Saturday, December 27, 2014

Retirement - A New Career

Retirement – A New Career


Listen, it’s about time to start taking retirement seriously. This is after all an ever-lengthening career path we are all bound to follow. An’ it ain’t near as easy as it might seem neither. There’s a whole lot of trainin’ involved. It’s a little bit like when you graduated from high school an’ at the convocation you suddenly realized that the life you’ve known an’ become familiar with all them years is suddenly over. There’s no way to get it back an’ now you’re facin’ the unknown, without any tools to help you cope.

Well that’s not entirely true neither. Somewhere in yer long life, some o’ the things ya learned have got to have stuck somewheres in yer brain. See, that’s the first thing ya gotta learn, that ya ain’t entirely useless. We get the idea that when our workin’ life is done, we’re done too. Not so! Far from it, we got a long time ahead of us. It’s called retirement. Now it’s a matter of choosin’ what ya wanna retire at. An’ if ya find ya don’t fancy whatever ya pick, ya can just throw it away an’ try somethin’ else. That’s the beauty of retirement. Ain’t nobody can tell ya what to do (or how to do it) within reason. It has largely to do with budget of course. Ya can’t embark on an ocean cruise in a canoe after all. Well there’s that an’ of course it might get the Missus a tad annoyed if ya tried carvin’ a totem pole with a chain saw in the livin’ room.

The thing is the importance o’ research. Well heck, it’s not as though you ain’t got the time. It’s different than it was when you was workin’ an’ tryin’ to think o’ what retirement would be like durin’ coffee breaks. Now you can crawl up into yer easy chair an’ spend some quality time daydreamin’. If somethin’ comes to mind you might like to try, spend the time to research it all around an’ if it still sounds good, go for it. If it don’t work out, just throw it away an’ start the whole process all over again.

See how easy that is? In fact, you can choose two or three things to work on at the same time, just to avoid the possibility of boredom. There’s just so many possibilities to retirement that you can make a whole career outta pickin’ somethin’ to retire with, without ever even do anythin’. It turns out that retirement will be the best career you’ll ever have an’ you’ll wish you’d started it earlier in life. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.  



Saturday, December 20, 2014

More About Evolution

More About Evolution


I figured I was finished with the subject of evolution after that blog about two weeks ago, but no there’s more goin’ on than meets the eye apparently. I was watchin’ my daughter typin’ away on her what-you-macall-it Ipad/Ipod, sendin’ out a text message – with nothin’ but her dad blamed thumbs. They was goin’ up an’ down like little trip hammers, like the telegraphers dots an’ dashes, sendin’ out a message of some sort. Well I’d never seen anythin’ like that before an’ it struck my funny bone. I remarked out loud that I wondered if they had such a thing as two thumb typin’ lessons. So now it was all our turns to laugh.

Well, just hold ‘er right there Newt. Like I usually do, I Googled it an’ wouldn’t ya know it, there was a whole bunch o’ sites about thumb typin, an’ designin’ new configurations to make it easier an’ faster to do. Seems I can’t ever think of a brand-new idea but somebody has already beat me to it.

But to the point of evolution, I started to think about what would happen to our hands by adoptin’ this new style of thumb communicatin’. It seemed that we’d end up with one long pointy digit at the end of each hand an’ the rest would just be little stubs.

Turns out that ain’t true neither. Well ya got yer trigger finger that’s needed fer all them wars we’re fightin’ for starters. Then ya got yer “Up Yours” finger which is very important fer road rage an’ sundry other things these days. Don’t altogether discount the ring finger neither. It’s gained some popularity these days with all them same sex marriages. I guess it’s a place for symbolism that’ll keep it’s place of importance for a while yet. Then of course there’s the pinky finger which is altogether necessary fer pickin yer nose or yer ears or even raisin’ up when yer drinkin’ a cuppa tea. That one’ll never go outta style.

Whew, that’s a relief! Fer a while there I was thinkin’ our great grandchildren ain’t even goin’ to be able to shake hands no more. Who am I kiddin’? They don’t do that no more anyways. They just do fist bumps an high fives these days an’ who knows what they’ll be doin’ next? They’ll probably be just textin’ one another. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

The NHL gots the Mumps

The NHL gots the Mumps!


Now there’s a story worth tellin’! Finally somethin’ o’ substance outta the NHL. THEY GOT THE MUMPS! Well not all o’ them, but some o’ them anyways, even Sidney Crosby! It’s a good job they got separate dressin’ rooms or they’d all have ‘em. They might still all get ‘em too, what with all that body checkin’ goin’ on in the games.

I got this picture in my mind o’ them guys whizzin’ round the ice runnin’ at one another an’ spittin’ on their opponents’ sweaters or gloves INSTEAD of hittin’ ‘em. Now that would provide a whole new dimension to the game. Suddenly all that hittin’ an’ body checkin’ an’ fightin’ would disappear – instantly, an’ get rid of concerns about concussions at the same time.

Who’d a ever thought that there’s a medical solution to the violence in sports? Now if they would only go an’ spit on Gary Bettman, he might get the message too! I’m just kinda sorry that the old wives’ tale that mumps in adult males will turn them all into eunuchs is just an old wives’ tale more or less. We could’a had six man barber shop singers vyin’ for the Stanley cup instead o’ them hard hittin’ fightin’ goons on the ice. Imagine a musical Toronto Maple Leafs team. Well, it’s a nice fantasy.

Let’s face it. The game an’ the people who play it are far different than they were in the days of Jean Beliveau whose funeral this week pays tribute to one of the giants of the game and a giant among roll models for young people an’ even older ones to follow. These buggers deserve to get the mumps with swollen cheeks an’ other parts, what with the way they play the game anyways.

But I digress. How hard can it be to design a medication to inoculate all them players before game time. Just the very idea that they’d be singin’ harmony to their fans instead of fightin’ an’ body checkin’ would put the fear of the Lord into them goons on the various teams. What they could do is put some o’ them germs in the Zamboni an’ spread ‘em over the ice before a game. That ought’a do it!

Well listen, no matter how you slice it, it would be some good entertainment to see them big players whizzin’ around the ice with their puffy cheeks an’ oversized jock straps tryin’ to play hockey. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 



Saturday, December 6, 2014




You gotta keep yer eyes an’ ears open if you wanna spot the evolutionary changes in humanity. This ain’t just for archaeologists to discover thousands of years later, but right here an’ now you can see it happenin’ before yer very eyes! It’s sorta like the global warmin’ of the human kind. There’s all kinds o’ warnin’ signs all around us that we just don’t see until we start to put it all together an’ then it becomes as plain as the nose on yer face.

Let me give you an example. There was a little cartoon on facebook the other day where a guy is talkin’ on the phone. He says to whoever is on the other end o’ the line, “Did ya have to call? Couldn’t ya just text me?” That kinda reveals the idea of what’s happenin’ here, of how we communicate nowadays.

I’ll put it in more vivid context for you. One of our granddaughters dropped in for a visit last night. She and her Oma were chattin’ about shoppin’ on Black Friday (which the Missus had inadvertently done). The Missus was complainin’ she didn’t realize how busy it was gonna be. So our Samantha, a young, upwardly mobile, well educated, well traveled professional woman pipes up an’ says the malls are all full o’ HUMANS! An’ she HATES humans! In fact she says she will rather go to the scan an’ pay aisle at the grocery store just to avoid the grouchy HUMAN cashier. Normally, Samantha is a very kind, caring person so this attitude is a bit of an anomaly. But I guess we all have our preferences and/or maybe off days.

