Grumpy is Moonstruck and Ready to Howl


“The moon is friend for the lonesome to talk to.” ― Carl Sandburg

Yes, Grumpy is Moonstruck!

Just this past week he experienced another dose of full moon behavior. And no, he isn’t talking about the sudden growth of body hair and a propensity for biting his acquaintances. He’ll leave werewolf behavior where it belongs – as part those Saturday afternoon features he’d attend at the old Capitol Theatre in Galt.


Yes, Grumpy remembers when 50 cents (Not the Rapper) bought you admission to a twin bill of horror movies and a big bag of popcorn.

The behavior Grumpy is talking about relates more to the general public and/or the incarcerated population of prisons. Some of these places of incarceration are called “schools”, a place Grumpy is more than familiar with after nearly thirty years in the classroom.

He recalls the common staffroom lament brought forth by colleagues after a tough day with 30 little werewolves, as in, “There must be a full moon tonight!”

This full moon influence is often called the LUNAR EFFECT or better still, The Transylvania Effect. Hence, the word “lunacy” has become a modifier for these abnormal out-of-character behaviors.

You see, Luna, is a prefix of the word “lunatic”.

Quick research from a reliable source such as WIKIPEDIA (Cough, cough) suggests that there is no influence at all – these behaviors are all in our heads.

“To the extent that nurses and police officers do indeed claim to observe patterns, this is most likely to be explained in terms of confirmation bias: People notice if something dramatic happens during a full moon, but do not notice when nothing dramatic happens;[15] furthermore, dramatic occurrences that do not occur during full moons are typically not counted as evidence against the belief.[2] Believers are further bolstered in their belief through communal reinforcement: The more people talk about the effect, the more people notice spurious relationships.[2]”

Grumpy begs to differ.

Every time there is a full moon he gets this weird-anxious-edgy feeling. This leads to his barking out orders and craving things like steak and big humongous burgers. In fact, he’ll run to the calendar to confirm that, indeed, a full moon has presented itself. He admits that he’ll look in the mirror in order to detect whether his facial hair is growing faster.

Yes, during these periods Grumpy goes all Alpha-DOG!XXXXXXXmoon2


To prove this, Grumpy will cite another reliable source, The Farmer’s Almanac.

“People who believe that Moon phases affect human behavior will point out that the human body is about 60% water. If the phase of the Moon can affect ocean tides, and even cause a bulge in the Earth’s crust, surely it would exert an effect of human beings, they reason.”

We’re 60% water and after a few beverages of choice we might just hit 70%! Can you feel those waves of lunacy stirring?

XXXXXmoon_dark_sideThe Almanac goes even further, stating, “One hypothesis, posed in a 1999 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders, suggested that sleep deprivation, caused by the brightness of the full Moon, might have worsened existing mental disorders.”

This confirms exactly what Grumpy has believed for years. We are all certifiable nut cases who are just a fine line from being totally “bonkers” because of our existing mental disorders.

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” ― Mark Twain

Grumpy asks, “What existing mental disorders are YOU hiding, mister?”

Humans are “Fruitcakes” no matter the phase of the moon. Take a moment to watch this Jimmy Buffett video if you don’t believe me!

And, if you have ever taught or recited the following words to your children – I rest my case for proving your bonkerness!

Hey diddle diddle,

The cat played the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the Spoon

For crying out loud, Grumpy says it’s more likely that the fork ran away with the spoon. See how crazy this verse appears when you think logically? And, you teach your children this?


Did you know that the first full moon after the autumnal equinox is known as the ‘Hunter’s moon’ because the light combined with abundance of prey such as rabbits meant it was the perfect time for stalking prey?

imagesCACKZ04ZI guess that predisposes the phenomena of people who walk about like zombie-stalkers on nights with full moons. Many of these folks, according to some, end up in hospital emergency wards or on police blotters because of their behavior.

Grumpy also suggests we shouldn’t trust guys with guns during this equinox. We all are familiar with how Porky Pig is obsessed with “offing” old Bugs with that 12 gage he carries.

Case closed!

I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum – George Bernard Shaw

Still Sceptical: You can view this balanced ABC report and come up with your own conclusions.

But, in the interest of science, logic and the study of Lycanthropy (Look it up) Grumpy presents this personal example of The Transylvania Effect. This incident happened August 21st – the dreaded day of the full moon.

It’s full moon time. Grumpy is walking his grandson, Little Roo, pushing a stroller, minding his own damned business. The girls, the Good Wife and the Smurf, are at the Spa having a pedicure. No doubt, their toes will twinkle and glow.

