Grumpy’s Date With the Doctor: PART ONE

Grump wrote this Trilogy a few yeas ago but he feels it has just as much import today as it did then. Too many of Grump’s friends and family were avoiding their dreaded annual physical and, if they were over 40 and male, the digital  rectal prostrate exam. Men, as you know, are notorious white coat procrastinators, avoiding Doctors as if they were as deadly as the plague. This is Grumpy’s BATHattempt to add a little humour to that big moment. It is his hope that in reading this, more men will take the plunge (bad choice of words) and get screened for one of the most common cancers found in old guys.



Grumpy’s Date With Doctor Paul: PART ONE

Mark it down, Tuesday, April 28th, 2009; Grumpy had a date with Doctor Paul. Even though this wasn’t a “date” in the classical sense, it surely did felt like one. You see, once you become an old timer like me, the annual physical becomes an up close and personal encounter of the “Third Kind”.imagesCAYVGO2C

Let me explain.

First of all you must understand that this isn’t your typical ten minute fully clothed oral consultation. We’re talking about a full thirty minutes of intimate probing along with a detailed diagnostic examination. The subject (me) sits/lays and bends half naked before his inquisitor, all the while wondering what indignities will come next.

One must prepare for this experience much as one would prepare for any intimate encounter. So, when I said “a date with my Doctor”, I’m talking about the same kind of attention to personal hygiene and cleanliness required for intimacy with your significant other.

Getting ready for the appointment has become somewhat ritualistic for me. First of all there is the trimming of the toenails; a chore I abhor, mainly because my toe nails have become as tough as shoe leather and as brittle as stale beef jerky. Each snip of brittle nail results in the launch of a lethal projectile. The thought of wearing safety glasses has crossed my mind but, for now, the prudent defense is a simple turn of the head and tightly closed eyes. I won’t even go into how difficult it is to get the clippers to those nails, given the state of my midriff.

ManscapingNose hairs are trimmed back lest one of those long locks carry a crusty booger of mammoth proportions. After all, the good Doctor will be spending a lot of time in my personal space.

The long bath takes care of the outer coverings while special attention to body cavities insures that the “peek and pokes” are pristine and odorless. I do notice that things that once floated in the tub no longer have their natural buoyancy. Such is life!

As I go through these machinations I constantly question my motives and more than once I call aloud, “This is not prep for a rendezvous with a woman for God’s sake. What are you thinking, man? ”

The question of cologne or no cologne always comes up and I have yet to find a solution. Cologne may mask other odors but what signal does it send to the good Doc? I think Doctor Paul once said that he had allergies. Maybe the expensive stuff with those pheromones will set him to sneezing. Hell, what if the scent itself gives him other ideas. Neither reaction would be good for my fully exposed near naked body. I decide to go without.


AAdeoderantWho wants to be sitting on the examination table with that froth that forms when you sweat running down out your pits? There are glands that have to be probed there, my friend. Standing before the wash basin, I fill the bowl and give the pits a second scrub. There will be no deodorant.

And then there are the questions the meander through my mind.

Will he think I look fat?

Will I lie when he asks how many drinks I have a week?

Will I feel my usual discomfort when we chat, me sitting there in my skivvies, he in a suit?

Will the snap of the rubber gloves cause me to whine like a little girl?

The funny thing is that after all of my preparation, these questions are causing me to break out in a drenching full body sweat. A glance at the clock tells me that there will be no time to jump in the shower for a quick “scrotal scrub”. Doctor Paul will have to “take me” as I am. (I know, that’s a poor choice of words!)imagesCAHIRS4J

But, I am proud of myself. Not once have I let my mind drift to the good Doc’s favorite attempt at humor. “Well, Grumpy, now it’s time for your favorite part of the examination!”Did I mention my reaction to the snap of those rubber gloves? My sphincter quivers with the very thought of it!

As I step out into the crisp April air, I’m thinking that, if I left the house in this pristine condition every day of the week, my wife would be accusing me of having some kind of dalliance with a loose woman. I wonder what she’ll be thinking after I respond, “Don’t worry hon. I just have a date with my Doctor”.


