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Archive for January, 2010

pavelm, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavelm/538471634/

Photo by pavelm on flickr. Adapted by Christopher Reilly

Here in the open offices of The Curmudgeon, employees are free to go and come at their convenience, though I’m sure they feel incarcerated due to my strict adherence to deadlines.  I don’t know what they have to complain about.  Even when they are locked in their offices working furiously, they are still allowed to fiddle around on Facebook and Twitter like little bored birdies.  The same is true of an underworld Godfather (as in criminal; as in Marlin Brando) incarcerated in the U.K.

Colin Gunn continues to run his criminal empire from prison, thanks to prison official’s permission (he says; they deny) to use the site to communicate with family and friends, of which he has 565.  I can see his friend requests now; “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse…friend me or say goodbye.

The appropriately named Gunn is one bad dude known for ordering the murder or beatings of anyone who crossed him…or their relatives.  During his reign in Nottingham, it was known as “Assassination City.”  Gunn’s postings were often threatening.  In one post he said, “I will be home one day and I can’t wait to look into certain people’s eyes and see the fear of me being there.”

In another message he wrote: “It’s good to have an outlet to let you know how I am, some of you will be in for a good slagging, some have let me down badly, and will be named and shamed, F$&%!#@ rats.”  (It is not known whether Gunn used the symbols to represent letters or the letters themselves, but ever since his momma friended him he’s been watching his language.)  He was apparently able to update his info on a daily basis, so it’s not surprising that the updates and messages largely consisted of threats.  I mean, how many times can you write, “Chipped beef again!  Uggg.”

Naturally, when London’s The Sunday Times exposed the site, it was shut down, another example of the press doing what they are supposed to be doing.  As for Facebook, I think they should sue for prisoners rights to use the social network.  It could be great for business.  Look at all the free publicity it would generate.

And then they can dump that stupid slogan:  “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you”  How boring is that?  Put a little zip into it.

Facebook.  Keeps You in the Game of Life…or Not.

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Phil being petted by females. I wonder if PETA would let me have Phil's job?

Here in the affable offices of The Curmudgeon, we enjoy an amusing anecdote, a charming custom, and all things homespun.  We are in fact, highly agreeable co-workers – as far as co-workers go – and yet there are some employees I would like to change for animatronics, since they appear to be slightly mechanical anyway.  I think PETA would agree with me, probably because of the cruelty and suffering I force upon them, like actually working for their pay.

In fact, PETA has many things they would like to substitute animatronics for, but this time they’ve really gone off their rocker.  Gemma Vaughn, PETA’s Animal Entertainment Specialist, fired off a letter to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club asking them to retire the two groundhogs, Punxsutawney Phil and his understudy, Staten Island Chuck, and replace them with animatronics.  Oh, PETA, now you’ve gone too far.  I would love to be in a PETA staff meeting:  “Who should we go after now?”  “I know.  Ant farms!”

In their own words, PETA said the treatment of the groundhogs was “cruel,”  and pointed out that Phil was “forced to be on display year round at the local library and is denied the ability to prepare for and enter yearly hibernation.”  Um…yeah, but they don’t have to hibernate, instead living in forced opulence and comfort.  PETA added that “Tradition is no excuse for cruelty.”  Yeah.  I’ll think about that the next time I have to go to a wedding.

Not accustomed to dealing with controversy, Punxsutawney Groundhog Club called the request “crazy,” and blundered the following statement:  “Phil is probably treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.  He’s got air conditioning in the summer, his pen is heated in winter … He has everything but a TV in there. What more do you want?”  Holy Moley!  Are you saying the average child in Pennsylvania doesn’t have air conditioning, heat, or perhaps the biggest cruelty of all, television?  Okay, I’m sure he didn’t mean that.  They at least have television, right?

But perhaps the groundhogs agree with PETA.   Last year, Phil made several escape attempts from his home at the Punxsutawney Library, and Staten Island Chuck bit N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a Groundhog Day celebration.  Bloomberg wasn’t hurt, but he did refer to Chuck as a terrorist rodent.  But these episodes aren’t that big of a deal.  The average child in Pennsylvania also makes several escape attempts every year, and over of the kids bite their parents.

