Saturday, July 29, 2023

A Summer Rerun

Ah, Summer! — the weekend of seasons; time for vacation, sunshine, working your butt off in the blazing heat to do odd jobs around the house, and reruns.

Summer was the season for television reruns when I was a kid. There weren't a great deal of TV choices available to us back then. There were only three major networks and they all basically took the summer off.  Although kids love summer and the break from school, many of us looked forward to the fall season and the new shows.

In fact, when the TV Guide Fall Preview issue came out, it was the third most exciting magazine of the year behind the Sears Christmas catalogue, and, well, any issue of Playboy that I could somehow get my hands on.

Therefore, in honor of television's time-tested tradition (and since in summer I'm about as energetic as a three-toed sloth), I bring to you a rerun — or should I say a repost.


January 2012

My wife and I have started packing for our 10-day Caribbean cruise. I have two medium size suitcases ready for all my needs. My wife will use the largest suitcase in the house as her carry-on. Beyond that she has decided that she may need to rent a 26-foot U-Haul truck.

Among my paltry requirements are three swimming trunks. Two of these are the baggy jams-style variety that I swore I would never wear. Even so, I will be packing my “007“ shorts, as I like to call them (after the one Sean Connery wore in Goldfinger). Unfortunately, I’ve had to retire my Speedo.

Back in Antler River, we had a house with a swimming pool and a hot tub. There isn’t room for any such extravagance in Minikin. Anyway, I used to always wear a Speedo in the pool or tub (if I wore anything at all). I have worn those baggy swim trunks in a hot tub. When the jets are on you get a bubble in your shorts that is so big it lifts your ass off the seat! Then you must push down on this gigantic mound of air and out it comes, “BALOOOP” as it breaks to the surface. Others who might be in the tub give you an annoyed look.

You explain, “It was just some air in my shorts.”
“Yeah, 'air'.That’s what we thought it was”, they complain.

Beans beans are good, say reports
Beans beans put "air" in your shorts
The more you "air", the better you feel
So eat beans at every meal.


As I was saying, I always wore a Speedo in our swimming pool. The first summer that we were able to enjoy our new home, we decided to see how deep the pool was. I volunteered to be the measuring stick, and so I submerged, clad in only a speedo and swim goggles, to the bottom of the pool. While standing in the deepest part, with my hand raised as high as I could get it, I couldn’t touch the surface of the water. I needed something else to extend my reach. We decided to try it again with the leaf skimmer (minus the pole). That did the trick as the skimmer broke the surface by a couple of inches. So now we just needed to measure this length.

As I stood on the surface, dripping wet, in my speedo, and with my goggles still on, I held the leaf skimmer up high and struck a Statue of Liberty-like pose. My wife now had the task of measuring me from toe to skimmer. She got to her knees with a tape measure. Just at that precise moment, the hydro meter-reader walked through the back yard gate. Unfazed, he just said hello, read the meter, and left.

It’s likely that he sees all kinds of things on his job. For all I know I may have been the third or fourth speedo-wearing, begoggled, Statue-of-Liberty-posing, leaf-skimmer-bearing, wife-on-her-knees-measuring man he had seen so far that day.

Incidentally, I believe that France initially used the Statue of Liberty as a sounding instrument to determine water depth in the Mediterranean. Once it became outdated for use in such measurements, it was given to the United States as a gift. The Americans decided to use it as a statue.

 A sounding device for very deep swimming pools

My days of donning a Speedo are done. So are my days of wondering how deep a swimming pool is. The other travelers on our cruise ship can thus relax.

I really am looking forward to this cruise. We’ve never been on one before and by all accounts we should enjoy it — especially the food.

Not that I am any kind of connoisseur. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been gobbling down dinner or lunch when I suddenly look over at my wife who’s picking away at her food.

“What’s the matter?” I’ll ask.
“Don’t you think it tastes and smells kind of funny?” she says.

At this point I’m usually halfway through the meal and am stuck with the dilemma of finishing it and risking a stomach ailment, or just cutting my losses and throwing the rest of it in the garbage (I usually just finish it).

Our dog ate very much like me. She would woof down her food so fast that she couldn't have tasted it. Quite often she’d choke on it.

I remember one instance when an insurance agent called our house around dinner time. I’d already started eating and so had our dog Jessie. Jessie was really going at it as my wife answered the phone (which was in the kitchen directly over the dog’s dinner bowl).

As the insurance agent was asking my wife if I was available, Jessie was making a god-awful racket with her meal; “CHOMP CHOMP... SMACK CHOKE CHOMP... HACK HOCK... CHOMP SNARF.... COUGH... SMACK SNORF... CHOKE HORK HOCK.... CAAWWWW... CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP... HACK...”

“I’m sorry”, says my wife to the insurance agent, “He can’t come to the phone right now. He’s eating his dinner.”

I think the fellow hung up in horror. I had to set up an appointment with him sometime, but I didn’t think I was going to get him to agree to a dinner meeting.

And speaking of insurance, I think it would be a prudential choice for me to check my wife’s reactions to the food on the cruise before I dig in.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

A Blinky Coot Sees Kinky Boots

Recently, my wife and I went to see Kinky Boots at a local theatre. As with any performance, we wanted good seats with an unobstructed view; like the views you would imagine from front row seats at the Colosseum of Rome. 

"Two seats up front, please."

We've had to deal with women seated ahead of us with sky-high beehive hairdos or wearing hats more suited for the Kentucky Derby. Or we have those seated behind us who talk as if they're enjoying an evening with guests in their sound-proof living rooms. Then there are the ones who laugh at the most inappropriate moments:

"O, never shall sun that morrow see!" says Lady MacBeth.
"HA HA HA!" says the guy behind me.

I'm reminded of the time my wife and I went to the movies to see Woody Allen's Interiors; a grim, plodding, Bergman-like drama. However, there was a woman in the crowd who laughed throughout most of the film. She was likely thinking, "Dammit! I paid good money to see a Woody Allen movie, so I'm going to have my chuckles. Funny or not."

Anyway, back to the theatre and Kinky Boots. I ordered our tickets online, and chose seats via a map that showed what was available for a particular performance. I saw two seats in the second row. However, it appeared as if there were no seats in front of them since there was a recessed area I took for the orchestra pit. Great! I called the box office and reserved them.

