July Grab Bag o’ Humour

Giant hogweed had a nicer name when it was first exported to North America from Asia. It was supposed to be a nice, big, decorative plant. Oh, the folly of our ancestors! It spread easily and it quite earned the name of giant hogweed.

This plant’s sap is on the outside of its stem and can cause painful burns and scarring. Because the sap reacts to the UV light in sunlight, you are recommended to cover the exposed area from the sun and wash the site with soap and water immediately. Sensitivity to sunlight can last years.

Giant hogweed is indeed a giant hog that is also a weed. I vote that we call the initial importers of this noxious plant, giant hogs, too.


You just knew the Canadian men’s soccer team’s attempt to win the Copa America was going to be Messi. Their very first game was against the number one seed Argentina with their star player, Lionel Messi. They lost that game 2-0.

They then beat Peru 1-0 and tied Chile 0-0 which was enough to get them into the playoffs. They won their first playoff game on penalty kicks against Venezuela. Then they lost to Argentina, again, 2-0. It was Messi. He got one goal which was enough to beat Canada.

So now they play Uruguay to decide if they are the 3rd or 4th place team. Either way, that’s higher than Canada was supposed to get anyway. Good for team Canada.


Baby boomers love to whine about Gen Z and Millennial participation trophies. They whine so much about it that you just know they secretly wanted these themselves.

And now I shall present proof of this. In the mid 70s there was a band called Hot Chocolate who had a hit with the song “Everyone’s a Winner”. This is a prime baby boomer era song. Baby boomers loved this song so much that they literally bought it. This was a boomer’s version of a participation trophy.

Besides, who were the people who first gave out the participation trophies to Millennials and Gen Z?Teachers at their school must have. And usually these teachers are a generation or two older than the students. That’s right boomers, I’m blaming you for the participation trophies in the first place.

What would the Greatest Generation say?

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Help From Beyond the Grave

When I first began writing regularly, many years ago, I used to play my favourite songs to get me in the right frame of mind to tell stories. Initially, it did get me going for my first painful years of not so good stories. But eventually, I don’t remember exactly when, I began writing without my music muses and did this for a number of years, as well.

But recently I heard from somewhere else that music with lyrics can be disruptive for the writing process. Basically the argument goes, you are taking in words and outputting different words. Surely the one can distract from the other. It might even trip up a good logic progression in a story.

Maybe unconsciously I knew this and that is why I drifted to a no writing while listening to music policy. But thinking about it rationally, now, there is a possible solution that has the best of both worlds. I could write while listening to instrumentals. This way I would have no interruption of my chain of thought but might still keep the boost of having music on.

But what instrumentals would I use? Like most people, I think, I knew of very little music I liked that was instrumental. You see I like giving my full attention to music. That’s why I like lyrics and singing. They capture my attention because every singer seems unique and lyrics can drift into all sorts of territories. Oh, the odd instrumental I like, mainly from guitar or keyboard. I like them when these instruments change a lot and can be used as both a chord and lead instrument. But even with these, I find my interest waning after about 3 minutes.

I think it’s because in the vast majority of cases, I fully listen to music and want the piece to be really captivating. However, when I write, I’m incapable of fully listening to the piece. Thus I could listen much longer to a less complicated tune. So I thought for a second and realized what I wanted was albums of instrumentals for my writing. I didn’t have to look far.

You see, Stephen Huss was my best friend when he died. Known to many as the first keyboardist for the dark synth pop band, Psyche. He had left Psyche before I knew him. Indeed he already had a couple of instrumental solo albums out when I knew him.

A few months before his death, he said that he had made 3 albums worth of material when he was only supposed to make one. When he died I thought this material was a blessing. His brother, Darrin, still in Psyche, put out the albums on successive anniversaries of his death.

So now I have quite a few solo albums from Stephen that I can play as the soundtrack to my writing. Right now I am playing Notes of a Lifetime as a write this.

Stephen was also into the horror genre of films and books. Although he may be sad that his life had to end so soon, I imagine him having a slight smile on his face that his music still inspires my writing from beyond the grave.

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June 2024 Grab Bag o’ Humour

The Professional Women’s Hockey League (the PWHL) has as it’s championship trophy, the Walter Cup. I have to question the name of said cup.

It’s not as if I like telling women what to do (Indeed I don’t like doing it – I instead love doing it!), it’s just that Walter has always been a man’s first name to my knowledge. After I heard about Walter as a first name, I heard about Walters as a last name. Only because of this cup did I learn that Walter could be a last name.

