Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Former Radio Announcer Who is Now an Accountant

“Morning Fred.”

“Morning Rick.  Nice looking morning out there.”

“It sure is Fred!  We’re looking for a high of thirty degrees in the sunshine today.  It’s currently fifteen on the beach and eighteen downtown.  Coming up next, I’ve got a meeting about accounts receivable on the Johnson file!”

“Boy, you ex-deejays don’t break out of the mold much do you?  You might want to switch it off from time to time.  So you’re still riding your bike to work, I see.  How’d it go?”

“An earlier stall was cleared away from the left hand lane of the freeway, Fred, leaving just heavy traffic volume to slow me down on my morning commute.  No stalls or accidents to report right now.  If you see anything in traffic be sure to give me a call.  It’s free on your cell phone.”

“Alrighty then.  So – do you and Wendy have plans for the weekend?”

“We’ve got a classic rock weekend lined up starting Friday at four, Fred!  All the hits, all the time, all weekend long!  And I might take the kids swimming.”

“Sounds great.  Hey, what time is it anyway?”

“It’s twenty minutes before the top of the hour on a beautiful summer morning!  Coming up next hour, I’ll be visiting the washroom, and then I’ll toast a bagel and head down the hall to my office!”

“Don’t we have training or something this morning?”

“Coming up at eleven we’ll have a conference call about the new tax regulations, and what a rockin’ good time that will be.”

“Can I join in?”

“Sure!  Be the ninth caller!  Phone lines are open now!”

“OK.  Well, I have to get back to my desk.  See you later.”

“We have some bills to pay right now on the Rick King show but coming up next we’ll be checking email and preparing the balance sheet for the Acme Company financial statements.  You’ve got The King for breakfast!” 

I popped into his office later.   “Hey, Rick, I was wondering if you could help me figure out the equity position of the partners in this construction company account…”

“Thanks for stopping by, Fred! We’ll get right back to accounting but first let’s turn on the speakerphone and visit with Jennifer on location at the reception desk.  Jennifer also used to be a broadcaster.  Hi Jennifer!  What’s going on down there?”

“We’re having a great time here at reception today Rick– tons of people and phone calls and couriers coming and going!  You’ve simply got to come down here – we have some of the best deals on office supplies in this city!  We can handle it all here – deliveries, phone calls, mail and postage – all at great savings to YOU the consumer!  Stop on by – I’m here till five o’clock but these offers will be available all week long!”

“Thanks Jennifer.  That’s incredible.  We’ll check back with you next hour.” 

“Well that’s all the time we have today.  Be sure to join me tomorrow when I give away some tickets to the big game I can’t attend!  I’ll also make some wacky phone calls to people in the office, sell some Girl Guide cookies for my kid, and do an awesome trial balance on the Lipschitz account!” 

“Up next, Big Bill Davis will take you through your evening as he cleans the office and empties the wastepaper baskets. We’ll see you at the same time tomorrow.  Here’s Simply Accounting with their hit module – Payroll Deductions.  Bye for now.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled work activities. 

Attack Planning

With military precision (I think I've just invented a new oxymoron) my children are planning a major operation for Halloween.

For those without children, you must understand that Halloween logistical planning begins sometime in January (the Christmas gift wish-listing season properly begins in March, of course).  At this time the kids begin honing in on one of several hundred costume possibilities, a choice which will change several dozen times per hour for the next 9 months.

We are currently in the throes of route planning, another intensive exercise.  A change this year is we are going to shut our house down and go as a family to a 'rich' neighbourhood where, apparently, they hand out FULL SIZE CHOCOLATE BARS!!!  Not the dinky little ones everyone else has - the real McCoy.  The big kahuna's.  Full sized chocolate bars.

I can't decide what to wear.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cat Affection

I have been meaning to write something about how cats show affection to their owners, but it is difficult when one of them (I'm referring to a cat here) is sitting on your hands as you type, staring you in the face, and smearing the side of his head against your chin.  Over and over. 

It is most intense first thing in the morning.  I get up, start the coffee maker, then go into my office and turn on my laptop.  Immediately Oreo comes in, sits on the desk between me and my keyboard, stares intently in my face, then rears up on his hind legs, places front paws firmly on my chest, and begins his assault.

It goes something like this: butt head against my chin.  Lick chin repeatedly.  Butt head again.  Look up intently into my eyes, then smear left side of face down side of my face.  Butt heads again.  Rub noses.  Lick my nose.  Smear other side of head down my face.  Butt heads again.  Smear.  Lick.  Butt.  Flop down on hands, making me think he is going to fall asleep and I can actually do some surfing or writing, but no.  He gets back up right away and starts process all over again.

