The World’s Greatest Lovers – are not Canadian

By timo Cerantola

I recently stumbled upon an internet sex survey. The survey, conducted by a well-known condom manufacturer, basically suggested that internationally speaking, Canadians are not particularly sexy.

The results of the survey found that the world’s greatest lovers in order of nationality were the French, the Italians and the Americans. The results were based on frequency, quality, safety and obviously, damned lies.

Canadians did not do very well, finishing a very disappointing twelfth out of fifteen industrialized nations. I have only one question. Were any of you asked to compete in a “Worlds Greatest Lover” competition? I wasn’t and I’m an excellent hugger. Heck, I didn’t even know Canada had a team.

Now if you look at the facts from a strictly geographical point of view, Canada has only 35 million people and is the second largest country in the world. So, that probably gives us the distinction of least love making per square mile, but I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here.

Area wise, Italy and France fit into Canada ten times or more and both have twice Canada’s population. So, that is an impressive amount of baby making for such small countries but, did they really enjoy themselves that much? And, more importantly, were they marking their scorecards honestly?

This survey had the audacity to suggest that we Canadians were uptight when it came to uh… err… you know…. “it.”

What a load of bull! I like to do “it” as much as the next person. If I prefer to keep the details of my horizontal life private, that’s my business.

The one thing Canadians scored (no pun intended) well at was the in the “considerate” department. As you know, globally Canadians have that “nice guy” image. So, we were awarded big points for being “considerate” lovers – but that doesn’t exactly suggest that we’re setting our bedrooms on fire with passion, does it?

Seriously, what does “considerate” mean in this context anyways?

“Considerate,” from where I stand, is always putting the toilet seat back down or never flushing while your partner is in the shower but, according to this dumb survey, “considerate” where Canadians are concerned means, when making love during the hockey playoffs, we Canadians always make sure both participants can see the TV, just in case someone scores, in the game, on the goalie!

Well isn’t that just great! Thanks to this stupid survey, the whole world is now under the impression that we considerate Canadians are a nation of lovers who always say please and thank you before love making, and have a nice day afterwards!

So, who decided on these ridiculous ‘Greatest Lover’ rankings?

Well, surprise! A French condom manufacturer conducted the survey so, is it any wonder that the French placed first in the competition?

Hey, put two and two together (get your minds out of the gutter). France is where the condom manufacturer is based and France is their largest market for sales. Naturally, they’re not going to go screwing around, figuratively speaking, with their best sales market are they? They wouldn’t want their largest market going limp upon hearing that they, the French, came up short in the sack, …uh survey.

As for the manufacturer, they obviously need better promotional gimmicks than these insulting surveys. I’ve got a good idea for them.

If they really want to get some major league international exposure, why don’t they just build a giant, condom-shaped blimp, write their name on the side – and then see if they can stick it, err… land it in the Superdome.

True, that might look kind of kinky, but at least it would get them some great advertising without insulting half the planets’ libido.

Now I’d bet if they’d conducted a survey on truthfulness when answering sex surveys, you would find Canadians at the top of that list and the French dead last – as the only things the French are really good at is cooking, making great wine and going on endlessly about how wonderful they all are in the sack.

As for the Americans well, a lot of my favourite aunts and uncles are American. I’d be too embarrassed to ask them what kind of weird, kinky, sexual acrobatics they performed in order to earn that third place ranking.

Oh well, I really don’t care what some foreign condom manufacturer thinks of Canada. It’s none of their damned business how extraordinarily superb Canadians are as lovers. In typical Canadian fashion, we prefer not to attract too much attention to ourselves. We don’t like to brag about “it” – we just deliver the goods, big time!

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The Asshole Quiz – are you one?

bytimocerantola

Am I an asshole? Don’t answer yet (though I believe I know what your response will be).

This is a question we all should ask ourselves once in a while because we are all guilty of a shameful slipup now and again – though for some it does seem to be their modus operandi.

Indeed, in this selfish, greedy, dog-eat-dog world, the asshole population seems to be increasing exponentially – and not just on Wall Street with its many miscreant money traders or in the halls of government that seem to overflow with a gangrenous, noxious filth that pretends at public service. No, the ‘asshole’ phenomenon I speak of now permeates society at every level – at work, school, in church, in malls, grocery stores, drive-thru restaurants and most observably whilst driving your car on the freeway.