The Reality Check All Educators Should Ponder

APPLEWith all of the controversy swirling around Bill 115 and the issues in education we all need to take a pause and ask ourselves,”Why do we do what we do?”

For me, I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to work with kids a provide them not only with a decent education but, as well, an atmosphere and environment that stimulated their interest and made each student intrinsically motivated to learn on their own. I wanted to inject interest and enthusiasm into my classroom because, in my personal experience, classroom learning was rote, stifled and boring. It was damned hard work but the payoffs were remarkable.

I coached and ran extra-curriculars and intramurals because I knew, not that it was part of the job, but that it was rewarding to the kids, to me and the school community. Those out of classroom relationships paid dividends on the playground, in the corridors and set the course for discipline and responsibility. Parents knew you, related to you outside the classroom setting and respected you for that extra effort and time you gave to their kids. The greatest compliment I ever received was from a scalliwag who said this about me, “Mr’ J treats you like real people!”

So. when you feel angry about the politics, the Bill 115 restrictions and the public outcry and, if your motivation to teach was sincere, then you should be focusing on your students and TEACH, COACH, VOLUNTEER AND MENTOR. It is their needs that you need to meet. It IS your calling. Students look to you for so much more than politicians and the public realize.

This has been my argument against unionism all along. Your greatest resource and your greatest ally is your students. Because, if they are happy and engaged, settled and confident and feel protected and cared for under your watch, parents will get the message in spades. A groundswell of grassroots support can defeat any policy, any legislation and any political created crisis. The power of the VOTE is an asset Federations need to build upon. Why do the Federations keep burning the bridge of “GOOD WILL“?

Pissing off parents and burning bridges, along with hurting students through direct action – DOES NO GOOD! Hasn’t this strategy gone the way of the dodo bird?

Like a bolt from the blue, the Good Wife read the following in one of the Journal entries by a Grade Two in her class. This puts everything we do in perspective, don’t you think?

AAAAletterKIDsher (1008x1280)

If each and every student felt this way – no government could impose anything on you because supportive parents would vote their asses out of office in a New York minute.

Here is a is a 7 year old that gets it. A teacher’s job IS tough and what is even more profound our seven year old admits, “It’s not easy being a kid either!”

Our job is to make it easier for kids and to give them a positive experience that  they take home to parents with a strong positive voice.

“Mommy, daddy, I love school!”

“Hey, dad, you coming to the game today? Our school team rocks!”

“Mom, you should see what we did in class today! It was AWESOME!”

So, ask yourself, “Why do I teach? Why did I want to be a teacher in the first place?” Then, put your anger aside and teach/coach/mentor you ass off. The rewards may far bigger than you expect. As Dick Morris said, “Spontaneous combustion of grassroots politics is the future.”

Why not stoke the fire of that kind of support in Ontario? Put fire into your teaching and your coaching then reap the rewards! I think you can overturn some of your losses in future negotiations with a spontaneous combustion of grassroots politics. Isn’t that what governments rely upon when they want to attack eduction: a stirred pot of negative public reaction and views?

I truly believe it can work in an opposite way for you! That’s why I keep advocating that the Federations TAKE A PAUSE (stop fighting a battle on two fronts), REWIND (retool, rejig and come up with new strategies more suitable for the changing context facing teacher unions in Canada) and then when the time is right –GO FAST FORWARD (negotiate with power because of overwhelming grassroots support)!

And maybe, just maybe, we should get a group of seven year olds to figure this out for us. Because, when push comes to shove THEY’RE THE ONES THAT GET IT!


The Double Bubble Conspiracy Unplugged


The Double Bubble Conspiracy

Call me crazy or a conspiracy nut, but I think something is up in the Dubble-Bubble Canada/US relations and so-called free trade arrangement. For us, it has made cross border shopping more like a pre-emptive strike in regards to our favourite confectionary treat.

You know what I’m talking about: Dubble-Bubble is that pink chewy bubble gum treat that makes a cow chewing its cud seem tame by comparison.AAADUBBUB

In 1928, bubble gum was invented by a man named Walter E. Diemer who worked as an accountant for the Fleer Gum Company.  In his spare time he tried to invent better gum through his recipe manipulations.

