Monday, December 21, 2009

Well, you didn't think I wouldn't do Christmas, did you?

Well, first...

Krampus Greetings!

The Germans really know how to make their kids behave... if you're on his list, you're only on once.

Nothing like a little good ol' fashioned terror at Christmastime... be aware, though... Santa can kick his ass! Apparently, if you were a bad kid, according to myth, Krampus would steal you from bed, lick you, stuff you in his basket, and kill you. Rumors say that he's the great uncle of the Grinch.... though without the roasting kids part. (Okay, I made that part up, but I'm thinking Cindy Lou Who might of second guessed speaking to him if it were true.)

Cindy Lou Who, who needed a condiment or two.

So I'm looking up stuff for this post, and I had to add Happy Kwanzaa as well, even though I wasn't really sure what it was. Turns out I'm older than the holiday for one... so I had to learn and see if I could poke fun at it, too.

First, I research funny images. Turns out that while there are a lot of images, Kwanzaa doesn't really have any funny ones, unless you hang out with your friends wearing bedsheets with eyeholes. I did find one...

That's pretty much what most people ask...

... but I learned more about the holiday, and was struck by some of it. Well, more the similarities between it and existing holidays where the founders are long since history.

Typical Kwanzaa feast and men - uhh.. kinara in the background.

Typical Hanukkah feast with menorah the background. The foods are different though.

Kwanzaa's founder is still alive. He created it in 1966 to... well, I'll let you draw your own conclusions. It begins on December 26th (don't wanna interrupt Christmas, I guess,) and ends on New Year's day. There are philosophies and tenets to be observed (like in Christmas and Hanukkah,) and the season is filled with eating and imbibing (like the whole Christmas season.) Aside from its principles and the fact that it has no basis in religion whatsoever, it's pretty popular. Well, kinda. The stats I could find post that approximately 1-5% of 10% of the U.S. population actually celebrate it. Yet it still was easier to find a Kwanzaa card than a fucking girlfriend Christmas card... and they even had cards for the mailman!

Okay, enough of all that... now on to why I'm here! My gift to you...

Ahhh... the gift that keeps on giving.

I had a different caption for that, but I found a better image for what I wanted to write...

Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho...Ho. Yeah. I really wrote that.

And I saw this image of Santa... but it made me think of something else.

"The girl is want, the boy, ignorance. Beware them both Ebenezer, but beware the boy most..."

But when I saw the next image, I had to ask why...

I'm thinking Santa is actually a Canadian... least, at first I did. Then I realized - after working all night, he had to come home to this:

Mrs. Claus, with an ummm... little gift of her own. Step awa-ay from the shortbreads!

And finally, people. Please. Stop dressing up your dogs and cats. They hate it and it's not cute. How would you like it if they made you go around sniffing one anothers' asses?

Dude... makin' me sell fucking tacos wasn't enough for you? They give me the shits! Now you got me looking like Carmen Miranda? Just... please. Kill me.

What are you bitching about? I'm a fucking Episcopalian! Look at me! What I would give for opposable thumbs and a Glock...

Christmas is being brought to you by...

Lucky Strike cigarettes. Toasted for great tobacco goodness, and introducing a new reindeer, Cancer! Merry Christmas to all...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

H1N1, Swine Flu, whatever. I got it.

Sort of says it all.

(Well, it's kinda like they way they said AIDS started... what? Too soon?)

So here I am. Sitting at home for the seventh day, sick and waiting to get better so I can resume my life. Why? Because I have the dreaded H1N1... granted, it's nearing the end, but it's getting better.

(I didn't get this....)

(...or wear this - hers is cool, but why get it pierced?)

(So... I ended up getting this. Not the woman, the symptom. Where's your mind, anyway?)

It's my second flu of the year. First, I had the seasonal, which the vaccine isn't out for yet, because everyone was running around trying to get ready for H1N1. Okay, fine. But I want my other vaccine when it's ready, right? I mean, they had a whole year to prepare... oh, wait. That's right. This isn't as new as anyone thinks.

