Monday, April 30, 2007

Hot Coffee at Twenty Below

In January of 1998, Ontario and Quebec experienced the worst ice storm in Canadian history. I remember it because I worked for The National Post at the time, delivering newspapers in the wee hours of the morning. One night near the end of the storm, my car slid down an inclined road, hit the curb and wrecked my right front wheel. I quit that job the next day.

However, a few days before I quit, I had an experience that still haunts me.

The temperature dropped so low that no more frozen rain could fall. It was just too cold. So I was happy they'd built a new Tim Horton's near my route, because I needed a coffee. Instead of using the drive through, I went inside to warm up a bit.

I carried my coffee back to the car as fast as I could and jumped inside. My coffee cup ended up perched on the steering wheel because there was no where else to put it. The cup holders were blocked by all my papers. I got settled, reached for my coffee and it shot out of my hand, turned upside-down and emptied itself into my lap.

Fortunately the brief walk to my car had cooled the coffee off enough that it didn't scald me, but it was still unpleasant. I was so concerned about the coffee not dripping through my pants onto the car seat, that I did the dumbest thing.

I jumped out of the car.

At that moment, a terrible wind came up. It was the kind of wind I'm sure the Inuit have a name for that means "find shelter fast or your ookpik will freeze and fall off". It was so cold that the coffee in my underwear, my pants and on my skin flash-froze.

It was a most disturbing physical sensation. It didn't freeze solid, what it did was turn into a kind of coffee slush. Not thinking, I undid my pants and reached between my legs, pulling out a snowball-sized handful of what looked like brown Slurpee. I remember babbling hysterically and dancing while trying to scrape the icy goop off my skin before something really bad happened.

It finally occurred to me that it might hurt less if I got back in the car. To heck with getting the seat dirty. So I jumped in, grabbed a napkin and worked feverishly at the affected area. Suddenly I remembered that I was in a public parking lot. I nervously looked around to see if anyone had witnessed my crazy-pants dance.

No one to the right, no one in front of me. Thank goodness. I looked left.

Facing me was a big white car with flashing blue and red lights on top. A lone policeman, coffee poised at his lips, mouth hanging open, was looking right at me.

For a minute, neither of us broke eye contact. Finally I took a chance, started my car and drove away, hoping and praying the entire time. I went home and had a nice, hot shower.

I know that I will never forget scooping coffee slush out of my underwear during the ice storm of '98.

I bet that cop won't forget it either.

Next Story: I Thought I Had The Radiation Sickness

Previous Story: Hungarian Humour - It's Not Funny Until Someone Dies

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Previous News: Dog Owners Fleeced In Poodle Scam

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hungarian Humour - It's Not Funny Until Someone Dies

My Father's favorite topics of conversation are disasters and death. At parties, he is a bright ray of sunshine. The kind of sunshine that hurts your eyes, burns you and causes skin cancer. The kind of sunshine that blinds you to oncoming traffic so you collide with a bus full of schoolchildren and everyone dies screaming in a twisted metal inferno. You get the idea. Actually he can be very funny, it's just that his sense of humour often leans towards the macabre.

So I was sitting in the car yesterday with my Dad and my friends Paul and Liana. I hadn't seen them for a while so I asked Liana, "What are you guys doing for fun these days?" She replied, "Oh nothing really. This afternoon we're going to a funeral." Thank goodness I didn't ask her what they do when they aren't trying to have fun.

Dad, hearing the word funeral, launched into a convoluted story about the funerals back in Hungary when he was a kid and how they scared the crap out of him. I wish I had an audio recording of his story so I could share it with you because I was in tears (of laughter) by the time he was done.

He described a draconian funeral procession where everyone in town had to participate on pain of excommunication, everyone dressed head to toe in black, everyone wailing and crying, the men even louder than the women. The procession had a wooden cart drawn by four mangy, depressed horses carrying the black casket, followed by the mourners, who were then followed by the band.

Yes I said band.

Not a happy band though. This was your classic Germanic oom-pah band with all the excitement and colour and dancing stripped away, leaving a pale miserable husk of an excuse for an oompah-band. They would play the blackest, most mournful dirges. Songs so utterly sad that only a sociopath could avoid crying. After a few songs, when the procession arrived at the graveyard, the mourners would be wailing and howling like wounded wolves.

They'd huddle around the grave, open up the casket for one last look at the yellowing cadaver, at which point the priest would begin shouting over the crying and screaming. (This next part is verbatim from Dad's story) "Da priest would do his wampire woodoo, wit holy water and udder whaddever and by da time he was finished, people would be trowing demselves in da grave dey were so sad."

Then Dad says, "And dis went on every week!"


During one of these happy occasions, my Dad climbed up onto cemetary walls for a better view. At the end of the procession, tied to the back of the casket cart by a rope, was a young bronco. For those of you not familiar with horses, a bronco is an untrained or imperfectly broken mustang. This means no one can ride it. My Dad decided that he would try riding it. As the horse passed underneath him, he jumped off the wall onto it's back. That day, he learned the true meaning of the phrase 'bucking bronco'.

At least his ride of terror was more fun than the funeral.
Next Story: Hot Coffee at Twenty Below

Previous Post: Adventures In Cuba - Mopeds Can't Climb Trees

This Just In - Dog Owners Fleeced In Poodle Scam

This cannot possibly be a real story. It just can't. No one could be that dense.

Look at these pictures. Can you tell which one is the sheep and which one is the poodle?

Apparently some people can't. Apparently some people need to go back to kindergarten.

Since human stupidity is often depressing, let me share an other animal story with you, this one far more uplifting.

Meet Nora, The Piano-Playing Cat

That's right. Two minutes and forty-eight seconds of agony while Nora beats at a piano with her paws. I dare you to sit through the entire thing.

How this ended up in their top twenty videos section I will never know.
Next News: I Need Your Help

Previous News Post: Stephen Hawking In Space?

Stan Pottinger

Why do I recommend Stan Pottinger?

Simply put, his books are terrifying. Stan Pottinger knows how to shock, create dread, incite horror and twist the plot, all at the same time. His books aren't quite as pretzel-twisty as say, Harlan Coben (who I will review soon) but you will be surprised at the turns his stories take.

His first book,The Fourth Procedure was both frightening and genuinely disturbing.

From the jacket - "Combining the best elements of explosive courtroom drama and groundbreaking medical technology with controversial social issues, The Fourth Procedure explores fundamental questions of life and death. It takes the reader beyond the boundaries of today's medicine to an all-too-plausible scenario of a frightening future.The Fourth Procedure. The most terrifying legal-medical thriller. Ever."

They're not kidding. I have never read anything that deals with these subjects so thoroughly and in such terrifying ways before. The final chapters of The Fourth Procedure are utterly heartbreaking. There is a monologue in the book that is one of the most unbearable things I have ever read. No light fluff here, Stan kicks you in the teeth and then some.

After The Fourth Procedure, I figured his next book couldn't possibly live up to the same standard. I was wrong.

His next book, A Slow Burning is just as interesting, though quite different.

From Publishers Weekly - "Pottinger proves he is a master of the art of the medical thriller and a formidable voice in examining American race relations.... this kaleidoscopic thriller is marvelously complex, charged with emotional impact and resounding ethical questions."

His other books, The Final Procedure (also published as "The Last Nazi") and The Boss are also terrific .

Stan Pottinger gets my wholehearted recommendation.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Adventures In Cuba - Mopeds Can't Climb Trees

As promised yesterday, here is the story of what happened to Steve's wife.

I was sitting in the pool when someone came by and said that there had been an accident involving one of the guests. Soon word came in that someone had been involved in a moped crash and had to be taken to the nearby hospital in Pilon. Eventually we found out it was Steve's wife.