And so, in the understanding that a problem cannot be remedied until we first acknowledge that it exists, I have devised the following quiz to help you determine where the assholes are in your life – and perhaps establish what your friends and family have suspected about you for many years.

Note: If you answer too many of the following questions correctly; you are a prime candidate for membership in ARSE (Association of Repugnant Swine and Evil-bastards). This is nothing to be proud of.

Question #1.

You are driving in the passing lane on the freeway at 45 mph. Traffic is piling up behind you but you can’t drive any faster because you’re too busy text messaging your best friend, having a sip of coffee and picking your nose all at the same time. There you are, just cruising along in all your splendor whilst your Global Positioning System bleeps out road directions when, all of a sudden, some annoying, impatient, road weasel has the temerity to honk his horn at you, attempting to get you to pull over so that he can pass. Do you…

a) Get out your cell phone and call a buddy to set up a golf date.
b) Check your hair in the rearview.
c) Roll down your window and flip him “the bird.”

If you answered “c” you are an asshole – if you answered “a” – smooth move road warrior.

Question #2.

You are in a department store when they announce a “blue light” half-price special on “Mr. Poopy Bear” – a toy your kids would kill to have. Do you…

a) Quickly proceed to the sale area and courteously look for the end of the line, conducting your self in a civilized manner.
b) Dash to the sale and scoop up only a couple of the sale items so that others might also have a chance.
c) Grab a football helmet from the sports department and crash the line yelling, ‘Move or die, road kill!’ – and then proceed to empty the entire “poopy” display into your shopping cart.

If you answered “c” – this is a serious exhibition of ‘back passage’ type behaviour.

Question #3.

You’re dining at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. It is extremely busy and you’re worried there will not be enough food left for your second, third and ninth helpings, do you…

a) When confronted with only one dinner roll left on the buffet table, politely offer to split the bun with the next person in line.
b) Fill your plate with a modest portion of each of the many offerings so that others may have a chance.
c) Defy the laws of gravity by piling food three and a half feet above your plate, grab an entire apple pie from the dessert tray and then stuff the remaining bread roll down your pants.

If you answered “c” – guess what sphincter boy. If you answered “a” – that’s polite to the point of creepy. Congratulations. You’ve just been nominated for the “Mama’s Boy” award for 2014.

Question #4.

You are in the grocery store and you have too many items for the “8 items or less” line, do you…

a) Do the right thing and move to the regular line because you have 14 items.
b) Politely ask the cashier if you can sneak in an extra item or 6.
c) Throw your jacket over the 8 items or less sign and then pile a weeks worth of groceries on the conveyer belt.

If you answered “C” – even if you are someone’s grandma, you are in hemorrhoid territory.

Question #5.

An Alien spacecraft has landed in your backyard and you are the first human they encounter. In an attempt to promote intergalactic friendship, do you…

a) Offer them a refreshing earth beverage (they enjoy transmission fluid).
b) Raise your hand in a gesture of friendship and say, “Greetings and peace intergalactic space traveler. Welcome to Earth!”
c) Tell them to get the hell off your lawn and start spraying them with your garden hose.

If you answered c – way to go asshole. You’ve just set intergalactic diplomacy back a few thousand years!

Question #6.

Whilst standing at the back of a long line up at a popular restaurant do you…
a) Happily chat about the weather with the other people at the back of the line.
b) Patiently and quietly wait while you read a book you brought for just such an occasion.
c) Try to discourage other diners from remaining in line by loudly discussing, in excruciating detail, the severe bout of vomiting and diarrhea you experienced last time you ate at this restaurant.

If you answered “c” – swift move butt plug.

Question #7.

You are in the cinema and the movie has just begun. This is the time when most people sit back and relax, but not you. Do you…

a) Immediately start to talk with the person next to you and tell them what happens at the end of the movie.
b) Decide you need a snack at that very moment and get up and disturb an entire row of people – eventually returning with a massive, meal sized snack which you noisily chomp, snort and slurp on throughout the entire movie.
c) Stand up and try to start “the Wave.”

If you answered a, b or c – that pretty much describes my last movie going experience you assholes.

Question #8.

When you are high up on the top floor balcony of an apartment or on an observation deck do you…

a) Look to see if you can see your house from such a high vantage point.
b) Break some seriously nasty wind and hope that no one notices.
c) Check the wind speed and direction, and then try to see if you can spit on the people in the next town.

If you answered “c” cool move asshole. If you answered “b” – cut down on the fibre in your diet.

