Giving Thanx For Comedy

Since so many people like a drumstick at Thanksgiving, geneticists developed a six-legged turkey.  No-one knows what it tastes like because they can’t catch one.

A collection of quotes about Thanksgiving, from people you may know.

I celebrated Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way.  I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had a big feast, and then I killed them all and took their land.
Jon Stewart

Thanksgiving is an emotional time.  People travel thousands of miles to be with people they see only once a year – and then discover that once a year is way too often.
Johnny Carson

Cooking tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil – and throw them out.
Nicole Hollander

Thanksgiving, man, not a good day to be my pants.
Kevin James

I took me three weeks to stuff the turkey. I stuffed it through the beak.
Phyllis Diller

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.
Erma Bombeck

The Thanksgiving tradition is, we overeat. ‘Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?’ ‘But we do that every day!’ ‘Oh. What if we eat a lot with people that annoy the hell out of us?
Jim Gaffigan

If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkey. There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Someone needs to tell the turkey, man, just be yourself.
Mitch Hedberg

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.
Jim Davis

If you want to save a species, simply decide to eat it. Then it will be managed—like chickens, like turkeys, like deer, like Canadian geese.
Ted Nugent

Most turkeys taste better the day after; my mother’s tasted better the day before.
Rita Rudner

Last Thanksgiving I shot my own turkey. It was fun. That shotgun going, Blam!  Everybody at the supermarket just staring. Why track them when I know where they are?
Kenny Rogerson

We’re having something different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we’re having a swan. You get more stuffing.
George Carlin

Even though we’re a week and a half away from Thanksgiving, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Richard Roeper

You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.
Jay Leno

If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Carl Sagan

I got to go home for Thanksgiving and sit at the adults’ table. That’s ’cause, you know, somebody had to die for me to move up a plate.
Andre Kelley

Thanksgiving is America’s national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.
Michael Dresser

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Irv Kupcinet

I’m from Canada, so Thanksgiving to me is just another Thursday with more food. And I’m thankful for that!
Howie Mandel

Thanksgiving is a magical time of year when families across the country join together to raise obesity statistics.
Stephen Colbert

Here in my city, the Canadian Thanksgiving becomes the first weekend of a 9-day Oktoberfest, where over-drinking and overeating go hand-in-hand, like Hansel and Gretel.  I am thankful that I don’t have to drive through that insanity anymore.  If you’ve seen one drunk guy with bare legs, in leather shorts – you’ve seen one too many.

 

Flash Fiction #235

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

How do you get to the K-W Oktoberfest Parade??!
Well, I wouldn’t start from here.

Summer road construction diversions were completed in time for the autumn detours.

Just go around the big COVID Obstruction, then straight through the Bicycle Virtue-Signalling Snafu, where 5000 traffic cones have produced cycling lanes, but reduced miles of four-lane major streets to two-lane parking lots.

Seating in beer tents will be every third chair, and special Pandemic masks, with little holes to drink beer through straws will be provided.

Extra test kits, and extra hospital staff, will be on hand.  Have fun, but stay safe.  👿

***

I published a post some years ago, https://archonsden.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/you-cant-get-there-from-here/ with the above title, describing traffic problems on local streets, which were laid out by cattle, rather than surveyors.  The City has gotten bigger, but so have the traffic problems.

Last year, we had 700,000 people attend Oktoberfest in 9 days.  At this time, the 2020 Oktoberfest is still a go. with – what is hoped are – sufficient safeguards.  There will be no parade, and fest-halls will not be as crowded as elevators.  The Oktoberfest Committee seem to be hoping that COVID – rather than a chunk of the population – will be dead by Canadian Thanksgiving, or a vaccine available.

My home is out on the West side of town, so that prevailing winds should blow any infection away from me.  I’ve installed HEPA filters on the air intakes, and won’t be leaving the house for over a week.  😆

***

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

Have You Ever Called The Police?

BC Mountie

In the wake of the George Floyd, Black Man Death By Minnesota Cop fiasco, MSN’s daily poll asked
Have you ever called the police?

Usually, they show up just when you don’t want them.  When it happens to someone else, we revel in the schadenfreude.  I was recently held up at a major intersection by a driver who – finally – made an illegal left turn…. right in front of a cop car.

The only time I ever called the police was the night that I was a little late for my Security Guard shift at a downtown hotel.  I was allowed to park free in the hotel’s parking garage, and keeping an eye on its contents was part of my job.

