Sunday, December 30, 2012

I DO HEREBY RESOLVE...


Here’s the thing. I am still not sure if the world is going to end in a couple of days but due to the way the days fall over the Christmas Holidays I have to meet an early deadline to get this column in to the paper well before the normal deadline, which wouldn’t be a problem, usually, but I spend a bit of time on these articles and if the world is over before this ever gets to print I’m going to be a little ticked off. And none of my resolutions will ever get tested, either. But just for the heck of it I’ll write this like there’s going to be a tomorrow and we’ll just see how things play out, shall we?

            If the world does not end I resolve to:

  • Always buy top value dishwasher detergent. I am so sick and tired of rewashing everything because I cheap out…and for what? to save two-freakin’-bits? Okay, maybe it’s more like a dollar-and-a-half, but still. What if the world was to end, then all of those saved up quarters would account for nothing. I guess this is a little bit more than a resolution now, isn’t it? I shall move on.
  • I resolve and promise that I will keep my front walk free of snow for more than one-and-a-half months of the winter.
  • Now, for what is probably the umpteenth year in a row I resolve to work on my procrastination skills. What I mean is that I am going to try to stop my procrastinating not improve on my already Olympic caliber procrastination abilities and I’m going to get right on that pretty soon, too, you can bet on that!
  • I guess I don’t need to resolve to quit smoking again because I did that on March 22nd, 2010. Thank you, thank you. It was nothing. HAH! (Sidebar here: if you need assistance quitting the nasty habit pick up a copy of Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Quit Smoking book, no, seriously, that’s what I did and it worked. Yes. A book. And, yes, IT WORKS!) But then again, if the world ends and I haven’t had a smoke in twenty-one months, after nearly forty years of smoking, someone’s gonna pay! Hmmm….maybe I’ll buy a pack tonight because if the world is ending then why torture yourself longer than necessary and I could always read the book again…
  • I’d resolve to cut back on my television viewing and do more outdoor activities except that we just got Netflix and the new dish package with a 51” 1080p HD Plasma Home Theatre Surround Sound System and a theatre-style popcorn maker and pop machine and a new leather recliner…
  • I will resolve to never watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, though…ever! Okay then, there’s one resolution already checked off the list and we haven’t even hit New Years.
  • And I will resolve to be a better person and I’ll be happier and lighter and more fit and nicer and spend more time with family and I’m going to volunteer more and travel more and not hang up the phone on the telemarketers…wait a minute…forget that one…and I’ll be more positive and I’m going to save money and be a better co-worker and I’m going to not be such a “know-it-all” and I’m going to be not so…whatdoyoucallit?...sarcastic!

Well Folks, if the world didn’t end…have a Happy, Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THE WORLD'S GOING TO END!!...AGAIN!!

Y’all ready for this? Are you prepared? Have you been nice? Have you got your i’s dotted and t’s crossed? If you have answered yes to all of the above then you must be ready for…drum roll please…,(insert shaky baritone announcer’s voice), the End Of The World! …Again!


What? You thought I was talking about Christmas didn’t you? Nope. By golly the old Chickenlittles are at it again, aren’t they? Just when we were nearing then end of “Stress Season” they give us something else to worry about. The End Of The World, no less!

I do believe that I have touched on this subject before as there have been numerous predictions of this kind in the past but my personal philosophy is that there is enough stress in our lives that we don’t need to add to it by worrying about something that is completely out of our control. At least I TRY to follow that philosophy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but this time I KNOW that I’m not worrying about the End Of The World because there’s nothing I can do about it now anyway. Even if it were to happen. And besides, we’re so busy with worrying about getting everything done before Christmas that we don’t have TIME to worry about the World ending.

The thing that bothers me most about all of the hype around this kind of thing is that some people do get caught up in the hysteria and get sucked into all of the hand-wringing and “what-are-we-gonna-do” needless worrying. And I understand the mass media’s wont and desire to take advantage of the “Doomsday” mentality and talk and talk and talk about it and all that does is get people excited, and that’s exactly what the media wants, but then I heard that NASA’s scientists have been “thoroughly studying and analyzing the possibility of the Earth’s ending”. Really? NASA? “But they conclude that the 21st of December 2012 will be nothing more than a normal December Solstice.” Well, that’s a relief! Now can you scientists get back to doing something positive? Cure the common cold? Stop Climate Change? Make a zipper that really works? Huh?

Speaking of wasted efforts, wouldn’t that be a real kick in the pants if the world was to end four days before Christmas, eh? All of the effort that’s gone in to the Christmas season’s preparation blown up in a puff of smoke, or a giant explosion or whatever it will be that will put an end to us.

Now, I know that some of you take a lot of this kind of thing really seriously and I am not supposed to be too glib about it and everything but there are really only two ways you can deal with this sort of thing, in my mind anyway, and that’s to either laugh it off or go crazy worrying that all is for naught. I choose to laugh.

So if the world doesn’t end on the 21st of December, 2012, Dearest Reader, then from my family to yours have a very Merry Christmas and all of the best to you and yours in the New Year.

If the World does end…. Never mind.



“If the World comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.”- Mark Twain.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

MY UNIQUE BIRTHDAY

Wikipedia says: “Numerology is any study of the purported divine, mystical or other special relationship between a number and some coinciding observed, (or perceived), event.”


Keeping this in mind, I have quite a significant birthday coming up and I am unsure of the “divine” or “mystical” significance of this upcoming event but the numerical coincidences are quite interesting. At least they are to me. Maybe you will agree, maybe you won’t.

I was born in 1956 on the 12th of December, this close to midnight-12:05:00 AM, in fact, and that means that on 12-12-12 I will be turning 56 a number that coincides with my birth year. Apparently, this kind of coincidental numerical event will not happen again for a long, long time.

Turning your age on your birth DAY-day is your Golden Birthday. My Golden Birthday was a long, long time ago-December 12th, 1968. According to Urban Dictionary.com a “Platinum Birthday” is when your birthday matches your birth-year, i.e. having been born in 1956 and turning 56. Also, they claim that a Platinum Birthday is when the day, month and year of your birthday, (12-12-12), matches, so I guess I’m celebrating a Double Platinum Birthday this month.

You may or may not put a lot of stock in numerology but sometimes one cannot ignore numerical coincidences and I always find numbers fascinating and in honour of this Double Platinum Birthday I will now give you some interesting facts regarding the numbers 12 and 56.

There are 12 months in a year; there are 12 hours on the face of an analogue clock; there are 12 inches in a foot; a dozen is a quantity that means 12; a gross is 12 dozen; in astrology, there are 12 signs of the Zodiac; in the Bible, Jacob had 12 sons, Jesus had 12 disciples; 12 tribes were started after Moses led his people out of Egypt; there are 12 animals of the Chinese horoscope; in English, 12 is the largest number that has just one syllable; there are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body (normally); 12 men have walked on the Moon; there are 12 stars on the Flag of Europe; there is always debate about this, but, strictly speaking, 12 a.m. denotes midnight, and 12 p.m. denotes noon and, of course, there are the 12 Days of Christmas. I could go on and on and on about the significance of the number 12 but for space and time I must move on.

56 is the sum of the first six triangular numbers, making it a tetrahedral number as well as the sum of six consecutive primes (3+5+7+11+13+17); 56 is the number of men who signed the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776; according to Aristotle 56 is the number of layers of the Universe-Earth plus 55 crystalline spheres above it; 56 is the number of counties in the state of Montana; Cape Horn, the Southernmost tip of South America, is located at almost exactly 56 degrees south; Shirley Temple, as a child, wore 56 curls in her hair, the curls were set by her mother who thus made sure of the exact number; 56 is the symbol of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; in baseball, the number of consecutive games in which New York Yankees’ great, Joe DiMaggio, had a base hit in 1941; Hack Wilson hit 56 home runs in 1930, and it was the National League home run record for the next sixty-eight years until it was broken by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, but I don’t think that Hack Wilson was jacked on steroids but, that Dear Reader, is a debate best left for another day.

As a youth I can remember waiting and waiting for another birthday to come along and it has been a long, long time since I was anxious for another year to be added to my age, but this birthday is different. We should all be thankful that we get to see another Happy Birthday when so many will not and, especially for me, when the numbers are lined up in a significant way, there is all the more reason to celebrate. And I will.

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.”- Plautus-Roman Playwright (254-184 BC).

MOODY OR WHAT?

Ol’ Mother Nature has been her usual moody self lately, hasn’t she? You’d think she was menopausal, or seven months pregnant, or something. Or maybe she’s a cranky old man? Like someone going through Man-o-pause or a Mid-Life Crisis, you know? Hot flashes, cold sweats, now they’re UP, now they’re down…either way, whatever the cause, and like the proverbial spouse, WE end up paying for it.


Now, now, before you get all defensive and sensitive because you happen to fall into one of the above categories and you’re sharpening up your pencil in preparation for a “letter to the writer” via this newspaper I’ll save you a little time…just wire me an email and send your complaints directly to dontbesotouchy@idontcare.com. Thank you.

