Saturday, March 30, 2013

Moving Day for the Top Shelf

Well, you know how it is; every once in a while you gotta dust off the top shelf too. So you move all the pictures and trinkets thaat's up there and set the dust cloth to it. Then it occurs to you that there's a better place to put stuff - a top shelf where nobody sees the dust.

So that's what I done. I found a shelf in my Talking eBook site an' that's where I'm goin to be rantin' from from now on. Well, there'll be other stuff on there too which is the whole idea. so go to for my nervous rants, an' check out what else is there of interest to you.

Who's Runnin The Show Anyway?

Who’s Runnin’ The Show Anyway?

According to press releases, P.M. Harper is peeved at the government for their inability to train skilled workers to fill thousands of vacancies that companies are begging to fill in Canada, and that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well what? Did he and his whole gang fall asleep again, or were they just not listening (again)? How many times do I gotta tell them for crimeny sakes?

Remember last fall when the tuition protests came up in Quebec? I told them then in no uncertain terms what should be done – that the companies hiring these post secondary students should pay the tuition, making it free to the students they would then hire. That would put them in the power seat of directing the labor force to their needs. Pretty simple, right? Obviously not. I don’t know who’s pushing that wheelbarrow full of rusty hammers. Ain’t nobody who knows how to steer the damn thing because the students are out there picketing again.

If you talk to the unions, you’d think that they’re the ones who run things in this town. Well obviously they do, otherwise you wouldn’t have so many vacancies in the labor trades market. Talk about shootin’ yerself in the foot. I don’t know who they were tryin’ to serve when they managed to change the ratio of apprentice to journeyman from four to one, to one to one. It was good for the tradesmen at the time, securing their employment, but now that they’re all retiring, there’s only a quarter of the skilled workers to take their places. The unions and management should’a had the spider webs removed from their brains a little earlier in the game.

Well you can’t really blame the workers. All they want is to be able to work and earn a decent living. But did you ever notice how they manage to have their union meetings on a Thursday or Friday evening – about 8:00p.m. after the members have had a chance to swallow down a few beers. That’s no accident. By the time the meeting gets started, the workers all think they own the company(s). So it’s quite easy for the union bosses to get a mandate to ask for the moon on behalf of their members. That’s how they keep their high payin’ jobs.

There ain’t no point in goin’ into the pile o’ meadow muffins that constitutes “labor negotiations”. That’s a whole new stack o’ manure.  But what I’m gettin’ at is that we have to import workers from overseas to do our work for us. Just the other day I saw a bunch of Irishmen at a pub in Saskatchewan, beltin’ back a few Guinness’s. They were brought over by the Saskatchewan government to fill some skilled labor jobs that couldn’t otherwise be filled. They were happy as could be, makin’ more money than back home, an’ Saskatchewan is a nice friendly place. Their employer even gave them the day off after St. Patrick’s Day. What more could they want? The Rough Riders wear green jerseys, and there’s even that tree somewhere near Regina or Saskatoon somewheres. But we can’t fill those jobs with Canadians. What the H E Double hockey sticks!

Well, it’s a little bit like the animals steerin’ the ark, while Noah has a good long nap. They ain’t never gonna find Mount Ararrat that way. They couldn’t even find Mount Arafat if there was one. If the Feds an’ the provincial governments got together an’ put the boots to management, the education system, and labor unions, they could easily get the job done. But you try tellin’ them that. What in the world would they do without their public enquiries or due diligence studies and all that political stuff? At least, that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fundamental Differences

Fundamental Differences

“Junk box!”

“Junk Box? Junk box? JUNK BOX? JUNK BOX?”

“Yeah, it’s nothing but a junk box.”

“That, my dear, uneducated wife, is a tool chest – a very valuable tool chest.”

The withering look I got was enough to melt the snow off Mount Everest. Where in the world did that come from? I had to move the chest to another place, which I suppose, brought it to her attention and she honed in on it like one o’ them heat seeking missiles.

Holy crap! There’s tools in there that are a hundert years old. And if that don’t count for somethin’. So what if I don’t use them every day (or even ever use them). They’re there in MY tool chest, right where they belong, and not in some junk box! Didn’t I use some of them tools to make her jewelry case, or the picture frames I made? I think it’s time I got a little respect around here.

