Monthly Archives: December 2015

That was the year that was. It’s over, let it pass


It behooves me at this time to write something end of the year-ish. 2015 has nearly shot its bolt and I for one am rather relieved. It truly wasn’t a year to write home about. Wait a minute, this is home so I wouldn’t need to write to myself, although in doing this, in a way, I am writing home about it. How confounding.

As years go, 2015 was not a red-letter one. It had its downsides. I have had some health issues that are not yet resolved, as in my back and balance concerns. I’m used to being pretty healthy so this is a bit galling to me. But, I am relying on the pros I have been dealing with to sort stuff out. Mutter-mutter.WendyIanMax1WMD1Dec081

The worst aspect of 2015 was unexpectedly losing Max. That big, pretty, gentle canine brought so much to our lives in the years he was with us and as he was only10 we expected him to be around for a few years yet. That was not to be and the episode of choosing euthanasia was devastating to us both. But, we had no choice. Cancer, canine or human, can be relentless.

At least Max’s death proved to me that I had not lost (as I had thought theretofore) the ability to cry. Don’t know how many tears were shed and when I think of my last words to my adored dog — “I love you, baby, Good-bye for now” — said when I kissed him on the top of his lovely head, I still mist up. Likely always will. The most difficult aspect of his death was accepting the realization he would never be coming home again. Wendy and I lost a vital component of our family in 2015. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child.

As bad years go, though, 2015 wasn’t my worst by a long shot. That honor goes to 1996. In that year I lost a marriage (ultimately a very good thing) and a lovely home, and I also learned that drinking and driving is a boneheaded thing to do, so I also lost the right to drive for a good length of time. In retrospect that shock to my self-esteem also proved to be a good thing, though it did not seem so at the time.DSCN0798

But, back to this year just ending. It had some high-points and paramount amongst them was our journey to Alaska by sea. I had never wanted to take that trip. It was a northern trip. I am a southern person: Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii and so forth beckon me. So, I had no idea of how splendid Alaska could be. In retrospect I would not have missed that cruise for the world and would easily do it again. BC’s north coast and the Alaska Panhandle waters are unexcelled.

So, now it is 2016 (nearly). What will that mean? I don’t make prophesies and I don’t make resolutions. Well, I do make some resolutions mentally, but not for public scrutiny. That way if i fail to hold a firm resolve, nobody can rub my nose in it. The year will be what it will be and I have no control over the forces of destiny.

*Happy 2016 Everybody.*

Disregard the following item

homers braneOK, I have been a little Homeresque today. I don’t mean the ancient Greek guy, but the moron who lives in Springfield and drinks far too much beer.

Anyway, that Homer is a buffoon and that is the way I feel due to the fact I screwed up when I was trying to reproduce my annual report from WordPress. I’ll get it right eventually. There is probably some incredibly obvious step I have missed. D’oh!

That was the year that was


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And I still think so

2015 in blogging

Happy New Year from!

About the fireworks

We made beautiful, animated fireworks to celebrate your blogging! Unfortunately this browser lacks the capability. We made a slide show to fill in but we hope you will come back to this page with an HTML5 browser. In our tests, Safari or Chrome worked best.

This report is private Make public

To kick off the new year, we’d like to share with you data on your blog’s activity in 2015. Start scrolling!

Crunchy numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 427 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 93 MB. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was August 10th with 222 views. The most popular post that day was If there is a Good Lord, may he bless and keep you, wonderful dog.



Posting Patterns

In 2015, there were 149 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,154 posts.

Longest Streak

3 days

28 May – 30 May

Best Day


with 33 posts total

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Attractions in 2015

These are the posts that got the most views in 2015. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2015. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again. 2 ) {
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Where did they come from?


That’s 160 countries in all!
Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & United Kingdom were not far behind.

Who were they?

Your most commented on post in 2015 was If there is a Good Lord, may he bless and keep you, wonderful dog

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Perhaps you could follow their blog or send them a thank you note?

