Tech Time Machine… You’re On A Rocket…

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Marty McFly… let’s hop into your DMC DeLorean time machine and juice up the flux capacitor.

OK, set the time back by 30 years to 1990 (if this takes you into prenatal times, please please tell me what that looks like, I want to know the answer to that as much as I’d like to see into my post-life times).

I’m thinking about time travel right now for a reason.

Looking back with today’s eyes, 1990 was a “foreign country” for us all.

Thirty years ago this week, I stood in chilly Okanagan Lake waters at 7 am on a Sunday morning with nearly 1,000 others clad in wetsuits.

Supportive family members and friends came from near and far to give me a cheering boost for an event I had trained so hard for in the year leading up to this day.

My heart was pounding in my throat, both in exhilaration and terror (the good news is that in the lake, you can pee your pants and no one knows better other than the swimmer directly behind you. Sorry… TMI?)

We participants were all ready to dive in at the sound of a booming cannon – the cannon that starts the Ironman Canada triathlon race, a 3.8k swim, followed by a 180k bike, finishing with a 42.2k run. Great way to spend a relaxing Sunday.

But today, I’m not only thinking about the gruelling race, but also about the huge changes to our world in these oh-so-short 30 years.

Here are a few other things that cross my mind.

It’s about our world and technology.

I’m thinking about how many folks pulled out their cellphones and snapped photos of their friends and loved ones jumping into the water that August 1990 morning. How many photos got posted online for the world to see within seconds…

Here, let me answer that for you… pull out my calculator… hmmmm, 960 participants multiplied by an average of 4 or 5 relatives and friends watching from behind the barriers…

… and the answer is???? ZERO. None.

Huh? Why not Larry?

Well, a myriad of stuff has changed for you and me in 30 years… call a taxi… right! Wait until next Tuesday to watch your favourite TV show… hardly! Meet your life partner-to-be at a bar… *cue laughter*….

A few more examples…

1990. No smartphones… a few cellphones (owned by 4% of North Americans in 1990) sure, but pretty much no such thing as a smartphone with a camera embedded. The first early versions were still 12 years in the future.

These days, when I enter even the tiniest running or other athletic race (in non-COVID times)… camera phones are everywhere, all the time.

In 1990, there were no smartphones, no text messages… no Tesla’s or other electric cars… no BlueTooth, no Facebook, no YouTube.

In 1990 you paid your utility bills at the bank or by snail mail with a personal cheque.

Watch a movie in 1990? Just run by your local VHS rental store or Blockbuster and make sure your neighbours aren’t there when you sneak into the “ADULT” section in the back.

In 1990, you answered your landline phone (usually corded) because it was someone you knew calling (although no call display told you who), no telemarketers or scams.

In 1990, when you wanted to find a street address or your way through a strange city, you hauled out something called a map and found the location with your fingertips, not your GOOGLE.

In 1990, people read books. I mean books made of paper and glue and hard and soft covers that had pages you turned and needed a flashlight to read under the covers. No eReaders, no Kindles (first released in 2007), no Kobo’s. Bookstores were popular “social media” gathering spots in 1990.

In 1990, did you drive through your local Starbucks for a Sexagintuple Vanilla Bean Mocha Frappuccino? Of course not. Starbucks had barely 100 stores in 1990, probably none in your area. Just Mary & Joe’s Cuppa Joe House (or Timmy’s for us Canucks) was on your corner in those prehistoric coffee days. Espresso drinks were something Europeans drank.

In 1990, a blog? Is that something stuck in your toilet?

In 1990, when you listened to recorded music, it was usually from a cassette tape, a big step up from 8-track tapes! Your choices were vinyl or cassette. CD or mp3? Huh??

In 1990, a restaurant meal or a plane trip usually involved breathing in someone else’s secondhand smoke. In my province of B.C., smoking was legally allowed in restaurants until 1996. Smoking on flights within Canada was first banned at the beginning of 1990.

Feel free to tell me some other things I’ve missed.

And finally, in 1990, when I crossed the Ironman finish line (below) as the evening sun set and my muscles cried, my kids were 5, 3 and 1 years old. It’s so long ago that I can barely picture them in my head. They were so cute.

Right McFly, bring me back to 2020.

Those little kids are older and smarter than me now. Yes, that’s right, they are older than me… I was 19 years old in 1990 and today I’m still… 19. (I turned off my time machine long ago. That’s new math for you.)