The buzz at the hotel was huge. Everyone wanted to know what had happened but no one had details. Finally the hotel nurse was cornered and forced into spilling the beans.

Steve's wife had to be hospitalized due to injuries sustained from being impaled on the branches of a small tree after being thrown from her moped.

Of course, once we found out she was going to be okay, we all started laughing about it. The hotel's mopeds had a top speed of about 40 kph. On level ground. With the wind coming from behind. Getting thrown into a tree by a moped was fairly close to impossible, we reasoned. The rest of the day was spent advancing theories (which grew more outrageous with each drink consumed) as to how she could have possibly ended up in a tree.

We laughed. We mocked. We had no idea that Karma was waiting in the wings for the first schlemiel who dared to sit on a moped.

Of course that schlemiel was me.

I used every weapon in my arsenal to get my family to let me try out a moped. They knew better, especially my mother. Given the amount of time I've spent in the Emergency Room, she knew that allowing me to get on a moped was a recipe for disaster. But I insisted. I knew the danger. I was going to be very careful. Look at what happened to Steve's wife. I'd learned from her hard lesson. I promised to stay away from trees.

So my father and I rented a pair of mopeds and headed down the road to freedom. No helmets, no socks. Just shorts and tee-shirts. Brilliant.

We visited the nearby town of Pilon, driving very safely and everything was fine. We headed back and slowly I started getting confident. It was great. The sun was shining, the ocean was on my right, the Sierra Maestra mountains were on the left. The road was freshly paved and completely devoid of traffic. Oh, did I mention the road was completely flat too? There was no way I could possibly have an accident under those conditions.

Unless of course, I stopped paying attention.

I snapped back to attention at the exact moment my front wheel left the road. I did the one thing you should never do with a two-wheeled vehicle. I over corrected. The moped flipped up on it's front wheel and I went for a brief flight. I remember watching a guy on a horse watch me as I flew headfirst towards the pavement. My left temple and shoulder took the brunt of it at first. Then the moped landed on me and peeled a layer of skin off my leg.

I lay there for a while listening to the surf and the sound of my father's moped put-putting it's way up the road towards me. He yelled and asked me if I was okay, so I sat up and checked. I felt fine. So fine that I brushed the wet hair away from my forehead, allowing the split in my scalp to release the fountain of blood that had been waiting burst forth.

By the time I got back to the hotel I was caked all down my left side with blood. I walked through the lobby to gasps and whispers. I headed down the path towards the pool, where the nurse's station was. My mother was sitting in the shade with her back to me. She didn't even have to turn around. The looks on the faces of the people sitting around her told her the whole story.

She knew. I should have known better too.
Next Post: Hungarian Humour - It's Not Funny Until Someone Dies

Previous Post: Stephen Hawking in Space?

This Just In - Stephen Hawking in Space?

Picture - Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's disease, floats during a zero-gravity flight; an apple, a tribute to Isaac Newton, drifts along with him.

Quote - "It might not seem like a brilliant idea, allowing a frail 65-year-old paralytic to float free from gravity aboard a rising and plunging roller-coaster stunt flight.
But who's to argue with Stephen Hawking?

The celebrated British astrophysicist and black-hole theorist, author of "A Brief History of Time," paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's disease and communicating largely through eye movements, has long wanted to visit outer space. Human survival depends on getting there, he says. An event here Thursday was described as his first improbable step."

I think it's a great idea. Here's a link to the full article.

Next News Post: Dog Owners Fleeced In Poodle Scam

Previous Post: Adventures in Cuba - People Are Funny When They're On Vacation

Friday, April 27, 2007

Adventures In Cuba - People Are Funny When They're On Vacation

Have you ever noticed that ordinary people get a sense of humour when they're on vacation? I met a lot of people in Cuba who were probably boring at home. Take away the stress of work, put a drink in their hand and let the warm sun shine down on them and suddenly they're Jay Leno.

Like Phil, the candy salesman from Ottawa. Boring. But in Cuba, on vacation? A riot. (If you ever meet Phil, do not play Scrabble with him, he will destroy you.) Or the scary German lady who sat at the bar by the pool for the entire two weeks and never left her chair except to go eat breakfast. "Effery-von yust comes heer fur da smokingk, drinkingk und ZEX!" High comedy.

Of all the hundreds of people I met while on vacation in Cuba, none stick in my mind as clearly as Steve. Steve was a roofer, with a permanent sunburn and a great physique. I know this because he only ever wore a pair of khaki shorts and flip flops. Steve stood out for two reasons. He had a really hot wife and a cute little girl, but he talked like a Halifax dress designer. He would say, "Stop!" in the most effeminate way possible. When he talked, he made Nathan Lane look straight.

The other reason was that he always had a cigarette in his mouth. Even while drinking, he would hold the cigarette in one corner of his mouth and drink from the other. While playing volleyball, the cigarette was there. I saw him treading water in the pool once, cigarette dangling. In fact I only saw him without a cigarette in his mouth once.

It was the night of the bats.

There was a long row of trees running beside the middle of the hotel. There was a path between the open hotel hallway and the trees. That's where I found Steve late one night. He was standing on the path, cigarette dangling, beer in one hand and a huge ripe coconut in the other. He was staring up at the trees like he was having a vision of Jesus descending out of the clouds. As I approached he said, "Stop!" So I stood there and waited.

"What's the coconut for, Steve?" I asked.
"There's bats in the trees." he replied, drunkenly.
"Hundreds of them."
"I'm going to prove it." he said, hefting the coconut in his right hand and rearing back for the throw.

Steve must have been a baseball player in a previous life, because I have never seen a coconut fastball fly with more style and accuracy. It hit a huge gnarl near the top of the biggest tree with a loud "Whok!" noise. Everybody heard it and looked up.

The bats heard it too. They woke up and immediately did that echo-location trigonometry thing they do so well. En masse, they attacked the hurler of the offending coconut.

Steve's initial estimate of "hundreds" was so far off, I'm glad he wasn't an accountant. A cloud of bats the size of Texas poured out of the trees and engulfed him. It was an avalanche of black fur and flapping wings and just before they overwhelmed Steve I saw the cigarette fall from his lips. He ducked and covered his head while the bats streamed past, screaming like a little girl one moment and swearing like a sailor the next. The bats filled the path, the hallway, they were everywhere. One lady opened her hotel room door to see what the screaming was about and got a face full of fur for her trouble.

Eventually the bats settled down and flocked back into the tops of the trees to rest. Steve, eyes wide and shaking, slowly reached down and picked up his cigarette. He dusted it off, stuck it back in his mouth and took a long, deep pull.

"Oh my GOD, did you SEE that?" he asked.

I nodded.

"Stop!" he said. "Help me find my coconut?"

I ran.

P.S. Tomorrow I'll tell you what happened to Steve's wife. And what happened to me when I laughed about it. Karma is one mean-spirited bitch.

Next Post: Stephen Hawking In Space?

Previous Post: Drunk Man Rides Horse Into Bank

This Just In - Drunk Man Rides Horse Into Bank

Here's the link.

I don't even have to say anything for it to be funny. Well, OK. I'll give you the picture, how's that?

Quote - "A drunk German horse rider rode into a bank foyer to sleep for the night, after having one too many for the road during a stopover at his local beergarden."

At least he didn't try to blame the Unicorn.
Next Post: Adventures in Cuba - People Are Funny When They're On Vacation

Previous Post: Memories of the Emergency Room

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Memories of the Emergency Room

I spent an awful lot of time in the E.R. at the hospital when I was a kid. I was in there so often one year, they had someone take me aside and ask me what happened, to make sure I wasn't a battered child. I tearfully explained how I had climbed onto my desk and leaped off (I have no idea what I was thinking), gashing my chin. The hospital staff had a good laugh at my expense. All I got was this Harrison Ford chin scar.

