Archive for November 2008

World Class…or World ASS?

November 28, 2008



WORLD CLASS companies provide their staff with spacious state-of-the art buildings to work in.

WORLD ASS companies house their employees in rickety old buildings with leaky roofs, that are infested with mice and other critters (Ach der lieber!  Raccoons!)


WORLD CLASS companies have subsidized cafeterias, allowing their staff to buy high-quality meals at a discount.

WORLD ASS companies have cafeterias run by greedy food-service providers that gouge the staff, sometimes charging 50-100% more than grocery store prices.


WORLD CLASS companies regularly hold technical seminars that everyone is encouraged to attend.  It’s considered part of your professional development.

WORLD ASS companies only hold such seminars during lunchtime or after work.   If you want to learn, do it on your own time.


WORLD CLASS companies will fairly award you a pay raise based on your actual performance.

WORLD ASS companies will give everyone basically the same pay raise, regardless of how well they did.


WORLD CLASS companies routinely distribute company trinkets (golf balls, T-shirts, baseball caps, etc.) as freebies.

WORLD ASS companies will allow you to buy this stuff, at a reasonable price.


WORLD CLASS companies encourage charity work, sometimes even awarding paid sabbaticals so employees can take time off work to volunteer.

WORLD ASS companies will hold a charity event during work hours, but tell their staff if they want to participate, they must do it on their own time.


WORD CLASS companies will increase someones’ salary if they’re promoted to a position of increased responsibility.

WORLD ASS companies will promote someone but pay them the same.   In fact, if the employee dares complain, they’ll scold and try to intimidate him.


WORLD CLASS companies provide free coffee, and even donuts.

WORLD ASS companies make their employees pay for and brew their own.  And donuts?…What are THOSE?


WORLD CLASS companies have joined the 21st century and allow telecommuting.

WORLD ASS companies don’t trust you to work from home.  But they’ll lecture you on carpooling and tell you to save the planet.


WORLD CLASS companies have ample parking spaces.

WORLD ASS companies make you walk half a mile to your office (if you’re even lucky enough to even park that close!)


WORLD CLASS companies will provide adequate snow removal from all the parking lots and building entrances.

WORLD ASS companies will scold you if you slip and fall on the ice.   Because it’s YOUR fault.


WORLD CLASS companies regularly hold events during work hours like golf tournaments, barbecues, or paint ball.  It’s considered part of your job, as “team building”.

WORLD ASS companies also hold “team building” events, but you must do it on your own time, or use up your vacation hours.


WORLD CLASS companies respect their engineers and PhDs, recognizing them as key members of the team.

WORLD ASS companies treat their technical staff like 2nd-class citizens.  It’s HR and the administrators that run the place.


WORLD CLASS companies will quickly get rid of any office bullies or toxic supervisors.

WORLD ASS companies will typically  promote these people to senior management.


WORLD CLASS companies are exceeding rare.

WORLD ASS companies are sadly the norm.


Another Ungrateful List

November 27, 2008

Today, many of our friends are celebrating American Thanksgiving, and some are blogging about the things they’re grateful for.    But (since we’ve already had our Thanksgiving in Canada, and since it’s my nature to be a crotchety old Friar), I feel it’s my duty to do the complete opposite.

So here is another list of things I”m UNGRATEFUL for…


The entire Month of November.   

Awww…The pumpkins have all gone (especially if you live in Canada). 

Red squirrels (see my rant here).

Early snow on my driveway (I dont’ care if it’s a foot deep, I won’t shovel it…I WON’T.  Not in November, dammit). 

The Little Drummer Boy Song (Pahrum-pa-pum DUMB…!)

Early Shopping-Mall Christmas Carols (There oughta be a law…NO Christmas music until we’ve finished raking the leaves).  

Warm Raisin Pie. (If you wanted to go out of your way to pick the ultimate food to make me gag…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!)

I know I’ve probably said this before…but Bunny balls (from crummy toilet paper).