I have made my own prediction.  I walked out of my house today and saw my shadow.

I predict 6 more weeks of this particular PETA nonsense.

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"Eat me!" Photo by law_keven / flickr

Here in the spic and span offices of The Curmudgeon, we write about people who are “washed up,” “washed out,” and “washed over,” but never have we written about Lobsters that have been washed ashore.  That’s right.  Free lobster.

It happened in St. John, New Brunswick, in a small seaside Canadian town.  A storm in the Atlantic caused the crusty crustaceans to wash ashore and word spread quickly:  “There’s free lobster, eh?”  To lobster lovers, it was a perfect storm, and the people came quickly to fill up on this bounty from the sea.  All those lobsters laying there on the beach, saying in their little lobster voices, “Eat me, eat me,” and “How’s a lobster roll sound?” and “Want some tail, sailor?”

But in today’s world nothing is so simple.  I mean, there are governments and all, and nothing doesn’t go through them somehow some way.  “Hold on there, my hungry citizens, where is my cut?”  That’s right.  The government took exception  to this free delicacy.  Free?  Who has ever heard of such an absurd thing?  Where is our cut?  In fact, the Canadian federal Fisheries and Oceans ministry said the shellfish sackers were breaking the law which says lobster can only be taken in traps by licensed fishermen during open season.  Anyone caught, the ministry continued, collecting lobsters without us getting our cut…er…I mean, anyone caught could be fined $100,000.

Mayor Pierre Godin of the town Petit-Rocher dismissed the warning with a wave of his hand, as though shooing a pesky fly, said (hopefully in a French accent,) “Sacre Bleu!  About one zouzand peepole have enjoyed zee lobster, including moi.  We have been eating zee washed up seafood for centuries, mon dieu!

And here I thought the U.S. had a lock on this kind of government intrusion, and it really doesn’t come as a shock, and yet I was a little taken aback that the feds insisted on sticking their fingers in this tasty bisque.  It’s not like the good citizens were fishing out of season or stealing from traps.  This was a gift from mother nature.

And we all know it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

(This story was first reported in New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, January 6th, 2010.)

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Baby cougar at the Houston Zoo/Photograpy by KRO-Media

We reward loyalty here in the noble offices of The Curmudgeon, and employees who speak about us and say good things—or better yet, get in bar fights defending our honor—are well-thanked in their Christmas stockings as well as in their quarterly bonus checks.  Only I can’t say it was for getting in a bar fight—our accountant frowns on that—so we call it  “customer awareness seminar.”  But in any case, I have never met a human as noble or loyal as a good dog.

Such was the case for little 11 year-old Austin Forman of Boston Bar, B.C.  According to BCB News, he was performing the simple task of gathering firewood from the woodshed and taking it to the house when his dog, Angel began following him to and fro, hackles raised, wary, strung as tight as tension wire.

Suddenly, the dog ran right at the boy, jumped over a lawn mower, and found itself in a fight to the death with a cougar.  Whilst the dog fought the cougar for the boy’s life, the boy ran inside where his mother called 911.  When the RCMP arrived, they found the cougar had dragged the dog under the porch and was gnawing on its neck.  An officer immediately shot the cougar, dispatching it to the big game park in the sky.

The boy was not hurt.  The dog, Angel…was okay too, suffering some puncture woulds on her head, neck and one of hind legs.  Her name was Angel?  Okay, I’m not gonna go there.  You go there and write me about it.  It warms the cockles of my heart. (A cockle being a bi-valve mollusk shaped like a heart which is not the nicest image.  If anyone has cockles on their heart, they should go to the emergency room.)

Loyalty like that is rarely seen in a human, which is kind of sad.  Of course there is one tragedy here…the Cougar, who, let’s face it, had every right to be there and was only doing what cougars do.  Us humans keep encroaching on nature and confrontations have to be expected.  But let me not get too far off the mark here:

Angel is a hero dog.

I like that.

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