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Monday Morning Smile LXXII – Are you kidding me?!


BBT

I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging…maybe I’ll get back to it. Weirdly I am still getting hits from all over the world.

 

Anyway, I came across this and it seem ludicrous to me.

Guess who is today’s highest paid personality on TV? Go ahead, guess.

You won’t believe it.

twohalf

 

Not Charlie Sheen from the previous Two & a Half Men seasons, not even the “Friends” mega stars of days past.

Maybe you think it’s the comedians shlepping jokes late at night. Although they are pulling in major coin, they are not the biggest.

jimmyfallon jonstewart

 

The biggest payday on TV makes more than all the U.S. Supreme Court justices combined.

judge judy Judge Judy – are you kidding me ? !!

She’s not even a real judge. She decides whether a $500 bar bet has to be paid.

The U.S. Supreme Court.  These august folks decide trivial matters like gay marriage (2013), universal health care (2012), abortion rights (1973, 2007), and other little niceties.

supreme court

The world is truly upside down.

 

dilbert tv

 

 


Monday Morning Smile LXXI – Acres and Beer Pong.


red cuppong

Well, we are officially in the dark and dreary doldrums of mid-winter. The excitement of super-vortex cold is over, and we have settled into the slushy, crappy, endless part of winter. Hard to believe only 1 week ago I was in Florida on a golf course!  I even played “Beer Pong” – but lost.     So how has your 2014 been so far? Winter getting you down?

So let’s get on with the Monday Morning Smile….It’s so boring in January that  I actually wondered what an “acre” is.

All the farmers out there are familiar with an ‘acre‘. The wheat farmers on the prairies have super farms of 2000 or more acres, the micro farmers of the various banana republics may only farm 5 acres or less with their entire family. The average homestead in Saskatchewan, settled way back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s  was 160 acres of free land. Do you know what a Saskatchewan farmer calls 160 acres today? Front yard.

So what’s an ‘acre’? Well, it was the amount of land that can be plowed by a yoke of oxen in one day. (Its metric cousin is the Hectare BTW). So how much can your ox plow?

football_pitch_acre2

To get immigrants to settle in the Prairies the 160 free acres were advertised with an exceedingly rosy picture of life in this new “Promised Land” of Canada.   Winters were advertised as “invigourating” and harvests as “bountiful.” I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Saskatchewan, but “invigourating winters” is not one of them.

other interesting facts about units….

Inch – the length of three barley corns. A six incher in those days in those days was 18 barley corns. Today? it is the length of an average……..roast beef sub from Subway.

barley - Copy sub

Foot – generally the length of a Roman foot.  Only the U.S. officially uses the foot/yard.  Especially when discussing hot dogs. (i.e. “the foot long” hot dog)  What do they call a foot-long hot dog in Europe I wonder?    Oddly, aviation uses feet as a measure of altitude still, even outside the U.S. i.e. flying at 40,000 feet.

foot long hot dog - Copy metric chart

Yard – I always thought that a yard was about the length of a man’s stride, but apparently not. No one knows for sure – I read that it is perhaps the length of King Henry’s arm…. One thing I do know, is that a Yard of Ale is a difficult achievement! The rest of the world still properly uses Yards for golf, cricket, and football. Metres in Golf would be just plain Wrong.

From a royal document in the year 1266; “It is ordained that 3 grains of barley dry and round do make an inch, 12 inches make 1 foot, 3 feet make 1 yard, 5 yards and a half make a perch, and 40 perches in length and 4 in breadth make an acre.”

Yard-of-beer - Copy  golf in yards

Mile – probably started as a thousand Roman paces as the armies were marching. The word “Mile” came from Latin ‘millia passuum”, thousand paces. For today’s teenagers it translates to “Too far to walk – can I have the car?” A thousand paces to a teenager would be a death march.

roman-army-02 teenager-driving

Ounce – depend on whether it is Troy ounces or the regular kind. Troy ounces used for Gold. Regular ounces are used for pouring rum into tropical drinks.

mai-taitroy ouncetroy ounce

My house lot is 1/4 of an acre.   In the U.S. you might want to watch out for “Builder’s acres’. It is 40,000 square feet, about 10% smaller than a standard acre. The builder says it is ‘simpler’ to market – the fact that it is smaller has nothing to do with it of course:)

Only Canada and the U.S. use acres any more. And no, not because they still plow with oxen!    Oh, and the settlers got 160 acres because it is an eighth of a square mile which has 640 acres.

1 acre = 208.71 feet × 208.71 feet (a square)

dilbert caesar

You know that January is long when the “Acre” gets to be interesting!


Monday Morning Smile LXIX – Christmas Edition


winter

Christmas Eve is finally here……I wish you and your family a warm Christmas holiday. The ice storm that hit over the weekend made for some memories. With no power, no internet, no TV, my wife and I played backgammon by the fire. It made for a cozy winter evening…..a throwback to a simpler time.