What I was getting’ at here was the general attitude o’ the young people an’ the impact on the shopping malls an’ big box stores, not to mention the future of robotics. It kinda looks like the shoppin’ malls an’ big box stores only future will be as giant warehouses to ship out online orders with a largely robotic population, leavin’ HUMAN jobs out of the mix as much as possible. Amazon is already doin’ it.

So there you have it. Shopping Centers and big box stores will soon be giant warehouses, but at least THEY will be salvageable. HUMANS on the other hand are already expendable an’ might just as well become extinct. As long as you got yer scanners an’ the internet, who needs them anyways. An’ it’s just in time too. Our world population is bustin’ at the seams an we got to downsize. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.





Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Holiday Season

The Holiday Season


When in tarnation does this folly really begin? I would say about mid July with the onset of “Back to School” sales. That’s really the primer to get retailers motivated for another season of retailing. Well it’s a joyous occasion for both parents and children. The kids get out of day long day-care and back to their friends. The parents finally have the little buggers out from under foot. That’s certainly cause for celebration. So the retailers go gang-busters in encouraging the season. We are led to believe that EVERYTHING is on sale!

Then of course there’s the labor day weekend. We even get a statutory holiday out of it! That’s when Rona an’ Home Depot an’ Canadian Tire gear up an’ go to town. So it ends up to be a “fix your house up” weekend. After that there’s about a two-day lull before you gotta get Halloween costumes an’ decorations ordered an outfitted. An’ Holy Crap! Almost forgot! You need winter clothes for yourself an’ the kids too!

The food stores an’ specialty shops have their go at you for Thanksgivin’ an’ you stock up on enough food to last through Christmas (if it don’t go bad before). It seems the cheapest thing you can buy throughout the sellin’ season is the poppies for Remembrance Day.

My Missus has spent her whole life in the retail business, sellin’ about everythin’ there is to sell except maybe cement, an’ I can tell you – no, maybe I’d better not – what she thinks about shoppin’ malls, shoppin’ in general an’ the whole commercialization of about everythin’ there is. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she wasn’t alone neither. By the time Christmas finally shows up, these sales people are totally exhausted, an’ for want of a better expression, disgusted with anythin’ associated with Christmas. The expression “Thank you for shopping at . . . . and have a nice day/evening” has an entirely different meaning than the words represent. It might make a Longshoreman blush.

We’d come home on Christmas Eve, close the gate, drive into the garage, run into the house an’ lock the blasted door as a definitive gesture an’ go to bed. The thing is, she knew she had to be at work on Boxing Day to handle all the returns an’ take care of all the Boxing Day sales crap.

So even after all these years of retirement, when she says she hates Christmas, she ain’t kiddin’. An’ it ain’t got nothin’ to do with our Lord an’ Savior neither. He’s alive an’ well in our house, just not in them greasy admen’s minds or in the malls. Bah Humbug to them! As far as she’s concerned, you can take your Christmas an’ stick it where the sun don’t shine. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Woman's Work is Never Done!

A Woman’s Work is Never Done!


Yeah, well that’s what the Missus says as she’s busily dustin’ off my desk an’ putin’ things away in places that only she knows about. It’s got so I make for my office whenever I see her armed with her dust mop. That thing is like one o’ them AK47’s in her hands. You never know what’s gonna get hit next. So half my time is spent in the office on guard duty rather than doin’ anythin’ productive.

Well an’ that ain’t the only thing neither. Dollars to donuts I could easy get a job in an art gallery hangin’ pictures up too. It ain’t nothin to see a bunch o’ pictures on the floor, leaned up against the wall when I get up in the mornin’. It seems she’s been dreamin’ about or schemin’ about re-arrangin’ how things ought to look an nothin’ satisfies her ‘til it’s done. Even then it’s not a for sure thing neither. It could last a coupl’a days or weeks even, but eventually . . . . . . well, she has another vision.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t complainin’, far from it. How else would I get the kind of entertainment offered up by these antics? It’s like mock war games to keep up with all the goin’s on. Reminds me of that old couple we knew in the square dancing club we belonged to years ago. They’d lived in England durin’ WWII an’ he was in the Home Guard. She had a different motivation for movin’ stuff around. She was nervous about bombs an’ doin’ that sorta thing occupied her time.

You got to remember that in them days there was total blackouts to confuse the Germans. Well, after about two or three days without much sleep, the guy comes home, dead tired. Not wantin’ to wake the wife, he creeps in, pulls off his boots an’ flops on the bed. Imagine his surprise when the bed wasn’t where it was the last time he flopped into it.

Well thank goodness my Missus don’t go THAT far. At our age, if we missed the bed, we’d likely end up in the hip replacement department of the local hospital. Although I gotta say she come pretty close the other day when she informed me that them two big horkin pictures in the bedroom hadda get changed around. Well I couldn’t do anythin’ about it cause they were already layin’ on the bed where I wanted to have a nap. So, grumblin’ under my breath (so she wouldn’t hear) I make a new nail hole an’ hang the one right over the bed. Shame, really. I liked to look at that one across the room while I was dozin’ off. Then I hung that heavy sucker over the Missus’ dresser an went to bed. Layin’ there, still mutterin’ under my breath I look up an’ notice the one over the dresser is that big petty-point of a boy layin’ on a hill, day dreamin’ about the clouds in the sky. Well if that don’t beat all! That’s just the mood I’m in, an’ I promptly fall asleep. Don’t you just hate it when the Missus is always right? To tell the truth, I hope her work is never done. The only thing is, I’m puttin’ a police tape around my office. She has a healthy respect for authority. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Canad's Human Rights Record

Canada’s Human Rights Record


Gomeshi really started somethin’ this time. At least he did with me. Another sleazebag in the lime light vying for our attention. Thankfully the court of public opinion has thrown him under the bus an’ not a moment too soon! No sooner did women start coming forth with some of the ammunition to nail his hide to the barn door than complaints of abuse started surfacing (of all places) in the House of Commons. A couple of Liberal MPs were suspended pending the outcome of an investigation (by somebody unknown) and the whole house got its shorts in a wringer about privacy and reliving the abuses, whatever they were. Low and behold, all of a sudden Sheila Copps comes out of the woodwork, announcing the abuse she suffered at the hands of parliamentarians years ago. I can still remember when she got into a verbal swordfight with big old John Crosbie and ended up skewering his big fat butt to the pork barrel. I think in one of his typical tirades he called her “baby” and she pointed out that she wasn’t anybody’s baby, especially HIS! I certainly hope she now comes forward and files formal complaints with the police on her abuses.

We “tut tut” and shake our heads in disapproval at the abuses that go on in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and other places far away from Canada. We would never condone such things here in Canada. Oh no? Well just for your information, read this: That’ll open your eyes a little bit. It turns out that we are one really sick nation of abusers. Five hundred thousand cases per year happen here in Canada. If you do the math, that amounts to one case of abuse per minute.

So when we stand in silence to remember those who have fought and died so that we may live in a free and democratic society, we need to look and see just what kind of free and democratic society we have wrought. Would these men and women have given their lives to pay for the sick society we have become? I think not.

The twelve hundred murdered and missing Aboriginal women would agree with me. The men and women who are being abused every minute of every day would agree with me. Just now there was another report of a sixteen-year-old Aboriginal girl who was assaulted and left for dead in the Assiniboine River. She was fortunately found and survived. She would agree with me.

We have absolutely no business calling for improved human rights in the countries we’re wagging our fingers at when we ourselves are blatant abusers. We’d be far better off recognizing our own shortcomings and cleaning up our house rather than point our accusatory fingers at our neighbors. But then Mr. Harper et al would be confused at my accusations. He would peek out of his fluffy cocoon, declare that everything is fine in there, and keep on allowing abuse. In fact that’s the case with many of us who either haven’t been abused, or those that think this is acceptable. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014




On the eleventh day of November at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour we will stop whatever it is we’re doing and for two minutes will remember the service men and women who gave their lives in service to their country. We will remember them singly and collectively and honor them for their ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. Having done so, we’ll go about our business again.