Okay, where was I…oh, yeah… first, we had the big blizzard on Remembrance Day Weekend, with the big dump of snow, and then the temperatures soared way up to the low single digits, on the plus side, mind you, which melted a lot of the snow so then we were back dealing with mud again and then another dump of snow and minus whatever Celsius which froze the mud making for an interesting ground texture to walk, drive and fall on and then it was raining and then it was foggy and then it was snowing and raining AND foggy…geez… make up your bloody mind already! Is it Winter or not?! Yes, I know it’s not OFFICIALLY Winter until December 21st but we’re in Saskatchewan, remember, there are really only two seasons…Winter and kinda not Winter and this swingy weather stuff is getting a little more than frustrating. And don’t even get me started on all of the different clothing and footwear options we have to keep at the ready. (Note to self: buy more shares in L.L. Bean.)

And the schizophrenia continues: -21C one day +2C the next. I can sit here and listen to my house expanding and contracting. What to wear, what to wear? Is it too much to ask for a little consistency? No? I guess not.

And all of this mixed up weather is hitting us just when I was finally reconciling myself to the fact that winter will come again, too, and there’s not much one can do, if moving away from it isn’t a viable option, which it isn’t for me, so let’s just get on with it, I say. Grab some snowshoes, go to a KW Oil Kings game, play some street hockey, go tobogganing, pick up that old curling broom…you know, if you can’t lick it join it.

Just so I could start making some winter activity plans I thought I’d look up the Long-Range Forecast in Ye Olde Farmer’s Almanac and you’d never guess what it said…and I quote...”Winter temperatures will be slightly milder than normal, on average, with the coldest periods in mid-December, late December through early January, mid-to-late January, and mid-February.” Huh? Ya think?! Someone had to examine a pig spleen for this? This sounds like a description for every Winter since the last Ice Age. I could have predicted this stuff myself, pig spleen or no pig spleen…“It’ll be cold…mostly…in the Winter months…when it usually is…but it could be milder…sometimes…then again…it might not be…”

I guess Mother Nature isn’t the only moody one around here, or have you noticed? I think this weather could possibly be affecting my moods, too. It sure couldn’t be because I have another birthday looming in the immediate future or because of the hot flashes, the night sweats, the fatigue, the muscle and joint aches, the listlessness, the… Nah, it’s the weather!

“Next mood swing?...6 minutes!”- Anonymous.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NUMBERS TELL THE STORY


When talking about various things, money in particular, people throw numbers around that are so large we can’t even comprehend how big they are. Here are some examples: if you were counting at a rate of one number per second it would take you 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 50 seconds, of continuous counting, to count to a million.
            Counting non-stop, again, at one number per second, again, it would take you 31 years, 251 days, 7 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds to count to 1 billion. A trillion is 1000 billion so approximately 31,000 years from now you’d be closing in on the end of counting to a trillion. If you didn’t stop, that is.
            Now that we have a little perspective on the massive size of these numbers I’ll give you some statistics that I’ve recently read.
            The National Hockey League’s estimated revenue for the 2011 season, after the Stanley Cup playoffs, was around 3 billion dollars. No wonder these guys are fighting it out to the last greedy little nickel when these are the kind of numbers that they are negotiating over. To me, the problem is that there’s no revenue for anybody to squabble over while there’s a lockout and it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that their Collective Bargaining Agreement was running out, you know? But, then again, what the heck do I know? They’re the smart ones, aren’t they?
            The NHL’s revenue is chicken feed compared to the kind of bucks being collected by the National Football League, though. Their revenues were an estimated 7.6 billion dollars in 2007, (or roughly 245 years of continuous counting). In 2011 the revenue had increased to 9.5 billion and leaked documents from the league’s office have revealed that they are shooting for 25 BILLION dollars in revenue by 2027. You can do the math on that one!
            Now, in the category of …HUH?? The United States Government is 16.3 TRILLION dollars in debt, at the very moment that I am writing this, and that number is growing every second. Who do they owe it to? Your guess is as good as mine and it’s so convoluted that I am not sure if you gathered the smartest mathematic and economic wizards and geniuses from around the world and put them into one room you’d ever get a straight answer from any of them either.
            In comparison, Canada’s current national debt is $594,944,869,323.47. Five-hundred-and-ninety-four billion, nine-hundred-and-forty-four million, eight-hundred-and-sixty-nine-thousand-three-hundred-and-twenty-three-dollars and forty-seven cents. Whew! Five-hundred-and-ninety-five-billion dollars is almost nothing compared to the Americans’ debt! We’re barely half-way to a trillion dollars.
            Again, when Rocco and Bubba come a calling to collect on our debt, and I’m not exactly sure who they’d be collecting for and, again, some financial wizard will probably have it all figured out as to what goes where and who gets what, that’s if anyone was ever going to pay anybody back because, at this point, how could you? You know, pay it back. But now I’m just starting to hurt my head here so I’d better close this thing out.
            Numbers, statistics, millions, billions and trillions…bantered about willy-nilly like so many pennies in a jar. Confusing, confounding, incomprehensible but always informative…numbers.
            “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.”- George W. Bush 43rd President of the United States of America. (1946-).

Monday, November 12, 2012

NEW STUFF

Hi there Faithful Reader (s)...I know in order for any traffic to come to my blog-site I'm supposed to post something daily but life, and well-honed procrastination skills, sometimes delays me doing that. However, that said, I am posting some new material here. Have a look. I will vow, once again, to keep up this thing on a more regular basis but we all know how that's going to go. I'm going to try to keep trying. 

HOW COLD IS IT?!

Here’s something that you may not know. I’m a Hyperbolist. What is a Hyperbolist, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you what it is. It’s not an actual word, per se, until now, that is, but according to Perrypedia: “A Hyperbolist is a person who uses great exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.”


In fact, one time my hyperbolic tendencies led to an embarrassing situation for one of my children. I had been telling stories around our supper-table one night and I was saying how one of my Aunt Marys, (I had three), had something like thirty-five kids and they lived in a little house blah, blah, blah…Well, because I exaggerated in most of my stories I didn’t think too much about it until Nolan came home from school the next day, I think he was in grade two or three so he really didn’t quite have a firm grip on the “not meant to be taken literally” part, and he said how everyone laughed and laughed at him because he said his Dad’s Aunt Mary had thirty-five kids and of course nobody believed him! Poor little guy. I had a bit of explaining to do after that one. I still feel bad for him. Sorry Nolan.

I guess I was influenced by some great story telling Hyperbolists while I was growing up, like Mark Twain-from Old Times on the Mississippi-“I was helpless. I did not know what in the world to do. I was quaking from head to foot, and could have hung my hat on my eyes, they stuck out so far." Or Bill Cosby who talked about his kindergarten experiences where he was writing “with a pencil as big as a horse’s hoof on paper so raw it still had pieces of wood in it.” And Johnny Carson’s use of hyperbole was so well known that audience members would prompt him to use it. Johnny: “It sure was hot in Burbank today.” Audience: “HOW HOT WAS IT?” Johnny: “It was so hot I saw a robin dipping his worm in Nestea.”

We Canadians are well known for our hyperbolic statements about Canada’s cold weather as in “it’s so cold outside that we had to chisel the dog off of the lamppost”, or, “it’s so cold outside I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets”, ba dum dum tish. That last one isn’t really a great example of hyperbole but it sure is funny.

As Winter is already here I will give you a few more examples of “How Cold Is It?”

Here we go…

It’s so cold: “I'm shivering like a mobster in a tax office.”

It’s so cold: “You light a candle and the flame freezes.”

It’s so cold: “Your shadow freezes to the sidewalk.”

It’s so cold: “When I turned on the shower I got hail.”

It’s so cold: “You have to break the smoke off of your chimney.”

It’s so cold: “You have to open the fridge to heat the house.”

It’s so cold: “Your false teeth chatter…and they are still in the glass”

It’s so cold: “Jennifer Anniston was downgraded from ‘Hot’ to ‘Tepid’.”

It’s so cold: “Only people named “Ed” and “Bob” have enough time to write their names in the snow.”

It’s so cold: “A flasher was caught “describing” himself to women.”



“All comedy is based on exaggeration, big or small, whatever you can get away with.”- Drew Carey. (1958-).

LEST WE FORGET.

November immediately brings two things to my mind…well, three…I guess, the inevitable entrance of Winter, Remembrance Day and the Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournament. Two of these three things I look forward to. You want to guess which two I like? Not Winter? Good guess.


Remembrance Day has always been near and dear to me. Although my father didn’t see active duty overseas he was in the military during World War II and he became a long-time member of the Royal Canadian Legion. Dad taught his family to respect all of those who had sacrificed so much so all of us could enjoy so much.

Growing up in the 1960’s it was hard not to be reminded of the costs of war. While the world was still trying to get over the devastation of the Second World War there were still many conflicts going on around the globe. Africa, the Middle East, Vietnam, Central America and, of course, the Cold War which was a really weird kind of war because it didn’t have an actual battle ground, per se, it was fought in a different kind of way and it inspired so many books, TV shows and movies and kept many of us worried that the end of the world could be this close every day.

Mankind has proven time and again that it is really good and really consistent in creating war. Maybe it’s God’s plan to keep the herd weeded, or something, but my hope is that we will eventually learn from our history and that, in time, we will finally put an end to this madness. That is why we all need to take the time for remembrance and hope and pray that future generations will not relive our mistakes.



