Sunday, November 28, 2010


     I love nicknames. My oldest brother started this. He chose nicknames for my brother and me and when we were kids they stuck. (They are now classified, so don't ask. And yeah, I know, hypocrisy with a capital H.)
     I didn't like that then but now I too feel this need to nickname people. For me it's a playful, loving impulse. It's like a slowmo air punch to my beloved's chin: I only do this because I love you.
     Unlike my brother, my nicknames do not stick because IMO, they shouldn't. A long-term nickname is limiting; it loses its flavour. Words are delicious to me. New spices, new flavours. So I like to let mine evolve. And there's no logic to them. They're not alliterative and usually, they have no resemblance to anyone's actual name. I have nicknames for my wife, my daughter, our pets and even one co-worker friend (I shouldn't divulge his nickname. Let's just say it has something to do with urine and it never fails to make me smile.) But mostly my nickname compulsion is aimed at my son.
     This is a guy thing, isn't it?
     My wife tolerates this but once when my son was still a toddler, she vetoed one of my monikers. From those I can recall over the years (in somewhat order), can you guess which one she put the kibosh on?
  1. Smiler
  2. Bum-Scoocher
  3. Big Tooth
  4. Dawg (Word to Randy Jackson!)
  5. Dawg Log
  6. Diaper Log
  7. Rat-boy
  8. Googler
  9. Googlefish
  10. Hossenfeffer [sic]
  11. Mr. Deebs (This is loosely related to his love of all Adam Sandler's movies which I introduced him to with Happy Gilmour, a classic.)
  12. Deebzee
  13. Deebus LasVegas
  14. Ding Dang
  15. Flappy
     She vetoed "Diaper Log." Can you believe it?! She claimed I was calling him a piece of poop.
     Yeah. So?
     Oh that nickname still makes me chuckle so. I explained to my wife that after all those years of changing his diapers, I was entitled to this but shockingly, she could not comprehend that "Diaper Log" is actually a kickass term of endearment. She didn't get it. She still doesn't even after I rented I Love You, Man for her and kept pointing at the screen to underline each moment I felt validated. Oh I love that movie. Thank you John Hamburg. That movie just gets me *double fist pump.* Uh, yeah, probably too much eh? Moving on....
     This nicknaming compulsion is so familiar to my son that he barely blinks an eye. In his teens now, he too seems to be developing the habit. Not long ago he began calling his mother a variation of Mom: "Mumps." And me? "Measles."
     Yup. I'm proud.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


unloathe (verb):  unload + loathe = the action of unloading one's passionate frustration, anger and even hatred (may involve expelling what one needs to say with such force that spittle is forthcoming); often inspired as a reaction to general incompetence (insert name of currently hated politician here) or hormones, or low blood-sugar or perhaps when dealing with someone who repeatedly confirms they are going to do something that they indeed, never do. Ever. (Despite being deliciously cathartic, this practice is not usually recommended, especially between spouses/partners; instead just go into the bathroom, turn the fan and/or taps on and let 'er rip.): After his mother criticised her hair, house-keeping skills and Butterball turkey (all within a span of 15 minutes), his wife turned to him, made eye contact that could wither flowers and that's when, his eyes pleading, he whispered, don't unloathe right now; it's Thanksgiving honey, I'm begging you. See Sue Sylvester for plenty of other examples.

(Happy Thanksgiving US peeps. Hope your little family reunions are uh, calm.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Pillows

     My wife bought new pillows. They are HUGE. At first, typically, I assumed their sheer size would so distort my spine that in the morning I would wake to discover my junk directly under my chin. Sorry. Don't visualize that.
     Anyway, she's quite familiar with my overthinking-the-most-pointless-issues disability so she suggested that I just try them out for a few minutes. I shook my big old curmudgeon head  thinking, why does my wife do this? Look at these things: they're like princess and the frickin pea pillows... How much did these COST?!  I've explained before that I don't need new pillows because they're a luxury and how can I continue being a martyr if...? Does she have some sort of pillow obsession? Fluffy indulgences....
     And then I woke up 39 minutes later.
     I likey those new pillows. (Sigh.)
     Here's my point. Never, ever, would it have occurred to me to buy new pillows. After experiencing those new pillows, the same ones I initially deemed frivolous, I can't believe the condition of my old pillows. How did I sleep on those stale frozen pizza bread dough disks for so long?! I could snowshoe on those pieces of crap! I can't imagine what sort of a petri dish smorgasbord my old pillows probably are! I can't....
     I can't finish this. I want to say something about how perplexingly wonderful women are but my pillows are waiting for me. They're whispering. Ni'night.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