The Christmas season is officially here.  Family, presents, the World Junior Tournament on TV…you know, the important things.  Win or lose – the stakes are high.

 juniorsjenner

Here’s something from our office superstar Dilbert – enjoy, and have a safe and Merry Christmas.

 dilbert christmas 1dilbert christmas 2


Monday Morning Smile LXVIII – Door-toDoor No More.


lettercarrierstjohns4

Well, everyone always did want a white Christmas. And boy did we get some white! I think I shoveled the driveway four times. And being the good Canadian boy I am, I shoveled the ice rink in the yard first. Skates before cars.rink4

I saw the big news from Canada Post over the weekend. Individual door-to-door mail delivery to end! What !?

The end of an era, the end of the bottomless source of “Postie” jokes, of “going Postal”, of sidelong glances as your kid starts to resemble the good looking guy in shorts that comes by every day…..But also the end of the era where seniors, shut in their home, look forward to a fleeting moment of brief human contact when the mail carrier comes by. Such is Progress…. (will kids now email Santa?)

So in honour of the letter that you might not ever get. Here is a list of alternatives you might use.

1. Carrier pigeon – used during war to transmit messages. As early as the 6th century B.C. in Persia, right up to the second World War. More incredibly pigeons were used to transport medicine bettween two British hospitals up until – get this – 1983! Want to know why they stopped? Because one of the hospitals shut down.

carrier-pigeon

2. Dog sled – granted a little more difficult to use here in the sunny south (only -10 Celsius today), but in the far north postmen used dog sled to meet their appointed rounds. The last mail run by dog was as late as 1963.

dog-sled-mail-delivery-team-photograph-british-columbia-canada

3. Pony Express – Many a Hollywood movie was made about the Pony Express. Mail was delivered coast to coast in just 10 days. It was dangerous work in those days. The service only lasted 18 months, but the myths and lore will last forever. Well after ponies were put out to pasture  the Pony Express logo was used by Wells Fargo, the stagecoach company. And yes, it is the same Wells Fargo that today is the largest Bank in the United States.

wells fargo pony pony-express-john-thompson Wells_Fargo_bank,_Conrad,_MT

5 runners – “Runner” were originally men who had the dangerous job of taking messages between Fronts during a war. Adolf Hitler was  a runner in the first world war – and was injured twice. The most famous “Runner” was the legendary Greek messenger Pheidippides running from Marathon to Athens with news of the victory. This is of course  is the inspiration for the Marathon, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between the town of Marathon and Athens. (by the way, it is thought to be historically inaccurate, but a good story nevertheless).

ROLL UP BANNER 1 GreekRunner

So who is the most famous mailman? Hmmmm, well all I could think of was the (in)famous Cliff Clavin from Cheers.

cheers

dilbert postal

BTW: the postman’s creed which is over the U.S. Postal Office is a translation from ancient greek text describing the Persian system of mounted couriers from 500 B.C.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds…..


Monday Morning Smile LXVII – Rider Nation !!


riders fans

Well it’s official. Winter has started in Canada. Know how you can tell? Snow Flurries – perhaps. Temperatures that start with a ‘minus’ – maybe. The official start of winter is the building of the rink in the front yard. Yep. you know it’s official when you drag out the boards, hammer in the stanchions, and fasten the end boards in the quintessential Canadian experience – the backyard rink. Bring on the cold weather!

You know what else in Canadian – the Grey Cup. Congrats to the Saskatchewan Rough Riders who dominated the game.

So what is it about Canadian football that is different from the glitzy marketing machine of the American game? Sure, there is the wider field dimensions, 12 vs. 11 men per side, a bigger ball, and a few other assorted rule differences. But here are the real differences between a CFL championship game and a Superbowl game.

1. Cheerleaders in snowsuits, gloves, and warm hats – just like their mothers always told them to wear in the cold. Won’t sell calendars but is truly Canadian.

CAL1129-gya-14.jpg

2. A halftime show that features – get this – flying snowmobiles!!  Sure, super group Headley was playing (and were great by the way), but it was the flying snowmobiles in the background that were the all-Canadian show.

 

flying snowmobile

3. Team Horses that walk into a local hotel, right up to the front desk. How cool is that. The Stampeders rode their horse Justin into the Beer Bros. bar, a Bank of Montreal and the Ramada hotel on Thursday as part of Grey Cup week festivities. (not to mention that only in the CFL are there ‘team horses’!)

horse 3horse bank horse hotel

note this tradition started way back in 1948 at the Royal York in Toronto no less. Calgary fans imported their infectious Western football hysteria and it has continued ever since. Gotta love it.

4. Part of the opening ceremonies include branches of the Canadian Forces of course – nothing unique about that. However, part of the Forces include the Canadian Rangers. The red sweat-shirted troop are a volunteer force operating exclusively in the far north, with a significant portion of the force made up of Inuit, Metis, and other First Nations men. Reconnaissance, search and rescue, and military presence is handled by a group of hardy men that know how to survive in conditions so harsh that you and I might last 5 minutes.

canadian rangers 2 IMG_0011canadian rangers 3

And of course, Dilbert on sports…..

dilbert sports


Monday Morning Smile LXV – Best Commercials ever !


