Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Search for Happily Ever After


The Search for Happily Ever After 

We're always searchin' for somethin' we don't seem to have within our grasp, be it our car keys or everlastin' life or happily ever after. Well okay, ya can have yer car keys if ya know where ya put 'em, but for the other, it's just a pipe dream. People have been chasin' after the elixir o' life for hundreds o' years an' never found it. But they're still lookin'. Right now they're figurin' out how to do brain transplants. Can you imagine that? They're gonna take some o' them cryogenically frozen bodies they got stored in them fancy freezers, thaw 'em out an' stick new brains in 'em. Well I suppose all that's mechanically possible. The brain after all is just a very complicated magneto ya ought to be able to stick into an old chassis, an' even the chassis can be overhauled with new parts an' pieces. Good luck with that!

"Happily Ever After" however, involves the human spirit. So far, the only folks talkin' about "happily ever after" is them bible thumpers whose guarantee is directly proportionate to the amount o' money ya put into their coffers. But they usually get caught up in one scam or another, which puts a lie to their schemes. Scientists on the other hand don't ever even mention the human spirit. I don't know if they figure it's connected to or is part o' the brain, but they seem to have ignored it. Granted, science an' mechanics do a lot o' wonderful things, no question about it. But there's always a part missin' somewheres. Like the massive hoopla about the Big Bang theory - now they figured it out an' they think that's the end. But they still don't know who done it. So they're exactly at nowhere.

It's the same thing with the human spirit. The limitless and unstoppable force of it wills the body to come along and do it's bidding. And that ain't a brain function as far as I can tell. In fact, I'd be willin' to bet that the spirit ain't a human thing in the first place. I figure if you was able to find the who dunnit of the big bang theory, you'd also find the who dunnit of the human spirit, whatever or whoever you wanna call it. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Reflection


Reflection

It's getting' on to that time o' year again. I imagine it's a ritual for many people at this time o' year to reflect on the year that's passed, on their accomplishments, their failures, mistakes and other experiences. It's a good thing too. That way it's possible to figure out where you've been an' what you done in order to have some idea of where you're goin' next. Then, by the time the New Year comes around, yer ready to go at it hammer an' tong again.

Well, that's the theory anyways. That's the way I used to do it all the time an' I never run outa steam until about Easter. These days though it's a little different. When ya can't remember what day o' the week it is or whether ya actually had yer breakfast, rememberin' what happened throughout the year becomes a little bit befuddlin'. Actually I got that aced too. I use my skills as a storyteller to fill in the details o' what I done last year until it seems reasonable an' go from there. Of course, that leaves the future world to yer imagination. There's no tellin' what plans you can make for the New Year ahead. Mind you, it's better to pull the reins in a little bit when you're plannin' for the future.

Our friend John in the "Over the Hill Gang" had bought a ticket to go skydivin' on his eightieth birthday a few years back. We was all excited an' some of us was even willin' to join him. Talk about yer over-optomistic forecast. In the meantime, John has had a coupla strokes, an' fell in the bathtub an' broke his hip. So when his eightieth birthday rolled around, he was in physiotherapy instead of in a perfectly good airplane an' learnin' how to maneuver that walker contraption instead of a parachute. So you can see how skydivin' would complicate things in his future. Holy crackers! He fell down in the bathtub an' broke his hip. What would happen if he fell outta a airplane an' landed on his keyster in a field somewheres? He'd be nothin' but splinters by the time the dust had settled. Can you imagine the field full o' bone splinters if we'd all a joined him? Not somethin' I'd like to think about.

The long an' the short of it is that we should probably curb our enthusiasm about the future with a bit o' realism, but what the heck, we never get to do it anyways so it don't really matter one way or another. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just Sayin'. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas


Christmas

It seems the Christmas spirit has been goin' on for a coupl'a months now if I think back on it. Not too long ago we was tryin' to decide whether to buy Halloween candy or Christmas candy. Christmas lights was startin' to twinkle on various balconies in our complex and people was squawkin' all over the social media to hold off until after Remembrance Day, or Thanksgivin' at least.

Well it ain't unusual in Manitoba to get out there in the cold to get the lights up even in October when the Saskatchewan dust is makin' it's annual migration across the prairie, followed closely by the falling leaves an' then the horizontal snow. The first nice day yer out there hangin' everythin' up an' getting' it over with before the weather gets downright miserable. Just ask my daughter who was hurryin' up one day to get the job done before it got dark. There she was, standin' up on an aluminum ladder with her string o' lights plugged in to make sure they worked before she stapled them to the facia. Well, you can just imagine her pickin' herself up off the ground after staplin' through a live electric wire. That's how those things go in Manitoba.

Of course with all this preparation, you gotta go to the store to get yer supplies. An' them people are quick as lightnin' to pick up on another reason to make a sale. First thing you know, there's lights up in the stores an' festive decorations an' Christmas music, an' soon everythin' else follows so as they don't miss a trick.

Of course, these days me an' the Missus like to wax nostalgic about the early years when ya hauled out a tree from the woods an' decorated it an' had real candles on it. Dad would read the Christmas story outa' the bible on Christmas Eve an' we'd blow out the candles before we burned the house down. The Missus had a little different experience in the old country, but generally it was in the same spirit.

The retail business unfortunately ruined it for her. Working Christmas Eve's an' Boxin' Days firmly entrenched the idea that Christmas stinks in her mind. I can't say I blame her. With all the months of caterwaulin' about the Christmas spirit, which ain't really the Christmas spirit, she has a point. It's only in the last ten years since she's retired that some of the joy of the grandchildren has recaptured her imagination. I guess it has to do with bein' put up there on the top shelf where you can look down, observe, an just enjoy, or at least that's how it seems to me form up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Disaster and Devastation


Disaster and Devastation 

Man, them sucker punches are sure painful! Specially if you don't see 'em comin'. Well it ain't so much the sucker punch itself as the complete surprise at it's landin' on yer chin and then the pain o' hittin' the pavement. It seems to be a devastatin' disaster momentarily, until you pick yourself up an' figure out what the heck happened.

I'm speakin' figuratively o' course (cause I ain't never really been sucker punched). But I imagine the effect is exactly the same. It was four o'clock in the mornin' an' I had just written a short (practice) script for my You Tube movie to promote my acting career hobby. It was pretty good too, about me bein' held prisoner by a bunch o' hoodlums I'd come across beatin' up on a damsel in distress. Bullies they were. Of course I had to teach them a lesson, just like they do in the movies, with wise an' profound emotional language. Naturally, I had to emphasize my speech with throwin' a few things around. Well, for the practice run I'd got a few cardboard boxes to toss around so as not to do any damage in the apartment.

