Change

I took the wife to a nice hotel for a change and a rest.  The bell-boy got all my change, and the hotel took the rest.

The reason I originally came here for a job, was that, for 150 years, this area has been known to be in the forefront of industry – insurance companies, breweries, distilleries, and all kinds of manufacturing jobs, often with companies that were on the cutting edge for their time.  While I bemoan the passing of the manufacturing jobs, the region continues to reinvent itself in the service, and technology theaters.

Despite over 80% public disapproval, the mayor and several councillors continue to midwife the birth of an ego/memorial, street railroad.  They want to be remembered as the visionaries who breathed life back into a downtown area which has been moribund for 30 years, although their project may be years too early.

Even though my taxes will go up, it seems to be working.  New, upscale restaurants and clubs are already opening, down the main street, and an old, ex-Sears store has been converted to apartments.  A block below my auto-parts plant, at a major intersection, the main plant and head office of my bankrupt shoe company has been converted to condo lofts.  Yuppie acceptance was so avid, that move-in dates were delayed for over a year, while they built two more stories on the old four-floor building.

Between the two buildings, a new bus/train/LRT station is going in.  Across the corner, a U-Haul office was torn out, and a ten-floor apartment is being built.  On the final corner, the Community College has erected their School of Optometry, and School of Pharmacy, where the chiropractor’s son is studying.

Up the hill behind them, and over the railroad tracks, across from my old workplace, the owner of the strip-mall property has just announced a complete rebuild.  Gone will be our tacky watering-hole bar, and a Tim Horton’s outlet which died after our plant closed, because of poor access and parking.  Built before drive-throughs, it moved two blocks up the street and took over a failed Wendy’s.

Research In Motion, also known as the RIM Corporation, was founded in our sister city to the north, and made BlackBerry Phones, until the company name finally changed to BlackBerry.  When they had almost as much money as Carlos Slim, or Oprah Winfrey, they endowed a think-tank known as CIGI, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, who try to show political entities all over the world, how to run their fiefs cheaper, smoother, fairer.

RIM Corp also created the Perimeter Institute, a collection of mathematicians, cosmologists, theoretical physicists and quantum mechanics experts, guys with really tiny wrenches.  Supported by BlackBerry, they’re busily trying to develop things like FTL space-drives, teleportation systems, and quantum computers.

It’s been visited by the likes of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is bringing Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back to TV.  Steven Hawking has stopped by to bless and anoint it, and is returning this spring.

After RIM/BlackBerry became rich and famous, the two inventive, innovative founders were eased out by the shareholders, and a bean-counter administrator was hired to run it.  Run it he did – almost into the ground.  While it was in its death spiral, he grabbed his $55 million Golden Parachute and bailed out.

The latest CEO seems to be turning it around.  A 3000 unit order by a major US police department is not enough alone to revive it, but is a vote of confidence which may have caused Ford Motors to decide to put BlackBerry technology in their cars.

When they were carving BlackBerry’s tombstone, Panasonic moved into my old auto plant.  Merely a marketing and R&D office at first, they soon made it clear that they were willing to purchase real estate that RIM was selling off and use it to manufacture Panasonic Smartphones locally.

A couple of years ago, Google opened an office in a rehabilitated tannery, a block beyond the new pharmacy school, sharing space with automation and robotics firms.  The area is so promising that they have decided to expand, moving up the street beside Panasonic, into a space where I used to make Jeep parts.

When I started working there, my favorite local radio station played good, solid, baby-boomer Rock and Roll.  Over the years it changed to Soft Rock, and then to Pop, and finally to Bubble-gum, not fit for anyone over 22 to listen to.

A young man at the plant introduced me to his station.  Coming from just at the edge of clear reception, 35/40 miles away, it loudly and proudly called itself The Hawk.  For years it played only Classic Rock!  Sadly, commerce and changing demographics forced it also to change to Soft Rock, and finally Pop, under the inspiring moniker, More Radio.

I don’t think I was exposed to Justin Bieber, but I heard his girlfriend, Selena Gomez, and the entitled and irritating Taylor Swift, who I never, never, ever want to have to listen to again.  One evening recently, the son wanted More information about the ex-Hawk station, so he accessed their website.  He came rushing out of his room and turned the stereo in the living room on.

Apparently, at 5 PM on a Friday evening, without any hoopla, or even a warning announcement, they quietly changed to All-Country, all the time.  I have become my father.  The radios in the house and car have gone silent.  It’s all right though.  If any of you have words of consolation for me, I can’t hear them.  I took a screwdriver and poked my eardrums out.