Around 2 AM, I noticed a teenage boy wandering among the cars, and went out to accost him.  He quickly disappeared.  I went to my car to get my lunch and found that, in my haste, I was the only one who forgot to lock my car.  In a garage full of a hundred Cadillacs, BMWs, and Mercedes, he got into my little Volkswagen and lifted a cheap backpack, a towel, my lunch, two pocket books and a bag of hard candies.

With no hope of getting them back, I called the station to give a description and incident report.  Two hours later, a him-and-her cruiser team showed up to take a statement, and I was offered a beer from a six-pack they had on the front floor with them.

How comfortable do you feel when in the presence of police officers?
Very comfortable
Somewhat comfortable
Somewhat uncomfortable
Very uncomfortable
I don’t know

Somewhere between Somewhat, and Very Comfortable.  I begin with ‘White Man’s Privilege’.  I am far less likely to have a bad interaction, than members of many other groups.  I have been exposed to members of police forces at various levels, all my life.  I have seen them perform stupid, questionable, dangerous, and illegal acts (see six-pack, above).  I am not impressed.  They put on their egotistic persona one leg at a time, the same as I do.

My own self-confidence borders on arrogance, but that is a fine line that should not be crossed.  Police forces, and most individual officers – including the females – run on testosterone.  They like to feel that they are the alpha, but are realistic enough to accept that there are those above and outside them.  I can dismiss or discount them, but I’d better not disrespect.

It is best to sternly treat them as a schoolmarm would deal with a ten-year-old bully.  EVERYTHING is illegal.  If they think that they have been insulted, they have ways to make even an innocent man guilty.

When I worked as a Security Guard, I was accepted as one of the pack – a wolf cub – but one of them, someone in a uniform, trying to keep order.  Police don’t necessarily want to enforce the law.  They just want social peace and quiet.

Have you ever been stopped by the police?
Yes
No
I don’t know

I would be interested to meet the hermit who has never been stopped by the police, at least once in their life.  Just before I turned 13, a group of us yobs were returning from the beach bowling alley, down at the south edge of town, after it closed at 1 AM on a warm August night.  A half-block from the main street, there was a lane – an alley – which ran behind the stores, for deliveries.  The group had come to a stop while we discussed something.  I noticed headlights coming up the street behind us.  They got brighter, but they didn’t pass.

I turned, to see the local police cruiser nestling up to the group.  I threw a startled look, and took off running full-tilt up the alley.  Wellll….  Barney lit ‘em up – lights and siren, in hot pursuit.  If I had wanted to ‘escape,’ there were walkways.  I gave him room on one side and continued up the lane.  The cruiser screamed past, he cut me off…. and I calmly walked over to the car.

He tumbled out, and immediately demanded;
Why did you run??!
Because I can.
Where are you coming from?
The bowling alley.
What were you doing?
I just stared at him – fast food, girls, entertainment, swimming.
Well, why did you run??!
Exercise?  Youthful exuberance?
Where are you going?
Home.
Well, you make sure that you go straight home, (which he can’t legally demand) and don’t let me catch you (doing what?) again!

I have been waved over into several RIDE Program checkpoints, both in a car, and on my motorcycle, during the Oktoberfest drunken craziness week.
I was stopped while driving the daughter back from a dog breeder, because she was cuddling her adopted puppy on her chest/shoulder.  The patrolman marched up to the car, realized that she was holding a dog, and waved us on.  If you’re in an accident, it’s acceptable to kill a pet – but children must be restrained in approved car seats.  My Weekend Weak-End

I was stopped at 1:30 AM – in August – for going too fast in a school zone.  He was right, but he was also bored, and wanted to flex his legal muscle.  I didn’t get a speeding ticket, but a $30 fine for not having the most recent proof of insurance in the car.

I was stopped, driving three co-workers home after a 4PM to 1:30 AM shift at a railway warehouse on the edge of town.  We just reached the end of the driveway, when a cruiser went past to the right.  I turned left – in-town – but soon had flashing lights behind me.
What are you guys doing?
Going home after work at XXX Transport.
I didn’t know anybody worked out here on Saturday.
(Then you don’t know your patrol area well)
But officer, this is the end of a Friday night shift.
Oh…. yeah.  Okay, away you go.

The site manager, and the shipper, both drove past while we were detained, after stopping to lock the gate, and wanted to know what and why on Monday.