So, bein' excited about my new hobby, I launched into my speech, thunderin' obscenities at the top o' my lungs and kickin' at the cardboard boxes so they went flyin' helter-skelter across the room. Oh my, this felt great! I could already see my name up in lights. I don't think I ever told anybody off like that before! It seems I was lettin' go of eighty years o' pent up frustration! Not only is this a good hobby, but it's therapeutic too.

Suddenly, in the midst of my tirade, a dark shadow appears at my office door. "What in the H E Double hockey sticks do you think you're doin?" it says in a quiet icy whisper.

Holy crackers! It's the Missus! I'm so dumbfounded I'm momentarily speechless. One minute I'm raisin cane with a bunch o' hooligans an' the next I got to explain my actions to the Missus. "I - I'm practicing to make a movie." I stammer, feelin' totally deflated (or really sucker punched).

Well, I ain't goin' to go into it except to say I wish I'd recorded her speech to me. It would'a made a much better movie than the one I had written. I'm now convinced that the three hunnert people livin' in our apartment block don't need to hear a thriller movie at four o'clock in the mornin' (or any other time for that matter).

Well, them's the breaks. My Oscar dreams is quickly fadin' but as soon as I catch my breath I'll find somethin' quieter to do. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My New Hobby


My New Hobby 

It's not every day I admit to payin' attention to the Missus' suggestions, but I gotta admit that sometimes she just inspires me. You'll remember her tellin' me to get myself a new hobby. Well maybe you don't but take my word for it, she did. An' it wasn't only just once neither. I took that to be an urgent matter. So I started lookin' around an' thinkin' about what I'd like to learn until suddenly I hit on it!

I decided that I'M GONNA BE A ACTOR! Not only am I gonna be a actor, I'm gonna look like one too, an' I'm also gonna sound like one. I been studyin' them folks on the TV. It seems, every time they're showin' emotion, they gotta yell - loud. Well I can do that, especially in the mornin' when my voice is strongest. An' cussin? Listen, I can cuss with the best o' them. I learned that from my kids - an' their kids too, so I got that pretty well aced. In a pinch I can always ask them for ideas of how to pronounce some o' them cuss words they use these days. An' the only thing I'll have to consult with the Missus on is throwin' stuff around when I'm actin' upset an' yellin. They do that a lot in the movies but I'm not sure how it would go over here at home. Maybe I could incorporate it into the act of movin' things the way she likes to do, but it could mean a lot o' repairs. Them actors are sure sloppy when in comes to throwin' stuff around. There's got to be a lot o' breakage - which worries me some. Of course if we put out things she wants to get rid of anyways, that would help us with the downsizin'.

As far as appearance is concerned, I think I can hold my own with any of 'em. If I go without shavin' my face for a week or so, I can look as ugly as George Clooney any time. Well an' as far as my wardrobe is concerned, that could use a little upgradin'. I mean I got the nice suit jackets an' shirts, but I need to invest in a bunch o' dirty blue jeans an' maybe some o' them sneakers to complete the outfits.

That havin' been said, I can maybe get it all together an' do a You Tube presentation to show a new movie star to the world. There's no tellin' where this might take me, but I smell an Oscar in the works. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Getting Another Hobby


Getting Another Hobby

 

Well - who wants to hear my opinion on the state of the union on terrorism, global warming, the election and so on? Judging by previous reaction - NOBODY! Okay, I get it. My uncanny wisdom is not the only source of your inspiration after all. Besides, there's bigger fish to fry anyways. Like how the Missus says I need another hobby. I think SHE'S tired of the ones I got. It's understandable. The dining room table is always covered with whatever puzzle I'm workin' on, my desk is always covered in clay or a piece of somethin' I'm makin', an' my flute is never where it's supposed to be. An' now I'm tryin' to learn magic card tricks. Well, that's goin' to be messy too, given my shaky eighty-year old hands.

Oh NOW I get it! It's got nothin' to do with hobbies at all. An' it's got everythin' to do with bein' a little tidier. Well what in the H E Double hockey sticks am I supposed to do with my works in progress? I can't take the puzzle apart every time I quit workin' on it, an' molded clay don't go back in the box all that easy neither. Well okay, I'll try and remember to put the flute away in future.

But get another hobby? Forget about it. I got no more room to put stuff. Besides which, the Missus would just find another place to hide it away anyways. See, there's what I think to be a Dutch gene built into all people from the Netherlands. It's called the clean gene an' once it gets into yer system, it's impossible to remove. I was up at six this mornin' an' tonight's chili was already on the stove.  Her mother was like that too. When she vacationed with us from Holland, by the time we rolled outta bed in the mornin' she'd already been to the garden, gathering lettuce, radishes an' green onions - an' had the supper salad made. By now she was washing the windows, havin' already swept the deck.

Now I ain't complainin' about cleanliness an' bein' tidy. Much better that than the other way around. But somewheres there's gotta be a middle ground. I know darn well that if I take up another hobby, the other ones would vanish into thin air. No, I have to compromise. Suppose I take up interior decoratin'. Then I go around an' rearrange all her pictures on the wall an move the furniture all around. By the time she gets finished straightenin' it all out, my puzzles will be done an' so will my clay pottery. That is, unless she likes everythin' I done, in which case I'll need another hobby. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Get Outta My Bank Account"


"Get Outta My Bank Account!" 

That's what the Missus said. Well, she actually said a whole lot more that's better left to the imagination. And no, it wasn't me what had his fingers in the till neither. She was yammerin' about the government blowin' millions o' dollars o' HER tax money on promotin' the Keystone XL pipeline they knew was doomed from the start. Well I didn't believe the numbers she was talkin' about, so I looked it up. Sure enough, that old Munroe calculator stored in her brain had it added up more or less right: thirty million here, thirty million there, another twenty-six million somewheres else, all WITHOUT HER APPROVAL! It's a good job she ain't the Revenue Minister or Stephen Harper would'a been walkin' around in the King's new clothes by now.

Before I joined the conversation the Missus was havin' with her friend, I sneaked off to the bathroom, checked my wallet to see how much was in there. There was enough (thank heavens) to last beyond this particular tirade. The main thing was that my name wasn't Harper an' I hadn't overspent. Well I should explain. See, the Missus is a Dutch girl. Well she's more of an old Dutch girl by now, but the speech she'd just delivered to her friend (an' to me in a 'take notice' sort'a way) sure proved she was very much from the Netherlands. I couldn't help but be reminded that the whole Spanish Armada had been swept off the sea by someone like her in the Dutch navy an' Harper should be kind'a glad for his own sake that she'd married me instead o' him. Well, he can only take so much abuse over his transgressions until you gotta feel sorry for him.

