Saturday, October 29, 2016

All Hallo's Eve

All Hallo’s Eve
Well, trick or treat, Halloween Apples, or All Hallo’s Eve – or whatever. It’s that time of year again.  It’s just sort’a struck me how big a deal this has become – for the adults. Actually, it’s really become a big deal for retailers. Drivin’ down the road this mornin’ an’ the front lawns were covered in ghosts an’ goblins an the livin’ room windows is filled with pumpkins an’ all sorts o’ decorations. One lawn in particular was totally covered in wall to wall ghostly junk. Must’a cost a fortune.
An’ the ‘trick or treatin’ has fallen off considerably too. I guess that’s why there’s so much decoration. An’ that’s about the only difference between Christmas an’ Halloween. They’re not sellin’ gifts, only decorations. Well I suppose they gotta keep the market economy goin’. I was originally gonna write about the time we had to grab hold o’ Freddy Tataryn’s coat to keep him from fallin’ into the hole of old man Neff’s outhouse that we was tryin’ to push over before his German Shepherd started barkin’ again. We figured that would teach him to yell at us for tryin’ to steal his crab apples. Now THAT was an adventure – especially for Freddy. Well he had such an arrogant attitude, it’d have served him right to have fallen in. Well, the memory gets a little vague by now – some seventy years later, but the feelin’ of excitement (probably) grows with time.
These kinds’a pranks all used to take place on the same night (so there was entertainment for all ages I suppose). Now they got what they call “Gate Night” what’s dedicated to pranks only. I think that takes place a day or two before Halloween so as not to interfere with the fun for the innocent kids. Of course, with technology these days it means cans o’ spray paint to put graffiti all over the place, razor knives to slash car tires an’ pranks o’ that sort. Not very nice stuff that’s costly to repair or replace.
Naw, the old days had a sense o’ humor to them when you could watch the teachers try to figure out how the goal posts on the soccer field got mounted on the roof of our three-story school, or how mail boxes ended up on a ten-foot pole with an air mail sign on them or how a bunch o’ horses suddenly turned a ghostly white on Halloween. It even caused the adults to smile a bit (probably remembering some of their own pranks). At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pants - The Family Heirloom

Pants – The Family Heirloom
I was four years old, or maybe three when I got my first pair o’ long pants; REAL long pants that is. They was just like my dad’s long Sunday pants too, only better. Mom had got hold of an old army coat – maybe from WWI and turned it into a pair o’ long pants for me for the winter. She could do magical things with that old Singer sewin’ machine o’ hers an’ she sure done it this time! Well that pair o’ pants was a complete disaster from the first time I wore ‘em an’ backed into an ice cold tub o’ water. The point is that ever since then (or even before) I was fascinated with long pants. Well actually, I’da preferred bib overalls for all the big people’s pockets they had like a bullet lighter pocket an’ a watch pocket, but all them brass buttons an’ fasteners was too much to ask for.
Of course later on I had to go through the phase o’ breeches, which were the dumbest thing I ever wore. I never seen anybody wear them much other than the Mounties, an’ I didn’t see much o’ them neither. Finally, when I was able to earn some o’ my own money, I could start to buy the kind of LONG pants I wanted. That presented more problems than solutions, but the biggest problem was the least noticeable, that being MY MOTHER! All my life since that fateful day at three (or four) she was dictating what kind of pants I would wear.
An’ there ya have it! Slowly, imperceptibly women learn to dictate what pants a man wears. It starts with the mothers, is seen by the sisters an’ inch by inch it becomes ingrained in the man’s mind until he becomes submissive without even realizin’ it. It took me a while to figure that out. I couldn’t never imagine what kept happening to my favorite pants with the elastic waist an’ the cuffs I can roll up.
“Oh they’re in the wash” the Missus said, or “Yer not wearin’ them raggedy things when you go out with me!” she said. Or, “I threw them out so’s you’d wear somethin’ decent.” she said.
Then she said “Here, put these on.” An’ I said (reluctantly), “Okay then.”
An that’s how we men wear the pants in the family. Or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Water, Water Everywhere

