Monthly Archives: April 2016

Even some of my ideas aren’t necessarily great ones

innovative_ideasIn the years I’ve been blogging and assuredly during the couple of decades I wrote a column I have been periodically smacked in the chops by ideas that didn’t go anywhere.

What had seemed like a good premise initially didn’t really have the substance to warrant an entire blog (or column), so it ended up being abandoned. Great (in my esteem) Canadian columnist Alan Fotheringham once told me that if a column seems to be too difficult to write, then abandon it. The column is telling you something. I’ve always tried to take his wisdom to heart.

Anyway, frugal bastard that I am, I don’t like to let germs of ideas go to waste, so here are some thoughts that I didn’t feel warranted the full treatment.

Sideburns: It was brought to my attention the other day that sideburns were staging some sort of a fashion comeback. All I could think was that I hoped not. I don’t want to see a revisitation of people who look like retro rockabilly artists or Civil War veterans. Let anything from the 1970s rest forever, especially fashion statements. Yes, I once had them. No, I do not want them again. I shaved mine off when I went to visit my parents during that decade and found that my old man had grown them. It was kind of creepy.

Children in Adult Venues: I adore children. Honestly I do and one of my regrets in life is that I had none. That said, I get persistently exasperated by parents who feel that any venue is just fine for their toddlers and that all adults present should be as charmed by their progeny as are they. Progeny that are largely ignored as they wander noisily about the premises irritating adult patrons and picking up things that they have no business touching. Leave them at home or go to Mickey-D’s which is more child-friendly than my coffee joint. Otherwise a brat is a brat is a brat and I don’t like brats.

Politics: I have some political opinions. Really I do. I by-and-large don’t share them with others, nor do I try to impose my opinions on others, or decide that those who disagree with me are by necessity less-than-worthy folk because they might see things differently. I mean, I might think “How could you have such dumbfuck ideas?” but I wouldn’t express it. This is an especially important consideration what with the US elections coming up and FB being filled with political over and undertones. What are these people going to do after it’s over. The only truism about politics is we get the governments we deserve.

Birdpoop: Definitely not worthy of a blog, but I’ve noticed a new phenomenon over the past couple of weeks and that is that little birds have taken to pooping on our side vehicle windows and hence down the sides of the doors. This is happening with both Wendy’s and my vehicle and has never happened before. Global warming? Who can say?

Who Didn’t get big: In the realm of pop-culture why didn’t Iggy Pop or Gene Vincent ever make it to the top? Why Springsteen and not Billy Joel? Some of Joel’s stuff is just as good. Why Dylan but not Phil Ochs? I love Ochs. Fortune is a cruel mistress.

Dogs: Mainly Max, but I’ll confess I’ve kind of worn that one out so I’ll give it a rest. But, we are going ahead with the DNA test.

People I’ve Had Crushes On: Or perhaps still do. Public figures? Well, that’s easy. Real people? No, that’s dangerous territory. Might be embarrassing – I like to think flattering – and potentially dangerous, so maybe not. How about FB-ers I have or have had crushes on? No, that’s a dicey one, too. Though I don’t mind if somebody wants to declare me as a crush object. My egocentricity is big enough to take it.

Technology: I’ve ranted on this too often and you’ve figured out by now that I, while not a Luddite, do not get aroused by techno-toys.

And so it goes. Maybe by next time I’ll have a topic fully worthy of a dissertation and will explore it to the limits.



Young Nelson will have some mighty big pawprints to fill

nelson%205I must confess that when Wendy found Nelson on line I was left a bit apprehensive and also felt slightly disloyal to the huge legacy of Max that resides in my heart. A new dog! WTF. How dare you? But those are my feelings. Max’s might be quite positive as in: “You rescued me. I passed. Now it’s up to you to rescue another.

It is odd to be thinking of bringing a ‘new’ dog into our home. Or, to be honest, ‘Max’s’ home. So, does the new kid get to use the Max dinner bowl, water bowl, the toys Max never bothered to play with since he wasn’t much into toys?

I am assuming Nelson will have different habits, likes, dislikes. Will he be as enchanted by the other dogs on the Dog Whisperer as Max was? Will he be fastidiously clean like Max was? Is he flatulent? Max quite literally never was. I suspect if Max had an attack of flatus he requested to go outside. “Max is such a gentleman” said our dear neighbor who used to tend to the boy when we went on vacation. Is Nelson a gentleman?

I mean, he is from California so perhaps he’s a bit on the brash and brassy side. Not that there aren’t gentlemen in Cali. I am sure there are, but it’s not a notable aspect of that state’s culture.