I bet there are many people like me who thought at first that the PWHL was honouring a man. On what should primarily be a woman’s stage. I say take the money from the Walter family, but name the cup something else. How about using a feminine name?


Maybe they were just running out of ideas for names when they colonized Texas, but a lot of the names for their settlements were taken from people’s names. There’s Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth among others. These are just some of the biggest and most important places.

Why is there such lack of imagination among Texans when it comes to naming their settlements? Well you may have heard that everything is bigger in Texas? How about the men. Like Austin. He’s so big and so strong that he’s the equivalent of 2 million 273 thousand people. Or don’t fight Jeff Houston. It’ll be like fighting 6 million 800 thousand people at once.

Well there it is. Perhaps Texans have good imaginations, after all.


When a road splits, it is said there is a fork in the road. But I think the word fork comes from 4k, meaning there should be four tines. Most times there is not a splitting off into four roads from one road. So instead of calling it a fork in the road, I propose one road splitting in two be called a Y in the road.

If the road splits up into three we could call it a trident. If there are more than 4 tines or directions, we could call it a comb. All these rules should be used for any relevant splits. So you would have a tuning Y, and you would speak with a Yd tongue.

Let’s make forks make sense!

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How Pure Are Your Virgins and Extra-Virgins?

Olive oil is becoming scarce because of a drought in Spain, one of the major producers of this oil. Before this, there were already fake olive oils floating around. With scarcity, this means that there is probably even more fake olive oils around. By fake, I mean dilutions or mixtures. You may be getting some olive oil, enough to trick you, but not enough to be pure.

As well, due to the popularity of the Mediterranean diet, which olive oil is a major part of, demand for olive oil has only increased. The US is becoming a major producer of olive oil, too. But they can only expand so fast in production as olives require a few years for their trees to grow. This causes more pressure to make fake olive oils.

What makes the Mediterranean diet so popular is that it may extend life. Some people who live in the Mediterranean are in blue zones. That is they routinely live to the age of 100 or longer. Olive oil is considered to be one of the secrets that makes this possible.

But with all the fake olive oil, maybe all these new converts to the Mediterranean diet might not see benefits to their dietary change. They may only live to their 70s and possibly 80s because there were so many fake olive oils available.

Indeed, those blue zones in the Mediterranean may suffer so much from erratic supply of olive oil, that they themselves could be kicked out of the blue zone club. Many might die in their 70s and 80s, just like the rest of us. All because the rest of us found out their secret and also because of drought.

If a blue zone disappears, does that mean that people will stop looking to them for tips to live old? So maybe the Mediterranean diet, and its chosen olive oil, will disappear from the literature in how to extend your life. Maybe the US olive tree plantations (orchards?) will disappear. Then 100 years from now a strange blue zone will reappear in the Mediterranean.

You might think that by paying the most for your olive oil will ensure its purity. But the scammers know this, too, and might simply raise the price of their fake olive oil offerings. At this point, it seems like we are at the mercy of the olive oil companies. Who could all make a lot more money by compromising quality so much that they aren’t even selling what they say they are selling. Isn’t capitalism great?

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Turning Off the News

Many times I’ve heard from people that they had stopped watching or reading the news. What stops these people from keeping up with current events? Inevitably it is the same reason. They don’t like watching something that is so negative. The scary, depressing bent of the news is why they feel they must turn it off and do something different.

I’ve been thinking of turning off the news for an entirely different reason. It’s because of the obvious, horrible puns they put in news stories. It just offends my comic nature. Not only do they come up with every obvious pun, but they also seem way too pleased with their work. I can’t stand it. The only way this will change is if the entire news industry changes. Barring that, I feel I must go on strike against the news as it is.

Not only do they come up with these obvious puns, but they race to get the story first so they can be the first to make these horrible puns. Remember Lois Lane? She risked her life every month or so, causing Superman to have to rescue her, all so she could get the scoop. Why was the scoop so prized? Well there were two reasons. One reason was she would get the esteem of her colleagues. But the second reason was so she could share her horrible puns with the rest of the world.

What causes otherwise perfectly good reporters to push their puns on an unsuspecting public? Well it’s because they keep hearing that the news is so negative. It’s too scary and depressing to many people. So the reporter hears what they want to hear. They think that a few horrible puns will lighten the mood and not turn off so many people.

