Tuesday 31 August 2021

Some Good Things About Getting Old

Good Things About Aging? Really?

This is going to be a challenge but I have the time for it. There - that belongs in the list.

Although I am getting older I am actually still here on the right side of the grass realizing that I am getting older. Many people I used to know and love - like my parents - are not. With a minor twist on Descartes' famous saying: "I think, therefore I still am". Good for me.

When the first person addressed me as "Sir" he/she was not a child but another adult. I was pissed since they were not much younger than I was. It still happens at the gym. Now it doesn't bother me - as much! I take it as a sign that some of what my parents taught me - respect - still exists. Some people actually compliment me - then ask how old I am! Hey, there are younger people working out who don't receive the same compliments. Surely that is good.

I get to talk to some pretty amazing looking younger women who - I hope - don't feel like I am hitting on them. Maybe they do, but they don't say it! If I were their age today's women would speak their minds more bluntly than when I was younger.

I don't have to pay the unbelievably high rates for car insurance that young people do. I take satisfaction in knowing that the insurance companies have the statistics to back up the rates. They know who are the bad drivers and they are not older people.

Senior discounts - what could possibly be wrong with that - especially for golf?

Drugs - most of my prescription drugs are covered by our provincial medical plan.

Time. My time is my own. I can do whatever I want. To be honest this is probably the biggest benefit that I am wasting the most.

Getting up and going to bed or even taking a nap. I can do any of these whenever I want!

No boss - I hated having a boss and even being one. No more - I am my own. This is the one which would be the most important if there were ever a second life. I wish I had started some kind of business to be my own boss.

Grandchildren. I don't have any kids so this one is not in my list. It is however high on everyone else's list so I include it here.

Memories. This is a big one. Many people think about and live in the past - both the good times and the bad. Too much of that is bad - it can't ever be changed. So the key here is to be making NEW memories - preferable good ones.

There is some food for thought. OOPS - please don't go to the fridge! My bad.Don't get me wrong - younger is WAY better! But if you have to make the most of things this list is a start.


Wednesday 25 August 2021

A Sincere Apology

Hatred was Not my Objective    

Not everyone is willing to apologize - for anything. I am one who will apologize when I feet the need and I feel such a need.

There are over 350 posts on this blog. They often get intense when I feel strongly about something. Such topics include Trump; his followers; those who attacked The Capital Building; other politicians; and those unwilling to get a COVID shot among others.

It has recently come to my attention that when I used the term "Jabasses" to describe anti-vaxxers I went too far. I accept that and to any that I hurt I hereby apologize. Someone went so far as to imply that this was incenting "hatred." In my opinion, that goes too far. I never write to cause people to hate. If I used the term in any of my posts, it was most likely saying that I personally hate something. I will temper my use of the term in future.

I have removed "Jabasses" from the posting.

What I had in mind when I wrote the piece were people like those in the recent incident involving a school board meeting. Someone who merely expressed their desire to have kids wear masks at school was met with near violence. Their car was surrounded and rocked when they tried to leave. They required an escort. One man was banging on the window saying that he knew where the occupant lived and that they would never be safe again - they should stay inside. Now THAT is fomenting hatred.

On January 6th, building a gallows and calling for Mike Pence to be hanged and Nancy Pelosi to be harmed or killed as well - THAT was hatred.

Most of my former post was also devoted to castigating those who protest just for the sake of it. There were people stating that the Feds under Biden would be coming door to door trying to force people to be vaccinated. That was a blatant lie and the speaker knew it. I was directing the term at those people and any of the "you can't make me" crowd.

So there you have it. To me a little well intended apology goes a long way. I hope it does here also.


Sunday 22 August 2021

On Becoming Forgetful

What was that Great Beginning Again?

I had a great opening line for this post - 10 minutes ago! Damned if I can remember what it was. There are a few reasons why that does not really worry me - bother me yes - but no worries.

Firstly I recognize that I forgot something and the nature of that something. Secondly I will probably recall it later. Thirdly, I just dreamt (dreamed for some) up a different one. If my mind were really slipping, I would not be aware of any of these things. I also just corrected some grammar, spelling, and typos. 

Finally I probably could not compose the following:

I can't locate my glasses
The second time today.
Checked my head, beside the bed, 
Annoying, I must say.

We need a few small items 
I shop most every day.
And now I'm pissed - I lost the list.
Can't see it anyway!

Could things get any worse I ask?
Perhaps my brakes will seize!
I won't find out and start to shout
For I misplaced my keys!

Eventually I find all three
And set off to the store.
My day's not done, it's just begun
At least my life's no bore.

I push my cart to checkout
A light begins to flash.
To make my day I try to pay - 
No phone, no cards, no cash!

