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.