I’ve met many interesting people in life, and sometimes I’ve met an exceptional one

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I make it a practice to not embarrass friends by extolling them on my blog. It’s only fair, after all. But in this case I will make an exception for a remarkable human being I have known for 40 or so years. Man, that’s a big chunk of life.

That person is Jody Paterson. I was mainly inspired to put these words together after having read her words on her blog in which she stated that she and partner, Paul, are heading back to Central America to do a further stint with CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas) to lend their considerable talents to helping others in an often benighted part of the world. This will be their second stint in Nicaragua, and their first (the long duration one) was in Honduras – one of the most challenged countries in the region.

Takes big cojones to leave the comforts of home and hearth in Victoria to do that sort of thing. But, life is short and help is needed and Jody has those cojones even though in real life she is a strikingly exotic looking lady. I truly envy her bravery in many aspects of her varied life.jody and paul

Now, I knew Jody well as a journalist, during her stint in the ink-stained wretch biz she was a reporter, a crackerjack columnist, and ultimately managing editor of the Victoria Times Colonist. But pounding out stuff on a keyboard is just part of who Jody is. First, let’s got back 40 years.

I first met Jody, a Comox Valley girl, in the English 11 class I taught at Vanier Secondary back in the day. She was whip-smart, perceptive and mature beyond her tender years. And, I must confess, I also thought, with her exotic looks that she was pretty darned cute.

After she graduated and became a young mom I ran into her a few times. It was always a delight to meet up with her. I also thought there were many more things she should be doing with her life, as there was so much potential there. Nothing wrong with being a mom, but all that untapped talent, I thought, shouldn’t remain untapped. And ultimately it didn’t. She went off to journalism school and learned the trade that I had been toiling in myself for a few years.

After that I noticed her byline popping up on occasion and that made me very happy. And her investigative reporting style was impressive indeed. We didn’t contact much in those years but I remained aware of what she was doing. And then, many years later, mid-point in the first decade of this century, I was living part time in Victoria and was also doing some freelancing for the Times Colonist, we finally crossed paths again. We had a couple of coffee dates and it was just like old times. Since then we have kept in touch and I have followed other aspects of her career.

She stopped her column and went to work for PEERS (Prostitution Empowerment Education and Resource Society), a passion that grew from her journalistic pursuits in which she saw sex-trade workers too often assaulted, abused, even murdered, as well as being treated with contempt by the legal system. She ultimately became executive director of the organization and her passion stemmed from the fact she was increasingly appalled at the lack of legal rights for these women (and some males) who are treated contemptibly by the system. She remains a strong advocate for legalization of the sex trade, if only to protect the lives of those who ply the trade.

During those years she had many involvements in her quest, and also attained a number of laurels, including an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Victoria in 2012.

And then, if life wasn’t enough of an adventure she, and her life-partner Paul, decamped for Honduras to begin the next phase of life.

And now they’re off to continue their good stuff, and I can only applaud and self-indulgently say I hope we can get together again for coffee some bright day.

I feel privileged to known you, my dear friend.

Maybe the issue is a bit bigger than a matter of a poor sad lion and a mean-spirited dentist

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Personally, I like lions. Not that I’ve ever been acquainted with one personally, but I like to think of them being out there on the veldt, happily taking down okapis and zebras – cos that’s what lions do.

So, I don’t want some hoary old leo – let’s call him ‘Cecil’ – to fall victim to the blood-lust of – let’s say a dentist from the Midwest – who is desperate to prove he has bigger ‘ones’ than a lot of other guys by taking out a geriatric male lion.dental-tools-635568

Yes, I like lions, and I like all of God’s wilderness creatures and that’s why I don’t hunt – though I have not much problem with those who have to hunt for food – and why I find trophy-hunting of the sort practised by, say Midwestern dentists and their ilk to be an abomination.

The point of this is not about the sad demise of poor ‘Cecil’ the lion in a wanton act of some turd trying to prove whatever lame manhood he might have, but about the matter of public shaming via social media.

What are your feelings about the fact nobody can get away with nu thin’ no more if what they are trying to get away with offends others? Good thing or bad thing?

I’m of mixed feelings about the matter. If the argument is something about an issue I’m appalled by (see ‘Cecil’) then I tend to join in the fun and get involved in the universal dissing. But, is that right? Is it a good thing for society that people can no longer hide their baser instincts away for fear of inciting the wrath of everybody out there who happens to be angered by their behavior?tar and fedda

And in honesty, how far is this from social media bullying? Because, no matter how you slice and dice it, that hapless dentist was subject to such massive bullying it made the international media. People wrote awful things about him and frankly wished for his early demise. As it was he was forced to close his practice and that’s pretty close stuff to the old days when somebody we didn’t like was driven out of town on a rail, or metaphorically tarred-and-feathered.

