Monday, December 26, 2016

This is My Christmas Post

This is my "Christmas Post".

Declaration:  Despite what my wife will tell anyone in ear shot, I am a Christmas fan for the most part. There is much however a few festive items I struggle with and have a hard time accepting.

Today is boxing day. A day that has competing theories for the origin of the term. none of which is definitive.  The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest declaration from the 1840, defining it as "the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box". For cynical me, modern day boxing day has always been a "head out to grab everything you didn't get for Christmas".

Maybe we should go back to giving nice boxes with goodies to those who truly deserve and have less than us.

I like the feeling that the season seems to present in early December and carries thru until about today, December 26th. During the Christmas "Season" there are the admirable days filled with commendable traits that are exhibited by Christians, agnostics, atheists, and other theism alike. The spirit of giving, pausing to say thank you, seasons greetings and "let me give you a dollar to help out a cause". Visit the senior homes and spread smiles to those who need a loving hand up.

Then cue the pushing and shoving that re-commences on boxing day, and runs full tilt at the speed of life for the next 11 1/2 months.

Christmas this year was quite lovely for us.. It was usual in the way that family gathers to eat, give and get, which is fine, but we love the idea of family gathering to be family. We do the greetings and hugs and discuss past year etc, and then we offer wine and libations and wear funny tacky sweaters and take turns holding babies for pictures to be shared and reminisced over in years to come. We eat and drink too much, hug a kiss a lot, but we share a common theme of Joy.

I am not lost on the irony that the birth that we commemorate on the 25th, Jesus's, would find our celebrations contemptuous. Nor am I stumped by those Christians or Deists who find selfish reasons to obtain more consumer goods for their betterment. That my friends will always be.

Facebook and other social sites (social?) take no Christmas break from locking horns, picking fights with those who's belief differ. Including the belief in a creator or supreme being or a gaggle of god's that we should or should not follow.
Should we say "Merry Christmas" or is that just a slag against the multitudes of Muslims and others  who do not observe.

I much prefer to observe this day, and celebrate Christmas, to pay tribute to a great philanthropist, philosopher, and all round guy who did a lot of good! Someone who spread the message of love. A man who, as Michael Coren so eloquently describes as someone who " would not hurt or abuse, would not reject, would not exclude. He would not deny climate change, would not build walls, would not obsess about procreation, and would not condemn you for who you you loved." That Man of course is Jesus Christ.

This post is not to argue  for direct evangelism and certainly not  to offer proof for Jesus and His birth. We pretty much know that Jesus was not born in December, and as Coren points out " it may not have been a stable and we don’t really know who was there."
And again in Coren's words  "Jesus was born, He existed, He spoke, He inspired, and He died. There’s no serious doubt.
But as to whether He was the Son of God and rose from the dead, that is something for you to decide."

I am not here to argue the existence of God, or any god for that matter. That lies within you and only you. We all have a faith in something I hope, and if being a christian means that you follow  most  and strive to emulate to the best of your ability to live a life that offers love, and not hate. Live in truth. Love the earth as if it was ALL your home. Take care of animals and children who need our help. Live a life where possible does good and not evil. Help other who need help. Strive to be the best parent, partner, friend, mentor, student, teacher that is possible with what we have to work with. Treat all men and women equal. Love thy neighbor......
 Then call me a Christian with a capital C.

Many prefer Christmas bows, packages and lights to the Christmas message. Yes this time of year is magnificent to behold with our eyes, but what power we would be if we lived the message.
 Have a blessed and happy Christmas!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tax Me! Please!