     Many things induce dread.
     Mondays. Maybe Tuesdays. The occasional Wednesday. Root canals. Income tax audits. Failure. Embarrassment. that look from people that seems to declare, Yup, you really are incompetent.  Large invoices. Early morning phone-calls. Everything my teens do. The bathroom scale. Spruce bugs. Turkeys. Dropping a television. Clothes shopping. Being boring. Unexpected mass home appliance breakdown. 
     I cringe thinking about these dreadful things despite having already experienced all of them and much worse. Even though I’ve been there, done that, I still dread. Heck, sometimes I even dread dread.
     Why am such an anxious person? And exactly what function does this emotion serve? Why are many human beings saddled with feelings of trepidation, dismay, and fear?
     Fear can be healthy, right? We need it to survive. Fear keeps us from merrily skipping across a freeway or trying to hug bees. None of us should hop in the elevator with the man who gives us “the creeps.” If we heed our instincts, fear prevents recklessness. 
     But fear hinders us more than helps us, doesn’t it?
     Is recorded history ripe with men and women paralyzed by fear?
     We must push through dread. Even on Monday mornings. Day by day. After all, what is there to worry about? In just two days tomorrow will be yesterday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


*accidonkulously (adverb):  accidentally + ridonkulously = a word used to describe the action involved in an accidental but particularly kooky, bizarre or freakishly embarrassing mishap: Upon entering the parking space, I failed to notice the shopping cart and accidonkulously rammed it into the RCMP officer's car. See Tiger Woods for plenty of other examples.

* "Accidonkulously" sounds better than "accidiculously" for uh, obvious reasons. BTW, the etymology of the word ridonkulous (as a replacement for ridiculous) is apparently as follows: "created in the backwoods of a Mississippian moonshiner in 1968." The story goes that he was so drunk on moonshine that when he tried to mount his donkey (named Jimmy), it kicked him in the face and he was nearly killed. After regaining consciousness, he described the whole experience as "ridonkulous!" 

Friday, November 19, 2010


     What would life be like if Lewis Carroll had never been born? No Alice. No Tweedledum & Tweedledee. And no "Jabberwocky." 
     Carroll was a word genius credited with coining portmanteau, now used to describe the concept of blending words to create new words. Like "swass," for example. (What kind of sorry state would the world still be in now if that neologism had not been invented?) 
     Thanks to Carroll, we all possess the poetic license to mash-up, mesh, and mingle words. If the word doesn't exist yet, what better way to solve that problem than create it? I love words. I'm a workgeek. I'm an amateur lexicographer. And I'm always seeking new ways to play with words. That is what wordfuse is all about....
numbsational (adjective):  A word used to describe something both numbing yet sensational, lively yet listless, likely due to an incongruity between hype and reality or an anticlimactic and unexpected outcome or general disappointment with the overall effect: Although I enjoyed the debut episode of Conan O'Brien's new show, I must admit that after all the hype, it was mostly a numbsational experience at best. See Hulk or pretty much most of the movies directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things that deserve the stink eye:

     My teens eat disturbing things. Spongebob Alphagetties with brown beans and ketchup for example. Or raw hotdog appetizers followed by hotdogs microwaved so long they "sing" when they are cooked. Anyway, what follows is a recipe concocted by one of my 16 year old daughter's peeps (Abby), also 16. I tried one and I would describe it this way: like eating ground drywall.

Disturbing Teen Recipe #39
~ 1 cheese puff
~ 1 M&M with a peanut inside
~ 1 real fruit (yeah right) gummie

Shove in mouth and chew. Laugh hysterically (while adults grimace). Repeat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

She said I could share.

