Sunday, 29 December 2019

Oatmeal and the Reinventing of Breakfast

"If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart."
C.S. Lewis


It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately for many, breakfast has also become the most boring meal of the day. How sad!

Has breakfast become boring? Are you tired of the same standard quick go-to breakfast option of a box of cold cereal? Yea; glorified dog food kibbles on our breakfast tables! Yummy … Not! (Yes, I am being facetious). Yet grocery stores have entire aisles devoted to these breakfast pseudo-foods. Am I the only one who thinks that strange? Hmm.

A common argument I hear from people to not eat breakfast is that they don't have the time in the morning. I would argue that they're then just getting out of bed too late. In other areas of life we always make time for things that matter and are important to us. Why not for breakfast too? Perhaps a good wholesome breakfast just doesn't matter to some folks. Well, to each their own; I'll not judge.

I have been experimenting with breakfast alternatives lately. You may recall seeing this recent post  in which I recreated poached eggs. I had them again yesterday. Yes, they were amazingly awesome!

While growing up a regular breakfast fare was oatmeal, or porridge as it was often called. It wasn't a microwaved version as one often sees today, but an old school stove top concoction. Sometimes immediately prior to serving some variety of fruit was placed on top; berries, sliced banana, or whatever we happened to have available at the time. To this a little brown sugar was sprinkled and a little milk added. It was a good wholesome breakfast that actually filled you up for a while and gave you the energy you needed to kick-start your day.

My latest experiment with breakfast was recreating that oatmeal breakfast of yesteryear. The oatmeal is still prepared old-school style on the stove. Once it's virtually done, I take the pot off the heat, stir in some frozen berries, cover and set aside. If the berries are too large, I cut them up first into smaller pieces (while still frozen). The hot oatmeal thaws the berries as it thickens in the covered pot. Then, immediately before serving, I added a couple heaping tablespoons of blueberry yogurt. Other yogurt flavours also work, but I'm partial to blueberry. Absent from my newly recreated oatmeal was the brown sugar and milk of yesteryear. The combination of berries and yogurt made it sweet enough. Another difference is that the oatmeal is now served cold as opposed to to its predecessor's hot version.

Who says that breakfast has to be boring? It doesn't have to be. The most important meal of the day can be nutritious and enjoyable if we want it to be and if we allow just a little extra time in our mornings to make it happen. Peace, and may your breakfasts be awesome.

"Our food should be our medicine
and our medicine should be our food."

Photo sources: First is my own; second is unknown.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Breakfast: The Third Most Important Pre-Lunch Meal?

I love breakfast!

I love them so much that I sometimes even have two, and yes, that's before lunch. Maybe I'm part Hobbit. Though Hobbits are small creatures (unlike me), they are famous for their two breakfasts. Last I counted, they actually have seven meals per day: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper (some would argue that it's only six meals per day, but, whatever; point has been made. They eat often).

Actually, I typically don't eat that often.

I do, however, calorie up in the mornings, start tapering off at lunch, and typically only graze in the evening. Unless, of course, someone has an awesome non-vegan friendly rack of something (real meat) on the grill or in the smoker that I get invited to. In that case, all bets are off.

But we were talking about breakfast, that early-morning feast some have called "the most important meal of the day." I would have to agree with that sentiment. Fact is, I cannot understand people who don't eat breakfast, but that's OK; to each their own. I'll not judge.

One of my favourite new-found discoveries is poached eggs.

I think I finally learned the trick to a perfect poached egg. It starts with a frying pan partly filled with water. Once the water comes to a full boil, turn off the burner and immediately crack into it two (or however many you want) extra-large eggs. Cover the fry pan and count off exactly five minutes (no peeking).

While that's happening, I like to fry up a few slices of thick bacon. Everything is better with bacon, including poached eggs! As a lover of old Canadian cheddar cheese, you'd have to believe that a few slices of that awesome aged cheddar is also in order. Finally, a nice rye or light rye buttered toast (real butter, not that imitation pseudo-food, margarine stuff). Add a little salt, black pepper and crushed chilies, and you're good to go.

Note: If the yolk doesn't start running all over your cheese, bacon and toast when you put your fork to them, you cooked your eggs too long. You may need to adjust your poaching times a little.

Well there you have it: Poached Eggs, a la The Other Side of Will. Suitable for breakfast, second breakfast and elevensies. Oh, never mind; these poached eggs are so awesome, they're even worthy of a Hobbit's luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper too. Enjoy.


Sunday, 15 December 2019

Is Living Hazardous to Your Health?

Someone shared an article on social media recently of how a popular diabetes medication is being investigated for possibly containing a cancer-causing contaminant. Why am I not surprised? The good news is, that your diabetes is under control. The bad news is, you may get cancer because of it. A person could go nuts trying to stay on top of all these things that could potentially harm you, and even cause ones premature demise. Sigh!

I suspect that most people are probably reasonably concerned with their health. They go for regular medical check ups, get a variety of regular tests done, and follow the prescribed medications where needed. The doctor notices a case of borderline diabetes, and prescribes a common standard treatment. I am for the most part, not a conspiracy theorist; the doctor is not out to get us in any malicious way, and I don't think they are in cahoots with the big pharmaceuticals either.

