Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs

Columnist

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

One year of grandparenthood couldn’t feel finer

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Preview

One year of grandparenthood couldn’t feel finer

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

If you are wondering about that big, stupid grin plastered on my face, there’s a simple explanation.

I literally cannot stop smiling because on Friday, my wife Diane and I celebrated a major milestone.

This has nothing to do with the fact that we are both now retired, which means we are legally entitled to sit on our front porch in rocking chairs and yell at neighbourhood kids to “GET OFF OUR LAWN!!!”

It has everything to do with the fact that as of Friday, we have been grandparents for exactly one year. It is difficult, using mere words, to explain how wonderful it feels being a grandparent, but I will give it the old college try: It feels really, really wonderful!

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

Supplied

Doug and his granddaughter, Ivy Ruth.

Cool level red-hot thanks to hand-me-down shades

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Cool level red-hot thanks to hand-me-down shades

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out — after spending 65 years on this planet, I have finally become a hip and happening sort of guy.

Allow me to stress this exciting development has nothing to do with a radical change in my personality, and everything to do with the fact that, for the first time in my life, I own a pair of sunglasses.

Q: Seriously, Doug, you’re getting all worked about something as trivial as owning a pair of sunglasses.

A: Yes. Allow me to explain.

Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

Canstar Community News

Doug has always felt that putting on a pair of sunglasses makes the following fashion statement: “Hey, look, I’m wearing sunglasses!”

A kayak? This landlubber’s good on the dock, thanks

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A kayak? This landlubber’s good on the dock, thanks

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 30, 2022

I was stretched out on the couch in the den the other morning when, suddenly and without warning, the dogs began barking at something on the other side of the living room window.

What with being a semi-retired crusading newspaper columnist, I bravely peered out the window, which is when I spotted a large cardboard box that had been deposited on our front porch.

“I wonder what that could be?” I muttered to the dogs, before wandering outside to retrieve the mysterious package, which I was hoping might contain something useful, like a year’s supply of frozen steaks for my barbecue.

Which is when my wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, arrived at the front door and began burbling — even though she is not normally a burbler — with excitement.

Saturday, Jul. 30, 2022

Golfer? Sure. I bucketed a birdie and an eagle just last week

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Golfer? Sure. I bucketed a birdie and an eagle just last week

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

For the record, I am not one of those people who always dreamed about honing his skills on the golf course after retiring.

No, I am one of those people who dreamed about perfecting his ability to relax on the couch in the den and lapse into a coma while watching hour after hour of the Weather Network.

The point is, even though I am now in a state of semi-retirement, I still get invited to participate in charity golf tournaments because I am the sort of person who is willing to accept free food and prizes for doing absolutely nothing.

It is not easy, using mere words, to describe how horrible I am at the game of golf, but I am willing to give it the old columnist try: I am really, really horrible at golf! It would make more sense for me to buy a dozen golf balls, drive to the nearest course, then stand on the first tee and throw them into the woods without going to all the expense of shelling out for a cart and green fees.

Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

ETHAN CAIRNS / FREE PRESS FILES
If, by some pure stroke of luck, Doug does make contact with the ball, it will careen wildly into the trees like an injured woodland creature never to be seen again.

An inspiring story to elevate the soul, rung by rung

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An inspiring story to elevate the soul, rung by rung

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 16, 2022

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.”

Saturday, Jul. 16, 2022

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.”

Sit! Stay! Fetch a new future for dogs!

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Sit! Stay! Fetch a new future for dogs!

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 9, 2022

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.

Saturday, Jul. 9, 2022

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.

War of stumping stumps will have many battles

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War of stumping stumps will have many battles

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

My mother knew absolutely nothing about gardening, but for reasons that no one fully understood she was on a mission to fill our backyard with one of every kind of tree in the known universe, even if these trees were never intended to withstand the bitter cold of a Winnipeg winter.

