Slaughterhouse Lego

Lego was not the first toy building system on the market. Far from it. I remember three systems that predated it and existed at the same time.

First there was the Red Brick House building system. I’m not sure what it was really called but it contained red bricks that snapped together like Legos and had white windows and doors that fit the system. So this was the perfect system for building red brick houses. They looked better than Lego houses but the lack of versatility is almost certainly what led to Lego dragging it behind the barn and shooting it.

I caught the tail end of the Tinker Toys days. They consisted of mainly wheels and long sticks made of wood. The wheels were also hubs that could fit the sticks in at different angles around the wheel and through the center of the wheel. The problem with this is that the sticks, thinner than pencils, could stand up with the hubs’ help and risk poking you in the eye or other dangerous places. Not surprisingly, Lego put Tinker Toys in the wood stove and burnt them alive.

Meccano taught kids how to use a screwdriver with nuts and bolts. It had metal pieces with holes pre-drilled everywhere so that it was easy just to bolt things together. It was getting expensive when I was a kid so receiving kit #5 for Christmas one year was a treat. The sets went up to #10 which was the best, I believe the bigger sets had motors and other fun stuff with them. That expensiveness continued. While looking for toys for my nieces and nephews as an adult about 20 years ago, I found teeny. tiny, build only one thing kits for $100. That was way out of my price range, so I never bought them. Lego tried to shoot Meccano with a small caliber gun, but that just went through its holes so Lego later sold Meccano for scrap metal where it was melted alive.

I don’t remember Lego with little men at first in its golden era where it first began to dominate. So we built Inukshuk like men. Although all the previously mentioned systems had problems, Lego did, too, and still does. Never put it on carpet or you will leave one piece and someone will painfully step on one in bare feet. And non rectilnear shapes are hard to make.

There were other systems that tried to compete with Lego in its prime. Zacs came out and were good at getting more organic looking shapes. But Lego liked their near monopoly on the building system toy industry. So they shot Zacs execution style and the blood went everywhere.

K’nex is still alive and competing with Lego since 1992. But they are not as popular. Will Lego kill them as they have other competitors? Maybe. You know they want to.

But here’s an idea for Lego. Instead of always killing other products, how about birthing new building systems? Or mentoring other systems by buying them out and putting your clout behind them. Make the world richer instead of more boring, which seems to be your goal. Just a thought. I want the carnage to end.

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Ghost Writers in the Sky

The Long Island medium, Theresa Caputo, used ghost writers for her new book, Good Mourning.

While she didn’t say as much on her recent Live with Kelly and Ryan interview, she came very close.

She asserted that she had some help with spirits. They helped her write this book. Spirit is a synonym with ghost so she was helped by ghost writers

Now some may quibble that ghost writers tend to be living writers, and by invoking the word spirits she means dead writers. But alive or dead, Ms. Caputo had help.

A medium with ghost writers just makes so much sense. That’s why I repeated it yet again.

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Stupid Pets

My cat is curled up on the bed right now. So I take it as a free moment to clean the house a bit.

Now my cat has seen me sweep lots of times. I feel that at this point, I should be able to tie the dust pan broom to her tail and send her on the way to sweeping the floor. But this never works.

You see all cats play dumb. They’ve been setting us up all their lives. Cats can’t be herded. You’re lucky if you manage to train your cat for one thing. And, just like their dog cousins, they have made it known that they definitely won’t vacuum. Cats aren’t scared of 300 pound humans or large dogs. But a vacuum sends them cowering?

Cats allegedly clean themselves. But does this mean they clean their scat? Of course not. Rare is the person who manages to get their cat to go on the toilet. So rare in fact that we might as well ignore it.

I think at this point we might as well say it. Cats are playing dumb so they never have to clean.

I remember my ungrateful self as a kid knowing I never had to clean. I would be upset when my mother made me lift my legs when I was sitting and she was vacuuming around me. I think pets are that ungrateful.

Dogs and other pets are just as ungrateful. Dogs have even suckered humans into believing they try to please. If this were truly the case they would help clean.

So stop feeling guilty for vacuuming around cats, dogs and ungrateful kids. They all could do their share but don’t. Stupid Pets.

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The Amish Wasp

The wasps in my area changed rather suddenly. I am used to the yellow and black wasps which have lived in my area of Southern Ontario all my life. Last month I saw my first black wasp while on my balcony. And since then all the wasps that I have seen have been black. They have taken over in my area.

I looked them up. After all it is 2020 and these wasps are bigger than the old wasps. Their sting is supposed to be more painful but causes less swelling. But mostly they are named sphex pensylvanicus because they have come from our southern neighbours in Pennsylvania. I hadn’t heard anyone say “Don’t go to Pennsylvania because the wasps are huge and can kill you.” So I now presume they can be lived with.