I guess it started when I was very young. I had this fascination with my nose. Well, who doesn't at that age. One night when I was just a toddler, my parents and I were going to a Bible Study group in our apartment building. Mom came to check on me and discovered that I had a lump in my nose. Apparently I had shoved an unusually large quantity of toilet paper up my nostril. (I have no idea what I was thinking) The wad was really jammed in there and Mom couldn't get it out in time, so we went to the group anyway.

I sat there, quietly half-humming through my one good nostril. Everything was fine until I suddenly sneezed. The thing in my nose shot out into the middle of the room in plain sight of everyone. It was a huge, glistening clump of decaying paper with a trail going all the way back to my nose. Mom scooped it up and acted like nothing had happened. I escaped a trip to the E.R. that time. But not the next time.

The next time I think it was a pen lid. Up my nose that is. Had to be removed at the E.R. Then there was the time I was walking up the stairs from the basement, holding a plastic curler in my hand, when I slipped and impaled myself in the eyelid. Off to the hospital. Or when I got my first bed, instead of the crib, and I rolled out of it right onto the hardwood floor. Nose first. Back to E.R.

Then there was the time we had a house full of guests and I caught myself in my zipper and... um, maybe I'll just leave that one alone. Let's just say, it went badly.

It's amazing I survived childhood.

Someday when I have children of my own, I just know I'll be sitting in the E.R. waiting area while the hospital staff interrogate my kid and try not to laugh. I'm already prepared for it. It's inevitable.

I'll know who they got it from.
Next Post: Drunk Man Rides Horse Into Bank

Previous Post: Amazing Russian Cake Art

This Just In - Amazing Russian Cake Art

Who doesn't love cake? I could eat cake all day. Mmm cake...

Especially white cake with butter cream icing. (Drool)

Well cake lovers, prepare to be blown away. Every single one of these pictures is a real, fully edible cake, made by Zhanna from St. Petersburg.

Too lazy to click on the link? Ok, I give you... yummy cake!

Next Post: Memories of the Emergency Room

Previous Post: Gino's Pizza - Where the Customer is Sometimes Wrong

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gino's Pizza - Where the Customer is Sometimes Wrong

We have a lot of really wonderful customers at the Gino's Pizza where I work. We know many of them by name. We know their kids, their pets, where they live, what they do for work. We know all this because our boss spends more time chatting with the customers than he does working. He's the boss, he can do what he likes. And he likes getting to know the customers.

But not all our customers are good ones.

There's the funny ones, like the fellow who called one night and asked, "Do you guys have like, subs?" We told him no. We're Gino's Pizza. We make pizza. So he asked, "Oh, well do you guys have like, burgers?" We told him no. We're Gino's Pizza. We make pizza. So he asked, "What about like, ribs?" Guess what we told him. So finally he says, "Then what the hell do you have?" We explained the whole 'pizza' thing. He then said, "I hate pizza." and hung up.

Just say no to drugs, kids.

There's the emotional ones, like the lady who came in and ordered our $9.99 large, three item pizza, walk-in special. When her pizza came out she said, "I ordered a large." She points to the slice tray and says, "I wanted one like this." Well that's our Centurion pizza, twenty inches. We can make you one in a few minutes if you're willing to wait. She says, "I shouldn't have to wait, that's what I ordered and I want it." No ma'am you ordered a large. The industry standard for a large pizza is 14". This is a large. If you want a bigger pizza we'll make one for you, no problem.

She asked how much for a 20". We told her. She started yelling, "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Every other pizza place if you order a large you get a large but here you get NOTHING. You pay and you get NOTHING. OH MY GOD!" Eventually she made her way out to the parking lot, where we could still hear her screaming, "OH MY GOD!"

It's just a pizza, lady. Please calm down.

But the worst of the worst are the ones who can't do math. This lady ordered a large one-topping pizza. We had a special at the time on a medium one-topping pizza for 6.99 plus tax. The boss accidentally charged her only $7.96. The boss' wife compounded the error by giving the lady $13.04 change from a twenty, instead of the correct $12.04. So we undercharged her and gave her a dollar extra back in her change, nice and simple right?

She comes back to the till and tells us that the woman charged her the wrong price. She puts $13.04 on the counter and says, "She charged me seventeen dollars for a large pizza." We scratched our heads. We showed her using the calculator that $20.00 minus $13.04 is $6.96. We explained that the boss' wife accidentally charged her for a medium instead of a large and gave her an extra dollar back in her change. We told her to keep the extra change and not to worry about having been undercharged. She said, "NO, you owe me ten dollars!" We explained it to her again. She got really upset.

Eventually she demanded her money back. We said fine. We gave her a twenty back, took the $13.04 and told her to keep the pizza anyway. She refused and continued to rant. She demanded that we admit we were wrong. We showed her again, on the calculator, that she was mistaken.

She shouted, "Don't give me that calculator $#!%, I know what I'm talking about, I'M AN ACCOUNTANT!"

We have a lot of really wonderful customers at the Gino's Pizza where I work.
Don't miss today's feature article: "What's so Funny?"

This Just In - Popular Fiction Goes Public

Next Post: Amazing Russian Cake Art

Previous Post: The Idiot Test

Popular Fiction Goes Public

It's new, it's improved, it's 'Popular Fiction'.

'Popular Fiction' is a daily humour blog written by T. D. Fuhringer, covering such diverse topics as Adventures In Cuba - When Water Skiing Kills or
The Beer Store. It's Where the Beers Are and even Golf - Jerry Lewis Style.

'Popular Fiction' also includes fun news items, reviews of authors and their books, and will soon include monthly feature articles about humour, writing and of course, popular fiction.

'Popular Fiction' is a Safe For Work site and is generally family friendly, with only occasional mild language for comedic purposes. Everyone is welcome.

Thanks for reading, I hope you all enjoy it!
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What's So Funny?

If this is a humour blog, why is it called 'Popular Fiction'?

What's so funny about popular fiction? Nothing really. The title is actually a play on words. I believe that truth is stranger (and more funny) than fiction. The humour articles I post here are all true stories, not fiction. I believe that funny stories are popular. It's my hope that the humour articles I post here will all be popular too (and funny). Also I don't expect my readers to believe that these stories are true, since they are often so outrageous that no one can believe them. But that's half of what makes them funny. Part of you wants to believe that what you're reading is true, which makes it funny. Part of you wants to believe that what you're reading is fiction, so it's OK to laugh, which also makes it funny.

Now do you see why I called my humour blog, 'Popular Fiction'?

There is a second reason too. My favorite thing to read is popular fiction. It's also my favorite thing to write. To me, popular fiction should entertain the reader; teaching the reader something is secondary. To me, literature should teach the reader something; entertainment is secondary. That's my opinion. I don't claim to truly understand the difference between popular fiction and literature, I'm just saying that I enjoy reading popular fiction a lot more than I enjoy reading literature. So books that are considered popular fiction are of great interest to me.

So, what can a regular reader of "Popular Fiction", the blog expect?

Humour Articles: Every day I will post a new humour article. Hopefully you'll find it funny, or at least entertaining. Subjects will include my family, mishaps on family vacations, accidents, moments of stupidity, moments of brilliance and other incidents from my life (and the lives of my friends and family) that I find funny.

News Items: These short posts, called "This Just In" are in no way breaking news. They are trivial and often silly. They are my attempt to sift through all the bad news and find something funny or interesting, that's not too heavy or thought-provoking. I will link to the original articles whenever possible. If I don't find something funny or amusing on any given day, then there won't be a "This Just In" post.

Author Reviews: These (hopefully) weekly articles will feature a review of a single author and his or her body of work, rather than a single book. I will explain exactly what it is I like about the author's work, which books I particularly enjoyed and where the reader should begin if they've never read the author's books before.