Well, theoretically, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But now we have the government debating whether we should make this a national holiday. Really? REALLY? Just what is that supposed to imply? Who in the department of Stupid thought that up? Are we really supposed to have a holiday in the midst of the armed forces laying wreaths at cenotaphs, march pasts and parades to honor their fallen brothers and sisters? Is that how we honor those who have sacrificed their lives on our behalf? Oh sure, the people in the military and the families of those being remembered will remember, that stands to reason. But what about the rest of us? What are we supposed to do, go bowling?

Respect! Let’s start with respect. Perhaps we should commemorate a special day for respect. Of all the things we seem to have lost in this whole business of paying homage to our fallen brothers and sisters is respect. We don’t have to believe in the causes they went to war for or even that they had a choice or not to decide. But we should respect their right to do so and their families in their grief for the ones lost.

I remember a time during WWII when there was soldiers, seamen an’ airmen everywhere you looked. They was in train stations, on buses, on the streets – everywhere. Mind you, that was a big war, not like these mini “police actions” we have today. But there was respect. Even among the service men. Mind you, with them it was either respect or court martial (not a bad idea). Well, even funerals if you can imagine. If a funeral procession was goin’ by, you automatically stopped, removed your cap or hat an placed it over your heart and stood still while the procession drove by. There was never a question about it. That was respect, pure an’ simple.

These days though, ever since advent of the “Me” generation, respect has taken on a whole new meaning. It has become an entitlement rather than an obligation, something to be received rather than given. In other words, whatever we do or say should be respected by everybody else, regardless of what it is. OH, REALLY! It’s high time for an attitude adjustment, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Freakin Frickin Frackin Felons

The Freakin Frickin Frackin Felons


Well there ain’t no other way to describe them bunch o’ thieves! Oh I guess there is but there’s gotta be some law against it. Maybe the keyboard would melt if I used some of the terminology that comes to mind. An’ I don’t fancy the tongue lashin’ I’d be in for from the Missus if I did. All I can suggest is you use all the despicable adjectives you ever learned as a youngster an’ apply them to these miserable excuses for humanity that are intent on destroyin’ our planet for the sake of their own greed.

The huge amounts of water they use in their frackin’ operations will soon suck the world’s aquifers dry. Well, just figure on two to four million gallons per well (which is what they estimate). You take the thirty-five thousand wells in the U.S alone an’ you get some idea why California is in its drought status. I started readin’ about this stuff the other day an’ just up an’ quit right in the middle of it. I gave up. Holy Hannah! Makes gang rape seem like a Sunday school activity! Not only do they poison the huge quantities of OUR water they use in their operations, makin’ it useless for anythin’ else, but they try (in their righteous environmental minds) to recover it as best they can an’ dump what’s left in the oceans of the world. An’ they don’t do much of a cleanin’ job neither. In the meantime a lot of it gets flushed into our rivers an’ streams an’ thus into our drinking water sources.

What the heck, we’ll get used to it (they think). Small incremental amounts of poison at a time an’ we’ll build up a resistance to it an’ won’t even notice. Pretty soon poisoned water will be the new normal so what are we complainin’ about anyhow?

I can’t even think of a suitable punishment that should be foisted upon these freakin’ frickin’ frackers, but I’m workin’ on it. Do we know who they are? I don’t mean the companies in particular, but the people who work for them. They should be identified with names – an’ maybe with a tattoo on their foreheads that says “Fracker”. Or maybe they should be made to wear armbands so we know who they are. We need a registry of these people so that every time they want a drink of water, they should be given a glass full o’ their own profit money instead, or a plate full o’ their money instead of food. Let’s see how long they last that way.

Clean drinkin’ water is a basic human right that cannot be tampered with. Nor can it be requisitioned for ownership by someone for his/her own use, whatever it is. It used to be that if you wanted to dig a well of a certain size above the normal four inches, you had to get permission from the municipality. If they didn’t approve it, you didn’t get the well. Whatever happened to them kinds o’ laws anyways? We gotta put some teeth into what can an’ can’t be done ‘round here. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top of the shelf.

Just sayin’.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Russians are Comin'

The Russians are Comin’!


              D’you really believe that Russian ship off the coast of Haida Guaii is there by accident? What’s a Russian ship doin’ prowlin’ around in Indian country in the first place? That’s what I’d like to know. I wouldn’t think anythin’ about it except that a few weeks ago there was a Russian bomber flyin around our northern territories, an’ now this. An’ don’t forget that Russian nuclear sub at the bottom of the Beaufort Sea.

Well, I gotta admit they done us a temporary favor in showin’ how unprepared an’ under-equipped we really are, not that it makes any difference to our government departments. They couldn’t find their rear ends with both hands behind their backs anyways. They’ve been busy gettin’ our shipment of Ebola vaccine ready to be shipped off to the World Health Organization (one day late), an adverstizin’ to Isis that they’ll be there to start their bombin’ raids in about two weeks time.

              In the meantime, they send out a coupl’a tug boats to tow that Russian vessel away from Haida Guaii, but they got no cables strong enough to pull the sucker any distance. So they hire an American tug to do the job. But the Americans want nothin’ to do with this Russian vessel. So instead of towin’ it into Seattle (where it ought to be), it gets hauled to Prince Rupert, B. C. I assume somebody paid the Americans to do that an’ it was likely the Canadian taxpayers.

             So now we got ten Russian crew members floatin’ around Prince Rupert checkin’ things out while somebody else cleans or changes the spark plugs in their engines. Then they’ll go sailin’ back to Russia to tell Mr. Putin the Canadians are as ready as they’ll ever get, meanin’ not ready for anythin’ at all.

              It turns out the Russians have pulled off a perfect spy mission an’ nobody’s the wiser for it. The government, in cahoots with the oil companies are trumpetin’ the fact that they’ll be ready for an oil spill if (an’ when) it ever happens. Yeah, well they just proved that didn’t they? Well they’re even less ready for Putin’s nefarious ideas. When it comes – and it will, it will be very painful. The Ukrainians can attest to that.

               It looks to me like the Pied Piper is leadin’ the government an’ the oil companies an’ the business investors et al by the nose into a dark hole from which there is no return. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

              Just sayin’.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bully, Bully! The Prime Minister's a Bully

Bully, Bully! The Prime Minister's a Bully

Did you hear about that? The prime minister has declared that he is entitled to use material (copyrighted) from media to construct and broadcast attack ads for his election campaign. And he’ll change the law if necessary to make sure nobody gets in his road on the subject.

Bully, bully prime minister, you’re a bully! I guess you’re the number one bully in the country. What a wonderful example to set for our students who are working so hard to eliminate bullying. Originally I wasn’t goin’ to use the word “bully”. I had another word in mind that rhymes with “brick”, but the Missus wouldn’t let me use it. Too bad. It really fits, but I guess I’ll have to make do.

Well now, low and behold, if providence didn’t come along an’ shore up the whole notion of bricks. Turns out the brickwork in the parliament buildin’s is crumblin’. Holy crackers! They got that right! Well, they might be talkin’ about the bricks that’s holdin’ up the roof in the place, but it’s prophetic that it coincides with the “bricks” activities goin’ on inside the house. Maybe they’re the cause of all the falling bricks in the buildin’s.

