Tony

I was desperately trying to rub two brain cells together to produce a spark of inspiration for a theme for my next post.  I read KayJai’s blog about a death and a near-death of people she knew and how they had influenced her life.  Then I checked my emails, and found I had received a couple from Tony, and I knew I had my blog subject.

Tony and I worked together for almost twenty years at the auto-parts plant.  He was already employed there when I arrived.  Almost twenty years older than him, I was 45 when I started, so he was in his late twenties.  Like my own kids, who are near his age, I watched and helped him when I could, through some life stages.  I watched his daughters go to school and grow up.  I sympathised when he went through a divorce.

He put up a facade of hard-shell smart-ass, but inside, he was a nice guy.  When I was a newbie at the plant, he and his other friend took me under their wings.  Perhaps it was that I was intelligent, able to think, good with the English language, and full of opinions, just like them, and unlike many other co-workers.  Maybe it was just that they were both friendly people, willing to offer a little support.

In a plant where storage lockers were at a premium, they approached me, to offer to share space in a locker they were already splitting.  They provided conversation, support and advice on the line and invited me to sit with them at their table in the lunch room.  Soon, we were playing Euchre together.  The fourth person needed, changed over the years, but it was the three of us, till the second friend had increasing union business intrude on his time.  Tony learned to play Solo, and moved to a different table.  It’s crazy, I comprehend the principals of string theory, black holes, and quantum entanglement, but I just never got, Solo.

It’s not that Tony abandoned me.  We still spoke often.  We had beers after work.  We traded books back and forth.  Tony suffered from the same thing that Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter had, cluster headaches.  Not migraines, but debilitating pain, sometimes for weeks on end.  He went through two years of medical experimentation.  Three, four, five different drugs at once, change the dosage, add a new one, take one away.  Finally got it under control, and hurt his back.  He had to take a medical leave just as the shit was hitting the lay-off fan, and I was let go.

When Tony got divorced, between job retraining and more alone time, he became very proficient with a computer and the internet.  I haven’t seen him or spoken to him now, for almost five years.  I sent him an email about a year ago.  My memory fades, but he still remembers me.  When I finish this draft, I really need to send him a catch-up email.  There’s not a week goes by that he doesn’t send me something interesting, educational or amusing.  I never know what it will be.

He forwarded a study that says margarine is not good for you because it’s only one molecule away from plastic.  I don’t eat much marg, and plan to have myself cremated, so the flames will burn hot.  He showed me how to put myself on the do-not-call telemarketing list long before it became common knowledge.  Suggestions like always having the remote key-fob for your car out, and your finger on the alarm button, especially for females, if you have to get to your car in a parking area at night.  If you are attacked, you should have a split second to make the car raise a ruckus, and cause the attacker to leave.

He has sent me pictures of strange vehicles, strange buildings and strange weddings.  I’ve received pictures of sunsets and cuddly animals.  Despite the cynical shell, he’s a real softy underneath.  He supports the troops, if not our military involvements.  He sends me *I like you.  If you like me, send this back, but forward it to five other people*, emails.  I get notices to hug my kids and remember to send my mother a birthday card.  I’ve seen an open letter to immigrants who refuse to assimilate and insist the country should change to suit them.  I’ve read the story of an Arizona sheriff who took the inmates of his small prison out to live in tents, wear pink jumpsuits and do roadwork.  No TV, no A/C, no library, don’t like it, do your time and don’t come back.  He says that BrainRants, and the rest of the boys in Afghanistan have it worse, kwicherbichin!

KayJai said that the occurrences near her have reminded her to keep breathing and enjoy each day and the people who are in it.  This is what Tony has done for me for years, and continues to do.  No matter how silly or educational the next email, it reminds me that there is someone out there who cares for me, and to whom I still have at least a tenuous connection.  Tony has been, and still is, a formative part of my life.  He reminds me to keep enjoying it.  I should get off my lazy, forgetful ass and tell him how much I have appreciated it.