Inspirational stories about people worse off than me overcoming great odds, that just make me feel like a total screw-up for not getting my own mundane life in order. 

Sitting down at Thanksgiving Dinner, and being made to go around the table with everyone telling each other what we’re thankful for.  (Yes, yes….I know I’m being a Grinch here.  But we’re not six years old any more.   Plus there’s something about being forced to participate in this Morality Play that just sets my teeth on edge!)

Plugging the toilet.  (I won’t elaborate here.)

IKEA’s premium parking spots for families with kids.  (Way to make me feel like a 2nd class Citizen, just because I haven’t chosen to breed yet!)

Smart Cars (…you drive that and call yourself a MANI?) 

Whole Wheat.  (Is it just me, or does it give bread a BITTER after-taste?)

Cryptic Crosswords (my Mom tried to get me to do one once…I burst a blood vessel in my brain!)  

New York Times Crossword Puzzle clues that only English-Major Artsy-Fartsy’s can get.  i.e.  17th century Welsh novelist.   (Oh…COME ON!!!)

Pokemon (can this fad just please DIE already?) 

Being asked at the very last minute to say Grace at dinner in front of 20 people.  (Nothing like being put on the spot!)

The seventh consecutive day of turkey left-overs (Next year, can we just order pizza instead?)

Friar’s Guide to Blogging Stereotypes

November 26, 2008

The Harmless Motivator
Hey, here are some tricks I figured out that motivate me and make me more productive.    Try them if you want.  Maybe they’ll work for you too.

The Forceful Motivator
Hey, YOU!    Here are some motivational tricks I figured out that are GUARANTEED to motivate you and make you more productive.   So LISTEN TO ME because I KNOW BETTER.   If you don’t, then it’s YOUR fault that you’re unhappy.

The Questionable Motivator
Listen to me, and I’ll tell you how to succeed.  (Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to sneak out the window, because the landlord’s at the door and I don’t have the rent money.)

The Snake-Oil Salesman
Pssst…buddy.   C’mere!…Yeah, YOU….Listen, I’ve got it all figured out.   You don’t have to work for a living.  I know how to make TONS of money blogging.  It’s SO EASY.   Now…if you’ll just send me some cash, I’ll teach you how to ask other people to send YOU money too.    Better buy my secret NOW, though.   There are only so many electrons to go around on the Internet, so supplies ARE limited!

The Substitute Teacher
Gee, with all these Motivators hogging the spotlight, I kinda feel left out.  So sit back while I state something blatantly obvious.  Then I’ll expect you to all thank me afterward for enlightening you.

The Cool Kid
I’m the dominant alpha blogger, hear me roar.  I can do no wrong.    I can write about anything (i.e. selecting linoleum patterns for your basement) and you’ll hang on to my every word, weeping tears of joy and praising me.   My blog is where the party is always happening.  Come one over…you KNOW you want to be here.   If you’re lucky, I MIGHT let you inside.   I might even acknowledge your comment.  But make it a GOOD one…don’t be wasting my time!

The Kumbaya Granola-Child.
Um, violence and war and racism are bad…like, you know?    If only we’d stop hating and being so mean to each other, then Spaceship Mother Earth would be such a happier place.  Now I’m going to appear wise by quoting  John Lennon’s Imagine.  I’ll be the first person to do that since the song came out in 1971.

Talk Amongst Yourselves
This (insert random event here) happened to me.    What do YOU do when (insert random event here) happens to YOU?

The Arrogant Liberal
Sorry I’m grumpy, but my arm is sore from patting myself on the back so much.   It’s just that everyone is STUPID…(except me and the people who agree with me).  Now, if ONLY everyone thought like us, the world’s problems would all be solved.

The Wannabee
Hey, go check out the Cool Kids’ blogs.   No, REALLY.  GO check them out.  OMG, it’s like, they are SO GREAT.  If you hang out with them, they might, like, even speak to you.  And it’s so, like (scream)..TOTALLY AWESOME!

