Archive for May 2009

Fish of the Week

May 24, 2009

Went fishing a couple of times this past week.
Friar’s Mom was visited last Monday and  I took her out to try to catch some pike. We didn’t get any, but we ended up with four nice black crappies.

Four Crappie

Friar’s Mom kept  grumbling about all the new-fangled scented fishing lures and fancy equipment we were using.    It just wasn’t the same, she said.  As kids, all they had was a stick, a hook, and a piece of butcher string.   And that was good enough for them.

She would have done Don Mills proud.

Yesterday, I ventured out again with another fishing buddy.   We got three speckled trout between us.   I only got one, but it was the biggest.

Three Trout

Between all the paddling, we probably each burned 2000 calories that day.    To catch 1000 calories worth of fish.

Thank God for the Cheezi-Mart grocery store in town.

Sex is like Toys…

May 20, 2009

(*)  Thanks to Karen who planted this idea in my head.

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Sex is like a pogo-stick.

1Sex Pogo

Bounce!  Bounce!  Bounce!
Just make sure you don’t lose your balance.
Or you’ll fall off.

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Sex is like Sorry.

1Sex Sorry

Because sometimes, no matter how good the intentions.
That’s how you will end up.

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Sex is like a hula-hoop.1Sex Hula Hoop

Round and round.
Over and over.

Remember, though.
It’s all in the hips.

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Sex is like Scrabble1Sex Scrabble

Sometimes you’re stuck with nothing
All vowels or all consonants.
Or a Q without a U.

But be patient.
When the right combination comes along, you’ll score big.

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Sex is like a Bolo-Bat

1Sex Bat

If you get the rhythm right
You can whack things off pretty good.

Just don’t do it too hard, though.
Or you’ll break something, and your fun will be over.

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Sex is like a Play-Doh Fun Factory

1Sex Playdoh

With the right pressure
You’d be amazed at what can fit through a tight opening.

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Sex is like Trouble

1Sex Trouble

Because that’s where it can lead, if you’re not careful.

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Sex is like a Smash-up Derby Set

1Sex Smashup

You get all worked up.
And rev up your engines.
And then you  just GO at each other….until KABOOM!

Then you pick up the pieces.
Put yourselves back together.
And get ready to go all over again.

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Sex is like Rock’em Sock’em Robots

1Sex Robots
Two individuals, dancing together.
In an elaborate ballet.
Both are strong, yet vulnerable.
Parrying, thrusting.
Testing boundaries.
The dance continues.
Until someone gets their block knocked off.

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Sex is like an Easy-Bake Oven

1Sex Oven

If you do things right.
You can have your cake and eat it too.

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Sex is like an Erector Set.

1Sex Erector(Of course it is.  Why wouldn’t it be?)

Friar’s Random Short Lists

May 18, 2009

Comic strip women that I think would be pretty hot in real life.
– Blondie (Or her neighbor Tootsie.   Except for hair color, they’re interchangeable).
– Lois (Hi’s wife…not bad looking, after having had four kids).
– Miss Buxley (the hot secretary on Beetle Bailey).
– Any typical woman in Marvel or DC comics (super-heroines, or otherwise).

Four comic strip females I wouldn’t be caught dead with in real life.   Even at gunpoint.
– Cathy (Aacck!)
– Helga (Hagar’s wife).   Just like the fat lady that sings in the Opera.
– Blanche (the Wizard of Id’s wife)
– Cora Dithers (Dagwood’s boss’s wife…a clone of Blanche).

