Friday, August 31, 2012

All hail the King and his tighty whiteys

I admit to being somewhat of an Elvis fan.
I am hardly a rapid, salivating, Elvis-is-the-next-best-thing-to-God kind of fan, but I appreciate and respect what he has done for rock and roll.
I also like many of his songs and can see how countless musical styles were based upon the ground-breaking anthems of the hip-swiveling, lip-curling legend.
After all, he is the King of Rock and Roll with legions of hardcore fans. Some people however take their pursuit of all things Elvis over the top – way over the top - and will eagerly purchase anything even remotely associated with the King.
But it is good to have a hobby and at least they are not wasting their money of stupid stuff like food, or a college education for their children.
One of my hobbies is watching in amusement as these super fans purchase all sorts of Elvis-related materials. One guy spent several thousand dollars on a Styrofoam cup that the King supposedly used during one of his shows.
The seller had no official documentation that the piece of foam was actually the chalice used by the King to whet his whistle, but he swore he took the cup from Elvis himself during the show. He had a picture of Elvis backstage drinking from ‘a’ Styrofoam cup, but there was no definitive evidence it was ‘the’ Styrofoam cup.
The owner put it up for sale and the bids soared into the thousands of dollars.
In an unrelated story, news of one being born every minute was officially confirmed.
So while the King’s cup may have been questionable, his snot blaster apparently was not. Yup, some rabid Elvis fan spent thousands of dollars to purchase a nasal suction bulb that was used by the man himself.
Nothing says rock and roll memorabilia like a big piece of Elvis booger. The good news is there was proof the snot sucker was in fact used by the King.
Thank God he did not get enemas, because you know someone would want that piece of medical equipment.
“Hey Bob, isn’t that an enema bulb in that glass case hanging above your fireplace?”
“It sure it, but that is not just any butt blaster, that is the butt blaster of the King. Do you want to touch it?”
“No, no I do not.”
Sound too strange to be true? If there is one thing I have learned by watching Elvis fans it is nothing is too strange.
Case in point is the auctioning off of a pair of the King’s underwear.
It would seem someone has been holding on to a pair of ginch worn by Mr. Presley during a show in the late 1970s. It is sealed in a glass case along with pictures of Elvis from the show.
You can’t see the underwear in the photos, but it is said they are the ones he was wearing underneath one of those glittery, leather jumpsuits he was so fond of.
After a show under hot lights wrapped in cow hide, one could imagine the state of the underwear that were doffed and tossed onto the laundry pile.
If you thought sweaty and icky, you would be right. And that is the main selling feature – I kid you not.
Unwashed and still soiled with stains” is actually how the seller is promoting the item. They were never washed after the show and have been in their natural condition ever since.
They are hailed as pristine and the seller explains Elvis wore this type of underwear because he did not want any lines showing through his stylish jump suit.
I am not sure why they were never washed, but I am pretty sure the hardcore Elvis fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
And you know that at some point in time, someone has tried those undies on just to say they wore the soiled, sweaty, dirty undies of the King of Rock and Roll.
Personally, that is a bragging point I could live with out.
Oh, and just in case you were hoping to throw down a bid on the briefs, the King’s tightey-whitey’s are expected to go for more than 10,000-pounds in a London auction house.
Long live the King.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Everyone will hear about my kids, even if they don't want to

I can remember when my first child was born. I talked about Junior with the gusto and enthusiasm only a new father can.
I talked about his birth, how amazing it was to see this little human being come to this earth. I talked about how incredible he is and the amazing things he did on a daily basis – like make spit bubbles, or the day he discovered his hands. You know, the really important stuff a first born does.
I talked about his first word: Grbbbbxxlavb – which I believe is ancient Monrovian for ‘Hello, how are you?”
Not bad for a five week old.
I talked about his first attempt to crawl, his first step, his first everything was topic of grand discussion, whether people wanted to hear about it or not.
I know many of you are rolling their eyes and thinking, ‘So he’s the guy who told everyone about his kid, even if they did not care. He’s the guy who forced words into my ear, polluting my brain with unwanted information.’
That’s right, I was the guy and I am not ashamed to admit it. I had two more children after K-1 and I bragged about them as well.
When the kids were little there were so many milestones it was hard to keep up.
My wife would phone me at work with regular updates.
‘Junior just made his first stinky on the potty. Yay.’
I would then relay the incredible news to my coworkers, who I am sure were all thrilled to learn that snippet of information. Although some of them pretended to be disinterested, I could tell deep down, they really cared that Scooter had developed the skill of not pooping in his pants.
The bragging continued as he grew and there were comments about the first time he rode a bike, or climbed a tree, or burped his full name. I was particularly proud of that one, but my wife was not so thrilled. She obviously did not appreciate just how much time I spent teaching him how to do that.
When the second one came around, I must admit I did not brag about every little thing he did. Sure there were the milestone moments that I let the world know about, but I was realizing just how unspectacular many of his baby actions were. By time the third one arrived, bragging was reserved for the really big events. After all, I had seen it before. It does not mean I love my second or third children any less, I am just seeing things differently than when the first one made the scene.
I began to think back on my coworkers who pretended to be disinterested. Could it be they actually did not care that my new baby could put his foot in his mouth? Could it have been they actually were not smitten with the latest addition to the planet?
Naw, they loved hearing about Junior as much as I liked talking about him.
Now my ‘little boy’ is a 19-year-old man and his ‘little brother’ is almost 17. Little sister will soon be a teenager, but that does not mean the bragging stops.
Now I just brag about other things.
“Yeah, so the missus and I went away for the weekend without the kids and when we got home, the house was still standing. There was no visible damage and, as far as I know, the police never attended even once.”
Other comments of a teenage parent include how well they are doing in school, how well they are doing in sports, how well they are doing in knowing everything there is worth knowing no matter what you tell them based on your years of knowledge.
Yup, when it comes to kids there is no shortage of things to talk about. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The mighty grizzly in all its majesty - sort of

