Monday, February 22, 2010

Nutella and Other Roof Patch Compounds

My kids are in love with Nutella, which is kind of like peanut butter but does not cause the allergic kids at school to turn blue and break out in leprosy boils or whatever. For that reason alone I also enjoy this product.

Unbeknownst to the kids, I have been using Nutella around the house for years. Effective as a tile adhesive, it can also be employed as roof patch or axle grease. We're talking viscous here.

Care must be taken when applying the material to fresh bread, however. It is very easy to tear the bread (thus labeling you an uncaring and inconsiderate parent) so spread large globs of the stuff around from the centre and you should be fine.

Given the Nutella consistency, I'm surprise it hasn't removed any of my kids teeth, given its adhesive properties.

One of the better methods for removing teeth was Mackintosh toffee at Saturday matinee's. Eaten fresh it was great - the sheet of the stuff would be covered with bite marks, perfect dental impressions, and the odd incisor, when offered by a chum. We would gnaw away at a chunk in much the same way native peoples used to chew animal pelts to tenderize their outer garments.

Even better would be discovering your toffee in a back pocket many days later, the goo in the squished tartan box would be perfectly curved into the same shape as the warm buttock that squished it. This tenderizing process was much enhanced by the layer of pocket lint which clung to the surface of the confection, adding to its viscosity and texture.

I have no idea if this candy is still available. I suspect the market for it has dried up since the Army began using the sheets as body and vehicle armour.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Learning to Fly Pt. 1

Having learned to fly at a young age (4), I am always baffled when I meet someone who is afraid to get into an aluminum tube of imminent fiery death. People who have a phobia about flying are what we pilots sensitively call ‘chickens’.

One way for scaredy-cats to get over their fear of flying is to actually learn how to fly. “Get onto the horse that is about to violently buck you off!” we say. Here’s how to do that.

First, get young, coordinated, thin, fit and rich. Learning to fly costs quite a large amount of money so if you are not independently wealthy or have not recently struck oil on your property, your best bet would be to become a brain surgeon. Go ahead – I’ll wait.

Um de dum…

OK so now you’ve got lots of money. Good. Hand it all over to a Flying School which you’ll find at any airport, ‘airport’ being defined as ‘That place where you go to stand in line and have your toothpaste confiscated and x-rays taken of your privates on your way to Disneyland.’

What a flying school will do, after taking all of your money and buying cases of scotch, is take you flying in one of their training aircraft to see if they like you. There are a number of different small airplanes out there, with comical names like MessieSchlitz, Winnebago, Sopwith, Fakker, Caterpillar, Piston, Pipper, Spad and Clunk.

Today you’ll probably get into what is known as a Thunderbolt, or ‘Cessna’. The first thing you’ll notice about this or any airplane is the dizzying array of knobs, gauges, buttons, boeings, twittles, spigots and flings that are on the dashboard. Pay no attention to these since most of them will be marked with little signs saying “Damaged in last crash” or some such. Only airline pilots actually use them anyway so for now just focus on the fact that there is a goofy steering wheel and two brake pedals.

These pedals are awesome in that they are used to steer and they are both brakes! Can you imagine how cool it would be to drive a car that had these? You could drive with no hands and still steer – what an excellent way to terrify the children!

Anyway, with your instructor, get into a seat and let him or her grope you into your seat belts, of which there are about 19. Not that you’re going to need them when you crash or anything. Their purpose, like helmets on skydivers, is to humour insurance agents who will be watching your every move from here on. There may even be one lurking in the back seat, trying to visually check your cholesterol level. Pay no attention.

So the instructor will push a few things and pull the gas handle thingy and start the noisy motor up front, called the impeller as I recall, and off you’ll go, plowing into all the parked airplanes because the gas pedal stuck and didn’t you know Cessna is made by Toyota?

Actually, you’ll be wearing comically huge headphones at this point and the instructor will tell you how to plug your nose and blow up your ears to unplug your crustacean tubes so that as you climb your eardrums won’t burst, messing up their comically huge headphones. Something like that. It’s like scuba diving only going the other way.

So now you’re racing down the runway until you magically lift into the air and experience a wonderful sensation which we pilots call ‘barfing’, which is completely normal.

