Sex show canceled, an Abbotsford resident responds


English: Exotic dancer on stage.
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I’m glad to see, if you’ll pardon my language, s-e-x has no place in the Fraser Valley.  The “5th Annual Fraser Valley Taboo Naughty But Nice Show” has been cancelled and it’s about time too. For far too long, we in the valley have been exposed to things that have no place being discussed, let alone seen in decent society. We have dirty magazines in corner stores luring our young men into lustful thoughts, ladies’ unmentionables being openly displayed for sale in our shopping malls, and don’t get me started on the rude looking vegetables that supermarkets insist on stocking. In fact, sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to leave the produce section.

Now, I’m no prude. I’m not proud to admit it, but I had sex once. It was 15 seconds of weakness that I ask forgiveness for every day. Even though I sinned I still had the decency to succumb to the evils of the flesh in the dark, behind closed doors and with my eyes closed, the way s-e-x is intended to be experienced.

How dare the show’s organizers expose adults to information involving their naughty bits? Did you know there was even going to be seminars offered at the show? In Vancouver, (a well known den of sin) there were talks on spanking and talking dirty. I don’t know why that is necessary. My parents spanked me and I turned out okay and they didn’t need to take any lessons on it. As far as talking dirty, let me tell you, if the house is dirty, I won’t have to talk to my wife about it she knows she’d better clean it. They even had a seminar called, “Pleasuring a Man’s Hot Spots”. I don’t know why they need a seminar on this. When I’m hot I just turn on the air conditioner. I don’t want to be totally negative though, because there was a seminar offered on cooking. I believe it was called something like, “Oral Delights”.

I don’t even want to talk about the live entertainment, but exotic dancers and adult film stars are in attendance at these shows. This is totally disgusting and all that is available on the Internet anyway, or so I’ve heard. Canadians spend over a billion dollars every year on adult sexual entertainment and that’s not factoring in the money politicians spend. You can’t even claim it as a business expense, or so I’ve heard.

I won’t be crying any tears about the show being cancelledalthough I’m still not sure on the organizer’s refund policy for pre-paid tickets — anyway as I was saying if we allow this type of show in the Valley, next there will be calls for sex education in the schools, and same sex blessings in churches. Not on my watch, no sir. Nothing good can come from encouraging the prevention of unwanted pregnancies or recognizing the importance of stable loving relationships. If God wanted to encourage sex, he wouldn’t have invented marriage. Anyway I’ve got to go. See you in church on Sunday?


An Immodest Proposal: For preventing the elderly in Canada from being a burden to their families or country, and for making them beneficial to the public.

Jonathan Swift, by Charles Jervas (died 1739)....
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With apologies to Jonathan Swift

I am saddened as I stroll through the grocery stores or malls on the weekend. Everywhere one looks, in every nook and cranny seems to be the lurking object often referred to as the “senior”.  The senior can often be observed on their own, but are more likely to be found in packs of three or four. Those tasked with earning an honest living must navigate through their masses as they occupy all available seating or shuffle down the grocery aisles restricting the flow of earnest shoppers with important tasks to accomplish.

While many may deny it in public, the situation of the pensioned seniors imposing their presence in this great Commonwealth nation has created a near deplorable state. Even affecting the simple morning task of workers trying to lessen their own daily travails by visiting purveyors of fast food delights are hampered by the scourge of the senior coffee refill clutches occupying the eating establishments with nothing meaningful to do.

It is not my intention to assign blame to the senior, oh perish the thought. The predicament society faces today is the fault of us all. Life expectancy in Canada has reached almost 81 years. I ask myself how can this be? Was no person or great institution tasked with limiting this expectation? Was no thought given to the burden on society of allowing such a thing to happen? For my own part, I am not blameless. I once thought these seniors having toiled for the majority of their lives to help create the country we love today deserve to spend their latter years in a limited condition of comfort. No, I do not shirk from my limited role in the current situation.

The number of souls in this great nation is calculated to be over thirty-four and a half million, of these almost five million are 65 or older. When these great numbers of seniors are considered with calculation in mind to their impact on the productive population is staggering. The great and good body, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that this 14% of the nation’s population consume 40% of the services of hospitals and 45% of all provincial and territorial government health spending. Now of course, some of the aging surplus dies every year, but unfortunately not enough to make any significant savings impacts on health budgets. I am all to aware that certain unenlightened segments of society would not be supportive of any positive encouragement to increase the number of dead, so I propose we consider ways to reduce the leechlike impact the seniors have on Canada.

