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).