Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Can't Fool A Minikinite

Gracious me! It looks like we’re going to have a green Christmas.

A lot of people in this part of the country are praying for snow so that we’ll have the traditional White Christmas. I say, if you want a White Christmas, then see the movie. I, for one, welcome the relatively novel sight of bare lawns on Christmas day. We’ll get plenty of the white stuff before winter is over, believe you me. And all those people who are whining for snow now will be griping in mid-January, “whatever happened to global warming?”

Oh little town of Minikin, 
Your roads are bare and dry. 
The snow’s not deep. 
Snow-blower salesmen cry.

Yet in thy dark clouds cometh 
The ever-blasting snow. 
So never fear, 
When winter’s here 
We’ll see those blowers go. 

Since there is nothing new to relate on the snow-shoveling front, I thought I might send out a little caveat to my readers if they should ever try to sell anything on-line.

I recently attempted to sell my car through a couple of advertising sources on the internet. Unfortunately, the only responses I’ve had thus far are from people looking for me to virtually give it to them (as a Christmas present, I suppose). Otherwise, I’ve just received emails and phone calls from scam artists. One guy sent me the following email. The bracketed interjections are mine:

...my dad will like something like this, so for his birthday i am surprising him by buying this. (If I went through with this transaction, your dad wouldn’t be the only one getting a surprise)

I would have loved to come for the inspection myself but i am mostly away, am an engineer and i work offshore most of the time, needless to say, i wont be able to come myself. (I’m guessing that you are not a grammatical engineer. Since you work offshore, I'll assume that you're an oil-rig-double-dealing-flimflam-bunko-sham engineer)

However I have a private courier agent that will represent me and come for the pick up after the payment has been made, they will handle issue of my details, transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the courier agent. (Yeah, that sounds legit. Most used car deals for vehicles under $5,000 are usually handled this way. Alternatively, an Envoy Extraordinary or Minister Plenipotentiary can be hired to complete this type of sale).

As for the payment, i can only pay via the safest and secure way to pay online i.e PayPal here, as i do not have access to my bank account online, but i have it attached to my paypal account hence my insistence on using pay pal to pay. If you don't have a paypal account, you can easily set up one at www.paypal.com and sign up its very easy. (Actually, my good man, can you set it up for me? I’d be more than happy to give you my credit card information.)

I would have loved to talk to you on phone but i work mainly offshore and our satellite server has been down due to the bad weather which restrict our calls, please get back to me!! i appreciate your time. Thanks (Why do those damn offshore satellite servers never work in bad weather during an email scam?)

We may be just small town folk here, but we're not rubes. We're perspicacious, wary, intelligent, and well-spoken. There's an old saying in Minikin — I know it's in Antler River, probably in Minikin — that says, "Fool me once....  shame on...  shame on you....   " you can't fool a Minikinite, I mean Minikiner, uh Minikinian, that is to say a resident of Minikin.

Oh little on-line scam artist
How dumb do you think we are?
Get a real job,
You crooked slob
And buy my (bleepin') car.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

From Bach To Bieber To Bieberbach — More From The SSIC Answer Man

An inquiring reader wrote to us and asked this inquisitive inquiry:

Is it true that Justin Bieber is the acme of thousands of years of musical evolution?

We consulted with Wikipedia for an answer to this excellent question. Their article on music begins by telling us that  “music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence.”

In Justin’s case, the emphasis would be more happily applied to the silence part of the formula.

So, to answer your question, no he is not the acme of musical evolution. That momentous moment of moments should happen around the year 2473 when music will be an “art” form whose medium will be organic sound and electronically enhanced silence. However, there is no denying we’ve come a long way since the days of Johann Sebastian Bach, or even Ludwig Bieberbach.

There once was a pop star named Bieber
who some critics have called “Justin Dweeber".
But the fans, how they rave.
Bach must roll in his grave
and in disbelief cry, “Ach du lieber!”

By the way, Mr. Beiber was born in Antler River. That’s right! — the former headquarters of Snow Shoveling In Canada. I get all a-tingle with excitement whenever I consider that. Sort of the same excitement I derive from putting on cheap aftershave.

Which brings us to our next question from a very questioning questioner:

Who coined the phrase, "the pen is mightier than the sword"?

Those words were uttered by Edward Bullwer-Lytton, former CEO of the Bic corporation (which was simply known as the Pen among ball-point insiders). Bic of course was long known as the leader in quality writing implements, so it was logical that they would decide to produce items for scraping off facial hair.

Soon, Bic was outselling a former giant on the market, Wilkinson Sword (which was simply known as the Sword among shaving insiders). One day, on learning that his brand was outselling Wilkinson, Mr. Bullwer-Lytton expressed his now famous remark.

Another seeker of wisdom and truth asked us:

Where can I find a throat lozenge with attitude?

The makers of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges claim that their product provides "relief with attitude". That’s just the ingredient you should look for when you have a bad cold. Who cares if it has a cough suppressant, or something for nasal relief or chest congestion? You need attitude. In fact, I think every product on the market and every being on this planet should have lots and lots of attitude. This blog is sorely lacking in that quality. So look for us to be more IN YOUR FACE in future posts.

