Smitty’s Loose Change #13

I just won the jackpot – and I don’t even gamble.

I notice things.  I find money, because I look where people will lose money.  The $100 bill that I picked up from a grocery store checkout line floor, had been stepped on by the two customers in front of me.  I check the overflow chutes of the coin-counting machines found in many grocery stores.  I found 40 pennies in one, before Canada stopped minting them.  I still find the occasional few, because the machines have been set to reject them.

I recently left my neighborhood store, and glanced at the chute as I passed.  There were coins in it.  Not just a couple of pennies, or a bent dime, or a foreign coin that I could add to my collection.  The chute was full.  I bent over to see what they were…. and they were Loonies and Toonies – Canada’s, one and two dollar coins.

I quickly looked around, to see if there was someone cashing in a machine receipt – someone who would yell, “Get away from there!  That’s my money!”  No-one was paying me the least attention.  I took a large handful and dumped it into my shirt packet – and another large handful – and another large handful.  I scraped the last of it together and poured it into my pocket, affecting an off-the-shoulder look as I scuttled out.

I hoped to beat my $100 dollar record.  When I got home, I sorted it out.  21 Toonies = $42, 33 Loonies = $33, and 4 quarters, totaling $76.  Not a bad reward for just paying attention.  The next day, I only found two dimes.

***

Newspaper article headline
Should Kitchener aim to end all traffic injuries?

Nah!  Let’s maintain the ‘Run Em Down’ protocol we’ve always had!

Duh.  While that headline may seem rather silly, what the article was (delicately) asking, was, how much tax revenue can we afford to spend, for how much reduction in injuries.

***

How can you tell when a Christian Apologist blogger is lying?
That’s a trick question.  They’re always lying!
The liars are the majority, who won’t enable comments.  They make strawman claim after special pleading claim, but won’t engage in debate, or allow Atheists to offer counter-arguments.

The ones who are even worse than this, are the ones who edit out comments they don’t like.  I found a Christian trivia post which asked, “Who did Paul say should not be allowed to continue to Cyrene, because he had left the group?”

Knowing what would happen, I gave two answers.  Howard Stern?  Ray Comfort, because he went out for more bananas?  (If you don’t get the Ray Comfort joke, Google it.)  Sure enough, when I returned the next day, I had been excised.

***

I heard a TV weather forecast during the cold snap around Christmas.  The announcer warned not to travel to Canada’s Prairie Provinces, because the temperatures could go down to Negative 35.  I’ve never heard that expression used before.  It sounds like we owe somebody some weather.  Technically, it’s correct.  Plus and Minus are mathematical terms which indicate actions.  Five, minus (take away) three, equals two.  Have any of you ever heard a weather forecast which included the term “negative” temperatures.  My new online friend from Kenya is exempted.

***

After claiming victory over an infestation of rats, Oh Rats!, they came back for a second round.  I tried to turn the central air-conditioner on, and found that they had chewed their way in through the tiny hole that carries the tubes to the outdoor unit…. and the control wire.  😯  😦  After that repair, I sprayed the hole full of expanding, hardening plastic foam.

I had replaced the flexible dryer hose with another plastic one, because the path the tube takes from the machine to the outside vent is quite twisty, and complex.  To prevent another attack from that direction, I hired Dryer Vent Wizard to install solid, aluminum tubing.

The installation tech was, indeed, a wizard.  When he moved the dryer, leaving a hole in the floor, to the basement, Mica, my Fred Astaire-dancer, Bengal cat showed up to supervise.  Workers like this now all take pictures with their smart-phones, as proof of work done.  We didn’t even know that Mica was there.  He leaned up, took a photo, showed it to us when he finished, and sent it to us by email.

Damned Amateurs – AKA Snowflake Meltdown

OKAY, BOOMER

I recently encountered an MSN article titled, “40 Things That Baby Boomers Think Are Still Cool – But Aren’t.”  It was an amusing little nothing of an article, good only for hanging advertising links onto – as fluffy as RuPaul’s feather boa.

