Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Year in Fishbrick

It's time for the annual year-end review of Fishbrick. It has, of course, been a hectic year here at Fishbrick, filled with highs and lows, controversy, laughs, information and hubris. I must say it was probably the most interesting year in the history of Fishbrick, and, as difficult as it was, I'd probably do it again (although it would probably kill me). So, without further McGoo, let us relive some of the highlights in this year of Fishbrick.

The new year started out with a bang in typical Fishbrick fashion with my ten-thousand word attack on pears, the upshot being that I hate pears. I'm still getting hate emails from the zealots at the National Pear Board. They'll never change my mind.

In most years, that would be enough for one month, but I felt particularly energized after the pear piece and posted a short satire on the mentally ill. I was, to say the least, surprised at how many people seemed to take umbrage with my ridicule of so-called 'defenseless' people. Come on folks. Get serious. Are there really no computers or typewriters in the loony bins?

Like all of America, I got caught up in the euphoria of the Barack Obama inuaguration. So, naturally I contributed to the media frenzy with my article about the number of fat people I saw in the Inauguration crowd. If memory serves me correctly, the percentage of fat people in the crowd was about normal. I think that says a lot about Obama supporters.

The shortest month of the year was a slow month here at Fishbrick, due primarily to the injuries I sustained in a vicious attack by a crazed, pear-wielding Obama supporter. I never did figure out just what his beef was, but he's got to be one of my least favorite brothers-in-law.

At the end of the month, sufficiently recovered from my injuries to sit down again, I posted an ode to the egg, nature's perfect egg-shaped food. This hard-hitting expose was recognized by the Egg Board of Canada with one of their coveted Yolkee Awards. They partially paid my airfare to Saskatoon, where they hold their awards banquet. The Yolkee Award is quite a heavy little trophy for its size, and owing to that fact, and the fact that I had eaten the egg-themed dinner without the benefit of a napkin, which somebody stole from me, the trophy slipped from my buttery fingers as I accepted the award and it broke the foot of the emcee. His subsequent shrieks of pain drowned out the first ten minutes of my acceptance speech. But it's all good.

March was supposed to be the month wherein I ate nothing except canned chili for 31 days and give daily updates on my condition for the blog. The experiment did not go well, for by day four I had to do all my blogging from the toilet. It turned out to be a big waste of time anyway because, as loyal Fishbrick readers already know, due to technical issues none of my updates made it to the blog. Four weeks of violent gastrointestinal turmoil for nothing.

I couldn't actually move any of my limbs for the first three weeks of April, owing to the previous month's experiment. I did post one blog entry at the end of the month about bed sores. I don't think anybody read it.

By May Day I felt on top of the world again. I posted a well-received article about how cute kittens are, which I followed up with a less well-received article poking fun at stutterers. People are hard to figure sometimes.

May's Fishbrick output was cut short abruptly when the gosh-darned Yolkee Award fell off the mantel while I was taking down the Christmas stockings, hitting me on the back of my head and, ironically, raising a bump about the size of an egg. The subsequent double vision and nausea prevented my posting anything on the blog for the next few weeks.

June is a-bustin' out all over, and unfortunately, so was my front tooth after a particularly violent sneeze. It was a freak occurence, not likely to happen again in this lifetime.

After getting that taken care of, and listening to a stern lecture about gum disease from my stuttering dentist (tee-hee), I was ready for blogging again. My first and most controversial article of the month concerned Barack Obama's propensity to whistle the letter s at the end of words. The controversy had to do with my adamant support of that whistled s and the desire to see more of our political figures employ that particular speech enhancement.

I also that month wrote about my abortive attempt to obtain a part in a local community theater play. I still feel a pang of guilt every time I drive by the smoldering ruins of that place. But once they rebuild, I fully intend to audition there again, of course this time without the pyrotechnics.

Fishbrick's highlight for the month of July has got to be the posting about not wearing flannel during the summer. People loved the insights and fresh perspectives of that blog post. I rode the crest of that wave for a while.

July was also the month for me to take the old laptop to the baseball game, to try my hand at amateur sportswriting. Unfortunately an errant fly ball in one fell swoop took out both the laptop and my new front tooth, so the sportswriting experiment had to be put on hold for a while.
The worst of that was having to see my stuttering dentist again and not laugh while he has his hands in my mouth.

