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Two Minutes in Canada

25 Jul

July 25, 2014


Americans have always looked towards Canada with fear and mistrust. But all that worry really just hides our own national insecurity. If Canada is America’s funny hat, what does it say about us? Why would we, as a nation, wear such a hat? Is America hiding a bald spot? Is it a hipster?

Fear not, Americans, the good ol’ US of A still has a full head of hair. It turns out that Canada is more than just a geographic chapeau; it has a rich history all its own, one that many of us who live under the Canadian brim are not aware of.

Being so far north, Canada has more than its share of hardships: Ice, snow, even many people who speak French. And worst of all, despite being so far north, Santa Claus shows it no special treatment and usually delivers Canadian presents last, on his way back to the North Pole.

But what do we learn about Canada in school? Fur trading. Canada has a lot of fur traders. At least it did back when the text books took place.

First, Americans traded with the Native American Indian* trappers.
Then, they traded with French fur traders.
December 10, 1984: New York Mets traded Hubie Brooks to the Montreal Expos for Gary Carter.

*Notice they don’t call them “Native Canadian Indians.”

Why was there so much trapping in Canada? Beavers. There were so many beaver dams in Canada that in 1833, official records show that a full 63% of Canada was underwater.

FUN FACT: The Montreal Expos were named after the expo, a small burrowing mammal hunted to extinction by French fur traders.




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Christmas Goosed

26 Dec

December 26, 2013

Christmas is over and thank god, ’cause that was a nightmare. Friends, family? Bah! Humbug! Well, at least this year I was spared the horror of the Christmas lunch at work. (My new office had the decency to just trudge along in the usual manner.)

January 3, 2012

By the time you read this it will be well into January and you’ll be tired of Christmas stories but I hope you forgive just one more.

A few days before Christmas the Company I Am employed by, which must remain confidential for reasons I cannot reveal, threw a Christmas lunch for all of its employees. Of course, this being the era of political correctness, it wasn’t called a Christmas lunch.

As much as I hate PC, and as much as I think it is often taken to a ridiculous degree, in small doses it isn’t such a horrible thing. Seeing as how Christmas fell smack in the middle of Hanukkah this year, it would not have bothered me if this were called a Holiday Lunch. It would acknowledge both holidays. The problem is, PC is usually used not to include anyone, but to exclude everyone. Case in point: Here in NYC, Mayor Michael “I am your mother” Bloomberg decided that in order to avoid offending some people, the Staten Island ferry terminal cannot display a Christmas tree or any holiday decorations, despite it hosting some wonderful displays the past few years. So the upshot is, while in the past a very few cranks might have been offended by the sight of a Christmas tree, thanks to PC, now everyone is offended by the lack of holiday cheer. Rather than acknowledge all holidays, it acknowledged no holidays. So I guess political correctness really did work- everyone was equally pissed off.

This is not a fake, he actually did this at some press event. What a tool.

In that spirit, my company did not call it a Holiday lunch, they called it a Kickoff lunch. Kickoff to what? It was never explained. Logically, it could only be a kickoff to Christmas, although the invitation I was emailed showed a picture of a woman (in silhouette) doing what appeared to be the limbo, but it was hard to tell in silhouette.

At this point you might be wondering if there was to be any fun at the Kickoff lunch.

There was not.

That was clear from the invitation, in which we were told that the lunch would not be held in the building’s giant cafeteria but on whatever floor of the building in which you worked. While I have friends who work on the 5th floor, since I work on 13 there would be no mingling. Furthermore, each floor was divided into sections, with each section being assigned a time and place to pick up their lunch. It was a very regimented lunch.

You might also note that I wrote “pick up” lunch, not “eat” lunch. This is because the food was set up in a small meeting room and we were expected to get it and leave, eating the food at our desks. For the record, I took my food down to the cafeteria where I hoped to meet a good friend with whom I always have lunch. The problem was, she was designated to eat 45 minutes earlier than I was and I missed her, meaning I ate my Christmas- sorry, Kickoff lunch, alone. Bah. Humbug.

This day’s lunch was the worst lunch I ever had since I started at The Company, and that includes the very first lunch in which I ate outside in the park and almost got pooped on by a bird.

But the food? Surely the food was good? After all, The Company has a giant, catering-style cafeteria, and the resources to bring in food from anywhere. The food must have been fantastic, right? It was a great lunch, wasn’t it?

We had our choice of pre-wrapped sandwiches which would not have looked out-of-place at a 7-11 or one of the fancier gas stations. There was roast beef with an odd sauce whose name I cannot quite recall but was French-sounding and tasted like vinegar, a turkey sandwich with tomato-pesto sauce, and a roasted vegetable sandwich. I took the roast beef. As bad as those choices sound, I later found out that my friend was thrilled to see the veggie sandwich because she has a strict diet and cannot eat the other two sandwiches.

We had a choice of chips, or so they said. When I got there I saw there was only one kind of chip available. I guess the choice was chips or no chips. I took the chips. There was a choice of fruit. On the table were about two dozen bananas and a single apple. I passed. There was a cookie (no choice) which I spit out when I later ate it. It wasn’t even a cookie, it was a very thin cake covered in the sweetest icing you can imagine. If you took pure sugar and spread it in a half-inch layer over a piece of pound cake you would not even come close to this thing. It was sweet enough to kill a diabetic from thirty paces.

