The ApplianceMobile?

I like to be innovative. Some people see the glass half empty – I see the glass half full. One door closes, another one opens. Let’s talk about books. With the rise of e-readers and tablets, some day in the future we will all shake our heads in wonder that we ever wasted trees by turning them into books.

The death of books will mean that the bookmobile will be put up on blocks. But I am going to give the lending library book mobile a new lease on life by rejigging it and rebranding it. The musty tomes by Sandra Brown and Shakespeare are out and bag sealers and dehydrators are in.

That’s right – now finally you can borrow that bread maker instead of being held hostage by it for the rest of your life. You only use it once a year and it seems to take up half the real estate in your lower cupboard. Why own it when you can “rent it for free” through your local public library (We now carry appliances!).

Appliances come in non-uniform, unwieldy sizes and tend to be a tad larger than books – hence the need for the ApplianceMobile. It would drive through your neighborhood once a week at a designated time and you could rush out and return the coffee grinder that you got last week and take out the meat slicer as this is “prosciutto week” at your house.

Not only can you borrow, but you can also donate. Wedding gifts such as professional meat grinders, waffle makers and egg poachers will all get a new lease on life as they wend their way through town in the ApplianceMobile! Think of how happy some home cook will be when your unloved backyard smoker rolls up and makes their dream of wood smoked chicken a reality.

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Bread before our meal – are we all insane?

You know the drill. It’s 7 on Friday night. Six of you are out for dinner, the wine has arrived and your waiter has just plunked down an assortment of bread, buns and butter onto your table.

Pumpernickel buns. Some kind of herby, whipped butter. A perfectly nice but pedestrian crusty whitebread. Why do we dive on it like a pack of ravenous dogs?

Sure, sure – we haven’t eaten since noon. And yes, we need to soak up the booze we are drinking. But I think it goes deeper than that.

It’s free. Free is good. Free is a bonus. No matter that free includes carbohydrates we wouldn’t normally consider eating and free makes us full before the scallops that we were really looking excited about eating, arrive.

Personally, I never “fill up on buns”. That said, for complete disclosure purposes, put tortilla chips and salsa in front of me and 30 seconds later and I am asking for more.

From a restaurants point of view I don’t understand it. We’re all full so no dessert. Or do free buns and addictively delicious butter mask the over priced middling fare provided? Do the carbs go to our heads? Will white flour stupor prevent us from giving 2 and half star reviews on Yelp?

Or maybe the bread/buns/butter is merely a diversion? While we are all happily chewing, in the kitchen the staff are screaming “we have more customers – again” and then run around crazily flapping their arms. They need those bread munching minutes to get their heads back in the game?

I’m going to throw this thought out there. While the whole “crazy in the kitchen” thing is going on, instead of sedating us with sugar’s evil cousin carbs, why not give us something else to do? Divert us with something like food related jumbles or crosswords? Fine dining Keno? Beaujolais bingo?

Just stop making us fill up on buns.

An 8 Point Treatise Why Newspapers Shouldn’t Die

There is much to-do online about the death of the newspaper. Apparently “online” is the new “print” and any day now, newspapers as we know them, will disappear off the face of the earth.

Should we let the trees win? I say nay. Nay I say! I have compiled 8 salient points as to why we should fight tooth and nail against the demise of our beloved hand blackening, daily reading material.

1. Fires. No one who has taken two hours to cook bacon over a campfire will doubt the need of a good fire. When camping, the last thing you are looking for is kindling, dry wood or handfuls of not very damp leaves. No, for the most part you are searching for the last beer in the cooler or your car keys so you can go back into town to buy more beer. When evening rolls around and you can officially move your beer drinking from early afternoon imbibing to night time piss-tank-ery, you are going to need a fire. The bigger the better actually. You need to attract the neighbours who probably have more beer than you do. Newspaper is a lifesaver in this instance. Your pitiful attempts at firewood collecting will go unnoticed when you keep your flame going with artfully twisted newspaper. The Sunday Supplement will add some colourful bursts to an already cheery blaze.

2. Moving. Your precious objects are breakable and when you move you need to protect them from ham fisted moving men who delight in nothing more than dropping boxes and shattering object d’art. Newspapers fit lovingly around most things, be they round or square and they temper the jostling that occurs when being driven to and/or fro. Be warned though, there is a rumour that the Crockery Cartel is in cahoots with the trees to eliminate newspapers. You heard it here first.