But that ain’t even the real issue. It ain’t even about respect for men’s things. It goes right to the heart of what makes the world go ‘round. Well, just look at our own country for example. There’s women premiers all over the place, and what do you get? First thing you notice is the scrappin’ between Alberta and B.C. about oil revenues. Then you get the lady from Quebec who’s stuck her foot in it about language issues and post-secondary school fees. Nothin’ but trouble is what these women are boilin’ up. And now some committee in the U.N. comes out with a report that says Canada is number eleven in the hierarchy of developed countries. How in the H-E-double hockey sticks did that ever happen? We used to be number one for cryin’ out loud! Well, we men know for sure what happened. Nature and nurture – my foot! Squabble an’ trouble is more like it. Holy Hannah! How is the world goin’ to turn under matriarchal leadership? We’re goin’ to hell in a hand basket an’ the only thing them women got in their “tool chest” is needles an’ thread an’ crochet hooks. And the on the other side is lipstick an’ nail polish an’ essence of somethin’ or other. Talk about yer “junk box”. How’re you gonna fix anythin’ with that?

The women ought’a know by now that they got the power anyway. They even got this smug idea they are superior to men. Well lah dee dah, we know all that already. They been advertising it long enough. What’s to be gained by insults and put-downs? There’s a line in the sand there somewhere, and they wanna toe the mark if they know what’s good for them. Never you mind about the twinkle in the missus’ eye when she was giving me the gears. She’s getting’ awful close to the line and it’s a sensitive subject. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The New World Energy

The New World Energy

Normally, when you think of grandchildren, you think of little ones you can bounce on your knee, kiss and hug them and send them back to mama. At least that’s how I envision them. I can’t seem to get that picture out of my mind somehow. Well, there’s a whole slug of them little buggers in my family. At least I thought they were little buggers ‘til the other day when I attended a family wedding.  Holy crap! They’re suddenly all in their mid twenties, all got significant others. Everybody is all dressed to the nines, men in suits and ties and the women in a variety of dresses.

I feel like I’ve been catapulted into the distant future. What in the H – E – double hockey sticks happened to my little grandchildren? All that’s left of them is a bunch of women chatting about fashions and diets and such like while the men are calmly discussing sports and politics and dissing the government. (Well at least they got that right). Me and the missus almost feel at home in this atmosphere. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were part of that circle? Sadly, were really not. Good lord, their parents are even getting long in the tooth. They look like old people even to us.

What struck me about this whole scenario was the raw energy emanating from this small group of people. The sheer confidence as to their place in society was a little bit frightening. Did their parents teach them that? Is that what we taught their parents – our children? Holy mackerel! The air just vibrates around them.

Well, let’s do the math. People like me and the missus make up roughly ten percent of this little population. Their parents (our children) make up say, twenty percent. That leaves seventy percent of the world’s population of young, confident and forward-looking young whipper snappers who are soon about to take over the world. According to my count, that’s about four point nine billion people. Even if half of them are the kinds of losers we see every day on street corners and the like, that still leaves more than two billion movers and shakers. Now that’s a lot of energy with which to move the world forward.

 Thinking of it that way, things don’t seem quite so dire for the future of our precious children and grand children down the road. Not that I give a rip about it. I ain’t gonna be around that long anyway, but the whole notion of a continuing world is somehow comforting. The world has been around a long time and we as humans, in the grand scheme of things, have only been on the scene for about a minute or so. In that time, we’ve pretty well managed to ruin most of the things we’ve put our hands on. So the next generation to run the world is goin’ to need all that energy to fix the things we’ve screwed up.

Well, good luck to them with that! I don’t know how much more screwin’ up the world can handle, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out. At least, that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.


Saturday, March 9, 2013



The wife was chuckling at a commercial on the TV the other day. It was one of them Insurance commercials where the lady was sayin that her friend was left with a ten thousand dollar bill for her mother’s funeral expenses. That was what struck the wife funny. She says, “Who would pay ten thousand dollars to give somebody coffee and a piece of cake?” Well, she’s got a point. Ten grand for a nice lunch and some kind words said about you when you’re not even there anymore – that seems a bit rich.

You got your embalming costs to make you look nice for the party, then you need a fancy coffin. The minister or priest who sends you off don’t come that cheap anymore neither. I don’t know – maybe that’s bribe money for him/her to say fine things about the dear departed, and probably make up some story as to where he/she goes in the spirit world.

