Tuesday, 25 October 2016

That’s Enough Work For Now

I was watching a video on Youtube today of traditional Hawaiian fishponds. They built walls of stone in the ocean that was under water at high tide and at low tide the stone wall would keep fish inside. It was a relatively simple matter to harvest the trapped fish with a net. Pretty smart and very effective.
 Image result for hawaiian fish pondsImage result for hawaiian fish ponds
I have been thinking about making a net for a number of years now. I don’t have an ocean with a low stone wall out of my back door. More is the pity. I don’t even like fish very much unless it is battered and deep fried, served with a bucket of French fries. However, I think that net making would be a pretty useful skill if our society collapses and I need to trade knowledge for food.
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I also have a ball hanging from the rafters in the garage that lets us know when the car is parked in the correct position which would benefit from being in a net. Right now it just has a rope with an eye hook, but Hurricane and Tornado make short work of it when I let them play in the garage. I think a net would take the pounding and still be useful for parking the cars. If I could make a large enough net, the sweet peas would have a cool place to climb next summer. I could make a net to hold all of the various balls that I have accumulated over the years. I should probably toss them out as they no longer hold air.
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Even though I have lots of reusable bags and baskets for grocery shopping, I have an image in my mind of European ladies coming from the market with a net bag filled with fresh produce. I could be one of those European ladies! I could make a hammock, not right away of course, but eventually. It would be light enough that I could take it to Hawaii with me and stretch it between two palm trees over looking some Hawaiians using a traditional fishpond.
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Well, now I have managed to come full circle without any effort what-so-ever. That’s enough work for now. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

John XV LI

This seems to be a weekend to think about the past.

Last night I went to a get together at a local bar with many of the people I used to work with. It was fun to reminisce and laugh about the people and happenings from twenty years ago. They are still just as funny and just a little twisted as they were back in the day. Most of them are retired now and those that aren’t are counting down the days. Good for them. We are all a little greyer, a little thicker and not one of us would be the first to get down on our knees to pick up a quarter. Getting back up is a bitch.

We played catch up remembering the stories of kids that are now adults with kids of their own. There was a fair amount of grandkid talk and it was interesting to see the eyes light up when we got going. Of course we also talked about those that hadn’t come to the get together and those that would never again come to a get together. I have always been a little uncomfortable talking about death but lately I am less uncomfortable and more interested to hear that they passed quietly and in peace. You get a lot of old farts together and it’s either, grandkids, operations or funerals as the subject of conversation.

Luckily, all of us have retained our dirty minds and foul mouths. Some things never change.

Tonight, a good friend from high school is celebrating his 65th birthday. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as that damned lottery fairy forgot where I lived…AGAIN! I would love to be back in Scarborough as the weather is nicer than it is here and there will be a killer party. It’s hard to believe that John will be 65. It’s hard to believe that I would let a quarter stay on the ground because my knees ache.

I do remember another party for John about 50 years ago. The walls were covered in tinfoil with strobe lights reflecting off of them. The music was incredibly good and loud and relatively new. Those songs wouldn’t be golden oldies for another fifteen years or so. There was a cake that was bejewelled with all sorts of candy and quite possibly made with love and herbs. There was so much smoke hanging in the air that Jack the Ripper would have felt like he was in London’s Whitechapel district. Not surprisingly, everyone was smiling and having a very good time. We were young and had endless opportunities in front of us.

Not all of our dreams have been realized but for the most part there is a happiness that has followed all of us through the years. There isn’t one of the people at that party so many years ago that I have ever regretted being a part of my life. John has remained steadfastly at the centre and is the rock that anchors us all.

Happy Birthday John and may life continue to intrigue you for many years to come.
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Winter is Coming

It’s too early for snow…
It’s too early for snow…
It’s too early for snow…
It’s too early for snow…
It’s too early for snow…
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I suppose that I would say that no matter when the snow came. Mind you, sometime around mid December I would be wondering where the snow is and how are we going to have a white Christmas for the kiddies. However, this is not mid December; it is the beginning of October, much too early to be winter. I have come to expect a fifty-fifty chance that we will have sub-zero temperatures on Halloween, but not until then.
 Image result for mother nature screwing with us
Mother Nature is screwing with us this year. I have a feeling that this year is going to be a deep cold and deep snow kind of winter. Bear in mind that I have rarely managed to predict the weather accurately. I have heard that if the Mountain Ash is heavily loaded with berries then the winter will be long and cold. I guess the reasoning is that nature will provide enough food for the birds to make it through the winter. 
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Good theory. However, as often as not if one Mountain Ash is heavily loaded then the Mountain Ash across the street will have very few berries. I guess that Mother Nature doesn’t like the birds of the north side of a street.