When we got to the theatre, the ushers asked where we were seated. There was at least one usher every five rows or so, mostly elderly pint-sized women. "Don't bother", I bellowed, "I know where I'm seated. Right up front!" With a swaggering strut, I made my way down to the front row, wearing a look so smug you'd think I owned the damned place. 

My wife, on the other hand, seemed a bit confused. She started making her way back toward the least desirable seats in the house. "What the heck is she doing?" I said to the little old lady usher at my elbow. "Why is she way back there?"

So, I trudged over to my spouse who informed me that our seats were P22 and P23. "Yes," I explained, "right up front, like I chose." Actually, I don't know what the devil I was thinking when I selected seats in row "P". I do recall thinking at the time that it was a strange seating label, like some sort of reverse derriere designator. "P" up front, standing for "Perfect", or at least "Pretty good seats" and "A" as in "Awful" or "Are there binoculars that come with the seats for us laggard losers in the back?"

I looked at our tickets, which were masterfully produced by our HP printer, and then at the row designation, which was clearly marked "P". 

"What? I can't believe it. I distinctly remember selecting front row!" Those little old lady ushers seemed to be much larger now as I could feel myself starting to shrink in stature and self-importance.

Befuddled, baffled and bewildered, I made my way back to the car where I'd left my cell phone to check the email confirming my purchase. "Yup. It sure is row P", I muttered to myself. So, I checked the theatre web site to see what I had done wrong. I found out.

The map of the theatre showing its layout has the diagram oriented as you might expect with the stage at the top of the page and the entrance into the theatre at the bottom. Once you go to buy tickets however, the diagram is flipped over, with the stage at the bottom and the entrance at the top! I thundered, "No wonder I blundered." By the way, that recessed area that I mistook for the orchestra pit was the area for the sound technicians and their soundboard. 

I can just picture me, an old coot sitting there hearing the clicks and clacks of their work while blinking my tired old eyes, straining to see what was going on up there on stage. It appeared as if it was going to be a long miserable night. Fortunately it didn't come to that.

While griping and complaining on my way back to the theatre from my car, a lovely young woman (perhaps the senior seating manager) heard my grumbling. She snatched the tickets from my hand. Then brandishing her senior seating manager pen, changed the seating designations to fifth row, thus saving the day. She likely just did it to shut me up so I wouldn't spoil the evening for the rest of the patrons.

So how was Kinky Boots? Well, there were no big hats or high-rise hairdos in front of us, and we had relatively quiet folks behind us. And the show was good. However, during some of the slow ballads, I was wishing I was seated in the back row to have a good snooze.


Finally, on a different note, I wanted to mention that a blogging and podcast database website known as FeedSpot has the blog of yours truly listed on their Top 100 Humor Blogs for 2023. I must admit, I was somewhat taken aback when I first learned this. 

However, it should be noted that the good people at FeedSpot apparently really know a good blog when they read one. But seriously, it is an unexpected honor. Thank you FeedSpot.


Saturday, July 8, 2023

Flamin' Flamens! Ye Gods!

Great Zeus! Jumping Jupiter! 

I, for one, could never keep straight in my mind all the different Greek and Roman gods. I mean, there are so many of them. And aside from the sheer volume, it's hard to remember which ones are Greek and which are Roman. 

Therefore, I felt I should set the record straight on a few of those dizzying deities.

What a better way to start than with the obscure god Falacer. According to Wikipedia, "he was assigned a minor flamen" which is a lesser priest.

I thought perhaps flamen (especially a minor one), was someone who put out insignificant flames like a barbecue flare-up. In contrast would be a major fireman, who puts out conflagrations like the one started by that Roman bastard Nero. Forgive my use of the term fireman. Back in the Roman days, women did not have the right to be the heroes they are today. That has thankfully changed.

Nero: Neither god nor flamen, just a flamin' fiddler

Further about the obscure god, Wikipedia states, "Falacer, or more fully dīvus pater falacer, was an ancient Italic god, according to Varro."

An Italic god? What, are we supposed to always italicize his name? Go ahead and unitalicize it if you wish.  He was only an obscure god assigned a lesser priest. What's he gonna do? Curse you with some goofy Roman phrase like, "Ad hominus, max ominous, ineffectus, non erectus"?

Wikipedia goes on, "Hartung (no clarification from Wikipedia on who the heck that is) is inclined to consider him an epithet of Jupiter, since falandum, according to Festus, was the Etruscan name for 'heaven.'"

Which brought me to another Wikipedia article about "epithets" which states, "An epithet (from Ancient Greek epítheton 'adjective', from epíthetos 'additional'), also byname, is a descriptive term (word or phrase) known for accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage."

Also, "The word epithet can also refer to an abusive, defamatory, or derogatory phrase. This use as a euphemism is criticized by Martin Manser and other proponents of linguistic prescription. H. W. Fowler complained that "epithet is suffering a vulgarization that is giving it an abusive imputation."

Oh yeah? Just try calling "Jupiter" "Falacer", if you dare, and see if he doesn't consider it an abusive imputation. I wouldn't want to have to answer to that roar from the heavens, "Are you calling me an obscure god, assigned to a minor flamon?"

Here is more, I regret, from Wikipedia: "The etymology of flamen remains obscure, and perhaps undecidable. The term is traditionally connected with the Proto-Germanic verb blōtanan ("to sacrifice"), by positing a Proto-Indo-European stem blehdmen (or blehgmen), which could have originally meant "sacrifice". However, the link remains uncertain since it is impossible to decide whether the Latin form reflects an earlier flă-men, flăd-men or flăg-smen."

Which brings us to our next diety; Amphigory, the Greek goddess of gobbledygook. 

Then there is Palatua; an obscure goddess who guarded the Palatine Hill. As opposed to being assigned a minor flamen, according to Wikipedia, "she was assigned a flamen minor." That, I guess, would be a religious leader under the legal age for priesthood.

Here are a few more Roman gods listed on Wikipedia. I didn't read the entire article on each, but I've provided what I am sure is an apt description or comment for each:

Disciplina
The goddess of dominatrices.

Fecunditas
Personification of fertility. Fecund always sounded too close to fecal for my liking. Hardly what might come to mind when thinking "fruitful". Then again, what personifies fertility better than, well, you know what.

Latona
Goddess of light. I thought that would have been Daytona.

EosPortunus, and Artemis
These were later re-envisioned as the Three Musketeers.

