Friday, May 30, 2008


Tokyo, Japan - A bachelor, suspicious after food began disappearing from his fridge, installed security cameras in his apartment. He was shocked to discover a 58-year old homeless woman had moved into his closet and had been living there undetected for a year.

Tracy, California - The community of Tracy is under seige... by Peacocks! It seems the birds first showed up over 25 years ago but the population has grown over the years and now somewhere around 60 of the birds roam this suburban neighbourhood. Some residents believe they are a nuisance and others love the birds, causing some friction between those who shoot them when they enter their yards or have trained their dogs to chase them away against those who encourage the birds to remain in the area by feeding them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This weekend I hired my wife's cousin to shingle my porch roof. I did this for a couple reasons.

1. Give me tools and I am a disaster waiting to happen.

2. He is a professional and family, so I know the job is done right and I know I got a fair price.

3. It freed up my afternoon for golf.

I've managed to hit the links the last three weekends in a row. June has not even started and I've already played more golf this year then I did in the previous 3 years combined.

Unfortunately the Wardsville course we have usually been playing was booked solid with two separate tournaments. There was also a big tournament at the Ridgetown course. We could have played the Black Creek course in Oil Springs, but instead I booked a tee time at Gentleman's Creek.

I have not played the creek in 4 years, and frankly my last experience was not all that great, but the place is under new ownership & management this year. I had heard that there was a lot of improvement planned for the course, but I guess things are still in the planning stage. The fairways were in rough shape, covered in weeds, patches and generally just shabby. The rough was a jungle. I lost more balls today then in my previous 4 games combined. The final straw was no beer cart.

I ended up shooting my worst game of the year, but even a bad round of golf is better then shingling a roof.


Fleetwood, U.K. - Charles Hart was upset that his neighbour built a rooftop deck because he felt it interfered with the privacy he previously enjoyed in his garden. So he built a very attractive 16' high wall of cement blocks. Not only is his garden private again, but his backyard looks something like the no-mans land that separated East and West Berlin. Local bylaw inforcement officers informed Hart the wall was a violating, but he built it anyway. Now both neighbours get to spend months and lots of $$$ as they fight this out in the courts.

Bacalod, Philippines - Image your neighbour's dog bites or attacks your child. Smart people would file a formal complaint with the authorities, perhaps try to have the dog put down for being a danger to the community. If your child was not seriously hurt you may have a heated discussion with your neighbour, demand he keep the dog leashed and under control, or at least in his own backyard. What you probably should not do is march down to your neighbours house and shoot him 6 times in the chest. Especially if you are a Police Officer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Over the years I have posted lots of stories about neighbour relationships gone wrong. If I was to review them all and try to find some universal truth I suppose it would all come down to patience, respect and communication. I think the best thing about starting this site is that so many people were able to share their own stories with others. I've lost track of the number of emails I received with comments about people being glad to have found others who are experiencing the same types of neighbour headaches.

Quite often the stories shared make you realize that you don't have it so bad after all, or that they could be a little bit unreasonable in their expectations.

I've even posted a few news stories I stumbled across about people who have attacked, tortured, or in some cases killed their neighbours over some perceived insult or offense. I am very glad I have never had (and none of my readers have ever shared stories regarding) any direct experience with something like that. The horror stories I found while surfing the web and posted here at least made my own neighbour pet peeves seem pretty insignificant. In most of these stories at the very least there was something that set the whole horrible event off, a loud stereo, a barking dog, a fence, etc. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that the acts themselves were not completely random. When something has no meaning at all, it becomes that more distrubing...

One such grim tale has inspired one of this summers possible sleeper hit movies, The Strangers (starring the always gorgeous Liv Tyler). The film claims to be 'inspiried by' a true story, most likely the famous Manson Family Murders from 1969 or the 1981 murder of the Sharp family in the California resort town of Keddie Cabin. In the film a young couple plan on spending a quiet and romantic week at a remote resort but instead find themselves under siege from a gang of psychopaths. The Strangers opens May 30th.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Victoria Day is one of the biggest holidays in Canada. It is also one of only a couple of times each year you can legally purchase (and set off) fireworks in Ontario. Last year we had a bit of an event here, with a group of parents each chipping in some $$$ for a package of fireworks which we then set off on the corner while all our kids (14 in total) sitting in lawn chairs and cheering along. This year we had 16 kids and 8 adults and I bought the fireworks from a wholesaler in the big city instead of the local corner store (and thus getting twice as much for the same price). We also planned the show a little bit, starting small and working our way up to a big 50-shot cake called the "Grand Finale". The kids loved it, and I can honestly admit I just like blowing shit up, so the kids are just an excuse. So I propose a toast to Queen Victoria, who in her day truly ruled the civilized world, in a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. If you are planning a holiday fireworks display in your area here are a few words of advice.

