I Hear Bagpipes!

“I hear bagpipes!”  Those three words are guaranteed to convulse my friends and me with laughter.

Yes, there’s a rational explanation. (Or at least as rational as I ever get.) It’s a reference to a little-known Canadian movie, “Men With Brooms”, starring and directed by Canadian actor Paul Gross, and I was reminded of it when I got a bagpipe-related joke in my email this week.

The movie is spiced with oddball glimpses of waddling beavers, and a lone bagpiper is frequently seen and heard for no apparent reason.  It also contains one of my favourite lines of dialog ever:  “How could you forget about three hundred pounds of defecating menace?!?”  The whole movie is like that:  Funny, irreverent, and well to the left of weird.  It never fails to make me laugh.

I was a child when I heard bagpipes for the first time. We were attending a funeral in our little country church, and the bereaved family had engaged two pipers who marched down the aisle in full cry.  (Or should that be ‘full tortured-cat-screaming hell-shriek’?)

Good Lord. If anybody didn’t have religion before the pipers started, they’d have been praying by the time they were done.  Bagpipes should be deployed from a safe distance, not used as a close-quarters weapons.  The sound was so deafening in the small space, I thought my poor pulverized brain was going to leak out my ears.

But ever since “Men With Brooms”, whenever one of our group hears bagpipes, we take it as a sign that it’s time to get together and watch the movie again.  Sadly, we’re now spread across four provinces so the get-together is out; but one of these days I’ll pour myself a nice cold quintessentially-Canadian beer, dust off the DVD, and laugh over some bagpipes and beavers.

To quote another line from the show, “We’re talkin’ the kind with teeth, right?”


Book 16 update:  I took a much-needed two-week vacation after Book 15 was released, but now Book 16 is knocking at my mental doors.  Plotting begins this week!

More Beaver!

A couple of weeks ago, one of our senators caused a kerfuffle when she took verbal potshots at our national animal, the beaver.  Calling it a “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant”, she suggested that we should change our national animal to the “noble” and much more photogenic polar bear.  Righteous indignation and off-colour jokes abounded.

According to the online poll at CBC, 78.54% of respondents thought the beaver should stay.  Comments sections were overwhelmed by thousands of responses.  Most of the male writers stated a particular fondness for beavers, though many accidentally omitted the ‘s’.  A mere oversight, I’m sure.  Female respondents in general tended to exhort the good senator to leave their beavers alone.

In keeping with the typical ugliness of celebrity confrontations, the love lives of the contenders were brought into question, too.  Many observed that polar bears will pretty much screw anything that moves, while beavers mate for life, thereby cementing the beaver’s reputation as a morally superior mammal.  (No word on the senator’s love life at this time.)

To add to the mud-flinging, photos worthy of the most sordid tabloids were posted, showing a frowsy beaver with a deranged expression, contrasted with a soft-focus photo of a snowy-white, perfectly-groomed polar bear.  In retaliation, the polar bear’s weight problem was identified and cruelly ridiculed.

Almost as cruelly ridiculed was the senator herself.  The general consensus was that we should keep the beaver and ditch the senate.

In other news, I noticed an article about farmers hunting beavers to save their land from the destructive flooding caused by dams.  No eyebrows were raised over this article, though.  It’s not exactly news that much time, energy, and money is expended in the hunt for beaver.  Or, um… beavers.

P.S.  I’m still with my step-mom while she undergoes chemo this week, so I may be slow in responding to comments, and I might not make it around to comment on my favourite blogs.  I’m still thinking of you, though.  Thanks for visiting!