Capital Idea

House of Parliament

So another year has come and gone, and once again it was time to drive to Ottawa, to visit the grandson and fiancé for a couple of days – a Capital idea.

We hitched up the team, and loaded the buckboard sport-brute.  Grandma and her minions had made another batch of dill pickles.  There were his and hers presents for birthdays that bracket my recent one.  Included were a home-made spelt-flour, chocolate-mayonnaise cake, and special ginger cookies from a local Dutch market.  His always-thinking-ahead mother had even sent Christmas presents, since they won’t be able to get away then.

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Biggest and heaviest among the freight, was a large steel cage for a recently-acquired, white (but not albino) ferret. She is so friendly and playful!!  I took along the digital camera, but the only photos I took were the ferret ones above.  I used it to prove that I had finally mounted on the wall, the rapier that he gave me for Fathers’ Day, two years ago, because I haven’t got around to publishing the Procrastination post yet.  You guys will have to wait another week or two to see that shot.

All in all, a very interesting and satisfying trip. Food of all types, including a Mexican restaurant named ‘Ahora’, where the nachos came with a language lesson.  The word ahora (Spanish a = in/at/to – hora = time) means Now, in English.

We visited two knife shops, and two second-hand bookstores which reminded me of Charles Dickens ‘Old Curiosity Shop’, stuff piled upon stuff in no great amount of order. We went to the Byward Market, a 4-block-square area, right downtown, full of kitschy little shops, eager to separate visitors from their money before the Government got it as taxes.

Just outside, between the Market area and the Houses of Parliament, stands the American Embassy, as big as a Trump hotel, but with all the architectural flair of a shoebox. Just half a block inside the Market, a mere drunken stagger back to the Embassy, is a ‘Gentlemen’s Club.’  Coincidence??  I think not!  Around the corner was a big century-house, turned into another Embassy, not Russian, but with a sign in Cyrillic lettering – Ukraine?  Uzbekistan?  Perhaps the English sign was on another street.

We went back at night to see the Parliament Building all lit up. No-one was passing any stupid legislation, but we saw where they had installed vents to release all the hot air.

I chose a different motel than last year, this one a mile closer to the grandson’s apartment, and $90/night, instead of $130, enabling us to afford to stay two nights instead of one. It was a family-owned independent, and like the Mexican restaurant, came with a lesson, this one a history lesson, rather than language.

Always curious, and looking for blog-fodder, I approached the day-shift male room-clerk. He reminded me of the wife’s ex-doctor. He could throw a pill or a potion or a medical test at a problem, but couldn’t deal with patients.  I believe that the clerk was on the autism spectrum.  He was happy to supply an extra pillow, or an ice-bucket, but not conversation and trivia.  “Qantas. Definitely Qantas.”

I asked, “How old is this place?”
“I don’t know.  I wasn’t here when it was built.”
“Neither was I, but I’m curious.  Have you never asked?”
“It wasn’t on my job application.  I have a customer.  You’ll have to leave.”
“He’s still getting out of his car.  He won’t be here for 5 minutes.  When does the night-shift come on?”
“I have a customer!  Please leave!”

I returned later to talk to the night-clerk, who was both sociable and knowledgeable.

It all started with a mineral hot-spring. The Indians used to soak in it, and believed in its healing properties.  They told the white men, who also used it, and appropriated it.  Around 1900, a white businessman erected a building around it, and turned it into a spa where monied and powerful people came, ‘to take the waters.’

It was quite a way out in the country from little then-Ottawa. In 1928 another businessman built a restaurant nearby, so that the elite had a place to dine after their treatments.  In 1931, when cars were still balky and unreliable, he built a couple of cabins where folks could stay overnight, before returning home in the morning.  Later, he added a couple more, and then another couple.

In 1932 he joined them together into one of the first row motels. In 1956 he added a second, matching row, and in 1973, his son added a third, two-story structure which we stayed in, for a total of 80 units.  The restaurant is still there, although now it’s leased out to chefs whose pretentious menu includes $15 hamburgers and poutine made with French fries cooked in duck fat.

The Federal Government is responsible for the well-being of Indigenous Peoples. Some are brought to Ottawa for medical treatment.  This now includes tests, drugs, surgery and physiotherapy, but many of them still believe in the healing powers of the Manitou’s hot springs.  When we were there, there were 16 units housing Cree and Inuit from as far away as Nunavut, in the Northwest Territories.

Even including an hour each way in the worst traffic in Canada, in Toronto, it was well worth the trip, which totalled 1200 Km/825 Mi. over three days. The grandson who does not own a car, and his magic smart-phone, skillfully guided us around the town.  I’m sure we’ll go again next fall, if not before.

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Killing Brain Cells

….uh, whuh wuz I talkin’ about?