Four potential names for a family restaurant
– T.J. McFustecluck’s Good-Time Eating Emporium
– Butt-Crack McFinnigans
– McGarnaggle’s Crust Shack
– The Country Abatoir

Five things I like about The Superfriends
– For the benefit of the audience, they constantly explain what they have to do. “I’ll got to stop that avalanche from destroying that village!
– For the benefit of the audience, they give closure when a task is completed: “There…THAT should stop that avalanche!
– For the benefit of the audience, they let you know when the villain is no longer a threat: “There…THAT should stop you,  Bizarro-Superman!
– For the benefit of the audience, they describe an impending threat in very specific detail:  “Batman, …the magic amulet that the evil Demon-Soldlier has stolen  has opened up a time portal in the side of that mountain…causing lava to flow out of control, in our general direction….WATCH OUT!
– Batman and Robin have no super powers to speak of, but they’re still more useful than Aquaman.

Supporting McDonald-Land Characters:   “Where are they Now?”
Grimace: Gainfully employed as the voice of Patrick on SpongeBob Squarepants.
Mayor McCheese:  Resigned from office after shady French-Fry scandal with the Hamburglar.   Now lives in a a trailer park outside of Quartzite, Arizona.
Captain Crook: Earns a modest living performing as  an extra in the Vegas Cirque de Soleils’  “A Tribute to Sea-men Pirate Extravaganza.”
Officer Big Mac: Retired from the McDonaldLand Police force in 1988.   Died of a massive heart attack in 1992.

Clue” Scenarios that might not be rated “G”.
Miss Scarlett.  With Miss White.   And with Mr. Green.   In the bedroom. (Way to go, Mr. Green!)
Profressor Plum.  In the closet.   Trying to come out.
Miss. Juggs.  In the study.  On a trapeze.  With a circus elephant.

Five random things that should be banned, if I ran the planet
– Cranberries in breakfast cereals, salads, and trail mix. (Keep ’em in beverage form, or with Thanksgiving turkey sauce, where they belong).
– Crows (damned things squawk outside my house every morning at 6:00 AM).   Someone get a pellet gun.
– Those lame-ass playground swings made of rubber that crush your hips.  (Bring back the wooden ones that you could jump off of!)
– Womens’ haircuts shorter than mine.
– Unless you’re a biker or Aboriginal/First nations, pony tails on guys.

Top Five Curse Words from 1895
– Land Sakes!
– Consarn It!
– Dagnabbit!
– My Word!
– Goodness Me!

Six random things you coudln’t  make ME do, even at gunpoint
– Yoga
– Tai Chi
– See a live production of “Cats” or the “Phantom.”
– Be vegetarian for more than one consecutive meal.
– Attend a classical music concert, without having a giggle fit.
– Be truly, sincerely sorry that I just farted.

Of Lost Dogs and Lost Dads…

May 16, 2009

Victoria Day weekend.  Unofficially, Canada’s first long weekend of the summer.    Cool, rainy and miserable.

It was around just such a Victoria Day weekend three years ago.    Mom called me at work early on a Thursday morning.  Her voice sounded a bit funny.    She had been sitting eating breakfast.   Dad was upstairs, sleeping in.   She had gone up to wake him, and found out that well….he had passed away.

In his sleep, just like that.   No warning.   Nothing.

The previous day, he was out on the golf course.   I believe he had shot a 76…he was within a few strokes of golfing his age.    He had supper, I had chatted with him on the phone, and then he went to bed.

And he never woke up.

What a strange day that was.  You get to work by 8:15 AM.   By 9:00, you tell your boss  “I have to go home now.  My Dad, um…died.  I don’t exactly know when I’m coming back.”

You arrive at your parents house.  Your dad’s still lying in the bed, like he’s taking a nap.  His body is still warm, for Chrissakes.  By 4:30 PM, the coroner comes to take him away.   Then you’re at the funeral home with your family, picking out a coffin.

All this, by dinner time.  You wonder how such a normal day could have ended up like this.

Fast forward through the funeral, the grieving, the dreaded year of “Firsts”…the anniversaries and events without your Dad.

Been through all that.   I’ve accepted it, and moved on.

Only now, if strangely feels like Déja Vu all over again.

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Another cool, miserable rainy Victoria Day weekend.

My sister’s dog ran away last week.    She had apparently bolted through an open door during a thunderstorm, and ran outside in a panic.