November also reminds me of the past twenty-six years of Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournaments. Twenty-six tournaments? Wow, how time flies, eh? I won’t be able to strap on the skates again this year but that won’t stop me from spending a good portion of the weekend at the rink catching up with old teammates, rivals and friends from years past. We’ll share some memories, (actual and made-up), and maybe a wobbly pop or two. I can hardly wait.

There is one sure way of putting winter out of mind and that is to stay as busy as possible and that won’t be a problem on the weekend of the 9th, 10th and 11th of November. Between the Dale Blackstock Memorial Tournament, Remembrance Day and the Roughrider’s playoff game in Calgary on the 11th there won’t be a shortage of activities to wile away the hours. No wonder time flies by so quickly.



“If we don’t end war, war will end us.”- H.G. Wells. (1866-1946).

NO WONDER THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US!

Hmmmmm…what to talk about, what to talk about, let’s see…you know, there’s just so much…like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” or the Iowa jeweler who’s offering a free rifle to anyone who spends at least two-thousand dollars on an engagement ring or Hurricane Sandy or, more precisely, the idgit reporters covering the thing. How about we talk a little bit about all of the above, shall we?


Have you seen the TV show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” which airs on the TLC channel? No? Then don’t! Please don’t. I beg of you. I watched it for fifteen minutes and I lost 10 points off of my IQ. Seriously! Ben, a peer-age friend of mine said, “We were raised not to point and snicker at folks like this and now they’re being shown as ‘Entertainment’!” This show is a clear sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.

According to Wikipedia: “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a reality television program on TLC that features beauty pageant participant Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, along with her mother June Shannon, father Mike Thompson and her three older sisters. The show is mostly filmed in and around the family’s hometown in rural McIntyre, Georgia, USA. The Thompson’s originally gained fame appearing on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, (more mind-sucking caca [my words not Wikipedias]), which follows the lives of child beauty pageant contestants and their families.”

While some critics claim that this show is “pure exploitation” others praise June Shannon “for her ‘keen business sense’ with which she feeds her family on $80 a week by clipping copious coupons, playing Bingo, exploiting roadkill (???) and acquiring child support checks from each of her four children’s fathers (????).” Tsk, tsk, tsk…we’re doomed.

Then there’s the story of Iowa jeweler Harold van Beek who wanted to “do something for the boy who doesn’t like to hunt for diamonds but likes to hunt for deer.” His store, “Jewelry By Harold”, (nice ring to it, eh? haw, haw, pun totally intended) is giving away a gun for every $1,999.99+ engagement ring sold. Insert announcers voice here, “the rifle offer is subject to Iowa laws on gun ownership, those barred from this offer include felons and addicts.” Oh, thank God! And you wonder why the Excited States of America’s gun-related deaths are eight times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it. Wow!

Okay, now, before I question the sanity of the reporters who feel compelled to stand in the middle of a Hurricane to give us “Eye Witness News”, while debris, medium sized animals and small cars are being swept away in the background, I’ve got another question to ask…who named this thing? Hurricane Sandy?! Really? Sandy? I guess it’s not the worst name for a nasty tropical storm, (I’ve looked them up), Fifi doesn’t exactly conjure up images of something ferocious either, I guess; Klaus or Hortense, maybe, or even Katrina, but Sandy? I get an image of a beach band’s shaggy-haired drummer or a blue-eyed, blonde-haired All-Canadian kind of girl. Come to think of it, why and when did they start using names to define a terrible, terrible storm? Years ago: “Awww, we better take cover there’s a hell of a Jim goin’ on out there!” Why? Why not number them? Or how about Roman numerals like the Super Bowl games and they can confuse us with numbers like XLIX (49 for those of us Roman numerically challenged)?

So, now, back to the reporters, I think every comedy show in recent history has lampooned these Extreme Reporters who stand in the wind-driven rain in their plastic rain gear and rubber boots, hanging on to their fisherman’s floppy hats while they’re screaming into the microphone about how dangerous it is for anyone to be out in this kind of thing and that everyone should take shelter or evacuate or, basically, GET OUT OF THE STORM!! Thanks for needlessly putting your life on the line for us and all, but geez, there’s got to be limits.

That’s how I’ve seen the world this week…You know what? I’m writing this on a Full Moon night. Figures.

GOTCHA!

Once again, as Halloween is fast approaching, we find “political correctness” attempting to intervene on the centuries old fun holiday of Halloween. While school districts and parents conduct their annual fight over what should or should not be allowed for Halloween fun I will continue to re-live all of the great memories I have of Halloweens past. The trick-or-treating, the costume parties, the jack o’lanterns, good ol’ bobbing for apples, horror flicks, scary stories and Halloween pranks all carried on at home and at school.


I remember this one time when I was taking our kids trick-or-treating from house to house here in Kipling and as we approached Martin and Lois Dundas’ front door we were admiring what a great job they had done with the scarecrow sitting dead-still on the bench near the sidewalk. You can imagine our surprise and terror as the thing sprang to life with a scream when we were only a few feet away! Grant, the Dundas’ oldest son, had decided a little Halloween prank was in order and worked the trick to great success over and over again that night. I cannot remember if we turned and ran, after screaming and screaming, or continued on to the door for the kid’s treats but I do know that the trick’s desired effect was not wasted on us! Yikes!

One of the greatest Halloween pranks of all time was conducted on October 30th, 1938. The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American Radio Drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series and aired over the CBS radio network. The episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel, The War of the Worlds, and it was directed and narrated by actor and filmmaker Orson Welles.

Keep in mind that in 1938 there was no, or very limited, television, no internet, no instant messaging and radio was the only means of receiving immediate news. Also bear in mind that Hitler and the Nazi’s were stirring up a lot of trouble in Europe and the threat of war had been on the world’s mind, front and centre, for months. So the atmosphere was ripe.

The first two thirds of the sixty minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual Martian invasion was in progress. The Mercury Theatre on the Air also ran without commercials adding to the show’s realism. Many people were duped and panicked and there were sensationalist accounts in the press about the supposed panic in response to the broadcast but the precise extent of listener response has been debated ever since.

In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners who had believed that the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast and the episode secured Orson Welle’s fame.

Many listeners even sued the network for “mental anguish” and “personal injury” but all suits were dismissed, except for a claim for a pair of black men’s shoes (size 9B), by a Massachusetts man, who spent his shoe money trying to escape the Martians. Welles insisted the man be paid.

Although many were panicked and believed in the “invasion” those who would have listened to the broadcast to its conclusion would have heard Welles close out the broadcast with the following disclaimer:

“This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that "The War of The Worlds" has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be. The Mercury Theatre's own radio version of dressing up in a sheet (or as a scarecrow!!) and jumping out of a bush and saying Boo!

Starting now, we couldn't soap all of your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night... so we did the next best thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the C. B. S. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn't mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business.

So goodbye everybody, and remember please, for the next day or so, the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody's there, that was no Martian... it's Halloween.”



SURPRISE INVENTIONS.

As a very recent user of hearing aids my curiosity got the best of me so I did some research into the invention of hearing aids and their evolution to today’s state-of-the-art models and I was surprised to learn that folklore holds that Alexander Graham Bell undertook telecommunication experiments in an attempt to restore his wife Mabel’s hearing which had been destroyed by Scarlet Fever close to her fifth birthday leaving her completely deaf for the remainder of her life. I was also surprised to discover that Mabel Bell’s maiden name was Hubbard. I knew that hearing loss runs in the family but could it be?? I’ll have to Ancetry.com that one to see what I can find. I am sure that A. G. Bell would probably flip his lid if he were to find out what a phone can do now, eh?! Or hearing aids, for that matter.


While researching the history of hearing aids I came across a number of useful and popular inventions that got their start as a search for something entirely different, usually as enhancements for the tools of war or something, but many final results resulted in everyday items. The following are examples of accidental inventions.

Microwave ovens: Percy Spencer was a known electronics genius who was responsible for vast improvements to the manufacturing of radar parts for the war effort in 1941. He was an engineer at Raytheon in 1945 when he started fiddling with a microwave-emitting magnetron and melted a candy bar in his pants pocket! Good thing that was all that melted in his pants, but I digress. Spencer observed that the microwave radiation from the magnetron was responsible for the chocolate bar’s melting. Development of the microwave oven grew out of these observations, and by 1947, a commercial oven was being sold by Raytheon. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Percy!!

Slinky: In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer at William Cramp and Sons Shipyards, was developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas. James accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf, and watched as the spring stepped to a stack of books, to a table top, to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright. James thought that with the right tension and property of steel he could make the thing walk and after tinkering with it for most of a year he arrived at the final product which got neighbourhood children excited when he showed them. James’ wife Betty named it “Slinky”, (meaning sleek and graceful), after finding the word in the dictionary, and decided that the word aptly described the sound of the metal spring expanding and collapsing. The couple took out a $500.00 loan and introduced the “Slinky” to the public at the American Toy Fair in 1946, and the rest, as they say, is history. Over 300 million Slinkys have been sold between 1945 and 2005, and the original Slinky is still a bestseller!

