Archive for April 2009

Ways we can bring back some natural selection into our environment.

April 29, 2009

Design Blackberries that explode if they’re used while driving.

Make seat belts and crash-helmets optional.   If it’s good enough for New Hampshire, it should be good enough for the rest of us.  (Hey, Live Free or DIE, right?)

Get rid of school crossing guards.   If the kids need to get to class to learn, one of their first Life Lessons should be to cross the street. (Run, Forrest, Run!)

Replace those useless kindergarten safety-scissors that couldn’t cut limp spaghetti with X-acto knives.   (Kids: if you want to succeed in the Real World, you’re going to have to learn to use the same tools everyone else does).

Ban those lame-ass board games, where “everybody wins”.

Stop doing those repetitive safety announcements on each and every airline flight. (If people are too dumb to find an exit or buckle their safety belt, maybe their genes should be taken out of the pool.)

Import Grizzly Bears to New Zealand, so they have at least ONE major predator down there.

Convince the under-25 tortured intellectual crowd that piercing their skulls is the new “extreme”.    (They’d DO it, too!)

Assign “Do Not Resuscitate” Medic Alert bracelets to English PhD’s and Philosophy majors.

Get rid of child-proof safety caps.  (Parents, it’s up to YOU to keep your kids away from the meds).

Ask Grade Six kids the following:  True or false, the sun revolves around the earth.    If they answer “true”, then BZZZZZ!   Sorry!  Wrong answer!  No college for you!

Distribute peanut-flavored asthma inhalers.  (They probably already do in China).

Stop helping Pandas survive.  (They just don’t seem to want it badly enough).

Let’s bring back the legal sale of M-80 Firecrackers.

Make bungee jumpers responsible for tying their own bungee cords to their feet.

Legalize cocaine, just to see who’d be stupid enough to use it.

As I’ve said once before, teach chimps how to use firearms, give them guns, then release them back into the wild.

You want a REALLY scary amusement park ride?  Put 100 people on a roller coaster, and make it so that one person will randomly die each time.  (Don’t laugh…I bet people would line up for it!)

Comic Strip Characters in Need of Serious Therapy

April 27, 2009

Margaret Wade

Passive-aggressive control freak.   I never liked her.  The rod up her butt has a rod up its butt.   This kid ain’t right.   She’ll definitely be logging lots of time on the therapists’ couch before her Sweet Sixteen.

Shaggy, Dagwood and Jughead


We typically associate eating disorders with teenage girls, but these three men obviously have issues.  Look at the huge amounts of food they put away, yet they stay so slim.  Methinks there’s a bit of binging and purging going on.   Maybe Shaggy, Dag and Juggie can form their own support group.

Big Moose


How many times has this lummox committed aggravated assault on his classmates, just because they spoke to his “gurl”, Midge?     There are serious anger management problems here.

Somebody better intervene and help this boy, before he ends up in Maximum Security and starts forcing his cell-mate to do unspeakable things.

Little Dot


Give me an “Oh”!   Give me a “Cee”!   Give me a “Dee”!  What does that spell?    OCD!    OCD!  Rah! Rah!

This unhealthy obsession with dots needs to stop.   This poor girl needs a good talking to.   And maybe a bit of Effexor on the side.


Beyond help.  She’s such a basket case, I’m surprised she hasn’t offed herself yet (or that someone else hasn’t).   (Aaaack!)


Obviously this little brat’s got ADHD.

Nothing a little  Ritalin in his sippy-cup wouldn’t fix.

Jokey Smurf

He spends all this time giving exploding packages to everyone.   (…and he thinks it’s FUNNY?)     Word of advice, Jokey: plead insanity and check yourself into a mental hospital right now…before the boys at Homeland Security come and give you a luxury suite at Gitmo.

Ted Forth

This man-gina is so whipped it’s not funny.    I think he’d do well with some hormone therapy.    Get the testosterone levels up back up there, Ted, and learn to be a man again.


See Ted Forth.