Some of it’s good.  Some of it’s….meh.  I’d settle for a lot less, “Plus Ça change,” and a bit more of “la même chose”!  Alas, woe is me!    😉

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Ego And Insecurity – Episode 1

Brigham Young is quoted as saying, “He who takes offence when none is offered, is a fool!”  He then added that, “He who takes offence when offence is offered, is also a fool.”  Too many fools wed ego and insecurity to teleology, and not only get upset when it’s not their ox that’s being gored, but blame the wrong thing, or a non-existent thing for the goring.

Negros can refer to each other as niggers, and it’s all in good fun.  Women can refer to each other as bitches, and they’re just joking.  Let a white man refer to a black man as a nigger, even in the same joking manner, and there’s Hell to pay.  If a mere man calls a woman a bitch, a Government Agency will quickly be involved.  Should a white man call a black woman a nigger bitch, he’d better not do it in Utah.  They still have firing squads.

A nephew used to refer to his Negro, high school, best friend as “Nigger.”  I cautioned him against it one day.  “That’s okay.  He knows I’m joking.”  Maybe, but others may not.  My son’s Grade 2 teacher had a bad habit of smacking students in the back of the head with a pen if they didn’t measure up.  It’s not the kind of action that should have been acceptable against anyone.

She’d smacked almost every kid in the room, with no retribution, till the day she smacked the only black kid in class.  The next day, she and the principal were visited by six high-level Black Panthers, including a high-voltage lawyer.  Cease and desist was the least of the threats.

A politician in New York, with a broad vocabulary, bemoaned a low grant for his pet project by calling it a niggardly amount.  It’s not even spelled the same, and it has no connection to Negros, but he was forced to issue an apology.  “I’m sorry you black folks are so busy learning Ebonics, that you don’t speak English.”

An Ontario bureaucrat, referring to some of the Aboriginal problems I mentioned in my Attawapiskat post, said that many of them were caused by do-gooder Whites, and was called a racist by both Indians and other whites.  The comment is not racist.  It’s an acknowledgement of a social/cultural situation.

Oprah Winfrey went into a boutique store in Switzerland and wanted to buy a $38,000 purse.  The clerk shooed her out, saying she couldn’t afford it, not knowing that Oprah could buy the entire country.  Immediately the accusations of racism rang out.  Bullshit!  Classism maybe.

Used to the more sophisticated, urbane European upper-crust, to the clerk, Oprah must have seemed like the typical sweatshirt-and-flip-flops-wearing, ugly-American, “looker.”  She could have been white, black or green.

In Montreal, a young couple who were culturally, but not religiously, Jewish, did not wish to sign a religious document and be married by a rabbi.  Instead, they went to City Hall for a secular ceremony.  The clerk who served them was a headscarf-wearing female.  Not only had they been married by a “religious” person, but one from a religion which debases females, and discriminates against Jews.

The Quebec Premier tried to have an act passed which would prevent anyone serving the public from overtly displaying any religious symbol – and the camel-shit hit the fan.  The loudest howls are from Muslims, claiming that this is racism, ignoring the fact that Muslims come from around the world, and from many different races.  It might be claimed that it is religious discrimination, except that it applies uniformly, to Sikhs, Jews and Christians, as well.

One apparent Muslim, (Abdullah Ahmad – you decide) sent a letter to the Toronto Sun, bitching about, “the ban on religious clothing or gear.”  Again, no such animal!  There is no ban on what you wear, only on what you may or may not do, while being paid by the Province, serving the secular public, when you wear it.

On a discussion page I recently read, a 25-year-old female said that she gets moody and short-tempered from time to time, and takes it out on her live-in boyfriend.  She got in a bad mood, and he sat and tried to talk it out with her for a half an hour, but she snapped at him again.  He rose, pointed a finger at her, told her she was a high-maintenance, drama queen, said he’d had enough, and slammed the door on the way out.  What should she do about it??!

I was amazed that, not only did every commenter, female and male, take her side, but nine out of ten females urged her to dump him for being abusive.  This is not abusive!  There is a legal axiom which states that the truth is the perfect defense.

She may be upset to hear that she is a high-maintenance drama-queen.  If you don’t want to hear it, don’t be it.  The problem may solve itself if he finds somewhere else to live, and only comes back for his stuff.  She wanted, “The right to her own feelings.”  She may get it – alone.

One of the young fellows at the auto plant had a succession of short-term girlfriends.  After five or six months, they each, “Just went crazy.”  I told him one day, after the seventh or eighth time I’d heard this sad song, that the common factor wasn’t the gals going crazy, it was him, but he was too busy bumping into trees, to see the forest.

I’d try handing out some of those Free Thinkers cards, but it wouldn’t work.  People like these always “believe” that it’s somebody else’s fault.

What Time Is It Now?

I waited the other night till after the son had left for work, shortly before 10:30 PM, to have a bath.  I like to soak, and I took three books with me, but also wanted to see the Tonight Show. (Didn’t matter!  It was a rerun.)  That gave me just an hour, and three books can be quite a distraction, so I did as I usually do.  I took my old Timex work watch with me and placed it where I could keep an eye on the time.