She’s been gone for 9 days, and we’re fearing the worse.

A lot of tears, a lot of grieving.  Not just for my sister, but for the whole family.

It feels surprisingly like another death in the family.

Some people may scoff: “Oh, get over it, it’s  just a dog!”.   But they don’t get it.   They just don’t get it.

It’s not just a dog…it’s a member of the family.    If you’re a Dog Person, I don’t’ have to explain this to you.

And Tipper is one of those special dogs that you meet, mabye once or twice in your lifetime, that you have a special bond with.

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Dad loved Tipper. And she loved him.    When she visited, the first thing she’d do is bolt upstairs to his office, claws skittering on the hardwood floor, where he’d be sitting at his computer.

She’d greet him with pure, unabashed joy, wiggling her bum, thumping her tail and “roo-ing” in that half-bark she reserves for special people.

“Tipper!  Tipper, come here!”, Dad would call.   And I’d watch him suddenly get transformed into a 7-year old kid, this bright smile on his face, his eyes twinkling, as he petted her and played with her.

The dog had that affect on him.   Not too many other people did.

Only now both are gone.

Almost three years to the day, actually.

On the same type of miserable, wet rainy Victoria Day weekend.

Funny how Life’s Like That.

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I remember that sleepless night at my parents’ place, the first night without Dad in the house.

We had managed to put Mom to bed at 3:00 AM.   Everyone had gone home to their respective spouses.  My sister had left Tipper behind for my benefit, though.  Because she knew it would make things a bit easier for me.

I couldn’t sleep.   I got up, wandering the hallway in the semi-darnkess.    There was the office, with the computer, where Dad would have sat, not that long ago.    Only now the computer was off, and the screen was dark.

Tipper was awake too.    Nobody was sleeping.   It’s like the house itself could sense that something terribly, terribly awful had taken place.

I quietly asked Tipper   “Where’s Dad, Tipper?   Where’s Dad?”.

She quietly looked at me, and looked at the computer.

There was no tail thumping.   No panting or grinning.   No skittering off to the bedroom to try to find him.

She just looked at me.  With those sad, dark eyes, which spoke volumes.

She knew.  Of course, she knew.

(And they say animals don’t have souls.)

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All hope isn’t’ lost yet.   We’re terribly worried, though.

There’s still a possibility Tipper is out there.   Maybe a farmer has taken her in or something.

I know it’s a long shot.  But if you live around the Ottawa area, and you’ve sighted a stray reddish-brown dog, please drop me an email at deepfryar@gmail.com. 

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Tipper, come home.    If you’re still out there, COME HOME.

But if you’re no longer with us,  I like to think you’ve found my Dad.

Tipper

Fifteen examples of why we have things WAY too easy.

May 12, 2009

1.  Umpteen varieties of Oreos
Different Oreos

OMG.  How DID people manage from 1912 to 1975 with just PLAIN old Oreos?.  Today we have Chocolate-Filled Oreos, Double-stuffed Oreos, Double-stuffed Mint Oreos, Golden Oreos, Mini Oreos, Caviar Oreos,  Plutonium Oreas….and Lord knows what else.

2.  American Idol
Idol

While we obsess over glorified Karaoke singers, the Barbarians are making plans to storm our city gates.
This is how Rome fell.

3. Mulit-colored Lucky Charms Marshmallows

LC_Clover StarLC_Rainbow HourGlass

Sugary cereal isn’t decadent enough.   Sugary cereal with marshmallows isnt’ decadent enough.   Sugary cereal with multicolored marshmallows….NOW we’re talkin’!
Just think of the R&D that went into develooping the right food chemistry and injection-molding technology to make these.
I still buy this shit, though.

4. Diet Pet Food

Diet dog food

Try explaining THIS to a starving African.

5. Handicapped Parking at the trailhead…for HIKING trails.
Handicapped
I’m not kidding. I know places where these exist!
I’m sorry if this sounds harsh.   But someone is going out of their way to walk 2 miles, then they can walk the extra 50 feet from the parking lot like the rest of us.

