Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Canuck Shall Run Amok On Mars

I recently ran across a news item from Owen Sound. Owen Sound — the city whose motto is, “We are not amused by the Southern Ontario Elephant.”

The news was about a young fellow who would rather live on Mars than spend the rest of his life in Owen Sound. Here is an excerpt from the story:

OWEN SOUND, Ont. — Trevor Uitvlugt says he isn’t vying to go to Mars for fame or money.

The 22-year-old Star Trek fan from Bruce County, Ont. — one of about 3,000 Canadians who has applied so far to go on a one-way trip to Mars — says he is going to make a difference for mankind.

“I said in my application video that I would be more lonely dying here not making a difference, then there and maybe making a difference,” said Uitvlugt...

Trevor UITVLUGT??? That sounds suspiciously alien. It could be Klingon — which would explain his affinity for Star Trek. Or perhaps it is Martian in origin. Mr. Uitvlugt, like any good E.T. is just trying to return home.

The article goes on to state that Uitvlugt is a kung fu instructor and lifeguard at the Family Y.

So, despite what he says, this young man IS making a difference here on Earth. I hope he can somehow find some Martians who are in desperate need of self-defense and water-safety instruction.

During the early days of space flight, many American and Russian children dreamed of following in the zero-gravity footsteps of their astronaut and cosmonaut heroes. But these dreams were not limited to those countries alone. Many a Canadian child had similar aspirations.

“I want to be an astronaut when I grow up," said a typical ‘60s era Canadian tyke.
“But honey, Canada has no space program," came the usual discouragement from the pragmatic adult.
“No problem,” said the undaunted star-gazer. “I’ll hitch a ride with the Americans on one of their spacecraft.”

So the children became grownups and persisted in their ambitions. They approached the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a chance to ride into that great star-dappled ocean of infinity.

“You know," said the directors at NASA, “we don’t want you just along for the ride, going “Oooooh, aaaaah” and “Look at those stars! COOL!”  We expect you to chip in and add something worthwhile to this mission.”
“We might be able to lend a hand," said the Canadians.
NASA’s firm reply was, “Well, we’re hoping you could provide more than just a hand.”

Thus was born the Canadarm.

The Canadarm made its debut in 1981, and was a very useful tool in space exploration. It was used to carry, retrieve, and maneuver various space stuff during various space missions (I hope I’m not being too technical here). If needed, the Canadarm could also be used to grab an incoming and unwelcome alien by the throat or to deliver an impressive mechanical punch to the creature’s gigantic, green, scaly, four-nostriled nose.

The Canadarm was finally retired in 2011 due to the worst case of tennis elbow in the entire Solar System.

The world is still waiting for other countries to do their part and develop a replacement. In the works are the San Marinose (the alien might turn the tables on this one), the Venezueleg, the Panamouth, and the Germaknee.

Meanwhile, Trevor Uitvlugt is well-advised to listen to Elton John's song Rocket Man, with Bernie Taupin's immortal lyrics:

"She packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour, nine a.m."
Do most astronauts have their gear readied by their spouses?

"And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then..." 
Must be Whip Whitaker at the controls of this spacecraft.

"Oh no, no, no, I'm a rocket man 
Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone..."
“Burning out one’s fuse” is a euphemism for lonesome, solitary space activities. I leave it to your imagination.

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids 
In fact it's cold as hell 
And there's no one there to raise them if you did."
I think the cold Martian air is affecting the Rocket Man’s logic: There is no one there to raise kids if you raise them there.

"And all this science, I don't understand"
We can just hear it now:
Rocket Man: Attention Ground Control. My craft is shaking like a can of paint in a hardware store.
Ground Control: You need to make some adjustment with the servo-amplifiers. Also, you may be looking at trouble with the nuclear pulse propulsion thrusters. Remember as well that electrostatic ion thrusters use the Coulomb force and accelerate the ions in the direction of the electric field, while electromagnetic ion thrusters use the Lorentz force to accelerate the ions.
Rocket Man: HUH?
Ground Control: Come on buddy. This isn't rocket science, um, I mean brain surgery.