More importantly though, they were healthy then and they are healthy today.

I’m a lucky man to return to 2020 in my older DeLorean body.

OK Boomer…

Is Dat Taboo or Tattoo For You?



Art… there is a fascinating beauty in art…

all of its forms… not all of it all of the time, but enough to feed and nourish our souls for a lifetime.

But the art that captures my eyes and reflections in today’s post is… TATTOOS. (please, not “TATOO” as spelled above!)

Full disclosure: I’m not a real fan of the inky art, but I appreciate that it has great appeal to many and I’m intrigued by the peeps I encounter in my daily world who sport tattoos.

Body art has taken off and seems to be as ubiquitous as hot dogs and beer at a baseball game, as kale in a salad bar, as kidney-nuking E.coli on a burger left out on the counter overnight.

Just what is it that motivates so many folks to endure torment to their bodies- and pocketbooks – to display “art” on their pristine skin surfaces?

In my early boyhood, a now ex-brother-in-law of mine had an anchor tattoo on his upper arm… he was the only one I knew that sported permanent colour drilled into his body; it was soooooooo cool. I was a fan boy.

Today, tattoos have lost their ultra-cool factor for me, but that doesn’t prevent me from being drawn in by the colours, the subject matter, and the why of each person’s story behind the ink.


I wouldn’t get one.

Would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?

said someone somewhere…


Not just me, human behaviours’ researchers around the world have been interested in finding out what makes people modify their body. They found that individuals with tattoos report feeling more attractive, stronger, and more self-confident.

Conversely, according to the NIH in the US, psychiatric disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, drug or alcohol abuse, and borderline personality disorder, are frequently associated with tattoos.

They’re both right and it depends on the reason for putting oneself under the needles…


“My doctor has both of his arms totally sleeved. I have a friend that’s a corporate lawyer, and she’s working on her body suit.”

a tattoo artist


A 2019 study at the University of South Africa found that the desirability of tattoos is split about 50-50 for those in favour vs those against the notion of tattoos.

But… the favourabiity rating increased when study participants were asked if they felt differently so long as the tattoo had personal meaning or was a means of expression.


And what about buyer’s remorse?

Well, over time, about 25% of those with tattoos want them removed, according to Dr. Paul M. Friedman, director of the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Houston and New York. Tattoo removal requests have increased 32% since 2016.


“Our bodies were printed as blank pages to be filled with the ink of our hearts.”

author Michael Biondi


According to worldatlas.com, Italy has the highest rate of tattooed folks with 48% of the population sporting at least one tattoo.

Sweden and the United States follow closely with 47% and 46% of residents wearing a tattoo respectively. And, perhaps surprisingly, women have embraced tattoos more than men.

While tattoo removal rates are climbing, so too is the appeal of adding body art… only 19% of US citizens had any form of permanent artwork in 2006 compared with 30% a mere ten years later.


So, what is the future for tattoos?

Here are a few thoughts of where we’re heading: disappearing tattoos, Interactive and digital (ie. Smart) tattoos, Stitching and scarring tattoos, Glowy tattoos, Soundwave tattoos, 3D-printed tattoos… no doubt the list and uses of tattoos will expand as technology and AI expand.

I guess I’m just a relic… a tattoo-less ancient object… a future museum oddity from our era…

… one day, I’ll be the colourless walking bag of wrinkles wandering a sunny Caribbean beach in my banana hammock with a Walkman strapped to my side… I’ll be an art piece alright… but more Picasso than Rembrandt!

100 Ways To Reach 100!




We’ve just passed Green Beer… er… St. Patrick’s Day, but did you know that today is officially…

Idea Sex Day!

OK, me neither, but why not?

I was swimming some laps at the pool the other day and my unobstructed wee mind was a’wandering here and there… lap swimming is totally lacking in external distraction and stimulation…

… when a song idea passed through my lane, like a lazy, winding river on a glorious sunny day.

OK, it may have not been my own original song, but when you are given a gift, even a partial and slightly stolen one, you have to at least consider picking it up, like a half-smoked cigar butt on the sidewalk. What? You’ve never picked up a half-smoked cigar butt?



Well, pick it up I did. And today I’m gonna try combining this “butt” with a few of my pet ideas/projects/thangs… songwriting, poetry, and living to 100.