It’s true, bears really do, um, you know, in the woods.
We saw a bear doing just that on a recent vacation to the wilds of northern British Columbia.
And this was no ordinary bear. This was the mighty grizzly bear.
As soon as I saw the cars ahead of me slowing down I knew it was either an accident or wildlife.
In this case it was a forest beast displaying his mighty splendor for all to see. He was on the side of the road taking a poop.
I have to admit it was not exactly a grand or majestic way for the animal to display its prowess, but it was still a grizzly bear so it was pretty darn cool.
And I know that technically he was not doing his business in the woods, but he was right on the edge of the woods so it was close enough and I consider the question of exactly where a bear does that to be closed.
I am pretty sure he, or she, blushed as we went past because who wants to caught with their pants down. But no matter, the grizzly really is a spectacular animal and the king of the B.C. woodlands and seeing one was a great start to our vacation.
By grizzly standards, this one was a little guy and weighed in around 700 pounds, roughly the same as your average American, and had the telltale hump on his back whereas Americans have a telltale hump on the front - right around their midsection.
Grizzlies can grow to be absolutely massive. There is a stuffed one in the Royal B.C. Museum that is the biggest bruin I have ever gazed upon. I have no fear of a bear that large smashing with its mighty paw until I am dead, because I would die of a heart attack just seeing the beast come running towards me.
I wonder if the smell of human urine would act as a grizzly repellent because there would be plenty of that around where I would be standing. I hope to never find out.
I have had several encounters with their ‘smaller’ counterpart, the black bear, as has just about anyone who has spent any time outdoors in this province. Having grown up in the sticks in the B.C. interior, interaction with bears and a variety of other beastly beasts were common events.
But in the northern region those experiences are magnified and intensified because there is just so much wildlife to interact with. You can’t go around a corner without encountering some sort of wild critter and it is always one of the highlights of our regular northern adventures.
Heading to the tundra of B.C. is nothing new to me and my family. Why? Because my wife has relatives up there so every second year we load up the van and embark on a marathon road trip.
The trip is often an adventure in critter watching. Over the years we have seen numerous black bears, enough deer to realize there are way too many deer in this province and a variety of beasts from moose to foxes and just about everything in between. About the only thing more abundant than the deer are the bugs. I am sure I collect 20 pounds worth of bugs in the grill of my van on each trip.
You also see a few ‘mystery’ animals on the road. Not at the side of the road, but on the road itself. They are mystery animals because they are roughly four feet long and half an inch tall.
The best guess is that it was some sort of smallish animal with fur.
Not quite as exciting as seeing a real, live grizzly, but like the beastly bruin it does give the family something to talk about during the monotonous trek to see the in laws.