The Oprah-Mom
Yes, I know your kids are cute.  But MINE are even CUTER.  And I would be doing the world in enormous disservice if I didn’t regale everyone with all my kids’ potty-story antics in precise, painful detail.  Because I’m the first Mom who’s ever experienced these things, you know.

The Prophet
Blogging is a responsibility I take VERY seriously.   The World depends on my wit and wisdom, and it’s my self-imposed duty to keep posting and commenting every day.  I expect you to do the same.   Otherwise, the whole Social Network will come crashing down and we’ll be forced to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine.

Potty Mouth
Oooh, look at me.  I’m so f***cking smart and so f***cking self-important, I don’t care WHAT people think of me.   They’ll read what I have to say, and they’ll LIKE it.   See?  I don’t even have to watch my f**cking language.   F**ck, f**ck, f**ck, f**ck, sh*t, sh*t, f**ck.    You don’t like it?    I don’t give a sh*t.   F**ck you.

The Blue-Box Recycler
Hello, I haven’t strung together an original thought in months.   So I’ll just write about other bloggers and just rehash what THEY’RE talking about.   Barring that, I’ll invite someone to post something on my own blog so I won’t actually have to write anything.

The Crying Kleenex-Boxer

(Sniff…Sob! Sob!)  Did you hear the story about Little Timmy with no arms and legs?  He knew he wasn’t good at sports, but he never quit.  He offered to be the school’s practice hockey puck.  With his help, his team won the State Championship.  (Sob…)    Check him out on YouTube, you can see him sliding on the ice, he looks so happy and determined.  Sniff…It’s SO BEAUTIFUL….I just feel just so inspired and empowered reading this.    Bless you, Little Timmy….BLESS YOU (Waaah!)

The Class Clown
Hey!  You there!  Made ya look!    Did you laugh yet?   Huh?  Did ya?   Lookit me.   No….LOOKIT! Lookit!  Lookit !  Lookit!   (I won’t stop until I make you squirt milk through your nose!)  😉

Cleansing Waters

November 23, 2008


The man wandered aimlessly down the late-afternoon beach.  Even in peak season, this was a fairly remote place on the North Shore of Lake Superior.   But now that it was mid-September, whatever few people that would have been here had gone.  He had the place entirely to himself.

He was far from home, far from everyone he knew.  He had been wandering like this for a month, driving thousands of miles around Northern Ontario and New England.   Visiting family and friends, getting in the car and driving away again.  He’d occasionally stop in places to hike or sight-see, like he was doing now.  But there was no set pattern.

Normally, this would have been considered a great vacation trip.  But this time it was different.

For the man was tired.    Emotionally, mentally, and physically tired.   This wasn’t just a two-week break from work.   He was taking a break from LIFE, and needed to figure things out.    For it hadn’t been an easy year.

It had started 16 months earlier.   Work had been getting toxic.  He had been in the process of interviewing to change jobs, when right in the middle of all it all, he had gotten the Phone Call.

The life-changing Phone Call from Mom.

Can you come over?   Your father didn’t come down for breakfast this morning.   I went to go get him, and it seems like, um…well…he didn’t wake up.

Goddamit.  He had just spoken to his father the night before.  Dad had shot a 76 on the golf course, ate supper and had gone to bed.  And then he had died in his sleep, just like that.

Fast forward 10 days later, after the funeral.   Within less than an hour back at the office, with the man still trying to figure out how to deal with his grief, they had come up to him, and had started putting work demands on him right away.

I’m sorry about your dadBut the mechanics are coming down after break to fix the fan, so can you come over and bring the work permit?….Thaaaanks, that would GREAT.

Work continued to escalate from that point on.  For months on end, they pushed him hard.  Some days, he not only missed lunch, but he literally couldn’t even find the time to use the bathroom.

The mental harassment didn’t help.  The tight-lipped supervisors would barely make eye contact with him, and only spoke to him when absolutely required.  They angrily knew he wanted to transfer out of their group, and their resentment was made abundantly clear.

