’18 A To Z Challenge – J

 

Challenge '18
Letter J

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re sorry.  The blog-site that you are currently attempting to connect with, is temporarily out of service…. because we’re on a

JOURNEY

If you’re reading this, it means that my unpaid assistant has done his unpaid job, and clicked ‘Publish’ for this post, which I left queued-up for him.  I am not sufficiently tech-savvy to be left unsupervised with a ‘schedule post’ program.  In fact, only recently, Bell Canada insisted that I give up my rotary-dial telephone.

It was the last one in my telephone exchange area, and they couldn’t afford to maintain my ‘clickety-click’ system, along with the new beep-beep boop-boop one.  I guess they can’t blow the dust out of the new fibre-optic lines, the way they used to with the old electrical ones.

If we merely go to Detroit for some weekend shopping, should a medical situation arise, it’s a quick trip back across the border into socialized-medicine land.  For a week away, 12 hours drive from the nearest Canada, we will be purchasing out-of-country medical insurance from CAA, AAA’s little brother.  Please, nobody mention ‘giddy’ as a pre-existing condition.

We’re not allowed to bring anything toxic back, so we’ll stay away from all Tweets.  We might get close enough to the White House to hear that twit Trump, trumpet.  We might even get to see him playing bocce ball on the front lawn with the North Korean Rocket Man, using nuclear warheads.

We’ll be staying west of DC proper, just left of where Donald Trump hangs out these days.  Of course with Trump, pretty much everyone is to his political left.  Someone should censor him by slipping him a placebo smart-phone, that only looks like it’s actually working.

It’s a good thing that there’s a 140 character limit on Twitter.  Can you imagine how many people he could offend with 300?  He should be put on Twitter-Lite….only 14 characters.  He has surrounded himself with quite a few characters, some of whom last longer than others because they can say, “Yes, Mr. President.  You’re absolutely right, sir.”

This journey is the ‘We’re Going To Rants’ and ‘Sisterhood Of The Blog’ trip that I’ve been threatening you with for months.  We’ll be out of our minds the country for about a week, so, there’ll be no new posts for a while, and likely damned few responses to comments, so feel free to talk about us among yourselves for a while.

I’d suggest that, after reading this post, you get some rest, because I’m sure that I’ll have a shopping bag full of fun facts and photos when we get back.

‘Journey’ is an ‘80s, San Francisco rock band.  If you click, they’ll tell you how much I Don’t Stop Believing that this is one of the greatest adventures of my life.  I’ll see you back here soon, with a big smile on my face.   😀  😎  🌯

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Tattoos Get Under Your Skin

Griffin 1

I just had some inspiration installed!  Pat, can I buy an idea??

In my Tattoos And Piercings post, I claimed that I’d often thought of getting a tattoo, but didn’t have enough imagination to decide what to get inked on.  When the wife heard me say that, she reminded me that I had two griffons scrimshawed onto the first handmade knife I ever bought, one with eagle’s wings, and one with dragonfly wings.  Why not a griffon tattoo?

EUREKA!

Kyle's Scrimshaw

Gryphon 2

SDC10410

I was egged on aided and abetted by two people whose names shall forever remain H E Ellis and BrainRants.  They’re a couple of the nicest bloggers on the interwebz to ever have a head-on collision with an inkjet printer.  “C’mon sissy, get a tat.  We’ve all been inked.  Even the cat has a tattoo.

T's Tat

The daughter designed, and had applied, a tattoo which reflects some of her non-Christian spiritual beliefs.  The ink artist who did hers has moved from the city, (a lot of that goes on among the tattoo crowd) but she assures me that she knows of a couple more who are reliable (they don’t smoke crack while they’re applying your ink).

Griffin 3

Having had my great epiphany, I quickly went to Bing images for griffon choices.  I really like the blond example at the top.  I feel it best exemplifies my inner persona and spirit, intelligent, pensive, strong, introspective, and peaceful – until someone pisses me off.  There are two possible problems with it.

First, colored tattoos can fade over time, although, at my age, I’ll probably fade before it does.  Second, it is complex, and would require several sessions to complete, making it more expensive.  I’ll have to have the daughter introduce me to her dealer ink artist for an estimate, to see if it would be too expensive.  In that case, I also picked out two simple black outlines – above and below.

Griffin 2

Now I’m torn!  Do I just pull up my big-boy YSL bikini briefs, go have it put on, and surprise my future hosts when both the new tat….and I, arrive swollen and weeping?  Or do I wait, and give them the opportunity to influence my final decision?

