Monthly Archives: January 2016

So much nonsense about people needing to spend a penny

Yesterday an email friend and I got into a silly discussion that revolved around a well-known singer accidentally voiding into her pants while performing, but I won’t give you away, OK, Fergie. My friend and I did think it might be advised for performers to have a kind of nanny to check with them if they need the potty before they go out there before the public.

So, what follows will be a discussion of this rather delicate matter. A delicate matter that involves something that we, of both sexes (oh, and not to forget the transgendered, and more about that later) carry out a few times every day – and often far too many times a night, in my esteem.

That is the simple act of urination.

I have often thought we are a bit uptight about the matter in North America, since it is something we all do, but we try to keep it separate as far as the sexes are concerned. I recall, many years ago, going to the loo in one of those old British hotels in the days when you didn’t have a facility in your own room, so you had to traipse down the hall. In any case, early one morning I was standing at the urinal when a middle aged woman trotted in, said good morning, and then entered a stall and went about what she needed to tend to. At first I thought I was in the wrong place, but that was apparently not the case. It was a coed can.

And why not, I concluded. I had my back to her whilst I peed, and she went into a cubicle and was hence in her own sanctum for her elimination. Why do we insist, for example, that stores and restaurants have one for ladies and one for gents? As long as you can maintain your privacy, then two aren’t needed. We don’t have separate facilities in our homes.

I think we are relaxing a bit, though. I have noticed on some TV shows, like NCIS, for example in which a man will be standing at a urinal in the restroom and a female college will come in and carry out a needed conversation at the time. And again, why not? We all do it, and his back is to her. Often the show will depict a bit of discomfort on his part initially, but not for long. I know it really wouldn’t bother me, but I am fairly immodest, I can only conclude.

Of late the issue has come up of how to accommodate the transgendered. I don’t get this one. If the ‘trans’ person (male, let’s say, changing to female a la Bruce Jenner) still has his ‘junk’ intact then he will use the men’s room. If he has made the physical switch, he will utilize the ladies. I mean, why is this an issue? We are only talking about a minuscule percentage of the population (like less than one percent) so I don’t think revolutionary changes are in order to accommodate.

If we really want to serve the peeing public then every bit of new construction that is installing restrooms should provide two (or even three) potties for females for every one for men. Women waiting in queues in desperation, I have been told, often stand in jeopardy of humiliating themselves because there is no available place to pee. I have a few times invited desperate women into the men’s during which time I will willingly stand guard at the outer door. Hmm, maybe the potty paucity is a conspiracy by the people at Depends.

Whatever the case, let us accommodate women before we worry too much about the transgendered. And maybe let’s work towards becoming a little less delicate about a normal human function.

As colossal as ‘Big Blue’ might be she is also very frail

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We had departed LAX about seven hours earlier but as I looked down – miles down – the moonlight reflected on the scene below showed nothing other than an expanse that went on seemingly forever. It was the Pacific Ocean.

Prior to this eight hour journey to the Cook Islands I truly had little idea of the magnitude of the Pacific Ocean. After we landed – an event that was heralded by the view of about seven (or so it seemed) bright lights on the horizon that indicated Rarotonga had been attained. It was about two a.m. when that event transpired.

Where I live, on British Columbia’s west coast the Pacific laps on our shores. A few months ago we went to Alaska. Also many miles to the north but still on the Pacific. And a couple of years earlier we went down the coast: Canada, US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and all them other dinky little Central American places, but all still Pacific. Earlier than that we cruised to Hawaii. It took four full days on that old Big Blue. And there we were on Rarotonga after eight hours flying time and still on the Pacific.

What was daunting is that we hadn’t even completely traversed this massive ocean. Thousands of miles to Australia, New Guinea and all the Asian spots. Damn. It’s big. It covers 30.5% of the planet’s surface. I have traversed (by air) the Atlantic many times and it just seems like a very wide ditch in comparison with the Pacific. I find it difficult to imagine the early explorers traversing it. They truly must have thought that time that they would sail off the planet.

