Smitty’s Loose Change #3

Smitty's Loose Change

A Provincial Liberal spin-doctor, trying to justify the amounts of money spent (wasted) by the Government, wrote, “We’ve increased Guaranteed Income Supplement payments for seniors. We’ve started building more roads, bridges and transit to create jobs, and help you get to work on time at the end of a long day.”  Would that be in a cart placed firmly in front of the horse, or is it as we go to our second job, to be able to pay the taxes to replace what they’ve frittered away?

***

The above ranks right up there with the sign in the Notre Dame football locker-room that says, “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” Go ahead, try that.  You haven’t been knocked down, so you only have to get up once….  This success thing is harder than it looks – especially in university mathematics.

***

The term for ‘It’s been wrong so often and for so long, that now it’s right, is ‘hypercorrect incorrectness.’ All those who haven’t nodded off, can now pray to have Archon’s OCD cured.

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“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” And now I know why I’m so low-key.  I am very comfortable in my own skin.

***

Did I miss a language lesson somewhere??? When the Hell did ‘chick’ become ‘chic’?  I collect the occasional misusage, to poke fun at.  This has become endemic.  I see it everywhere! Me and this chic went to a bar. Chic [sheek] means fashionable, stylish, elegant and/or attractive.

***

GRAMMAR:
It’s the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

***

While recently celebrating Columbus Day, certain Americans discovered that Canadians were celebrating our Thanksgiving, earlier than the US, because of our shorter growing season. Considerable confusion arose. “Well, do you celebrate Christmas and Easter at the same time we do?”

MSN.ca celebrated with an article titled, ’23 things Canadians say, that Americans don’t understand.’ It included my favorite, poutine (French fries, gravy and grated mozzarella), serviette (paper napkin) and two-four (a case of beer).

I discovered another regionalism, but balked at the quote some Canuck used to explain it. “A washroom is just a polite way of saying bathroom.”  No, it’s not!  As my Grade 5 teacher explained to “that kid”, a room which contains a toilet/urinal, and a sink, is a washroom.  If instead, it contains a tub, or shower stall, it then becomes a bathroom.

‘Restroom’ is an already chi-chi way to describe a place where you can sit down, rest, and take a load off – your feet.  ‘Powder room’ has nothing to do with explosions or demolition.  It’s one of the above, full of euphemism, not powder.  As a comedienne explained, “Women don’t fart, and we don’t sweat.  If we didn’t bitch, we’d explode.”    😆

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Flash Fiction #76

Bird

PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

FOR THE BIRDS

How long is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Only 2.65 miles??  Are you sure?

What made me agree to walk the entire route? I think I’m two inches shorter, because my feet are worn off right up to the ankle.  Some little girl almost tripped me, and then made off with one of my plumes.  If I’d had feet, I’d have kicked her right in the….spectator section.

Next year I wear roller skates and hold onto the float. I’m going to have a hot bath and go to bed.  Be sure to wake me – in time to open Christmas presents.

***

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

 

Noble Savage

Indian

I recently read an American Thanksgiving-related post about the candy-coating of the Pilgrims/First Thanksgiving story, bemoaning the ill-treatment of the Indians (We’re indigenous – and it’s not India.), by the White Man.

They robbed graves, stole our land, enslaved us, murdered our children, forced their Christian religion upon us and gave us smallpox.”

I already question, and have problems with most of these claims, but the argument is adversarial.  If the Whites are portrayed as ‘Bad’, then the Indians must be ‘Good.’  I simply do not believe that.

The stereotype of the Red Man as friend to Earth, steward of Mother Nature’s glories, is bullshit.  This tale comes from White Man’s Guilt and media, and has been eagerly accepted and rebroadcast by the Natives.

Some years ago, there was a ‘Give A Hoot, Don’t Pollute’ TV ad, showing a bag of garbage being flung from a car onto a highway, and a proud Indian, complete with feather, weeping at the spoliation of the pristine landscape.  Problem was, the ‘Indian’ was really an Italian actor.

When the white man arrived, the Indians didn’t own the land.  They had freehold use of it by right of occupation or right of conquest.  This was the law of the land at that time.  The Whites didn’t steal it.  When they took it, they did it exactly as the Indians had been doing for centuries.