Scotus
God of darkness. Ain't that the truth!

Verminus
God of cattle worms. There's a god for that?

Caca
There's a god for that?

As comprehensive as Wikipedia's lists are, we here at Snow Shoveling In Canada thought our readers should be aware of a few more obscure gods (assigned to negligible flamens).

Angina  - Greek goddess of chest pain.
Angora  - Greek goddess of goat hair.
Avunculus -  Roman god of uncles.
Cerumen  - Roman god of earwax.

Finally, we have Vulcan, the Roman god of emotionless extraterrestrials.

By the way, why are beings from the planet Vulcan referred to as Vulcans? After all, we don't refer to people from Jordan as Jordans, do we? Shouldn't the demonym for someone from Vulcan be Vulcanite, or Vulcaner, or Vulcanian

There really should be a god or goddess of demonyms. Perhaps Demonyma? I sure could use her help sometimes.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Big Jerk Mac

In a previous post I stated, "I was a pretty skinny kid. I used to see those ads in the comic books for the Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension system for gaining he-man bulk. I was always afraid that I was going to be the guy who got sand kicked in his face. I actually sent away for one of those systems as advertised in the comics. It wasn’t the Charles Atlas one though. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was similar to Dynamic Tension. It was Tense Dynamo or Tensile Dynamite or Demonic Torsion, or something like that."

A simple exercise from the Demonic Torsion® system

Some of you may remember from years ago, ads like these for the Charles Atlas method:


What's up with Mac? Charles Atlas not only made him a hulking beast, but also turned him into a world-class jerk. Jeez, he didn't need to smash the other guy in the face. That dude didn't really make him "dry up and blow away"; he just threatened him. Mac could have done the same. Also, why does he say "Wham!" while delivering the goods? Was he instructed to do that as part of the Dynamic Tension program?


I guess brute strength and lots of testosterone defined a man back then. Here's my advice to all you guys out there. If anyone - like Grace or any of the other nitwits depicted in that ad - tries to tell you that muscles and toughness are the measure of a man, just pull open the waistbands of your pants and shorts, have a look down there, and exclaim, "Poppycock."

If ever there was an ad campaign that begged to be lampooned, this was it.

Therefore, I present to you a couple of satirical "ads" from past issues of the National Lampoon magazine.

From the August, 1973 issue, there's the Psychology Ptoday parody:



From January, 1974,  their Popular Evolution Magazine parody:



Let's just hope that humans have evolved into somewhat more rational, civilized and enlightened beings than what's been illustrated here. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to do my Demonic Torsion routine, after which I have an appointment with my chiropractor. Perhaps I should make an appointment with a priest as well.

Friday, June 16, 2023

My Rusty Old Maverick

The Ford Motor Company stopped making the ill-fated Edsel automobile when I was about six years old. I didn't buy one because I had no money and no driver's license. I wish I had though. They're a real collector's item now.

Some people have speculated that the Edsel failed because — unlike the symbols of power and masculinity associated with most cars in its day —  its grille had a perceived feminine look. It resembled a woman's, um... it looked like, uh...  let's put it this way, it reminded people of... how shall I say it?... a woman's "Virginia".

The Infamous Edsel Grille

My first car was a brand new blue Ford Maverick. Incidentally, my dad used the euphemism "maverick" when referring to a man's, um... to his, uh... how shall we say?... his "Pennsylvania." Or better yet, since I grew up in Windsor, Ontario across the river from Michigan - let's call it his "Lower Peninsula".  

A 1975 Ford Lower Peninsula
 
I nicknamed my Maverick (the car, not my you-know-what) the "Blue Bomber." That would have been a strange nickname for the other thing. I drove my Maverick until it rusted out (and we can stop with the mental images now, please). Back then, Ford was known for their rusty vehicles. Even the venerated Mustang was dubbed the "Rustang".

I've always given my cars nicknames. I tend to do that with a lot of stuff. My Greenworks lawn mower is "Mow Green".  I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that. In fact, a friend of mine has a bypass lopper that she's named "Cyndi" (Lopper).

My second car was a spanking new silver Plymouth Horizon. This little car (nicknamed the "Silver Bullet") with a four-on-the-floor gear shift was fun to drive, but the transmission made clunky noises that the mechanics could somehow never fix. I sold it to a very young woman who had just received her driver's license. When I demonstrated how to shift gears with the manual transmission, she looked at my left foot on the clutch and said, "You mean you have to do that every time?" Fortunately for her, her father was there to drive the car back to their house. I hope she became more adept at driving a stick shift than the contestants you see on The Amazing Race.  

My third ride was my first used vehicle. It was a black Ford Granada, and my only car with a V-8 engine. Not a great car by any means, it would emit this very strange wood burning smell every now and again. I never did figure out what that was. Maybe Ford made some parts out of wood back then to deal with the rust issues.

I sold this car after two or three years, and on my way to deliver it to the buyers, it did something it had never done before; it started to sputter and stall on the expressway, as if it were reluctant to go to its new owner. I found myself yelling, "You rotten piece of ****! What the **** are you doing to me?" This seemed to do the trick as the car settled down enough to make it to our destination. But being the honest guy that I am, I explained to the purchasers what had just happened. They didn't seem too concerned. Even so, I called them up a few days later to see how the car was handling. They said it was running fine. I'd say that car took the whole thing just a little too personal. My buddy liked to call it "Granada Your Mama". I preferred the "Black Stallion", with some emphasis on the "Stall".

My car ownership days hit a new low with my next jalopy. It was a well-used yellow Dodge Omni. On one trip down the highway, the radiator was failing and the car was overheating. I put the heater and fan on full blast to try to cool the engine to some degree. But it was a blistering hot day in the middle of summer. It was like racing in the Baja 500 in full winter gear.

On another jaunt, from under the hood came a loud "POW!" That bucket of bolts died right then and there. I should have just called a cab and left it where it was, never to have to look at the thing again. I originally gave this piece of crap the handle "Banana Peeler" (although it hardly ever "peeled out"). Ultimately, I just referred to it as "The Lemon".

