Archive for the ‘Friar’s Grab Bag’ category

Margy Boogy

October 16, 2014

Margy Boogy

This is the school I went to in Montreal from Grade 3 to Grade 6.  It was totally in French.  It was called “École Marguerite Bourgeois” but we all called it “Margy-Boogy”for short.

My teacher in Grade 3 was a miserable nun…this is where I learned my Catholic Guilt (but that’s a whole other story).

Half of Margy Boogy’s population were Special Ed kids, who stayed in one side of the school.  Us regular students occupied the other side.

The Special Ed kids were referred to as “Mentals” and you definitely didn’t want to be caught alone on the wrong side.   There was a definite border:  the “Mental Side” began once you crossed threshold and entered into the older wing of the school.

And the Mentals were terrifying.   They roamed around the schoolyard in groups.   At recess or at lunch, you had to make sure you stayed away from their territory,  or you might get beat up.

Sometimes they would zero in on a kid and pick on him at random. You never know when it might be you, or your friends.   You might just get shoved around and bullied, or you might get a black eye. This was  a constant threat you learned to live with.

The teachers had no control. I remember seeing a small kid lying on the ground screaming in terror while two bigger Mentals beat him up, right in front of two teachers.   I don’t’ know what was worse…watching the kid get beat up, or the fact that the teachers just stood there watching and did nothing.

Another time, I saw one of these kids (maybe 10 years old) ask a teacher for some cigarettes, who gave them to him.    I couldn’t believe it…I thought adults were supposed to be responsible. It’s like these teachers had given up and couldn’t be bothered any more.

Even in our part side of the school, the teachers had no control.  Our English teacher was having a hard time handling one of the bigger kids  (who was borderline Special Ed himself).    He was disrupting the class for the nth time and she lost it.  I remember her grabbing him by the arm, red-faced and screaming, with tears screaming down her face.   And the kid just stood there laughing in her face.

Soon after that, she was replaced and never came back.

Some of the male teachers had a better handle on things, if you want to call it that.    They came up with creative ways to torture the kids without actually having to touch them.

Like making a bad kid face a wall, stand a few feet away form it, and lean into it, with their forehead smooshed up against it.   The kid had to stand there with his hands behind his back, so that his forehead took all his body’s weight and he squirmed and moaned until he could take no more.   Meanwhile the teacher just sat at his desk like a prick and kept scolding the kid, while the rest of us had to watch.

The same type of crap happened on the bus:  our bus driver used to lose his temper all the time.    To be fair, though, I could hardly blame him because some of these kids were BAD.

Like one little shit,  who was so disruptive that one day,  the bus driver pulled over and stopped so that he could literally kick the kid off the bus.   Of course, the kid thought this was a game and he ran up and down the aisle, jumping over seats, dodging the red-face bus-driver who couldn’t catch him.  Poor man, I though he was gong to blow a gasket.

Which he actually did, one day.   After months of dealing with such demon-spawn,  one day the bus driver stopped the bus and lay back in his seat, all pale-looking and tired.   We were stuck there for an hour until one of the older kids Grade 6 kids found an adult to got help.

It turns out the bus driver was having a heart attack, right then and there, in the bus.     Eventually somebody else came by and drove us home.

As for our bus driver, he was replaced, and never came back.

I was 8 at the time.    This is what I learned school was like.

People often say they have fond memories of their school days, but to be honest, I don’t.

In fact, to this day, I still have anxiety dreams about Margy-Boogy, even though this all happened 40 years ago.

Even seeing this Google Map photo gives me the creeps.


Stupid Burger

May 7, 2014

How desperate do you have to be,  that you’re willing to eat a microwave a burger?

Burger 1 IMG_7860
I mean…I’m one of the laziest cooks out there.

I HATE cooking.

But even a schmuck like me is willing to buy some ground beef, make patties and throw them onto the grill.

But let’s say you’re not even willing to cook even THAT much.

For the same price,  why wouldn’t you just go to the Drive-Thru?