Billy from the Family Circus

Another victim of ADHD.   Damned kid can’t even walk home without zig-zagging all around the neighborhood.

Fat Albert

This lad’s gotta do something about his morbid obesity.   He’s just two steps away from lying in his bed in his own waste, and having the Learning Channel film the firemen cutting  him out of his house.

General Halftrack

He needs to be sent on Sensitivity Training, for leering at Ms. Buxley and making suggestive comments to her.

(No…wait…actually, he already HAS).

Worst. Conference Presentation. Ever.

April 25, 2009

See this gentleman?


He’s kind of stern looking, isn’t he?    One gets the impression he didn’t laugh much.

If it’s any indication, I can tell you he yelled at me in public once.

This was when I used to have a job where I actually used my brain.  Back almost 20 years ago, when I was presenting a paper at a conference.

It might have been the 2nd paper I ever presented, I was still fresh and new at this.   There were many sessions going on at the same time…my talk was scheduled in a small tiny room, in the back-waters of the Convention Centre, with perhaps only 10-12 people attending.

But these were all quite important people.  Senior academics and department heads,  sales/marketing businessmen, respected industrial engineers.

They were colleagues of my boss, and because of him, they had all come to hear what little old me had to say.

Except this one guy, who looked older than Moses.  He spent the entire time sitting with his arms folded, head down, apparently asleep.  He didn’t move the whole time I spoke.  I wonder who else besides me was worried if the old guy had just died in his sleep.

My talk went reasonably well: I presented my data and  explained my conclusions.  Then it was time for questions.

Instantly,  Gramps woke up.

And then he started to do what every public speaker dreads:  he started YELLING at me.

“Your paper is WRONG!  You didn’t do THIS…you didn’t’ do THAT.  Your data is WRONG!   You didn’t refer to the work of Professor F. Meigh…you didn’t refer to the work of his collegue Dr. Grunion either.   Your conclusions are WRONG!”

…he just went on and on.  Tearing me apart in front of everyone.

Then, quickly as it had begun, his tirade ended.   He sat down, went limp, and went back to sleep.

The room was quiet.  My boss was wincing.   I was temporarily shell-shocked.

But not for too long.  Bristling with anger (how DARE this guy attack me like that?), I gave my rebuttal.

For once in my life,  I had the right comeback at the right time:

“Actually, if you examine the manuscript, you’ll see that I DID do this.   And I DID do THAT.  My data is RIGHT.   And I DID refer to Professor F. Meigh and Dr. Grunion.   And if you’ll check on Figure 3, you’ll see that my conclusions are CORRECT”.

During this exchange, the old guy didn’t even raise his head. His eyes were closed, he was playing Possum.   He didn’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge my presence, or make eye contact with me.

Nice.    Really nice.

The session was over.   When we all filed out of the room, one of the audience members came up to me, and sympathetically patted me on the back.

“You actually handled old Charlie quite well….don’t worry about it, he does this to everybody who’s new”.

It seems I had completed a rite of passage.  Old Charlie McGarnaggle was known for behaving this way. Instead of being a kindly old academic mentor, he apparently liked to challenge scientists and engineers, and intimidate them and put them on the spot.

And everyone seemed to accept it.

That’s just Old Charlie, they’d say.

Hmph.  Not me.  I might have had OTHER things to say about him, though.

Worst.   Conference presentation.   Ever.

Even to this day.


Fast forward about 15 years.

I was now a more seasoned Research Engineer.  I had presented more than my share of papers, and I had a modest reputation.  I was even starting to be accepted by some members of the Old Boys Club.

Imagine my suprise when I got called, out of the blue, by the National Frammit PapJack Conference Committee.

“Remember that recent paper you wrote?” they asked me.

“Uh..yeah.  I guess” I answered.

“Well, it’s been given the Charles McGarnaggle Memorial Award.   For the best Paper in the area of Applied Chemistry and Widget Optimization.    We’d like you to come to the 2005 Conference with your co-authors to accept the award.  There’ a gold pin and a framed certificate we’d like to give you.”