Once you recover, you’ll notice you are headed straight for the tall trees at the end of the runway but don’t panic! We’ll cover what to do about that in the next exciting episode of Crawford’s Crashes, wherein I’ll explain exactly how a propeller once flew off the airplane I was piloting, and, coincidentally, why pilots always carry a spare set of clean underwear with them when aviating.

Until then, this concludes Part One. Please rewind before returning to storage case.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lucy - A Dog's Tale

Any dog owner will tell you that their pooch is either a 500 watt shining beacon of canine intelligence, or a dim, 10 watt night light which vaguely illuminates the hall corner you have just metaphorically stubbed your toe upon as you let it out in the middle of the night. Something like that.

Our dog Lucy is in the bright category. As a proud dog person, allow me to list her attributes, which I humbly submit are many.

Her piano playing is good but not spectacular, arpeggios being a continuing source of frustration what with no thumb and all.

She’s handy around the car though – oil changes and such. She tends to get the valves mixed up when we’re doing top end work on an engine, but that happens to everyone.

She’s also in charge of smearing spit around the inside of the windshield when the wipers come on.

Like most owners, I have learned a lot in the years we’ve had Lucy.

For example, I learned that when a dog owner visits the home of someone who doesn’t have a dog, the hosts tend to wryly observe, via deafening glances, how little we tidy up around ourselves while eating. When spilled or sprayed foodstuffs come to rest on the edge of the table or on the floor, normal people actually wipe up this debris when it is noticed. Ha! What fools!

Dog owners never touch these bits since any stray food particle larger than a molecule simply disappears in our house. Instantly. One second something has slipped off our plate, the next there is a wet spot by our elbow and an evil breath odor wafting around the dining nook. Ninja food cleaners.

Our kitchen floors also tend to be much cleaner than a non dog-owners floor, unless you get all weird about how dog slobber is unsanitary or whatever. Dog owners know this belief is utter, well, actually that one’s pretty much true. Dog slobber is disgusting. No question. Especially when it drips from their head like the beast in Aliens, as she stands there, saying with her expression “Hello? Supper? I’m waiting patiently here…and I’ve seen the movie too so get moving before I go get the flame thrower…”

The slobber issue rears its ugly head when it comes to kissing too, and by ‘kissing’ I mean ‘having your face licked with such enthusiasm you think you are being slapped by a warm, wet, fish’. Meanwhile an amused owner comforts the assaultee by loudly proclaiming “She likes you!”

We owners rationalize this behaviour by logically not caring, or by pointing out that a human mouth has just as much bacteria in it as a dog’s. This rationalization goes only so far, though, and does not diminish the fact that, immediately prior to joyfully licking your face, the dog was licking its intimate plumbing apparatus as part of an elaborate and noisy personal hygiene regimen.

Another pleasurable and entertaining aspect of dog ownership is when, while watching TV, your canine senses snack debris on the furniture. Between your legs in fact. There’s nothing quite like a curious nose and firm but gently inquisitive tongue snurfling around in your personal groin region seeking a dropped taco chip. This food debris gets between your legs entirely by accident – or so I tell my wife, who looks at me funny sometimes.

Most of the things I’ve talked about come naturally to dogs. Well, maybe not the engine repairs – she had to take a course for that. But you know what I mean.

Now in addition to what comes naturally, training your dog is very important.

I have trained Lucy such that when she needs to go outside, she gives a little bark. When I hear this sound I run to the door, salivating for some reason, let her out, escort her down the path to the side yard, open the gate, and let her do her thing(s).

When she wants to come back in, she yips again and off I run, out to the gate, where we reverse the process until she is comfortably back inside.

You’ve got to maintain firm discipline with your animal or they’ll just take over.

This column is dedicated to the memory of Lucy, our wonderful Golden Retriever, who died in our arms on Monday, February 15, 2010. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Kid Conversation

Kid approaches Dad during half time show.

"Who's the band Dad?"


"Who's the band Dad?"

"Oh yeah - you've never heard that one. It's a band called The Who. They're from my generation."

I hate wasting good jokes on kids who don't know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Skimmer Scam

This is the big city.

Some people steal for pleasure. Some people steal just because it’s there – you never know.

My name is Crawford. I’m a detective.