Yet transfer he did.   He was soon hired by another department more suited to his training and background.   Unfortunately this hiatus lasted for a few months because that second job became even more toxic.  They had stuck him with a dysfunctional mentor who already had a terrible reputation for being extremely difficult to work with.

More mental abuse and more harassment for another 12 months.   His health had started to unravel.   Things had gotten to the point that he’d bolt awake at 3:00 AM and feel an imaginary thumb pressing into his chest. That’s when he decided it was time for a change.   He got a note from the doctor, and took a month-long Time-Out from work.


This is how he’d ended up on this deserted beach in off-season.   Wandering around aimlessly searching for something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

He sat down on the sand, watching distant horizon of the huge lake.  Lake Superior seemed infinite.

At least HERE,  he thought, it’s pureAnd least HERE, in Nature, there’s beauty and truth, far away from all the crap back home in the city.

And it really was beautiful.   It gave him a lump in his throat.

He thought what he had gone through the past year.   He felt like he had been yelled at and slapped across the face.

Like a small child, hot tears flowed down his cheeks and he wiped them away with the heel of his hand.

God, I’m so tired, he thought.

Yet the tears did not stop   They kept coming.

He remembered the dark lonely rental house he had to go back to after the funeral, in a town hundreds of miles away from everyone he was close to.   He remembered the venom and silent treatment he’d received at work.

He remembered the pukey-nauseous stress feeling in his stomach, and having to leave the building to go outside and scream.  He remembered almost breaking down and crying in front of the company nurse.

He especially remembered sitting at the bed and stroking his father’s hair the day he had died.  It had happened so quickly, Dad was still warm, and appeared to be sleeping as if nothing had happened.  That alone had probably been the most difficult thing of all.

At that point, the dam started to overflow.  The sobs become more frequent.

All these bad emotions had been brewing within him for a long time, yet there had been no outlet.   But there was something about today, something about the yellow-white sun reflecting sparkling diamonds off the pristine water that was bringing everything to the surface.

At that moment, something told him:

It’s all right.    Go ahead, it’s all right.

And he let go.

In a sudden avalanche of emotion, he cried like he had never cried before.

Wave after wave of emotion crashed over him.  Rocking back and forth where he sat, he wailed and screamed at the top of his lungs.  With no one there to hear him, he let loose all his anger, his grief, his sadness and his hurt.

His howls reverberated among the trees and sand and bedrock.   All the inner demons and poisons were leaving, rising up into the brilliant azure sky, to disperse and evaporate into harmless hot air.

How long he cried, he didn’t know.  It went on and on, until there was nothing left to cry about.

Eventually, his tears subsided.   He walked back to his car, emotionally and physically spent, like he had just run ten miles.

But for the first time in recent memory, he felt good.  He felt cleansed.

He had come here searching for something, and he had found it.

He had found peace.

Vintage Friar-Toons #2

November 22, 2008




One Angry Rodent

November 21, 2008


Do you remember in kindergarten, there was always that one hyper kid who threw a tantrum at the slightest provocation?  He’d always scream at you not to use his crayons, not to make faces at him, not to touch his stuff.

So how did we deal with him?

Naturally, by using his crayons, by making faces at him, and touching his stuff…preferably when the teacher wasn’t looking.   And sitting back and enjoying the resulting conniption fit.

Not that this was a very nice thing to do.  But kids will be kids.  Plus, how are you supposed to resist…when someone is almost BEGGING to be teased?

Red squirrels are the same way.  They’re just ASKING for it.

Nowhere in the animal kingdom is such anger and indignation compacted into such a small volume, as the American Red Squirrel.

They sit there perched in their tree-thrones, constantly chattering and bickering at other squirrels.  Or at you.  Or at the whole damned planet.   They’re always pissed off about SOMETHING.