Velcro: The hook-and-loop fastener was conceived in 1941 by Swiss engineer, George de Mestral when the idea came to him one day after returning home from a hunting trip with his dog. Using his microscope, he took a closer look at the burrs of burdock that kept sticking to his clothes and the dog’s fur. He noted that there were hundreds of “hooks” that caught on anything with a loop and immediately saw the possibilities of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion if he could figure out how to duplicate the hooks and loops. It took a decade to perfect the materials and the loom to create a mechanized process that worked. He submitted his idea for a patent in Switzerland in 1951 and the patent was granted in 1955 but it was another decade before NASA saw the benefits of the “zipperless zipper”. As Velcro only became widely used after NASA’s adoption of it, NASA is popularly — and improperly — credited with its invention.

These are just three of a vast number of products that have been introduced and have stood the test of time after its original purpose either failed or was re-directed. Now you know.

“What we must understand is that the industries, processes, and inventions created by modern science can be used either to subjugate or liberate. The choice is up to us. - Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965). 33rd Vice President of the United States.

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”- Mark Twain.

So how was your Thanksgiving? Good I hope. Mine was…well…different, I guess. At least it’s the term I’ll choose that, to me, best describes my Thanksgiving weekend.


I am still adjusting to “sharing” our two married children with their in-law families. I am not being nasty here, just selfish. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes, isn’t it? Especially when you selfishly want to spend the special holiday time with your children and their children.

Anyway, due to sharing time we had to wait until Monday for our family Thanksgiving dinner so the rest of the weekend seemed pretty normal to me and that included too many items on the old To-Do list to get done inside and out before Old Man Winter makes his way here.

Now, I’m not sure how your home projects go but ours kind of follows a pattern that defies that fact that my wife and I have been together for thirty-three years and home owners for all but three or four of those years.

First off, you pick a project, or it’s chosen for you, and either way, you don’t really want to do it, so you find little things to do to put off the big thing you are supposed to do until there is just no way to get around doing it so then you give in and accept that the baseball playoffs will not be getting viewed today and if you want to watch the ‘Riders’ game on Monday you’ll have to get something done so you can say you did something so then you can take some time off.

You with me so far? So, then you get things lined up to put that door that you bought last spring into the pantry and of course you’ve got to make a couple of trips to the hardware store first to buy something that you already had, but couldn’t find, so now you’re getting a little testy about the whole thing, you know, missing the ball games and not finding the thingamajiggy and having to go uptown and everything, so now the project is becoming an even bigger pain in your derrière, so you think excessive swearing will help, but it doesn’t, but you think it does so you keep it up until YOU’VE become the derrière pain yourself and you’re told “don’t do it then if it’s going to be that bad”, “No, no, honey, it’ll be fine, it’s just…you know…getting started…mumble, mumble…” head hanging.

Sound familiar? No? Lucky you! Anyway…you get started and get to the point where there’s no turning back so now you have to make the best of it because, in the end, you know HOW to do it you just don’t WANT to do it and then there’s a little bit of a time-frame in there when project is going okay until you inevitably cut yourself with the utility knife or some such injury that gets you swearing again which eliminates any sympathy coming your way so you bandage yourself up and get back at it and the cycle continues…effort equals progress equals calamity equals redoing work or re-bandaging fingers increasing swearing…and around and around we go.

Eventually, the job gets completed and most of the time it does the trick or even exceeds the expectations but the hassle hardly seems worth the result…or is it the other way around? Either way, another task is off the list and we’ll have a few days respite before the cycle begins anew with the next item because there is always going to be a next item.

“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”- Mark Twain, a Biography.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

GRAND CHILDREN STORIES

Here are a couple of cute kid stories and, yes, I'm talkin' about my little Grandson the super-cute, (aren't they all?!), little bugger Treyton Perry Laverdiere. Yesterday he was jumping on the trampoline with his Mom and his little sister, Ava, when he thought that they should take a break from jumping and lay down on the trampoline and watch the sky for a while. He was lying there with his hands behind his head and said, "Aahhh, there's nothing like a nice sunny day, hey?" He's three-and-a-half. And today his Grandma was talking to his Mom on the phone when his Mom says," NO, no...Treyton...I said you couldn't do that! Take the kitty out of the bag!... Because!...thank you, yeah, Mom, he thought it would be a good idea to carry our kitten Lucy around in a grocery bag."
A few weeks ago a whole pile of us were gathering at our daughter Meghan's house for her Ava's 1st birthday and as some folks began to arrive the doorbell rang and Treyton yelled out, "C'mon in. Nobody's home!" And then he put the slyest grin on his face and lowered his eyes as he got a bit shy when everyone laughed! Soooo damn cute! If I say so myself.

Monday, October 1, 2012

AUTUMN'S HERE...GET USED TO IT!!


I guess I’m finally warming up to Autumn; what with Thanksgiving being upon us already and the Summer-like temperatures sticking around ‘til the end of September and everything it’s been a rather smooth transition from Summer to Fall.

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving feast as it seems we haven’t had to use the oven for cooking our meals since we entered barbequing season so many weeks ago. That roast turkey and all of the fixings are going to be such a nice change from grilled everything, if you know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, I love barbequing, but nothing beats a good old fashioned Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Come to think of it, I’m going to start fasting right now in preparation of the gorge-fest that I will be enjoying this upcoming weekend.

There are certain other advantages to Fall, I guess, like how easy it is to find your golf ball in the bushes now that the undergrowth and leaves and stuff are all thinning out and there’s a little less guilt if you sit in front of the TV watching football instead of doing yard work or the never-ending home improvements because the daylight hours are shorter and the thermometer starts dropping lower and lower. And then there are all of the great tastes and smells of the garden harvest processing as we prepare salsa, and spaghetti sauce and beet pickles and chocolate zucchini cakes et cetera et cetera.  I’ll tell ya, nothing tastes better than garden fresh produce.

In fact, this year I think we have had the best and most bountiful crop of tomatoes since the “Crippled Crop” of ’02. Let me explain. By “Crippled Crop” I mean Debbie and I were crippled and the tomato crop was most abundant. That was the year that Deb broke her ankle in a “golfing” ??  accident and had to get it screwed back together and everything and I had just had surgery on my left shoulder so she was limping around on crutches and I was working with one hand and we had to process all of these tomatoes that we had grown while we were both still healthy. Sheesh! Turns out we got it done somehow. I guess “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

This year, we’ve been giving away tomatoes and we have made two batches of salsa, plus spaghetti sauce and we’re still eating fresh tomatoes with every meal. I’m not complaining I’m bragging. I guess you could also say that I’m very thankful for the bounty.

While I am still a little saddened by the fact that we will soon be mothballing, (it’s just an expression, folks, we’re not really going to be using mothballs), the summer clothing we can also look forward to getting that Autumn clothes collection out and wearing something different. That’s another thing we Canadians can be thankful for...cold weather clothing.

We can’t change the inevitable so we might as well get used to it, don’t you think? Take the good with the bad…accept that time will march forward and regardless of how we feel about it we should embrace the new season.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.-Henry Beston (1888-1968), “Northern Farm”.

GREED RULES!!


You know what I want? Yes, okay, you’re right; there really isn’t enough room in this paper for THAT list so I’ll narrow it down to what I really, really, really want.

Are you ready? Then let’s play the old greed card right off the get-go…yup…money…I want lots of it…and I don’t want to earn it either. I want to win it, inherit it, find it, not steal it, but one way or another I want it. There’s no question about it, I want money.

How much money, you ask? Lots…like pro-sports-athlete lots; like movie-star-work-ten-weeks-a-year-and-get-twenty-million-dollars-per-flick lots, filthy, stinking Bill Gates/Oprah Winfrey kind of lots. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

What would I do with it? To be perfectly honest, I’d probably have to pay for some rehab or something somewhere down the line, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

            Now, here’s the thing folks, while I’m being perfectly honest, I wrote everything up to the beginning of this sentence last week sometime and I can’t really remember what prompted my lust for cash or where I was going with this whole “lots of money” thing, but if I had to guess, and that’s exactly what I’m doing here, I would guess that it was a combination of several consecutive things that flicked my greed switch on.

            First off, as I have mentioned many times to you, summer ended, and that’s a real bummer to me, so maybe I’d like to be able to jump in a plane and chase summer around for a little while. Well, more than a little while I guess…like…‘til next May!

            Then, you know, I was just trying to catch up on a little bit of sports action by flipping through the sports channels on TV and all I keep seeing and hearing about is how these billionaire owners are fighting with millionaire hockey players trying to decide how they’re going to divide up the old NHL profit pool and all I can think about is how people are so stupid to keep going to these arenas and paying a hundred bucks for a ticket in the nose-bleed bleacher seats to ONE hockey game and eat six-dollar terrible-mostly-warm hot-dogs and drink eight-dollar-mostly-cold beer wearing a hundred-dollar replica team jersey and then they whine and snivel because their teams won’t be playing this year because somebody said, “it’s my puck and I’m going to take it home ‘til you play nice” and, once again, they completely ignore the real people who have put all of that money into their profit pool and if I was filthy-rich enough maybe I’d start a whole new affordable hockey league and then all the greedy NHL owners and players could just go…away.