We were also given a bottle of water.

Getting the lunch was a torture in itself. In addition to being given a specific eating period we were also given a ticket. One ticket, one lunch. I guess they were worried about not having enough food if people started taking seconds. You’ve just read about the menu. Would you want seconds?

At our specified time my section was ordered- yes, that is the correct word- to get our lunch. I dropped my ticket in a bag sitting in the lap of a woman whose job it was to make sure I had a ticket. I tried to have some witty banter with her- “you must be the most important woman on this floor”- and was rewarded with a stony stare. I went inside. 

Our emailed invitation also included instructions on what we were to choose, but they went a little nuts in the actual room. For example, red arrows were laid out on the table leading from the sandwiches to the chips, which were less than two feet away, to the fruit, less than two feet away, to the cookies, right next to the fruit, to the bottles of water, unmissable near the exit door. And next to each section, printed directions/warnings to take just one of each category.

In retrospect, I’m very glad this was not a Christmas Lunch after all because there was zero Christmas spirit in me that day.

I guess the takeaway is big company + political correctness = no fun for anyone.

Pool Pool! The Christmas Toy That Should Have Been (Christmas 2013)

25 Dec

December 25, 2013

Did any of you find Pool Pool under your Christmas tree this morning? Alas, no one did. I was poised to make a lot of money off that toy until a certain mohawked celebrity got in my way.

August 21, 2012

Anyone who blogs (you know who you are, don’t deny it) knows that there is precious little money in blogging. See those ads on the side and top of my blog? Haven’t seen a check yet. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to make money. Sure, people think of blogging as a glamorous and ritzy occupation but in reality we need real jobs. Now while I work at the unnamed for security reasons Company which I Am Employed by, I still need to supplement my income.

A few years back I dove into the world of toys and invented a product which I promoted heavily here on From 2008, here are three Classic Reposts. Plus, as a bonus, I’ll update you on the success of my new venture as well.


Now Ready for Beta-Testing

from July 31, 2008

Hi all. I haven’t had time to blog much lately because I’ve been spending all my time in the research labs perfecting a new game I’ve developed. I hope it will become as big as Monopoly or Hungry Hungry Hippos. It is currently ready for beta-testing.

I call it POOL POOL. It is an inflatable billiards game you play in the swimming pool. I nearly have all the bugs worked out. The only flaw is that the chalk keeps clogging the pool filter but I am working on it.

The work is going smoothly. I decided to continue my efforts in the field of swimming pool games despite the mistake I made, the tragic mistake, in my understanding of the rules of water polo. I have settled most of the lawsuits, but I still have PETA and NYRA on my back.

I hope to have POOL POOL in stores in time for the big Christmas swimming pool season. It will make a great stocking stuffer.


POOL POOL update!

from August 8, 2008

Work on POOL POOL is moving ahead nicely. It is projected to be the most demanded toy of the 2008 Christmas pool season!

In recent weeks I have made advances to improve the playability. In addition to solving the clogged filter issue, I am pleased to announce a celebrity endorsement which will further enhance the POOL POOL experience.

I am thrilled to announce the pending launch of:

Mr. T’s “I Pity the Fool POOL POOL”™

 New features include a set of water-proof markers. Players can write the names of “fools” on the billiard balls. The cue ball has been renamed “The Pityer” ® and is used to shoot the “fools” into the “I Pity the Fool Splash Zone”®

Mr. T’s “I Pity the Fool POOL POOL”™ can be played in any outdoor or indoor swimming pool.

Don’t have a pool? You can play Mr. T’s “I Pity the Fool POOL POOL”™ in your bathtub!

Don’t have a bathtub? Play Mr. T’s “I Pity the Fool POOL POOL”™ online on our soon-to-be launched Mr. T’s “I Pity the Fool POOL POOL ONLINE SPLASH ZONE!”©

I proudly expect further exciting news in the weeks to come!



from November 23, 2008




Yes, just in time for the big Christmas/Hanukkah pool toy rush, my new hit gift MR. T’S “I PITY THE FOOL POOL POOL”™ is now in stock at all fine toy retailers and pool supply warehouses.


The first 950,000 sets of MR. T’S “I PITY THE FOOL POOL POOL”™ come with an exclusive lithograph of Mr. T himself knocking an opponent into the I PITY THE FOOL SPLASH ZONE with his own MR. T PITYER, sold separately. The lithograph was designed by the craftsmen at Zebenco Industries, who previously made the limited edition Ron Popeil Pocket Fisherman lithograph.

MR. T’S “I PITY THE FOOL POOL POOL”™is the ONLY swimming pool billiards game on the market. Buy yours NOW before they sell out!™



August 21, 2012

I’m sorry to say that not only did Pool Pool not make me rich, I was later sued by Mr. T, who ended up owning the rights to both Pool Pool and my follow-up invention, Water Wars. My only consolation is that in 2009 I was able to get a court order to Stop Mr. T from blogging under the site name Mr. T’s T-Pid Ride.


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