Perhaps my lucky break has come.
No lecture from my spouse.
No Cheshire grin nor nagging din - 
I'm in the wrong damned house!


Wednesday 18 August 2021

Tarnished American Image

Black Eye for Biden

Afghanistan is in the news - again. Which area of the world will America disturb next?

This current affair is tragic for so many people. Bottom line for me is that the U.S. should have learned from the Soviet Union's invasion of the same country in 1979. They were big and powerful but lost to rag tag militants in a type of war they did not know how to fight. They got out relatively quickly and cleanly. What on earth made America think they would do any better? They might argue that this is different but is it really? Tell that to the thousands who will be slaughtered by the Taliban.

I am still a Biden fan compared to Trump. Hell I'd support Donald Duck for President over Donald Trump. But Joe slipped up on this one. Yes Trump signed the deal with the Taliban but did not bring troupes home. He had campaigned on ending the war. Biden followed through on this but is left holding the bag. Was that clever of Trump's people or just another broken Trump promise?

The fact still remains Biden could have done a far better job of providing for safe passage for the thousands of people who helped America. It will be a big stain on his legacy which is a shame. The Trump camp must be overjoyed.

This is only part of a much bigger picture. Trump did a lot to ruin the reputation of America abroad with broken agreements and his total lack of Presidential qualities. Nations actually laughed at him. America however, has a long history of invading and sticking their nose in the business of other places where they don't belong. It is one thing to respond to a world need such as World Wars I and II. Viet Nam, Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan to name just a few were not undertaken to save the free world in alliance with others.

America always has an ulterior motive beyond saving the locals and spreading its own version of a so-called democracy. Not everyone wants the American version. Again as I have said before, read "Teahouse of the August Moon" a 1951 novel by Vern Sneider. I was in high school but the mockery of America and its ways did not escape me even in the 1960s.

If America wants to be great again it should do more of true humanitarian work in disaster areas. To be fare, so should many other rich nations. They could have quickly ended slaughters in Africa - for example Ruanda's genocide. Areas of complete famine could be assisted with housing and clean water and agriculture.

In these circumstances America will argue that it can't invade a foreign nation. The truth is that if there are no diamonds, oilfields, or strategic military positions to be gained by America, it turns a blind eye. Invasions and conflict are also good for its own munitions business and for strengthening the military. Charitable efforts are not.

If America wants to re-gain the high ground, it should be pressuring its allies and its foes to do more in the way of charity for the have not nations and peoples.

It won't happen. Greedy American billionaires behind the politicians and who really wield the true power will never allow it.


Sunday 15 August 2021

On Being North of 50

Where is that reset / reboot button for life?

I am writing this not to bore you with the details of my life although I am sure I will but hopefully to stimulate similar thoughts for you. You should not live in the past but a little reminiscing is just fine.

Which birthday did you revere or resent the most - or any other birthday? My 10th was apparently a non-event. I recall nothing about it.

For most kids I suspect - certainly for me - one was my 13th. Becoming a teenager was a big one. Teenagers were always the "older" kids. It meant that in the summer I could attend teenage dances at our cottage. The problem was that most kids in my class were 1-2 years older than me. So when my time came, it was a "been there - done that" for any friends.

At 16 I could drive and I did. At 18 I could enter a pool hall and go to the USA to drink (from Canada), and for me it was my introduction to sex. Perhaps that alone makes it one of the biggest. It is also the age of majority in Ontario, but I did not feel like an adult yet. I should note thankfully that I was not conscripted and sent off to war either.

20th just meant in one more year I would be 21. In my case I also graduated from university at 21 and drank 21+1 draft beers without losing my cookies! Back then they were much bigger glasses, and cost a wopping 25 cents. It was a contest and I passed it. My best friend failed 9 months earlier.

My biggie was becoming 21. Then I could legally drink and buy alcohol. I had already become an adult but somehow this one meant I was not a kid anymore - no excuses.

Thirty seemed like a big one - it always does. Before that however, from 21 to 30 I led the life of an overactive but often lonely bachelor. It happened to be the year I met my partner and we have been together ever since. Mostly I recall attending her brother in law's 50th birthday and thinking: "Wow - he is old. Some day I will get there!" So he was twenty years my senior. Now my 50th was over twenty-five years ago - scary.

Forty was another biggie but somehow not as big as thirty. People often buy you a forty ouncer of booze. We had already moved into a house and that has occupied most of my spare time since.

As already mentioned, the big "50" for someone else was the one when I recalled thinking: "Wow - he is old. Some day I will get there!" My partner arranged a secret surprise birthday and had gone through many of my files (not good) to find names of people she really didn't know. I was astonished when I had parked the car and walked into this banquet hall - she really pulled it off well. She had me thinking it was to be just family. I was astonished. In the pictures, to me I still didn't "look" 50 but maybe my view is somewhat slanted!