But instead of this being a full solution to the problem, they have managed to push me away. Myself, a person who can handle the negativeness of the news, gets turned away by the horrible puns. I know that the reporters aren’t going to change. So the only alternative I have is to ignore the news from now on. My comedic sensibility can’t take it anymore.

So if you have a news story you are excited to tell someone, you are welcome to tell me. It will be news to my ears. But if you repeat the puns of the news story, too, I will instead ignore you. And please, don’t make up your own puns when you try to tell me all about it. Ask Lois Lane. You haven’t earned that right.

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You Are Psychic

I was a bit surprised that psychic Char Margolis came out with the book You Are Psychic, recently. Is she trying to give away the game of being a psychic? After all, once you know her methods can’t you just be a psychic for yourself and get rid of any outside psychics?

Then I became really excited by her book. Perhaps she is coming out with the real book of psychics where she tells us the secrets of magicians, mentalists and faith healers as well as the related secrets of psychics that we could all use to help us defraud the world in general. Then I thought about it again. The world just isn’t ready to hear all that.

As to the You Are Psychic gimmick to earn readers, I’m just not feeling it. This book just doesn’t speak to me so I’m afraid it will be a pass from me in buying it. I listen to my gut and my gut says no.

But what if it were true and I could bring out my inner psychic just by reading some book. What would I do with such all encompassing power?

Well I don’t know what all I would do, but I can tell you the first thing I would do. I would firstly ask if Char is short for Charlotte, Charlene, Charlise or Charmaine. Or maybe it is a short form for a name that is more gender bending like Charlemagne or Charlie. Then, indeed, it might not be a short form at all but a complete name of four letters. Whatever. With all the psychic abilities Char Margolis is unleashing on this world, we will soon have an answer for this.

So, if you use some google fu to find out the secret of Char’s name, don’t tell me that. Pretend you have psychic abilities and I am missing out on reading this step by step psychic guide. After all, maybe this book would speak to me if I bought the Audible version.

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Simple Rock vs Prog Rock

Gene Simmons, a stalwart of simplicity, via his band Kiss, has pronounced his brand of simple rock as being harder to come up with than the more complex stylings of prog rock. He says it’s harder to come up with a memorable simple song than a flashy prog rock song. We are left to take him at his word because he doesn’t really present proof of his position.

I disagree because of all of the Kiss songs I would hear growing up (three of my siblings really liked Kiss and played them all the time), all I can remember of these are the songs Shout it Out Loud, Rock and Roll All Night, and I Was Made for Loving You. Kiss had 16 albums back then and all I can remember are 3 songs.

I was into Yes (a prog band) and had no problem remembering that band’s songs. Roundabout was more memorable than any Kiss song. Going for the One had memorable steel guitar which is a totally different approach to this instrument than what is done in country music. Don’t Kill the Whale had synthesizer sounds that were whale like. Owner of a Lonely Heart had a sound that was like a whole orchestra being kicked. To me, Yes was always more memorable than Kiss.

If the simple songs of Kiss were so memorable, why was it necessary for Kiss to use the gimmick of extreme makeup for their members? Why was it necessary to have such a big stage show? Was it that Kiss felt their music wasn’t enough on its own to entertain an audience?

Yes fans knew that their heroes wouldn’t be jumping and cavorting across the stage. After all, they had complex music coming from their instruments that they had to play well for their audience. So they stood there and played (impressively) and that was enough for their audiences.

I would like to make the case for complex music. There are only three parts to music. That is volume, pitch and time. That’s all. Volume is obvious. Time can mean time signature, syncopation and accent (Reggae has the accent on the second beat instead of the first). The rest is pitch. This may sound complex but music treats octaves as being identical. So there are only 12 notes. With only 12 notes, complexity should be praised, because it’s so rare.

So as usual, I don’t see things the same as Gene Simmons. I’m pleased with that.

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I never heard of the EGOT till the TV show 30 Rock. But I’ve heard of it multiple places since so I think it snuck into the vernacular since then. It is an acronym of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, the so called ultimate in American awards sweeping. Only 19 people have one including Whoopi Goldberg and Elton John.

But one of these awards ain’t kind of the same. One of the awards is different. As you might guess from my title, I would kick the weak sister of these four awards to the curb. I would get rid of the Tony awards. No it’s not a a lack of respect to the live theatre. It’s quite simply the fact that the Tony award is way too local and not fair to other parts of America.