I mean, it would still be junk food…but at least it would be made fresh.

So who would want eat a microwave burger?


I dunno.

But for the past 2 years, I’ve been seeing these abominations in the freezer section at the Jumbo Cat Grocery Store, and I’ve been ignoring them.

But curiosity had finally got the best of me.

So this week I had to check them out.

Burger 2 IMG_7861


Still frozen:

Burger 4IMG_7862

After 60 seconds on the microwave (as per the instructions)

Actually, it doesn’t’ look as bad as I had imagined.

Burger 5 IMG_7863

At least the bacon looks reasonable. 

Burger 6

Burger 7


Originally, I had no intention of eating it.     This was just a consumer experiment.

But after another 10 seconds in the microwave,  and adding some mustard and relish,  I was willing to give it a try.

Burger 8IMG_7866



Surprisingly adequate.

Don’t get me wrong.   They’re not great.   I don’t think I’d buy one again.

But they’re not horrible.

No better or worse than a re-heated cheap fast-food burger.


Regardless,  I got my $2.00 worth of amusement.

It was worth it.


Friar’s Bookshelf

March 12, 2014

Friar's Bookshelf 2

My Very Catholic Workbook

March 6, 2014

This goes back to my Grade 1 Religion Class  when I attended Regina Caeli Elementary School in Montreal.   (Circa 1970-71).

Cath Cover IMG_7336

“I became a Child of God on August 9th…”

Cath Baptism IMG_7326

…and thus the indoctrination begins.


I think here we were supposed to draw the gifts God gave us…

Cath 1

So why did I draw myself spraying the bugs?

I have no idea.


“Draw something God made for us to enjoy”.

Cath 3 IMG_7305

Let me see…from left to right, there’s a kiddie pool, a fort made of blankets and lawn chairs, the neighbors cat, and me and a bike.

With the exception of the cat, these are all material possessions.

Obviously I missed the whole point, here.

Note that Mrs. McGuire gave me a “C”, which stood for “Correct”.

That was the default grade she gave:  meaning your work was adequate, but not great.

But I did get rewarded with the mandatory religious stamp.

Cath 3 Stamp

(If only I could be like that haloed boy…*sigh*).


“Show Adam and Even when they were happy with God”

Cath 3 IMG_7309Wow…I must have really knocked this one out of the park.

Because I got the trifecta:   The standard “C” for Correct.

The bonus religious stamp of the angel:

.Cath 3 angel

And…the coveted “E” for “Excellent”.

When you got an “E”, you know you did well.

Cath 3 Excellent

Mrs. McGuire didn’t just hand those E’s to anybody, you know.

You had to EARN them.


But Religion Class wasn’t all fun and drawings.   80% of my book was filled with text.  Apparently we did a lot of reading along and underlining.

(All part of the indoctrination process,  naturally…)

Cath Underline IMG_7327a

“Draw yourself with other people.  We are children of God”.

Cath 4 IMG_7313

Looking at this, I don’t think I was really interested in drawing myself with other people.

I just wanted to draw a green Volkswagen, which was my favorite car at the time.


“Draw yourself helping at home”.

Cath 05 IMG_7319

Not my best work.  But obviously I was very enthralled with the vibrant pink color from my new felt pen set.

I recognize my baby brother in the crib.   But aside from that , this was a pretty shitty drawing,  even for a kid.  The walls to the left and right are just scribbled in.

Even Mrs. McGuire noticed.   I got a “V. G.” beside the “C”.

Meaning “Very Good”.  Which was one step below “Correct”.


“Draw Noah and his family on the ark”.

Cath 05 Noah IMG_7315

It looks like I actually put a lot of thought into this one.   I got Noah’s family looking out the windows, with a few animals, including (third from the left) what appears to be an ALLIGATOR!

Cath 05 Noah Gator IMG_7315

And if that’s the case, then I think this drawing is AWESOME!

