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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chicken Scratch

By the beak of my grandfather…

Hello humans.

What you’re witnessin’ today is a bit of my attempt at rewardin’ the little pluckers. Rewardin’ ‘em for good behaviour, which ain’t happenin’ a lot, around here!


Ever since these mini-peckers showed up, I been putting ‘my life on hold – tryin’ to do the right thing – by NOT boilin’ ‘em with noodles. Even though it gets more temptin’ by the day.

I never seen such disruptive wahoos – even in the crowd I run with. Hardened criminils ain’t as scary as these three birds!!


Last night, I wuz walkin’ along a hallway in the house, and spotted what I thought were dry leaves, scattered everywhere. When I got closer, I could smell it weren’t no leaves – it wuz my Cuban cee-gars!! Shredded!! I coulda cluckin’ killed ‘em right there, but after some sober reflection, I decided to give ‘em one more chance. I gathered the little tweet-makers up, and gave them some chores to do. Which, much to my surprise, they did!


So, I thought I had better give them some little reward, to try and install some good behaviour traits in ‘em. I ain’t sure it’s gonna work, but it’s worth a try.

And this afternoon, what’s left of my Cuban cigar collectin is goin’ on a higher shelf.

My patience ain’t bottomless…


Cluck for now!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Heh Heh Heh…

Well, imagine that…

After grousing a bit about my parents’ pre-pre-pre-dawn flight earlier this week, now WE are currently preparing to dash off to the airport, to catch a similar flight. We’ll certainly be getting our recommended dose of irony today!

Now, you might get the impression that I am kicking back and relaxing, doing this bloggy thing, while Mrs. That Dan Guy is frantically preparing for our departure. Technically, you’d be correct.

However, much of her time is spent with her morning preparation ritual, so actual packing time will consist of stuffing her curlers and shoe horns into a duffle bag – essentially 45 seconds needed for that.

Unpleasant segue:

On a sadder note, we read that Harvey Korman passed away yesterday. We are so thankful to have seen him live last year (with another Carol Burnett Show alumnus – Tim Conway), during his ongoing Together Again tour. Possibly the funniest show we have ever seen, Korman was even funnier live than on that classic television show, and even did stand-up, in addition to recreating outstanding sketch comedy.

A real loss to the comedy world…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I get knocked down, but I get back up again.

Who am I kidding? I have not been knocked down. I haven’t even been jostled. For some reason, that song lyric scampered into my noggin, and that was the first thing that I had, to be committed to today’s post.

So, if YOU have been knocked down, please get back up again, and accept my apologies. I didn’t mean to diminish or trivialize your situation - I was just hearing songs in my head.

Sure, it could have been “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Old Oak Tree”, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t tell you that the whole damn bus was cheering, but I could tell you that I got knocked down, and I got back up again. Even if it was a bald-faced lie.

As a matter of fact, that’s about all I can tell you. The rest of the lyrics are a bit fuzzy right now, although I seem to recall a refrain about Tommy Boy. Was it Tommy Boy that got knocked down? Did he get back up again? Is there a Tommy Boy lying on the floor somewhere?

If I got knocked down, I might not get back up again. I might find it extremely comfortable to be lying prone. Depends on the weather I suppose. If it was warm and sunny, I’d certainly enjoy lying prone.

For today, let’s just assume I would have got back up again.

And wrote a real blog…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not a creature was stirring, not even a slot attendant…

Well, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I have our home back to ourselves, after dropping my parents off at the airport yesterday morning (technically late the night before, given the time of the flight’s departure…). It seems much quieter here this morning.

From the minute my parents touched down here in Calgary, to the day they left - it rained. It rained during the day, and it rained at night. It rained during her afternoon soap opera, making it just a bit more sudsy.

It rained while we ate, and it rained without reprieve every time we stepped out the door to do something.

Yet, as soon as they left, the skies parted, and it has been relentlessly sunny since. I’m not good at reading "signs", so I have no idea what that incessant downpour may have meant. The only thing I can say for sure is that my lawn is scraping my rain gutters, so I had better dig out the lawn mower. MTDG will be busy this evening bringing it back under control.

Overall, and because this is a public forum, I must say that the trip went really well. I’ve learned many new things about seniors that I can use in future humour columns. Like how buffets are an integral part of the circle of life as you age.

Better run. We both get a second cup of coffee today, and I need that sweet nectar of the gods this morning…

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I wasn’t aware that airlines ran flights this early. It must be a special seniors' fare, the pre-redeye express.

