Archive for April 2008

Super-achieving for a Cup of Coffee…

April 24, 2008

 An extra cup of coffee a day. 

That’s the extra bonus I could end up with this year, if I’m a really, REALLY GOOD little worker bee at the Widget Factory.

It works this way.   Our annual pay raises are pretty much pre-set.   If you do an adequate job, put in your 37.5 hours a week, doing just what’s required, you will earn a “Good” rating in your performance review.   Your pay raise will be something like 5 percent.   (Okay, fair enough.)

But, on the other hand, if you a great job,  bust your butt, and exceed your job description, your performance review could be rated “Excellent”.  And your pay increase will be something like 5 percent, plus another $500. 

So let me get this straight.   You can spend an entire year, putting in overtime, asking for more work, and going above and beyond the call of duty.  And in exchange, you will get a whole five hundred dollars more than someone who only did a so-so job.

You have got to be shitting me.

After taxes, that’s an extra $250 in take-home pay.  Divide that by 200 working days a year, and you get $1.25 a day.  Which just about covers the cost of one cup of coffee from our overpriced cheesy cafeteria.

Hardly seems worth it, does it?

Especially when everything is based on a quota system.  You see, it’s graded on a bell curve, so almost everyone gets rated as “Good” and only very few will ever be rated “Excellent”.

So even if you did invest all that time chaffing the rod and singing the company song, and your poo smelled like oven-fresh cinnamon rolls, you might STILL only end up with a “Good”, because the last “Excellent” was already given out to some Uber-Keener in another department.

Tell you what, Widget Factory.   I’ll work just hard enough to meet my requirements.  No more. No less.   And you can keep your cup of coffee.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s quitting time and the lake is calling.  I have some bass to catch…   



Top Ten Assholes from Cartoons and Comic Strips

April 23, 2008

1.  Margaret Wade (from Dennis the Menace)

I think every kid grew up with a Margaret in their neighborhood. She’s the typical prissy little Mommy’s girl who refuses to play in the sandbox and get her dress dirty, who thinks she’s better than everyone.   Margaret is just too smart for her own good, and doesn’t clue in that everyone resents her arrogant air of superiority.  Yet she seems to be on a perpetual mission to “educate” Dennis the Menace and keep him in line. 

If she had it her way, Dennis would be a little wuss wearing a suit and bow tie, sipping crumpets and tea with her dollies.  I’m glad Dennis doesn’t succumb to this bullshit.   In fact, I’m surprised at how tolerant he is.  

If Dennis was a true seven year old, he’d call her an “idiot stupid head” and push her down into the mud.    And she’d deserve it.   But I got to hand it to Dennis.   Whenever Margaret is lecturing him for the umpteenth time, he usually laughs at her and teases her until she walks off in a huff.    (Attaboy, Dennis!)

I can just picture Margaret as adult:  a corporate professional with a “bitch cut” hairstyle and a grey man-suit with padded shoulders.  A Frigid Ice-Queen in a childless marriage, who drives her P-whipped Mangina  husband to drink (or to another wife).  Or both.

Dennis, stick to my advice.  Stop hanging out with Margaret.   Gina is way cooler.

2.  Caillou

If you’re three years old, you’ll love Caillou.  But if you’re any older than that,  you’ll want to gouge your eyes out whenever you hear the little rug-rat start the cartoon show with his sing-song voice: 

“I’m just a little brat…I shaved the neighbors cat…Mommy medicates me, I’m CAI….YOO”.

Don’t even get me started on what’s wrong with Caillou.  Suffice to say he’s an obnoxious whiny little maggot and his parents are idiots.    The kid deserves a good spanking.  Furthermore, the show is so damned goody-goody, diabetics shouldn’t watch it lest they go into insulin shock. 

If you think I’m being too harsh,  just google “I hate Caillou” and see what you come up with.   There are armies of parents who are forced to watch this drivel with their kids, who despise Caillou even more than I do.   In fact, there’s been so much hatred written against Light-Bulb Head that I don’t even need to elaborate any further. 