I am bewildered by the existence of an “I Don’t Know” option at the end of the second and third questions.  If you’ve been pulled over, or had to call the police, wouldn’t you know??  Wouldn’t it be exciting enough to be memorable??!

Martha, that time we had a home invasion, and those three guys with guns broke into the house, what did we do?  Did we go on the Dr. Phil Show?   🙄

The Aftermath

Pot Smoker

Come for the education. Stay for the drunken orgy.
Saint Patrick’s Day celebration at a local University – by the numbers.

10:30 AM – First reveller taken to hospital

11:00 AM – First keg party – with 300 students – busted.

10 busloads of out-of-town Uni students – 4 from prestigious Brock University, then parked abandoned in the University-area Starbucks parking lot.  I’ll bet they were thrilled

42 Peel Regional Police sent up to assist a small army of Waterloo Regional Police – because Brock Uni, and one other, are in Peel Region.

47 ambulance calls by 6:00 PM

25 trips to the hospital by paramedics with partygoers,
5 of them in serious/critical condition – all alcohol-caused.

52 students treated at Grand River Hospital, closest to the bash. Both of Kitchener’s hospitals had extra staff on Saturday to prepare for a possible influx of drunken students, and injuries due to falls.

100 extra security officers on duty at Wilfrid Laurier U. buildings

40 sober students to volunteer for the Sunday morning cleanup

2 large dump trucks, to block off each end of a two block stretch of student housing, for safety, because the partiers owned the street.

400 beer cans/bottles collected as of 2:00 PM, by an under-employed man with a shopping cart full of garbage bags, for their 10cents/ea refund. He was hoping to get $99, to take his girlfriend to Niagara Falls for an overnight stay.  He regularly cruises the student housing, and takes discarded beer cans and bottles out of blue recycling bins.  St. Patrick’s is like Christmas to him.  Two non-partying students gave him some hot food, and an alpaca sweater.

27 students on one house front porch, when the railing snapped. One girl received bruises, but was not included in the ambulance-run statistics.

250 cases of water and 5000 Timbits (donut balls) were handed out by Red Frogs, an international student support group. Slate Church also brought in water and Timbits.

20,000 – The estimated crowd within the two-block stretch. Police say that it easily eclipses last year’s 15,000.

248 police calls in a 12-hour period
619 charges laid
435 were alcohol-related
18 were Criminal Code, including one guy waving a knife
22,400 final ‘official’ Police estimate of the crowd – but you know the police, anything over a dozen doughnuts, and they lose track.  They counted all the legs, and divided by two.

Ezra Party

Teens coming from universities in Toronto, London and Guelph were stopped on area roads, and charged with speeding, drug possession, drunk driving, and other liquor offenses. Students hung off balconies, climbed trees, and onto roofs.  Several arrests were made for public intoxication, assault and sexual assault.

One female Laurier student interviewed, said, “It’s not that much fun unless you’re drunk. I had a bad day until I got drunk.”  She said that some young men were playing a game to see how many young women they could kiss.  She was asked for a kiss, but declined, and fortunately, wasn’t sexually assaulted.

Several ‘civilians’ stopped by, to walk the gauntlet and view the happening.  One couple said that they saw several young females drunk and passed out on front lawns.  Young men have raging hormones, and a generally poor opinion of females who put themselves in this situation. Drunken young men have trouble controlling their raging hormones, and passing up a free chance at winning the intercourse lottery.  It is fortunate that there weren’t more sex assaults.

Forgetting that Saturday was St. Paddy’s Day, the wife and I drove through Waterloo’s main intersection at 1:00 PM. Luckily we were a mile south of the big party, but still…. 5 green-adorned, very intoxicated young men spilled out of a bar and staggered up the main drag, each clutching an open beer.  Very much a No-No in Ontario, they probably got away with it because every cop was at the melee.  They all leaned against each other like teepee support poles.  If one of them had tripped, they’d have all wound up in a pile.

And a good time was had by – some. For a lot of others, dealing with this debauched drunken Bacchanalia was a lot of work and expense.  Now we have the K-W Oktoberfest to look forward to in six months.  We get the same kind of numbers, but they’re spread out over 10 days.  Anybody wanna come to town, and PARTAY??   😯

WOW #16

Beer Can

The Word Of the Week, if you can remember it when you sober up, is

Cannikin

Definitions for cannikin

a small can or drinking cup.
a small wooden bucket.