A carbon tax is as about as evil as a tax is on cigarettes. 
There is no way around the fact that as long as we use the word "Tax", there will be an outcry. I often feel as if I walk alone in my love for this planet. I raised a lone voice when the highway 407 came further east and gobbled up nice farm land. I shake my head when I watch the hundreds of cars in a Drive thru running their engines in summer and winter. Our global love for purchasing new electronics on a regular basis, and toss old 50"  HD screens in the dump to make room for the new 55" smarties pants Screen that is Ultra HD. Sad and sorry lot we are.
Perhaps I do stand alone in my ideology. I have no issues with Taxes. It is spending that causes my heartburn and slow anger. If I get a decent return for my dollar, I am good. We pay, ballpark, around $300 a month in property tax. For that we get the roads cleared in winter, the parks to walk our dog is maintained, our garbage gets picked up and the Mayor comes out and says a few nice words on Remembrance day.
A Carbon "tax" to me is smart. If we use British Columbia as an example. They implemented their tax in 2008. It covers most types of fuel use and carbon emissions. It started out low ($10 per tonne of carbon dioxide), then rose gradually to the current $30 per tonne, which works out to about 7 cents per litre of gas. “Revenue-neutral” by law, the policy requires equivalent cuts to other taxes. In practice, the province has cut $760-million more in income and other taxes than needed to offset carbon tax revenue.The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that B.C.’s policy has been a real environmental and economic success after six years. Far from a being a “job killer,” it is a world-leading example of how to tackle one of the greatest global challenges of our time: building an economy that will prosper in a carbon-constrained world.
 What is even more extraordinary is that taxpayers are coming out ahead.  B.C. now has the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada and one of the lowest corporate rates in North America. At the same time, it’s been extraordinarily effective in tackling the root cause of carbon pollution: the burning of fossil fuels. Since the tax came in, fuel use in B.C. has dropped by 16 per cent; in the rest of Canada, it’s risen by 3 per cen.
Now lets add the fact that the economy of B.C has outperformed the rest of Canada since 2008.
 So tax me!  Please! My income tax goes down. The environment gets greener. The economy gets better.
But to my friends in line at Best Buy, buying that smartie pants, ultra HD, super spiffy screen, then taking the family through the drive thru to meet people:). Don't let these facts get in the way of your beliefs that a Carbon tax is bad.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Art of the Browse

Long before Dot had been introduced to Com; and way before there was an "app" to do what we used to do ourselves; there was the "art of the browse".
I thought of this the other day when I cleaned out a drawer and found my old "Blockbuster" card. A ping of nostalgia hit this old fella the way smelling Old Spice makes me miss my Dad.
I picked it up as if it could tell stories. The memories of browsing the aisles with my boy on Saturday afternoons was sweet with real life pictures. Dan would wander the Game aisle for hours as I would browse the "New releases" to see what would be the Saturday night feature.
Browsing was a "thing" and still is in a way for me. I never get tired of book stores or libraries, and love a "magazine afternoon hunt" in the winter. although the paper versions are going away and the good stores like Mikes, (which had over 300 titles of magazines from Neurology today, to Bumper Car new Age magazine) are going the way of the CD store.
Browsing a record store many years ago was a day of pure joy. We would bus and subway down to Sam the Record Man early on a Saturday morning where we spend the day in bliss! Album art was our Louvre. Discovering a rare bootleg Dylan (Live at the Budokan) was winning the lottery for us. Those days are near gone of course, and with internet shopping this old curmudgeon fears that I will lose my browsing days in the Hardware store.
Life at the speed of life I guess, and we will learn to "move it or lose it old fella"!
Choosing a movie now takes as long as it does to make a cup of noodles. I will and do miss the Blockbuster days, and part of my favorite memories with a ten year old are in that magical membership card.


Wally World Revisited

I wrote this on April 17th 2008. One month before my cochlear activation and sound re entering my life after 230 days in my deafness.
I am reprinting it because Mary did not read it, and I happened to have it saved.
I also liked it, and reminisced fondly of my first trip to a Wal-Mart superstore.
Deaf as a stump, no balance, wandering through my first Superstore.
I hope you enjoy it.

I needed to buy batteries today. I tried to change channels last night and the remote was not in a very cooperative mood. Seems it needed AA's.
"Didn't I just buy a bulk pack of those"? I naively asked my wife.

"Talk to the 13 year old that lives in the first room on your right" she replies.

I went into to see where all my batteries were, and I discovered the source of the supply drain The "X-Box remote controllers" , it was explained to me. "Eat them like candy" Dan complained.

Regardless, I needed some or else I would be stuck watching "The Price Is Right" marathon for the next 3 nights.
So this morning I had to make a decision on where the purchase would be made. I knew that Costco would be the cheapest, but one item in a line for 3 days is just silly. The other end of the spectrum is the corner store, but I was not paying $37.89 for 4 AA batteries even if I was the only person shopping.
I went for the middle ground and picked Walmart.
So Janet and I head out this morning and she is traveling in a direction of which I am not familiar with.
"Where are you going" I asked.
"There is a new Walmart that opened in the South Oshawa area" she tells me.
Two things here: I was surprised that any retail opening would miss my consumer radar, and…..
2) I don't like South Oshawa!