Gotta go now.  I have a big, long, breezy, remember-when email to compose.  Do you have someone you should send one to?

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I’m Too Duh-mb For My Shirt

The chances to watch the stupidity of some of the members of the human race are everywhere. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.  The local paper has an automotive section in the Thursday edition mostly about current and soon-to-be-released vehicles.  I still drool and dream over the weekly motorcycle article.  On the tonight show each Monday night, Jay Leno usually has a bit he calls “Headlines”.   This week, he showed an ad for a motorcycle for sale.  Well, it actually read “Modersickle”.  Oh dear, is there a special school for morons?

The automotive section includes an article with photo of “Classic Cars”.  I love the old stuff.  I know the new ones run better and are safer, but the old ones had an élan and joie de vivre, before they all became indistinguishable corporate cookie-cutter clones.  I have my advancing age thrown in my face when the weekly *Classic* is from 1994, instead of 1944.

The duh-mb comes from the Question and Answer column.  People write…well, probably email, this ex-mechanic to get him to solve their automotive problems.  For a while, it seemed every week there was some kind of scam operator, trying to use the leverage of the power of the press, to force a business to accept a losing proposition.  Things like trying to force a tire shop to replace all four tires under a two-year warrantee, when they’d been driven two miles up a logging trail for a bush party.  Do they think an experienced mechanic and paid problem-solver won’t find out?  Oops!  Damn!  Sorry, I used that word again.

One guy owned two cars, and took the backup in to a shop to have the spark-plugs changed.  An apprentice removed the old plugs and, in doing so, broke one off.  The car was not ready for pickup when he came back, but they said they would call him when it was.  They thought they might have to take the head off, to get at it from underneath.

The letter rambled on and on about; why did they let an apprentice do this labor?  For the money I’m paying, it should always be a licensed mechanic!  I’m afraid that they’ve done some damage to the car, and they’re holding it for ransom to make me pay for their mistake.  It’s been almost two weeks and they haven’t phoned.  Can you help me get my car back?

The reply was; if you insist that it always be a licensed mechanic, the apprentice will never get to train, and eventually we’ll run out of licensed mechanics.  About damaging your car; they managed to get the plug out without dismantling the engine, so no damage was done.  About holding your car for ransom; apparently the cell-phone number you gave them was not in service and they had no other way to contact you.  The car has been ready for you for over a week if you’d bothered to contact them, instead of me.

Another genius wrote to say that he wanted another chip-encoded key for his car.  He complained that the dealer wanted almost a hundred dollars for one, so he bought one off the internet for ten.  He sent a picture of the key and said that he was having problems coding the new key to his car, what was the problem?  From the picture, the mechanic told him that the problem was that he had bought a non-chip key, and no matter how much he tried; he would never be able to code it.  He should keep it as a spare, in case he ever got locked out, and go to the dealer or a locksmith, and buy the correct one.

I watched an online video recently.  If I’d thought to record the web address I could include it here, or, since the wife and I are learning about linking and inserting, I could show you or let you watch it on your own.  Perhaps another blog.

The gist is; a mid/late-twenties male and his girlfriend, in a car.  He says, “Jenny, I’ve got a math question for you.  If I’m driving at eighty miles per hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”  She goes off about how she’s a jogger, and she jogs about nine miles an hour.  Well, if she pushed it she could probably do ten for a while.

“Jenny, if I’m driving at eighty miles an hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”

Well, truck tires are bigger than car tires, and you always accelerate hard when you start.  Is this on a level surface, and is the wind behind us or ahead of us.

“Jenny, if I’m driving at eighty miles an hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”

This is a trick question, because you probably know a shortcut.  I can’t run that fast, and you won’t let me drive.

“Jenny, I’ll tell you the answer.  It would take an hour.”

No it wouldn’t!  You always drive faster than that even though the truck tires look like they’re going really fast.  I bet it would only take forty or forty-five minutes.

It’s obvious that he’s not keeping her around as a coach for his Jeopardy appearance, and therein lies the problem.  I know we have to let them vote, and drive, even if he won’t let her, but is there some way to keep them from breeding the next generation of duh-mbs?

