Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Vancouver riots? NOT My Doing

The same evening the Boston Bruins captured their first Stanley Cup in almost 30 years, a crestfallen horde of Canucks fans in Vancouver expressed their disappointment by laying waste to their own city. As I think about it now, this makes as much sense as trying to salvage your marriage by banging your wife’s sister, or declaring war against an overseas despot and then hunting your neighbors with a crossbow. (It makes even less sense if your wife's sister is hot or if any of your neighbors are jerks.)

Still, since the turmoil didn’t occur in or near Chicago—in fact, happened 2, 160 miles from my house—I felt no direct effects of the unrest. Most of my family in Canada is even more distant from Vancouver, so I felt pretty confident my mom wasn't doing the stop-drop-and-roll in a public park.

Here’s the funny thing, though: within hours, my voice mailbox started to fill with questions from some of my American friends.

Sooooo Brian, how about what happened in Van…cou…ver?”

“Oh my God…did you hear what your fellow Canadians did?”
As near as I can tell, the thinking behind these calls went something like this:

1.       Something newsworthy happened in Canada.
2.       The Canadian event was newsworthy enough to receive coverage in the U.S.
3.       Brian came from Canada.
4.       Brian must therefore have an opinion about what happened in Canada, and
       4b. He probably knows some of the parties involved.

This logic baffles me. I haven’t lived in Canada since 1998. I’ve only been to Vancouver once—and, when I visited, nobody threw a Molotov cocktail at me, so I thought the city was gorgeous. I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan; when they’re out, I don’t automatically cheer for another Canadian team (in fact, during the first round of the playoffs, I wanted the Blackhawks to thrash the Canucks). And, in spite of the notion that Canadians are a peaceful sort who (a) always eat their recommended daily allowance in fiber, (b) have daily contact with polar bears, and (c) never utter a harsh word, I’m not surprised when (d) some of my countrymen act like idiots. I’ve known some. Most often, these few act like idiots because (a) they’re idiots, and (b) Canadians love their beer almost as much as hockey. I presume at least some of those idiots live in Vancouver.
I responded to the news with the same strong reaction I would have afforded riots in Boston, New York or Tuscaloosa (all of which are closer in distance than Vancouver):

“Huh.” This followed by, "Was anyone topless?"
Had a neighbor thrown a rock through my window—two days’ driving distance from Vancouver, but a hell of a lot closer to my non-rock-resistant skull—my response would have been more immediate:

“Hey, what’s with the rock? And where are you going with my flat-screen?”
I love both Canada and the U.S., but little that happens there affects me nearly as much as almost everything that happens here. And yet I’m the Canadian ambassador to almost every American I know whenever Canadians do something stupid. Which got me thinking: what if I called these same friends to hold them personally accountable for everything that happens here?

On the same day as the Vancouver riots—June 15—a report revealed that 70 percent of guns in Mexico came from the U.S. I did not phone my friends to see if they could fix me up with an AK-47 to deal with chipmunks under my front porch. If I get desperate enough, I'll buy a cat.
In Wichita, KS, the temperature rose 20 degrees in just 20 minutes, and yet I did not yell at anyone for fucking with my polar ice cap.
In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mistress confessed that she and Maria Shriver cried together when the truth about Arnie’s love child came out. I spoke of this with no one, because I couldn’t give a shit.
Sure, I could have placed these calls. After all, they happened in the U.S. and many of my friends are American. But I didn’t. As a "nice" Canadian—one of the mostly non-idiotic, non-looting-and-pillaging, I've-never-lived-within-a-thousand-miles-of-Vancouver variety—I don’t play that way.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not a Tough Guy...Brian Watches "One Man, One Jar"

A few weeks ago, our friends Jack and Kristin visited our home for a few drinks. During a conversation that I had, of course, directed toward the inappropriate, I mentioned that I had once walked into a room as my older boys were watching "Two Girls, One Cup". If you've seen it, you know just how disgusting it is; if you haven't, consider yourself fortunate.

Jack then asked if I'd ever seen "One Man, One Jar". I had not. The attached video (via Facebook) shows my reaction to viewing it for the first time.

WARNING: I swear like a sailor throughout, and Patty's background commentary is equally appalling. At about the mid-point, I convince myself it's completely fake; however, this doesn't keep me from squirming.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ambigiously Successful Negotiations in the Digital Age (Part II)

In the following exchange, can you tell who's incredibly busy and distracted and who has just enough time on his hands to be hopelessly annoying?

The rest of the exchange has been omitted, because Patty doesn't find this funny.


Can YOU Find the Hidden Cottage Cheese Container?

Last night, when my fifteen-year-old son and his unceasing hunger ventured in from outside, I told them they could find leftover chili in the fridge, in a cottage cheese container at the front of the middle shelf. As I would soon learn, I have a tendency to be too vague in my descriptions.

How trained is your eye? Can you spot it? I'll give you a hint: it's in a blue-and-yellow container. Oh, and it's on the MIDDLE shelf, at the FRONT.

"Where is it again, Dad?"

"On the middle shelf, at the front. It's in a cottage cheese container."

"Huh. Hmm. It's not here."

"Really? I just put it there. Did you look?"

"Yes, I looked. It's not here. Are you sure? I see yogurt."

"Yes, there's yogurt. But there's no chili in yogurt containers, to the best of my knowledge. But I can tell you there IS chili in a cottage cheese container. Right there in the front. Middle shelf. Probably by the yogurt."

"No. It's not here."

"It's in a blue container, with a yellow band. It's right there. Really. Did you look AROUND the yogurt?"

"Yes. It must be gone. All that's here is a tub."

"Oh, okay. One question. Is it a cottage cheese tub?"



"I was looking for a clear container with the words 'cottage cheese' on top."

"Yes, son, of course you were"

Priceless. I can't WAIT to show this to future girlfriends.

P.S. In case you couldn't spot the blue-and-yellow cottage cheese container at the front of the middle shelf, check out the reveal below:

See? It's really there!

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