I have a bunch of these critters in my back yard, and I have to spend the whole summer listening to them squawk and give me shit.  It’s either

Tttttttttttttttttttttt…..tttttttttt….!!! !



Don’t touch my stuff!   Don’t look at my tree!  Stay out of my territory!

Okay, you know what?

It’s MY back yard, and I weigh 500 times more than you do.


What a bunch of assholes.

Maybe if they spent LESS time BITCHING, and MORE time EATING and GATHERING FOOD,  they wouldn’t be so Type-A.

So getting back to the Kindergarten analogy, any time one of these little fur-bags gives me another “Tttttttttttttttttttttttttt….ttttt“, and tells me not to touch his stuff, what do I wanna do?

Touch his stuff, of course.

I admit, I’m  constantly looking for opportunities to get back at them.

The BEST encounter I had was in Pukaskwa National Park a few years back.  I had parked my car, and threw a finished apple into a garbage can.   Right in front of me, a little red squirrel jumped in to get it.

Hmmm…me standing there, a garbage can, and one of those hyper critters foraging inside.

Oh, no.   This was just too good to pass up.

With my heavy hiking boot, I wound up, and gave the can a big kick.  And the metal can resounded with a big, loud THOOOOONNNNNNN!!!

EEEEEEK!!! screamed the squirrel, as he leapt 8 feet straight up and landed on a branch a few feet away.   And boy, was he MAD.

Can’t say I could blame him.  Imagine if you were inside a huge metal silo, looking for a delicious meal (like a large pizza or steak dinner).  And some big lummox comes along with a battering ram and starts pummeling it.   You wouldn’t’ be too happy either.

But I rationalized that I was actually doing him a favor.   You see, wild animals shouldn’t become habituated to garbage and human food.

Besides, a park ranger once told me that squirrels and chipmunks hibernate and lived off the “brown fat” that their bodies produced from eating nuts and berries.  But if they filled up on french fries and human-food, it was unhealthy for them.  They’d grow “white fat” which burned differently and they’d have a harder time surviving the winetr.

So, theoretically, maybe banging the garbage can was a GOOD thing. (At least, that’s what I told myself).   It didn’t hurt anhyone, but maybe it would make him afraid to use it and he’d learn to stay away.

Squirrel Nut-Sack, however, didn’t quite see it that way.

He GLARED at me, and chattered and squawked, his little cheeks puffing angrily.   He was at eye level, just a few feet from me.  He knew he was beyond my reach, so he took this opportunity to scold me.

Ttttttt….Tttttt.  Oooo!  I’m SO MAD!  Squeak-squeak-eek-eek-eek-squeak-eek-squeak….This is MY garbage can…this is MY forest, this is MINE…you stay away…don’t do that..don’t touch my stuff….dont’ ever DO that..oooh, I’m sooooo MAD!….

After he felt he made made his point, he proceeded back down into the garbage can, to retreive HIS apple core.

Right in front of me.

Can you guess what happened next?


EEEEEEEK!!! He scrambled back up to the same spot, and proceeded to tear me a new one. He was REALLY pissed off now.

….TTTTTTTttttt  TTtttttttt squeak-eek-squeak-squeak.   Ooooo!  I TOLD you NOT to do that!   How DARE you?  Can’t you see that this is MY Apple core?   Ttttttt….ttttt!    This is MY garbage can!   Ooooh!  I’m SO MAD.  I HATE you!   I do!… I do!…I do!…Don’t let that happen again…SERIOUSLY….Okay?  Okay…okay….Now…I’m going back in again….I’m WATCHING you…OKAY?    Don’t do it……DON’T……….Okay…….

He then rummaged around in the garbage can again, doing this own thing.

So naturally, I had to do mine:


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! , and he was back to his squirrel-pulpit, ready to fight for what was his.

Oh, and this time I had done it.  I had really gone and done it.

Never on the History of this Planet, had there ever been a more angry rodent.

His tail was bristling, and his beady-black eyes were BULGING with rage.