6. Getting upset over “Merry Christmas”

Holidays
If this is one of our biggest gripes in December, then we deserve COAL in our stocking.
What would our grandparents think, who fought for our freedom in WW II?
Warms their heart, this probably does.

7. Digitally colorizing old movies
Stooges
Thank God no one ever has to suffer the trauma of watching something in black and white any more.

8. Bo-Tox
botox

We dont’ want to look old.   So we inject POISON into our face.
Makes sense to me.

9. Blogging about Twitter, and Twittering about Blogging

escher-moebius
Talk about a self-perpetuating Jerkle Cirque.
We need to get better hobbies.  Seriously.


10. Mt. Mitchell’s  Observation Deck

Mt. Mitchell

When you take the highest peak east of the Mississippi and pave a road to the top, that’s one thing.
But when you make it wheelchair accessible, well, that kinda of ruins whatever’s left of the wilderness experience.

11. Bagel-Fuls

Bagelful

Apparently, spreading cream cheese on a bagel is TOO MUCH WORK.   This must be why they came up with these abominations.

12. Cell phones that can be used as a carpenter’s level.

dual-level

It’s about TIME!!!
Next, I hear they’re working on phones that will actually be able to send and receive voice signals.

13. Car GPS’s

Car GPS
Our ancestors navigated across uncharted waters to colonize the New World.

Today, we’re too dumb-ass to even read a map to find the mall.

14. Bling water (at $38 a pop)
Bling
No wonder half the planet hates us.

15.  20-foot inflatable Gorillas
Gorilla

Google it.  You’ll be surprised at how many there are.
You have to admit.   It’s a proud moment for a civilization when it has progressed to the point where it can actually support people who’s job it is to make and sell these things.
I want one in my yard.

How to Write Realistic-Sounding Inspirational Quotes (Part I)

May 12, 2009

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with quoting something useful once in a while.   But it seems to be getting out of hand, in my opinion.

Seems like half of Blogo-Land and the Planet Twitter has a copy of Bartlett’s Quotations on hand, that they just can’t WAIT to share with the other half.

Because apparently what some dead guy said 100 years ago is more valid and more inspiring that what we can come up on our own.

And apparently, we’re incapable of deciding how to run our lives unless we read what someone ELSE thinks first.  (Someone who most likely has never met us, and never will).

Well, call my a cynical old Friar, but I’m not that impressed with all these famous quotes.

Because, really….it’s NOT that HARD.

Follow these tips, and you can come up with inspirational quotes on your own,

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1.  Make a list of Pleasant Nouns
Touchy-feely ones, that invoke warm fuzzy feelings.

Love, Hope, Inspiration, Music, Joy, Character, Dreams, Perseverance, Patience, Truth, Beauty, Creativity,  Beacon, Light, Tool, Knowledge, Honesty, Success, Jewel, Leadership, etc.

2.  Make a list of Unpleasant Nouns
That evoke negative images.

Hatred, Ignorance, Procrastination,  Sloth, Ignorance, Racism,  Failure,  Greed, Selfishness, Hesitation,  Cloud, Storm, Lies, etc.

3.   Make a list of Verbs
Think of “Action” verbs, including some opposites.

Illuminate, Shine,  Bathe,  Dirty, Soothe, Aggravate,  Drive (us),   Push (us),  Lighten/Darken, Conquer,  Shed (light),  Sharpen/Dull,  Succeed/Fail,   Win/Lose, Stop/Start, Lead/Follow, etc.

4.  Follow the generic template:
(NOUN) is the (NOUN) that  (VERB) (blah blah) (NOUN)

Examples:

Music is the truth that soothes our soul.
Knowledge is the beacon that sheds light on our ignorance.
Creativity is the tool that sharpens success.