It was apparently composed by some Millennial Snowflake – probably to the sound of great applause.  I thought that only achy, arthritis-afflicted, grumpy old curmudgeons like me would compose such a compilation of complaints.  I figured that the author of this would be too busy, polishing his brand-new, red BMW.  Maybe MSN threw in a gold star for his sticker album, and a participation medal.

Snowflake

Snowflake: Slang A person who is considered to be overly sensitive or too easily offended, especially as a result of believing himself or herself to be unique or special – with the accent on flake.

I don’t know if the author was serious, or if this was just an exercise in being a published author.  There were some things that he ranted about that even I, as an old Boomer, would object to, while others made me think that, even if it were raining gold coins, he’d complain about dents on that BMW.

The list was eclectic and varied.  Among others, he hit on visors, shag carpet, Yahoo, Jell-O salads, fossil fuels, fuzzy toilet seat covers, bar soap, meat loaf, encyclopedias, and malls.

I don’t know what his objection to visors was.  I don’t like wearing hats, but when I was younger, and my hair was black and absorbed solar energy and heat, I wore them to keep my brain from boiling.  (So, that’s what happened!)  Now that it’s as white as the driven snow, all I need is something to protect my eyes.  That’s why God invented Ray-Bans.

I always thought that shag carpeting was a bad idea, and didn’t sign up for Yahoo.  Instead I waited till Google was available for free.  I rather like Jell-O salads – both vegetable, and fruit.  I never miss a chance to scoop some up, the few times we hit a restaurant with a buffet.  It was a cheap food that the wife’s family of nine kids had to endure, so she won’t make any.  I’ll eat it, but I won’t make it.  Like tossed salad, I feel that the enjoyment-to-labor ratio is too low.

I think that ‘fossil fuels’ was just tossed in for virtue signaling.  I don’t know any Boomer who thinks that they’re “cool”, but, until some smart-ass Snowflake comes up with an affordable, reliable alternative…. they’re indispensable.

Fuzzy toilet-seat covers, aside from being a germ-sponge, are a vicious trick, invented by Women’s Lib.  They turn a two-handed job into a three-handed one.  When a guy tries to do what he needs to do, he has to open the front of his pants with one hand, and withdraw (hopefully) a handful with the other.

Fuzzy seat covers placed the center of balance of the lid forward, so that they would not stay up on their own.  There was a lot of shuffling around to the side, and holding the lid up with a knee.  The ones where the lid stayed up for a few seconds, and then came crashing down in mid-stream were the most dangerous.  I almost didn’t have to pay for a vasectomy.

Ah, Millennial instant gratification!  Since I’m not obsessed with Zumba, or Hatha Yoga, I have time to work up a lather with a bar of soap.  I purchased a box of 12, Chinese, musk-scented bars at the Farmers’ Market.  Most of them are secreted in various dresser drawers, helping to make my clothes smell like Not-Me.

I don’t know what the author had against meat-loaf – except that it wasn’t a kale smoothie.  It’s comfort food, and us old fogies need all the comfort that we can get.  The article served to remind me that we had not had meat-loaf in over a month, so I had it on the menu by the end of the week.

The article came on 40 pages that had to be clicked to.  Each one came with a photograph, ‘cuz our old Boomer eyesight ain’t the best anymore, don’tcha know?  Aside from the general, dismissive, know-it-all premise, the two things that irritated me the most were the photos of ‘encyclopedias,’ and ‘malls’

Encyclopedias

I welcomed the electronic advent of Wikipedia.  Google and Bing are my friends.  Paper and ink encyclopedias are archaic anachronisms – antiques, and collectors’ items.  The Internet knows everything – if you can sift out the fake news.  The photo provided for that page seemed to be of a library Rare-Book shelf.  They’re old, and they are hard-cover…. but not one of them is an Encyclopedia.  Bing images provided me with pictures of lots, as I composed this post, including the first, and possibly the best – Encyclopedia Britannica.

Polish Reception

Malls have had their day.  All hail Amazon and E-Bay!  Etail is the wave of the future.  The only thing that malls are good for are the food courts, and the girl-watching – and the air conditioning means that they are wearing far too much clothing.  Someone didn’t work (or think) too hard with these photos.