That mean old guy.  The one who gave me shit all those years ago because he didn’t like my work.

He’s dead, and I’m still around.

And I’m being given an award in HIS name!

(Pffft…snicker!)   Hahahah!

If he knew it was me, he’d probably be spinning in his grave.

Funny how Life’s like that.


Now, my only problem is, that I’ve got this award sitting in my closet.

It’s too nice to throw out.   It’s in a high-quality diploma format, mounted in a nice frame.

But they had to put Charlie’s stern-looking face on it.

The one shown here.

Staring at me.   Taunting me.

Ready to yell at me all over again.

Which is why I don’t hang this on any walls.  It still sits in the closet.

Though I can just hear people tell me:  “Oh, never mind, that was just old Charlie.”

(Yeah, that was him, all right).

This is my Brain in Neutral

April 24, 2009

When my mind wanders, I tend to doodle.   I don’t know why…my brain just feels “right” when it draws certain shapes.

I’ve been doodling since Elementary school.  I’ve done it all the way through High School and ten years of University degrees.   And I still do it today.

Especially during boring conferences or meetings.   The more bored I am…the better the artwork.

I recently came across these in my old files.    I don’t’ know exactly when I did them.    Years ago.

But looking at the quality of the sketches,  you can only guess how STIMULATING it was to be there, at the time.




Inspiring Words to Live By

April 23, 2009


Creativity is the glue that binds our ideas together.
– Professor F. Meigh (Chudleigh University, 1973).


If you’re not amazed by Nature, then you should be.
– Berken Schnauzer (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1930).


Self-improvement is the whetstone on which we sharpen our characters.
– Anniston Parker (Memoirs of a Scullery Girl, 1834).


The secret to selling is not to give someone what they want…but to avoid giving them what they don’t want,
– P. J. Woolerston (20th Century Industrialist, 1905).


The greatest part of a journey is not the beginning, not the end, but the whole process.   The fact that we’re on a journey in the first place gives us hope, and gives us something to strive for.   After all, isn’t that what we’re put on this planet for?
– Stephanie Osterbach,  (Paralympic Decathalon Champion, 2003).


God may not play dice with the Universe, but he’s been known to go to Vegas for the weekend, and play the slots.
– Brian M. Teister (Professor of Quantum Physics, East Dundas University, 1983).


It matters little what our desires and needs are…the monsoon will always come, as will waves break on a distant shore.
– Bradha Vardanashaminaran  (Hindu Philosopher,   Quotes from Vishna Krishthar, 1328).


Saving the planet doesn’t take much effort.   If we each do a small part, together we can make a huge difference.
– Nadia Smith Sherlock (Co-found of Earth-Mother Enterprises, 2002).


The laughter of a child, the love of a good woman, and sinking a birdie putt.  That’s what life is all about.
– Dick Weede (PGA Champion, 1934).


I made up all these quotes, just now.
– Friar (The Deep Friar Blog, 2009).

Happy Earth Day

April 22, 2009


Ah.  Earth Day.

What better way to celebrate.

Than to turn on Christmas lights?

In April.

During the daylight.

With a fake representation of an arctic mammal.

Most likely to be threatened by melting polar ice.

That’s made of petroleum-based plastic, no less?


Now,  before you all yell at me for being a jack-ass.

And for making Al Gore and David Suzuki cry.

Take a closer look.

It could be worse.

After all,

I am using  a Blue-Box.   😉

Take the Friar-Q Test: Is your intelligence above or below average?

April 20, 2009

Answer “Yes” or “No” to the following:

1.  At the cashier, do you find yourself taken by surprise that you’re suddenly expected to PAY for your purchases? (i.e. Do you only start fumbling for your wallet after they’ve already bagged your groceries?)