As the water cooled, and I ate into the second book, I glanced at the watch – 11:10.  Seemed like it should be later than that, so I craned my head around the shower-wall (Which is why I take the watch with me.), and the clock above the door read 11:20.  Time to wash up and get out – or is it??  “Honey, what time is it?”  “Almost quarter after; the bathroom clock runs a bit fast.”

I had feared that the old Timex was running slow because I haven’t put a new battery in it since well before I quit work, over three years ago.  I have two wrist watches, the 20-year-old Timex which only follows me for a bath now, and a gold Rolex-look-alike which I only wear when I go out.  I’ll probably not bother to put another battery in old Digital Dan when he croaks.  The son wears exactly the same model, and I offered it to him, but he declined.

I never wear a watch in the house because I have All The Time In The World.  As I said, we have a clock on the wall in the bathroom.  I could adjust it to run a little slower, but it nudges the wife to be ready just a little earlier when we have a doctor’s appointment to get to.

You can’t get away from clocks these days.  They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!  In the computer room, there’s one in the computer, one in the microwave that the wife uses to heat bead-bags for her arthritis, and one on the wall.

There are two digital alarm-clocks in the bedroom, as well as the ones available in the TV, and through it, the satellite box.  The same set-up in the rec-room, plus the ones staring at you from the DVD player and the Blu-Ray.

With both a DVD and a Blu-ray, we’ve got rid of our old VHS.  At least if you couldn’t set the clock on a VHS, all it did was sit there and flash 12:00, 12:00, 12:00, but it worked.  In the kitchen we have a clock in the microwave, a clock in the stove and a clock in the toaster oven.  If the power goes out for any reason, we have to go around and reset all these clocks, or the appliances won’t function.

We also have a wall clock in the kitchen, and a desk clock in the living room.  It is said that a man with one watch knows exactly what time it is.  A man with two watches is never sure.  With the exception of the wife-nudger in the bathroom, I try to make sure that every clock in the house is at least at the same minute.

I had an online discussion with Jim Wheeler about the number of gadgets in our houses which steadily eat our electricity.  The bathroom clock, the kitchen wall-clock and the desk clock all tick, even though they run on batteries.  All of the rest of them, whether I want, or use, the clock function, quietly, continuously, just keep sucking up the power.  At least the new 12-volt toys use far less electricity than the old 120 V units, but there’s so many more of them.

The first electric clock we had in my family home, was a 120V, plug-in model.  We placed it on the wall at a spot where it could be easily seen, and went to plug in the cord, only to find the receptacle about five inches too far to the right.  Oh well, says Dad, and firmly pulled the cord.  It plugged in but, for years, that clock hung on a 10 degree slant.  It lasted for decades, but, not meant to be on a slant, after about ten years it developed a noticeable grind-y whine, yet kept perfect time.

Towns used to set their time by the sun, and residents knew what time it was, vaguely, by town hall or church bells.  The development of railroads, in Europe, but especially in North America, created a need for some agreement on “What Time Is It?” over hundreds, or thousands, of miles.  Several others had proposed limited plans, but a Scottish-born Canadian, Sir Sanford Fleming, oversaw the birth of both a trans-Canada railroad, and the 24-hour, world-encompassing Standard Time Zone system.

The continued rise of, and finer division of, technology, has produced more and finer divisions of time.  This is important for both individual machines and systems, and co-ordination between/among numerous, far-flung operations.  GPS knows where you are, because it knows “exactly” when.  It’s just that I sometimes feel that I’m drowning in TIME.

They’re almost impossible to find, but I wish I had a microwave that just microwaved, a stove that just cooked, and a toaster oven that just heated.  I feel almost threatened in my own home when I roam around in the dark, with those red and blue eyes staring accusingly at me from the dark.  I’m sure I could make do with the wind-up timer the wife uses in the laundry room.

Good grief, you old Luddite!  Get with the 21st Century!  What next?  You’ll want a cell phone that only makes and takes telephone calls?  I’ll use the reminder app. on my camera phone to send you a picture of one.

That’s Cool

A man got a parrot which could already talk. It had belonged to a sailor and had a big vocabulary. However, the man soon discovered that the parrot mostly know bad words. At first he thought it was funny, but then it became tiresome, and finally, when the man had important guests, the bird’s bad words embarrassed him very much.

As soon as the guests left, the man angrily shouted at the parrot, “That language must stop!” But the bird answered him with curses. He shook the bird and shouted again, “Don’t use those ugly words!” Again the bird cursed him.

Now the man was really angry. He grabbed the parrot and threw him into the refrigerator. But it had no effect. From inside the refrigerator, the parrot was still swearing. He opened the door and took him out, and again the bird spoke in dirty words and curses. This time, the man opened the door of the freezer, threw the bird into it, and closed the door.