My fortunes didn't improve much with my next vehicle; a truck actually. It was a Chevy Blazer. Its original color was a standard red. I had it painted after about a year to a deep red. It thus became "Carmine" (after the color) or sometimes it was the "Duke of Burgundy". Changing the hue didn't boost its performance. I ended up putting a new engine in it. Also, it developed the loudest, shrillest squealing noise imaginable. Fire engines and ambulances would pull over when I was on the road with that beast. No mechanic, and I mean NO mechanic could figure out where the squeal was coming from. Several tried. I went back to calling this awful off-roader by its original nickname, "Red Dog".

Among other nicknames were:

  • A new blue Chevy Chevette - good ol' "Cesar Chevette".
  • A lightly used Dodge Caravan. A surprisingly peppy van that I dubbed "Vincent", as in "Vincent Van Go." 
  • A new, deep red PT Cruiser (made in Mexico) - "Pablo T Cruiser", or just "Pablo." (Anyone remember the band, Pablo Cruise?)
  • A new Honda CRV. Not a big vehicle by any means, but a lot bigger than the Honda Civic (Jane Honda) we had just prior to this purchase. The license plate ID started with BMFH, which I took to mean Big MotherF****** Honda. The nickname thus was a cleaned-up "Big Mamma".
  • Our current vehicle is a Chevrolet Equinox -  "Verna", short for "Verna L. Equinox".
You'll notice that four of the last five cars we've owned have been new purchases. After dealing with the "Black Stallion", "The Lemon", and "Red Dog", I think I've learned my lesson.

Finally, does anyone have any information on what one can do to reinvigorate a rusty old Maverick?

 

Friday, June 9, 2023

Clothing Removal Advice

Near our house are a couple of used clothing donation bins. Here's a photo of one of them:


I had seen these many times, but I only recently noticed the sticker warning people to not enter the donation bin. 

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder what the heck people are doing out there to necessitate this kind of notification. Has anyone actually climbed into one of these, getting in via some sort of reverse Houdini act? If so, what for? Let's hope they weren't wishing to donate their bodies for science. They would have been wholly rejected on the brains part alone. 

Warning: If you're foolish enough to try this, then we don't want any part of you.

Maybe someone accidentally threw a brand new Armani suit in there and said, "Holy crap! I've got to crawl in there and get that back." Or it may be that they didn't realize you must first take your clothes off before donating them. Perhaps someone was walking by on a cold winter day after having taken a picture of themselves for photo ID, and decided they had better get in there to find some warm clothing to wear.

That latter supposition may not make sense to you right now, but read on.

Here's an odd news item from UPI:

The Georgia Department of Driver Services issued an unusual reminder for residents taking advantage of the state's new digital driver's licenses and IDs: "Please take pictures with your clothes on."

The department said in a Facebook post that residents are being asked to ensure they are "keeping things classy" when snapping selfies for their digital licenses and IDs, which allow Apple Wallet users to leave their physical copies in their wallet when passing through TSA checkpoints.

"Attention, lovely people of the digital era," the post reads. "Please take pictures with your clothes on when submitting them for your Digital Driver's License and IDs."

It was unclear whether the reminder was prompted by some residents failing to follow the advice.

"Let's raise our virtual glasses and toast to the future," DDS officials wrote. "Cheers to technology and keeping things classy!"

Instead of raising your glasses, just raise your glances — to the face, that is. But is that even necessary?

Why would anyone submit a picture of anything but their head and face for ID purposes? Never have I had a photo ID that included any other part of my body. That's not to say I don't have some unique identifying birthmarks in areas that usually don't see the sun, as I'm sure we all do. Thankfully I'm generally recognized and identified by my face, and not by some blemish on my tushie. 

Even if some Georgianite, uh Georgianian, I mean Georgianer, that is to say a resident of Georgia were to submit a photo of themself completely unclad from head to toe, wouldn't the good folks from the Department of Driver Services just flat out reject it anyway? All they could possibly want or need is a pic of your noggin. (Just to be clear, "noggin" is slang for "head" and not any other body part that I'm aware of.)

However, I'm all for freedom, and anyone should feel free to strip down to their birthday suits in order to take a picture of themselves for submission to any government agency. As long as they first crop the photo and restrict it to the face alone, then it shouldn't be an issue. Of course, the size of the grin in the face-only photo would be directly proportional to the lack of clothing worn by the applicant.  

In which photo would you imagine 
that I'm not wearing any pants?
(And please don't imagine it)

It seems apparent that some people just get off on exposing themselves to a camera and sending images of their naughty bawdy bodies to whomever. If they're sending them to government agencies, I can't imagine who else they're sending them to. And just an alert to those folks; if you send some nude or seminude photos of yourselves to us here at Snow Shoveling In Canada, we won't accept them either. Although in a few cases, some intense scrutiny may be employed before they are ultimately discarded.

Keep in mind that if you feel a great need to disrobe, then please do so when and where appropriate. For example, it is highly recommended to peel off all your garments when you take a bath or shower. Showering or bathing in your clothes is a terribly soggy, unsatisfying experience. 

When changing into your pajamas at night, you should shed a few layers first and refrain from putting your PJs on over your clothes, for your own comfort. And take your shoes off too.

When shopping for new pants, go into that private little change room and take your trousers right off. If you don't, you'll have to try and find a pair that will fit over what you're wearing. And if you buy those, you will always have to wear them over the old ones, or else you'll find you've just bought yourself a pair of dreadfully baggy britches. Be sure to put your pants back on before exiting the change room. 

Remember as well to always to remove any clothes that you wish to donate to charity.

Anyone who suffers badly from what we shall call Georgia Driver's License ID Exhibitionist Syndrome, who feels an uncontrollable urge to be naked, can easily adopt my attitude that I've discussed in a previous post. Just remind yourself that you're always nude under your clothes. Such a liberating thought!

By the way, I was wearing pants in both photos. I swear I was. At least I'm pretty sure I was. 

Or was one of those taken on that day I made a clothing donation?


Friday, June 2, 2023

Sixties Brutal Playtime

Here's something I didn't expect to see while cooking my eggs:

 You've heard of Mr. Potato Head?
Introducing Mr. Fried Egg Face
.

I admit it was difficult having to dip my toast into his eyes. 

Now cracks a noble shell.
Goodbye, sweet anthropomorphic food; 
And bites of egg will bring thee to digest. (Hamlet and eggs?)


I may have had a Mr. Potato Head toy as a kid, but I'm not sure. If I did, I grew weary of it in short order, as I did with most of my toys. 