Fact is, a lot of things could potentially cause cancer. In this case, if you were to read beyond just the headline, the contaminate being investigated is also the same contaminate found in water and other foods. Does that mean that we should quit drinking water and eating certain foods too?

Granted, some people may have had adverse reactions to the medication in question. Maybe for some it is a horrible drug. Then again, for others it's a life-saver. Some people also have adverse reactions to Tylenol, but that doesn't mean that Tylenol doesn't work wonders for many other folks. Bottom line is, in conjunction with my doctor, we'll find the right medication that works for me. It may not work for someone else, but if it works for me, then all is good.

Yes, there is always a chance that there may be a negative side effect from the foods that we eat and the medications that we take, but there is also probably the greater potential side effect of getting hit by a truck on our morning commute to the workplace. There is probably a greater risk that authorities will one day knock on our door and inform our significant other that we will not be coming home due to an unfortunate accident. Does that mean that we should all move into bubble-wrapped homes? Does that mean that we should no longer go to work? Nice thought, but, Hmm …

… would that really be living life to the full?

Of course we should all try and take care of ourselves and not overly abuse our bodies. Yes, eat right. Yes, get the proper rest. Yes, exercise some every day. Yes, take medications only as prescribed by your family physician. However, at the risk of sounding somewhat morbid, the healthy and the sick, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, will all alike one day … die. If I were to constantly fret over every little thing that I eat or drink, if I were to constantly second-guess the doctor's orders with regards to my prescribed medications, what kind of life is that?

I guess, as the old quip goes, it would really suck to one day die of … absolutely nothing.

I love the image of the elderly lady celebrating her 100th birthday, by lighting a cigar off one of the candles on her birthday cake. Though I personally quit smoking many years ago, I remember mentioning to my wife that, if I too live to see my 100th birthday, I fully intend to celebrate it with a big-old Cuban cigar and a glass of old single-malt scotch whiskey. And why not?!

The bottom line is, as I've often mused, that …

… living is hazardous to your health.

Maybe it is. Maybe longevity has more to do with the proverbial luck of the draw and/or the plan of Almighty God. Who am I to say? Some die at twenty, some at one hundred and ten, and others somewhere in between. But worrying about every little thing that may or may not happen, is also not healthy, and is also not really … living. It's kind of sad, actually.

Just my two-cents worth. Peace, and may you live life to the full. Cheers!

Read source diabetes medication article here

Drugs Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Granny's 100th Birthday Photo Source: Unknown

Thursday, 12 December 2019

The Male Urine Test

Kafka Museum: Statue rotates and pees.
Well now that I am getting older, I've begun to notice some weird new tests that the doctor has ordered for me. Welcome to being old enough to be able to call yourself a … pensioner. How the hell did that happen?! Wasn't it only yesterday that I lied about my age with a phoney ID card so that I could go into a pub with my older buds and enjoy a few brews?

So here I am, waiting anxiously for the latest weird new medical procedure; my first colonoscopy appointment. Yea, lucky me. Once again it occurs to me that I am, in fact, getting older and that my biological clock is starting to tick down. Isn't it just old people who get this procedure done? Didn't even think of this test thirty years ago! Ah, the circle of life! *sigh*

So here I am, a North American male, suddenly finding himself somewhere north of 60-years of age, and toying with the concept of retirement (or at least semi-retirement). When it may or may not actually happen, remains to be seen. What are the minimum conditions necessary to survive retirement? Well, aside from the obvious financial considerations, another key element is apparently health, and thus the plethora of doctor-ordered weird and new tests. And so, hello colonoscopy.

Reflecting still further on some of these weird tests, I recently came across an interpretation of male urine test results which I found interesting, and even a little amusing (as if peeing in a cup isn't already amusing enough in its own twisted way). The way the test works is that we men need to take our urine test outside to the garden (forget the cup), and there among the wife's favourite shrubs, or the neighbour's fish pond, let nature take its course, and do what comes naturally … pee.

Ah, what a relief it is! Nothing like the world being your outhouse!

Interpreting the Results
  • if ants gather, you may have diabetes
  • if you pee on your foot, there may be a prostate issue
  • if your pee smells like a barbecue, there may be a cholesterol issue
  • if when you shake it afterwards, your wrist hurts, it may be a sign of osteoarthritis 
  • if you return to the house with your penis still outside your pants, it may be a sign of Alzheimers
Well there you have it; the male urine test simplified. You're welcome.


Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Test Results Source: Unknown

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Greatest Christmas Movie Ever?

Well here we are, friends; November 30th, 2019. Christmas is now just a little over three weeks away.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but yesterday could quite possibly be a day to go down in infamy as the first time in my life that I've ventured out to take advantage of a Black Friday sale. Yes, you heard that right; I can't believe it either. I seriously cannot remember ever doing that before. Historically, one thing Black Friday sales always lacked was … me.

So today, the fourth last Saturday before Christmas, my better-half and I plan to start watching some of our favourite seasonal Christmas movies. There are all sorts of classics that we could choose from, but once again this year, we'll start with our favourite; Die Hard. Truly, it's a Christmas classic, at least in our humble opinion.

I know, I know; some of you scrooges do not agree with our assessment. I actually have family members divided in their own homes over this. One spouse agrees with our viewpoint, whereas the other vehemently disagrees. Kind of funny, actually.

Not to be forgotten, there are the biblical birth narratives of Jesus which trump all other Christmas stories. I will give you that and will never personally deny it. THAT is what Christmas is truly all about. No arguments from us … ever!