He was apopletic.   He made sounds I’ve never heard a squirrel make before (I think he was speaking in tongues).

Tttttttttttt!…..Ttttttttt!   Squarble-warble-gurgle-gleek.   Greegle-squork-bork-burgleeak-squeak-squawk!

He was TREMBLING with fury.   Depiste the fact that I weighed 250 lbs (and he weighed less than one), I was almost afraid….I think he was THAT close to hurling himself at face and trying to rip out my jugular.

Ttttttt…ttttttt!!!!      Y…Y….YOU!. ..YOU!    I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!   Don’t you ever…EVER  EVER do that again!  You got me?   You HEAR ME?


I put my hand out to scare him away, but he stood his ground, inches away from my reach.   And he kept screaming and screaming at me.  I could see his mouth straining, his little buck teeth gnashing, as he directed his entire repertoire of squirrel profanity at me.

This went on for several minutes.   And I stood, fascincated, and watched the whole outburst.  Not unlike watching a car-crash scene you know you shouldn’t watch.

Finally, the shit-storm abated, and he calmed down.   He glared at me, and slowly made his way down the tree, back into the garbage can, watching me.

There was silence.   Then the sparrows started chirping again in the trees, and all was calm in the North Woods.

But…(wait for it…)


I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t have…but like I said:   Red Squirrels are just ASKING for it! 😀


PS.  Don’t feel too bad.  Eventually I got bored of this game and left.   The little varmint no doubt got his precious apple core.

And if it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure he’s sent his cousins to my Mom’s back yard to terrorize her chew up her garden shed!

How to Suck all the Fun out of your Kids’ Childhood.

November 17, 2008


Forbid all TV, thus depriving your kids of their popular culture.   Now they can feel totally left out when their schoolyard pals talk about Hannah Montana and Sponge-Bob.

If they MUST watch cartoons, only permit milquetoast morality plays like Arthur, Caillou and The Berenstain Bears.    It’s important to teach kids that entertainment always comes with a price:  you can’t just be amused for amusements’ sakes; you also need to LEARN something.

No junk food in the house…EVER!  Not even as a treat.   Only serve carrot sticks, raisins and hummus.    And God Forbid should any child come within 50 yards of a Trans-Fat molecule.   They could DIE.

Never mind that WE were raised with Barbie dolls and toy guns, and WE turned out okay…  No, these toys are  EVIL! EVIL! EVIL! and should NEVER be given as gifts.   They perpetuate sexist and violent stereotypes and are causing the downfall of Civilization as We Know It.  (Did you know that Barbie Dolls alone are responsible for the Iraq War, Global Warming and Sara Palin’s hair-do?)

Keep breast-feeding your babies, even when they’re old enough to play computer games and  order their own Happy Meal. (Rest assured, their playmates would NEVER tease them over that…Goodness, NO!)

No witch costumes for Halloween.   It’s an affront to all the innocent women who were persecuted and burned at the stake 400 years ago.    No death-related costumes like vampires or ghosts either.  Instead, let’s encourage the children to Treat-or-Treat  wearing UniSex earth-toned jumpsuits made of organic fiber.

And don’t give out candy either…give out carbon-credits instead.

Eliminate all those awesome retro jungle gyms and replace them with retard-proof plastic play forts where there isn’t the remotest chance of getting hurt.

Keep the kids restrained and buckled in those special car seats until they’re old enough to drive.

If a box of Lucky Charms somehow makes its way into the house, remove half the marshmallows, and righteously preach that there’s already ENOUGH sugar.

Give the kids arts-and-craft projects with Bristol Board and construction paper, while providing them with lame-ass safety scissors that can’t even cut warm butter.

Fairy Tales are EVIL EVIL EVIL, and should never be read as bedtime stories.   They only serve to teach children that ugly people are evil, and that women are helpless creatures who need a Handsome Prince to rescue them.  Read Caillou, or a Urinestain Bear Book instead. (Now, wouldn’t THAT be more fun?)