The box the toys came in on the other hand, provided days of entertainment. I could do whatever the heck I liked with them and have no worries whether or not they would break. I could turn them into a fort or a funhouse or crawl into one and use it as a ride to slide down the stairs. The stairs had a sharp turn near the bottom, so crashing into the wall at full child-laden-box-on-a-staircase speed was inevitable, yet still loads of fun. I'm a little surprised that Mattel didn't have the foresight to market the Box in a Box ® (and sell it at an exorbitant price, of course).

Knives, swords, guns, rifles, machine guns, bazookas, grenades and missiles; I had them all as a kid. All toys mind you, but they and more like them were integral parts of this typical Canadian's wholesome upbringing. 

The Johnny Seven O.M.A. (One Man Armyalmost covered that entire list in one savage toy. My brother had this one, and no one in the neighborhood dared mess with him. There very well may have been a few countries back then that would have thought twice about a conflict with some kid armed with the Johnny Seven. We felt we were well equipped to fight off any communist aggression. "Back off Kruschev, or Kruschoff, or however they say your name. That goes for you too Fidel and any of your comrades." Woe betide the pinko who didn't heed that warning!

The Johnny Seven
Only a hyperactive war hawk with ten times the legal limit of caffeine in their system could have designed this thing. No batteries needed; just a certain degree of bloodlust.

Wham-O air blasters, bows and arrows, firecrackers, Bowie knives, pea shooters, BB guns; those were the days. The days that thankfully have come and gone without serious injury, for me at least.

I'm sure they're still around today, but even the board games we played were violent to a degree. Clue was about murder, while Risk was about world military conquest. Actual conflict arose from that fun pastime; "What are you attacking me for? There's a much bigger threat on your eastern front! Are you on Kruschev's side or what? I'll get you for this."
"Oooh, what are you gonna do? Call an emergency session of the United Nations?"

Even Monopoly got tempers flared with all the deals and back-stabbing. A Wikipedia entry about the game has this quote from Computer Gaming World; "Virtually no one plays the game with the rules as written."

Ain't that the truth; "If you don't make a deal with me now, just wait till you land on my Boardwalk. The rent will cost you three zillion dollars. No, make that three kazillion dollars. Told you I'd get you for that game of Risk, you communist sympathizer." 

Of course we were just kids and likely used the term "big doofus" instead of "communist sympathizer". As JFK similarly said to the Soviet leader in October of 1962, "I just want to say-uh Mr. Kruschev that-uh you are a-uh big doofus."

I was fascinated by the U.S. Civil War. Way back when I was a little tyke, I thought the war was a mammoth tussle between North America and South America. That would have been a humdinger. But when I found out that it was restricted to the U.S., it didn't diminish my fascination. As I put it to my parents once, "It's my favorite war!"

I had a collection of these Civil War trading cards when I was a kid. They were made by a company called Topps, who are well known for selling trading cards with bubble gum. The cards had images which were incredible graphic and gory. They made the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  They sure as heck wouldn't fly today.

Now I'm not a violent man, nor do I like to see graphic violence on film or TV, but when I was a little shaver of about eight or nine years old, I could look at these illustrations of butchery, bloodshed, and slaughter and think they were the coolest thing ever. 

Our mouths half-filled with bubble gum, my buddy and I would be chawin' away while looking at all these images of carnage and destruction. One of us would say, "Wow, stuck clean through with a bayonet! These are great!" or "Oh, man! Look at this one! The guy's gettin' his head crushed by a wagon wheel. Cool!"

Bubble Gum, Confederate Money, and War? 
All For Just 5 Cents?
What More Could A Kid Ask For?

The packaging of that product is a little puzzling. Are they saying that this is surplus bubble gum from the days of the Civil War? You'd break a molar on that for sure. Or are they implying that bubble gum was a big deal for Confederate and Yankee soldiers? If that's the case, then it's hard to believe the belligerents would have been engaged in mortal combat while chewing gum and blowing bubbles. I suppose the fellow in the illustration could have a mouthful of that chewy confection.

Come to think of it, that might be a good strategy to curb all military aggression. Just give the soldiers on both sides an ample amount of bubble gum. Who wants to fight while you're chewing sweet pink gum and using it to make big sticky bubbles?


A Canadian lad in his Yankee forage cap WAY back when.

I can't believe that's me in that photo (not all that long after the Civil War, relatively speaking). Today I look more like a grizzled old Civil War general, or more like the father of a grizzled old Civil War general.

So that pretty well sums up my violent childhood playtime; discounting the roughhouse of playground games like football, Red Rover, snowball fights, and dodgeball. Fortunately, I somehow turned out to be a relatively well-adjusted adult. In retrospect, I probably should have had more toys like Mr. Potato Head.

Wait a second, I've just had an idea! Mr. Mashed Potato Head!
That would have been so cool!


Friday, May 26, 2023

Educated Animals; Well, Smart At Least

What is going on with the educational system in the U.S.? I'm not talking about lack of government funding, or lawmakers' efforts to introduce questionable curricula, or holier-than-thou parents trying to ban certain books. I'm referring to the unruly behavior of animals in classrooms all across America.

The following "news" items from UPI illustrate a growing concern in a number of institutes of intermediate learning:

Pierre, South Dakota - A pair of cows escaped from a South Dakota high school and went wandering across highways and through yards before being corralled at a softball field, police said.

The Pierre Police Department said in a Facebook post the the yearling cows were accused of "skipping school" when they wandered off while taking part in an exhibit at Riggs High School.

"Their adventure took them across roads and highways, through yards and eventually to the Pierre Softball Complex," the post said.

Police, animal control officers and Hughes County sheriff's deputies met the cows at the field and were able to usher them into a fenced-in area.

"City parks crews assisted and before long recess was over and the yearlings returned to class," police wrote.

Delinquent Cows Caught Skipping Class

One might think that these cows were just brought in as part of an exhibit for students of animal husbandry or something. However, the article states that the cows were "taking part in an exhibit"; nothing about being the exhibit. Also, in the accompanying video to the news item, the news anchor states that the cows were, "attending an exhibit."

And to those who think cows are just dumb animals, keep in mind that the story states that these two were "yearlings" - just one year old! I know that I was fourteen before I was smart enough for high school.

Moving on.

Austin, TexasStudents and teachers at a Texas high school said they have had to repeatedly evict an unusual category of unwanted guests -- raccoons.