I am typing today’s entry out this morning with one eye open, whilst slurping coffee through a straw. I hope to be awake enough to drive to the airport in 30 minutes, but having had only a couple of hours of sleep, I make no promises. Clearly, even early birds have a better union than I do…

Topping this off, we have failed. Seven Casinos, seven days, stalled one casino short of the goal, a victim of maternal casino overload. As in: “if I never see another #$@& casino, it’ll be too soon!!” Odd, considering the sum extracted over 7 days far outweighed the sum invested. Ah well, spots on a leopard and all that…

I must run. In our kitchen, I have a bowl of sugar to inhale through my nose, and a cold shower that I hope may awaken my legs. With any luck, there will be no other fools awake this time of time of day, to get in the way of my hurtling vehicle…

Chow for now!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

It would appear that as the 2008 “Visit From My Parents” winds down, we have squeezed in almost everything we had hoped to achieve. Aside from world peace, and brass staples.

We opted to pass on the second Wal-Mart store yesterday, in favour of hitting the neighbourhood Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire probably doesn’t sound like much at first blush, but for Canadians, well, it’s an awful lot like Mecca. Not quite Utopia, but damn close. If Utopia stocked Christmas decorations, you’d mix the two up for sure.

I had to run in there yesterday, to pick up a spray bottle. I didn’t even stop to look at tires, or God help us, the day would have been lost.

We were also able to inch ever-closer to our ultimate goal – we hit the sixth of seven casinos yesterday. The Silver Dollar – one of the biggest. And the site of one of my Dad’s biggest wins, on an investment he made in my mother. A substantial jackpot, as the kids say. Although, truth be told, we haven’t seen a whole lot of kids in any of the casinos. I guess school must still be in…

We closed our evening with an engaging game of cards, a game that did not resemble the one Mrs. That Dan Guy and I used to play. But, I suppose that as seniors, you have a right to fiddle a bit with rules and stuff…

It has rained all day, every day of their visit. We have cancelled plans to visit the Calgary Aquatic Centre, as the fish in our back yard have been showing off quite a bit with their leaping skills.

Chow for now!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We are so close. Victory stands calmly at the adjacent horizon, clearly within our grasp. I’m pretty sure I even saw it wink at us.

Barring any unforeseen complications, my parent’s visit will culminate with our having attended all 7 Calgary-area casinos…

Yesterday, we notched #5 – Cash Casino. One of the largest, we went there early enough to have lunch, so as to allow the entire afternoon for viewing of the establishment. My folks never left the first room we plunked them in. They spent their entire visit in the first space we parked them, which isn’t so bad, considering at least one of them accomplished the ultimate casino goal – taking back more than what they put in.

I must confess, this daily trek to local casinos can get exhausting. I think it may even dim some of the enjoyment Mrs That Dan Guy and I were looking forward to in respect to our own upcoming Vegas trip. We’ll just have to deal with that, I reckon. There’s the inspiring thing about the human spirit – you are always able to tap into some spiritual well deep within yourself, and find a way to forge ahead when life overloads you. Like when MTDG has to choose between three pairs of new shoes, or paying for little Billy’s braces. The kid’s young – there’s plenty of time to reshape those chompers!

We have yet to hit the second Wal-Mart, but that is likely to happen today. And, we are going out on a limb here, but we may include IKEA in our travels. I know, IKEA. Go figure.

Better run. I’m missing all the fun on The Game Show Network

Chow for now!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Oh Dear…

My My…

There certainly are an awful lot of humans lumbering around the house this week…

I count at least four, and they’re making enough of a racket for 20! Some of them don’t ever quit making sounds…


I’ve been keeping a low profile, until things cool down around here. Haven’t even seen Charlie, nor his chirpy companions. I see the odd wisp of smoke wafting in corners of the home, so he’s certainly around – just keeping on the low-down himself.


I haven’t even been able to get on a television set – I’m missing valuable PBS time! If I’m not careful, I’ll fall down to Charlie’s IQ!!


Well, there are books here, and they are classics of modern literature. I can always drag a flashlight into this box, and keep my mind alert with the comfort of the written word.

I wonder if I could drag a newspaper up here, and do the Word Jumble??


I think I have to…um...water some ferns…

Hope the coast is clear…


Bye-Bye for now!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I’ll say this about Wal-Mart – when it comes to seniors, they have the customer satisfaction experience nailed, hands down.

Yesterday, on a miserably rainy afternoon, my visiting parents and I prowled the neighbourhood Wal-Mart. Just driving into the parking lot illustrates the reverence they extend to seniors, as trailers and fifth-wheel get-ups have grown roots throughout the retail giant’s paved parking area. A few residents have even erected street signs, and one fellow was mowing the lawn he had laid outside his mobile residence. Who says there’s no such thing as affordable housing anymore??

