The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

April 29, 2007

Hormone Hair Hell (how my teenaged son lost his tiny mind over a girl)


Son starts homework later than promised on Sunday, watches TV, talks about how he might do something later, watches TV, plays computer games, watches TV.

He can go over at 2:30 p.m. and spend some hours with her after not seeing her all weekend. He's walking on air, instructing dad how teenagers work the women nowadays, details his plans for amour.

In a manner of speaking, of course.
Then plans start to go awry.
1:35 p.m.: Son realizes his favourite shirt he's been wearing all weekend stinks. Asks if it can be washed and will it be dry for planned departure time by bike at 2:30 p.m. Dad says he'll try.
1:40 p.m.: Son hops into shower.
1:50 p.m.: Son leaves towels all over the place, as previously instructed not to. Gets hell from dad.
1:52 p.m.: Son asks if shirt is ready yet. Receives evil eye from dad that always means "That's a stupid question." Does not take news that shirt is still in washer very well. Dad snickers.
1:58 p.m.: Son dries hair somewhat with newly purchased hair dryer, which he (alert the media) actually likes.
1:59 p.m.: Son applies newly purchased mousse to new hairdo, tries to fix hair in steamed up mirror. Panic starts to REALLY set in. Hair is "too puffy," son says. Dad laughs.
2:02 p.m.: Son asks if shirt ready yet. Dad says he'll put it in dryer now but can't promise anything. Son harumphs.
2:03 p.m.: Son starts falling apart.
Now that he's a full-blown 15-year-old singer in a rock n' roll band of no repute and is on his third girlfriend, he's decided to drive his dad nuts (and himself crazy) with a new doo...
2:35 p.m.: Son is whining about his hair, has wet it several more times, has been lectured by dad that girlfriend won't even notice difference and his hair will be blown all over during bike ride anyway.
2:40 p.m.: Son has now cleaned up room, packed things for dad to take to his place later. Son quietly admits he forgot to use sister's hair straightener on particularly crucial lick of hair.
2:43 p.m.: Dad removes son's favourite shirt from dryer, hands it to him. He puts it on. His hair has been repaired. His shirt is dry. The sky has not fallen. He allows me to take pictures.
Isn't he just the happy camper now? And all for a girl...wonder how that happens...

April 28, 2007

Spring cleaning for the single male


I know this, because I am a single male, at least currently, sort of, in body. And so as spring gets sprung, I must pay heed to my hormonal seasonal requirement to throw out the old and bring in the new.

Or something like that.

Besides, my lease is due and I have to take stock of my surroundings and find whatever dead bodies are around, what repairs need to be made, what I'm going to insist they fix.

Before I sign on the bottom line for yet another unsubstantiated increase in rent.

So I am not going to show you the dark space behind my washer-dryer, behind my fridge, behind my couch, behind whatever I own, that may be harboring dead creatures or decaying food.

No, my focus is on my dreaded storage room, which houses my water heater, my tools that I have not had any reason to use since I've been in this apartment, and the dreaded "space."

That is, the "space" that is the "crawlspace," that is the hatch that I have not lifted for months, save for perhaps the time that I threw my goofy son's body in there after yet another failed test at school.

There is no point showing you the moribund spring cleaning that I go through...the sweeping of the kitchen floor, the wiping of the toilet, and other such things that I do once or twice a year.

No, to be precise, my main focus is on the trap door in my storage room, that crawl space that I hear sounds coming from all winter. It's a space I can never really be sure I haven't thrown my son into.

But, according to the following pictures taken today, I haven't. Or at least there are no bones there to reveal that I have. Which is a good thing.

Above, the trap door.

Above, the cluttered storage room it's in...

Below, the trap door is lifted...pretty boring, just a bunch of sand, mostly....

I took pictures in all directions...I see no dead bodies of sons or Homo Escapeons or other bad things...although this pic directly below, with a spider web, is least a sign of life...