The recent raccoon sightings at McCallum High School in Austin began with a dead raccoon found in a wall March 10, and the incident was followed by a raccoon being caught in a live trap in a science classroom April 10 and a trio of raccoons being spotted running through a hallway April 26.

It does seem odd that a raccoon was caught in a live trap in a science classroom. Are they sure that it - unlike the cows in the previous story - wasn't there as part of an exhibit? Even if it was half as smart as those cows, it could have been conducting an experiment; perhaps working on the trap when it inadvertently became ensnared.

As far as the trio of the masked bandits running through the halls, that must have been when classes were in session. I remember from my high school days, with all the commotion and chaos at recess and between classes, no one would have noticed three small furry mammals amongst the rest of us wild creatures pinballing through the corridors.

Next story:

Summersville, West Virginia - A school principal in West Virginia received a scare Monday morning when he unlocked a dumpster outside of the building and came face to face with a bear.

A video posted to Facebook by the Nicholas County Board of Education shows Zela Elementary School Principal James Marsh removing the latch from a dumpster outside the school Monday morning.

The footage shows Marsh removing the latch when the lid to the trash receptacle abruptly swings open and a bear appears from inside.

Marsh, and another employee exiting a door just as the bear appears, are seen running for safety as the bear emerges and runs in the opposite direction.

"Who says principals don't deserve hazard pay?" the Facebook post said.

This story did not say that the bear was necessarily in the school, but it's possible the poor thing actually had been attending classes and went looking for some tastier nutrition after having sampled the school cafeteria fare at lunchtime. If that's the case, then the principal apparently didn't recognize one of his own students.

Finally, we have this item which does not involve animals in school, but does involve an activity where humans should, but usually do not expect to have an encounter with wild critters.

Midland, MichiganA Michigan woman walking her dog on a trail said a pair of emus appeared from the woods and chased her for about half a mile.

Kate Buning said she and her dog, a pug mix, were walking on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail in North Bradley, northwest of Midland when a pair of emus suddenly appeared nearby.

Buning snapped a photo of the flightless Australian birds before they started walking toward her.

"I was terrified," Buning told MLive.

She said the emus followed as she retreated and became more aggressive, chasing her for about a half a mile. Buning said the emus gave up their pursuit when she arrived at a road access point...

The emus' origins were unknown Tuesday.

The article states that they are flightless birds, but if they're from Australia, then I have no idea how they got to Michigan other than by flying —  via airplane or otherwise. Since their origins were unknown, they may be just as clever as the other beasts mentioned here and with passports in hand, mixed in with the human populace and got tickets on a commercial airliner. 

Although not specifically noted, it could be that the large birds were just on their way to school. Their aggressive behavior could be attributed to the fact that they needed to bring something to class for "show and tell" and wanted the little pug for that purpose. 

One last animal story, but not a "news" item. Years ago my brother told me that he was watching a bull riding competition on a televised rodeo. He said one particular bull was "the meanest I've ever seen." According to my brother, when the gate was opened, this animal calmly walked out of the chute, knelt down, and just rolled over the poor cowboy, leaving him looking like a cartoon character that had just had an encounter with a bulldozer. 

Was that a bull or a bulldozer?

I agree that bull was one mean animal, and although probably uneducated, is likely the smartest one mentioned here.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Beagle Call Rag

As a Canadian, it's a good thing that I don't suffer from chionophobia or frigophobia. Respectively, those are fears of snow and cold. Then again, a fear of something might spur on your instinct to get rid of it. A fear of snow would lead to a healthy urge to shovel it away.

There are a number of phobias, but the phobia to end all phobias is phobophobia - a fear of being afraid. As FDR said, "...the only phobia we should have is phobophobia" or something like that.

Our beagle, Sandy, suffers terribly from astraphobia, also known as brontophobia or tonitrophobia - the fear of thunder.

I don't even dare show this photo to our dog

We've tried several strategies to relieve Sandy (a boy by the way, like Little Orphan Annie's dog) from his dreadful fear. I'll bet we've tried every idea found on an internet search.  

One suggestion is to put on some classical music. Veterinary behaviorists say it works magic on scared pets. I tried that with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. It didn't work. In fact, it seemed to make things worse.

Another strategy is to try a thunder shirt. That didn't work either. Even a kid's size was way too big and baggy. Besides, my dog didn't want to be seen in it. His favorite basketball team is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I'm sorry, but this shirt does nothing for astraphobic dogs or canine basketball fans

One website states that "dogs are den animals and feel safer in a more enclosed environment" which explains why our furry friends try to hide under a bed during storms or fireworks displays.

To be honest, I kind of like it when our little guy shivers and quivers while cowering under the bed. He gets the whole bed a-shakin'. It's just like one of those Magic Fingers devices found at cheap hotels in the 1970's. I get a free massage! The boom of thunder is as welcome as the clink of a quarter into the Magic Fingers coin slot. 

The cost is only 25 cents or 1 terribly frightened pooch

Another bonus of these situations is that Sandy remains relatively quiet. The only sound is his panting. The sound ain't much, but the odor of his breath - HOO BOY! - a potent blend of dog food, fear, and liver treats.

On the other hand, during nice weather, this crazy cur can drive us cuckoo. Vociferous doesn't describe him. Daily, our neighbors gather together to perform a rain dance in hope that a thunderstorm will shut him up and send him back under the bed. He will bark at any scent or movement within a five mile radius of his domain.

God forbid a chipmunk should tiptoe through the yard sometime during any 72 hour period lest Sandy start baying like he was hot on the trail of Cool Hand Luke. This is what I really worry about late at night when Sandy rings the PoochieBells ® to go out. If he goes bonkers on a scent at 3 in the morning, then the neighbors couldn't be more upset if I were out there waking them up with a bugle instead of a beagle.

Keep in mind, if you want to have a dog as part of your household, then you need to be committed. The barking and the shivering notwithstanding, it can be very entertaining to be a dog owner. 

I hesitate to relate the following story for fear that readers should think my wife and I are unfit owners, but here it is:

My wife bought a jar of coconut oil at a local flea market. Coconut oil is allegedly useful for everything from skin care, to cooking, to overall health, to... I don't know, probably home renovations.    

Anyway, my wife had left the jar unopened on the nightstand in the bedroom. I don't know how long it had been there like that, but I happened upon it and noticed that the jar was empty - completely empty, as if it had been licked clean. 