Well that sort'a leaves the plight o' them poor buggers whose incomes are directly affected by the oil business. I mean the workers in the oil patch, the suppliers o' services an' equipment an' so on. Most o' them don't have a hedge fund or government subsidies to draw on in hard times like their employers do. It's certainly understandable that they're upset. But they've been brainwashed to be in lock-step with their companies who don't give a rip about the wildlife they poison or the sacred ground they plow up for their pipelines, or the poisonous water they inject into the earth in their frackin' exercises. An' at the first sign of danger to the bottom line, they all get their pink slips, an' feel sorry for their poor employers. Give me a break! Them employers' pockets is deeper than the oil wells they drill. Now they're sayin on the news that the government will end the subsidies by 2020. SUBSIDIES? What subsidies? You mean to say the oil companies get subsidies too? Now I see where the Missus gets her BILLIONS o' dollars from. I thought she only meant millions. She makes that mistake sometimes. An THAT'S what she's is upset about, or at least it seems that way to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Political Arithmetic


Political Arithmetic 

I was chucklin over Trudeau's promise to have an equal distribution of men an' women in his twenty-five member cabinet. Well, if you divide twenty-five in two, you end up with half a man an' half a woman in the mix. He must'a learned his arithmetic from that new method o' teachin' that they have in schools these days. As far as I know, ya can't split any odd number in two an' come up with two whole even numbers. Maybe he'd have to get two people under three feet tall an' combine them as one to share a portfolio an' make up the equal number that way. That was what struck my funny bone cause I noticed there wasn't any people that size elected to parliament.

Well, what do I know anyways? It turns out that the prime minister is the odd man out or even man in, in this case. That is to say, he is not only the Prime Minister, but he's also part of the cabinet (I guess). So he can have any odd number in the cabinet he wants an' still have half men an' half women. As for himself, he has his father's body an' his mother's hair, so I guess that counts for two o' somethin' too.

An' Trudeau's not the only one who can count politically neither. Angela Merkel is another one has her eye an' her numbers an' on the future. The seemingly unrestricted flow of migrants into Germany has citizens increasingly upset, but she's countin' the agin' number o' Germans who ain't makin' any young Germans nomore an' is wonderin' who's goin' to take over the work load a few years down the road. She's learned from the Chinese government what happens when the birthrate drops off significantly. Them people are busy findin' an' rescuin' older people with all kinds o' dementia every day an' bringin' them back home with nobody there to watch over 'em. So they have to do it all over again the very next day. It's a huge problem. Who's goin' to be left to push the wheelchairs in a few years? An' who's going to go to work to earn the money to buy the wheelchairs in the first place? I read that in certain places in Spain they ain't makin' any little Spaniards nomore neither. So it seems you need that special political arithmetic to balance the population an' the budget. We shouldn't ask too many questions an' sooner or later the budget will balance itself. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The New Resource


The New Resource 

It looks like the only one who had a plan "B" for the saggin' oil prices in Canada durin' the election campaign is Trudeau. As far as I can see, nobody else has any idea of how to mitigate the lost income from the saggin' price of oil. All the fear mongers an' the haters in the oil patch could probably breathe a little easier if they scratched their heads a little to see what's happenin'. Not that they'd ever consider anythin' that doesn't bring their prices back up to a hunnert bucks a barrel, cause they like what they're doin an' don't wanna quit. It's kinda like them dairy farmers don't want the Pacific Rim trade deal cause it'll drop the price o' milk.

What I'm (an' Prime Minister Trudeau's) talkin' about is the legalization of marijuana of course. Ya just have to look at what's happenin' in say, Oregon. They're pilin' in the tax revenue like there's no tomorrow. An' if we do the same, well get the same. Just think, all that tax revenue without puttin' a hole in the ground. Not only that, but you can do that in every province without havin' to kiss anybody's rear end for a share o' the revenue. Talk about yer equalization formula.

Mind you, this is not without it's controversies neither. First thing they gotta do is fire all them government growers an' replace 'em with the experts who are now sittin' in prisons. I mean, them people know how to grow the good stuff so you employ them an get a quality product. Then you gotta deal with the Hells Angels. I hear they're ticked off about the legalization issue 'cause that'll cut into their livelihood, so they're gonna protest, maybe even take the government to court. I got news for them. They'd be better off to let go o' the marijuana business an' take over the oil industry. What with the frackin' goin' on an' the poisonin' o' the water systems an' soil, it's a much more aligned to the criminal element anyways.

An' if ya wanna argue it as a moral issue, then you'd best be prepared to compare it to tobacco sales an' liquor an' the lotteries too. The people usin' them things ain't the only addicts. The revenue department swallows taxes on that stuff up like vanilla ice cream. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Five Shovel Election


The Five Shovel Election

 

Well it ain't such a stretch to imagine the five party leaders loadin' up their wheelbarrows at the political manure pile an' spreadin' it all over the country. I guess it's all about what section of the heap they're loadin' up from that's what counts. They're all busy pickin' out the places to put their shovels into it, hopin' to pull out some o' the good stuff that'll stick, grow an' blossom.

It appears that only one o' them got to the sweet spot on the manure pile. All the rest just kinda shoveled up the rained out, over bleached straw content. It ain't over yet though, although it's a good start. The rest is just like growin' a garden where you gotta water an' weed the whole business an' tend it carefully.

Of course there's all sorts o' pitfalls that can occur at any time to ruin the whole business includin' harassment from the losers an' haters an' skeptics o' the winner. I like to think that's all been taken into account in the growin' season.

What strikes me as a bit strange though, is that each o' the parties was lookin' for a different part o' the pile, not payin' attention to what Canadians was sayin'. They mostly decided what was good for us an' said; 'This is what's good for you an' it's what you're gonna get.' That 's the old 'top down' system I was describin' last week as what's been shoved down our throats forever an' a day.

Let's face it, people generally are fed up with that one percent trickle down philosophy. They want to become engaged in a government that has meaning for them an' when somebody comes along an' promises that, you can bet they're gonna buy in.

Well so far it's just promises, so there's a lot of gardenin' yet to do, but if you had yer druthers, a positive, hopeful government is a lot more palatable than a negative, secretive one. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'. 

 

 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Whatshesaid


Whatshesaid!

 

No, this ain't no gossip column. It ain't even what she said. It's "Whatshesaid". That's a whole different kettle o' fish. It's sorta a reply to a question about what to do or where to go or what to buy. It's classic Red Green, straight outa his book about Red Green's Guide to Women for Men who Don't Read Instructions. Well it ain't very original but let me tell you, it's the best gol dang reply I've ever come across. An' it's decisive too.

There's no jig-jaggin' around about it neither. A friend says to you: "Are ya goin' for a beer with the guys tonight?" The straight answer is, "Whatshesaid!" Well, that ends the discussion right then an' there. It puts the decision right squarely on the Missus an' you don't have to worry about it. An' if you happen to be talkin' to a married man who's already cleared it with his Missus, an' he'll understand where you're comin' from. Bachelors an' otherwise unattached folks won't get it, but then who cares? It's not about their security anyways.