Once we entered the store, a smiling senior greeter noticed my Dad on his crutches, and offered to bring around a motorized scooter for him. Well, she was more than a bit senior. Is there for a term for “really, really” senior? While we were getting my Dad settled into the scooter, she shared some childhood memories with us - like when she was in school with one of the early pharaohs. She spoke excitedly about when the wheel was invented, like it was just yesterday…

Once she nodded off in mid-sentence, we were able to tiptoe away, and begin shopping. Wal-Mart is a cornucopia of delights for seniors, so my parents scored several treasures to bring back to Winnipeg with them.

We also squeezed in casino # 4 last night – Elbow Casino - not so lucky. No one had
happy elbows on the way out of there.

I also feel some minor casino fatigue setting in. We may have to stay in tonight, and double up on the weekend. Three to go, we’re so close…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The 2008 “Visit From My Parents” continues…

Yesterday, Day Two – a third casino. That leaves four to go, so we are somewhat ahead of schedule.

There is some talk of taking a break from casinos today, but that could just be the lack of oxygen from our proximity to the Rocky Mountains.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we did indeed drive past many other Calgary landmarks in our travels. I was able to point out the sprawling Calgary Zoo, and the TWO Wal-Marts that our own neighbourhood features. I know, TWO!! We are so blessed…

The casino gods did not favour anyone in our party yesterday, as we all essentially contributed to the various charities that Casino Calgary supports. Which, all things considered is entirely admirable, but we would have appreciated a chance to donate on our own, with proceeds from at least one measly little jackpot. I’m starting to think those slot machines are fitted to the house’s advantage…

Aside from visiting the four corners of Cowtown, we do manage to squeeze in a few other activities as well. Last night, for example, offered the season finales of both Criminal Minds, and CSI: New York, so it’s not like we’re simply involved in trivial pursuits.

Hey, that wouldn’t be a bad name for a board game…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

7 Casinos. 7 Days….

It’s the 2008 “Visit From My Parents”…

For the first time ever, my parents are in - visiting from Winnipeg. First-time ever for Calgary, as we used to live in Kelowna. It would have been odd for them to visit in Calgary, while we were still living in Kelowna…

Well, enough Canadian geography for now. The important thing is that we will be visiting all seven Calgary casinos over the next…um…70-something hours. No, that’s not quite seven days, is it? 137 hours? 48+48+48+24, carry the two…

Oh, how the hell do I know? The point is, we’ve really only got six days to squeeze in all the culture and sights of Calgary casinos, as they depart at the crack of dawn next week. In about 216 hours. Or so…

Yesterday afternoon, we checked off two on our list: Deerfoot Inn & Casino, plus Grey Eagle Casino – the two furthest from the Such Is Life household. My dad, or “Lucky Magoo” as we call him, struck gold in both, but he did really well in the second casino. Mother was not so lucky. Mrs That Dan Guy and I waited in the car while they played, as we don’t believe in casinos. We will never darken the door of a…ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Who am I kidding??? We were like sailors on shore leave – “Daddy needs new shoes!!”

The nice thing about having seven casinos in one city is that you get to see so much OF the city, while driving to them. We were able to point out the Calgary Tower, Canada Olympic Park, and The Calgary Saddledome, home of our (currently golfing) NHL hockey team.

Today, we’ll drive past many other local landmarks.


Chow for now!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You know who was a pretty bad role model? Popeye. Popeye the sailor man.

I realize it was a different time then - back when Popeye first became popular. Heck, I even spent many a carefree day watching his cartoon series as a young whippersnapper myself.

I’m not sure if his incessant pipe-smoking influenced my OWN bad habit, but if that is indeed the case, how many other young adults took to puffing on a pipe, to emulate a cartoon icon?

One thing I never was able to accomplish however was his little trick of consuming a can of spinach via the pipe. I did get a lot of tobacco juice dribble-back though, which is gross enough, thank you very much.

So, as a chain-smoking adult (which may have been why his eyes were always so squinty…), Popeye had one strike against him, as a suitable role model for the audience he was appealing to.

For another thing, Popeye’s obsession with forearm development indicates that he may have had some sort of issues regarding his appearance. (I know there's an actual word or term for that, but for Pete's sake, it's barely six AM in my time zone.) Personally, I would have gone to see a plastic surgeon about that bulkhead chin he sported, rather than isolate a workout program for part of my arms, but hey, to each their own.

The point is, he had a problem, which is another reason why he was a bad role model for kids.