Butt.  Smear.  Swipe.  Butt.  Butt.  Lick. Lick.  Smear.  Butt butt.  Flop.  Back up.  Smear.  Butt.  Lick.  Butt Butt.  Smear.  Ad infinitum.  He will occasionally add variety to this routine by standing up high and trying to gnaw on my eye glasses.  I turn away, he lowers himself down slightly, and begins again.  Butt.  Smear.  Lick.

Having never been a cat owner before, I had no idea cats displayed their affection this way.  Especially given what I had done to him yesterday, you'd think I would be the focus of impotent (ha) rage against the person responsible.  Nope.

Butt.  Smear.  Wipe.  Lick Lick.  Butt.  Smear.  Butt.  Butt.  Flop. 

This morning I was laughing so hard at this that I could barely see the screen and I feared waking up the kids.  He keeps this up despite the disgusting breath he must be smelling, and the appearance of my unbrushed, furry teeth.

My daughter, who is currently obsessed with cat books, cat novels, cat tribes, cat movies and generally anything feline, actually communicates now in much the same way as her pet.

Instead of a kiss goodnight, we rub noses.  She purrs.  She hisses and spits occasionally.

Having never had kids before, I did not know these obsessions would consume children in such a manner.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wake her up with a friendly face smear.  Maybe some head butts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Call a Speyed a Speyed

Well I just booked our two kittens for their de-balling procedure on Wednesday morning.  Forgive me if I squirm a little as I write that. 

I know it is not officially called 'de-balling', but that is what it is and I feel downright awful about having it happen to my boys.  To my cats I mean.  Man, are they going to have hang-down looks after that. 

I would like to write more double-entendres about the procedure but I can't.  You could say it is berry troubling.  Nadurally I will take them in myself, but I'll be sacked out afterwards. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Decidedly Awesome Video

Speaking as a guy, I must say this video is truly awesome, in a completely useless sort of manner.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What to write about?

It is always a challenge to pick a topic.  I have so many different things that I could focus my keen and wondrous intellect upon that it is sometimes distressing to think about.  To wit:

- Dare I become a bored housewife-type humourist and write about amusing cat behaviour?  I certainly could, given that our kittens have now been discovered performing random acts of mating.  This is distressing on several levels.  First and foremost - they are brother and sister, albeit of different fathers, which is another thing I did not know about cat litters, or about mother cats, the horny little sluts.  Another reason for distress is that we have not had them fixed yet.  Another reason is we were told the both of them were males, hence our delay in getting them fixed.  The one with long hair was proudly showing me his/her genitalia the other day, when I had a closer look for his doodads and could not find any.  Either he is seriously under-endowed (poor guy), or is female and therefore a slut.  I suspect the latter, and I also suspect her brother to be the reason for the kids saying "Dad, what are the cats doing?"  There is a joke in there about 'cattie-style' too but I'm not going there.

- I could write about how one of the cats only drinks from bathroom taps when we are brushing our teeth or washing our hands.  I don't particularly enjoy wetting my toothpaste with cat spit, so I am also tempted to write about the new sport of cat punting.

-  I wanted to write something about my amazing kung-fu skills when swimming with the kids.  When up to my chest in water, I can perform the most amazing flying side kicks, spinning whoop de doo flailing flop kicks, spinarama chop whirly kicks - all sorts of things, all against my children.  Meanwhile, they are attacking me with a variety of noodly weapons and their own martial skills, with the serious intent of knocking me over.  Their evil ways do not harm me, however, since I employ secret weapons like the Long Range Mouth Spray of Death.  Using only pool water laced with urine and other contaminants, I am able to spray water viciously into my children's begoggled faces and make good my escape to deeper waters.  In close wrestling encounters I am also able to unleash my Kid Backward Flip-o-Rama, the Over Head Hurtle, or the awesomely effective Tickling Peril.

When you can grasp the locker key from my prune-like hand, it is time for us to leave, Grasshoppers.

- I may jot something down about our fishing adventures at the (rental) cabin over the summer.  And by 'fishing' I mean 'covering the bottom of the lake with bits of bread and gummy bears,' of course.

- The phrase "Time stood still...," holds special meaning for me, and I find myself musing about my many circumstances therein.  I have had so many instances where time slows down that I should be several years younger than I presently am.  These moments include, but are not limited to, closing the (locked) door on the (running) automobile, suddenly remembering the need to purchase fuel as the vehicle rolls to a silent stop, or having a hardened glob of wax, the size of a peppercorn, hurtle out of my ear and onto the desk of an attractive woman who was interviewing me for a job, and so forth.