A tribe of Indians would settle in a fertile area, and begin to rape Mother Nature.  It might take several years, but, like a colony of army ants, they would strip it clean.  They would over-hunt and over-fish, until there were no deer, moose, bear, geese or fish.  Population would go up and available food would diminish, until children and old folks were starving, then they would pack up their teepees, and move to (literally) greener pastures.

If there was another tribe where they wanted to resettle, war would break out.  Men, women and children would be tortured and slaughtered, till one group or the other moved on.  The Hurons ousted the Eries.  The Iroquois forced the Hurons out, and they all took slaves from those they conquered.

In exchange for smallpox, the Indians gave the Whites syphilis, a disease unknown in Europe at that time.

Preserving culture and heritage is a great thing, but the world will move on, with, or without you.  My small hometown abutted an Indian reservation.  Back when there were still manufacturing jobs in Southern Ontario, we had four small factories in town.  Indians with sufficient pride and initiative got jobs in them, to purchase food, clothing, TVs and cars.

This was not a matter of ‘the White Man’s way’ versus ‘the Indian way.’  This was “The Canadian Way!”  Those who didn’t take jobs didn’t dress in buckskins, and hunt and fish, or gather roots and berries from the forest.  They sat around in dirty, worn clothing, on the front stoops of decaying hovels that Mississippi Negroes wouldn’t live in, waiting for their next Government cheque, so that they could buy booze.  They weren’t enslaved, or prevented from working, and most of them weren’t Christian.

One proud young Indian joined the Canadian Army, and served in Cyprus, keeping Greeks and Turks from each others’ throats.  He felt he’d like to come back to retire, and began building a house.  Every time he came home on leave, he and his friends and family worked on it, first an excavation and foundation, then framing and roof, later, walls, plumbing and wiring.

After about three years, he came home, and entered his little jewel.  While he had been away, a bunch of the stay-at-home thugs had broken into it and partied – hard! – several times!  They had built a campfire on his unprotected living room rug, burning a hole in the floor, to the basement.  At least they didn’t burn it down.

Beer bottles were smashed.  Broken glass was everywhere.  Holes had been kicked in the wall boards.  There was a large pile of excrement in one corner, but it had been smeared, by hand, on most of the walls.  He threw up his hands, said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” and never came back.

A mile offshore in Lake Huron, there was a particularly rich area where fish fed.  For years, 3 or 4 fishing boats went out every day, set nets, and brought back hundreds of pounds of fresh fish to sell.  Finally the white man completely fished out this ‘mud hole.’

When the White Man signed a treaty with the Indians, a clause was included allowing them to hunt and fish.  Since fish boats didn’t exist here 200 years ago, it seems clear that the intent was for personal or family use.  The Indians drove a loophole in the contract.  A group of them bought one of the now-retired boats, and proceeded to scrape up the last few surviving fish.

The history of European immigration does not always show the White Man in the best of light, but a close look reveals that the Indians are neither the heroes nor the victims that many would have them be.  Because of population pressure, white men did wholesale, what Indians did retail.

 

Canada For Dummies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addendum:

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

SDC10522                    SDC10526

Lest We Forget

 

poppy-flower-red-remembrence-day-artificialREMEMBER

 

Remember that today is Remembrance Day, or Veterans’ Day in the US, if Canada is too boring to remember.  Remember to wear a poppy, if it’s available to you.  I’ve remembered to wear mine for about three weeks.  Remember that this day is not about the wars that have been fought, but the peace that has been achieved.

Remember the Alamo.  Remember the Maine.  Remember that much of the world, especially here in North America, lives safely, stably, happily, and prosperously.  Remember that, all it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.  Remember the members of the Armed Forces, present and past, who have refused to do nothing, and have put themselves in harm’s way, to ensure that we live as we do.

Remember to thank a Service-Person today (and every day).  Remember to shake his or her hand.  Remember to give a hug, if it’s appropriate and welcomed.  Remember to face the flag, and stand quietly and respectfully at 11:00 AM.  Remember that they volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way, so that we wouldn’t be.  It’s the least you can do.

Remember the sacrifices that others have made, that we might have what we do.  Remember those who have lost lives and limbs, and mental and emotional well-being, careers, education and even families, for us and ours.