Immediately after letting my wife know about this, there was Sandy dancing the beagle boogie at the door in an effort to let us know that he really needed to go. He dashed out into the yard and got no further than two feet into the grassy area and -WHOOOSH!- a movement that would have made the makers of Purg-Odan envious. I guess you can add "dog laxative" to the other uses for coconut oil.

Sandy must have gotten to the jar from the bed, otherwise I'm not sure how he got at it since the night table is a good thirty-two inches high.  

Believe it or not, while researching for this blog post, I was reading a website's list of the benefits of coconut oil, and for hydrating dry hands it states, "Coconut oil can work wonders on dry, itchy skin. 'I keep a jar of organic extra virgin coconut oil by the kitchen sink and put a little on after washing my hands to keep them soft and moist,' says Dr. Low Dog." 

Dr. Low Dog? While I'm writing about our short-assed beagle somehow getting at a jar of coconut oil on the nightstand? You just can't make this stuff up.

Sandy likes to stay warm in bed while the humans are out shoveling snow

Betcha can't eat just one

However, anyone who has been in our house can attest to the fact that we love our beagle:


I think it's pretty obvious.

Finally, just as I was about to publish this post, I saw that my wife had written "Sears" on the calendar for this coming Sunday. 

Not being much of a shopper, I didn't realize until now that Sears hasn't been around in Canada since 2018. So I said, "Honey, Sears isn't open on Sunday." 
She replied, "I was afraid you were going to read it that way. I'm giving Sandy his ear drops on Sunday."

Friday, May 12, 2023

Mnemonic Mnonsense

Remember this when attempting to spell rinhoserousrhinoserusrinocerous, that R animal with the big horn on his shnoz (sung to the tune of the children's ABCDEFG song):

♫  R then I or H is Next,
O this word Sure has me vexed. ♪

Well, at least it gives you five or six of the letters, I think.

What we have above is an example (albeit a lousy one) of a mnemonic; a device used to help memorize something. The word mnemonic comes from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory, which is ironic since no one will be able to remember that little tidbit of info.

Mnemosyne, The Forgettable Goddess Of Memory

A famous mnemonic for remembering the number of days each month is,

Thirty days has September,
April, June, and November,
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February at twenty-eight,
But leap year, coming once in four,
February then has one day more.

But does this really work? September, November, and December all rhyme. You could get them mixed up and have your whole schedule in disarray

With that in mind, here is an improvement on that tired old mnemonic:

Thirty days has the S month,
April June and the N month.
The effin' F month has twenty-eight,
Except for leap years; add one date.

Remember as well that centenary years not divisible by four-hundred are not leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not divisible by four-hundred. therefore it is not a leap year and would have twenty-eight days that February and not twenty-nine as you might expect since it was four years after the previous leap year and you always thought leap years were every four years no matter what and also because, if you'll remember, the year 2000 (which is divisible by four-hundred) did have that extra day in February and so it strengthened the common belief that leap year is every four years. Then again, anyone born in 1900 wouldn't be around today and the next non-divisible-by-four-hundred centenary year would be 2100, and at the rate this planet is going, no one will be around to give a flying leap about what is or what is not a leap year. 

The mnemonic kind of loses its catchiness and memorability at the end there, but it is important that you learn it if you and the planet are still around in 2100. Keep in mind that there are people who can recite Mercutio's Queen Mab speech

In grade 12 chemistry class, we were required to know the first twenty elements on the periodic table. Wikipedia has a list of mnemonics which includes this one for remembering those twenty:

Harry, he likes beer by cupfuls, not over frothy, never nasty mugs allowed. Since past six closing, are kegs cancelled?

Seriously? Wouldn't it be just as easy to remember the elements themselves? Well, I've got that moronic mnemonic beat. To this day, I can name all twenty in order. Here is what I came up with back in high school. Just remember:

LiBeBCNOFNe and NaMgAlSiPSClAr

I can hear the readers at home now, "What kind of mnemonic is that? You just listed the symbols of the elements in order. How does that help? Besides, you have only sixteen of them there!"

Yes, I knew you would say that. All you need to do is remember Hydrogen and Helium as the first two elements. That should be easy enough - the two lightest elements and both beginning with an H.

Now, phonetically sound out the first of those two words as, "libby-bic-nof-nee". The second one is pronounced, "nam-gal-sip-sclar".  

With elements 19 and 20, well, you'll just have to remember them. Maybe the first three letters of KC and the Sunshine Band?

From this day forward, your friends and acquaintances will think of you as some sort of chemistry professor.

Similarly, I remember the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) with the word ROYGBIV (pronounced roygbiv).

Apparently, there is an alternate strategy using the strange phrase, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. You're supposed to somehow remember that odd expression. You might try to recall it and think, Henry Of Lancaster Did Scuffle For Naught, and come up with a spectrum of hazel, orange, lavender, dandelion, salmon, fuchsia, and navy. You'd be right on "orange", but strike out with the rest, giving you a score of one out of seven. Better to go with ROYGBIV instead. It's never failed me.

Some mnemonics are just downright dumb. 

Here are three of the most bizarre and unmemorable ones for naming the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus Neptune, Pluto):

Most Vegetables Eat More Juice So Usually Never Pee
Many Vicious Elephants Met Just Slightly Under New Pineapples
Mark's Very Extravagant Mother Just Sent Us Ninety Parakeets

Those absolutely stink! What do they even mean? Vegetables eat juice and pee? And if they eat (as opposed to drink) more juice, wouldn't they be more likely to pee? Vicious elephants meet "just slightly" under new pineapples? Do docile elephants meet very substantially under old pineapples? Who is Mark and why is his mom sending us a flock of birds? And if she's so extravagant, why didn't she choose the much more expensive parrot? How is anyone supposed to remember those? They're so arbitrary and nonsensical that one would need a mnemonic to remember them. 

A better idea is to remember the Sun, then My Very Easy Method, Jack, then SUN again. Forget Pluto. It's been downgraded to a minor planet and doesn't count anymore.

For all my American readers out there, I thought I would come up with a mnemonic to remember all of the Canadian provinces in case one of those annoying Canadian geography questions come up in Jeopardy, or if you somehow find yourself at a Canadian embassy soiree in Washington D.C. From west to east the provinces are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador (Newfoundland and Labrador may be more than a mouthful, but it is just one province). Then we have the territories, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. As you can see, three of the ten provinces begin with N as do two of the three territories, which we shall address.