I guess while I was "sleeping" for 90 some days in a hospital ward, Wally World slipped one in on me.
Not only did he build a store unbeknown to me, but he built the "Super Wally World Store" concept.
It was the size of O'Hare and I swear I saw an air traffic control tower and a few DC 10's in the lot.
Now I'm no country bumpkin, nor have I just fallen off the rutabaga mobile, but I have never been in one of these behemoth of store.
We park, and in we go.
"You get the batteries and I will grab some fabric softener". announces Janet.
So off goes deaf as an Acorn Squash guy into the wilds of Wally's Frontier.
I leave the cozy confines of the 73 year old store greeter, and venture past the fruit and vegetables. After around 3 or 4 Kilometers I am still in some sort of produce section. Yes it is different from where I started out with the familiar Oranges and Ruby Grapefruit, but I am still in an area of "foods that grow in the warmer climes".
I cross into a deli section that takes in about 14 Acres where a nice lady in blue jacket stamps my passport and smiles at me. I am cruising now.
As I cross the Prairies, I note the vastness of the ryes and flax breads. The flatland's seem to go for miles, and one looses perspective of distance once the sourdoughs are stumbled upon.
The whole wheat flutter on skids as far as the eye can see.
I catch of glimpse of what I suspect is a Prairie dog, but quickly discount it as scurries back into the Pet aisle.
A stray gerbil I suspect.
I have always had a soft spot for the prairies. I admire the hardiness of the workers who toil among the dangers of falling prices. The amber waves of grain and the ski high stacks of Wonder Bread are a joy for the eye to behold.
"Oh beautiful for spacious skies.." I sing proudly, as grab a dozen Frosted Ho Ho's.

I sense a sudden chill now as I enter into the land of milk and cheese. I must some how have wandered off course and ended up in Wisconsin. I look for the” Go Packers" signs among the Cheddar wheels. I want to be a cheese head!
I hurry back to the pet food isle, and grab Speeder some Bickies, and a fresh kong to go with the wheel of Cheddar I just picked up in the dairy regions.
I pass a mountain of cola neatly staked beside the biggest pile of denim jeans I have ever seen. The blue jeans scream a $10 price tag.
I wonder how much the seamstress makes on this.

About 2 or 3 hours into my venture I ask a bird watcher that I pass, if I could borrow his binoculars to see if there is sign to point me in the right direction. He obliges, and I spot "Electronics" just east of the first watering hole. (The pools are now out on display even though the snow continues to fall today) I thank him and get back on my journey.

Around noon I get hungry and follow my nose to one of many local McDonald's that services weary travelers like myself. I see the natives in blue smocks dine here as well. Although I have always found it safe to eat where the indigenous dine, I take a pass on this spot and decide that I can't eat this today, I need to stay healthy.
I ask for directions from another blue jacketed lady. I hope I can speech read her.
I can't.
I ask her again to point me in the direction of batteries.
She starts into some long winded question, pointing at my feet. My God I think, are the natives interested in trading footwear?
I think she is trying to ask me why I have price tags dangling from the runners I have on.
I explain to her that the soles of my own shoes gave out about 7 kilometers away, back in house wares, so I borrowed the Wally beige shoes to get me a little further into the store.

About hour 5 or 6 hours into my journey, I make note of some falling prices that I could conceivably injure myself on. Lucky for me, I happen to be the bicycle helmet section. I put one on to secure my melon from any further falling prices.
I stop at the camping section and notice a family is resting by a fake campfire and eating giant packages of Mike and Ike's. I ask if I could join them until my throbbing stops in my legs.
They of course notice my limp and my cane, and motion me to sit a spell and rest up.
"Where ya headed" asks the woman.
I read her lips nicely.
"Batteries. In Electronics I presume" I tell them
"Ohhhh, you got a long way to go my friend" advises the man in the group.
"Better head out before you get locked in the store like us. We've been here since just after Valentines day clear out" he warns
I spring up and carry on.
By the time I reach Consumer Electronics, I notice my shopping cart is full.
I suspect while on my journey I have been subconsciously shopping up a storm.
If, and only if, I proceed to the cash at this moment, I might get out under a hundred bucks.
But I still have no batteries.

