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Cardboard Tube Fighting

Image by Anna Fischer via Flickr

I’ve often wondered who invented the cardboard tube. Okay, honestly until about five minutes ago I’d never given it a thought, but if I had the chance to meet the person who did invent the cardboard tube I’d like to go o them and say, “Really? Of all the things that you could have invented that would have actually been of benefit to mankind you came up with a tube to wind gift-wrapping paper and toilet roll around? What were you thinking?”

At this point some of you may be saying, “don’t be so critical”. To which I respond, “who are you talking to? I’m not even in the same room with you. I can’t hear you.” However, I digress I know there really are many uses for cardboard tubes. There is a whole paper towel tube craft industry out there and who hasn’t made napkin holders out of cardboard tubing? Perhaps the most interesting use for the product was devised by the “Cardboard Tube Fighting League” or as those in the league like to call it the CTFL. The name sort of says what they use cardboard tubes for so I’ll just skip over that part.

Cardboard tube fighting is one of the world’s lesser-known sports and some say perhaps that’s for good reason. You may be thinking this is a sport enjoyed by similarly minded people destined to die virgins, who enjoy getting together to discuss comic books, Dr. Who, Steampunk and debating whether a weekly shower is really necessary. Let me assure you that okay, while some of that may be true, cardboard tube fighting is a legitimate sport.

The sport is tolerated in at least three continents that I’m aware of, North America, Europe and Australia. There are literally dozens and dozens of people that take up this sport despite what their families may say.

The creator of this sport is Seattleite, Robert Easley or Rob to his friends. As Mr. Easley told a news reporter who drew the short straw, “You are attempting to break your opponents tube without breaking your own.” This may be an appropriate moment to point out that Mr. Easly also is also actively involved in “Live Action Role Playing” games. Now what is a sport without rules? For cardboard tube fighting the rules are pretty straightforward. Rule number 1, never talk about cardboard tube fighting. Actually that isn’t a rule I just think it’s probably a good idea if you don’t want to have total strangers randomly beating you up.

The rules state combatants must not to break their tubes. If the tube is broken the holder is determined to be a loser. If both duelists break their tubes they are both considered losers. I’m thinking even if they don’t break their tubes — no never mind. Stabbing and lunging is not permitted. No face hitting. Combatants must only use official CTFL cardboard tubes. Tubes must be held near the end. If a combatant holds the tube in the middle it is cause for disqualification. There are a few more rules but at this point even I don’t care what they are.

Competitions can either be multi-stage tournaments or battles. Tournaments have one winner, while battles result in shared victories. Tournament bouts can last between 30 minutes to hours or even minutes that just seem like hours. As an added bonus battle participants are permitted to wear cardboard armor. If that is not enticement enough to get involved, battle participants are subjected to live bagpipe music. Bragging rights and handmade cardboard swords are awarded as prizes.

Currently, there are three active branches of the CTFL located in Seattle, San Francisco, USA and Sydney, Australia. Bristol in the United Kingdom also has a fledging group of cardboard tube fighting enthusiasts.  The strength of the sport can best be summed up in the CTFL’s three core beliefs. People need more ways to play and take themselves less seriously. Events can be fun without alcohol and cardboard sword fighting is fun. The CTFL is always looking for new recruits and if you want more information you can check out their Facebook page. Any day now they are going to break 100 likes.

Published in The Cascade newspaper http://ufvcascade.ca

Canada Forever Eh?

Coat of arms of Canada
Image via Wikipedia
Latest from my Facebook wall:
Hey Guys, hope you don’t mind if I answer all your questions in this one posting.
 Pierre, sorry I couldn’t get back to you sooner when you poked me, but I just finished my yoga and was changing into my gorgeous white Capri pants for my run on the beach when I heard Fox TV’s Greg Gutfeld, host of that scintillating exercise in intellectual regression, Red Eye advocating the United States invade Canada again. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyCVhk4_pxc ) I nearly dropped my can of Diet Coke when I realised this might really  cut into my landscape painting time. It takes something like this to make you realize that as Canadians, we have to stand up to protect all that we hold dear. I was wondering if maybe we should meet up at Pizza Hut later for a face to face?
Virginia, in answer to your question, yes there really is a U.S. military invasion plan. It’s called the “Joint Army Navy Basic War Plan – Red.” It involves the invasion of Canada by ground and sea. The Washington Post reports the plan was declassified in 1970, but I have I it on good authority there is a new plan code named: “Disjointed Inter-service Rivalry War Plan – Sorta, Kinda, Burgundy”.  Try not to worry too much though Virginia, the last time I was in Ottawa I overheard some information at the
McDonald’s near the Parliament buildings. It seems Canada has a little invasion plan of it’s own. It’s based on the tactics Canada used to repel the U.S. invasion in 1812. One of the main planners was author Leonard Wibberley. The plan is code named: “Invasion Plan 46 – Are We Really This Frigging Stupid: Run Away, Run Away – Yellow.”
Suhkwinder, yes you’re right, Canada has infiltrated a sleeper network into the United States. Rachel McAdams, Jim Carrey, Elisha Cuthbert, Celine Dion, Michael J. Fox, Alex Trebek, Dan Akroyd, Mike Myers, and Paul Shaffer are all standing by waiting to be activated. To throw the Americans off the scent Canada has also sent Tom Green and William Shatner.
IIya, your question is sort of off topic, but yes, Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald was a falling down drunk, but in his defense he was born in Scotland.
Rafael, I was also starting to wonder if our Facebook group had been compromised, but Special Agent Billy Bob from San Diego, Saskatchewan says I’m just being paranoid.
Okay guys, American Idol is about to start so I’ve got to run. Remember Canada Rules! How about we meet up at Starbucks after the show?
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How Old is Mickey Rourke in Dog Years?

