Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Role Models

Our Role Models
Hoooooooooooley crap! I never laughed so hard in a long time. Celebrity golf; that’s what it was. It was hilarious! Oh the charity is most commendable. These folks raise a truckload of money for the charity they represent, and to tell you the truth, they play a mean game of golf. They could teach the pros a thing or two about putting, that’s for sure.
Well that’s not what struck my funny bone. What it was was the whole field of athletes – hockey players, baseball and basketball players and so on. Holy crap! These guys are giants, both in their sport and in their bodies. I was mesmerized watching them propelling their portly potbellies around the field, thinking; how could they possibly be the athletes they’re supposed to be, lookin’ like that? It was like a gathering of ancient Sumo wrestlers with their pants on wobbling around the fairways.
It’s not nice to make fun of people’s appearances and certainly it’s with no sense of derision that my merriment takes over. But watching people like Charles Barkley finessing a putt is funny! All I could think of was him making a jump shot in basketball – all four hundred –odd pounds of him and crashing right through the floor on the landing. Well come on – that is funny.
The thing is that all these people are young enough to be my children. How is it possible that I see nothing but a bunch of old geysers out there? There’s not an Adonis in the crowd. What a paradox!
I guess that’s the lesson to be learned here. We are so accustomed to the media’s version of what a role model should look like; we don’t recognize the real ones when we see them. That’s a shock. Do we suddenly have to rely on the media to give us the specifications for a role model? That’s really what’s at the root of a lot of our problems. We paint a picture of what our heroes are supposed to look like and if they don’t, we can’t recognize them. What a stupid trap to fall in to!
As I said, these old geysers clomping around on the fairways are pretty well all young enough to be my children, yet they seem to me to be older than I am. Maybe it’s because I don’t really follow sports that much that I don’t recognize their achievements. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I don’t think so. I say shame on me for being lured into the unreal world of the photographers, the writers and the editors of media. And shame on them for leading us by the nose down the road of non-existence! Well, they’re getting their just desserts. Newspapers and magazines are dropping like flies and even television is becoming irrelevant. Maybe if we become more critical of the garbage on the Internet, we may be able to make better judgments. At leas that’s the way it seems from up here on the top shelf.
I’m just sayin’.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Demented World

The Demented World
Well it’s not funny. The growing epidemic of dementia is starting to set off alarm bells all over the medical and health care community with good reason. More and more people are needing care for longer and longer periods of time, many need to be hospitalized or at the very least put be into fully supervised care homes for their own protection. There is no question that this is a huge financial blow to the health care system and it’s only the beginning. What with people living longer, the disease will reach epidemic proportions and take over the care costs of the whole health care system.
On that premise, researchers are now climbing into our brains to try and figure out how to stop this destructive activity. They are almost in panic mode. For years people have been doing research on cancer, heart and stroke, arthritis, degenerative spinal diseases, Parkinson’s etc. They’ve got the body covered from top to bottom and front to back in research. But until recently they’d forgotten about the brain. What’d they think that was for - some kind of lifetime warranty motor to make everything else work? I’m amazed!
In the grand scheme of things, dementia doesn’t really harm the victim. Oh, it does but not so he/she is aware of it. Of course, there is a relatively short period where the victim must cope with the loss of memory or basic intelligence. But that passes fairly quickly as memory disappears. Then the onus of care and control falls squarely on somebody else and the victim floats along in a vacuum, totally healthy and unconcerned.
That got me thinking. What if this spreads undetected to our governments and bureaucracies? What if this spreads to our scientists and medical people? It almost seems, judging by the results that it has already happened. It seems the world is being run by a bunch of ding-a-lings already. In fact, three cases have already been documented. Ronald Reagan, Boris Yeltsen, and Margaret Thatcher were all diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Just think – the three most powerful countries on the planet were run by Alzheimer’s patients. Holy crap! We’re already there! I notice the automakers coming up with designs to take the responsibility for driving and parking away from the driver and putting it on the car itself. Well, it’s pretty well an extension of the myriad of robotics that have taken over industry and our lives.
It leads to the potential conclusion that this then is a natural progression of the human drive to avoid doing what we are meant to do. The brain has finally figured out how to abdicate its responsibility to motivate the body to do things. It’s as though it’s said to itself; ‘Aw, to hell with it. I ain’t doin’ this anymore. You do it.’ So it blows all the white matter it contains all over itself and goes on cruise control while everybody else runs around looking after its owner. Pretty slick, I would say.
In the meantime, all those whose brains haven’t figured this out yet get to do the bull work of caring for the bodies, and the researchers have to figure out a way to put all this white matter back together again. I think this is a devious plot of mankind.
At least that is how it looks to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Hoop-de-do! I got to go to a wedding. Well, wait a minute. That sounds like a chore I have to do. Let me re-phrase that. I am privileged to go to a wedding. This will be the first of my granddaughters to get properly hitched. That’s a pretty big deal, you know. I mean, I got a whole raft of granddaughters and most are shacked up with some passer –by I never heard of. So when one of them comes along and says I’m getting married, that’s cause for celebration for someone of my generation. I can relate to that. That’s the way we used to do things in the olden days. So I’m excited!
My wife has been fussin’ around for the last month or so tryin’ to figure out what she’s goin’ to wear to this shindig. Well, that’s not unusual. She has the same problem when she wants to go to the library or the grocery store. It’s one of them woman things, so I’m used to it. Me, I don’t have that problem. I knew the minute I heard about the engagement what I was goin’ to wear.
It’s goin’ to be a summer wedding – early August, just before harvest time. At one time you’d a said it was the big bash before you got down to the serious work of bringin’ in the grain. It’d be sort’a like Carnival before Lent season. So you’d get dressed to the nines for a shindig like that. You’d think. I’ve got five good suits sittin’ in my closet that retired with me, just itchin’ to go to a dance. I got three fine sport coats with mix and match pants, and all kinds of shirts and ties. I mean I’m armed to the teeth with what to wear for just about any occasion. And I know just what the doctor ordered. I got this off-white linen suit I call my ice-cream suit that’ll fit the bill just perfect. I’ll be the best lookin’ grandpa anybody ever seen at that wedding! My granddaughter will be suitably proud. I can just picture her introducing me around the groom’s friends as her special grandpa.
Well burst my bubble why don’t ya! The wife says it’s a small backyard wedding and it’s very casual. You’ll look out of place in that get up. Well, who gives a rip if it’s a backyard wedding or a back alley wedding, I protest. I want’a wear my ice-cream suit and that’s that! Actually, she says, she bought me a nice casual shirt to go with the pants of my charcoal suit, and a new pair of shoes and won’t I just look dapper in that? Try them on and you’ll see, she urges.
By now, I’m used to the wife’s urgings. They’re like judgments from the Supreme Court. So I cave in. I don’t like it, but I cave in. Well why not wear a shirt looking like pajama tops with a pair of suit pants? She’s happy with that so I’ll do it.
Of course, in my heart of hearts, I can still imagine myself in my ice-cream suit with a carnation in the lapel and my beautiful granddaughter on my arm introducing me around the room as her special grandfather. It never occurs to me that she has something completely different on her mind. I guess I’m getting older than I thought.
Well, we all have our dreams. Each may have a different version of the same dream, but they all come out happy just the same. That’s all that counts. At least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Americanization of Canadianism