(Gerald Ford getting his shot in '76 - the only brain death.)

The last Swine Flu was in 1976. 40 million people in the US were vaccinated. One person died from the disease, and 30 died from the vaccination. Yeah... that works.

(...and we will continue to use swine biological weapons against the imperialist humans until they free our brothers at ALL bacon camps... REVOLUTION!)

Well, I thought, let them try this one out. See who it kills, and if I don't fit that group, then I'll get it.

Every day I listened to the news, read the news, saw it on the internet, whether I wanted to or not - the Swine Flu was coming like a Hollywood premiere to my town soon. And to make it sound more ominous, they gave it a spooky name: H1N1. Mysterious. So mysterious it only gets letters and numbers in its name. Much scarier than swine flu, which sounds like a pig with a runny nose.

The media ran with it. Every fucking day. They are still doing it. A fair number of people I know have had it, and we're all still alive. Why? Because, in the end, it's just a fucking flu. Granted, if I hadn't ended up with it, I wouldn't have a lung infection now, but I'm not smoking, so I guess everything has a purpose. At least I'm immune. Well, until it mutates.

(Standing in the rain here in Canada, waiting for their flu shot. Yeah. Smart.)

We have the vaccine here in Canada, and right here in Manitoba in fact. But the government, in it's infinite wisdom, keeps stepping on its collective dick. First, they shipped H1N1 supplies to the Northern Reserves, who were happy to receive priority on this "pandemic" until they started opening the boxes.

(This is what they expected...)

(This is what they got... and no, it's not a suit bag.)

Imagine their surprise. I can't begin to fathom what mental process read one and did the other. It worked out for them, though. They actually ended up getting their full dosage of vaccines.

What about the rest of us? Well...

We were prioritized. If you were say, indigent, a baby, old, or health compromised, you got a shot. Basically, mostly people who don't pay for it. Not all bad news - firemen, healthcare workers and civil servants got them. Well, not ALL civil servants.

(You're more likely to get H1N1 from this guy...)

(...than this guy. But hey, cheer up, there's always Hep C, right?)

Teachers wanted priority too. They felt that dealing with unhygienic booger machines on a daily basis entitled them to their shot. They'll probably get it. Which means that I, along with the bulk of Canadians, wait. Why? Because they found that there wasn't enough to go around once the priority people were taken care of. Well, at least the guy bumming a dollar from you won't give you the flu...

Some decided to take the easy way out and queue jump - the Health Ministry took a firm stand on that, though. They said don't do that. And if you do, we can't turn you away. Uh-huh... about as firm as room temperature butter.

I took the tough way and decided to get sick instead. Well... I didn't exactly choose it. It chose me. And admittedly, I was a little worried... I mean, this is a major pandemic, right? End of the world and all that happy shit?

Not really. Seasonal flu kills more people. Last year's designer flu, the Avian or bird flu, had 429 clinical cases. 262 died. That's almost 65% mortality compared to the less than 7% mortality of this year's designer, H1N1. Not quite a pandemic.

Listen up, you jackasses at CNN and other news outlets - this is a pandemic. Malaria. It affected (clinically) 120 MILLION people in 2009, and killed 800,000. In one year. It's been around since 450 B.C. at least. But no one cares about that one... maybe we can give it a cool new name.

Want a really scary disease? Try Ebola, Zaire strain. This particularly nasty disease literally liquefies everything in the body except bone and skeletal muscle. Kills you in 21 days, no cure. 80% mortality rate (how anyone survives is beyond me.) But, since it, like Malaria, really only affects African and Third World countries, no one really gives a shit.

Oh, should I have not said that aloud?

Anyway, I've been sick since Friday and am slowly healing. I can't wait - I can only take so much of Maury Povich and "who my baby daddy is" - though I do like Judge Mathis. Come next week, I'll be healed and immune.