This time there was silence. After two minutes, the man opened the door and removed the very cold parrot. Slowly the shivering parrot walked up the man’s arm, sat on his shoulder and spoke into his ear, sounding very frightened:

“I’ll be good; I promise… Those chickens in there… what did they say? ”

***

At Penn State University, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an ‘A’ so far. These four friends were so confident that, the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Penn State until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to their professor why they missed it. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day. The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam.

The next day the Professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought! Each one in separate rooms, thought this was going to be easy … then they turned the page. On the second page was written…

For 95 points: Which tire?

***

A mother and son were washing dishes while the father and daughter were watching TV in the room. Suddenly, there was a crash of breaking dishes, then complete silence.

The girl looked at her father and said, “It was Mom”.

“How do you know?” asked her father.

“She didn’t say anything.”

**

Confucius Say

Woman who goes to man’s apartment for snack, may get titbit.

Man who lays woman on ground gets piece on earth.

Passionate kiss like spider’s web, both lead to undoing of fly.

Man and mouse alike, both wind up in pussy.

Man who sucks nipples, makes clean breast of things.

Woman who dies a virgin, sure to be laid in coffin.

Baby conceived in back set of car with automatic transmission, grows up to be shiftless bastard.

Man who lays girl on hill, not on the level.

Woman who slides down banister, makes monkey shine.

Girl who marries detective, must kiss dick.

Virginity like balloon, one prick, all gone.

Blonde girl has black hair by cracky.

Girl should not marry basketball player, he dribbles before he shoots.

He who cooks carrots and peas in same pot, not very sanitary.

Kotex not best thing in the world, but next to it.

Man who marries girl with no bust, have right to feel low-down.

Girl who rides bicycle, pedals ass all over town.

Man who pee in cash register, find it runs into money.

Canada For Dummies

Lord, I hope Canucks in other countries don’t show themselves as dim-witted as some of the visitors to the great country of Canada.  They probably do, but, at least I don’t have to see it.  I can understand folks from Europe, Asia or Australia not being cognisant of details of Canadian culture, but I get a little short with Americans.  C’mon guys!  You live right next door.

Americans want to know things like, “Who’s the old broad on the money?”  She’s the Queen, and no, she doesn’t “rule” Canada.  “Does the flag come in any other colors?”  And, why don’t we celebrate the Fourth of July?  Because we’re not Americans.  Our Independence Day is July 1.

I strive to be a little more accurate in this post than Ann Landers once was, when she told a Colombian tourist that Boston was not the capital of the U.S.  “It’s always been Washington,” ignoring the fact that the city didn’t exist before 1791.

Other than D.C. there have been 15 capitals – actually 8 different cities, NYC – 3 times, Philadelphia – 5 times, as well as Baltimore MD, Lancaster, PA (for one day), Princeton, NJ, Annapolis, MD, Trenton, NJ, and Leesburg, VA for a short while in 1814, during the War of 1812, when the Canadians ambled down and sacked Washington.

Take the Detroit auto-worker, (please) who drove across the Ambassador Bridge for years, to work at a Ford plant in Windsor.  One day a Canadian co-worker suggested that he move to Windsor, to save the commute.  No!  He couldn’t do that.  It’s too cold to live in Canada.

A Bed and Breakfast in British Columbia got an email reservation from a couple from England.  They were to arrive on a Saturday, and spend most of the week.  On the Saturday, the BnB got a phone-call.  Could they hold the room?  The couple was delayed and should arrive late Sunday.  They would pay for the week, but wanted to guarantee the room.  Sunday came, and another phone-call.  The concerned proprietors asked what the problem was.  They’d got off a flight in Halifax, and planned to drive to B.C.  They had got as far as Toronto in two days.

Many people just don’t understand the vastness of Canada and the U.S.  If you get in a car in England, and drive for ten hours including the Chunnel crossing, you’ve gone through three countries.  Only Russia, with seven time zones, beats North America’s six, including one for Hawaii for the U.S., and a strange little half-hour Newfoundland one for Canada.

A Vancouver, B.C. newspaper has a travel department that you can email with travel questions.  The following are some of the questions they’ve received, with country of origin, and frustrated answers given.

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it’s only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your north… oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is north in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, right after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don’t stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It’s called a moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Canada welcomes all visitors.  Feel free to join us.  Bring some more questions….and lots of money.

Addendum:

After White Lady In The Hood posted pictures of her back porch, I took a couple of shots of my back deck.  I’m about as far south in Canada as it’s possible to get, and we had a bit of a thaw last week.  First of March, and this is what’s left.  See the yardstick??    😦    I’m ready for spring now.     😀

SDC10522                    SDC10526