The issue is of course how can the senior segment of the population be utilized to be productive in their waning years. It is perplexing to me that past Canadian governments created a mechanism for sloth called the Old Age Security Pension. It would be utterly impractical due to time and space constraints to chronicle how this calamity came about, but suffice to say the result is any member of society who by taking no action other than not having expired by the age of 65 may cease to be productive and is thereafter awarded regular monetary inducement to continue to live.

It is to our nation’s good fortune that we have been blessed by a new type of leadership which has finally begun to see the folly of continuing the current system of senior non-productivity. Now to be sure, there are some among us that have chosen to decry these positive enhancements, but let me humbly offer my own reflections for consideration.

I am assured by those who should know that the senior is not a willing participant in the present system of monetary entitlement. No, apart from a minimal number of idlers and loafers, the senior desires to be a productive member of society. One must only frequent the great merchant called Wal-Mart to evidence the excitement of the senior in their blue vest greeting patrons as they enter the establishment. I am aware that not all seniors have the power of mobility, but these individuals can still live productive lives. It saddens me to say, but there are factions in our country that have through their unwarranted attacks all but eliminated the sport of midget tossing. This sport could easily be adapted to accommodate lame or otherwise crippled seniors replacing the midget in the role of the party being tossed. Who among us would dare protest the ability of a senior in earning an honest wage?

I am aware that there may be some seniors who for reasons beyond their control may not be able to actively contribute to society, but I propose that with some minor modification to current legislation even these seniors can be of service to the nation. There is a dearth of human organs for transplantation in Canada. With the correct monetary or other inducement vast numbers of seniors could be utilized as living donors to alleviate the current shortages.  Seniors can contribute kidneys, lungs, liver lobes, and pancreas and still have a chance of surviving.

One also must not overlook the option of using seniors for human experimentation. It cannot be denied medical advances have suffered from the actions of naysayers over the use of animals such as monkeys and dogs in research. These protests could be much eliminated by replacing the animals with senior “volunteers”. These seniors would be fed, housed and looked after for as long as their services were required while serving the needs of drug and make-up providers.

It cannot be denied that when the senior departs from this mortal coil there is a monetary drain on the family left behind and the government. I propose that the senior does not lose the ability to be productive after death. The more presentable seniors could be given over to the talents of the taxidermist for alteration for use by the fashion industry as mannequins. This would be both economical and green as no poisons from cremation or burial are inflicted on the earth and not manufacturing artificial mannequins would reduce green house emissions. For the seniors who would not be good candidates for mannequin utilization due to accident or disfiguring disease, they could be converted into fertilizer or for use as a source of protein for the livestock and domestic pet industry.

I profess that I am heartened to see that the policies of the current leader of our national government is so enlightened in considering policy to encourage seniors to be productive. I hope that my humble suggestions may contribute to his plans and I wish to tell him that I and people of like mind will continue to support him.


Cell Phone Toss

English: Dr. Martin Cooper, the inventor of th...
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In 1973, inventor Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call. In the time since that first cellular call, the number of cell phones in use has now reached more than five billion throughout the world. With that many cell phones it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a use for them that actually made sense.

Christine Lund, an interpreter in Finland founded the sport of “Kännykänheiton” which roughly translated means, “Boy, it is very cold here in Finland. I wish we had really good television. There is never anything to watch except shows on pickling herring. Why does my cell phone company charge me so much when I can never get decent reception? I’m going to take this phone back to the store and show them exactly what I think of their crappy service.” For the benefit of English speaking participants the name of the sport was shortened to “Mobile Phone Throwing.”

What started in Finland as a sport with just a few fans has grown to become a sport enjoyed throughout Europe and the United States. There are annual world championships held in Savonlinna, Finland, where the best throwers congregate to compete for the title of “the person that throws the cell phone really, really, really far”. (Finnish is extremely difficult to translate into English.) The 2011 World Championships attracted competitors from Australia, Finland, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.