Whatever the case, it’s become abundantly clear that Mr. Harper is the biggest brick o’ them all. He’s decided to change copyright law so that he can use inadvertent TV quotes from opposition parties in his attack ads. The media is of course incensed at his blatent use of power to tromp on their copyright. Well, I think perhaps they’re a little overly sensetive but that’s neither here nor there. It’s the principle of the arbitrary power by which he operates that offends. And what is all this in aid of? To insult the opposition, that’s what. Maybe that way he’ll win the next election (he says to himself – feelin’ kinda cocky).

Harper has already proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s a bully, given all the people he’s thrown under the bus during his time in power. An’ most o’ the other bricks in his load who are too covetous of their fat government pensions to go up against him and will ultimately add up to a couple of bricks short of a full load come election time. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lessons Learned - Or Not

Lessons Learned - Or Not

In 1938 Neville Chamberlain sat down with Hitler to map out a way to convince the British people to accept the German agenda in a non aggression pact. One shudders to think what might have happened had the deal been consummated. Well the Russians learned that first hand with their non aggression pact with Germany didn't they? And the end game of asylum for the Nazis in Argentina in exchange for precious artworks stolen from captured towns which came to pass.

It seems to me our government and indeed ALL governments should go back in history a little bit to re-learn the lessons of the past and act accordingly. It would certainly help to clarify the debate about the middle east as well as the Ukraine. Do we need boots on the ground in these places? You darn right we do, and lots of them. The enemy, in order to be defeated needs to be overwhelmed by a force to storm its very foundation, house to house and door to door if necessary. There will always be time for diplomacy later, once an unconditional surrender is signed, sealed and delivered.

This whole international conflict business has taken on a false civility that benefits no one but the arms dealers and the businesses in the conflict zones. During WWII some 2 billion people served in the armed forces (on both sides) There were some 1.1 million Canadians in the fray. Between 38 and 55 million civilians died and 22 - 25 million military lost their lives. What I'm saying here is that war is a deadly business and you're either in it or you're not. And if you want to win the war, you'd better get all your boots on the ground and quickly.

Of course, the Americans are following FDR's formula of not entering the war as such, but supplying all the armaments for it. That's how they became such a wealthy nation. Now they are acting as the world's policeman (as well). They're convinced that they can orchestrate the outcomes of their actions by way of drones and remote warfare methods. Let somebody else do the dirty work. Well, it ain't gonna happen. The U.S. should remember that from Pearl Harbor. It's always the infantry that mops up the mess left by everybody else and that ain't changed none. They'll want somebody like the Australian Diggers to do that work.

War is a bloody brutal, dirty, dehumanizing business to be involved in, and if you're going to get into it, you'd better be prepared to put all your resources into it in the first place, or else stay home and mind your own business. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Goin' to Mars?

Goin’ to Mars?

It has kind of an adventurous ring to it don’t it? I mean, takin’ a one way trip to a planet that’s a gazillion miles away to live in a fabricated community, never to return to earth. Well I guess it must be attractive to some folks, ‘cause they’re signin’ up for it left, right, an’ center awlready. They prolly think they’re goin’ to be in a star wars movie. Gives a whole new meanin’ to “Beam me up Scotty”. Only thing is you just get only one beam up. There ain’t no beamin’ back neither. That of course gives rise to another thing I saw this mornin’, bein’: “There’s eight planets in our solar system an’ all the idiots are livin’ on mine.”, but that’s another story altogether.

What I was drivin’ at here was the fact that the weather on Mars is so hostile that you can’t even go outside there for fear of bein’ flash frozen just outside yer door. An’ who knows what kind of air you can breathe there anyways? An’ water? Well they say there used to be water there an’ maybe there still is somewheres underground. That sounds like a pretty big gamble to me.

All of this comes with a cost of course. As of 2012, it was about two and a half billion dollars. That’s two years ago an’ since then India has also launched a rocket to go to Mars, so there’s even more cost, an this is just the start o’ things. It almost seems that the greater the cost, the more important the mission, (if that makes any sense).

I’m sure it will come as a great shock to the people involved in this Mars mission to discover that there is already a place right here on earth that meets most of their criteria. It’s called Antarctica an’ it’s a whole dad blamed continent, uninhabited except for a few researchers here an’ there. There’s fourteen million square miles of solid ground (under the ice) to walk on, an’ there’s air to breathe there too. Not only that, but it also has ninety percent of the world’s fresh water supply right there. They even got return trips at certain times o’ the year. That’s got to be a bonus! 

Oh, wait! Maybe that’s it. Maybe they don’t wanna come back. Maybe they just want an adventure, or maybe they wanna get away from everybody an’ everythin’ else. An money ain’t no object neither. It’s not like they’re gonna need it to buy groceries or gas or go to a nightclub, that’s for sure. An’ why leave it to the kids anyways? They’d just piddle it away on groceries an’ gas an’ nightclubs.

An for the investors in these sophisticated transport systems, they’ve already presold their rides on the bus to Mars, so they ain’t out anythin’. In fact, they figure they need about a million people to go up there for the planet to become self-sustaining so they got their futures mapped out.

Well what are we to make of all this? Nothing really. That’s just human nature. We been doin’ that since we first got booted outta the garden of Eden. We’re so busy lookin’ after our own wants an’ desires, we don’t give a rip about anybody else. It’s the prime example of the self over the community. That’s our civilization. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Got Drugs? Pass it on!


Got Drugs? Pass it on!


Who was it that said “For every action there is a direct and equal opposite reaction. . . .” or something like that? Turns out to have been more true than we realized, at least accordin’ to the recent news. Basically, what they’re talkin’ about are them prescription drugs an’ over the counter drugs, an’ even the illegal kind o’ drugs people inject into their blood streams an’ then pee them out and flush ‘em into the rivers, lakes an’ sewage systems which transfer them to treatment plants, which then don’t get the drugs filtered out o’ the system, which then go back into the water we drink, which then means we are ingestin’ all kinds of who knows what all into our bodies before we start the cycle all over again.

It was Isaac Newton who made that casual remark a hunnert an’ fifty years ago.  It was a matter of physics, he said. Who knew that physics had any practical application? I always thought it was reserved for them crackpot scientists like Stephen Hawking. Well that’s a big bang of a theory. Shows you what I know.

Regardless of the theories an’ concerns though, this could actually turn out to be a good thing that crept up on us here. It’s sort’a like what they do for people with peanut allergies. They feed ‘em a little bit at a time to sneak up on the allergy an’ build up their resistance to the reaction. Here now, we got a whole drug store at the kitchen sink. Blood thinners, headache remedies, maybe even Viagra an’ cocaine too. They say that these are only miniscule amounts of the drugs that are not bein’ filtered out by the treatment plants, but if you figure in the risin’ population, the amounts will grow in the next while an’ by the time we need some o’ them pills, we won’t have to go to the drug store no more. We’ll just drink lots o’ water like them health nuts tell us to. Our blood pressure will go down, our anxieties will be relieved an’ we won’t even have headaches no more while we are primed for sex. Might be that erectile dysfunction’ll be cured too an’ we’ll be on a continual high from cocaine. All we gotta do is drink eight glasses o’ water a day an’ we say goodbye to the drug companies.

Who’da thought the health care system would cure itself through Mother Nature? Now if we could just figure out which particular drugs we need, we could tune our faucets to them drugs. I think somebody ought to start makin’ some specialized faucet filters that you can turn on to any medication you want. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 


Saturday, September 20, 2014




Here we go again. Scotland is holding a referendum on separation from the United Kingdom. In other words, the United Kingdom has the possibility of becoming unhinged or un-united if you will. Sound familiar? It seems there’s always somebody wanting independence, or at the very least, association with a different entity. In this case, the Scottish people just want shut of the bloody British. They’ve been wantin’ that since Mary, Queen of Scots had her head chopped off. Later in fact, when Bonny Prince Charlie got his army together to defeat them buggers, he found his own warriors to be so savage, it made him puke an’ run back to France. At least that’s one o’ the stories I heard.