An' before the women readin' this get their undies in a knot at bein' considered bossy an' overbearin', it ain't about that neither. What it is, is a security blanket for us old married guys (or people in a domestic relationship as it is commonly known these days). See, what "Whatshesaid" does is put the responsibility on the Missus so we don't have to make no decisions, 'cause we already know we can tap into the two-four in the basement fridge an' there's a hockey game on the TV most nights anyways.

See, it all works out to be a good thing; a benefit to all parties concerned (except them single fellas who are findin' it more an' more difficult to get anybody to agree with 'em). For the married men, it's probably a sneaky way to get the wife to restrict their goin' out cause they wanted to stay home an' watch the game anyways instead o' listenin' to all the lies in a noisy bar.

The unsuspecting Missus of course can exercise her responsibility to keep her man on the straight and (dignified) narrow while he (the devious little weasel) can publicly blame her for not bein' able to go out with the boys (which he didn't much want to do anyways). The upshot is that everybody's happy, even the single guys who don't want much to do with henpecked husbands anyhow. Even the Missus secretly likes the fights that go on in the hockey games (though she won't admit it). At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Votin'


Votin'

 

Who you vote for has nothin' to do with the facts an' figures espoused by candidates, leaders an' pollsters. It's got nothin' to do with the polls neither. They could save a whole bundle o' money by just introducin' thereselves an' let it go at that. If the leaders was to work on getting' their manners together like proper adults, an' if they was to dress proper an' show respect for each other AN' their constituents, the best one o' the bunch would get elected. An we'd never notice the difference cause the bureaucracy would keep on grindin' out government business anyways.

These political experts are so full o' thereselves, they gotta make a big huge production of puttin' out attack ads about the other parties, about what a bunch o' liars the others are, an' just how good an' carin' they are thereselves, you need a spittoon just to stomach their rhetoric.

Listen, none o' that stuff matters a tinker's dam anyways. In the end, people don't vote according to polls or facts or promises. Right at the last minute, right there at the ballot box all of that gets thrown out the window and the vote becomes a strictly emotional decision. Happens every time. It's a classic accordin' to the Xerox sales manual recipe: 1. Create or identify a need 2. Present your product with benefits to fill that need. 3. Reinforce with additional benefits until all objections are overcome. 4. Ask for the order. An' there ya have it.

Looks like Harper's people have tipped to the Xerox formula with that Niqab business. They've identified Quebec's need to ban it an' are capitalizin' on that so they're pursuin' it. I rather suspect they're gonna kick Mulcair's ass in Quebec with that, which is exactly why they're doin' it. The Niqab an' the woman behind it in the Citizenship scandal don't matter a rip to the Conservatives. An' the women bein' assaulted the other day for wearing Niqabs don't get no traction neither. But the Conservatives have found a sweet spot with voters in Quebec an' they're gonna milk it for all it's worth.

Mulcair had best watch his britches or he may be wearin' the King's new clothes in Quebec at election time. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

One Rude, One Crude, One Ignorant an' A Coupl'a Irrelevants


One Rude, One Crude, One Ignorant an' A Coupl'a Irrelevants

The Missus says I should be mindful of what I say in these blogs in case I offend somebody, especially them politicians. I couldn't agree more! I done that too (as best I could). If anything, I'm tryin' to be more than kind in my description o' them. (Nice hair, though). I suppose the nicest thing I can say about 'em is that they're all more or less adequately dressed. Beyond that, if they was my children, I wouldn't even put them up for adoption. I wouldn't wish that bunch o' bullies on anybody. Can you imagine how ashamed their parents and families must be at their rude and insolent behavior in the debates? You can see that by their absence in any of the campaigns. (Well their children accompany them but that's only 'cause they got to).

Well who wants to listen to the debates where they talk over one another incessantly anyways, or even so-called discussions on the TV? I don't know how they ever keep score of who's winnin'. It's easy to see each o' them claimin' victory 'cause they only hear theirselves while nobody else can ever make sense of what they're sayin'. I guess that comes from practice of NOT askin' or answerin' questions in question period.

Is it any wonder that young people are reluctant to vote? We complain that they are brash, rude, insolent and inconsiderate, but really, where do they get that from? The politicians of course! By an' large teenagers are tryin' to get away from bullies like that so why would they get involved in politics an' votin'? Quite frankly I don't blame 'em. I don't wanna vote neither, but I gotta do it in order to keep the bureaucracy goin', even if it is just barely limpin' along, thanks to these would be power brokers.

An' these then are our role models, the people we must look up to. Seriously? Is that the example we want our children to see? Is that to be our only legacy? Quite frankly, lookin' up to them has more to do with elevation than respect. They're up on that hill (Parliament Hill that is) while the rest of us are somewheres down in the ditch, scratchin' an' diggin' to keep life an' limb together along with our families.

Well I been up on that hill an' all I seen was opulence an' privilege. There was nothin' there had anythin' to do with us ditch dwellers unless you use the septic system model where the crap comes outta the buildings on top o' the hill an rolls downwards into the ditch. That may be a bit graphic, but it's a fairly accurate analogy of politics an' the politicians I think.

The least they could do up there is mind their manners for starters an' set an example for our young people. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Thing About Suicide


The Thing About Suicide 

I had just finished writing a highhanded blog about Suicide Prevention Week. Actually it was pretty good, considering the subject matter. I generally don't have much sympathy for people who take their own lives. It's a loser's gambit as far as I'm concerned. But then I heard of the eighteen year old young man in B.C. who had been moved out of his group home because of it's unsatisfactory conditions. Four months ago he had been placed in a hotel room by child and family services without any supervision or guidance. Yesterday he went out the window, kissing the concrete four floors below. That was his last act.

Now of course the agency in question is devastated, saying he should never have been placed in a hotel and should never have been left alone. Obviously they never took note of the girl in Manitoba who was staying in a hotel and was murdered a few months back and the tearful minister vowing to remove children in their care from hotels. I got a notion that neither of these ministers would be nearly as devastated if it hadn't been splashed all over the TV. This kid had no one, not even the agency who's care he was in. He was sitting in the hotel room for four months - like solitary confinement. So there's somebody whose mental outlook you can sympathize with or at least understand.

That Derek Zaretsky fellow on the other hand who murdered little Hailey Blanchette and her father, tried to commit suicide while in custody and is now in hospital. I really, really hope he survives. He should live a long life in prison so that each and every day he can be reminded of the terrible things he has visited upon so many people, including his own family. He did it, so he should live with it without mercy.

So there you have two completely opposite sides of the same issue. On the one hand you have somebody who's been absolutely abandoned for a long period of time. That's an outcome that should never have happened. On the other, you have somebody who has perhaps realized what he has wrought and so takes the coward's way out of his dilemma.