"It's just my job five days a week..."
Does he go back home to Earth on weekends? Maybe he takes day trips to check out Saturn on Saturdays and has fun probing Uranus on Sundays.

Personally, I'd rather explore Owen Sound.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'll Have A Foot-Long Monkey Meat On Italian To Go

I thought you could buy a monkey meat sandwich at Subway.

Subway has had ads out (in Canada at least) that show some sort of breakfast superhero squad.


There’s an egg with an attitude ("The Awesome Ovum"?), a tomato (female, of course — perhaps “Toots the Tomato”) and some green fellow who might be known as “Phallic Vegetable Man”.

I’m pretty sure these superheroes represent the food that you can have on your sandwiches at Subway. The other member of the squad that I did not mention yet is a swaggering, helmeted monkey. He is the biggest of the group and appears to be the leader. Let’s call this super simian "One Tough Monkey".

Since you can get egg, tomato, and cucumber on your sandwiches, one can assume that you can also get monkey meat (if you so desire). I, for one, have no such desire. But I am curious, since there is no logical explanation, as to why the monkey is represented.  Could he just be a mascot? If so, why a monkey? In fact, I did a Google search and could not find one website that could explain this monkey business.

So, I recently walked into our nearest Subway and asked the girl behind the counter if they served monkey meat. She was courteous and professional, but her reply was a rather firm “No sir, we do not”. I thought I’d better not push it and ask her about the names of the anthropomorphized creatures from the Super Breakfast Squad.

While we’re on the subject of TV ads, I recently saw one that honestly, actually, believe-it-or-not was trying to get people to buy a washing machine cleaner. I think it was from the makers of Tide.

The woman in the commercial walks toward her laundry room and suddenly her face contorts into one of abject revulsion as she apparently smells this wretched putrid stench coming from her washing machine. She couldn’t have been more disgusted if a horde of sewer rats had committed mass suicide in her heating ducts.

Personally, I’ve NEVER washed my washing machine. If this woman came anywhere in the vicinity of our duds sudser, she would likely make a beeline to our washroom to call Ralph on the big white phone.

Now I may be wrong about this but don’t most people put a detergent directly into the washing machine when they do laundry? Does the washer not go through a cycle of sloshing and swishing around with warm sudsy soapy water for several minutes, going whoosha-wooka whoosha-wooka whoosha-wooka? Is not everything then put through a rinse cycle, which involves more sloshing and swishing — more whoosha-wooka whoosha-wooka whoosha-wooka? Does the machine not spin everything at the speed of a particle accelerator,  thereby ensuring that anything and everything but the clothes has been flung from the drum both prior to and after the rinse cycle?

I don't remember ever complaining, “I would do a load of laundry, but the washing machine is dirty” or “Honey, can we do something about this stinking washing machine? I’m afraid it will soil my used jock strap.”

Why doesn’t Tide market an additive to moisturize the water? Perhaps someone like the makers of Bounce could come up with a drying agent for your dryer. Crest could surely jump on the bandwagon and invent a toothbrush brush. Maybe GE could come up with a device to warm up your oven. There’s a whole untapped market out there!

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, I want to mention a scientific study in France that concludes men with guitars are sexy.  It is hard to argue against this, as the photo below illustrates:


Friday, May 10, 2013

Hey Anonymous, CAPTCHA This!

I always welcome comments on my posts. If nothing else, it proves to me that at least someone is reading my blog.

I moderate all comments lest I receive some accolade like “I hope you freeze to death, you ***********, *************, snow-shoveling, son-of-a-*****!”

As well, I have had the CAPTCHA option turned on, mainly because it seemed to stop the comments from one particularly pesky person by the name of Anonymous.

It is ironic that this person shares a name with the brilliant Anonymous who has given us so many sayings, songs, and poems. I believe the ancient Anonymous was some sort of Greek polymath and brother or sister to Aristomedes, but I could be wrong. I fear that the modern day Anonymous has only half the mental capacity of the modern day half-wit.

During the six months that I had CAPTCHA off, I received about 30 comments from Anonymous. Most of them were pretty much the same. Here are how the comments and my equally goofy replies would have appeared, had I posted them:

Hey very nice blog!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I'll bookmark your site and take the feeds also? I am glad to seek out a lot of helpful info right here in the post, we'd like develop more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . . Feel free to surf my web-site...