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See you in 2016

If you like what you saw in this summary and want to know more about how your blog is doing, you can always visit your Site Stats, where our helper-monkeys are working day and night to provide you with pages and pages of detail on how your blog is doing.

Thanks for flying with in 2015. We look forward to serving you again in 2016! Happy New Year!

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2014 Report



It’s true that doing crosswords can keep you from resorting to ‘angry’ words

morse 2

I don’t know if I should take advice about maintaining mental balance from Norman Mailer considering the fact that he stabbed his wife, Adele Morales in 1960, following a drunken party, and nearly killed her in the process.

But. Mailer did maintain – he had a huge fear of going gaga in later life – that the brain must be regularly exercised like every other part of the corpus. For that he advised following his pattern, which was to do the New York Times crossword on a daily basis to aid with basic information that we might be in jeopardy of losing; as well he also played a few hands of solitaire to help with numeracy, logic and ratios.puzzle

Truly, it all makes a hell of a lot of sense. I too do the NYT crossword, especially the Sunday one and it does keep me mentally spry and quells the impulse to stab my domestic partner (just kiddding, dear, it was a cheap throwaway line). I love that crossword and its editor Will Shortz (pictured) is one of my cultural heroes.

I do that one and I also do the LA Times weekend one and also own a number of crossword books just to keep myself in form. Sports demand that we oil the mechanism often.

When I was young I didn’t do crosswords. I also got laid a lot and partied a lot and maybe that’s kind of self-explanatory. Now those activities demand levels of energy that I don’t perhaps have any longer. So, crosswords fill the void. And you learn stuff. You know, for example, if there is a question pertaining to an obscure town in Oklahoma, that town is bound to be ‘Enid’. If the puzzle wants you to name Anna Karenina’s lover you will know immediately that it is ‘Alexei’

Some categories I am weak in, like football coaches and the like. I do better with baseball players and if in doubt the answer is bound to be the Alou brothers or Mel Ott. I am confessedly bad at rap or hip-hop questions, anything to do with Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter which I am inclined to think are the same thing. Hint: they’re not. will

I am also a confessed coward with crosswords in that I don’t attempt the cryptic ones, which are the British speciality. Why don’t I do those? Because they suffer from a fatal flaw for me – they’re too difficult. And also I think I’m just mentally alert enough to be able to carry on as it is without them. I don’t like failing at something and I am left with the nightmarish memory of once traveling on a train from London to Edinburgh and I bought a crossword book to help me while away the hours. It was a London Times crossword book. Huge mistake. For one thing, to do them you need a cache of reference books a la Inspector Morse. And look what happened to him.

This ink-stained wretch tends to long for an earlier time in the trade


I have had a few addictions in my life; some of them unhealthy, and others rather fun and frolicsome. Blessedly I have steered clear of hard drugs, and I am thankful for that. I have worked professionally with junkies. It’s a brutal curse. As for my other addictions through the years, I won’t elaborate extensively.

I used to drink a whole lot. Now I don’t at all and haven’t for nearly 20 years. I used to smoke heavily. Booze is much easier to give up than nicotine. And I used to be a bit indiscriminate with liaisons. No longer do that. I value my marriage and the choice I made. And the choice she made.paperboys newsboys

Oh, there are others, too. Bacon and little devilled eggs are right up there along with the dessert section at a buffet, watching reruns of NCIS

and needing to find something to read while on the john. Don’t you just hate it when you need the facilities at another’s home and there is nothing to read but the labels on shampoo bottles?