Finally (primarily because my stomach is growling and I need some toast with peanut butter and jam), another glaring problem with Popeye as a role model is that he fancied himself a poet. And not a very good one either…

I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eats me spinach…"


Please, take a grammar course. Just because you spend your days at sea, doesn’t mean you can’t learn to speak your native language properly.

Chow for now!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

We have a fine collection of old newspapers.

Well, “we” may be bit too inclusive. Mainly, it is “I”.

And, they aren’t so much “old” as they are unread. Which I will get around to, no matter how long it takes. I will simply store them under end tables, in baskets, under the bed, and in the basement, until I can get around to reading them.

Mrs. That Dan Guy has stumbled on some of these saved newspapers while looking in the pantry, or while choosing one of her festive hats that she enjoys wearing to picnics. She has found some while changing out linens, and even once when she lifted a cushion in the middle of the sectional sofa (nobody sits there anyway).

My problem, as regards these newspapers, is that I can’t bear to part with them until I have at least browsed through them in some fashion. Even if the news (in some isolated cases) may be from November, 2006. If an article is well-written, it will still be enjoyable. And informative. That’s the beauty of a newspaper.

Chow for now!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I’ve always considered myself to be a rather well-read individual, so today I would like to quote a little line or two from an old volume of an enduring American classic anthology series: Archie Digest.

Here we go:

Spring is here, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the flowers is…”

Poetry, and fine writing. Does it get any better?

Well, our grass is rizzing, but in some spots, it’s still pretty brown and depressing. Flowers attract bees and bears, so we don’t have any in our yard. But other homeowners were at Home Depot yesterday (as were we), and they were snapping up flowers and potting soil like there was no tomorrow. Which, for the record, is today. Let THEM get stung and then mauled, I say. We’ll be busy relaxing on our lawn chairs, reading new issues of Archie Digest.

Chow for now!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Why me, Oh Great Chicken…why me?????


Happy long weekend, you hairy humans! While yer out goofin’ off this weekend, ole Charlie here is havin’ to teach the dumbest little chickens I ever saw, how to behave. It ain’t easy, lemme tell ya…


Now that a coupla weeks has passed, and these pint-sized chirpers show no indication of goin’ back where they came from, I find myself in the unlikely role of playin’ Yoda, to a buncha birds that ain’t even smart enough ta grow feathers yet. My burden lays heavy…


Yesterday’s lesson – my booze bottles are NOT bowlin’ pins – I couldn’t believe my bleary eyes when I got up, and heard these wanna-be turkeys rollin’ a rubber ball at my gin!! Thank God nuthin’ broke THIS time, but if I don’t nail everythin’ down – well, I just don’t even wanna think about it. My ticker can’t take this kinda stress! I think one a my eyeballs is startin’ to bulge!!

Can chickens get shingles??????


Alright Charlie…settle down… I just need ta get some patience, and impart my earthly wisdom onta these dum-dums…

I need another cuppa coffee. And it might not hurt to throw a little sumthin’ extra in, just to lure Grandpa Calm out for a visit…


Cluck for now!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here’s how I seen this – whole wheat pasta is not nearly as bad as you might expect…

Granted, we’ve only tried whole wheat spaghetti and macaroni, here in the test kitchen of the Such Is Life household. But results have, overall, been extremely positive.

The stick test, where you fling either macaroni or spaghetti at the wall to ensure that it is fully cooked and ready for consumption, worked well with both traditional and whole wheat products. The tests have also made for some interesting patterns on our otherwise dull kitchen walls…

We’ve tried the same thing with pasta sauce, and found that to be one hell of a mess, streaming down the wall. Mrs. That Dan Guy has suspended all future sauce testing, outside of sipping a small slurp from a wooden spoon. It is far more authentic to sip from a wooden spoon if you have a white chef’s hat, and a pencil-thin moustache, so we’re working on accenting any existing lip lawn we both already maintain. We are constantly striving for authenticity here in the Such Is Life test kitchen…

Tonight, while MTDG is changing from her work apparel, I intend on testing meatballs, in similar pasta fashion. Do you suppose, are they supposed to stick, or is “bounce” the measuring stick for perfection??

I guess I’ll find out…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am often faced with moral dilemmas. Typically, they centre around finding lost food items in crevasses – like within the cushions of a couch or a chair.

If the item is a piece of chocolate, then it is pretty much a no-brainer. With a bit of dusting off, consumption is inevitable.

