Sunday 21 August 2016

Drinking the Tea

Last week I was at the dentist for my semi annual check up. They usually fall in and around August and then again just into the New Year. I suspect that the August appointment pays for the summer vacation house on a lake somewhere and the January appointment takes care of Christmas expenses. How much work I need is more than likely directly related to the amount of debt accrued. I am good with that and so it seems is my insurance provider.
 Scarlet lily beetle lilioceris lilii.jpg
While the dental hygienist was stabbing my gums with razor sharp tools we were talking about a variety of subjects. Well, she was talking and I was doing the best I could with bleeding gums. I mentioned that our Tiger Lilies had been decimated by the Scarlet lily beetle and according to the City of Calgary website there is little or nothing to be done short of picking the beetles and larva off with my bare hands. That isn’t an option, what if the beetle jumped up my nose or into my ear? I would be dead in three seconds. The hygienist told me that she made a nicotine “tea” and sprayed the plants which seemed to work really well.
The recipe is the tobacco from two to four cigarettes, a few drops of oil and a few drops of dish soap.

Of course, I went home and forgot about the conversation until yesterday when I looked at my poor Tiger Lilies. I had found some cigarettes a couple of years ago and kept then in case there is ever a smoker’s emergency in my home. I can’t imagine what the emergency would be, but when I smoked and ran out of cigarettes I wasn’t above ransacking ashtrays for good sized butts. It didn’t have to be my ash tray either, any one would do. I made the tea with the tobacco from four cigarettes and today I strained the mixture and added the other ingredients.
Those Scarlet Lily beetles didn’t know what hit them! Dead in fifteen minutes. Well, I suppose that they could be in a nicotine induced coma or maybe it put them to sleep. I don’t even want to consider that it stimulated their sex drive and they are laying on the leaf with a come hither look in their eyes. I am hoping that at the very least they will go thru serious nicotine withdrawal. Let the little bastards suffer.

While I am elated that the “tea” seemed to work really well, I am more than a little worried. You see, I smoked for about thirty years or so and although I have been smoke free for more than a few years, it is a little disconcerting. So far I am still breathing the toxic city air and maybe my tar coated lungs are protecting me from even worse toxins that my pink lunged friends are soon to be suffering from.

I should be okay, I don’t remember pouring hot water on my smokes and I have refrained from drinking the tea.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Olympic Dreams

I have been watching the Olympics from Rio on and off for the past week and bit now. Louise is the real fan in the family and I just wander in every now and then and catch the final or semi-final action in whatever sport happens to be on at the time. I suppose that if I wanted to, I could spend the entire time the Olympics are on in front of the TV. I don’t really want to, not because it isn’t compelling TV, but because I really need to do other stuff.

I have trouble understanding just what drives these super human athletes to dedicate their entire young lives to their particular sport. Most athletes will never make it to the world stage but they will dedicate hours every day training to reach their peak performance level. I envy them and pity them at the same time.

I think it is unfair to put the nation’s hopes for medals onto their shoulders when we as a country have done little to get them to the world stage. Well, we haven’t done enough certainly to take any kind of credit for how they perform. It is unfair to add the burden of winning when in my mind just by getting to the Olympics they are already winners. Oh, we do like a winner.

When I see just how much these games cost to put on, I wonder if it is worth it. Most games run into the red and the host countries are saddled with facilities that are underused for the most part after the games. If those facilities are kept up it is a boon for the countries athletes training for years to come. The benefit of Olympic Games cannot be measured in dollars.

Today when I was driving home from somewhere, I noticed three little girls playing in a local field. They were doing cart wheels and one even did the splits (ouch). They may do this all the time, but I can’t help but think that their behaviour is directly linked to watching gymnastics done to perfection at the Olympics. I suppose that is the real payoff, future athletes dream of what is possible. Awesome! 

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Christmas Crazy

Well, it is August and that means that Christmas can’t be far away. Sure we have to make it past the Olympics, Labour Day, back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving, baseball and football playoffs (Canadian) and of course Black Friday. But, it is just around the corner, a big corner I will grant you, but it is a corner.