- I may at some point bewail the music choices my children are beginning to make. I have always prided myself on having eclectic tastes when it comes to contemporary music, and I hope my children are the same.  I like to think I'm not like my parents, it's just that they (my kids, not my parents) play it so darn loud, and I cannot understand the damn lyrics and it seems like all they do is swear and hop-hip and I just don't get it.  I mean, I enjoy the Black Eyed Chili Peppers and other wholesome pop groups as much as the next codger, but these kids seem to be going gaga over the strangest things.  And I wish they would pull their pants up.  And lose the black makeup.  Don't get me started about tattoos and lip rings.

- I may reminisce some day about a music teacher I had in grade 5 - a certain charming French woman named Mrs Boehnert (pronounced Boh-nair), a name which we conveniently contracted to Mrs Boner.  Not only did she introduce me to the intimate musicality of the xylophone, I also became adept at the glockenspiel, for which I still retain certificates on my office wall.  Though it pains me to recall, I was also quite talented at what was then called Interpretive Dance.  Nowadays it is called Sissy Gay Twirling or something, but back then I was a star.  Actually - I'm not going to write about that - never mind. 

Like I said - some time I'll actually break down and write about this stuff.  Don't rush me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bookshelf Cleanout

I have been putting off the bookshelves for many months now, so I finally decided to get down to it.

The piles of paperbacks, hard covers and magazines was growing unwieldy, overflowing its shelves, piling up on the floor around the bookcase.  Something had to give.

The way I usually do this is to just pull everything off the shelves into various piles, dust the shelves (not the whole shelf - just the spots where the books weren't), then start re-arranging my treasures back in some semblance of organization.  It is a wonderful project that would consume a couple of hours.

Eight hours later I had a sore bottom, I had missed dinner, and I had begun reading about a dozen books I had long forgotten I had.  I wound up with a dozen more books beside the bed, joining the 20 or so that I had already there.  The piles of literature wound up stacked on the dusty shelves, and a new box of extra's was now sitting in the corner.

All in all I'd call it a successful operation.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sentry Duty

Like you, I spend a considerable amount of time pondering the important questions in life, like "stripe in or out?" on debit card machines.  Or, when confronted by a bear or mountain lion, experts say you're supposed to make yourself look larger.  So would eating a bag of chips or a Twinkie at that moment assist in any way?

Another thing I've always wondered is why the sentries in old war movies are such dimwitted oafs.  They never hear the commandos approaching and only figure out what’s going on when the bayonet is piercing their ribcage.  What is wrong with those people? 

Well, now I know.  They were guarding doors, their feet were killing them (metaphorically), and they were bored out of their minds. 

I learned this the other night during my third shift at a local sports facility.  I am a part-time usher, meaning I ush for extra money from time to time.

It was my first time at an entrance, taking people's tickets.  For someone who is trained to a high degree in the art of pointing out where seats are (ushing), this was high excitement.  For about twenty minutes.  Then it got boring.

After the game started I had absolutely nothing to do and, being at an isolated door, I had no comrades with whom to converse.  I stood alone.  Never before had so much weight been pressed upon toes so few.  These would be my finest few hours.

I began pacing from the outer door to the inner concourse - back and forth.  Back and forth.  Thirteen paces, turn crisply on the heel like a good sentry, thirteen more paces back to the entrance.  Peer out door for more patrons approaching; see none, pace back again.  Thirteen.  Did I mention it was thirteen paces?  Precisely thirteen.  Watch out for the small crack in the concrete at pace nine. 

My shoes seemingly disappeared and the concrete jarred directly onto the weary bones of my sore feet.  My shoulder chafed where my pretend rifle cut into it.

I had been given a radio, so I dreamed up fictitious emergency calls.

"Breach on level four!  Breach on level four!"  "Attention all personnel!  Code three!  AAARGH!"  “Bogies at two o’clock high!”  It would have been great to do, but I worried they would triangulate onto my position so I kept quiet.

My feet still ached.  No place to sit down.  Nothing to read or watch.  No one to chat with.  No video games on my ticket scanner thing - I checked.

I stood at the door, sentinel-like, secretly hoping that a group of saboteurs were silently approaching, perchance to eliminate me and my sore feet so they could get into the facility and steal the secret documents, kidnap the general's hot daughter, sabotage the nuclear plant, and make their daring escape.