I was working the robbery detail when a lady in distress called in…

“There’s been a robbery!” the lady said.

“Yes Ma’am – what happened?”

“My credit card got skimmed.”

“Ok ma’am, I’ll need to gather the facts of the case. You say your credit card got scanned?”

“No – skimmed. Someone skimmed my card and PIN number and made illegal purchases.”

“Ah – so it was a skimming scam.”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“How much got skimmed?”

“They scrammed with over a thousand dollars.”

“That’s a lot of scratch. Do you know what else the skimmer scammer scored?”


“Skirts. I see. Do you know the identity of the skimming scam schemer?”

“Scott Scanlon.”

“And where does Scott live?”


“Of course. So Scarboro’s Scott Scanlon is the scheming skirt-scoring skimmer scammer.
Where did the skimming scam score take place Ma’am?”

“Near a school.”

“So let me get this straight. You say your credit card got skimmed for skirts and scratch by Scott Scanlon from Scarboro, a scummy school schemer scamp. When did you succumb to this scalping scam?”

“Oh, it must have been around seven. I was feeling squeezed for time.”

“Did you see any other clues at the scummy skimming scam scene?”

“Scads. There was scaffolding around the bank machine...maybe he climbed over it?”

“So Scott Scanlon is a scaling, scamming scofflaw operating a skirt-scoring skimming scheme.”

“I also found a piece of scarf at the scene.”



“That figures. So we’re looking for Scarboro’s Scott Scanlon, a scarlet-scarfed scaling scammer scum scoring skirts with a skimming scanner near a school. Is that correct?”

“Yes. Do you think you’ll be able to find this scabrous school scheming skirt-skimmer scum?”

“I’m skeptical. Scrofulous scheming skirt-scoring skimmer scum from Scarboro usually scatter from scoping scams. If this scarlet-scarfed scum hasn’t scrammed, we’ll do a scope and scoop after we scrutinize the scanty schedule of known scurrilous skimmer scallywags.”

“Thank you, officer. Would you like me to do anything else?”

“Answer me this – are you familiar with Carson’s Copper Clapper Caper of 1968?”

“No – is that important?”

“Not really.”

My name is Crawford. I’m a detective.

My father was Captain of the Crawford Clubbers Cleaning Clan.

But that’s another story.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facebook Updates

David Crawford Status Update: I think I took the wrong pill this morning! Ha ha! Stumbling around in the dark, I took one of my wife’s estrogen pills instead of my acid reflux one. They look similar. Hmmm. What harm can it do? Whatever.

Update: New tattoo! It’s a beauty – on my back just above my belt line! Girls call it a Tramp Stamp – LOL! – I don’t know what us guys call it. Sort of a spur of the moment, whimsical thing. Skin a little tender but no biggy!

Update: Another one! Tattoo parlor was having a two for one special so I thought what the heck! This one is a nice rose on my chest. Looks great! I may have to change outfits to show it off a little when we go out tonight.

Update: Well someone is a little upset because I’m still getting ready when it is time to leave for our night out. Chill! We hardly ever go out anymore and I want to look good! I really could use some new clothes…

Update: So we get to the restaurant to meet friends and Charlie is wearing the same jeans as me! Can you believe that? I swear he did it on purpose. I asked Brent to go to the washroom with me so we could talk about it and he just looked at me funny and told me to go by myself. How rude! If he thinks I’m going to talk with him when I get back to the table he’s got another thing coming.

Update: Well if Fred thinks I’m going to help him pour concrete tomorrow he’s crazy! He made fun of my new body art so I told him what Bill had said about the outfit he was wearing the other day. Oooh was he mad! He’s just jealous of my new shirt, which brings out the highlights in my new buzz cut.

Update: So someone got a little snippy last night on our way home from dinner. All I did was offer some helpful criticism about her driving, and I also thought she could have been a little more supportive of me when Tom made that snide remark about men with tattoos. I may have had a few too many crantini’s but so what! She could have put her beer down and supported me! I’m so upset!

Update: Hey does anyone want to go shopping with me tomorrow? I need some accessories to go with my new table saw. I thought we could head over to Sears and check out the routers first, then go to Home Depot for some drill bits and nails. We can just be guys and hang out. Let me know!

