Monday, December 10, 2012

...and the Monkey is Included in the Price of the Benno?

photo courtesy of Bronwyn Page
 You kinda had to figure that it would take a monkey story to bring me out of my slumber.

Yes, the blogosphere has been positively electric the past 24hours with updates on Darwin, the 8 month old rhesus macaque that was found in the parking lot of a Toronto Ikea store yesterday. One's first thought is that the little bugger had escaped from the zoo. However, his diaperclad butt and his double-breasted shearling coat might be reason enough for one to speculate that he had fled from his style-conscious owners.

And yes...ownership of monkeys is illegal in Toronto. I'm sure that it's the same in pretty much all Canadian municipalities. You can link to the first story I found this morning here by the Toronto Sun. His condition was updated in the afternoon in a Globe and mail story found here. They indicated that he was, "...having a bad day" however they did locate a temporary home for him at a primate shelter NE of Toronto. A tough day, indeed. Way worse than mayor Rob Ford's situation of late.

I have already been reminded today by 'she who shall not be named' that I am in need of a new winter coat and even the monkey is better dressed than me. Don't get me wrong. I really feel for the little guy. Stolen from his mother in a foreign country, taken to Montreal and forced to learn French...OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit. I think that people who smuggle creatures like little Darwin should be locked up in jail. That's my political statement for the day.

On a more commercial note, there are probably thousands of children around the world today pleading with their parents..."If I can't have a pony then I want one of THOSE for Christmas!"

Perhaps somebody is already hard at work--marketing little Darwin dolls. Complete with interchangeable coats and tiny optional hats. And when you pull the string the little dear poops into its diaper.

Over and out. Hope that you all are having a better day than Darwin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Anthology Release

As my good friend Cathy Webster pointed out the other day, it's only a few sleeps until the release of The Best of Friday Flash (volume 2). Or BOFF2, as it is fondly referred to within the Friday family of writers. Forget the jokes...we've heard 'em before...

I was up early this morning to write create finely sculpt this blog post to announce that we both have stories that made the cut and will appear in that fine anthology. I am quietly celebrating...having added champagne to my morning orange juice. This is a grand substitute to the harsh-tasting vodka that normally flavours that beverage. I now hold the date of October 30th in as high regard as Christmas Day and that special day in May when my income tax return magically appears in the mail box. But enough about me, lets talk about BOFF2.

The Friday Flash family was created in 2009 by Jon Strother. It's an Internet meme designed to increase your visibility as a fiction writer. The idea is simple enough. Write a piece of flash fiction, defined as 1000 words or less, post it to your blog, and then on Friday announce it to the world via Twitter or some other social network along with the link to your post. If you use Twitter be sure to include the hash tag, #fridayflash. You can read more about Friday Flash here.

The Best of Friday Flash (volume 2) can be described as nothing less than an international affair. It is published by eMergent Publishing, an Anglo-Australian small press founded founded by Paul Anderson and Jodi Cleghorn in 2009. The anthology contains short stories by established and emerging writers from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy and a couple of other countries yet to be named.

I have enjoyed the work of many writers in this anthology for a long time through the Friday Flash group and am pleased to have my name in the table of contents with them. I am also pleased to see that Canada is so well represented in the Best of Friday Flash (volume 2).  Cathy Webster, that fine writer from Bracebridge, has two stories in this anthology. Other Canadians? You will also find the writing of T.S. Bazelli, Lauren Cude, and ex-pat Jen Brubacher who now lives in the U.K. (we won't hold that against her!). Please click on their names and check out their blogs.

If you are a fan of short, crisp stores pick up a copy of the Best of Friday Flash (volume 2) by ordering online. You can order this publication in paperback or you can download it in various formats. Click here to order and see a full table of contents for this anthology.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#Fridayflash~ Thor's Hammer


The three children floated on their raft in Diablo’s pond. Meaghan, usually boisterous, was quiet today. Her knees were drawn up to her chest and she stared into the murky water.
Luthor nudged her with his shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged in response.

“Holy crap! Did you see that trout jump?” Dickie shouted.

“Shut up, I’m talking to Megs,” Luthor shouted, swatting him with a rolled up horror magazine.

“Jeez, sor-ree!”

“We’re your friends, right?” Luthor continued. Meaghan stared ahead, nodding slightly. “Tell us. Maybe we can help.”

“It’s just…I’d really miss you guys if we moved.” she said.

“But you told us your mom wouldn’t move again until you finished school. That’s still four years away,” Dickie said.

“Yeah…,” Meaghan answered, tears tracked down her pale cheeks.

“…it’s really got to do with that man—“

“What man?” Luthor said.

“You’ve seen him around. That creepy, bald guy at the end of Cochrane Street?”

“I know him. He hardly ever goes out.”

“I’ve seen him too. He jogs every day. Just before dark,” Dickie added.

“Tell us…,” Luthor whispered.

