Saturday, July 30, 2016

All About Skin

All About Skin

Well what kind of a blog will this be - all about skin? C'mon, we can do better than that. No, not really. Well lets face it. Skin is the largest organ on the human body I'm told, an we don't even notice it. We take it for granted. That's what we put our tattoos on, that's what we put our makeup on, an' that's what we drag over to the tanning beds to fry to a crisp. We do all these things to our skin an' never even acknowledge that it is an organ just like our heart an' lungs.

Durin' our lifetime we fill our faces with Pizza an' Pasta an' stretch our skin to the breakin' point. Then we get concerned with our weight an' go on a crash diet, losin' a lot of it. We've managed somehow to expand this major organ to contain all them calories 'til it was to bustin' with nary a thought to the consequences. We never figured out that skin grows to accommodate what we put into our bodies, but it don't go back as the innards of its contents get smaller. It's a one-way stretch an' it don't shrink back! So then we gotta go to the body tailor to have the excess skin taken in - just like you have yer pants taken in at the tailor's when they're too big. Sorta like alterations, except one costs about five bucks an' the other about ten grand.

Well the Missus notices somethin' the other day an' she says "Look at this!" When I say "What"? she points to her arm an' says "Look at my skin hangin' down!" I say somethin' stupid about her hair dryer an' heatin' up the skin to make it shrink tight like they do with plastic on windows to keep out the frost. It's a good job she don't have any tattoos to get all saggy. "Oh shaddap!" she says, "you got the same thing!" Danged if she ain't right. I never noticed before.

I wouldn't want anybody to rip off my skin an' replace it with a smaller model. No sir! But - but if them tannin' bed guys could come up with some sort of a ray that could shrink the skin down to a size to fit the body, now that would be somethin'. You'd think with all the things we can invent these days, what can be so hard as to come up with a simple skin shrinker? I mean, how hard can it be to make such a thing?

If there's anyone out there with the same idea, they could probably get a government grant for it, or at the very minimum, money from one of the pharmaceutical companies. At least, that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata
Well why not? Listen, we've survived the likes o' Genghis Kahn, Hannibal, Napoleon, Joe Stalin, Adolph Hitler, to name just a few, an' we're still here - plottin' other ways to screw up the world an' the people in it. So far we ain't managed it. So I say Hakuna Matata, a Swahili expression roughly meanin "no worries" that was used in the movie "Lion King" to great success. That's what made me think of it and think of how appropriate it is in the fate of the (human) world.
Well when I think about England divorcin' itself from Europe and leavin' itself open to attack from the other countries in the EU through that tunnel under the English Channel I say Hakuna Matata! An' the French bein' mowed down by their own country men in massive killin' sprees, or the Turks repealin' the capital punishment law just long enough to execute some six thousand people accused of treason, I say Hakuna Matata! An' let's not forget our neighbors south of the border. As they follow their presidential candidates into the sewer hole of hell = who cares? The only people startin' to cheer are the Indigenous people at the opportunity to get rid of the descendants of them disease ridden, money grubbin' palefaces. An' even as black people lose their fear of the mock justice system an' go after the cops, who cares? I say Hakuna Matata.
Well I can't leave out Canada's chosen people, the Albertans. They appear to have been given the divine right to expect a hundred dollar a barrel oil revenue and to be able to ship it however an' wherever they want, regardless of spills an' pipeline breaks, an if they don't get their way, blame it on Rachel Notley. It seems to be their God given right to waste our water on frackin, pollute rivers an' streams, poisonin' fish an' wildlife an' why are people wastin' time on science anyways? Well to these people I say Hakuna Matata! Karma will find you sooner or later.
See, I don't have to worry about what other people do or think. I can't do anythin' about it anyways. So I end up bein' much happier sayin' Hakuna Matata, an' let Karma take care o' the rest. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Steinbach Caper