Remember that a man wearing a helmet and defending our country, is worth more than a man wearing a helmet and defending a football – and should be paid accordingly, but sadly, is not.

Remember that the Canadian Thanksgiving is just past, and the American Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Remember to take all the things you’re thankful for and understand that those in uniform ensure that we have most of them.

Remember that the Armed Forces are like insurance.  You don’t want to use it, but it’s very nice to have when you must.  If only the American Congress could remember to play nice with others and remember to pay this vital and respected group.

Remember….sshhh, it’s almost 11:00 AM.  Remember what I told you, and stand quietly, respectfully, at attention, for two minutes.  I will.  I’ll be watching, and I’ll be back in a couple of days.

veterans

Yuletide Celebrations

BAHBLOODY HUMBUG!

I am soooo glad it’s all over for another year!  The worship of the Great God Commerce dials back till it’s just a dull roar.

 

What?  Too much, too soon?

As the most fascinating man on Earth, I don’t always listen to the radio in the living room or the car, but when I do, I want to hear some classic rock and roll.  This all-Christmas-songs, all-the-time, for 7 or 8 weeks, on all four locally available stations, gets old fast.  Like, right after the second time Gramma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is played on the American Thanksgiving.

I turn the radio off, and start plugging CDs into my five-disc player.  You’ll read about our cookie-making marathons.  I need six hours of non-Christmas in my ear.  We’ve got a half-dozen Rankin Family albums, and another half-dozen Jeff Foxworthy discs.  Christmas is the only time of year we play them.  Include some Jethro Tull and The Guess Who, and we’re good till New Years.

We went grocery shopping one day.  Shortly after we entered, the Muzak started playing The Twelve Days of Christmas.  With the ever-expanding twelve choruses, that song just goes On and On.  I piled a hundred dollars worth of stuff into the cart, and they were still whining about rings and calling birds.  We headed for the cashiers just as they finally came to an end.  Apparently on a random mix, the next song up was….The Twelve Days of Christmas – by a different group.  Check me out, quick, before I check-out on my own.

The streets and roads are back to being inhabited by just the usual batch of stupid incompetents.  I can almost get where I’m going, because all the soccer-moms, who don’t know how to drive their soccer-mom-vans, aren’t plugging the streets and parking lots, and obscuring my sight-lines.  Once, when the son was just learning to drive, I bitched (What a surprise!) about hating to be behind vans and pickups.  Now that he drives regularly himself, he admitted the other day that he understands what I was upset about.

Christmas lights, that’s the least we can do to celebrate the season – literally the least we can do.  An ego-stroking waste of electricity.  There are two homes, side by side, somewhere in Connecticut, which both look like Chevy Chase’s, Christmas Vacation house, with the bearings on the power meter smoking from the RPMs.  Each year, both owners added more and more lights, in an attempt to outdo each other.  Finally, this year, sanity prevailed.  One of the owners put up only one string of lights, forming an arrow, and the word, “Ditto!”

The Sikhs across the street look like a Las Vegas casino.  I put up one little light-decorated wreath outside the downstairs powder-room window….and often forget to plug it in till nine or ten PM.  With all the demons and gargoyles we have in the gardens, it’s a surprise we haven’t had carolling groups which included torches and pitchforks.

I really put the *cur* in curmudgeon.  I’m not against giving presents or getting the family together for a visit and a meal.  If it’s someone’s birthday, or anniversary, give a present.  I just don’t want to be standing beside some guy while I’m just trying to buy a newspaper, and have his pants burn down because his credit card exploded.  Want a “family meal?”  Pick a day and invite the family over.  Depending on the size of your family, it might be less stressful for everyone, to have smaller groups.

Too many people fall victim to the idea that they’re “obligated” to participate in this exercise in excess, and then feel overwhelmed, and somehow a failure.  Something worth doing is not necessarily worth overdoing.  This thing is getting out of hand.  The best of intentions is producing the worst of results.  It really is no wonder that other faiths, other countries and other cultures hate us.  We could be so much more, with so much less.

Peace and love to you all, quietly, sincerely, without all the fuss.

Innocent Till Proven Christmas

Bah, F***ng Humbug!