Funny thing is, I actually remember drawing this.   And remembering the story about how Noah set out three doves to look for land.   Apparently the first two drowned and never came back.  But the third one came back with an olive branch or something, and that’s who Noah found Mount Ararat.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I chose to draw one of the drowning birds.    On the roof, right next to the nonchalant giraffe. 

Cath 05 Noah Bird IMG_7315

Pretty harsh, when you think about it.

But hey…this was the Old Testament.


What would I have said to Jesus?

“Thank you Jesus for the food.  It was good”.

Cath Food was Good IMG_7334

Which, obviously, was the right thing to say.

Because it got “Excellent”.


“Draw Jesus with three of his Apostles”.

Cath 6 IMG_7321Yes.  Three apostles:  James, John, and qeter.

But it did earn an “Excellent”.   And not just as an “E”, but with the whole word written out.

This was rare compliment from Mrs. McGuire.

I was really starting to get the hang of this.


“Draw Jesus and his Apostles in the  boat”

Cath 12IMG_7333

See?   I got too cocky, and here I only got a “Correct”.

Probably because I screwed up the names of the apostles, and tried to erase the lettering and got it all smudged.

I have to admit,  Mrs. McGuire was consistent and fair in her marking.

And you gotta respect that.


“Draw some people Jesus wants you to love”

Cath 7 IMG_7323

Yeahhh….and I don’t think I really wanted to draw that.    Obviously, I preferred to draw myself building a snow fort instead.

Hence, the lesser grade of “C” instead of the coveted “E”


You couldn’t fool ol’ Mrs. McG.


“Pray to the Holy Spirit.  Write your prayer here”

Cath 8 IMG_7324“Thank you Jesus for going back to Heaven!”


I’m not a theological expert.   But I don’t think you’re supposed to thank Jesus for going to heaven.   You’re probably supposed to thank him for dying for your sins instead. 

But what do you want?

I was only in Grade 1.


“Draw yourself being a child of God”.

Cath 11 IMG_7332

Wow.  Look at the size of that SUN.

Anyway, I think this was supposed to be me playing with my sister.

Because from a seven-year-old point of view, the ultimate sacrifice to God is being nice to your pesky younger siblings.

Apparently, so is cleaning your room for Jesus.

Cath 13 IMG_7335

Though I am intrigued as to why I suddenly regressed back to drawing stick-figure people.

I dunno..maybe it was some kind of “minimalist” artistic phase I was gong through.


Here’s one of story of the Prodigal Son.

Cath 7 Prodigal IMG_7322

On the left, I drew the rich son leaving home and setting out in the wold with his big bag of cash with the dollar sign on it.

(Because the dollar was standard currency back in biblical times).

On the right, we see the son returning home, tattered and poor, falling at his farther’s feet.

Though they both look like bums…both equally tattered and poor.

(Oh well).


“Draw yourself  saying Thank you to Jesus”

Cath 10 IMG_7330

Oooh…LOOK!   This is probably the FIRST CARTOON BUBBLE I ever drew! (Even though I ran out of room and had to add to it).

Mrs. McGuire liked it too…I got an “E”    And also (look in the top right), a colored stamp of the three Wise Men.

Cath 10 stampIMG_7330


I also recognize one of the items in the background.

Cath 10 Clock IMG_7330

That’s an old Fisher-Price Clock I used to have when I was three.   I still held on to it back then.

FP Clock

It boggles my mind, how I remember this.

Don’t ask me how, but I do.

Of coures, at the end of some of the chapters, there were “take home” questions which we had go over with our parents.   My Mom and Dad would quiz me, and they’d have to sign off that they covered the material with me, and then Mrs. McGuire would co-sign it.

This information probably all went on my Permanent Record.   .

Cath Exam

This was all taken very seriously.   To ensure we kids grew up to be good little Catholics.

And it worked.  Because just 7 years later,  I became an Altar Boy

(But that’s another story).



R.I.P. Stupid Mask That Will Not Die (1977-2014)

January 25, 2014

See this stupid paper-maché mask?     I made it in Grade 7 Art Class in 1977.