When decorating the Christmas Tree, make sure they wear glasses and bike helmets, and wear certified fall-arrest safety harnesses.

If a child is delightedly popping bubble wrap, tell them to  “Stop it…I need to save that for later!“.

There isn’t a kid on the whole planet that doesn’t love squishy white Wonder Bread.   So naturally, it’s your duty to BAN IT from the household at all costs. Only serve Dempsters Ultra Colon-Blow Fibre-Bread, made with 28 kinds of grain, including chunks of actual hay, topsoil, and un-shelled sunflower seeds.

While you’re at it, make sandwiches using only natural peanut butter (peanuts only).   Sure, it tastes like oily nut-shit, but at least it doesn’t have that nasty SUGAR in it…not like those tasty store-bought brands that everyone likes.

Don’t ever allow your kids to just loaf around, and do nothing.   Teach them to be workaholics like Mummy and Daddy.  Make sure EVERY HOUR of their day is scheduled with organized activities.

Convince your five-year old that he WANTS to take karate class, swimming, yoga, bag-pipe lessons and Junior Origami.   (And that’s just for Monday night…).

Someone, somewhere…will pretty much be allergic to ANY kind of food.  So ban ALL snacks and foods at school recess and lunch.   Only permit triple-distilled de-ionized water, and Nabisco Gluten-Free Cracker-Like Edible Wafer-Discs.

Prohibit any games with any hint of aggression, like Dodge Ball or British Bull-Dog.  It’s important to stifle little boys’ rough-and-tumble antics.   Try to emasculate them by encouraging them to play dancing games wearing beanbags on their head.  Medicate them as necessary.

Remove any sense of competition, as we don’t want our little darlings to feel stressed out.   Have them only play games where “Everybody Wins”.   It’s important to learn that we must all abide by the lowest common denominator.

Replace all wooden playground swings with those heinous pelvis-crushing rubber straps, and shorten the chains from 20 feet to 5 feet.  This way, nobody will ever know the joys of touching their toes to the sky and jumping off into space and feeling weightless.

In case anyone chokes on a small toy, remove any fun prizes from CrackerJack or cereal boxes.  Replace them with cheapo-stickers and lame-ass games.

Show your children that Mommy and Daddy care.   Buy them humiliating “Time-Out” accessories.

Drag your toddler to a protest march.   Because there’s NOTHING a three-year old likes better than to hold a sign they cant’ read and stand outside for hours with screaming grown-ups.

Bodily functions, or any mention thereof, are highly discouraged.   We just don’t DO THAT HERE.

Playground Merry-go-rounds?…Tree-forts?…Homemade Go-Karts?…Slingshots?…Water rockets?…Potato guns?…Army men?…Cap Guns?…Setting fires with Magnifying Glasses?…Fire crackers….?

PS: One more thing:

Hold a candle-light vigil to protest this blog post. 😉

Vintage Friar-Toons

November 15, 2008

Circa 1987-89.

Note:   You can click on the images for sharper resolution.











A Field in Tilley, Alberta

November 14, 2008

Guest post by Friar’s Mom

I stood motionless in the northeast corner of a field in Tilley, Alberta.  My friends were but small dark dots in the distant southwest corner of this huge acreage.  The early morning April sun felt warm on my dark brown winter coat.  A few small fluffy clouds dotted the blue sky at the horizon.  Tiny blades of green grass peeked through the dry winter stubble beneath me.  Spring had finally arrived in the Prairies.

For a long time I watched the vehicles whiz by me and loom towards me on the Trans Canada.  I saw 18 wheelers, auto transporters, tankers, empty flatbeds, farm equipment, tow trucks, pickups, police cars, vans, cars.  I noticed a blue Honda CRV.  The woman inside turned her head to look at me as she drove by. She continued to stare at me through her rear view mirror.