Even though there are competitors from both Russia and the United States, the organizers do not require doping tests on participants. Being a sport, mobile phone throwing is governed by a formal set of rules. There are four categories of phone throwing: Juniors, Freestyle, Original and Team Original. Each of these categories is governed with minor variations by the same set of rules.

For the true aficionado the “original” category is considered the purest version of the sport. In “original” the phone must be tossed using the “traditional over the shoulder throw.” There has yet to be any official confirmation that points are deducted if anyone in the male division throws “like a girl.” Each thrower is permitted two throws, but each throw must be made using a different mobile phone. A competitor cannot take longer than 60 seconds between throws. The competitor who throws the cell phone the greatest distance is declared the winner.

The 2011 winner in the Men’s category was Oskari Heinonen who won with a throw of 76 meters. (If there are any Americans reading this 76 m is approximately 220 feet farther than the record distance for tobacco spitting.) Oskari did not come close to beating the world record distance of 94.7 meters, which was set by Mikko Lampi in 2005.

To help keep in top form between championships there is an Android app available called, “Throw Me” that is designed to let you practice throwing your phone and determining how far it would go. It is important to remember not to actually throw your phone, but just go through the motions. On a personal note, be advised that if you throw your phone, even if it is for the legitimate purpose of a recognized sport, your cell provider insists you keep paying until the end of your three-year contract. I bet Oskari never had that problem.

Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper

I’m too old for this

English: Androgenic body hair, photograph take...
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It’s that time of year again: The time when columnists wax poetic about a new year’s resolutions, but since it’s the second week of the new year who really cares now? Raise your hand if you still have a resolution you haven’t broken. You there at the back, yes, put your hand down; we all know you’re lying.

I’ve decided to do something different and start the year by undertaking an in-depth examination of a major issue confronting our society today. In the manner of the great writers such as George Plimpton and Hunter S. Thompson I decided to live what I’m writing about so I can really experience the moment. At great personal risk to my self-esteem I decided to explore the dangerous world of “men’s grooming,” or “men’s grooming technology,” as some of the companies like to call it. In the beginning I experienced dread and apprehension. I felt emotions similar to what I imagine Stanley must have felt as he began his dangerous journey into the unknown in search of Dr. Livingstone. (Oh, just Google him.)

I’m from the latter end of the baby boomer generation, so when I became a “man”, grooming (for the dapper) consisted of a daily shower, soap, razor and a comb. Job done. If a man wanted aftershave it was “English Leather”,” Old Spice” or, for the truly adventurous, “Brut.” If you couldn’t pick it up it at the grocery store it wasn’t worth buying. No man wanted to risk smelling like a he’d been in a French bordello. (For the record, I have no idea what a French Bordello smells like, but if you have personal experience please drop me a line.)

Back to the present-day grooming world, during my in-the-trenches research I found societal expectations of men’s grooming in the 21st century was even more extreme than I had envisioned. There is now actually a “men’s grooming” industry. Who knew? The industry brings in big money. In Germany, in 2010, Germans (and reportedly some very strange looking French men) spent 503.91 million euros on male grooming. If that was converted into actual real money that would probably be equivalent to lots and lots. Did you know that there are ‘Men’s Spas”? They to “Male-specific treatments”. I shudder at the thought. I’m sorry Mr. Plimpton, but I will not go to a men’s spa. I have standards. They are admittedly very low, but nevertheless – I have them.

I discovered, upon visiting the men’s magazine section of a store where my generation originally found “girlie” magazines, that men can now purchase such titles as Men’s Health, Details, Esquire, GQ, Debonair Magazine and Men’s Vogue. Esquire of course has been around for years, but this isn’t the magazine of Ernest Hemingway (who was the quintessential real man of my generation with his articles on killing things) any longer. No. This is the magazine of articles such as “Wanna Be a Levi’s Model? Get on Instagram” and “How to Dress for Parties”. Have you looked at the ads in the modern men’s magazine? Why are the men all hairless? Is this the expected norm? Did someone just forget to send me the memo?