 

 

Multicultural Festival

The family all had a big, interesting, informative day on Saturday.  The son worked all night, and stopped off at the downtown Kitchener market to pick up some eggs and bread.  The social engineers have pretty much ruined, what used to be a great experience.

The market used to be inside a warehouse-type building and outside, in what was a parking lot during the week.  The city could only realize income for two days a week on this building, so they sold it to a developer, and moved the market to the bottom level and meeting room of a new parking garage.

After twenty years, their contract with the owner ran out, and the space was required for parking for a 24/7 call center.  They designed and built a new market building, a couple of blocks down the street.  This monstrosity has all the glamour of an airplane hangar, and they are having trouble getting shoppers to come, and vendors to stay.  The number of parking spaces, underground, is limited, and auto paint and scrapes on almost every concrete pillar, indicate why people won’t come back.

The son got home about ten to eight and turned the car over to us.  We picked the daughter up and headed for the (Mennonite) farmers’ market at the northern edge of our twin city.  With acres of parking and outdoor vendors, this market has thrived, partly from the failure of the downtown market.  We bought some fresh meat and produce, had coffee and doughnuts, and then hit a half a dozen stores in that area, dropped the daughter and her stuff off, and were home just before two.

Kitchener holds a yearly multicultural festival, and we all wanted to attend.  They started it on the July First weekend, but that is Canada Day, a holiday, and many people wanted to go camping, or to a cottage, so they moved it back to the weekend before.  The son was supposed to have gone to bed early and got a few hours sleep, but he was up when we got home.  Nothing unusual in that.  The wife and I went to bed after three AM and were back up at seven.

The festival is held in a big park, right downtown.  It’s three blocks by three blocks, with streams and a lake with fish and wildfowl.  I dropped the wife and her crutches, along with the son, at the front gate.  You couldn’t get a parking spot within a half mile, with a gun, and they are frowned on.  A city trail, which used to be a railroad line, runs through the back end of it.  The daughter lives just off that trail, three blocks away.  I drove to her place, parked, and the two of us returned, her on her power wheelchair.

The City probably intends it as a social bonding and cultural acceptance exercise, but the unifying force I see among the licensed attendees, is commerce and capitalism.  It’s almost amusing to see a meditating Buddhist monk, hoping you’ll pay money to learn how he achieves Nirvana.  With your money, that’s how!

Many local ethnic groups set up food tents, so that you can sample their cuisine.  They use the profits to finance various groups and projects.  At the front of the park was the city’s tent, handing out information and site maps.  Then there were two mobile ATMs and, down both sides of the field were food tents representing Pakistani, Indian/Sri Lankan, Jamaican, Filipino, Turkish, Ethiopian, Zambia/Tanzanian, Vietnamese, Salvadoran, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot, Chinese, The Islamic Council, Muslim Women and Vietnamese Buddhists.  I started with a Gyro plate from the Turkish tent, and later tried a sample plate from the ZamTan folks.  Gyro is actually a Greek term.  The Turks should call it doner, but, whatever sells.

It’s a good thing we learned how to make Salvadoran pupusas after last year’s visit.  There was a huge line-up there.  The pupusas are really popular, but their service staff were the least organized.

Many of these groups also had commercial/information booths further back.  You could buy carvings, clothing, henna tattoos, jewellery, toys and other assorted gewgaws, too numerous to mention.  Aside from the blatantly ethnic, there were a lot of social-awareness groups.

The Regional Police had a shop.  The local publicly funded radio station had a remote broadcast booth.  There was an organization called Unlearn, an anti-violence, anti-bigotry, anti-the usual suspects way of doing things, group.  Sort of an Occupy For Intellectuals.  The Free Thinkers, whose meetings the daughter and I occasionally attend, had a booth.