Well at least the Scots are bein’ civilized about it (for the moment). They’re not like them Russian Ukrainians or Ukrainian Russians or them Isis creatures in Iraq. Them people (if you can call them people) provide a whole new dimension to independence. Liars, cheaters an’ thieves, they make Hitler an’ Stalin seem normal. I’ll tell you, I’ve been a pacifist all my life, but these critters sure test the limits o’ that. It seems them Isis folks are makin’ up their own religion an’ callin’ it Muslim. What confuses me is why the rest of the Muslims don’t move in an’ shut ‘em down once an’ for all. It would sure bode well for Islam’s credibility if they did. But instead, they leave it up to the damned Christians who couldn’t find their rear ends with both hands behind their backs. But I digress.

In what’s now called the “Global Village”, we all seem to want to be separate, yet we want to belong to something other than what we are already part of. That’s even evident from our social behavior. No matter where you go you see people travelin’ in groups, all busy on their what-you-macall-it phone pads, talkin’ to somebody else (or to no one in particular). Well you might equate that to the Ukrainian situation. Them Russians who’re livin’ there kind’a like it. They got good jobs, education for the kids, an’ all the amenities they want. Only problem is they’re livin’ on Ukrainian soil. So instead of pullin up stakes an movin’ to Russia, they want to turn the Ukraine INTO Russia. Nice trick you’se guys! They know full well where Putin would relocate them to if they emigrated back to the mother country. In Belgium there’s a current uproar of Muslims demandin’ a change in school lunch diets to conform to their religion. OH REALLY?

Well I think on that basis, Me an’ my family an’ friends ought’a move into Buckingham Palace. Once we’re settled, we’ll get the Queen to do some renovations to suit us. That should be fun. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Education on Education

Education on Education

It’s not as though I haven’t raised the issue before. I’ll keep harpin’ on this ‘til somebody pays attention. I’m talkin’ about post secondary education of course an’ who pays for it. For starters, let’s figure out who benefits from it.

The graduate students benefit of course, you say. Oh REALLY? Well let’s see now. Firstly, they get to have some letters of designation behind their names. Then they have the benefit of massive student loans that they have the opportunity to repay within a given amount of time. They also have the opportunity to put out a gazillion resumes to companies that are ambivalent about hirin’ them in the first place even at a wage that puts a crimp in their ability to repay the student loans AND buy the groceries too.

Oh wait a minute. That don’t sound like a whole lot o’ benefits to the graduates. They bust their butts for about four years to end up forty thousand dollars in debt an’ a whole lot o’ information in their brains that nobody’ll buy. How is that a good investment o’ time an’ effort? Goin’ to University is more or less like playin’ the lottery. In the first place you gotta decide what you want to become so you can take the appropriate courses. At age seventeen you’ve more or less decided that your parents got no brains anyways so they can’t help you (except for meals, a bed, an’ spending money etc.). An’ the school system has got no statistical basis upon which to steer their students neither. It’s not like in Europe where you’re guided into a trade or discipline by the time you’re fourteen or so. An’ the job fairs that go on for high school students are just a pack o’ lies designed by industry to create a pool o’ graduates to choose from in four years time, should they still have a requirement then. An’ governments, well they always win. First of all there’s the debt you gotta repay which means you somehow gotta get a job of some sort, which in turn means you gotta pay taxes. I remember a pretty renowned architect years ago whose first job after graduatin’ was as a shoe shine boy. Well he had to pay the bills, didn’t he?

There’s currently 1.2 million university students in Canada. What they all oughta do is quit their studies an’ line up for social assistance – well either that or all become drug dealers to get by on. That way, they’d be lookin’ after theirselves much in the way the government an’ industry does. Let them all hire foreign workers to do the jobs Canadians should be doin’ in the first place an’ pay the price as well. Do the math. That’s a pretty hefty bill to pay. Mind you, for Mr. Harper to get industry to pay for anythin’ other than his election campaign is outa the question. The government an’ industry could use an education on the priorities of education in this country. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Yellin' Clock

The Yellin’ Clock!


I never thought I’d see such a thing: A clock that yells at you without makin’ a sound. Well, I seen it ‘cause we got one. I still don’t know how to react to it.  The missus’  been grumblin’ about the old radio clock sittin’ on her night table for months now, how she can’t see the blamed clock on it an’ she don’t know whether to come back to bed after she visits the bathroom or get up an’ make breakfast. You know how that is when you get so fed up with a situation you gotta do somethin’ about it.

“C’mon,” she says, “we’re goin’ down to the Walmart an’ get a new clock.” She was lookin’ for one o’ them wall clocks she could hang up across the room from the bed so she could see the time from the comfort of her pillow. So we go down to the Walmart. Contrary to her usual custom, she walks right past the hair color, the throw cushions, an’ the artwork, an’ heads straight for a clerk an’ asks her where’s the clocks. I can see that she’s some determined. It was a good thing too ‘cause there was nothin’ there you could hang on a wall.

So then I spot one o’ them mantle clocks she can put on her night table. It’s a digital clock that lights up. It’s got no radio or nothin’, but it’s got big numbers you can see ‘cause it shines in the dark. “That’s it!” she shouts. So we buy it.

I don’t know if you ever noticed, but things always look different when you get them home than they did at the store. It ain’t no different with clocks neither. Well, you don’t notice at first. I set it on the night table, plugged it in, set the time an’ put the light on bright. There, that ought’a do it. The missus approved.

Around eight or eight-thirty the missus decides to call it a night an’ trundles off to bed while I stay up to watch some TV. A couple of hours later, I follow suit. In the darkness of the house I expect I’m gonna see this new clock. I’m surprised to see there’s no clock anywhere. Maybe she stuck it under the bed or something.

In the morning I find out that it was just too big an’ bright so she threw a towel over it. Well that’s a lark! Reminds me of Goldilocks an’ the three bears. So I go an’ turn down the brightness. An’ now it’s just right, says the missus. But for me it ain’t just right. Every time I go past the bedroom door I see those big two inch tall digits starin’ right at me to tell me the time whether I want to know or not. It feels like the clock is yellin’ at me an’ I don’t wanna always know what time it is. If this keeps up I might just close the bedroom door to shut the blamed thing up. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

""I Remember it Well"

I Remember It Well!


This is the week I decided to write about memory. And I had the perfect title for it too. It was the famous song that “what’s his name” sang to “what’s her name” in the movie, “what do you call it”. I saw the movie when it first came out and was enamored by the sentiment. The only thing I had to do now was to remember the names. The title of the song came to me automatically, but the rest was roamin’ around somewheres in my brain.

Before that, I turned the coffee on for a nice fresh cup first thing in the mornin’. Yeah, right. The pot puffed an’ steamed and then went silent. What the . . . there was no water in the reservoir! How in the world . . . . I always make the coffee the night before so that all I have to do in the mornin’ is to push a button so it’s ready when I come in from my mornin’ smoke. Well the coffee was there all right, but the reservoir was dry. There was no evidence of leakage, so I have to assume I didn’t do the water thing.

An’ that’s not all neither. Last night I get a call from my sister. Can I take her to the hospital tomorrow for her blood tests? Sure, no problem. I get out my day timer an’ turn to Tuesday. “No, no,” she says, “tomorrow’s Wednesday.”

“What?” I’m startled. “Where’d Monday go?”

“That was yesterday,” she chuckles at my misplacin’ a whole day. Not funny.