“He’s talked rude to me. Dirty stuff. “He also touched me…,” she added, glancing at Luthor through reddened eyes.

Luthor grasped the edge of the raft, his knuckles white. “Did you tell your mom?”

“She wouldn’t do nothing. The same thing happened in Jersey three years ago.”

“What did she say then?” Dickie asked.

“She told me it was all a misunderstanding. A week later she had us packed and moved here.”

“I know you’re worried,” Luthor said. “But this is wrong and we’re going to fix it.” Dickie nodded in agreement.


“Don’t you worry about it, Megs.”

* * * * *

photo courtesy of
The boys had found a large, moss-covered boulder on a hillside far from the path. Luthor’s grandpa called it an erratic and said they were scattered all over New Hampshire during the last ice age. For three days they removed dirt from beneath the rock, propping it up with long bits of wood wedged into the dark soil.

On the Friday evening before Labor Day, Luthor stayed in the woods while Dickie waited near the jogging trail. As the bald man neared, the boy, frantically waving his arms, jumped into his path.

“Please help, mister—my friend’s hurt!”

“What happened?”

“I think he broke his leg. Come quick!” Dickie said, and dashed through the trees. The man hesitated for a moment and then followed the boy. They ran far into the woods, eventually stopping at the boulder.

Dickie was breathless. “Down there, mister,” he said, pointing under the erratic.

The man bent over the moaning boy. “Are you hurt?”

Dickie snatched the hammer that lay against the base of the rock and struck the man in the temple. Luthor scampered from the hole as his friend swung again, sinking the claw into the base of the man’s skull. He screamed, clutching at the hammer as Dickie shoved him into the void.

Luthor grabbed a shovel and rammed the blade into the man’s throat, unleashing a gush of blood. “That’s for Meaghan, you perv!” he hissed.

The boys removed the wooden supports, causing the boulder to list forward. They shoveled the excess dirt around the edges of the rock and covered the soil with moss, leaves and branches.

* * * * *

Luthor watched the grey clouds from his office; the rain pelted the window and wound down the glass in sparkling tears.

The intercom voice startled him. “Dr. Guttormson, your patient is in exam two.”

Luthor strode down the sterile hall, rapped the door and entered the exam room. A thin, vaguely familiar woman sat on the bench. She smiled and offered her hand. “I’m Meaghan King. You probably don’t remember me, but my name was Murphy when we were in junior high.”

Luthor chuckled and squeezed her hand.” Of course I remember you, Megs. How did you end up in sunny Seattle?”

“I’m in computer sales and my work transferred me here. Dickie Stein said I should look you up.”

“Dickie? We haven’t talked in years. When did you see him?”

“Years ago, after we moved back to New Hampshire. He showed up at my door one day selling life insurance. What a grand chat we had.”

“That’s great,” Luthor said. He swallowed and leaned closer to Meaghan. “Didn’t you and your mom leave town because of that bald guy…on Cochrane Street?”

She thought for a moment and laughed. “Oh that! Mom got another job in Boston and moved us away. Practically overnight. What I told you guys was a huge pile of crap. He never touched me—he never even talked to me.”

* * * * *  

Forgive me readers, as I haven't submitted a #Fridayflash story in over 22 months! The days leading up to Halloween seemed like a good time to throw a horror story out there, so I dusted off this one from 2010. My story, Thor's Hammer, previously appeared in 52 Stitches-Horror Stories (vol. 2), edited by Aaron Polson and published by his Strange Publications. A scary little gem to pick up before Halloween. Aaron is a horror writer second-to-none and you can follow him at his blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mushrooms and Fancy Hats

As with most conversations, I will start off by observing the weather...

We had a sub-tropical day yesterday with a high of about 20C (70F). It was mainly overcast so it didn't feel as warm as it could have. That's a far cry from the hint of snow that were observed on the rooftops of some parts of town on the weekend. I'm no weather man, nor do I play one on TV, but I believe that this spike has to do with the tropical storm Raphael headed in our direction. They are predicting it will pass us somewhere to the east so we won't be battered as we were by Leslie about three weeks ago.

The warm summer and comfortable fall have the grass growing like prairie wheat. I'm soon going to have to order ask bribe the boy to leave the cavernous depths of the basement to go out and mow the lawn.

Upon closer observation, I noticed a dark-coloured mushroom growing in the grass(ignore the weeds). This blackish (blue-ish?) nasty looking thing had me wondering if our front garden had been hijacked by  psilocybin (magic) mushrooms 'farmers' looking for a safe place to grow their crop. After a few minutes of internet research--Google images--I managed to find several photos of magic mushrooms.

photo courtesy of
 The one pictured to the right certainly does NOT look like the fungus growing in the lawn. It's a good thing that I didn't add that to last night's pasta...whoa, just had a flash back to an old Cheech & Chong skit from the 70' remember that old shtick, don't you? I shall paraphrase...

"Looks like dog shit, smells like dog shit, feels like dog shit, tastes like dog shit. Must be dog shit. Good thing we didn't step in it!".

