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'.

Saturday, June 20, 2015




In the midst of all the controversy generated by the upper echelon of the “Beautiful Game”, Canada and the Netherlands have once again shown the way for this broken and corrupt sport to regain some of its dignity. Listen, this ain’t no chicken liver sport. The play is as hard an’ intense as any other . . . AND . . . they don’t get to wear the kind o’ paddin’ an’ equipment them hockey an’ football players hide behind neither. Nosiree, this ain’t no panty-waist game. It’s the ‘Beautiful Game’ an’ as such, it deserves some proper respect.

An’ wouldn’t ya know it? It’s the women what’s carryin’ the torch for the dignity of the sport. We oughta remember that. We men are so full o’ ourselves we lose sight o’ the purpose o’ the game. Well, case in point:  I was talkin’ to my son the other day about the women’s world cup an’ he said he’d rather watch golf. Well he knows how to push my buttons in that I like to watch golf on the TV. Let’s face it, them golfers can shoot a ball a whole lot further than some NHL’ers can shoot a puck – an’ probably a lot straighter too. He says he’d watch the women’s soccer if they played more like the men. WHAT? They play exactly like the men, same rules an’ everything. No, says the kid, they don’t ever finish anythin’ off. Ever notice how the men when they score a goal rip their jerseys off an’ run around? Well, the women don’t do that ya know. There’d be more people watchin’ if they did. Smart ass!

But I digress. I was talkin’ about the “Beautiful Game” and who makes it live up to its reputation. If you remember a couple’a weeks ago I was talkin’ about the special relationship between the Netherlands an’ Canada in my VE Day blog. Well them two teams had it out right here in Winnipeg an’ it wasn’t no sissy pants contest neither. It was all out war out there on the field (or I should say pitch) within the rules o’ the game of course. An’ when it was over, it was a tie game with no score an’ a bunch of very tired women who had gave it their all. Well they shook hands in the tradition and carried themselves off the field with the dignity that befits the relationship that exists between Canada and the Netherlands. Now that’s what makes a beautiful game. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation


The Truth and Reconciliation recommendations have been front and center in the news these days. But something is glaringly missing. Where are the truth and reconciliation hearings and statements from the Catholic, Anglican, and United Churches? Where is the Truth and Reconciliation from the government departments? There must be survivors from these institutions willing to admit to their wrongdoings and show remorse or ask for forgiveness. After all, the last school only closed in 1996 so there must still be teachers and administrators around, yet we don’t see anyone coming forward. That speaks volumes. It’s sort of reminiscent of the Turkish position on the Armenian genocide. The government apology on behalf of its ancestors (heartfelt or not) has proven to be just so much Babel (babble) in that nothing has really changed since.

If the eighth fire is to be lit, it will require the full participation of the aforementioned organizations. The living offenders will need to come forward, acknowledge their wrongdoings and join with the indigenous community in rectifying the current conditions. The damage cannot be undone, but it can be overcome. But it must be a reciprocal learning process as well as an reciprocal exercise in forgiveness.

This single issue points up just how broken our Canadian society is. It will take a massive reversal of attitudes to put us on the right path. With a few exceptions I don’t think the general population has any problem with this. It is the institutions and the government who must bend to the task and with full vigor! In fact the government must do something unprecedented. It must approach all it’s allies and the associations it is presently involved with around the globe and ask to be excused while it puts it’s own house in order. That way it could take all the millions of dollars spent on aid to other countries for it’s own use. Let’s face it, we’re punching way beyond our own weight anyway and our contributions on the world stage don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. We are only fooling ourselves by pretending to be a world power when we don’t even have any power at home. How hypocritical is that? Having our own house in order though, we can the return to the world stage with some degree of credibility. 

This is not some small adventure to be taken lightly. To call it a mammoth project is probably an understatement. To start with, the Elders are silent for they no longer know what to say. Stands to reason. It’s been seven generations of oppression they’ve endured. To borrow from something some chief once said; before you make a decision you must first look back seven generations, and then look ahead seven generations. It is timely at this point.

Yet I see this whole thing as a magnificent gift. We have been given the opportunity to reflect on our past mistakes and having acknowledged them, can set them aside as a reference point in building a new, powerful society that can legitimately take it’s place anywhere in the world. When we remove hatred and disrespect and the “Us and Them” mentalities, we will be able to raise our heads as a proud and powerful nation once again. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.






Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Scales of Justice - Gang Mentality

The Scales of Justice
(Gang Mentality)


The other day I saw a trailer of the interview of Omar Khadr on TV, which included what I assumed was actual video of the attack by the Americans on the bunker he was holed up in at the time of the alleged killing of an American soldier. The aerial bombing of the bunker was massive and when it was over, ground troops went in to make sure everybody inside was dead. I couldn’t seem to find out how many were killed, but the number doesn’t really matter. Suffice it to say that the ordinance and assets deployed to its destruction was significant, to say the least.

They showed pictures of what Khadr looked like in that pile of bodies. His chest ripped open, his face all bloodied and he was barely alive. One bullet would have finished him off and the episode would have ended right then and there. But what did they do? They patched him up to get him healthy and threw him into Guantanamo prison for their torturous entertainment, citing the rules of war as their excuse.

On the face of it, it looks like the world’s biggest overkill of resources to punish a fifteen-year-old kid for trying to survive an attack on his life. I make no judgment one way or another of Khadr or his actions in the heat of the moment because unless I was right there, I couldn’t properly tell what really happened.

Firstly, what does a fifteen-year-old kid know about the rules of war as interpreted by an invading army (who by the way are not signatory to the Rome Statute)? Secondly, how is he going to analyze their implications when he is lying there among the dead with his face and his body ripped open by enemy fire? Would Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney have acted any different in the same circumstance? I seem to remember that Cheney shot his lawyer in the face on a shooting excursion and just laughed it off as an accident. No more was said about it even though there are rules for the use of firearms too.

Reading some of the comments on Khadr’s “freedom” gives one an insight into the gang mentality of people in Canada and the U.S. It doesn’t really matter which side you’re on, one opinion always garners another one, and another, and another until you have a mass of like-minded opinions. Then it’s up to you to decide which gang you want to belong to. Of course, there is always the “other” gang to which I belong – that of “observer”. I call it the Najo gang. That is a Mennonite expression, literally translated meaning “well, yes” often used by people who don’t understand the language but want to appear intelligent. So they nod their heads and say “na jo”. It absolutely infuriates people soliciting support for their side of the argument. Na jo is the perfect non-committal stone wall to stop them all in their tracks every time. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Our New Car

We had quite an adventure shopping for a new car recently. I was prepared to haggle and wheel and deal with some car salesman (again) in order to get it done. Imagine my surprise when that didn't happen. We had such a pleasant experience I thought I should blog about it and give credit where credit is due. So here's how it happened:

Our New Car


What just happened here? Last week we were driving a dignified old Chrysler Intrepid, a car that was compatible with our own age. It pretty well defined us and our lifestyle. Then I discovered that in order to keep it in top shape, I would have to spend about four hundred dollars in repairs. I HATE spending money! Apparently the missus does too. She says; “You’re not throwing good money after bad! We’ll look into getting a new car.”

WHAT? She won’t spend four hundred bucks on old Victoria, but she’s quite prepared to lay out twenty-thousand smackers or so for a new car? Go figure. Does she know what she’s getting us into? Now we’ve got to go to a car dealership and I’ve been watching TV commercials long enough to know I don’t much like them.

The second dealership we went to was Birchwood Honda on Regent. We’d sort of decided we would look at the Honda Civic because it looked nice. Well if you’re going to get one of these new electronically savvy contraptions, it might as well be pleasing to the eye. Rod Olesco greeted us in the showroom and invited us to sit down with him to outline our wishes. Before we could open our mouths though, he said could he get us something to drink so we could talk comfortably. I asked for gin and tonic. Unfortunately they were just out of gin and tonic but he brought some water instead. What a pleasant experience.

The test car was pointed north and when I lifted the hood, the engine faced east. Regardless, it went exactly where I instructed it to. Well, maybe these new fangled things are a lot smarter than I’d thought. While Rod and I were riding around in the test car, the missus hooked up with Kim Corrigal in the financial department. While they were busy crunching the numbers, the two of them were laughing and joking like two old buddies. When I came in she asked if she could get me something to drink. I said gin and tonic please. Well, they were still out but I could get a coffee or a glass of water.

If that wasn’t enough, after we got our license and insurance transferred we met Abigail Macatbag, the delivery coordinator who didn’t have any gin and tonic either, but instead introduced us to everybody in the whole dang service shop. Then she took us to the car and in rapid fire fashion, explained the whole business to us, sending us on our way.

I have to say I’ve never had such an experience before. See, me and the missus have been in the sales business all our lives and early on we adopted the Rotary Club credo that “Service is our Business”. Obviously the people at Birchwood have the same credo because the most valuable thing we got out of the whole transaction was their knowledgeable service. There’s hope for humanity yet. I’m just sayin’.