Am I ashamed of my own involvement in the indictments of the guy? In retrospect I am in a way. I don’t condone what he did. I think it was despicable and cowardly and he is definitely not a chap I’d want to have dealing with my molars, but the point is, I didn’t challenge him face-on. None of us on the social net did, so our assailing was also rather cowardly and maybe cruel in its own way.

I guess the point is, be careful of who you criticize and how you carry it out because these things have a tendency to inflate and go in directions we don’t want them to. I am only grateful I’m not one of the ‘exposed’ Ashley Madison subscribers, and people have had a lot of merriment around their misfortune, too.

It’s a different world kids. Some of the differences are good, but some of them are challenging.

Oysters: Tasty little critters with a face only a mother could love — that is, if they had a face

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I think if was Dr. Johnson who said: “Brave was the man who ate the first oyster.” Or words to that effect.

Oysters: After no small challenge you pry the think open and you are left with something that looks a bit like a boorish guy with a bad cold might have spat on a sidewalk. And if you are given to eating oysters in the raw (you can be dressed or not, that’s your option) the sensation of consumption also resembles that bad cold. I mean, I never quite got the point of consuming something that you immediately send down your gullet.

That is combined with the fact the poor little bugger is still likely alive when you send it to your nether regions. And, as Woody Allen said, “I won’t eat something that is still alive, or merely sick our wounded. I want my food to be dead.”

Personally, I love oysters. I like them cooked, if you please, and breaded, or in an oysterburger and I don’t know why in hell we, here in the heart of oyster country, don’t have even one oyster bar in the vicinity. In oyster country in Washington State they absolutely proliferate. Anyway, as I say, I prefer the little bivalve molluscs cooked. The best way of all is to through the unopened oyster into a beach fire’s coals and wait until the heat opens the shells, which means it’s done. Apply a little butter and Tabasco, and it is to die for. Unfortunately the poor oyster literally did die for your treat.walris

Oysters in fact have rather wretched lives. Aside from being eaten, their days are rather a bore. They begin as free-swimming little larval sorts and they probably don’t realize these are the golden days of misspent youth. Once they approach maturity they attach to a rock or some other obtrusive thing and there they stay for all the rest of their lives. And since they don’t even have eyes they don’t get to watch the rest of the maritime world pass by. They are just stuck.

We, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, live in ‘oyster central’ and our Baynes Sound Oysters find their way to eateries all over the place. However, this year has been different. The chronically obsessed who make the rules have decided that algae bloom and hot weather has rendered them perilous to consume in a raw state and that has really hurt the markets for those in the business. I honestly cannot say if eating a raw oyster is risky at the moment. But, it is the summer and I tend to follow the old months without an ‘R’ rule and never pick them at this time of year.

In years past, however, when I lived right on Baynes Sound I used to harvest my own with impunity in all those R months.

I also learned another primary rule. If you are a novice and are about to ‘shuck’ oysters, wear a glove or you can, if you are a putz, lacerate your hand to ribbons.

I’m tired of the matter. Do we have to keep going on and on and on and on and on about it?

pot

I dunno about you but I am growing weary of all the marijuana bullshit being foisted on everyone. If they had never rendered the crap illegal – which had no logic in the first-place, especially in a booze-inundated society – then I (for one, and I’m the only one who counts here as this is my screed) wouldn’t need to be bored senseless virtually every time I pick up a newspaper or watch a TV news broadcast.

Cannabis sativa‘. Despite its hipster associations, has been around since before biblical times and it’s not really that exciting. And get this – pot, grass, weed, mary-jane, locoweed, whatever you want to call it has one and basically only one main purpose – you smoke it and you get high. It may have some subsidiary benefits in pain-relief, but so does a shot of scotch. It does not cure all known diseases, despite what its advocates attest re ‘medical marijuana’. As I suggested, it plays a role as an analgesic, and not much more.

You may choose to dispute what I write in that regard and you are entitled to do so.FreakBrosGreetingCardMoneyNoDope frewak bros

Have I, like, toked, dude? In the day, yes. And, unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled. But, I honestly never liked it. It depressed me, and sometimes made me anxious. It also made me want to have sex with any female within my proximity. So, I eschewed pot and stuck with booze – which also got me into no end of trouble, ultimately.

But, marijuana as an editorial or conversational subject is boring, and marijuana in itself is pretty boring – almost as boring as the conversations of those who are gooned on the stuff, or the conversations of those who believe it will save the world.