    G. Thomas Boston
     I’m glad you’re glad to seek out all the helpful info I try to incorporate into my posts. Like me, you should develop more strategies on this regard. Glad I could share. I shall surf, but just the surface of your site.

Someone essentially lend a hand to make critically posts I'd state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular post extraordinary. Great job! My webpage...

    G. Thomas Boston
    Someone essentially tendered spam to pass it off as a legit comment I’d state. How frequently have you frequented other blog sites for the first time to this point? Don’t be surprised with the research I made to create this particular extraordinary post; ‘tweren’t nuthin’.

WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for jacksonville impotence treatment center

    G. Thomas Boston
    Glad you found us. Unfortunately, very few people are aware that Snow Shoveling In Canada is just a front for the Jacksonville Impotence Treatment Center.                            

Here are a few more articulate comments from Anonymous:
  • I'm very pleased to uncover this great site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it 
  • Wow that was ѕtrange. I just wrote an verу long cοmment but аfter I сlіckeԁ ѕubmit my сomment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not wгіting аll that ovеr again.
  • Hi mаtes, how is all, and what you would like to say concerning this pіеce of writing, in my view іts trulу aweѕome іn favor of me. 
  • It's perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it! 
and my favorite:
  • Pretty element of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I get actually loved account your weblog posts. Any way I will be subscribing for your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.
High praise indeed. And while I do appreciate the comments, I couldn't publish them due to the fact that Anonymous is trying to hawk something on his or her web site. Although, some of it is interesting:
  • make money online no scam (Oh, suuuuuuure!)
  • bathing suits juniors (If this person had truly read my blog, they would know that I’m soon to be more interested in diapers seniors)
  • back pain between shoulder blades (as opposed to upper back pain)
  • last minute wintersport weekend (now this one I should have investigated, being the snow-loving Canadian that I am)

I am in Canada
I am shoveling
I am snow
I am
I am
I am
I am Snow Shoveling In Canada

I always wanted to say that, just like all those cool people you see in so many TV commercials these days.

Anyway, CAPTCHA is an acronym. I think it stands for Can Anyone Perceive These Characters? Hahaha! Anyone?

Hold on. One of my editors has just informed me that CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

What kind of an acronym is that? There are too many words! The proper acronym for that would be CAPTTTTCAHA (pronounced capt-tititty-cah-ha). I don’t like acronyms that aren't succinct and to the point like NATO and SCUBA.

There once was a snorkeler from Cuba
Who thought he would one day try SCUBA
But raptures of the deep
Very nearly made him sleep
He somehow emerged in Aruba 

We might as well make up a new meaning for CAPTCHA. How about:

Curmudgeonly Advice: Please Tell Computer Hackers, spammers, automated software designers, and others of their ilk that you are tired of having to figure out those squiggly, distorted strange words and phrases, and that you no longer want to type them in just to prove you are not a ********* computer, and that if you ever get a hold of any these nerds-from-hell you will give them a swift kick in the lower binary region.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Boy, A Thracian, And An Airline Pilot Walk Into A Blog...

A friend recently inquired as to why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I said, “Who do you think I am? Leo ******* Tolstoy? In case you haven’t noticed, I've posted blog entries on everything from snow shoveling to sports, music, art, literature, poetry, holidays, travel, fashion, technology, animals and, literally, all kinds of topics from A to Z. My brain is tired!”

He responded. “Really? I've read your blog. It sure doesn't look as if you've overworked your brain on it.”

Well, he may be right. Even so, I just want to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to that friend who is currently in the hospital recovering from reconstructive nose surgery.

However, I have done some writing of late; I've reviewed some movies on the website Rotten Tomatoes.

I used to think being a film critic would have been the world’s greatest profession. Imagine, being paid to watch movies and expressing your opinion. Now I think it would be a nightmare! Can you imagine having to sit through three hours of a James Cameron supposed-epic, with music by John (The Big Schmaltzy) Williams, and possibly starring (we'll scrape the bottom of the barrel here) Adam Sandler, and in 3D? I’d rather be a Wal-Mart greeter in Antarctica. But, I suppose there could be worse jobs.