There were also; The Art Gallery, the Symphony, African/Caribbean Awareness, Non-Violence Council, the local Transit Authority, English as a Second Language, Falun Gong, Injured Workers Support, the Library, a geo-caching group, all three major political parties, Hare Krishnas, ice-cream cranked out by a tiny, one-cylinder motor, a coffee-house for adults to relax and Tales For Children, who would watch kids and entertain them for busy parents.

A fourteen year-old girl, who gets let off a school bus several miles out in the country, had a speeding garbage truck bank off the back corner of her stopped bus, and smash her into a field, recently.  She’s an hour away, in a specialty hospital.  The entire local Mennonite community is backing her and her parents.  There was a booth selling ribbons, rubber bracelets and shirts to help finance anticipated huge care fees, if she survives.  We got our bracelet at a Mennonite meat store that morning.  I just hope the entry fee was waived for them.

The native-Canadian Indians held a pow-wow.  The Lutheran Church was there.  The Catholic Church was represented by five Jesuit priests in long black cassocks.  They looked as warm as the Arab women.  I saw one Arab female….well, actually I didn’t.  An amorphous, mobile, little black mass with a half-inch slit at eye level, covered with Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses.  Clothing ranged from there down to hot, (mostly) young things wearing so little fabric, there was barely enough room to hang the for-rent sign.

We got home about seven PM.  By that time the son had been up for 24 hours.  He immediately headed for bed and the wife and I had a two-hour nap before I started this post.  I can hardly wait for next year.

Beer And Hockey

Well, that title should up the search-term traffic to my site.  KayJai issued a challenge the other day for me to explain the complexities of the Canadian beer and hockey industries, but I think I’ll take a slapshot or two at the Americans while I’m at it.  I explained that, with my extensive knowledge of these subjects, and a dollar, you can get any size drink at a McDonalds this summer.

At the height of my drinking, the amount I imbibed wouldn’t equal the *hair of the dog* some of my compatriots sucked back to kill a hangover.  I had a friend stay the night after a teenage party, and he wouldn’t even throw back the covers till someone put a bottle in his hand.

There are basically three major brewers in Canadia, of which KayJai is our president.  They are Labatt, Molson, and Carling/O’Keefe, which is actually owned by the Canadian/American, Molson/Coors conglomerate.  There used to be four but, if you’ll put your beer down and look carefully, you’ll notice that two of them merged.  There are some great, and not so great, smaller, area brewers.  Then we get down to the even-smaller micro-, and craft-breweries.

Our federal government, certainly not aided and abetted, or influenced by huge campaign contributions from the beer behemoths, had a rule that beer brands could not be sold unless they were brewed in the Province of sale.  There are some very nice beers brewed by companies in Atlantic Canada, or B.C., but we in Ontario have to rely on kind relatives who come for a visit.

To explain the nuances of taste and quality among the various lagers and ales produced by the almost-monopolies, I would like to refer to the great Benny Hill, who said, “Not a hape o’ the difference!”  I know there are die-hard, or in some cases, die-easy, beer drinkers who claim to know the difference.  These are the same, silly, opinionated fools who think that Ford is better than Chevy; or is it vice-versa….I can never keep it straight.

With all their products, it’s difficult enough to tell lagers from ales.  Anyone who claims he can tell one make from another, thinks too highly of his sense of taste.  It’s no wonder that the wine snobs look down on lowly beer drinkers.  I went to a family gathering at a brother-in-law’s house, and he had put out some more-expensive Christmas Bock beer, along with the regular slop.  When I went back for a second, an hour later, they had disappeared.  His excuse was that, after two or three, you can’t taste the difference, so he was saving the good stuff.

Canadian beer is mostly bland crap, but at least it’s 5% alcohol bland crap, suitable for guzzling and getting a buzz on with.  I watched a comedian who claimed he was cutting down on his alcohol consumption.  He went from liquor to Canadian beer, to water, to American beer.  3% alcohol in regular American beer??!  What’s in the Lites?  Baby cough medicine has more of a bite than that!  Do all American beer-drinkers have huge bladders?