Where to start? The main page features today's humour post.

Or you could start at the beginning, with my first post
"Truth is Stranger than Fiction".

Wherever you start, I hope you enjoy what you read.

Welcome to "Popular Fiction"!
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Feature Articles Index

Here is the complete list of every Feature Article, listed by title. Feature articles appear MONTHLY. More feature articles will be coming soon!

April: What's So Funny?

May: Your First Month as a Blogger

Go Back to the Main Page

News Items Index

Here is the complete list of every "This Just In" post, listed by month and title for your conveniece. "This Just In" is posted whenever I find something I find something I feel like sharing.

April 2007

Inappropriate Furniture Colors
Silent Roller Coaster
I Want My Grant Money
Woman of My Dreams
Roller Coaster House Prices
One Million Miles
Faster than a Speeding Raccoon
Will Ferrell's "The Landlord"
He's Fred Thompson, You're Nothing
Google Maps get a Sense of Humour
How Not to Beat a Traffic Ticket
Lucky Dog Saves Own Life
The Idiot Test
Popular Fiction Goes Public
Amazing Russian Cake Art
Drunk Man Rides Horse Into Bank
Stephen Hawking In Space?
Dog Owners Fleeced In Poodle Scam
I Need Your Help

May 2007

Videos of Water Flash Frezing
Popular Fiction Hits 100 Visitors
Found 20 Light Years Away: The New Earth
Popular Fiction Hits Technorati Top 100,000

June 2007

Vote For May's Post of the Month bots have no sense of humour
Best Thrill Ride Ever
"We Don't Know What Ignited The Fire" Police Said

July 2007

You Think You're Tough?

August 2007

Good Thing They Have Flippers Not Hands
The Most Fascinating Thing I've Heard This Century

Go Back to the Main Page

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Just In - The Idiot Test

This goofy thing is making the rounds these days. If you're looking for something to kill ten minutes instead of actually working, try it!

The Idiot Test

What rating did you get?
This even goofier bit of video shows what happens when people with way too much time on their hands take a cool idea to the extreme. I can't stop watching. It's awesome, yet deeply nerdy.

The Real Transformers

I wish I had thought of that when I was younger.
And finally, a note to people like "Your First Critic" who commented on yesterday's This Just In. This feature is simply a bit of fun for us A.D.D. types before the main course. If you look very carefully, you'll see that UNDERNEATH every "This Just In" is the day's humour article. "This Just In" is a bonus. "Author Reviews" is a bonus. Next month's "Feature Articles" will be a bonus. The daily humour articles are and always will be the main feature of this site. Enjoy!
Next Post: Gino's Pizza - Where the Customer is Sometimes Wrong

Previous Post: I'm Turning Into My Father

I'm Turning Into My Father

I guess it was inevitable.

Dad had knee surgery, and he's overweight, so he stoops when he walks. This means that on average, between two and four inches of upper butt area is exposed above the pant line. In the family, we're somewhat used to this. In public, he does draw a few stares. "Say no to crack!" is frequently heard at our house.

So I was at work this past weekend, and the young pregnant lady I wrote about earlier says to me, "I can see your underwear." I froze. I felt behind me and sure enough, the top inch of my FTL's was riding up over my pant line. (Yes, my underwear is Faster Than Light.) My first thought was, "My God, I'm turning into my father."

Well at least I don't leave goofy notes around for people to find and be puzzled by. One time My mother and I came home and Dad was out, but he'd left us a note. The note said, "Frodo did not pup." It took us a minute to figure out that "pup" was Dad's Hungarian-English way of saying "poop". I guess he felt it was important enough to leave us a note. A warning of sorts. Goodness knows that Frodo's dancing at the door and whining wasn't enough of a clue.

So last night and today I've been having ISP problems. I finally got connected to the Internet and got my security manager re-installed and I decided to run a virus scan. I left the PC doing it's thing while I left to take Dad down to the hospital for some routine tests. I didn't want Mom to use the PC while I was gone so I wrote, "NO!" on a napkin and hung it over the monitor. I figured that wasn't enough so a I made a paper tent over the keyboard that said, "I said NO!"

It hit me later. Yep, I'm turning into my father.

One time, Dad came home from work really tired and he never bothered to put on pants after he'd gotten out of his overalls. So he's making spaghetti in a tee-shirt and underwear. He gets his spaghetti on the plate, all piled up with awesome meat sauce. He's got a can of beer in his other hand. He carries everything downstairs to sit in front of the TV and vegetate. He went to plop into his La-Z-Boy chair when the footrest popped open and knocked his legs out from under him.

It was spectacular. His beer can hit the floor and erupted, firing a white plume of foam up all over everything. He landed in a prone position, perfectly poised beneath the falling plate of spaghetti. The entire plateful of noodles and meat sauce slid off the plate directly into his lap. Of course he shouted, "Whoa Crap!"

It was grand.

So I'm in the kitchen the other day, too lazy to put on pants after I'd gotten out of my work clothes and I'm cooking bacon... I bet you can guess what happened.

Yeah, I'm definitely turning into my father.

P.S. Hot bacon hurts. Especially when it hits sensitive areas. Don't ever let it happen. Just don't.
Next Post: The Idiot Test

Previous Post: Lucky Dog Saves Own Life

Monday, April 23, 2007

This Just In - Lucky Dog Saves Own Life

Sometimes stories do have a happy ending.

Lucky Dog Saves Her Own Life

Quote - "A clever canine in Missouri took quick action to save her own life, right when she was about to be euthanized."

Check out the great video.

Sometimes stories don't have an ending at all.

Ghost Ship Found Off Coast of Australia

Quote - "A 40-foot catamaran found drifting off Australia's Great Barrier Reef had its sails up, engines running and food on the table, but no crew, officials said Friday after launching a massive search for the missing men."

Downright creepy.
Next Post: I'm Turning Into My Father

Previous Post: Adventures in Cuba - When in Doubt, Pee on Your Leg

Adventures in Cuba - When in Doubt, Pee on Your Leg

I eventually went back to the same island in Cuba where I suffered my water skiing tragedy. It was called "Cayo Blanco" and they had several other activities there that didn't involve pain and humiliation. Like snorkeling. Perfectly safe, no danger whatsoever. I'd been snorkeling many times before and the worst injury I'd sustained was a sunburn. I figured it would be a breeze.

I made it six feet into water before it went badly. I didn't even have time to put on my mask and flippers. I was in less than a foot of water, minding my own business when something bit my ankle. I screamed like a girl.

As soon as I'd calmed down and remembered that sharks generally don't swim in one foot of very warm water, I examined my leg. I had a small, black hole in the back of my ankle with what looked like a long piece of pencil lead stuck in it. I hobbled back to the bar, which doubled as a first aid station and showed the staff my foot.

Turns out I'd been stung by a Sea Urchin. Specifically a Caribbean Diadema Antillarum, and although the spines are not venomous, the stinging goop on the pedicellariae hurts like hell if it happens to get jammed into the back of your foot. The Cubans had a good laugh at my expense. Then it got a little weird.

My Spanish was limited to "Donda esta la piscina?" and "Una bocadito de jamon y queso, por favor." Oh and who could forget the most important "Una cerveza por favor!" So I thought that maybe, just maybe I was hearing wrong when they told me I needed to pee on my leg. They explained, between giggles, that human urine acts as an anti-venom and if I urinated onto the back of my foot, the pain would go away.

It took me quite a while to accept this, and as I stumbled off into the palm trees for privacy, carrying an empty cola bottle to collect the anti-venom, I wondered if they were still laughing at me. But it hurt, so I tried it. I filled the bottle and then slowly poured it's contents onto my ankle.

It was a miracle. The pain disappeared. I couldn't believe it. Yay urine!