If I am to be honest, it really isn’t that cold and most of the snow has either melted away or is hiding from the sun in sheltered corners. If this weather came in March, I’d be wearing the spring jacket and contemplating going for a bike ride. It is all very subjective and how I feel depends on my mood at any given moment.

Today I say “BRING IT ON!”

Tomorrow I will probably burrow under the covers and tell Louise to come get me when I can wear shorts again.

All I know is that I agree with the people at “Game of Thrones”


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Saturday, 8 October 2016


I had to walk to the store to pick up a couple of lotto tickets this afternoon. Well, I didn’t have to walk and between you and me I could have passed on the lotto tickets since the chance of my winning is about 14,000,000:1.

The reason I choose to walk is that we have a very thick fog and fog is pretty rare around here. We tend to have a pretty dry climate and the conditions are rarely right for fog unless you happen to be a duck floating on a pond the first thing in the morning. Not being a duck, I was pretty excited. Fog is magical! The real world disappears and is replaced by imagination. Brigadoon comes out of the fog, Leprechauns live in the fog and unicorns are born of fog. Fog covers a black and white world with gauze.

I would be okay with Brigadoon and the unicorns, and I just might grab a Leprechaun.  I couldn’t tell if my glasses had fogged over or if the fog was really that thick. I was afraid to cross the road in case a car appeared suddenly. All sound was as muffled as sight. The last time I was in a fog this thick was on Vancouver Island hiking the West Coast Trail. From what I have heard, that section of beach was and is beautiful. I only saw grey and counted myself lucky that I didn’t get turned around or lost.

I have always loved to watch clouds. I imagine all sorts of images that they make as the wind blows them across the pale blue. The Chinook clouds are a welcome respite in the middle of a cold, harsh winter. Rain clouds are welcome…sometimes. There is nothing more gorgeous than how the sun dances over the clouds at sunrise and sunset. Clouds are wonderful.

Not lazy clouds though. Lazy clouds just lie on the ground and don’t do anything constructive at all. Lazy clouds are all fogged up!

The next time I decide to walk to the store in a fog, I just might take someone with me with less imagination. Today it’s entirely possible that I brushed against a unicorn and bought my lotto ticket at a shop in Brigadoon with a dollar I got from a Leprechaun. That has to be lucky doesn’t it? I’m going to say yes.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Everyone is a Winner

So, it’s a pretty busy time of year for the sports fan. Major League Baseball is in the quarter finals, CFL football is half way through the season and I think that Hockey starts regular season games this weekend. I haven’t a clue what is happening with basketball, lacrosse, bowling or barrel jumping and to tell the truth, I don’t much care about any of them.

I follow the games enough so that I only sound like an idiot when the other men are talking sports instead of a babbling idiot. Sport is a form of entertainment that lacks appeal for me because in my heart of hearts I believe the games are rigged. I know if I were in charge of a billion dollar industry I would attempt to control the outcome and I am an honest guy. The greedy bastards are sure to be controlling the games.

I remember watching the Harlem Globe Trotters when I was younger. They were fantastic! Really skilled players, entertaining and funny, and making the games look effortless. Sure the opposing teams wouldn’t try to win, but the Globe Trotters were the cream of the crop. I think that is when I began to think something was amiss with sport. If a retired basketball player could score on the opposition from beneath his own net, then why wouldn’t the pros do the same thing? They would if winning was of the utmost importance.

It doesn’t matter if the games are fixed or not as long as the fans are getting their moneys worth when they go to a game or watch it on TV. It is the same as watching any TV show, we know what is happening isn’t real but for the hour we are watching we can suspend belief.

Right now, the Toronto Blue Jays are doing well in their series against Texas, one more game to go. Maybe they will win the pennant this year or maybe they aren’t destined to win for another thirty years. All that matters is that we enjoy watching, the players earn obscene amounts of money and the owners continue to get whatever they are looking to get from owning the teams.