I don’t think it was until we had actually arrived at Rarotonga that we fully appreciated the hugeness of the Pacific. The roar of the surf, which has built up over so many thousands of miles, is deafening if you are close and it can actually keep one awake at night: “Shut the fuck up, ocean, maybe for a few minutes.”

And the ‘big blue’ can be frightening. I am not normally afraid of water. I swim moderately well, so what can it do to me. A lot, in fact. We were once snorkeling in lovely Muri Lagoon and I traversed across to the outer wall of the lagoon and at one point I felt a strong rush of current. I realized there was an egress to the ocean beyond and I stood in jeopardy of being sucked out – to my doom. It was a good thing I was in the water since I promptly peed myself with that realization.

There was an other disquieting element, however. As big as the sucker is, the viler aspects of mankind are ever apparent. One day we decided to walk entirely around one of the lovely little motus (little paradisical islets) on the far side of Muri. As we got to the outer open Pacific side there it was. Garbage; plastic garbage. Masses of it from all the corners of the planet, judging by the labels, with disposable cigarette lighters in colorful array all along the beach.

It only left me with the thought that if we are that vile, we deserve to lose it all.

But, the other thought I have always been left with is that the Pacific is really, really, really, really big. And amazingly, with so much magnitude we are still able to defile it.

Forgive me for being indelicate but this had to be discussed

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While it is a widely-held belief that bears indeed do poop in the forest (some people even have photo proof), I find it difficult to conclude that they actually wipe their bums when done, despite the disagreeable Charmin ads on TV.

I only mention this point because I find the this company’s ads offensive. Not catastrophically offensive like the feelings I get every time Sarah Palin opens her idiotic yap, just offensive in the sense I don’t want to think about poop residue on somebody’s undies, which is what the ads suggest.

What is all this ‘frankness’ about TP? We know what it is for and we, if we were properly instructed by our moms, know how to make ourselves squeaky clean by probably the age of 4. It’s not debatable. Yet, TP companies seem to think it is.

There are brands galore. Does anybody really care? There is only one compulsory criterion for me and that is it must be 3-ply. It does dedicated job better without falling apart. Falling apart TP is kind of an icky thing. So, we gravitate to the least expensive 3-ply and in that we welcome Costco into the mix for the obvious reason of economy. And I suspect that is what motivates a lot of folks and especially folks with a few females in the family due to the fact that females use more of the stuff than the boys do since for girls it must do double duty.

Anyway, as I suggested, the reason for TP is pretty straightforward and we should be happy we have it. If you want to know what life was like before TP read some Rabelais. Or think about how in the old days of farm outhouses they used dried corncobs. Yeeouch!

But now, it seems, as the world continues to deteriorate, TP has moved into some kind of creepy realm. This includes the ad somebody ran on FB yesterday showing a guy in tight white trousers and the testimonial that their brand of bumwad was so good that said dud could go commando in his white pants with no fear of mishap. Eww!

And that is pretty much all that I have to say on the matter other than to suggest that advertising the stuff might be a good job for Sarah considering her shitty view of the world.

They no longer make bad people like they did in the good old days

floydCharles (Pretty Boy) Floyd was raised on an impoverished Oklahoma dirt farm following his 1904 birth. Charles Floyd (no relation to ‘Pink’) hated the appelation ‘Pretty Boy’. It was given to him by a newspaper editor, and editors are all swine.

In a way it was rather flattering because it not only referred to the fact he was a rather handsome dude, he was also while it was at the height of his ‘crookdom’ known for his ‘Beau Brummel’ sartorial sense.

During the ghastly days of the dustbowl ‘Dirty Thirties’ Floyd joined a cadre of outlaws in the heartland of America, such as John Dillinger, ‘Baby Face’ Nelson, the Barker Gang, John Dillinger and, of course, Texans Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Those days were shit for the impoverished of the land, so they took off to do bad things to elevate them from the poverty to which the ‘system’ had relegated them. And, unlike the creepy gangs of today, they gained a certain ‘Robin Hood’ mythology.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading Pretty Boy Floyd by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. It was an item I picked up at the Rotary book sale and it has turned out to be a much better read than I had anticipated. But, why not? McMurtry, after alL. The Last Picture Show and Lonesome Dove, for example, show the guy has a bit of skill as a tale-teller.

