Monthly Archives: June 2016

I think in terms of committing those deadly sins I get a gentlemanly C

The_Seven_Deadly_Sins_(Mythology)_full_1043460So, am I going to Hell, or what? Maybe, depending on how I come out here, I might just get to go to Heck.

Anyway, because of something I wrote on Facebook a while ago a friend, and one whose opinion I value, suggested a comment of mine sounded a bit like envy. She quickly pointed out that envy was one of the Seven Deadly (Mortal) Sins.

Oopsie! Sorry, God.

This only put me to thinking about that septumburate (is that a word? Well, it is now) of badness and I think I might just assess to see how I fare and what my chances are when they close that proverbial lid on me. I think I’m mainly OK, but a fellow never knows. You know, will I spend eternity smelling lilacs or brimstone?

So, running through the list we have (in no particular order):

  • Gluttony: I think I’m basically OK here. I did pack on a little extra avoirdupois a few years ago, but then I dieted and knocked it off and have kept most of it off. I don’t really have much of a food fetish and I rarely overeat these days. I love desserts (which is either a sin, or should be) but otherwise I’m good. Certainly worth a B.

  • Greed: Sort of like gluttony for me. I’ve never been terribly acquisitive and things remain ‘things’ and not entirely soul fulfilling. I mean, in idle moments I have wanted to date (or more) every female I’ve ever fancied, but that moves into another realm of sin. But, otherwise, I have a nice house in a good neighborhood, a nice (albeit old) vehicle) and have traveled fairly extensively, and other than wanting more travel, there isn’t anything in the way of stuff I want. A good and solid B.

  • Sloth: OK, Lord, I admit I can be a slackass and not want to move when the situation warrants it. And I tend to procrastinate like mad. But, you know, eventfully I get it done. I have never missed a deadline and have always shown up on time for a job so I don’t think I’m entirely a slug. I think I get maybe a C-plus in this category. I hope God looks at an aggregate score.

  • Wrath: Yeah, yeah, I get pissed at times, but I don’t think I’m wrathful. I keep my temper in check except sometimes when I’m driving or when I read of shenanigans by politicians – any politicians anywhere at any level of government. They are the scourge of humanity. But, I don’t run around yelling and fulminating for the most part. I think I’d even give myself a B here.

  • Envy: That was the one my friend nailed me for. But, I protested. Some might say too much, but I don’t think anyone can ever protest too much if it covers a body’s ass. But, as I told her, I honestly believe that no matter what good stuff another might have, they also have bad things in their lives. Life being what it is, and all. My life is pretty decent and I want for little and in that I’m blessed. So, I think on the envy front I’m gonna give myself a big B-plus. I didn’t say ‘A’ because I don’t think God believes in giving As. That would indicate perfection and we mere mortals are only ‘perfectible’. I think only God’s kid gets the top grade. That’s what happens when you have connectedness.

  • Pride: This is one I debate within myself because I don’t think it’s necessarily a sin. I don’t mean to be presumptuous and second-guess God, but if we didn’t take pride in what we do, why would be bother doing it? I just can’t see being proud of attainment as being a sin. Now, being a smug bastard, that’s different and God should always smite smug bastards. Otherwise, the Big Fellow gave me some talents and I rather think he expects me to use them to good avail. And I don’t go around bragging about what I do, so I think that should let me off the hook. In this category I at least get a B, I am sure.

  • Lust: Oops. Here comes the tough one. Like Jimmy Carter I have indeed lusted in my heart. I’ve lusted in some other bits, too. In fact, and I lay my mortal soul bare here, like Jimmy Swaggart, I have in fact ‘sinned’. But, as that same friend who mentioned about the envy thing, said about lust: Why is lust condemned yet there is no mention of rape as a sin? Well worthy of consideration, methinks. So, if a certain female gives me unmentionable thoughts about booty calls, etc. I have sinned even if I don’t act on the urge. But if I take her violently somehow that’s OK? Doesn’t work for me. Anyway, if lust I so bad, how is the species to be propagated? I mean, let’s face it, there has to be a teeny bit of lust for a couple to want to propagate, no? I guess we maybe weren’t meant to use that lust frivolously. So, yes, I have violated this one I won’t say how many times – today. So, I maybe don’t stand in good stead here. But, as I also mentioned that I think the tally for sins is possibly an aggregate score so my F-minus score in this one just might be canceled out. Either that is the case or an awful lot of pillars of the church are hooped for eternity.