All that aside, supposing that it WAS psilocybin and I HAD added it to last nights linguine then perhaps I would have given up my trusty fez for some new head-gear. Something a little reminiscent of the old propeller beanies (see below). Were they from the 50's? Don't ask me...I wasn't around in those days. Perhaps, though, if I had some 'special' mushrooms I could be magically transported back...

"You want me to fly where...?"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Michael, Kerry and Dora

I started typing this blog post with the idea that it would be titled 'Thirty Days Hath September' because it reminded me of the promise I made to myself (weeks ago) that I would post at least once this month. Talk about getting in under the wire...

The three names in the post title seemed to be more topical to the last couple of weeks.

I have been on 'vacation' the past week. Partly because my sister, Kerry, was visiting from Edmonton and partly because it was my 50th birthday during the week (and Kerry flew in to help talk me off the ledge). She had a lovely visit with our parents up the shore and then she spent a few days here in town to catch up on current events with us and with old friends. Kerry enjoyed kayaking in Cape Broyle, hiking at Cape Spear and generally browsing the downtown shops.

It was on one of these walks that she stumbled upon the legendary Dora, who had obviously hit upon hard times (see photo below).

Dora is down on the mean streets of St. John's

Dora had dried leaves stuck in her hair, was clad only in a pink bikini, and was lying on the steps of what had once been a popular strip joint (or so I am told) on the east end of Duckworth Street.

Almost forgot...her feet had been chewed off as well...

The scene of the crime
Kerry documented the sad scene with a photo (no doubt to sell to the scandal mags) and we went on our way, trying to forget that this young tart woman had once been a legendary explorer who had won the hearts of young girls (and 10% of the boys) around the world. Two days later we again passed by the building and found that Dora had crawled down the side alley (left) of the same boarded up building. My sister, used to seeing other sad souls on the mean streets of Edmonton, was moved nearly to tears and felt that Dora needed a helping hand (and prosthetic feet also).

Dora became our travelling companion for the rest of the day. I tried several times to engage the young woman in conversation but sadly my Spanish is lacking. The only understandable thing she muttered was, "Ola buy me rum, si?"  My sister insisted I pose with Dora to prove to my blogger friends that I had met a bona fide celebrity (below).

Am a bit embarrassed here because as I reached for Dora's arm I accidentally grabbed her left breast (not the reason I am smiling)

Kerry tried fruitfully to take several photos of Dora with scenes of the city in background. The young star had obviously 'gone Hollywood' and was very difficult to work with. The only usable photo (all the others had her showing 'too much skin' or flipping us the bird) I will display below.

Dora, with Cabot Tower in the background, did the splits (we had her readjust her bikini bottom in an attempt at modesty)

Kerry soon tired of the scene and was quickly over Dora. She posed for a photo with her new friend Schooner the Newfoundland dog on Signal Hill (below).

Kerry, her new BFF Schooner and the vast Atlantic beyond
 Also on the agenda this week was when V and myself got together with writing buddy Laurita Miller and met up with cyber-friend Michael Solender and his wife 'sweetie' in a downtown coffee shop. They had travelled from North Carolina to spend two weeks here at various locations on 'The Rock' and seemed to have had a lovely time. I think that it's great to finally meet writing buddies in person but sadly the opportunities are so few and far between (yeah, I know...tres cliche).

Michael Solender, Alan Davidson and Laurita Miller strike a pose for the paparazzi

Thanks all for dropping by...I shall post an undisclosed time, on an undisclosed date.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Money for Consumables

When one I was younger, one of those products was very popular with me...

OK, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself but my opening remark will make more sense by the end of this post. Honest.

Myself and V recently spent a few days in the Gros Morne area. A little getaway while the boy is attending sea cadet camp in Nova Scotia. We again vacationed  'in country'  this year because  a) it's way too expensive to get off of this island and  b) we are saving our money because we'd like to do some home renovations in the spring.

I will eventually get around to posting a few photos of the Northern and Baie Verte Peninsulas. However, I am at the mercy of my technical wizard who has not yet magically moved the photos from the camera/Playbook to the computer.

Our hotel in Cow Head (for some reason, a place name that always gets me thinking about "The Godfather") surprised us by giving us a room key to a cabin instead of a hotel room. This cabin, in fact, was a bungalow with five rooms. The front two rooms had unimpressive views of the gravel parking lot but the three rooms at the back had back doors that opened on to small decks with a fantastic view of Shallow Bay. We could throw a rock and hit the water. Nice.

We had to walk a couple of minutes to get to the hotel for meals and to attend the plays performed nightly in the theatre next door to the hotel. We also made several pilgrimages to the hotel for ice to keep our beverages cool. It was on one of these runs that I noticed all of the items for sale in the vending machine that shared the same alcove as the ice dispenser. Chocolate bars and chips aplenty. They even had the foresight to put in little bags with shaving stuff and toothpaste and other toiletries that may have been forgotten at home.