Personally, I drink local craft beer, or imported,  Waterloo County Dark, Sleeman Honey Brown, Newcastle Brown Ale, Rickards Red, or Dark, the Rickards White is so empty, it’s worse than American.  I drink them because I value the body, not the buzz.

I could have written the preceding in a snowbank, with my fly unzipped.  Having flamed the beer industry, let’s move on to defame hockey.  WWE on skates!  Soap opera for jocks!  Bread and circuses for the masses.  Remember what happened to Rome, when they started playing that game?

Bah!  You young guys don’t know what real hockey is.  I haven’t seen a good game since there were only six teams in the league.  There’s only so much real talent, and it’s diluted way too thin.  I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.  Once upon a time hockey players could play hockey.  They knew how to skate, pass and shoot, then came the enforcers.  These guys can barely move their sticks, because they’ve got a blackjack in one hand, and brass knuckles on the other.

Years ago, when this movement was just starting, Boston hired a young goon and told him to keep an eye on Detroit’s Gordie Howe.  He spotted a chance to take Gordie into the corner, and acted on it.  He came out with a broken arm, and a five-minute penalty.  “Best way to avoid punch, is not be there.”  Gordie danced around him and made him look like a fool.

The fervor and loyalty that many fans have for their *local* team, just astounds me.  My bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, bar-fighting, drug-using egotists, who don’t actually live here, can beat your bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, drug-using immigrants!  And hockey in the South??!  What a great idea!  Florida Panthers….Atlanta Thrashers….when they play, there has to be a translator on the TV screen, like for the deaf.  If mint isn’t involved, they don’t know what ice is for.

I’ve heard some of these zealots bitch about Toronto Maple Leafs fans.  They don’t care whether Toronto wins or not, they still go to, or watch, the game.  Actually,* Leafs fans* is a misnomer.  They’re hockey fans, or just entertainment fans.  They pay to see a game, and they see one every time.  Sometimes the Leafs win, sometimes they lose.  When you go to a movie to be entertained, you don’t care whether Batman beats up the Joker, or the Joker thumps Batman.  You probably want both to happen, and are happy when it does but, either way, you know there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow.  There will always be, The Rise of Maple Leafs, and, Son of Maple Leafs, and, Bridge on the Maple Leafs, so, drag out that cold case of Labatt’s Blue, and we’ll watch the game, eh?!

Cats

No, not the musical, or even the book it was based on.  This blog is about our cats.  If the wife and I can figure out how to download and insert photos, there will be pictures.  If not, you’ll just have to take my words for them.  You might want to break out the No-Doz before proceeding, but you’ve been warned.

The wife and I both love all animals, at least the ones that don’t try to take a piece out of us.  We like dogs.  We had a succession of Scotties, but when the last one died, we accepted a male wheaten/schnauzer/ poodle cross.  He would compare well, mentally, to a buckwheat pancake, if the pancake were terribly insecure and needy.

The daughter had got to know a vendor at the local farmers’ market.  Among other money-making ventures, she sells cutesy plastic signs, most of them referring to breeds of dogs.  Daughter told her how unthrilled we were with this dog, and she wanted to know why we didn’t have a cat, or seven.  We all suffer allergies, and the dog’s coat is hypo-allergenic.  We love cats, and used to have them, till allergies became too strong.  Well, wouldn’t you know it; she had just the solution to our problem.

She used to raise emus, have them butchered and sell the meat and various other parts, but ended up losing money on them.  Now she raises miniature dachshunds and Bengal cats.  Bengals don’t have fur.  They have hair; there is a difference.  These are also non-allergenic.  She just happened to have a male which had been returned.  His owner had some medical problems and didn’t have the strength or money to deal with the cat’s medical problems.  Turns out, the biggest problem was a vet who was taking her to the cleaners.  She had paid $500 for this beautiful cat, but we could have him for free, so the breeder didn’t have to keep feeding and maintaining him.

