IRE Land

While on my way to Ireland from the mainland, I stopped in at Britain. While there, I got into a conversation with an Englishman who asked where I was traveling. I told him and he immediately said, “It’s called Ireland because Irishmen are usually angry.”

Now I didn’t want to go to a place where everyone is angry. However I knew that Ireland functioned as a country in most ways and I doubted that everyone could be angry all their waking hours and still get everything done.

I realized that I was getting angry at this Englishman for telling me this. Imagine the astounding amount of racism it took to paint a whole nation as angry. This slow boil of anger was with me and it felt like it would be there for a long time.

Then I realized I was angry so if Ireland was angry, I would fit right in. So I continued on my trek.

When I landed on Ireland I was first greeted by a smiling face. That lifted my angry fog for a moment when I realized the Englishman was full of it. I said “I’m so happy to see your smiling face! I was practically told in Britain that this was Angry Land.”

Her smile fell and she said, “I hope that was an Irish national that told you this.”

“No. A racist Englishman.” My anger fog began to settle in again. I told her what I had been told.

My Englishman encounter preceded me as I traveled through Ireland. Everywhere I went there were angry Irishmen insulting the British. “How dare they name us as a bad stereotype! Down with England!” was a common refrain I heard.

Finally I asked to meet someone who wasn’t angry and finally I was taken to the serene Patrick O’ Mulligee. I talked to him for a few minutes and was suitably impressed by his serenity.

“It’s nice to see proof that this isn’t angry land,” I told him.

“I find the story that Englishman told you almost comical.”

“How do you keep your serenity about the situation?”

“I just think of what I am going to tell the first Englishman I see.”

“And what’s that?”

“I’ll just say that the name of England in Gaelic is Shit Land.”

“Shetland? That’s hardly an insult. Shetland islanders are supposed to be a proud breed.”

“No! Shitland, shitland!”

“There’s nothing wrong with Shetland.”

O’Mulligee got louder and his face turned red and purplish. He screamed, “SHITLAND!” a few more times but with his accent all I heard was “SHETLAND!”

I was sorry that I had come to Ireland. Patrick O’Mulligee and that girl had only lasted a couple minutes before getting angry. As much as I hated to admit it, that Englishman had been right. I suspect I will never visit Ireland again. Even though it is green.

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Monoliths Forever

Imagine you’re an alien that visits Earth. Your species keeps a low profile because you know just how violent and destructive humans are. You secretly watch Earthlings so they don’t know, and you come to the conclusion that they are not all violent and destructive.

You start taking their side when your fellow aliens say things like, “It’s only a matter of time before we’re forced to wipe them out.”

“There’s good in them, too,” you say.

“Prove it!” they say back.

Finally you come up with a way that just might show the rest of the aliens your opinions have some weight. You decide to plant a monolith in the deserts of Utah.

“See,” you say, “It’s been up for a couple years and no one has taken it down.”

But the other aliens know the tricks of humanity. “That’s because they don’t know it’s there. Watch what happens when we bring humans to it.”

With the help of some bighorn sheep the other aliens bring some humans to the monolith. All the humans do is take pictures and admire the monolith.

“See,” you say. “They didn’t even break off a piece as a keepsake!”

“Wait,” say the others. “Soon the rest of the Earthlings will know.”

Once let in on this wonder it only takes a few days for the Earthlings to tear down the monolith.

So a monolith is also put up in Romania and California. These monoliths only last a few days, too. “Luckily we just gave them a monolith to destroy. Imagine if we let one of us loose to be found by the humans. It would probably be war in a few days.”

So all the aliens become jaded and bitter because of the actions of the Earthlings.

That, said, you really can’t deny that the monolith has become the visual symbol of 2020. I propose to keep that link. Inevitably we will wish to make a monument to the people who were taken early by Covid 19. What other shape and size than than a prism monolith that is 3.5 meters tall and made of stainless steel.

With this shape we can honour our dead with words or if the area the monolith represents has a low enough population, we can inscribe the names of the dead on it.