Origin of cannikin

Cannikin comes from Middle Dutch cannekijn, Dutch kanneken “small can.” The cann-, kann- element comes Middle Dutch kanne, Dutch kan, and is closely related to German Kanne, Old Norse kanna, Old English canne, and English can, all from Germanic kanna meaning “tankard, container, can.” It is possible that this Germanic word is a borrowing from Latin canna “reed, reed pipe, flute, cane,” which itself has a very long history going back through Greek kánna “reed, cane” to Semitic, e.g. Assyrian qanū “reed.” Nouns ending in the diminutive suffix -kin are not common in English, and most of those (e.g., catkin, gherkin, firkin, manikin) are of Dutch origin and date from the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries. Dutch -kin is related to German -chen, as in Liebchen “sweetheart” or Häuschen “little house, cottage.” Cannikin entered English in the mid-16th century.

Now that you’ve learned more English word-history than you really wanted, this post is about the different ways that Americans and Canadians buy beer, and go about getting drunk, soused, high, pissed, lit….etc., etc. English has a seeming infinity of words to describe intoxication,

If a Canadian, or at least one from Ontario, wants to buy beer, he buys a case – 24 beer at a time, and usually in bottles. Based on very limited personal research, mostly in New York State, Florida, Ohio and Michigan, I find that most Americans don’t buy beer by the case.  Even when they purchase 24 at a time, they get them in 4 sissysix-packs.  Damned amateurs, no real commitment.  At least most of them don’t drink it with a straw.

Canned beer generally outsells bottled. They don’t break when you drunkenly accidently drop one at a tail-gate party or Barbecue, and they won’t flatten your ATV’s tires later, when you fling them out your pickup’s windows.  When you’re fishing and drinking, be kind to the environment.  Don’t just toss the empties out of the boat.  Fill them with water, and sink them to the bottom.

Mind your Ps and Qs.  The British still drink beer by the 20 oz. pints and 40 oz.quarts.  It’s getting better, but quarts don’t get warm while you drink them, because much of the beer they serve is still unrefrigerated.  If any of you Americans want to see how beer is really drunk (and the patrons are really drunk, too) c’mon up to Kitchener during our Oktoberfest, and watch it guzzled from one-liter (wimpy 32 oz.American quart) steins.  The beer has a head tonight.  You’ll have a head tomorrow.

Hans Haus

Invasion Force

SDC10881

Look out USA, you’re under assault. The Meet-The-Blogger Tour went very well last year, beginning with Cordelia’s Mom, in Buffalo. She even invited us back. This year, the son booked a week of holidays early in October, and we’re going to spend a couple of days getting to know Buffalo, and CM, better.

We’ll tell the border guards that we’re jelly-bean salesmen, on our way to a sales conference. One look at our waistlines, and they’ll probably tell us to stop sampling the merchandise.

SDC10688        SDC10692

Last year, CM sent us home with some ‘Buffalo’ merchandise, so I asked her if there were any Kitchener-area items that we could bring with us. I was thinking of Oktoberfest sausage, sauerkraut and sweet German mustard, but none of those agree with her digestion.

Football

There is a penalty to be paid for not having any interest in sports. We had planned this trip for the weekend of Oct. 3rd and 4th. I even told CM that we would be staying at a Red Roof Inn a bit closer than the one we used last year. Two weeks before launch date, I called to confirm a room, and found that high school/college/NFL football is in full swing.

I dialled 1-800-rent-me-a-room RedRoof, and the booking clerk told me that all three of the Buffalo area inns were fully booked. She managed to find me a room out in Batavia. I thought it was a further 30/35 mile drive, but on checking, I realize it’s almost 50. The clerk, who claims to live just over in Dayton, Ohio, pronounced it batt-uh-VEE-uh. There’s no sense trying Super 8, or Scottish Inns. If Red Roof is full, they’re all full.

I should have remembered. Years ago, on our way home from Charleston, SC, in October, I missed a turnoff and a Red Roof tucked away off the Interstate, just west of Pittsburgh. “Oh well, we’ll just go up to the next exit and pay a bit more.” We drove another 7 hours, through Pennsylvania and into New York. I must have stopped at 40 hotels/motels, before we got one of the last two rooms in a motel just west of Buffalo that wasn’t even officially open, at 1:30 in the morning.

I jokingly asked if CM had any suggestions for two unchaperoned males. She apparently has no knowledge of strip clubs or bars, but sent me links to Niagara Falls, the Buffalo zoo, and the Art Museum. Larry Lowbrow and his kid, Bart, were looking for something more like large bookstores, both new and used. We could get lost for a day at a decent mall, but none of us could find a Buffalo equivalent to Detroit’s Gibraltar Trade Center.