The point is three of these trees finally gave up the ghost this year, and my wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, is not the sort of person to let a dead tree rest in peace, so to speak.

Which is why she asked my buddy Bob — who along with being the publisher of this newspaper owns his own chainsaw — to drop by and chop them down, which he did Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, when Bob arrived, he discovered that his chainsaw refused to start, eventually forcing my buddy to confess that he had no idea what the problem was, hang his head, and return home in defeat.

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN FILES
The Battle of the Back Yard Stumps has just begun.

Heroism, not mine, saves day from pizza inferno

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Heroism, not mine, saves day from pizza inferno

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jun. 25, 2022

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.

Saturday, Jun. 25, 2022

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.

Workplace pet perks could help staff sit — and stay

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Workplace pet perks could help staff sit — and stay

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jun. 18, 2022

Canadian companies struggling to fetch workers back to the office post-pandemic would be well advised to enlist the services of a retriever — or any other dog breed, for that matter.

That’s just one of the findings from a new report, The Future of Work: Dog Friendly Companies, says rover.com, a website that touts itself as the world’s largest and most trusted network of five-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

The survey of 500 Canadian dog owners, conducted last month, revealed the soaring rate of canine adoptions during the pandemic has made employees more reluctant to abandon their home offices and return to in-person workplaces.

“With millions of pets welcomed into our families over the last couple of years, it’s understandable that folks are genuinely concerned about returning to the office and what that means for their pets — from separation anxiety to finding pet care they can rely on,” Rover’s Kate Jaffe barked in a release that landed in my inbox.

Saturday, Jun. 18, 2022

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILES
Forty-nine per cent of dog owners surveyed said the top motivator for returning to the office is the ability to bring their canine companions with them.

Fighting for a real miracle, and finally keeping the pink ball

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Fighting for a real miracle, and finally keeping the pink ball

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jun. 11, 2022

I do not know what you were doing on Monday afternoon, but I was witnessing a miracle.

This miraculous moment took place at Bridges Golf Course about 40 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg where for the 13th year I bravely caddied in the Pink Ribbon Ladies Golf Classic for Hope, the largest women-only golf tournament in the province.

This is the tournament wherein each of the 36 four-woman teams is assigned a hairy-legged person of my gender as a caddie to cater to their every whim, a manly man who not only keeps score, lines up putts, retrieves errant balls and fetches cold beverages, but does it while wearing a golf shirt so shockingly pink circus clowns would refuse to wear one on the grounds it was beneath their dignity.

Every year, at the start of this fundraising tournament, each team is handed a pink golf ball that they have to tee off with on every hole. The genius concept is that if you still have your pink ball at the end of the day, you drop it in a big pink bucket for a chance at winning a really swell prize.

Saturday, Jun. 11, 2022

I do not know what you were doing on Monday afternoon, but I was witnessing a miracle.

This miraculous moment took place at Bridges Golf Course about 40 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg where for the 13th year I bravely caddied in the Pink Ribbon Ladies Golf Classic for Hope, the largest women-only golf tournament in the province.

This is the tournament wherein each of the 36 four-woman teams is assigned a hairy-legged person of my gender as a caddie to cater to their every whim, a manly man who not only keeps score, lines up putts, retrieves errant balls and fetches cold beverages, but does it while wearing a golf shirt so shockingly pink circus clowns would refuse to wear one on the grounds it was beneath their dignity.

Every year, at the start of this fundraising tournament, each team is handed a pink golf ball that they have to tee off with on every hole. The genius concept is that if you still have your pink ball at the end of the day, you drop it in a big pink bucket for a chance at winning a really swell prize.

Ten not-so-easy steps to get your dog to take a pill

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Ten not-so-easy steps to get your dog to take a pill

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Jun. 4, 2022

Now that tick season is upon us, today’s helpful topic is: How to get your dog to swallow a pill.