Since the article is in English and apparently intended for the American – or perhaps Canadian – market, it would seem to be a good idea to get a picture of an English-speaking mall.  Even a cursory examination of the above photo shows that it is of a Polish one.  Recepcja = reception.

I think I pulled a groin muscle, ranting about some young whipper-snapper ranting about old nothings.  I’m gonna rest up for a couple of days.  See you later.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – Folly

A To Z ChallengeLetter F

snow folly

HANNIBAL WAS CROSS

‘Tis folly to be wise

Call it Climate Change.  Call it Global Warming.  Call it Shit Happens.  Call it anything you want, but Charlie was beginning to believe some of the stories that Grampa told about growing up in this little mountain hamlet.

Yes sir, I had to walk 5 miles to school –each way – uphill both ways – against the wind…. And in the winter??! – snow was as high as an elephant’s….

Eye, Grampa??

Asshole, boy!  Asshole!

I had to make skis out of staves from a pickle barrel, and use icicles for poles.  Snow was so high I had to climb out the attic window.

There’d been no elephants in mountains, until Hannibal crossed the Alps, and They didn’t run through Montana.  As a site-designer, he was happy to ‘work from home’ after graduating, in the village he’d been born in.  Mom hadn’t even gone to the hospital in Helena – just popped him out in a sterilized bathtub.

The smart ones had been those who moved down with friends and relatives in the foothills, when the snow really started piling up.  When the Pastor/Mayor/Police Department had been notified that the plows weren’t getting through, and officials had no idea when that might happen, he suggested that everyone bring all their food to the church.

They’d rigged a flexible plastic tube from the air-conditioner vent, over the cliff.  That, and a small fan pointed up the spire gave them and the small generator enough air to breath.  The village weirdo geek had rigged a repeater/router to the lightning rod.  The cell tower further up the mountain, was only up to its knees in snow, so they had phones and internet.  The snow had drifted up and over the church, until only the steeple protruded, like a FOLLY.  It helped to insulate it, even as it locked them in.

It was a cozy little group of 14, although, if someone didn’t pry young Billy McCabe and the Winchell girl apart, there’d be 15 by the time they were released.  There were worse ways to spend a winter.  Guess the best thing to do is what Grampa suggested.  Just close the log cabin door to the snow, and don’t come out till spring.

WAIT!  WHAT??  Log Cabin??  I thought you said that you climbed out an attic window.

Don’t be a smart-ass, boy!  Nobody likes a smart-ass.  😳

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.   😎  🌯

Flash Fiction #158

Hot

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN

He’d thought through this move and job change well…. At least he thought he’d thought it through well.  More money, better perks, better advancement chances – yup!  Best of all, no more Pennsylvania winters, so cold they froze his ballpoint pens off, and shovelling snow, drifted as high as an elephant’s aah…..  eye.

Only after moving did he think – if Atlanta’s that warm in the winter, how hot is it in the summer?? Don’t Georgia houses automatically come with air-conditioning?  Praise Saint George Carrier!  What was his promised installation date again??  He might have to sleep in the office until then.  😯

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

Click on the title if you’d like to hear Leon Redbone sing A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight, a happy little ditty from 1927, a time of Flappers, bathtub gin, and no worries about nuclear war.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #150

Twins

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE DESTRUCTION
DOUBLE THE FUN

To have one rambunctious teenage son was….interesting. To have two – and twins – was stressful.  So different, and yet so much the same – and so competitive.  She almost needed a counsellor on speed-dial, and Valium in a Pez dispenser.  One for her; one each for the boys.

The contractor had said that the cost to repair the “Me first! No, Me!” front door would be reasonable, but would take a week.  Their automobile dealer said that the now-air-conditioned car would financially be another matter entirely.

Smart Car???! If they’d been smart, they’d have bought an old Police van with handcuff restraints.

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #62

Storage

PHOTO PROMPT – © Claire Fuller

COMPUTER STORE

Welcome to the Computer Museum. Nothing in Man’s development has changed as much, as fast, as computing.