Bengals were produced by breeding an Asian wildcat with various housecats.  If you’ve seen a Benylin TV commercial with a *tour guide*, at the end of it there are a couple of shots of a slinky, spotted, ocelot-type feline, up on a branch.  I think that’s my cats’ ancestor. Whatever it was, apparently it dealt with lots of water in the wild.  Bengals can be identified by their webbed feet.  Spread their toes, and they can almost walk on water, and water, especially running water, fascinates them.  If I pour a bath and climb in, I’m soon the subject of much supervision, a couple from the tub rim.

It depends on what domestic cat and coloring was used, to produce certain markings.  They come in spots, rosettes, which are spots which have opened to donuts, stripes, and marbled, which is dark stripes against a dark coat.  The next step up is a Savannah, produced by cross-breeding certain Bengals.  Their colors and shaping are even nicer than Bengals.  My daughter has two of them at her house.  These cats are incredibly intelligent.  They’d be easily trainable, if they weren’t so damned independent.

The first one we got would have been the only one we got, except…. they don’t have the domestic strength of a housecat.  The over-busy vet injected him for feline leukemia, and used live culture.  The breed can’t resist live-culture, and he actually got the disease.  Called Cinnabar, which is an ore of mercury, he was one damned fine cat.  He would come when you called.  He could play fetch, and he liked to eat snow.  We found that out one day when we let the dog out and a bit got kicked inside.  From then on, if the dog went in or out, I had to toss a handful of snow on the mat, and he would eat it like a sno-cone.  We had him less than a year.  He was an early generation, and can never be replaced by later models.

All Bengals suffer to some degree with feline hyperesthesia, called ripple skin.  You can watch their coat and see the skin wiggle around.  These cats don’t want to be petted, they want to be scratched, firmly, especially down the spine and at the base of the tail, or smacked there.  The wife thumps one male on his bony ass so hard, she bruises her hand.  If animal welfare saw us pounding on these cats, they’d probably confiscate them, but the cats love it.

We drove 75 miles to a supposedly reliable breeder for our next male.  He was a failed stud.  Beautiful coloring and configuration, but he had to keep telling the lady cats, “This has never happened to me before.”  He cost us $500 and he was/is so hyper that we have to give him amitriptyline twice a day, to keep the yowling down.  When we had him vet checked, we found that he was skinny because of two different stomach parasites.

Besides his nerve pills, we were supposed to give him two different medications each day.  Like a chemotherapy program, the three meds almost killed him.  We had to stop the one, get him cured of the first, and then go back to kill off the second.  The breeder refunded us our money and then shut down her cattery for an antiseptic purge.  This guy we called Mica.  Some of the cats’ hair is hollow, and his hollow hair is the whitish, and it glistens silvery/white in the light, like the mineral mica does.

We have a total of four cats, another two males and an ex-breeder female.  I dote on them all, but your attention span is only so long.  I thank you if you’ve read this far without dozing off.  Perhaps we’ll leave the other three, and maybe the photos for another day.  Dogs have owners.  Cats have staff, and this staff has to go feed one of them.

IF

If you can keep your head, while all about you are losing theirs, you probably haven’t checked with your service recently.  Being short of inspiration for a blog theme, and too damned lazy to do some research, I decided to relate how I came to begin blogging.  It’s not as fantastic as, “Meteor strikes housewife on head,” but the steps leading to it just kept bringing up the thought IF.  You’ll see it a couple of times later.

I am a word-nut and language lover.  When I was working, I used to do two crossword puzzles a day, one of them at the plant, and depending on the job, sometimes on the line.  Since I retired, I have found another crossword available on-line, and now do three a day, plus six word-jumble puzzles each week.  I found a word in a puzzle one day and said, “I’ll have to look that up in one of my dictionaries, when I get home.”  One of your dictionaries??!  How many do you have?

Had to stop and count, at least eight, ranging from a 350 page secretary’s, to two 2000 pagers.  One of those was printed in 1952, and gives archaic words and British usage.  The other is modern and gives American-isms and technical terms.  Also possess a Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary thesaurus, an etymological dictionary, a word menu, two French-English, English-French translators, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oh, no!  We had the partridge for dinner last week.