In the bottom left hand corner of the vending machine (behind the grubby, fingerprint-smeared glass) I spied two items that made me laugh. Let me wasn't the items as much as their juxtaposition that was the source of amusement. To the right was a small packet of Fritos BBQ Hoops for $1.50 and to the left was a single Trojan condom in a shiny blue wrapper for $3.50.

Alan's disclaimer...I am not officially endorsing either of these products even though in my youth one of them was very popular with me.

While V hunched over the ice machine, coaxing out its semi-solid contents, I gazed at the two items in the dimly lit corner of the vending machine and wondered how many men over the years have laboured over the choice of which 'RING' to spend their limited vacation dollars on. Or how many kids have thought, "That's WAY too much money for a water balloon!"

Remember: get the one that gives you the most happiness.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Upon closer examination, isn't life really a series of firsts?

The forming years...your first step, first day at school, first time riding a bike.

Your coming of age...your first date, first time driving a car, first time having sex (with someone else).

I have of course driven a car but have not ridden a motorcycle. I did ride on the back of one driven by a male college classmate of mine. High speed and a late spring snow storm made the two hour trip a special experience. I clutched him from behind in a most un-manly fashion. I hope that I didn't leave scars (either physical or psychological). The motorcycle fiasco was both a first and a last for me. Though one day I still hope to attend the Friday the 13th bike rally that occurs in Port Dover, Ontario. Every Friday the 13th, the population of that quiet, Lake Erie town of 6400 rises by tens of thousands.

The firsts continue in the adult years. The job, the first marriage (I say first because some people treat marriage as sport that should be indulged in with semi-regularity like mud wrestling or bowling) and the birth of the first child.

I experienced another first on Friday. I had booked the day off work as a technician was coming over to wire up the house with FibreOp that is now the new rage. V and I drove to the office of 'the competition' to return their cable box. The run around that we received from them only reinforced the notion that we had made the right decision in switching companies. Anyway...after that stop, V wanted to stop at a public park where she knew that a co-worker was getting married. This woman has only been with the them for three weeks so none of the staff were invited to the wedding. As we walked past the park the bride recognized V and waved her over and invited us to witness the ceremony.

I have driven past that park many times before and have never noticed the stand of pine trees in the north-west corner...past the public swimming pool and just east of the ball diamond. The trees formed a tight oval and the group of 30 or so family and other witnesses stood on top of the small, grassy mound within the stand of trees.

The wedding was the first that I have attended in my six years here in Newfoundland. The day was sunny and warm and the two women held hands as the vows were read and the marriage was made official and binding. The wording struck us as similar to our own wedding. Simple vows and one reading by a guest and the ceremony was done in about 15 minutes. The wedding was obviously a low-budget affair, yet its simplicity was charming and easily one of the nicest weddings that I've ever attended (and the first I attended that I was NOT invited to).

When I got up yesterday morning I didn't think that I would be 'crashing' my first gay wedding.

I should try that again some time. I wonder what tomorrow has in store...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Can-Am Holidays

It's that special time of year.

On The Rock we finally get warm weather AND a long week end. In fact, Canada Day passed three days ago and we had a short get-away at my parent's house 'up the shore' (thanks, Laurita, for the correct local terminology...).

Today is now the fourth of July and our one-time adversaries, our American  cousins, celebrate their Independence. It is also the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 (which ran until 1815) when our cousins dropped by, unannounced, for a visit. I don't profess to know anything about that war so I won't go any further on the topic, embarrassing myself on my lack of Canadian history. Honestly, I don't recall it being taught in school. Then again, school was decades a long time ago and maybe I just forgot. Or maybe I was sick that day.

The Canadian government commissioned the minting of a new coin commemorating the War of 1812. It is a handsome looking 'toonie' with the image (below) of the British frigate HMS Shannon on one side and the aged Queen on the other.

Speaking of war ships...the boy is ready to wage his own battle with his own bateau (Har! Get it?...bateau?) When we arrived at my parents house we discovered a row boat sitting in their driveway. It was a well-used craft belonging to the former home owner who figured that since Sean was a sea cadet, and a future sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy, he might appreciate the boat.

Now begins the task of stripping the hull of flaking paint, old caulking and sundry dried out sea vegetation and freshening it up with a layer of fibreglass and paint. Sean's Papa Davidson, a painter of 50 years, has already begun the tedious task of researching  how to start a good fire fibreglass the boat and the fine art of applying marine paint. I had suggested to the boy that he name the vessel after a girl in his life. We decided against that as the boat would obviously have to change name on a regular basis...

I have included photos below. Be sure to click on them to enlarge. my American friends...have a great day! I hope that you booked a couple of extra days to extend the holiday into the week end. Have fun with those fireworks, but keep them over there.

And no hard feelings about that war business, eh?

At 13'-9" it's not the HMS Shannon, but one can be sure that it can still do some damage

"Y'think that this 1" crack is noticeable?"