As a favor to you faithful readers, I've decided to post some of my reviews here so you don’t have to e-travel all the way over to the Rotten Tomatoes site.

HUGO (2011)
Hugo is directed by either Spielberg or Scorsese. I think it's Scorsese, but it felt like Spielberg. The film even had some John Williams-style BIG music, composed by Canadian Howard Shore. Yeah, that's right, the Canadian saxophone player from the Canadian band Lighthouse! (I had to get in some Canadian content there)

This fantasy is about a boy who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. Not since The Legend of 1900 have I heard of anything this screwy. Inside these walls are the guts of the station's clocks. The guts consist of cogs, gears, counterweights, pinions, springs, and - inexplicably - steam.

During the course of the film, we learn that Hugo is the dude that built C3PO (or some C3PO prototype). C3PO reveals to Hugo that the local old grump (played by Ben Kingsley) is in fact a forerunner to movie wizards like Spielsese or Scorberg.

Anyway, I saw this movie in regular old boring 2D at a local theatre which hasn't changed much since its days as a Nickelodeon. I didn't realize it was a 3D film until the scene where some pages with drawings go flying from the kids' hands and drift all over the screen. At first I was thinking, "What the hell is this all about? Am I supposed to be mesmerized by fluttering stationery?" Then I realized that this was intended to be seen in super-duper 3D. "Ahh," I thought, "Now I see. Ooooh, that would have been so cool to see all that paper flying around in 3D." We haven't witnessed anything like this in cinematic history since the famous bolo-bat scene in the 1953 film House of Wax.

Hugo does a lot of hiding and running, primarily from a train station cop played by Sacha Baron Cohen. Cohen's character is an amalgam of Inspectors Javert and Clouseau. He and his trusty Doberman Pinscher cannot seem to track down the elusive boy who knows the station and its walls like the inner workings of an automaton. During one climactic scene, Hugo gives the Inspector the slip by doing a Harold Lloyd impression from a clock tower.

Once the Inspector catches up with Hugo, they have a talk. During the conversation, the little urchin makes the Inspector laugh. The Inspector tells him that he's funny. Hugo then says, "I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to ******' amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny? What the **** is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!"

Wait a minute. I might me confused. That dialog might be from a different movie - a real Scorcese film.

Editor’s Note — Anyone who has read ALL my posts will recognize that part of an old blog entry was used in this review. Forgive me. As I said, my brain is tired.

In 1960, Stanley Kubrick released his colossal, towering, gargantuan, monumental, epic blockbuster SPARTACUS!!!! Okay, it isn't that spectacular, but it is a pretty dang good flick.

Spartacus stars Kirk Douglas as an impudent Thracian slave. Thracians, as depicted in the film, were a race of people known for a particular physical characteristic - they had chin dimples the size of walnuts.

Because Spartacus is such an uppity wisenheimer, he is sentenced to a life as a gladiator. Not that it's all bad. He gets to work out a lot and is "whipped" into incredible physical shape. Also, he receives occasional visits from another slave who also happens to be a tasty dish named Varinia (played as a genteel aristocrat by Jean Simmons).

Douglas does a fine job as the brooding gladiator. Other standouts include Charles Laughton as Gracchus; not to be confused with Crassus, a gourmet who likes both escargot and shellfish, played by Laurence Olivier. Peter Ustinov provides some Oscar-winning semi-comic relief as the sniveling sycophant Batiatus.

Another major character in the film is Antoninus, played by Tony Curtis. Tony (which is short for Antoninus) is a "singer" of "songs". His "songs" are just poems spoken in a Bronx accent.

During the course of the movie, Spartacus escapes from gladiator school and assembles a considerable army of fellow undergraduates. Spartacus is well-loved by his men, and this is illustrated in one particularly moving scene.