What would we do without Wikipedia? (or Encyclopedia Britannica for us old timers). Soon as I type in the song title, it comes up with “what’s his name” bein’ Maurice Chevalier an’ “what’s her name” bein’ Hermione Gingold, an’ the movie bein’ “Gigi”.

Well I knew that for heaven’s sakes! I seen the movie after all. That was back in 1958 – not THAT long ago. Well okay, maybe it was but pieces of it are still fresh in my mind. There’s no gol dang reason there should be so many pieces missin’ in my head files. They’re not actually missin’, just misplaced. Well I suppose when you consider all the junk that’s crammed in there by this time in my life, misplacin’ a file or two won’t upset me that much. It ain’t that big a deal. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Growing Old is Mandatory

“Growing Old is Mandatory


But growing up is optional!” That’s one of the quotes on my coffee mug coasters. Another one says “Aging is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  There are others too, but these kind of make my point.

Me and the missus went shoppin’ bright an’ early the other mornin’ up in West Kildonan. On the way back we decided to stop in at Kildonan Park for a little stroll (which is the term for seniors takin’ a real walk) around an’ look at the flower gardens while we was at it. It was a nice sunny an’ warm mornin’ for just such an exercise. Well, we’d got around about half way an’ were headed for the flower gardens when I spot a bunch o’ people in the field, all dressed in blue jerseys. Must be some sort of organization or somethin’.

Turns out to be an old timers baseball league. Holy crackers! These folks are even older than me. Well, I HAD to stop an’ watch. They was just getting’ started an’ so they organized theirselves around the field. First up to bat was a little old lady – just a slip of a thing not much bigger than her bat. The pitcher, a big guy, winds up an’ throws the ball, kinda soft-like, loopin’ it up in the air an’ it lands about five feet short of the plate. Ball one. Okay, I got it. He doesn’t want to throw too hard an’ embarrass the batter. Second pitch hits the front of the plate an’ bounces back. Third ball – same thing. The next pitch ain’t no better so she’s gonna walk. WRONG.

By the seventh throw, the pitcher finally hits the strike zone an’ the batter connects. She musta got the ball right dead center cause it went whizzin’ by the pitcher, the second baseman an’ the short stop, landin’ somewheres way out in the field.  I shoulda stayed to watch her run but I had to catch up to the missus who was already way down the road sniffin’ flowers.

Well the whole business gave me a shot in the arm about havin’ fun in our dotage. It goes back a little far to remember playin’ for the Black Knights in the Mercantile League way back when, or the burnin’ sensation in my hands from playin’ catch with the likes of Jimmy Robertson an’ Helmut Unruh. So I live with warm memories an’ absolutely NO desire to go play ball, but a great respect for them old geysers who opt for not growin’ up even at eighty an’ ninety years old. If they think they’re still fourteen years old, then that’s what they are. Long may they be fourteen an’ long may they play whatever game they like until they drop dead. At least it won’t be from business pressures. That’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This is a different kind of blog in the middle of the week, but I hope it reaches the caregivers and the associations dealing with this debilitating disease and they take heed.


When I first started writing Michael’s book I had absolutely no idea what his debilitating and disfiguring disease was called. I’d heard it pronounced, but I couldn’t remember it or if I did, couldn’t have ever spelled it.

Well, that wasn’t really what the book was about anyway. At least I didn’t think so at the time. I wrote it to pay homage to a remarkable young man who had lived his whole life at the mental age of four.  The thirteen brain surgeries necessitated by the onset of neurofibrometosis in the first six months of his life had damaged an otherwise highly developed mental capacity. Little glimpses showed themselves from time to time, leaving those around him to scratch their heads in wonder.

I’ve known Michael since he was born. His father has been my good friend for thirty years before that. So I think I’ve captured their personalities pretty accurately. One of the things that surprised me though when I narrated the book into audio form was the quiet influence Michael radiated throughout his ever-growing circle of friends and caregivers.

Hindsight is always so much more revealing and it pointed up the wide circle of friends and caregivers who influence and are influenced by people like Michael. When I looked up the term neurofibromatosis on the Internet I was amazed to find the number of societies and associations in existence. That speaks directly to the significance of this disease.

Understandably, the story is fictional as are the names of the protagonists. But that doesn’t detract from the underlying theme of care and caring. I found the story to be hugely uplifting, leaving me enriched by its experience.

So I wanted to reach out to the neurofibromatosis associations and societies wherever they might be and encourage them to check out the book “Michael” at for a rewarding reading experience.    





Saturday, August 16, 2014

Canada by the Nose

Canada by the Nose


Well then, bugger off! That’s exactly what I’d tell that bunch of religious wing-nuts who refuse to deal with women in our customs offices at the airport on religious grounds. Since when does a group of visitors dictate how we run our country? And yet we pander to them. Who thought that up, Rob Ford? Or maybe it’s a Prime Ministerial decree of some sort. At one airport we tazer a man to death and at another we kiss the visitors arses. What’s up with that? We seem to be pulled around by the nose until we don’t know where we’re goin’. This is the picture we present to the world of a mature forward thinkin’ nation that stands ready to help foreign countries in their troubles.

Instead, we are a laughin’ stock with these kinds of antics. It certainly gives credence to the mantra of right thinkin’ Canadians I saw on Face book today: “I shall protect Canada from foreigners and Conservatives”, and it certainly gives credence to last week’s blog in reorganizin’ the government. Somebody ought’a be payin’ attention!

It’s well past time for some serious house cleanin’ at home here before we go shootin’ our governmental mouths off to every troubled nation about our willingness and ability to help. Is it any wonder we’re not on the U. N. Security Council? We can’t even get our own security straight! Instead of sitting there in Ottawa throwin’ sand in each others’ faces like squabblin’ little children, we might think about puttin’ our big boy pants on and cleanin’ up the mess in our own house before we are allowed to go out and play in the yard. Good heavens, in Ottawa they even think that they live in central Canada. Do you believe that? Everybody knows that central Canada’s up by Deacon’s Corner on the way to Isles Des Chenes (in Manitoba). Well, it’s right there on the map for cryin’ out loud! It just goes to prove that not only are they immature in Ottawa, but they’re also lost. Had they taken Paul Hellyer’s advice and made Winnipeg Canada’s capital, Churchill would now be a big bustlin’ import/export city without even infringin’ on Toronto’s ivory tower. It would certainly have changed the balance of the race for power in Canada’s north and would raise the GDP substantially. It would also give pause to them Russian nuclear subs sleepin’ at the bottom of the Berin’ Sea.

Please don’t make us ashamed to be Canadian. Let’s do some major cleanup in our house before we try takin’ on the world o’ troubles out there. We can do better than to keep our politics to a level of a bunch of four year olds. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebration of War

Celebration of War


Ironic isn’t it, that we mark the centennial of the Great War with celebrations all over the world? Bands playing, military marches, fly-pasts in old warplanes, the laying of wreaths, ad infinitum. And we’ve got solemn speeches by current warmongers to honor the dead soldiers who gave their lives for their country/s. It’s quite a production of pomp and ceremony designed to enhance the war itself and the officials who put it on.

Granted, it’s an opportunity to reflect on those events however one chooses and many who have lost loved ones do just that in their own quiet way on the day set aside for it. So that in itself is a good thing. But what galls me is that nobody pays homage to or shows remorse for the thousands – no millions of innocents who were blown to smithereens during the strafing and bombings that occurred. Are they not also people who gave their lives for the same causes? Actually not. They were just collateral damage, if that, to the higher ambitions of the combatants. There is really no mention of them is there? Yet they are as dead as the military people involved in the battles.

Truly, the lives of human beings have no value, except for those who lead the nations it appears. How did this ever come about? Are not those who lead the nations human beings too? So where do they earn the value while the rest of us do not? Questions, questions, questions. Are there answers? Of course there are.