2. Do you read The National Enquirer for real, and not just to pass the time in the supermarket line-up?

3. Do you blindly accept everything that comes out of Oprah’s mouth as gospel truth?

4.  Is Wheel of Fortune a bit too complicated for you?

5.  When they come up with lame-ass acronyms at work (like S*A*F*E or S*M*A*R*T), do you think it’s a great idea, and you make a point of memorizing what the letters stand for?

6.  Do you get upset when other people don’t?

7.  Do you take those horoscopes in the daily paper seriously?

8.  Does it take you more than 2 minutes to order a burger and fries at a fast-food joint?

9.   Do you agree that we can never get enough chimps on TV?

10.  Do you consider “Entertainment Tonight” legitimate news?

11.  Does breaking a bill cause you anxiety? (…must you always pay with exact change?)

12. Do you always drive BELOW the speed limit?

13.  Does it take your brain longer than 5 seconds to register that the traffic light has turned GREEN?

14.  Does the concept of depositing your paycheck in a BANK elude you? (…as opposed to using Money Mart?)

15.  Are you unable to pump your own gas?

16.  Do you feel the need to explain to grown adults that smoking is unhealthy? (…because you can’t grasp the concept that anyone with half-a brain probably already knows this?)

17.  Do you think there’s nothing wrong or blatantly idiotic about Gilligan’s Island?

18.  Do you prefer Elmo over Grover?

19.  Do you think Political Correctness is a GOOD thing?

20.  Do you go years without taking any of your entitled vacation, because you want to “save it” for when you retire?

21.   Have you been known to say “Yee-Haw” for real?

22.  Do you applaud the Berenstain Bears?

23. The Sun moves around the Earth:  Yes, or No?

24.   When a product on TV promises that you can lose weight without diet or exercise, do you believe them?

25.  Do you Twitter?


SCORING:   Count how many questions you’ve answered “Yes” to.

If you have no idea, because you can’t be bothered wasting your time on this stupid test, EXCELLENT!  You’ve passed with flying colors!  You’re close to genius level!

(2 or less )
You’re smarter than the average bear.  And maybe just bored because you actually counted your answers.

(5 or less)
You’re still okay.  Above average.  But watch it buddy, you’re on the verge of slipping.

(5 to 10)
You’re borderline, you probably have an IQ of 100-105.   May I suggest that the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle might not be for you.  Best to stick to the Word Jumble instead.

You probably breathe through the mouth a lot.  But that’s okay.  You’re still functioning at a high level.

You might consider wearing a hockey helmet to work.  Even if you don’t’ play hockey.

(20- plus)
Suffice to say…you’re a few fries short of a happy meal.    But don’t feel bad. You could have a promising career in Senior Management.  Just stay away from shiny objects, as they tend to distract you

Three Moose and a Bear on a Sunday Evening

April 19, 2009


What I like about where I live, is that the wilderness is never that far away.   Today, I thought I’d go for a ride with Junior Bear and try to spot some moose.   You can usually find them in the Provincial Park this time of year, right by the highway.   Apparently they like the road salt.

We weren’t disappointed.   This evening we got a hat trick:  Two bulls,  just starting their antlers, and one cow.

These critters weren’t that afraid.   They were obviously used to having people gawk at them.   They tolerated our presence, provided we kept a respectful distance.




Of course, Junior insisted on having his taken photo with each one.




I’m sure I’m not the first person on the planet to take a photo of a moose with their Teddy Bear.

But I wonder how many people have photos of their Bear with THREE different moose….taken on the SAME evening?

(I think Junior must hold some kind of record, after today.)

The Cap’n is losing it

April 18, 2009

I was in the U.S. last week and I treated myself to Crunch Berry cereal.

This is actually a big deal, if you live in Canada and you’re a cereal fan like I am.

You see, we don’t HAVE Crunch Berries up here.

We USED to…back in the 70’s.  I remember Crunch Berries as a kid: big ~ 3/4 inch bright magenta strawberry-flavored spheres mixed in with the regular Cap’n Crunch Cereal. I used to pick around them, eating the yellow pieces, and saving the Crunch Berries till last.  It was AWESOME!