And that brings me to 60 and 70. Somehow these were two more non-events - just indications that indeed time marches on at an amazing pace. My next 10th will be 80 and yes, that one is a biggie. For most men their horizon after that is questionable. Supposedly they don't live as long as women but I always said that was voluntary on our part!

My mom lived to be 100 and my dad almost 83. I hope I have her life genes.

Now in retirement I look back. That is what this post is all about. There are so many things I wished I had done differently. Perhaps one sign of a successful life is that  you would not have changed anything. That does not say much about mine.

Just had a silly thought: I always joked that I wish there were a reset / reboot button for life. One accepted symbol is now the circle with a vertical stroke from its centre to 12:00 (see below). Kind of resembles a navel - a useless part of the body after birth.

There you go. Perhaps the navel was supposed to have been our reset button - only to be used once. This was way before Steve Jobs. He never would have had a button - even a belly button. OK. How many of you are looking at yours? Don't bother. It doesn't work!


Friday 13 August 2021

Did You Keep Score When You Were Young?

3 Lies you can count on: Age; Golf score; Number of Partners

Of the 3 lies in the title, the 3rd is the topic of this post.

Do you know how many partners you had (the "got lucky" ones) before you were married - or after - or still if you never tied the knot? 

This post was triggered by some reading about the great Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain (basketball) who claimed he slept with 20,000 women during his career. That is a different woman every day for 55 years. Credible? I don't think so. Many attribute over 3,000 to Julio Iglesias. That is every night for eight years. Perhaps that was possible over his entire career. Elvis probably was way up there as well.

Long ago for the very religious it was supposed to be none. I'm not very religious! For bachelors it is the opposite of a golf score. The dishonest add to their score unlike golf where they shave numbers from their score. Do women? I'm not sure. Maybe they discuss their past lovers with friends but the double standard has always applied - if they brag about too many partners they are called nasty names.

I was the worst of all combinations - a late starter and then a long time bachelor who tried to make up for lost time. I'm pretty certain of the number but will keep that to myself. I seldom went all the way just to carve another notch in the bedpost. Things just happened but I have to admit I spent a lot of time looking for the opportunity. 
 For me, "No" always meant no long before it became a catch phrase.

The tragic thing back then was that this cost me the one young woman who was probably my perfect match. Details have to remain secret. I will never forget her and wonder if she forgot me. In hindsight, marriage would have been a better option for me long ago in my early twenties but I stupidly let her get away. On the bright side I never would have met my current partner had I asked the one who seemed perfect for me back then, but I spent a lot of years feeling sorry for myself before meeting my lady.

I don't recall a female celebrity boasting about any specific number at all. That says a lot about the differences between men and women. There are those who went through many marriages but the press made bragging unnecessary.

I still remember my first partner - what a disaster - for her anyway - front seat of a '63 Pontiac. I highly recommend the back seat as a better choice. A lot of time passed before the second. I seem to have been attracted to more virtuous girls or women. Just like Clinton - "never had sexual relations with that woman" - the build-up and surrounding activities but not the real deal.

It was only after university that I realized what I had been missing. I blame what friends I had - most of them got married! I would re-visit old mates to go for a drink but their wives were never happy about it.

So can you remember your history - in sequence? What about names and how you met? How you broke up? Are you really honest with yourselves about who gave the elbow and who received it?

Do you even think about this topic? I bet you do.


Wednesday 11 August 2021

Best Vaccination: Laugh at Yourself!


Where did all the girls go?

After turning twenty one,

I bought a brand new car.

A sports job with a five speed box,

And glances from afar.

No Triumph, Sprite, or MGB

Too commonplace you see.

I found the Fiat 1-2-4

Sport Spyder was for me!

At every light some one would say

"I really like your car!"

Positano Yellow you could 

Spot it from afar.

For girls it was a magnet.

How could I ask for more?

On sunny days with soft top down

It even would seat four.

Although those days were long ago.

They seem like yesterday.

I wonder if I had one now

Would I still feel that way?

My other half still harbors the

Convertible allure.

With modern folding hard tops they're

Much better that's for sure.

She loved the new Miata so

I bought one as a gift.

With automatic I still miss

My rapid five speed shift.

For sure this Mazda goes Zoom Zoom, 

But I don't feel as free..

It's bumpy, noisy, small and so

I always bang my knee.

Getting in is difficult

But with the sun o'er head,

I think about the beach and of 

The care free life I led.

If I Zoomed by you today

You might have heard me shout.

"Please call 9-1-1 for me -

You see I can't get out!"


