Duck Med

Duck Med

Pretty much for the last month, I’d say 99% of my discussions with the Missus have been duck related.

Most of the conversations begin with her walking into the living room and saying, “They are just so INTERESTING”.

At which point I might as well turn off the TV or close my book because, for up to an hour, the Missus will explain how each duck walks and talks and eats and swims and quacks.

And how this particular duck has a dirty face and that duck has a funny walk.

As you might guess, watching the Missus explain all this is far more entertaining than watching Richard Attenborough doing one of his nature shows.

Because he only talks about stuff.

The Singaporean Missus acts out her duck stories, complete with “zooooooming” (duck chases), “peck-peck-pecking” (self-explanatory), and “splashy-splashy-quacking” (see photo above).

In our initial DUCKDATE, we explained a lot about the Missus and her ducks.

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Mother Nature Always Wins, And Here’s the Itch


Stupid, evil tree of itch

This blog has mentioned before that men are creatures of action.

Sure, we spend 99% of the time in our recliners. But that other 1%? When we are in the yard and armed with cutting devices? We are creatures of action.

And once we get a head of steam? There is no stopping us.

We will cut and saw and slash and burn the greenery until the cows come home. And then we will cut and saw and slash and burn the cattle. It’s what men do.

Men think greenery should be trimmed to within an inch of its life. That way you don’t have to trim it again until next year. Or maybe never, if you do a really good trimming job and it dies.

Tragically, this angers women folk — namely, the Missus and, even worse, Mother Nature.

Women folk believe trimming trees should be done as carefully as brain surgery. And they grow certain kinds of plants designed to keep me away.

These plants and bushes and trees usually explode into a wondrous range of reds and yellows and general prettiness once a year.

It makes the women folk all misty eyed. It makes men want to trim.

stupid tree 2

Stupid Evil Tree of Itch

Case in point, we give you the Rhus tree (toxicodendron). We assume the name translates to “will turn a man’s body into an oozing, itching red rash of great pain”.

Oozing Tree

A few days ago, we decided to get out of our recliner (read “get away from the Missus”), and go out into the yard.

We honestly had no intention of actually cutting anything. But we live in the west Auckland suburb of “Titirangi”, which is Maori for “The Fringe of Heaven”.

In Titirangi, Mother Nature insists that everything grows quickly. So if you don’t stay on top of it, you will find yourself living inside a tree, because greenery will come in through your windows as you sleep.

At first, we sere content to get the small hedge trimmer and do only a little bit of trimming.

But, of course, one thing led to another. And the vine trimming session turned into our annual Jihad Against Mother Nature.

tree cutter

We hauled out the 12-foot-long, spring loaded, two section, rope driven Secatur of Death that will cut through steel.

And we decided to trim the hated Rhus tree that has been covering our camper van with leaves and sap and blocks our bedroom’s sun.

And by “trim” we really mean “kill the bastard”.

So despite our bad neck, for the next hour we looked upwards and cut the absolute crap out of the stupid sappy, bee-attracting Rhus tree.

We did not mind the fact that limbs would frequently fall straight down, scratching our face and arms, and occasionally stabbing into our brain.

Manly men do not care about minor flesh wounds when we are in a cutting rut. Nor do we mind a little itching as we gather up armfuls of branches and leaves.

But we do mind, about an hour later, when we have to put down our beer and go into the bathroom to see why we feel like napalm was dropped on us.

On this occasion, there were super itchy bumps covering about three-quarters of our body including, and there is no way to say this delicately, the Johnson Region.

It itched so bad you had to scratch, and scratching made it itch even worse.

After three miserable days, we still had not found the right combination of creams and pills and vinegars to make the angry red bumps and blotchy rashes go away.

The Missus, still angry about the wee trimming of her favorite tree, decided that it was not enough to quietly enjoy my misery.

She needed to rub it in by reminding me that I am way allergic to this tree, a fact she claims to gave mentioned every year.

She then decided to read to me from her big fat gardening book:

Allergy: Toxicodendron species contasin oleoresins known collectively as urushiol. In susceptible individuals, these compounds trigger a type IV delayed hypersensitivity reaction: a “bullous allergic contact dermatitis.

Especially to some men’s Johnson Zone, turns out.



Go HERE for other stories about men being stupid out in the yard.