And because I know you’re a smart cookie – and perhaps to avoid plagiarism charges from a well-known artist who may have once famously teamed up with Art Garfunkel – I’m not even going to reveal the name of the original writer of this tune… see if you can figure it out, Scout!

Let’s go…

100 Ways To Reach 100

The problem is all inside your head, I said it audibly
The answer may be easy if you study physiology
I’d like to help you reach an ageless quantity
There must be a hundred ways to reach a hundred

She said, it’s really not my habit to insist
Furthermore, I hope my aspirations for you aren’t merely dissed
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being hissed
There must be a hundred ways to reach a hundred
A hundred ways to reach a hundred

Just stomp round the block, Jock
Why not meditate, Kate
Make a phone call, Paul
Just get yourself free
Stomp out the smokes, Folks
And dodge MI’s and strokes
Just a few of the keys, Leigh
And get yourself free

Ooh, stomp round the block, Jock
Why not meditate, Kate
Go pick up a weight, Blake
Just get yourself free
Stomp out the smokes, Folks
And dodge MI’s and strokes
Just a few of the keys, Leigh
And get yourself free

She said don’t leave this mortal coil or live with daily pain
there’s something I can do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the hundred ways

She said, why don’t we both just sleep 8 hours tonight?
And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to feel alright
And then she kissed me and I realized she probably was right
There must be a hundred ways to reach a hundred
A hundred ways to reach a hundred

Just jump on your bike, Mike
Watch what you eat, Pete
Give your sib a phone call, Saul
Just get yourself free
Stomp out the butts, Bree
And stay Cancer free
Are just a couple of keys, Dee
To get yourself free

Shake your butt off to Zumba, Pumba
Try some pilate, Lottie
You might go for some yoga, Olga
You just listen to me
Go to lunch with a pal, Hal
You don’t need to discuss much
Smile in your green tea, Leigh
And get some immortality


Why Oh Why Aren’t Doughnuts Healthy?




Multiple personality syndrome is nothing to laugh at…

but along with all my other foibles and mental pathologies, these “others” may have made themselves a cozy little nest in the nether regions of my brain without my asking.

You see I have this devil, you know, the little red guy with the pitchfork and horns and evil laughter, on one shoulder… and an equally miniscule white-sheeted angel, halo intact, hands pressed together in prayer, sitting on my other shoulder.

Perhaps another metaphor will help…

There’s an old parable about the good and the bad wolf, you likely know it well:

A grandfather is talking with his grandson.

The grandfather says, “In life, there are two wolves inside of us which are always at battle. 

One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love.

The other is a bad wolf which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear”.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”

The One You Feed


I have a slightly different good wolf and bad wolf ie. angel and devil, inside me, always have, that constantly swipe their sharp claws back and forth at each other over the foods that I SHOULD eat versus the ones I would LOVE to eat.

Admittedly, the good wolf is winning a few more of the skirmishes in recent years – perhaps this is another positive aspect of aging *or is it?* – but the twin wolves sibling rivalry continues on and on…

I began this “shared” life with only a good wolf (angel). It was a happy and contented only child.

The birth of the bad wolf (devil) is the result of public, compulsory education, which is clearly a really good reason to discontinue forcing young children to stay in school.

Until I was 11 or 12 years old, I could, would, AND did, eat doughnuts with impunity… yes, there was absolutely no downside to eating a jelly donut or a donut smothered in delicious, creamy icing (I’m switching to the word donut here because I’m a lazy writer).


Donuts were soft, and sweet, and they tasted great… they were the antithesis to peas and carrots and other things that grow in messy dirt.

And then along came biology and “health” classes in school… in fact, it may have been Mr. Dodds in Grade 9 Health class that broke this young man’s dreams of non-consequential donut eating…

… something he said about too much sugar and fat and resultant heart disease and diabetes… I tried to tune him out *la-la-la, fingers in my ears* as the list went on and on, but it was already too late.

His words couldn’t be expunged from my head, like chalk from a blackboard, and the infant bad wolf was sprung from his nascent womb.

Every donut I’ve eaten since has been “arsenic-laced” and two-faced… delicious and sumptuous, yet sadly wrapped in a spider web of venom.

Even when I try to healthily “eat the rainbow” (as suggested by my devilishly well-intentioned dietitian wife) by noshing on a donut with some rainbow sprinkles, the sweet taste fades to bitter.