Do I have a solution? You know me better than that - of course I do! A lot of these problems can be solved around the family dinner table before they even become problems. Well, at least if we still had families and dinner tables. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Cretien Magic


The Cretien Magic

 

Holy Crackers! I jumped up outta my chair an' stood at attention before I knew what I was doin'. There he was, large as life an' feisty as ever, openin' the conversation for his former boss's kid. What in the H E Double hockey sticks was he doin' there? The man is eighty years old an' yet he's actin' an' talkin' like a man o' forty, slicin' up the competition with a precision as only he can. He certainly aint lost his touch neither. In fact, if anythin' he's honed it somewhat.

Well an' I wasn't the only one cheerin' for the old politician neither. As he was finishin' up his speech, the whole crowd was yellin' "Cretien, Cretien, Cretien!" It was a magical moment. It took a little doin' for the kid to find his feet but, as if buoyed by the old master, he did an' delivered a pretty good campaign speech.

I can't remember bein' that excited about a political rally since the days of ol' John Diefenbacker. Them were the days when what the politicians said meant somethin'. At least that's what we believed at the time. It's a little different today when we don't even believe they're usin' their own names for heaven's sakes, never mind anythin' else.

Well, case in point: They come out with economic numbers the other day, sayin' we got a surplus, not a deficit. Harper's jumpin up an' down sayin "See, I told ya! Stick with me an I'll lead ya to prosperity." Of course, the opposition is climbin' all over this, citin' cuts to Immigration, Aboriginal Affairs, Veterans Affairs an' so on. Stick with them and make the changes that'll bring the middle class into prosperity. It's got to the point that no matter which o' them Pied Pipers we follow, we're gonna get led up the garden path and into prosperity (well at least up the garden path).

I got a problem believin' any one o' them politicians (for want of a better term), but if I were to lean toward any one, I'd go with the guy who's got the most ammunition. Trudeau seems to have that in the person of Cretien, so that's where I gotta lean. Holy crackers, I was ready to vote right then an' there last Sunday! But you know, his timing is way off. He should'a waited 'til about a week before the election to spring that surprise. That would have had a much greater effect on the election outcome. Timing is everything. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'. 

 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Time of the Eighth Fire


The Time of the Eighth Fire

People have been migrating all over the world for almost as long as there have been people. But this time seems to be somewhat different. The world is getting full of people and there's not a whole lot of room left. We have come to a crossroad it seems. The mass migration of people now happening is something that hasn't been seen for a while. This time it isn't the weather or other natural phenomena causing the migration. Like everything else these days, it's perpetuated by the corruption, short sightedness and cruelty of humanity. As a result, we are due for a long look at our potential future.

If you're familiar with the Anishinabe legend of the "Seven Sacred Fires", you will know that the time is upon us for the "Eighth Sacred Fire" to be lit. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it goes something like this: "Now the light skinned people will come to a fork in the road. Should they choose the right road, the Seventh Fire will ignite the Eighth Fire. This will be the eternal fire of peace and brotherhood among all people, men and women alike. But should they make the wrong choice, the destruction they brought with them from across the sea will return to them, causing much death and destruction to the earth's people."

Well, that sort of coincides with the biblical reference to a thousand years of peace in the book of Revelations. If ever there was a time for the indigenous people who follow these ancient teachings to come together to speak with one voice that will echo across the world, it is now. It's hard to say whether anyone will listen and agree to give up their power struggles or their coveted hatred of their fellow man, but it's worth a try.

As to resettling the masses for example, the current population in Nunavut to the space available is 63 square kilometers per person. It is similar in the NWT and the Yukon. In fact, you don't even have to leave Manitoba or Saskatchewan to find some elbowroom. People seem to think they have to be in Montreal or Toronto or Vancouver in order to have a good life. Well how do they think these cities started out? I can remember standing in front of a statue of Champlain in the park in the Gateneau hills where he is gazing over a vastness of dense forest and hills, and wondering how all these cities and communities ever got built in this wilderness in the first place.

In my mind it is only the First Nations of this country that can help and guide the refugees to settle and develop the vast wasteland of northern Canada in a way that is both productive and eco friendly. These same First Nations have after all been refugees themselves in their own country for a long time so they know better than anyone what to do. The Federal and Provincial governments have proven themselves to be inept at doing anything so if ever there was a time for our First Nations to speak and act, now is the time. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Great White North


The Great White North

 

Well it ain't all that white no more, what with global warming and all, but it's still great in size, second only to Russia (which ain't that far away). An' when it comes down to it, there ain't nobody up there other than a handful o' Inuit an' a whole lot o' wildlife. Well, I shouldn't discount the oil an' gas drillers an' the miners who are causin' all the disruption to the environment.

The reason I mention that is in connection with the terrible disturbances goin' on in Europe over refugees enterin' (or trying to) Austria, Germany, Sweden, etc. in search of a better life. Ya can't really blame the refugees for fleein' their homelands, to escape all the wars an' rape an' plunder an' corruption goin' on. But see where they look for refuge. They wanna be in places like Vienna or Berlin or Stockholm where there's good economic activity, not in some God-forsaken cold place where they might have to bend their backs an' do something for theirselves. No, they'd rather be in places like Toronto or Vancouver where the livin' is easy. Well who can blame 'em? If you're lookin' for improvement, ya may as well go whole hog.

The Indigenous Peoples from around the world must be crackin' up laughin'. IT'S PAYBACK TIME! Obviously the Europeans don't much like it. When THEY was invadin' places like Africa, India, Australia an the Americas, well that was different. Now there's people comin' from all over lookin' to share in THEIR prosperity. It seems the only country brave enough to act on this crisis is Germany. They're prepared to take up to eight hundred thousand refugees. Well of course, they got the experience from when the Berlin wall came down. Ain't nobody noticed how their economy has flourished since that time?

Well, to the great white north: There's yer port o' Churchill. Just sittin' there watchin' all them foreign boats go by, an' now even Chinese boats. An' all ya got is people comin' to watch the polar bears eatin' garbage. That port should be an' could be a port to equal Singapore if it were properly peopled an' operated. An' the whole gawl dang north could be managed an preserved as an eco tourist area like only the Africans know how to do, managin' migration routes of animals an' a balance of wildlife an' human interaction in concert with the Denė an' Inuit. Intersperse that with a bunch o' Mennonites who would turn the fields into gardens an' crops like I said a couple o' weeks ago, an' you got a whole new Great Green North.

But you gotta have a plan. An' the government's left hand gotta shake hands with it's right hand so everybody knows what he/she's doin. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Jusr sayin'.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Wasp Caper


The Wasp Caper

 

The wasps around our place seem to have a new strategy. I don't know if it's a redistribution of workload or a new way of attackin' more people at the same time. Whatever their logic, they seem to be distributin' their attention, one wasp at a time to each apartment in our complex. Well I suppose it makes sense if you're a swarm of wasps wantin' to cover a whole apartment population. I kill one wasp one day an' the next , there's another one shows up. I know it's not the one I offed yesterday 'cause I deliberately left it lyin on the balcony floor. Well I don't mind killin' them miserable critters, cause they're never up to no good anyways.

