‘End-over Flip with Adjoining 90 Degree Unburned Rotation,’ which has a higher degree of difficulty? Artistry is involved here; only skilled woodsmen will recognize the subtleties displayed by a fellow practitioner.

Between long blinks I also analyze the ‘Available Wood to Current Flame’ ratio, deciding on the optimal size and placement of the next piece of fuel. Failure to maintain a good crisscross arrangement while conflagrating means less than ideal coals for smore production or marshmallow/wiener roasting.

The best location for all this planning and activity is a scoliosis-inducing canvas chair. These work wonderfully in that as your front side gets warmed by the flames (‘broiling’ we call it), your back side gets progressively colder as the sun goes down. This is known as Bi-polar Thermalosity, which is easily treated with liquid medications.

To accomplish all of this, you need a good stick.

As important as a TV remote control, and reminiscent of one from an occupational standpoint, the fire stick should be about an inch in diameter, and approximately three feet long. Anything longer becomes unwieldy for more daring moves. Anything shorter and you start losing hand and arm hair, which smells even worse than the smoke-blackened, coughing wretch to whom the hair once belonged.

Deft stick-handling, as any hockey player will tell you, takes years of practice and what are called ‘soft hands’. A true Master has no wasted motion. His stick moves gracefully, the burning material handled with elegant precision, its red-hot tip smoking as it is drawn from the flames to sky-write the Masters name with beautiful penmanship. Thrusting the red hot tip of a burning hockey stick into another player usually results in a two minute cauterizing penalty and is frowned upon.

No visible smoke from a fire is the goal – the sign of a true Master of his craft. No smoke means the fire is burning efficiently and whoever is managing it is knowledgeable and trustworthy – truly deserving of another beer please Honey.

Fuel additives also have to be taken into account by the Wilderness Professional. Used Kleenex are most common (‘Boiling Boogers’ is the title of my next romance novel, in fact), but bits of bark, dropped marshmallows, or various food wrappings also directly affect flame and coal production.

Yes, you may think nothing is going on up there behind those vacant, staring (or closed) eyes. You think wrong my friend. Very wrong.

“Dad! Wake up! Your wiener just fell into the fire!”

Back to work…

Friday, August 21, 2009

Terrorism - Canadian Version 1.0

When it comes to terrorism, my media-influenced image is of wild-eyed fanatical types lobbing bombs (or indeed, themselves as bombs) and causing terror. Not a pretty picture by any means, and not something I would attempt to make funny in any way.

In Canada, however, we have our own version of the ilk. Ours are much more polite, and with a refreshing scent.

I am pleased to report the arrest of the Deodorant Bomber - here is the news story - a wild eyed fanatic if ever we have produced one.

Using sparklers and deodorant cans is, admittedly, a darn clever thing to do, and one which will no doubt lead airport authorities to a ban on cake decorating accessories in your luggage.

I believe this is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to terrorists in our land. I suspect old Osama and company have already made it here and are even now clogging their arteries with poutine and pancakes. They obviously feel a need to 'keep their hand in' as it were, so they blow off a few deodorant cans from time to time in a show of strength for the folks back home.

I, for one, think that letting off steam in this manner is far less harmful than what they currently are doing in more far-flung parts of the world. And wouldn't it also be interesting to walk into a travel agent's office and ask for a ticket to Far Flung?

Anyway, deodorant cans we can handle, but if they escalate things and move up to firecrackers or roman candles - that's it. We will not tolerate this type of activity in our own back yard and if it comes to that we will have no choice but to nuke Prince Edward Island from orbit.

Zero tolerance I say. Nicely though - we are, after all, Canadian.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Humour Basic Re-Visited

I posted this back in March, but because it didn't really fit as a column I didn't send it to the paper.

I may at some point, but it still sort of lingers, looking for a home.

Anyway it has been polished up some so I decided to post it and see what you think. Cheers.

Humour Basic

“Drop and give me fifty punch lines!”

I was in agony. The Drill Editor at Humor Basic Training had singled me out for extra punishment for not remembering a particularly witty Robert Benchley line. I began typing furiously while my nemesis continued barking orders…

“Right! Johnson! Take “F” Troupe and assault that boardroom with one-liners. Make every rimshot count - make your own ammo if you’re running low”

“Bravo Channel! Your mission is to undermine the executives over there with snide remarks during their presentation, followed by a barrage of stupid questions at the Q and A afterwards.”

“Can we use rapid fire?”

“Negative! Sniping only. And - take no prisoners. Move out.”

Life at hoot camp was hell. It either made you funny, or left you nothing but a useless humour simile – a pair of shoes dangling from a power line on the road to comedy glory.

Raw recruits, we were the class clowns and smart-alecks, the wise-cracking fools who joined up for adventure or a possible trade.

Training was hard and we learned how to use all the tools at our disposal.

Weapons like Zinger missiles, which we fired indiscriminately into meetings or crowds. Zingers were effective for close-in engagements, but for larger battles of wits we’d call in heavy weapons from the First Humoured Division. The big hartillery. Sarcasm. Irony. Innuendo.