“It was an accident.” “I was doing something else,” Mr. Diemer explained, “and ended up with something with bubbles.”

His new gum was really different from others because it was less sticky than regular chewing gum and it stretched like no other –hence the ability blow bubbles. That gum invented by Diemer is the exact gum we chew now, our beloved Dubble-Bubble!

Maybe it is our chosen gum because of the small comic strip included in the wrapping. The comic strip that came with the gum started in 1930, featuring twin brothers Dub and Bub. They were replaced by a new character named Pud in 1950. More likely though, it has become our chosen gum because of its taste, consistency and bubble making properties. I have the dental bills to prove it.

Did you know that 100,000 tons of bubble gum is chewed every year? I’d say about one ton of that  is chewed at Grumpy Estates.db_bubble_up

One Dubble-Bubble twister packs 30 calories and 7 grams of carbs into a single serving. It has no other nutritional value. But, who gives a rat’s behind about that! You see, walking and chewing gum is one of Grumpy’s specialities.

The company describes their signature product this way.  The iconic “chunk-shaped” gum, America’s #1-selling twist-wrap gum is individually wrapped and available in a variety of tasty flavors: Original (the classic, perfectly-pink twist), Pink-Lemonade, Blue-Razz, Apple, Sour Cherry, and Watermelon.” Yuck with that watermelon gum. We’re only into that original perfectly-pink twist variety! We’re 100% purists in that regard!

So, it goes without saying that we consume a whole whack of this product in our household. The Good Wife scours the shelves of many a store to find the right deal to keep our family happy and well supplied. Teenage visitors to our home know the exact location of our Dub Tub and have full access to same, along with the right to grab a handful when required. Gum smacking and gum snapping is the soundtrack that drives us.

Nevertheless, because of our involvement with and attachment to Dubble Bubble, we have discovered a conspiracy of major proportions.

The gum we buy in Canada is far different from the gum we buy in the US.

“How so,” you may ask?

Canadian Dub-Bub has the constancy of cardboard, often bordering on hard candy consistency, thus suggesting that it is stale and hasbeen sitting in some warehouse for hundreds of years.

The first chews put your teeth in jeopardy because a cracked or broken molar is the likely outcome. I call that Dubble-Trouble, don’t you?

As for flavour, a Canadian Dub-Bub’s sweetness leaves after about 8 chews, and so you find yourself constantly popping in a new one, thereby going through a bag/bucket as if you were eating popcorn. As we work our mandibles to the max, our house soon becomes littered with tiny wrappers and comics, giving “Pumba the Farting Dog” the perfect source for his own kind of paper chaw.

Proof of this conspiracy theory raised its ugly head when the Good Wife’s friend brought back a contraband bucket of Dub-Bub from Port Huron, Michigan this past weekend. On first chew you could hear the “oooooooos” and the “aaaahs” echoing throughout our house as if one of us just completed some kind of triple spin move in athletics or ice-dancing.

A case in point revealed itself when The Phenom, who didn’t know that new gum had arrived, grabbed a Twist from the Dub-Tub and exclaimed, “Where did you score this American gum?” You see, there was instant first bite recognition from this expert Dubble Bubbler.

Indeed, that bubble gum bucket took a major hit on that first day. Three Bub addicts had at it with their new stash of sugary sweets. Passerby’s, I’m sure, thought a herd of Guernsey Cows had infested the neighbourhood with all the sound of our masticate munching.The conversation between us sounded like this.

“Wow wis wum is wonferful!”AABlowBUB

“It’s weely sowf, woo!”

“Wowly wow!”

Munch! Munch! Chew! Chew!


What has become obvious, given our empirical research, is that Canada is being shipped the lower quality discounted, shelf-sitting gum of the cardboard kind. Yes, friends, Canada is the dumping ground for the United States rejected and purged Dub-Bub gum inventories.

AAALucyI can see the conveyer belt sorters at Dub-Bub sorting the individual gums by pinching each one carefully and saying, “Too Hard – Canada! MMMM! Soft – U.S.! Soft – U.S.! Ah, too Hard -Canada!”

Shelves at all major department stores in America are regularly scoured for old and dated product which is duly removed then repackaged and sent off to, guess where?  – Canada.