      My daughter has been singing since she could talk. Her singing has a remarkable effect on me. There's that line from Othello, "O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear." I believe music, and all artforms, makes us suddenly more sweetly alive, suddenly separated from the day's ordinary-ness, the day's difficulties. Life just slips away. And it's doubly, doubly so when listening to someone you love sing, sing, sing....

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Preamble: It might help to envision the following like an episode of The Big Bang Theory. You're welcome.

     My friend Grant (see here and here too) informed me that scientists are much closer now to developing ways to render things invisible. Think about that for a moment. In-vis-i-ble.
     Undoubtedly, I lack the ability to fully comprehend the science fuelling this incredible technology (something about nanoscale engineered properties, bending light and duct tape I bet) but I can provide at least one intelligent comment about the topic: whoa.
     Grant explained it well. In other words, that dude’s smart. Yet at the risk of pushing my geekness to Richter scale proportions, I must admit that his explanation lit such an imaginative spark in my noggin that it caused my brain to almost instantly "reboot." In other words, my mind completely changed direction, like pivoting on one's heel. 
     This happens to me frequently. My brain fiercely focuses on a new idea, heat-seeks the gist, and then instead of reflecting on it, my mind proceeds to access some sort of haphazard filing system searching, pruning, crafting an analogy or comparison, the odder the better. It’s like a car that pulls up along the curb to allow a passenger to enter, then suddenly makes a u-turn, in reverse. Meanwhile, someone is left standing at the curb looking perplexed.
     I believe the technical term for this might be brainfart.
     So anyway, this all transpired during his explanation, about sixty seconds max. Grant opened the conversation with "invisibility" and where was I sixty seconds later?
     Let me explain. Do you have some odd-comment friends? Do know someone whose responses make you feel drunk? Do you have buds who say things that make you want to shake your head and nod at the same time? I'm one of those people.
     Sadly, I've grown accustomed to those awkward lulls during which I must explain to someone how I arrived at an idea. So here it is in eight easy steps. While Grant described how invisibility may soon become more science fact than science fiction, my mind went from
  1. the concept of invisibility to
  2. stealth plane (part of his explanation) to
  3. light to
  4. technology to
  5. innovation to
  6. invention to
  7. can-opener (stay with me) to
  8. deodorant.
     It all makes sense now right? 
     Okay. I'll explain. He described an exciting new invention and once I understood, I defaulted to a common invention and then to my favourite invention: deodorant. (Think about it. Would the world be even remotely as advanced without deodorant?)
     Surprisingly, Grant barely flinched at my seemingly random reaction and I know why. Did I mention that Grant began the entire conversation by noting how cool the wheels are on modern vehicles? Essentially, he segued from "sweet wheels" to "invisibility" in a matter of seconds. Birds of a feather brain fart together I guess. There must be lots of us out there stinking up the universe, right? Know any?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things that are most likely the devil:

The mud and misery of the Passchendaele battlefield.
Image from Library and Archives Canada
 During the first World War,
on October 26, 1917 
this is
the field of agony
called Passchendaele
where Private 472784,
my Great-Grandfather
just five,
five days
before his 27th birthday.
Just five,
five days
his son,
my Grandfather,
turned four.
Four years old.
War is the devil.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spontaneous Combustion

     “The only thing that has to be finished by next Tuesday is next Monday.”  ~Jennifer Yane
     Apparently Jennifer Yane has never heard of spontaneous human combustion. Those wacky scientists have not yet determined exactly how or why humans spontaneously melt into piles of ash, but I think I know the reason. It’s deadlines.
     Just think about the word deadline.
     Some history on that word: according to some sources, the etymology or historical origin of “deadline” may relate back to the American Civil war. During that time, armies had no proper facilities for holding prisoners, so they would create a makeshift and inadequate prison (perhaps even draw a line on the ground around a group of prisoners) then warn them that whoever crossed the line would be shot to death. Whoa.
     Nowadays, deadline refers to “the time by which something must be finished or submitted.” Despite its much milder usage, one could argue that today’s barrage of stressful work deadlines might still feel like a sniper with a big maniacal smile on his face is hiding nearby ready and waiting to blast the next person on the wrong side of some so-called important deadline. 
     Personally, I’ve never experienced many deadline difficulties. That is, unless they are actually enforced. My point is this: people aren’t robots and stuff happens. Like really good TV programs for example. (Okay, maybe not the best excuse.) Like mangled hard-drives. Or family emergencies. Even death. Those who enforce excessively rigid and unyielding deadlines should remember that sort of shit just makes God chuckle.
     Folks need lifelines, not deadlines. Overwhelmed workers are less creative, less productive. Not exactly beneficial to the workplace, is it? And although I’m clearly no scientist, I think that when faced with merciless deadlines some people just sit down in an armchair and stare blankly at their TVs and then it happens: they spontaneously combust.
     And the saddest part of all? No one might even notice until it's too late.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Things that deserve the stink eye:

     Uh, whose decision was it to employ the Facebook "like" function for this particular news item, and who are the 49 pea-brains who liked this?

Friday, November 5, 2010


     I have a little confession: those screaming girls at concerts scare me. They look like one giant congealed living thing glued together with hairspray, its countless mouths opening and closing, it's camera-flash eyes like high-frequency tics. 
     Yeah. I'm not much of a crowd person. But I do enjoy concerts. Sort-of. I find them curiously engaging like I'm studying them for an anthropology class or something. I know that feeling of mass movement, hopping to the beat, a synergy with friends and strangers, rushing the stage, a throng thronging. I remember Rod Stewart once leaning down and offering his hat to one of those screaming girls who likely still keeps it under glass.
     Despite appreciating those experiences, what I really prefer is the music minus the drama. Unplug it and I will come. I recall that happening twice and those were my favourite concerts ever: the legendary Ray Charles and the one-of-a-kind Buffy St. Marie. Did girls ever scream at those two? 
     Although I may never intentionally attend another concert where screaming is on the playlist, I must confess something else too: I respect those mildly pathetic and scary screaming girls. Why? I guess it’s because I prefer the “likers.”
     I’m sick of haters. Take Justin Bieber for example. Maybe I don’t buy his music and maybe I don’t know why so many girls apparently watch him blow-dry his hair on you tube but I certainly don’t hate him or his music. I’m just bored when people choose people to hate and wear their hatred like a badge that provides them with an identity.
     Sure. Everyone has the right to their preferences. And I'd prefer my likers to be more low key and less pathetic, yet even if it manifests itself in the form of one gullible screaming girl at a time, I must confess that I am pleased whenever there is a little less hatred in the world. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weird Word-of-the-Day Wednesday

Lyrical (adjective): characterized by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling.

     Even though most songs contain lyrics, not all songs are lyrical. One of my favourite sayings goes, "music is what feelings sound like." I really do love any genre of music but my number one criteria is this: does the song feel sincere? I guess I long for lyrical lyrics. What are your top five favourite lyrics?
  1. "And the landslide brought me down." Stevie Nicks
  2. "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." Walt Whitman
  3. "Lunatic fringe, I know you're out there." Red Rider
  4. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" The Beatles
  5. "Manah manah (doo doo dah doo doo) manah manah (doo doo dah doo) manah manah...." The Muppets

Monday, November 1, 2010


     Some people have excuses for everything.
     I wish.
     I only have a few excuses, usually used because they seem more polite than saying no to various requests. Occasionally, I might say, “I have to check with my wife.” Often this is a lie. My wife isn’t the check-with-her-first type. As well, I probably say, “I can’t because my kids need me” when in fact, they scarcely know I’m alive lately.
     I also employ the “man excuse.” In other words, “I can’t do that because I’m a guy.” This applies to a variety of situations such as clothes shopping, dressing myself with panache (not going to happen) or recognizing a dirty bathroom.
     But the excuses I really long for are those solid explanations for my own pitiful behaviors, explanations that people would accept without question. I want a pat and logical excuse for laziness and irrational anger! I want my faults overlooked! I want people to take me seriously if I say something like Homer Simpson, “Well excuse me for having huge flaws that I don’t work on!”
     It’s not going to happen though is it? Despite all this whining I know I’m too old for this shit. Adult tantrums are inexcusable. I know, I know. Grow up. Three words right? “Suck it up.”
     Still though, wouldn’t it be cool to be pardoned like a huffy child? I want someone to declare, “Forgive him; he just needs a nap!”
     And I do. Don’t we all sometimes?
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