How about my readers??!  Do you want to indulge in an online opinion poll?

Colored, or black?
Which black one?
Do it now, or let the voices of experience guide me later?

Come on!  This is easier than voting for/against Donald Trump (Kathleen Wynne, in Ontario.)    😯   I’d like to hear from you.

’18 A To Z Challenge – I

 

Challenge '18Letter I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven days without deciding, makes one weak….blog-post.  Four months of not choosing, is just

INDECISION

Back in April, as prompts for the letter I, I only put down ‘idle worship’, and ‘ineffectual.’  Well….I’ve got ineffectual taken care of – four months, and nothing written.  For idle worship, I was going to try for a pun-ny twist on ‘idol worship,’ about the upcoming trip to DC, to visit my favorite blogger, and his favorite blogger wife.

But I’ve already published a couple of ‘Going To Rants’ posts, and, in two weeks, the J For Journey there one  will go up.  It will be far better than this excuse, as will the K submission two weeks later, when I do a double-header.

So, here I sit, at a quarter to the appointed time, desperately trying to pound something out.  I can’t even ask the Governor for a stay of execution, because I’m the governor of my publishing schedule.  Perhaps idle worship is an apt prompt, after all.  I certainly have been idle about deciding.

I’m going to take a couple of Mea Culpas out of the ex-Catholic wife’s petty cash, and hope to see you here on Wednesday, to read something far more interesting and prepared.  Excelsior!  😳

WTF

30-Day Challenge To Like

Another Challenge

The challenge list composer has committed double jeopardy, so I’m going to join #3, and #6 together.

#3  What kind of person attracts you?
#6  The person you like, and why you like them.

It seems to me that, the kind of person who attracts me, would also be the kind of person that I like.  The wording of #6 also confuses me.  Does the list compiler feel that I can only “like” one person at a time, or is this question supposed to be cumulative, like #3, and better worded as, The kind of person you like?

A lecturer at a company seminar explained about ‘the range’ of people that we can reach and get along with.  He had us imagine a peg-board with one peg in it.  Over the peg was a loop of string.  You could put your finger inside the loop, and swirl it around the peg.  You would only reach a limited number of other peg-holes.

You could move the peg, but you would only reach the same number of other holes, and they would be a completely different set from the first lot.  The most successful salesman types were the ones who could make their personality like a large elastic, and stretch to reach the entire board.

Like Mary’s little lamb, the kind of person that I like, is one who likes me.  I am not much interested in turning my personality into a rubber band.  Too soon, my scope would include Kardashians, Bible-thumpers, and penis-envy jerks who drive Hummers while wearing civilian clothes.

I like folks who like me for me, psychoses, warts and all.  I am what I am.  In a conversation with my son recently, he said, “I wonder what normal people are like?”  Those who I like, and would want to like me, would have to be intelligent, independent, free-thinking, educated, open-minded, and capable of handling the English language like a fidget-spinner.

I have been so fortunate with this blog site to, at least virtually, attract a considerable number of people like that.  I’ve had the good fortune, to travel and meet a couple of fellow-bloggers in person, and I’m whirling like that fidget spinner myself, at the thought of meeting another Dynamic Duo of them.  I only hope that, having attracted them, they will not find me a challenge to like in person, the way they did through the filter of the internet.  I’ll keep you posted.  😀

 

’18 A To Z Challenge – Flood

Challenge '18

Letter F

Unless the Mayan calendar apocalypse comes to pass, my little home town, situated where a river meets a lake, will never have a flood.

Lake Huron’s levels are closely monitored and controlled by the St. Lawrence Seaway commission, the geography is stable, and it would take something larger than a falling Chinese Space Station, to cause a tsunami.  The land quickly rises, so that most of the town is 50 feet above water level.  My birthplace house is more like 70’.

The closest thing to a flood is the spring ice-breakup in the river.  It starts 3 miles upstream, below the little rapids.  The thin ice breaks, pushing downstream against the thicker and thicker layers, partly impeding the water flow, until finally it lets loose.  Suddenly, thousands of tons of ice blocks, 2 – 3 – 4-feet thick, and as big as buses, thunder down the canyon, scour the harbor docks, and spew into the lake.

I’m told that it is an awe-inspiring sight and sound, but silly little things like education and employment have never allowed me to be present.  In late fall, the docks are cleared.  Ladders for swimmers and boaters are unbolted.  Fishing boats are winched onto the concrete, and placed well up on the banks.  After the cascade, ice that’s in the way is bulldozed back into the water.  Blocks that aren’t, are still melting beside the little park, well into June.