I asked my doctor later when I got home and he explained that there are conflicting views as to the efficacy of urine for treating urchin stings. At best, the ammonia may help neutralize the venom, but it does nothing to help remove the embedded stinger.

For future note, the correct treatment for a sea urchin sting is immersion in hot water and surgical removal of the spines.

Or you could stand there like an idiot and pee on your leg.
Next Post: Lucky Dog Saves Own Life

Previous Post: Portrait of the Artist as a Baby

Humour Posts Index

Looking for a favorite story? Here is a convenient list with links to every single humour post, by month and title, from the beginning. Humour articles are posted DAILY.

April 2007

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
Do You Have Poop in Your Bed?
When the Crazy Person on the Bus is You
Come On Baby, Do the Grandpa Shuffle
When Bad Things Happen to Good Toys
I'm Sorry, I Can't Understand You
The Beer Store. It's Where the Beers Are
When Your Client is a Crack-Smoking Retard
The Worst Client Ever
A Roll of the Dice
Golf - Jerry Lewis Style
It All Depends on How You Define Success
Timing is Everything
It's Hard to Believe We Survived Childhood
What Are You, Pregnant?
The Great Explosion of '82
Adventures in Cuba - When Water Skiing Kills
Indecent Exposure in the Hospital Cafeteria
Portrait of the Artist as a Baby
Adventures In Cuba - When in Doubt, Pee on Your Leg
I'm Turning Into My Father
Gino's Pizza - Where the Customer is Sometimes Wrong
Memories of the Emergency Room
Adventures In Cuba - People Are Funny When They're On Vacation
Adventures In Cuba - Mopeds Can't Climb Trees
Hungarian Humour - It's Not Funny Until Someone Dies
Hot Coffee at Twenty Below

May 2007

I Thought I Had The Radiation Sickness
It's Not On My Resume But I Am a Skilled Pyromaniac
Nothings Wrong, I'm Just Watering The Patio
The Conclusion of the Fire Trilogy (For Now)
They Don't Call it the Chemistry "Final" For Nothing
If I Could Talk to the Animals
Electricity is Dangerous - Shocking Details Follow
Things That Go "Bonk, Smash, Ouch!" in the Night
The Top Five Fuhringer Family Fishing Trip Disasters
Everybody Wants to be Famous
Pillar of Fire - It Runs in the Family
Adventures in Cuba - The Bus Driver From Hell
I've Got a Rip in My Pants Again
That's Not How We Use Our Crayons
They Called Me "Ink Mouth"
Squirrels Aren't Stupid, They're Just Thrill Seekers
More Squirrel Madness - Indoor Rodent Sports
My Dad Could Mess Up 'Shake 'n Bake'
Barbecue Tips For the Insane
Communication - The Keep Two a Shabbly Family Live
Window Cleaning With George - Episode One
Window Cleaning Again, Now With More Golf
Golf - With My Mom
The Only Patch of Ice in the Entire Parking Lot
The Only Banana Peel in the Entire Valley
The Password is 'IMARETARD'
If the Animals Could Talk to Me

June 2007

If Animals Could Talk It Would Be Scary
The Time I Almost Died
The Time I Almost Got Run Over by a Bus
Frodo and the Old Nazi
Excuse Me Sir, There's a Tree in Your Car
Sorry Buddy
Sometimes the Funny Just Isn't There
Roast Beef Is Not For Puppies
Even The Dog Won't Eat It
CIBC Lost My Bank Account
Sales Clerks - Where Do They Get These Guys?

July 2007

It's Canada Day!
I Should Be Having a Rotten Day But I'm Happy
The Worst Smell Ever
The Great Timbit Incident
Window Cleaning: Great In Summer, Horrible In Winter
Kids Do the Funniest Things
Ignorance Is Bliss: Part One of Many
I Soiled My Armour I Was So Scared
My Secret Identity
Running With Geniuses

August 2007

The Worst Thing I've Ever Tasted
Ice Cream, We're Gonna Get Ice Cream!
When Model Railroading Goes Horribly Wrong
What's the Letter that Looks Like a Swiss Chalet?
That Bear Wants to Talk to You

September 2007

What Are The Odds?
Privacy? What's That?
At Least I Didn't Burn the Place Down
What I Really Want To Do Is Direct

November 2007

Ginger Snaps

Back to the Main Page

Author Reviews Index

Looking for a new author to enjoy? Here is the complete list of my recommended authors and my reviews of their work. Author reviews are posted WEEKLY.

Stuart Woods - Why can I recommend Stuart Woods? His books are fast-paced and easy to read. His characters are likable and competent. His stories have just the right balance of suspense, drama, dialogue and humour.

Gregg Hurwitz - Why do I recommend Gregg Hurwitz? His novels are action-packed, emotionally engaging and riveting. His characters are rich and believable, and his plots don't insult the reader's intelligence. Gregg Hurwitz sets a new standard for suspense fiction.

Stan Pottinger - Why do I recommend Stan Pottinger? Simply put, his books are terrifying. Stan Pottinger knows how to shock, create dread, incite horror and twist the plot, all at the same time. His books aren't quite as pretzel-twisty as say, Harlan Coben (who I will review soon) but you will be surprised at the turns his stories take.

Back to the Main Page

Blogs of Note

Looking for fresh and exciting new blogs to enjoy? Here is a list of my favorite blogs and why I enjoy reading them.

Dubious Quality - Bill Harris reports on the PC and Console games industry, posts links to very cool science and technology news, and tells terrific stories about his son, Eli 5.8 and his wife Gloria. Dubious Quality is informative and fun. It's my favorite overall blog.

Pork Tornado - Dusty Scott tells the most outrageous stories about his life. Dusty's stories never fail to be hilarious and are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. It's my favorite humour blog. My only wish is that he would post more often, but when he does post, it's comedy gold.

My Mother Has a Lit Blog
Mom's blog includes logs of her reading of fiction literature, mostly contemporary, and brief reviews and suggestions for good books. Her blog is spoiler free. You can check it out here: Posthumouse's Lit Blog

Other Blogs of Note:

The Bookworm Blogger
Curious Business
Twenty Sided - Home of the DM of the Rings Webcomic
Carrying Contraption - an entire blog about handbags... brilliant!
Chess Strategies 101 - great for chess noobs like myself
Rock Ocean
Sports Buzz
Hatchiko - Tech News Worthy!
What U Did Today
Scotty's Boutique
Pollution and Its Effect on the Environment
Prethi Kulkarni
sean's Xanga site
TV Shows from TV Addicts
Jerry Kobylt
Covers and Covers
Blogging From St. Louis
Rags To Race Cars
Blog Hints

Go Back to the Main Page

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Portrait of the Artist as a Baby

Even as a baby I insisted on telling stories in my own unique way.

We were driving in the car, probably the green Mercury Marquis and I was staring out the windshield with a big grin on my face.

"Sign!" I said. Over and over again, "Sign!" Even when there were no signs. My parents were beginning to wonder if I was retarded so they asked me to point to the sign that had me so excited. I pointed at the hood of the car. They explained that there was no sign on the hood of the car. I insisted there was. It took a while but eventually they got it. I was pointing at the sunshine reflecting off the hood of the car. Of course, being my father's son I was mispronouncing "shine" as "sign".

It was my first step towards dysfunctional communication, but not my last.

One day I was sitting in my high chair, pointing at the milk and saying, "Moon!" They knew what I wanted, but I insisted on calling it "moon." So they waited. Eventually frustration won out and I calmly and clearly said, "Milk!" So they gave it to me. But in my heart, it was still "moon".