We are all one with the world. It is a day when the dish just might run away with the spoon.

Just as Grumpy watches the traffic light turn GREEN and just as the WALK signal glows bright, a car makes a turn into the intersection, making a beeline for Grumps and Little Roo. The car is nearly up on two wheels, the tires are screeching in protest – Grumpy is about to become incontinent.

The old guy madly back peddles, nearly stumbling over the curb as Grumpy is wont to do. An expletive deletive is about to erupt from his lips. These words would sound to the casual observer much like “TRUCKING SCHOOL”.

It says here that those observers would be incredibly misinformed.

And, to make matters worse, Little Roo, who likes to point at trucks as they roar by, is extending one of his other fingers. I ask you, who taught him such things?

As the car speeds by, Grumpy notices that it is driven by a smiling little old lady who extends a friendly wave as if to say, “Thank you, good Sir, for letting me through first.” She has no clue that she nearly splattered 63 year Papa Grumpy and toddler Roo all over the crosswalk!

That’s when Grumpy also notices that this Granny has two overgrown canine teeth and a five o’clock shadow. She’s obviously scurrying off to the market to buy steak and dog food.

That old gal has been moonstruck!

In closing, Grumpy leaves you with a couple of humorous quips he found, just to take a little edge of all this serious Lunar Lunacy. And, just a fair warning, if you meet up with Grumpy on one of those full moon days he speaks of remember this , “His bark is worse than his bite!”

“OOOOOw – wwwwwoooo!”


Q: What do you call a clock on the moon?  A: A lunartick.

Q: How does a man on a moon get his haircut?  A: Eclipse it.


Two blondes in Las Vegas were sitting on a bench talking … and one blonde says to the other, “Which do you think is farther away … Florida or the moon?”

 The other blonde turns and says “Hellooooooo, can you see Florida?”


Those Son-of-a-Gun Mumfords are Alright, Mate!


Grumpy isn’t much of a concert goer these days given the high cost commercialism inherent in most of these events. Yes, he dropped a little coin purchasing Brad Paisley tickets for the Smurf and the Good Wife but, it was a birthday present for the daughter after all.

Too many artists are out there charging big coin in order that they can earn gazillions of dollars. In reality Grumpy has allotted his meager entertainment budget to beer, wine, books and movie rentals. The cost of his satellite TV package more than compensates for the mega dollars he’d spend on live events. And, he can’t take his big old easy chair to the venue and have the refrigerator at arm’s length, can he?

Grumpy does remember some awe inspiring experiences from his past.


When he was 19 he hitch hiked to Rock Hill Park for an outdoor concert. (It was 1969 –the year of Woodstock) He remembers the drugs, the biker gangs with their ladies attached to dog collars and chains and the one butthole who nearly backed his car over the Grump’s sleeping bag – with Grumpy in it, of course.

He remembers the band King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar, among others, and how great the music was despite the fact that after a few days he smelled and looked like a homeless person. But, in the end, it was cheap entertainment at an amazing low price and somewhat of a life altering experience. Grumpy vowed, then and there, that he would do everything in his power to avoid being homeless, smelly and poor.


King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar

Some of his other concert experiences were not so fulfilling. He remembers when the “Davies of Canada” sang their rendition of “Unchained Melody” (Righteous Brothers) to an auditorium full of pubescent high schoolers at old Southwood S.S.

OMG! Nails on the chalkboard and a cat with his tail caught in the door!

But right here on the South Coast of Ontario the little town of Simcoe (Population 15 000) is experiencing something quite different when it comes to big high profile concerts. You see, the Gentlemen of the Road Tour (GORT) has arrived in town with the British Band, Mudford and Sons, as the star attraction. This is the band that received the Grammy for freaking Album of the Year in 2013.


Mumford and sons

In my era this would be like the Rolling Stones appearing in Ayr, Ontario at the ball park down by the grain elevators at the Co-Op.

Yee Haw!

Now the Mudford’ lads are not my favorite musicians. Indeed, Canada has a band called Great Big Sea that is of similar style and every bit as good. Alan Doyle, supported by his buddy actor Russell Crowe, has been around for more than 20 years, but Great Big Sea didn’t catch “the wave” (no pun intended) like the Mumford’s have this past few years. This is roots music after all.

I’ve heard the Mumfords described as Britain’s equivalent to Canada’s NICKLEBACK (sometimes referred to as NICKELCRAP). You know a band that is loved everywhere in the world but their own country. Their fan base is very specific, but exceedingly loyal.