Everyone is a winner…except the Toronto Maple Leafs of course  

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Alive and Healthy

I have a few friends on facebook and in the real world that have beliefs that I find curious. Okay, there are more than a few of my friends that are odd in one way or another that is what I like about them for the most part. What I find curious is that some of my friends are antivac people.

The first time I heard “antivac”, I just thought they were people who hated to clean the house. I completely understand; I don’t like having to clean the house either. If God had wanted us to have clean houses He would design them so that the prevailing winds would do the dusting for us. It turns out that “antivac” people don’t believe in vaccinations. It isn’t like they don’t believe in vaccinations like some people don’t believe in an all powerful being (who cleans homes with the wind), but they simply feel that vaccinations aren’t good for you.

Gob smacked!!!

I am a child of the sixties and have taken to heart that we can and do have a better life due to drugs both legal and should be legal. When I was little and sick, my mom would give me medicine that the doctor gave her for me and generally I would feel better within a short period of time. In grade school I can remember lining up in the school gymnasium with all of the other kids in the school and we would be inoculated for smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio. I didn’t care what was happening, just so long as I got out of class and close enough to Mike Rogers to watch him faint when he saw the needle. Nearly six decades later, I still haven’t contracted any of those diseases so the inoculations must have worked.

I am sure that the antivacs people would have me believe that I would never have contracted the disease anyway. In my mind they are wrong. I have a buddy, just a little older than I am and he came down with polio and it has affected his foot all of his life. My uncle had his left side paralysed. Polio was and still is a horrible disease. Thankfully, it is almost eradicated in the world, almost but not quite and if we aren’t vigilant it will come back. By vigilant I mean that kids need to get the vaccine, ALL KIDS in the world. There is a wonderful podcast that interviews Bill Gates and then the man in charge of the Gates Foundation polio eradication program, Jay Wenger. It is a fascinating hour and forty minutes. If you want to cut out Bill Gates, he is interviewed for the first 40 minutes so just skip it.

I understand the paranoia about government and big business using us as pawns and I think I can wrap my head around the “scientific” reasons why I shouldn’t use the available medication. What I don’t understand is Why. Why would any government or business seek to poison us? Money? Power? Just ‘cause? Yes, some people live to be 104 and have only chewed willow bark and taken a shot of vodka every day since they were 7. Far more people have died before their time because they were unable to get the proper medication.

We shouldn’t be asking first world people about vaccinations, we should be asking a mother in Afghanistan if she would like a drug that might keep her baby alive and healthy. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Good Night Sweet Prince

I can’t remember a night that I didn’t say “Good Night Sweet Prince” to myself just before dropping off to sleep.

I suspect that one of my parents was the first one to say it to me and it has rattled around in my head for decades. They probably looked at me while I was sleeping and couldn’t believe how angelic I looked when unconscious. I am equally sure that for them it was a silent prayer that I would sleep long and wake up relaxed and in a pleasant mood. Unfortunately for them, I was a kid and part of my job description was to make it so they never did get the proper amount of sleep.

Like I say, I don’t remember when I started to say “Good Night Sweet Prince”. I’d like to think that I looked in on my kids and let that phrase rattle around in their subconscious minds for a few decades, but I don’t think so. I do remember saying “Sleep tight and don’t let the bugs bite, but if they do hit them with a shoe until they are black and blue.” I’m going to have to ask them if they have irrational fears about being bitten by bugs while they slept and/or waging a war against the bugs only armed with foot wear. That is the stuff of nightmares.

I am one of those lucky few that have never suffered from insomnia and happen to fall asleep within minutes of the light going off and my head hitting a pillow. I have woken up sleeping on a mountain side of broken rocks. The key is to get as comfortable as possible and once your mind drifts off then your body will follow. I woke up in the doctor’s waiting room with my daughter and the doctor seeing who could stick the most Post It notes on my head and body. It was the laughter that woke me, not the sticky paper.

I do feel kind of stupid saying “Good Night Sweet Prince” to myself, but at this point in my life I don’t think I should take a chance that it has no real significance at all. I have often said to my insomniac friends that “Those who are pure of mind and body have no difficulty falling asleep.” I never reveal my secret though and never will. You are welcome to give it a try and if it works for you…keep it to yourself!