As for that Santa guy perched on a cheap throne in shopping malls; well, he's just creepy. Why our society thinks it cute to let our children sit on a strange man's lap, as he hides his true identity behind a usually phoney beard, is beyond me. If that horrid practice happened any other time of the year, the creep would be swiftly, and rightly, locked up! Still, the modern Santa religion and/or cult permits and condones it. In all fairness, I never grew up with this tradition.

However, I've digressed. We were talking about our favourite Hollywood-ized Christmas movie classics. Keeping that action-packed movie genre in mind, the greatest non-faith based Christmas movie ever, has to be Die Hard. There is nothing on the big screen that yells out "Christmas" as much as seeing Hans Gruber falling off the Nakatomi Plaza. The scene still brings a joyous tear to our eyes. Isn't that just beautiful?!

"Yippee Ki Yay … " 😏😏😏

So from our house to yours, Merry Christmas.

Photo/Cartoon Sources: Unknown

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A Dog's Life: Inside or Outside is the Question

We have a beautiful mixed breed dog we rescued from an animal shelter about four years ago, who perhaps ironically, rescued us as much as we rescued her. At 56-kilos (123-pounds), she's no little girl, and probably could stand to lose some weight, as I previously blogged about here.

She's a bit of a sap, but she's our sap, and we love her. One thing she's not is an outdoor dog. Yes, she loves going for walks, but she also gets exercise on a treadmill for about 30-minutes each morning before her breakfast. Like all dogs, the backyard is her outhouse, though I am convinced that if she could figure out how, she opt for using the same toilet we do.

Our fur baby is not overly sociable with strangers and doesn't play well with other dogs, but then again, my wife often jokes that I'm not overly sociable either. I guess we're made for each other. Wherever we are, she wants to be as well, and she adores our grand babies and protects them like they were her own pups. For that we are blessed.

However, I have a confession to make; things were not always like that.

Growing up we had dogs, but they were never allowed in the house, with the exception of extremely cold nights, and even then, only in the basement. As I grew older and got married, we again had dogs, but I am sorry to say that they spent too much time outside and away from the family. In retrospect, my wife and I both still feel horrible about that; the dogs just wanted to be a part of the family, and we by our actions, essentially denied them that. How sad! We really should never have had them, and after the last dog passed away, we went several years dog-less. Maybe we needed that break to learn how to become real dog lovers and appreciate them as much as they appreciate us.

Thankfully things are very different with our current dog. I couldn't imagine her not being in our home and in our lives, even with having to vacuum up enough dog hair every week to knit another dog. She is a part of the family and we are committed to giving her the best home possible.

Our house is her dog house.

Recently I discovered a video by Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, who did a little experiment to learn what it must be like for a dog to live outdoors in a dog house during winter. As I suggested above, we have come to believe that if you're going to have a dog that only lives outside, you probably shouldn't have one at all. I will now never be convinced otherwise. However, as Dr. Ward's experiment shows, especially don't leave them outside in cold sub-freezing weather … please.

I also like how Dr. Ward briefly makes reference to homelessness among humans, another deplorable problem in society. Certainly much more can and needs to be said and done about our inhumanity toward our fellow man in even allowing it, but that's a separate topic for another day.

Just my humble opinion. Peace.

"The world would be a nicer place if everyone 
had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog."
M.K. Clinton

Saturday, 16 November 2019

I'm Offended!

I'm offended that you're offended by me taking offense at your offensive offensiveness.

At the risk of offending and perhaps bordering on a political argument, both of which I strive very hard not to do, one thing has bothered me lately: When did we suddenly become a society of spineless pansies, always seemingly offended by our own shadows?

Please understand that I don't believe in going out of my way to deliberately offend anyone, and I do not condone that in people who do. However, it seems to me that modern society has become a little more stupider of late. Maybe my saying that also offends. Hmm.

Someone shares an opinion, something that last I checked, we were all equally entitled to do, and suddenly someone else cries "foul" and everyone suddenly goes berserk and into a dither back peddling to appease the offended and pseudo-offended. That's it; I had my little feelings hurt, and I'm going to sue for damages! Really?! What a bunch of wimps we've become! Whatever happened to the proverbial, "Suck it up, buttercup?" But no; we cry at every offence, and what's worse, society caters to it. "You can't say that; I'm offended!" Good grief, how did we as a society get our knickers into such a tight knot?

What have we become?

You don't have to look very hard, and you certainly don't need me to cite examples, to prove my case; it's everywhere. When did we suddenly lose our spines and get offended at every second remark someone, usually innocently I might add, had the audacity to proclaim? I don't remember it ever being this bad back in my day; all this nonsense seems like a recent development of only the last few years.

Sportscaster Don Cherry shares an opinion about people who don't wear a poppy, and on Remembrance Day, the very day he tries to honour, get's fired for sharing his opinion about remembering those who gave their very lives in the defence of freedom. Wow, the irony! No matter how much I back play the alleged infraction, I still don't know what he said that was perceived so evil. Offended over what? Using the phrase, "you people?" Telling it like it is? Having an opinion of his own? Publicly saying what many others, based on the public outcry surrounding his firing, apparently also think? Sheesh!

When did we start holding sportscasters to a higher standard than our politicians? Politics; now there's a comedy of errors that maybe we do have a right to be offended about.