            And then, I was putting a sky-window into our roof and I was up and down the ladder like twenty-seven times in five hours and my body was just aching, but I don’t really mind the work, per se, but I was thinking that it would be nice if I had a body that actually worked again and if I had enough money maybe I could afford to pay someone to fix me or replace some of my worn-out parts like the Bionic Man or even Frankenstein, but with my own brain and not the hideous appearance or the villagers coming to kill me part, and, yes, with oodles of cash, I might be able to arrange something like that. I know, I know, if I had oodles of cash I could pay someone to do the work for me but that takes the fun out of it, too, and you’re missing the point.

            And that leads us right back to reality, now, doesn’t it? The chances of me coming into bagfuls of money are as slim as having my body parts replaced or taking the greed out of professional sports but thinking that it could happen was kind of fun there for a little while, wasn’t it?

 

“Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” -P. J. O’Rourke (1947-).


 

           

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

SUMMER'S GONE!!??

It’s Labour Day and I’m gonna cry. As for the Summer of 2012…well…there it was…gone! I’m not even going to try to cover up my sadness. I really do not like the end of Summer. I’d say I hate the end of Summer but “hate” is such a strong word…but…wait a minute…yeah…never mind…I guess I DO hate the end of Summer!


You can pacify me by telling me that September is such a wonderful month and you can try to convince me that Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year with the leaves turning so many magnificent colours and everything and the bountiful harvest is welcomed and thanks are to be given and the new National Football League season starts and baseball playoffs begin and all the new fall TV shows come on and it doesn’t get so hot, (like that’s supposed to be a good thing!) and school begins anew and it gets darker earlier and it gets colder and then the frost comes followed by the inevitable snow… Yes, it’s true, Autumn can be a beautiful time of the year but it just comes up way too quickly for me, and the worst part…IT’S NOT SUMMER!

I don’t mean to drag all of you down with me, but, you know, “misery loves company”, as they say, and I’m sharing my misery. There’s a reason that, in poetry, Autumn has often been associated with melancholy. As stated above, the possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon and, that, to me, is just sad.

Do you really think that August ending with a BLUE Moon was merely a coincidence? I don’t. Well, actually, scientifically, it was a scheduled occurrence because the Moon’s phases do not repeat very regularly: the time between two similar syzygies, (a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies i.e. the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, in a gravitational system), will vary between 29.272 and 29.833 days because the orbit of the Moon is elliptic and its velocity is not constant so the time of the true syzygy will differ from the mean syzygy which means the moon phases are irregular in time…oh, never mind...two full moons in one month!… it was a Blue Moon and that’s all we need to know! And we all know what blue means, don’t we?

Further adding to my blueness was the fact that my wife and I put on a little over 2000 kilometers in the car driving throughout the province of Saskatchewan over the last days of August, as we finished out our summer vacation, and I found it alarming to see the number of trees turning colour already and the flocks of Canada Geese honking their way down south. I’m no almanac contributor but aren’t those usually signs of an early winter, or something?

I would normally try to bring up some positive thoughts regarding the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall and I may have even touched on a couple of its positives in the writing above but, in the end, I’m happy to be miserable, if you know what I mean. Next week I’ll get all positive and I’ll start gearing up to embrace the changes in the seasons and brace myself for the fall chore list and everything but, until then, I am going to wallow in my sadness because you never know how happy you can be until you’ve experienced a little sadness every now and then.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens,”-Khalil Gibran-(1883-1931).

70 YEARS IS A LONG TIME, MAN.

Man it's been another busy fun-filled month of trying to cram in as much summer activity as possible. Between golfing, swimming, water sliding and family bonding time we've definitely made the most of what was left of the limited Canadian summer.




This past weekend our immediate family unit, (my wife Debbie, our kids, their spouses and kids and I) had a great time @ Pike Lake Provincial Park near Saskatoon. What a beautiful resort it is and we had loads of fun despite the non-cooperative weather. The weather wasn't entirely nasty, I guess, but it rained on us enough to put a damper on things for a day; pun totally intended.



We, our immediate family that is, can consider ourselves very lucky. So many families we know are so spread out over provinces or countries, even, but our children are quite close to us, grammatically and geographically speaking and we take the time to spend as much time together as possible.



Which reminds me of how close my Mom and my remaining siblings are, too. Not so much geographically but we are all close relationship-wise.



My Mom will be ninety-one on the 30th of August and I'm more than a little envious of my brother Jack, who was Mom and Dad's first-born, and is entering his seventy-first year of his life with Mom. Can you imagine getting to spend over seventy years with one of your children? Isn't that something, eh? I am not sure how common that would be but I think it would be fantastic. I guess I'll just have to live to be ninety-seven-years-old to make that happen between my oldest child Meghan and me.



There should be enough scientific development in the next forty-two years to make that happen. At least I hope so. I'm thinking I'm going to need a replacement body part or two between now and then for sure. And as long as the bats haven't completely taken over my belfry we should be good to go.



I'm not counting on making the seventy-year mark but there is always hope and nothing would be better, to me, than having my hopes come true.



I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich. ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H



Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein







UNEXPECTED LUNCH!!

I’m going to go out on a limb here…but keep in mind that I haven’t done any scientific research or conducted any experiments or anything and I am basing this opinion on personal anecdotal history and observation and I will leave it up to you to decide if you will agree or disagree with my assessment but I’m pretty certain, and I am stating this without reservation, that…grasshoppers are pretty stupid. There. I’ve said it. Do you agree? I can’t see there being a whole lot of intelligence in their tiny little insect brains and they sure don’t seem to show any sign of smarts in their behavior at all either.


Take the other night, for instance, I was working away in the yard and one of the stupid little creatures kept half-jumping half-flying, as they are wont to do, into everything. It’s like it was leaping off of the ground and it didn’t have a clue as to where it was going or why. “Here I go…wheeeee….oh, oh…damn…” Let’s try that again…”Here I go…wheeeee…oh, oh…damn!” And on and on it goes.

Aesop (620-560BC), a slave and story-teller who lived in Ancient Greece, told a tale called the Ant and the Grasshopper. In this tale, the ant worked hard preparing his shelter and stores of food all summer, while the grasshopper played and played. When winter came, the ant was prepared, but the grasshopper had no shelter or food. He begs to enter the ant’s house, but the ant refuses and the grasshopper starves. As a result of the fable the grasshopper became a symbol of improvidence or rash, incautious behaviour. Those who are unable to keep a single subject in focus but keep bringing in inappropriate associations (hopping from one thing to another) are said to have “a grasshopper mind” and in Pop Culture “grasshopper” is identified with someone who has much to learn. See. What did I tell you? Even the Ancient Greeks knew how stupid these things are.

A number of years ago, right around this time of year, too, I was cruising some wheat fields with my then-brother-in-law, Maurice, checking out whether the harvest would soon commence and a grasshopper flew, not only through the open ½ ton truck window, but directly into my brother-in-law’s mouth, which happened to be open in mid-sentence. He hacked and he coughed and we almost rolled the truck while the stupid grasshopper was halfway down Mo’s throat and trying to crawl back out. Maurice grabbed a cucumber sandwich from our lunch and gobbled it down in an effort to force the damn thing down because he just didn’t want it to come back up. He said that it wouldn’t have been THAT bad except for the fact that the grasshopper evacuated its bowels all the way down! Not his exact words but…Yech! I don‘t know if he ever ate another cucumber sandwich again but I’m pretty certain that that was the last grasshopper he ever ate.

Apparently the sole purpose of the insect is just that though…a source of food. But usually there should be some pre-swallowing preparation, don’t you think? At least for human consumption, then again, my research indicates that in certain countries, grasshoppers are eaten as a good source of protein. In southern Mexico for example, grasshoppers are regarded for their high content of protein, minerals and vitamins. They are usually collected at dusk, using lamps or electric lighting, in sweep nets. Sometimes they are placed in water for 24 hours, after which they can be boiled or eaten raw, sun-dried, fried, flavoured with spices, such as garlic, onions, chile, drenched in lime, and used in soup or as a filling for various dishes. They are abundant in Central and Southern Mexican food and street markets. Yummy?! Keep in mind though that caution should be used when eating them raw as they may contain tapeworms; giving us yet another reason for some pre-consumption preparation.

Many other countries besides Mexico eat grasshoppers, too, but my research says nothing about the creature’s intelligence, though, so I’ll stick to my initial assessment…stupid…but nutritious, I guess, under the right circumstances.

“The two most common elements in the Universe are Hydrogen and stupidity,”- Harlan Ellison (1934-).




HUMAN OR SCIENTIFIC TRIUMPHS?

I’ve got mixed feelings about seeing some of the best athletic performances in the history of the modern Olympic Games. From American swimmer Michael Phelps to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt’s running away with three sprinting Gold medals to Britain’s Cycling hero Sir Christopher Hoy winning his 6th Olympic Gold medal we have been witnesses to some incredible athletic achievements at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.


But ever since Canada’s Ben Johnson’s country crushing disqualification from winning the 100M dash at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games, for using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), there will always be a cloud of doubt over every winner as we wonder if the win was clean. Are we witnessing great human achievements or scientific achievements?