Update: Me and the boys are going to go check out the new bistro downtown tomorrow! I heard they have some great appetizers so we’re going to meet there for a nosh and a giggle. Anybody else wanna join us?

Update: Woke up with a screaming headache today. I’m boiling hot too – even though it's cold out. Weird. Something is wrong with my shaver too – it barely cut this morning – not that there was much stubble, which is also weird. I must have had too many beers last night or something. Feel dreadful. Skin on my back is itchy beyond belief. More later when I wake up.

Update: Strange – note from wife - says she’s left me! WHAT?! Something about me keeping secrets from her all this time. She says I should see a good psychiatrist about my female tendencies. Huh?! And who put this tattoo on my chest anyway? A ROSE?? You’ve gotta be kidding me! Man I must have had WAY too many beers last night. I don’t remember any of this.

Update: I talked to the wife and she’s cool. I explained how I didn’t remember much from yesterday at all and that I still love her and to come home! She said yes! I’m still trying to figure out what happened, as I strut around the house in these fabulous new work boots! Gotta run to the jobsite. Bye!

Monday, February 1, 2010

POW Memoir

My friend lives in one of those gated communities that are reminiscent of a POW camp, albeit it one with nicer huts and fewer guard towers.

We were walking around the inside perimeter when I began to get serious…

“OK, so who’s Big ‘X’ here anyway?” I asked.

“Big who?” he said.

“You know – ‘Big X’ – the officer in charge of escape activities?” I said.

“You’ve been watching The Great Escape again, haven’t you?” he said.

“Noooooo,” I answered, with monumental untruthfulness. One gets inured to lying when you’re behind barbed wire, or decorative landscaping. “I think I can help you with tunneling if you need it. How are your forged documents coming along?”

“You idiot – we are not in a POW camp and we don’t need fake documents! We have real documents like my drivers license here – see?” he said.

“Wow – this looks real! It must have cost you a fortune in bribes to get it. What about maps, train tickets, foreign worker permits, that sort of thing?” I asked.

“All right – I’ll play along. We have a secret workshop where inmates toil for hours on forged passports. When the guards come around they all pretend to be a bird watching club, drawing birds.” he said.

“Brilliant!” I said. “What a great cover! I notice you have ice cream trucks roaming around – obviously to cover the noise of tunneling. What do you do with the dirt from the tunnels?”

“We mix it in with the topsoil in our flower beds. The guards haven’t noticed.” he said.

“Good, good. Now, the people I saw leaving out the front gate on work parties – we could try and work some sort of diversion and perhaps one or two of them could bolt under the noses of the guards.” I said.

“Well, Fred there wanders off all the time. They really call out the troops when that happens.” he said. “They usually find him down the street at the peeler bar. I know because I’m usually with him. ”

“Ingenious! We have to bring the fight to the enemy and by tying up his troops it means they can’t contribute to the war effort. Excellent! Now – have you begun the 3rd tunnel yet? I think it should go from your hut here, under the wall, and up on the other side, just beyond the sidewalk. What do you think?” I asked.

“You’re a loonie is what I think. But just to make you feel better, I’ll tell you that we’re re-tiling the bathroom so perhaps I could put in a trap door there” he said.

“Good idea” I said.

Later, as we approached the main gate, the guards were eying me suspiciously. One of them, wearing a yellow jacket, his insignia gleaming, approached me.

“Excuse me, sir?” he said. “Could you sign in please? We like to keep track of our visitors here.” He said.

“I’ll bet you do” I said under my breath. “You’re going to put me in the cooler for three weeks aren’t you?” I asked.

“Beg pardon sir? Cooler? I don’t know what you mean. We draw someone’s name each week from our visitors list and they get…”

“Tortured! I knew it!” I exclaimed.

“…a free coffee and fritter at the donut shop down the street…” he said.

I took a chance and bolted before he could continue, waiting for the crack of rifles as I leaped over the wall and made good my escape.

Travelling only at night, eating the odd potato from back yard gardens, and taking the number 9 bus, I made it all the way home.

I hope the announcement of this triumph boosts the morale of the people back in the camp.

In the meantime, I’ve got to go hide some hacksaw blades inside a Red Cross parcel. We have got to get those poor people out of captivity!