Well the Missus is afraid o' them bugs. I mean she's TERRIFIED! It's got so she don't wanna step out on the balcony no more 'cause every time she does, one o' them wasps comes by to check out her hair spray or somethin'. So I went down to the store an' picked up a couple o' flyswatters to hang out there in case a wasp showed up again. A big oven mitt could'a accomplished the same thing but ya wanna have the right equipment to do the job. That gave the Missus the confidence to go out again. The epic battle that followed between the Missus an' the miserable wasp should'a been recorded for posterity. She was "swash bucklin'" like Errol Flynn up against Black Beard in a two fisted (or rather, two swatter) sword fight, swingin' them mercilessly at the little wasp who was bobbin' an' weavin' like Mohamed Ali. It was truly a battle for the ages. When I stepped out I squished the little bugger against the screen an' that was the end of it an' him.

Well I don't want to gloss over the damage these nasty little creatures can do. Holy crackers! They can kill you if you're allergic to their venom. People with severe allergic reactions use one o' them "EpiPen" auto injectors to treat exposure to the venom. The drill is, you inject the EpiPen adrenaline immediately you are stung, and call 911. That's how serious it is. So it's no funny business, that's for sure.

But seriousness aside, it was worth commentin' on the Missus swash bucklin' adventure with a one ounce wasp. It becomes obvious that there is a good reason to have a man around the house (if for no other reason than to kill wasps), or at least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Action and Reaction


Action and Reaction

 

Who'da ever thought we'd create a conundrum by reducing our world population? Well, that's exactly what we done (at least some of us). I'm referrin' to the Chinese Government's enactment of the "one child" policy. A few years back they enacted the law in a move to reduce their outta control population growth. So it turns out that families were only allowed to have one child. I don't know what the penalties were for havin' more than one, but I can imagine they were pretty stiff. I done a little bit o' readin' that I didn't get much out of except that they been manipulatin' exemptions and penalties dependin' on population density. In other words, they're tryin' to fix somethin' they broke in the first place.

Well now, with a large population of single child families whose parents are elderly by this time, often frail and perhaps suffering from dementia, there is a whole other problem rearin' its head. The parents are gettin' lost and/or goin' missin'. Who's gonna go find 'em when the (only) child is at work? Not only that, but when somebody is wanderin' around aimlessly and with dementia to boot, where you gonna put 'em if ya do find 'em?

That's what you get when you start messin' around with the family dynamic. Eve found that out when she discovered carnal knowledge. It was not only how to make babies, but to make enough o' them so there'd be somebody left to push yer wheelchair when ya couldn't walk nomore. It's a good job she did too cause her kids didn't get along neither an' one killed the other one. So you got to have extra for insurance.

Too bad the Chinese government didn't see that far ahead. But there's always somebody comes to the rescue though. In a particular city in the mountain region of China, they got a search an rescue team what goes lookin' fer people fallin' off mountains an' such. Since they're not all that busy, one o' them suggested they do search an' rescue of people with dementia inside the city. Surprisingly the idea was adopted an' the crew got busy findin' people an reunitin' them with their families. The operation is a huge success.

The Chinese was lucky enough to have somebody devise a plan "b" after the government screwed up plan "a" an' there wasn't no place else to go. But we ain't always that lucky. The laws of nature are laid down by a higher authority than any gawl danged government, or anythin' else humans put their minds to, and them laws is non-negotiable. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Donald Dunce


Donald Dunce

 

So this is America. It's not so far off from what its reputation has come to be. It's a shame really. I mean somewhere in a population of some three hundred million plus, there must be some fine people. Well it may only be the republicans ruining America's reputation, but they make enough noise for all of America to be perceived as brash, self-important beings, superior to anyone who is not American. And at the head of the pack is old big mouth, Donald Dunce (as I call him) Trump. There is no better spokesperson for the world's perception of Americans than Donald Trump.

A number of years ago there was a sales convention in Winnipeg that lasted a few days, culminating in a dinner and reception on a Friday evening. The Missus, bein' in the fashion business in the downtown area at the time noticed a spike in sales on Thursday and Friday. Of course on Saturday, they were waiting for these fancy ladies to return the brand new dresses they'd bought the day before along with excuses about their reason for the return. Of course the store was wise to this trickery and were ready for the onslaught.

Well there was a woman who had come over from the U.S. to attend the particular event and, as anticipated, had bought a fancy outfit for it on Friday. Saturday she was back, demanding to return it for a full refund. Of course the outfit was all crumpled, and there was make up all over it. The Missus of course refused, citing the condition of the outfit. Holy Hanna! The tirade this woman poured out over my Missus would have prompted a punch in the mouth from anyone less professional.

The gist of it was that she (the customer) was after all, an AMERICAN, an' Americans are not used to that sort of treatment. She wanted to talk to the manager to straighten this out. Quite calmly the Missus said, "I am the manager." Well, that tore it -wide open. "I mean somebody above you!" the lady fumed. If memory serves me right, the Missus gave her the Montreal office telephone number and wished her a nice day, turning away to serve another customer.

It's a sad commentary that this is all we remember of a once powerful nation but the point I'm tryin' to make here is that we all have had such experiences with Americans, an' even if we have not, when somebody like Donald Dunce comes along with such self assured bravado, the world says; "THAT'S why we don't like Americans." At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lumpy Ladies


Lumpy Ladies

The missus came outta the hair stylist's the other day with a marine haircut of the kind that Seven Minute Gus used to give (rest his army soul). She consoled herself with the fact that number one: she would never go back there again an' number two: it would eventually grow out, just in time for her to go travelin'.

Well that was the start of a whole lot of soul searchin' about womanly appearance. We're inundated daily on the TV about goin' on diets to lose weight an' have the perfect body, or buyin' this or that exercise equipment to produce the perfect body. An' now they got them clothes that'll mold yer lumpy gut into a slim, shapely body too. Well, that done it! The string of oratory comin' outta the Missus' mouth don't even rhyme with anythin' I could write down here.

They got them there blue jeans nowadays what slide on neat an' easy while at the same time tuckin' in yer sloppy gut an' saddle bags so's you look twenty pounds slimmer an' twenty years younger than you actually are. What'll they think up next? Kinda reminds me of an old joke about the bridegroom peeking through the bathroom transom window, watching in horror as his bride prepares herself for the conjugal bed. Well, I can't rightly quote the punch line but you old guys know what it is anyways.

The whole point of this tirade is to figure out what in blazes women are tryin' to prove, buyin' in to this kind o' nonsense. I mean, do they wanna look nice or do they wanna look like somebody else altogether? I don't know what side o' that question the answer is on, but I do know that when all that junk comes off, there's an entirely different person standin' there, an' that's a fact.