But, none of this really matters because these Mudford Sons are cut from a different cloth when they perform. They have changed the very concept of the live event into a “really lively event”.

How you may ask?

Well, because these lads come in to your small town and create a WEEKEND FESTIVAL; a FESTIVAL that involves everyone in the community who is interested. These town folk are given the green light to promote their businesses and sell and promote their hearts content.


The Mumford Boys believe while they can reap the benefits from their concert, the entire community can financially benefit from them being there. It is their way of helping out rural towns that have experience some “down-on-your-luck” economics.

Also, Sean Palmerston (Supercrawl) added that, “Mumford & Sons, selected the sleepy Southern Ontario town after visiting and discovering it to be the birthplace of the Band’s Rick Danko.”

Simcoe has suffered a tobacco farming downturn, the closing of OPG’s Coal Powered Plant and the second lockout of workers at the huge U.S. Steel Plant in three years.

So, how refreshing is that?

Volunteers from the community will be wearing shirts that proclaim, “There’s no folk like NOR-FOLK!” And, gazillion events are planned, including a street festival in downtown Simcoe. The Blue Elephant Pub has brewed up a craft beer called, “Gentleman’s Lager”, there are street dinners and breakfasts, and the Legion has a daily brunch, while the entire core of Simcoe is closed down. Merchants are having street sales and local entertainers are performing music at several locations.

You can see the entire lineup by clicking on this link:

It is just amazing how much is going on!

The concert tickets cost a lofty $100 +, however this includes 11 well know bands plus the Mudford boys over two days. The ticket is like a passport and provides admission to all venues.

The concert portion of the festival is being held at the fairgrounds. 30 000 people are expected to attend, while some estimate that 60 000 will visit Simcoe over the weekend. Remember this is a town of only 15 000.

Hell, the Air Canada Center can hold more people than the town of Simcoe’s population.

There are beer tents and after parties, a farmers market on site, a sandy beach area, as well as a mini fall fair all within the confines of this 40 acre site.

Local produce, wines and craft beers are being featured all across these venues.

One of the most unique features Grumpy saw was a stand up piano randomly placed in the middle of the road. Anyone can play it. And, Grumpy heard that well after midnight last night someone had a group of concert goers around them singing HEY JUDE while they tinkled the ivories.

How cool is that?

Roving bands of local actors have been hired to preform impromptu performances within the concert venue and without: providing street theatre at its finest. There have been several “FLASH MOBS” reported, too. And, of course, there are buskers galore.

And get this, the Grand Finale of the concert involved an on stage rendition of the Band’s “The Weight” (Musicians from all the performing bands participated) as a fitting tribute to THE BANDS” Rick Danko, a native of Norfolk County, who started his music career way down here in the outback.

How cool was that?

Live Nation, the biggest concert promotion company in the world, along with community leaders have organized this mammoth undertaking with attention to every detail. Grumpy even saw a mini fire truck on a quad, manned by two firefighters travelling over to one of the campsites.

People from all over North America have trekked to our little town to take in this festival. The local newspaper reported that one 19 year old from Bangor, Maine remarked, “Where the F . . . is Simcoe anyway?” when he set out on his long journey.

Well, after all of this, a whole lot of people will know where the – “F” – Simcoe is. And, thankfully each and every one of them has left a whole whack of their dollars behind. The benefits to the community will be long-lasting. Everyone hopes that many of these visitors will return for a second look!

So, Grumpy says, “Thank you Mumfords and Live Nation!” He may not like your music but he sure as hell likes your approach to doing business.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more artists and bands took this approach? Maybe there is hope. Maybe Grumpy will have a little chat with Brad Paisley in October?

And, watch out Ayr Ontario the Beebs might just latch on to this great idea. Get that ball diamond grass cut, people! Hang the bunting up on those grain elevators and fire up the pig roasters. The thundering hordes of humanity might just be coming your way, sooner than you think!


BTW: You can view some of the happenings from this fun festival here.–sons-gotr-fest-in-simcoe


Dogs and Toddlers Are A Lot Alike: A Case Study

 Dogs and Toddlers Are A Lot Alike: A Case Study

           Now that the Phenom is preparing himself to leave for university next week (Basketball Training Camp), I am reminded of the time 15 or 16 years ago when he began his obsession with sport. Even then he was driven to practice and play.

In a twisted sort of way we are reliving this experience at Grumpy Villa with Pumba the Farting Dog. You see dogs are really at about the intelligence level of a two year old child. Having a dog is not unlike having a toddler in the house. Pumba, as you have read, is in a permanent stage of “the terrible twos”.