On a related note:  can anyone tell me why he’s bald?  Is it because they’re trying to make him cuter?  Or is it because he’s not well?    If it’s the latter, then he might not be long for this world.   We can only hope.

 3. Ash Ketchum (from Pokemon)

I find the whole premise of this cartoon disgusting.   Ash and his friends are supposed to capture and collect wild Pokemon, and “train” them to fight each other.

So let me get this straight.  You capture wild animals (or whatever the F#$@ Pokemon are supposed to be), force them into captivity, where you make them attack each other for your own amusement and self-glorification.    You…assholes!

And the Pokemon do get hurt when they fight.  Of course, Ash and the other “trainers” will feign concern, but do they really care? (After all it’s because of THEM that the Pokemon are fighting in the first place). 

Take away the cartoon aspect of it, and what you have is glorified cock-fighting.    Ash and his cronies are no better than those drug dealers who raise pit bulls to kill each other, and then profit from the winnings. 

Maybe the Pokemon should revolt, and force their cruel “trainers” into a ring, and make THEM fight themselves to the death.   

 Pika, Pika, indeed.

4. The Berenstain Bear Family (except the Dad)

Check out any Berenstain Bears episode, and randomly start your stopwatch.   Count how long it takes before you’re taught a lesson in morality.  You’ll be lucky if 60 seconds go by before you get lectured on sharing or doing homework or telling the truth.    I pity the poor kids who are forced to watch this PC crap.   (…whatever happened to coyotes with falling anvils or cats swallowing dynamite?)

But what’s even more annoying is the anti-male Feminazi agenda of the whole show.   Anytime the Bears needs to solve a problem, it’s Mama Bear to the rescue.  She’s always the wise one who has the answer.   Any time someone in the family is acting like an badly, (i.e. being selfish, lazy, or not doing the housework), it’s usually a male bear.  Often Brother, but mostly Papa.   

The obvious Bear Family Hierarchy goes from Mama > Sister > Brother, ending with Papa on the bottom of the shit-heap.   Instead of being an Apex Predator to be feared by all, Papa is portrayed as a buffoon/idiot.    There is also a trickle-down effect, as Sis often treats her older (and also more stupid) brother the same way.

It also goes beyond the family.  The town plumber and doctor are also women.  (Oh, gee, can you PUH-LEEZE be more obvious about letting us know that women can fill non-traditional job roles?).   The message of the whole show is loud and clear:  Women rule, and men are expendable and/or stupid.

I’d like to see what would happen if Papa suddenly got fed up of being P-whipped, and went berserk and acted like a REAL bear.    In the wild, male grizzlies are known to attack females and kill the cubs.

5.  Richie Rich’s Parents.

Richie Rich isn’t exactly an angel himself.  The comic strip refers to him as the “Poor Little Rich Boy“, but he’s far from anything BUT….He’s just a spoiled rotten little brat who has no concept of money or how lucky he is.   He hangs out with poor kids (Freckles and Pee Wee), who live in a freaking SHACK, but he never helps them.   But I digress here.  If you want a really good rant about Richie Rich, I refer you Things that Suck .

But you cant’ really blame Richie  He’s just a kid, who’s the product of the environment he was raised in.   He really doesn’t know any better.  

But what about his parents?  They’re adults, they SHOULD know better.   They live is such decadent opulence, yet you never see them ever talk about giving money to Africa or trying to curing AIDS.

Bill Gates has a bazillion dollars, but at least he’s been trying to do some good with his money, unlike Richies’ parents.  These two bosons do nothing but lounge around the house all day, with the Father puffing a pipe in his 1940’s smoking jacket, and the Fat-ass Mother lying on a couch covered in diamonds.  As far as I’m concerned, these two are just another bunch of rich selfish bastards who probably gained their wealth by exploiting the third world.

And talk about being an absentee parents.  You might occasionally see Richies’ dad, but most of the time he’s hardly ever there.  Richie’s Mom is ever more absent, to the point that you forget he even HAS a Mom.   And when have you ever seen Richie get a hug from either of them?   