I think we would need to put this monolith up in a city center with cameras watching 24/7, and make it public that anyone hauling it down would be fined and jailed. Then and only then might we have a monolith last forever.

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My -er- Someone’s Utah Monolith

In a very remote part of Utah, people using a helicopter found a 3.5 meter tall, triangular metal monolith. I am hoping they go back so we can find better observations about this mysterious artifact.

Firstly I would like to know how much of it is buried in order to keep it standing. That would allow us to know how expensive and heavy this massive mystery is.

Is it hollow? That would also tell how difficult a feat it would be to put this together.

What metal is it composed of? How dare the finders not carry a magnet with them to at least tell if it is iron, nickel, steel or the few other magnetic metals. Maybe next trip they can bring a cutting torch to cut out a very small piece to find out exactly what metal we’re dealing with.

But here is what I would do if I were going to put up such a monolith to tickle the world’s fancy and to be the king of impractical jokes.

Firstly, I would put it up after 1968. Two things were released that year: 2001 A Space Odyssey and Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken. The discoverers of the Utah monolith made the connection to 2001 themselves which is why it has been called a monolith in the press. Von Daniken said that a millenniums old Indian iron pillar was of alien manufacture. This has since been debunked but it brought fame to this old world wonder. Although iron, it is rusting very, very slowly from effective ancient treatments. But actually I would put this “new” monolith up sometime after 1980 because I was just too young to do this prank at an earlier age.

Secondly, I would make it out of stainless steel. That after all is what the exterior of the giant nickel in Sudbury is made out of. I remember being disappointed by this factoid when I first heard it. I’ve always thought the giant nickel ought to be made out of pure nickel. Yes, stainless steel has some nickel in it. This way it would be cost efficient and wouldn’t rust. Theoretically it would last many millennia. It would be the impractical joke that keeps on giving (and lasting).

If this area of Utah is so remote, taking such a monolith overland in a car or by hiking might prove impossible. Thus I would use a helicopter to get it where it needs to be.

Then I could dig a hole at the approved site. To get the monolith in the hole I would drop it in with the helicopter. I would then burn the harness I had used to hopefully leave no traces. Then I would fill the rest of the hole so that thing would not budge for many millennia. Tadah! We now have a mysterious monolith.

While the authorities in Utah are expecting some fame driven artist to claim this installation, I know -er- think that this will never happen. Fame will only be for one news cycle. Then everyone will forget and the authorities will remove this from the almost pristine area of Utah.

Besides, the authorities have already said that this whole thing is illegal and they will likely throw me -er- the culprit in jail.

So let’s have an impractical joke that lasts a lifetime.

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Has 2020 Become a Curse Word?

The year 2020 started out innocently enough. In fact, for most of the world it seemed fine until March when the pandemic hit most of us hard. Really, it was Covid-19 that should have been next in line to become a swear word.

The thing that cemented 2020 as the thing that was malformed occurred a couple months later in North America. Giant Asian hornets had somehow managed to get across the ocean. I don’t remember their true name anymore, but I don’t have to. Their nickname stuck and these murder hornets were traced to at least one hive where a couple hundred queens were exterminated. Let’s hope that was their only hive.

I was tempted at the end of the summer, when I wrote about bigger black wasps replacing the yellow and black ones in my area, to invoke 2020 as the likely culprit. But I didn’t think it was a big enough problem to blame 2020. After all, although the sting was worse from these bigger black wasps, the swelling from the stings was less. And these bigger wasps had always existed in North America. It was just those of us on the northern front that were experiencing a 2020 moment.

Just a week ago, The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrived in New York and when being put up, the press couldn’t help but notice how scraggly it’s lower branches were. Immediately it was likened to the famous Charlie Brown Xmas tree. The press of course invoked 2020 as the reason for this tree having been picked and how fitting it was for this year.

And speaking of New Yorkers, I can just see Jerry Seinfeld saying 2020 just as he used to use the name “Newman!” in that derisive tone, indicating that the world had spited him again and he knew the cause.

So now I think that 2020 can be invoked like a swear word anytime anything goes wrong for at least the rest of the year.