These great black wasps I would like to call Amish Wasps. I have three reasons for this. The first reason is that they are dressed in black all the time. A bit obvious perhaps but sometimes I’m not that much of an original thinker.

The second reason that I would like to call them Amish wasps is that they have immigrated from Pennsylvania. This follows the path of the Amish people who were originally offered lands in Pennsylvania to practice their religion in peace. They have pushed out into Ohio and Ontario and other places just like the great black wasps. Besides, as a group, Amish and Mennonites are known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. So the Amish sometimes have Pennsylvania in their name just like the wasp.

The third reason for wanting to call them the Amish wasp is the punniest. Just last month when I first spotted one, I said to myself, ‘something is Amish (amiss) here’.

And to the poor yellow and black wasps that have been losing territory to the Amish wasp, something indeed is Amish here.

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Maybe a Leap Day Could Help Canadian Politics

We hear the same refrain from western Canada every election. They already know the results before they are finished voting. Mostly it gets decided in Eastern Standard Time because of Quebec and mostly Ontario. Ontario has one third the population of Canada and Quebec has almost a quarter giving the pair a clear majority over the other provinces.

We’ve tried staggering the voting time in different provinces. But this could lead to confusion depending on what time zone you are in and where you get your information from. There just has to be a better way.

So I propose a unique solution. We could have a leap day for the province of Ontario. When we have the leap day could be at the end of any month. We could just make it February 29th 2021. After that Ontario would be about a day behind the rest of the country. This is not as weird as it sounds. Australia is mostly a day ahead of the Americas. Or the Americas are about a day behind Australia.

Then we could vote in the next election at the normal times and on the same numbered day. Western Canadians would be done voting long before Ontario had voted. This would leave some mystery in the relationship. No longer would there be spoilers for Western Canada.

Ontario would be happy with this because they could now strategically vote the hell out of the election. And most of us think Ontario loves to strategically vote. Look at the way Ontario votes for a different federal and provincial leader almost every chance it gets. When the Progressive Conservatives win provincially, Ontario’s federal vote usually goes to the Liberals. When the Conservatives have Ontario’s federal votes, the provincial government voted in is usually Liberal.

However, I feel that Ontario isn’t really strategically voting for the federal/provincial split. I think it’s more a “I can’t believe the monsters we have federally! Can’t have that provincially!” and “I can’t believe what monsters we have provincially! Can’t have that federally!”

But I live in Ontario and I love to imagine the possibilities to strategically vote. With 33% of the vote we could really sway the election if we already knew how the two thirds of the rest of Canada voted. It’s just too bad that the province seems to be divided between city (Liberal voters) and rural (Conservative voters).

Maybe then the rest of Canada could have its revenge. It might end up with the rural part of Ontario hating the city part of Ontario.

If you can’t beat them, divide them.

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Everything Bagels

“Look at that sign at that restaurant,” said Matt, one of my group of four friends that were wandering around looking for something to do in our boring little city. “It says ‘our everything bagels truly have everything’. No way that that’s true.”

“Let’s go in and confront them on that,” said Lyle who was always the group’s shit disturber.

“I’m in,” said Wayne.

“Me too,” said Matt.

I guess I’m the cautious one because I was last to agree as our group was already headed into the front door.

Lyle headed up to the counter. “Where are your everything bagels? They can’t possible have everything on them. I demand you take your sign down right now!”

“Here are the everything bagels,” said the elderly, refined looking woman who was behind the counter. She took a couple steps further down the counter and waved at some bagels. “Look, they have all the ingredients our other bagels have on the top.”

“Just like everyone else’s everything bagels,” said Wayne. “I think you should take the sign down. You are misrepresenting things and if you don’t I will sue.”

“I think I know what your problem is,” said the woman. “Your problem is you think the bagel ends at the usual spot. No, no. Everything the bagel touches is part of the everything. It touches the cabinet, which touches the floor, which touches everything in the restaurant, which touches the street, which touches the whole Earth. Indeed it is really everything. You just choose to stop eating at the usual boundary of the bagel.”

“Wait a second,” said Wayne. “If everything else is truly attached to this one everything bagel, I should be able to take anything from anywhere in the world and put it on the normal bagel part of the everything bagel and eat that.”

“Alright,” said the woman, “I will allow you to take something from anywhere you like and I will put it on the normal bagel part of the everything bagel.”

“Now we’re talking! I’d like the finest caviar on mine,” said an excited Wayne.

“It will cost you your soul,” stated the woman.

“Something I can’t see, hear or touch. Give it to me.”

The woman put one of the everything bagels on a plate and went to the kitchen. She came back a minute later with what must have been caviar. It looked spreadable and indeed there was a butter knife on the plate which could do just that.