5.  Don’t be afraid to slightly modify the template, and mix and match opposites

1. (NOUN) is the (blah  blah) by which (VERB)
2. (NOUN) are (blah blah)  (VERB)

Examples:

Perseverance is the means by which we succeed.
Procrastination is the means by which we fail.

Dreams are never realized by procrastinating
Dreams are always realized by perservering.

You can pick one or the other.  Either/or.  They mean the same thing.

6.  Pick a word, any word, and free-associate.

Take “Leadership”, for example.   Hmmm…what makes a good leader?

Leadership is knowing when to stop.
Leadership is knowing when to never quit.

Notice these two sentences are totally different.   Doesn’t matter which one you pick.  It’s all good.  (Because it’s an inspiration quote. It CAN’T be wrong, right?)

What would a shitty leader do? Try a “negative” sentence.

Hesitation and leadership never lead to winning.

To make it less obvious,  twist the words around, and make it a positive affirmation.

A leader who hesitates is the key to failure.

(You could have just as well used “procrastinates” here, or “is dishonest”, or anything else negative).

How about adding something with “dreams”?   (Dreams is always a sure-fire winner).     Hmm..let’s see.

A leader follows his dreams.

…(too simple!).    Let’s make it sound more artsy.   How about adding something about the leader’s dreams pushing us forward?

A leader is one who’s dreams propel us forward.

Still too simple.  Lets turn this into a simile.  (Or metaphor…I never could get those straight).

Fuel is to the engine, as dreams are to a leader : They both propel us forward.

(Oooh…now isn’t that DEEP?)    That one could have been said by René Descartes himself (if internal combustion engines existed in his time).

Go on…give it a try…you’ll be surprised what you can come up with.

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Stay tuned for Part II:  More tricks and templates.  And coming up with fake names.

Life Lessons I Learned from my Mom.

May 9, 2009

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m not going to write a sappy tribute and get all teary-eyed (that’s not my style).

But I would like to share with you the valuable Life Lessons that Friar’s Mom has taught me over the years.

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Life Lesson #1:   Don’t believe everything you hear.   And you can’t trust anyone.
I was five.   We were at my grandfather’s cottage.

Mom told me that spruce gum tasted like honey.   She smiled at me, as I went up to a tree all gooey with sap, and dabbed my finger into some and tasted it.

GagGHHH! It was the WORST thing ever!  The vile bitter taste lingered on forever.

Mom looked at me and laughed.  She said someone did the same thing to her when she was five.   So now she passed on the tradition and did the same thing to ME.

40 years later, I STILL remember that afternoon.

My only regret is that I have no kids of my own to play this same trick on. (Maybe my nephews, though)


Life Lesson #2.   Proper Nutrition is more important than enjoying your food.
Even since I was a kid, I was told: “Eat it, it’s good for you”.

“Yeah…but it tastes YUCKY.”

“But it’s GOOD for you…so EAT IT”.

End of story.   (I’d never win this argument).

Life Lesson #3  Be persistent.
I’m almost 45 now…I eat out and/or cook my own food now.  I no longer have to listen to Mom, I have total control over what I eat.

But I’m STILL being told ” Eat it, it’s good for you,”

Even after four decades, she’s still telling me this…hoping one day I’ll actually LISTEN to her.

You gotta admire that tenacity.

Life Lesson #4.  If kids scream,  scream back at them.
We were at a campground once on a family vacation.   We were unfortunately next to another family with a screaming brat.   Freaking kid wouldn’t shut up…just kept wandering around whining and having conniptions.   And of course, his parents did nothing to stop it.

My Mom was in the trailer preparing supper.   The demon-spawn was just outside her window, screaming as usual.  She had had enough…

Mom pulled back the blinds,  went right up to the window, and made a scary face:  “BLAHHH!” (out of sight of his parents, of course).

Heh heh.   Scared the little shit out of five years growth.   He stopped crying, and went screaming back to his campsite,

Left us alone after that, too.

That was AWESOME.  I didn’t’ know you could DO that.