Say your kids can’t go to school and you work from home so you won’t be able to concentrate or have use of your computer? “2020!” It snows before you have gotten your snow tires on your car? “2020!” You thought you could survive a Zoom Thanksgiving with your family without any alcohol so you don’t have any? “2020!”

It works so good as a curse word that perhaps it will carry on into 2021. Imagine you’re right at the start of the year and there’s a working vaccine but you can’t get it yet, while others do? “2020!” You’re an essential worker and you see all of what used to be your hazard pay go to shareholders as well as record profits! “2020!” Those who got the vaccine carrying on as if everyone else was immune, too? “2020!”

So it just might carry on. How about these as insults: “2020 head!”; “You twenty twentying piece of $#!+” ; “Have you got 2020 stuck up your @$$?”

I think 2020 makes a great swear word. But it’s up to everyone if it lives on in that way.

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Sons of Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Stone Temple Pilots Form Band and Release Song

This Exclaim article has all the details. Included at the end of the article, you can watch the video of the song Long Awaited.

Anyhow the band is called Suspect208 and includes the son of Slash on drums, the son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo on bass and the son of Scott Weiland singing.

At first I went straight to the music, sure that it would be awful. When I first listened, it sounded most like Stone Temple Pilots because of the front man. But the song, Long Awaited, sounds like one of the better STP songs. The music part could be Alice in Chains or Soundgarden as much as it might be Metallica or Guns n’ Roses.

If they can just put a good album around this song, I think they will be successful.

And thinking about it, that’s how it goes for sons of famous musicians. They put out a successful first album and then think, ‘I’m just as good as my famous dad.’ Then they have no further need to prove themselves and thus don’t put out anything memorable ever again. Sons of famous musicians are mostly one album wonders.

I say that because of Jacob Dylan (son of Bob) in the Wallflowers whose first album had One Headlight and the Difference. I also say this because of Julian Lennon (son of John) whose first album had Valotte and Too Late for Goodbyes. I thirdly say this because of Tal Bachman (son of Randy Bachman (BTO and the Guess Who)) who had the hit She’s So High.

I have yet to like any of the sons-in-the-last-paragraph’s music past the songs mentioned. They proved they could pen a successful song and thought they were just as good as their fathers so they stopped. Maybe they didn’t like touring. Maybe it felt too much like work. Maybe they had no respect for their fans. Whichever way it was they are largely gone from the public’s consciousness though we still remember their fathers.

Anyhow, Suspect208, if you don’t agree with my assessment of your longevity, prove me wrong. That will mean lots of touring that’ll sometimes feel like work, the chore of songwriting and respecting your fans. Have a spite career!

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Hugging Cows

It came to my attention that people were hugging cows in the Netherlands for Covid 19 stress relief. Yes, Covid brings on stressors. Yes, hugging can help us manage this. But a cow? C’mon what are you people thinking?

I guess hugging humans is too dangerous. After all, they might be harbouring Covid 19 unbeknownst to even themselves. So naturally humans looked to our animal friends for comfort. After all there are all these emotional support animals that various people need.

I’ve raised my eyebrows over reports of what some of those emotional support animals are. I suspected they would all be dogs or, in extreme cases, cats. But the array of emotional support animals is more varied. Some are goats, pigs and even peacocks. These odd ones often make the news because just like me, some doubt the effectiveness of some of these animals to provide that emotional support.

If those animals can provide emotional support then why not a cow or a horse? They are awkward to take with you on a bus or in your car so they don’t quite make it to emotional support animal because they are so big and heavy. But people might like hugging these beasts more, precisely because they are big and heavy.

So emotional support pigs and birds should be no problem. Except they are. Guess where swine flu and bird flu got their names from. Why from hogs and birds. Living in hogs and birds changed the strain of whatever flu infected these beasts and made it more virulent in humans.

So why not an emotional support bat? That’s where some scientists think that Covid 19 came from. If we retreat from humans to the animal world every time something like Covid hits, guess what might be the result?