Now, to set a few things straight. I fully support the legalization of marijuana because it bemuses me that it was ever rendered illegal, and I find it a disgusting travesty that people were once jailed regularly for simple possession. But, I honestly don’t care what substance people use and have no problem seeing everything legalized other than child molestation. It’s your body, do what you want with it. Just don’t rip off my TV in order to feed your stupid habit.

Something else to set straight is the misapprehension that cannabis is a non-addictive substance. Not so. It is, like all drugs – booze is the worst and kills more people than all other drugs combined – pot is perilous. Addictions counselling I had clients who were wired on pot and only on pot and went through classic withdrawal and relapse in their attempts to quit. Most don’t become addicts, much as 80% or so drinkers don’t become alcoholic. But that factor is there. Pot is also highly contraindicated for young people whose brains are as yet not fully formed. Lots of potential threat there.

Of course the current zeitgeist is so-called ‘medical’ marijuana dispensaries of the sort that have proliferated in larger centres like Vancouver and Victoria. Right, people shop there strictly for therapeutic supplies, which must, of course, be smoked, not consumed in another form. Oh, and organized crime and bikers have no connectedness with such outlets. Right? Weill, OK then.

What I really hope in this situation is that we will get past it faddishness and hence, cease boring me with the matter. There are more important things to address.

What? Another effing election? Didn’t we just have one?

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 9, 2009.       REUTERS/Chris Wattie       (CANADA POLITICS)

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 9, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA POLITICS)

Yet, I do care that Donald Sutherland (and a few other part-time Canadians) has lost his right to vote – that’s despite the fact his first wife is a personal friend and he treated her like shit once upon a time – and that little bit of political effluvia is just one of the reasons I go into the pending election with a greatly enhanced sense of cynicism.

But, despite my cynicism and general distaste for the leading candidates (in all parties) I will vote. I always vote, and invariably am guided by the principle of voting ‘against’ those who revolt me the most. We must vote or this whole ‘democratic’ process is meaningless. Do I think voting should be compulsory, as it is in Australia? No. That affronts the latent anarchist in me. We have a right to not play the game, but I also have the right to choose to do so. That’s one of the few remaining freedoms we have in this here land o’ ours.

Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator -  Thursday April 16, 2015 Trudeau might be open to forming coalition with NDP, but not with Mulcair as leader Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he would "maybe" be more open to the idea of forming a coalition with the NDP if Tom Mulcair was not running the party. Asked on Tuesday whether having someone other than Mulcair as leader would change the dynamic in terms of a coalition between the two parties, Trudeau replied: "I don't know.... Honestly, I don't want to get into hypotheses. Maybe, but maybe not. "There are no problems in terms of personality," he told The Canadian Press in an interview from Oakville, Ont. "Mr. Mulcair is a veteran politician who has proven himself. "His style is anchored in the old way of practising politics. Politics needs to be about rallying. And we have very different perspectives on how politics should be practised." Some recent polls have suggested the possibility of a minority government in Ottawa after this fall's election. Mulcair reiterated his openness last month to a possible coalition with the Liberals if it is necessary to topple Stephen Harper's Conservatives. The Opposition leader accused Trudeau at the time of putting personal interests ahead of those of Canadians because the Liberal leader had repeatedly expressed his lack of interest in discussing coalitions. "Whenever we have opened that door, Justin Trudeau slams it shut," Mulcair said. "My first priority is to get rid of Stephen Harper. The first priority of Justin Trudeau is Justin Trudeau." (Source: CBC News) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-might-be-open-to-forming-coalition-with-ndp-but-not-with-mulcair-as-leader-1.3033196 Canada, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, NDP, Liberal, party, leadership, age, young, old, coalition, election, minority, government

Now, since I, in conscience, must vote, then who in hell do I vote for? That’s a tough proposition when one is pretty contemptuous towards all the knaves and knavettes and their parties. Added to which, I am always loath to commit myself. That’s why I have only married three times despite the fact I have met many other charming females with whom I’d have loved to share bed, board, and possibly genitals. But you know, commitment issues.

I have to ask myself, have I ever encountered a politician who has not (unlike fine wines) turned despicable with age and use. They all start out brilliantly, but ultimately they evolve into utter shits and my use for them and their parties crashes and burns.

So what do we have awaiting us sometime this fall (whenever it is)? Well, first off, the same old stupid parties we have always had, and they never get much better but mainly get worse. And already for what seems like half my lifetime we have heard about how Trudeau Jr. Has “nice hair” and at least they spare us the monotone prolix ramblings of Steve and turn over their contempt for Justin (I’m wary of him because mainly he has one of those tiresome ’70s names like Jason) and leave it to the mutterings of a group of 18th rate actors sitting around a table. Gawd I’d hate to be at that meeting.LizMay02

Anyway, what do we have awaiting us?