0 Mask 1

I stopped caring for the Stupid Mask sometimes in the early 80’s.   As I got older, I tried to throw it out multiple times but it kept coming back.

(Thanks, Friar’s Mom).

I won’t bother you with the history…(you can read about it here).  But suffice to say,  over the few decades, I just could not get RID of this thing.

The Stupid Mask would NOT DIE.

It continued to plague me, and I thought I would never be able to move forward with my life.

Fast forward, December 2013.

Friar’s Mom was cleaning up the clutter in her house, and I guess she finally decided she wanted the Stupid Mask out of her house too.

So she wrapped it up, and gave it to my Screaming Nephew for Christmas.    

Her thinking: maybe he can amuse himself by burning it in a bonfire, or something.

Now, imagine yourself as an 11 year old boy,  who likes PlayStation DS and MineCraft and Lego, and all the other things 11-year-old boys do.

And Grandma gives you a lame-ass musty paper-maché art project that Uncle Friar did almost four decades ago.   That even Uncle Friar doesn’t like any more. excited would you be?

The answer is:  NOT VERY MUCH.

So I offered to hold the Stupid Mask while the Screaming Nephew gave it a karate punch.

Which he gleefully did.

Stupid MaskIMG_5981

And he continued to destroy it.

And I was glad.

Stupid Mask IMG_5992

The Stupid Mask did get it’s 15 minutes of fame, though.  

It provided the Screaming Nephew some mild amusement, when we put the “scary teeth” in front of our faces.

Stupid Mask IMG_5991

Stupid MaskIMG_5980

But, eventually, the Stupid Mask had outlived it’s usefulness, and now is no more.

Stupid Mask IMG_6031

And I say….GOOD !!!

Because now I finally have closure.



French 101: Random Phrases Overheard in a Quebec Restaurant

January 16, 2014


“Sh-tanh Floride”  
(I was in Florida)

“ShPah Kapab…”
(I am not able to…)

“Yeh Pu Kapab…”
(He is no longer able to…)

“Nuh Nuh Non.”
(Emphatic no)


“Euh, lah, euh.,.”
(Um…well, um.,.)

(The fact is, there..)

“Bainh, Lah, lah…”
(Well, um, there..)

“Ah, Bainh, La, Euh…”
(Oh, well, then, there…)


“Mwhye Meh”
(Hmm.  Yes, but…)

(You know…)

“Ee bouge pu…”
(He is no longer moving…)

“Pee Lah..”
(And then, there…)

“Pee Euhhh…”
(And then, ummmmm)

“Ease cash…”
(He is hiding…)

“Yah Tawnh”
(He is waiting)

The Best Part of Halloween

November 1, 2013

The day after.

When candy is half-price.


Halloween Score

My American Cereal Collection

August 7, 2013

Whenever I travel to the States, I stock up on the junk food that you can’t get in Canada.    Especially the cereals.

Here’s my latest stash:

1.   Crunch Berries 

We used to be able to get these when I was a kid.   But somewhere along the line,  Crunch Berries moved back South of the Border, and now we’re stuck with just the plain old Cap’n Crunch.

Notice the berries are multi-colored now.   I remember when they only came on one color:  bright pink.

Also notice how manic-looking the Cap’n has become.     He ain’t quite right….he’s not the friendly,  kindly-looking Cap’n that we grew up with.

I dunno…maybe he’s  OD’ing on all the sugar.

1.  Cereal Crunch Berries IMG_3376


Cocoa Puffs

Again,  I have fold memories of these as a kid (while visiting Grandma, of course).   There’s no way in hell Friar’s Mom would ever stoop so low as to buy these for us.

But, just like with Crunch Berries,  you just cant’ get these here any more.    (Count Chocula, either).

You don’t know what you got, till it’s gone. (*sigh*)

And check out the look of pure delight, while Sonny (who’s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs) tries to navigate through a tidal wave of pure chocolate.

Screw the yogurt and nuts.   Which normal, healthy, red-blooded kid wouldn’t love a breakfast like that?