Certainly Ben Johnson wasn’t the first Olympian to have used PED’s but he was the highest profile runner in the highest profile race to have been disqualified for using steroids. The thing was that Ben Johnson wasn’t the first high profile sprinter to have used drugs to enhance his performance but he was the first high profile sprinter to get caught.

In a recent article that I read in Sportsnet magazine Dr. Charles Yesalis, a retired Penn State professor who is a recognized authority with many years experience in the science of performance enhancing drugs, states that, “it’s never been clean.” And that-“if this were a basketball game featuring the drug-testers against the cheaters, it would be 84-3 for the cheaters.” Yesalis goes on to say, “It’s about money, and the money is driven by bigger, faster, stronger. And guess what? You get that through chemistry.” It doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence that things have changed or have been cleaned up in sports at all.

Apparently humans have been trying to enhance their performances for thousands of years. In fact, some of the athletes in Ancient Greece, who started the Olympic Games in 776BC, used to eat sheep testicles for extra doses of testosterone. Really? Doesn’t it make you wonder who and how they would have thought of that? Who would have been the first guy to think, “Hmmm…maybe if I ate these little gems I’d finally be able to beat that damn Alkides.” And so it began.

The greatest problem with all of these PED’s is that the clean athletes are included with the cheaters. Nobody looks at a winner without questioning their ethics. Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard, who’s competing in her second Olympics, says that, “When I started the Chinese girls were cute but more and more those same girls are looking more like men.” She calls it “evolution”. A competitor she saw in 2010 had “an impressive moustache” and at last year’s world championships the woman had a full beard. “I couldn’t believe it,” Girard said. “But there’s nothing you can do if they’re passing drug tests.” Girard feels a moral obligation to compete without the help of drugs and she is an athlete who wants to stand atop the podium driven only by her natural talent. “I am clean and that’s all that really matters, right?”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is fighting an uphill battle and it’s a war that they are unlikely to win but they cannot stop trying and I will leave you by quoting the final paragraph from the Sportsnet article which states:

“We can still watch the Olympics in awe. We can watch sports knowing there are natural freaks of nature and Type-A personalities who worked harder than any of us can imagine to swim, run and cycle faster than anyone before them ever has. We can know there are parts of the spectacle that are not only entertaining but also pure and natural human accomplishment. Even if we’re not sure which parts.”


CANADIAN PRIDE!

The other day a few of us were discussing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which are currently being held in London, England, and one of my buddies did the old “Ha ha ha…Canadians suck!” shtick and it really got to me, you know? I’m all about self-effacing humour and all, but just the way he said it rubbed me the wrong way. Laughing at your own country’s quirks and belittling your own country are two completely different things.


Where’d the Canadian Pride go that we were swimming in back when Canada kicked butt at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? Are we already back to our inferiority complex? Did our Canadian psyche all of a sudden go back to the 50’s, 60’s and ‘70’s? I don’t think so. Maybe some people are still there, but thankfully, most aren’t.

At the very moment that I am writing this column, about half-way through the games, Canada has earned eight medals so far in this year’s Olympic competition, one of them gold, and we are ranked in the top twenty in the medal standings while we are ranked 35th in the world’s population. Are we blowing people away? Hardly. Are we doing amazing well in the Summer Olympics for a country who’s land mass is…well…massive…and covered in snow half of the year and has a fraction of the population and funding of many of the nations competing there? I think so.

Remember when everyone, Canadians included, poked fun at our Armed Forces, too, and said that “Canadian Military” was an oxymoron and everything and that our Military consisted of “a kayak, a Canada goose, and a Mountie with a pointy stick”, (HAW, HAW, HAW), even though we have a great track record as United Nations’ peacekeepers and that the “fight” in Canadian fighters has always been admired throughout the world? Keep in mind, too, that Canada’s military has been known to do quite well with the underfunded money that they are allocated and we have one of the best-trained fighting forces in the world. Throughout our history Canadians have opposed a large peacetime standing army, (thus, the lack of funding), which is why our Military forces remain relatively small but in World War II over a tenth of the population was under arms. When called upon…we will be there.

One of the best examples of a Canadian keeping our “Canadian Pride” under control was when it was announced that former Canadian Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his efforts to keep peace during the Suez Canal Crisis and some high-falootin’ upper crust Canadian society woman responded by saying, “Who the hell does he think he is?”

Is this the “Canadian Way”? Keeping our celebrities, diplomats and sports’ stars from getting big heads by making sure they don’t get too full of themselves? Too often Canadians notoriously put down their own in an effort to not sound like braggarts but then we end up not giving our own their due; from Lester B. “Mike” Pearson, to BlackBerry maker RIM, to Celine Dion, Nickleback, Justin Beiber, Sydney Crosby, to Air Canada, (okay, you’re right…NOT Air Canada), to our Military and our Olympic efforts and on and on it goes. Again, keeping pride in check and being disrespectful are two very different things.





I am as humble as any Canadian but don’t you dare disparage my country. We are miles, or kilometers, as it were, away from being a boastful, in-your-face people but that does not mean we that we can abandon our Canadian Pride.

“We will live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.-Lester B. Pearson (1897-1972).

Monday, July 30, 2012

JULY...SO SAD TO SEE YOU GO.

It’s odd how Time, or the passing thereof, affects people in different ways. The other day, for example, I had a brief conversation with a friend about how July is passing rather slowly this time around and then shortly afterward I encountered another acquaintance who commented how quickly the month was flying by for him. Time is definitely subjective, isn’t it?


Time is often like the weather…you know how the weather is either too hot or too cold and time is either too fast or too slow. Imagine, if you will, a timed sporting event where you are on the team that is leading by a narrow margin with minutes or even seconds left in the game and the time is going ever so slow for your team while the opposition’s team’s perception is that their time is going way too fast but it has to be going by at exactly the same pace, don’t you think? A second is a second is a second so it just comes down to your own personal point of view, I guess.

I am acutely aware of what time it is all of the time, if you know what I mean? I’m a notorious clock watcher. I pretty much always know what time it is. To me, it’s almost an affliction.

“Hey, it’s coffee time.”

“Hey, it’s lunch time.”

“Hey, it’s quittin’ time.”

“Hey, it’s “Cold beverage of your choice” time.”

See a pattern here?

My wife, on the other hand, isn’t a slave to her watch or the clock at all. Lucky girl. Time will pass as it will…la, la, la…”Oh, is it lunchtime already? How’d that happen? I guess we should get something to eat, eh?” she says.

And I’m going, “It’s lunchtime ALREADY! When’re we going to get something to eat!? It was noon seconds ago! I’ve been watching it come since breakfast!” As far as clock watching goes I wish I was more like her.

The problem with watching the clock all of the time is that you miss what’s happening right now because you always seem to be watching for what’s coming up. Does that make any sense to you at all? Unfortunately, it does to me. It’s like a long highway road trip…if you only concentrate on the destination you’re not going to enjoy the ride.

Now, back to the perception of July’s passing. To me, the 2012 edition of July has been just about right. Not too fast, not too slow, not too hot, (for some of us anyway), not too cold. We’ve had the right amount of sunshine and rain without a wicked storm or…dare I say it…tornado around here, (touch wood...knock, knock), despite all of the threats. Or that’s how it’s been for me this July and I am very sorry to see it go. Yes, July, you’ve been a very good month. Thanks.

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.” Ada Louise Huxtable (1921-).

LOVE THE LAWN-HATE THE MOWING!

With the wet spring/early summer and some timely rains now and then it sure has made for some beautiful lawns this year hasn’t it? And with that you have to take the good with the bad, too, though. The good being the nice full lawn and the bad being that the grass needs to be cut every second day or so to keep the lawn looking nice and trim. Actually, it’s an enjoyable chore to me now compared to my adolescent days when I had so much more important stuff to take care of besides cutting the lawn for Dad.


Back in the day, my brother Gord and I shared our household’s lawn cutting chores along with doing the odd neighbors’ or family friends’ yards, too, and I hated it. The actual chore wasn’t really the problem but it sure put a crimp in the old social calendar when I had to spend an hour-and-a-half cuttin’ the damn grass.

I must have been about 10 years old when I was first assigned the lawn mowing chore and do you know how much Hide n Seek, Kick the Can, Scrub Baseball, 500, bike riding, Red Rovering, tree climbing, rock throwing…time is lost to grass cuttin’? Huh? Especially with our all-too-quick summer season. Who had time to cut the grass?

Then, as I grew into my teen years, there was a whole new set of activities that were lost to the lawn mower. Important stuff, too, like hangin’ out at the Hub Café, or playing football, baseball, golf, or swimming, or having “Dirty Hombre” fights in the mud at Lawrysyn’s dugout north of town, or showing off my “coolness” to the new girl visiting her Grandparents for the summer, which, by the way, took up an enormous amount of time because she had a hard time seeing it, and then, later on, looking for a supplier for smokes and beer, no…wait a second…come to think of it that was the other minister’s kids doin’ that, yup, that’s right, it’s wasn’t me, my brother and our friends at all…nope. So much to do…so little time.