***

When we made our pitifully few visits to the lower United States for vacations, we were usually fixed on getting to our destination as soon as possible, and took the Interstates.  Humming along steadily for hours, at 110Kmh/70MPH, the extra distances were made up for by not having to follow some farm tractor, or stop at every stop sign and red light in every goober little town.

The time we took our On Top Of The World trip, we decided that we had the time, not to go 100 miles from Buffalo to Erie, PA, to get on I-79.  Instead, we took State highways down and back, from Buffalo, through Pennsylvania.  The entertainment and education justified the decision.

We passed through Du Bois, PA, named after W.E.B. Du Bois, a 19th century Negro civil-rights pioneer.  Both names are pronounced ‘due–boys’, rather than the French ‘due-bwah.’

We found a small PA town that clings to a mountainside so steep, that the northbound lane of the highway/main street, is 8 feet above the southbound lane, with a guardrail to prevent cars from falling in.  The industry in another Pennsylvania town was a Weyerhaeuser paper mill.  We could smell that one 3 miles before we got there, and 3 miles after we left, and rolled the windows down to clear the stench.

Rolling into one town we were faced with 6 or 7 truck-docks, at the back of a large plant.  Each dock seemed to be a different color, red, green, orange blue, purple.  When we got closer we found that it was a Pittsburgh Glass plant, and what we’d seen was hundreds of pounds of broken bottles and other glass, all sorted by color, which had fallen below the docks as it was being brought back in for melting and reuse.

As we were coming back north, we reached a spot where a secondary road met the highway at a T-intersection to our left.  Suddenly, in the middle of Nowhere PA, miles from any town or city, I was faced with the first roundabout I’d ever seen.

Like the 1942 song That Old Black Magic says, “Down and down I go.  Round and round I go.”  Round and round the roundabout I went, missing the northbound, uphill highway.  Instead, I continued ‘round, and exited onto the westbound, downhill road.

Six miles this steep, two-lane blacktop weaved its way down and down, with not a sign of a turnoff, another side-road, or even a farmer’s lane, to turn into to turn around.

Finally, after losing hundreds of feet of altitude, we reached a sign that said, “Welcome To Johnstown PA”.  Johnstown??  Like in the Johnstown flood??  Sure enough, there was the Conemaugh River, before we started our long trek back uphill.

In 1851 a dam was built 14 miles upstream, to provide water for area industries, and for a barge-canal system.  Later, trains replaced barges, so the dam was sold to a railway company.  The Railway Company wasn’t in the ‘dam’ business, so they didn’t maintain it, even removing and selling piping that could lower water levels behind it.

In 1889, a ‘Century Storm’ dumped 12 inches of rain in the mountain valley in two days.  The dam finally failed, and the flood roared through several small towns and Johnstown.  It caused $17 million 1889 dollars worth of damage, almost $500 million today, and killed over 2200 people.

I quietly drove back up to the highway and home, to compose this happy tale for you.  Stop back again later, when we visit The Rockies and talk about avalanches.  😯

Sisterhood Of The Blog

Reapers

This is where we explore the distaff side of this ‘Meet The Blogger Tour.’

TWOFER!  That’s what I got.  Two for the price of one.

I’ve been stumbling around like a constipated rhino, yodeling, “We’re going to Rants’!  We’re going to Rants’!” but there’s another side to it.  BrainRants would like to be a published author, in fact the reason that he originally started his blog, was so that he could practice composing and publishing 500 words a day, for an entire year.  That’s where I first found him.

He attracted the attention of a lovely, lady author, named H. E. Ellis.  Since I was constantly hanging around his blog back door, like a lost puppy hoping for a pat on the head, she noticed me also.  She had already published a coming-of-age novel titled The Gods Of Asphalt.

Using stories solicited from a circle of bloggers, she compiled an eBook titled Fucked-Up Fairy Tales, to which I was allowed to submit a disappointing little ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ story.  She also assembled a Christmas spoof titled Iconic Interviews, in which I was interviewed as a crusty, corpulent Frosty the Snowman.

After Rants’ marriage ended, the online writing seminars graduated to personal visits.  One backyard brainstorming session of two couples produced the story line of the Grim Reaper, overworked by the deaths of Earth’s burgeoning population and subject to Other-Worldly bureaucracy.  H.E. wrote it as a book titled Reapers With Issues and 3 sequels yet to come.