Saturday 7 August 2021

Problems for the World to Solve

Let's Get Together

Remember the song "Let's get together, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!" (Haley Mills; Robert and Richard Sherman)? It is one the world should be singing, translated into many languages with the same refrain but new lyrics.

Some of the world's greatest problems - COVID for example - would be better addressed by international cooperation. The International Space Station is a great example. The problem is that much of the needed funds are now going towards the goal of self preservation or being ready to destroy the other guy. This must make God or our alien creators and masters proud.

Here are some suggestions from which we would all be beneficiaries, including other living things like plants, fish, and animals. There would have to be an agreement that any new invention or technology which resulted from the combined effort could not be patented. That way any country would be free to allow private industry to help without any monopolies locking up the creation out of financial greed.

Let's hear some of your thoughts. Comment below.

CARS: Thankfully this is being addressed albeit slowly. Petroleum powered cars must go. This alone will help to purify the air and slow down global warming. Petroleum will always be needed for commerce, construction, and travel but there are hundreds of millions of cars, most being extremely inefficient.

PLASTICS: I doubt they will disappear but some like shopping bags and drink / water bottles could go. Replacement products are needed. There is hope with the commercials I am seeing involving three major soda companies and their new bottles.

DRINKING WATER: More high volume low cost desalination technology is needed. Israel is advanced in this area. The whole world should have access to clean, safe, drinking water.

FOOD: I have read that there is enough food to feed the world but not everybody has access. Large scale food greenhouses already exist. You can't always spread crops laterally but you can go vertically, just like residential buildings. Sharing such technology would allow current countries who can't grow crops to do so.

ENERGY: Solar, wind, and harnessing the tides are all possibilities here with minimal progress in each. Another known technology is the use of the sun's rays to superheat a liquid using huge parabolic lenses. This is ultimately used to boil water for a steam engine, which then drives a generator. Combined knowledge here could be shared and large plants built in the hottest areas of the world. Electrical power could then be transported in conventional towers and cables.

SHELTER: Many of the poorest have never had a home. I saw a video once about someone who was building stacked homes out of large concrete sewer pipes. Sounds crude but these were liveable. What about spent shipping containers and tractor trailers once they are off the road. Now they end up in some farmer's field. Quonset huts would also be like a palace to those with no home of their own.

CLOTHING: Right up there with food and shelter. Used clothing is already collected - for a profit. Governments could do it, on a non profit basis (cover costs only) for the needy both here and abroad.

There are lots of possibilities where combined genius can be used for common good. Surely re-directing government money from charitable handouts to jobs for the betterment of the human race is desirable.

It easy to talk about taxing the super rich and certain corporations so that they pay more to fund common benefits, many of whom pay none. These are good causes to which the extra cash could be directed, rather than to executive salaries and bonuses, and politicians' pensions.

What are your ideas?


Thursday 5 August 2021

Anti-Vaxxers Without Borders

Not "Only in America"

I am sure there are people throughout the roughly 200 countries with a COVID problem who will fight being vaccinated. Most of us will never understand this and we are advised that we can not embarrass or shame them into taking a different stance. Fortunately some of them who caught the virus and possible gave it to family members are now trying to convince their peers that vaccination is good. They regret their past resistance.

In the past I have not minced my words on this topic. I have certainly cast anti-vaxxers in a negative light and I am not going to stop now. OK, so I won't convince any hard liners and some may dig in their heels even deeper. This is like a flat earth society. Members are still out there so I am told. If they have ever travelled "around" the world they have to know they are flogging a dead horse. If they have a TV at home - same thing. So all I can do is keep making the case and hope that maybe others closer to them will sway a few. 

Let us assume that even the most ardent have reasonable intelligence, no mental disabilities and that they do not belong to some anti-vaxxer cult. Adding to the list of assumptions, I assume that:

1. They are not constantly receiving fines for seatbelt and helmet violations

2. They have never tried to open a plane door for fresh air during a flight

3. They have never been in prison for sexually assaulting or kidnapping someone to satisfy a sudden sexual urge

4. They don't attempt to walk around society totally nude.

5. They don't attempt to rob a bank when they are short of cash.

6. They don't just steal a car, groceries, (or any other object) whenever they need one.

7. That if they have been employed for an extended period they obey their employers' rules.

8. That they don't turn into peeping Toms whenever they are horny.

9. That they practice good personal hygiene to some degree.

10. That many attended school longer than any mandatory period.

OK so what? All of these things are dictated by rules and laws of governments or other authorities. Somebody told them they "have to" or they "can't." However to my knowledge no government, especially Federal, has told them that they MUST wear a mask, unless they are working in a Federal building.

So what is all of this crap about freedom and "you can't make me?" It is political. Many are just crying for attention. 

I can't help myself. Grow up. Get a  life. Stop messing up ours.