I had hoped to meet Cordelia, the inspiration who got CM into the blogosphere, but she’s transitioning from self-employed to a cube-drone, and won’t be available, dashing my hope for a father/son/mother/daughter blogger lunch. CM has threatened promised to try to bring along one of her other gorgeous, intelligent daughters. All I have to offer is a lumpen and surly son. She thought about asking her husband to join us, but apparently he’s the reason she doesn’t find me all that much of a Grumpy Old Dude.

CM has located a great restaurant for our lunch meeting, this year Italian, instead of last year’s Greek. If the border guards possess a bit of humor and pity, food and drink will be consumed, pictures will be taken for later online display, much conversation, socialization and frivolity will ensue, and themes for future blogs, both CM’s and mine, will occur.

SDC10882

Last year, the wife and I took along a stuffed lamb, for identification. CM should recognize me, if not son Shimoniac. Since he is big enough to be known as The Bear, I felt we could take along the wife’s McDonalds Coca-Cola Bear, who is so cool that he has his own stuffed teddy bear. 😎

If this blogsite is quiet for a couple of days, you’ll know we’re in jail Buffalo….BattuhVEEuh??!

On Top Of The World

Hans Haus

Hi!  This is Archon, your friendly tour guide/travel agent.  If you’ve been reading my stuff long enough, you’ll know that you’re all invited to Oktoberfest, Kitchener’s beer-bash bacchanalia, beginning Oct. 9, 2015.  That’s a long way off though.  If the Eastern section of the U. S. is accessible to you, and you have some free time and are looking for somewhere scenic to go this summer, I have a suggestion for you.

Skyline map

SKYLINE DRIVE 

Skyline trail

Skyline Drive is a part of the Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia.  It is a glorious 105-mile drive along the tops of the mountains.  There is a reasonable day-trip fee to enter the park.  The Drive is a twisty little two-lane paved road that dodges around this side of this mountain, and then swings around that side of that mountain.  The speed limit is 30 MPH, and nobody rushes it.  The views are magnificent.

Skyline panorama

We took the trip several years ago.  Like the Interstates, once you’re on, you’re committed.  There are only three access roads, one at each end, and one about halfway.  There are several pull-off places where you can park and enjoy the views – a couple with a westerly view, and a couple facing east.

Skyline outlook

At one of the outlook spots, I wandered over to the other side of the road, wondering if I could see any of the opposite vista through the trees.  I encountered several graves, with monument stones set flat to the earth.  I briefly wondered what money or political pull it took to be buried in a National Park.  A glance at the burial dates – late 19th/early 20th century – revealed that these were the resting places of Mountain Folk, people who had lived here, hunted and fished, lived and died, and were buried as close to their God as they could get, long before the Government created this Park.

Skyline Cabin

If you want to do more than a day’s drive-through, there are a couple of lodges, and a couple of sets of cabins that you can rent.  They are extremely popular, so you might have to reserve for next year, or even beyond.

Stony Man

At about the ¾ mark, heading south, is Stony Man Mountain, featured in a set of books I used to read.  I’m glad those arrows hang in midair, or I might have missed it.  Finally pulling off the Drive, we headed west to drive back north up the valley between the two chains of mountains.  We decided that we would pull in somewhere to get food and drink.  I’ve often heard that you should never eat at a place called “Mom’s.”  Apparently many others had also heard this admonition.  Mom’s was closed and boarded up.  The Cracker Barrel in the next town was an acceptable alternative.

Moms 1

Moms 2

We came down from the north, and stayed in Front Royal VA, a small city featured in another series of my books. You can go from high to low, because there are also several caves and caverns in the area, that can be toured.  Just south of Front Royal, near the park access road, is Skyline Caverns.

Skyline caverns

It’s a 2.1 mile underground walk in an almost figure-eight, except the cross point doesn’t touch.  Long before it was opened up, a portion of the roof collapsed, creating a vacuum, and crystals found nowhere else on earth.

Skyline crystals

Among several other caves in the area is Luray Caverns.  This is a 2.2 mile stroll in a helix.  At one point along the edge of a large grotto, there are three levels of the path, 10/12 feet above each other.  An organ was hauled down and assembled, and a caver with perfect pitch wandered the place for days, tapping stalactites with a mallet to hear the note each gave off.  Then little rubber hammers with actuators were attached, and connected to the organ.  Nowadays they have been disconnected to prevent damage, and what you hear is a recording of the final performance, still, it’s awesome.