Friday, August 10, 2012

It is a baffling world out there

It is a baffling and confusing world out there.
Being baffled is nothing new to me and there seems to be a never-ending supply of things to keep me feeling that way.
For example, how come the driver’s side windshield wiper always wears out faster than the passenger side?
You can be driving down the road and the rain is beating against your motorcar with the passenger being able to see things clear as a bell, while the driver has to look through a smudged, smeared mess to see exactly what they are about to crash in to.
And if the wiper does not pack it in completely, there is a big streak across the windshield exactly in your line of sight.
It can’t be at the top of the wiper arc, nor the bottom. No, the stupid streak has to be directly in front of your eyeballs.
Of course, if the passenger side develops a streak it is out of the line of sight.
Another thing I don’t understand is dentists.
For as long as I can remember, dentists have been telling people to brush regularly, floss regularly and don’t eat too many sweets.
Considering their careers are based entirely on fixing teeth, is this the best business plan?
Would a lawyer tell people to solve it themselves? No, then they would not be able to charge $200 for a 30-second phone call.
You would think dentists would want to abolish toothbrushes and tell people to brush their teeth with their fingers and use sugar-infused toothpaste.
“It’s also a good idea to sleep with a sucker in your mouth, that way the sugar can ‘protect’ your teeth all night. No really, it’s good for you. Trust me, I’m a dentist.”
But do they say that? No, they want you to keep your teeth as sparkling clean and healthy as they can be.
And why do dentists try to make small talk with you when your mouth is full of goop, instruments, power tools and whatever else they can cram in there?
What kind of personal interaction are they hoping for? I am pretty sure this is just a little game dentists play to keep themselves amused.
Why do single people always have relationship advice?
Isn’t that kind of like a fat dude telling a marathon runner to get in shape?
I know one guy who has been married and divorced so many times he as a pastor and lawyer on speed dial, but one day he decided to bestow upon me words of wisdom on how to make a successful marriage.
At this point I had been married to one woman for more than 20 years. If you add all of his marriages together they didn’t come to 20 years, but he felt it necessary to take me aside and offer me marital advice.
I must admit though, he was helpful. Not his advice, but by watching him over the years I learned what not to do in a marriage.
He is married again and we are all taking bets as to when this latest incarnation of matrimonial bliss will crash and burn.
I just can not figure out why some people do what they do and from the I-can’t-believe-you-have-lived-as-long-as-you-have file comes the tale of a man in the United States who set his head on fire – on purpose.
This brainiac was at a local watering hole throwing down some adult recreational beverages when he bet his friends he could set his face on fire with some high-proof alcohol.
They did not believe him, so to prove them wrong he poured the highly volatile liquid all over his head and put a match to it.
Well surprise, surprise his entire head caught fire and the security camera shows him running around the bar in panic, in agony and in flames.
He received burns to his face and head. This was no young pup full of pee and vinegar either. He was 37 years old, way too old to be that stupid.
Congratulations you are officially one of the dumbest people to have ever walked the earth and it is only a matter of time before natural selection collects its dues.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Diving in to the Olympic spirit

It’s Olympics time again.
I love the Olympics, the excitement, the competition, the women’s beach volleyball. I mean, er, the competition and the um, ah, anyway.
The Olympics bring out the best in the worlds most dedicated athletes. I have the highest respect for all of the athletes for their hard work and drive to make it to the pinnacle of their chosen sport.
In many of the competitions it is easy and obvious who the winner is, even to the French judge.
In track and field events it is the one who crosses the finish line first, or jumps the farthest or throws an object the farthest, but in many other sports it may not be so clear who the winner is.
Take diving for example. I have watched Olympic diving on many occasions and I have very hard time telling the difference between a good dive and a bad one.
A diver could do a triple twist with a half gainer double double decaf that looks spectacular to me. The only way I could move like that was if I was falling off a cliff, and then I would be screaming the entire way down.
But they do all of these amazing twists and turns and spinning around before they hit the water and make a splash smaller than if a fat dude farts in the shallow end of the pool.
Amazing, that was incredible. Or at least I thought it was, but not the announcer.
After this stunning feat of human acrobatics, the announcer pipes in, “Ooooh what a shame. He really blew that one.”
What? What are you talking about?
The announcer will then spout on about how the diver’s legs were 3.7865 inches too far apart when they hit the water, or their body angle was .0987 degrees off perfect centre.
They are Olympic announcers so I have to assume they know what they are talking about. Often the judges will agree and give the diver a low score, causing the announcer to sit back with a smug look on his or her face and say, “See, told ya it sucked.”
But I guess that is the nature of the Olympics. Not snotty announcers – although they do exist – but the level of competition is so intense even the smallest error can be costly.
That’s why it’s the Olympics, the world’s greatest sporting spectacle, and not a bunch of drunk people doing cannonballs off the diving board.
Announcer: “His form on that cannonball attempt was simply spectacular. I especially enjoyed when he put down his beer and yelled, ‘Hey y’all, watch this.’ Beautiful execution. He could have brought his knees a little tighter, but with a stomach that big I think that is as close as they get.”
Co-announcer: “Yes, I agree. And the splash was massive. He managed to get people sitting five rows back.”
Of course each competitor would have to ‘shotgun’ a beer and do a Tequila shot between each round.
As fun as it would be to watch, I somehow I do not think Bubba and his beer-swilling buddies will make the greatest sporting event of them all.
You have to admit, Redneck Olympics would be, um, interesting.
They could have the six-pack beer chug event, the how-purty-is-my-mullet competition and the always popular ‘Yo-momma’s-so-fat…’ challenge.
But the real competition would be in the who-has-the-least-amount-of-teeth event. I bet that would generate a huge pool of competitors, with the top-ranked competitors coming from the Southern United States of course (and parts of Saskatchewan.)
But the Redneck event is for another place (Southern United States) because right now it is all about England and the real Olympics.
The greatest of the great are putting their skills to the test for honour and country and they deserve all the respect we can give them.
Even Bubba has to be impressed.