Boy and boat are nearly christened by the mysterious wee dog

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pirate Girls and Adventure on the High Seas

I think that my lack of posting anything at all may stem from the fact that this blog was set up to talk about scandalous gossip writing projects. The fact that I have written virtually nothing for months, I think, has weighed heavy on me and I've developed this idea that if I'm not writing then I shouldn't be blogging either. I mean, there's only so many times that people want to visit here and listen to me rant about hockey riots or my back issues...or the fact that I'm too lazy busy to write anything (or can't think of interesting stuff to write about).

I was driving somewhere the weekend and a car in front of me had a bumper sticker that made me smile...

The sticker, of course got me thinking about the incomparable Jodi MacArthur and her "Wicked Woman's Booty" episodes published at Pulp Metal Magazine. Then that led me to thinking about other writer's whose blogs I used to follow but have recently been ignoring. My apologies to all for not being a very good on-line friend. Not even a very good casual acquaintance...

I visited my own blog today and was surprised to find that the visitor count is nearing 30,000. Wow, I guess people have been dropping by in my absense (thanks mum)...I image they visit less to see if I've written anything new and more to see how long I'd go in silence. Perhaps the visit to see if I would let the blog go fallow for a whole season, or maybe to see if I'd give up the entire crop for good. I can't promise anything in the way of productivity. I may post again in two days or perhaps it will be two weeks or even another two months will slip by before I let my thoughts coalesce and the words fly from my finger tips (or something like that). I was also surprised to discover that since I last visited here there have been visitors from five more countries...Gambia, Jersey, Botswana, Uganda and El Salvador. It's nice to see that my lack of writing productivity has even garnered interest in the African countries. I'm not sure, though, why Jersey is showing up all of a sudden. I mean, my on-line buddy Anthony Venutolo is a Jersey boy and has dropped by here many times before...I thought his presence would have showed up on that site meter eons ago...and WHEN did Jersey get it's own flag...probably had something to do with that Tony Soprano fella...

We had a fine Father's Day here on The Rock yesterday. We finally had a 'warmish' day and the Finch-Davidson-Stansbury families again gathered for the boiling of the lobsters. I won't bore you with yet another tale about a crustacean feeding frenzy or scandalous stories about the horrific dining habits of certain family members. The curious can see the pics from my 2010 post...or perhaps the year before...

The day ended for us by driving Sean down to the harbour downtown where he jumped on a fishing boat and was whisked off to sea...I kid you not. We're very proud of the boy as he has had a dream of working on a boat and set out to accomplish that goal. I mean, yeah, it's just for a couple of days. But he got acquainted with a fisherman (the father of another sea cadet) and set out to bug the shit out of him  convince him of his deserving to be there by loading up crab pots on another boat (for free, I might add and for helping off load crab from his boat two weekends running. This is sort of a try-out for the boy as his real goal is to get to go out for turbot fishing for 9 or 10 days about 150 miles off our coast in the Atlantic (I suppose I mean ON TOP OF the Atlantic...)

Below are a couple of photos from last night. The first is Sean waiting at the dock for Cap'n Rodney to arrive. I won't name the boat (to protect the innocent) but if you get a magnifying glass you might be able to make out the name. V took the second photo from Signal Hill looking down into the Narrows where the fishing boat was passing through headed out into the Atlantic.

"Yes Cap' wants TWO sugars in your coffee?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Sweet and the Sad

The boy's Easter break has finally come to an end. He spent three days visiting my parents up the shore. Apparently, two of those days were spent helping guys on a fishing boat load crab pots and rope. I was very pleased to hear that Sean put in many hard hours work and (finally) got a taste of the working world.

'V' spent Friday night with the girls from work at the boss' house learning how to make tasty treats called 'cake pops'. One apparently takes a cake, squishes it up with icing, forms it into a roundish shape, dips the result into coloured icing, decorates then...voila! I've included three pics from the evening. Apologies if they seem a bit grainy as she took them on her Playbook so she could email them to me. Apparently, the more alcohol consumed the greater the creativity.

Aliens, Frogs and Dogs (oh my!) various stages of undress

Dogs and a sheep and a pig
 As you can see, you're pretty much free to create what you're imagination can whip up (keep it clean, though, if it's for a kid's party). I bet these bad boys would be really popular at party for five year olds. I'd highly recommend that you hand them out as they are leaving your house as you gotta know that many of those pretty decorations are going to end up on your carpet, or sofa, or wherever. I say pass them out with the goodie bags at the end of the party so they can shed their decorations while sitting in their little car seats in the back of their mother's Prius or Beemer or whathaveyou...

I took this past Friday off so we could run a couple of errands and to take Sean to the Canadian Forces recruiting office downtown. We figured it was about time for him to see somebody down there regarding career options in the military. We also figured that it wouldn't hurt to have somebody other than ourselves stress to him the importance of his sciences and math in school towards a getting a job (that he wants) in the navy. Hopefully some of that will sink in over the final two years of school.