This is ENIAC’s grandson. In 1955, a crew of 9 men took almost a month to solder together 37,000 tubes. A large Montreal company used it mostly for payroll. My pocket calculator will do more than what they paid $2.5 million for.

Moore’s law says that speed doubles every 2 years, while size halves. You see that here in data storage also, rows of cabinets of tape reels, rolled by triskele arms for reduced space. School kids’ flash drives now hold this much.

***

In 1976, an erstwhile co-worker told me of being the design engineer in charge of the installation of Ferranti-Packard’s ENIAC successor, in a hall as big as 8 bowling lanes. Fortunately, Carrier had invented the air-conditioner, or all those tubes throwing off heat could have baked bread in the room. Dot-matrix tractor-printers had to be properly grounded, or the static electricity they generated could wipe the core.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple  site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#498

Up In Smoke

Cigar

A defendant in a lawsuit involving large sums of
money was talking to his lawyer.

“If I lose this case, I’ll be ruined.

“It’s in the judge’s hands now,” said the lawyer.

“Would it help if I sent the judge a box of cigars?”

“Oh no! This judge is a stickler for ethical
behavior. A stunt like that would prejudice him
against you. He might even hold you in contempt
of court. In fact, you shouldn’t even smile at the judge.”

Within the course of time, the judge rendered a
decision in favor of the defendant.

As the defendant left the courthouse, he said to
his lawyer, “Thanks for the tip about the cigars.
It worked!”

“I’m sure we would have lost the case if you’d
sent them.”

“But I did send them.”

“What?? You did???”

“Yes. That’s how we won the case.”

“I don’t understand,” said the lawyer.

“It’s easy. I sent the cigars to the judge, but
enclosed the plaintiff’s business card.”

***

I have enough money to last me the rest of my
life….unless I buy something.

***

A man with a winking problem is applying for a
position as a sales representative for a large firm.

The interviewer looks over his papers and says,
“This is phenomenal. You’ve graduated from the
best schools; your recommendations are wonderful,
and your experience is unparalleled.

Normally, we’d hire you without a second thought.
However, a sales representative has a highly
visible position, and we’re afraid that your
constant winking will scare off potential
customers. I’m sorry….we can’t hire you.”

“But wait,” he said. “If I take two aspirin, I’ll
stop winking!”

“Really? Great! Show me!”

So the applicant reaches into his jacket pocket
and begins pulling out all sorts of condoms: red
condoms, blue condoms, ribbed condoms, flavored
condoms; finally, at the bottom, he finds a packet
of aspirin. He tears it open, swallows the pills,
and stops winking.

“Well,” said the interviewer, “that’s all well and
good, but this is a respectable company, and we
will not have our employees womanizing all over
the country!”

“Womanizing? What do you mean? I’m a happily
married man!”

“Well then, how do you explain all these condoms?”

“Oh, that,” he sighed. “Have you ever walked into
a pharmacy, winking, and asked for aspirin?”

***

Too bad all the people who know how to run the
country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.

George Burns

***

Mexico doesn’t have an Olympic Team, because anybody who can run, jump, or swim, is already in the United States.

***

The biggest shithead and the person in command
can generally be shot with the same bullet.

***

An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates.
St. Peter checks his dossier and says,
“Ah, you’re an engineer you’re in the wrong place.”

So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and
is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets
dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell,
and starts designing and building improvements.

After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and
flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is
a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and
says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there
in hell?” Satan replies, “Hey, things are going
great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush
toilets and escalators and there’s no telling what
this engineer is going to come up with next.”

God replies, “What??? You’ve got an engineer?
That’s a mistake – he should never have gotten
down there; send him up here.”

Satan says, “No way! I like having an engineer
on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”

God says, “Send him back up here, or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah,
right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”

#485

Getting The Word Out

I guess I got my work ethic from both my parents.  Mom was content to just get a job and do it, in a time and place where women working outside the home, and especially in a factory, were unusual.  Once Dad got a reliable factory job, with a regular salary – paid in cash, in an envelope, every week – he often looked for other minor ways to supplement income, whatever it took to support self and family.