Max never wanted to sleep on our bed, whether we were there or not. Never climbed on the couch, even if we were out. Never stole food despite the fact he had easy access to the bin that contained his kibble. In other words, Max was a veritable god in the canine world. Young Nelson is going to have some mighty big paw-prints to fill.

I suspect, however, he will be up to the task.

In truth I am looking forward to the new canine adventure and good Lord willing he will never have to reside in a shelter again.


Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl — so here’s a health unto her

Princess Writing

30th May 1944: Queen Elizabeth II (as Princess Elizabeth) writing at her desk in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images)

So, here’s a health unto Her Majesty on her 90th. And in so-saying let me make it perfectly clear I am not a monarchist. I think Royals and all that pomp-and-circumstance are fine in England where they belong, but not here.

At the same time, however, I am a huge admirer of the Queen. She has served all her underlings well during her long stint at the Monarchical helm. As for the rest of them, I’d be happy to see our ties severed – very happy. Charles? S’truth, he is such a dud compared with his mum. Utterly lacking in charm. William is OK and has a really hot wife. I segue towards Harry, however. I like him.

Anyway, I have seen the Queen a few times over the years, and the first time I saw her was when I was a very wee lad and she was still ‘Princess’ Elizabeth. I thought she was very pretty. And she has held up pretty well, too. Very well considering her gruelling tasks. Long past the age most people have retired she still does a yeoman-like job of attending excruciatingly boring functions. Gadzooks how taxing that must be.

But taxing is likely good and that gives the old dear the pounds and pence that make her task a bit worthwhile.

Monarchy is an odd role. One is born into it and one can be a frightful and self-indulgent dud like the Queen’s uncle, Edward who sold it all out to marry a remarkably homely woman, or one can be the like the Queen and devote her all to what she believes is expected of the role.

Long Live Her.

It’s intercoursing Monday once again. Suck it up brothers and sisters

monday-happinessSaturday morning
oh Saturday morning
All my tiredness is gone away
Got money and my honey
And I’m out on the stand to play

Sunday morning my head is bad.
But it’s worth it for the time that I had
But I got to get my rest
because Monday is a mess

Fats Domino

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.

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.

Furthermore, coronaries are more prevalent on Mondays than any other day of the week.

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.

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
Goddamn Mondays.

I blame the schools.


That mysterious world of ‘up the skirt’

twiggyWhen my first wife was exchange teaching in England in the early 1980s she risked the wrath of her headmaster in demanding the right to wear slacks – or ‘trousers’ as the Brits would have it.

The boss chap naively asked her why, since what she was requesting was simply ‘not done’. Female teachers wore dresses or skirts. She stood her ground and pointed out in those days of relatively short skirts, little boys had a propensity to look up said skirts to see what mysteries the world of ‘up the skirt’ would offer as she was hunkering down on the floor working with the kids.

The head very much doubted that a wee lad would be interested in gazing up the skirt of a grown woman. “Ha!”the missus said. “Not so. Your memory is short.”

Ultimately she won the day, and within a very short time all the female staffers had followed suit. It was a trouser revolution and my wife started it.

And why are boys (of all ages) interested in looking up female skirts? It’s all to do with the mystery and allure of the forbidden.

Of course, in recent years the forbidden has transformed. In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, as the song goes, in recent years a full and multi-colored view of pudenda has become something of a norm. For those of us who grew up getting feverish over the undies ads in the Sear’s catalogue it has all been quite a change. You want to see ‘anything’, sometimes in full action, just Google it in and go a-cruisin’. Now, I don’t mind me a little smut, but when smut becomes creepy and perverted (by my standards of decorum) I balk, and I am very far from being prudish.

But evidently young males are turning prudish. Young bucks, according to an article in Time, are becoming anaesthetized to and bored with smut. In some cases the plethora of dirt has even led to impotence in the young because their expectations are so high. It makes sense.

While there is no call for neo-censorship I often wonder what it is like for young guys when I grew up in the generation that hoped for a glimpse up a skirt.

Sometimes I still do. It’s kind of a tradition.


On the cusp of geezerdom some people I have heard about continue to delude themselves

geezerYou know what I hope?” I said to my wife the other day.

“No, what do you hope?” she asked, not looking up from her book.

“I hope I don’t become one of those boring old geezers who bores people to death with their stories. You know, the ones who go on, and on, and on, and on, and just never know when to stop even though the eyes of everybody in the room are glazing over and they are desperately looking for an excuse to leave. Know what I mean? I mean, seriously, know what I mean?”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening,” she replied, her eyes glazing over.

Actually, I fear many things about getting old, and becoming a bore is merely one of them. Ill health and death are kinda up there, too as well as estimating how much time I have left and why some females can continue to charm me as much as they did in high school despite the fact we’re virtually of pensionable age.