This became a serious issue for me this week when I attempted to get our two fluffy white dogs to swallow pills designed to protect them from the blood-sucking ticks lurking in our back yard.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “Seriously, Doug, there are only two steps for giving a pill to a dog: 1) Wrap it in bacon; 2) Toss it in the air.”

Well, that is true with the vast majority of food-motivated dogs, such as our emergency backup mutt Juno, who would devour an entire gazelle if you wrapped it in bacon and tossed it in the air, despite the fact she has only two crooked teeth left in her head.

Saturday, Jun. 4, 2022

Now that tick season is upon us, today’s helpful topic is: How to get your dog to swallow a pill.

This became a serious issue for me this week when I attempted to get our two fluffy white dogs to swallow pills designed to protect them from the blood-sucking ticks lurking in our back yard.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “Seriously, Doug, there are only two steps for giving a pill to a dog: 1) Wrap it in bacon; 2) Toss it in the air.”

Well, that is true with the vast majority of food-motivated dogs, such as our emergency backup mutt Juno, who would devour an entire gazelle if you wrapped it in bacon and tossed it in the air, despite the fact she has only two crooked teeth left in her head.

Living — or at least dreaming — the life of an action hero

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Living — or at least dreaming — the life of an action hero

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, May. 28, 2022

Six months into retirement, my life is more exciting than ever.

That’s because at the tender age of 65 I have been transformed into an action hero — at least in my dreams.

When I was younger, my dreams were decidedly dull. For example, I can clearly recall one dream that consisted entirely of me visiting Eaton’s to buy a pair of winter gloves. No thrills, no spills, no X-rated content. Just buying a pair of (bad word) gloves.

But it would be putting it mildly to say things have changed now that I have more time on my hands. Now — and the bumps and bruises on my body are proof of this — it appears as if my dreams are trying to kill me.

Saturday, May. 28, 2022

Six months into retirement, my life is more exciting than ever.

That’s because at the tender age of 65 I have been transformed into an action hero — at least in my dreams.

When I was younger, my dreams were decidedly dull. For example, I can clearly recall one dream that consisted entirely of me visiting Eaton’s to buy a pair of winter gloves. No thrills, no spills, no X-rated content. Just buying a pair of (bad word) gloves.

But it would be putting it mildly to say things have changed now that I have more time on my hands. Now — and the bumps and bruises on my body are proof of this — it appears as if my dreams are trying to kill me.

Backward your syntax must be before like Yoda can you talk

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Backward your syntax must be before like Yoda can you talk

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, May. 21, 2022

Grab your noisemakers and party hats, kids, because it’s time to celebrate.

For the record, we are not celebrating the fact that today marks the start of the May long weekend, the unofficial first day of summer, a time when we diehard Manitobans look forward to long walks on the beach, chugging ice-cold brews at backyard barbecues, slathering our pasty bodies with sunscreen and swatting mosquitoes the size of Yorkshire terriers.

Unless you’ve been hiding in a drainpipe for the past month — and I sincerely hope that you haven’t — you will know that lately it feels more like the start of Monsoon Season than the run-up to another moody Manitoba summer.

But suck it up, buttercup, because the good news — and you will be able to hear it if you turn your sump pump off for a moment — is that, despite the unrelentingly soggy weather that has turned my house into oceanfront property, we still have something worth celebrating.

Saturday, May. 21, 2022

Today is International Talk Like Yoda Day! (LucasFilms)

Water off a Doug’s back

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Water off a Doug’s back

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, May. 14, 2022

Is it just me, or is everyone else getting a little sick and tired of the seemingly never-ending rainstorms we’ve had to endure for the past few weeks?

It’s not that I don’t like rain. In fact, I developed something of a fondness for heavy rain because I grew up on the West Coast, where I spent my formative years practising to be a human sponge.

The rains we used to get when I was an extremely moist kid in Vancouver were so Biblical in proportion that I can vividly recall lining up my Animal Crackers two by two before forcing them to march back into their box.

