Doug Speirs’ humour column, In the Doug House, has appeared on Page 2 of the Winnipeg Free Press at least three times a week since 2006. No one is exactly sure why.
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.
In his columns, Doug strives to focus on the vital issues of the day, but generally ends up writing about himself and his family, especially his two dogs, because he isn’t overly fond of getting out of bed or leaving the house.
For column fodder, he has tried his hand at everything from barrel racing to playing Santa Claus for hundreds of screaming schoolchildren on a jumbo jet to performing with Canada’s top Elvis impersonators. He also bravely writes about the weather every Saturday, pets every second Tuesday and writes a new column, Speiriscope, in Saturday’s 49.8 section.
No topic is too small to escape Doug’s keen journalistic eye, especially if it involves his infamous war with the army of mice living in his basement or his frequent run-ins with public relations professionals who are just trying to do their jobs.
He is also known for columns on quirky news events, his insights on raising teenagers, his helpful insights on the key differences between men and women and his penchant for spending up to three hours floating in the bathtub.
Doug was born in Vancouver and still worships the B.C. Lions. Despite this flaw, readers find him approachable, especially in the checkout aisles at crowded grocery stores. He was a finalist at the 2008 National Newspaper Awards for column writing.
He and his wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, have two children, neither of whom thinks he is the least bit funny.
Recent articles of Doug Speirs
I was lounging on the couch in our den Monday afternoon when, suddenly and without warning, a text popped up on my cellphone.
“Go look out your living room window!” the cryptic message on my iPhone’s screen commanded.
When I peered out the window, my weary eyeballs were greeted by an obnoxious sign that had been hammered into our front yard.
“THE CUP LIVES HERE!” screamed the sign, which was adorned with a photo of the CFL’s Holy Grail, the Grey Cup, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ “#ForTheW” motto.
There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out — my family is going to the dark side!
For the record, I am not suggesting we are switching our barbecue from charcoal briquettes to propane. Nor are we abandoning Coke in favour of Pepsi.
No, what I’m saying — and you might want to sit down before reading the last part of this sentence — is that we are getting a cat.
And when I say “we,” of course, I am referring to my daughter, Kayleigh, who this weekend is moving back to Winnipeg after spending several years working and living in northwestern Ontario.
Grab a book and prepare to curl up on the carpet, kids, because today we are heading to the library for family storytime.
As a mostly retired crusading journalist, allow me to say that if you have never attended family storytime with a gaggle of munchkin-sized toddlers, then you are missing out on 20-pounds of excitement in a 10-pound bag.
I say this because, for the past five weeks, every Tuesday my wife and I have been taking our 14-month-old granddaughter, Ivy, for storytime sessions at the Osborne Library.
It is not easy, using mere words, to describe the ambience of family storytime, but I will give it the old college try: It is kind of like a cross between a kindergarten Christmas pageant and a European soccer riot, only with considerably more drool.
In the high-pressure world of big-time journalism, your classic dog-bites-man story doesn’t grab many headlines.
On the other hand, there appears to be an endless appetite for stories about badly behaved dogs eating valuable items, forcing their owners to recover them via methods that put their personal hygiene at serious risk.
I have reported on dozens of stories detailing this disturbing canine trend.
For instance, a few years back I shared an alarming story about a Wisconsin woman named Lois Matykowski and her dog, Tucker. Matykowski had been sitting outside eating Popsicles with her granddaughter when she realized the child’s frozen treat had mysteriously vanished.
Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that, for most of my life, I have been a self-styled slob.
In fact, when it comes to haute couture, I am essentially the human equivalent of an unmade bed.
Like a lot of slovenly guys of my particular gender, I figured I was at the height of fashion if all the condiment stains on my golf shirts were roughly the same colour.
But prepare yourselves for a shock, stylish readers, because it turns out that all this time I have literally been on the cutting edge of fashion, a style guru who is clearly ahead of his time.
Our three dog nights are about to end — and I could not be more relieved.
It’s not that I don’t like having three dogs living under the same roof; it’s just that I miss engaging in some of my favourite activities, such as sleeping.
For the record, my wife and I typically have two dogs in our home — a mildly cranky Maltese/Bichon cross named Bogey and an unhinged, toothless schnauzer/poodle cross named Juno.
For the past two weeks, however, we have been looking after a third canine in the form of Mark-Cuss, a seven-year-old poodle/Shar-Pei/Labrador mix. Mark-Cuss belongs to my sister-in-law, who has been away visiting family on the West Coast.
Of all the special days on the calendar, today is arguably the most special of them all.
That is because today, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, along with being part of a beloved holiday weekend, just happens to be the day on which we pay tribute to the world’s most delicious breakfast food.
For those of you who have been hiding in a drainpipe all summer, what I’m trying to say is that today — prepare to begin drooling uncontrollably — is International Bacon Day.
I should stress that I am not making this day up, because when it comes to sizzling strips of salted pork, I do not kid around.
It was a sweltering afternoon in Vancouver and I was doing what I do every time I visit the West Coast — sweating like a Butterball turkey on Thanksgiving.
I don’t want to complain, but the only thing I don’t enjoy about visiting Vancouver is that everyone who lives here believes that air conditioning is a violation of their constitutional right to be uncomfortable and perspire heavily.
My wife and I flew here to celebrate a major family milestone — my Great-Auntie Ann’s 102nd birthday, a party we couldn’t attend for the last two years because of the pandemic.
For the record, I enjoyed an extremely emotional reunion with my beloved great-aunt, the highlight of which came when we toasted our Scottish heritage with a wee dram of single-malt whisky.
What with all the depressing news weighing everyone down, today I’d like to share an uplifting story that I’ve decided to call The Little Red Ladder That Could.
I should point out that I didn’t make up this story; it was related to me by my good buddy Joe Grande, the ebullient and longtime owner of Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano on Corydon Avenue.
Joe shared his deeply moving tale this week while he and I were sitting in the back seat of my car, Joe’s wife was in the passenger seat, and my spouse, She Who Must Not Be Named, was at the wheel, driving us to a friend’s birthday party in the picturesque town of Niverville, about 42 kilometres south of Winnipeg.
So there we were, Joe and I, relaxing in the back seat, with me twiddling my thumbs in boredom while Joe stared with laser-like intensity at his cellphone because he was determined to discover what would officially be considered “the worst word in the world.”
I’m not what you would call a big fan of tennis, but I did spend a fair bit of time lying on the couch last week watching the action at Wimbledon unfold on the new 65-inch TV in my den.
I found the traditional back and forth at the world’s most famous Grand Slam tournament to be moderately interesting, but as a dedicated sports fan I felt something important was missing from this year’s event.
As most sports-loving readers have already deduced, I am talking about dogs.
For those of you who have spent the past few weeks hiding in a drainpipe, you will be surprised to learn that this year’s edition of Wimbledon came within a whisker of — prepare to begin howling with excitement — going to the dogs.
For the record, I wasn’t trying to burn down my house on a day that was already so hot birds were bursting into flames in mid-air.
No, what I was trying to do was feed my friends and family on a scorching Father’s Day by firing up my portable, wood-fired pizza oven in the back yard.
Spoiler alert: Things did not go as planned.
So there I was Sunday evening, sweating like a Butterball turkey on Thanksgiving, busily stuffing tiny bits of hardwood into the fire box of the stainless steel pizza oven I’d been given last year for my 65th birthday.