Egypt for example, has a bit of a handle on things. They have a formidable army that doesn’t really go outside looking for trouble. They know the enemy is within. So far they have two ex presidents in the slammer along with their henchmen. It’s actually a benevolent army, sensitive to the needs and wants of the people. It seems to me that what it’s doing is protecting its people. We could use a little of that philosophy in the western world where the army is autonomous enough to be able to pick its enemy instead of being lackeys of the government itself. I mean, look how the government looks after them. They send them off to some conflict and IF they come back, they’ll commit suicide before the government has to look after them.

No, I figure the joint military forces need to storm the Senate and take it over. That’ll give them the budget they need to start dealing with the politicians and lobbyists in a manner befitting them. It’d be sort of a non-partisan oversight body to take the government in hand and keep them on the straight and narrow. If we nominated Romeo Dallaire to run the show and Sheila Fraser to sniff out discrepancies, we’d have a warrior society to be reckoned with, giving us a reason finally to be proud to be Canadian. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On a Positive Note

On a Positive Note


The Jews and the Palestinians living in Canada ain’t nearly as militant as their murderous cousins in Israel and Palestine. That’s the positive note. Of course they cry and whine about each other’s injustices. That’s only natural, what with livin’ in a safe environment where the most dangerous thing to happen is graffiti on gravestones an’ synagogues. I don’t know, maybe our winters serve to cool them off somewhat or it’s perhaps that they come from different parts of the world where they’ve become a little more human and civilized over time.

Oh, I’m not sayin’ them Israelites an’ the Philistines ain’t clever. They’re that all right. First the Philistines provoke the Israelites with their rockets an’ mortars, flingin’ them anywhere in Israel, hopin’ they might land on somebody. Of course the Israelites don’t take kindly to that sort o’ treatment. So they retaliate. In fact they send in a whole freakin’ army to Gaza along with their airplanes an’ ships. An’ then they send in some more troops after that.

An’ the whole western world is cryin’ about havin’ a cease fire so some negotiations can begin for a permanent peace. Oh yeah – right. Listen, these folks are all the descendants of the sons of Abraham an’ what you got here is a family feud what’s been goin’ on for a long, long time. You ask any cop who’s ever tried to intervene in a family dispute an’ see how he (or she) ever come out of it. Not good news.

Turns out we’re just as dumb as them sub-human murderers in the desert. Well they got an excuse. There’s either too much inbreeding or the sun is just too hot for the capacity o’ their brains. But they figured out how to make a cash business outa’ blowin’ their women an’ children to smithereens. They kill them with impunity cause they know we don’t think it’s right. So they keep getting’ cash an’ aid an’ weapons an’ we keep wringin’ our hands an’ wailin’. It’s a pretty good business for them cause the women an’ children don’t have much else to look forward to. Look at Asaad in Syria. He’s got rid of at least a hunnert thousand of his people an’ he was just re-elected. Go figure.

So let’s get smart an pull all our aid money – humanitarian an’ otherwise outta the region an’ let ‘em have at it. There’s a lot more we can do with our aid money than to spend it on these blood thirsty sub humans. The only thing we gotta worry about is keepin’ them there while they wipe each other out. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Student Loans

Student Loans


I wonder whatever happened to them Quebec students who was protestin’ against higher tuition fees in Quebec Universities. It’s awful quiet up there these days. In fact, it’s more or less quiet across the country. The only place it ever comes up these days is in Indian Affairs, but that’s another story all together.

Cathy was bellyachin’ the other day about her student loans tyin’ her down for the next umpteen years, causin’ untold grief at gettin’ ahead with her career of choice. Well she ain’t the only one, an’ that’s a fact! It’s a pretty big club. But it don’t have to be that way. What it should be is that there is no such thing as tuition for students at all.

See, I got this picture of all them big corporations hirin’ freshly graduated students at entry level salaries to do the jobs that will make big money for them. Well ain’t that a nice big bonus for the corporations. They get their soon-to-be retirees to teach the graduates the ropes at a fraction of the cost an’ carry on rakin’ in the profits. Not bad for the companies. But in the mean time the students get stuck with the bill to educate theirselves in the field of discipline the corporations need.

Well hold ‘er right there Newt! This ain’t no fair ball here! Since when do students pay through the nose to get the education they need to go, cap in hand, to them big shot employers an’ askin’ can they please go there to provide a humungous profit to the companies whilst payin off their student loans for forever an’ a day?

Sure, the universities and professors need to be paid, no question about that. The  real question is, who should be payin’ them? Certainly not the students who can’t even get a summer job at McDonalds for all the foreign workers that already have them. In fact they can’t even get jobs in the disciplines they’ve chosen to study.

Well I think it’s about time to upset the applecart! It’s time the government took control of the government an’ not leave it to industry to dictate an’ run. The oil industry an’ the auto industry an the chemical companies an’ the tech companies shouldn’t be runnin’ the country (although that’s what they been doin’). Of course the Conservatives are in bed with them buggers an’ they’re just afraid they’re gonna end up sleepin’ on the couch unless they tow the corporate line.

Harper is the boss, right? Right (theoretically). Well he oughta take a page outa the biggest, oldest business in the world- the Catholic Church. What the Pope says is Tithe. No ifs, buts or maybes, just shut up an’ tithe. Ten percent of yer income goes to the boss – period! Just think of what kind of education fund THAT would provide. If you wants to do business in Canada, you pays ten percent to education, right off the top. That way, students will become educated in the fields industry requires without goin’ into hock for the rest o’ their lives, an industry will have its necessary man/woman power to continue makin’ their immense profits.

Mind you, that could throw a monkey wrench into the social structure of University life. But then, the students have to sacrifice somethin’. At least that how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer of Celebrations

Summer of Celebrations


This is the way the summer of the world stacks up:

On the athletic front:

The Sochi Olympics and Paralympics

The Brazilian Fifa World Cup Adventure

The Calgary Stampede


In entertainment:

Country Fest

The Winnipeg Folk Festival

The Fringe Festival

Those are only a couple of things I know about, but enough to give an example of the mood we’re in these summer months. Nobody really gives a rip about the storms in Atlantic Canada or the flooding in Manitoba, or the forest fires in British Columbia or the Northwest Territories, or the fact that my rent went up again this year.

It seems the world needs a bit of a holiday every year from the ravages the rest of the year puts on us, to recuperate from killin’, pillage an’ plunder an’ rape an human traffickin’ of one sort or another, not to mention corruption. Otherwise I suppose the stress would become unbearable. Not that anyone would consider stoppin’ the killin’, pillage an’ plunder an’ rape an’ human traffickin’ an corruption of course, or my rent increase.

Well take them Philistines and them Israelites for instance. They’re hard at it again, the Philistines seein’ how far they can fire their rockets, an’ seein’ if their drones can penetrate Jewish airspace. They seem to have a goodly supply o’ rockets an’ drones cause they just keep ashootin’ an’ afightin’. An’ the Israelite Prime Minister Net an’ Yahoo keeps shootin’ everything down whilst poundin’ the Gaza Strip with his own ammunition. Human caualties is obviously not even an issue cause they just keep blastin’ one another with no end in sight.