Then, suddenly, they stopped selling it in Canada.   I can’t remember the last time I had Crunch Berries.  At least 20 years ago.

So last weekend, when I was in Vermont, I bought myself a couple of boxes.  But I couldn’t help but notice a few things.


First of all, WTF is up with the Crunch Berries?   Now they’re considerately smaller (down to a ~ 1/2 inch diameter).   And they’d added a bunch of colors, including some flaming fluorescent green and blue. (Which, even by junk cereal standards, is kinda pushing it).

And you know what?…it’s NOT the same!

I mean, the cereal is okay…but it’s not like how I remember.  They’ve altered the berry/cereal surface area ratio.  It changes EVERYTHING.   You don’t get that sudden burst of red Crunch Berry flavor with the new smaller berries, than you did with the old larger ones.

Even more disturbing, is look at the Cap’n.   He ain’t quite right.   He looks a manic….The eyes are more buggy and lop-sided.   His smile is now more of a grimace (notice his teeth are showing).  And you can see right down past his tonsils.

He’s CHANGED, man!

If you don’t believe me,  see what he USED to look like, not to long ago.   His smile was gentler, he was more concerned about Trans-Fats, than about “Crunchetizing” us.   (Whatever THAT means!)


This sudden change in personality worries me.   Substance abuse, perhaps?

Is it possible the Cap’n might be tripping on something?  (The Crunch Berries themselves?).  Maybe he needs an intervention with the Trix Rabbit and the Lucky Charms leprechaun.


Sigh.  Why do things have to change?    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

General Mills, please bring back the old Crunch Berry formula.


And get the Capn’ some professional help.

Pop-Philosophy from the Toy Store

April 16, 2009


Life is like wood-burning set:  you only have one chance to make a lasting first impression.

Life is like a yo-yo.  It has its ups and downs, but you have to accept it, because it’s all part of the game.   For brief moments, you can allow yourself to stay put and rest.  But you can only do this for so long, at the risk of just stagnating and losing all your momentum.

Life is like an Etch-a-Sketch.  It takes a lot of patience and discipline to create something out of nothing.  But we shouldn’t be too arrogant or proud, because our materialistic accomplishments on this planet are of a fleeting nature… All it takes is one small disturbance to shake things up a bit, and we could lose everything we’ve worked so hard to attain.  But on the bright side, we always have the opportunity to begin anew, and start with a clean slate.

Life is like a Slinky.   A boring, mundane task like going down the stairs can suddenly be transformed into a dance of whimsical delight.    It reminds us to stop taking things for granted:  there is magic and wonder in everything that surrounds us.

Life is like a Barrel of Monkeys.    Together, we can co-operate with our fellow brothers, and join together to meet a common goal.    But remember,  we are only as strong as our weakest link.

Life is like Jenga.   We like things to be stable.  We like structure.   But if we keep removing the building blocks that represent the foundation of our values and beliefs, sooner or later, our Tower of Expectations will come crashing down.

Life is like an Easy-Bake oven.   With just something as simple and mundane as a light bulb, it literally becomes child’s play to create culinary delights that some adults can only dream about.   It just goes to show you that with the right approach, even the most complex tasks are not all that difficult.

Life is like a Kenner’s SSP Smash-up Derby Set.    Whenever you least expect it,  events beyond your control might collide with you, and you’ll feel smashed to pieces.    But it’s not the end of the world.    You just have to pick yourself up, put yourself back together, and start all over again.

Life is like Twister.   You tie yourself up in knots,  pushing your own comfort level to put yourself into unnatural positions.   But sooner or later, you’ll have to resort to going back to who you are, and accepting it.  What comes up, must come down.

Life is like Lego.   The sum of the whole is greater than that of the individual parts. The important thing is to avoid having pre-conceived notions about who should belong with what group.  Regardless of where we came from or what color we are, we are basically all the same family, and we can work together to create something beautiful.   We are all inter-connected:  each individual contributes in their own small way to the big picture.