Luray organ

I’d never heard of Skyline Drive until my plant supervisor told me about it.  I’m not so much interested in any compensation from these sites or the area tourist bureau.  I will be more pleased if only one or two of my readers are the back-to-Earth types who can enjoy what we have experienced.  Happy holidaying!  😀

#456

Location, Location, Location!

I live in the best place in the world!!  You may love the place you were born, or the place you’re living now.  You may hate either, or both.  Doesn’t matter!  I live in the best place in the world.  There is no perfect place, but mine is the best compromise.  I live in the center of Southern Ontario, Canada.

I live within an hour’s drive of three of the nicest of the Great lakes, hundreds of miles of white sand beaches and cool (but not cold) water.  Some, near the bigger cities can be contaminated, but if you’re willing to drive a bit, it’s worth the trip.  All the tourist traps and the natural magnificence of Niagara Falls are but an afternoon’s trip away.

If you don’t like the big lakes and the big crowds, there are dozens of little lakes where you can put up a cottage and go fishing.  They’re a bit reedier, muddier or rockier, but often so small they’re like a warm jet-spa.

The land ranges from pool-table-flat, to hills tall enough to ski on in the winter and keep the eyes interested in the summer.  Mountains are magnificent, but they block out the sky.  The land is covered with some of the most fertile soil in the world.  Sadly, urban sprawl is eating a lot of it up, but a huge selection of meat and vegetables are locally grown, and fairly cheaply.

My city called itself “The Biggest Small Town in the World”, almost 50 years ago when I arrived.  It’s grown a lot, but it still has a small town feel.  It’s big enough to be interesting, without being so big it’s dehumanizing.  We have a concert hall, with a local symphony.  Acts like Roger Whittaker, Brad Paisley, Jeff Dunham, Cats and Rent have come to town.  If you want more than that, Toronto is only an hour’s drive away.

We have two Universities and a widely renowned Community College.  The Kids Museum morphed into themuseum (allonewordnocapital), still with stuff to interest kids, but with added paintings and sculpture, plus defunct equipment telling the tale of vanishing local manufacturing.  The house where J. M. Schneider, who founded the meat packing business lived, is preserved, and can be toured.  Doon Pioneer Village, on the outskirts, used to highlight the 1870s, Mennonite heritage, but has moved up 50 years, and now showcases life in the early 20th century as Doon Heritage Crossroads.

The weather too is varied enough to be interesting, but almost never vicious.  We have four distinct seasons.  Johnny Carson was dismayed when he moved from New York to Los Angeles.  He found they only had two seasons out west, wildfire and mudslide.  When the temps went from warm to warmer, the city crews took in the green plastic plants, and put out the brown plastic plants.

In the summer, our temperature usually ranges from mid-70s F. to high-80s F., with just enough humidity in the air to be comfortable.  Places like Arizona are great for people with asthma and other breathing problems, but are so dry the skin flakes off your face, as readings soar over 100 F.  Places like Georgia have slightly lower temps, but moisture levels so high, even healthy folk have trouble drawing a breath.

In the winter, readings usually hover about 10 degrees below freezing, not like western Canada, where it can plunge to minus 30 or 40, and the wind whistling across the prairies can make it feel like -50 or worse.  It can get hot in the summer, and cold and snowy in the winter, but not for long.  The area is so unexciting that even the weather gets bored, and moves on.

We generally get just enough rain in the warm months to feed the crops, not cascading off the mountains and washing us into North Dakota.  Kitchener is near enough to the Great Lakes that they moderate our temperatures, but far enough away that we are not inundated with snow.  We get enough to provide spring watering for farmers but not so much that we have to exit buildings from second, or third, floor windows.

We are not subject to monsoons, or tsunamis.  The tail end of an occasional hurricane blows this far north and inland, like last fall’s Superstorm, but rarely causes much damage.  We do experience the infrequent tornado.  I once drove within a quarter-mile of one, on my way to visit my parents.  It snapped a few tree branches off and swirled a couple of wheat fields, but wasn’t at all like the half-mile-wide, twenty-mile-long swaths that march though Kansas.

We get the occasional temblor from Montreal, or Ohio, if they’re fracking for natural gas.  Just enough to rattle dishes, but no real earthquakes of our own.