Unlike a lot of people, I like to hear Christmas/Holiday music all year long.
I always keep some sort of decoration out all year as a reminder not to forget to decorate at the end of November. This year we have a couple of bells hanging in the dining room. There may be some others that just escaped getting packed away last winter, but if bigger is better then more should also be better.

I can do the music easily enough, but it is a little harder to watch Christmas movies. Sure, I have some of the classics on DVD, but for some reason I just can’t bring myself to watch them without snow on the ground or threatening to be on the ground very soon. I could watch those cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies that tug on the heart strings and in the end that non-believer manages to find the holiday spirit. I have two or three of them on my PVR, but until today it has been impossible for me to watch them. I watched just about ten minutes of one, Trading Christmas, baby steps I suppose.

The odd thing is that the cable network seems to be thinking like I do and have begun to program the odd Christmas movie. I just finished watching “Crazy For Christmas”.
It just happened to be on and was just daring me to watch. I think it was a double-dog dare, so I had no choice but to watch. I look forward to a smattering of movies in the months to come. Just enough to whet my appetite and then come December I can go Christmas crazy myself.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Third Nipple

I can only watch so much of the Olympics and then I have to take a break. I have never been much of a sports fan because I don’t really understand what drives the athletes. Personally, I think that personal challenges have far more meaning than measuring your abilities against someone else. There will always be someone better than you are and even if you happen to come out ahead on any given day, the next day or the day after, you are bound to lose and in the process you will inevitably find yourself frustrated and wanting.

I suppose that glory can be an end unto itself.
Anyways, it was during one of those breaks from watching the best athletes in the world that I found myself channel surfing. I came across “The Man With The Golden Gun” a James Bond flick starring Roger Moore. It was just starting and I just love watching the opening sequence on any Bond film. Unfortunately, I missed that opening, but stayed to watch as the screen had a lovely lady in a bathing suit on a beach. Herve Villechaize was brining a bottle of champagne for her and his boss Francisco Scaramanga. This is not one of my favourite Bond films and roger Moore was a much better “Saint” than he is a “Bond”.
When we first meet Scaramanga he is just coming in from swimming and as we towel off there is a close up of his chest and it shows a third nipple. It’s kind of a random thing to put in a movie and I can’t remember if it plays any significant role in the film. I am pretty sure I would remember the movie that had a third nipple in it. I did a very small amount of research and it seems that in some cultures a third nipple is an indication of sexual prowess. I can’t imagine any culture where it would come up on a regular basis, but then again albinos are pretty rare and we tolerate lefties and red heads.

“The Man With The Golden Gun” was Ian Flemings twelfth Bond book and I am trying to think like he did.
Image result for the man with the golden gun
“Hmmm…I need a really scary villain for this book. I’ll have him be the world’s foremost assassin and a crack shot who has never missed a target he aimed at. I will give him an evil little person as his henchman. If he were to have a French accent so much the better for the book. Oh yeah, he only uses golden bullets and shoots from a solid gold gun. To make him really evil, I will give him a third nipple.”

To be fair, Fleming died after the first draft of the book and didn’t have a chance for the all important second draft. That is the draft that you read and wonder just what the hell you were thinking of…third nipple!

I don’t think the third nipple moved the plot forward at all, but that is just me.

Thursday 4 August 2016

The Tragically Hip

Louise and I went to the Tragically Hip concert last night and it was pretty good.
 Image result for The tragically hip
The Hip are not my favourite band and to tell the truth I don’t know a lot about them other than hearing a few of their hits that have made it on to my radio stations. The music is more from my kid’s generation than mine and everyone at the concert seemed to have a great time singing and dancing to the music. That is as it should be. If I am being honest, I wouldn’t be a big fan of the music even if it had been from my generation, just a little to “heavy” for my liking.
I go to concerts for the music of course, but also to watch the people. Any time you get several thousand humans together there is bound to be things that are odd to watch. Outside the main doors there were three booths set up selling Tragically Hip t-shirts and other Hip related materials. Two of them were doing a steady business, but the third booth had six or seven lines about fifteen people deep. As far as I could tell, they were selling the same or similar things and if I really cared I would have waited in line or asked someone. I didn’t care enough.
There was one guy that we watched going up and down the stairs about ten times getting beer. He either had a prodigious appetite for fermented beverages or he was trying to get the whole section drunk. I remember back when I was regularly attending concerts the thought of missing even one song to go to the bathroom was heart breaking. I would never have left my seat to go to the concession stand, and I was generally really high and had serious munchies. In defence of the beer guy, I could get high by smoking in my seat and today the high is alcohol related. Times have changed.