 

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I guess I’ll darn well ‘lol’ until it’s running down my leg

emokis

Maybe I’m just pissy-minded.

That thought comes about because, just the other day, I almost (and entirely inadvertently, and I emphasize the ‘almost’) found myself using an ‘lol’ in response to somebody’s Facebook offering.

WTF? (OK, I do use that one mainly because, like many former English teachers, I’m a profane sonofabitch).

Back to the subject. I have never used lol and don’t plan to. That’s primarily because very few things I’ve read to which lol is attached have actually evoked lol responses. I’m a well-humored person but I reserve my ‘out-loud’ laughter for the genuinely hilarious and otherwise utilize it judiciously. Ergo, lol is rarely accurate.

In fact the only time in my recall that lol was genuinely funny and actually made me laugh out loud was when boneheaded egomaniac Michael on The Office thought it was a word and used the expression “lawl-lawl” in reference to something or other.

Carrying it further, I have very rarely if ever rolled on the floor in merriment, as in ROFL. No, I’ll make that ‘never’ as opposed to rarely. I’ve laughed until tears ran down my cheeks, but never more than that.

And I’ve never laughed until anything ran down my legs as in the case of ROFLMAOPIMP. Now, come on, how many have actually rolled on the floor laughing their asses off and peeing in your pants? You have? Do you want people to know that? I know I wouldn’t.

In similar sense I have rarely used emoticons That’s probably just me. I’d simply rather say what I meant than symbolize it. I have cherished friends who use emoticons and I love them dearly and think nothing less of them for so doing. I just don’t choose to. Just like I don’t choose to take heroin, for example.

Much of the aforementioned is Tweet-Speak and I understand that brevity is the key to getting a little tiny message in a little tiny space. But, I don’t tweet, either. I might someday and I’ll confess to being periodically tempted, but until such time I’ll just write out my stuff in full.

A fine barmaid is designed to make the world brighter

betLynchTVTimesThis item I will confess I have run before. It also appeared in the Vancouver Sun back in 1981.

If we were to get our priorities right, we would do away with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, group therapists and others in the ‘healing’ trades, and replace them with genuine English barmaids. At least those genuine English barmaids of my recall.

An understanding that came to me when I lived in England for a year in the early nineteen eighties was that a couple of blissful hours at the pub would do more to relieve the cumulative pressures of a day or a lifetime than any hundred psychoanalytical breast-beatings and primal screams. And the beer was only a minor part of the therapy.

Like royalty, dog-racing, stiff-upper-lips and page three girls of certain newspapers, the buxom barmaid is a traditional and distinctly English institution. Other nations, including Canada may have comely lasses purveying potations behind the beer taps, but hey are pale colonial imitations of the real thing.

The true barmaid (at least as she was, and I presume still is) is a combination Wife of Bath and Sigmund Freud, with a liberal dollop of Dolly Parton thrown in. From the good Wife we get the life-experience, from Freud, the understanding, and from Dolly the sense-of-humor and the bodacious cleavage. There is no question that the cleavage and that which makes the cleavage are both essential. All barmaids from eighteen to sixty-five have cleavages. But, the cleavage should not, and indeed must not be construed lewdly. It is merely part of a general bearing that suggests the ideal blending of the bountiful earth-mother with the subtle eroticism of that which may be admired but not touched.Sort of a vestal Pam Anderson.

Think of lovely Bet Lynch on Coronation Street if you want an archetype.

That is not to say that barmaids are never ‘touched’ in their private domains, but it would be construed as a frightful breach of form to make such an attempt while she is in the line of duty. She belongs to all patrons, friend and stranger alike, when she is working. Even barmaids’ husbands and boyfriends are cognizant that they are no more important than any other customer who is ordering a drink and hoping for a kind word.

I recall a pub I visited in Exeter in beautiful South Devon during my English sojourn, and it provided the perfect example of a barmaid who understood her role perfectly. I was a stranger to the house, having just arrived from a road trip. The few other guests on this chilly February evening appeared to be regulars. As I approached the bar I noticed that the barmaid — a pneumatically vivacious and very pretty thirty-ish lady called Mandy — was being chatted up by a patron who was devoting his time to caressing her hand as he chatted with her. He had the appearance of a traveling salesman, bad suit and surfeits of lonely drinks over the years. Mandy was smiling tolerantly, appearing to be listening to his tales, and granting him the time because nobody else was at the bar

I approached, and as I opened my mouth to give my order, Mandy smiled at me and asked, “Would you like to hold the other hand?”