The grey areas arise when discovery of something like a potato chip, or unshelled peanut is made. A peanut can occasionally be given the customary dusting, and all is well, but potato chips, well, potato chips seem to attract unwanted lint, hair, and other unrecognizable composites. No matter how much you blow on it, there’s always something that lingers, to foul the enjoyment after you start to chew on it. I am usually 50/50 to go on a potato chip that I find under a couch cushion.

OK, 70/30…

What is YOUR practice, when it comes to found foods? I understand some people simply discard whatever they find under cushions and such, but that seems a bit of a waste to me. I consider these discoveries as hidden treasures, although if I can’t get them sufficiently cleaned, those treasures can taste like you’re licking a cat…

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I suppose you could say I'm simply proud of my work.

I suppose you could say that seeing as how my column has appeared online two weeks in a row, I just wanted to toot my own horn.

Or, I could admit that there is a bit of laziness in plunking down this link:

and saving my still-sleepy brain from having to write about staples, or animals that appear in the dictionary before "aardvark".

At any rate, check out today's newspaper column, a timely and entirely masculine point of (pop culture) view...

Chow for now!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wow! Tuesday the 13th – a day considered completely unlucky by scores of people worldwide.

This is not the day to see a black cat walk across your path – especially a black cat that is being chased by an alligator. An alligator that spots you out of the corner of his eye, and decides that a scrawny little cat probably isn’t worth the effort anyway, if he can successfully grab you by the one bad ankle that’s been bothering you since you missed the last couple of stairs on your front stoop last night, because you were too engrossed in the epic Coldplay song on your i-Pod. At that moment, you will regret the day you decided to quit practicing your high school track-and-field workouts…

Today will also not be the day you want to accidentally walk under a ladder, especially if the ladder is attached to a fire engine, battling a highrise fire, and the firemen happen to drop a piano they have been trying to save from the crackling flames. As the instrument plummets down towards you, you will have the oddest déjà-vu of an Acme safe falling from a cliff in the desert.

I guess if Tuesday the 13th is a superstition of yours, you will not want to spill any slat today. There’s another one of those subliminal typos of mine. I obviously meant to say salt, but is there any reason why spilling slats would be any less unlucky??

Happy Tuesday the 13th – be careful out there today…

Chow for now

Monday, May 12, 2008

5:15 AM

Awoke to a bit of a chill in the home this morning. While it was hot enough yesterday to (finally) shut off the furnace, and crack open a few windows, temperatures plummeted last night, dropping the thermostat reading a full two degrees by the time I crawled out of bed moments ago. Placed warm toast on my lap – feeling slowly returning to my legs…

5:25 AM

Clearly our paper boy works bankers’ hours – where in tarnation is my newspaper?? Is it too much to expect, having something timely and thought-provoking delivered by 4 AM?

5:32 AM

Pretty much given up on ever seeing my paper this morning. Guess I’ll have to try eating my cereal without it. I can always thumb through the Yellow Pages…

5:33 AM

Where in tarnation do we keep the Yellow Pages…

5:47 AM

I had no idea that there were so many metal recyclers in Calgary. And bail bondsmen. I wonder if any of them know Dog The Bounty Hunter??

5:48 AM

Our paperboy must be awakening at the crack of noon today – I remain paperless. If I had a bird, the poor thing would be crossing his legs, waiting for fresh newspaper…

5:55 AM

Mrs. That Dan Guy has offered to drive to the corner store, and pick me up “a frickin’ newspaper”. Sheesh! I’m just wondering what happened to the poor kid – sorry for being concerned about a fellow citizen!

6:01 AM

Hey, I didn’t know the Game Show Network was on this early!! I love these old episodes of Password Plus

I suppose I can always shower tomorrow morning…


Chow for now!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday night Mrs. That Dan Guy and I somehow stumbled into a Calgary casino – I think we were looking for directions, and the facility just happened to be the first place we could find that had a customer service desk…

At any rate, how we arrived there is rather inconsequential. Once we were there, we decided to check the place out, and discovered that they had a concert showroom. The acts that happened to be appearing there that particular evening were Pat Travers, and Sweeney Todd, both successful rock acts back in the Seventies. Sweeney Todd was a Canadian group, if I’m not mistaken.

We weren’t able to stay and take in the shows, but it would have been a nostalgic evening, if we had. Pat Travers had a terrific live album back in the day, with “Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)” repeating frequently on our Winnipeg classic rock station. Great party tune.

Sweeney Todd had a monster hit – “Roxy Roller”, plus the rest of their album was, in my own humble opinion, totally skookum. Back before there was such a thing as “air guitar”, I would “perform” the entire album, in my parent’s basement. If ever there was an indisputable argument for geek lightning bolts, I would have been spectacularly smote in that basement. Acne and a mullet – how was I NOT a babe magnet in my teens???