Friday was also a sad day for our family. We finally made a tough decision that we had been putting off for some time. Our greyhound 'Jet' has been having pain in his neck since last November. We took him to the vet in February and he was sedated and X-rayed in March. No definitive cause could be given for his pain, but the vet suggested that Jet could be shipped off to the veterinary college in PEI for an MRI. Even with a diagnosis, there would be no guarantee that a surgery would be successful.

Jet (aka Sharp Shooter) in 2008

Jet was on pain killers for the past few weeks, but even they were doing little for him. We finally decided on Friday to schedule an appointment with the vet to take him in for 'the final visit'. Needless to say, the day ended on a sad note but we are convinced we did the right thing for him.

We had the rescue greyhound originally known as Sharp Shooter for four years. He was aloof by nature, much like your regular household cat. His normal day consisted of mooching during meal preperation and sleeping for about 16 hours a day. Jet did not fetch or cuddle on the sofa and was not a great conversationalist but we'll miss him just the same. Below he was captured in a rare moment of glee..

"Scratch my tummy and I'll bite you!"

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Big One

Pretty catchy title, eh?

It is referring to the fact that it's my parent's wedding anniversary today. In fact it's their 50th wedding anniversary. Fay and Alan were married in Paisley, Scotland on this date in 1962 and celebrating 'The Big One' today in St. John's with family and friends. The wedding was a small affair and there aren't many around any more who were in attendance that day. It will be my 50th birthday later this year, so if my math is correct I may have been there in some fashion...

We would have liked to have bought them something golden as an anniversary gift but with the price of gold these days...I think that we'll settle on taking them somewhere nice for supper tonight. I sent a recent photo of my parents (shown below) to the local television station, NTV, and they showed it with all of the other wrinkly, toothless folks celebrating anniversaries of 50+ or birthdays of 90+ (personally, I dream of making it to 70...90 would take a miracle of modern science).

Note: photo cropped to delete bulging bellies and knobby knees

The weather has played an evil trick on us today with the return of high winds and heavy snow, but I doubt it will stop them from making the 1 1/2 drive into town.

My mother is pretty nosy and I'm sure that she pops by and visits the blog once in a while to see how my rash is progressing, so I'll send out a shout to her.

"Happy anniversary mum and dad"...I'd wish you a happy 50 more but I think we both know THAT'S not gonna happen!

Pretty sentimental stuff, eh?

*Sniffs, wipes away a tear*

Saturday, March 24, 2012

...a Rash...Where?

photo by V
This rash business is highly contagious overrated and not nearly as dramatic as the title of this post implies.

It was about three weeks ago that a rash gradually infiltrated my face, just below my right eye. In the grand scheme of things, there are worse places a guy could get a rash...if you know what I mean. I'm now flashing back to when the boy was wee. You know, back in the parasitic stage. For those of you with you remember what the baby's butt looked like if you left their diaper on a bit too long or if you didn't use enough of that special cream? Yeah, my face kinda looks like that. And that bruising under my eye? I could say that V has taken to smacking me about...but really, I've got bags the size of V's purse like that under my eyes all the time.

Back to the rash...(yes, an entire blog post about a skin condition). I read at Wikipedia that some causes of rashes are allergies, anxiety, acne, menstruation (doubtful, in my case) and secondary syphilis ( comment).

My old Scottish granny probably would have exclaimed, "Ach, it's just the evil in ye coming oot!"

photo courtesy of

Perhaps granny was right, but I shall continue to fend off the rash with some outdated stuff from the medicine cabinet. An expensive ointment, meant for a rash I had on my leg three years ago. I always make sure that the bathroom light is on, though, while I'm rooting about in the medicine cabinet. I fear that one day I will mistakenly grab that other ointment, in the similar sized tube, called Prepara...

In the event this rash is a permanent fixture on my face (much like my crow's feet or my cheesy grin) I have a plan 'B'.      I just have to figure out where to order one of these bad boys online (the mask, I mean)...I wonder if it comes with a vat of black hair dye too?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

High Drama in Canada and Killer Advertising

Hibernation continues for me...however, I was scanning the news online yesterday when I stumbled upon a couple of stories that were just begging to be commented on. Even if it meant leaving the warm, musty confines of the man-cave to enter the frigid air of the real world for a couple of hours.

Headline #1...Dick Cheney cancels Toronto trip, says Canada is too Dangerous

I had to read the headline a second time...Canada...dangerous...compared to WHAT, exactly?