“Hey, Bob, where you shipping that old stale gum?”

“Off to Canada, Pete! See, they’re nice people and never complain about anything. Apparently living in the cold all year round gives them hardy and extremely unbreakable teeth. And I heard they take their Dubble-Bubbles with their double-doubles. Is that’s weird or what?”

Smiling like a bird dog, Bob chuckles and says, “Canadians are weird, Pete! They put that poutine mucky muck on their french fries, dude!”

imagesCAGNGYLPI think there should be a Royal Commission Inquiry into this untenable situation and the Free Trade Treaty with the U.S. should be investigated. That agreement has failed to liberalize trade in some areas, most notably softwood lumber, but in my view, it has opened the door for the dumping of “hard as wood” Bubble Gum from the U.S. They won’t take our soft wood but they dump their useless hard stuff on us. Where is the fairness in that?

Now the Good Wife and I  feel like criminals when we sneak a tub of Dub-Bub across the bridge on each and every trip south of the border.

BORDER GUARD: “Are you bringing any food items back into Canada, sir?

GRUMPY:  (Sincere and smiling, but shaking on the inside.) “No sir, we have nothing of any nutritional value!”

Hey, that’s no lie, folks!

Friends who travel to the US usually hit up the closest Wal-Mart for us and bring us our fix of that soft and chewy treat. Thank goodness Linda was over in Port Huron this past weekend. That gal went to four stores until she copped our original blend.

When we arrive in Florida on our annual visit in March Grump’s buddies present Grumpy, first with a cold beer and, second with a fresh bag of Dub-Bub. Sometimes he doesn’t know which one to dig into first! But I can tell you, chewing bubble gum whilst drinking a beer isn’t half bad. You should give it  go!

I’m also thinking a guy could purloin a truck and bring back a load of contraband chew from the US and make a killing selling it on the street.

“Hey, Bubba, you packin’ any classic, perfectly-pink twist?”

“Ya, Slick, got a dime bag stashed and willin’ to move it for eight bones! You interested?”imagesCAFZKSSX

“Deal, man, I haven’t had a good chew in days!”

In the meantime, my family continue to search Canada for something fresh –a gum to truly sink our teeth into –that allusive soft and chewy DUB-BUB twister deluxe. Unfortunately, the variety of twisters Dubble Bubble foists on Canadians continues to be nearly un-chewable.

If you know where to find some fresh stuff, please leave a comment because, at the moment, that bucket from Port Huron is on its last legs and bubble gum withdrawal is not at all pretty, my friends. It’s like the “hee-bee-gee-bees” on steroids I hear!

Munch! Munch! Chew! Chew! Here’s a big “Mooooooooo” for you!


DEEP THOUGHTS FROM GRUMPY: Ontario Education: Where are we headed now?


Dear Readers:

SCHOOLGrumpy has posted an essay about current education issues in Ontario at his exclusive Education Blog Site, “TEACHERS DO IT WITH CLASS”. From here on forward, those educators, parents and citizens who are interested in reading these rants can go there to do so. All of Grumpy’s previous Education Blogs have been posted there as well. I hope this makes it easier to sort out your particular interest when coming to visit Grumpy.

The first entry can be found by clicking the direct link below.

THE END GAME: An Essay On the Current Situation In Education And The Possible Outcomes

  CLICK THIS LINK:         THE END GAME:An Essay On The Current Situation and Possible Outcomes Feb./2013

Grumpy is trying to sort out this complex mess in his mind. He has written about the possible outcomes he sees, and makes a plea to the shareholder to get their act together and find common ground, particularly the Federations.



Grumpy welcomes your comments about what he has written. He will respond to you ASAP.

Have a Great Weekend,


Parents, Teachers and Students: Interesting Opinion Poll Results from TVO: HOW DO ONTARIANS FEEL ABOUT EDUCATION

Just thought you might like to see what recent POLL results show about the views toward education in Ontario. The video is from TVO. APPLEYou often wonder what the real opinion is when you read so much political rhetoric, teacher bashing and the like. At the very least this report sheds some light upon what Ontarians REALLY THINK AND FEEL. Maybe the politicians should take heed.