Saturday, May 31, 2014



 Me an’ the missus went out the other mornin’ for our constitutional walk. Musta been about eight o’clock or so. We was hikin’ along, mindin’ our own business an’ takin’ in the fresh air. Well, we wasn’t the only ones on the path neither. A couple’a old biddies come walkin’ toward us, focused on keepin’ their deterioratin’ bodies propelled forward instead o’ fallin’ down, determined looks on their faces.  “Good Morning!” the say, their faces suddenly lightin’ up like Christmas trees. “Lovely morning for a walk.”

What the . . . . We reply in kind, somewhat stunned by the friendly gesture at that hour o’ the day. Stuff like that don’t happen in Winnipeg, especially lately with the cold winter we been havin’. Then a guy comes wizzin’ by on a bicycle. “Mornin’” he chirps and carries on. We barely got time to say good mornin’ back before he disappears down the path. Well it carried on that way all the way home until we were convinced it WAS a good mornin’.

I kinda’ figured that was sort of a one off. Maybe people were just happy to be able to walk outside in some comfort instead of on icy walkways in the freezin’ cold. But no, it even continued on to the next day when I had to go out to get a prescription filled. I was in a sour mood cause it was quite a hike to the pharmacy and I was determined not to take the car. Walkin’ back, grumblin to myself for not drivin’, a six or seven year old girl passed me by. She looked up an’ said “Hi” as she passed. Well, I’ll be, if my mood didn’t brighten right up. The trip home suddenly wasn’t so long any more. Even when I went by the yard with that puny wire haired terrier barkin’ his fool head off like he was the boss of me, I said good mornin’ to him an’ kept on walkin’. Well I didn’t exactly say good mornin’, but rather likened him to some unmentionable body parts as I passed by. I kinda’ thought he got the drift of what I called him because he barked so hard that all four feet left the ground with every yelp, but he looked to have a smile on his face, like I’d complimented him.

That brings me to the point o’ the whole story. The power o’ dialogue is a mighty force. If them Ukrainians an’ the Russians could walk by one another an’ just say good mornin’ to each other, they’d be in a whole lot better mood to solve their differences. Look at what the Pope just accomplished by the very same means with them Israelites and the Palestinians. He went to visit them, said hello nicely an’ then invited them over to his place for tea. They both accepted. An’ what do you think they’re gonna do at the Pope’s house, bring guns an’ bombs? I don’t think so. They’re probably gonna talk to each other which is a whole lot better’n blowin’ each other’s heads off. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Oh Danny Boy

Oh Danny Boy


Woke up this morning with the song “Danny Boy” swirlin ‘round in my head. What the H E double hockey sticks was that all about? Thankfully, it was John McDermott singin’ it, so it was a nice rendition. Turns out to have been a harbinger for how the day would turn out. The sky, when I went out for my morning meditation was spotted with wispy clouds, brilliantly back-lighted by the risin’ sun. A meadowlark was chirpin’ at the top o’ his lungs, makin’ himself heard overtop of the honking of geese and the squawkin’ of a lone crow.

Sure enough, I went out an hour later for a smoke an’ the wind had blown the definition outa the clouds to overcast; hidin’ the sun an’ the only thing left of an otherwise promisin’ mornin’ was the meadowlark who just wouldn’t quit. Then the refrain came into my mind “. . . the summer’s gone and all the flowers are dying. . .” Well, that’s about how it would turn out. Even Queen Victoria was in a sour mood. This is the weekend we’re supposed to be celebratin’ her birthday. We’re gonna blow up some fireworks an’ shout “Long may she reign!” We should rather say, “Long may she rain” an’ we wouldn’t be far off. Don’t matter much though. She’s been dead a long time anyways. Even the meadowlark ain’t no meadowlark neither. It’s a blasted killdeer that had no intention of shuttin’ up ‘til about twenty or so crows showed up to chase it away. They’d a done it too except the garbage truck came by, makin’ all kinds o’ racket an’ scared ‘em all off.