Searching for words could get a little time-consuming, and frustrating, so I started using the Dictionary.Com website, where I found my third daily cross-word puzzle.  They print several articles a week about words, punctuation and usage, and there is a discussion thread where I soon learned to linguistically give and take.  Didn’t take much.  I’d like to think that 75% of the writers were in grade six or lower.  That was about the level of writing.  Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word usage….all atrocious, especially for a dictionary site, but some of the posters mentioned jobs.  Egad!  You want fries with that?

One night I saw an ad to explain the connection between Starbucks, and a great white whale.  I thought I knew what it was, but clicked it anyway.  I wasn’t even paying enough attention to realize that I had left Dictionary.Com, and had been dropped at the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress.  The first thing I saw was a message that the authors of this article had withdrawn it from publication.  I looked the page over and saw other articles.  None of them did much for me until I hit “Burrito Rage.”  Being a great fan of food, and particularly TexMex, that sounded delicious, so I clicked on it.

BrainRants had been on the blogscene for a couple of months and had been put up on FreshPressed.  Somehow they forgot to take him down for almost three weeks.  I read Burrito Rage, and laughed my ass off, and read the comments.  Then I sifted my way through his archives, and it only got better.  Damn!  This was nirvana.  Erudite people correctly using and spelling four-syllable words.  As I had on the dictionary site, I started to make comments, and Rants encouraged me to.  I learned to click on his commenters and go to other, similar sites, and was enthralled.

I had only been vaguely aware of “blogging”, and wasn’t even aware that my daughter had recently started one up.  I started gushing about all the stories, and jokes and wordplay that I was finding, and the wife and daughter decided that they had found a retirement hobby for me.  I mentioned to BrainRants that the daughter was setting up a blog for me, and he graciously offered to blogroll me, as soon as it occurred.  I didn’t even know exactly what a blogroll was, or what an honor was being extended to me, but I jumped at the chance.  I still haven’t worked out the complexities of attaching a blogroll to my own site, but should do it soon, to honor and spread the renown of a talented group of writers and blogs which I enjoy.

Talk about taking the road less travelled!  This is a road I didn’t even know existed seven months ago.  This is also like the butterfly effect.  Tiny chance after tiny chance after tiny chance have led me here.  If even one causative factor had not followed the one before, I would have missed out on some great times with some great people.

If I had not decided to save time and energy and go digital with my dictionary.  If I had not been so displeased with the quality of communication at Dictionary.Com.  If I had not pursued Ahab’s white whale, Moby Dick, all the way to WordPress.  If the Starbucks authors had not withdrawn their post.  If BrainRants had not been FreshPressed.  If any other of Rants’ posts had been selected for Pressing.  If Rants had not encouraged a tongue-tied fumble-fingered yokel to join the party.  Science fiction literature has been described as, The World of If, and this is so unlike the world I dwelt in up till a year ago, that it almost feels like science fiction right here on Earth.

I know that I am not as creative or exciting as most of the bloggers I follow, but every writer has a niche.  Mine is quiet and sedate.  I have been able to attract 35 followers, and slowly the number grows.  The flair and élan of some of them make me wonder what they find in my prosaic writings, but, all of you who follow, or even just drop in to read, are a balm to my ego.  I thank you all.  You encourage, and make an old coot happy.

Just Desserts, No Entrees

onelovelyblog

 

 

 

 

 

 

The universe is not fair, but it works out in my favor, so I’m happy about it.  I’ve been a bad, bad, bad, bad boy, and I got a reward.  I’ve been lurking in bloggers’ back yards.  I’ve been peeking in website windows.  The RockStar made Sparklebumps take down the 82 inch closed-circuit flat-screen she had mounted outside.  The Hobbler, who’s NotHobblingNow, threw an all-girls party last week.  They kept the drapes tightly closed, but the window was open a bit.  You should have heard what those women had to say.