What a shock that must be - especially for the woman standin' in front of the mirror an' not recognizin' who she's lookin' at. Oh gawd! I'm too fat! (She cries a tear or two). Too fat for what? You mean too fat to be sixteen again? Well yeah, but you ain't been sixteen for forty - plus years for crimeny sakes.

The thing is that all this paintin' an' primpin' an' tuckin' in an' coverin' up comes to a screetchin' halt when the lady in question gets home from an outin' an' like a person on a mission, frantically removes all the stuff she had so meticulously applied and pulled on earlier until, (with a sigh of relief) she is back to what her partner knew her to be in the first place. Go figure. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Take a Long Walk off a Short Pier


Take a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

 

That's what some guy said to me on facebook after I made a comment about the Toronto Maple Leafs hornin' in on the Pan Am games to announce a new head coach. I think what he meant was that I should go drown myself. Of course, he didn't take into account the longstandin' fictional feud I've had with the Leafs since 1949. Maybe I should'a explained that they phoned Abby MacDonald an' Donny MacGregor an' Cec Hockstra, but we was from the wrong side o' the tracks so they didn't bother with us.

I gotta admit that for a minute there I was a bit annoyed at such an outburst. I mean, didn't he (or she) see what the Leafs were doin' grabbin' attention for theirselves over an' above the six thousand athletes who was havin' their moment o' glory? Well, I told it like I saw it, so there! They shoulda taken a lesson from the Blue Jays who at least had the class to wait til after the games closed to make their big announcement.

Well, what this all comes down to is not the situation at hand, but the blatant criticism of anybody with an opinion other than the one you hold. I would have remained disgruntled had I not remembered the Jesus boots we used to wear back in the sixties an' seventies to walk on water. I figured, 'Sure, why not?' Kinda puts shame to this sorta outburst, don't it?

It occurs to me that social media has brought out the worst in us all - me included. We have suddenly become judge and jury of those we don't agree with and each of us passes a different sentence upon the subject of our ire. Until now, we've just kept our big mouths shut about our opinions, but suddenly we have a soapbox to stand on an' let everybody know just exactly what we think without fear of consequence.  It occurs to me we might have a little forethought before we spout off thoughtless criticisms. They might come home to haunt us one day. The world is full of clichés about him who is without sin castin' the first stone, or people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Health Care


Health Care

 

In 1934 the Concordia Hospital, (on the Red River property pretty well next door to the LaSalle Hotel), was opened by the Mennonite Hospital Society Concordia. I was born there about a year later. Old Doc Oelkers was the medical director at the time. I'm not sure he had any idea of what he was in for with wave upon wave of Mennonites showin, up at his door, blabberin' away in their German dialect about every gawl danged ailment imaginable. He lasted until 1962, which was remarkable, all things considered, since it was one of the finest hospitals around. I'm sure exhaustion finally did him in.

People were full of hope with the new hospital too, designed by an award-winning architect. It was state of the art. Well, enter the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and its reputation went downhill faster'n feces down the drain of a septic system.

That's what I wanted to talk about here. You'd think by now all the bugs would have been worked outa the system, but no, all of the dysfunction is still well entrenched into the hospital operation. I was witness to that the other day when I had occasion to be there. I took my sister there over a blood clot in her leg. That would have been about ten a.m. I went home to wait for a call when she was all done. At about one o'clock she phones and says she's just waiting for results. She's all done, so I go down. I'm smart enough not to park at meter number eleven cause its still outa order (again). By three o'clock they finally drag her to a day bed and I go sit an' wait. I notice a sign on the wall toutin' practitioner nurses bein' used in place o' doctors.

Long story short, at four thirty we go home without my sister havin' been seen by a doctor. Well, the doctor didn't have time 'cause he had to see a fellow who had been waitin' for eight hours already. What about the nurse practitioner she wanted to know. "We don't have one," he said. WHAT? They got a sign on the wall askin' us to support a non existent nurse practitioner? "Well nobody has applied for the job."

It don't take long to find out where the problem is. Seems like the Health Authority has modeled its operation on one o' them automated chicken processin' places where you hang the bird up at one end o' the chain an' it goes through all the operations 'til it comes our plucked an' eviscerated at the other end, ready for the oven. That ain't the way it works folks! The whole business can be summed up by that broken parking meter out front. What's the point of puttin' money into somethin' that don't work anyways? Ol' Doc. Oelkers must be spinnin' in his grave. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Harper Fiddles While Canada Burns


Harper Fiddles While Canada Burns

Well, we don't wanna wish him the same fate as what happened to Nero. He should live long enough to regret his dictatorial mismanagement of Canada. But I think it's a reasonably accurate analogy of our dictator even though I find it hard to believe that people will still care enough to give him a black eye two thousand years from now. Just this mornin' he was blamin' Canada's economic downturn on China. Europe, an' the U.S. of A., but it wasn't enough for him to authorize any stimulus spending.

How about some smarter spendin' Mr. Prime Minister? I keep Harpin' on it (pun intended) but nobody's answerin' the door in yer brain. Well finally, with the whole western half of the country ablaze, the provincial budgets depleted, an' firefighters from as far away as Australia an' New Zealand here fightin' the fires, you send in the army.

Well, it's about time! It's the wrong time for sure, but it's about time ya committed the army to do somethin' for Canada! Apparently it's only a temporary measure though until the fires are under control. That's just another band-aid solution. Just when are you white guys ever gonna smarten up?

Well there's people what know how and when to start forest fires and even where too. At least they used to. How do you think we got the landscape we got? Long before us white guys showed up, the Aboriginal people took care of the forest fires in the late fall and early spring in controlled burns. That certainly lightened the load of summer burning. Mind you, if a lightning strike got things outta control, they had the advantage of being able to load up their homes on travois and take off for cooler places. (Not that it would hurt to burn some of them government homes on reserves to the ground).

I know it sounds unthinkable, but it occurs to me that we should be handing over the management of forest fires to the people who have a track record in properly controlling the burns. We should in fact hand over the care and keepin' of all our physical resources to the Aboriginal community before they forget how to do it too. I know that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but when one thinks of the tremendous spin off benefits of such a move, eating a little crow over our superior intelligence is a small price to pay. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

School Homing


School Homing

 

Now there's a term for ya! Instead'a home schooling where the parents keep their kids at home an' teach them the basics of education along with moral an' social values, they've turned it around an' now the teachers teach the students the basics of social graces as well as their school lessons. Hm, that sounds a whole lot like boardin' school or even worse and more accurately, residential school.

What's bothersome about that whole concept is that while children have been goin' to Ivy League boardin' schools for years and years with varying results, and others have been forced into residential schools with a high average of disastrous outcomes, this whole idea aims directly at the middle class.