Another inexplicable aspect of age is that odd propensity of certain males to wear their trousers above the waistline. Where do they get those pants with the really long crotches? And at what age does a guy get up and decide to wear long crotch pants that day. A day that comes about, I reckon, about a decade past the first cardigan purchase.

Anyway, this is all uncharted territory for me. But, in spite of any denial I might want to call upon, signs periodically pop up that the old celestial clock is moving forward, whether or not I like it. Just like everybody else, I am getting older by the minute. I had a sign just a while ago.

I was chatting with a clerk at my local supermarket. Something I like to do since I still suffer from the misapprehension that I am charming and handsome and maybe even dashing. And she’s a person I like to chat with as she is chatworthy, though I daresay even though I am possibly not ‘spongeworthy’, though where there’s life there’s hope. Anyway, the lass is smart, pretty and coquettish and has an incurably infectious giggle. About 35-ish, I would guess.

“I love the smell of Certs,” she said, as she was stocking the confection shelf at one of the checkouts.

“But,” I said, “Is it a candy mint, or is it a breath mint?”

“Huh?” she replied, a look of bemusement on her pretty face.

“You know, like the old TV commercial: ‘Certs is a candy mint – Certs is a breath mint. It’s two, it’s two, it’s two mints in one!’. You must remember that.”

“I don’t remember that,” she replied. Then she uttered those heedless and hurtful words: “I think it must have been before my time.”

Feeling crestfallen and a bit more aged, I continued with my errands in the store with just a little less spring in my step.

On the other hand, there is hope. In fact, if popular culture attests to anything (and I rarely think it does), then old fartdom is the new chic. Oldsters are not only vital and interesting, they’re also sexy. I like to keep that thought in mind. It helps me through trying times, like my Certs moment, though I do hope the word ‘codger’ or phrase ‘stupid old buzzard’ didn’t cross her lips when she was recounting the tale to some of her youthful colleagues later.

It is indeed an interesting time in terms of human longevity and ages that were considered ‘old’ when I was a kid aren’t regarded in the same way. The response now in hearing that somebody of, say, 75 has died is: “Gee, that’s not very old. How sad.” Of course, that’s me thinking that, my checkout clerk might have thought, “Wow, I didn’t know he was that old!”

Yet, look at some of our cultural icons. For instance, Harrison Ford is still slashing through jungles and is regarded with credibility and as a ‘hunk’ even though he is surely pushing 90. Well, I do know he’s older than I am, at least. The Rolling Stones are still the best damn rock-and-roll band ever and Keith has been dead for years. Madonna is the same age as my grandmother was when I was a kid. Granny didn’t have any of the bearing of Madonna – thank God. Deborah Harry is around 70 and I still have wanton thoughts aobut her, and Helen Mirren is 70 and she still rings a lot of male chimes.

At the end of the day we carry on and the key to it all, and this I do believe, is to ‘think’ young, but take advantage of whatever maturity we might have acquired along the way.

Now, before this becomes tiring and boring, I shall end it.


Fruit or vegetable? Who cares? Just don’t munch on the leaves

rhubarbA female friend and I were discussing poop on Facebook today. Oh, don’t worry, it was nothing distasteful. We were chatting about the best muck to use to fertilize rhubarb.

As she keeps horses she has nothing but praises for the equine droppings to which she has immediate access. Not having animals, though she has offered to share her poop, as it were, I have to content myself with commercial access to animal effluvia. But I do know about the virtues of right off the farm stuff.

I once upon a time had my own animal excreta (which still makes the best fertilizer of all, vastly surpassing in virtues all commercial chemical stuff. You see, I had chickens, and you might think my tale here is just ‘chickenshit’, and indeed it is. When I cleaned the henhouse of droppings, old straw and stuff I ended up with rhubarb you practically had to attack with a chainsaw. It was brilliant.

But, speaking of rhubarb, it’s a strange foodstuff. How did somebody first decide the thing was edible? It is, in its natural state, kind of vile and nasty. Though when I was a child I knew a girl who sucked on rhubarb stalks. Mind you, this same girl used to eat lemons, too.

But to consume it it must be sweetened and then it can be turned into wonderful pies (I make a to-die-for rhubarb meringue) or crisps. There is also good old stewed rhubarb which makes a decent laxative. The leaves, however, are highly toxic. A story, perhaps apocryphyl says that during World War One ration-challenged UK housewives were exhorted to boil up rhubarb leaves and serve them as a cabbage substitute, and families began dropping like flies so the advice was withdrawn. The leaves, however, are not toxic to ants and they crave them for their formic acid.

So, what is rhubarb, a fruit or a vegetable? I have no answer for that, but this year’s crop is coming along nicely and that is all that counts for me. I want to make a pie.