“. . . . But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow. Or when the valley’s white and hushed with snow . . .” We’re in Winnipeg, not some Scottish meadow for cryin’ out loud! AND the twenty-fourth o’May aint ‘til next Saturday!

What’s goin’ on with them folks who set the dates for holidays anyways? You’d think they’d know better by now. They obviously never been to Winnipeg. “. . . . And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.”  You think? After a miserable cold winter of storms, freezin’ water pipes, pot holes an’ sink holes, mother nature needs a little time to recover. Ya can’t just say one day “Now it’s the May long weekend so let’s plant stuff an’ get the summer underway.” You gotta wait for the right long weekend to do that an’ it ain’t the eighteenth o’ the month. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.



Saturday, May 17, 2014

George Orwell Was Right After All!

George Orwell Was Right After All!


              George Orwell’s timing might have been off a little bit, but the whole concept of “1984” is playing out more or less as he had envisioned it. A Psychology professor once told us that if one wanted to see what the world would be like ten years into the future, one just had to read today’s poetry (well he could have meant prose too). His timing was also off, but here we are in 2014, looking at robotic wars for heaven’s sakes! Killer robots are on the horizon to fight wars in place of armies. No, I’m not kidding. Even the United Nations is meeting in Geneva for a serious discussion on the matter.

Mr. Cook’ll be turning over in his grave at this point. This whole robotic thing is a far cry from “The Charge of the Light Brigade” that he loved to read to his students with such gusto! And when Jesus said “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”, I’m sure the last thing he had on his mind was a bunch of engineering and science nerds taking over! He’d be totally shocked.

Can you imagine a robotic army having the intelligence to go out into the field and make up it’s own mind as to who will be killed and who won’t be? Well maybe. Israel and South Korea are already using a form of these killer robots to defend their borders. But somebody has to be able to put the intelligence and whatever else it takes into them for these machines to operate independently, right? So the question is:  Who?

Well THAT”S the sixty-four dollar question isn’t it? You can’t tell me that there’s anybody with any kind of moral judgment gonna be in charge of THAT! The very fact that the U. N. is discussing it is an indicator. If you want to know about THEIR moral judgment, just ask Romeo D’Allaire. That’ll give you an idea of what this Geneva summit is worth. It’s just another one o’ those fireside chats meant to bamboozle the world an’ have no particular consequence.

Of course, these killer robots an’ their usage have dire implications and unimaginable consequences. For opposing forces and ideologies to sit down together in the first place is unseemly. And then to lay the ground rules down for the use of these things is even more remote, especially in a forthright and honest manner. It seems to me to be more of a setup for a spy mission.

The thing I keep thinking about though is that, supposing these free thinking robots develop a conscience of their own and turn on their creators, wiping out say, the U.S. congress or the Canadian senate or the British House of Lords.

Hey, wait a minute! Maybe this is not such a bad idea after all! At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Taser Debate

The Taser Debate


Watchin’ the nature channel on the TV the other night got me to thinkin’ about Tasers of all things. I mean here they was, tranquilizin’ great monstrous elephants an’ rhinoceroses an’ lions an’ stuff. They shoot a little dart into the animal’s rump an’ after it runs around a little bit, the critter lays down an’ falls asleep. They throw a towel over it’s head an’ haul it off to wherever to do what they need to do. Then to wake it up, they give it an antidote an run for cover. Them elephants can weigh up to four tons!

Well I figured if they can do that with all them ferocious giant animals that can crush your skull in a split second, why can’t they do that with them alleged criminals? I was thinkin’ in particular about that young man on a Toronto bus who got riddled with about nine bullet holes before he succumbed. Of course there was many others, but he stands out. I mean, one simple dart in his arse an’ he’d a been sound asleep. No need to turn the guy into a sieve for everything to leak out!