Just my humble opinion, if I'm still allowed to have one, that is. I'm offended too, by the offended, in case anyone cares. End of rant!

Don't get mad at me when I pull a you on you.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

of Nachos and Captain Jack Sparrow

You know you've been married for a long time when you and your better half both have a craving for the same food at more or less the same time. Funny how that works.

This week the craving for nachos seemed to resonate with both of us. While we could have gone to our favourite watering hole and ordered a platter, as we've done a time or ten before, this time we opted for homemade instead. While a little more work, it was a nice treat for our Friday night movie. Pirates of the Caribbean never looked so good.

No doubt there are a thousand and one ways to make nachos. Definitely not a case of right or wrong. This mouthwatering feast began simply enough; with ground beef, browned, drained, and seasoned with a taco spice. It had about three layers of tortilla chips, each layer topped with a medley of chopped jalapeno peppers and green onions, taco ground beef, and a grated blend of three different cheeses. Just for good measure, to the third and final layer I added an extra sprinkling of Armstrong Old Cheddar. After all, one can never have too much cheese, but one can certainly have too little.

After a quick heating in the oven to melt all the yummy cheese, it was time to sit back with Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan, and the rest of the motley crew … and enjoy the show.

For the record, there were a few left overs, but not many.

"Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate."
(Captain Jack Sparrow) 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Sweet Potato Soup: Cure For A Cold Day

There is nothing like a hearty homemade soup on a cold day. It is still only September, but somehow the mercury found itself below the freezing mark, and with it came the first fresh blanket of that nasty seasonal white stuff … snow.

Time for a delicious homemade soup.

One of our favourites is sweet potato soup. Not sure why we don't make it more often; it is, after all, rather simple to make. On a lazy colder day, it once again seemed like the perfect dinner choice.

I'm afraid that I am not really that great at creating recipes, since I rarely measure anything. It is always some of this and some of that; whatever seems best at the time. So if you're looking for an exact step by step recipe, well I'm afraid this post may not be much help. But if you're creative, and have a sense of which end of the kitchen is up, I'm sure your homemade sweet potato soup will be equally awesome. So here's how I made mine … sort of:

I began by peeling some sweet potatoes. Though I still don't know the difference, I've substituted yams before too. They're equally good. These I cut into smaller chunks. I had about half a dozen carrots left, so I peeled and chopped them too. They went together in the same pot and boiled them until soft.

Once soft, I drained the water, added a can of low sodium mushroom soup, and two cans of milk. After mashing the mixture, I went a step further and pureed the mixture as well. You can add more or less milk, depending on the consistency that you prefer. We like it a little thicker. While all this was happening, I cut several small white potatoes into little chunks, skins on, and let them boil. Once tender, the white potatoes were drained, and folded into the sweet potato and carrot puree.

After reheating, we were ready to eat. I like to add a dollop of sour cream and a few cut green onions before serving. I have sometimes also added bacon bits. Tasty, filling, and wife approved. A perfect meal for that cold day … even if it is only September, and old-man winter gets confused and comes way too soon.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Oh Crap!

"Every time a bird poops on my car,
I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my porch,
just to show them what I'm capable of." 


Pardon me for chuckling, but this story my wife shared with me was worth an extra snort.

It seems that a politician in Chicago was discussing a pigeon pooping problem with reporters at a transit station in that city known for its bird feces problems, when a pigeon promptly did its business and pooped on the politician's head. Well, crap; I guess the birds did get the last laugh after all!

Karma? Political savvy of our feathered friends? Hmm, maybe not. But perhaps the lesson is that, if you find yourself in Chicago's infamous  "Pigeon Poop Station," you might want to consider carrying an umbrella. Or at the very least, invite a politician to join you. After all, apparently they know just what to do with politicians.


Story Source: Pigeon Poops on Lawmaker Discussing Pigeon Poop Problem
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Retirement: The Other Side of the "Tire?"

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
(Fred Rogers)

Well here we are, almost two months past the date in which I had planned and hoped to retire. The previous retirement goal was five years earlier. That one didn't work out so well either. Hmm, maybe it's time to rethink this retirement thing.

I guess I had hoped that retirement for me would be more than just putting on a new set of rubber on the old car, and continuing on with it, much as before, with no end in sight.

Re-tire-ment? Bad joke; sorry.

So here I am, still hard working at a high-stress job. Do I begrudge it? Am I angry or depressed because things didn't quite work out (yet) as I had planned? Not at all. Far from it, actually. In truth, I am very grateful for a number of reasons, a few of which are these:

I am blessed with a good job.

Though I am on salary and put in far more hours than I technically get paid for, and though sometimes I have joked that I am a volunteer, I certainly cannot (and dare not) complain. Someone once said, "I complained of having no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." The wage is good, the benefits are good, working conditions are great, my immediate supervisor has been great; what more could I ask for? This year I even qualified for a fifth week of annual paid vacation, not to mention several personal days to take as I wish. Yes, I am blessed.

I am still able to do a good job.

It is one thing to consider retirement when one feels like they can no longer do the job. But I can still do the job. Yes, sometimes I pull out what's left of my hair doing so, but I can still do it. That's got to still count for something, wouldn't you say? I would think so. A few years back my job position once again changed, and the new position dictated that I successfully complete a certain level of Power Engineering education. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and thereby successfully moved into my newest role.