But that is not today’s point. No, today’s point is that my fondness for the rain — OK, maybe tolerance would be a better word — is starting to evaporate thanks to the recent deluges that have led to flooding in much of the province.

Saturday, May. 14, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Rain, rain, go away… even this transplanted West Coaster has had enough.

Attention must be paid when TV’s red lights of doom start blinking

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Attention must be paid when TV’s red lights of doom start blinking

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, May. 7, 2022

I have no wish to wallow in self-pity, but I think you should know my wife and I barely survived a crisis last weekend when the third Colorado low in three weeks smacked this province head-on.

I am not talking about the fact that we had to run the submersible pump in our back yard for three consecutive days to prevent an ocean of melted snow and rainwater from pouring into our basement.

No, I am talking about something even more horrifying. What I am trying to say — and I recommend you sit down before reading this next part — is that, as rain thundered down and the NHL playoffs were getting under way, the beloved big-screen TV in our den dropped dead.

It is difficult to describe the anguish of having your favourite appliance suddenly give up the ghost at a time when it is unsafe to leave the comfort of your den, but I will try: It was really, really horrible!

Saturday, May. 7, 2022

I have no wish to wallow in self-pity, but I think you should know my wife and I barely survived a crisis last weekend when the third Colorado low in three weeks smacked this province head-on.

I am not talking about the fact that we had to run the submersible pump in our back yard for three consecutive days to prevent an ocean of melted snow and rainwater from pouring into our basement.

No, I am talking about something even more horrifying. What I am trying to say — and I recommend you sit down before reading this next part — is that, as rain thundered down and the NHL playoffs were getting under way, the beloved big-screen TV in our den dropped dead.

It is difficult to describe the anguish of having your favourite appliance suddenly give up the ghost at a time when it is unsafe to leave the comfort of your den, but I will try: It was really, really horrible!

Deep, deep dive into the dangers of outhouses

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Deep, deep dive into the dangers of outhouses

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022

What with being mostly retired, I was confident that I would never again have to write a groundbreaking column about the role toilets play in modern society.

But I can see now that I was a fool.

Over the years, I have bravely written a great many hard-hitting columns on commodes, including major contests wherein you can win a toilet equipped with a big-screen TV and state-of-the-art stereo system, motion-activated night lights that transform your toilet into a 1970s-style disco ball, and a baseball fanatic whose cremated remains were being flushed down the toilets in every Major League Baseball park in North America.

I was especially fond of writing about how the tyrannical toilet in our main bathroom frequently launches into reverse-thruster mode in an attempt to lead the rest of our plumbing fixtures in a revolt against their human oppressors.

Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022

Doug does not recommend falling headfirst into an outhouse toilet. (JOE BRYKSA / FREE PRESS FILES)

Turns out you want a surgeon who’s Thunderstruck after all

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Turns out you want a surgeon who’s Thunderstruck after all

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Apr. 23, 2022

I believe I have come up with a genius plan for reducing the huge backlog of surgeries that has piled up in Manitoba since the pandemic began.

I stumbled on this genius concept while engaged in the main pastime among retired columnists such as myself — sitting in front of the home computer and randomly Googling stuff on the Internet.

Which is how I stumbled on a landmark study stating — prepare to be blown away in a scientific manner — that surgeons work far faster and more accurately when songs by legendary hard rockers AC/DC are played extremely loud on the operating room stereo.

Q: Is that a brilliant medical discovery, or what?

Saturday, Apr. 23, 2022

Surgeons work far faster and more accurately when songs by legendary hard rockers AC/DC are played extremely loud on the operating room stereo. (Rob Grabowski / Invision files)

Winter storm just another notch in our blizzard belts

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Winter storm just another notch in our blizzard belts

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022

Wow, that sure was one heck of a blizzard, wasn’t it, Manitoba?