She was happy that I had taken time to enjoy my day, yet she was also sad for me.  She knew something of my future that I didn’t know.  Earlier in the day she passed an empty cattle transporter truck.  Tufts of hay protruded through the vent holes.  Those vent holes told another story–horizontal streaks of dried cattle dung clung to the outside of the transporter.  She knew one day, I would take a ride in a similar vehicle.  Yet she wouldn’t tell me where I would travel.  She told me to enjoy the present.

My life had been–chew, chew, chew, poo, poo, poo.  I was tired of the monotony, and finally dared to try something different.  The woman was happy that I had found a new interest.  She was proud of me because I had the courage to be different.  She suggested that I share my new-found joy with some of my friends.

This evening I’ll ask a friend to join me in the northwest corner of the field.  We’ll stand motionless and watch the moving vehicles become silhouette specks against the setting sun.  Perhaps tomorrow some more of my friends will join me.

Running with the Pack: How to Blog Inside the Box

November 11, 2008

Anyone who strings 500 words together describing what the cat upchucked at breakfast automatically qualifies as a serious, professional “Writer”.

The only reason we’re not all best-selling novelists has nothing to do with our writing skills or talent.  It’s because we haven’t decided to write that first draft yet.   That’s all it takes, really.

Our entire economy can apparently run on the basis of everyone sitting at home, typing to each other on our computers.   Anyone can earn six figures doing this:  the only reason we aren’t is that we’re obviously not trying hard enough.

You know those blogs that everyone likes?    Let everyone know how COOL you think they are.   (You can never praise the Cool Kids enough!)

Freelance writers who work 70 hours a week, shivering in basement apartments eating Ramen Noodles are infinitely superior to the poor bastards working 9-to-5 cubicle-jobs earning $90K.

The market can easily accommodate hundreds of thousands of new authors.    It’s just that those Fat-Cat publishing companies won’t allow it.

If you must discuss politics, just remember to keep it Left-of-Center.    (We know Conservatives are evil, because the Blogosphere tells us so).

You can never post enough itemized lists on how to Improve your Life.   The more lists, the better.

Word of advice:  the Emperor always DOES have clothes!   (Just go with the flow).

Every one of us, regardless of our background, is a Qualified Life Coach.   What works for us, will work for the whole planet.  If ONLY they would listen.

Forget Doctors, Teachers, Engineers, Social Workers, Aid Workers, etc.   It is We…the BLOGGERS, that the world depends on.

In fact, pick a problem.   Any problem.  Like Global Warming or World Hunger.    We can solve it by talking about it for one day.

You can never get enough famous quotes.   They answer all of Life’s challenges or tough questions.  The more you post, the better.

If you don’t post any quotes, then comment how reading one made you burst into tears of inspiration and self-awareness.

It’s important to get lots of blog traffic and comments, but not TOO much, otherwise it wastes your time.   It’s up to your readers to know the perfect balance.

Anyone with a digital camera is capable of producing National Geographic-quality photos.   There is no such thing as bad lighting or poor composition.  Whether it’s a pristine mountain scene or a fetid cesspool, it doesn’t’ matter:  any photo that’s posted is absolutely EXQUISITE, and is worthy of goosebumps and gasps of awe.

It’s crucial to maintain that emotional instability:   at any given moment, be prepared to roll of the floor in hysterical laughter, or burst into fits of uncontrolled sobbing.

Remember that Cool-Kids’ blog that everyone likes?    If they fart,  it’s important to comment how it smells like oven-fresh cinnamon buns.

Forget about posting any actual ORIGINAL creations (like passages from your novel, some poetry or a short story).   What IS important is to write about that fact that you’re writing.

Our blogs are SO IMPORTANT, that we have a RESPONSIBILITY to keep posting our random thoughts.    If we go away for the weekend or miss a post,  it’s important to let the World know.   Otherwise,  our readers will rend their garments, lose Faith in Humanity, and and Civilization (As We Know It) will END.


Group Hug, everyone.  (Then weep with joy, as we all are one community).   😉