Category Archives: Humour & Tomfoolery

Dress up day and appropriate drinking

This week the kids spent some time at a friend’s house and made some masks. This morning they dressed up with clothing appropriate to their costumes. Madeline is a cat; Olivia is a bat; and Luke is a pumpkin.


With lunch, they decided that they should drink something appropriate to the animals they were dressed as.

Madeline, being a cat, wanted milk.

Olivia, being a bat, wanted to drink something red like blood, so she chose cranberry juice.

Luke, being a pumpkin, wanted iced tea, which is brown and is therefore, in his own words, “worm poop juice”.

Some lists

Every so often, I return to McSweeney’s Lists for a good laugh. Here are some of my favourites of the ones I read today:


~By Gladstone

Godot never comes.

Bartleby is a lot like humanity in his preferring not to.

Peyton Farquhar sure has an active imagination at Owl Creek.

Your close reading skills and knowledge of symbolism will not be rewarded in your job as a lawyer or coffee barista.

* * *


~By Pravasan Pillay

The Aristhrottle

The Wittgenspine Buster

The Figure Four Ankle Locke

The Reverse Spinning Kickegaard

The Top Rope Over-the-Shoulder Thoreau

The Pulling Down of the Lyotard

The Feuerback Breaker

The Unemployment Clothes Line

* * *


~By Jimmy Chen

“Everything in Its Mise en Place”

“Fritter, Happier”

“All I Knead”


“My Waffle-Iron Lung”

“High and Dry Rub”

“Knives Out”

“Caramel Police”

“Black Star Anise”

“Weird Fishes”


* * *


~By Josiah Lindsey

“Cuts Like a Hand-Sharpened Piece of Flint”

“Run to You Across the Bering Land Bridge”

“Hearts on Fire (Which Few of Us Can Make)”

“(Everything I Do) I Do It for Scavenged Mammoth Meat”

“Summer of 6”

There is more fun over at McSweeney’s Lists.

In which James Last almost makes me cry.

When I first got a record player, I imagined myself being very selective in which records I buy. That was before I discovered the glut of 25 cent records available at thrifts stores.  In fact, I haven’t yet spent more than 50 cents on a record.  It’s difficult to keep a music collection “pure”–I’ve tried many times (an the difficulty increases with the absorption of the music that comes with a marriage).

Most of what you find in thrift stores is kitschy: cheesy old gospel records with awkward pictures of the quartets on the front; self-titled albums by where-are-they-now artists with single names (Eva or perhaps Bridgette), the artist’s slightly fuzzy head-shot gracing the entirety of the record sleeve; records with grinning men holding accordions on the cover; and so on.  The truth is, I wanted to buy several of these records just for fun, but I did restrain myself at least that much.

Several months ago–before I even had a record player–I checked the records at the thrift store in a neighbouring town.  I bought The Band’s second, self-titled album for 25 cents, as well as Benny Goodman and his Orchestra Live in Brussels (that one was a bit of a risk, but it turned out well) and a children’s record with Winnie-the-Pooh songs on one side and “Peter and the Wolf” on the other (alas, the kids don’t seem to care for that one as much as I did when I was their age).

Last week, Dixie had a look at the same thrift store and bought several more: The Sound of Music soundtrack; the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir (that one was a miss); some kind of Mexican music (tentatively a miss); and Trapezoid’s Now & Then (a hit! click on the link to go to for sound samples).

Today I went to the thrift store in Steinbach and came back with several more: the original cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof (for Dixie); ABBA Greatest Hits (unexpectedly, given the title, I don’t recognize half the songs on it); and another kids’ Winnie-the-Pooh album.

I also bought two records for purely nostalgic reasons.  First, I bought Zamfir The Lonely Shepherd.  I have loved the title song since I was a young lad (if you’ve seen Kill Bill, you’ve heard it). I have no idea what the rest of the record will be like.  Actually, yes–yes I do.  Nostalgia!

As a joke, I also bought Christmas with James Last (sound bites at Amazon on the renamed album).  I thought I’d give it a quick listen to bother Dixie and then redesign the cover and use it to protect my sleeveless The Band album.  When I played it, however, it turned out to be a nostalgic treasure!  THIS ALBUM IS THE DEFINING SOUND OF THE CHRISTMASES OF MY CHILDHOOD!

Dixie is out with a friend tonight. I played a bit of Christmas with James Last for her before she left. She saw my giddy delight upon realizing just what it was I had purchased for a mere 25 cents.

“Great,” she said. “Now I’m going to spend the evening imagining you at home crying quietly to yourself.”

And the truth is, a bit of water did rise to my eyes at the jingly sound of James Last’s Christmas.

I hate surveys.

Whenever someone calls our house and asks if we have time to do a “short” survey, I always say, “No.  No, I don’t have the time.”  The one time I agreed to do a ‘short’ survey I was on the phone with them for 30 minutes or more.  It was about chocolate bars and there were no coupons forthcoming after the survey.