Higher education has left me a tiny bit more intelligent but at a huge cost of feeling sad and jaded with each bite of a beloved donut.

It’s too late for this lad, but as I see it, I’m left with 2 possible solutions for future generations to avoid this travesty of good taste…

1. Remove health classes from the curriculum, for truly… scientific ignorance is bliss, “oh can you hear me my saviours Misters Trump and DeSantis?” or…

2. have our science bioengineers create the perfect healthy donut à la Beyond Donuts or Impossible Donuts.

Ah, the cheery and friendly donut that is so maligned… I may be old-fashioned, sure, I may glaze over, fritter away more of your time, but sometimes a boy just wants to cruller up and snooze after wolfing down a devilishly yummy Boston Cream!

Underestimated? or… Overestimated?



To be or not to be?

I’ll reword today’s Shakespearean question: To Be Underestimated or To Be Overestimated?

First impressions are an amazing part of the human experience. C’mon, ain’t it amazing?

If you’re wrestling with the idea, try this. We don’t all have an urge to travel or exercise… we don’t all have sex… we don’t all eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches… we don’t all like action hero movies… but…

… we all, bar none, I would say to you, meet someone whom we’ve never encountered before, and within one or two minutes (often less) we have made a fairly broad assessment of who this person is: their education level, political leanings, sexual preference (hetero- or homo-… not Kama Sutra positions!)

Often, we see someone across a room and make all sorts of judgments based solely on their physical appearance, presence, and demeanour. THAT is truly amazing (don’t judge me, but am I saying amazing too much?).

All this without having heard a single spoken word from their mouth.


Why, just one morning this week I was at the pool, lazily lounging in the delicious warmth of the hot tub where I could see a young mom sitting with her (presumed) partner and little toddler’ette.

Mom was attractive, blond’ish hair, a bathing suit that barely covered her ass‘ets. By our societal standards, she was probably floating in the neighbourhood of an 8 or 9 out of 10.

What wasn’t to like? Some men would surely take appreciative notice, and if she was there solo, they may have thought about slithering in her direction, making a hungry approach.

And then… she turned her head and I could see her jaw pistoning up and down big time… chewing gum like a big hunk of tough steak. Mouth wide open and working it over like an MMA fighter… it was GROSS!


I had OVERESTIMATED (at least from solely a physical perspective)…

My upper-level first estimation was plummeting like a skydiver in freefall. In a matter of a millisecond, my 8 or 9 rating fell to a 3 or 4.

I had overshot in my first impression as she tumbled onto the craggy rocks below.

Judgment… we all do it, right?

No shocker really, you likely judge me in this blog post based on my choice of subject matter and selection of words… my tone, my sense of humour (or lack thereof).

My physical appearance doesn’t likely factor in but if I had a good picture here of myself, you’d just as likely make some additional judgments to add on.

We can intensely like or dislike someone instantaneously, and if this first impression is to be up (or down-) graded , it can take quite some time to convince ourselves that we have fabricated a mistaken judgment.

We don’t like to believe we were wrong in our thinking (who, me?) and so we have to talk ourselves into changing our earlier assessment.

Anyway, here’s my question to you: would you prefer that others underestimate you on initial contact… or would you prefer that they come away with a first impression that overestimates you – your charm, wit, your intelligence?

Both have consequences:

  • Underestimate you at their expense of not having gained from your friendliness, your valuable opinions, your humour?
  • Overestimate you at the cost of wasting time and being taken in by a shallow charlatan with little substance worth exploring further?

I’d guess that most of us would prefer to be underestimated because this leaves a runway for pleasant surprises. Don’t we all love the sensation of discovering something/one brighter and more positive than we initially thought to be the case? It’s like finding a red jujube unexpectedly lodged in the bottom of your pocket!

So you see, it’s for this reason that I purposefully downplay my charm, savoie faire, my intelligence, my immense emotional depth with those I first encounter…

It’s only fair that I allow them a delightful surprise when they discover the real truth over time… the real me… Mr. Modest!!


After thought: In Grade 2, my teacher Mrs. Putns indelicately, totally unfairly, wrote on my report card: “Larry needs to work on his superiority attitude.

A Man of a Thousand Or’s



Ah, to have more OR’s than a Roman slave ship…

… oh, is that spelled OAR, not OR?… oh well, doesn’t matter.

In this Walter Mitty life I’ve lived, I’ve had dreams and desires to experience a hundred, nay, a thousand different occupations or preoccupations.