You wonder why his parents even bothered…maybe they needed a pet kid for appearance purposes and got tired of him when the novelty wore off.  Richie ends up getting more parenting from his butler Cadbury than from his own family.   No wonder the kid’s messed up. 

6.  Big Moose

Why they let this abusive retard mingle with the general population in Riverdale High School is beyond me.  

Any time anyone even looks at Moose’s “gurl” Midge, they get the crap beaten out of them.   Yet everyone seems to accept it.  The teachers and parents do nothing to stop it…the kids are afraid to speak out, and Moose gets to continue his reign of terror.    I especially feel sorry for Reggie, who’s been pummeled by Moose so many times you wonder if he has any of this original teeth left. 

As for Midge:  for God’s sake, girl!  Get out of that relationship when you can…unless you want to start wearing sunglasses to school and explaining to people how you “walked into a door”.   

What would happen in real life if a student repeatedly beat up his fellow classmates in public?   He’d be expelled and hauled off to Juvie faster than you can say “duh”.  But not Ol’ Moose.  They just let him go back to class as if nothing happened.

I think Big Moose fell through the cracks of a failed education system.  He was probably one of those “Special Ed” kids who wore a hockey helmet to class and rode the “little bus” to school.   But the teachers probably didn’t know how to handle him, so they kept promoting him to the next grade.  As a result,  you end up with this angry 250 lb. high school senior who can barely read.

I wish Archie and his buddies would pull a Full Metal Jacket  and pin Moose down one night on a bunk bed, and then clobber him with socks filled with bars of soap.   Just to let him know what being beaten up feels like, and that they won’t take his crap anymore.    

What’s in store for Moose as an adult?  I see two options:   cannon fodder in Iraq, or serving 5-10 years in San Quentin for aggravated assault.

7.  Veronica Lodge

Here’s another Prime Asshole from the gang at Riverdale High School that I wish would die.   

Sure, she’s good looking, but not any more so than any of the other girls in the Archie Comics.  (They’re all drawn exactly the same way).   In fact, if you interchanged the heads of Betty and Veronica, you wouldn’t be able to tell the girls apart.

It’s her personality that’s the problem.  Veronica is downright toxic.    When she wants to, she can be sweet as honey, but within seconds, she’ll turn on you like a rattlesnake. I’ve lost count how many times she’s reduced her “best friend” Betty to tears.  

She also uses Archie to make Reggie Jealous, and vice-versa.   And if a third party comes along who’s even more handsome, she’ll take off with him  and leave Archie and Reggie hanging.   She’s just a pure cock-ease, with no interest in ever going steady with any of the boys.     

Not to mention the way she flaunts money in front of her friends.  What an asshole.  She’s stinking rich, yet insists that Archie pay for her dinner tab at the most expensive restaurants in town.   Archie can barely afford to keep his run-down jalopy car on the road, but instead of offering to help pay for a tune-up (or, God Forbid, chip in for gas money), all she does is bitch to him about it.    And how many times do you ever see her offer to treat everyone to ice cream at the Choklit Shoppe?  Zero.   

Daddy Lodge has millions, and that’s probably the only reason the whole town of Riverdale doesn’t ostracize her.   Still, for the love of me, I don’t know why Archie doesn’t tell that stuck-up bitch where to go, and date Betty instead.   Unless he’s a gold-digger, at which I have no pity for him, and he gets what he deserves.

8.  Mr. Dithers

Dithers is Dagwood’s proverbial boss from hell.   He not only constantly puts down poor Dagwood in front of other staff, but he also harasses Dagwood at home at all hours.  Even in last week’s paper, Dithers was looking for Dagwood on the weekend.  He actually BARGED INTO the Bumstead home, uninvited, and cornered Dagwood in the bathroom, who was hanging from the window, trying to hide.   WTF kind of psycho is Dithers? 