I do, however have one roast turkey, some stuffing in a box,a 15 pack of tube socks, gum that explodes when you chew it, a 12 pack of peanut butter chocolate cups, some Disney DVD with girl called Hanna something in it, a ginger ale/ ice tea combination and several empty cans of energy drinks that I have consumed since my journey began.
I asks a clerk if there is bus stop or a taxi stand to take me back. Even a rope tow would do me fine.
I am spent, done, fatigued.
I need to cash out before I have to sell my collectible footballs.
I can see the 45 cash registers just east of the horizon and very close to a mountain of Easter Bunnies that scare the hell out of me the way they teeter on a skid. With all the "watch for falling prices" warnings, one would think a "watch for falling chocolate bunnies" sign would be posted in the interest in public safety.
I follow a caravan of buggies back to the cash and meet Janet.

The batteries are neatly sold on racks on every cash.


I make a note that no treadmill workout will be needed, and we go out into the wilds of the parking lot. I hope it is not too dark to find our car.

Taking my Side in this Civil War

Up until recently, I was a believer in the old adage "Never take sides in a civil war" At one time I believed that agreement kept the world fine. Never argue, don't express an opinion contrary to the status quo. Waves lose friends. Keep smiling!

I am now at that stage in my life that I find it no longer necessary to hold my tongue. Tape my fingers so QWERTY is silent.  Turn off my active and compassionate mind.

When I read or hear of an injustice, I now speak out!

Recently in our little town, the Province completed and opened a highway. Now back in the 70's, before most of our town council was of age, I was protesting the paving of green paradise. the people  stopped the Spadina expressway. We had sit in's when paradise was being paved for parking lots. We rejected the idea of need for more airports. We boycotted aerosol sprays.
So imagine my disappointment when my town council decided to open this new highway with a celebration! The good denizens came out in droves to walk, ride and roller blade on this new expensive stretch of asphalt and concrete.
They celebrated in huge crowds with families arm in arm, joyous to have a massive strip of 6 lanes of sad grey in lieu of fertile, green, gorgeous farm land and trees. All hail the almighty car! We have more reasons to drive now! What a day it was in July 2016 when the town of Whitby partied all day in praise of 10 Kilometers of gorgeous grey substrate. No need to take Go Transit now, we have more highways. stop planning new bus routes, we don't need them! They danced and sang songs that day!

I was not present at the family asphalt-a-thon. We took our dog and went  to the lake and enjoyed a kayak ride and the serenity of nature.

Fast forward to last week.

The Province always intended that this was to be a toll highway. Not a freeway. We all knew this. All the celebrants that were skateboarding the 10 K grey belt knew this. NO surprises.
The  town councilors used their Facebook marketing skills to announce that they are passing a motion to lobby the Government of Ontario to make this toll highway a freeway!  Why should we pay tolls to drive on this? The citizens agreed and cheered! Yes Councillor! Thank You Mr Mayor!

Not yours truly.

I used their FB announcements to question why on God's former Green earth, would we want all the tax payers to pay for a 10K strip of grey that will be used by 2,000 residents? Their answer was "all highways should be and are free"
My Answer: Because those 2,000 people who live in Whitby, all vote.
 But so do the seniors who do not drive or will use the toll highway. So do the students who take public transportation to school and pay tuition.
So after I spoke out and made clear my position, and from an economic position, I was lambasted. When I dared to suggest that we look at tolls as a "sin tax" like the one on cigarettes and booze, I was called "Twisted and demented". When I suggested that a toll might encourage those to look at public transport, car pooling or even bikes, I was called a "Libtard". One commentor asked if I was "Lefttarded"
Look people: Get used to a new world where if you want a bit of luxury you pay for it. If you don't want to drive in bumper to bumper, pay the toll  to the mean old troll on Highway 407. If you don't want to stand in line for hours at Pearson airport, then get the Amex gold card for a big fee and skip the line. If you hate lining up at Disney land then pay the extra $130 US and get  "go to front of line"
But don't ask me or my 83 year old mother (who will loose her right to drive soon due to eyesight issues" or my 22 year old son who takes a bus, to PAY for your it!
You partied in July when you correctly walked and biked. Now pay up if you want to use your carbon spewing mobile to save the 3 minutes.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Our Sock Crisis and a Potential Vacation