OK, technically speaking, I don’t have a clue how bad this blizzard was because, thanks to the newspaper’s tight deadlines, I am writing these words on Wednesday morning just as the snow is beginning to fall.

However, as a crusading columnist, I have just bravely taken a brief glance out my back window, and the fact there is a huge white lump where my beloved propane barbecue normally sits fills me with an impending sense of doom.

Fortunately, I am a battle-hardened Winnipegger and we are a stout-hearted, pioneering people who laugh in the face of blizzards, because we are afraid that if we start openly weeping we will soon run out of tissues and there is no way we are venturing out to the store to buy more in the middle of this Snowmaggedon or Snowpocalypse of Snowzilla or whatever stupid name the TV weather people are applying to this storm in an attempt to differentiate it from all the other storms we have endured in our lifetime.

Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022

We Manitobans know a thing or two about blizzards. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)

Joy and terror in the time of grandparenthood

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Joy and terror in the time of grandparenthood

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Apr. 9, 2022

I can tell you from personal experience that being a grandparent definitely has its moments.

But today’s column is not about the fact that my new granddaughter, Ivy, is the most remarkable infant in the known universe.

No, today’s column is about some of the magical moments experienced by my plucky sister-in-law Shelley, who recently returned from spending two months visiting her two young grandsons in Australia.

Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged, because Shelley agreed to share two especially heart-touching grandparent moments with me the other day during a family brunch at the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park.

Saturday, Apr. 9, 2022

I can tell you from personal experience that being a grandparent definitely has its moments.

But today’s column is not about the fact that my new granddaughter, Ivy, is the most remarkable infant in the known universe.

No, today’s column is about some of the magical moments experienced by my plucky sister-in-law Shelley, who recently returned from spending two months visiting her two young grandsons in Australia.

Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged, because Shelley agreed to share two especially heart-touching grandparent moments with me the other day during a family brunch at the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park.

Hapless columnist to mimic flightless bird

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Hapless columnist to mimic flightless bird

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 26, 2022

It seems like every other day scientists are breathlessly announcing they have discovered ice somewhere else in our solar system.

They’ve famously detected icy deposits on other planets, on moons, in comets, even in the gigantic rings of Saturn.

Q: Is that scientifically awesome, or what?

A: NO! Sorry, I hate to throw your sense of wonder into the deep freeze, but the scientific truth is we have so much (bad word) ice on this planet that the last thing we need to do is waste time wandering around the galaxy looking for more.

Saturday, Mar. 26, 2022

It seems like every other day scientists are breathlessly announcing they have discovered ice somewhere else in our solar system.

They’ve famously detected icy deposits on other planets, on moons, in comets, even in the gigantic rings of Saturn.

Q: Is that scientifically awesome, or what?

A: NO! Sorry, I hate to throw your sense of wonder into the deep freeze, but the scientific truth is we have so much (bad word) ice on this planet that the last thing we need to do is waste time wandering around the galaxy looking for more.

Fifty shades of… periwinkle?

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Fifty shades of… periwinkle?

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022

Given the exceedingly grim nature of the world at the moment, I suspect we could all use a little happy news.

Fortunately, I have two upbeat nuggets to share with you today, starting with the fact that, if you look out your window right now, you will notice that the gigantic snowbanks sealing you off from the rest of the world are about half a centimetre smaller than they were the day before.

That’s because the March equinox — the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere — rolls into Winnipeg Sunday morning at precisely 10:32 a.m., meaning the coldest and snowiest winter in modern memory is finally drawing to a close.

As if that wasn’t enough to thaw your frozen spirits, the second upbeat nugget is even better — the fact there is just one more sleep until the season of rebirth and renewal arrives means it’s time once again for Mr. Doug’s Annual Spring Fashion Report.

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022

Given the exceedingly grim nature of the world at the moment, I suspect we could all use a little happy news.