We manage to find all kinds of things to bitch about area politics and politicians, because it’s a game we don’t want to miss.  Compared to other spots on the globe, local politics is bland and boring.  We don’t have oppressive regimes like Cuba, Iran, North Korea or China.  We are caught at the edge of the World meltdown, but our Pols still guide us better than the 23-party, can’t-get-a-decision-made, coalition in Italy, or the fiscal ineptitude of Ireland or Greece.

We escape the polarization of the U.S.A., probably because most far-out opinions are not expressed, and are ignored, not fought about, when they are.  While we appreciate America being the world’s policeman, our tiny, under-supplied Army leaves us money to provide health care for our citizens.  This is socialism, not Communism.  If it’s good enough for the Swedes, it’s good enough for us.

Religiously and morally, it’s pretty much live and let live.  Jews, Muslims, Christians and Shintoists all live in the same communities.  No-one wants to force their beliefs onto others or drive non-believers from town.  Of course, we all hate the Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially when they ignore the Do Not Ring Bell sign early Saturday morning, when we’re trying to sleep off Friday night.

Abortion and gay marriage are both permitted, although it’s more like just ignored.  There are those who are disturbed by both, but there are others, just as numerous, for whom the removal would be just as disturbing.

All in all, I live in Goldilocks-land, not too hot, not too cold, not too bland, not too exciting, a bit of everything, but not too much of anything.  Come and visit us when you can.  Keep Ontario green; bring money.

I Thought About Thinking

On Sunday, Oct. 20, I took the son and daughter, and we headed to downtown Kitchener for the monthly Free Thinkers luncheon.  This was the last day of Oktoberfest, so most of the tourist drunkaholics were either on their way home, or still in holding cells.

The first thing I learned about hotels on that first trip to Detroit was that they change names all the time.  We arose the next morning and went looking for the big hotel where the knife show was.  I drove past the place four times, from each direction, before pulling into a gas station, and asking for directions.  “Oh, it’s that one right over there.  They just got bought by a different chain last month.”

Thirty years old, our Kitchener Hotel (and Convention Center) is on its 6th name, and that one is just a placeholder till they complete renovations and hang out yet another shingle.  During my period of   un(der)employment, 25 years ago, I worked as a security guard there for a year.  Back before either the wife or daughter became mobility-impaired, I didn’t notice its access shortcomings.

The front entrance has a drive-through area, and elevators are just inside.  However, if you go up the small hill, to get to the parking structure entrance off the side street, that level brings you to a spot where you must either climb up a stairway, to a door which is often locked, or down a stairway, out and down a step, across an alley, and back up 8 steps.  Not really any more accessible than the current choice.

As the group started arriving at the room we had been promised, we found that the booking clerk hadn’t told the floor manager that we were coming.  Already busy with hotel guests and walk-ins, he had to quickly unlock the room, get tables and chairs arranged, brew and deliver coffee, provide sugar, creamers, cups, spoons, water pitchers, glasses, etc.  Not a propitious beginning.

No a-la-carte was available.  $10 got you a self-serve Continental Breakfast of three cold cereals, juice and fruit.  $12.50 also let you go to the hot(?) table with bacon, sausage, potato patties, scrambled eggs with cheese, oatmeal, and toast.  There was a little pizza-oven type toaster.  Feed bread in, let it wend its merry way, and it slid out the bottom, almost-brown.  I put my two pieces back in for a second run to darken it, and stepped over to get some eggs.  When I got back, some hotel guest had taken my toast.

One of the members is an unmarried young male trucker.  He’s eaten in a lot of establishments.  He complained of a cold breakfast at another restaurant, and the manager ripped up his bill.  When he complained to this maitre d’, the man held his hand over the lukewarm food, insisted that it wasn’t cold and claimed that no-one else had complained.

One table for eight was full when we arrived, so we sat at another.  Since we’re not members, when the rest arrived, they all sat at different tables, and talked among themselves.  Finally, toward the end, we convinced a couple of folk to join us.  Both the group, and the son, are willing to give it one more chance.

I recently published some uncomplimentary “religious thoughts.”  This was probably, at least in part, a reaction to some of the, “We don’t care about the laws, or your rights!  We’re Good Christians!” stories I heard at the meeting.

The Atheist parents of a GRADE THREE girl in Niagara Falls, not only would not sign the release form for her to be given a Gideons’ Bible, they refused to allow her to hand them out to the rest of her class.  The school called them in for a meeting, and the teacher, the principal, and a rep from the local school board interrogated them, as to why not.