Stanley Coren, PhD, of the University of British Columbia has this to say about this comparison.

“We all want insight into how our furry companions think, and we want to understand the silly, quirky and apparently irrational behaviors [that] Lassie or Rover demonstrates,” Coren said in an interview. “Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einstein’s but are sure closer to humans than we thought.”

 As for language, Coren states that the average dog can learn 165 words, including signals, and the “super dogs” (those in the top 20 percent of dog intelligence) can learn 250 words.

Oh, my!

The bottom line is that both dogs and toddlers can provide you with a lot of grief because of the consequences attached to the utterance of the dreaded single “WORD”.

Now, I know you are shaking your head in disbelief but Grumpy will attempt to communicate this comparison to you in two parts. First we will look at the experience of the Phenom from days gone by. Then, we will look at the Pumba experience we are experiencing now.

When it’s all said and done, Grumpy will allow you to make up your own mind. He’s hoping if you agree with him he can get one of those Government Research Grant’s to pursue this thesis further.

Like these for example: Taxpayers forked out $28,000 for a study of women’s wear in 19th-century Istanbul, $75,000 went to a study on “feasting and the origin of inequity,” and another $41,000 for a treatise entitled Critical Editions of Spanish Golden Age Plays.

For a little beer money Grumpy would research – Why Kids and Canines Go into Hyper drive Over the Utterance of THE WORD.

Here is the foundation of his thesis. The two part database he promised you earlier.



 I’d like to talk about “the word”. Now don’t get yourself in a lather thinking this is some kind of theological dissertation. No, “the word” I’m speaking about is that very word one never utters in the presence of a four year old. Mention “the word” and your lovable little darling’s behavior shifts into overdrive.

You see, the difficulty with “the word” is that no one knows what it is until it has been said.

In your home the word might be “chocolate” while in your neighbor’s home it could well be “Uncle Billy”. I guess that’s why adults quickly resort to one tried and true anti-word-deflection strategy. Let’s call it the “spell it, don’t say it” technique.

“Do you want to go out for i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m, dear?”

For the alphabetically impaired, the word substitution technique might work. We might choose to substitute, “the you-know-what, the thing-a-ma-bob, or the whatch-ya-may-call-it” for the culprit word. For example, “Did you pick up the ‘you-know-what‘, honey?”

The unspoken “word” around our house these days is “baseball”. Joshua, our four year old, is a baseball fanatic. He sleeps with his ball and his glove tucked-in beside him at night. The consequence of forgetting to spell the word “baseball” at our house goes something like this.

Daughter Meghan gets the ball rolling.

“Are we going to Matt’s BASEBALL game, Daddy?”

“Shhhhhhhhsh!,” I reply. I wave my hands indicating to Meghan that she should drop the subject. Joshua’s sparkling eyes tell me that he has entered that wonderful state of one-track-mindedness.

“We go baseball?” Joshua has the face of a cherub.

“Yes, we’ll go to Matt’s game later,” I reply.

“No, Daddy, we go Matt’s baseball game NOW!” It is clear that Joshua’s mind is made up.

“No, Joshua, we’ll go to the game tonight.” I try to delineate a timeline. Joshua’s quizzical expression indicates that his mind is changing gears. He runs off room and quickly returns clutching his glove, bat and ball.

“I take my baseball gov, Daddy?” he asks.

“Yes, we’ll take it along,” I answer.

“You play catch, Daddy?” He pounds the ball into the pocket of his glove.

“Not now, Joshua, we have to eat breakfast first.” I brace myself for his next volley.

“I not hungry, Daddy. We play catch NOW.” His shrill whine is not unlike nails scratching a chalkboard.

At that moment, our seventeen year old, lumbers into the kitchen. Matthew’s hair is askew and he’s dragging his feet like a zombie.

“Matt, you play catch with me?” Joshua pounces like a cat.

“Get real!” Matt’s eyes are two slits.

Josh is indignant.

“I tell Mommy you no play baseball with me.”

He stomps down the hall. He’s headed in the direction of the bedroom where the good wife is catching some well-deserved R and R. I scurry after him with the hope that I can make an interception.

The remainder of the day follows a particular pattern. Joshua drags his glove around the house. Each of us take a turn playing catch with him both indoors and out. He races around the living room, jumps and then slides into a “pillow” until I shout “you’re safe.” The question, “We go baseball NOW?” gets asked at least a zillion times and to think that all of this activity was stimulated by the utterance of a single “word”.

I guess we’re fortunate. Baseball season ends in a couple of weeks and Joshua’s penchant for this great pastime will dwindle. Of course, this means that “the word” will once again go through a metamorphosis. You see, November brings us the beginning of Matt’s “b-a-s-k-e-t-b-a-l-l” season.