As you can see, it's pretty what am I going to complain about now? The sticking bedroom door, I suppose, or the noisy air conditioner, or the lousy snow-clearing following a winter storm.
But that all seems so far away now. No, damn it, I'm just going to sign the lease and stay here one more year. And wonder what ugly things are hiding behind the fridge, the couch, the know.
Next: Spring fashions for the single male

April 25, 2007

Taking a Flyer


Because the flyers I receive in my mailbox every day, well, that's what they purport to do, right?

A real estate agent is going to sell your house in 10 minutes. A car dealership is going to give you a car for $0 down and $0 per month for the rest of your life.

We're in the middle of a provincial election campaign now, so the political candidates are promising to put more money into health, crime-fighting and fixing roads.


Recently, I was going to save my life simply by turning to some religious nut-case guy, based on this flyer I received. Unfortunately, it turned out I had to work that weekend.

So I could not save my life that weekend.

So in the meantime, I've been going to the grocery store checking out cantaloupes and the like, waiting for another life-saving opportunity to come knocking.
And, of course, it has.

So this weekend, I'm off to become the next "Rich Dad." I'm off to fast-track my life and become so filthy rich that I can hire someone to blog for me.
If you never hear from me again, it's because I've bought a yacht and am now living somewhere off the Bahamas. And my life, magically, will have been truly saved.
All because I took a flyer.

April 23, 2007



After several invites for supper over to the palatial abode of Mr. and Mrs. Homely Escapeons in the past several months, I finally accepted Sunday out of fear of death...or worse.

I go every once in a while at Mrs. Escapeons' insistence, if only to get a chance to hug her closely and to get a kiss, and to be jumped on by resident off-spring Ridley, a holy terror.

And to laugh and joke, of course, with the father and den mother of the household, Homely Escapeons himself, who I see every week or every other week at my place.

Mrs. Escapeons, looking resplendent on a cool but otherwise fine spring day and with recently transformed red hair (she's hot whatever colour, but forget I said that), accepted my hug.

And then she gave me hell for not being at their place since January 1.

She was later proven wrong, because I WAS at their place for a get-together with fellow bloggers Brian the Mennonite, Joyce of the Chronicles of Blunderview and Rey in February.

Still, I had not visited nearly as soon or as often as I should have. I must have been full of gas or something.

And that is a suitable segue into what occurred there over at least part of my several hours there on Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Homely Escapeons have a lovely young son, Ridley, who I am very proud to say calls me Uncle Chris.

He is the apple of Mrs. Escapeons' eye, and he and I kid all the time. I would be tempted to say he spits in Mr. Escapeons' eye, but that would be a falsehood.

He's a beautiful child and Mr. Escapeons is a fantastic father, as much as Mrs. Escapeons is every child's dream as a mother.

This is THE poster for a beautiful family, sincerely. Two unbelievable parents nurturing a strong young boy, and three other lovely kids in the picture.

You can only imagine.

But back to Sunday.

When it comes to kids and kidding and young boys and old boys who can't get over it and love that they refuse to grow up, what could be more fun than this?

Note the printing on Ridley's shirt.

Note Ridley putting some character hero, found in the garden after a long winter, being the first of several inanimate objects to test out the new toy.

First, I need to say that it was Mrs. Escapeons, not Mr., who broke down and bought this product for Ridley at the local store after scores of shoppers laughed as he laughed playing with it.

(Allie Baby, this one's on you)

OK, that revelation is out there.

Having said that, I had to focus on this because Mr. Escapeons did not want me to report that he spent the entire day drilling millions of holes in his deck to relieve the moisture within.

Anyway, the grape salad, the cheeseburgers, the barbecued farmer's sausage -- they were all fantastic.

Of course the Escapeons' only had Coke, instead of Pepsi, for my rye, but I can take it.

Still, here's a glimpse at parts of the rest of the afternoon...and if you've never had fun with a Whoopee Cushion, then a pox on you and go out and buy one and inject some fun into your life.