They submitted a request that this school district cease passing out Bibles, to the exclusion of any other belief system, and, of course, were turned down.  They took it to mediation, and the government official ruled that the board either had to cease distributing Bibles, or allow other printed matter to be handed out.

The Board refused to stop the supply of Bibles.  With the help of the Humanist Association, they delivered a pile of Good Without God pamphlets, but the board refused to distribute them.  They have now instituted a lawsuit to force the board to obey, one way or the other.

A Humanist woman in the city of Peterborough, requested that the council not begin each session with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Having filed her form, she contacted our local chapter president, and asked if she should proceed through mediation, or legal arbitration.  His answer was that, she might win at mediation, but, like above, it didn’t set a legal precedent.

She emailed him back the next day, saying that the matter was taken out of her hands when the city lawyer filed for arbitration.  My cynical old (lack of) soul says that, in both cases, the bureaucrats know what the law is, and what the final result will be, but are holding out till the last minute to look good to the Christian majority.

Like the removal of the Lord’s Prayer (only) from schools, because they wouldn’t play nicely with others, and share, they’ll be able to point to the Godless government and the Atheists, and say, “It’s all their fault.  We were forced into it.”

I Get The Picture

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About the middle of August, we got two violent windstorms within a week.  Not hurricane   quality like KayJai received, but nasty.  The second, especially, had downdraft winds which snapped branches and trees in LadyRyl’s neighborhood.  These shots are of a 100-year-old willow, beside the creek, in front of her complex.

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A couple of blocks away, this big maple beside the road was snapped off about 8 feet up.  After cutting it up for giveaway firewood, the artistic homeowner turned the remains into an eagle.

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When I went to pick up Granma LadyBug, after her nose surgery, I spotted this sign….Pick her up??  Or have a beer and pizza??  I’d like to claim that I did the honorable thing, but the truth is, I’m too broke to be naughty.

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LadyRyl took a couple of shots of the knapped agate knife she bought at the pow-wow.  Not SDC10469much difference, but one is the front, and the other, of course, is the back.

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At the same pow-wow, the grandson bought a cool smudge fan to be used to move sage-smoke, or incense around – no hemp!  Can’t even spell hemp!

The only Segway owner/rider in the Region, and possibly all of Southern Ontario, apparently lives near enough that he shops at EuroFood, my favorite little deli.  Since he was only going to be inside “for just a couple of minutes”, he left the key in it.  If a Segway key is like the key for the daughter’s power wheelchair, it’s only a stereo-cord plug.  You could ride away with it while listening to music on your headphones.

Didn’t matter!  Apparently two teenage boys just lifted it up and carried it off.  Two words, fool – Bike! Lock!  I was going to scan in the newspaper picture of him in his gay little bicycle helmet, but if you want a photo of a clueless guy looking lost, my gravatar is still available.  He’s 62, and the old-boy genius liked to ride around on his Segway with a clown nose, or Oktoberfest lederhosen, with a bright feather in his helmet.  I don’t want to picture either of those. Ew, ew, ew!

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas, is probably more responsible than any other individual for the government shutdown.  He recently stood and spoke about nothing for 22 hours, (Sorry for the redundancy.) trying to prevent the passage of Obama’s Health Care bill.  Sarah Palin says she supports him.  She’s always liked him since he was in the movie Top Gun.

He’s a member of a political party which has been bitching for years, that Barack shouldn’t be president, because he wasn’t born in the U.S., and now he wants to run for president himself, in 2016.  The biggest problem with that, is that he is a poutine-eating, Maple syrup-sucking Canadian!  Sshh, don’t tell him.  While his mother was a US citizen, his father was from Cuba, and he was born in a hospital in Calgary, while his dad worked in the (Canadian) oil industry.

While the US government may consider him a citizen, his birth certificate makes him a Canadian.  He has thundered to the press that he will renounce his Canadian-ness, and claims, “I’m an American by birth.”  So sad, dad!  Tough luck Chuck!  The boundaries of his egotistical imagination do not match up with reality.

At least Barack eventually provided an American birth certificate.  After this little revelation, I can’t picture him even being allowed to run for president.  I would like a picture of his face when he finds out that, for all his ugly-American jingoism, the rules include him out.

Did you like our pictures?  We’re practicing for some upcoming posts with photos in them.  Kittens anyone??    😀