Ebenezer Scrooge was a piker….an amateur….a poseur who was seduced, and relapsed.  He had no determination or staying power.  If you want to know all about hating the Christmas season, just climb up and sit on my lap little boy….or girl, I’m an equal opportunity pervert, and I’ll tell you how it really is.

A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged in Germany for being drunk in a public place, and causing a disturbance.  He allegedly lurched his way through the playground of a public park, and told all the little boys and girls playing there, that there was NO SANTA!  Well, they were just kids, and little children shouldn’t be disappointed, but I understand his displeasure, and how he probably got that way.

Christmas is great for children, and families.  It’s wonderful to get together with friends and relatives, and enjoy the love and support.  You know what’s not great??!  The rest of it!  The very fact that I’m blogging about it now should give you a hint.  Christmas is a beautiful day.  It used to be just a day, then it was a period, then it was a season, now it’s a juggernaut of an industry.

I’m all for peace and love, and getting together with friends and family….on Christmas!  If you need a few days before or after to wrap presents or prepare food or stay and visit, I’m cool with that.  If you need some extra time before to go shopping, I understand stores’ need to advertise and promote.

American stores sneaking north of the border to infiltrate Canadian shopping patterns have already brought us Black Friday, without the Thanksgiving Thursday to go with it.  I’m too lazy to do it, but if somebody else wants to start a drive limiting the time for Christmas retailery and feelgoodery, I’d sign up in a second.

I would think that the first of December would be an acceptable date.  Black Friday is already pushing things.  If it stopped there, I still wouldn’t bitch too much, but it doesn’t.  On Monday, November 12, the day after Remembrance Day, the neighbors across the street turned on their outdoor Christmas lights.  Turned them on, because they never take them down.

Why rant about pretty lights, I hear you ask?  Because they are Hindu Sikhs, that’s why, trying to look like they fit in and draw attention away from the fact that they run an illegal food-service business out of their house.  City crews in both municipalities are installing Christmas lights on trees and bushes in both main city parks.  They do it now, while the weather is still decent, but they don’t get turned on till two weeks before the big event.

My favorite radio station used to play nothing but hard-edged classic rock.  Because of demographic changes, they now only play some hard rock, and slip in Justin Bieber and petulant Taylor Swift, never, never, ever getting back with a boyfriend who’s probably already moved on.  They have theme weekends, like hits songs which never made it to number one.

I turned the stereo on this past weekend and heard Felice Navidad.  Apparently a Christmas song weekend….seven weeks before Christmas.  I went out in the car on Monday, and turned on the radio, and heard Felice Navidad again, all Christmas songs, all the time, from now till Yule.  There’s a station available on-line which plays Christmas music 24/7/365.

In my crossword puzzle yesterday, the solution to one clue was Auld Lang Syne.  I stopped into a store to pick up a present, and Auld Lang Syne was playing on the Muzak.  That’s a New Year’s song, for a week even further past Christmas.  That’s the kind of thing that probably set off Herr Lagertippen, above!  This stuff has been visually and aurally assaulting us for weeks….and there’s no end in sight!  Make it stop!  Make it stop!!

The city is paying a few people to patrol the main street and ask folks why they’re not smiling, and try to get them to smile.  You know why I’m not smiling??!  Because my tax dollars are being wasted to pay gooders to interfere in my busy day.  Just because I wasn’t broadly grinning, doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy.  At least I wasn’t, till you stuck your nose in my business, and got all judgemental.

I’m reading a book right now, titled Overkill.  I considered that as a title for this piece.  I haven’t even addressed the increasing numbers of non-Christians among us, because this isn’t about religion, despite what the thumpers claim.  This is about commerce and culture.

There’s a story about a newly-wed who complains comments about his young bride’s somewhat limited menu. She replies, “What?! You liked beans on Monday, you liked beans on Tuesday, you liked beans on Wednesday, you liked beans on Thursday.  Here it is Friday, and suddenly you don’t like beans??!”  Sometimes there’s too much of even a good thing.  Enjoy peace and prosperity.  Enjoy family, friends and food.  Enjoy Christmas at/near Christmas, and turn off the damned lights and music so that the birds and I can sleep.  Scrooge, were you taking notes?