1. Lots of kids. Nobody is going to complain about a bunch of kids having a good time. A bunch of 20-somethings mixing fireworks with alcohol is another situation entirely.

2. Do it early. We had our show just after the sun went down at 9pm. Our little display was only about 10 minutes in duration, but it also wasn't at 1am.

3. Warn everybody. For the most part all the neighbours in the immediate vicinity were not only informed but invited to setup their lawn chairs and take in the display.

4. Safety first. No need to elaborate on this one. I launch my fireworks from a large planter filled with sand which I use to bury them for stability.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Last Saturday night marked the first of what will be many bonfires in my neighbours backyard. Sure there are some local bylaws against that sort of thing, but living in a small town does have some perks. Having connections helps but even better is positive relationships with everybody on the street. Everybody has backyard firepits out here, and everybody uses them regularly. The occassion? Nothing really, just the warming weather and an excuse to cook hotdogs, eat smores, and drink lots of beer. A television in the garage was tuned back and forth between the Detroit-Dallas NHL playoff game and the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington.

Should you be concerned if your neighbour has a firepit going? Absolutely not. Out here, a firepit that is going is pretty much an open invitation. Grab a lawn chair and some beers and come on over, no formal invitation required.

Funniest part of the night was that the host of the party is a local volunteer Fireman. His radio was going off now and then, with calls for other stations in the area. Nothing serious. One report of a restaurant sign that was sparking. Then a call came across "Station 10 report of a bonfire". Turns out we are not station 10, the call was for another town a few miles away.

If you are thinking of making a firepit you don't need to go and buy some fancy outdoor fireplace from Home Depot. I dug a hole and used the metal drum of an old washing machine. Keep it simple.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


The first weekend of May traditionally marks 'the first cut' all across SW Ontario. In my neck of the woods (and hundreds of similar towns all across the region) men were pulling their lawnmowers from the back of the garage and brushing off the winter cobwebs. There were blades needing to be sharped, oil needing to be changed, and a tankfull of gasoline before the final familiar Nascar roar of the engine. However this year the time honored ritual is facing some significant challenge. I'm not talking about folks who argue that a traditional lawn is bad for the environment. I'm talking about the rebirth of the reel mower.

For the vast majority of us traditional gasoline powered mowers are still the way to go. Corded electric mowers are a hassle, especially on a large yard, and the cordless rechargable variety are still prohibitively expensive and may not provide enough juice for those with large lots.

However, more and more brave souls, including one of my neighbours, have decided to try their hands with one of the latest generation push reel mowers. This is not the push reel mower that your Grandfather used back in the "good ol' days". The newest models of these eco-friendly devices feature light-weight materials and razor sharp blades and are no more difficult to push then any standard gasoline mower.

The trick to effectively using one of the new generation of push reels is to not let the grass get too long (best to cut twice weekly instead of once), and walk at a brisk pace. One of the biggest advantages of using a push reel is the lack of noise. Think about how many times your relaxation on the back patio has been interrupted by the noise of a nearby lawnmower being put into action. With a push reel you can wake up early in the morning and mow your lawn without bothering the neighbours. Cutting the grass without the noise and fumes from a standard mower is a completely different and almost Zen like experience. You will be able to hear birds, the wind in the trees, and the gentle rhythmic sound of the blades. If you live on a standard urban lot then you really should consider a push reel.

Now last weekend I wanted to sleep in and play golf, so my wife hired another neighbour of mine who runs a little lawn maintenance business to give us the once over with his riding mower. I never got around to playing golf. I did manage to aerate, fertilize, and overseed a few of the rough patches... and enjoy a few (insert brand here) beers on the front porch.