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Update….It was noted that the Bud “Wassup” commercials were left out….hurummpfh…mere pretenders in my humble opinion (although I will admit the Superbowl does provide its share of commercial entertainment).

This Bud commercial was better. Bud Light “The Elevator”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gq7p86ZpgM

If you’re really want to relive the “Wassup” phase of your life…. here is the famous “Wassup” http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UDTZCgsZGeA

 

Welcome to Monday! Another week closer to old man winter. Snow shoveling, scraping, shivering….uhh….I hope everyone had a great Halloween last week. A couple of our house decorations are included below. We had the regular troupe of cute little princesses and wizards, and a couple of teenagers with nary even a wig – and still expecting treats. What’s up with that? The lazy louts.

Now, I like to watch TV – I freely admit that lounging on the couch with the clicker in hand is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We PVR most of the TV we watch these days, which is great. However, because of it we miss some of the best that TV has to offer – the TV Commercial.

Below are some of the favourite TV commercials through the years. Are yours on this list? (drop me a line and give me the youtube link to your favourite and I can include it:)

Here they are:

1. Joe Canadian – doesn’t this commercial  give you just a little tingle up your spine? From March 2000. This is one of my alltime fav’s….This went viral big time. Canadians everywhere swelled with pride. I especially love the little, oh-so-Canadian, “thank you” at the very end of the rant. Everyone loves a Canuck!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMxGVfk09lU

joe canadian

2. “Albert” – Canadian Tire. Ran sometime in the late 80’s I think…Pure Canadiana – every little boy’s fantasy. This was so popular at the time, the actor who played the adult “Albert” made appearances at the Leafs, Calgary, and Winnipeg NHL games as a celebrity – even though you never see his face in the commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkyMM3EScjA

3. albert

3. Canadian Tire Bike commercial – yet another classic from Canadian Tire. Ran sometime in the 90’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q3rJ76D_wQ
CT bike commercial

4. Now for something a little bit more recent…How about this Heineken delightful spot? Appeals to both men and women doesn’t it? I laugh every time I see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfXPFvak2LY

walk-in-the-fridge-girls

5. “You’ve got Bankers”. One has to be able to laugh at themselves, and even though I work at a bank, this is hilarious. From the credit card company Capital One.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOh-kyDhis

bankers

That’s it for now….let me know if I’ve missed a great one!!

IMG_0019 IMG_0025 IMG_0028  IMG_0030 IMG_0033 dilbert tv


Monday Morning Smile LXIV – Holy Bat Bomb Batman


bat

The witches, goblins, zombies, and other assorted politicians revellers are about to resurrect  for the festival of horrors. Of course I refer to Halloween (not the House of Commons senate debate).

Now bats have always had a special place in the annuls of All-Hallows-Eve. Creatures of the night, they navigate by sound and stealth and, well, they just look kind of creepy.

So how much do we know about bats? Everyone knows that bat’seyesight is poor, and they use sound (sonar) to flit around at night. Did you know they can carry two to three times their weight when they fly? Interesting, but who cares, you might say. I’ve eaten BBQ chicken wings bigger than the average bat.

Well, a smart fellow named Lytle S. Adams, a dentist in the early 1940’s thought that bats would make better bombs. What?!

Toji-temple-kyoto

You can’t make this stuff up..In the early 1940’s the U.S. military had Project X-Ray under development. Get this…. trap millions of bats and glue small bombs to their backs. These bats would be put into a state of induced hibernation in a specially constructed “Bat bomb”. The small incendiary bombs glued to the back of each bat works on a timed release.

bat-bomb-shell  Bat Bomb. Photos. No page number.

omizutori_festivalThe bomb was to be released over Tokyo. The bats would wake up, get their bearings and find small nooks and crannies to hide with the light of morning. Each small bomb would go off creating thousands and thousands of fires in the city. Given Tokyo homes and buildings in the 40’s were chiefly made from Bamboo, wood, and other flammables, it would go up thousands of fires. Plus the Japanese people would never know what caused it.

Absolutely crazy. So did it work?

Tests showed that is was significantly more effective than conventional bombs (if by effective you mean create more destruction).

Carlsbad_AAF_Fire_after_Bat_Bomb_Accident

However, the bats were never deployed to Japan – or anywhere else for that matter.

The U.S. military machine had come up with an even better weapon – the atom bomb. They used that instead.

Here are some other cool Halloween and Bat facts….

Halloween – traditionally the day before All Saints Day. A day for little cuties to dress up and collect candy, and for young men and women to dress up and do things they never would otherwise.

Saying: Blind as a bat – for obvious reasons. Bat eyesight is very poor.

Batman moviesthe series of movies has grossed over $3.7 billion and is one of the most watched series of movies of all time. (Pirates of the Caribean, and James Bond also up in the running)

batmanDark_knight_rises_poster

SamBat baseball bats – made in Canada with hard Canadian maple. These bats are favoured by a large number of major league players.

sambat

Bat boy –  a kid that collect bats from a baseball field.

little boyLittle Boy and Fat Man – the names given the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

dilbert halloween

Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31