The Missus and Her Ducks

duck sihn

The Missus was going to name her boy ducks Donald and Daffy, until I explained that high-priced Disney lawyers would cover her with so many writs she’d never be able to feed her ducks again.

Hence she named them Dicky and Dashing Duck.

Dicky’s wife’s is Dancy.

This is because the Blog’s Missus likes alliteration, and this lady duck likes to wiggle her bootie a LOT. (“Like they do in Grease”, the Missus says).

Dashing Duck does not have a Missus, but, without wanting to start rumors, he appears to be crushing on Dancy. In fact, he played an active role in the, uhm, “loud and quacky courtship” of Dicky and Dancy, if you get our drift, which prompted Dashing’s Duck’s then girlfriend to fly the coop.

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‘FIGHTBALL: DYING OF SUCK’ — All the Funny in the Universe Smashed into One HILARIOUS Book

‘FIGHTBALL: DYING OF SUCK’ — All the Funny in the Universe Smashed into One HILARIOUS Book

(Editor’s Note: Book giveaway completed! Thanks to everyone!)




Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Writers are supposed to write 1,000 words a day.

Rain or shine.

Summer and winter.

In sickness and in health.

Or something like that.

But this blog has been on something of a hiatas hiatias hieties break of late, especially from funny. We have none.

We did manage to blog about Great Grandma Ashley, who was a pistol, and Millennial Douches, but we have no funny.

We blame it on Kris Wehrmeister, my butthead writer friend in Oregon.

Her insanely funny new book, Fightball: Dying of Suck, which YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW ON AMAZON!, has pretty much sucked all the available humor molecules right out of the whole entire universe.




So the only practical thing for this blog to do is strumpet for Kris.

What follows is just one tiny sisterly exchange between Maj, 10, and Kallan, 8, who live with their parents at when not staring in Fightball: Dying of Suck.

FYI, Maj is super smart, somewhat tightly wound, and usually SPEAKS IN BOLDFACE CAPITAL LETTERS. Kallan will one day be President of these United States and almost certainly under indictment. These sisters? They are hysterical. And relentless.





“It’s a small path, Mom… It’s skinny… There’s not much room for passing… And then she was calling me a baby on a baby bike… And so I passed her and she fell… Maybe I called her shortie. Maybe I called her a midget on a clown bike… OK. I pushed her over. It was a tiny push, and she was all slowed down to name-call at that moment, so she only crashed and stomped around dragging her bicycle in the weeds and screaming about poison…”

Mark takes my hand. “Our children are insane.”

“Seriously,” says Kris.


While HogsAteMySister is NOT paid to write *Amazon review, if we were, we might write something like:

“Five stars, Kris! The brilliance of your writing, to me, has always been that you have perfect pitch when it comes to dialogue. That is the rarest of gifts. The flow and word play and insanity of your brilliant children, and you being you, and Mark being him, are so very unique and wonderful. Making it look so easy is the hardest thing in the world to do. And you really piss me off being so good at it, you big ol’ butthead.”

Okay, we might leave out the last sentence because of etiquette and libel laws.

Truly, this book is good for whatever ails you, regardless of your age, and there is something magical about that.

HINT: You can order the Kindle version or a REAL BOOK from today. Amazingly, miraculously, this is the only Christmas shopping you will need to do because Kris’ book is perfect for everyone on your list including:

  • difficult children
  • mothers of difficult children
  • mothers of really difficult children
  • mothers of insanely difficult children
  • mothers who drink craft beer because of their insanely difficult children
  • those of us who enjoy laughing at the pain of others
  • anyone who loves the idea of a series of books (yes, more FIGHTBALL will follow!) that are just perfect for reading on a plane, at the park, or while waiting to see your therapist.

Honestly. Go read Fightball: Dying of Suck right now. Your laughter will be thanks enough for me.

You could also give me a million dollars if you wanted. But it’s not necessary.

I will just stay here, living under a bridge, with the wolves, starving to death because of humor writer’s block. Ironically, I will be laughing like a crazy person as I read and reread Fightball: Dying of Suck, especially the bits I have highlighted for emergency use.

P.S. If you know Oprah, get her to read this book! And do what you can to strumpet for Kris, my butthead friend who really is an amazing writer.


* I actually did write a hyperbolically blovated review on Amazon (scroll down on the book page). You’d think I get paid by the word…




Leave a comment below and, really, no fooling, you could be one of three winners of your own copy! Judge’s decision (moi) is final. You have to live in the U.S. to be eligible for this giveaway because Kris is really bossy.)