Later I turned to more abstract forms of communication that were harder to ignore. One day my parents woke up to silence. This alarmed them, since I usually started my day by standing in my crib and screaming, "Hey Dad!" as loudly as possible. Silence meant something was wrong. They raced into my room, and found me calmly and quietly redecorating my crib. There were animals on the headboard of my "early 1970's green" crib and it seems I had decided they needed to be re-interpreted. Of course, I used the only malleable and adhesive medium I could find.

I used the contents of my diapers.

I showed off my masterpiece, pointing to each animal in it's new brown splendor and my re-imagining of it. I have no idea what I was thinking, but at the time, I was proud of my efforts. A little Monet or Dali in the making. My very own Sistine Chapel ceiling in digested applesauce, pureed carrots and mushy peas. I was stoked.

My parents were not amused.

Next Post: Adventures in Cuba - When in Doubt, Pee on Your Leg

Previous Post: Indecent Exposure in the Hospital Cafeteria

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Indecent Exposure in the Hospital Cafeteria

I used to work at a hospital as a security guard. One of the guys I worked with was named Mel. One time when we were working the night shift together, he asked who was in charge of organizing an upcoming event. I told him, and his reply was, "What? Those two foul-ups couldn't successfully organize a two-cart parade!" Classic.

So one time Mel and I were sitting around between patrols, filling out paperwork. We got a call for assistance. The switchboard operator told us there was a report of someone exposing themselves in the cafeteria. Mel and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. We had no choice but to respond.

We arrived in the cafeteria to find Hugh, a very tall, very loud patient from the psych ward arguing with a very small, very quiet cafeteria lady who looked like she was long past ready to go home.

We talked Hugh down for a minute and got him to step out of the cafeteria. He was very upset. He explained that he hadn't been able to find a washroom anywhere in or near the cafeteria, so he'd unzipped his pants and tried to urinate against the cafeteria wall. Apparently the bad cafeteria lady stopped him.

How dare she?

We explained that he wasn't allowed to pee in the cafeteria and would have to go up one floor to the public washrooms or else use the washroom back at the ward. He complained loudly that it was insane for the hospital to have no public washrooms anywhere on the same level as the cafeteria. We told him he was right, it was insane. He demanded that we tell administration to build some urinals against one wall of the cafeteria. We told him that we would dutifully note his suggestion in our logs but that administration was unlikely to see his point of view anytime soon.

We got Hugh back to his ward and the cafeteria was safe, for a while.

It was a great job. Me and Mel, protecting the walls of the cafeteria against pee.

Yeah, a great job. I really miss it.
Next Post: Portrait of the Artist as a Baby

Previous Post: Adventures in Cuba - When Water Skiing Kills

Friday, April 20, 2007

Adventures in Cuba - When Water Skiing Kills

Did you know it's possible to suffer a friction injury from water? Did you know it can be as painful as a bad sunburn? If I had known these things I may never have experienced my first and final water skiing attempt.

I've been to Cuba on vacation so many times I've lost count. (You'll hear many Cuba stories over the next few months.) One time in Cuba, I decided to try water skiing for the first time. Keep in mind that I was a weak, overweight couch potato then. (Now I'm a stronger, overweight couch potato... sigh.) I had no idea how bad it was going to be.

I got into the skis, into my life jacket, into the water and got my hands wrapped around the handle nice and tight. Oh boy was I ready for fun. Gonna water ski, yeah! Gonna go fast, woo! Let's get this show on the OW GOD THAT HURTS. The guys in the boat started moving and the handle ripped out of my hands, taking skin with it. Ok, why did that happen?

They started shouting at me to push with my legs and lift my butt out of the water. Oh. Ha ha, thanks for telling me that before, when I still had skin on my hands. Ok lifting with my legs, butt sort of higher in the water, we're good to go, let's get this show on the OH GOD MY FACE. I didn't know it was possible to aquaplane using your face, but now I know. My nose made an excellent rudder.

I rode face-first for a while, just long enough to swallow what felt like six gallons of seawater, a barracuda, a rusty tin can and half a jellyfish. What? No. I'm ok just let me throw up for a second. No no, I'll be fine. It's all good. Legs lifting, butt up, hands on the handle ready for action, let's get this show on the OH GOD THE PAIN.

Apparently, at high enough speeds, seawater can abrade the skin of one's sensitive areas. The entire ocean funneled up the legs of my shorts, and out the waistband, sending a fan-like plume of white spray several meters into the air. My shorts and their contents did not enjoy the experience.

By that point I was tired, sore and weakened. I should have stopped. The guys in the boat should have made me stop. But oh no. I was bent on having fun. Gonna water ski, yeah! So we tried again. I managed to stay in a semi-correct position just long enough for one of my skis to come off. I went into the water and the ski went flying. Hey guys, do you see where my ski went? It's gotta be OH OW MY HEAD! How it's possible to lose your water ski then be hit on the head with it several seconds later, I had no idea. I had a concussion, but no idea.

I decided to give it one more try. I got my ski back on. I lifted with my legs, got my butt up, got my hands around the handle and then they hit the throttle so hard, I actually flew. I wasn't water skiing, I was water flying. Of course, it ended badly.

I don't know what the odds are against impaling yourself in the rectum with your own water ski, but oh boy did I ever beat the odds that time.

Thank god I hadn't tried skydiving.
Next Post: Indecent Exposure in the Hospital Cafeteria

Previous Post: How Not to Beat a Traffic Ticket

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This Just In - How Not to Beat a Traffic Ticket

This one is from last month, but some stories are so good, they become classics the moment they happen, and we get to laugh and point at them forever after.

Today I'm going to give you a bit of free legal advice. If you get pulled over and decide to beat the traffic ticket by sliding over to the passenger seat and claiming that someone else was driving... it will go better for you if you claim that a real human being was driving, rather than claiming it was a unicorn.

You couldn't make something like this up.

Quote - "A man told police not to blame him for crashing his truck into a light post, it was that unicorn behind the wheel."

Maybe the elves can come up with his bail.
Next Post: Adventures in Cuba - When Water Skiing Kills

Previous Post: The Great Explosion of '82

The Great Explosion of '82

If you have a weak stomach, you might want to sit this one out.

I was in grade five at the time, my teacher was Mr. Weldon. (Yeah, we punned his name pretty much every day.) Mr. Weldon's class was in one of those crappy green portables, sitting at the far end of the school property by the baseball diamond. We came back from lunch hour and jammed ourselves into the hot, tiny portable. The desks were arranged in groups of five. I sat with Steve, Dawn, Brent and Waleed.

Waleed sat in the off desk, the one facing the other four. This was either the worst possible seating choice (considering what was coming) or the coolest, depending on your point of view. Steve and Dawn were closest to Walleed, Brent and I were farthest away.

Everything was fine until Waleed said, "I don't feel so good."

Mr. Weldon stopped the lesson and talked with Walleed for a minute. Waleed decided he didn't need to see the school nurse and Mr. Weldon had us prop open the portable doors to get some fresh air inside. Problem solved. Back to learning.

I have no idea what Mr. Weldon's lesson for us was that day because I was fearfully watching Waleed as his face got paler and greener. This was unusual since he had dark middle eastern features. Pale just doesn't happen when you're brown. But he got paler, and greener. His eyes drooped, he started breathing heavy. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead and arms.

Steve spoke up. "Mr. Weldon, Waleed looks really bad."

Walleed let out a sad whimper. Mr. Weldon started moving toward our tables. Steve started to lean back.

Walleed erupted. Linda Blair had nothing on Waleed, nothing. It was thick, red and full of chunks. Walleed had eaten pizza for lunch. (I was unable to eat pizza for several years after the incident.) Walled had apparently eaten all the pizza by himself because it just kept coming. Steve's white tee-shirt was no longer white. Dawn got the worst of it, with chunks of undigested pepperoni in her long black hair. Brent shot out of his seat and out the back door so fast we never saw him move. I just sat and stared in awe at Waleed, the human volcano.