3. Riots. As any good bandwagon jumper knows, sports playoffs bring that magical event known as a riot. Your team wins – it’s an excellent opportunity to flip over police cars and steal reasonably priced ink-jet printers. You can also jump atop your nearest newspaper box and wave the pennant of your team in the face of supporters of the losers. Or wave about a burning effigy of the opposing teams’ most famous player. Height = good during a riot and your trusty newspaper box is there to make you taller and thereby “better” than your fellow revelers. It is also an excellent position from which to have your photo snapped for the local paper as an example of “what’s wrong with this country”.

4. Wind Storms. You go to bed at night and have fitful dreams only to wake up in the morning to see that there has been a wind storm which explains why you dreamt about flying monkeys, flying cows and funnel shaped objects. Your indication of a windstorm? The newspaper is scattered on your front lawn, the sidewalk and stuck in your neighbours’ privet hedge where it will remain for 6 months as your neighbour Gary is a lazy S.O.B. What other signs of a windstorm could there be? Litter strewn about? Fallen branches? They appeared via childish pranks that happen to coincide with the windstorm.

5. Paper Mache. The art of gluing newspaper strips over a balloon to make it into a mask or a bunny rabbit is used universally by teachers to avoid actually teaching any real world skills to children 10 and under. It’s also cheap and covers up the fact that cash strapped schools no longer have music, chemistry and geography classes. Busy, gluey children have less time to analyze their matriculation options. Should newspapers disappear, it is unlikely that paper mache would continue as everyone knows the prices for quality tissue paper and gauze without holes have hit all time highs. God help us if the International Chicken Wire Consortium (ICWC) is successful in bringing down the balloon industry. Will no one think of the children???

6. New Store Opening. The restaurant on the corner has gone bust. But you know that something new is going in as its windows are covered by that most tantalizing of visual minxes – the newspaper. Why someone would open another new restaurant in that location is beyond you as this makes the 3rd, no 4th, restaurant in that space in as many years. This time it may be different, if that glimpse through the rip in the paper 3 feet left of the door is any indication. If they’d left the windows bare and you could see them retrofitting the bathrooms or fishing the rat out of the refurbished deep fryer, you might not be so keen. But their jauntily papered over windows tells you that this time, it’s a winner.

7. Dishwasher overflow. Your spouse is a lovely person and very smart if that PHD at the end of their name is any indication. You continue to be baffled why they cannot tell the difference between dish soap and dishwasher detergent. As the water pours out onto the floor yet again and the seemingly endless parade of bubbles begins to take over your kitchen, you consider divorce. Newspapers to the rescue. As they literally sop up the water, they figuratively absorb all the negative energy you were shooting at your life partner. Can towels do that? Don’t make me laugh.

8. The Bus. Too often on the bus you are sitting opposite someone else. As you look out the window you may inadvertently make eye contact with that person or look at their crotch. Or look at their crotch and then make eye contact. Whatever the scenario, it’s all bad. The newspaper is the balm that soothes an otherwise irritating bus ride that is fraught with inadvertent and advertent eye and crotch contact. You can hide behind the newspaper and immerse yourself in celebrity gossip, horoscopes and the adverts for Lasik eye surgery and arrive at the office refreshed and ready to tackle your day.

So there you have it. 8 good reasons to lobby all of your local and federal politicians to keep the newspaper alive.

The names have been changed for quality control purposes

When I write my autobiography I want it to read something like this:

Chopper said “we’re road tripping to Denver”. Zee Zee and Simone pouted.

At the moment, it reads more like this:

Dale said “let’s take the ferry to the island”. Laura and Natalie couldn’t go as they’d used all their vacation time and had to work the next day.

It’s a snooze fest. Clearly, if my friends would change their names to something cooler, my life would be way more interesting, as would they.

It could be “Ace drove an old school 70’s Mercedes” instead of “Scott didn’t like heights”. Or “Pixi had a huge tramp stamp that she enjoyed flashing during yoga class” rather than “Julie rode her bike to work every day”.

Chopper, Ace, Pixi, Zee Zee and Simone are badasses with trust funds that have daily adventures.

They’re not middle class wage slaves who are excited by new Merrell walking shoes.