Like me, he’d got some secondary education, but no concrete idea of what he wanted to do with his working life.  Out of school, he worked for a year at a flour mill, then a year in the lumber industry.  He trained as a butcher, and refused to eat any fowl for the rest of his life because of how messy they were to clean.

He worked as a grocery store clerk, as a taxi driver, and then as the taxi dispatcher.  He worked as a poolroom attendant.  Not exactly glamorous, but it paid the bills.  As I was growing up, he devised several ways to supplement income.

He organized a weekly Saturday night party/dance at the local Legion, and took it from a dozen drunks who didn’t want to go home to their wives, to a couple of hundred people dancing and being entertained.  He hired the little band and sang and told jokes and made public service announcements.  It gave him and Mom a social night out, and put a few dollars into the family coffers.

He talked a printer into running him some advertising sheets for “SMITTY’S CARWASH”, and put them on posts on Main Street, and down near the beach, in the tourist area.  I could be mowing the lawn or eating lunch, and someone would roll into our driveway.  A rag, a bucket of hot soapy water, and the garden hose, and ten minutes later they had a shiny car.

Speaker

Another “Remember When” thing that he/we did, that no longer occurs because it’s been outlawed almost everywhere, was mobile public broadcasting.  He got a pair of speaker horns, attached to a sheet of plywood. We would wrestle them up, and attach them to a roof rack on a little British, Vauxhall station-wagon.   A feed cord ran from them to an amplifier in the back.  Power was supplied by a charged auto battery via a cord with alligator clips, because cars didn’t have cigarette lighters.

From when I was about 10, to 14, after I helped him set it up, I would ride with him.  He would drive, and speak into a mike.  Do one block, move to the next, and blast out the same announcement.  Up one street, and down the next, then back and forth across the town.

This was a summertime activity only, for when people were outside their non-air-conditioned houses, or the windows and doors were wide open.  There never seemed to be any dearth of clients – the town was holding a Bingo on the lawn beside the Town Hall – the Softball League had a playoff game – the Anglican Church was holding a pancake supper – the local snake-oil salesman was having a sale at his appliance store – somebody had brought Donkey Baseball to the local park – the Ladies’ Auxiliary was touting their Fish and Chips supper at the Masons’ Lodge – the circus was coming to town.

When I entered my teens, one day my Dad suggested that I take up the mike, and broadcast the spiel.  It would have been much easier for him not to have had to drive one-handed, and be able to concentrate on the road, but I was still a shy little nerd with a squeaky voice.  By the time my voice deepened a bit, and I had taken public-speaking training for assertive projection, times had changed.

This was the stone-age equivalent of social media – just without the internet, but people were waking up to the idea that they didn’t have to put up with things like spam noise pollution.  Churches in town were told to stop ringing their bells, because the faithful now had clocks, and knew when to come to worship.

The one church which had already removed its clanging bell, had replaced it with speakers on all four faces of the tower, and used them to blare out the chimes from their new electronic organ, and the entire service.  It was right across the street from a large Bed and Breakfast, as well as a 9-unit Inn.  The guests, and their hosts, strongly protested that they had the expectation of peace and quiet.

My father sold the amp and speakers.  The churches kept their bells quiet and their sermons indoors, and technology continued to create newer and better (?) ways to get the word out.  Now, if we can just pry the word out of the cell-phone-addicts’ ears.   😕

#464

Feel Free To Think

I’m sitting here staring at my own title with ironic amusement.  I know what I want to say.  I just can’t seem to marshal my thoughts to say it clearly and tactfully.  Well, that’s the beauty of electronic editing, I can always change it.  Here goes.

I took the daughter to another meeting of the Free Thinkers Society.  It is possible to be a free-thinker and still be a Christian, although many “Good Christians” and all “Good Catholics” will deny that.  Free Thinkers, atheists, agnostics and *science* don’t wish to be enemies of Christianity, but they are all thinkers, and Catholicism in particular, denies the right to think for yourself.  I commented to my *recovering Catholic* wife, one time, about reading a Bible passage when she was a child, and was astounded to find that Good Catholics are not permitted to read the Bible.  They might *misinterpret* it.  They had to wait for a priest to tell them what it meant.