And, one addiction has never waned, and that is for newspapers. I can go through withdrawal if I don’t have newspaper access. When we travel I must find the local newspaper of note just so I can keep up with what is what wherever I might be. The most fun paper was the local rag on Rarotonga. Correspondents would have vicious arguments in the letters section; really libellous accusatory stuff. I regretted that I couldn’t read the ones that were written in Maori in this bilingual paper. I bet there was some really snarky stuff press

The most newspaper-oriented place in which I have ever lived was the UK. That was just one of the reasons I loved writing a column there. I mean, I got so many responses to my stuff because folks read me. I was invited to speak at various functions and for different groups and my column enable me to meet a plethora of nice people there. It made me feel I ‘belonged’ in that far-away place.

It actually amazes me in retrospect that in those days I had the creative mojo to turn out two columns a week for that paper, the Great Yarmouth Mercury (while having to remember the niceties of different language usage in the UK, such as ‘curb’ there is spelt ‘kerb’) as well as two columns per week for my home paper in the Comox Valley as well as a number of freelances for the Vancouver Sun, which had given me a guarantee they would run anything I sent them. marcrar

Newspapers have become a rather sorry lot in recent years. The quality of reportage has waned, the great columnists have gone by the way, either via retirement or death, and they have, and I hate to say it, become boring. It’s easy to blame the tech revolution for this, and it has a role in that young people didn’t grow up with newspapers as we did, but that is not the only reason. Blame corporate attitudes if you will, because you must. Vancouver, for example, has two daily papers, the Sun and the Province and both are owned by the Postmedia Group. There was a day when those papers would engage in vicious gut-fights as each tried to scoop the other. Ah, them were the days.

And what is the case in Vancouver applies elsewhere. Los Angeles – huge LA – has only one daily paper. Seattle has two, but the old Post-Intelligencer is now electronic, with only the Times remaining.

So yeah, tech is one reason. The other is cost. Cost of newsprint, cost of unionized employees, cost of technology, etc. Etc. Etc. It breaks my heart, it does.

For me, I just keep turning out blogs like this because I must write and yet freelance markets have dried up.


I shall break it to you as gently as I can, it’s only a #@%% movie

star wars

I fail to comprehend the massive collective orgasm so many people seem to be having over the new Star Wars movie. I mean it actually depresses me that folks could be in such ecstasies of anticipation over a bloody movie. Really, it’s a damn movie, people, that’s all it is.

Now, I like me a good movie as much as the next fellow. I don’t mean I like any film so much that I’d actually go to see one in a cinema, but God gave us DVDs for a reason and there is also Netflix (as I understand but don’t actually subscribe to because I’m kind of a cheapskate). If I wait long enough it will be on TCM, uninterrupted by commercials.

SW passion though is a bit beyond my comprehension. I mean I saw the first one, even in a movie house. It was OK. It doesn’t really stick in my cinematic memory like some other flicks, but it was decent enough for the silly fake space-age fantasy genre. The ones that followed are, I understand, kind of crappy. I don’t know what the new one is like and I really don’t care.harrison-americangrafitti-590

A good exercise for the pending dotage of Harrison Ford, I guess. But my favorite HF film by far is American Graffiti in which he played hot rodder John Falfa. Now, AG, there was a movie. The music, the cars, the pretty little stilletto boobed girls and a pre-Shirley Cindy Williams. I loved that flick. It captured me at a time when I was the same age as those guys and in California in 1961 we actually would listen to Wolfman Jack on the radiio.

But, back to Star Wars. I guess what gets me down about it is the obnoxious hype over the vehicle and it only leads me to wonder what it is saying about us at this time juncture. There is a great deal of bad stuff out there. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t seek a means of escape from the agonies of the world but isn’t there more that we might want to address than a redo of a vehicle that has maybe been trotted out too often? You know, have some fun, but does this thing really warrant the throes of ecstasy in which it seems go be sending certain people. And by that I mean grown up people, not adolescents. 5744-Star-Wars-Build-R2-D2-1383093575

I used to like sci-fi when I was a kid. I had a few favorite writers like Bradbury, Heinlein, Asimov and so forth. But then I grew out of it. Of late I have been reading The Martian. Cute book, kind of funny in parts and then, half-way through it began to bore me. The Robinson Crusoe-esque plot was not only derivative but also impossible and eventually no longer had much enchantment. I don’t think I’ll bother with that movie, either. I like ‘real’ human tales.