Not only that, but Dithers routinely kicks Dagwood’s ass.  Literally.  So there’s physical abuse, on top of the verbal and mental kind.   

Look, I can understand someone tolerating an abusive boss because they’re supporting a family and they need to keep their job.  But as soon as someone lays a single hand on you, sorry, all bets are off.   If any co-worker even tried to pull a stunt like that with me, boss or not, I wouldn’t be held responsible for my actions.

Dagwood.  Dude.    Get some cojones.  Stand up for yourself and smack the old geezer right back.  

And if you’re too henpecked to do that, then at least document all the times Dithers abused you, and get yourself a good lawyer.  Chances are, you have a strong case for harassment in the work place.  You might win a huge settlement, and wont’ have to ever work for that asshole again.

9. Pepe Le Pew

Pepe bugs me on two different levels.   First, the whole cartoon is based on the ONE JOKE.  A cat gets a stripe of white paint spilled on her back.  Pepe mistakes her for a skunk.  Then he spends the whole cartoon following her trying to get amorous.    

Okay.   Hah hah.   Cat is like a skunk.   The skunk wants her.  But she doesn’t want him.  Because he stinks.  He’s a skunk.    Hah hah.  Okay.  I get it.  Next joke, please.   (No, seriously.)  It’s not funny any more.  NEXT JOKE PLEASE….  

Second (and I’m not trying to be Politically Correct here ), but even the most knuckle-dragging Neanderthal can realize that what Pepe is doing is wrong.   It’s pure, blatant sexual harassment.    Pepe, when you give the cat a bear hug, and she kicks you in the face, it means she wants to be left alone.  The cat wants to be LEFT ALONE….LEAVE THE CAT ALONE, ASSHOLE!   

There’s actually one episode where the tables are turned, and the cat chases him, and he’s not too happy about it.    I wish they’d show more of this.    In the mean time, someone needs to file a restraining order against him.

I dont’ think this cartoon should be banned, though.  They should leave it on TV, as a lesson to the younger generation on how stupid people were in the 1950’s to find this one-line joke so funny.

10. The kids in General Mills Cereal commercials

I hated those kids with the Trix cereal, who would never give any to the Rabbit.   “Silly Rabbit…Trix are for kids”.    Yes, if those kids happen to be selfish greedy little bastards who have a whole box of cereal, and can’t spare one lousy bowl to the poor Rabbit.    I swear, there were times the poor Trix Rabbit was almost in tears, yet these little assholes would continue to eat in front of him and gloat about it.  

I wish a parent would come along and see what their precious little darlings were up to.  If I had a kid that pulled crap like this, I’d give him a Timeout until he finished 9th Grade, and he wouldn’t be seeing any Trix for a LONG LONG TIME.  In fact, I’d confiscate part of his allowance to buy some more cereal for the rabbit.

But if you think those kids are bad, what about the disrespectful little shits who keep tying to “Catch Lucky and his Lucky Charms”?  Excuse me, kids.  You don’t just go up to people and take their things.  Those Lucky Charms DON’T BELONG TO YOU.  They’re LUCKY’s.  For Chrissakes, STOP STALKING HIM and trying to steal his cereal.    

Did it ever occur to them to ASK HIM politely?   …Apparently not.   

These kids are lucky (pun intended) that Lucky is so good-natured.   He only uses his magic in a benign manner, such as making a hot-air balloon to escape from his tormentors.   What if he used his magic to lock the little beggars in a cage underground to teach them a lesson?    Or created a T-Rex to attack them, and send them to the hospital?   If I were those kids, I’d back off.  You don’t want to screw with a Leprechaun.


Friar’s Artist Tips: Cheap brushes work just fine.

April 20, 2008

In a typical art supply store, watercolor brushes range in price from $3.00-10.00 for the cheap synthetic ones, to $20.00 (and upwards) for ones made with sable fur.

$50.00…. for stupid BRUSH.  (Yikes!)  Who has the money for THAT? 

When it come to brushes, I’ve learned this is one area you can skimp on.   About 10 years ago, my teacher told me to save my money because the cheap-o brushes work just as well as the premium animal fur variety.   