By the way, why do they call their product Fisherman’s Friend? If anything, you would think that any product that allows fishermen to have their olfactory senses enhanced would be considered decidedly unfriendly.

In fact, someone should market a clothespin for fishermen to put on their noses while they work and call it Fisherman’s Buddy.

And while we're at it, someone could promote a set of ear plugs to wear whenever you’re in the vicinity of a Justin Bieber performance and call it Music Lover’s Friend.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Football, Cruises, and Painting Europe

The Holiday Season has officially started. Sure we’ve seen stores decked out with Christmas displays since Labor Day, but the season really kicked off with the U.S. Thanksgiving  (ha ha. get it? kicked off... Thanksgiving... you know... football... forget it).

I like to think of that holiday as Canada’s second Thanksgiving. We don’t get the day off from work, but we do get to call in sick and sit around the house watching the Macy’s parade and a couple of football games.

I’ve enjoyed the Macy's parade in the past, but now it seems to showcase a lot of pop stars that I've never heard of, and, as it turns out, I'm glad that I hadn’t. Viewers had to endure several "songs" by a number of “musicians” as they (the "musicians") made their way past Herald Square before (we, the viewers) got to the real Thanksgiving treat — football.

I’ve been watching NFL football since I was a kid (and, by the way, here in Canada and the U.S. the game where they kick around a ball for half a day and somehow manage to not score a single point even though they’re aiming at a goal the size of New Brunswick, is called soccer). When I was a youngster my dad and I used to be impressed by the size of the players back then. “Those defensive linemen combined weigh over half a ton”, he’d say, duly impressed. No one would be impressed by that these days. Today’s average women’s tennis player must tip the scales about as much as yesterday’s defensive tackle.

The modern day defensive line makes the ones in my day look like four guys from our high school chess team. And the typical NFL offensive line weighs about the same as your average apartment building.

Soon enough (but not soon enough for my wife) the football season will be over. Then it will be time for the missus and I to depart on our very first cruise!

We might have to re-mortgage the house to pay for this voyage. Part of the cost is the many day trips we have planned at all the various stops along the way. I’m wondering though whether or not we should just stay on the ship and explore it from top to bottom. This ship makes the Titanic look like Scuffy The Tugboat.

But just exploring the ship could get kind of boring, Here’s an idea: instead of having excursions at the ports of call, you could have adventures right on the ship. For example, you could zipline from the bridge right into the upper deck swimming pool. The crew could lower a few lifeboats full of snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts into the shark-infested waters, miles from any port. Or you could bungee jump from the aft funnel. For the real adventurous, you could try your hand at Acapulco-cliff-style diving off the top deck into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

Maybe we’ll see these things someday, but for now we’ve already booked our excursions. By the way, do we have to keep our passports with us at all times? What the heck am I supposed to do with it while I’m zipping along a steel cable 100 feet above an Antiguan forest canopy? Or where do I put it when I’m snorkelling in Barbados with those sea turtles? Am I supposed to secure it in some water-tight part of my anatomy?

Passports are a necessity these days. In Canada, you need to have your passport renewed every five years at a cost of $85 (I think). In addition, you need to have your application endorsed by a guarantor. At one time the guarantor needed to be a lawyer, doctor, veterinarian, school principle, CPA, pharmacist, or some other reliable professional. I’m not sure how they decided which professions were worthy of such responsibility. My CPA is a dirty rotten thieving sneak, while my bookie is a real upstanding guy.

Remember, when applying for a passport you will need:

- Completed forms
- Personal information
- Proof of citizenship
- Proof of identity
- Fees
- Photos
- Guarantor
- A note from your mommy

Personally, I’d like to see passports that are valid for only six months and cost $1000. In addition, you would need a reference from all of the previously mentioned professionals. This would discourage people from traveling outside of Canada during the winter months. Then they would stay here and do some damn snow shoveling. I can’t do it all myself!!!!

If we enjoy our Caribbean trip, maybe we’ll book our next cruise to the Mediterranean and see Europe.

I think I’d like to see Europe. I’ve never been there. But it seems to me that Europe needs a paint job. I can see from many movies and television shows that several countries on that continent have never bothered to maintain or upgrade any of their buildings — peeling paint, plaster falling off here and there, bricks crumbling or missing. Maybe that’s supposed to be part of the charm and ambience of the place, but to us here in Canada where we need our shelters to be in tip-top shape, one can’t help but get the urge to call in Mike Holmes.

I most recently observed scenes of this state of disrepair while watching the movie The Reader. If you haven’t seen it, the film is about a young man who has a relationship with a woman about 20 years his senior. She’s illiterate, so he reads books to her. In exchange for the readings, he gets a nice bath — a real nice bath.

If the characters in this movie are representative of Europeans in general, then I would guess they’re a pretty clean people. It’s just their buildings that need some sprucing up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch some football. There must be a football game on somewhere, right?