I purchased an eBook version of it, and also a paperback copy for a memento.  With my usual, unthinking arrogance, I asked if I could get an autographed, first-edition copy.  While H. E. did the actual composition, she gave the other three co-writing credits.  Not only did she sign it herself, but she arranged for the other three to sign it also.

The logistics of the care and concern, time and effort, organization and labor, to get three other people together with one book, is awe-inspiring and heart-warming.  All the more so, because a monkey-wrench got thrown into the situation.

By the time the book was written and published, Rants was back on his second 1-year tour of Afghanistan.  After getting the book signed by the other two, she packaged it up, and shipped it half-way around the world to BrainRants.  He autographed it and added a dedication, and shipped it back Stateside.  It still reeks of camel shit, and desert sand sifts out when I hold it – AND I HOLD IT DEAR TO MY HEART!

So, this is the heart-high Yin, of the Yin and Yang creative and caring couple that we’re going to visit.  They’re each younger than our actual children, but maybe I might persuade them to adopt us.   😀  I forwarded photos of the entire clan, and haven’t heard of any vision or psychiatric problems, so here’s hoping.

A LARGE DROP IN THE BUCKET

Hero

I am agog – not to be confused with a fool, a nerd, or a nosy parker – although I’ve successfully been all of those. I have been within 8 feet of Queen Elizabeth.  I have seen and touched Her Royal Yacht, Britannia, when it put into the harbor at my home town for fuel.  I had a brief, 5-second conversation with the singer, Roger Whittaker, and I got a hug, and a kiss on the cheek, from the female Canadian Minister of the Exterior.

These all pale into insignificance. I recently got an invitation from BrainRants, to come and visit him and his wife this summer.  Actually, all that happened was that he made a casual inquiry as to whether the wife and I intended to be in his area this year, and when – but I’m treating it like a Royal Summons, and it snowballed from there. I’m So Excited (click to hear the Pointer Sisters tell you how much)

He’s the one responsible for unleashing me on an unsuspecting blogosphere, but don’t blame him for that. He was distracted at the time with saving the world and the American Way Of Life.  It was the Law of Unintended Consequences.

A couple of years ago, when we were doing the ‘Doctor Ericson, I presume’ tour, I asked if we might drive down for a quick visit.  Rants was preoccupied with a son going off to college, and a few other pressing domestic situations, and said ‘no,’ but not necessarily “NO” forever.

Last fall, I asked again about the possibility of an eventual visit, just to know whether or not to remove it from my bucket list. Rants took this as an indication that I wanted it to happen soon.  Apparently not a lot of people make plans years ahead, especially old geezers like me.  It’s happening sooner than I anticipated.  Rants and his lovely wife are welcoming us this summer.  Not only are we visiting, but we are being put up in a guest room to save motel costs –and, Rants is booking some well-earned and needed vacation time to be with us for several days.

I asked if it was some kind of competition between him and his wife to be nice to us, but apparently this is what kind, intelligent, generous people do. Aside from visiting my parents for weekends while they were alive, I have never been a house-guest in my life. Dear Miss Etta Kett; How do I conduct myself??

It is well that the wife’s birthday is in mid-Feb. This year she had to renew her Ontario Health Card, and her driver’s licence. One of three photo ID options recommended to do this, is a passport.  When I dug hers out and she was transferring information, she realized that both our passports had expired.

Apparently the bureaucrats do not send an email renewal reminder, and since we didn’t travel outside the Province last year, we had not noticed. It would have been a catastrophe to make all these delicious plans, and be turned back at the border for incomplete documents.  We had the time to get them reissued.

I am so giddy that I’m twirling around the house like a little pixie….or maybe a wolverine on meth. We’re going to Rants’! We’re going to Rants’ I’m taking along our digital camera, but there’s no promise that any photos will show up here on the blog-site.  I’ve already had to sign a non-disclosure security document, and a black helicopter will pick us up at the Virginia Welcome Center.

Surprisingly, the wife warmed to the idea quite quickly, to the point that, if we can’t put aside enough to pay for the trip in the next couple of months, she’s willing to raid her cache of Loonies and Toonies coins that she’s been stashing away for years.

If she’s warm now, just wait and see how warm DC is in August. We may drive past the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Pentagon in an air-conditioned car, but this visit is all about meeting two people who have been so very nice to me for years.  We can do that with a shady back deck and some cold beer.

More to come, I will reveal all as much as I can.  Be happy for me….and maybe a little jealous.   😎  🌯