And that’s the thing about Star Wars. There is no nod to any sort of logical reality, so what are people to learn from such a film. Oh, I know (even from the first one) it’s a metaphor for knighthood derring-do and is a pure fantasy. Well, I was never much into the Arthurian legend, either. And vehicles do not go ‘whoosh’ in the deep vacuum of space. And even if they did, I still wouldn’t care enough to attend.

Little old Proustian me, time for a revisit


I have done the Proust Questionnaire a few times in my blogging history, but it’s always fun to run it up again to see if my answers have changed, and also because I am creatively brain-dead at the moment and this is a bonny way to screw the pooch while awaiting genuine inspiration. If you find it interesting, you might want to tackle it yourselves.

Here is Proust’s Questionnaire:

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Removing the underwear of an enchanting woman with whom I am madly in love; or taking a cruise from Vancouver through the whole of the tropical Pacific and through to the Antipodes.

  2. What is your greatest fear? Well, duh, death of course. That and breaking wind whilst being knighted.

  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Cowardice.

  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty

  5. Which living person do you most admire? Barack Obama. Not because he is the best president ever; he’s not. But because he is such a symbol, and also because he is a kind, intelligent and fiercely witty man. I just plain like him when you compare him with the vile political deadwood out there.Marcel-Proust-Quotes-5

  6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Moral upstandingness. Ill-disguised hypocrisy usually.

  7. On what occasion do you lie? When my ass needs covering and somebody I cherish is in jeopardy of being inadvertently hurt.

  8. What do you most dislike about your appearance? Aside from the well-earned lines of age I see looking back to me, I generally like my appearance.

  9. Which living person do you most despise? You mean aside from Donald Trump? He pretty much does it for me, though I’d throw in his bum-buddy Vlad Putin who is much more dangerous.

  10. What is the quality you most like in a man? Honesty and intelligence

  11. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Intellect and humor. If you thought I was going to say nice boobs, you’d be wrong, sorta.

  12. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cried.” Other than that, I got nothing.

  13. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Would depend on the stage of life I am at. There have been a number of great loves I am happy to say. Currently that’d be Wendy, and until recently, Max.IN-SEARCH-OF-SWANNS-WAY_Huet_Proust

  14. When and where were you happiest? Happiness, for me, is not a constant.

  15. Which talent would you most like to have? I have been very talent blessed. I suppose I’d like to be able to write and paint just a bit better.

  16. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Likely my tendency to procrastinate.

  17. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Developing the ability to forgive. May not seem like much but it’s actually huge.

  18. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? An orca T

  19. Where would you most like to live? Here, Hawaii or England depending on my mood.

  20. What is your most treasured possession? My home, wherever it might be.

  21. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Ill health and loneliness.

  22. What is your favorite occupation? What I already do.

  23. What is your most marked characteristic? My brooding sensuality. I don’t know. Help me out here.

  24. What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty. Sometimes in disappointingly short supply.

  25. Who are your favorite writers? There are so many and they have changed through the years. Currently Bill Bryson is a literary hero, a while ago Douglas Adams, and always Orwell.

  26. Who is your hero of fiction? Arthur Dent who tries so hard.

  27. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Honestly none, but I always admired FDR.

  28. Who are your heroes in real life? Few and far between.

  29. What are your favorite names? I don’t really have any, though I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Irish and Welsh names.

  30. What is it that you most dislike? Vulgarity

  31. What is your greatest regret? Not having pursued certain skills (and people) more diligently, especially that gorgeous girl on a Munich railway platform many long years ago.

  32. How would you like to die? In my sleep at a very advanced age.

  33. What is your motto? If nothing changes, nothing changes.