Historically, when we’re born it has generally been predetermined by our family and our society just how our life will be productively spent and drained.

Father is a farmer or a blacksmith?… so shall ye be.

Mother is a homemaker or a teacher?… no need to look further afield.

But now… NOW… from the moment we cry out our first salute to the world, we walk through the Walmart of life with choices upon choices, decisions upon decisions. This… OR… That…


Yup, the OR‘s go on as far as Alpha Centauri.

I guess the good thing as far as avoiding confusion is that early on I didn’t realize that there were so many options from which to choose.

In my early teen years, I wanted to be doctor (as do most kids it seems).

And then, as practical reality settled in (as it does for most kids) and I figured I didn’t have the Right Stuff (time, money, drive), a lab coat was most accessible in, where else, a lab… hence Laboratory Technology became my vocation for 37 years.

Turns out it was a pretty good choice… luck maybe? Who knows…

But that didn’t mean I gave I up my dreams and passions for countless other occupations, trades, crafts, activities.

Some of these I’ve pursued outside of my job, either during my working years, or post-“retirement”. Just a few? Bartending, teaching ESL, winery work, sky-diving, language learning, Living Statue, triathlon’ing.

Still, a long inventory continues to run through my head like Santa’s Nice List.… those things that may come to be or maybe not. Time will tell, and like Walter Mitty, so long as I have a (reasonably) functioning brain, I can live many dreams through my Vivid Imagination and that can be a lot of fun.


Here are some of my Wish List ideas (in no particular order)… feel free to share a few thoughts on whatever inspires you either in a feasible, or a totally fantasy-outrageous-like way:

  • Great actor like Matt Damon/Morgan Freeman/Daniel Day Lewis
  • Writer like Stephen King (novels) or Yuval Noah Harari (non-fiction)
  • Harmony singer in Eagles or Beach Boys
  • Professional guitarist like Tommy Emmanuel
  • Lifeguard
  • Language Learner and instructor
  • Cake decorator
  • B&B owner
  • Funeral Home Concierge
  • Book Editor
  • Calligrapher
  • Woodworker/Furniture Maker
  • Chef/Pastry Chef
  • Chess Master
  • Bonsai Grower/Sculptor
  • Genealogist
  • Movie Reviewer
  • Professional Popcorn Taster
  • Ice Sculptor
  • Blueberry Farmer
  • Olympic Speed Skater
  • Cigar Maker
  • Juggler
  • Jeopardy champion


I’m sure there are more but this is what I have in my head today.

I guess the greater challenge becomes developing a priority list where money and limited time play significant roles. Should I be fortunate/lucky enough to make the Centenarian Olympics (ie. 100 years old in reasonable physical and mental health), then I’ve only about 300,000 hours remaining to pick away at my list… no time to waste, right?

I would feel like the guy who lived 100 jobs in 100 days…

It’s just a major life problem AND amusement when I have far more OR‘s than I have available ME‘s to do them all.

That’s it… I’ll be a clone (no, not clown) scientist!

You Know You’re Getting Old When…



RIP Rachel Welch…

… and Gina Lollobrigida, Marilyn Monroe, Ann-Margret, Jayne Mansfield, Farrah Fawcett, … many other hotties.

… and not to be sexist… RIP also Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando (ewwww), Gregory Peck, Sean Connery, James Garner and James Dean…

Yup, the dreamy sex kittens and killer studs of the 50, 60’s and 70’s are dropping like sweet elderly flies whose glamorous lives have run their course.

Along with them, our memories and teenaged nighttime dreams of a steamy embrace with a Rock or a Rachel are crushed as these ancient relics fall into ruin, like so many treasured Roman or Mayan temples.

The sex symbols of any era reflect the tastes of the time… body size and shape, eye colour, hair colour and length, desirability, voice quality, intelligence and empathy quotients… these all play into our fantasies and desires to varying degrees.

I have to honestly say that very few of the classic “sexpots” that have garnered the most publicity of the moment eg. Pamela Anderson, nahhhhh, any Kardashian, yuck… even the Rachels, Farrahs, and Marilyns held little appeal to my eyes and heart.

In fact, Ursula Andress (nicknamed Ursula Undress for her penchant for nudity in a number of films) was my one big boyhood crush after I watched the movie The Blue Max at the Capitol Theatre in Hamilton when I was about 10 years old.