I mean, a person could comment on the fact that Mr. Cheney (accidentally) shot a buddy while quail hunting in Texas back in 2006, or throw out statistics all day regarding the differences in gun control and violence between major Canadian and US cities see Wikipedia take on this here , but it would just muddy what the story is about. That particular article, by the way, is by Canada's National Post. It refers to the riot of last September (surprisingly this riot had nothing to do with hockey) when Cheney appeared in Vancouver for a talk at a private club. The story mentions that he was confined to the hotel for several hours while riot police dispersed the crowd outside. Shocking.
This article, by the Globe and Mail, does a better job of giving the background regarding WHY there was a protest in the first place. Organizers believe that Cheney should have been arrested and tried for war crimes regarding his stance on the treatment of prisons (ie. water boarding) at Guantanamo Bay.

Despite which side of the fence your political leaning rest on this, methinks the only danger afoot would be for the protesters...when the riot police arrived on horseback, resplendent in their cool hats and red tunics, and clubbed the protesters senseless (Monty Python could have done a cool skit about THAT). Or perhaps scalding syrup or Timmies coffee would be splashed down upon the crowd from the boiling cauldrons on the roof of the hotel...or even a remote chance of the protesters being skewered by rampant hockey players who, quite frankly, have nothing else to do during the daytime because their games are played in the evening.

The bottom line is...I wasn't going to attend his speech in Toronto anyway. Even if THEY paid ME money to attend (besides, it's a three hour flight from here and the cost of flying off of this island is deadly).

Headline #2...Tide Detergent One of Most Shoplifted Items

You know don't have to put much thought into this one. Just click on the link below to go to the short news story about the high theft rate of Tide detergent (note that the story is out of Washington, so I assume that it's problematic only in the US and not Canada---we apparently don't wash our clothes here, and perhaps that's the REAL reason that Mr. Cheney does not want to visit us).

My first thought was how on earth does one smuggle a jug of Tide out of a store? I mean, there's the obvious scenario of a woman sticking it up under her sweater and pretending to be pregnant. But...where can a guy stow the thing  *shudders*.

Anyway...a big Thumbs Up to the folks at Tide for this successful (and free) ad campaign.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is it Spring Yet?

A couple of weeks ago, several North American groundhogs tried to tunnel up from their lairs to let us know if spring was near. Don't get me started ranting about a society that relies on weather forecasts from rodents.

We on The Rock have experienced high winds, torrential rainfall and generally warmer weather the past few days. Enough of the piled-up snow melted, allowing the boy to scour the back garden in search of dog sausages (armed with a long-handled shovel, several garbage bags and a military grade hazmat suit).

The warm weather has also roasted rousted me from my hibernation. A little bird informed me that my number is up...actually, me letter is up. I am the featured studmuffin friend today as part of Cathy Webster's Letter From a Friend series. You can read my submitted letter to Cathy and her humourous lead-in commenting on my writing, my chapeau du jour and my general 'hotness.' All That, and more, may be found at her blog Life on the Muskoka River.

Cathy did say some sweet things about me. And she made up a bunch of stuff too. So when my overall embarrassment subsides I will crawl back into my burrow and wrap myself up in my 'tablecloth' until spring. Environment Canada has gotten the forecasts so messed up recently that I've taken to consulting a Ouija board prior to leaving the house. Also, Naked Pete (shown below) said that Spring will arrive promptly on April 1...can a blind, hairless rat be wrong?

Just noticed that Pete's got teats...what's up with THAT?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What...Another birthday?

It's Sunday afternoon and we can now call the boy's birthday weekend officially over.

Sean is now 16. The years have sped by faster than an unleashed greyhound chasing a fleeing poodle. It seems like only a few days ago that it was Day 1 at the hospital: my arms were outstretched and my hands clasped that alien-like person---his tiny fists were clenched, his bottom lip pouted and he was wailing at the top of his lungs. 'V' was recovering from the 23 hour delivery. She managed a pained smile and whispered, "He's lovely, now take him back to the nursery."

His actual birthday was during the week (mid-term exams here) so we deferred celebration until the weekend. A late January birthday here limits the possible activities. They tend to be indoor celebrations. For instance, last year we took him and three of his friends to dinner and a movie at the mall (they got to sit at their own table to avoid the embarrassment of being seen with us in public---I suppose it may have been the fez...). A couple of his friends have opted for 'Sweet 16' parties in the basements of their homes. Sean wouldn't have that as he knows perfectly well that he lost most of his sweetness by the age of 10.

Christmas dinner this past year was held at my parent's house, so we did not get a chance to cook a turkey at home. And the last time we DID host a large meal, the numbers were too big to break out the china and silverware (a setting for 8 people).

As I have mentioned before at this blog, my son seems to walk to the beat of a different drummer. He decided this year that he would like to celebrate his birthday by having some of the b'ys over for a turkey dinner served up on the Royal Albert China with silverware and, if I may be allowed a cliche, "the whole nine yards." The photo below shows the Saturday night setting before the boys moved in for the kill. For those keeping score at home, the pattern on the china is 'Brigadoon'.