Question #9.

You’re at a company meeting in the boardroom. Your boss, a seriously fat-assed fifty-something guy going through a wacky mid-life crisis walks into the Monday morning meeting sporting a new toupee, an earring and a tattoo that says “Pimpin”.
Do you…

a) Start by sucking up to the boss with compliments about how natural his new toupee looks.
b) Ask him if he’s lost weight.
c) Offer to wash his car.
d) Offer to lick his boots.

OK, a, b, c or d – no matter your answer, we’re all assholes in this situation. Hopefully we get to keep our jobs.

Finally,
Question #10.

You are driving on the freeway when all of a sudden, someone passes you at break neck speed whilst laughing and flashing a “Ha-ha, I passed you” grin at you, do you…

a) Slow down and cower in the slow lane feeling impotent and ashamed.
b) Ignore the silly road dork and continue singing along to the Broadway show tunes playing on your stereo.
c) ‘Floor it’ and pull in close behind their bumper, tailing them so close they can see you mouth the words “DIE ROAD SCUM!” in their rear view mirror. Then, putting the pedal to the metal, you pull out on to the shoulder of the road kicking up voluminous quantities of dust and gravel and zoom past them at twice the legal limit whilst displaying your “special finger” (the one most associated with acrimony).

If you answered “c” you probably already know you’re an asshole and you don’t care. Your membership to ARSE is in the mail.

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Make Room For Martians

bytimocerantola

Scientists have discovered a new body of water the size of Lake Superior – and, it’s not even on the Earth, it’s on Enceladus – one of the moons of Saturn.

Hey, this is big news nerd. We’re not talking about evidence of water or water that existed billions of years ago. We’re talking about water now. You know, water – that precious substance of life that we humans like to spray all over golf courses, flush down our toilets, pollute with toxic chemicals and avoid drinking eight glasses of daily.

Seriously dude, this discovery is very important because non-terrestrial water is vital to all future manned space mission plus, finding water elsewhere in the universe gives credibility to the many theories of extra terrestrial life (not to mention makes me feel better about those big-headed, bug-eyed space devils that keep landing their saucers in my backyard every night).

Now, if you’re like me and listen to too much of that spooky late night radio, you’ll know that most “Ufologists” (that’s what they call you when you spend too much time thinking about aliens and watching Star Trek reruns) have already jumped the gun when it comes to non-terrestrial alien life.

True. Ufologists would have us believe the universe is bursting at the seams with weird alien creatures that are intelligent, friendly and willing to lend a hand (or slimy, claw-like protrusion) to help Earth solve its many self-inflicted problems.

Of course our media likes to promote a climate of fear; hence they portray aliens as sinister, malevolent beings that lurk in the shadows waiting for any opportunity to perform their sadistic genetic experiments (which oddly includes an inordinate amount of anal probing) on a defenseless human population. Personally, I just cannot believe that such highly evolved, technically superior aliens would travel light years just to look up our butts. In my book, that’s just way too curious.

As for science, to date most scientists are afraid to even talk about the UFO phenomenon for fear of reducing their credibility to the level of cartoons. Instead, we routinely hear scientists pontificate that even if there is extra-terrestrial life, the likelihood of meeting them is zero because traveling the thousands of light years that likely separate us is scientifically impossible.

Sadly, human science in all its arrogance, likes to limit an infinite universe and all of its vast potential to our present level of knowledge and understanding.

As for me personally, though I have always hoped, I have never actually seen strange flashing lights in the sky. No, sadly the only strange flashing lights I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing were in Discos during the late 70’s.

Now, if we can suspend present day scientific theory for a minute and, for the sake of argument, suppose that aliens are real and they are visiting Earth – why do so many people assume that the aliens would want to contact Washington first?

Is it because any well-bred space alien with half-decent manners would want to get an official presidential ‘okey dokey’ to have a look around?

Really?

Why would an advanced alien race bother to ask for permission?

To put this into perspective, I will use my ‘Humans and the Ants’ analogy because I think humans are marginally smarter than ants and, I’ve had a few of both in my kitchen this spring.

Think about it. If you were to discover a large anthill crawling with ant life, would you ask to see the Head Ant first before having a look around?

Probably not! Why would you care?

I assume it is the same way with aliens and humans.