Of course, the caterin’ don’t come for nothin’ neither. All them rolled up baloney sandwiches and little squares of cheese, with coffee or tea (if you want to call it that) pretty well takes off an arm and a leg. And who knows who might  show up for the funeral? Dollars to donuts there’s people linin’ up for a free lunch, like at a high-class food bank.

Oh and don’t forget about the interment neither. I swear they price them plots out by the cubic centimeter. The opening and closing of the grave is about twenty minutes with a backhoe, but they have a special rate for that too.

It’s easy to see how ten grand goes down the hole in a matter of minutes while the poor dear departed lies in the waterlogged ground awaiting the arrival of the maggots that will make short work of him/her. The wife is right. It’s a lousy investment.

Now there’s a place in Tibet, way up in the mountains, about as close to heaven as it’s possible to get while still havin’ your feet on solid ground. They got a special way to deal with this funeral stuff, and they don’t need no undertaker or nothin. It’s strictly a family affair. Well of course they make lunches and things for everybody to eat. They also got their own way of washing and preparing the body respectfully. Well, when all the rigmarole is said and done with, they load up the body and begin a trek up the mountain, even higher than where they live. They’re joined then by a man who is not a family member. He’s armed with a small axe that looks something like a tomahawk and he traipses along behind them.

Well, they hold another small ceremony up there above the clouds and start their hike back down the mountain, leaving the corpse right there on the ground for the guy with the tomahawk. He of course, hacks it all up into bite size pieces for the host of giant vultures circling overhead, and takes off himself. By the time they all get home, there’s no body left to worry about.

And that’s a pretty tidy way of gettin’ things done without a whole lot of expense or diggin’ holes in the ground. The Insurance companies would have a tough time sellin’ their policies in that society. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Journalists or Rag Pickers

Journalists or Rag Pickers  

It seems that journalism today is confined to reporting on stupid people doing stupid things, or milking personal grief stories ‘til they’re coming out our ears. They seem to have glommed on to the Harlequin Romance formula and applied it to their trade.

I mean, who ever heard of Oscar Pistoreous? Yet to the media, he is some sort of South African royalty who’s had a terrible tragedy visited upon him. They play it over and over – and over and over, every half hour or so. You’d think by now they’d have tipped to the fact that the tragedy is visited on the family of his girlfriend – you know, the one who was on the other end of his pistol, in the bathroom. It’s not even a tragedy for the girlfriend. She’s deader’n a doornail. She doesn’t give a rip about what happened to her. She doesn’t even care who done it. The tragedy is on her family and friends who will never recover from this terrible act, not on this footless idiot.

Well, I remember years ago watching a move with Clark Gable where he was a rough, tough chain-smoking newspaperman, doing all sorts of things to get a sensational story. Can’t recall the name of the movie but his motto was something like ‘sensation sells newspapers’, and I guess nothing’s changed.

So I figure journalists can’t really be blamed for wanting to hold on to the bottom line. They need to eat, after all. They have a ready market in all those people who don’t have lives of their own, who feed on this garbage to sustain themselves. It’s rather a sad commentary on humanity. I’ll tell you, it kind of reminds me of Old Man Hoban who used to drive the “Honey Wagon” for our local municipality, cleaning out all the outdoor toilets on a regular basis, back before the days of indoor plumbing. I have no idea where he’d take all this crap, but obviously there was a place for it and it was consumed somewhere by someone, so the analogy is a pretty fair one.

Well, Old Man Hoban never came home stinkin’ like his truck so I guess the municipality musta had some pretty good showers them days. Missus Hoban mustn’t a minded because between the two of them they raised a whole raft o’ little Hobans. So I guess the journalists do the same thing. They collect the crap from around the world and dump it on the people who have no lives of their own, wash it off and forget about it.

It’s not a bad way to make a living I suppose, but you’d think somebody would have the integrity to support some of the grief – stricken victims of human stupidity. It would certainly be more rewarding. It seems we are all smitten with an insatiable appetite for crap and garbage, with no interest in human dignity. I know that every time I turn on CBC or some other news channel, I get that unmistakable smell of Old Man Hoban’s truck driftin’ through my memory. To quote Angelia Baldwin; “Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life on this planet!” Well, that’s exactly how it all seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.