Ridley, like any normal young boy who has heard his own fart and laughed hysterically, poses for a picture of him having the power of all powers: the ability to make a similar sound on his own!

Homo Escapeons, who is not nearly as much a fan of bodily function sounds as Ridley or I are, but with his stupid eye protection glasses still on from drilling millions of unnecessary holes in his deck that he refused to let me blog about, plays along...kind of.

Almost, that is, as Ridley forces him to sit on the cushion. Ridley and I laugh. HE ponders his wasted day and sore back, or something.

However, I thought it was a little unfair when Ally Baby brought out some chips, a gigantic rye and COKE, grabbed my point-and-shoot camera and photographed me with my mouth full of chips.

Then, being the best buds for life that we are, soul brothers and saviours of the world and all that, me and Mr. Escapeons exchanged our lifelong show of respect for each other before supper.

April 21, 2007

A Lost Leader

Actually, there are funny stories in the newspaper EVERY week about our prime minister (Oh, it pains me to call him that), but this one was VERY, VERY funny.
Our PM's name is Stephen Harper, but you can call him Stevie. He's from Canada's Wild West, Alberta, and that picture of him above relates to this week's story.
Turns out Stevie, the most conservative of Canadian prime ministers since Brian Mulroney sang When Irish Eyes are Smiling with Ronald Reagan in 1984 or whenever, can't dress himself.
Stevie refuses to go anywhere, a story this week said, without a fashion consultant from Toronto who picks out all his clothes in an effort to improve his public image and appearance.

This from a George W. Bush waterboy/lapdog who is trying to make us as American as can be, even as he struggles with a minority government that's in power only because of Liberal Party scandals.
Harper is from Calgary, which is Alberta's bible belt and, yes, it has similarities to Dubya's Texas -- oil-rich, right-wing, religious fervor and full of hot air. It's a beautiful place, I was born there.
But this guy's a classic. He's trampled on the concept of government openess and disclosure, is Bush's mini-me on the Iraq war and Afghanistan and is the Prince of the Photo Op.
So here is a pictorial essay of our man who would be prime minister...a portrait of one of the world's truly great lost leaders...

April 19, 2007

The Lunatic Fringe

I tried, I really tried, to come up with a positive post, a titillating tale, a humorous homily, to get off the gun control and wild wacko issues in the wake of V-Tech.

I could not. I played football with myself last night...does that count? Nope, but getting outside and running around a bit helped.

Used to do that as a kid. Made me feel, for an hour or so, like a kid again, running on a grass field, kicking a ball around, taking in the early evening sun.

Revelling in being alive.


1. Parts of someone's body found in plastic bags inside SUV in Montreal. Fleeing man arrested.
2. Teen male pleads guilty in Alberta in horrific animal abuse case.
3. Hundreds of Iraqis killed in religious fighting; story virtually ignored because of V-Tech killings.
4. South Korean in V-Tech killings committed to mental institution in 2005 as danger to himself and others; released, able to buy guns, kills 32 people.
5. Mentally ill child molester escapes custody while taken out with other mental patients to Toronto Blue Jays game, still at large.

A few details on some of the above:

DIDSBURY -- A 17-year-old Alberta youth pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty in a horrific case of abuse that made national headlines.

A Lab-border collie cross named Daisy Duke was found barely alive and had to be euthanized by a veterinarian in October 2006.

The dog had been dragged behind a car with a rope around her neck, a bag over her head and all four legs bound. She suffered injuries including a broken neck, back and pelvis.

Tamara Chaney, an outraged animal lover in Didsbury, collected 110,000 signatures from across Canada on a petition calling for new legislation on animal abuse. The petition was later presented to Parliament.

Sentencing arguments for the youth's conviction on the animal cruelty charge will be heard May 10, the same day that a second charge against the youth of causing death or injury to an animal will be dealt with.