Seriously, look at it from the intellectually superior alien perspective. You’ve just arrived on Earth in an advanced spacecraft so complex that these inferior, Spam-for-brains humans wouldn’t even know how to flush the toilet in (if aliens even go to the bathroom).

You’re a tired alien. You’ve just traveled a humongous pile of light years with a back seat full of noisy, blabbering, impatient alien children who haven’t shut up since you passed Alpha Centauri. Your helmet is hot. Your antennae are drenched with perspiration and you’ve had to go to the bathroom for the last three light-years.

What you really want is a nice cool drink of that delightfully refreshing earth beverage ‘transmission fluid’ but, instead, these arrogant, self-absorbed humans have other plans for you as they want you to waste your time listening to no end of long-winded politicians waxing poetically about how both of our civilizations can learn from each other.

Seriously, put yourself in the alien’s shoes (if that’s even what aliens wear). Imagine how bored you’d be in Washington with all those pompous, narcissistic blow-hards with their dull dinner parties and endless speeches – not to mention the constant whine from the military begging you for your advanced technology so that they could build better, even more destructive weapons (for the purpose of world peace, love and the brotherhood of mankind).

No way! Not me! If I was an alien and I just might be (I’ll ask my Mom, she’ll know), you’d find me on the beach or trying out some of the local food. Heck, if aliens are as advanced as we think they are, they’re going to fly right past Washington and head straight for Disney World. Now that’s an intelligent move. You can’t have a bad time at Disney World.

Let’s face it kids, aliens don’t have to play by our rules. So be forewarned. It could be, that when the aliens finally get back to their home planet, their friends will ask them,

“So how was your Earth vacation? Did you have a nice time?”
“It was very nice,” The travel weary aliens will reply, “The music was great and the food was very delicious. We ate mostly Italian and Chinese, but the Canadians were very tasty too.”

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I Think There’s a Typo in The New Testament

bytimocerantola

 According to Forbes magazine, there are 1,565 billionaires in 2014 and, the richest of them all, is Bill ‘nerds r’ me’ Gates, who has $76 billion reasons why people tend to treat him nicely.

 Back in 2013, Gate’s was appreciably poorer as his total tallied a trifling $67 billion – which means Bill made $9 billion dollars in one year. By my math, that’s a $173 million bucks a week or approximately $4.3 million dollars per hour – if Bill puts in a full 40 at his money factory.

 Look at it this way; in the time it has taken you to read this far, Bill ‘nerds r me’ Gates has made approximately $72,000 thousand dollars.

 In the same amount of time, with my job, my savings interest (at my present bank interest rate of .0000000000002% per annum) – plus all of my RSP interest and other investments, I’ve made about 1.03 cents. (Yippee, I’m a pennyaire!)

 Which leads me to today’s topic and the reason why I believe there’s a typo in the New Testament. 

 You see, after hearing that ‘Supernerd’ has racked up $76 billion bucks, I’m now convinced that they misheard Jesus when he said, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

 I think maybe Jesus said, “The geek shall inherit the earth” – only the guy taking down notes for Jesus didn’t know what a geek was, so he wrote in “meek” instead. (An honest oversight because computers, like geeks, had yet to be invented).

 Anyway, my point is, it’s all finally starting to happen just like Jesus said it would when He prophesied that Bill Gates was going to take over everything and buy the earth – although Jesus never actually uttered those exact words.

 OK, relax everyone! Bill’s probably not the anti-Christ. He’s more like one of those harmless Star Trek nerds who dress up in Starfleet uniforms and go to those weird sci-fi, dweeb conventions. Seriously, just one look at Bill and you can tell that inside that man’s chest beats the heart of a pointy-eared space geek.

 OK, maybe space geek is a bit over the top – so, let’s just say that prior to his acquisition of zillions, most women would have said that Bill registered a solid 8.5 on the Dork-o-meter.

 Of course now, when “Mr. Money-bags” is announced at one of those upper crust, social events, audible gasps of “Isn’t he dreamy?” “Hunkalicious!” and the occasional “Oooh-la-la!” can be heard among the crowd of money adoring women.

 But, if the truth be told ladies, Bill Gates without his money, is the type of man you would normally picture with a shirt pocket full of pens, horn rimmed glasses and a stack of dirty magazines under his bed. (Sorry to be so brutal Bill, but let’s face it. Like the rest of us nerds, you had to beg for dates back in high school too).