Wayne opened the bagel and spread the caviar on both sides. “Mmmmm. That’s really good.”

“My turn,” claimed an excited Matt. “I want an everything bagel with a dinosaur egg.”

“Oooh you drive a hard bargain but if the price is your soul, I will get it for you.”

“Sure, sure.” Matt nodded.

The woman went into the back with the plate with an everything bagel. She came back with two hands holding the plate that had the everything bagel and a huge egg barely balancing on top of the bagel.

“Wow,” said Matt. “I’ll put it in a hatchery and Jurassic Park, here we come.”

“I thought your plan was to eat it. It’s an unfertilized egg.”

“I want another everything bagel, then,” said Matt.

“Sorry, but you only have one soul to pay with.”

Lyle had a smirk on his face. “I want an everything bagel with a microscopic black hole.”

“You know the price?” asked the woman.

Lyle nodded.

The woman returned from the back with the everything bagel. She could still hold the plate with one hand. “You can tell the microscopic black hole is there because the bagel is at least twice as heavy.”

“Shouldn’t the black hole have sucked you in then fallen through the floor to the centre of the Earth?” asked Lyle.

“You should read up on microscopic black holes,” said the woman who now turned to me.

“When do we pay you our souls?” I asked.

“Just before you leave,” she said. “Why do you ask?”

I sighed. “I want an everything bagel with all our four souls on top.”

“Dammit!” she yelled. “All this work for nothing.” She got the bagel on a plate and passed it to me.

“Grab your souls back,” I ordered my friends. I don’t think they believed but they wanted to humour me so all made the motion of grabbing something from my bagel and putting it in their bodies.

Well we all got a bagel and Wayne even had his with caviar. The egg? We decided to sell it to a museum. Splitting the profits of course.

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3 Ninja Fight

It happened almost a week later when both the Fairway Mall was closed and Near Absolute Hero was away fighting a fire. Tail and Modern Ninja waited less than a block away from the mall, with Mother Earth on the car display. Mother Earth had access to all the video from the mall.

They talked about the plan and other things. Finally, Mother Earth could show an SUV pulling up to the mall with three ninjas getting out of it. Tail at the wheel, they raced to that place. In a moment they pulled up to the SUV. Just before the pair of physical superheroes were told by Mother Earth, “I’m guessing you have a minute and a half.”

Tail worked on the SUV. He had been practicing his break in skills for months now. It only took him half a minute to get the door open. It then took him a full 45 seconds to hot wire the car. He breathed a sigh of relief as he drove off with it to the far end of the parking lot.

Modern Ninja was set up beside the doors of the  mall waiting for a ninja or two or three to come out. While Tail was still moving the SUV, one of the ninjas came out. Modern Ninja figured this was the lead one and decided to leave this one be as he ran after the SUV.

It was a toss up in Modern Ninja’s mind and indeed her crime fighting allies if the next ninjas would come out one at a time or in tandem.

They came out in tandem and went parallel to each other, running after the SUV like their friend. Modern Ninja ran with them and used her invisibility to remain unseen. She tripped and kicked the closest one. The other one looked over and realized what had happened. He tried to speed up but wasn’t fast enough for Modern Ninja. She tripped him as well.

Before she could get to him, the ninja threw three throwing stars where he guessed Modern Ninja was. But Modern Ninja was in none of those places and kicked his head which made him fall backwards and hit his head again.

Tail was with the SUV still and the first ninja had caught up to the now not moving vehicle. The ninja thought about it for a moment. But then decided that he was up against a superhero. So Tail was unlikely to use the SUV to drive over or kill him. The ninja continued his approach.

That Ninja was kicked in the back of the head by Modern Ninja, such that his head hit the metal of the SUV. After that it was just a couple moments of handcuffing. Mother Earth alerted the police and the superheroes loaded into their car and were off.

It was another successful moment for the Mother Earth Force.

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3 Superheroes and 3 Supervillains

Modern Ninja, Tail,” started Mother Earth, “I’m glad we’ve got the three of us here. There’s something that we can do together.”

“What about Near Absolute Hero?” asked Tail.

“He fought a fire all last night and is wiped out. Besides, I have a feeling he’ll be out of commission for what I have in mind.

“First of all, did you all hear about the escape of our three ninjas from Montreal?”

“Yes,” said Tail.

“Yes,” said Modern Ninja. “But certainly they aren’t causing such a hubbub in Montreal that we have to go back there?”

“I’d be tempted to leave them be, too. Except for last night they were robbing a mall in the Big Smoke itself.”

“Here? But they must know that things are more dangerous with us on the case, here. Without the Flame Tosser, they should be even easier to take down than in Montreal,” said Modern Ninja.

“Which is why I think they will wait till there’s a major fire to do their dirty work.”