Now you know what Grumpy is talking about. Now you know the effect of “The Word” on the dynamics of Grumpy Villa. But, how does this ever relate to Pumba the Farting Dog?



 If you have a pet dog you know where I’m coming from when I say all hell breaks loose if you simply utter the word “walk” in the presence of your little furry friend.

Grumpy might say to the good wife, “I’m going to walk over to the store.”

The next thing Grumpy knows is that he has a jumping, hopping, whining, barking little Pumba slathering doggy kisses all over his face. And the consequence, of course, is that his furry friend will be accompanying Grumpy on that walk to the store.

Yes, you guessed it; we went through the spelling stage with our pet.

“I’m going for my w-a-l-k,” Grumpy would whisper to The Good Wife.

The result: jumping, hopping, whining, barking little Pumba slathering doggy kisses syndrome once again is enacted – big-time.

That damned dog learned to spell.

And, I’ll be jiggered but, the very utterance of, “I’m going for a you-know-what” elicits the exact same response.

Pumba the Farting dog is put into hyper drive and there is no turning back. That dog is going for a W-A-L-K because: You-know-what = WALK no matter how you spin it with that intelligent dog.

Of course, there are other words that illicit a similar response, not the least of which is the word “treat”.

Deferring to Dr. Cohen again, he states this: “During play, dogs are capable of deliberately trying to deceive other dogs and people in order to get rewards. And, they are nearly as successful in deceiving humans as humans are in deceiving dogs.”

That last line sticks like a craw in my throat, though. You see, the Good Wife claims that on good authority, Pumba the Farting Dog scams Grumpy for treats ALL DAY LONG.

CASE IN POINT: Pumba will pester Grumpy with behavior that suggests he wants to go outside to take a leak. Grumpy swears that the dog counts to ten as he sits on the front step, and then he turns and scratches the door wanting to come in.

Dogs can also count up to four or five, Dr. Coren says. And they have a basic understanding of arithmetic and will notice errors in simple computations, such as 1+1=1 or 1+1=3.

Well maybe it’s not ten that he counts to, but it surely is five. And, Pumba knows what 2 means because that’s what he expects –“two treats for a “leak”- each and every time. Such are Pumba’s standards for rewarding good toileting behavior.

Nonetheless, after this behavior repeats itself about three times in one hour the Good Wife will quietly suggest, “Grumpy, the Dog is scamming you again! Give it a rest.”

There are times when Grumpy feels that the Good Wife thinks Pumba is smarter than his master. But that, of course, is open for more study and debate.

This is why Grumpy will apply for a grant to study this phenomenon further. He has empirical evidence from experiences with both a four year old Phenom (Toddler) and an 8 year old cock-a-poo (Dog)! He has it on good authority that the Provincial Liberals are more than willing to waste a little more money.

Hey, maybe this will be Grumpy’s Doctoral Thesis. After all he keeps getting e-mails telling him that he can get a PH.D. in as little as three weeks.

That’s a WIN-WIN for the Grumpster, wouldn’t you agree.

I suspect that he book and the movie will be out in about a year.

Hey, wait a minute Pumba, why are you rolling on the ground laughing. And why is the Good Wife calling to me from the other room.

“Ah, what’s that, honey?”

“Grumpy, are you letting the dog outsmart you again?”

“No, dear, I’m just going to take him for a you-know-what!”



Yup, Grumpy’s Brood All Got the Climbing Gene

Yup, Grumpy’s Brood All Got the Climbing Gene


All of the inhabitants of Grumpy Villa have a fear of heights. All of them tremble in their shoes each and every time they are required to fly in an airplane. Some of them feel panic attacks on high bridges while others down right refuse to get close to the edge of anything higher than two feet off the ground.

Indeed, all of them are acrophobiacs of the first kind. Keeping two feet on terra firma is the be-all and end-all of each of their existences.

However, if that is the case, why then has all of Grumpy’s offspring inherited the “climbing gene” ? Why do they venture to climb when high heights make them whine?

“Oh my God, oh my God, we’re so high!”

Wasn’t it comedian Steven Wright who said, “A lot of people are afraid of heights? But not me, I’m afraid of widths.”

With that said, Grumpy will complete the trifecta by saying that he has gone to great “lengths” to understand all of this.

You see, most of this climbing addiction occurred when the Grump’s kids were little, but as you’ll see later some of them carried a desire to get “high” (not that kind of high) into their later years.