 Personally, I think that all those years of humiliation in high school set poor nerdy Bill off on this dangerous drive towards global domination. He was tired of being pushed around by the captain of the cheerleading squad. That’s when he put his foot down and, like most nerds, stepped into something brown and squishy. (But that’s the way we nerds roll).

 Anyway, Bill was motivated.

 “I know,” he said to himself (because few people would actually talk to him back then). “First, I’ll start a computer company, call it Microsoft, become mega-rich and then buy the entire planet. Then, I’ll hire all those folks who pushed me around in high school and employ them as doorstops and toilet roll replacement engineers in all of my various mansions. Finally, I’ll reward all of my dorky buddies from the chess club and hire them on as senior vice-presidents.”

 Hey, it was only a matter of time before the nerd herd took over.

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Resistance is Futile

bytimocerantola

On the way home from work last night, the news reported that the price of was going up by 4 cents a litre at midnight. So, I pulled into the very first gas station I saw and uttered some words I rarely ever say.

“Fill’er up.” I told the attendant. Eighty-three dollars and several tears later, I was on my way.

As I drove off, I thought back to the early 1960’s when my Dad would pull into our friendly neighbourhood BP (British Petroleum) gas station and say…

“Fill’er up or five dollars – whichever comes first!”

For those of you who have never visited the sixties, back then, gas station attendants, fearing an overflow, would be very cautious when trying to squeeze a whole five dollars worth of gas into your tank. If this sounds far-fetched to you, ask your grandparents to verify this seemingly unbelievable assertion.

Back then, even though my father drove a gas pig, five dollars was enough for a week’s worth of driving in the family boat. Of course my dad never took us anywhere, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, as expected, this morning the price of gas jumped the reported 4 cents a litre to 132.9 cents – or approximately $6 per gallon.

If you expect your government to do anything about the ever-rising fuel costs, forget it. Sure, at election time they always promise to look into the matter but, the sad truth is, other than getting the usual group of officious sock-puppets and political windbags together to form gaseous committees, our leaders have proven to be impotent when it comes to doing battle with the ‘big oil’ corporations.

Many people believe the price of gas could be easily reduced if the government merely dropped the taxes but, according to one government spokesperson I heard recently on a radio show, this strategy will not work. According to this bureaucratic blowhard, our government does everything possible to keep the price of fuel low because they truly feel for you and me, the gas buying public. But alas, he explained, decreasing taxes will not lower the price.

NOTE: Before I go any further on how lowering gas taxes has no effect on the price, to fully understand the convoluted logic of the political mind you must first bang your head repeatedly against a concrete wall. This will properly prepare your brain to absorb the information. Come back when you’re done. I’ll still be here.

Back so soon?

Feeling a little woozy?

Good, it should help.

Now, as I heard it explained on the radio, lowering taxes will have no effect on the price of gas. Rather, lowering taxes will only serve as a signal to oil producers to raise prices even further because the public is already acclimatized to paying the higher price anyway. Sadly, according to some of the brightest minds in official-dumb, government is powerless to do anything about gas prices except, of course, rake-in billions in tax dollars.

For a brief moment, I actually started to buy into this weird, crazy explanation. But then the sobering truth hit me like an unquenchable gas-guzzling Hummer. I had an epiphany. I finally understood what was really going on behind the scenes in government institutions all around the world. It was the only logical explanation. The world’s leaders have been taken over by those evil, half man/half machine Borg aliens from Star Trek and we are all about to be assimilated – one gas tank at a time!

Think about it. First they encourage us to support the economy by buying large, expensive, gas-thirsty vehicles. Then, they slowly jack-up the price of gas until we are spending more on fuel than food.  Finally, they’ve got us where they’ve always wanted us (by the pistons) – and that’s when, like in Star Trek, they assimilate you. Resistance is futile. You are Borg and part of the gasoline-addicted collective!

It’s scandalous, but somehow “big oil” has managed to turn the entire car driving public into passive, puerile, pushovers. We’ve become a bunch of languid, lazy-minded automatons who have forgotten about natural human locomotion.

C’mon people, think about it! There is only one way to do battle with these greedy gas titans and the battle cry is “WE WILL WALK – or at least ride our bikes!”

That’s right. For our collective health and wealth, not to mention cleaner air, we must start walking more and using our vehicles only when absolutely necessary.

Sure, we may be losing the battle now, but the war has just begun. If the world’s oil producers suddenly see hundreds of millions of people walking and riding their bikes to work, they’ll quake with fear and lower their gasoline prices immediately. Trust me, I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek. I know how to handle the Borg.