There was a lot more comings and going during the concert, but that may have more to do with technology than anything else. Maybe there are screens and speakers in the concourse so than people can spend their money and not miss the show.

The reason we were there is that Louise bought tickets in case my son didn’t get any and she also wanted to see the last tour of the Hip. My son managed to get his own tickets to the Monday night concert and we went to the Wednesday night one. I didn’t know the music well enough and missed a lot of words and as is usual with me, I found the music too loud. I wore ear buds to muffle the sound and I suspect they worked just a little too well.
Of course there is also the fact that Gord Downey has terminal brain cancer. I don’t know if I would be able to do a tour knowing that I was going to die. Part of me thinks yes and the other part thinks no. He is raising money for charity and giving the fans a gift that they will never forget. He has lived a wonderful life and although it will be cut short I doubt that he will have many regrets other than leaving his family far too soon.

I was happy to have been at the concert and shared in the collective joy the audience sent to the stage. 

Tuesday 2 August 2016

A Badly Drawn Window

It has been a long time since I was in grade school, but there are aspects that I can remember quite clearly. I don’t know how things are done now, but back in the day we used the same books in the same grades year after year. Sometimes you would find yourself with a book that an older brother or sister had a year or two previously. Some of the books looked as if they had been in use since confederation.

If you were lucky, you would get a book that had been treated with the reverence it deserved and it would be readable without stupid notations in the margins or erased letters so the remaining letters would spell “dirty” words. Good for a laugh, but often pages would be ripped out and you would have to borrow a friends book to see what you missed. Every now and then, a book would get to the point that it was no longer of any use to anyone and have to be replaced. This would result in several editions of textbooks being used in the same class causing the teacher to tell the students with the “blue” book to turn to page 64 and those with the “red” and “purple” covers to turn to page 59. No problem for those students that were paying attention, but some of us spent most of our time watching the world on the other side of the glass. I was forever wondering what the hell was going on and often unable to find any sense in what the teacher was talking about.

I suspect that in this day and age the students all get pristine new textbooks every year or two. The budgets for the school boards are larger and parents demand the absolute best for their tax dollars. I guess the idea is that the newer books have newer, up to date information that an older book doesn’t have. Maybe they are right, but my generation managed to effect social change, put a man on the moon, invent computers and develop the ability to destroy the planet in any number of unpleasant ways. All of that using old, dog eared textbooks.

Every year would begin with introductions, essays on how we spent the summer and being handed the various textbooks that we would need. Along with the textbooks we would be given sheets of dust jackets which we would fold on each and every textbook to protect it from errant pencil marks, food stains and daily wear and tear. Usually they were supplied by a bank, an insurance company or even the textbook publishers. They came with a space to write your name, the class, grade, subject and a place on the back to make notes. I would always fold that stuff on the inside and have a nice blank white cover for all of my subjects. Within a very short time, I would be able to tell which book belonged to which class by the doodles on the covers. Very rarely would the doodles have anything to do with the subject, I wasn’t much of an artist.

Surprisingly, that is one of the things I learned in school that I still use fifty years or more later. I generally just use newspapers to put a protective cover on mine and the libraries books since I don’t have access to insurance company covers. The covers protect the book from coffee stains and oily fingers. I guess not much has changed over time. I also like to use the covers so that my public reading can remain private.

The doodles haven’t changed much over the years but are still quite satisfying in their own way. I’m sure that they just might be a window into my soul, a badly drawn window, but a window just the same.