Current laws allow for a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine for a conviction under animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code.


From Patti Jacobs, a junior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., saddened by the shootings at V-Tech, was alarmed when she also came across Web pages that included hateful, sometimes racist remarks toward shooter Cho Seung-Hui, other Asians and his family.

"This is not about just one guy and his problems," Jacobs wrote. "Yes - he alone is accountable for all the damage and pain caused yesterday - but the reason for this was not his race, his child-rearing by his family or his girlfriend breaking up with him....

"How much of our society is accountable as well?"


Then today, this guy:

Patient who molested young girls at large

A schizophrenic mental-health patient being detained indefinitely for sexually molesting two young Toronto girls six years ago is on the loose after slipping away from his escorts at a Rogers Centre baseball game Tuesday night.

Police issued a public alert for 31-year-old Mylvaganam Vaasuhan, an illegal immigrant and diagnosed pedophile, and voiced concern that without his medication, which he does not have, the fugitive could pose a threat, particularly to children.

Officials at the Whitby Mental Health Centre, where Vaasuhan has been a patient for the past four years, issued a five-paragraph statement saying that Toronto police were alerted "within minutes" of Vaasuhan disappearing.

In 2002, Vaasuhan was found not guilty of sexual assault on grounds of diminished mental capacity and has been held at the centre since 2003, most recently in a minimum-security ward.

He vanished while on a day trip to the Rogers Centre, where the Toronto Blue Jays were playing the Boston Red Sox. Thirteen patients were under the supervision of five staff.

A citizen of Sri Lanka, Vaasuhan is held under authority of the Ontario Review Board, an independent tribunal that oversees all individuals in the province found unfit for trial or not criminally responsible for a crime.

Every person under its jurisdiction is assessed annually. In March of last year, the board concluded that Vaasuhan remains in denial about his past and poses "a significant threat to the safety of the public."

Vaasuhan came to Canada early in 2001 but has "no status" in this country, Immigration Canada told the review board.

His detention stems from an incident in May of that year when he accosted two girls, 8 and 5, at a Toronto playground. He took them both by the hand, hugged them, kissed the younger girl and tried to kiss the other.

He then told them he wanted them to visit what is described in the review board documents as "his dungeon." The older girl's father, however, intervened and chased Vaasuhan away.

Two days later, the children spotted him nearby and he was arrested and charged with sexual assault. In January, 2002, he was found not criminally responsible for his actions and was placed in the sprawling Whitby centre in March 2003.

With a staff of close to 1,000 and an annual budget of about $88-million, the centre dispenses a wide range of psychiatric expertise, and Vaasuhan's prognosis did not appear good.

"Upon admission he presented as aggressive, threatening and unpredictable, especially toward female staff," the board found.

"He is reported to have displayed sexually aggressive behaviours, including grabbing a female staff's breast and groin area. He masturbated openly in the presence of other patients almost every day during the initial two weeks."


There are joyous stories around...

In Winnipeg, an 89-year-old woman whose scooter overturned while she was crossing railway tracks was pulled from the path of an oncoming train by a female hero who was injured herself.

But otherwise, it's mostly been a day of UGH...

April 17, 2007

I'm Just Askin'...


I'm no different. And the main question is "Why?"

It's a question that can never be directly and completely answered, no matter how many CNN Situation Room interviews, Oprah Winfrey shows or whatever try to respond.

Why did a 23-year-old South Korean student go on a killing rampage the way he did? Your newspapers will be filled Wednesday with theories, experts pontificating, talk-shows talking.

You know the drill. You'll be inundated. Predictably, you won't be able to process it all, so you will turn it off. You'll be sad, but unable to comprehend. You'll shut down.

This is one of those questions that's as easy to answer as where did we come from, is there a God, why do people commit suicide. This kind of thing just IS nowadays, it appears.