My Miracles 2 — ‘It Wasn’t Long Before the Church Began to Resemble a Battlefield, with Bodies Literally Strewn Everywhere’

(Not your normal bill of fare, this)

miracles happen part 2 version one fr rookey and our lade

Back in August, I wrote about the many miracles that surrounded my Mother’s death in 1996. But, I never mentioned the related miracles that occurred in New Zealand … until now.

In 1994 or 1995, Mom was on oxygen 24/7 and had wasted away to 75 pounds. An undiagnosed spore had destroyed her lungs and was killing her. We were all praying for a miracle.

So when I was asked to organize a “healing Mass” in Auckland, New Zealand, by a miracle-worker named Father Peter Mary Rookey, I said ‘yes’! But only after I’d done a fair bit of homework to ensure his bonafides, as old reporters are wont to do.

My research included reading Man of Miracles, the book respected British journalist Heather Parsons wrote about “the famous healing priest from Chicago”, who himself had miraculously regained his sight as a young child.

Fr Peter Rookey

Heather had “embedded” herself in Fr Rookey’s healing ministry, following him across Ireland, and chronicling what she called “miracles of biblical proportion”.

“From the altar, the church is a sea of humanity. The sick – in wheelchairs, on stretchers, carried or supported by others – push forward in their thousands to reach the silver-haired priest. Arms held out, Father Peter Mary Rookey OSM (Order of Servants of Mary) stops and blesses each one, laying his hands on their heads, calling on the power of Jesus to heal all their ills. And as he prays, miracles happen. The blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb say the name of Jesus and those in wheelchairs stand and walk.”

Obviously, a secular journalist writing about miracles impressed me. But what impressed me most was the old Servite priest’s humility, a quality always tied to holiness, and something that I hadn’t seen much of in my newspaper career.

As a journalist in Texas, Singapore and Washington, D.C. (1980-1988), I’d interviewed my share of big shots – senators, rock stars, sports legends, and even a billionaire. To a man, they had Frank Sinatra-sized egos and let you know they had done it “their way”.

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Thy Blog Be Done

let go and let God

Many 12-step programs tell you to “Let Go and Let God”.

But, as my big sister often reminds me, even when we do so, we frequently freak out and claw stuff right back.

Case in point…

I recently took a deep breath, said some prayers, and moved the HOGS Blog to a cheaper New Zealand server and domain registrar.

I was advised this process would be simple and seamless.

What could possibly go wrong?

So, to prepare, I had this kind of conversation with the Lord.

Me: “Lord, after five years and almost 400 posts, HogsAteMySister has not made me rich or famous, as I thought we had planned, and the future is not looking so crash hot. I no longer have the energy to repurpose the content into Amazon ebooks, like my butthead writer friend in Oregon. Not that I begrudge her success, because she deserves it. She is amazing. The big, fat, talented cow. Sorry, Lord. Anyway, I decided to once again put this blog in Your hands. So, if during the change of hosting companies, you allow the blog to plummet into the internet abyss, I will take that as a sign that You think the blog sucks canal water, okay?


Me: On the other hand, Lord, if the transfer goes well, and there were to be a few positive signs like, say, bales of money falling from the sky, or maybe a few parades in front of my house, that could be seen as a sign of Your approval, to carry on, You know?


Me: “Okay, then.”

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So Many Miracles Surrounding My Mom’s Death

miracles happen


(Editor’s Note: After the previous post on abortion, I’m not sure how to get back to funny. So I decided to publish this piece about “my miracles”. I wrote this and three other stories as part of what I’d hoped would be a book on miracles. That did not happen, so this will.)


One of the hardest things I ever did was emigrate to New Zealand in 1993, but that’s what was required by my young family.

My Mom had a chronic, debilitating lung disease that not even the Centers for Disease Control could diagnose. I knew she was not going to get better. So moving halfway around the world was really hard.

Thankfully, we got to stay with Mom and my step-dad C.B. for about a month while waiting for NZ Immigration to give us the go-ahead.

The delays and red tape about drove my Missus crazy. But I saw it as a time of grace that gave me precious extra time to spend with Mom. This was enormously important to me, because I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again.

We made the most of our time, cherishing the simple things. Mom and I would take short walks, talk, eat, play with my 4-year-old son, Eli, and laugh a lot. Then at night, I would beat Mom.

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