Then they can take my shot and give it to a cop.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Birthday BBQ at Levera beach and an experiment in gullibility...

Tiny Paradise in a big sea...

Map of Grenada - the road trip, from Grand Anse to Levera Beach... long drive!

So here it was, the day after the wedding. We woke up and went to breakfast, chatting about the day ahead - a beach barbecue (or barbeque, depending on where you're from) for Len's birthday. A large tour bus showed up and we ambled out, dressed for the day - and it rained. I mean - raaaaiiiiinnnned. Did that stop us? Hell no! This is Grenada! It don't rain all day here!

Looka de crazy people on de bus... goin' to de beach in de rain. Stupid tourists.

Ummm... we were wrong.

Outside Gouyave - out of focus because of - you guessed it - rain.

Even the cows didn't want to be out in this...
...but I don't think this guy had a choice.

The Grand View staff raced on ahead of us in separate vehicles with the food, and we cruised along the narrow roads in this large silver bus. It was a long ride, and you can't do that without a pit stop - translated, someone has to pee. And smoke. Or both. But not at the same time. Trouble is, there's not a lot of places to pop into (like a McDonald's) where you can unload a bus of people and have them line up. So... we stopped at a police station.

Bet this town never thought they'd play host to the Urinator...

After a brief discussion and a few pee-pee dances, they let those of us who had to go, go. Funny... when I was standing outside having a smoke, I saw a cop car pull up with someone in the back. They let him hang out in the car while they went inside for a minute. Different mentality - the guy just rolled down the window and stayed there. I don't know about Canada, but you'd never see that in the states... he wasn't even bothered being back there. Oh well. It is an island - where's he gonna go?

To most people this is the island off Levera beach, a beautiful place ( I think Gilligan is still there.)

Water crashing on the rocks... I think I saw a volleyball with a face drawn on it there...

Then, as we closed in on Levera beach, the miracle of miracles happened - the rain stopped! Though there were some clouds, the sun shone through, and it looked like we were gonna have a fun day. Speaking of fun, this is where Amanda, a.k.a. Sunshine, comes in. The target: Gabrielle, her cousin.

Gabrielle, doe eyed and gullible as a trout in a fishing pond.

It started the night before, when we were headed up from the wedding. She noticed that her watch time didn't correspond to the SUV's clock and said she didn't understand why she couldn't get the right time. "That's because time as we know it doesn't exist here," I replied innocently, meaning that you don't pay attention to the clock there like you do at home. Time literally doesn't feel like it exists. I didn't expect her reaction, though.

"Really? Serious?"
Oh, I got a nibble. Tee-hee.
"Seriously. They don't have time here. No calenders, clocks, nothing. You didn't notice?"
The big doe eyed look.
"No really. Serious?"
Pause. A tug on the line.
"Oh yeah, that's why your watch doesn't work here."
She looks at Kim in the front seat, then back at me. Kim smiles and shrugs her shoulders.
Reel it in!
So you know I had to have more fun with her the next day.

...but actually, it's Amanda's Island. And she kicked Gilligan off.

It started when we stepped off the bus. Gabrielle was right behind me and saw the island. "Wow," she said. "What do they call that?" she asked, pointing to the island.
I cast the line. Looked at Amanda.
"Oh, that's Amanda's island. "
Doe eyes again. Almost felt like I had Bambi in a 10x gunsight. I smiled.
"What? That's Amanda's? Serious?"
Clear shot. (Notice how I switch to hunting?) Amanda nods, almost as if on cue.
"Yup," Amanda says casually. "Grandad gave it to me."
Long pause as the tiny gears of her 15 year old mind grind along, trying to comprehend the information.
Now Amanda sights her down too. She grins at me. Something conspiratorial, almost evil in a fun way.
"Oh yeah,"she replied. " That's all mine. "
We both struck at the same time and she fell for it like a deer at a salt lick.
"Wow... holeee..."
Later I told Kim about it, and she decided to get a shot in. See, there's another island -

That's Annette... and in front of her, Annette's Island. Gilligan never went there.