One should never let a serious crisis go to waste.
I'm talking about the "odd sock multiplication" crisis that has enveloped in this household and perhaps this great nation of sock wearers. On my dining room table as I type this, is a bevy of odd black socks that are missing their mates.Tazz, as you will note, is protecting the stash from further erosion.
 In a closet a few feet away sits a bag in the dark which may contain up to 140 or more of the same,
Every week day I put on a pair of black socks, and yes there are days that I fight the urge to do so, and run barefoot thru the streets. The other days I sit in a meditative trance trying to find the "right pair" that "feels" good enough to tackle the day. Don't ask. It is a curse of mine which every analyst, therapist, and  psychiatrist have raised their eye brows when I mention my "sock" issue.
But I digress. Issue at hand is in a 7 day week from October to Mid May, 7 pair of socks are worn, removed and placed  to wait their fate in the washing and drying cycle. Seven pair go in, 12 odd single socks are retrieved.
Many a theory has been bantered about the mystery of socks disappearing. From the worm hole theory, to the crack in the universe story where socks go to escape the winters in Canada. This is a crisis that plagues countless of us weekly, and we should not waste any more time in discovering a way to end this. If indeed a mirror universe exists, we should work with the Samsung's and Maytag's of the manufacturing world, and ask their top brains how they discovered the route to another world.
What is it like in this place? Why do they just take our socks and not our tighty whitey underwear? Why do my old man strapped white t shirts always return? How can we get them to show interest in the ugly sweater that Mom gave us years ago? If their taste is so much better than ours, I want to visit them!
This could be an inexpensive, yet delightful vacation!
Maytag? Samsung? Get your boys on this. I have to go thru the bag of socks again to try and get as close as I can to matching dye lots of fifty shades of black socks.



Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Family In the Living Years!

In our family we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we share the load, no matter what that load is....we whisper  ....we do hugs...we do family...we do love....we do dog walks...boy do we do and love our pets...we bake cranberry and orange muffins to soothe the souls of friends....we do walks together...we leave love notes...we make soups to take to sick friends...we help each other and we help each other help  others....we celebrate Birthdays big time....we do big family celebratory dinners for  Christmas, and Easter...we do family day family dinners...we raise glasses and say "La Famille" ...We do food....boy do we do food, But above everything else...we are real! Real as rain...real as Sunday morning eggs and bacon...real as tears...real as blisters on the soul...

 Running through my head today was a song that I loved to listen to when I had real hearing. ey happen. Sort of my closed captioning for the music.
This song came to mind as I was thinking about family, and how my family upbringing influenced me as a parent. As happens more often than not, the mind went for a surfing  spree  (or a pinball machine as Mary calls it) and took me back to my father, and what would be different if I could talk to him now. What would  the relationship be with him and my son. How would my wife and father get along. The "surfing" got me to put fingers to QWERTY and find the lyrics  to the song that brought this on.
The song always played to my emotions by giving me pause to think about what I should of told my Father in his living years. Today I thought about my son, and in particular how he, like me his father keeps stuff inside.

  The Living Years"

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I Couldn't give Two-Shits

You’re born with a ton of "two -shits (insert "Fucks" if you prefer) to give, so you spend them like a kid with a credit card. You give two- shits about your friends, about your grades, about your fashion sense, about strangers’ opinions. You give way too many two shits about way too many things. You have so many of them. You spend your two-shits like a drunken sailor.
Then, as you get older, you have maybe 10 two-shits per month, so you learn to budget them. You allocate your two-shits to family and career, but there aren’t enough two-shits to give to the dinner someone posted on Facebook instead of enjoying it. Oh, someone at work has something they need my help with that’s outside my job title? I’ll do my best to allocate two-shits, but this month is pretty tight.
Then, as you get even older, you’re down to a lowly 2 shits per month, and those shits are pretty damn precious. You give them to your family and your hobbies (your dog) and your job, and that’s kinda it. It’s not your fault – two-shits expire too quickly. I would’ve liked to save a few two-shits from when I was younger, but I can’t. Spent! Gone!
Then, you hit two-shits insolvency. You're on credit hold. There are no give two-shits, get one free coupons. So you’re getting like 1- two shits, and you have to make it last. So you go without, and even previously two shits worthy things, you just can’t give half a don't have. Some people run out really quickly, Some people have a two-shits  trust fund that pays out a decent amount even into old age. Why don't we start a "Two-shits TFSA?
But at some point, the two-shit toilet runs completely dry and you’re out of shits to give. It’s just basic Shitonomics.
Not my Monkey, Not my circus....and I am out of two-shits to give anyway


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ahhhh Kids.....If they're happy, You did your job right!