Child rearing expert Sue Atkins had this to say, “Physically of course, children’s’ bodies crave challenge. Their little bones and muscles are anxious to grow strong while the brain is hungry to monitor and record the sensations of the climb for future use.

But more, climbing gives children the power to change their perspective – a key underpinning that fosters natural curiosity, discernment, critical thinking, and creative problem solving — all the things kids need to learn how to learn.”

Oh, that explains it then. Climbing is educationally and developmentally sound. It is pure and natural!

Tell that to a mom who finds little junior teetering on the edge of a counter top.

Or, perhaps you have been down this road.

MOTHER: “Oh, my God, Bob, Rosy just climbed to the top of the Christmas tree.”

CHILD: “Don’t worry, mommy, you’ve empowered me to learn how to learn!”

So, in the interest of science and education, and in the interest of logic and sanity, Grumpy intends to present to you a case study regarding this inherited “climbing gene”. He will describe how this behavior continues to add gray hair to his head and how it makes his heart go pitter-patter! He will provide visual and video evidence.

THE SMURF: Grumpy’s daughter gave the Good Wife and he fits when she was a toddler. She would climb up to counter tops and tables then climb the shelves in cupboards and hide there. One time she climbed UNDER the car and remained completely silent when we called for her. That scared the bee-jee-bees out of us as you might guess.

And, as you might expect, the playpen was no match for this wizard. She could climb out of that sucker faster than Houdini could slip from a strait jacket. One minute she was there. Another minute and she was gone.

Worst of all were the times she crawled/climbed up the 20 stairs to the second level so she could play or hide in her brother’s room.


The Smurf could disappear just like that. You had to keep tabs on her constantly, never allowing your eyes to wander.

When the Good Wife would ask, “Where’s the Smurf”, Grumpy would simply reply, “Just look up, honey. She’s at it again.”

Sometimes we wondered if she had a monkey’s prehensile tail hidden in her cute little bloomers. You can just imagine the dangers of having a diminutive Smurf in your home that could climb and climb fast.

THE PHENOM: The Phenom, much like his big sister, took to the air at an early age.

One day when he was about six another child came banging on the door to say, “Come quick, Mr. Gumpy. Take a look at him!”

Grumpy ran to the curb and followed that child’s outstretched arm and finger and, try as he might, saw nothing.

“Where”, Grumpy said in frustration?

CLIMBING 002“There”, said the child jabbing her finger with eyes that read –ARE YOU BLIND MISTER!

Finally, Grumpy averted his eyes and spied the Little Phenom clinging to a branch at the very summit of a very tall tree.

He was smiling like a bird dog!

“Egad!” Grumpy said, or perhaps it was another four letter word he expressed, which in turn, was probably modified by the word, “Holy!”

You see, an older boy had double dog dared the little imp to climb to the top of that tree, to which he gladly obliged.

To this day, Grumpy says it was THE CLIMBING GENE that was at fault. No six year’ old is capable of that kind of monkey business. Unless, of course, they have – you guessed it – a prehensile tail.

Moreover, every time the school bus arrived bringing the Phenom home from Kindergarten a certain routine had to be followed. You see, the little gaffer never came directly to the door of the house.

Sometimes he stopped to relieve himself behind the big old pine tree in the yard. But, most of the time it took a shout from Grumpy, as in “Get out of that tree! NOW” that got his butt inside the door.

Sometimes there’d be as many as five of these little rascals and rascalettes stationed at various levels in the tree. It put me in mind to describe them as a giggling gaggle of “Swiss Family Robinson” wannabees.

Home of the Swiss Family Robinson wannabees!

Home of the Swiss Family Robinson wannabees!

Never mind the tree forts the little lads were always building in the yard. This went fairly well until these little lumberjacks decided to cut down a neighbors tree. It seems as if that tree was blocking their vision or something to that effect. Those tree-felling urchins were a mere six years old and they used my saw.

And then, as a teen there was the extreme sport period featured here on a video of Coin, Juice and JJ’s Adventures taken at the Wilson Retreat. Watch this video at your own peril.

VIDEO: CLIFF JUMPERS – click this link

The Cliff Jumpers of Muskoka. Coin, Juice and the Phenom.

The Cliff Jumpers of Muskoka. Coin, Juice and the Phenom.

THE ALBERTAN: Being the oldest of the Grumpy crew, memories of the Albertan as a baby-climber are somewhat foggy. ( After all, the Albertan is 33 now!) But, Grumpy will tell you this, “The Albertan hates flying, does not like climbing long ladders and abhors heights of any magnitude with a passion!”