Dixie, on the other hand, loves doing these kinds of things.  She’s inclined to say, “Yes! Yes, I would love to do participate in your survey!”  Which is why we are now receiving monthly phone calls from Statistics Canada.  I thought she was supposed to be doing all of this–so did she–but tonight the Stats Can guy told her he needed to ask me a ‘couple’ of questions.

Let me pause here to reflect: maybe if telephone surveyors didn’t whitewash the procedure and simply tell the truth–“Do you have 30 minutes for a survey?”–the people doing them wouldn’t be such hated individuals (even though we don’t know who they are.  I’m sure they’re very nice.) Granted, they wouldn’t get many people to participate, but we’d all be getting along.

So the guy tells Dixie he needs to ask me a couple of questions.  She hands me the phone and he launches into a speed-talk grilling of inane details. And I was on the phone with him for 20 minutes. Couple of questions indeed.

What I can’t figure out is what in the world Stats Canada could possibly do with the information they received from me.

“Did you make any trips away from home that ended in August 2010?”


“In Canada, in the U.S or elsewhere?”


“What is the name of the country?”


“Did you boat or attend a powwow on this trip?”


“How much did you spend on…? Did you…?”

“Yes…No…Yes…No…. No…. Depends on how you define ‘trip’…. No…. I don’t know….$900….  $5.  No, my wife says it was more like $50. ….10 days. No, wait–11 days. That’s because we counted days of travel, not nights. 5 days with friends…. Yes, we went to the beach, but we didn’t go to the beach to do beach things.  We were just near a beach…. No….  Pretty much all historical and arts. …..No. ….Yes.  About this much. ….If that sounds weird it’s because we worked for half the year and went to school for the other half…..Shopping and religious…. All of them…. No…. No…. Afternoons…. Except Tuesdays and Wednesdays….No…. Is that Thanksgiving week?…  No…. Prior….  Yes….No.”

Seriously.  What manner of graph will come out of this interview’s results?

Surveys drive me nuts, especially if there is no immediate and tangible result (such as a score or rating or evaluation) for me.

Depends on how you define normal.

England posts are forthcoming, just as soon as I weed through and edit any pictures that need editing.  In the meantime, here is a brief conversation I had with a guy at my bank’s credit card department about $80 in long-distance charges for a couple of short calls from Denver to BC:

Me: “Hi, yes. I made a couple of calls to Canada using my credit card from a public pay phone in Denver. Two of the calls were less than 30 seconds long. The third call couldn’t have been more than a minute or two.  Yet I was charged nearly $20 for each one of those calls. Is that a normal charge?”

Credit card guy: “Depends on your definition of normal.”

Me (audibly irritated by his response): “Well, I would certainly say that $18 for a 30-second phone call is not normal. ”

Credit card guy: “OK, I’m tranferring you to disputes.”

Very helpful.  Turns out my credit card company can’t do anything about the charges sent them from American phone companies. The disputes guy told me in a roundabout way that it was foolish to use my credit card rather than a calling card.

I have a 1-800 number for the American phone company responsible for these outrageous charges, where I will register my disapproval, but I’m sure nothing will come of this.

Evening conversations (England edition)

(I should add, by way of making sense of this conversation, that we are flying first class, where we will enjoy a variety of complimentary things.)

Me: [with some excitement] “I wonder what movies they’ll have on the airplane.”

Dixie: “How many times are you going to ask that? I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Me: “Have I asked it before?”

Dixie: “Several times.”

Me: “Well, I’m excited. Free movies! Free booze! Do you know what this means?!”

Dixie: “Yes. You’ll have to drink $8,500 worth of alcohol each way to get your money’s worth.”

East Coast Literature

Remember that time that I posted about how much I like melancholic maritime fiction?  No, well, I did.  Today Rilla posted this on my Facebook wall.  It is both AWESOME and hilarious, mostly because it’s an incredibly accurate summary of the genre. In other words, it’s funny ’cause it’s true.  Of course, if you’ve never read any of this type of lit, it won’t seem like such a big deal:

Wheezing Marc

So, listen.  I don’t know if you realize this, but I haven’t posted for nearly two weeks. That’s pretty bad.  I’ve been busy with other things, OK?  Things such as: soaking up some rays on an Okanagan beach, diving for my brother’s eye-glasses in Okanagan Lake, sleeping, playing Canasta with my mom, driving. And so on.

What brings me back today, friends, is something big. BIG. Are you familiar with Talking Carl?  It’s an iPhone app that repeats everything you say in a high voice with a vaguely sarcastic tone. I had some good times with my kids and nieces and Talking Carl on my brother’s iPhone. Good times of the wheezing and crying kind.

For your education and edification, I bring you this: a Talking Carl duel. Watch and listen and laugh, friends:

(via Dixie, who said my wheezy, teary response was predictable. She, in turn, found it at Dooce.)