After some soul-searching I decided this was something I could experience for the good of the column. After all, in theory my hair would grow back. Do you now how many products exist for removing a man’s body hair? There’s a whole bunch. After careful research (which was the cheapest?) I purchased a tube of the stuff and took it home to try it out. I’m not the hairiest of men and, being of the wider body type persuasion, what body hair I do have tends to be spread over a larger surface area than most men’s. Once home, and keeping to the warnings to keep the cream away from many sensitive manly bits, I applied the cream to my chest. While my chest hair may be sparse, what it lacks in volume it more than makes up for in length. As directed I applied the cream with the included sponge and waited for five minutes (no less than two and no more than 10) before entering the shower for the next step. Now using the rough side of the supplied foam pad I wiped down the area that had the cream and to my surprise hair started to wipe away. Whether it was the product or me, the hair didn’t come off uniformly. I’m guessing that “thick layer of cream” must mean something different to the manufacturer than it does to me. I was left with naked patches of skin surrounded by seemingly random areas of hair tufts. I’m sure this was not the look I saw in the men’s magazines. I repeated the process over the course of three days but never managed to remove all the chest hair.

Of course, there are loads of other new men’s grooming products on the store shelves, “eyelid rejuvenation roll on” for example. I didn’t know my eyelids needed to be rejuvenated. Researching this column provides information I didn’t know I needed to know. Just so the rest of the man doesn’t get jealous of the eyelids, companies have created solutions for sensitive skin, rough skin, tired skin, and skin that isn’t tired yet, but might be in a few minutes. I chose not to try those products out. There is only so much I am willing to do for a column. My skin was still red from the chest hair removal. I purchased pre-shave balm, post-shave, body wash and man shampoo. Let me say again there are limits to my explorations so I took the safe route and whenever possible chose “Old Spice”, because to paraphrase the commercial we are all familiar with, I may not look like a fit, muscular man, but I can smell like one.

So, what did I learn? It’s time consuming to be a modern man. My own morning ablutions went from 20 minutes to 50. My wife didn’t notice anything different about me, although apparently I smell better now. I’m sure that was meant as a compliment. I never mentioned the chest hair removal attempt, but I’m thinking she might have noticed, as I’m sure I heard one or two stifled chuckles coming from the bed as I undressed, although I can’t be sure it was my newly mostly nude chest that caused them. I guess that research will have to wait for another column. Back to the 20th century for me.

Originally publisheed in The Cascade newspaper

Those fun loving Afghans

Dansk: Dette foto blev Fotografi af Turisme ho...
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What do you get when you take the headless corpse of a goat, two teams of 10 horses and riders with whips and lots and lots of testosterone? If you guessed “Buzkashi,” the national sport of Afghanistan, you can stop reading right here. If you said “what?”, then read on.

The sport of buzkashi is said to date to the 13th century and may have been enjoyed by luminaries, such as Ghengis Khan. Buzkashi is Dari for “goat grabbing,” and that pretty much explains the sport

There are two types of buzkashi: tudabari and qarajai. Tudabari is the simple version of the game, and honestly very few manly Afghans spend much time playing that version. Qarajai is the sport for the ultimate headless goat sport aficionado. In qarajai, both mounted teams gather in a circle around the designated starting position. In the center is the headless goat carcass. The goal of the game is for a rider to grab the goat—which usually weighs around 70 kilograms—and ride towards a post at the far end of the playing area. The rider or chapandaz (master player) rides around the post and back towards the starting position. The rider passes the starting point and drops the goat in his team’s circle; by doing this, players can score one or two points depending on the rules being used. At the end of the designated time, the team with the most points wins.

The game seems pretty straight forward, but while the chapandaz is grabbing the goat and riding away the opposing riders are doing their best to discourage him. The opposing team kick, hit and whip the rider that has the goat until the goat is dropped and then the next goat grabber moves in and the process is repeated.

The Afghan Olympic Federation has created a more formalized set of rules, but since the International Olympic Committee has strangely not indicated any immediate plans to include the sport in the official games, the more formalized rules have been slow to catch on within the world of buzkashi and are generally only followed in the city of Kabul. Did I mention that Rambo learned to play buzkashi in Rambo 3? Well, he did.

The cost to train a horse for the sport runs $700 – $2500. The average annual family income in Afghanistan is $426. The buzkashi season runs late October through March. The game is also played for special occasions such as weddings. Nothing says special day memories like the wedding photos taken with the headless goat grabbers.