My employer hasn't put me out to pasture yet.

Maybe I shouldn't wish myself out to pasture yet either. Like many of us, I've seen some colleagues face those dreaded Friday afternoon Human Resources meetings in which they were no longer welcomed back to the job site Monday morning. Maybe one day it will be my turn as well, but thus far, that has not been the case. "No news is good news," someone once said. I must still be doing an acceptable level of work. Certainly I've had some positive recommendations on my LinkedIn account by colleagues and former bosses.

Retirement age?

So there you have it. Retirement age? Maybe that's a subjective thing; different for everyone of us, and based more upon a plethora of personal circumstances and abilities than physical age. Yes, I am in my sixties now (don't ask me how THAT happened); retirement age for some, but for others more a time to re-rubber the old cow and carry on for another ten years or so.

Retirement? God only knows if/when. One day, maybe. But for now, it's "one day at a time." Maybe I'll make another month, another year, or another five years. Whatever it may be, I'm at peace with it; and I guess that's the best that I can hope for.

The only question that remains is, How did that poor old cow get herself into that predicament with that tire? Did she also attempt to retire too early? Hmm.

Photo Credit: Unknown

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Penile Self-Exorcism: The Ultimate Manhood Test?

Ladies, you'll forgive me if I address this post to the men in your lives. I suspect that it will make most, if not all, men cringe in a way that only they would fully understand and be able to sympathize with.

It's a man-thing.

Like many of you, I have had my share of kidney stones. Some were small that could be passed on my own with an interesting measure of pain; others were so large that they required a general anaesthetic and surgical procedure to remove. Some were laser blasted. Others involved ultrasound waves. Some had stents implanted between the kidney and bladder, only to be removed under another general anaesthetic about about four weeks later. Some kidney stone attacks happened on the job, others while on vacation, which forced a hospital visit to finish off the holiday. Good times.

I remember asking my urologist once what causes kidney stones, thinking that if it was a dietary thing (dairy products maybe?), then perhaps I could avoid future kidney stones by simply avoiding certain food groups. He said, "No, some people are simply blessed with them." What an interesting "blessing," I thought.

Fun, fun, fun (Yes, I am being facetious).

Well, as my luck would have it, recently I had yet another kidney stone attack. I felt like someone hit me across the left side with a 2x4 stud! Wow! During the subsequent ER visit and associated tests, I learned that this kidney stone was about 8mm in size. That's about the size of a kernel of corn. I since learned that, apparently the largest size of kidney stone that anyone can pass on their own is about 4-5mm in size. So here I was, lying in an ER bed with a moving kidney stone almost twice that size! Two bags of morphine dripping through my IV bag did nothing to help the pain. Lucky me!

Fast forward a few hours and I am in surgery, and all was good … except for that stent they left behind to assist with the removal of post-laser stone fragments. OK, past experience reminded me that they would simply put me under again in a few weeks and remove the stent. Right? Wrong!

Penile exorcism: The ultimate manhood test?

Well, apparently it is now common medical practice to remove one's own stent! Yup, you heard that right! My post surgical medical advice told me that, about one week after surgery, I should go stand in the shower and pull on a string, about 1-2 inches long hanging out of my private parts, and remove my own stent! Excuse me? A quick look at the calendar confirmed that this was not April 1st and thus not an April Fool's joke!

"It will be fine," the doctor said. "Simply take a couple ibuprofen before hand." Yeah, right; bubble gum would have about the same effect on me. I opted for a few ounces of whiskey instead.

So there I stood in the shower, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled some more, on what turned out to be about 24 inches (60cm) of stent and leader string, through my penis. Are you still with me guys?

Well the good news is, I survived this scene from a horror movie with little more that a headache from banging my head against the shower wall. The post exorcism ordeal left me with a bit of pain for about a day afterwards, but all is now once again thankfully good.

Still, the fact is, I am convinced that man is not meant to self-pull a 24-inch long demon out through his privates! Certainly, at least, not whilst sober.

Definitely high up there on my weird-shit-o-meter!!!


Photo #1: via Google, source unknown
Photo #2: 12-inch (30 cm) stent after self extraction
Photo #3: 12-inch (30 cm) pull string leading to stent

Monday, 8 July 2019

Beards: To Shave or Not to Shave?

Yes, that's my mug shot. The real me. The man behind The Other Side of Will. Awesome, isn't it?! I think so too. LOL.


I don't know what prompted me to create this meme. Perhaps it was just some of the many (envious???) stares of late, or perhaps it was one too many old Santa jokes. Then again, maybe it was simply my humorist side once again sticking out its head.

Excuse me, Miss;
my eyes are up here.

However, are beards really just a trend or a fad as some people claim? Yes and No. I have often joked that, if God gave me the ability to grow a beard, He must have meant me to wear a beard. Other than a couple brief hiccups, I have chosen to remain bearded for most of the past forty years. And as it stands today, I have no intention of ever being clean shaven again. Ultimately, my life; my choice. I'll be buried bearded, if I have any say in the matter.