 

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How Macaroni & Cheese Saved My Life

bytimcerantola

If you are among the many that worry about making ends meet, I believe I can help. For you see, I am a superhero of sorts. I am ‘El Cheapo – the cheapest man in the universe.’

For decades now, my parsimonious ways have achieved legendary status among my friends and family. I have earned my ‘el cheapo, man of thrift’ reputation and founded a life changing, penny-pinching philosophy known as “Budgetarianism.”

So, read on young grasshopper so that I may enlighten you and help you achieve proper balance. I will now impart the secret to financial happiness.

Similar to the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Budgetarian enlightenment also contains four noble truths:

1. Suffering is inevitable.

2. Macaroni and Cheese Dinner eases suffering.

3. Further suffering will ensue if you eat too much Macaroni and Cheese

4. Even if you’re having roast beef, your kids will probably prefer mac and cheese anyways.

Now the budgetarian lifestyle is very similar to a vegetarian lifestyle, although vegetarians intentionally omit meat from their diet, whereas budgetarians omit meat to attain economic stability. But either way you look at it, both vegetarians and budgetarians can be considered “barn-yard friendly.”

Indeed, the budgetarian diet, though similar to that of his cousin the vegetarian, does, occasionally, include meat; but that’s only because the most cunning and clever of budgetarians have created a vast array of ambiguous pseudo-meat mutations such as spam, baloney, tofurkey, veggie dogs (not-dogs) and veggie burgers (shamburgers) all designed for those with limited grocery dollars.

Other mock-meat substitutes such as meatloaf are excellent examples of frugality at its finest. Containing only trace amounts of ‘moo’ and vast quantities of vegetables, breadcrumbs and, I’ve often suspected, lint from the clothes dryer.

Needless to say, this tasty low-cost “loaf” will easily qualify as an edible non-toxic by most federal food agencies though I recommend dousing these “edible substances” with copious amounts of ketchup or hot sauce as it may be necessary to avoid any taste seepage.

*Note: budgetarian meatloaf is very high in polyester, a very important budgetarian fiber.

Do budgetarians ever have fun you ask?

Well, they do. In fact, budgetarians have loads of fun.

For entertainment, budgetarians borrow DVD’s from their local library. Granted, the titles available may not be among the most contemporary favourites but, older classics such as “Surf Nazi’s Must Die” or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Hercules in New York” are readily available.

The library also offers a vast selection of educational titles such as National Geographic’s “Wonderful World of Lichen.” (spoiler alert) Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont also known as the phycobiont) that can produce food for the lichen from sunlight.

Outdoor budgetarian activities may include tree watching. Tree watching is very similar to bird watching only the expense of binoculars is eliminated as most trees will allow you to get up quite close. But remember, the best things in life are free, like air!

That’s right air (now fortified with greenhouse gas). It’s free, it’s fun and it comes in assorted smokey flavours. Breathe in as much as you like. Go outside and make a lung-sucking pig of yourself.

As you might imagine, grocery coupons play a very important role in the life of a budgetarian. Besides doubling as reading material and therefore entertainment, the grocery coupon also holds monetary value. A stack of grocery coupons can also make your wallet appear quite thick and impressive.

Speaking of thick and impressive, sex is a fine budgetarian activity – as long as you’re only practicing. Ah yes, while all the rich couples are out impressing each other and lusting after each others possessions, budgetarians are forced to remain at home and lust after each other. This is good for the marriage. And remember, divorce is very expensive. Divorce is not good for anyone, especially budgetarians.

Finally, you may ask, Tim, budgetarian Guru of the 37th degree and penurious keeper of the holy underwear of 1977, what is the secret to true financial happiness?

Well my young grasshopper, if you have any budgetarian friends, especially friends whose surname happens to be ‘Jones’ – you must invite them over for the evening. For if their name is Jones and they are true budgetarians, it will be so much easier to keep up with the Jones’.

As for anyone out there approaching financial doomsday, ha, ha, ha! You can now laugh in the face of the inevitable economic reckoning knowing that with superior planning and some helpful tips from a qualified budgetarian master, you too can live a full and relatively money-free life.

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Size Matters

By Tim Cerantola

If you think heavy traffic, over-crowded subways or wacky mayors are Toronto’s biggest problems, think again. In case you haven’t heard, Toronto has real problems now. I just found out that the CN Tower no longer has bragging right to the tallest pointy thing on the planet.