Mickey Rourke Grunge Poster Concept
Image by ninethreestudio via Flickr
Now that the Oscars have come and gone, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on one of the most talked about contenders for the best actor award, Mikey Rourke, the come back king. Now I’ll readily admit that I haven’t seen The Wrestler and I’ll be honest, short of being sentenced to serve time in a trailer park I’m never going to, but I can’t help admire a man that went from obscurity to fame to obscurity and back to fame again. He seems to have lived a fascinating if somewhat twisted life. I wish I had the opportunity to ask him that one  burning question that is no doubt in the minds of many of you, “Mickey, what is it with you and those Chihuahuas?”  Now, for those of you just returning from your recent explorations of Antarctica let me explain. Mr. Rourke is rarely seen without a Chihuahua (Spanish word meaning, “Damn, are you sure that’s not a rat?”) seemingly surgically attached to his body.  When he won the Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a motion picture drama he of course thanked those most responsible for his success,  “I’d like to thank all my dogs. The ones that are here, the ones that aren’t here anymore because sometimes when a man’s alone, that’s all you got is your dog, and they’ve meant the world to me.” Huh?

At the recent Oscars ceremony, Mr. Rorke wore a stylish white open necked suit like garment and in a locket around his neck was a memorial photo of his recently deceased dog, Loki. Boy, I would have loved to have heard that night’s acceptance speech. Now,I don’t for a moment suggest that Mr. Rourke is  responsible for the twisted way North Americans have been humanizing their dogs, no for that I blame Paris Hilton. Photo after photo of her with her Chihuahua being carried everywhere as some sort of ugly fashion accessory. It was not long before similar body twitching, snarling nasty little creatures began appearing on the arms of tweens and teenagers. (You know who you are.)

There can be little doubt that North Americans love their pets. A staggering s

In the United States, doggie spending survives death. The death of the owner that is. A whopping one million dogs are said to be the main beneficiary to a will.  In 2007 the queen of mean, Leona Helmsley left $12 million in her will to her dog, Trouble.(Reduced to a measly $2 million by mean Manhattan judge Troy Webber in February 2009.)

Recently the well known, but ancient ABC TV journalist and The View panelist Barbara Walters revealed to the world that her dog Cha-Cha could speak. According to Ms. Walters the dog says, “I love you.” Now call me a skeptic if you will, but if her dog could really speak wouldn’t it have more likely have said, “Doctor, keep those scissors away from my scrotal sac.” I’m just saying.
And another thing, can you please stop talking about how old your dog is in dog years? Dogs have a shorter life span than humans, sad but true. Now I’m no math whiz, but even I know that a dog’s average life span of 12.8 years doesn’t equal 89.6 human years; it equals 12.8 years. Dogs aren’t human,they’re dogs! Get over it. If you don’t stop I’m going to introduce the calculation of tortoise years (120/77.8 = 1.5424164524421593830334190231362).
For those of you still doubting the importance of dogs in the United States, I have just two words to say, Westminster Dog Show (Okay, three words.)
The overpowering love felt towards dogs is by no means restricted to North America.  In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 33 year old P. Selvakumar married a four year old dog named Selvi. The bride wore an orange sari decorated with flowers. One slight hitch occurred at the 200 guest reception when the bride ran away. Luckily she was recaptured and her husband rewarded her with milk and a bun. Unsubstantiated reports suggest that Selvakumar says his mother-in-law is a bitch. Not to be outdone, at Bhubaneswar in eastern India, an infant boy was married off to a neighbour’s dog at a ceremony attended by 150 people. Unfortunately there is no information on the gown worn by the bride.
In the Northern Philippines the term “man bites dog” takes on a whole new meaning as every year around 500,000 dogs are butchered to be turned into meat for human consumption. Korea and China apparently also enjoy tender young pup. Nope, absolutely nothing funny to say about that.
Apart from marriage and good eating, dogs are reputed to have direct health benefits for their owers. Studies suggest that dogs can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce anxiety attacks, provide a ready patsy to explain away that gaseous after chili discharge and in the cases of the most fanatical of dog owners actually increase their level of physical activity. Mickey Rourke recently told Barbra Walters in an interview, “[Dogs are] like a giant Xanax” and who would argue with the wrestler?
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I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday …

The most recent version of the company mascot,...
Image via Wikipedia

I was sitting around the other day, as you do, pondering the important things in life. With the world seemingly on the edge of financial collapse, tens of thousands of people losing their jobs and the alarming increase in crime, the more I thought, the more I began to wonder how the Burger King Corporation was doing. I know what you’re saying; it’s not easy being number two in the fast food industry.



You’ll be happy to hear that in 2008 Burger King held its own. In the fourth quarter profits were up 42 percent. With almost $650 million in revenue they seem to be doing most things right. You might be asking what aren’t they doing right?


1. Not letting criminals know they don’t actually keep the $650 million in cash at the restaurants.


In Colorado Springs, a man in his twenties using a six shooter robbed a Burger King and left with a few dollars in a takeout bag. A short time later, a man matching his description hurled a rock through the local Dairy Queen drive-thru window. No word on whether the suspect was lactose intolerant or just had an aversion to Dilly® Bars.


2. Not being quite selective enough when hiring their employees.


The Seattle Times reported that an 18 year old night shift manager will likely face felony charges for being involved in his own armed robbery. During the robbery of the Burger King, the shift manager was hit in the face and head with the robber’s revolver. The King County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shift manager and the robber “were in cahoots”.  Cahoots, now there’s a word that is definitely being under-utilized in the 21st century.


3.  Not quite getting the idea behind a dress code.


In Christchurch, New Zealand, a Burger King outlet banned students wearing school uniforms from entering the restaurant. No word on whether the ban will be expanded to include nuns wearing habits.


4. Introducing the “Angry Whopper®” to their menu in January 2009.


The Palm Beach Post reported that an enraged man at the drive-thru of the Burger King phoned 911 to report that he was unhappy with his order. He wanted lemonade and couldn’t get it. Police responded and a 66 year old man is facing charges of misusing 911. It is unclear at this time whether he had included the “Angry Whopper®” in his order.


5. “Flame”, Burger King’s broiled meat scented body spray.

In a somewhat related note Reuters Life! reports that the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India is set to release a cow urine soft drink. So far Burger King has made no comment.

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Finding World Peace

For my first blog I thought I’d write a piece that would make readers laugh until they cried. After quickly realizing my writing just isn’t that funny, I decided to write this piece instead.

Like me, in these uncertain times I’m sure you’re asking yourself: what can I do to help foster world peace? I’ve just spent the last 30 seconds contemplating that very question and only stopped when I said “HEY!” No actually, I really did. No one else is here at the moment to confirm that I actually said it, but I’ll have to ask you just to trust me on this. Anyway, as I was saying after I had said “HEY!” (not kidding) it dawned on me that I had just missed Chinese New Year and this is the year of the ox. Now, about this time you might be asking “where is this guy going with this?” (and let me tell you I can appreciate why you might be posing this question, but can I ask you something? When you asked that question did you say it out loud? I only ask because of that whole “Hey!” part at the beginning.)

Okay as I was saying, Chinese New Year, what gives with that? You’d think a civilization that is thousands of years old and has contributed such noble advances to world peace as gun powder and those spiffy terra cotta warriors would know when January 1st was? Now lest you think I am in some way belittling Chinese culture or tradition let me address New Years in Tibet or “Losar” as it is known (I wouldn’t make something like that up). So, these bunch of losars (celebrants of the festival Losar) ring in New Years between January and March. (Not for the entire time you losar, the date changes each year.) By now you must be thinking “those wacky Asians”, but let’s keep moving west.

In India or party central as it’s known to millions, you’ll need to block out March through April (those strange customer service conversations are starting to make sense). Over in Iran set your New Years calendar to the first day of spring (not known as party central by anyone). In the countries where the Coptic Orthodox Church is supreme be ready to wow down on September 11th while over at the Eastern Orthodox Church the big ball drops on January 14th unless you live in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Syria or Turkey where they said to heck with that as it was too confusing for the tourists who expect to get drunk on December 31st. Finally lets not forget those fun loving neo-pagans who celebrate the Celtic Wheel of the Year around November 1st. (Do not even go there with me!)

Where was I? That’s right, world peace. I’m getting tired, why don’t we tackle that after we finish celebrating New Years.

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