Anyway, I have found the book to be a delight with the only drawback being that I know it isn’t going to end well for our hero, since he was mowed down by FBI weasels back in 1934 which is well before even I was born.

So why do I care about such a guy? Well, part of it is a retro revisitation of junior high school days. My chums and I, then, were avid aficionados of the exploits of early days bad guys. We knew about The Purple Gang, the aforementioned Floyd et al, Canada’s own ‘Old Creepy’ Karpis and, of course, Al Capone and the Mafia. It was the time The Untouchables was on TV as Walter Winchell led us along the bloody trails of Al, Frank Nitti and so forth. We rarely rooted for the good guys and Eliot Ness wasn’t truly a hero for us. Mind you, neither was Al. He was too evil and he deserved to die with his brain addled from syphilis.

No, we gravitated more to the hinterland robbers. Floyd was once livid when he was referred to in a newspaper report that called him a ‘criminal’, in his mind he was an outlaw or a bandit, and he saw a big difference. He, and perhaps a cohort, would rob a dinky smalltown bank – the banks of the sort that foreclosed on people like Floyd and his kin, so they felt no respect – take a few hundred bucks and go tearing off in their Hupmobiles and Durants. They didn’t terrorize and they didn’t hurt any ‘civilians’ or even cops for the most part. They didn’t travel in gangs of brigands and tear the little towns apart. They were raised in God-fearing families and no bank employee was ever hurt by any of these guys. Very different from out disgusting gang scene of today.

Eventually pathological FBI head J. Edgar Hoover’s g-men caught up with Floyd and, even though he had never killed anybody except a deputy accidentally in a gunfight, Hoover saw Floyd as a homicidal maniac and blamed him for the infamous Kansas City Massacre (Floyd was in a different state when that took place) , and therefore felt it justified his g-men murdering him, which they did.

And that is my tale of Charlie Floyd

 

So fine, make me an emotional basket-case

DSCN0681I am something of a sentimental sod; always have been. I get moved easily and I am happy I do since emotional outpourings can be cathartic and healthy. Expose me to a sad movie and I rapidly become a basket-case.

Now, you might think, by what I wrote that I am driven to copious bouts of lachrymation but that was heretofore not so. I would feel emotions but not tear up. I think I hadn’t really cried (except for a brief bout after the demise of my 2nd marriage and the crying actually embarrassed me) since I became an adult. I was actually proud of my emotional stoicism.

I mean, I had all the emotions in place, I simply didn’t express them tearfully. I felt the pain, but didn’t show it or have it manifest in a physical way. I was even like that when I was a child. I didn’t cry. Especially when I was punished. I wasn’t about to give anyone that satisfaction. Even when I got the strap at school – a vicious practice carried out in those beastly days of yore – I did not cry. I wasn’t going to give the bastards abusing me that satisfaction.

But my crying resolve seems to have changed when Max died. And, frankly, I find the change alien and disconcerting. Nowadays and virtually without warning, with the slightest stimulus my eyes will water and my chin will quiver. I mist up unexpectedly. Pieces of music are killers. Tiny children fill me with lachrymosity. A crying child finishes me off.

I cannot, of course, abide tales of animal abuse and I cannot even watch little Facebook snippets of hunting and that sort of nastiness.

But mainly, it’s all about Max. I had not anticipation that his demise would shatter me the way it has. He is still here and I sense his presence – always. This is his home. His home wasn’t the veterinary clinic where the final deed was carried out on that black and bleak day. His home remained here. He did not, with no small pain, climb into the car on that black day. He stayed here with us.

I will defy anybody to suggest otherwise.

Pet lovers will get this. If you don’t then you haven’t yet been there.

There, now I have that off my chest.

 

All the young dudes carry the news etc.