So that’s what I’ve been buying ever since, and it seems to have worked out okay.   The paintings I’ve posted on this Blog (or sold) were all done with the lowest-priced brushes I could find. 

Plus I’m a “weapon” (i.e. I tend to break and/or lose things).    So if I end up trashing a $4.00 brush, who cares?


Water Color #8: Dempster Highway

April 19, 2008

Road trip to Northern Yukon, around July.


The Friar Versus the GrayHeads: Part II

April 18, 2008


Well, it seems my on-going feud with some of the local seniors is town is slowly fizzling out. Though I seem to have gained my own local Deep Friar Fan Club.

Week 7

The previous week, I had suggested that some stores might want to extend their hours till 5:30.   Well, there was no mention of me in the paper this week.   Nobody wrote in about how I insulted the whole town, or how I should go back to the Big City I don’t like it.   (Gee, I can’t help but feel somewhat neglected.) 

But the town is still buzzing about me.    My buddy said he overheard people discussing my editorial at the post office.  My neighbour said he heard two Mommies debating the issue at the day care.   Not to mention countless people have been approaching me at work, and are continuing to tease me by asking what I think of the Cheezi-Mart this week.  

The best, though, was when I got another long-winded phone message from Hugh McDepends.   Apparently, he spent the last 2-3 weeks driving around town, and took it upon himself to check out all the local businesses and the hours they kept.  He pointed out to me that most hours are, in fact extended to 5:30.    And that I should have done my “homework” before I submitted my last editorial.   (Well, that’s why I said “some” stores…but oh, never mind.)

Apparently (according to Hughie) I’ve really “put my foot into it”  this time….and I was going to catch a “load of crap” from the town.  He also mentionned that he came by my house to see me…but that I was out, and he’d try to get back to me later.  He re-iterated several times that I’d be “catching a lot of crap”. (That’s probably the worst curse word he’s ever been allowed to say)

Great.  So now I have my own senior stalker…

Old Hughie actually DID come by the other day to see me in person.   He seemed harmless enough.   But he was obviously on a MISSION.   He (get this!) apologized to me, because he had wanted to get in touch with me sooner to inform me about the store hours, so that I could properly report the facts, before writing into the paper.  It might have saved me all the “trouble” I got myself into. (Ooohhh..the seniors are mad at me!)  And he hadn’t seen my car for several days,  he was almost worried if I had gotten “driven out of town”.  

You know, some old people have WAY TOO MUCH free time on their hands.

A few more minor incidents.  My old landlord stopped his truck and called out to me on the street.  He thought my letters were hilarious.   Then, even today, as I was lining in the liquor store, someone sarcastically asked me “Are the store hours here long enough for you?”.

Sigh.  Only in Splat Creek.

This town really needs something else to bitch about.  Wonder what else I can write about next?   Hmmm…maybe I could rant about the Seniors getting a discount at the local donut shop.  

But knowing Splat Creek, that might get me shot.

Can you spot the PhD…?

April 17, 2008

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things is not like the other….


Friar’s Artist Tips: Warm Down with a Quickie

April 16, 2008

I’ve ruined too many paintings at the very end by not knowing when stop and take a “Time Out”.

So if you’ve just spent a big chunk of time finicking with a detailed painting, and you find yourself getting tired, my advice is STEP AWAY FROM THE PAINTING.    Back off, and just walk away.

Instead, warm down by quickly doing another small sketch.   Pick a reasonable size (6″ x 8 “) that you can do within 30-40 minutes.  And then just go nuts and let the paint fly.  (Who cares how it turns out?) 

I like to do this towards the end of the art class.   (I find I especially get in the “Zone” in the last 10 minutes, when people are packing up and getting ready to leave.)   It drives some of my classmates nuts.

Here’s an example of one I did in just under 30 minutes:


Try it.  You might surprise yourself.  There are times I found my “Quickie” painting turned out better than my “Serious One”.