This was going to be the month I wrote about how eager I was for the return of NFL football and the possible resurgence of the Cleveland Browns as contenders in the AFC North. However, the Fishbrick football preview never happened because the stupid Yolkee Award rolled off the mantel, simultaneously smashing to smithereens both my new laptop and my glass-top coffee table. If I never see Saskatoon again, it'll be too soon.

No activity this month for Fishbrick as I could never get access to a computer terminal at the library. And I had some great plans, too. I wanted to post something to commemorate Spittoon Appreciation Day, and I also wanted to post my annual rumination on the arrival of autumn and the return to my house of the bats.

Under an assumed name I won a part in a play at another local theater. I thrilled the Fishbrick loyalists with tales of behind the scenes life in the theater. I wrote of how the actor's life is not all glamour and applause and that my having to clean out the bathrooms and take out the trash there is typical stuff we do; of how putting up with the withering criticisms of the director, the smirking and ridicule of fellow cast members and physical and mental torment from the wardrobe lady is par for the course in an actor's experience. It would have been all worth it, of course, to finally appear on stage and dazzle the audiences with my acting prowess, but I never got a chance to get on stage, as one night I fell or was pushed down the stairs while delivering sandwiches and coffee to the cast and crew. Lucky for them they already had a guy doing my part in rehearsal.

November was a month to remember for Fishbrick. It started with another article about pears and how awful they are. More hate mail from the National Pear Board.

My next notable posting was about how my surgically repaired front tooth causes me to whistle whenever I say s. People were very sympathetic to my plight. And President Obama himself dropped me a message of commiseration.

Fishbrick's yearly Thanksgiving Day article was about how canned chili is an excellent replacement for turkey for those who are tired of doing the same old thing every year. I was actually able to pour the chili into a mold and thus serve canned chili that was more or less shaped like turkey. I received some enthusiastic comments from some of my readers, who generally tend to be more gustatorily sophisticated than the average Joe.

The arrival of winter usually entails the building of fires in my fireplace. And this year was no exception. I always like to post articles on Fishbrick about fire safety and the proper way to build and maintain a nice fire. However, as I was building my first fire of the year in early December the Yolkee Award slipped from its moorings and fell directly onto my left hand, which was at the time reaching for the poker. I know for a fact that I screamed louder and longer than the Yolkee Award presenter did at the banquet. But the upshot is that I am having to type everything with one hand, so I have necessarily cut back on blogging this month.

All in all it has been a splendid year for Fishbrick and me. I hope next year is as varied and interesting as '09 was. And I hope you come and visit this blog just as often as you need to.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Booster Seats!

Alright then, I believe I have come up with a new topic. It took me awhile to decide, but after extensive consultation with my astrologer, I have decided to write about the following subject.

The Ohio General ASSembly has just passed a new law requiring booster seats in vehicles for children under 4 feet 9 inches tall. This is to make up for the deficiencies inherent in the current design of automobile lap and shoulder belts for people of small stature. It's about time! It's hard to believe any Ohioan has survived into adulthood without there being such a law in the past. How different our history would have been if the intrepid pioneers of America's past had had booster seats in their covered wagons and Model T's.
Now, with this long-awaited law, if you are stopped for some reason by an officer of the law and your child is booster seatless, you can be fined from $25 to $75. The added expense and inconvenience of the new mandate for parents and people who occasionally drive kids is offset by the potential gains to be made by those who buy stock in booster seat-producing companies. I'm sure that now in China there is great jubilation among lead miners who will be mining the material which the factories will be using to make the new booster seats.

But is a simple booster seat sufficient humiliation -- er, protection-- for grammar school kids? Can't our wonderful, benevolent, all-wise and underpaid legislators mandate more rigorous measures to ensure our children's well-being and happiness as we drive them to and fro upon Ohio's non-pockmarked roads and highways? I think so. I hope so. I foresee a time when Officer Friendly, in pulling over an Ohio citizen for having a slightly dimmed license plate light or for going 40 in a 35 mph zone, will be able to cite the driver for more than just the lack of a booster seat. I hope to see a time when the irresponsible parent can be penalized for not dressing the child in flame retardant underwear and socks, for failing to equip the child with a Chinese-made crash helmet, for not providing each child under 4 foot 9 with a SafeCitizen Sippy Cup, for the youngster not wearing a hard rubber mouth guard to protect his or her vulnerable teeth, for not encasing the kids in bubble wrap and filling the back seat with styrofoam peanuts to help cushion the jarring of the inevitable traffic mishap. Such a time, unfortunately has not yet arrived in Ohio, but with more hard work by citizen activists and lazy politicians, that time will come.