But the fact is that, as far as any of us know, men have been bearded since the beginning of time. Still, there have clearly also been times when history has recorded eras when men either chose to be clean shaven, or were commanded to for various reasons to be so. Even in today's modern times, some vocations enforce a clean shaven face. I cannot help but wonder, if a clean shaven face were suddenly a requirement of my job, would I do it? Or would I quickly be looking for a new job? Tough choice. I know what I'd be tempted to say; at the risk of offending someone, I'd be tempted to reply: "Next time, maybe hire a woman?" Ouch! Hmm, probably wouldn't go over too well. LOL.

I ran across an article a while back that studied male healthcare workers (the industry I currently work in), bearded and non-bearded, and found that the bearded were less likely to acquire certain illnesses than their clean-shaven brothers. Interesting. For more on that, see: The Health Benefits of Beards. Are there health benefits for men to remain bearded? You decide. At least one study seems to suggest just that. Personally, I like their findings. Hmm.

Beards are not a trend; history has clearly shown this to be true. If there is any trend or abnormality to be had, I'd suggest that it is the notion that men should shave their God-given facial coverings. But that's just my humble opinion. From the beginning of time, I'd be tempted to argue that bearded generations far outweigh the non-bearded generations.

So if you're a history buff like me, and interested in some of the history of beards and shaving, you may want to check out this little article I discovered: The History of Shaving and Beards. It's actually quite interesting. Doesn't make me want to shave, though.

Finally, please don't hate me because I'm "beardiful," and I promise I won't suggest to your womenfolk that they ought to raise their standard if you're beardless. After all, a man without a beard is somewhat like a lion without a mane; again, in my humble opinion. Finally, to my beardless brothers, I apologize that your women keep staring at my beard. Not really my fault.


However, maybe there's a hint to be taken here. Hmm.

"Kissing a man without a beard
is like drinking champagne without bubbles."

"Never date a woman
who can grow a better beard than you can."


A Caveat: To my beardless brothers, my sympathies. I understand how hard it is to sometimes align ourselves with the wishes of our female other halves. May God give you the strength to recover those key masculine parts from her purse. I trust you'll also appreciate that, this entire post was meant in jest and with my often twisted sense of humour at its core. No offence is intended. Peace.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Why I Don't Diet

Note to Self:

Having chocolate in both hands is not really what the term "balanced diet" refers to. Who knew?!


At a recent visit to our vet, we were informed that our precious fur-baby could stand to lose some weight. Apparently her 56-kg (123-pound) girth is a bit to much for her. Perhaps ironically, my doctor would like to see me shed a few pounds too. Hmm, can you say, "conspiracy?"

The problem is, this man and his best friend both like to eat. Besides, how do you explain "diet" to a fur-baby? What kind of nonsense is this "diet" stuff anyways? If you haven't yet experienced that agony, try explaining to your dog as to why her dinner rations have been cut back, and let me know how it goes.

I cannot remember when this picture was taken, but I was amused by the fact that in it our beloved fur-baby had her eyes closed, almost as if she just heard another painful and bad Dad-Joke. Maybe she did. Maybe they can understand humour. Maybe dogs are smarter than we've typically given them credit for.

Well there you have it. The next time your significant other, or someone else not so significant, suggests that you should consider a diet, you can now add a religious argument to your arsenal of anti-diet arguments. How could you possibly justify removing that fat, which the Lord has clearly said belongs to Him?

Maybe my being fat is God-ordained after all. Hmm. Yea, let's go with that.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Facebook Evolution: Memorial Pages?

"What happens on social media stays on Google forever."

I came across an article recently that claims that within the next fifty years or so, there will be more Facebook accounts belonging to the dead than to the living. I guess I've never really stopped to think about that before, but it does stand to reason. My own Facebook account, which boasts a fairly small number of "friends," currently shows at least three friend accounts that I'm aware of belonging to deceased friends. There were still others as well, but I'm assuming their family members deactivated their accounts as I no longer see them.

I don't mention this to be morbid or somehow insensitive. Rather, I'm just making an observation. It would seem that Facebook may be, by its very nature, rapidly evolving into more of a memorial media than a social media.

Perhaps that's not all bad. Facebook users typically share a plethora of pictures and stories of their life events. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their Facebook page. Everything from their family to their vacations; from their religious to their political views; from food creations to parties; from employment to retirement. For many, it's already all out there for the world to see. The only question is, should it stay there for all eternity after we pass on from this life? After all, if we're okay with our stories being public this side of the grave, what difference does it make if the same stories remain public the other side of the grave?

Ultimately I suppose that's up to our families' discretion.

On the occasion of their sixtieth wedding anniversary, my parents published their 300-page memoirs. Anyone searching for it can purchase a copy on Amazon or other booksellers if they so wish. Though they've never been much for social media, nevertheless their story is also out there. In some ways, maybe that's not so different than someone's Facebook social media page evolving into a Facebook memorial page. In both cases, the once private has become public.

Facebook Evolution: Memorial Pages? Yea or Nay? Why or why not? Do drop me a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Peace.
Story Source: Here
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, 29 April 2019

Funeral Services: A Low Cost Alternative?

It is no secret that funerals can cost a small fortune. If only there was a way to reduce costs.

Well it would appear that there is now a third option for those who can't justify the costs of the traditional burial or its less expensive cousin, cremation.

Wood chipper service may now be available at select mortuaries and funeral homes near you.

Think about it. What could be more environmentally friendly than, when your days are over, being turned into mulch and spread throughout the flower garden? Forget the distant cemetery plot; now, in a way, you don't even have to leave home at all when that final curtain call comes. And think of the money you'll save for your loved ones. That alone may make this third alternative worth a second look. Hmm.