With the Catholic Church at the top of the list, all Christian denominations present their particular set of views, as a monolithic whole, indivisible, and unquestionable.  The Catholic Church rails against “supermarket religion”, and says that its followers can’t pick and choose what they will and will not believe.  Yet the same church picked and chose among divinely inspired gospels, written at the same time, by the same group of holy people, and found among the same scrolls.  The Church included in the Bible the ones which solidified their position and ignored the ones which did them no good.

The Catholic Church changes its dogma from time period to time period, and from place to place, yet its followers are expected to believe that it remains uniform.  I worked with a young woman who was the child of an English Catholic couple who had moved to Canada.  In England, when a child was taken in to be baptised, any name could be chosen. 

They had picked the name Lynne for her, but the priest demanded to know what saint’s name they had chosen.  He told them he could not baptise a child without a saint’s name.  He told them that they could pick any holy name except Jesus or Madonna.  Under time pressure, they chose Virginia, after the Virgin Mary.  Every third Latino is named Jesus (hay-sues), and the Detroit Madonna is still trying to keep British riff-raff from walking through her back yard.  The British Catholic rules are not observed in Canada, and Canadian Catholic rules are not obeyed in the US, or south of its borders.

It is said that some people believe they’re thinking, when all they are doing is rearranging their prejudices.  A recent column in the local paper would be amusing, if the writer wasn’t so darned serious.  He doesn’t say that he’s a vegetarian, just that he’s a member of Toronto Pig Save.  What he doesn’t say is as telling as what he does say. He wants to prevent pigs from being trucked and slaughtered at a large Toronto plant.  He plays the same language games that the churches play, and, to one who pays attention, sounds just as foolish.  He tries the *Own the Definition Gambit*, but fails, quickly and miserably.

He immediately stakes out the high ground by asking, “Is it moral to slaughter pigs just so we can have bacon?”  He quickly reckons that most Canadians would answer yes, to this.  “Moral” means actions or behavior based on right and wrong.  He would like most people to think his viewpoint is right, but morality in this case is subjective and the majority says he’s wrong.  I’m happy he’s got a hobby trying to save pigs, but he never mentions cows, steers, veal calves, turkeys or chickens.  Why so much heat about hogs, while ignoring the rest?

He writes about people from his group standing on the street, taking pictures and videos of pigs on their way to the slaughter-house.  He points out that the temperature one day was 36C (95F), and the trucks were not air-conditioned.  It would be illegal to leave a dog in a car on such a day – but a dog would be sealed in a car, whereas the pigs were in a trailer with airflow though many openings.  In fact, the pigs would be covered by the top of the trailer, and probably a lot cooler and more comfortable than the idiots out on the sidewalk taking pictures.

He feels the answer to his question above might change if the word pigs were changed to puppies.  Now he’s trying to play the *Define Cute* game.  Someone said that, if baby seals looked like lobsters, no-one would say a word when they were clubbed to death.  He says that pigs are notoriously smart, and have a habit of looking you in the eye – as if to say, “I know what you have in mind for me, and I’m disappointed in your lack of character.” He need have no such worry.  I’m sure even the pigs consider him quite a character, standing out in the sun, peering into passing trucks, in an attempt to change the millennia-old eating habits of the human race.

While I’m sure he wants to keep the pigs from being slaughtered, the main thrust of the article is their handling and transportation.  He complains a couple of times about the lack of air-conditioning.  How would he suggest they be delivered, one at a time, in limos?  That would stop people from eating pork.  It would drive the price as high as a communications satellite, with beef and chicken right behind it.

Do you want to be fed, or do you want to be Nice?  Here’s a nice tofu sandwich while you consider.  Pigs also provide ribs, roasts, stews and sausage.  Ignore that man behind the truck wheel.  Just click your heels twice and return to brunch.  He wrote a nice (there’s that word again.) little feel-good article.  I just don’t think that much thinking went into it.