We were going to put out one extra setting in case the Queen dropped by...
  As it turns out, only two of Sean's guy-friends managed to attend the fancy dinner. I told the boy that perhaps the other boy's tuxedos were not clean from their previous dining experiences and they were too embarrassed to 'dress down' for this occasion. We hosted a few more boys on the Friday night with a couple of take out pizzas and a movie in the family room that is normally out of bounds to the teenage species (they have their own recreational area in the basement). Pizza was by Boston Pizza (I mention this only in case someone from that fine organization reads this and throws a freebie our way).

The more casual Friday soiree was also a bit of an odd occasion as there were firearms (pellet rifles) being used downstairs. They have a 'firing range' set up  in the crawlspace that can be accessed from the basement and amused themselves with a bit of target practice prior to dining. For the record--we are not negligent people. The only reason we let the boys get into this at all is the fact that most of them are sea cadets and have training in the use of the pellet rifles at the base.

'V' was given a bit of instruction in cake decorating a while back and did her own cake and cupcakes (see photos  below). I must say, that was the highlight of the weekend for me. Sean had a four hour drill practice with the cadets today so we rushed together some bacon and eggs for brunch. This is one of those rare occasions that I'm allowed to pollute my arteries with cholesterol (I only hope that my physician does not stumble across this blog).

Only 16 candles. I can't remember back that far

They all tasted like mint (umm...I didn't eat ALL of them...)

And in closing I must shout out the praises of 'V' who did an excellent job with the sacrifice of the bird, the baking of the tasties and for showing bravery above and beyond the call of duty by taking the boy out in search of a suitable birthday gift. His early attempts at getting a car or a recreational boat were denied. We may be stupid, but we're not crazy. We settled on a technical gadget thingy to aid with his computer fun. It looks like it should fly. And at THAT price it should serve me single malts and whisk me away somewhere warmer for a vacation...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Count on Me

The holidays are officially done. The last of the peanut brittle has been scoffed up, the tree is down, the lights removed from that sad little bush outside the front door and the hundreds of other festive things have been stowed away for the year. And that's not counting the hundreds of ornaments on the tree or the fact the tree has about a thousand of those tiny little lights...

courtesy of
 I guess that I should mention that I have always had an interest in numbers. As a yute, when I could first count, I would repeatedly count all 21 of my digits. This has not changed as an adult (the counting thing, not the number of digits) as I still make mental calculations in my head. Not obsessive like, but definately a good user-upper of my time.

While driving on the highway I will see a sign indicating the number of kilometers (miles to my US cousins) and calculate at present speed how long until my arrival. I will do that at every road sign. Perhaps the timer on the stove is counting down the seconds until the moose stew is ready. I will catch myself closing my eyes and counting down in an attempt to reach '1' as the timer sounds. Crazy, no?

This reaches to the world of statistics as well. I am notorious for following the stats of hockey teams. Points for players, goals against averages of goalies and wins vs. loses can be found taking up precious space in my head. Up until last year I competed in a yearly hockey pool with the folks back at corporate HQ at an undisclosed location in SW Ontario.  The winner would often get hundreds of dollars milk and cookies and the admiration of the guys. I think that my penchant for numbers helped me win more than my share of the goodies over the years and they recently decided to have an 'in office' draft of players that would obviously exclude me (unless, of course, I footed the bill for the plane flight to get there).

I content myself these days by watching the stats and monitoring the progress of the players on our local team--the St. John's IceCaps, the newest club in the American Hockey League. My lack of posting blogs the past few weeks has obviously taken its toll on the number of visitors. Though who could blame them? Why drop by daily to see the same post slapped up on the screen, gathering dust and being circled by vultures.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a long time may recall the spinning globe I had in the margin. Each time a person dropped by there location was represented by a mark on the globe. It was very cool. Unfortunately it made me dizzy and I fell from my office chair way too much. My wife, however, blames it on the single malt. Whatever.

I HAD to have a (free) counter thingy to keep track of those kind folks who visited my humble blog. I noticed that quite a few people were using Flagcounter and I made the switch. It keeps count of the countries who attend the blog and also the states and provinces of those in America and Canada. For a fee you can open other provincial and state counters for a number of foreign countries.

I have had the feature on my blog for about a year and see that I have had visitors from 112 countries. I quick peek into Wikipedia reveals that there are 192 sovereign states and an additional 13 states whose sovereignity is disputed giving a total of 205 countries in the world. I have therefore had visits from 54.6% of the countries (no, I did not figure that out in my head). This year I have had over 3100 US visitors, 2000 from Canada (thanks mum), 1000 from the UK and 300 from Australia.  Since the first of January I have had visitors from four new countries. Hello! to that person from Saint Kitts and Nevis who dropped by on the first of January. On a side note...Saint Kitts and Nevis is only 104 square miles in area with a population of about 51,300.

Are you sick of me throwing out numbers yet? Har! I could go on all day. Anyway, whether you are a new visitor or have tolerated me since my beginnings in 2009 I'd like to wish you all a Happy 2012! Health and happiness to my writing and non-writing friends. Incidentaly, if you add 13 to 2012 and then take the square root, the answer is 45...