Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Old Timers

New Old Timers

          Back in the old days when life was simpler, you could spend a few hours on a warm Sunday afternoon, swapping stories, or reminiscing about younger times and better places fondly remembered. Such were the times of John Henry and Henry John, sitting on an old grain box, savoring a few moments of friendship and idle storytelling. Who can tell what it was that they were talking about? 

          I guess it was here that my imagination for story telling took hold. It's not so much the story that is important, although that helps, but rather the comradeship of the people sharing that brings the greatest reward.

          So I gather my audience together, imaginary or otherwise, sit down at my keyboard and start spinning tales - sometimes true and sometimes the biggest lies I can conjure up. When I am done, I feel I've accomplished something.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Posthumous Sales

Posthumous Sales
Well if that ain’t the most annoyin’ business I ever heard of. Ya spend a lifetime o’ plyin’ yer craft an’ scratchin’ out a livin’ an’ then ya get sick an’ croak. All the things you’ve accumulated one way or another durin’ yer lifetime get tabulated, sold off, given away or thrown in the trash an’ the matter is settled. Everybody can get on with their lives (or deaths as it were) – unless you are a writer, poet, or musician that is.
I just read the other day that Leonard Cohen’s sales (I assume on recordings he has done) have gone up four hundred and seven percent since his passing. That really, really sucks as far as I’m concerned. I mean if ya really think his material is that important to have in yer collection, why’d ya have’ta wait ‘til he croaked before ya acknowledged him? He could’a used the money for medical expenses ya know.
The business with Gord Downie is a little different. Though news of his imminent demise was a wake-up call to his many fans and followers, he has a little time to arrange the direction of his (potential) income. He also has the opportunity to stick it to the scalpers eager to cash in on the situation by broadcasting his entire last concert on CBC.
Of course, ya can’t take it with ya. We all know that. There’s no bankers in heaven. They’re all in that other place, together with the lawyers an’ politicians.  But we should have a say in what becomes of our posthumous earnings and who benefits from them. I guess that means we gotta mix in a little economics in with our artistic talents. My late father-in-law had found the perfect solution. When he drew up his last will an’ testament, he of course looked after the family, but then he sneaked in a clause sayin’ that if anybody contested the will, all of it would automatically go to a charity he named in the will. No one contested it.
What he done in his wisdom was to look after the family an’ not only that, he kept them from fightin’ over any of his decisions all at the same time. Smart thinkin’ I figure. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Weather

Weather
I have to try to remember the passage from “The Song of Hiawatha” that was so much more picturesque than what we view in real life – or the Rankin Inlet Journal that is a favorite of Leon’s and Lori’s up in Thompson, MB. But I must admit, the beginning of each season presents its own bit of majesty (at least at it’s ushering in). It has nothing to do with the calendar on the wall, it only has to do with what is happening in the moment, wherever it is happening.
As I drew the curtains back this morning I was shocked to see that the world was white; clean as it were, and pure as it had ever been. It’s always been like that, at least for the eighty – odd years I’ve been around. It seems, the world has its own agenda. It has nothing to do with man-made calendars at all. Of course, we have to immediately compensate for the change in the weather to suit our own conditions and the first thing you know, it all gets dirty again. Cars over compensating for slippery roads, spraying the watery snow on to the boulevards, and voila, everything is grungy again – humanized as it were. In fact, when I was having my afternoon nap I was awakened by a rumbling outside. Turns out there was a big front end loader clearing off the approach to our underground garage, of the twenty-four snowflakes lying there. It probably had more to do with economics than with clearing the driveway.
Sure enough, when I went out this morning to re-teach my car about winter driving there wasn’t a slippery patch on the road at all. There was just dirty water splashed all over the boulevards and the streets looked all dirty and dingy. But it won’t be long before all the side streets and lanes are etched with deep ruts, and the boulevards piled high with dirty snow and the rubbish that was under it. Thinking about it that way makes me long for the end of February when what was once a nice clean blanket of snow melts away to reveal the dirt it covered up and new plants and grass can mark a new beginning for humanity. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.
 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Belligerence

Belligerence
Now there’s a word that ain’t showed up in politics in a long time, if ever. ‘Aggressive, hostile, making war’, is the definition in the dictionary. It’s the mood you get into when you feel yer politicians an’ others are corrupt beyond the limits you can tolerate. When you look across the spectrum of political atmospheres and financial disparities, it’s no big surprise that Americans latch onto a guy like Trump who promises to drain the swamp in Washington. That’s probably impossible to get a handle on, but the rank an’ file will just swallow it up hook, line an’ sinker, an’ the establishment is totally shocked. It never occurs to them that they’ve been doin’ somethin’ wrong all along. Well why would it. They’ve been shovin’ it down our throats for so long they figure we’ll get used to it an’ they just keep on keepin’ on.
Then the establishment retreats into what we used to call “buyer’s remorse” in the real estate business, cryin’ “What have we done! What have we done!” Meaning of course “What has the electorate done to us?” Really! Are they THAT stupid? Had they done right by the rank and file they are elected to serve in the first place, they wouldn’t be in this dilemma. Just look at the atrocities going on at Standing Rock against peaceful and prayerful protestors. (Don’t get me started on that!) Is that a just society? I think not.
There are ways to adjust these attitudes. We only have to look at Iceland. Their president had to resign after tax evasion revelations. But prior to that, the crooked bankers were all jailed – NOT bailed out. I think too, a few years ago women went on strike against their husbands so that the latter could look after households and children all by themselves. It was extreme chaos. Then, to top it all off, they figured out how much time it would take men to earn what working women earned and by their formula, would knock off at 2:30 in the afternoon each day so as to equalize the pay difference. To every problem there is a solution. We could learn a thing or two from them tough, smart Icelandic women, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Friday, November 11, 2016

What's Left to Say

Well, it's a day early, but being Remembrance Day, I think it's appropriate.