On Tuesday, U.S. President George W. Bush tried to comfort the nation while the rest of the world looked on, their mouths still agape at the horror.

He tried to comfort the students and family and friends of those who died. That is his job, I guess, to appear strong and caring. His sound bytes will spread like wildfire across the Globe.

It's the most shallow, hollow of things coming from the most shallow, hollow of world leaders.

Not that I don't believe he cares or that he isn't saddened. But it was only a day or two ago, before the shootings, that he was still talking -- yes, still -- about the "War on Terror."

He was still harping the old party line, something about how these terrorists want to destroy America, trying indirectly still to place unfounded fear into the hearts of a country, so many years after 9-11.

He'll never slay the ghosts that will forever paint him as among the worst U.S. presidents. His insistence that Iraq had WMDs; his unsuccessful attempt at tracking down Osama Bin Laden.

His invasion of Iraq, filled with photo opps and meaningless victories; the eventual hanging of a bit player the U.S. had once propped up to get its oil, Saddam Hussein.

The deaths of thousands of U.S. troops in a war that can never be won. The turning on him, finally and at long last, by a nation he somehow hoodwinked into electing him twice.

All of that, all of that fearmongering over far-off Muslim countries that are only striking out at his right-wing, far-right religious croneyism and insatiable appetite for their oil...

...And he can't prevent the kind of thing that happened in his own country on Monday. He can only try to console the minions with calls that they turn to prayer.

Hmmm...does the question occur, where is the REAL terrorist threat?

Is it within America, where this South Korean guy went down to the 5 and dime store and picked up the two guns he killed 32 people with, hardly a question asked about his suitability to own firearms?

Or is it the Weapons of Mass Destruction that weren't in Iraq or the cult figure hero that is Osama Bin Laden, which the largest military force in the world couldn't track down?

On Tuesday, Bush told the Virginia Tech crowd how he and First Lady Laura Bush had come to express their sympathy "on a day of sadness for our entire nation."

He said how impossible it was to make sense of such violence and suffering.

"Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone, and they leave behind grieving families...and a grieving nation."

And then this: "I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who will never come home."

Appropriate and well-chosen words, indeed. I wonder when, or if, he will ever say and truly mean those same words about the thousands of troops who will never come home from Iraq.

*For a YouTube clip of Michael Moore talking to then-NRA chairman-or-whatever-he-was Charlton Heston about gun control in America (from Bowling for Columbine), please go to bottom of blog*

April 15, 2007

Spring has Sprung (I think)


How could you not...I whined about it incessantly (note how the colour of my type has warmed up from frigid blue to a warmer, more human shade).

Yes, today, almost a month after the first official day of Spring, I consider it to have finally sprung. Let me count the ways...

Blue skies, no snow in the forecast (although the leaves have not broken into bud)...

The final vestiges of dirt-laden snow, in the most shady areas, are almost gone...

The Canada Geese and other bird poop has started appearing on my dirty car, a sure sign of life above...

The admirable, if rather suicidal and premature, ladybug has emerged from its winter home to seek out food or a mate, only to be squished as it attempted a sidewalk crossing...


April 14, 2007

WW's Big Avatar Adventure (The Rest--Really)


What started out as a joke is still a joke, but it's been a lot of work -- and I feel it's so self-centred because all I'm doing is posting pix of myself or of goofy celebrity lookalikes.

Yawn. It's all about me. I so hate that.

But I started it (or was it HE who really started it?) so I'm going to finish it.

And I do thank HE, Anna, Ziggi and Andrea, particularly, for actually emailing to me pix they enhanced in one way or another (I need all the enhancements I can get!!)

To be honest, I'm leaning towards HE's cut-and-paste pic of my head on his son's body in the bathtub. HE's sense of humor is unparallelled and I'm one of his fave targets.

But what I may very well end up doing is simply alternate avatars on a whim, every week.

Thanks for playing along, folks. Barring any late submissions, here are the final entries, including some originals I've used before...