“Which puts Near Absolute Hero out of the picture,” said Tail. “Smart.”

“What did they take from the mall?” asked Modern Ninja.

“They robbed all three jewellery stores that were there. They left the jewellery kiosk alone because it had lower value jewellery.”

“I hate thieves that are too good for similar but lower value wares,” stated Tail.

“I just hate thieves,” said Modern Ninja.

“There were cameras all over the mall so I can play you the entire robbery. Modern Ninja,” said Mother Earth, “I want you especially to take a close look at how this was done.”

The video evidence showed the three ninjas stealing from the three jewellery stores and going from point to point. The moves at the jewellery stores were expected. What was not expected was how the trio moved from point to point in the mall.

Two of the ninjas were on the edge of the mall halls moving parallel with each other. But they looked sideways so they were watching each other the whole time. The third ninja was ahead of the other pair in the middle of the hallway.

“What do you think of their formation, Modern Ninja?” asked Mother Earth.

“The only reason I can get two ninjas in a fight is because I can line up with the two I want, on the same straight line we three make but outside the two ninjas. That way I stay invisible for both of them. In the mall I can’t do that.”

“I can get one,” said Tail.

“Which still leaves us one short. So let’s see their weak point – outside.”

The askew ninja got to the door first and ran outside to the waiting SUV which he drove right up to the mall doors. Only then did the other two break their formation and go outside into the waiting SUV. They were away in seconds.

“There’s only one more mall big enough in town to have multiple jewellery stores, too,” informed Mother Earth.

“Fairway Mall,” said Tail. “Is there a way for one of us to take out two ninjas? There will only be us two with boots on the ground.”

“I think I can make up for my physical uselessness with planning,” said Mother Earth.

And so they planned.

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Third Strike

My news sites were polluted this week with Rush Limbaugh. Some of you may know that I’m Canadian and don’t actively seek out anything with the Rush Limbaugh name. Since he has polluted my life yet again, I am reposting my Rush Limbaugh political cartoon which can be used for most circumstances of Rush.

This time he thought it was so funny to apply his name to the Democratic candidate team which is “Joe and the Hoe” (Rush Limbaugh has a radio show – I can spell any name he uses however I want.) And I hope that the Hoe can uproot vile weeds like Rush Limbaugh and just let them wither away. But if not, I still have my Rush Limbaugh political cartoon I can use.

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The Three Ninjas in Jail

Despite being put in the same jail at the same time, the experiences of the 3 ninjas, who battled against the Mother Earth Force in Montreal, were different. The other criminals were suspicious of what had taken down the trio. The trio answered honestly.

“But why are these superheros named after a female?” Was the first question they got.

The trio tried to explain it was a mixed male/female crime fighting team.

“So who was captured by a male crime fighter?” someone asked.

Immediately one hand shot up. “I fought Tail. Look him up. He’s a musclebound lunkhead with an extra tail to spoil all my martial arts moves.”

The other two were quieter about what happened. Still it got drawn out of them slowly. They thought Modern Ninja had captured them but weren’t quite sure. She had used invisibility they thought. They were just looking at normal scenery when all of a sudden they were decked. The other criminals found that ‘Eagle’, the first ninja taken, was knocked out with no warning. ‘Nuclear Submarine’ was the second ninja that saw his partner taken down by Modern Ninja. He just said that suddenly Eagle was down. He saw nothing after that until he, himself, was rendered unconscious.

“So you both got taken down by a woman superhero?” asked a particularly large man listening to the goings on.

“She was invisible.” The duo defended.

“I’m sorry, Nuclear Submarine. But you had warning and it was a female that beat you up. That makes you the weakest.” A couple of the men crowded Nuclear Submarine and then the fists began to fly. Nuclear Submarine was ably defending himself when the guards came in with a water cannon and broke up the fight. They took Nuclear Submarine and two other men to cool down in the hole.

Afterwards one of the men beside the ninja that attacked Tail, said “You’re cool! What do we call you?”

“Traditional Ninja is good enough.” He was left alone after that exchange. The same could not be said for Eagle.

The other criminals seemed to alternate between Nuclear Submarine and Eagle when starting fights. 2 or 3 would start the fight but the guards were quick with their water cannons and the hole punishment.

No one was getting seriously hurt but it still bothered Traditional Ninja. How could he arrange for the escape of the three of them when Eagle or Nuclear Submarine were perpetually in the hole. After a few weeks the fights (finally!) seemed to die down and Traditional Ninja got in touch with the Ninja League.

The league was a loose association of ninjas. There were only a few things it wouldn’t tolerate and the jailing of ninjas was one of those. It led to a daring and wild helicopter flight above the yard where the three scaled the rope ladder and were whisked away to freedo,m.

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