The Americanization of Canadianism

Strange how things start innocuously and then suddenly take flight. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Cardboard Canadians, pointing the finger at the cheapskate Conservative government in general and Joy Smith in particular. I thought at the time the only agenda they had was to humiliate the general population with their paper flags that we’re supposed to paste on our windows to show our allegiance to Canada. But oh no, they were serious. That was pretty well evident from the goings on in Ottawa on Canada Day.
It seems that they’ve got the CBC embedded in their activities too. Of course that’s where all the hullabaloo is coming from in the first place. Every reporter was in everybody’s face asking what it means for them to be Canadian – even young children. Bloody hell! I almost felt like starting to sing: “Canada, Canada, Über Alles” Disgusting!
Of course, as part of the entertainment, they also had to have a re-enactment of the War of 1812. This of course is the two-hundredth anniversary of that war. The re-enactment was a mistake if ever there was one. History tells us that there were at least a dozen Aboriginal nations who took the side of the British in this conflict. These were the only Canadians there were at the time. The rest were all British and French immigrants. After the Indians helped them win the war, we (the immigrants) immediately went about the business of decimating the Indian Tribes with disease and starvation, herding them onto useless pieces of land with a lot of empty promises. We stole their resources, their languages and cultures, and their land and continue to do so. We – the “Canadians” that is, established a head tax on Chinese immigrants to keep these undesirables out of the country after having exploited their laborers to build the railroad opening up the west. During WW II, we– the “Canadians” that is, rounded up all the Japanese Canadians, expropriated their property and held them prisoner for the duration of the war and stuck the profits from the sale of their former properties in our pockets. During the same war we – the “Canadians” that is, refused to take in Jews trying to escape Hitler’s gas chambers.
I could go on. But we did our good things too. Nobel Laureate Lester Pearson created an army of peacekeepers to deploy across the world. Their service was second to none. But we – the “Canadians” that is, have them turned into combat troops, intent on killing rather than keeping the peace.
Like it or not, this is our real legacy. Should we be proud to be “Canadians”? Should we, like the Americans, sweep all that dirt under the flag in denial and pretend we are all good and our country Canada is pristine and without blemish? Shall we look at the abuses we foster on others and say, “Oh, we’re not like that, we’re Canadian!” Look at the reputation the USA has around the world. Is that what we’re aiming for? No, let’s not do that. Let’s rather take ownership of our imperfections for once.
It’s not like we’re living in a war torn dictatorship or anything like that. There are lots of countries worse off than we are, no question about it. Most of us would think we have it pretty good in our daily lives, and so we do, relatively speaking. But for heaven’s sake, let’s not throw our nice clean white flag with the red maple leaf on it over everything that’s wrong and pretend nothing is wrong. Rex Murphy (bless his Rhodes Scholarliness) said it about right when he commented on parliament members leaving their characters on the doorstep of parliament on entering to the point that neither they nor their offices are respected, and that the media gobbled up their rhetoric for the sake of entertainment.
And that’s exactly where the bottleneck lies. If they would just shut up long enough to look around, they would find that for the most part we are decent people living our lives the best we can, keeping our various cultures close to the vest, respecting one another’s individuality and obeying the laws of the land. What else do they want? We know who we are. What does it matter what anyone else thinks? At least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.