But I digress….

I did see Sweeney Todd, with original lead vocalist Nick Gilder (remember “Hot Child In The City”??) at the peak of their careers, back in the 70’s. To my credit, I can say with all honesty that I did NOT jump up and perform along with the band, from my seat in the concert hall. It was a great show.

So, it would have been nostalgic to see those aging rockers (most likely looking like chartered accountants now) playing the old songs one more time. But alas, it was just not possible. I’ll have to remember them at the height of their heyday, which is probably how most old rockers would prefer it anyhow.

Trivia Note: Sweeney Todd’s second album featured a replacement lead vocalist for departing Nick Gilder. A young lad named Bryan Adams. With a mullet…

I wonder if I still have that old air guitar in the basement???

Chow for now!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Oh, my achin’ noggin…and it ain't five-malt scotch this time!!


Happy Saturday, feather-deprived peeples.

Ever since I found three eggs on my doorstep a coupla weeks ago, things have gotten a little hairy around here. Especially after they cracked open, spewin’ out these chirpin’ waddlers. Now, I’m rackin’ my ample brains, tryin’ to figure out: a) why me, and b) how do I make these little chirpers shut up for five seconds???


Still tryin’ to work out the kinks on these new additions to the chicken shack. Toilet trainin’ will have to come soon, or I’ll need to find a quick cure for my sleep-walkin’…

And eat! These chirpy tweety birds will eat anythin’ not nailed down! I haven’t bin able to find my shavin’ cream all week, and I hate to think what those sudsy bubbles are, that float by every now and then. The chicks play dumb, and it don’t seem to be much of a stretch…


So, after breakfast, I would normally jog for an hour, and then read some classic Dickens. Now, I’ll hafta pass on that, and run around with my little shovel and pail. I guess I could just pop the little cluckers outside. They could always huddle under the overhang – or tunnel to freedom. Or meet a coyote…


Aw, crap! The one with a funny complexion just fell of the kitchen counter. Shoulda at least covered the basics of wing-flappin’ before I brought them up there… Hope he didn’t bend his beak…


I need a beer. It’s five o’clock somewhere!!

Cluck for now!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

It is often said that it can snow in literally every single month, in Calgary. We are becoming increasingly aware of that phenomenon. Just last week, we were in our short-pant bib overalls, and flip-flops. Our freckles were caressed by country sunshine.

Today, we are shaking mothballs out of the pockets of our parkas, and lubricating our rubber boots – a blanket of 10-20 centimetres of heavy, wet snow greeted us this morning.

We did sort-of presume that scenario might be a possible option for our morning routine, as we drove home last night in a driving blizzard of hail, snow and rain. I almost felt guilty about sending Mrs. That Dan Guy in to pick up our pizza, before we pulled into the safety and comfort of our garage…I would have run in myself, but my bald patches are very sensitive to excessive moisture…

At any rate, we settled in once we arrived back home, and watched the storm rage from our front window – disheartened that our pool boy would be facing yet another week or two of unpaid leave. What are the odds it would snow (in freakin’ May) like an exploding corn flake factory, just after we bought a brand-new set of bocce balls?? Life can be so cruel…

Well, I had better go clear the driveway. I see the footsteps in the snow only make it part-way to the house, so I expect to find our newspaper delivery lad out there somewhere…

Chow for now!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quite often lately, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I have to leave extra-early Thursday mornings. So rather than leave this space blank until much later in the day, I will offer you the opportunity this morning to read this week’s newspaper column – posted online:

This week’s piece – my epic stand-off with….a seagull!

Chow for now!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

They say that no two snowflakes are alike, but I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to find many identical potatoes either. Or meatballs, unless they’ve come out of some sort of meatball factory. A good, homemade meatball will bear minimal resemblance to its neighbour, in a steaming pot of spaghetti sauce.

Where was I going with this? Probably nowhere, but now that I’ve squandered my opening, how about those Pennsylvania hockey teams – two of them no less –still standing in the NHL playoffs. I wish I could have seen a Flyers game while we were in Philly last year, but it was summertime, and aside from NHL playoff games, there’s just not enough ice left over in rinks to be playing a lot of hockey.

Or snowflakes, for that matter. Even if there had been snowflakes, statistically speaking, none would have been identical.

And now I’ve just realized that there’s one more thing to add to my “every-one-is-different” list: hockey players.

Although, I have to assume that the same thing could be said about basketball players, jockeys, and professional landscapers.