I’ve been trying to find if other productions not in New York City are eligible for Tonys and I can’t find it said definitively. Perhaps someone with better google fu can find it for me. I thought the following was definitive for the last couple days then read it again today and realize it’s not either. It says: “Legitimate theatrical productions opening in any of the 41 eligible Broadway theatres during the current season may be considered for Tony nominations.” I just realized that there may be other, non Broadway theatres that are eligible.

I think the Tony awards are being deliberately vague because they don’t want it known that they are very local awards. New York is not nearly the dominant city it once was. It’s easy to imagine a Los Angeles or Chicago or San Francisco or Boston being able to support 1 or a number of live theatres that are as good as those 41 eligible Broadway ones.

Besides, there’s something fulfilling about saying these performance greats are EGO winners, with each letter capitalized. It just fits, you know. Isn’t performing all about the EGO.

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To a Quieter Future

I will not be sad when motorcycles become quieter electric vehicles. Too many times they have loudly shaken the street I’m on, just to get from point A to point B. My entreaties to make them use mufflers that actually work, have fallen on deaf ears. I wonder why those ears are deaf?

If we also take out loud sports cars and trucks, then so be it. I would like to hear them become electric vehicles, too. There is already an ad on TV where the one kid is making “Vroom, Vroom,” sounds while the other is making quieter “Woosh,” sounds instead while they are playing with toy cars.

It’s not just me either. People near highways and expressways can let out a sigh of relief. A sigh that they might actually be able to hear. To a quieter future, I toast.

If it doesn’t come to pass naturally, I say we legislate riders off of loud motorbikes and onto quieter EVs. If they must use loud motorbikes lets legislate that they only do so on private tracks, far, far away from the public roads that they are currently the scourge of. We could do the same for the trucks and sports cars that also pollute the environment with loud sounds.

It is the May long weekend, up here in Canada. In my youth, the holiday Monday was simply known as fireworks day. For the longest time it was the only day in the year that fireworks were allowed to be set off. There is Canada Day, now, and Diwali in my city of Kitchener, Ontario, when fireworks are allowed.

Anyone should know that these days are tough on animals, like dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, horses, monsters, etc. They are even more scary to most animals than big rumbles of thunder.

It may be more expensive right now, but there is an alternative to fireworks that doesn’t spook animals. It is fleets of lit up drones that can form all sorts of shapes and exciting aerial patterns. Do you like watching airshows? This can be very much like that only with many more participants all across the the sky. These drones fly in relative silence and can do many entertaining things.

It is my hope that all fireworks will one day be replaced by drone shows. I believe they will one day be cheaper than the fireworks displays. Again, if it doesn’t happen naturally, we can legislate it into effect. To a quieter future, I toast once again.

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Do You Really Want to Live to 100?

One of my life goals was always to live to 100. More and more people are doing so. Why not me? Well this is a common area of interest, so much so, that it has brought people to study this. Researchers have discovered so called blue zones around the world where people routinely live to 100. The first researchers say that they are called blue zones because they started circling the areas in blue. Personally, I think it is a dig at older ladies and their blue hair.

Is it worth living to 100? After all if you are in severe pain from 80 to 100, would you really want to live those extra years? Similarly, if your last 20 years were spent confined to your bed, would you really want those extra years? I think most people would join me in saying no, it wouldn’t be worth it. So living to 100 may actually be conditional on the quality of life.

But the people in the blue zones live long and healthy lives, They have good physical health till almost the end. That does indeed sound like a long life worth living. And with many people in the area living to 100, they still have their peers living a long life with them. So I bet they aren’t that lonely, either. Still one thing makes me wonder if living to 100 would be worth it.

You see, all these blue zones have another thing in common. They all eat a lot of beans.

Yeah, beans. The musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.

Kids laugh it off when they toot. They find humour in it. But imagine tooting all the time, as an adult. The volume might inhibit you at meditation, during musical events, or just when you are intent on hearing what people are saying. Most annoying of all are the ones with terrible smell. How are you supposed to keep any friendship intact when you both fart something fierce around each other? The humour would wear thin after decades of this. How would marriage last through too many and too smelly farts?

Yes you could plug your nose somehow. But I’ve heard that healthwise you are supposed to breathe through your nose. So blue zone folk would breathe through their noses no matter how offensive the farts of their brethren might be.

And if all the world was a blue zone, munching away on our beans, wouldn’t we be producing more methane than the atmosphere could handle? Methane is the gas we produce when tooting and it is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So if the earth became one large blue zone, climate change would be even more drastic,

Maybe we should just stick to living to a less smelly eighty years old.

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