In fact, it’s much worse than that. The CN Tower has sunk to 5th place and will slip into 6th place within a month or so when One World Trade Center in New York achieves its full height. This is embarrassing.

The tallest tower honors belong to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. At 828 meters, it is 313 meters taller than Toronto’s beloved 515-meter TV antenna. So what, you say? Hey, when it comes to long pointy things, don’t let them fool you, size matters.

Really, check it out at Skyscraperpage.com. They have a listing of all the world’s present and proposed tallest buildings where, not only will you find that the CN Tower has been soundly disgraced, you will find that it has taken a severe verbal beating as a tower has-been. It’s only a matter of time before they start to refer to our tower as the CN Stub.

Now as a typical “Joe” Canadian and former Torontonian, these latest skyscraper developments strike a sad chord within me. The nerve of those upstart Dubai-ians and their Burj Khalifa. Don’t they realize that since Canada’s decline as the “most polite/nice guy” country on the planet, many of us have placed what’s left of our national pride in our freestanding structures?

Really, the fact that Canada could lay claim to the tallest thing sticking out of the ground was pretty much the main reason why many of us even bother to get out of bed and go to work. I don’t know about you, but every time I drive by that tower, I look up and feel good about Canada.

“Look kids,” I’ll say as my heart swells with pride. “It’s the world’s tallest freestanding structure!” Of course they usually respond with a curt but patriotic, “Who cares about a dumb tower? Keep your eyes on the road!”

To think, for years we’ve been able to say that ours is bigger than theirs. People respect that sort of thing. But when you suddenly find your pillar of pride has come up short, you start to lose your confidence.

Sure, I’ve heard talk of getting our tower an extension. I’ve seen ads for those kinds of things in the back of some magazines – but trust me, those things never work. Just as you’re about to say, “Hey, look at me!” They almost always fall off.

My point is, without the CN Tower to boast about, as far as the world is concerned, Canada is nothing but snow, polar bears and cold air masses. 

As for the city of Toronto, in order to merit the “world class” designation they so desperately aspire to; they’re definitely going to need a biggest or largest something-or-other to show off to rest of the planet. San Francisco has its Golden Gate Bridge. Sydney has its Opera House. Paris has the Eiffel and New York City has too many to name. If Toronto doesn’t do something quick, they’ll be stuck with the world’s 6th tallest freestanding structure. And let’s face it, who gives a rat’s backside about a sixth-banana tower?

If only I were Superman, I’d go over to Ontario Place, pull that white golf ball of an Imax theatre out by its roots, fly it to the top of the CN Tower and then bolt that sucker in place. Not only would that give our tower some much needed extra height, it would add a new tourist draw to the tower as Canada could lay claim to the world’s tallest golf tee. God’s golf tee!

I guess this whole mine-is-bigger-than-yours business got started long ago. Historically speaking, “tower-envy” started in 1372 in Pisa, Italy – upon completion of their famous Tower of Pisa.

Indeed, their skyscraping monolith gave Pisa world tower supremacy. People came from all around just to check out the view from its lofty skypod, rising a full 117 feet above the ground. It was said that from the top, on a clear day, you could see for 3 or 4 blocks.

Of course, it didn’t take long (OK, it took over 400 years) before another tower, London’s 320 foot “Big Ben” ended Pisa’s tower reign. (Said Big Ben to Leaning Tower of Pisa: If you have the inclination, I have the time).

Needless to say, the people of Pisa were saddened. Their tower and hence their town, had lost status along with the tourist bucks that came with it. But that’s when something miraculous happened.

Whether it was dumb luck or whether it was the tower’s most frequent visitor, Big-Fat Tony LoPresti – who sat and ate his lunch on the same side of the tower everyday (he refused to revolve with the other diners). Anyway, the tower started to lean noticeably to one side.

Naturally, the first thing Pisa’s town fathers did was ban Big-Fat Tony from the tower. But then something amazing started to happen. The tourists were returning to Pisa to see their tower. People no longer cared about its height. They came to see it for its unique leaning quality. For the first time in history, size didn’t matter.

OK, I guess I’m drifting here.

The point is, it was inevitable that Toronto would one day lose tallest-tower bragging rights. So, why not give Big Fat Tony a call? Imagine, the World’s Tallest Leaning Tower.

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