When the Romans capture Spartacus and his men, Crassus threatens to kill them all unless someone betrays their leader (who Crassus believes is a communist). Spartacus - in a heroic effort to spare his men - stands up to reveal himself, but Antoninus beats him to the punch. He jumps to his sandaled feet and yells out, "I'm Spartacus."
This sets off a chain reaction. Another guy stands up and shouts, "I'm Spartacus."
And another, "I'm Spartacus."
Another, "I'm Spartacus."
And so on.

The Romans were very frustrated by this, because now instead of one pesky Spartacus, they found that they had to deal with a whole slew of Spartaci.

Legend has it that this event spawned an entire generation of scofflaws. Whenever a centurion confronted a non-Roman for some infraction - say a speeding chariot - the inevitable happened:
"All right wise guy. Thirty days in the dungeon."

Anyway, this is a very good film that I highly recommend. And, if I may, I'd like to close out this "review" with one of Antoninus' "songs":

"When the blazing wind hangs low in the western sky
when the sun flies away to the mountain
when the "song" of the crow scares the locusts from the fields
and maidens sleep in the sea foam
at last at twilight time..."

Or something like that.

FLIGHT (2012)
Flight stars Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, a pilot who can fly a passenger jet through the eye of a needle even though he's downed enough alcohol to put Haystacks Calhoun on his keester.

Whitaker is no stranger to other mind-altering substances. He apparently can drink ten gallons of 150 proof hooch, fall asleep, then get himself back on his feet by snorting several lines of cocaine. And with all those drugs swirling around in his liver, he can expertly maneuver a disabled airplane upside-down (to be clear, it's the airplane that's upside-down. Although the Whipster could likely fly it standing on his head). What a stud!

However this is a pretty good movie. You'll really enjoy it if you first dispose of your jaded negativity.

— — —

There you have it, two full reviews and one pathetic, measly, tepid critique.

But, before I go, I'd like to give a shout out to a fellow blogger who has a new book coming out. Congratulations Susan on the upcoming release of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Purg-Odan Weight Loss Plan

I can't fit into a lot of my old clothes anymore. I feel like Humpty-Dumpty trying on a pair of pants tailored for Pinocchio.

Perhaps this restrictive diet I'm on will help. No collops of meat or dollops of ice cream for me. No siree!

I just finished a tasty lunch of apple juice and clear chicken broth and am I full! I couldn't eat another drop.

For the next couple of days, I am restricted to a diet of sodas, juices, broths, Jello, and Popsicles  This is in preparation for a colonoscopy. This isn't my first. In fact it will be the third time I've had the pleasure of this particular experience.

A little later today I will have to add something else to this already diverse diet — Purg-Odan. Doesn't that sound scrumptious?

I had to go to the local drug store to buy this purgative. I checked the shelves and saw an item in the household cleaning products aisle called 2000 Flushes. “Ah," I thought, "That must be similar to what I’m looking for. Some worker must have placed it in the wrong section of the store.”

Evidently I was wrong, but 2000 Flushes would be a great name for these industrial strength laxatives.

I had to ask a pharmacy technician if they had any Purg-Odan. They did, and, of course, it was a behind-the-counter-because-you-must-exercise-caution-using-this-and/or-no-one-wants-to-acknowledge-that-it-exists type of item. I asked for two boxes. She wanted to know if I really just wanted one box, since each box contains two packets. “No,” I said, “I need two boxes with two packets each.” I swear she winced at this. That didn't help my apprehension. But when I saw that the product was advertised as Orange Flavor, I said, “Mmmmm! Sounds yummy. I can hardly wait.”

I thought I should complete this blog entry AND PRONTO because when that Purg-Odan kicks in I’ll be spending most of my time in the Oval Office.

By the way, here are some photos from the Purg-Odan website:

Does it actually make real oranges?

This product must be for men only.

Tonight’s Dinner Menu:

Appetizer — Apple Juice
Main Course — Chicken Broth (the Soup-Du-Jour), Tea (no milk), and more Apple Juice
Dessert — Jello or Fruit-Juice Freezies

At 8PM it will be another dose of Purg-Ocrap followed by a “snack” of water or Gatorade.

And tomorrow morning, while still asleep in bed, I’ll be dreaming that I’m Fred Flintstone eating a big 'ol Brontosaurus Burger, only to wake up and face another day of fluid fare.