We found and used WMD’s - Weapons of Mass Distribution. Newspaper columns. Long range blog posts. Wacky morning radio broadcasts.

We learned how to protect ourselves from vile puns, how to sneak terms like ‘buttocks,’ ‘barf,’ or ‘dog scooties’ into our written material for use in titter ambushes or banquet-sized guffawltercations.

Sabotage techniques like the fake office memo were employed, or the idiotic survey inserted into the new office training manual.

The hardest tests were reserved for those going for the elite of the elite. The peak of the hilarity industrial complex: The Special Har Service Regiment.

SHS Selection began with dinner parties and social engagements. Seemingly placid environments, in reality they were vicious humour battlefields, filled with ambushes and sniping. Verbal minefields.

Brutally difficult and exhausting, applicants were dismissed for the slightest infraction. No wit, sloppy aim, ill-remembered lines from when SNL was still funny – you name it. Anything could trip you up and send you back to barracks, where so called ‘wit’ was limited to bodily function jokes and making the fart sound with armpits. Foot-in-mouth casualties were common.

Our obstacle course was stained by the sweat of comrades whose wits were not quite as rapier-like as their opponents. More than one predecessor had flunked for lack of a timely remark about the shape of his cocktail weenie.

This was not the place for inter-office Top 10 Lists or viral emails. This is serious funny business. This is humor on the front lines – the pointy end of the wit stick.

“Company!” the Drill Editor bellowed, startling me out of my reverie.

“This morning, we are honored by the presence of Colonel Popcorn of the Benny Hill Battalion, whose lecture on Irony entitled ‘Editors Really are Improving Your Work,’ will commence at 0900 hours, 0930 in Newfoundland.”

“This will be followed by banana cream pies at 1200 hours, after which you will pick up long 2 by 4’s and march comically to the lecture hall for a video titled ‘Slapstick and Other Uses for Politicians’ until lights out.”

“Tomorrow you will undergo a rigorous 10 minute stand-up routine in full Groucho Marx kit with no sneezing from the fuzzy moustache! Quit your grumbling back there!”

“Fools Company! Dis-missed!”

Net Still More Further Updateness: I sent this to the paper after all and they printed it! Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Desperation Post

I have a bad case of Failure to Post for a while...

I must confess busyness (we have company) but I must also confess that the way I write is to work on about 28 columns at the same time. Things have to percolate for a while for me to get anywhere.

I find my writing goes in cycles - furious bouts of creativity for a week or two, then I lay off or get lazy or whatever. I am just now coming out of one of my better lazy cycles.

So out of desperation I thought I'd give you a small peek at what I have for one of these columns.

My idea is about a Politically Correct Private Investigator. I haven't got any sort of story line yet, but the opening paragraphs go something like this:

"I had just finished my Political Correctness course and my wallet was empty. As empty and black as the inside of a black cow before being turned into an empty wallet. Something like that.

I was busy scratching my nu...I was adjusting myself when the door to my office opened and in walked a spectacular broa...member of the opposite sex. She was dressed somewhat provocatively, and I admired her intelligence by watching her brain bounce gently as she walked..."

And that's all folks!! The large chunk of granite you see before you is my current writers block - on that column anyway. Nice texture huh?

And so I'm off to Vancouver today - ta ta!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Problem Solved

Sometimes the solution is so simple it amazes me. And there it was right in front of me the whole time!

I have a problem with weeds in my side yard. OK, everywhere.

I also have an older car which leaks various coloured fluids on a regular basis.

Since I now have new transportation courtesy my brother in law, I have parked my older car in the side yard.

Where it is leaking...fluids...which...kill...weeds!!!

So! I figure if I park my old clunker in various spots throughout the remaining days of summer - I'll be done with both.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with my own cleverness.

The posse of environmentalists gathering outside my property, picthforks and torches in hand, is rather worrisome, but no matter. My newer car should be able to plow through them at speed and not suffer too many dents. I shall keep you informed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

City has quit smoking...

Well thank goodness my burg has finally quit smoking! It was a filthy, smelly habit and I'm glad to be rid of it.

Seriously, the forest fire situation has improved immeasurably around here the past few days. Evacuee's are going home, no more smoke and ash drifting around - wonderful.

Many thanks to all the firefighters, pilots, volunteers who helped out.

Now about that bomber dropping weed killer on my yard...?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Things are buzzing...

There have been far too many columns written about husbands attempting, in humourous fashion, to get rid of wasp nests.

Let me add a little more to that existing body of work...

There I was, crouched in the grass, slowly stalking my prey. It (the prey) was in the kids playhouse, long abandoned and now used for seasonal storage. Which means it's where we throw all the junk and toys from around the yard.

Anyway - reports indicated a wasp nest was also resident in the playhouse (which I built by the way)(I'll tell you all about THAT episode in my life in a future posting).

I was heavily armed. My can of RAID was the giant version. Lethal. Now with a fresh, spring scent.

I slowly did a close target reccy - I leaned my head in the side window and peered into the gloom - looking for the nest. I finally succeeded in this task by rotating my head like Linda Blair in The Exorcist - and there it was at the very peak of the roof. Target sighted!