Conservatives: I had thought that Brian Mulroney had topped the national polls in terms of almost universal detestation – my ex wife used to turn off the TV when she would hear his smarmy and oily tones therefrom – but if you can judge by Facebook then Mr. Monotone voice ‘helmet hairdo’ elicits unheralded opprobrium of an almost universal nature. However, those who loathe the man should remember that everybody hated Richard Nixon until polling day. For many reasons Steverino seems to have worn out his welcome among those who ‘care’ (whoever they might be) and in that context they will have to give close thought to the alternatives – such as:

Liberals: Young Jason/Justin seems to have an innate ability to find a cowpie and then step in it. He with ‘nice hair’ started with great flourish and it seemed that the Grits had finally found somebody to make up for the huge disappointments of far-too-heralded Ignatieff and the national joke of monolingual Dion. They had this dude. It mattered not a whit that he had virtually no political experience for he was PET’s son-and-heir. But, they seemed to miss the fact he was also Margaret’s son. Not to demean, but mumsy hasn’t been much of a bastion of common sense in her years on the planet. Anyway, don’t count Trudeau fils out just yet but it already seems that the Tories are focusing their energies less on the dude who “just isn’t ready yet” and instead on this guy.

NDP: And ‘this guy’ is Mr. Crankypants, Tom Mulcair. Now, for a guy who was pretty much an unknown commodity before he assumed the helm of the party after the untimely demise of revered Jack Layton, Mulcair ‘The Beard’ has had a lot more impact than people anticipated. He’s bright, articulate and, and this is vital, a damn good street-fighter, handy with his political dukes in a manner much more pugnacious than Trudeau has yet shown. Known to have a bit of a firebrand temper his handlers, however, have gotten him to tone down to good effect. He is, sans doute, Steve’s most formidable adversary. At the same time he is, however, a ‘socialist.’ For those comfortable with that, like assorted teachers and other unionized groups, that’s OK. For others the concept strikes a bit of terror – much of the terror being relatively unfounded. And then there is always the matter of the recent Alberta election. Who’da thunk? Don’t count Mulcair out, a reality of which Steve is probably fully aware.

Greens: Ms. May is a nice lady and a bright lady and also kind of a fiscal conservative (in the small ‘c’ sense) so she might quite possibly get back in. I hope she does. She’s a voice of honesty. However, will the Greens be a big factor? Methinks not.

So, there you have it. When you cast your ballot think long-and-hard and please don’t just stay home – unless you’re Donald Sutherland.

The Mamas and Papas said you ‘can’t trust that day’ and basically they were right

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When I first awaken pre-dawn on a Monday morning I am struck by a brief (very brief) thought of wondering if slashing my wrists would really hurt all that much. Suicide is one thing, but pain is an entirely different thing.

It’s OK. I’m not really suicidal at all, but there is something about a Monday that brings about the impulse of not really wanting to face the realities of the day. Because, in so facing, one must also accept the realities of the week that ensues.calivin

Actually more people off themselves on Monday than on any other day of the week. I have no statistics to bear this out but supposedly it is so, and it makes sense to me. After the wretchedness of our first post-Max week I am a bit hopeful this week will be brighter, though I’m not counting on it. Kind of a realist, me.

Two days of the week evidently cause the greatest angst in western society: Monday and Sunday. And Sunday’s are truly stressful for many. Sundays can be tedious and, in a seeming contradiction, feel both long and short.

“There’s something about a Sunday that makes a body feel alone,” wrote Kris, and rarely has a truer sentiment been penned. Sundays are inclined to be lonely, especially for those who are socially isolated. Sundays also put us in anticipation of Monday, however, and I think that is the real vileness of the day.

Years ago I wrote a column about the wretchedness of Sunday; focusing on the angst that starts to bubble up early in the afternoon and increases in magnitude as the hours crawl (nay speed) by. Anyway for that virtually throwaway column I received more mail and phone calls than any other I ever wrote. Everybody, it seemed, could relate to it.

One guy wrote that the afternoons were so bad he found it prudent to begin drinking at about 2 p.m. so that by bedtime he was effectively blotto and numbed. And while I don’t recommend this approach, I do understand it.monday persoln

But this Sabbath distress, of course, is due to Monday anticipation. Sunday before vacation for example, doesn’t cause boils in the soul. Such a Sunday can be a fine day. No, it is because Sunday is the day prior to the week’s demands.