The Steinbach Caper
I know, I know. We're gettin' a little long in the tooth to be marchin' in a Pride parade. So I figured I'd better explain how we got there in the first place. There was never any thought of it until that terrible attack in Orlando, Florida. When the Missus found out that the girls and their kids was goin' to the Steinbach Parade, it was decided (not by me) that we would go an' march too. (Well, I done that in 1995 after Ron's passin' an' had a hard time with it. I even spoke at the steps of the Legislature). Well, the Missus put on her boss pants an' said we're goin'. That wasn't a request. Fortunately, I was on side with her. Human rights abuses are as abominable to me as they are to her.
My biggest worry was vandalism of my car while it was parked out there. Turns out that Yvonne, who has her mother's organizational instincts says we should go to their place an' then all ride out in one car. Okay I say, Bob's yer uncle. Well wait, if that ain't enough, we got a semi - invalided passenger with us. So, continuin' with her organizational mind, she decides to drop the aged an' infirm (that's me an' Judy) off at City Hall steps so we don't have to walk any sort of a ways, an they'll continue on to the Jake Epp Library where the parade is to start.
So we get perched on the sidewalk in front of City Hall on our camp chairs in the heat an' brilliant sunshine watchin' folks go by, greetin' us an' sayin' good mornin' an' other pleasantries. Several times my infirm partner hobbles off into the shade to have a smoke an' cool off, leavin' me there in the sunshine to people watch for a good couple of hours.
Finally, FINALLY, the parade shows up down the block an' suddenly a sea o' people ooze onto the City Hall front yard, almost swallowin' me whole in the process. I jump up and fold up my camp chairs in absolute terror, hopin' to save myself from bein' trampled. Before I know it, all six of our women are standin' around me, takin' pictures an' yakkin'. I put my folded up chairs in Yvonne's walker when the speeches get underway. I can't see nothin' cause o' them people all around, wavin' their arms, an' I can't hear nothin' cause o' all that screamin' an' yellin' goin on every time somebody says somethin' they like. It reminded me o' them Niverville church services where the preacher finishes his sermon early an' asks the congregation if anybody has anythin' profound to add. There was always somebody an' the service goes on forever 'til nobody can hold their water no more.
I finally got claustrophobia an' headed to where the car was parked only to find Judy sittin' on a bench nearby, havin' another smoke. After another hour or so of watchin' the Mounties direct traffic away from the crowd, the women finally return an' we head for home.
Well the upshot o' all this hullabaloo was that Steinbach certainly lived up to and exceeded it's Mennonite traditions, showin' respect for the celebrants and were repaid in kind. No vandalism, no protests, no interruptions.  . . . . (and unfortunately, no rollkuchen which is somethin' like Mennonite Bannock). Except for those, Steinbach showed the world how things ought to be done with respect, tolerance and dignity. At least, that's how it seems to me from up here on the tops shelf.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mutual Respect an' Negotiation

I'll tell you what brought this on. That "Black Lives Matter" group holding up the gay parade in Toronto until the gay rights group signed off on the first group's demands. Well they got the publicity alright, but it wasn't the kind they were after. In one fell swoop they managed to diminish their credibility as a viable entity. In the first place, an agreement made under duress is not enforceable, as they soon found out. Secondly, they presented themselves not as friends seeking help, but rather as masters of the throng. It certainly wasn't well thought out. Maybe the following will serve a purpose.


Mutual Respect an' Negotiation

Well, that's what it's all about, ain't it? You gotta respect other people's choices about lifestyles, religion, ethnic culture, an' a whole long list o' other things. By the same token, them "others" gotta respect your choices too. That's what ya call yer mutual respect. And that ain't the end of it neither. No, that's only just the very beginnin' o' things. The hard part is to come to some understandin' of how to cope with all the things that are either foreign and/or disagreeable to you. Ya got to give somethin' in order to get somethin'. I think it's called negotiatin'. Well, an' there's all kinds o' negotiatin' tactics around too.

Years ago my sister's girlfriend wanted to bring a couple of Mormon elders over to the house (no doubt to convert us to the Mormon religion). My dad, sly old fox that he was said; "by all means, they're more than welcome. Why not come over for dinner?" That of course gave him all the advantages. It was his house an' he could afford to make the rules. There would be no talk of religion or politics, but they were welcome to come and have a good meal and a friendly visit. It worked out well too 'cause after these two big strappin' guys in their blue serge suits had packed away an enormous meal they sat around until late an' chatted about everythin' under the sun except religion an' politics. An' they came back a number of times too over their two-year assignment (probably because of mom's good old Mennonite cookin'). In fact, they corresponded long after their term was up an' they'd gone back home. Everybody came out a winner in that negotiation.

A different kind o' negotiatin' was that of Nestor Makhno, the Ukrainian Anarchist who took it to a different extreme, makin' his own rules. He went racin' across the Russian Steppes on stolen Mennonite horses, pillagin' plunderin' rapin, an' murderin' an' takin' whatever he wanted. The only thing he an' his gang left in return was disease (Typhus) an' lice, much the same as the white man did in America. The upshot was that the communists finally wiped him out an' he died a penniless pauper in Paris France, still clingin' to his beliefs. Turns out he was only an annoyin' pimple on the arse of the Great Russian bear.