You see, even though it was the first time I had ever paid a call to that particular hostelry she was not about to have me feel that I wouldn’t get the same service as anybody else. Needless to say, I graciously accepted her kind offer.

So, there you have it. Even though she will not sing for you or give you a bath — at least not in the pubs I have visited — the role of the English barmaid is not unlike that of the geisha. Her duty is to make the paying customer feel that for those few moments that it takes for her to draw his pint that he is the only person in her life, and she will see to it that he is well cared for. As she chats she will refer to the customer as “love,” or “dear,” or, in ever-to-be-savored instances as “my love” or “my darling.” Could such personalized, even possessive endearments mean that you are uniquely special to her? Was there not a hidden message that flashed from her eyes to yours at that moment? The answer is negative to both queries.

She will move on to the next customer and verbally fondle him in exactly the same way. But, such is her expertise at her trade you will finish your drink and go home firmly convinced that there indeed was a special frisson happening and that you now have a warm little secret tucked in your pounding heart.

If you avail yourself of her services often enough, you may be able to

throw away your pills and get out of group therapy, because your ego will be bolstered and your loneliness abated. You will not feel the need to go up on the roof and spray the street with an automatic rifle because everyone you’ve ever known in you life has rejected you; for just that very night a barmaid has called you “my love.”

 

Never again will we have anst like the sort we had in childhood — but then there’s Trump

creepy-childhood-monsters-sticky-notes-don-kenn-thumb640Children are vulnerable creatures. This is due to their tenderness in years, small stature, wound-inducing rough play and susceptibility to all sorts of affections and woes and also due to the fact they haven’t yet built up major immune defences. It’s just not all that great being a kid, and most of us can remember time off school due to various ailments, not to mention injuries.

But, as bad as those things were, they weren’t anywhere near as ominous as the widely-held beliefs and myths that punctuated juvenile fears and produced agonizing nighttime panics. Nights were the worst, of course, because that was when monsters were under the bed (meaning you must never leave your hand dangling outside the covers), and bogeymen were in the closets.

The point was, we invariably believed the myths to be utterly true, and we agonized if we had transgressed, believing that our futures were now to be limited in duration because we had screwed up.

When I was a child, we believed the following. You, I am certain had your own myths that might have been similar to mine, or owned entirely by you and your friends.

Consider these:

If you accidentally swallow grape seeds, or apple pits, you will get appendicitis. How those seeds might get into the appendix was never questioned. Somehow it happened, and you knew somebody’s cousin who had died of a ruptured appendix. Grape pits were the culprits, no doubt.

If you swallow chewing gum your intestines will get all clogged up and you will die. Everybody knew of at least one kid that this happened to.

If you stifle a sneeze your lungs will explode and you will die.

If you burp, fart and sneeze all at the same time, you will die instantly. Again, somebody heard of a distant relative to whom this had happened.

If you don’t wait an hour after eating (anything) and then go swimming, you will immediately be afflicted with agonizing cramps and you will drown. This was guaranteed, and happened to thousands of unfortunate kids every summer.

If you are a boy and you get mumps it will always transfer to your testicles, which will grow to elephantiafsis size, and you will either die in agony, or you will never be able to get married because your testicles will be perpetually humongous.

If you are a post-pubescent girl and go swimming in the sea when you are on your period you will be attacked by sharks.

Well enough. Children are young and stupid. Sorry, not allowed to say ‘stupid’ these days as ascribed to kids (though some kids are, be honest, stupid). Children are young and ‘uninformed’.

That’s fine. They have an excuse. What excuses do adults who believe tish-tosh, myths, fancifications and other bits of utter bullshit have? OK, let’s bring the word ‘stupid’ back and ascribe it to more worthy, older subjects.

But, enough about politics.

 

How I developed a love of shank’s mare

walkiesOnce upon a time – 20 years ago it was – I forsook my right to drive a car. In a moment of most egregious irresponsibility I drove drunk.

I didn’t think I was drunk. Drunks never do. But, I was pissed to the gills, sozzled, snookered, and whatever other term you might have wanted to throw at me. And so I got me a DUI. And so I lost the right to drive a car. And they were tough in those days. That right was taken away for a full year.

It was the best thing to ever happen to me.