Oh yeah,….I left the house today!  Big Mistake!

I was reminded again (and again, and again) why I am the curmudgeonly loner I am.  Present erudite blogosphere company excepted, the rest of humanity is a seething mass of dumbf**ks, fighting to get to the bottom of the gene pool.  Perhaps I should cut them a little slack, through poor planning, I caused some of my own problem.

I had to go to the dentist today.  Relax!  My fangs are still sharp.  I just needed a little cleaning so that I don’t cause an infection when I bite someone.  The appointment wasn’t until 2 PM.  I had a bit of shopping to do at a couple of stores.  I should have sat and read the paper, and shopped after the dentist, but I was a bit antsy.  Assuming that there would be the inevitable delays at both stores, I left the house just before one.  Bad move!

Apparently Murphy was taking a holiday.  I walked into Eurofoods, took number 28 from the bingo machine…and the clerk said, “Number 28.”  Got some sliced ham and sliced Havarti cheese for the wife’s lunch, walked over to an empty checkout, and was out of the store in three minutes.

I drove across the street to the grocery store.  I should have been suspicious.  I got a parking spot right up front without the handicap sticker.  When I went inside, I thought maybe somebody was giving away free money on television.  I could have bowled down almost any aisle.  I got my stuff and got in line behind one woman, with three items.  Paid for my junk and walked to the car….and it’s 1:10.  The dentist is five minutes away.  What am I going to do for three-quarters of an hour?

Not anticipating a long wait, I didn’t bring a newspaper along.  I could just feel the brain-power draining.  By the time I left, I’m sure I was down 50 IQ points.  I read a copy of People magazine.  I should have read the National Geographic under it.  I joke about my “Seinfeld” blogs being about *nothing.*  This piece of tripe was 112 pages about even less.  People whose names I didn’t know.  People whose names I don’t want to know.  There’s a soap actor named Texas Battle!?  Just call him Alamo and get it over with.

Miley Cyrus and Elle Fanning, kids younger than BrainRants’ wristwatch, with more followers and more money than God.  People wore clothing, and said things.  Wow!  That goes on outside my door every day.  Housewives Of New Jersey??!  Four pages about *celebrities* whose only claim to fame is fewer brains and even less talent than the Kardashians.

Then I got called in for my cleaning.  Does every dentist’s office in North America have that TV set suspended over your head like Damocles’ Sword?  And then the tech hunches over you to work, and you can’t see half of it anyway.  She asked me if I wanted to change the channel.  I wanted to turn it off, but she said she could only turn it down.

I watched the Dr. Oz show, and if I never see it again, it will be three days too soon.  He had on Jenny McCarthy.  I said I’d watch the stripper slut.  The cleaner looked up and said, “Isn’t she a porn star too?”  I have no knowledge about that.  That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

A single mother, (what a surprise.) she spoke of her autistic young son.  He was having seizures.  She had heard of a group of Mormon women who would come to your house, if you had enough money and power, and pray the illness away.  She called.  They came.  They prayed.  The seizures stopped.  Seems miraculous, but straightforward.

Then she began discussing her health, and the health of her son with Doc Ooze Oz.  She told of having her son tested, and finding high levels of arsenic.  She spoke of changing their diet and cleansing the bodies, but she still gave credit for the son’s magical recovery to the mumbo-jumbo Mormon moms.  I think that, like many in the entertainment field, she believes too strongly in too many things.  She startled even the good Doctor, by claiming she takes 35 to 40 Vitamin pills a day.

Next up was a mother of two, who drinks 9 or 10 cups of coffee a day.  She says that when she goes to bed, she can’t fall asleep for an hour or two, and always feels tired the next day, so she drinks the coffee to keep her going.  Here’s a suggestion.  Drop the coffee. Get to sleep sooner.  Wake up rested.  Don’t need the coffee.  And for my next trick, I’ll invent cold fusion.  It’s not rocket surgery.

So what did Dr. Oz recommend?  Well, he told her to cut out the coffee.  Okay so far.  And replace it with an Energy Drink, like Red Bull or Five Hour.  Are you crazy Doc?  Why don’t you just admit that you’re being bribed?  One cup of regular coffee has about 63 mg. of caffeine.  One serving of energy drink can contain up to 450 mg. of caffeine, plus high levels of sugar for some nice weight gain.  One energy drink equals more than 7 cups of coffee.  How is she going to sleep?  How will her husband sleep, with her vibrating in the bed beside him?  How do you sleep after handing out advice like this?  And the all-women audience clapped and cheered.  Sheep!  Unthinking sheep, I tell you.

I was so happy when my cleaning was finished, and I could get away from one of the worst examples of why I don’t watch day-time TV.