Hanging in my closet are four men’s suits, as well as a half-dozen sport jackets, a number of pairs of good slacks – the kind with creases in them – dress shirts, and close to a hundred neckties.

None of the above are worn with sufficient regularity to actually justify their existence in the bowels of the closet, but there they stay just in case an occasion calls for their donning. It’s rare. Rare that I am called on to wear a tux, though I love to do so. Not many occasions in my mien are ‘tuxworthy’.

The reason for all the fancy-ass shirts, ties and jackets is that whilst I was working I liked to dress well. Call me vain, if you will. OK, I am. I confess to having dressed for effect. Much like when I was in university and my ‘costume’ was a turtle-neck pullover, corduroy or Harris Tweed jacket and wheat jeans. That ‘worked’ in an urban hipster realm more than one might imagine.

And then there’s now. My garb, depending on the weather, consists almost exclusively of jeans and T-shirts. I love my tees. I have collected them from a number of places in my travels as souvenirs. I have a plethora of Hawaiian themed ones, as well as representative examples from Mexico, Europe, South America, Panama and Alaska. Wearing one immediately evokes memories of those travels and of places I’d like to return to. As for the jeans, they are convenient and to the point. I don’t find denim particularly comfortable unless it’s very old and has been washed thousands of times. But then, sadly, it wears out. When the days are warm I am most comfortable in shorts and tees.

That said, however, I do miss making a statement with my garb and I find that most of us wear rather bland and boring gear. Just one of the thousands of reasons I love Hawaii is that people dress so colorfully there. But, with all the blossoms year-round it’s understandable that they do. Locally it is, judging by our dress, kind of a beige environment.

What can I say girl other than I sit in awe of your brilliance?

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A number of years ago in typical Ian Lidster curmudgeonly fashion I was decrying the state of music at the time and wondering what happened to originals like those in my generation. All I could hear was pap and hip-hop and other stuff that did not move like the Beatles, the Stones, or Bowie had. I put that rant in a blog.

Not so fast, you cranky old bastard,” a blogger friend responded. “You obviously haven’t heard Adele. Indeed I hadn’t. My loss. My huge-huge loss. So, I went out and bought the CD of 21 and since that time I have never looked back. I think Miss Adele Adkins is wonderful and I love her. Not in a creepy old guy wanting to get into her pants kind of way, but as an appreciator of the most amazing talent virtually in my recall. She is so good at what she does that I find her difficult to define. Her voice can genuinely haunt me and even move me to tears.

It has been suggested that a teenager can play Adele for his or her grandmother and both will love her equally. Very few vocalists have ever been able to make such a claim. I mean, what is Adele stylistically? She’s not really pop or rock or anything conventional, she is just a superlative stylist and creator. If you are hearing the girl (she’s still only 26) you are hearing the product of an artistry that is hers and hers alone.

She’s not only brilliant as a stylist and writer/composer, she is also terribly bright and deliciously witty with a cackly laugh. A laugh usually directed at herself. I have a DVD of a concert of the songs of 21 taking place at Albert Hall. And while your grannie might love her music she might be a bit nonplussed by the hilarious and unapologetic potty-mouth of a girl raised in London’s gritty East End and unpretentiously still boasts the accent of Tottenham as well as the dirty words. Good for her. Tony_Bennett_in_2003

I have tried to deduce exactly what her huge appeal is – aside from her charm and musical brilliance – and I am still a bit confounded. I got her latest (25) for Christmas and while it’s not so lost-love plaintive, it is every bit a gem. I guess it is all to do with her writing from the heart and not from a tunesmith factory. I tried to think of others who might have possessed a similar appeal. Two of Adele’s mentors were Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. Another I might add is Tony Bennett who is still performing to sold out audiences (with Lady Gaga no less). Bennett was huge when I was a young kid with such hits as Rags to Riches and he is still going strong and appealing to an eclectic audience at a very advanced age. I wish I had a fraction of his energy.

So, dear and lovely Adele, long may you reign. You deserve to.