I was about 14 years old when we moved to Kipling and a short time after we had arrived I was sent down the block to cut the grass of an older woman who was an old family friend and as I was pushing the lawn mower down the sidewalk I began to wonder a bit why one of her grandsons hadn’t been assigned this particular chore. Then I turned into her yard and saw the knee-high grass and I knew that they were smart enough to stay away from that place until someone else had done the grass cutting.

I recall that it was hotter n Hades that day, too, and I cut and raked and cut and raked and cut and raked and when I finally went to collect my payment she told me she’d drop it off to my Mom a little bit later. Okay, I figured, I had to go home and shower up anyway and then I’d run up to the Hub Café with my bounty in hand for a Coke n fries and maybe a bit of pinball, or something, and then she dropped off the payment…it was big allright…a big canister full of homemade Hungarian noodles. Oh, for joy. Wow. I was so unimpressed. Thankfully, Mom threw a couple of bucks my way and I got my treats after all but not before a few anxious moments there.

Now, today, I’d almost gladly cut someone’s grass for a noodle payment. My, how things have changed, eh? I eventually learned to appreciate the beauty of a well-kept lawn and although I try to use my gasless reel lawn mower as much as possible I still have to bring out the gas fired one to quicken the job and tempt nostalgia with a good ol’ whiff of gas fumes and fresh cut grass. Awww, the memories.





“... mow the lawn perfectly, but neglect to make the bed? It's pure, unadulterated logic.

Everyone can see the yard - nobody can see the bed. The lawn is the canvas upon

which guys judge each other. It's the great redeemer.

If we aren't great lawn men, we're nothing.”

- Kevin Kerwin, 47 Husband Mysteries Solved.





Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PUT DOWN THE CAMERA STUPID!!

Have you guys watched this!? The “Video of the Day” from July 2, 2012 titled “Mom rescues canine kid”. In the video a puppy, which appears to me to be little more than a few weeks old, is shown to jump, or fall, into a swimming pool and then the Golden Retriever mother jumps into the water and chases the pup across the pool and tries desperately and unsuccessfully to push her puppy onto the pool deck then she has the smarts to swim to the pool’s steps, climb them and then run down the deck to snatch the little one out of the water and haul it to safety. Both mother and puppy are fine, soaked, but fine. Rin Tin Tin, Lassie or the Littlest Hobo couldn’t have done it any better but my question is- Who’s runnin’ the stupid camera??!! What’re you doing? Did it ever cross your mind to, you know, like, uh…GRAB THE DROWNING PUPPY INSTEAD OF YOUR CAMERA? I hope this is a re-enactment where you trust that your dog’s going to do the same thing that she did earlier while the camera was in the cupboard or closet or whatever. Was it coincidental that someone was standing right by the pool holding a camera when the event took place? Was it all staged? Wait ‘til PETA gets a hold of this situation.


The infamous video was first posted on to You Tube back in April and has had over 2,000,000 hits since then. According to the comments below the video posting I’m not the first one to question the sanity of the camera operator and it’s just one more example of the lengths some people will go to for their 15 minutes of fame.

You know, most people just don’t know the difference between “famous” and “infamous”. Don Cherry and Shania Twain are “famous” and Karla Homolka and Robert Pickton are “infamous”. Or put into the simplest form: famous=good…infamous=bad.

Now, some people can take a video of their dog and make it famous like the guy who videos his German Sheppard and creatively dubs a voice-over to the dog’s actual mouth movements creating the hilarious “Ultimate Dog Tease” video, which was first posted in May of 2011 and it has had 111,280, 845 hits on it. That one is worth watching. There’s also a link attached to the video where you can order T-shirts and all of the profits from the shirt sales go to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals @ http://talkinganimalmerch.com). At least someone is using their video talents for good instead of evil.

Then again, so many people will do anything for money, won’t they? The ABC Television Network’s top-rated “America’s Funniest Home Videos” has been on the air for over twenty years and has inspired millions of viewers to try to come up with some unique video in an effort to win $10,000 for the weekly contests and $100,000 for the season’s best home video. To me, there are as many of the videos that are NOT funny as the ones that are funny and it also helps prove the old adage, “If common sense were so common everybody would have it.”

My hope is that the puppy video cameraman was truly trying to show his beloved dog’s intelligence and heart and would have jumped in to the pool if the little puppy had actually been in life-threatening distress. But, then again, you just never know.

“We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free.”- Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986).



Monday, July 2, 2012

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

I am writing this on the last day of June 2012, so tomorrow Canada turns 145 years old. For a person 145 years are an impossible number of years to live, as a country, 145 years put Canada just past adolescence, you know, finding ourselves, becoming established and setting ourselves up for a long and happy run.


Coincidentally I had just experienced a real strong Canadian Pride moment last week when I was travelling the grid road to work shortly before 7a.m. Early traffic gave the road-dust a mist-like quality as it drifted into the lush green crops and treed areas near the grid road. It was a surreal moment as I cruised through the picture perfect, calendar-like beauty of a Prairie morning. I have always been a real proud Canadian but it’s on occasions like that when the feeling really hits home.

To honour our nation on its birthday I have accumulated some Canadian facts for you this week. Enjoy:

• Canada became a country on July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament.

• Canada is the world's largest exporter of mustard seed — 80 per cent is grown in brilliant yellow fields in Saskatchewan.

• The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.

• Canada is the home to many other great inventions, including: basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, the electron microscope, standard time, the television, the telephone, and the zipper.

• Canada has made a significant contribution to rock and roll, beginning with “Sh-Boom” by the Crew-Cuts in 1954. Other famous Canadian rock-and-rollers include Paul Anka, Neil Young, the Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steppenwolf, Avril Lavigne, Rush, Bryan Adams, and The Barenaked Ladies.

• The Moosehead Brewery in Saint John, New Brunswick, turns out 1,642 bottles of beer per minute.

• North America's earliest undisputed evidence of human activity, 20,000-year-old stone tools and animal bones have been found in caves on the Bluefish River in northern Yukon

• The Mounted Police were formed in 1873, with nine officers. In 1920, the Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police to become the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an organization that now has more than 28,000 members.

• Ice hockey is Canada's official national game. The modern game of ice hockey was developed in Canada, based on games that have been played since the tenth century. The rules were first published in the Montreal Gazette in 1877

• North America's lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon Territory, on February 3, 1947. (But it was a DRY cold!!)

• More Canadians inventions: kerosene, the electronic organ, insulin, the IMAX film system and the snowmobile.

• According to various polls on the matter Canada ranks anywhere from fourth to sixth as one of the best and happiest countries on Earth to live in. But we already knew that!

“As a people, we know what we can do, we know how to do it and we just want to get on with it. How? By ensuring that Canada’s place in the world is one of influence and pride,”-Paul Martin (1938- ) The 21st Prime Minister of Canada

A GUEST SEES MORE IN AN HOUR THAN A HOST SEES IN A YEAR


Summer officially started here in Saskatchewan on Wednesday June 20th at 5:09 p.m. CST. Coincidently, that was almost the exact moment when the rains stopped around here. After a completely rain-soaked spring, Environment Canada and the good Old Farmer’s Almanac are predicting a hot and dry summer here on the Prairies. I say bring it on. And, yes, I will now do my annual rant to all of you cold-weather, heat-hating Canadians who crank on the A/C and whine and whine about the heat as soon as the thermometer hits 20 degrees Celsius, or something; c’mon now, after being house-bound by winter and rain for the past too many months can’t we enjoy a few days of good ol’ hot weather to make up for it? Hmmm? Is that too much to ask?

Many factors have come in to play, the unfavourable weather being just one of them, as to why many of the “Honey Do” items have been put off and put off and put off around the Hubbard household over an extended period of time. My back issues were certainly a factor and according to the medical profession numbness and shooting pains in the shinbone aren’t THAT worrisome and if I’m not losing control of my bowels, or anything, which must be the standard or yardstick, if you will, that they use to measure how bad things are, then, you know, suck it up Buttercup, thing’s could be so much worse…blah, blah, blah…never mind, that’s a whole other story and it’s not really where I was headed with this column. Suffice it to say things have fallen a little behind around here so Deb and I booked a couple of days off in an effort to get some things done and maybe we can stroke some of these items off of the list before it swallows up our whole summer.

You know, it’s funny how you can walk by something every day and you don’t really take notice of what you are seeing. Take our house for instance. There was a green chain-link fence bordering the front of our property with the Town of Kipling’s sidewalk and it had been there for a long, long time and its best days passed a while ago so this fence removal has been on our job list for quite some time now. It was a struggle but the fence was removed and we couldn’t believe how much it improved the look of the place and of course it left us wondering why we hadn’t done this a long time ago. Ditto the front step. You walk up the stairs everyday with your mind on a hundred other things and you look but you don’t really see. It’s amazing how much some spit, polish and a bit of elbow grease can do when you put your mind to it.

In my mind, living in a ninety-three-year-old Main Street Saskatchewan heritage property comes with some added responsibilities and obligations. Sure, you have your own personal pride in your home and you want to make it nice, but there is also the added desire to pay homage to the original home builder and the families who have made this house their home, too, and it never hurts to take a step back and look at things from someone else’s perspective to really see what your looking at.