Using a goofy mnemonic like the planet ones previously discussed, I could give you:

Bring Along Spider Monkeys Or Question Not Perfectly Normal Nougats, You Ninja Nurses.

I dare say we'd be better off with my word creation method and have:

BASMO QuNePNoNe
Pronounced bas-mo que-nep-no-nee. Sounds like a name. Basmo Quenepnone - the Greek god of Canadian Geography.

As far as the territories go, just think of YNN pronounced "youninny", as in "why can't you remember those names, you ninny!"
Or as in the following conversation;
"What's that province mnemonic again?"
"Basmo QuNePNoNe, you ninny!"
"Thank you. Very good of you to include the territories as well."

And to help with the N dilemma, just memorize this "poem":

Rememb'ring those N names is easy my son;
Just say, "New B, Nova, New L, North, and Nun."

Rolls right off the tongue.

Finally, here is a mnemonic (also sung to the tune of the children's ABCDEFG song) to help remember how to spell mnemonic and other tough words:

♪ Silent m before the n,
e-m-o-n-i-c then.
 
P then n to spell pneumatic;
Sometimes words are problematic.
Then again it ain't no fuss
To spell the word "rino rinho rhinos...
♫ 

I'll never remember how to spell that big dumb animal.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Shrunken Sweaters And Gorilla Backpacks: More SSIC Q and A

Hooray! Hooray! The first of May! 
Outdoor "activities" start today.

It’s certainly not my intent
To wrongly convey what I meant.
For if one thinks that I’d imply
Improper acts, they must be high. 

The euphemism “activities” 
Refers to passive pursuits like these: 
Contemplating nature and
Lying in the sun and sand.

Hooray! Hooray! It’s May the first.
Of all my poems, this one’s the worst.

Ugh. Enough of that. Let's move on.

Once again, we at Snow Shoveling In Canada are here to answer some of the most pressing questions of our time. Think of us as the Lighthouse of Alexandria with its nearby library; a beacon of knowledge shining out of the misty fog of general dumbness.

Hooray! Hooray! The first of May!
Let's begin our Q and A. 

Enough already! Besides, it's May 4th. Sheesh!

Q:  In what sport is double dribble a violation?
A:  Recently in USA Today's Daily True Trivia game, players were asked if the statement "Double dribble is a violation in baseball" was true or false. Many of you out there might think that double dribble is an illegal move in basketball, and would choose false. However, the brainy quizmasters at USA Today beg to differ. They claim the statement is true. 

Although the research team here at Snow Shoveling In Canada could not verify their assertion, we do know that a lot of tobacco is chewed during a baseball game. Many a time have we seen baccy juice dribble down a ball player's chin. If that happens twice in an inning, it could be considered a double dribble. But, other than the fact that it's rather disgusting, we're not sure why it is considered a violation.

Q:  Are there any backpacks that sorta look like a gorilla?
A:  Believe it or not -


A review of it can be found here, Dakine Poacher 36L Backpack, but it says nothing about gorillas.

Q Are there any gorillas that sorta look like a backpack?
A:  Not really, but we found one that somewhat resembles the Dakine Poacher 36L:


Q:  I accidentally put my wife's wool sweater in the dryer and it shrunk. What can I do?
A:  You could sell it on Poshmark


The woman in the above photo from the TV ad gushes about all the fabulous fashion she finds at Poshmark. So you should have no problem peddling your teeny tiny top to Poshmark shoppers.

Q:  Yes, that's good advice, but before I resort to that, I want to try and stretch it back into shape before my wife sees it. What should I do?
A:  Speaking from experience, I once also put my wife's wool sweater through the washer and dryer. I couldn't believe what came out was the same article of clothing I put in. I tried to stretch it out, but when I pulled on the sleeve, I ripped it right off. It looks as though the sweater on the woman in the above photo has also had its sleeve pulled on, as you can see where it's coming apart at her shoulder.

As long as you didn't shrink it too much, you could try doing what I did after I shrank another one of my wife's sweaters (you'd think I'd learned my lesson). With tremendous effort, I somehow squeezed my way into the sweater and did a few bodybuilder poses to stretch it out. It was still smaller than pre-laundered, but compared to the Poshmark girl's sweater, it was a veritable baggy oversized loose knit.

Q:  I hate doing laundry. How can I get my wife to handle all of the laundry duties?
A:  Just do what I did and shrink two of her favorite sweaters.

Here are some actual questions from the "unanswered" section of Answers.com. We shall strive to shed light on these queries with our knowledgeable insightful enlightening perspicacity (thank you Thesaurus.com):

Q:  Crockpot recipe for pork chops, rice and mushrooms?
A:  Ingredients: pork chops, rice and mushrooms.
      Directions: Cook in crockpot. Enjoy.

Q:  9logX-2logy=log X9/Y2?
A:  If you say so.

QWhat would happen if a person fell on Jupiter?
A:  The planet or the god? In either case, the result would be disastrous. If you're talking planet, then stay sober and wear a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads on your next visit to that giant orb. If you're talking god, then God help you.

Answers.com also has this question from one Hinda Faarax:
"4777712.hinda.faarax?" To which someone answered, "huh?" 

Now that's a pretty good answer to that particular question. However, we found that Hinda had answered someone else's question of "How do you write 170 million in number?" with the response, "4777712.hinda.faarax"

So with that information in mind, we can revisit Hinda's original question and provide the correct response:

Q4777712.hinda.faarax?
A:  170 million written in number.

Finally, here are a couple more questions and answers from a previous post that deserve another look:

Q:  How do you spell rinocerus rhinoseros rhinosoros rihnocerous oh, the hell with it.
A:  We believe the word you’re looking for is rhinosaurus; a great lizard of the sebaceous period. This fearsome giant is the ancestor to our modern day horned hippoplatypus.

Q:  Who stole the kishka?
A:  Since a Wikipedia article describes kishka in part as “a blood sausage made with pig's blood and buckwheat or barley, with pig's intestines used as a casing…” then we have no idea who in their right mind would think this an item worth pilfering. We suggest you consult your local constabulary. They may want to check some emergency rooms for any recent admits with gastrointestinal distress.

Any questions?