- so Kim added to the fun. As they set up the boat...

The boat... almost pretty enough to be an oil painting. Wait... it usually is!

Kim and I started talking withing earshot of Gabrielle. We chatted about Amanda's Isle (actually I think it's called Sugarloaf) and Kim, without missing a beat, pointed out Annette's island. Annette was standing nearby and didn't comment (Kim already told her about it) and kept a totally straight face. Gabrielle listened, nearly broke her own neck looking over at the islands, and muttered...
Yeah, it's not fair to play that on a fifteen year old. Sort of. But she's fifteen. No one can be that gullible. Or can they? Later that night, she came up and said tha she found out it wasn't Amanda's Island. How could it be?
"Oh, it's part of the estate. Mr. Griffith's an important man here. You want to see the deed and title? I can get him to show you," I replied.
Silence for a moment.
Like fishing with dynamite....

Soon the grill was set up in the boat and Emanuel was cooking-

Emanuel and Aunty Linda making wings and potato salad in the boat/grill. Damn good food... and Emanuel is one of the best chefs I've ever met. Hilarious, too.

- and making some of the best wings I've ever eaten. And I'm a wing eater from way back. We all enjoyed the meal -

A montage of life as it should be. Fun and never ending.

Anthony, or GT, (left) one of Len's main staffers - the guy can fix anything. Center - Ann, and the man of the day, Len (right.)

Len, watching the beach and making sure those kids didn't engage in too much stupidness. (Yeah, he looks casual, but he always does. Don't doubt for a minute that the man isn't on top of things.)

And there's the ever present beach dog... we fed him bits of chicken.

- and had some fun on the beach. The water was great, and there were activities on the beach, like making a "Sandman"...

Jordan (under the sand) lays calmly as Ian (center) and his brother Micheal and sister "Gullible" Gabrielle make him into a "he-man!"

Or... maybe a she-male. (Yes, if you look reeeaaalll close... you can tell.)

...or just doing things in the sand.

Liz, a.k.a. "Taxi Girl", trying to dig her way to freedom in Switzerland.

Pretty soon it was time to make the long journey back. So everyone settled into the bus...

Gabrielle dreams of the day she can get her own island...

Emanuel (dude, I hope I'm spelling your name right,) and GT took off ahead of time. We deliberately delayed a bit, then piled back on the bus. The ride back was a bit quieter. People were recharging their batteries (oddly enough, mostly the younger among us.) I took a few pics, some of historic significance.

A 153 year old cathedral, now a ruin, is still beautiful.

A couple of damaged Cuban planes still line the old airfield, a reminder of the past. What you call it depends on who you are. I call it old planes.

Some were just remarkable.

The valley leading down toward Grenada's Sports Stadium. Hell of a drop...

We made it back with one more stop (to pee, of course) and everyone split off to their rooms. Dinner was at eight, but the restaurant was going to be closed. That didn't mean the kitchen wasn't busy, however.

Emanuel and Kellan (the other chef, also awesome) were busy setting up a buffet for a party. Rachel, the Pirate's Cove bartender, arranged it. You know how hard it is to keep a secret in a fishbowl? We pulled it off, though... total surprise. Len had no idea... as far as we know.

Tuck, (left) our resident rum "expert," leads the charge in a surprise welcome into the sports bar, where the party was held.

Kim lends a hand serving up goodies alongside Kellan (midright.)

The food came out, and soon the party was underway... and Rachel brought out the cake.

Wait.... I'm older than seven...where's she gettin' her information?

Len, a happy man on a happy day. Thanks for everything...

The night was great, and we all had a wonderful time. The food was excellent, and the guys at the Jolly Roger Sports bar were terrific in helping us out. Since is the last blog post about the visit, I wanted to thank everyone there for their hard work and just being great people to be around. And to GT - bumps.

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(This is a real product, but the ad isn't. In fact, I'm probably going to hell for it.)