Saturday, August 31, 2013



The Missus and me was talkin’ about it the other day. Well, we’re getting to the age where we’re considerin’ buyin’ our tickets for the grim reaper’s bus. Not that we’re anxious to get on board or anythin’, but you gotta take care o’ business sooner or later, an’ the later is gettin’ shorter an’ shorter.

That wasn’t really the subject matter. We was yakkin’ about how many married couples we know can’t stand one another. Stayin’ together seems to be a giant grudge match of mammoth proportions. Nothin’ mind you, more than words in most cases, but the kind o’ words to make a longshoreman blush nevertheless. The venomous poison that comes out o’ their mouths can turn the air blue in no time flat. These people are married – to each other – and they’re mortal enemies.

Fast forward now to when one o’ them croaks after a bout of cancer or a stroke or heart failure. During the sickness nobody comes to visit other than friends. Husband/wife don’t come. Kids don’t come, and finally the patient expires and it’s game over, well all except the obituary. You suddenly discover, much to your amazement that the late spouse was a faithful and loyal husband (or wife), usually the love of the other’s life who died with his/her loving family by his/her side after a courageous battle with whatever was ailing them. Holy crap! Uncle Henry never ever had THAT much manure on his compost pile!

I remember our neighbor when we were kids, old Mr. Orlofsky who couldn’t work anymore since he’d lost his leg in an industrial accident. He’d putter around in his back yard with a pile of old lumber; piling and re-piling it while Mrs. Orlofsky would be in the garden doing her weeding. Well the constant verbal exchange was such that you never knew whether it was them or the feral cats that used to rule the alley where we lived. Of course it escalated in spring and fall when it was time to clean the stovepipes.

Well, low and behold, when the old boy finally bit the dust, they held him a grand funeral, even passing by the house one last time on the way to the cemetery and he was the finest husband and father to ever walk the face of the earth. How ‘bout that!

I don’t know whether it’s a perceived curse to speak evil of the dead cause they might come back to haunt you, or they were just in the first place. It’s hard to tell because nobody but the finest people show up in the obituaries – ever. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Geyserish Golden Years

The Geyserish Golden Years


Ha! And double ha! That’s what I say to the nostalgia perpetrated by the mind in bringing back memories of when we were young and carefree. Talk about living in the moment. Me an’ the wife done that this morning. We stepped out the door to take a four or five mile stroll to stretch our legs before the weather got too hot. We’re amblin’ along listenin’ to the songbirds, sayin’ good mornin’ to other walkers on our route an’ smellin’ the fresh air.

The first sign of old age shows up when a lady comes up behind us and sayin’ “good mornin’”. She adds: “You don’t put yer hands behind yer back. You have to swing yer arms to get yer blood movin’ to yer upper body.”

Oh crap! Now they’re tellin’ me how to walk – as if I didn’t already know how. Well, we go up over the bridge and turn into the walkin’ path (I’m now swingin’ my blasted arms) when we both look up at the sky. It don’t look all that friendly in the west all of a sudden an’ we’re only about a mile into our stroll. Oh well, a little rain don’t hurt nobody none. So we carry on.

About half way home the sky turns really dark and starts to spit some of the wet stuff on us and the wife smiles an’ says, “This is just like Holland when I was young. We loved to walk in the rain!”

She’s got a point. We used to walk in the rain too. Never thought anythin’ about it. Well it’s only water for crying out loud. It’s not poison or anythin’ like that! Actually, it’s kinda fun; nostalgic. The sky must’a read our minds because all of a sudden it got really dark an’ the rain drops got very large. By the time we got under the trees again, we were soaked pretty good. The wife is still smilin’. “That’s one thing off my bucket list,” she says. “I always wanted to go for a walk in the rain with you.”

Of course, by the time we get home, it quit rainin’. But now we have physics to deal with. Half the rain that fell on me is in my wool sweater that I wore and in my boots that only leak from the top and in my hat that only leaks from the top.

I manage to pull the forty-pound sweater off my back all right and peel my soakin’ wet pants off my skinny legs, even get my boots off. But my socks, now that’s a different story altogether. The thing is that when you’re getting dangerously close to eighty, yer legs grow a lot in length, takin’ their growth directly from the length of yer arms. So while yer figurin’ out how to get down that far to peel yer socks off yer feet without getting a horrible cramp in yer chest from pullin’ too hard, you get a horrible cramp in yer chest from pullin’ too hard. So by the time you recover from that excrutiatin’ bout o’ pain you realize you got another foot to peel yer sock off. Damn!

I suppose the long and the short of it is that relivin’ the memories in decrepit old bodies is a whole lot more painful than makin’ them in the first place. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.




Saturday, August 17, 2013

False Courage

False Courage

False Courage
A number of years ago a fellow who had been a member of the KGB in what was then Czechoslovakia and had fled to Canada told me that we had no concept of the Eastern mentality. He probably would have been right had my ancestors not had several hundred years of experience with it. Their bones and ashes are scattered all the way from Chortitza to Kazakhstan to unknown destinations Siberia. To a degree, he had been right in that the owners of those bones had stood up for their beliefs and by and large become martyrs in the rest of the world. But for the Russians - they didn’t give a rip. They just kept murdering and killing and if you were lucky, exile to the far reaches of Siberia.

There has been more and more evidence over time that Vladimir Putin is the incarnation of Josef Stalin. As the former head of the KGB he has shown it time and again. Certainly he knows how to operate inside that system. His ability to negotiate himself into the presidency a second time and to rid himself of any opposition attests to the character of the person.