It kind of looks like a cash grab on the part of the schools, for a ready market of frazzled parents desperate to get away from their (beloved) children, except for holidays - aka respite.

It's one thing to zero in on the middle class for a new way to make a buck, but they could be doin' a much better job of it. I remember jokin' to my son Ron a number of years ago that all the world's children should be centrally housed in government buildin's, with parental visitin' privileges once a week for a couple of hours. That would prompt a mutual appreciation of one another without the stress of actual parentin'. Of course he had the opposite view that perhaps parents could be similarly housed.

Let's face it. Every woman wants to exercise her maternal right to bear children an' I'm NOT gonna talk about what men think their rights are. But once the pain of childbirth kicks in and even more so, when the little critters come home fillin' the house with loud cryin' an' dirty diapers for a week or so, the whole dynamic changes -dramatically. Factor in grandmas an' grandpas spoilin' the kids, the cost of clothin' music lessons, computer crap an' a whole list o' so ons, it all becomes a pretty bleak picture.

If only they can figure out a proper code of conduct an' moral education, the parents can still claim to be parents (while payin' through the nose) an' yet follow their career an' life paths as fulfilled individuals. Jeez, we must be dreamin', or at least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cursive Writing


Cursive Writing

 

I don't get it. The question has come up about whether or not our children should learn cursive writing. Can you believe that somebody actually asked that question? I don't know who dunnit, but I suspect it musta been the same people what invented the new way of doin' arithmetic. There's probably a committee somewheres what thinks up ways to make children dumber an' more unskilled than they ever was before. Well it ain't calligraphy, but it's as close as we're gonna get without special trainin'.

I can still remember learnin' to write that way in grade three at school. I even remember the teacher's name. It was Miss Sneddon. Anyways that was the way big people wrote an' it was cool to be able to write like big people. What I don't remember is anybody bellyachin' about it. What did disgruntle us though was that the girls all had beautiful flowing handwriting while only a few o' the boys did.

Well now lets put this into a real context. I'd like to know who's gonna read all the documents and archives that are made in cursive writing if ya don't know how to do it yer own self. I suppose in a few years when all us old timers are on the other side o' the grass, it'll fall into the realm of archaeologists. Right now we got a copy o' the Magna Carta travellin' around Canada. Who's gonna be able to read that? An who's gonna train prospective doctors to write out their gobbledy-gook prescriptions or the pharmacists to read 'em? Or what do we do if there's a power outage an' we can't use our I pads or computers no more? Think about that!

There was a time when letter writing was a nice thing to do. Handwritten letters was nice to give an' even better to receive. You could tell who they was from just by lookin' at writin' on the envelope. Winston Churchill used to write to his wife every day, even if they was in the same house. It was his way of expressing himself that could be done in no other way. So you see, there's a certain romanticism in cursive writing that can't be duplicated.

The trouble is, we keep lowering the expectations we have of our children. It escapes our adult imagination that they have a tremendous capacity for learning. An they have an appetite for it too!  If we continue screwin' down the capacity for book learnin', someday archaeologists will identify the time in our evolution that our human brains began to shrink. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Canada Day


Canada Day

 

 

The least we can do is wish Canada a happy birthday. Well, she's startin' to get a little long in the tooth an' with all the turmoil an' troubles she's been havin' lately, I guess she could use a little cheerin' up. The people this country used to belong to was havin' a massive celebration of summer solstice a few days ago. Of course those celebrations have a deeper meaning than just lightin' a bunch o' firecrackers an' playin' loud music. They are held around the world and date back into antiquity, usually having to do with the exact moment the sun "stands still" before descending into shorter days, and the bearing of food and life for another year.

Well we got no such lofty aspirations. We just wanna blow up firecrackers an' play loud music. Half the time we don't even know why. It reminds me a little of the Orangemen in Ireland marchin' through the streets of the downtrodden catholic communities, blowin' their penny whistles, drummin' an' thumbin' their noses at them over their past victories. We of course are a little more subtle than that. We don't focus on comin' over here an' stealin' the land from the Indians, then relegatin' them to remote an' low lyin' areas in the north while we take over the fertile southern lands. Naw, that's ancient history. We just wanna love Canada, the country that WE made an' are part of, so we blow up firecrackers an play loud music. That's deep?

If old John A. had got outta the scotch long enough to use his brain, he'd 'a sent them Mennonites what came from Russia into places like Island Lake, Norway House an' all them other reserves made o' useless marshland. These folks got experience in cleanin' up useless lowland marshes an' turnin' 'em into productive agricultural land. They done it in the Netherlands an' what is now Poland an' in what used to be called south Russia -even Siberia. These buggers know what they're doin' on the land. They could grow sixty bushels o' wheat to the acre on a flat rock. It's just when they get into parliament that they're outta their element an' are totally useless. Come to think of it, we could still do that.  First thing you know, the whole north would become Canada's breadbasket with clean water an' proper shitters an' schools an' everything'd be high an' dry. Then we could be proud of our country. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin', 

 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Father's Day Notes


 

Father's Day Notes

 

This year father's day fell on June twenty-first. Well it's all over the map, the dates ranging from the fifteenth to the twenty-somethingth dependin' on the will of the calendar police. I used to say it was more or less nine months before mother's day, which of course was an open invitation to get my face slapped by all the women within earshot. It seems I'm talkin' about an unmentionable secret no woman dares admit to.

Hmph! Don't you remember that September evenin' when you was out closin' the cottage up for winter and the stars twinkled in the Indian summer night sky as the last of the harvest moons hung heavily over the horizon? Then it was all romance and love and poetry as you embraced your soon to be father in the hammock on the front porch.

WELL WHO IN THE H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS DID YA THINK YOU WAS CONSORTIN' WITH - THE WENDEGO? That's how it appears with the way women go hidin' this dark an' dirty secret that nobody wants to remember. No, NOW it's all about the pregnancy and the birthin' pain caused by this cruel and thoughtless bastard (the father) who must have preplanned it all in the first place. Well I could tell a story or two about fatherhood as I'm sure many a father or prospective father could - but we won't.

Well it turns out that it ain't the miserable mothers who are wishin' us happy fathers day anyways. It's the children whose fathers we are. They got absolutely no idea how they got here in the first place. They're just happy to have a day when they can let their fathers know they're appreciated in spite o' themselves. It's a day of - dare I say it - respect.

Whatever it is, we'll take it over the protests of the mothers who seem reluctant to share this family honor with the partner who helped them make these little critters. Talk as you like, it goes a long way to mitigate the troubles of everyday life with these creations of ours. Makes it easier to hand over the car keys or the credit card. For all I know it could be an elaborate scam to fill our hearts with love and keep our pockets empty and the changin' dates just facilitates it. It could be a huge conspiracy. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.