What’s Left to Say
I ain’t gonna throw my lot in with all the rhetoric bein’ spewed out about the American election. It’s none o’ my business. I mean, if the Americans want a president whose grandfather was an illegal alien and whose father was friendly with the KKK an’ an immigrant wife think he will make America great again, well that’s up to them. It’s no skin off my nose.
Well it is actually – not the election or the results, but the news media, especially CBC. Can you believe they pre-empted” Kim’s Convenience” for election news? An’ what about the “Still Standing” program that’s about as Canadian as it gets?
I been belly-achin’ about the television an’ radio programs for a long time now an’ I ain’t gettin’ anywheres neither. It seems they’re intent in turnin’ us into Americans, whether we like it or not. At least on Remembrance Day they might do us the favor of broadcasting some o’ the services across the country to remember those gallant young men and women who offered up their lives so we might enjoy the freedom we have and that we also remember the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and the children left to mourn the loss of these lives. As much as anyone, they need the love and support of us all to give them peace in their hearts and hope for the future. We should remember this and practice it, leaving all the tumult and rancour of the present day behind. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Holidays

Holidays
Well basically, holiday season is upon us. The second one is already finished an’ over (the first bein’ Thanksgivin’) – if you count Halloween as a holiday. A lot o’ people do, particularly the stores. An’ then ya see post after post on facebook as well as the news media wishing everybody a happy Halloween. What’s to be happy about anyways? An’ about two days before that, ya start seein’ Christmas decorations goin’ up in the store windows. It seems like a race to be first (just in case they miss somethin’.)
Well before that ya got yer Remembrance Day. Now that’s not a real holiday. It’s a day of remembrance, just like it says. It’s a somber sort o’ day where nobody but the Legion makes any money in their poppy sales. But it’s a pretty big deal anyways with parades an’ speeches an’ so on. An’ people get the day off too – that’s different. Used to be that everybody went to work an’ at eleven o’clock everythin’ came to a halt an everybody stood at attention for two minutes o’ silence to remember the dead an’ the sacrifice they had made on our behalf.
This mornin’ me an’ the Missus went shoppin’ for Christmas stuff – well basically to look an’ see what there was to be had. Well, fair enough, but the first thing she done was to get two loaves o’ bread an throw it in this giant cart I was pushin’ around the whole store. Thankfully we finally got outta there after pilin’ on a few extra things besides the bread. What I was gonna get to was that next I wanted to go to a craft store to get some modelin’ clay that I needed – a five-minute adventure it was until the Missus came in. HOLY CRACKERS! All of Christmas showed up in the store (an’ it’s a giant place). Well you can imagine just how long THAT took to get outta there. An’ I nearly forgot my modelin’ clay.
The whole point is that there’s such a rush by the retailers an’ manufacturers to get their wares to market that they’re trippin’ over one another to make their sales quotas, an we seem to buy into it. They say there’s twenty-seven holidays between November first an’ January first, some religious an’ some not. But ya can bet yer bottom dollar that one way or another they’ll get what ya call ’monetized’ before they’re done. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

All Hallo's Eve

All Hallo’s Eve
Well, trick or treat, Halloween Apples, or All Hallo’s Eve – or whatever. It’s that time of year again.  It’s just sort’a struck me how big a deal this has become – for the adults. Actually, it’s really become a big deal for retailers. Drivin’ down the road this mornin’ an’ the front lawns were covered in ghosts an’ goblins an the livin’ room windows is filled with pumpkins an’ all sorts o’ decorations. One lawn in particular was totally covered in wall to wall ghostly junk. Must’a cost a fortune.
An’ the ‘trick or treatin’ has fallen off considerably too. I guess that’s why there’s so much decoration. An’ that’s about the only difference between Christmas an’ Halloween. They’re not sellin’ gifts, only decorations. Well I suppose they gotta keep the market economy goin’. I was originally gonna write about the time we had to grab hold o’ Freddy Tataryn’s coat to keep him from fallin’ into the hole of old man Neff’s outhouse that we was tryin’ to push over before his German Shepherd started barkin’ again. We figured that would teach him to yell at us for tryin’ to steal his crab apples. Now THAT was an adventure – especially for Freddy. Well he had such an arrogant attitude, it’d have served him right to have fallen in. Well, the memory gets a little vague by now – some seventy years later, but the feelin’ of excitement (probably) grows with time.
These kinds’a pranks all used to take place on the same night (so there was entertainment for all ages I suppose). Now they got what they call “Gate Night” what’s dedicated to pranks only. I think that takes place a day or two before Halloween so as not to interfere with the fun for the innocent kids. Of course, with technology these days it means cans o’ spray paint to put graffiti all over the place, razor knives to slash car tires an’ pranks o’ that sort. Not very nice stuff that’s costly to repair or replace.
Naw, the old days had a sense o’ humor to them when you could watch the teachers try to figure out how the goal posts on the soccer field got mounted on the roof of our three-story school, or how mail boxes ended up on a ten-foot pole with an air mail sign on them or how a bunch o’ horses suddenly turned a ghostly white on Halloween. It even caused the adults to smile a bit (probably remembering some of their own pranks). At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.