I'm not sure, or maybe just don't want to remember, if we had plans for my son when he was small. All I do know for sure is that I wanted him safe and to have a decent life. If he chose being in trouble with the law as opposed to going to school so he could defend the law, then I may of had issues. But ultimately anything he chose to do in life, I thought, would suit me.
 Expectations are funny things. We all want the best for our kids, and many of "us" parents go out of our way in extremes to make sure they have the best.

Our son lives with his girlfriend in a small town house, has a 8 week old baby, takes the bus to work and shop, drives a fork lift, in a paint warehouse, plays guitar when he can, and seems happy!
He did not finish college (another story for another life lesson blog post) and floated through high school despite my lectures on applying oneself.
 Hockey sticks and basketballs were not his bag much to my chagrin. Guitars and MP3 players are where my retirement income lies for the most part, which is my bad. Only me to blame. But you know what? Beating myself up for being a "Bad Dad" by giving him too much latitude many times does nothing. The Boy is happy as a pig in shit; giddy as a school boy most days!
Dearly beloved friends; we are gathered here today to get through this life with as little turmoil as we can hope for. We get a lot more than we hope or plan for, so we learn how to cope with these "gifts" that life throws our way. Why do we expect our children to have less crap than we do? Why is it so important to shield our babies from lives 83 daily problems?
Do what we can, then when we get a bit of time and bit wiser, we do the best we can. If our kids feel as if we owe them more we can only hope that there exists a big hard drive that recorded all the times we bundled up at 5 am to go to the rink/hill/pond/river to give them some life saving wonderful stuff. The hard drive may show the sacrifices that made, the opportunities, the time, the money that could of been spent "foolishly" on a shirt for us that we spent on a field trip for them.
So sons and daughters of ours....should you ever put down your self entitilent gadget in your hands and read my ramblings one day, please know that although it was never a cake walk to bring you up to the age of self sufficiency it was a pleasure and a labour of love.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

La Familia

I was trying to figure out for myself if writing is/was more of a therapeutic exercise to get over a any "seasonal affective disorder bout/cold weather snap ", or perhaps my way of encapsulating my life one day for future reads.
The only I know for sure is that the exercise of writing  should not be done chronologically, but rather by means of getting the junk out of the engine.

So having no answer as to "why" I write this, I will venture on to do what I enjoy doing: writing!
One unwritten rule I have on social media is to avoid politics. But here is where I can burn the oil! Lucky you!

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc should be a fun light place, where we catch up on family and friends.  A place, not unlike that nostalgic fantasy bar "Cheers" where everybody knows your name. So I avoid the soapbox stance that I oft times take with my wife Mary, and do my rant on the corruption of municipal politics; the ineffectiveness of provincial politicians or the vote  grabbing/people pleasing at the Federal level in this country. Poor Mary some days.

I just finished reading Saturday's Globe and Mail interview with Ferris Rufauli. He is the Toronto based designer behind "Sher Club" - Drake's uber-exclusive, nothing but bling, no-plebs-allowed,club hot spot in the Toronto. What got my knickers in a twist was the raison d'etre  for "Sher Snobby" as I will call it. They exist to give the "black-card market a place to be away from us plebes. I for one am glad that I will be able to enjoy my green tea and cake in the comfort of, well anywhere. As long as I am far from those who prefer not to be in our presence. (This is of course assuming that you, dear reader, is not one of the 1% that get my goat cheese curdled.)

In today's same newspaper is a column on the sad fact that when you do an on-line search for single family houses in the city of Vancouver, there is one. Yes ONE. 1 ! It is a east end 900 square foot 88 year old tear down at the edge of the city that is listed for $999,999. So bravo my smart re-sellers, you will be alone in listings of under $ Million. Vancouver is a beautiful city, but the hundreds of thousands of young people will be forced to leave or give up hope of ever owning. The black-card folks will have an exclusive city when not in their exclusive club in the other uber expensive city of Toronto. And the homeless will go in search of a warm alley.

Next week I will do a walk to make good on pledges that I received from good people to raise money for the homeless and helpless street youth in my town, and this country. "The coldest night" is a national fund raising venture to help those who need a hand-up. My beautiful wife gives up her Mondays each and every week to scramble eggs, fry ham, bake beans, toast bagels, scrub pots, for the 40-60 kids who live in the shadows for the most part, or between jobs, or need a place to warm up. I do not judge, nor does she. WE help where we can.

