Archive for April 2009

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.

Some Questions Best Left Unanswered

April 15, 2009


What unspeakable things did Jabba the Hutt make Princess Leia do, when she was kept on a chain, as his slave?

Which Yoko Ono songs weren’t considered quite good enough to get on the Double Fantasy Album?

What’s in hot dogs?

What things did George Bush really screw up, so baldy, that we’ll never hear about?

What’s your parents’ sex life like?  (Ewwww…!)

…what about your grandparents?    (Double Ewwww…!)

What else can be deep-fried, besides cheeseburgers and Mars Bars?

How many voters can’t even locate their own state on a map?

What age was Céline Dion, when her manager, René Angeli, started to have the hots for her?

Just how painful is hemorrhoid surgery?

Just how much more of an S.O.B. can Eric Cartman become?

How far would Betty be willing to go, in order to get Archie to like her more than Veronica?

Forget the fluorescent blue water…what do soiled napkins really look like?

What will upset today’s kids, 25 years from now, when their kids want to shock them?

What happens if you drink an entire quart of cream?

How did Wilma ever manage to deliver Pebbles? (My God…have you seen the SIZE of that kids’ head?)

Exactly what did the Perfessor from Gilligan’s Island get his PhD in?

What sick sonnovabitch came up with the recipe for raisins and glazed lima beans?

What was that crunchy, unidentified tidbit at the $7.99 Chinese buffet?

If Oprah can’t even pump her own gas, what else doesn’t she know?

What TV shows did Fox TV reject which never saw air-time?  (As opposed to the high-quality programming they broadcast right now.)

What kind of idiot would pay $50 for bottled water?

How do all the Smurfs deal with the fact that there’s only one Smurfette?

How did the pioneers cope 200 years ago, in log cabins with no running water or toilet paper?    Especially when they got the stomach flu?

How close have we ever come to another 9-11 without realizing it?

What the hell did the dog just eat, that he’s trying to hide from us?

Does Bob Dylan deliberately sing that way just to mess with us, or is he really, honestly trying?

How much time do we waste each day on Twitter?

Not Basil!

April 14, 2009

I’ve been working on my kids’ book, improving the sketches, and starting to develop some characters.  Here are a few of my latest snippets about Basil.


When most dogs bark, they go “Yap! Yap!”, “Woof! Woof!” or “Bow! Wow!”


Not Basil!   When he barks, he goes “Nee! Nee!”

And when he does,  it makes Mr. McGarnaggle’s car alarm go off next door, and he screams at everybody.


Most dogs enjoy going for car rides.


Not Basil.  He gets so excited, he’ll jump around the car so much, and smash the windshield.


And when he does, it costs Dad a lot of money to fix it.

Of course, Basil is okay.  But that’s the fourth windshield he’s broken.


Dad says Basil is a sometimes few bricks short of a full load.  I don’t know what that means.  Maybe that Basil isn’t always smart.

Perfessor Friar Applies the Brakes

April 13, 2009

Every once in a while,  I’ve heard people ask the following question, something along the lines of:

“Why don’t’ they stick a windmill on top of our cars?  Then when we drive at 60 mph, it would cause the blades to spin, which we could hook up to a generator.   This could make electricity, which we could store in a battery, to power the car.”

Ummm….that would be called a Perpetual Motion Machine, and those only exist in Lah-Lah Land.

Remember as kid, how difficult it was to pedal your bike when it was hooked up to one of those cheezy night-light generators?    Suddenly, it’s a lot more work.

Same thing would apply to your car.  Spinning a windmill takes work.  It would slow you down, acting as a big brake.   You’d end up burning far more energy in gasoline than whatever you’d gain back from any electricity you’d made.

But what if you had a special high-efficiency windmill blades?   What if you had almost perfectly frictionless windmill bearings?

Nope.   Still wouldn’t work.

Even under the most ideal conditions, you wouldn’t even break even.    You’d ALWAYS burn more gasoline with a windmill-generator, than without.

Nature says there’s no such thing as a Free Lunch.

Thank the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics for that.


Let’s continue the discussion on cars and braking.

What if, instead of a windmill on your roof,  your wheels were connected to an electric generator, that only turned on when you applied the brakes?

This is a whole different story.

When you braked,  the kinetic energy from your car’s mass and speed would now be converted to making the generators spin and make electricity.    This would slow down your car (just like the windmill on your roof would), and THEN you could store this energy in a battery for later use.

Don’t worry, though.   This doesn’t violate any Laws of Thermodynamics.    Remember, there’s no such thing as a Free Lunch.

When you’re cruising on the highway, you’re burning the same amount of gas, regardless.   But it’s HOW the braking is applied, that makes the difference.

With conventional braking,  ALL your kinetic energy is converted into friction on the brake pads and is lost as heat.    All that speed you had, all that gas you burned to get there…Pffft!    Gone! …Never to be re-used again.   And now the atmosphere is slightly warmer.  (Al Gore is crying, as we speak.)

But with electrical-generator braking, the one big difference is that you’d at least recover SOME of your kinetic energy back as electrical energy.   You wouldn’t be creating any more energy, you’d just be wasting LESS.

Which is a huge improvement from before.

This is what’s known as  regenerative braking.

Hybrid cars use this technology.


The Lonely Blogger

April 8, 2009


Are there ANY other bloggers out there who  ….

…don’t think Twitter is more important than the Second Coming?

…fail to see the difference between a “Link Post” and a “Blog Carnival”?

…think a “meme” nothing but a glorified  chain letter?

…just for today, don’t feel like Saving the Planet?

…aren’t Life Coaches?

…really couldn’t give a flying fox fart when another blogger announces they might skip a couple of posts?

…don’t necessarily think that absolutely EVERYTHING George Bush ever did was 100% wrong?

…haven’t self-actualized yet? (Or are instructing everyone else on how to?)

…are actually happier with MORE money, than less?

…dislike Crunchy Granola?

…want to know what someone’s actual tax return looks like, when they claim they’ve earned “six figures” by blogging?

…think we don’t fully understand Global Warming yet, and that we should continue to examine both side of the argument?

…don’t understand the appeal of quitting a well-paid 9-to-5 cubicle job, in exchange to being being your own boss, working 70-hour weeks and starving?

…believe that self-improvement and inner peace can’t readily obtained by simply reading someone else’s “how-to” list?

…think Chat Rooms basically accomplished the same thing that Twitter does, only they did it 10 years ago?

…drives a car, eats red meat, and uses plastic grocery bags?

…thinks of “Social Media” as just fancy words for vegetating in front of a computer screen, and chatting to strangers we’ll never meet?

…doubt whether our lives can be changed by merely reading a few selectedwords from some famous person?

…don’t feel like paying $150 for an E-book that will be obsolete in 6 months.   Especially if you can get a similar hard-copy at a regular bookstore, for a fraction of the price.

…wonders that if we all want to earn a living sitting at our computers typing to each other, who will actually be out there farming the fields, maintaining the infrastructure and running the country?

…don’t want to be lectured to, inspired, or enlightened, but just want to be entertained?