We get Covid 19 and retreat to emotional support bats for help. We then contract another new illness that makes us retreat to other exotic animals for comfort. These other animals give us a third illness that makes use seek comfort in more animals which gives us a fourth illness…

Do you really want to go down that rabbit hole? And rabbits likely can give us a fifth illness…

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Are We In Napoleonic Europe?

Last Sunday, I heard from London, that Paris had burnt Berlin, only to meet its Waterloo and be detained since.

Shades of the Napoleonic wars. Napoleonic France (whose capital was Paris), conquered Prussia (where Berlin is the capital) (Napoleon didn’t bother holding all his conquered territory) only to eventually proceed to Waterloo where once again they faced off against the Prussians (with the British, Russians and Austrians) where Napoleon lost decisively.

But my story occurred last week in Southwestern Ontario.

A man from Paris, Ontario along with a minor, torched three Walmarts in Kitchener-Waterloo. Kitchener used to be called Berlin before the the first world war. I don’t apologize for using its old name. The first two Walmarts torched were in Berlin (Kitchener). The last one was in Waterloo. Granted it took a day or two for the footage to implicate that Paris, Ontario man. I couldn’t see this news on the Berlin (Kitchener) television station because it was a Sunday when the news is preempted by American football. So I saw it on the London, Ontario television station.

That was an exhausting simile. Perhaps I’ll go rest up in Stratford on the Avon, Ontario or Brussels, Ontario or even Dublin, Ontario. You get the idea.

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New Source of Income for the Government

So much of the pandemic response has been about creating new social programs for business and people. Not surprisingly, government is getting strapped for cash and could use some new forms of income. I have taken it on my self to suggest new forms of income.

Not just any forms of income. Under civil forfeiture laws in the States, the government can seize assets if they just suspect you of a crime. I don’t want my government to become that ridiculous. As such I have come up with my own ways for a government to profit off of the fact there is crime.

One such crime is littering. Every fall the deciduous trees create a huge amount of litter. Their leaves which are pretty while changing colours also, unfortunately, litter the ground. Mostly it’s the homeowner’s tree leaves falling on their own grass. The homeowner picks it up so what’s the problem? Well the wind spreads the leaves around the neighbourhood to places not owned by the tree’s owner. I have two oak leaves on my balcony but cannot even see an oak tree from my balcony. Government is stuck cleaning up some of these leaves, so shouldn’t government get a take from the tree owners?

We could easily charge the tree owners with littering every fall. This would be stream number one of new income for government.

Corrosion and rust robs owners of the longevity they would like to get out of materials they own. Rusting of steel requires water. As such, I think we should fine water companies for this. Not the government owned water companies that produce our tap water (that would be silly), but the for profit bottled water industry, This way we might turn a blind eye toward the plastic pollution of these companies just as we have already been doing. But they will have to pay the rust fines.

Aluminum, for instance, corrodes differently. All it needs is to be in the presence of air in order to corrode. Specifically it needs the oxygen in the air in order to corrode. Fining the makers of oxygen for breathing would be like shooting our older or less fortunate selves in the foot. But we could fine welders, rocket companies, and farmers a fee for the oxygen they make. This would make a second line of new income for our cash starved government.

The third fineable crime I see is the weather. Yes weather has always happened but not as extreme as it is today. One industry does better the worse the weather is. That industry is insurance.

Now most people blame our increased hostile weather on global warming. But the insurance companies know they can charge more for crop insurance and damages from wind, hail and tornadoes if the weather is more extreme. So it is in their best interest to somehow make more extreme weather. But how do they do this without being caught?

Most people have heard about the butterfly effect. That is where a butterfly in Guatemala flaps its wings and this eventually cascades into becoming a tornado in the midwest U.S. Well it is my belief that the insurance companies are paying for millions of butterfly flights a day, hoping for more of those tornadoes.

And you thought insurance companies were there to back you in your time of need! Obviously the government needs to fine the insurance companies for their racketeering. Thus we will have a third stream of new revenue for the government. Thankfully! Or we would have to go to the unthinkable act of taxing rich people.

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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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