I went over to TheDatingBitch’s place to watch her circus act.  Her Mom and Stepdad got knocked off their motorcycle by a semi, and were in hospital.  Within the next week, her followers had lobbed four blog awards at her, and she was juggling all of this like a trouper.  As I was skulking my way back to my den, I found, at the entrance, one of her awards.  I tried to return it to her, but she insisted that I keep it, so I took the One Lovely Blog award in, and hung it from a root sticking out of the cave wall.

She was so nice and understanding, I’ve vowed to give up my evil ways, and only use the Power of the Award for good.  I humbly thank her for this honor, and the fact that she can afford to have someone make me disappear so smoothly that even my mother wouldn’t question it, plays no part in my sudden good manners.

I think (occasionally) that I’m supposed to tell you seven things about myself.  That’s difficult.  I’m so boring that even I haven’t paid any attention.  This will be a surprise to even me.

What is a favorite childhood memory?  All of them!  The unfearing freedom to roam the reaches of my small town, from dawn until dusk.  Climbing trees, building forts, tanning and swimming at the beach.  I was not impressed when adulthood arrived, accompanied by jobs, taxes, bills and social responsibility.

What is a real fear I have?  Nothing I would describe as a fear.  I’ve handled snakes.  They’re dry.  I don’t want to handle earthworms because they’re damp and slimy.  I used to swim in rivers and out into Lake Huron.  It’s just as well that what little swimming I do now is in clear, shallow pools.  Unlike SteadilySkippingStones, I have no worry about sharks….but there is a bit of that unreasonable concern about what is underneath me.

How would I describe myself?  If you’ve read my previous post about management training, the answer is Honest.  If not then, maybe methodical…. or steadfast.

What is my style?  Guys have style?  Comfortably casual!  I smiled and waved to Queen Elizabeth, wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt.  Motorcycle boots, black Levis and a polo shirt are a step up from that.  Are we talking about lifestyle?  More comfortably casual, with some tactfully straightforward thrown in for good measure, although I’ve been known to shove a shopping cart up the butt of the inconsiderate asshole who *forgets* it.  Then it’s more straightforward, and less tactful.

What countries have I lived in?  With my financial situation, it’s all I can do to Live, in Canada.  I visited Quebec for about an hour one afternoon and was not impressed with it, and drove back.  Once the kids were grown, I had chances to visit the eastern section of the USA.  I drove to Florida three times with my brother, and the wife and I have been as far as Charleston, SC, three times.  Not exactly a world traveller, but the trips have been enjoyable and educational.

What is my favorite breakfast food?  Unlike my parents and brother, I’ve never been a morning person.  The earlier I have to get up, the longer I have to wait before feeding.  The first couple of days after we were married, the wife dutifully got up and made me bacon and eggs, as she had for her brother.  I dutifully ate them and then threw them up before leaving for work.  If the first meal of the day is *breakfast*, occasionally, after I fall out of bed around noon, I’ve been known to have spoon-size shredded wheat.  Milk and a bit of sugar, but not those frosted ones.

What are some of my hobbies?  Definitely reading!  I’m starting to do more of that on-line but still manage to complete about a book a week.  I don’t *collect* books, but I’ve never let go of a sci-fi book once I’ve owned it.  I have fifty-five years worth, about a thousand.  I have a motley assortment of various types of knives, most of which have been given to me.  I have one handmade knife, like an overgrown scalpel, on the hippo-tooth ivory handle of which, I had two different gryphons scrimshawed.

I’m supposed to inflict….afflict….pass this award on to a bunch of other deserving bloggers but, like the tesseract in the Thor movie, that might be something I could get into, but not out of.  I mentioned SkippingStones and NotHobbling, above, and will contact them.  Also, Savor’s back, yet again, this time as SavortheDivorce.  If When you visit, watch out for her left hook, she holds the wine in her right.  She could use some support and sympathetic company.

New bloggers pop up, and old reliable ones sometimes just quietly disappear.  I don’t know what might cause me to stop blogging but, while I’m here, I’ve met a Bunch of the nicest people I’ll never meet.