Monday, May 05, 2008


I love Newcastle. Well, frankly I have never been to Newcastle but I love Newcastle Brown Ale. I also love Guinness and Boddingtons. If any of these fine breweries are interested in sponsoring The Stupid Neighbour Blog please contact me at Sponsorship does not need to cost $$$. Hell, all you need to do is send me a t-shirt (XL) and I will make your brew the "Official" Beer of the Stupid Neighbour Blog and display an icon saying as much on the front page.

Interesting story in the Newcastle Chronicle today. Residents of a particular housing project are being issued tape recorders by their property management company so that they can maintain a record of noisy and abusive neighbours.

The idea is that the tape recorders could be used as evidence in court and would improve the housing authorities chances of evicting nuisance neighbours. Any neighbours who compain of noise or disruptions will be issued the tape recorder and asked to maintain a diary that details the incidents.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Mareeba, Australia - A long standing feud between two residents of this rural township in Australia ended horribly when Roy Bird attacked his neighbour with a 12-ton Excavator. Yes, you read that correctly, an Excavator. Bird and his neighbour, Wayne Smith, argued about a great many things. They had exchanged words in the past regarding both a fence and a disputed property line. However, on the day in question they were arguing over how best to properly dispose of a dead cow, which is apparently the sort of things folks in rural areas often discuss. Things escalated and then Bird jumped behind the controls of the machine and swung the bucket, hitting Smith in the groin. Smith dropped to his knees in pain and apparently not realizing he was dealing with a crazy person, decided to start throwing rocks at Bird. This prompted Bird to take another swing at Smith who Doctors report later died from "severe bladder, pelvic and groin injuries". Roy Bird is claiming self defence, "I f---ing wacked him, its a simple as that. He was throwing f---ing stones at me". In this David vs. Goliath story, it looks like Goliath won.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Mississauga, Ontario - A dispute over a tree branch that was hanging across a property line has left a 78 year old man in the hospital and his 48 year old neighbour facing charges. Apparently words were exchanged, which escalated into a shoving match, and the heightened state of excitement was too much for the old man's heart. The dispute was apparently long standing, revolving around construction of a shed, and was the animosity between the two was well known in the area. Frankly I don't care how "right" you think you are, I can't imagine pushing around a 78 year old dude just to prove a point about a property line or a building permit. Its not like he came at the guy with an axe or something...

Wolverhampton, U.K. - After decapitating his next door neighbour with an axe Anthony Phillips received a life sentence in 2000 but a recent Judge's order means he is eligible for parole in 2013. Phillips claims he was told by God to kill his "wicked" neighbour after she had an affair with his 15-year old son and gave birth to a child. He seems to have changed his tune now, claiming it was wrong to premeditate the murder and should have focused on "understanding and forgiveness". Tell that to the headless lady next door.

We all have a local neighbour who is well known to be a bit odd. It could be the strange house at the end of the street where children don't dare enter the front yard to retrieve a lost ball. It could be the neighbour who when you see them coming you would just as rather cross the street then have to engage them in a strained conversation.

Then you hear stories on the news, interviews with people who lived next door to a crazed serial killer, and all they can think of saying is "He was a quiet man who kept to himself". It makes you wonder what the neighbours of Austrian dungeon-master Josef Fritzl thought about him?

So who could be living next door to you?

I heard the buzz about Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary, Where In The World Is Osama Bin Ladin, a few months ago. I heard one story about secretive meetings with big Hollywood producers who gave the green light after only seeing 5 minutes of footage. While I am pretty sure Osama is not living in a quiet bungalow on #5 Pivet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey I wonder if his current neighbours have any idea? Are his current neighbours part of the same religious fundamentalist world view as Osama or are they simple folk who are more concerned with the safety of their children and putting food on the table. Just exactly what kind of place would or could he be hiding? I can see the interviews now, wide-eyed folks staring into the CNN camera and spouting off one-liners like "I always knew there was something suspicious about him" or "He was the nicest man, I just can't believe he could do the things they are saying..." or "He kept to himself mostly, but he sure didn't do a very good job maintaining his lawn. That sort of thing is frowned upon here."

One thing you can be sure, if Spurlock's movie is half as entertaining as Supersize Me or his television series 30 Days then the movie that ends up being 2008's 'summer blockbuster' could end up suprising everybody, including Osama's neighbours in the cave next door.