Friday, 30 November 2012

I Still Know How To Breathe

It has been weeks since I washed the car. I like to wash the car on the street in front of the house, but lately it has just been too damned cold. When it hasn’t been cold, it has been slushy which makes washing the car an exercise in futility. It is so dirty, it looks like a ghost car, all grey and dirty grey. Okay, it is a grey car, but this is road dirt grey, which incidentally isn’t on Acura’s colour palette for new cars.

I am going to have to bite the bullet and take it to one of those coin car washes. There is a new car wash at the Co-op and for only $10 or $12 you can drive the car through and have it emerge from the other side as clean as a new penny. That is just not my way. I can wash the car at one of those coin wash places for a buck if I am quick or two dollars at the most. It is only going to get dirty again, so a quick wash is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe on Sunday, because it is supposed to warm up to -2° and the car won’t freeze into a solid block of ice if I give it a wipe and park it in the garage.

I thought about washing the car while I was in the shower this morning. Well, I started thinking about showers and eventually got around to dirty cars. It occurred to me that there are two types of people that shower, and they shower at different times of day. There are the “workers” who shower when they get home from work to clean the accumulated work dirt from their bodies. They have worked up a sweat during the day and the dirt has stuck to the sweat and turned into body mud. It fills all of the cracks and crevasse on your body. Nothing feels better than scrubbing that muck off at the end of the day.

The other kind of showerers, are the “wake-me-up” in the morning people. They aren’t really dirty, more slightly dusty and a little bit smelly, but they just can’t face the day without a shower. They think they are dirty, but it is more imagined dirt than real. I was always the first kind of shower guy. I would generally get sweaty at work and it was a cool relief to wash the day away, especially in the summer. I rarely got muddy dirty, but I was much dirtier than if I were sitting at a desk in the air conditioning. Since retiring I have become one of those wake me up kind of shower people. I suppose it’s good to start the day clean and fresh, but really how dirty can I get drinking coffee and contemplating life?

When I was a kid, I just loved showers. I didn’t have many for some reason. I think my parents hadn’t shaken the thought that heating water was expensive and time consuming idea they got from their parents, so I didn’t get as clean as I should have perhaps. I would stand under the showering water and think I was in a rain forest or on a planet where it rained constantly. Sometimes it was hard to breathe and you would just have to hold your head at just the right angle to look up. You know, it was a strange planet where it would rain all of the time. What happened to all the water, and how was it that I could stand on solid ground? I never did figure that out, and now it appears that I never will, I just don’t care anymore.

I did like baths because I could make soap bubble beards and strange hairdos out of the suds. Not to mention being able to float toys and splash water. The trouble with baths now is that there is just too much body and too little empty water to really play effectively. Maybe that’s why some adults like the hot tubs so much.

I read once how the ancients would use fragrant oil to clean themselves. They would rub oil all over themselves and then scrape the oil and presumably the dirt off with it. I guess that would work if you had someone around to scrape you, but if you had to do it yourself it would pose something of a challenge. There are places on my body that get dirty and are difficult to reach with a cloth, let alone something stiff enough to scrape oil and dirt off. Besides, wouldn’t you feel oily all of the time?

Maybe I will go to that strange planet tomorrow morning and see if I still know how to breathe.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bucket List

Louise and I were in Edmonton last night to attend a concert by Sir Paul McCartney. I can honestly say that it was perhaps the best concert that I have ever gone to. I rarely go to concerts and in most cases they have been more laid back affairs. The Vinyl CafĂ© Christmas Concert and Bonnie Raitt are the most recent excursions for me. The Edmonton Sun wrote an article on last night’s concert and the author describes the concert perfectly. Read the article and eat your heart out because I was there and you weren’t!

Most of the concerts that I have been to, involve a lot of lining up and waiting so that you can line up and wait some more. You want to get to the venue early so that you can find your seat and get comfortable. Last night we walked across the street from our hotel room and thought that we would be able to walk in and get something to eat. Not so fast buddy boy! For some reason, they didn’t open the doors for the 8:00 show until 7:30 which meant that we waited for almost an hour. Yes we could have gone back to the hotel, but who knew it would take so long to get in? Once in, there were line ups to get food and I figured I could do with a little unplanned dieting. We shuffled along with everyone else until we got to where our seats were located and then settled in. None of this was in any way different from concerts past, and it is probably one of the main reasons I don’t like to attend concerts.

I like to watch all of the other people come in and see just how they plan to prepare for the concert. In days past we would more than likely get half baked before getting to the concerts and make sure that we had enough “boosters” to keep us baking all through the concert. I no longer do such things, and it appears that the people at this concert didn’t either. The band’s pyrotechnics made much more smoke than the audience did. It appears that beer was the intoxicant of preference and not only was it plentiful but the venue would bring it to your seat. The girls (women) sitting next to us kept getting double beers and also kept leaving to go pee. I would have crapped my pants rather than miss a minute of Paul’s concert, but that is just me. Eventually, the two “girls” and the couple in the seats on the other side of us left so that they could go and stand and dance I suppose. Good for them and good for us.

There was a point when I was almost overcome with the emotion of it all. I had the same thing happen once before, and I went into a kind of seizure brought on by the awesomeness of it all. I went to a concert featuring Bob Dylan and The Band with a friend’s sister. Joanne and I went in and found our seats, and unfortunately they were “obstructed view” seats. I thought that “obstructed view” meant that you had to look around a post, not having a speaker tower six inches from your nose. We were pretty bummed to say the least, until one of the roadies came and asked us if we would like better seats. Sure! Three rows from the front on the left hand of the stage. There was a point during the concert when my eyes rolled up into my head and my consciousness went astral. That very nearly happened last night, and without herbal enhancement!

There is a wikipedia entry for the “On The Run” tour which will give you a background for the concert and a play list if you are interested at all. Just keep in mind that Louise and I were there and you are reading about it. If I had a bucket list (I don’t) I would have been able to tick off this entry.

Play list

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Thanks Louise

I am going to see one quarter of the Beatles today. I suppose 25% and 45 years late is better than nothing.

Louise gave me tickets to see Paul McCartney for my birthday and tonight Paul, Louise and I will be at the Edmonton Coliseum together. Paul will be playing music and Louise and I will be listening and letting the memories flood into us through our ears. We will all be doing what we do best. I am really looking forward to seeing him play. From what I have heard, he is the consummate performer and gives a full three hour concert that just blows you away. It will be so cool.

In recent years, I have pretty much come to the realization that I would never get to see the Beatles or any part of the Beatles other than in video or book form. I was good with that…sort of. When I was young and the Beatles were still together and all of them living, there was no chance that I could afford tickets or even manage to get tickets. You had to know someone and Canada at the time was not a Mecca for touring music groups of any stripe, let alone the Beatles. Then they broke up which took the chance of seeing them to new levels of impossible. Maybe they would get back together if only Yoko would drop out of the picture. I didn’t know then that there were much more complicated reasons for the split than John’s girl friend.

When John was assassinated outside of the Dakota apartment building, we all knew that the golden age of our youth had come to an end. How could anyone want to kill a man that only wanted to give peace a chance? The summer of love and the Age of Aquarius died for good on December 8th 1980. There was no way that the Beatles could ever get back together again. The eggman fell off the wall and all of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men couldn’t put our lives together again.

In 1999 on the 30th of December, George Harrison was attacked in his home by an insane Michael Abrams who stabbed George about 40 times. George survived, but this attack more than likely weakened him so that the cancer could finish the job Michael Abrams started. December isn’t a good month for ex Beatles. George died on November 29th 2001, and more of my hopes of a gentle and perfect world died with him. The only place that the Beatles can reunite now is in heaven.

Tonight I will be able to close my eyes and listen to my youth. Both Paul and I are a little older and neither of us are the men we once were, but both of us seem to be comfortable in our skin. I am looking forwards to one of the best concerts of my life, and I will be listening to this one without the influence of any herbal enhancements like I did in the old days. I am taking earplugs just in case the music is too loud for these old ears.

Thanks Louise…

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I Feel Better About The Money Already

I found five dollars today. Well I guess you could say that I found five dollars and twenty cents since I picked up two bottles from a parking lot. Well, I found five dollars and twenty cents plus a pair of thinsulate gloves that were frozen to the ground in a parking lot.

I have always picked up gloves in parking lots. Well, not always, but ever since the first winter I was delivering mail. I bought a pair of gloves that year and they just weren’t any good. It turns out that for me a pair of gloves didn’t work for working. My left hand needed a lot more insulation value than the right hand did because it was basically stationary holding the mail while the right hand was in constant motion. The right hand could get away with a much lighter glove than the left. Rescuing solitary gloves from parking lots was the perfect solution and served me well for over thirty years.

It is extremely rare to find an actual pair of gloves that have been abandoned or lost. In fact, in thirty five years, the pair I found today was only the second one. Single gloves or mitts worked perfect, a thick pink ski glove for the left hand and a lightweight woman’s leather glove for the right. A perfect combination! I didn’t care how it looked, just so long as I retired with all of my finger tips. I suppose that I could have bought two different pairs of gloves and tossed out the ones I wouldn’t use, but that would be incredibly wasteful and there just weren’t enough “lefties” out there that wanted to trade. I have kind of tapered off my glove rescue business in recent years, but I am always up for a good quality mini glove or a leather glove whose fingers I can cut off and use to protect my thumb when I am carving.

The two bottles just make sense to pick up. I would pick up a dime if I saw it lying on the ground, so the bottle on the ground is a no brainer. There was this old Chinese gentleman that picked bottles on the walk I used to deliver, and I would leave the bottles that I found on the walk by my relay box for him to pick up. I don’t know if he picked them up, but they were gone by the next day whenever I left them. I had a feeling that collecting bottles was his way of contributing to the household and in some small way he kept his pride. I don’t know that for fact, but when you are delivering mail you have a lot of time to fill in back stories for the people that live on your route.

I kind of feel a little guilty about the five dollars. I found it on the ground near the self serve check out, and I just picked it up and put it in my pocket. I kind of feel that I should have turned it in, but I rationalized a scenario that would let me keep it. No one would come back for the money, and whoever I turned it over to would just pocket it or even worse give it to the store and line Galen Weston’s already too full pockets. I even tucked it into that little useless change pocket on the right side of a pair of jeans, in case I was searched leaving the store. Yeah, I know…

Whenever I have found money on the street, I have no qualms about keeping it, because that money falls under the “finder’s keepers” rule. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t jump up and down on the spot and yell “HUZZAH…HUZZAH, I’m rich!”, I pocket the money and skulk away like a thief in the night. I don’t know if I will be able to keep the five bucks. I still feel guilty about it and I just might slip it into one of the Salvation Army kettles. I know, I’ll buy a lotto ticket in Edmonton and if I win I will drop five bucks next to the self serve checkout at the Superstore. Who knows, maybe that’s where the money came from in the first place and I will just be another in a long line of lotto winners who found the money for the winning ticket.

I feel better about the money already.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Burgermeister Meisterburger

I have heard it said “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

I don’t often wish for too many things. I am quite content with my life and the people I have around me. I know that any change will cause my finely balanced life to become unbalanced. That might be a good thing, probably would be good, but I don’t do well with change as a rule. Sure I would like to win a lottery, but I suspect that after buying bigger and better things that I already have, I would simply be content in a different place. I think that’s what would happen, but it is possible that I might start wearing a tiara and tight purple pants.

I heard about what happened to Toronto’s mayor today. It seems that he has been removed from office due to a violation of the conflict of interest laws. He is planning to fight this of course and it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

What interests me is how the people that are his supporters feel today. I have a friend that believes Mayor Ford was just what the city needed and although he was going to be tough fiscally, the sacrifice would be worth it in the end. Personally I believe that politicians of all stripes are there to make the lives of the citizens better in all ways.That doesn’t seem to be the case any more, if indeed it ever was the way things were. If our best interest means the city, province or country has to go into debt, then so be it. Our politicos seem to be interested in only getting re-elected and what they can do for their corporate supporters. I am not against that as long as when they are looking after their own interests, they somehow manage to look after ours as well.

Mayor Ford always reminded me of Burgermeister Meisterburger in the stop motion Christmas show “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I will put both of their pictures here for comparison. The Burgermeister hated children having fun and from what little I knew about Ford he took away some of those fun things too. There was no Kris Kringle to foil Mayor Ford however. I suppose the residents of Toronto are lucky that Mr. Ford was his own foil. It should be an interesting few weeks or months as this battle is fought in the courts.
The problem with tossing someone out is that at some point you need to put another in his place. That person won’t have gone through the system that is set up to select the mayor and you just don’t know what you will get. I have lived long enough to have witnessed people being appointed as interim leaders and at best nothing gets done and at worse, bad things can happen. They might just get lucky. I am so far away from Toronto that nothing will affect me, but Maegan and others that I care for are living in the city. I know Maegan is happy tonight and I would be too. I think Toronto had some good luck today and the sooner this is over, the better.

The Burgermeister Meisterburger belongs in a cartoon, not running Canada’s largest city! 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

I Had To Go For a Hernia Operation

100th Grey Cup Festival - Toronto 2012
Well, today was the day of the big game.

The Calgary Stampeders were the favourites going into the game, but unfortunately for them the favourites don’t always win. The Toronto Argonauts won the game and they were the better team from the minute it started. I was born in Toronto and have lived in Calgary for a good part of my adult life, so I didn’t really care who won because both teams are my home team. The other reason I didn’t care who won the game is that I just don’t care who wins any football game really.

Football, like most professional sports is more about entertainment and marketing than they are about sport. Let’s just say what it is really about is the money. There wouldn’t be professional teams as we know them if there wasn’t a lot of money involved. The players would have real jobs and play ball at nights or on the weekends instead of making hundreds of thousands of dollars to play the game they love. The fans shell out hundreds of dollars for tickets and an equal amount for their team’s jersey. Not to mention souvenirs and knick knacks depicting something about that favourite player.

I guess the end result of all this hoopla is that this sport and this game make millions of people happy. They can escape into a world where their heroes battle the heroes from another town. They can watch a game every day of the week, almost, and escape into this sport fantasy world for a couple of hours. It is probably very therapeutic.

Me? I watch every now and then, and when I see a team losing, that is generally the team I start to cheer for. If there was never another football game on TV, it would be years before I would notice. I sometimes will watch a “big” game so that I can be a part of the next day’s conversations at work or with friends. The problem is that I don’t really know the game and I end up making a fool of myself anyways because I don’t know any of the players names and truth be told I don’t understand the rules all that well. I would be served better if I just said that I had to go for a hernia operation and I missed the game…darn!


Next year we will kick your ass, or that hernia will act up again.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Stay Out Of Crowded Elevators

I was wondering about farts today.

We had a poster once that listed all of the different types of farts and we kept it on the back of the bathroom door. It is kind of nice to have something to read when you are occupied in the washroom, but I was never really comfortable with that poster. That being said, we kept it there for a number of years, more because it was easier to do nothing than to take it down.
My mom and dad had a half bath just off of the family room that had wall paper that I really liked. It was covered in quotes from Shakespeare’s plays. The one that is in the forefront of my mind is “If music be the food of love…play on.” There were hundreds of them and I never tired of reading the walls. It is truly amazing just how many of his words have stayed in the common mind for so long. Here is a link and it is kind of interesting just how many quotes you can recognize even if you are not very fond of good old Bill.

What got me to thinking about farts this morning was how they can be so different from each other. Some are just air that is released and that is all there is to it. Yet other times the same amount of air is released and it can make your eyes water. Sometimes there is just an insignificant poof of air and at other times it is like the earth itself is ripping apart. Very strange!

One time when my parents came to visit, we loaded the car with parents and kids and went downtown to see Devonian Gardens. We parked on the upper floor of the parkade and all seven of us piled on the elevator. The doors shut and shortly there after I lifted my leg and let go a very loud, long sound. I don’t usually do things like this and I can’t for the life of me think why I choose that moment to slip out of character. It was a little funny, but the look on my dads face of utter and complete disbelief `and the total silence in the elevator kind of made me smile. When the doors opened, a little old lady was the first to leave the elevator. I didn’t even know she was there at all.

The kids were laughing and mom and dad probably were too, but I was mortified. It just goes to show you that unless you have all of the information about any given situation, you want to take it easy. That was the last time I would let go in a small crowded and confined space. I am getting older and I think some of my seals are beginning to lose some of their elasticity. Sometimes there are small unwanted puffs of air which I just can’t seem to control as well as I used to.

One thing I do know however is that, in the foreseeable future, I am going to stay out of crowded elevators.

Pull My Finger Poster

Friday, 23 November 2012

I Can Dream About It

I think that we are going to buy a new TV tomorrow.

Our old TV, the one that we were told should last virtually forever because the only thing that might wear out would be a bulb which can easily be replaced. It is true, the bulb was pretty easy to replace, but shortly after the replacement these weird light spots appeared on the screen in different places. We have put up with this crap for a few months now and since we are in Canada's version of Black Friday the deals are pretty impressive.

I have done a little research and I think I have found a TV that will virtually last forever. Uh-huh! I don't know why I believe this kind of advertising bullshit, but I do. Why would they lie?

We live in a disposable society and it seems that people are okay with that. I like to try and fix things rather than replace them, but I fear that I am in the minority. Our products aren't designed to be taken apart and even when you manage to get the item apart, you find sealed units inside. This makes repair virtually impossible. Well, by me at least. You can get "reconditioned" items, but that just means the factory installed new parts in the old machine.

I guess that we really can't complain. After all, we live in a world of technological marvels. I imagine that in the not too distant future we can hope for machines that are smart enough to fix themselves. Maybe, if they get really smart they will insist on being built to last, because no sentient creature wishes to have a short life span. Perhaps when they get even smarter, they will be able to fix our desire to have that disposable society that I mentioned earlier.

I won't live long enough to see the machines insist on quality over quantity, but I can dream about it.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Shocking Experience

I have a small electrical project in the works and I spent a short while getting things organized today. Brendan is going to give me a hand on the weekend and since he just finished wiring his garage, he has all of that electrical knowledge firmly in the front of his brain. I built our basement about 27 years ago, so my memory of the nuts and bolts of the electrical is a trifle sketchy.
Now that I think about it, my knowledge is even less than I thought it was since I had an electrician friend wire the basement for me. Back then I had a fear of dying from electrocution and quite frankly I’m not that comfortable with it now. I suppose that if you had to choose a way to die, being electrocuted wouldn’t be too bad. It would at least be quick, leaving you with only a few seconds to think “Black to black and white to white. Now I remember!” It is certainly better than a lingering and painful passing, but not half as nice going to bed one night and just never getting up again.

I did help Brendan with the garage, but it was more of the “Dad, pass me that blue screw driver or pull this wire as hard as you can.” kind of help. I do remember that we had a little trouble twisting the wires together in all of the junction boxes and fixtures. The wires just wouldn’t co-operate and twist as nicely as the one receptacle that Brendan’s electrician friend did. I think about that kind of thing, and if possible I like to practice twisting so that the next time I am in a twisting situation then I’ll be able to twist like a pro. I was wondering how the pros actually do it. I was thinking that they just have a lot of practice and more than likely a wrist that will turn a full 360°.
That can’t be, there are too many electricians and they can’t all be cyborgs. I suppose they could be, but that would involve a massive cover up at all levels of government. Although I believe the government is capable of trying that kind of cover up, I don’t think they could keep it quiet. Too many people involved. It would explain however why electricians make the kind of money they do…hush money!
I thought I would look for an easier explanation. Lately, I have begun to believe that all things actually make sense if you can just spend the time and give it some serious thought. Take the electricians tool for example. I looked for the proper name, but it appears to be called the electricians tool. There are all sorts of weird little indentations, cutting areas, holes and other mysterious marks and grooves. It turns out that if you put the three or four wires though one of the holes and gently squeeze and rotate the tool, you get a perfect twist on the wires. Then when it is as perfect as perfect can be, just squeeze hard and it will snip the wires off nice and even.

I look forwards to giving this method a try tomorrow on actual wires. I’m hoping that it won’t be a shocking experience. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Living Underground

I received a phone call yesterday to tell me that a book that I had ordered was now ready to be picked up. The bookstore is called “Pages” and is one of the few small bookstores left in Calgary. I don’t really get there too often, partly because it is sort of far away from where I live and sort of because I am not as committed as I should be to supporting a good bookstore.

Part of the problem is that the big stores like Chapters have managed to put most of the small stores out of business by selling books cheaper. That is also the reason that I use them, since I am admittedly a cheapskate. I think that bookstores like the record stores before them are a dying breed. It won’t be too long before the Chapters and Barnes and Nobels are a thing of the past. Books and magazines are going digital, and no matter how you or I feel about it, that change is coming as sure as a politician will lie to you in an election year.

I watched the same thing happen with music. I delivered mail to a mall with a record store, and watched it go from records to cassette tapes to CD’s, finally closing it’s doors. The music we listen to now is downloaded to our computers. Sure there are still record stores and I like to go in and hold the album in my hand, reading the cover and getting a glimpse of what the artist wanted to convey to us. I have my record collection still, boxed in the basement. I have digitized it and can now listen to the old albums with all of the pops, hisses and scratches that I have become accustomed to. Now, I preview a song on Youtube, and if I like it I will either buy it, get it from the library or use one of the methods of copying the music that are available.

I would say that at least half of my reading is now digital. Oh, I love the feel of a book and going to the library is like going into a cathedral for me. I have often stood in the middle of the library and marvelled at the collection of human thought that sit on the shelves. Some stories just have to be told and will give you no rest until they are on a page and out of your head. They are no less important if they are digital. Less fun for sure, but I speak as an old guy who “sort of” embraces the new technology. The young of today have no history with non digital media and will slowly let it fade into a niche.
I picked up a book today that was written by my friend Ruth Walker. It is called “ Living Underground” and from the reports that I have heard, it is a wonderful story. I am not really a big fan of Canadian literature. I have gotten into arguments before saying that, but what I mean is not hurtful, but just a personal preference. Canadian Literature is like Opera and rap music to me, I can appreciate that it has merit, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I am afraid to read Ruth’s book! Ruth is a literary person and will probably have written a compelling, well written and literate novel.

I do love the idea that someone that I know has written a book and I am inspired by Ruth. You know, the story is set in the general area of where I was raised, and the era is the same as well, so it should be very familiar. I have a book or two that are in line to be read ahead of “Living Underground” so I get to anticipate for just a little while longer.

Should be fun!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Maybe We Need a New Tyrant

You would think that after tens of thousands of years, we humans would be more in control.

Sure, we have tamed wildernesses, explored all of the land masses, sailed the oceans and even ventured off of the planet and walked on the moon. However, for the most part we can’t control our lives worth a shit.

To some degree we do control our lives of course, but for the most part we react to situations that happen to us. We will make plans and as lovely as those plans are, they more often than not turn out quite differently. For instance, I planned for one of my kids to be a rock star and make obscene amounts of money in order for them to keep me in the manner that I wish to become accustomed to. I figured I had three chances, but none of them could carry a tune in a bucket. Maegan did play the trumpet and Brendan played the trombone in high school, but it was pretty painful to listen to for the most part. Not painful in the sense that rap or hip-hop can be, but more along the lines of fingernails on a blackboard painful. Arwen listened to music and I am sure she would play a mean tambourine.

I really blame myself. I don’t have any musical leanings or talent and I suppose that if there is anything to genetics, the kids started out with a strike or two against them. I suppose that I could pin my hopes on Hurricane and Tornado, but even if they do achieve stardom, the best that I will be able to hope for is a really good care facility. I guess that I will be good with that. They both can dance pretty well…Maybe they will be the new Nicholas Brothers.

I know how to play chess, and I will often plan three or four moves in advance. The problem is that my opponent never seems to see the moves that I have seen and they do something entirely different. Stupid game! Again, no damned control.

People will often do things that are so totally opposite to what I figured they would do, that it is almost laughable. Almost! I don’t really expect too much, but I do wish for them to be thoughtful and caring about others. In any given situation I am often disappointed by the way we act. I have no control and I’m not sure I would like ultimate control over people. It hasn’t been very successful historically. In fact we call the people that try this kind of control “dictators”, Emperors” or “tyrants”. They are not really successful for any length of time anyways.

I will continue to hope that people will control their baser natures and I will try to control mine. I guess that the best advice can be found in most of the great religious texts. We should treat those around us as we would wish to be treated. Simple rule really, but evidently not so easy to follow.

Maybe we need a new tyrant…Hurricane, first Emperor of the world!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Step Away From The Cartoons

I just can’t seem to get this video out of my mind. A friend sent an email with it to me and I have watched it more than a few times.

I like the song because it just sort of resonates with me for some reason. I also remember it from a cartoon I used to watch as a kid. The cartoons used many really great songs as background and to develop character traits. I searched for which cartoon the song was in and found a link but if you really want to know you can knock yourself out, I don’t have the time to wade through this guy’s blog. He really takes his cartoons seriously.

I also really like Laurel and Hardy who figure prominently in the video. I have a need to get some of their movies just to watch the genius. If you have 50 minutes or so to spare here is a youtube link.

That’s it for tonight, just some videos to watch and a blog from someone that really needs to step away from the cartoons for a while.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My Days As a Pirate Are Over

I caught some of a movie today called “Bridge to Terabithia”. I generally like these kinds of escape-from-the-day-to-day reality movies, and this one looks like it will be a good way for me to spend some of the remaining hours of my life. I set the machine to tape sometime next week and now I just have to wait.

One of the things in the movie that I liked was the way the two kids managed to enter this magical land. They swung across a small stream on a rope. How cool is that? There have been a few times in my life when I have had the opportunity to swing out on a rope and if you are a regular reader or even just not a moron, you will know that I am about to tell you about them.
The first time that I can remember, was at my grandmothers cottage. Friends of ours, the Fry’s, had a cottage that was up the lake and on the point. Their cottage wasn’t one of the choice lots, being built mostly on a stone out cropping and there was virtually no beach. The lake there had a steep drop off which was perfect for boat launching, fishing and swinging out over the lake on a rope of course. The water was always colder there than at the shallow end of the lake, but it was fine once you got used to it. In fifteen years I don’t think I ever got used to it, it was really cold there!
The rope swing meant different things at different ages for us. When we were smallish just getting up the courage to swing on the rope was reason enough. It took a “double-dog-dare” to get me to swing the first time. Later on we would all take turns pretending to be pirates that were boarding a treasure ship. It never occurred to us that if we had actually been pirates we would have just dropped into the ocean and become fish food. We didn't make sense back then, we made fun. Still later in life it was fun to swing out with girls and I can’t imagine how Les’s parents could tolerate the shrieks and laughter. I can still feel the little rush in my stomach every time that I let go of the rope.
The next time I could swing through space was just after Louise and I had moved in together and were living on O'Connor Drive in Scarborough Ontario. We did a lot more roaming and exploring back in those days, not having cable or even a TV that would work reliably. There was and is still a ravine nearby which was perfect to get away from the city without being too far from toilets or munchies. One day while we were exploring, we saw this huge tree that overhung the ravine, and at the furthermost point of the furthest branch, was a fire hose. Now, although we weren't always completely lucid on these walks, we were pretty sure that the hose was there for fun and not in case of a brush fire. Where did that hose come from? It must have weighed in excess of a hundred pounds. I can’t imagine how anyone would have been able to shinny out on that branch carrying an end of the hose and then be able to tie it on to the branch. I would have been and still would be terrified. It was frightening enough just swinging on it at all. It was so very long that the swing seemed to take minutes to come back to the beginning. Lucky for me there was a large knot to sit on because even in my prime I wouldn't have been able to hang on for that long.

We eventually moved from that apartment, but I have never left those memories behind. There was a rope swing at one of the camps during Brendan’s scout years, but by then I was smart enough not to trust the engineering skills of teenage boys. I think my days as a pirate are over. Mind you, if a treasure ship happens to sail near the shore and there is a convenient tree reaching out over the water…