“A guest sees more in an hour than a host sees in a year,”-Polish Proverb.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

DON'T READ MAINSTREAM NEWS ON THE WEEKEND!

Happy Father's Day folks.
I have just posted my "Father's Day" column so why don't you have a look.

I started the day by sleeping in a bit and licking my wounds from yesterday's full day of home upkeep. Deb and I spent Saturday putting our eavestrough downspouts back up. You see, last year we had a contractor install new siding, foam insulation and windows but he hadn't put the downspouts back up so we did it ourselves and cleaned out our gutters at the same time. Not a lovely task but a necessary one. It's been quite a while since I was up and down a ladder that much so my body is hurtin' a bit today. Deb's too.

While I was indulging in my Sunday morning coffee and peanut butter toast I read through some of the June 18th  edition of the Maclean's magazine. I shouldn't do that to myself so early in the morning, especially on Father's Day and all, because some of the articles just piss me off. It's not a good way to start your Sunday...Monday maybe..Wednesday definitely...but not Sunday.

Here's my reasoning on that...Sunday's "FunDay" a day to take off from the World's troubles, enjoy life, meditate, be spiritual, see family and friends, golf, watch sports, you know, relax.

Monday you're back to normal. Back to work. Weekend's done...gone. Back to the old "RatRace", as it were, so it's okay to read how the world is messing up and you're probably not spoiling a good mood because you're just starting another week at the ol' factory or whaterver. My theory, however, does not apply if you've got a job like looking after the Stanley Cup or you're a professional luxury bed-tester or a Paradise Island caretaker (all real jobs) or if you really, really, really like your Ordinary-Day-At-The-Office kind of job. Aside from those rare individuals, it's okay not to relish another week of the same old, same old, if you know what I mean.

Now, come Wednesday morning, reading bad news might be an improvement on your week! Go ahead read all the bad news you want. Maybe someone else has it worse off than you. Just when you're thinking, "this job is CRAP and there are still three days til the weekend!", you read about the 2000 GM employees facing a lay-off in Oshawa while the bailed-out company showed a 1 Billion Dollar first quarter earning or Bombardier Recreational Products is shifting 425 jobs to Mexico from Valcourt, Que, even though it was Canadian Taxpayers who bailed these billion dollar companies out of trouble or awarded them zillions of dollars in grant money and tax "incentives" to save them from bankrupcy and keep them operating in Canada and everything or you read about People Magazine paying Jessica Simpson $800,000.00 for "exclusive" pictures of her one-month old baby and an interview where she discusses her breastfeeding habits or her excessive gas problem! Seriously!? This is something that we need to know?! For $800,000.00 I’ll give you all the juicy details, (pun definitely intended), on my excessive gas problem and I’d even give breastfeeding a try! Either giving or receiving, it wouldn't matter. But I digress.

If these little tidbits of information weren't enough to bug your ass then you have to read about how the editors of Macleans view cross-boarder shopping as "Good News". Let's send everybody shopping in the States so they can use up our hard-earned Canadian cash to keep their corporations operating while closing down Canadian shops and jobs and keeping our Canadian taxpayer's money out of country so even Bombardier can't get more "grant" money because our tax base is eroding because of job losses and out of country spending and there's not enough in the public trough to eat from so their share-holders are forced to shut down 425 Canadian jobs and move them to Mexico so there's more profit for the shareholders because of "cost-reduction" but it's "Good News" to cross-boarder shop because we got that big screen TV and DVD player or the Corvette at lower retail prices and now maybe the Canadian retailers will smarten up and drop there prices to equivalent levels and it's also "Good News" that the economy is being propped up by the oil sands "despite what some pandering, misinformed politicians might say", because all of the scientific data by the "tree-huggers" on the world's dependance on fossil fuels is killing the planet and everything but...hey...it's putting jobs in the marketplace and driving the economy. BULLSHIT!! Make up your minds Macleans. What drives the economy? Cross boarder shopping and oil sands?! OMG. We're screwed!

Father's Day Post

Because I’m a humble Canadian and I feel uncomfortable telling all of you what a great Father I am and how I (we) raised our kids perfectly and everything I thought it would be best to give you a little history lesson here regarding how the celebration of Father’s Day got its start instead of breaking my arm patting myself on the back, if you know what I mean.


The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19th, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. The idea of Father’s Day occurred to Sonora Louise Smart while she was listening to a sermon about the newly recognized Mother’s Day that Anna Jarvis had been instrumental in starting in 1908.

Sonora Louise Smart was born in Jenny Lind, Arkansas, in 1882 to farmer William Jackson Smart (1842-1919) and his wife Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart (1851-1898). William Smart fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War and in 1887 the Smart family moved West and settled near Spokane, Washington.

When Sonora was 16, her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child. Sonora was the only daughter and shared with her father William in the raising of her younger brothers, including her new infant brother Marshall.

Sonora Smart held her father in great esteem. While hearing the church sermon about the newly recognized Mother's Day, Sonora felt strongly that Fatherhood needed recognition as well. She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father's birthday, of June 5, as the day of honour for fathers. The Alliance chose June 19th, 1910, the third Sunday in June, as the first official celebration of Father’s Day.

The idea of Father's Day became popular and embraced across the nation and later around the world. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson came to Spokane and spoke at Father's Day services. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. In 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June each year.

Sonora Smart Dodd was honored at the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington in 1974. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd died in 1978 at the age of ninety-six.

My research is unclear as to when Father’s Day was first observed in Canada but all indications are that it was very soon after the first celebration in Spokane in 1910.

I also found in my research that people usually wear roses to express gratitude for their father. Traditionally, if the person is wearing a red rose, it symbolizes the person’s father is alive. Likewise, a white rose means that the person’s father has passed.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy Father’s Day and I will share more than one quotation with you this week.

“A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be,”- Author Unknown.

“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad,”-Anne Geddes.

“My Father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it,”-Abraham Lincoln.

"My father died many years ago, and yet when something special happens to me, I talk to him secretly not really knowing whether he hears, but it makes me feel better to half believe it."-Natasha Josefowitz.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

As luck would have it, when I went to open up my internet connection for fact-checking for my upcoming column, there was an update notice for Anti-virus software that had to be performed on our computer and in the pop-up notice window it said, “Installation can take a few minutes. Please feel free to do other things while you wait. Thank you for your patience.” Now, there are two things about this statement that I want to discuss…1.) how did this system know that “patience”, or lack thereof, was going to be my theme for this week’s column?…and 2.) it was awful presumptuous of these software people to expect me to be patient throughout this event. And then they have the nerve to go ahead and tell me to do something else while I waited. Maybe I didn’t want to do anything else. Maybe I wanted to do exactly what I planned to do before they interrupted my plans. Did I have a choice in the matter? I don’t think so, but thanks for asking…or telling, I guess.


I’m not a very patient man, if you hadn’t guessed, and I came by my impatience honestly. I got it through my genes. My Dad gave it to me…thanks Dad. I’ve been working on my patience for oh…let me see…over fifty years, I think, and I might just be making some headway. Yup, I can hardly wait for it to improve.

And people are so weird aren’t they? You know, the very same person who’s behind you at the intersection honking their horn the millisecond the light turns green is the same person who will stand in the queue for a Milky Way ice cream cone for forty-five minutes!! I guess it was a millisecond that he couldn’t get back and burn up in the line for ice cream or something.

But we live in an instantaneous world, don’t we? “How long do I have to cook this rice? (looking, reading…) NINETY SECONDS!? You cannot be serious! NINETY SECONDS!?”

Everything tries our patience so we attempt to make up for all those wasted seconds wandering aisles and waiting in lineups by taking a few seconds back here and there. One way we strive to achieve this is by going through drive-thrus. They even have a drive-thru Florist Shop in Regina. Really. Thank God, too, because we can capture a few moments back into our lives by not having to go through all those arduous tasks like parking, and walking, and choosing something off of a shelf and everything. Oh the convenience.

This past weekend my son and I were taking some of his renovation refuse out to the Regina “Sanitary Landfill”…wait a second…sidebar here… “Sanitary”? Nice try folks but using the word “Sanitary” in the title isn’t going to make the place any nicer or less smelly…it’s a dump…seriously…it’s a dump! Anyway, they’ve got you hostage, don’t they? There’s only one legal place that you can take your garbage so you’ve got no choice but to follow their rules. You get out to the dump, sorry…”Sanitary Landfill”… and there are like sixty vehicles trying to get in and they only have one booth open, for crying out loud, and you sit in the lineup, and you sit and you sit…but what are you gonna do? You have to be patient.

The good thing was that I was with my son Nolan and we took advantage of the time to get caught up on the goings-on in each others lives. Sometimes our wasted seconds aren’t wasted after all. Sometimes waiting can be a good thing. You know, give us a chance to take a few breaths. Relive some memories. Make a few more. Before we knew it we were at the front of the lineup and the time had passed too quickly.

Time doesn’t care if you’re waiting at a stop-light or an ice cream parlour. Time really doesn’t care whether you want to be patient or impatient. Only you can determine that.

“All men commend patience, although few are willing to practice it.”-Thomas Kempis- (1380-1471).