Given all that, just how does the gay community figure on making any human rights headway against that sort of government? I get the idea that the protesters have the lofty notion that protesting will show these thugs up and that no harm will come to them; that the Russian government will be shamed into compliance. Yeah – right. Not! They’re walking right in to the lion’s den when they go to the home country of the government they want to change its policy and they expect it to listen. That seems a little na├»ve to me. A country that sent Napoleon’s army packing, and the German army twice in a row isn’t likely to listen to a bunch of high minded protesters. It just doesn’t compute.

It seems to me a better plan would be to converge on the IOC en masse with a vengeance they have not known before and either shut the games down altogether or have them take action against the Russians: in other words pull the games from Sochi and ban the Russians from any future games. Its time those buggers sittin’ on their lofty thrones got pulled down a little bit. If they had any sense of fair play they’d have looked after this a long time ago, but they’re so busy preservin’ their profits, they got no time for human rights. It’s high time the athletes got their priorities straight and make their demands known where it counts – in the IOC, and if the IOC don’t respond, then withhold their services. After all, what are the Olympic games without athletes? At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's in a Name

What’s in a Name?


Holy crumb! Who’da ever thought that once you get a name hung on you, it sticks no matter what you do. The thing is that once you get used to using a particular name for a person, it doesn’t ever really go away. The other day I got a notice on facebook that it was Davita’s birthday. So like an idiot I said Happy birthday Kimmie. Well she used to be a Kim or Kimmie as we called her because she was so cute and tiny when she was a youngster. A couple of years ago when she showed up on my facebook page, she explained her name change to me, which was quite legitimate and actually quite a lovely story.

The very first friend I ever had in this world was my cousin Hilda. In fact, she was my only friend and we played together and made mischief together for the longest time. Well, we all grew up and went our separate ways. She moved out west, got married and suddenly became Katherine or Kate. What the – How’d that happen? I guess she didn’t like her first name so she uses her middle one. I suppose that’s legitimate too, but we met a couple o’ times in the last few years an’ I looked her in the eye an’ I can tell you, she was still Hilda, no matter what she calls herself.

You’d think I’d know how this works by now. But I didn’t even know my own wife’s name was Catherina until we started signing papers (like a marriage license). I knew her as Ria-which wasn’t her name neither. That was short for Maria, which was her middle name. Who knew? Turns out there’s more dad-blamed Katherines, Catherinas and Kates in our family than you can shake a stick at.

Well I don’t care what anybody says. Catherina is still Ria, Katherine is still Hilda and Davita is still Kimmie an’ you can take that to the bank!

I suppose I could start on the nicknames we used to all each other when we was growin’ up. Somebody started callin’ us by our fathers’ first names, unless we’d invented a better one – (like Juicy Selway or Mugga come to mind). It got so we didn’t know anybody’s real first name. I even get confused sometimes today.

Well gol dang it, I’ll call ‘em whatever they wanna be called but they ain’t gonna tell me what their real names are, cause I know. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Well - What's Next?

Mia Culpa!
A few months ago I believe I made a big mistake in publishing my blogs. Shane and I had set up my website called "Talking eBooks" and I began blogging on that site. It was supposed to be linked to this site. But I found that my international followers had dropped off altogether. That was not what I had intended. So, in order to correct the situation I decided to blog in both places until I get this figured out. I was trying to get more followers - not less!

So if you have any comments or suggestions, email me at and let me have your thoughts. In the meantime, enjoy the blog.
Victor Epp

Well – What’s Next?

I’m tryin’ to figure out whether we have become immunized to the destruction that our governments and industry alike routinely pull on Canadian citizens, whether we just don’t care, or maybe we’re too dumb to know.

Until I heard the other day that during the 1940’s and 1950’s the government was experimenting with food deprivation of indigenous people, I didn’t know either, but then I ain’t the brightest star in the heavens neither. But then I got to thinkin’ it ain’t such a surprise. Wasn’t it in the 1960’s they were experimenting with certain mental patients with LSD. I remember that because Slaw Rebchuck’s wife was subjected to them experiments that caused her permanent damage an’ had a ripple effect on her family.

Well the whole business triggered a memory of my brother-in-law at the time who was studying animal food sciences. His thesis was based on deprivation of certain minerals from the animal’s diets to study the effects of these minerals on the animal’s body. The idea was to remove them incrementally one at a time and observe the health of the animals during the course of the experiment. When the animals got to a low point, he would reverse the procedure to see if they came back to full health.

It was a troublesome experiment though because his herd of fifteen cows had never been outside the barn before. They had to be examined daily to ensure they survived. Somebody, I don’t know who, left the barn door open one day and all fifteen of the critters got out in the yard and seein’ the outside world for the first time, stampeded and ran themselves to death. Well so much for that experiment! Not to be defeated though, my brother-in-law took on a small flock o’ sheep. Well these buggers didn’t escape, but they all croaked in the experiment. Notwithstanding all that, my brother-in-law still graduated and in fact went on to get his PhD in agriculture, albeit minus a herd o’ cows an’ a flock o’ sheep.

Well what I’m getting’ at is, what was the point of all of this experimentation on people. There was a great hue an’ cry about the fact that we even thought o’ doin’ such things to a particular segment of our population. But we never did find out the purpose of it, nor do we know what the results of it were. That’s what we want to know – IN DETAIL. Well, we also want to know who the jackass was that ordered this stuff so we can properly vilify him an’ hang his effigy in a rogues gallery for all to see. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.