And lawyers, accountants, plus even Las Vegas magicians. And rodeo cowboys.

Sheesh – even the actors that play Ronald McDonald on TV commercials don’t look all that similar to each other, aside from the red hair and clothing.

I think I’ve just turned my world upside down…

Chow for now!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What would life be like, if you were an earthworm?

For one thing, you’d have no eyeballs, so you’d save a fortune on glasses and contact lenses.

And, you’d get to spend your entire day naked. That would save some money on clothing, and from just one resident in the Such Is Life household alone, the shoe industry would be crippled.

You would have to develop sharp senses, especially for early birds. The majority of your life would be spent living underground, but you would get to come up for air whenever it rained. And, everyone once in a while, you might find a human that would invite you to go on a fishing trip.

Al Gore might even take you to dinner, as a reward for helping compost household…stuff. I think dinner with Al Gore would be informative, but could drag on.

As an earthworm, you could pretend to be a shoelace, a thread of pink straw, or a length of slimy, ribbed yarn. How versatile is that?

The humble, yet interesting life of an earthworm…

Chow for now!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I think I may have made a pretty good Viking, back in the day. Assuming I had been born back when Vikings were roaming the high seas, and often off visiting far-away lands.

OK, so technically they didn’t “visit”, so much as pillage. But they did still get to travel quite a bit, and both Mrs. That Dan Guy and I enjoy our travelling. And, we also enjoy cruises, so as I said before, I think I would have been a reasonably good fit in the Viking culture.

Although, I’ve never been much of a hat guy – I can’t even pull off a baseball cap all that well. Not sure how a hat with two big horns would look like on my head. We do now own about 4 cowboy hats each, what with the western lifestyle so predominant here. Those are hit-and-miss at best, although the white one does make me look a bit like famed TV rancher Lorne Greene. Yee-haw…

I guess I might have some trouble pulling off the big hairy beard so many Vikings are famous for. MTDG essentially refuses to allow me to grow a beard, even during NHL playoffs (which between you and me, is likely the primary reason the Flames are golfing now – just sayin’…).

And I’m not so sure I’d be all that comfortable wearing animal skins – I get a rash from cotton, for Pete’s sake! You don’t think “polyester” too often, when you visualize a rugged Viking at the stern of his ship. Or maybe that’s the bow - although "bow" certainly doesn’t sound all that masculine.

Ah, myself, I’d be down inside the ship somewhere, enjoying a Pina Colada. I have to watch how much sun I get…

Chow for now!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Sunday Morning “Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway” Concert Review – Anne Murray

(or, Why I Will Never Be A Professional Concert Reviewer…)

Of all the small, medium, and big-name Canadian artists we have seen over the years, the one that we just never seemed to add to our collection was “Canada’s Sweetheart”, Anne Murray.

Or maybe she’s “Canada’s Songbird” – I can never seem to get that right. At any rate, she’s a Canadian icon, on the international stage. The point is, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I finally ended that musical omission, last night.

You know, I may have said this before, but it bears repeating – the older we get, the more often we are likely to see concerts with full orchestras, and visual career retrospectives. Anne Murray was no exception. Her concert opened with photos and film footage from her many decades of performing, and the superstars she has come to know over those years. Personally, we are suckers for that sort of thing – we love it.

At any rate, bolstered by the 12-piece Calgary Strings, Anne Murray, hit the stage, and had the crowd pinched by their rosy cheeks for the entire evening. Hit after hit after hit, she was dazzling. That’s right, I said dazzling. She dazzled. A rich, and occasionally raspy voice, with the graceful stage presence garnered over many moons on the road. The lady knows how to work a room…

She peppered the show throughout with her bang-on self-depracating humour (“someone shoot the old broad”), even taking time to read e-mails she’s received. It is amazing what people feel they can say to an international star…

A particular highlight was an “unplugged” segment – Anne, two other guitarists, and a back-up singer – singing versions of her hits, and even some maritime ditties. Hey, she’s from the Maritimes. This is the point in the show where she did “Snowbird”, which even if she hadn’t had umpteen dozen other hit singles, would have kept her in guitar strings for a heck of a long time. Heck, even Elvis recorded that song! Elvis freakin’ Presley!

(Actually, Elvis always did pretty good by Canadians – he recorded songs by Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, and Buffy Saint Marie, just off the top of my head…)

During the unplugged set, Calgary’s very own Jann Arden strolled onstage, to sing along with “Canada’s Songbird” on her track from Anne’s latest cd, Duets (while a very good album, I always get a bit nervous for performers who record these compilations. Sinatra didn’t last too long after he recorded his famous duets sessions, and Ray Charles didn’t have a birthday party after his Genius Loves Company album. Just sayin’…).