Well of course I could cite the negotiation between Moses, Aaron and the Egyptian Pharaoh which netted the Israelites the land o' milk an' honey an' swallowed the Egyptian army into the Red Sea.

What this points out (to me) is that while my old man wasn't no smarter than Makhno or the Pharaoh, (or even the Black Matters group with their shenanigans at the Toronto Gay parade), he had a genuine respect for his visitors (and they for him). On that mutual respect basis they were able to build a genuine friendship. We ought to learn how to do that. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.




Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Day

I posted this a year ago, but in light of Canada's birthday I think it's appropriate to do again. My old friend Nestor Kropatnik was not so much offering his usual sage advice as he was describing things that were important to him. I think he pretty well captured the idea of national pride in celebrating the country's birthday, so it's worth repeating.
Dear Canada
Dear Canada;
It’s me, Nestor! Hoys Boys, I so embarrass early first thing in morning I don’t know should I sit down, stand up, or hide face in corner. Sun is just peeking up from under sleeping blanket when I take my coffee and little bit ham sausage on balcony for think about what to do today. Well I know I not going to do things no more – I retire – but is old habit I pick up and hard to break. Even still is nice to plan for do nothing whole day. Besides, is Canada day today. Whole country having birthday party.
Now I look up from comfy balcony chair – just like pope – and look across courtyard at other buildings. Holy Moley, I bet my big boots I jump a mile high! Lots o’ people got big Canadian flag in windows and draped over balcony – just like huge big birthday card. Hoy Boys! What a good idea! How come I never think of that? I gotta admit, sometimes city slickers not so dumb after all.
All of a sudden I get great idea myself. Maybe I got no flag so I gonna make one for sure! Quiet as a little mouse I sneak in bedroom where missus still sleeping. She so cute, purr like tiny little kitten on pillow. I find brand new pair red wool gotchies and brand new white bed sheet and tippee toe out so wife not wake up. I know I got no business in sewing basket, but I look anyway for safety pins and take whole shebang to balcony. Hoy Boys – is hard job to figure out how to make maple leaf from pair o’ gotchies. Is one part short until I remember trap door. Look at that. Trap door is good for lots o’ things. By time I all finished, tongue is all twisted from concentrating, fingers full o’ holes from safety pins, but whole thing looks pretty good, I figure out. Not so bad for old pig farmer.
Holy Moley, if I not still on hands and knees, I bet you for sure I be fall down right away quick. Right behind me cute little purring kitten turn into ferocious big tiger – roar like lion – in mother tongue! Missus lets out string o’ words, some I never even know what mean. What I think I doing showing underwear to neighbors on balcony? What people going to think of bunyak pig farmer? They gonna laugh us right out of neighborhood! Hoy Boys, I so shocked I don’t know what to say for minute. I never thought o’ that.
Finally I get tongue back and I say, ”Hey listen sweetie, calm down. I make birthday card for Canada.” Hoy Boys, big mistake! She give me ‘nother blast.
Now I got to dig heels in little bit. I tell her, “Listen here sweetie, I CEO of balcony. If I wanna say ‘Happy Birthday Canada’, I gonna do it!”.
Missus shoots right back. “Maybe you CEO, but don’t forget who is Chairman of Board. Now shaddap and give me gotchies”.  
Just then our Olga – she now CEO of pig farm since I retire, walks in door and wonders what is all squawking about. Missus tells her I make jackass of self and show her what I make. She says she gonna throw in Dumpster.
Daughter says, “no, no mommy, don’t throw away! Is very important to say ‘Happy Birthday Canada’. Look, I brought present”! She open big Eaton’s shopping bag and haul out huge big flag she bought from store. Holy Moley I get such a big surprise! Is beautiful flag.
Missus like it too. She says, “here Mr. CEO, go hang up proper birthday card – and do it straight”.
Daughter tells mommy, “Give me daddy’s flag. I got good place for it. I hang it up in barn. Pigs will be so happy, they gonna squeal like pigs – maybe even sing ‘Oh Canada’. They see daddy’s gotchies, then they know who is Chairman of Board in barn. See, everything is hunky dory”.
Look at that! I don’t know how it happened. Missus comes and gives me little squeeze. She says I cutest little bunyak. Daughter says she gotta go show flag to pigs in barn.
Let me give you little bit friendly advice. Don’t worry, it’s free – no red tape attached. When it comes to ladies, just shaddap and do what they say. Somehow by magic, everything work out – every time.
You should drop by sometime. We could have some sausage and maybe I ask my boy who live close by if he got some extra beer. We could have nice visit. Just don’t ask for lady advice.           
Your pal,
Nestor Kropatnik PF (Retire)