When the avalanche was over, everything on our desks was ruined. Dawn lived nearby so she got to go home and clean up. The rest of us hung out on the baseball diamond while the janitor sanitized the portable and Waleed's parents came and took their freshly purged son home.

I have never seen anything like it since. I hope I never do. Once was enough.
Next Post: How Not to Beat a Traffic Ticket

Previous Post: Google Maps Get A Sense of Humour

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This Just In - Google Maps Get a Sense of Humor

If you've never seen this before, you so have to try it. Get directions from New York to Paris at Google Maps and hilarity ensues.

1) Go to Google

2) Click "Maps"

3) Click "Get Directions" (third item under the search bar)

4) Type "New York" into the start address box

5) Type "Paris" into the end address box

6) Click "Get Directions"

7) Scroll down to direction #24

Somebody at Google Maps has a sense of humour I guess. That's all I'm going to say.
Yesterday I was housesitting for my Aunt Mary and my cousin James brought me over some lunch from Wendy's. He comes into the upstairs office and since he is clinically incapable of entering any environment without changing it, he just had to fiddle with the blinds. Of course one of the blinds came down and wouldn't go back up. I told him he'd better fix it before Mary got back and he says, "What are you going to do if I don't. Put it in your blog?"

My new threat. Do anything stupid and I'll put it in my blog. He envisioned a family dinner where everyone was afraid to speak because no one wanted to be the one who ended up in my blog. Ha ha! Now I have real power...
Next Post: The Great Explosion of '82

Previous Post: What Are You, Pregnant?

What Are You, Pregnant?

I work with a young lady at Gino's Pizza who is quite pregnant. I was cutting the pizzas coming out of the oven and in case you've never done it, standing over a hot pizza straight out of the oven and cutting it is an assault on the senses. Every once in a while a pizza comes out that smells so good, you have to stop and tell everybody to come over and smell it. I'm not kidding, you wouldn't believe how good (or how bad) some pizzas smell when they're 600 degrees.

So I pulled this amazing Bacon Cheeseburger pizza out of the oven. Bacon, Beef and Cheddar all hot and bubbling. As I start cutting, the young lady walks by and I show her the pizza. She starts drooling and moaning and then says, "That would be so awesome with pickles on it."

I said, "What are you, pregnant?"

Apparently the whole schtick about craving pickles and ice cream when you're pregnant is not a myth. She was deadly serious about wanting pickles on that pizza. If the customer hadn't been standing there I think she would have started chowing down right then.

Another time, said young pregnant lady is standing at the back, drinking a coffee and looking like she can't remember what planet she's on or why the hell she's so uncomfortable. So I walk up and ask if she needs anything.

She says, "Do you know how to... like... do the beans? At the place?"

She looks at me like she's just asked God, "What is the Purpose of Life?" for a few seconds until she realizes what she said. Then she turns red and starts giggling.

"Let me make sure I have this right." I said. "Do I know how." More giggles. "To like do the beans." Laughter. "At the place." Outright howling.

"Stop or I'll pee!" she cried. I didn't stop.

Apparently when you're pregnant it becomes harder to control your bladder. This was new to me, but it made sense when I thought about it. Lesson learned.

Oh yeah, for the record. I do know how to, like... do the beans, at the place.
Next Post: Google Maps Get a Sense of Humour

Previous Post: This Just In - Episode 9

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Just In - "He's Fred Thompson, You're Nothing"

I remember Fred Thompson as a great character actor in movies like The Hunt For Red October and Die Hard 2: Die Harder. It seems that now he's a candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. But don't worry, I'm not going to talk politics here, I'm just reminding you who he is so I can link you to something funny about him. (This blog is a politics-free zone, just FYI)

IMAO has posted These "facts" about Fred Thompson and some of them are quite funny. The March 17th post, a the bottom of the page is my favorite.

"He's Fred Thompson, You're Nothing".

"Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced "nuclear" correctly."

"The reason Fred Thompson didn't want to stay in the Senate for long is because all the extra scrutiny kept him from doing his favorite hobby: Prowling the streets at night killing drug dealers."

Next Post: What Are You, Pregnant?

Previous Post: It's Hard to Believe we Survived Childhood

It's Hard to Believe we Survived Childhood

What amazes me most about my memories of being a kid is that none of us died.

I lived next to a dead-end once, where all the neighborhood kids played. Where the street ended, the fields and trees began. It was great. We lived on one corner of the street and the Topazoglu's lived on the other corner. Turkish-Canadian family, good people. They had two kids, Greg and Leia.

We spent an alarming amount of our time building elaborate deathtraps out of scrap metal, jagged wood and crumbling concrete blocks. When these unholy constructs were complete, we amused ourselves by riding our bikes through them and trying not to die. They usually involved ramps and jumps, obstacles and traps. We were nuts.

Of course, every time we finished one of these shrines of evil, someone had to be the first to test it. You know, to see if it "worked". So we needed a brave, fearless test subject, willing to face the onslaught.

Little Greg Topazoglu was our answer to Chuck Yeager.

He would show up on his small orange bike and stare at the horror. We used every trick in the book to convince him that it was an honour to be the very first person to run the gauntlet, to experience the danger. He usually cried and said, "Leee-iaa! I'm scaaared." That didn't stop him though. Eventually we bullied, cajoled or bribed him into taking the first shot.

He was so determined, legs pumping madly, sweaty hands tight on the handlebars, barreling headlong into assured destruction. He'd hit the first ramp and it would be glorious, for about two seconds. Then it would go badly. He usually ended up smashing into, crashing against or flipping over some obstacle. He'd go down in a windmill of limbs and tires.

This was usually followed by an awful silence, during which we prayed, "Please God, let him not be dead. If he is, Mr. Topazoglu will kill us." Then the crying would begin and we'd all breathe a sigh of relief.

We'd adjust the obstacle course, making it less dangerous and then ride through it ourselves. It was grand. Little Greg Topazoglu was our hero, our crash test dummy, the human sacrifice, so that we might live to cause mayhem yet another day.

Thanks, Greg. It wouldn't have been half as fun without you.
Next Post: This Just In - Episode 9

Previous Post: This Just In - Episode 8

Monday, April 16, 2007

This Just In - Will Ferrell's "The Landlord"

I don't generally enjoy Will Ferrell but this is comedy GOLD.

The Landlord (possibly NSFW)

It's not funny until Pearl shows up, then it becomes one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

That's all I'm going to say.
Next Post: It's Hard to Believe We Survived Childhood

Previous Post: Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything.

Yesterday my friend Paul was driving me home. His wife was in front of me. I was in the back. Paul was really tired, having driven to London, Ontario and back home again, twice. We were on the highway, just before the exit towards my house.

Paul says, "Are we giving you a lift or are you walking?"

His wife collapsed in a giggle fit. It was only funny though, because I was already in the car and he was already driving me home. If he'd asked at a different time, it might not have been funny. Well it would have been funny if he'd asked me that back in London but then it would have been a different kind of funny.

It just illustrates how humour is so dependant on timing. My friend Jay, who I saw yesterday has an almost perfect sense of comic timing. Listening to him tell a funny story is like listening to someone playing Paganini on a Stradivarius.

We were sitting in Tim Horton's one time. Myself, Paul, Jay and Derek were at the table. Derek was the only blonde at the table. Keep that in mind. Someone we knew came over and told us a joke. I don't remember who it was, just one of the guys we knew from another table. The joke went like this.

"So a blind man walks into a bar and after ordering, he says the the bartender, 'Hey, you want to hear a blonde joke?' The bartender replies, 'Well, before you tell your joke you should know that I'm a blonde. The guy sitting next to you at the bar is a blonde. The two guys at the table behind you are blondes and the bouncer at the door is a blonde. You still want to tell your blonde joke?' The blind guys makes a disgusted face and say to the bartender...