Chopper lived in a refurbed Airstream trailer that he parked in Coco’s driveway. She put up with his shit because he made her laugh with pronouncements like “you do know that Ace has one very, hairy ball?”

Get with the program people and give me something to work with. If you won’t change your name then at least get a handle like “One Eyed Ryan” or “Crazy Jill”. That’s autobiographical gold.

Update: My friend Harriet Funky P took umbrage with the comment that none of my friends have cool names as she clearly does. Dear H.F.P, I stand corrected.

Why an affair with James Dyson is Win Win

Oh James Dyson, you silver haired fox. You know you have the ladies in the palm of your hand .

You glide into the room atop one of your wonder “hoovers” and the panties begin to drop. Who wouldn’t want to have a torrid one night stand with you? You who made domestic drudgery a pleasure. You who made drying ones hands in the movie theatre bathroom fast, and slightly creepy.

Ladies, forget other lesser know celebrities like Johnny Depp or Yul Brynner. What will you get from them at the end of your evening? A passionate kiss and fond memories? Maybe an autographed boob?

With James you get a parting gift you’ll never forget. Want a vacuum that can suck up the hair from your Golden Retriever? James has you covered. Want a fan that you can stick your head through? James has just pulled one out of his carry-on bag.

What does James get out of all of this? Why does his wife continue to turn a blind eye to his philandering and depleting warehouse stock?

Inspiration. James wants you to talk in bed. James likes you to talk dirty. James will use your ideas and never have to pay you a penny in royalties.

You say “bedbugs” and he mentally checks into his lab where he applies suction at the baseboard level to those pests. You say “bathtub ring” and he’s away with the fairies devising a new composite that whisks away dirt at the molecular level and sprays it into your neighbour’s yard.

You win. James wins and ultimately the rest of the world wins. In fact, let’s say it’s your civic duty to hump James Dyson. I know I will.

Birthdays – they could be a lot better

Birthdays – you know drill. Every year it’s the same old, same old. Maybe dinner out with friends. Maybe a movie with your significant other. The older you get the less gifts you get (and that just sucks).

In my bizarro world (where cats drive), birthdays just got a whole lot funner.

First, you would have the superpower of your choice for that day – no nuclear power accident needed. One year it might be flying, the next invisibility, x-ray vision the next year.

Oh sure – you can repeat them year after year if you want or you can branch out into the more “exotic” superpowers – flameball for hair, ability to use any banana as a phone, shape shift into a hedge. You’ve got 80 to 100 years of birthdays – you can do everything!

Second, you get to sleep with somebody you have a crush on. It’s a get out jail free bonk because your significant other has the same right as well. It will be awesome and you and your bonkee will both enjoy it.

It cannot be George Clooney because the poor man will never get any sleep or make another movie. It has to be someone local to you that you have a legitimate fondness for and would like to see in their underpants/no pants.

Choosing in both of these categories will occupy your time endlessly from one year to the next. Think about how thrilled you’ll be when you get another year older. “I’m 44 motherfuckers!” you’ll shout to all and sundry as you walk through walls.

There may be a few drawbacks in large populated cities – excessive people flying by, your prospective partner “busy” with another – but all in all it will be a nice step up from ironic Chucky Cheese “parties” or your last birthday that was on a Wednesday that was really rainy and no one wanted to leave the house to celebrate.

Preparedness

It has come to my attention recently that we are all ill prepared to be strangled on the bus.

You know what you’re like on the bus – you’re gazing out the window thinking about what to have for dinner or staring at some random woman trying to decide if she’s fat or pregnant. Can you honestly say that when a vice like grip is applied to your throat (in these instances) that you would be able to fend off an attack? I think not.

No – it’s more likely that you would make bulgy eyes at your seat mate who is studiously ignoring you and the commotion you’re causing and by the time someone else figured out that you are being strangled, you’d be a goner.

A little extra care and vigilance can help mitigate the risk around bus strangulation. Always sit at the very back. No one can grab your neck from behind, and you have many minutes to assess who has “man hands” as they come down the aisle towards you.

Consider wearing an Elizabethan neck ruff – with extra starch. Or a spiked dog collar. Something that makes you a less tempting victim – sort of like “The Club” that deters people from taking a hack saw to your steering wheel.

We could also say that the best defense is a good offense. You could have a quick choke of the person opposite you to send a message to potential stranglers that you are “not to be messed with” or you “own these mother f*%king necks”.