One, I got sober and have remained steadfastly so ever since, so mortified and ashamed was I. And the other good thing was I got healthier than I had ever been. No booze was part if that. The other healthful part was I had to fucking walk everywhere. I mean yeah, I rode the bus sometimes, though I hate buses with an unparalleled loathing. And sometimes I cadged rides. But otherwise I walked. I walked and I walked and I walked. And surprisingly I got to like it, and then I got to love it. And love of walking has never left me.

Of course I did have my lovely little sports car sitting in the drive. And I decided that in some moment of weakness I might be tempted to take it out in hopes I wouldn’t get caught driving sans licence (for which the penalties are really stiff). So, thought I, out of sight, out of mind and out of temptation. I had a lovely friend who had gone through a divorce and whose ex had taken the family car. So, I gave my car to her for the year. Aren’t I a nice guy? And I didn’t even have salacious designs on her. OK, I had had the odd one but wasn’t prepared to pursue the matter. I had just come out of my own bad marriage so I thwarted temptation.

Back to walking. I have walked and hiked many miles over the years, When Wendy and I go on vacation there is a lot of walking involved. We have trudged streets and avenues in Europe, have scaled hills in Hawaii and explored the lakes in Paradise Meadows,

But then something happened. About a year ago I ‘came down’ with some sort of affliction that made walking not only painful but it impacted my gait and especially my balance. I was intensely afraid i would faw down and go boom. That is a very insecure sensation. And then Max got sick. And then Max died. So I had less motivation to walk when there wasn’t to be a lovely doggy in tow.

So I went through innumerable clinical tests; inner ear scrutiny, CT Scan, MRI etc. Etc. What it was ultimately determined to be was residuals from a small stroke I had experienced in 2008. The best cure was physiotherapy. And the best thing I ever did was sign up for the brilliant balance program offered by the Comox Recreation Association. I have been doing that twice a week for two months and can only say that I now walk with a relatively normal gait, no more Frankenstein walk, and while my walking endurance is not yet back to what it was once, it is getting there. It’s all about creating new brain pathways.

And that seems to be happening, so bless you Jill Nelson (my coach) in what you have given me. I can kinda walk again. That is a good thing. Oh, and also since we got Nelson, ‘walkies’ became once again the order of the day.

 

And when stuck for a topic there’s always dogs

doggiesIn 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. And Trump. I mean, Jesus H. Christ. Have the Republicans who once boasted people like Ike, Jerry Ford and even Reagan. Does the party have a death wish to be lauding this loathesome reptile? 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, And now wee Nelson whom I have come to cherish in his own little way. And finally, all dogs.

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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 bloggers 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. In fact I want 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.

 

I could have been $25 trillion to the good if I’d played my cards right

monopolyIn 1997, following the death of my father the previous year (Mother had shuffled off this mortal coil in 1992) my brothers and I sold the family manse – the house in which we had grown up. We did so without sentimentality or remorse since depressing memories had supplanted good ones years before.

If memory serves we let the place go for about a half million, which was kind of impressive in the mid to late ’90s for Lower Mainland BC. Of course nowadays we could probably put it on the market for 25 trillion dollars. Damn. Greater Vancouver and Victoria real estate has become insane and represents egregious greed of the vilest sort.

Truly, speculation has drummed the peons out of the home purchase market. Truly I weep for those whose work sends them to those hotspots. And I am here to say it’s not right. Where do such people as firefighters, cops, school teachers and the like find roofs to shelter them in the community in which I grew up.

There is lots of blame afoot. Speculation has run rampant in the real estate industry – and at one level who can blame them? It’s a boom-and-bust calling with lots of lean times. I say this because I have friends who toil in the calling. Yet – yet – somewhere it isn’t right.

Of course the easiest thing to do is blame the government. And, I mean, why not? Christy is selling out to the Chinese for the sake of trade concessions from far-off Cathay. Well, there probably are elements of that, but it’s likely not the whole sale. As goes Vancouver, so goes Toronto. And when you get to a place like London, it’s out of the question for ordinary blokes to live there. There are people who work in London who actually commute from Brussels or Paris, and sometimes even Spain. No exaggeration.

Meanwhile on BC’s Lower Mainland there are those who commute from Chilliwack and White Rock on a daily basis on some of the most congested roads in the known universe. Life’s too short for that shit, bedad.

So, I am grateful I live where I do in the Comox Valley. That is at least until we start getting Mainland and south Island spillover here, or Asian speculators see us as being ripe for rape. Then, of course (since we own our home) our house value will soar and we stand to make a few bucks.

But, should we sell, where would we find a place we could afford?