The sport is not limited to Afghanistan and is played throughout Central Asia but with minor variations between countries. For those concerned about losing the pure essence of the sport need not be concerned as while rules may change, each country requires the use of some sort of dead animal during play.

Under the Taliban regime buzkashi was banned in Afghanistan, as the Taliban considered the game to be immoral. Absolutely no irony there then. Of course after the Taliban government fell the new government quickly removed the ban because a government has to have priorities. In other Afghanistan news the Tim Hortons franchise in Kandahar has closed, so no more coffee and doughnuts at halftime. Bummer.

Originally appeared in The Cascade Newspaper

Happy, Merry, holiday, Christmas, Tis the Season


English: The helper of Sinterklaas. Nederlands...
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 Christmas, for millions, perhaps billions of people throughout the world is a time of cheer and good will. It is a time for friends and family to gather in celebration of joy, friendship, presents, candy, chocolate, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and for a very few, that whole birth of Jesus thing.

Christmas is celebrated through many different traditions. In Holland, Santa, St. Nicholas or Sinterklaas is always very popular. He wears Bishop’s robes and is always accompanied by his faithful servant, Black Peter. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, a white man in blackface wearing traditional Spanish clothing most often portrays Black Peter. As part of the holiday fun, children will paint their faces black and sing, “even if I’m black as coal I mean well.”

In Scotland, traditionalists celebrate Christmas by dancing around bonfires and eating oatmeal cakes. It is this sort of thing that makes one proud to be Scottish.

In France, Santa is called Père Noël. A traditional Christmas lunch may include such holiday fare as fois gras, lobster and oysters. Rumor has it that after the meal families gather together and practice the drafting of surrender documents for any anticipated military conflicts foreseen for the upcoming year.

Sad to say that despite all the happiness of the season for many it is also a time of great stress and impending doom and by many of course I mean men. For as long as Christmas has been Christmas, men have dreaded their significant other’s reaction to the gifts they have received. “Frankincense? What am I supposed to do with frankincense? Myrrh? Hey are you trying to say I smell?” Women, I hear you.

“Oh, I have everything I could possibly need. You don’t need to get me anything, but whatever you choose will be fine.”

In the name of all that is holy, please give us a list of what you really want. Just thinking about what we should buy for you makes us break out in a sweat and lose sleep. If you can do it for Santa you can do it for us. Honestly, it’s not that we intentionally buy you the wrong thing. We need guidance. Those gifts really did seem like the perfect gift and we were in fact thinking when we made the purchase. Now I appreciate that you think you’ve all been dropping hints for the last six months, but believe this if you believe nothing else we ever tell you, we weren’t aware that, “oh, isn’t that nice” meant you better get me that for Christmas. Honestly, we don’t understand subtle. It’s that kind of thinking that resulted in the Christmas we all want to forget. In our defense you did comment when we were at Sears that you’d like to get a new dishwasher.

“If you really loved me you’d know what I want.” Okay, I agree in principle that your statement might to a person of the female persuasion somehow make sense, but since you feel the need to explain to us how to properly brush our teeth do you really want to lay the responsibility for a tear free Christmas on our shoulders?

Contrary to what you may believe we do learn from our mistakes. We understand no weight loss books, no Victoria Secret lingerie, and no kitchen appliances. For the record though we don’t think it is totally fair when you tell us you like bears and then get upset when we buy you bear paw slippers with big claws. You often say we don’t notice how you look, but when we gave you the gift certificate for electrolysis you somehow twisted that around to be some sort of criticism. We’re just saying “mixed signals”. As to the year of the stripper pole, if you recall you did mention that you wanted to exercise more.

We do want to get you the perfect gift, but please consider the economy when making your list. We’re as romantic as the next guy, but the cost of the 12 days of Christmas gifts is now over $100,000. We could probably stretch the budget to cover a pear tree from Wal-Mart, but the lords-a-leaping are really out of our price range.

If we may, we would like to give you just a few pointers about our gifts this year. They may call it a man bag, but it’s really still a purse. As to “enhancer” underwear, do we really have to say anything? Please stay away from the “gifts for him” section of the store. Not all of us want sports themed gifts or power tools. We’re just saying.

 Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper