Saturday 30 November 2013



I was in that state between sleep and awake this morning, trying to decide if it was too early for me to greet the day. I pressed my internal snooze button and drifted into my semi-awake state. My mind began to free associate and ended up thinking about shit and how I have been affected by shit in my life.

I didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about shit during my formative years. I did have a couple of unfortunate occurrences when I was tiny that have had a profound effect on my psyche and they still haunt me to this day. The less said about them, the better. I do remember during high school I had a buddy (Don) who told me one day that he was quite regular, almost like clockwork really. He told me that with any luck, he would live to be 85 and by then he will have shit about 62,000 times, give or take a few due to sickness or a change in his metabolism. I didn’t have a response to that at the time, but now after all of these years I can honestly say that I still have no idea why he would have told me that. I don’t really know why he would have done the calculations in the first place. I was amazed that he shit twice a day, every day.

Arwen’s birth brought me a new understanding of shit. I can remember changing her on the living room carpet when a geyser of shit shot across the room. That was the last time I didn’t cover her up when we were changing diapers. Once we were having a bath together, it being easier to wash her holding her on my lap and having Louise do the scrubbing. I was rinsing her off when I noticed that the water had become lumpy. Ahhhh….Shit! Surprisingly, it happened once more before I stopped getting in the tub with her.

You get pretty used to being hands on with shit when you have babies, but just as soon as they get toilet trained, you redevelop an aversion to getting shit on your hands. The next time shit rears its ugly head is when your kids get shit faced drunk and call you to pick them up at 2:00AM. You find yourself incredibly proud that they called rather than drive, but it is still 2:00 AM! I remember Maegan getting shit faced drunk and climbing into a construction site where she somehow damaged one of her fingers. It was a long time in physio, and I’m not sure if it is 100% yet. Okay, that’s not really about shit, but what the hell.

It is funny that when Hurricane came along, I didn’t have any problem changing diapers. It was much more fun than changing the diapers of my own kids. Maybe it was the thought that I was helping Arwen by giving her a little break, made it easier to take. Tornado came along and it still wasn’t a problem at all. It just occurred to me that I no longer have an issue with shit. If I get some on my hands, there is soap and hot water to take care of the mess.

There was a time this summer when Aunt Maegan and I had the boys at a playground after an afternoon of swimming in a public pool. The playground was at a school that was under construction, so we were pretty isolated. Hurricane came up to us and said he had to go to the wash room. I said he should just go over to that tree and pee. There was a look of panic on his face and he said “I HAVE TO POO!!!” Maegan and I matched his look of panic and our eyes just locked for a second or two before we realized there was nothing we could do, but make the best of it. I took Hurricane over to a large tree and gave him some very quick instructions on how to shit against a tree. It’s kind of funny how a six year old can crap as big as a man. I had to go to the car to get a bag to clean up the mess. It did occur to me that I could leave it, but it was obvious that some homeless people used the tree to drink and hang out. They have enough problems in life without sitting in someone’s shit.

I imagine that it won’t be too many more decades before I have a diaper, and I am not really looking forward to that. I am sure I’ll deal with the shit the way I have throughout my life, holding my breath and working with quiet efficiency to get the job done ASAP.    

Friday 29 November 2013

New Rule

I was in the second hand store the other day and I saw one of those five inch TV’s. You know the kind; it is a TV with AM, FM and Marine band radio. Years ago, Louise and I had one of those TV’s, we never used it, but the thought was that if for some reason, the countries power grid failed and we were invaded by the Russians/Chinese/Americans or Aliens, I could put a couple of batteries in this thing and find out how the invasion was going.
We never did get invaded, and the power grid never collapsed, but what did happen was out regular TV died. One minute it was working and the next minute there was a black screen with sound. This was just after Arwen was born, so we were young and stupid. We decided that this was the universe telling us that we watched too much television and it is a good time to entertain ourselves the old fashioned way. We looked forward to the challenge.

I think it was about ten minutes before I was rummaging around in the basement for the five inch TV. I brought it up and placed it on top of the dead one. What I hadn’t thought about though was that watching a 20” television from 20 feet away is easy, but it is almost impossible to watch a 5” screen from 20 feet away. The only good way to watch a 5” TV is for it to be sitting on your stomach. We tried using that mini television, but it wasn’t very long before we came to the conclusion that we were addicted to the television and went out and bought a newer, better, larger TV.

I kept that TV for many years, but there never was an invasion and happily our main TV never died on us again. I think I eventually gave it away to a couple that weren’t television people and only wanted it for the radio. Needless to say, they are no longer our friends.
When I was about twelve, I got a large transistor radio for my birthday/Christmas that had AM/FM and of course the Marine band. I had visions of taking that radio to the beach and having dance parties with girls. It didn’t matter that I lived no where near a beach and even if I did; my parents would never let me take it because sand will ruin it. I can only assume that at some point in time they ruined a radio at the beach. I wasn’t allowed to take the radio off of our property or it would get wrecked. Again, I assume mom or dad once ruined a transistor radio by taking it off of the property. The way I saw it, mom and dad were the irresponsible ones, not me.

That left me with this great technological, transportable wonder plugged into my bedroom wall. I listened to CHUM 1050 but not too loudly of course. It seems that if you played a transistor radio too loud, the speakers would get ruined. Now, how did mom and dad learn that? I found myself with the radio set on Marine Band with the volume turned up (but not too high) and slowly turning the tuning knob. I would go back and forth, back and forth for hours and hours, listening to static. Sometimes the static would change a little and I figured if I just moved the knob slow enough I would be able to listen to the radio signals of a destroyer or an aircraft carrier.

I never did hear a ship on that radio. I suppose it would have been better if I’d lived any where near an ocean. I did hear a pilot talking once or twice. I guess the radio could pick up the frequency of commercial flights. I was pretty excited, and when I jumped up to get my mom so she could listen to the pilots, I knocked it off of my desk and it never worked again. Oh, it could get static, but only on the AM channels.

Mom and dad never mentioned it, but I think there was a new rule made about my never having a radio in my room or it would get wrecked.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Money Well Spent

I have mentioned before that I believe paper is on the way out. It will take a very long time, but as technology improves, our reading experience on said technology will improve and before you know it, we will indeed live in a paperless office.

Of course, for that to happen we will have to have complete trust in the infallibility and the absolute security or the way information is stored. We are a long way from that happening. Now, we sort of trust digital storage, just so long as we have a hard copy to back it up. In other words, we don’t trust it at all.
I am from the generation that lived before computers and all files were paper files. Not only were they all paper, but they were often mislaid and sometimes would be destroyed in a fire or flood. Now at least, there is a chance that your information is stored somewhere off site and will be retrievable. I have had jobs that involved organizing and stacking boxes of files. I have had jobs that involved taking boxes of paper that were from before a certain date and tossing them in the garbage. That’s right, in the garbage! This was before anyone cared about recycling and all of the garbage was burnt. Crazy times…
Paper is a problem now and will be a bigger problem in the future. By going digital we will be able to save trees, save space in the land fills and have access to far more information instantaneously. It’s true that you won’t be able to get the “old book smell” or the look and smell of a newspaper that has been in the sun for too long. I will miss those smells. Of course the people employed by the pulp and paper industry will lose their livelihood and anyone affiliated with that industry will be just shit out of luck. Sorry!

We took a step closer to that digital age this week. Well, it may have been a few months ago, but I just found out about it last week. It seems that I can access and read the newspaper by using my library card online. Not only can I read my paper, but I can read papers from all over the world so that I can get the take of another country on how Canada is perceived in the world.

We cancelled our paper a few months back because we would only read the headlines, perhaps the entertainment section and of course we would check out the sales. It just wasn’t worth $30 a month for that. I did miss being able to leaf through the paper when I wanted to, and it made for a pretty one sided conversation when my buddy would say “Did you read the paper today?” The other day, there was some production problem with the paper and it wasn’t delivered in the morning as it usually is. When I met my buddy for coffee, I asked him “Did you read the paper today?” I then went on to describe what he had missed.

Using the digital access, I can read the paper on any wifi accessible device as long as I can remember my library card number. The paper comes up just like it looks on paper and you can flip the pages if there isn’t anything that you are interested in on the page. If there is an article I am interested in, I click the mouse and the article fills the screen. Once I have finished reading, I minimize the page and go back to flipping through the paper.

It is a pretty slick system and I hope that all libraries have it or soon will have. I have access to any newspaper I want, all the books I can read and pretty much any DVD or CD that my heart desires, for a yearly fee of $13. Money well spent!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

I suspect that when God created man in his own image, He assumed that mankind would evolve and improve with time and experience. He could never have imagined that we wouldn’t learn from others mistakes and history isn’t a teacher, it is just history.

He would have thought that His system of evolution and survival of the fittest would work in mankind’s favour. There was really no way to predict that not only would stupid attract stupid, but they would breed more and many stupid people and would eventually take over the world. Oh, there are still smart people, but they can’t seem to get the stupids to understand because stupid people are, well, stupid.

Today a man died in Calgary because he was stupid. It seems that he broke into the ENMAX power station in the early morning hours to steal copper. They found his body lying on the ground with a pair of bolt cutters next to his body. I guess the ten foot high fence with razor wire on the top and signs that say 
attached to the fence wasn’t hint enough. The fact that it was a power station and not a wire storage depot didn’t even cross his mind. I wonder if he had time to think “Oh Fuck!” before the electricity killed him?

The article I just read states that they no longer use copper, but they use something called copper-weld which has no scrap value at all. The guy’s death caused a minor power outage and tripped an alarm which notified ENMAX employees of the problem.

I wouldn’t be surprised if God wasn’t looking for a new spokesperson that will be able to refute the premise that man was created in God’s image. Send photo and resume to if you are interested in the position.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

A Christmas Miracle

I will often go into a store just to see what kind of merchandise they carry. More often than not, I have no need of what they make or sell, but it’s always nice to know where I might find some doodad that I might need sometime in the future. Often, that doodad will help me figure out how to finish a project I am working on. Sometimes I go into a store with a particular item in mind and when I find myself in the store, I have no idea what I came in for. Oh well, there is always tomorrow…

Today I found myself in standing in Rona wondering what I was doing there. They have a pretty good selection of Christmas paraphernalia and it’s always fun to look at the things I have no room for or things I have no intention of buying. Once they had seven foot tall nut crackers. They were awesome! If I had several thousand bucks and a huge storage facility I would have bought two sets, but I would also need a house that wouldn’t be dwarfed by these nut cracking soldiers. Besides, where would I find nuts that big?
I’m not really a big fan of Elvis decorations, but I am sure there are many who love that kind of thing. I like to look at the miniature village buildings and fantasize about being able to set the whole thing up every year. Some of the buildings are just amazing. I will also look at the different artificial trees that they have. Louise and I have a tree that is past it’s best before date, but it is hard to justify spending a couple of hundred to save myself the effort of wrapping a string or two of lights around a tree. Maybe next year…

I was looking at this really cool system of turning your tree lights on. There is some kind of remote that you plug into the wall and a little brass angel that hangs on the tree. If you want to turn the lights on or off, you just touch the angel. Pretty cool eh? While I was reading the back of the remote, I overheard a sales associate telling a customer that they only had the green bulbs, no red. They were looking at the old style outdoor bulbs and I could sympathize with the guy, more of the green are no damned good if the burnt out bulb is red. That throws the whole string out.
I stepped up to them and said “I hope you don’t mind, but I know where you can get red light bulbs, but I hate to take a sale away from Rona.” The sales guy said that the customer getting what he needs is the most important thing. I told him that at the second hand store across the street, they have a bin of assorted loose bulbs, or you could just buy one of the many strings of lights they have just for the red bulbs. The guy thanked me, thanked the salesman and went on his way, I suppose across the street.

The sales guy smiled and asked me if he could help me. I asked him if they had bulb testers. He said that they did have them but were sold out. Sorry! This guy that was walking by told us that I could find the testers at Lowes. He grinned and said “I guess it’s not Rona’s day.” I thanked him and told the sales guy that I would be back and maybe I can buy something then.

It occurred to me that everyone got what they wanted. Someone would get red bulbs, someone would get a bulb tester and someone got satisfied customers. A Christmas miracle? Nah! 

Monday 25 November 2013

Those Creepy Hairless Cats

I shaved the hair off of my arm today. Well, the part of my arm between my wrist and elbow, and just the left arm. I also took a few layers of skin which I didn’t intend at all.

I don’t normally shave my arms or really any part of my body on a regular basis. I do shave my cheeks (on the face) and the upper part of my neck from time to time. I am not a big fan of shaving, the idea of bringing a razor sharp…razor; anywhere near my body is really pretty frightening, especially the first thing in the morning. I’ve used the so called “safety razors” in the past and they are anything but safe. I ended up with more bits of toilet paper on my face than there was left on the roll. I did have some success with electric razors in the past, but they would get dull and eventually they would end up just ripping the hairs off of my face. Very pleasant!
I mentioned before that I bought a straight razor at the second hand store a while back and I actually had the thing up to my neck before the small, sane part of my brain put a stop to the whole silly idea. I have visions of blood spurting out of my neck and me trying to stop it with a little bit of toilet paper.

The reason I was shaving my arm today is that I was sharpening some tools. Three planes and six chisels needed to be touched up. They say that a dull tool is more dangerous than a sharp one, but a sharp one can cut you and you don’t realize it until you see blood on your project. I don’t know how other people sharpen things, but I use a couple of stones, a buffing wheel and finally a strop. If I have done a good job, there will be a mirror finish on the tool and it will shave the hair off of my arm.
Normally, I will do just one or two tools at a time, so my arm gets a chance to reforest itself by the next time I dull a tool. Its winter and I will more than likely be wearing long sleeve shirts for the foreseeable future. I can explain why I have an arm as smooth as a babies bum to my buddies, but I would prefer to just avoid the conversation entirely.

I suppose the good thing is that I have so little body hair to begin with, that it is unlikely anyone would notice a missing bit. Maegan was dating a guy once and at the time I was riding my bike more than I do now. I rode up to them and he asked if I shaved my legs for bike racing. I didn’t have a response back then, and I still don’t have a response after all of these years.  

I suppose I am the human equivalent of the Chihuahua or one of those creepy hairless cats.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Alan P

Sometimes I wonder why memories flit in and out of your head like butterflies. That is just a saying; I don’t actually have butterflies going in and out of my head. That would be pretty cool though and I imagine it would be a very weird feeling.

My mom had one of those exercise machines that had a belt you would put around your thighs and it would supposedly get rid of excess fat. Mom used it a couple of times, but for the most part it just took up space in their bedroom. Steve and I put the belt on our heads more than a few times just to see what it was like. It was indeed a very weird feeling, not at all what I imagine butterflies would feel like.
I was thinking about Alan Patterson for some reason today. Alan was a friend that lived on my street when I was growing up. I think Alan was a year or so younger than I was, but we were often on the same team when we played road hockey, football or work up baseball. He was a nice guy, not a good friend but one of those people who bring a smile whenever you see them. I lost track of Alan in my teen years and pretty much forgot about him.

I did run into Alan in my mid twenties, at a local shopping centre. We saw each other at about the same time and I was genuinely happy to see him. We shook hands, hugging between men was more than a couple of decades away at the time. I asked him what he had been up to over the past few years. He gave me a kind of sideways smile and said “I’ve been in prison for the last three years and just got out last week.”

“Well, I’m going to have to buy you a coffee and donut while you tell me what prison is like.” I told him as we walked into the donut shop. We sat on a bench just outside and basically caught up. He said that jail was mostly not too bad and it was a great place to learn. I figured he was talking about furthering his schooling, but he said he learned how to be a better crook. It turns out that when you put a bunch of morally flexible people in close quarters for a few years, they swap trade secrets.
I asked him what he meant and he looked off into the distance and said, “Well Ken, suppose that you and I decided we needed to make a lot of money without actually doing any real work. We could rent that empty store over there and start a travel agency that would specialize in cruises. We would sell passage on the Queen Mary and take …say…$100 dollar deposit from everyone. That is the money we use to live and pay for our expenses. A week or so before the cruise, we collect the rest of the money and disappear. We do that in Toronto, then move to Regina and end up in Vancouver. You just do it three times and we would each end up with about $500,000.”

I looked at him and said that I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that, and he told me that he wasn’t comfortable doing it either, but sometimes you don’t have any other options. We had run out of things to say to each other and we got up, shook hands and said “See You later.”

I called over my shoulder, “Be good and stay out of trouble Alan!”

He called back “Same to you.”

A couple of years later, I ran into Alan at a warehouse that I was making a delivery to. Same guy, same winning smile, and happiness that he didn’t have the last time I saw him. It turns out that he married and had a baby since I had seen him last. Life wasn’t easy, but it was good.

We couldn’t talk long, but I was really happy for Alan. I haven’t seen Alan since then and probably never will again, but every now and then he will flit in and out of my memory.

Saturday 23 November 2013


Tonight is a good night to do nothing.

I will admit that I spend a lot of my nights doing nothing, but that is a different kind of nothing than tonight. Tonight’s nothing is kind of an unplanned/planned nothing. I didn’t plan for a nothing night, but now that I am in the middle of doing nothing it is really coming together. This could be the greatest nothing I have ever done!

I won’t know until sometime tomorrow of course and by then the nothing will really be something. I am sure that sometime in the future I will strive to do nothing as well as tonight’s nothing, but often it is impossible to recapture the moment when nothing was perfection.

I’ll let you know if this is a good nothing night, a great nothing night or a spectacular nothing night that will be remembered and all nothing nights will be compared to tonight.

Wish me luck!!!

Friday 22 November 2013

Cosmic Message

I had to go out today to pick up some bread and maybe oranges if they were a good price and I was in the mood to buy citrus. It’s funny how sometimes your mood will dictate whether you buy something. “No…no, I’m not really feeling the oranges today. Perhaps I’ll be more ‘orangey’ tomorrow. I’m more accepting of the idea of buying oranges in the afternoon or early evening.” Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds but somehow it makes sense to me.

I managed to start the car, the battery is going I think, and pulled out of the garage into the over bright sunlight. You would think the sunlight would be less bright in the winter; the warmth from the sun is less, so it only makes sense that the light should be dimmer as well. It would be kind of like a cosmic dimmer switch. Anyways, when I started the car, the Christmas CD was playing Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. It was about -17°C, I had underdressed, the windshield was covered in dried road guck and the road itself was a diarrhea white and did I mention how bright the sun was? I wasn’t feeling very “White Christmassy”, so I turned the CD off and turned on the radio. The station that I listen to is the one that plays Christmas music for a month and a half before Christmas. I like the music as a rule and just because I didn’t want to hear Bing, it didn’t mean I was Scrooge.

What was playing on the radio? “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby of course! It turns out that the universe for whatever reason wanted me to hear that particular song at that particular time. I suppose there must be a message in the song for me that I need right now.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten
and children listen.

To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

To begin with, I have no idea what a glistening tree top means. It’s actually a little disturbing if you let your imagination take over. My children haven’t listened to me for about thirty years, if they even did back then. I do have some bike bells that might pass for sleigh bells, but it would be something of a stretch. It keeps coming back to the white Christmas thing, I would like this Christmas to be brownish, or at least the month leading up to it should be brown and then it can snow so the kiddies can use their new sleds. Christmas cards? I would like to do them this weekend, but I would like to lose thirty pounds this weekend too, and short of a miracle, neither is going to happen. Well, the days surely are bright! Too fucking bright, I think I did damage to my cornea today when the sun got past my sunglasses for a second.

I didn’t get much from the song, but who am I to question the universe? I’ll get right on deciphering that cosmic message, just as soon as my hands warm up.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Good and Great

The other day I was having a snack, toast and homemade strawberry jam, and I was thinking to myself how good the jam was. I made the jam so I am more than a little biased, but it is pretty good.

I learned to make jam a few years ago when I had bought far too many strawberries than we could eat, because the price was so good. I had done the same thing the week before and ended up composting the soft, furry strawberries before we had a chance to eat them. They were a real good price, but not good enough to buy for use in the composter. I combined the strawberries with some of the rhubarb that I had harvested to make the jam. The rhubarb is another thing that generally ends up in the composter after a year or so in the freezer.

I found a recipe and just tossed the fruit and a bunch of sugar together to make the jam. There is a little more involved, but luckily, the first batch turned out pretty good. I made another batch and this time I just used strawberries. Another success! Over the years I have continued the strawberry/rhubarb combination, but have added peach jam (my favourite), and have even made cherry jam once. It was pretty good, but not good enough for me to make another batch. Probably because I was the one who had to pit all of those cherries. I have a cherry pitter that I inherited from my mom, but after the first ten cherries or so, it stopped being fun and became an onerous task.

Now, I generally have strawberry/rhubarb and peach jam downstairs in the pantry. I don’t know if it is any cheaper than buying ready made jam, but I get a kick making it and it only takes me about an hour and a half from start to finish. It tastes good and the house smells great for a while, there is no down side. Like I said, the jam I make is pretty good.

I guess there is a difference between good jam and award winning jam. I have had award winning jam before, and it is very good. You might even say it was great. The trouble is, the difference between good and great isn’t that much. Maybe it’s because my taste buds aren’t very well developed, but they have no trouble differentiating between good and bad. I suspect that where food is concerned, everyone can tell what bad is, but good and great is pretty subjective.

Good and great are subjective in a lot of different things. I had a good job, I enjoyed the work and the people and the pay was good, not great. It wasn’t a great job, because to me a great job is doing the thing you would do without getting paid for, but getting a shit pile of cash to do it. My brother-in-law makes great apple pie. He actually makes award winning apple pie. He decided to pass the recipe on to Maegan a few years back and hopefully she will pass it on to someone in many years. His pies are great, but I am more than happy to eat good pies and to tell the truth, the pie doesn’t spend a lot of time hanging around my taste buds.

I think this blog is pretty good. I get a kick out of reading it and I hope that others do too. It isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a great blog. I read great blogs and I am envious of them, but I am simply not willing to put in the time to make this great. Even if it were possible.

There is a distance between good and great, but the distance between good and bad is much, much further apart.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Embrace the Magic

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
                                                                                1 Corinthians 13

Yesterday I was at Sunridge Mall which is just happens to be pretty close to where we live. I’d been there last week to check out their Christmas decorations, but they hadn’t put them up yet. They have been using the same Santa’s Village for many years now, and it is magical. There is Santa’s workshop covered with snow in a forest with different cartoon animals (animated and stationary) perched all around the area. The workshop is decorated with candy canes, gingerbread men, wrapped presents and any number of tree decorations. When you looked at this display in the centre of the mall, you knew that Santa and Christmas are just around the corner.
Yesterday when I checked out the centre court, they had managed to set up the Christmas display. Gone was Santa’s workshop, the cartoon animals, the candy canes and gingerbread men, the presents and decorations. In their place was a large, stylized green Holiday tree decorated with large snowflakes, red and blue balls and white lights. Surrounding the large tree were smaller trees with lights and red and green trees cut out of cardboard and a couple of red boxes which I suppose were meant to represent gifts. At the edge of the area there was an over sized black and white striped love seat where Santa will receive the kiddies.

I know that the malls like to change things up every now and then, but wouldn’t it have a certain continuity if you could have your kid’s pictures with Santa in the same workshop that you had your picture with Santa taken. The mall seems to have bought into the modern, Madison Avenue version of Christmas that is all white and silver with an empty starkness about it. I don’t think they get Christmas at all. Perhaps they have been swayed by those that are saying we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because not everyone are Christians. That’s very true, and if it were strictly a religious holiday I might agree.

The fact is that it is more than a day to celebrate the birth of a religious figure, or to perpetuate a beloved myth, Christmas is the single most important time of year for a large part of the worlds economy. The toy makers of course, clothing, electronics and pretty much all manufactured goods. The travel industry does a fantastic business getting people home for the holidays or getting them somewhere warm for the holidays. The energy industry supplies fuel for heating, travel and shipping around the world. The restaurants and bars are full for months with booked Christmas parties, not to mention people going out to eat. Grocery stores can’t keep food or goodies on the shelf.

Oh, and all of those countries or peoples that aren’t Christian, don’t seem to have a problem manufacturing and selling goods. In fact, I would bet they are more than pleased to supply the needs of Christmas.

I suspect that the person or committee that designed the new Santa`s court at Sunridge Mall are not big on Christmas. I would wager they are the people who complain that they get sick of holiday music and wish that the stores wouldn`t advertise so early. Personally, I think that the person in charge of decorating a mall should speak as a child, understand as a child and think as a child. They should be adult enough to be a big fan of Christmas or at the very least understand just how important it is to our children and economy.

They should embrace the magic of Christmas!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

A Book Found in a Mud Puddle

A few weeks ago, the furnace didn’t start when it was programmed to start. I had to turn the power to the furnace off, shut the gas off and then restart everything to get it working again. Everything was fine until just last week when the same thing happened and I had to go through the re-start process all over again. Something is wrong!
I mentioned the problem I was having to my buddy at coffee and he asked if I had changed the batteries lately. Ummmmm….batteries? Now that I think about it, I had to put some batteries in the programmable thermostat Maegan and I installed at her place a few months back. I’ve never changed the battery in mine in over ten years; I didn’t know there was one. I said that I would check when I got home and promptly forgot all about it.

Just yesterday morning, my buddy asked if the battery was dead in the thermostat. I told him I wasn’t sure ‘cause I had forgotten to check. He called me an idiot and to tell you the truth, he was right.

Yesterday I was sitting in the basement trying to find something to watch on TV when I noticed the dresser that the television was sitting on. It is an old dresser that I inherited from my grandmother. It isn’t a very good dresser, but still I do like it. What interested me yesterday was that I had no idea what was in the drawers. I supposed that they were a repository of assorted memories and junk that I put there so that I could avoid deciding if I should toss the stuff in the garbage. I pulled out one drawer and looked through the old candles, pictures, balloons some old bills and at the very bottom, the instruction manual and warrantee for my programmable thermostat. Funny how life works isn’t it?

I put in new batteries this afternoon.


I remember walking along Lawrence Ave E. in Scarborough when I was about 18, just after a summer rain. I looked down and saw a book sitting in a puddle that had swollen up and looked like a really fat, wet fan. It didn’t have a cover, but for some reason I decided to take it home with me and dry it out. I guess I felt that a book, any book, doesn’t deserve to end its life in a puddle at the side of the road. I let it dry in the sun and eventually it was all dry and just a little worse for it’s experience.
I felt that it was only right for me to give the book a last reading before I tossed it into the incinerator at my apartment building. I started reading and I couldn’t stop. It was one of those books that drew you in and wouldn’t let you go until it was done with you. The book turned out to be “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein who was one of the greatest science fiction writers of his or any time. He was really one of the founders of the genre. I went on to read all of his books and short stories, articles about him and was eventually saddened when he passed away in 1988.
In my mind, his books are the gold standard of what I consider entertaining literature. There are probably more literate authors, but if I ever aspire to become a writer, I would be happy to be a pale imitation of Mr. Heinlein. I suppose that you could say a lot of my core beliefs and values are at least in part a result of my reading Robert Heinlein. I still read “Time Enough for Love” from time to time, and everyone should read “Stranger in a Strange Land” at least once in their lives.

You might not like any of his books; I can’t help that, but give them a try. Who knows, you might end up altering your moral values like I did, from a book found in a mud puddle.