Say what you will, but any cereal that turns the milk brown, has got my respect.

1. Cereal Cocoa Puffs IMG_3373a

Apple Jacks 

We can still occasionally get these in Canada.   But not with MARSHMALLOWS.

And why add marshmallows, you may ask?

Because they CAN.

1. Cereal Apple Jacks IMG_3372

And look at the apple with the bulging eyes.     He also ain’t quite right….thought the cinnamon dude looks like he’d be fun to party with.


Cookie Crisp 

This is my favorite.    You just gotta admire the in-your-face attitude from General Mills. …how they don’t even TRY to pretend this cereal/candy isn’t loaded with sugar.

Look, kids:  it’s like eating a big bowl of cookies.

Which really, isn’t that far from the truth.

1. Cereal Cookie CrispIMG_3371

Junior Bear visits many BIG things.

May 21, 2013



Big Nickel.

Big Nickela

Big Bison

Big Bison DSCN6970



Big Snowman

Big Snow Man IMG_2301



Big Gun

Big Gun IMG_1947



Big  Skier.

Big Skier IMG_2340



Big Chain Saw.

Big ChainSaw IMG_1948a

Big Polar Bear.

Big Polar Bear



Big Minnesota sign. 

Big Minnesota IMG_2323



Big Winnie-the-Pooh

Big Winnie img_3077



Big Covered Bridge 

Big Covered Bridge Bear 3 Hartland IMG_6006



Reality TV: Same Old Crappy Junk

April 27, 2013

Pawn Stars

  • Customers bring in their crappy old junk to sell.
  • Pawnbroker brings in an expert to tell everyone what the crappy old junk  is worth.
  • Customers ask the retail price for the crappy old junk.
  • Pawnbroker offers back 40% of the retail price.
  • Eventually everyone agrees on 60% of the retail price.


Cajun Pawnstars

  • Just like Pawn Stars, but in Louisiana.  Therefore  you need subtitles to understand the show.


Pawnathon Canada

  • Just like Pawn Stars or Cajun Pawn Stars, only Canadian and therefore more polite.


Hardcore Pawn

  • Like Pawn Stars or Cajun Pawn Stars, but  in inner-city Detroit, with more fist-fights.  About as opposite of Pawnathon Canada as you can get.


American Pickers

  • Just like the Pawnbroker shows, except the pickers drive to peoples houses to buy their old crappy junk, instead of the people bringing their old crappy junk to sell the pickers. s.


Canadian Pickers

  • Just like American Pickers,  only Canadian.   And therefore more  boring.


Toy Hunter

  • Just like American Pickers, except they buy crappy old toys instead of crappy old junk.


American Restoration

  • Rich customers brings their crappy old junk to the shop.
  • Restorers take apart the crappy old junk and sand-blast it and repaint it.
  • Restoreres put the crappy old junk back together, which is no longer crappy and old, but is now shiny and new.
  • Restorers sell the shiny and new restored crappy old junk back to the rich customer, who will now pay $10,000 for it.


Counting Cars

  • Just like American Restoration,  except they restore crappy old cars, instead of old crappy junk.


Storage Wars

  • Vultures buy old crappy junk that other unfortunate people have abandoned in storage lockers
  • Vultures bring their new-found crappy old junk to specialty shops to find out what it’s worth.
  • The show ends,  listing what the vultures’s profit margin is on their crappy old junk.
  • No indication is ever given, however, if the vultures actually sold any of this crappy old junk.


Storage Wars Texas
Just like Stores Wars, but with cowboy hats and fatter people.


Stars Wars New York

  • Just like Storage Wars, but in New York.    A wannabee show that never quite caught on.


Storage Battles

  • Just like Storage Wars, but with more white-trash and fist fights.


Auction Hunters

  • An auction house  selling all the crappy old junk that’s been picked and restored.



  • People with OCD, who’s  houses full of crappy old junk that’s too crappy for even the pickers and pawnbrokers and restorers to touch.
  • Kind of like American pickers, but with more cat urine and rat feces.