An’ that Stalinist Putin who runs the biggest country on earth still ain’t satisfied. He keeps lookin’ for somethin’ he ain’t got. Then there’s that greasy head of the CIA who labels Snowden as a traitor. Yeah, talk about who’s a traitor. He says Snowden is endangerin’ the lives of (American) people. Well I can tell you, I can think of a number o’ them people could do with losin’ their lives. An’ it would make the world a better place, the CIA for one an’ Congress for another. Well, I could go on, but that would spoil the enjoyment of the summer entertainment now wouldn’t it? At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wisdom of the Elders

Wisdom of the Elders

Listen, by the time your reach a certain age, you automatically become an Elder. It’s a right of passage when the Federal Government sends you that seniors card, you’re qualified to practice Elderism. First thing you know, you feel obligated to dispense wisdom, encouragement an’ other nonsense, you know, bein’ helpful an’ stuff. Let me tell you, this Elderly dispensin’ of wisdom an’ encouragement to all them young whipper snappers can get a little tricky from time to time unless yer careful.

There’s such a thing as gettin’ carried away with yer own importance. First thing you know, you’re blowin’ off a whole lot of wisdom an’ or encouragement to somebody that don’t really want it, or even more embarrassin’, to somebody who don’t know what in blazes you’re talkin’ about in the first place. It happens, you know.

Just such a thing took place the other day when my granddaughter Cathy phoned the house. She never phones unless she’s prodded into it. See, the thing is, I spy on my grandchildren on facebook. I pride myself in knowin’ their moods an’ their aspirations an’ their shortcomin’s just by their conversations with other folks of their own ilk. An’ I’m always ready to jump in an’ help with words of encouragement. Well, that’s my job ain’t it?

The thing is, I got the notion that things were not goin’ to well with her an’ it had been suggested that she call her Opa if she needed somebody to talk to. Well, like it or not, you always want the best for your grandchildren so with that in mind when she phoned, I was all over her with encouragement and ideas for her career and who knows what all else. Good Lord. I never peddled so much advice in such a short time in a long time.

Finally she asks if she can speak to Oma for a minute, so I hand the phone over to the missus, feeling well satisfied that I’d done my duty well an’ true.

“Yeah,” says the missus (laughing) in response to whatever Cathy said to her over the phone, “once he starts, you can’t shut him up.” (meanin’ me of course) An they both busted out in a gigglin’ spree.

Turns out that Cathy wanted to talk to Oma in the first place, not me, the Elder. Shows you what I know about the price o’ rice in China. She was packin’ to go on a trip first thing in the mornin’ an’ the last thing she needed was my sage advice on everything under the sun but the kitchen sink. She’s runnin’ short o’ time so in desperation she just cuts in, askin’ to speak to her Oma. I can just visualize her rollin’ her eyes tryin’ to figure out a way to get rid o’ all this advice she didn’t even give a rip about in the first place, without bein’ offensive.

Me an’ the missus had a good chuckle over it later. We could just imagine the poor kid tryin’ to get packed on time an’ bein’ stuck with this old outa control whacko poundin’ her ear on an’ on an’ on.

The wisdom I got outa this was to learn to keep my trap shut an’ listen to what somebody has to say before I let loose with both barrels full o’ wind. Both parties will be much better satisfied. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game

I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without commentin’ on this extravaganza they call the beautiful game. Beautiful game indeed! It’s just amazin’ what advertisin’ can do. You can start with how Brazil was selected to host the games for starters. There was only two countries competin’ for the rights to host the games in the first place, them bein’ Columbia an’ Brazil. Suddenly Columbia drops out an’ it’s all for Brazil. Look at that! Go figure. There’s enough drug money in Columbia to buy the world cup outta petty cash, so it leaves one scratchin’ one’s head. Well that’s for starters anyways.

Then there’s the games thereselves. Mind you, the skills these players have is somethin’ to watch. They’re like a bunch o’ gazelles prancin’ around out there with some kinda magnets on their shoes for the ball to stick to. Holy crackers! I never seen anythin’ like it. But as you get a closer look, you begin to see what’s really goin on. This ain’t no sissy game, an’ that’s a fact. I’ll bet if you suited them up in hockey gear an’ let them loose on the ice, even Don Cherry would be speechless (for once). Or the converse, if you let the NHL loose on the soccer pitch for one game, there’s be no more NHL an’ Obamacare would have a field day.

What I mean is the fierce competition between opposin’ players. They’re dead serious about the game an’ they’ll do what it takes to win. Of course I’m talkin’ about the Uruguayan who tried to have the Italian player for lunch. All the Italians got outta that was a free kick. Then of course there was the Dutchman who yanked on the Mexican’s jersey just as he was going to kick the ball. Reminds me of my late brother in law who played semi pro in Austria after the war. His favorite trick was to grab onto the shorts of the man he was covering, and slowly pull on them until they were around his knees. Neat trick. But that poor Mexican, givin’ all he had to boot the ball changed his momentum and went ass over teakettle down onto the pitch. The Dutchman never even got a yellow card.

The worst of it, leastwise in my mind was the penalty shots. I mean them goalies are like springs. They boink around like jacks in a box in them nets. You couldn’t get sand past ‘em if you tried. An’ yet, on the very last penalty shot o’ the game, the Brazilian got past the Chilean goalie to win the match. Well I ain’t sayin’ the fix was in, but then I ain’t sayin’ it wasn’t neither. All I’m sayin’ is it’s a little too much of a nail biter to be dismissed as a bit of a nail biter. But we’ll never know, will we? At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Peguis Pavilion - Kildonan Park

The Peguis Pavilion – Kildonan Park


Well I was goin’ to spout off about the business in Iraq an’ the Ukraine. In fact, I got my rage meter cranked up to overdrive an’ was just about ready to fire off the first salvo when I came upon somethin’ earth shatterin’ that temporarily changed my mind.

Me an’ the missus picked up my sister to go have a stroll in Kildonan Park an’ look at the flower beds an’ enjoy some fresh air. We done that too. Of course all that amblin’ around raised our appetites somewhat an’ so we ambled ourselves into the Peguis Pavilion an’ the bran’ spankin’ new “Food Evolution” restaurant.

We shouldn’t a had’a done that. See, we come from a time when the pavilion was designed as a pavilion, much like the one at Assiniboine Park. In fact, my sister used to work at that pavilion in Kildonan Park back in the day. She had a summer job there when she was goin’ to school. Them days, it was a big rotunda with servin’ stations in the four directions. The waitresses had all they could do to keep up with the crowds on weekends. It was like Grand Central Station.

Then they mowed the place down an’ built a new one back in the fifties. The best part o’ that was the change room downstairs where you could put on your skates and use the washroom before headin’ out on the pond. They even had music (such as it was). The only thing was, the leased out restaurant wasn’t that big a deal. Not only that, but there was this giant empty space in the dining area, totally unoccupied. Except for the odd diner. What a waste!

Well the city must’a noticed too cause they closed the place down and started major renovations. When I saw that I wrote to Mayor Sam Katz about my ideas for the pavilion. They should put up a small stage so young start-up bands, poets an’ authors could perform for free to the breakfast an’ lunch crowd, thus getting some exposure for theirselves an’ providin’ entertainment for the people there. I figured it would be a crowd pleaser an’ draw an awful lot of young folks to the park and the pavilion, thus bring some life back to the park. To my surprise, Mayor Katz got back to me sayin’ it was an interstin’ idea an’ he’d pass it on to somebody.

Well I guess they never got the memo ‘cause the first thing I noticed was a great big bar in the corner of the restaurant. A bar? In a park pavilion? C’mon, who thought that up? That’s like having eight ounce wine glasses at communion. An’ the station where you placed yer order took up another fair bit o’ space too. The menu itself wasn’t too bad though. The only thing about it was that it was much better on paper than on the plate. Where’d they get that food anyways? It tasted like hospital rejects. The waitresses were friendly enough an’ pleasant, but totally lackin’ in trainin’.

At a year behind schedule and two million dollars for renovation, it seems the city has created a “make work” project slated for failure. I hate to say it, but I don’t think it’s gonna fly. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.