'Nah. I wouldn't want to have to explain it five times.'"

We chuckled politely and then Jay turned to Derek (who was smiling but not laughing) and begins to explain,

"You see Derek, they're all blondes..."

We lost it. The joke wasn't that funny, but Jay's perfectly timed sucker punch turned it into something great. We still talk about to this day.

Timing is everything.
Next Post: This Just In - Episode 8

Previous Post: This Just In - Episode 7

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This Just In - Faster than a Speeding Raccoon

This one is a little scary but I promise it turns out okay. Today's item is a link to This Terrifying Video of a sucidal raccoon on Highway 50 in Sacramento, California.

Careful little guy!

It's kind of upsetting how the behaviour of animals is affected in areas of urban development. Especially when they no longer have a natural habitat, and instead live in an entirely artificial one.
For those of us who love speed, trains and cool technology, check out This Amazing Video of a French TGV train breaking the world record for train speed. It managed a speed of 574 Kilometers Per Hour.

I'll just pause a moment to let that sink in.
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It All Depends on How You Define Success

I was talking to a friend yesterday, who told me about a guy he works with. The guy's daughter took her driving test the other day. The father was sure she was going to fail, but she came bounding out of the office with a big smile and said, "I passed, and he only had to grab the steering wheel ONCE!"

She was happy. I guess it all depends on how you define success.

It reminds me of a guy I went to school with. When asked what he wanted to do with his life he said, "I want to lie in the gutter and belch all day." He was clearly saying it to be juvenile but it occurred to me that if that was truly his goal in life, he'd probably end up more successful than people who set their sights higher, and likely happier too.

If I had to pick a simple, easily achieved goal it would be this: I'd like to buy a new suit and NOT damage it the first time I wear it in public. That would make me happy.

My parents bought me a new suit for the occasion of my baptism. For those who are wondering, we don't practise infant baptism, so I was fifteen at the time. The occasion went well and afterward my Aunt Mary had arranged for us to go to dinner at La Bodega. I remember it was fancy, French and cozy. At one point I reached across the table for some reason and shortly afterward I noticed a burning smell. Turns out I had held the sleeve of my suit jacket over one of the candles just long enough to set it on fire. Brilliant.

My Aunt Mary has never taken me back to La Bodega since.

Unfortunately I was merely establishing a long tradition of suit-wrecking. I have caught my suit in a car door. I have ripped my pants pocket out after getting an armrest stuck in it. I have pulled a thread in my suit by brushing up against a brick wall. I have split my pants while bending down to pick up a penny. I have spilled paint, coffee, blood and bleach on my suit.

I'm The Suit Terminator.

Someday I'm going to buy a suit off the rack (I can't fit into off-the-rack suits) and wear it without destroying it. That's my definition of success.

Maybe I'll have a chance at happiness that way.
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

This Just In - One Million Miles

Today's news item is a good one. This News Story is about a Tuscaloosa trucker named Willie Barnes who has logged over one million miles without an accident. Way to go Willie!

Quote - "He's probably got 3 million-plus miles, but all that we can go back and record put him over a million," said Rendy Taylor, president of WTI Transport.

Willie has 18 years of accident free service with his company. It's nice to see him getting some recognition. Usually the smacktards get all the good press.
In honour of yesterday's post A Roll of the Dice, I am posting a link to This Video. It's a machinima parody of a group of goofballs playing Dungeons & Dragons. If you 've ever played D&D or if you have any interest in the subject of tabletop roleplaying games, This Video is considered the funniest D&D parody out there. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might want to go watch something else.

Like CNN.
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Gregg Hurwitz

Why do I recommend Gregg Hurwitz?

His novels are action-packed, emotionally engaging and riveting. His characters are rich and believable, and his plots don't insult the reader's intelligence. Gregg Hurwitz sets a new standard for suspense fiction.

My favorite Gregg Hurwitz novel is also the one the made me angry the most,
The Kill Clause. I have never had such a good time being furious, in a good way. I wasn't mad at the book, but at the awful things that were happening. This book will make you feel and will make you question what justice really is. At the same time it's incredibly entertaining.

Robert Crais (another author I enjoy) said of The Kill Clause, "The Kill Clause is a buzzsaw spiral into the darkness of lawless men hiding within the law and the damage they do in the name of justice. Gregg Hurwitz perfectly realizes the gritty, hair-trigger world of the U.S. Marshal’s elite Arrest Response Team with some of the most intense action scenes I have ever read, counter-pointed beautifully by the heart-wrenching story of a father's horrifying loss. This book is the real deal."

Another terrific Gregg Hurwitz novel is Do No Harm, an explosive rollercoaster ride of a story that raises complex ethical questions, in a shocking and disturbing way. Without giving too much away, here's a section of the blurb on the back of the book.

"...a disturbed man is stalking the Medical Center, and specifically the women who work there. It's up to Dr. Spier to keep the emergency room running smoothly and efficiently, even as his terrified co-workers wonder who might be next. But destiny is about to place him at the very center of a media frenzy that erupts in the wake of the attacks -- when the brutal assailant himself is dragged into the E.R. in handcuffs and placed under Dr. Spier's care…as a patient." (Italics ours.)

Gregg Hurwitz' other novels include a story of a prison escape, an Eco-thriller, an undercover cult infiltration, a biker gang war and a manhunt. Exciting stuff!

His new novel The Crime Writer, will be released on July 19th, 2007.

You can find out more about Gregg Hurwitz at his Official Website.

Gregg Hurwitz gets my wholehearted recommendation.

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Golf - Jerry Lewis Style

Have you ever loved doing something so much, but been so bad at it that you were too embarrassed to tell anybody about it?

Well, I love golf. I love the game, the style, the smell of freshly cut grass and standing in the sun all day long. I love the equipment and the accessories and everything there is to love about golf.

I'm the second worst golf player I've ever known.

My father is the worst. He played once during my life that I know of. After scaring the wild rabbits from their out-of-bounds habitat and clocking our host, Mark in the forehead with a three-iron, Dad hasn't been invited to play golf again. Ever.

My fear that I inherited my father's golf skills was verified a few years ago when I decided to play a bit one summer with my cousin James. First he took me to the driving range where I pulled several amateur moves such as losing my grip on my driver and making the ball spin so hard it flew backwards into the clubhouse. After a few weeks at the driving range I was hopping to try a real round of golf.

James reluctantly took me out to a local club and we played a slow, careful 18 holes. I did pretty badly, somewhere around 150 I think but it was a decent warm-up and I was satisfied I had finally played a full round of golf. Sadly, it would be the last time I ever approached competence on the golf course.

We went out to Glancaster golf and Country Club. The sun was shining, the wind was low and conditions were perfect. I sliced my first tee shot so badly some guy behind us laughed. During my recovery shot I ended up in the water. One hole got so bad it took me 18 strokes to sink the ball. My shots were all over the place, no consistency. One minute I'd fire off a reasonable shot, the next I'd be scrambling. It was a horrific, unholy mess.

I scored 188. I went home in abject shame.

But I wasn't deterred. We were out there the next week, back at Glancaster. Again the sun was shining, the wind was low and the conditions were perfect. Again my shots were all over the place. But I tried very hard and by about halfway through I was certain I was doing better. I hit a couple very sweet recovery shots including a beautiful shot out of the sand right to the pin. I was pumped. I knew my game was still off but I was doing better. I was happy.

We finished and James tallied up my score. He got very quiet for a long time and wouldn't look at me. Finally he turned to me and said, "I want you to keep in mind that your score is technically an improvement." I nodded and braced myself.

I scored 187.

I don't play golf anymore.
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