No need to thank me, but do feel free to include me in your will. 😏

Monday, 8 April 2019

Asthma Cigarettes: For Your … Health?

Do you suffer from asthma? How about hay fever? Some other throat or bronchial ailment perhaps? If so, you owe it to yourself to try Dr. Batty's Asthma Cigarettes. Guaranteed temporary relief of paroxysms of asthma. It will even deal effectively with bad breath.

Well it would seem that in the late 1800's, cigarettes were viewed by some physicians as an effective way to get bronchial medications directly into the lungs. They were viewed as completely harmless, even for children, though this advertisement does say that these cigarettes are "not recommended for children under 6."

OK, so pre-schoolers should wait at least until school age then before starting smoking? Hmm. Yes, I'm being a little facetious.

My, how times have changed!

But it wasn't that many years ago that smoking was still sociably acceptable, even on school grounds. In the early-mid 1970's, as a high school student, we were still permitted to smoke on school grounds, and even right up to the school doors. Air travel allowed smoking toward the rear of the aircraft. I still remember the little ashtrays built into the passenger seat arm rests. Restaurants and bars, all permitted smoking in their establishments until not that many years ago. Even children's Saturday morning cartoons promoted smoking cigarettes; the Flintstones, one of my childhood favourites, included.

Age Test: How many of us remember these commercials of yesteryear? Hmm ...

Yes, times have changed.

Cigarettes no longer are advertised on children's cartoons (thankfully), or for that matter, on TV at all. Cigarettes no longer have the sex appeal they apparently once did. And as for their ability to cure throat ailments, well, we now know that the opposite is more likely to be true; they actually cause those ailments, not to mention a host of others. I guess the proverbial "Good Old Days" were not always as good as some would have us to believe.

So hold the Winston's; here's to health and the changing of the times. Cheers.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Living Is Hazardous to Your Health

Well-meaning individuals have often told me that I need to get into shape. When I hear this nonsense, I like to remind those meddlers that I am in shape; round is a shape. So there!


But seriously (sort of), I'm always impressed by people who discipline themselves in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They don't smoke, they only drink alcohol in strict moderation (assuming they even drink at all), they almost religiously follow recommended food nutrition guidelines, and they get plenty of exercise. I've even seen some people running with no one chasing them! Can you believe it?! Kudos to them; they're an inspiration to many of us. They'll probably live a long life and eventually die … of nothing at all.

Yes, I am being somewhat facetious.

I don't know where this cartoon came from or who the artist is, but it made me chuckle (in a sad twisted kind of way). The proverbial "Quality of Life" as perhaps depicted here, is of course, subjective at best. Everyone has their own idea of what that term means. Of course we all want to live long lives - and hopefully healthy lives - but that may or may not be. I suppose that's life.

I guess what it all comes down to is that Living Is Hazardous to Your Health. By all means we should take care of ourselves, but in the process, let's not forget to live. So what if the steak I'm going to enjoy for dinner tonight is bigger than the recommended size of the palm of my hand. So what if I have a glass of wine, or maybe even two, with my meal. So what if my FitBit says that I only walked 5,000 steps today instead of the recommended 10,000 steps. Maybe tomorrow I'll clock that magic 10,000, and then again ...

I intend to enjoy life to the full with things and with people that matter to me today, regardless whether or not my pseudo-healthy lifestyle (or lack of it) gains me an extra twenty years. Perhaps you do too. As someone has so eloquently said, everything in moderation, but do live life to the full.

And if per chance I do live to be 100, I fully intend to start smoking cigars again. And now and then, I might even allow myself a nice glass of 30-year old single-malt scotch whiskey to go with it.

With that I'll have to say goodbye for now; I've got some beautiful pork ribs out on the charcoal grill that are begging for this carnivore's attention. Cheers.

"Age is not how old you are,
but how many years of fun you've had."
Matt Maldre

Friday, 29 March 2019

The Dinner Interruption

I've always believed that, just because a phone rings, doesn't mean that it has to be answered.

Remember back when the family dinner hour was almost held as a sacred thing? This was "family time." It was a time to catch up with each other at the end of a busy day of school and work. It wasn't about friends (unless they were invited over for dinner), it wasn't about work and the stressors of the job, it wasn't about the neighbours, and it certainly wasn't about telemarketers. This was a private family time, and to interrupt it was not just annoying, it was just plain rude. And perhaps for some of us, maybe it was even a little sacrilegious. Perhaps too, that is why the family dinner hour was (and maybe still is) also the preferred time chosen by telemarketers, because there is a greater likelihood that they would find someone at home to answer their annoying calls.

Yes, I've always believed that, just because a phone rings, doesn't mean that it has to be answered. But sometimes answering it can also prove to be quite entertaining, such as this anonymous story I discovered recently:

😆 😆 😆 😆 😆  😆 😆

I was at home the other night in the middle of my dinner when the phone rang.

ME: Hello.

AT&T: Hello, this is AT&T.

ME: Is this AT&T.

AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T ...

ME: This is AT&T.

AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T ...

ME: Is this AT&T?

AT&T: Yes! This is AT&T, may I speak to Mr. Byron, please?

ME: May I ask who is calling?

AT&T: This is AT&T.