I knew I didn't stand a chance against these well-trained operators.  They had rehearsed this scenario hundreds of times, no doubt.  Me?  I was raw meat.  Bored, alone, daydreaming about hot foot baths and cold beer and remote controls.  Just like in the movies. 

I waited for the whistle of their crossbow shots or the sudden tightening in my throat as the garrote encircled my neck.  I anticipated the "Phhhtt! Phhhtt!" of the silenced bullets.  I promised myself I would put up a good fight against the enemy, or at least give off a decent warning gurgle.

In the end, nobody attacked.  Nobody even tried to sneak past me without a ticket.  My feet just ached.  I could hear varicose veins popping out all over my lower extremities. The unseen hockey game continued.  We won, I think.  God my feet hurt.

So if you're wondering why those guards were so pathetic and easy to kill - now you know.  Those weren’t fictitious movies you watched. 

They were documentaries.

Tickets please.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kitten Amusement

As a new cat owner, I get much amusement from watching the little devils play.  It is amazing to see what mischief they can get into with the simplest of things. 

It is particularly amusing to watch them play with plastic grocery bags, especially when they are tied securely inside of one and tossed into the lake.

I was day dreaming about this just this morning, in fact, as I lay dozing in bed.  At the time I was trying to snuggle up to my wife, though this was proving difficult since she was in another room, having kicked me out for snoring. 

One of the kittens then leaped from the floor directly onto my testicles and was playfully clawing my scrotum through the covers. 

Yes, it really is the small things they find most amusing.  Delightful.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Robert Benchley Award Entry

In a desperate bid to put SOMETHING up here to keep people amused, I hereby present my entry in the Robert Benchley Humor Award contest thing.

All the entries are in and we are all waiting for the short list to be announced so I don't know how I am doing, but I like my chances.

Anyway, this entry is a much pared down version of an earlier column I wrote about sneezing, which had a few Benchley'esque turns of phrase I thought, so I figured I'd polish it up and send it in.  Enjoy.

“The Contemporary Sneeze”

Sneezing is the most expressive of the body’s involuntary functions.  Make sure yours are extra special.

Upon realizing that sternutation is imminent, today’s fashionable sneezer will pause in conversation and raise their eyebrows.  This serves as a warning to bartenders and other nobility that a Great Event is about to unfold, and observers should vacate the immediate blast area. 

During the pre-sneeze period, as your inhalation progresses, dramatically over-express yourself, like an opera singer.  Be expansive in your chest.  Wave your arms about and draw attention to your twitching features.  Yell or scream, again like an opera singer.  If the sneeze (or opera) is not immediately forthcoming, take something slender such as a chopstick or Calista Flockhart and thrust it repeatedly up your nostril.

At the height of your inhalation, squint your eyes and cease all motion. This is The Pause before the Great Storm.  It is the final notice that something wondrous is about to be born, or that you are choking on an oyster.  Be absolutely still, nose elevated slightly, arms aflutter, teary eyes about to close in the final moments before the triumphant finale.

The sound of a sneeze is important.  Most amateur sneezers still use the outdated Cleveland Technique of letting fly with a constrained “Ssshhhhew!” sound.  This method has grown passé, although it is still popular with denture wearers and most cake decorators. 

Attempting to suppress all sound by holding the nose and forcing the blast up into the cranium can pose a danger to the sneezer and those around them – particularly in theaters.  Earwax bullets shot into patrons on either side of the participant have caused needless injury, and were the impetus for the Stockholm Sneezing Protocols of 1929.  These protocols now eliminate the need to wear combat helmets at most recitals.

As with other seizures, for a high score, one must enunciate using proper verbiage.  Asian-sounding surnames are prized, with the Japanese “HyyyASHi!” being most common in tournaments.

Of Middle Eastern origin is the popular and sophisticated “HaaBLAHHaaa!” phrase.  For truly memorable scores, try adding a slight upward intonation at the conclusion, as though asking the romantic question, “HaaBLAHHaaa?”

In conclusion, let me offer a cautionary note about arm movements.  Because one hand will be occupied with a handkerchief, martini, or 5/8ths wrench, the other fist will involuntarily thrust upward from the waist in a motion so rapid it may injure passersby.  Swift uppercuts administered by sneezing enthusiasts have rendered more than a few bystanders unconscious so do be careful, or sneeze only while boxing.

America can hold its head high when it comes to sneezing.  Whether amateur or professional, the people of the United States once again lead the world. 

Bless you!