We do remember the Cow Tipping, the tower swinging, the sojourns in the GMC Safari van, the disappearing Christmas lights and any number of his teenage adventures. But, not once did we worry about the lad getting much higher (not that kind of higher) than a few feet off the ground.

Grumpy guesses that’s why he took up mountain climbing when he moved to Alberta. You got that right – FREAKING MOUNTAIN CLIMBING! – In the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Thousands of feet of altitude between you and a fall to a sudden death, defines the fact that gravity is your worst and only enemy.

Oh, my!

This is what the first born had to say to the Grumps.

“Dad, it doesn’t seem so bad because you are so high it just seems – like UNREAL!”

And, “Sometimes I close my eyes or I don’t look down!”

Another mountain scaled by The Albertan.

Another mountain scaled by The Albertan.

The boy has hiked, climbed, and scrambled to the summit of many peaks in and around Kananaskis. He has taken many photos from dizzying heights that upon viewing them, in turn, gives Grumpy a severe case of vertigo.

The Albertan has even dragged his wife along on these treks. He proposed to her on one of those mountain tops. They got married on a ridge way up in the mountains.

Yee Haw – Rocky Mountain High!

The Good Wife and Grumpy sent the Albertan a canister of Bear Spray to protect him and her from the wildlife, such as cougars and grizzly bears. There was nothing we could do to protect him or her from free falls, however.

Ruby-Roo: Now, this is the nickname of our little grandbaby who just happens to be the son of our daughter, the Smurf. She would be the one who escaped from her playpen on a regular basis. Wouldn’t you know that Ruby-Roo has inherited the Grumpy Clan’s climbing gene, too?

Being a father of 3 climbers and a judicious grandfather, I did suggest this to my daughter, “You’d better buy that boy some pillows or a parachute!”

Here’s a picture and a video link you can view in order that you can appreciate firsthand the effects of the climbing gene on our little ones. This IS our NEXT GENERATION. We’re sort of like the Flying Wallenda’s, except we’re all afraid of flying.

If you look closely you might just see a hint of a prehensile tail sticking out of that diaper!

VIDEO IS HERE: click this link



Undeniably, these events have made the touch of gray Grumpy once had transform into the white snow capped peaks of any one of the Albertan’s conquered mountains.

And, just so you know, no matter what Grumpy has said here, and no matter what you think (We don’t really care) each and every one of Grumpy’s spawn remains stepnophobiacs of the first kind; this, despite the fact that all of them have experienced the effects of the “climbing gene”, at one time or another.

You can take that to the bank, folks.

(Stepnophobia – look it up – it really defines us)


Pumba is A Felonious Fur Ball


You might not know this but Pumba is a reformed criminal.

Yes, our infamous “farting dog” was once on the dreaded Bylaw Enforcement Officer’s, most wanted list. (He is the guy who is one pay grade up from a mall cop.)



You see, our neighbor to the east, whose house abuts our lot, complained that our little pup Pumba was barking incessantly. In a sense this was true, except that the only person he was barking at was this self-possessed, I-me-me-my neighbor.

Have you had one of those?

Grumpy is talking about the neighbor who complains about everyone else despite the fact that they exhibit the exact behaviors they complain about. Their home is their castle and to hell with anyone else. Grump calls this the, “My poop don’t stink syndrome!”

That is just how Pumba fell into disfavor. That’s why the Bylaw Enforcement Officer came to my door saying, “I know all dogs bark, but I’ll have to return with a summons if I receive another complaint!”

Now, no one wants their pet to have a criminal record; unless, of course, you are Michael Vick.

At that time the Grumpy’s didn’t know who “outed” their little felonious fur ball, so we took all reasonable measures to control his barking. However, you must understand that Pumba is a house dog and only ventures outside to relieve himself. All of his other sojourns to the great outdoors are fully supervised walk-a-bouts. Nevertheless, we purchased a muzzle and secured it every time we let him out for a wiz.

His “woof” became a “whiff”.

At the first sign of a “wiffle” we’d charge to the door as if we were a Navy Seal team and corral the little mutt and drag his wagging tail inside. Little Pumba didn’t know what hit him.

Case closed!

Luckily a friend of ours does some housekeeping in the neighborhood. She informed us that, as the neighbor’s house cleaner, she had heard all about our nasty little dog. But, she also said, in all the times she was there she never heard our dog bark ONCE!

Bingo! We knew who perpetrated this travesty.

The only thing we could figure was that when we let Pumba out in the early morning he often barked at the neighbor who was out warming up his noisy vehicle. Of course, our response was to bring the dog inside immediately.