ME: OK, hold on.

At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. I ate my salad. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.

ME: Hello?

AT&T: Is this Mr. Byron?

ME: May I ask who is calling, please?

AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T ...

ME: This is AT&T?

AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T ...

ME: The phone company.

AT&T: Yes, sir.

ME: I thought you said this was AT&T.

AT&T: Yes, sir, we are a phone company.

ME: I already have a phone.

AT&T: We aren't selling phones today, Mr. Byron. We would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

ME: Now, that's 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day?

AT&T: (getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes, sir, that's right! 24 hours a day!

ME: 7 days a week?

AT&T: That's right.

ME: 365 days a year?

AT&T: Yes, sir.

ME: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!

AT&T: We think so!

ME: That's quite a sum of money!

AT&T: Yes, sir, it's amazing how it adds up.

ME: OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560; and if you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?

AT&T: Excuse me?

ME: You know, the 10 cents a minute. 

AT&T: What are you talking about?

ME: You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.

AT&T: Oh, no, sir. I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.

ME: Wait a minute, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 cents a minute, that I'll give YOU 10 cents a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the Enquirer, you know.

AT&T: No, sir, we are offering 10 cents a minute for-

ME: THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please?

AT&T: Sir, I don't think that is necessary.

ME: I insist on speaking to a supervisor!

AT&T: Yes, Mr. Byron. Please hold.

At this point, I begin trying to finish my dinner.


ME: Yeah.

SUPERVISOR: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.

ME: Is This A T &T?

SUPERVISOR: Yes, sir, it sure is.

ME: (I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be careful not to produce a snort.) No, actually, I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan.

SUPERVISOR: Ok, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.

ME: Thank you.

I was on hold once again and managed a few more mouthfuls. I need to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.

AT&T: Hello, Mr. Byron, I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan.?

ME: No, but I was wondering - do you have that "Friends and Family" thing because I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...

AT&T: (click)

😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

Well there you have it. So next time the telemarketers call, don't just hang up; that would be boring. Play along. Ask them to hold a moment and then pass the phone to your three year old and tell her/him that it's Santa. On the plus side, the kiddies probably enjoy talking on the phone, and you can go back to enjoying your dinner. You're welcome.

POSTSCRIPT: I take no credit for the above story or it's corresponding photo. Neither is original to me, nor do I know the source or to whom to give credit. If someone knows the source or author/artist, please drop me a note with the details through a comment. I'd love to give  proper credit. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Biblioburro: The Donkey Library

Find this book HERE
"Children are made readers
on the laps of their parents."
Emilie Buchwald

In a world often full of sad and depressing news, it's a real welcomed treat to come across a nice and wholesome feel-good story for a change. This is one such story.

Meet a school teacher from La Gloria in Columbia by the name of Luis Soriano. His passion for almost thirty years now has been to bring books to less fortunate children right into their communities. Since these children had no other access to reading material, Mr. Soriano was concerned that they were unable to even do their homework.

Assisting him, often several times a week and over countless kilometres, are his two cleverly-named donkeys, Alfa and Beto. Together they form the Spanish word for alphabet: Alfabeto. Untold thousands of children have benefited over the years by the Biblioburro. This story made my day. Kudos to Luis Soriano.

😊 😊 😊

For more of the Biblioburro story, click HERE.

Find Biblioburro on FACEBOOK.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Is Your Employer Torturing You?

"Early to bed, 
early to rise; 
makes a man 
healthy, wealthy 
and wise."

Are you familiar with that old maxim? I grew up hearing one variant or another of it. But is it true?

Well now it would seem that, according to some scientists, we may have been misled if that has become our mantra and reason for an early start to our workday. They've actually gone so far as to label any kind of work prior to 10:00am as akin to, are you ready for this? … "torture."

Yes, you read that right … torture.

It would seem that a leading Oxford University researcher, Dr. Paul Kelley, has suggested that starting work before 10:00am plays havoc on the Circadian Rhythm, otherwise known as the body's internal clock. He says,
"Staff should start at 10 am. You don't get back to (the 9 am) starting point till 55. Staff is usually sleep-deprived. We've got a sleep-deprived society. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don't have to."
He goes on to say that in as little as one week in which we get less than six hours sleep per night, the body experiences up to 711 changes in the way genes function. Now, I'm no scientist, but I cannot help but wonder how many of the plethora of modern illnesses that plague mankind are perhaps in some way related to this "torture." Hmm.

A British school tested this theory by changing the class start time from 8:30am to 10:00am and found that not only did grades significantly improve, but so did attendance. Hmm, interesting.

Now I realize that in today's 24/7 world, we cannot all come strolling in to work at whatever time we like. Yet at the same time, maybe there are a few take aways from this study that employers can adopt to reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace, and in the end have a more energetic workforce. Who knows, they may even save a few dollars on the coffee budget. Then again, maybe we all just need to get to bed a little earlier, and in doing so, we may just find that the office "torture" chamber isn't quite so bad after all.

But seriously, and with all due respects to Dr. Paul Kelley, no matter how bad a day one might be having at work, "torture" seems a little overkill of a word for this application. History is full of examples of real torture that unfortunately are 1000's of times worse than simply being over tired at work.

Just my two-cents worth. Peace. 😉

Read Source Article Here

Photo Credit: Neil Moralee, Flickr Creative Commons