Personally, I blame all of this adult misery on the schools. A word of advice here, if you are ever in doubt about something to blame for all that is wretched in your life, blame the schools. It’s an easy cheapshot and who could argue with you? Prior to being frogmarched up to first grade, most of us had decent Mondays, filled with play and frolicking. Then a hideous reality was imposed on us and life became less charming. It would always remain less charming. For, even thought school days end, Mondays remain with us until the end. Maybe even after. Maybe Hell is an eternity of Mondays. Yep, so blame the schools.

Don’t believe me that Mondays persist in their badness? Well, take me, for example. I work from home by this stage of my life. I don’t need to suit up and head out amidst the commuter traffic only to end up in a place I don’t want to be. Nope, I don’t have to go anywhere. Yet, my mindset has never changed. After that, Mondays are bound to be bad for the remainder of your life.

I think part of the persistent problem is that Wendy is still working – which is a good thing in essence or they might be hauling us off to the county workhouse due to the fact my pension bucks aren’t exactly the sort of thing to light up the eyes of a 25-year-old golddigger seeking a Sugar Daddy. Just as well probably. So, what I’m saying is my Monday’s aren’t more challenging than other days of the week, but they seem to be.


I still have this big hand twisting my gut, just because it’s Monday. Monday merely reminds me of all the things I vowed to get to during the weekend and also hadn’t addressed the previous week due to such important causative factors as laziness and procrastination. Oh, and Facebook should also be blamed rather than my inability to focus. Consequently, my Mondays leave me feeling immersed in guilt because I know I will decide that the entire challenging Monday task I should address will be deferred until Tuesday.

So, here I am, moving towards Sunday afternoon and writing this blog rather than turning my hand to any sort of freelance writing project that might earn some bucks, but that I don’t feel like doing suck a thing at the moment. I’d rather brood, I think.


Goddamn Mondays.

I blame the schools.

Random musings about life on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge

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-MAX-

Dear God, or whoever is going to be in charge of our cherished Max:

Just wanted to say that there are a few things you should know about one of the finest canines you ever created.

While he is a big and handsome creature and mighty smart and showing all the doggy traits you might expect, it must be said that Max is eccentric. At first this confused us.

So, if you head out with him to the Elysian Fields and expect him to chase balls or sticks, forgetaboutit. Throw a ball and Max will look at your hand, not the projectile. The only meaning a stick has for him is if you throw it down in the heavenly backyard so he can chew it. He’ll do that. Not a lot, but a bit.

Don’t be giving him squeaky or chewy toys. He just doesn’t ‘get’ them. Out earthly home is littered with doggie playthings we got early on. They have remained virtually unmolested through the years (too few) he was with us.

Oh, and wildlife. That is joke. Rabbits can do the can-can in front of him and he merely looks at them with bemusement. Squirrels and cats he can sometimes give chase to, but only if they run and taunt him, otherwise, nature’s creatures can rest assured they are safe with Max. While he was with us the only exception he made about wild critters was for raccoons, which he detested with a vengeance. I understand that, of course, because raccoons are spawn of Satan. Oh, and one time he had a confrontation with a big doe on Whitby Island during a vacation trip. She scared the crap out of him.

I don’t know if you serve puppy treats in dog heaven, but be assured they can be left out with easy access and Max will never steal them. He never once swiped a single item of food the entire time he was on earth.

Don’t get the idea that Max was a canine saint, however. We thought he was, but we were biased. While he liked most people and other dogs, he did make exceptions as follows. Max did not like:

– teenage boys. But who does? Girls were fine.

– Puppies. He expected them to be disciplined and if their owners weren’t going to do it, he sure as hell was.

– he seemed to like little children, but didn’t quite ‘get’ them or what they were for.

He did like:

– old guys. I don’t know if that is a reflection on me or not, but if a geezer approached Max he was bound to like him.

– ladies in general, of all ages. I periodically thought that if I had been single that once I had Max in tow, I would never be dateless. Met all sorts of charming women, thanks to him.

– other dogs. Mature, well-disciplined canines were his forte. And he had a few absolute favorites, like Abby (whom he adored and she also passed much too early), and Jake and Meatloaf and Zoey, all of whom are gone now. The old gang was broken up by mortality and I only hope they are all playing together once again.

– running on a sandy beach hell-bent-for-leather.

– walkies, in the NE Woods especially.

– traveling. He was a wonderful vacation dog, always open to new adventures.

– and at the end of the day a good scratch behind the ears.

Whatever the case, we’ll see you again, Baby, and we’ll know you have behaved yourself. That’s just in your nature.