During WWII the Japanese had invaded Borneo (I think) and were using the men for forced labor and the women for their sexual pleasures. To say the natives were unhappy is a bit of an understatement. They had long ago been talked out of their traditional head hunting practices by missionaries before the war and now felt hopeless. But when a British officer secretly landed on the island, he gave them permission to resume the ancient practice (on the Japanese). He even offered to arm them but they turned him down. They had much more effective weapons – blow guns an’ poison darts. As one of them said, you could hit the enemy in his little finger and he was as good as dead. It didn’t have to be a targeted fatal shot.

Well that’s history now anyways, but it makes my point I think. There’s ways to subdue people without a lot o’ O. K. Corral dramatics an’ deadly force. An’ don’t tell me them scientists can’t figure out a safe dosage to inflict on human targets neither. Mind you, they gotta consider drug an’ alcohol consumption with humans but with the tools they got to modify this, that an’ the other, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Mind you, the media will be upset ‘cause it’ll cut down on the amount o’ drama they can sensationalize on the TV. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Our Mother the Cow

Our Mother, the Cow


Well, ya think? It don’t take too much imagination to figure out that the human race ain’t never been weaned, at least, quite a lot of it. An’ they’re drinkin’ milk from another species of all things, never mind their own. Holy crackers! I seem to have opened a can o’ worms on this subject! I’da never thought there was such a fracas goin’ on about cows milk an’ should we or shouldn’t we drink the stuff. It’s unbelievable!

See, I had this whole other idea. Well, you know how my imagination works by now, an’ I could just visualize about thirty people walkin’ around behind one o’ them long legged Holsteins with their giant udders, holdin’ a little milk stool an’ takin’ turns at a teat. Hey! That’s not such a far-fetched idea! Do the math. There’s about a millon dairy cows in the country, each producin’ somewheres around thirty liters o’ milk a day. That gives every Canadian about a liter each an’ every day. Can’t you just picture it? About thirty people followin’ mother cow around yellin’ “Mommy, mommy, I’m hungry!” Just thinkin’ about it cracks me right up.

At some time in the past, cows an’ people musta come to some kind o’ agreement cause we used to send the cows out to graze in the mornin’ after milkin’ (sittin on the little milk stool). They’d have quiet time all day long in the pasture without them squealin’ brats at their heels the live long day. So they could graze an’ ruminate an’ think about things without any interruptions. Then about suppertime they’d come back into a nice clean barn where they had chop to eat for supplements an’ have DDT sprayed over their mosquito covered hides so they’d stand still long enough to be milked again. An’ that would be the end of it for the cows. After that they’d stand around a smudge fire gossipin’ like most mothers tend to do.

I dunno who come up with that idea but it sure quieted the cows down a lot so they became more favorable to be surrogate mothers to all them weanling people an’ they gave milk gladly so long as they got fed an had a clean barn to sleep in. Of course I’m talkin’ about the country ‘cause them city slickers were too uppity for that. They was busy buildin’ houses an’ garages an’ fences an’ plantin’ trees an’ flowers. There was no room for cows. So they had to get their milk shipped in from where the cows was. Well that was a game changer for the weanlings of the cow mothers. The cows didn’t care one way or the other though, although they went through a number o’ changes, like milkin’ machines an’ schedulin’ changes an’ such. The farmers, to accommodate them city slickers got aholt o’ them centrifuges to separate cream from milk an whey from the rest o’ the crap, leavin’ the farmers’ kids with a lot o’ dishes to do every blinkin’ day, just so’s they could have their cream an’ butter an cheese.

An’ all that created a degree of separation between the people an’ the cow’s udder so they now think that milk comes from the supermarket instead o’ from cows. So the next time you’re guzzlin’ a glass o’ the white stuff, just try to think about that little milk stool an’ nuzzlin’ up beside the cow’s hind leg for a swig o’ the real stuff. You’d get a whole lot more nourishment from that than you would from the chemical crap that comes from Safeway, if you’re not too embarrassed to be sucklin’ away at your age. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.