Life Lesson #5   Allow kids self-implode, and let them learn from their misbehavior.
My cousin was visiting once.   He was three.  And for whatever reason, he was having a tantrum over the bean-game game.   (You know…where you try to throw the bean-bags into the holes in a metal-reinforced box.

(Kick!  Kick!  Kick!)   “Stupid bean bag game!”  (Kick!  Kick! Kick!)

“Kick it some more”,  Mom told her nephew.

(Kick!  Kick!  Kick!).  “Stupid!  Stupid!  Grrr! Dumb game!”

“Kick it again…HARDER!”, she encouraged.

(Kick! Kick!)  “OWWW!”  (stubs his toe!)  “WAHHHHHHH AHHHHHH! AHHHHHH!

“There….do you SEE what happens when you lose your temper?”

A more eloquent lesson of teaching us to control our anger, I cannot think of.

Lesson #6.  Children are not much different from apes on a zoo.   Reward them with treats, and they’ll do anything you want.
Our family grew up skiing.   Dad was always off instructing at the Ski School.  Mom was stuck with the onerous task of keeping three kids on control in the lift-lines and on the ski-slopes.   Picture trying to make a 5,  7 and 10-year-old get along and behave for the whole day.   Ugh.

But she had a trick:  she kept a bag of Smarties in her pocket.   For every ski run, if we were good, we’d get us TWO smarties.

Two lousy Smarties.

But that was all it took.    And we’d stand at the bottom of the hill, with our mouths open, like baby chicks waiting for Momma bird  to feed us.

The best thing was, if you had two Smarties of the same color, is was a BONUS and you got a third Smartie.

(Heck…even the adult Lifties were jealous of us…and wanted candy too!)

Life Lesson #7.  Don’t shelter your kids.  Expose them to bad things and let them learn.
I was five.  My Dad smoked a pipe back then.   I was curious.

Mom said “Well, why don’t you try it?”.   She actually encouraged it.

I remember Dad lighting up the pipe, giving it to me, and Mom and Dad smiling, as they watched me try to smoke.

(Oboy, oboy.)  I was thrilled.   They were actually going to let me SMOKE.  (Oboy, oboy.)

(Cough! Cough!  Sputter!  Gag!)

WORST thing I ever tasted in my life.

I don’t think I’ve touched a pipe since.

And I’ve never taken up smoking, either!

(Tricky parents!).  They KNEW what they were doing, all along!

Life Lesson #8. Life can be Unfair.   Death happens, and we have to accept it.
I was about twelve.  I had found a baby bird that had fallen down a sewer, and I rescued it.  I brought it home, hoping I could feed it worms or something, and to nurse it back to health.

Looking back, I think my Mom knew all along the bird was toast, and there was nothing we could do about it.  But she probably realized I wouldn’t have listened to any of this.  So she  let me bring the bird in the house in a box, to try to do whatever I could, and let me figure things out myself.

The poor little bird didn’t last the night.   I was devastated.

That’s when Mom came around, to pick up the broken pieces of her son.   It was my first honest, “adult” discussion about Life and Death.  What it means, how it’s not always pretty, that’s just the way it is.

Hard lesson to learn, but I’ll never forget it.

Life Lesson #9.   You don’t have to spank kids to get your point across
I was in the kitchen once, I think I was ten or twelve.   Bitching about something, I don’t remember.   And as usual, I wouldn’t shut up.

I was bending down to get some cereal in the cupboard, still complaining.   Suddenly, it was like a soft heavy weight was gently pushing on neck.  I almost lost my balance.

Turns out Mom was cooking pizza.

And she had chucked the dough right at my head.

Nice arm, Mom.

Didn’t hurt or anything.   But you gotta admit, it DID make me shut up.

Life Lesson #10.  Don’t be an old fuddy-duddy.
“Growing old, you can’t help….but growing up…that’s optional”.

– Friar’ Mom

(And this isn’t a made-up quote…this one is real!)