About 2 inches across, only 2 or 3 wasps sitting on it, tending their buggy little offspring things. Pupils or levees or something.

This was going to be a piece of cake, I thought. No exerting myself by running away screaming this time, I told myself.

So I just sauntered (well, ducked) my way into the main room, looked up, aimed my weapon, and fired. The 2 or 3 wasps that were there, which I thought were dead, suddenly sprang to, er, death, actually.

And that was that. So I left the main portion of the little house and stood outside, chest puffed, feeling proud and masculine. I'm the man around THIS place my body language said with authority.

Then, doing my usual thorough job (I'm lying again), I took a quick glance under the roof on the front porch portion of the playhouse. My bowels immediately turned to water as I viewed a moving mass of wasps, 8 inches across, staring benevolently back at me. The nest was HUGE! Crawling with the beastly little critters. I shuddered as I remembered myself nonchalantly stooping under this one, on my way inside to the little one.

It was just as I was spraying the wasps covering the nest, killing them on contact just like the label said, that I realized the old saying that the best time to destroy a wasp nest is at night - since that is when they are all in the nest you see.

The current time now was just after supper - around 7pm.

The Raid did indeed kill on contact, but it did not kill the many, many wasps just arriving from their days foraging.

Note to self: Raid kills on contact but just really upsets the ones returning to the nest.

I ran screaming like a little girl up the path and into the house.

Got some exercise after all. I hope the manly neighbours didn't see me run like that. Or shriek like that either.

A Stirring Post

I would like to know, based on sound scientific research, which is the more efficient method of stirring the sugar and/or cream in one's coffee or tea. To wit - is just a straight, consistently circular swirling the swiftest method? Or is a hybrid methodology faster?

I choose to use (because I am convinced it is correct) the hybrid method. Namely, I begin stirring in a good circular fashion, the liquid swirling in a clockwise fashion. Then, once a certain (classified) speed has been attained , I reverse course and cause immediate turbulence in the liquid, such that any granules that have settled to the bottom of the mug are disturbed from their rest and are immediately absorbed into the surrounding liquid, gone forever, their hopes and dreams dashed as they should be.

So which method is more efficient at dissolving the powder? We need to know this to satisfy my (and others) innate curiosity. We have enough challenges in our lives without wasting precious seconds stirring Kool-Ade or chocolate milk or coffee in an inefficient manner.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So since a bunch of these things are buzzing around the area putting out forest fires, I wonder what it would take to load one up with RoundUp and dump it on my side yard?

It would save me a lot of time I think. I may have to make a call or two to see if I can tee this up. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Playing Goff

I love how the golf announcers on TV pronounce it that way - goff. "That was a good goff shot Johnny" they say.

Like it could be described as a good hockey shot instead...

Or "That was a good goff shot for a base hit there Johnny..."

These guys are masters (ha) of the obvious.

Anyway, I'm working on a column about swatting small white spheroids with a weighted stick.

I recall the first time I ever swung a club. I was in my mid-twenties and my dear aunt and uncle took me to a driving range. I discovered I could, in fact, hit the ball with some regularity and skill, with no lessons whatsoever. I now consistently play rounds in the mid hundreds as an attestation to this phenomenal natural talent.

I also recall my dear aunt swinging for all it was worth, while simultaneously letting fly with some good, loud flatulence. My aunt is a very proper woman and she was quite mortified, not only for having boosted her swing like that, but because her nephew and husband were rolling around on the ground, weeping with laughter.

Naturally I have never let her forget the incident.

Naturally, she takes great pride in having me removed from her last will and testament.

Fairs fair.

It makes me wonder, though, if this waggling before hitting the ball has some nefarious, deceptive purpose other than loosening up the swing muscles. I think golfers waggle to camouflage the fact they are releasing toxic clouds of intestinal gas prior to hitting, thus poisoning the atmosphere for their rest of their foursome. This is a good defensive measure I must admit, having used it once or twice myself.

So why do they call it waggling then? Why not call it what it is, or give it a sly new name like, I don't know, "Glurbing."

"Next on the tee is Dave Crawford, the famous humourist. Oh, and he's just glurbing before hitting the ball. Good one. That's a good defensive goff technique Johnny since Tiger is teeing off right behind him and he's already making a can always tell a good glurb since the gallery claps before he strikes the ball AND after..."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Current Event

I have just completed a very satisfactory shout at my computer.

"I KNOW you're not responding!!" I yelled.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming, consisting of the author trying to figure out what to write next.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

And the winner is...

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't mention that my co-humourist and writer friend Carl Vine, of Somewhere in Ohio, is a finalist in the Robert Benchley Society annual humor writing contest competition thing. You can read his entry here:

You can find a link to his very funny blog down there on the left somewhere...

He and I have both entered the contest so I think it would be entirely appropriate for me to win that one, and have Carl win the Robert Benchley one. He would get flown to Boston to a gala dinner with the society crowd.

I would get 100 bucks. Huh.

Anyway I wish him nothing but success as we both make valiant attempts at making people chuckle.