Fortunately, I have two upbeat nuggets to share with you today, starting with the fact that, if you look out your window right now, you will notice that the gigantic snowbanks sealing you off from the rest of the world are about half a centimetre smaller than they were the day before.

That’s because the March equinox — the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere — rolls into Winnipeg Sunday morning at precisely 10:32 a.m., meaning the coldest and snowiest winter in modern memory is finally drawing to a close.

As if that wasn’t enough to thaw your frozen spirits, the second upbeat nugget is even better — the fact there is just one more sleep until the season of rebirth and renewal arrives means it’s time once again for Mr. Doug’s Annual Spring Fashion Report.

Max McGee would have approved

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Max McGee would have approved

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 12, 2022

It was last Saturday morning and I was savouring the final few minutes of sleep when my wife burst into the bedroom because she couldn’t wait to share the grim news.

“THERE’S WATER IN THE BASEMENT!” she roared as I jolted upright in bed, sleep-encrusted eyes bulging with a mix of terror and confusion.

I assumed the finicky toilet in the basement had unexpectedly gone into reverse-thruster mode, but it turns out ice damming on the roof was the culprit.

Like a lot of homes around the city this winter, we have roughly four feet of snow parked on our roof, and ice dams — those frozen ridges along the eaves — were preventing melting snow from draining off the edges, causing it to instead seep through the roof and drip, drip, drip through the ceiling tiles in the basement.

Saturday, Mar. 12, 2022

JOE BRYKSA /FREE PRESS FILES
Doug and his wife had to phonr companies with young employees who climb on top of your roof to shovel off the excess snow.

From poop to pits: sniffing out a business opportunity

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From poop to pits: sniffing out a business opportunity

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022

Over the almost 40 years I spent in the newspaper business, I like to think I developed a nose for news, an innate ability to sniff out big stories.

Now that I’m mostly retired, however, I need to retrain my journalistic nostrils to track down other ways to make a little extra cash in my spare time.

Which explains why I became so excited last week when, while randomly Googling words on the home computer, I stumbled on multiple news reports explaining how I can employ my highly trained nose to earn more than $6,000 in just two months.

You will think I am making this up, but it seems a plant-based pet food company in Britain is making headlines around the world by offering to pay a dog owner more than $6,000 to switch their canine’s diet for two months and — you might want to sit down before reading this next bit — keep track of their pet’s poop smells.

Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022

Over the almost 40 years I spent in the newspaper business, I like to think I developed a nose for news, an innate ability to sniff out big stories.

Now that I’m mostly retired, however, I need to retrain my journalistic nostrils to track down other ways to make a little extra cash in my spare time.

Which explains why I became so excited last week when, while randomly Googling words on the home computer, I stumbled on multiple news reports explaining how I can employ my highly trained nose to earn more than $6,000 in just two months.

You will think I am making this up, but it seems a plant-based pet food company in Britain is making headlines around the world by offering to pay a dog owner more than $6,000 to switch their canine’s diet for two months and — you might want to sit down before reading this next bit — keep track of their pet’s poop smells.

Squirrels are the cutest, furriest terrorists you might ever meet

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Preview

Squirrels are the cutest, furriest terrorists you might ever meet

Doug Speirs 5 minute read Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022

I think I speak for almost everyone in the free world when I say the time has come to stop the madness.

For the record, I am not talking about unhinged extremists who think it’s fun to occupy our nation’s capital and block border crossings or even the soul-crushing deep freeze that refuses to relinquish its icy grip.

No, I am talking here about something I find even more alarming — the growing menace posed to our planet by rogue bands of extremist squirrels.

As regular readers already know, these bushy-tailed little devils are out to get me because I have published dozens of crusading columns exposing the fact that squirrels pose a greater threat to our power grid than any terrorists.

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022

JOE BRYKSA / FREE PRESS FILESDoug is alarmed by the growing menace posed to our planet by rogue bands of extremist squirrels.