Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Posts

Hey Folks, thanks for tunin' in. I just posted some recent articles expressing my humble opinion. Have a look. See what you think.

I'm An April Fool!

As I am writing this on April Fools’ Day I decided I’d do a little research on the subject and enlighten you about some April Fools’ Day history and such but when I clicked on the first website that came up what do you suppose happened? Yup, you’re right…nothing. It didn’t open at all. Coincidence? I think not. I guess the joke was on me.
Right off the bat I’m going to remind you, Dear Reader, that I am not a practical joke lover at all. My experience has been that practical jokes are seldom practical and most of the results are only funny because you can get a quick laugh at the embarrassing expense of an unsuspecting victim. In my humble opinion, I think laughing at someone else’s discomfort is cheap humour but I will give in to the one day of the year that you are allowed a “legal” prank but for the most part I’m anti-practical joke.
My therapist thinks that my anti-practical joke stance could be rooted in the fact that my Dad was such a bugger, or teaser, you know, with him every day was April Fools’ Day, and I resented his form of attention when he was chasing his children with dead mice, or a hair-ball rolled up to look like a huge spider, or the fresh fish “catch of the day” with its smelly snout “this close” to your own nose; either that or it’s just simply because I’m such a dupe! An easy mark, as they say. I’m still so na├»ve and trusting, even after all these years, that it’s hardly a challenge to get me on a good one so then I’m doubly duped. Do I hate practical jokes because they’re foolish or because I’m such a fool? Only my therapist knows for sure.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, just when I’m in the middle of writing this thing my youngest daughter, Emily, phones me to “shoot the breeze” and subtly slides in some details about how she got a twenty-four hour driving suspension at a road-side check point in Moose Jaw last night, when she knew she had been drinking and she’s had some previous history with this kind of thing and I’m just freaking out and questioning her intelligence and searching for some blood pressure medication and everything and then she and her friends were laughing and laughing into the phone and I’m all, “why I oughta”…DAMN! She got me again! When will I ever learn? I was even in the middle of writing about April Fools’ when I got April Fooled! Tsk, tsk, tsk. You don’t have to get up very early, or even out of bed, to fool me. Nope.
I guess the apple doesn’t fall from the ancestral tree, as it were, as she’s a pretty good li’l bugger herself, like her Grandpa, but she’s also a very good story teller to get her tall “I got busted in Moose Jaw” tale out all the way to the end without the slightest crack in the details. It’s not easy being angry, embarrassed and proud all at the same time, but I was.
Precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria which the Romans celebrated around the end of March and similar festivals can be found in ancient Greek history and the earliest recorded association in the United Kingdom with April 1st and April Fools’ Day can be found in Chaucer’s Caterbury Tales in 1392. Iranians play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, Norouz, which falls on April 1 or April 2. This day, celebrated as far back as 536 BC, is called Sizday Bedar and is the oldest prank-tradition in the world still alive today.
Regardless of the ancient history and the general public’s love of a good joke I’m still not moving on my stance. I just don’t like it and I’m going to vow to be ready next year and I am not going to be fooled like I have been for the last fifty-some April Fools’ Days. I hope.
“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. “-Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894.

Talk About Sick!

Wouldn’t you know it, just when the weather was turning unseasonably nice I go and pick up some kind of super-bug virus or bacterial infection, or whatever, which laid me up in the house for a full week. And I’m still not fully cured! Yes, this one was a doozie! I think everything from my collarbone up was infected. Throat, tonsils, sinuses, eyes, ears, brain, hair. Everything hurt.
The fever, the sinus headaches, the itchy achy ears were all bad enough but the worst part of the whole ordeal was the raw sore throat. I felt like I was a flaming sword swallowing act gone horribly wrong and someone put the flame out with sharpened chain maille or something.
Either that or in my fever-induced delirium dreams I imagined that maybe some exotic, rare fire-breathing spider crawled into my mouth while I was sleeping and laid a million eggs that hatched and the little baby creatures were eating their way out of my tonsils and trachea leaving the flesh scorched and burnt. Actually, I really don’t need a fever to ramp up my imagination it works pretty good on its own. The fever only added a little bit to it. I guess I must have watched too many Twilight Zone episodes in my youth, or something.
Speaking of my youth, I can remember a similar bout with tonsillitis back in my hard-partying days of the 1970’s. A few of us Kenosee Lake regulars were having a good time at Krecsy’s cabin when I thought it was just my normal Sunday morning hang over lasting longer than usual so I went in for a little nap. You see, back in the day it wasn’t all that unusual for me to periodically take a midday “nap” during one of our good time sessions, and I don’t want to reveal all of my secrets here, but suffice it to say that when my little nap turned out to be four hours long and I wasn’t responding to the clink of fresh beers being put in the cooler or coming out of the cabin to investigate the sound of some unfamiliar young female voices the alarm bells sounded for my buddies and they came in to find me shivering under the blankets in the 95+F(35+C) cabin. Thankfully they quickly got me to the Kipling Hospital for some much-needed medical attention. Boy was I sick. I was so sick that I think I even gave up cigarette smoking for a day and a half or so.
But who likes being sick? Nobody that I know of. The only advantage of having to stay in the house for this past week was that I was at least able to watch a fair amount of the 2012 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship. Every cloud has a silver lining, I guess. Also, it’s not a suggested form of weight loss, mind you, but if you could use a few pounds off of the old belly then not being able to swallow anything other than cold water and medication will sure do the trick. As mentioned, it’s not a recommended method of weight loss.
I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who’s caught a nasty bug this year but, you know, “misery loves company”, as they say, so I thought I would share my misery with all of you. You’re welcome.
Then again, what I’ve been fighting is curable, I think, and, “this too shall pass”, for me, but recalling the events of 35+ years ago reminded me that some of my Kenossee Lake peers, from that by-gone era, may no longer be with us or may be suffering from life-threatening diseases now so I will take my little bout of illness knowing that things could always be worse. It might not feel like that for me today, but things definitely can always be worse.
“Health is not valued until sickness comes,”-Thomas Fuller (1608-1661).

Mountains out of Molehills

A couple of weeks ago in this column I was talking about common sayings, expressions and idioms but I didn’t get a chance to mention one of my all time favourites which just came to light, once again, for me this past week. You see, I was reading through one of the more recent copies of “Canada’s National Magazine”, Maclean’s, and by the time I had finished reading it I was practically Googling the best choices in anti-depressants and contemplating a call to a Mental Health practitioner because of all of the Gloom and Doom the magazine was spouting. But upon closer inspection I realized that they were just “Making Mountains out of Molehills”. By the way, speaking of Mental Health, if you live in this corner of the world, trying to get in to see someone about your mental health issues can be downright depressing, but I digress.
It’s fairly self-explanatory but making a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue and this particular idiom has been used for centuries.
Take the March 5th Maclean’s cover headline warning, “YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET BURNED…Canada looks exactly like the U.S. before its devastating housing crash—maybe even worse. Why it’s officially time to panic!!!”
OMG, I said. Where’ll we hide? What do we do? Chicken Little is sounding the alarm again! Run, run, run for your lives!!
And upon first blush it seemed that the writers had done their homework and researched their facts but upon further review many of their overwrought statements were overblown and, in the end, not fully factual either. In fact, there were many letters to the editor in a couple of Maclean’s issues later, including one from the President of the Canadian Bankers Association, Terry Campbell, stated that there are several differences between the Canadian and U.S. mortgage markets and he refuted that Canada was even close to a meltdown.
I think Maclean’s and similar newsmagazines are just telling the “Chicken Littles” in us all exactly what we want to hear. It appears that we want the best of any particular situation but we expect the worst.
For instance, take the recent May-like weather conditions that we have been experiencing throughout this past month. While I was out and about and mingling with others in the Post Office or uptown I would comment on how great our weather has been and my comments were more-often-than-not met with, “We’ll probably pay for it later, won’t we?”
Why? Who says? Why can’t we just take a great day today and let tomorrow bring what tomorrow will bring? Always with the negative waves, eh? But we humans love to ride the “Complain Train”, too, don’t we?
And, yes, you’re right, there’s enough negativity about negativity in this article that is could be labeled as positively negative. Or something. But, in the end, my point it this: examine every event, obstacle, challenge, mistake…on its own merits and do your best to not “make a mountain out of a molehill”.

An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

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