Water, Water Everywhere
This whole business got started with the notion that we ought’a boycott Nestles for outbiddin’ us to suck water outa our aquafers an’ sell it back to us in little plastic bottles at a humungous profit. Well we ought’a boycott them too but not because of the water they outbid us for, but rather them little plastic bottles that keep showin’ up in our oceans an’ rivers an’ streams an’ garbage dumps.
But what about our governments? They ought’a be crucified for pidlin’ away the most powerful resource in the world. Their attitude is entirely unacceptable and quite frankly, unforgivable. Once our aquafers are depleted, the water is gone – forever, and what have we got for it? Parched throats to start with and after that – nothing. I mean NOTHING! I suppose we won’t be worryin’ much about it after that but there’s people who won’t want it to get to that point. Unfortunately, they’ll wait too long to fix it an’ it’ll be too late.
Winnipeg built an aqueduct from Shoal Lake (which opened in 1919) that supplies Winnipeg’s drinking water. It’s an amazing pipeline that nobody seems to bellyache about. Of course in usual government fashion the First Nations were ignored in the use of the water until just recently and now under pressure governments are contributing to a “Freedom Road” for the people and a treatment plant so that it’s boil water designation can be lifted.
Well let’s get down to it then. Who would object to pipelines bein’ built to bring water to both coasts to be shipped to wherever, say to Haiti by shipload as a humanitarian gesture, or the reservations up north so they finally have clean drinking water? Who would object to shipping water to California in exchange for reasonable prices on produce? Who would object to the diminishing plastic water bottles from our refuse? Who would object to the First Nations having stewardship over the nation’s water since they have more knowledge of it than anybody else?
We could be solving so many world problems with this, the most powerful resource there is, with tough rules for distribution and an open and transparent stewardship. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dumbing Down Humanity

Dumbing Down Humanity
                Every mornin’ I get up at about five to start my daily routine of pluggin’ in the coffee maker, turnin’ on all the lights, my computer, an’ goin’ out fer a smoke in the mornin’ air. That daily habit seems to make sense for me. Some of it is necessary for the start of daily activities while others are just because they give me pleasure. Well I don’t call that “dumbing down”. That’s just livin’. It’s always been that way. Oh, maybe the activities are different, but the principle is the same. But that’s where it ends.
            The first thing I see when I turn on the TV to watch the news is Ty Domi tellin’ me to change my phone business so I can save money. Then I get to watch how they install one o’ them stair chairs so’s I can sit down while goin up an’ down the stairs an’ can avoid fallin’ down. After that there’s life insurance an’ health insurance an’ hearin’ aids and ad infinitim.
            Finally, they get down to the news o’ the day. At this hour o’ the mornin’ it’s the first kick at the cat for the news an’ weather, so I’m good with that. Next thing I know, Ty Domi’s back, an’ then the chair guy an’ about twenty minutes later we get another five minutes o’ news, followed by the same bunch o’ advertisers, followed by another five minutes o’ news until it gets to six o’clock. Well, guess what. They taped that first section o’ the news an’ now they’re playin’ it again. An’ the advertisers are the same ones from the last hour. Now I admit not everybody gets up at five o’clock, but really, this goes on ‘til noon – sometimes longer. I swear these people are tryin’ to dumb us down and it’s kinda workin’ because we keep on watchin’. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

            Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Posthumous Banking

Posthumous Banking
            It had been sittin’ in my craw for a long time, but I never brought it up until a friend mentioned it on Facebook. He said you should buy your art from artists who are alive. They don’t need the money after they’re dead. Well, ain’t that the truth?
            Whether they’re visual artists or musicians or whatever, it don’t make no never mind. It just don’t make no sense payin’ a fortune for the artist’s work after he’s gone an’ died (probably after livin’ in poverty his/ her whole life).
            Let me clarify that a little bit. There ain’t nothing’ wrong with the next o’ kin benefitin’ from the artist’s work. That’s not what I’m sayin’ at all. What I got a grudge against is all them lawyers, agents an’ promoters cashin’ in on the dead artist’s labors. Just ask yourself what the incomes are of the estates of Elvis Presley or Prince or Michael Jackson. I’d certainly like to see a breakdown of where the money goes.
On the other hand, Annie Pootoogook just died in an Ottawa river (under suspicious circumstances). She was a prominent and important Inuit artist who laid out her soul in her art and now it will be no more. Makes one wonder how much the worth of her work that’s already out there will increase in value now that she has gone – and who will benefit by it.
Not that the dead artists even give a rip about the money and the value of their work anymore. They don’t need the money. But it makes you think that somebody else is selling the artists souls for personal gain and what right do they have to do that? Oh, they can say they’re doing it to honor the artist – but somehow I don’t think so. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.