Today the sun shines, but the temper hovers around minus 30 with a wind chill, or real feel of much colder. There are many that will look for warmth. I will be thinking of them as always and doing what we can in our simple ways of raising money, raising awareness, or making as Mary says "I will make them a French toast to warm their hearts".

This is a bit of a rambling blog today, but as the sun shines (despite the frigid temp), I sit in warm small house, with a small puppy by my side and the cats laying by the roaring fire, oblivious to the cruel reality of homeless cats or dogs. I wish I could do the same some days, but that is not how I am wired.

 It is "Family day weekend" if you will grant me license to give this holiday a full weekend. Sad that we have to have a "Family day", or "Mothers/Fathers" day for that matter. Each and every day should be a day of gratitude for all of those above. None the less, for this guy, it is a day today for reflection and gratitude for all that I have including a wonderful family.
I may not be part of the "Black-card" set, nor do I want to be.

For today I am the wealthiest!

To those that have graced me by reading this far: Happy Family day!



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Waxing Romantic

Lately there has been a rash of postings on Facebook. Posts that wax nostalgically for the "better times" or the "good old days"when the CD had not been invented; Xbox was not heard of;  a 500 television Chanel universe was only a dream; and we all played hide and seek until dark.

While there is a nice sound to some,of these to my 58 year old deaf ears; there is also much to be thankful for in this year of our Lord 2016.

Growing up family picnics were fun and looked forward to. I miss that. I don't miss the fact that after we left the site at the park, it was the norm to leave all the trash, or throw it out the car window.
Parents smoked with young children in the car, having a beer while driving at the cottage was acceptable. Ashtrays were dumped on the side of the road at all intersections.

We drove big cars that took leaded gas with no regard for Mother Earth and her siblings.
We cut trees with abandon and with no regard for the future in order to satisfy the moment.
Ah yes the Good old days!

When we heard of a domestic dispute, we felt for the family, but dismissed it.
Child abuse was not reported.If it was, no one talked about it, and we went back to playing Hide and seek until dark. Alcohol abuse was known, but smiled at by many.

Simpler times for sure, and much of it is missed. The bookmobile came on Tuesday nights from 4 until 8 and we lined up outside the tractor trailer to see if there were any copies of Cat in the Hat to be had. The internet, let alone the giant book stores, were but twinkles in someone eyes.
Our parents bought big Vinyl records to listen to 8 songs.

No one wore seat belts,as we went to the Drive In movie, because we loved our cars! Pollution was not part of our lexicon until the late 60's, when we realized we were poisoning our lungs with factory emissions. and fish in our waters were going the way of the Dinosaur

Ah yes, the good old days.

My cochlear Implant gives me some sense of "Thank God we live in these times". Even more so when I see a small child that was born deaf, wearing the tell-tale magnet of our processor that gives sound to where before, silence lived.

Nice to wax nostalgically about the good old days, but I'm happy as a school boy in 2016!



Friday, January 15, 2016

Aging in the Daylight hours

There are days that I feel out of place. Over the hill.

 I love to run, but don't own anything neon that glows in the dark, to go on my feet. My running gear is grey. My pants are black, my shirts are white. I ran with a group this past fall, and felt the eyes on me as I blended in with the sidewalk. The dark night swallowed me up. The fashionistas in this running group had every neon colour imaginable. I led the pace for the most part, so for having 35-45 years on these kids, felt pretty good.

I have a couple of watches from ions ago, and wear them every Olympic year for a day or two. I notice now that my watch only tells the time, and how that must look to the smartie pants watch wearing people, whose smart watches figure out the flight paths of migratory birds at the least.

Accounting for the number of steps I take on any given day, and the calories I burn might be of some importance, but not enough for me to wear a calibration device to advise me that I need to eat less and walk more if I want to live into my 90's. Fact is, I really don't want see what 101 looks like.
I enjoy dinners at 4:45, relaxing in PJ's before 7, and lights out by 10. On special occasions I have been known to kick up my heels and see what goes on after 11, but that is rare.

I will run/walk and run and walk in my non-coloured gear during day light hours. Night time, I am discovering is for indoors and wearing PJ's
I will dine when I am hungry, and if it is 4:15, then so be it.
I will wear a watch that tells me the time, and if I need to know the number the steps I take in a day, then count me out.

When you become independent of the good opinion of others, as I am in the remains of my days, you are in a fine place my friend.