That performance was a crowd favourite.

Another highlight – Dawn Langstroth, otherwise known as Anne’s daughter. She sang a song that was so good, we wanted to stick around after the show and pick up her CD, just for that self-penned number. But the line-up was just too long, and at our age, we need to be in bed by a reasonable hour. So, we left. We’ll have to track it down later…

I could go on and on, but I already have. Pianist Michael Kaeshammer opened the show, looking a bit like a young Tom Hanks, but bringing the spirit of a seasoned Victor Borge to the concert. He also was well worth the price of admission.

All-in-all, one of the better shows we’ve seen. And as some of you know, we've see a lot.

This is billed as the "One Last Time" tour. If we're lucky, this is about as final as Cher's current retirement run...

Chow for now!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Greetings, my giant-sized mammally friends! Cornelius here, keeping a low profile around the house this week. Charlie is…umm…how shall I say…a bit out of sorts this past week. It would appear that, as we chickens say, something came home to roost last weekend.


All I know for sure is that there has been an awful lot of high-pitched chirping around here, and I’ve seen several bowls of Rice Krispies heading down to the basement. I’ve been a little reluctant to sneak a peek, myself…


I should have probably at least come out of hiding for tax season, as I do need to file a return for my small business. I have a successful line of organic feather moisturizers, distributed across most of North America. I am not just another pretty face!


When I have spotted Charlie wandering the halls of our home, he has had a glazed expression on his countenance. His mind is certainly otherwise occupied. I’m not so sure he’d be happy to know I’m sharing this piece of information, but he has even been seen once or two days in a row - without having shaved! He must be under increased pressure from something. He does lead a rather active life…


Well, almost breakfast time, so I had better crawl out of here, and see if the coast is clear. I need some pig strips.

Have a nice day!

Your eternal pal, Cornelius

Friday, May 02, 2008

Today is grocery shopping day, one of the household duties I have assumed. Well, technically, I’ve always done it, but for the purposes of general griping or poking fun about it, let’s just say that I have “taken on the burden”…

I don’t know how often you folks shop for groceries, but this is a process that your parents probably wouldn’t even recognize.

First off, you arrive at the grocery store, and leave your car with a friendly attendant, for the scheduled 5000 KM oil change.

Entering the store itself, a kindly old gentleman wearing a hat from another era greets you, and hands you a newspaper, which you will peruse as you wait in line at Starbucks, for your shopping latte.

Coffee in hand, you will now pick a shopping cart, which features a perfectly-sized coffee cup holder. If you haven’t brought along your butler, you will need to refer to your own grocery list.

At the entrance to the first food aisle, a celebrity chef is offering samples fresh from the grill– today: Bison Tartar, with crab-apple baked potatoes. You will spend about 20 minutes noshing on this fare, and chatting with fellow shoppers about how the current coach of the Calgary Flames needs to be shipped off to bolster the front line troops, somewhere in Baghdad…

Once you’ve visited the Starbucks' customer washroom to brush, rinse, and floss, you choose to start shopping in the SECOND aisle, to avoid a second helping of bison.

The list this week is rather simple: bread, milk eggs, and an outdoor patio furniture set with 20’ umbrella. Sadly, the store simply features a Forest Green model in stock, and your wife had her heart set on Burnt Umbra. A quick visit to the Fabric Staining Department confirms that the dye application won’t run, even after hours out in the hot sun, so you ask a stock boy to take the furniture set out to your car.

A quick jaunt through the checkout, and your car is waiting, freshly lubed, and ready to go. You truly have to love the modern grocery experience!

Chow for now!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You know, a person can use a computer every day of the week, and lose sight of just how miraculous these thing-a-ma-jiggies are...

For example, I’m composing this document today on a word processor. This program is so efficient, you can’t even see where the little printer is, that projects the ink onto the page inside the computer screen. I don’t even want to consider that the travelling, skinny little cursor may be the brains behind THAT operation!

Speaking of the computer screen, it is miraculous to me that the floodlights that illuminate the screen, are nowhere to be seen. And such a nice, even light they provide, for the entire screen! Now why can’t I find a light that works that well in the bathroom???

Another thing that keeps me in awe – pictures that can magically appear as a slide show, without a projector! I’ve had to develop slides in the past, and place them into a revolving carousel, so I cannot even begin to imagine how that is done inside a thin little laptop. If Merlin the magician were still alive, he would think my computer was haunted by demons…

With the Windows Vista operating system, I’m not so sure it isn’t…

Chow for now!!