How, you might ask, does this all relate to what Grumpy described earlier as the, “My poop don’t stink syndrome”?  Let me present my case. Then you can be the judge.

The Case for My Poop Don’t Stink Syndrome

AH-OOOOOOO, you're making my nuts glow in the dark!

AH-OOOOOOO, you’re making my nuts glow in the dark!

Said neighbor has a dog. This poor Lab was subjected, in my view, to the inhuman “zapper collar” which was utilized to train this dog NOT to bark. If he barked he got zapped. You could hear him whine when this happened. But the worst of this was that the dog compensated for the non-barking with his own form of woeful moans.

“Moooo-aaaaarr-aaawwww-oooow-eeeee!” or something akin to that would eerily fill the air day and night!

Grumpy believed this was some cruel Pavlovian response to having his nuts glow in the dark.

So, as soon as the neighbor left this dog unattended the moaning and groaning and crying and whining began. And, I’m talking about hours on end. We called the dog the “Mournful Cow” and sometimes, when visitors ask, we’d refer to him as the dinosaur in the backyard.

One time we returned home around midnight to find the neighbors on the opposite side (Both of whom are police officers) standing in our driveway. Get this, the male officer held a small caliber held hand-gun tightly in his fist. When approached, they both told us their must be a wounded or injured animal in our back yard. They said, “Listen to that awful sound!


Knowing the source, the Grumps bravely announced, “Wait here and cover my back, I’m goin’ in!”

Grumpy found the poor mutt tangled in his rope around one of the trees in his cedar hedge. He couldn’t even bark to announce his distress. Of course, he didn’t want his nuts zapped again.

Would you?

I took a lot of pleasure going to the neighbor’s door, waking him from his sleep and telling him his dog was creating a commotion and he’d better get his ass out there and take care of it.

And, apparently in my neighbors world power tools aren’t noisy.ZZZZtools

My neighbor has all of the toys. If they aren’t building a new shed or extending their deck, there always seems to be some power tool operating in their yard, regardless of the time of day or night.

He has a quad which he drives around, a power washer and a compressor and, of course, the ever popular generator. You name it and he fires up one or the other up on a regular basis.

“Brrrrrroooom, eeeeeeerrrrrrrrraawwwwwww, butta-butta-butta-butta!”


Said neighbor has been known to power up his riding lawn mower and cut the grass at 6 am on a Saturday morning or late in the evening when it’s getting dark.

I think you get my drift.

But, Grumpy is not about to stop there because there is more. Did I mention the dreaded SCREAMING CHILD FROM HELL!

The neighbor has a young child who can be noisier than any dog Grump has ever heard. As a baby, the poor child cried and screamed constantly. I was beginning to think they put the child out on the back deck when his screaming fits became incessant. Heaven forbid they used the dog zapper for another purpose.


Hours on end!

As he grew older, the little nipper became a magnet for “boo boos”. Grumpy swears that kid hurt himself or became frustrated every five minutes. These shrieking screams were worthy of any Haunted House. And, when the kid screamed, the dog began to moan.



This is not two part harmony. No, this is two-part pandemonium. This is “my poop don’t stink” to the max!

Concluding Argument

In conclusion Grumpy would like to say that he has a park-like backyard. The Good Wife and Grumpy enjoy sitting on the deck, sipping our tea and reading a good book. Pumba sits on my wife’s lap cooing contently. But this idyllic pastoral respite often becomes impossible, like for instance, this past Saturday.

You see, the neighbor is in the front yard power washing his boat.

“EEEEERRRRRRR. Budda-budda-budda. EEEEERRRRRRR. Budda-budda-budda”

His dog is in the back yard crooning his dinosaur mournful lament.

“Moooo-aaaaarr-aaawwww-oooow-eeeee! Moooo-aaaaarr-aaawwww-oooow-eeeee!”

And the poor little Screaming Child just crashed his little electric jeep into a tree.


Hey, Buddy, your poop does stink, big time.

So, Grumpy thanks the Lord for satellite TV and single malt scotch. Time for some cocooning, don’t you think?

“My Lord, let’s head indoors and chill!” honey.

What’s that? Damn, the neighbor two doors over, with the craft business just fired up his backyard shop. “BBBBBRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRR–budda-budda-budda!”

And, the cop next door just fired up one of the classic hotrods he’s been working on. “Ba-ba-ba-ba-vrooooooooom!”

“Honey, I think it’s about time we let the dog out!”

“Wiff, wiff!” Pumba agrees.

If it quacks like a duck?

If it quacks like a duck?