Her Swiss accent and understated ooze of sensuality captured this kid’s heart and maybe another part of his anatomy.


The good news, of a sort, is that for an old dude like myself, not all of the vintage sensuality stars have taken their last breath just yet.

Examples? Sure, why not…

Ali McGraw grabbed a hold of me with her intelligence and cocky, unique, sexy vulnerability in Love Story. Her pout, in sync with the background musical tracks melted me.

Elisabeth Shue in Karate Kid... the “girl next door” sweetie had her empathy patter down perfectly. Hard to resist.

But back to this week, the beauty we lost was Rachel Welch… her father was a Bolivian, and Raquel never lost her slightly modest Latina sensibilities; despite being self-modelled as a sex kitten, she never once appeared fully nude in any pictorials or movies.

As Hugh Hefner said about her: “Raquel Welch, one of the last of the classic sex symbols, came from the era when you could be considered the sexiest woman in the world without taking your clothes off.”

One of my favourite movies even featured her sexiness without needing a live appearance…

In the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, the poster that Andy Dufresne had on his prison cell wall at the time of his escape was the famous pinup image of Welch in One Million Years B.C. Before Dufresne’s escape being realized, the warden refers to Welch as “Fuzzy Britches”.


Sex kittens and stud muffins will always be a part of our inbred sexual hungers – overt or hidden away.

Our connections to the past and to our emotions of the time are often, like the music landscape of our lifeline, embodied in the faces and bodies of the “beautiful” and sexy; they are entwined in who we are and who we become.

When we say goodbye to them, we kiss goodbye also to a tiny part of our libidinous inner self that leaves with them…

Care to share who your veiled inner lusts craves(d) and why?

Be Scared… vewy… vewy… Scared



I love the world of technology…

… although I only understand it as a scrap of dust on the surface… much as I only truly understand the workings of my car by pressing the gas and brake pedals.

Superficial describes it well.

Only a few years back, when all the social networks (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) were unveiled, overnight the world became smaller and my personal network became larger with next to no effort on my part. I could join online running, gardening, or guitar groups. It was great.

I could “see” what old high school friends and acquaintances were doing – leading spectacular lives of course! – without attending a 25 year reunion… I could connect easily with folks I met briefly in my travel sojourns… I could rejoice in baby births and feel remorse in the obituaries of relatives and friends within seconds of the event occurring, anywhere in the world.

THIS IS FABULOUS, I thought to myself. And in many ways it was and still is.

But… as in everything it seems, the amazing blessing of all of this also comes with a *&%$ curse.

These social streams are upsetting our universe in previously unknown and unwanted ways that have changed our world. Would fake news, myriad conspiracy theories, calls to violence, and the Trumpification of global politics have caught hold without it? I doubt it.

The unbridled, unchecked, democracy of unleashed information was a wonder and a horror. Mother Teresa meet Adolf Hitler.


Very recently, another new technological force has been unleashed that I foresee will have profound impacts on us all… again, both positive, and negative.

Can you guess what that is? Drum roll, please…

AI… Artificial Intelligence (something I’ve always believed I possess!)… and it’s coming, like a monster from under your bed, to a computer in your house and to your life.

Just a few examples of “personal” AI are Microsoft/OpenAI’s ChatGPT, WriteSonic’s ChatSonic, Google’s BARD, DALL-E-2, NightCafe.

These are designed to do all your writing and art/photo projects to your specifications within mere seconds. A prime example of a writing AI utility is preparing high quality university essays using up-to-the-minute source materials from around the world.

AI has been in use worldwide for a few years now (eg. Netflix uses it to recommend movies and shows you would like based on your viewing habits, and websites such as Amazon who recommend possible purchases for you, again, based on your previous buying habits), but its utility for personal use is really just getting started.

AI doctors… AI shoppers… AI couriers and fast food workers… AI CEO’s… AI travel agents… AI taxi service… AI teachers… AI soldiers… the list will be long and growing.


In fact, I’ve test-driven AI twice now in preparing my blog posts… once, using DALL-E to produce a “photo” to illustrate a point I was making, and once with ChatSonic to experiment with what kind of prose it might produce when I gave it a topic to work through; I used a couple of its minor ideas.

Anyway… we are in the VERY early innings of AI use, and its rollout will increase in speed and complexity of use with each new day we awake. This will give us tremendous enjoyment and amazement, and further simplification of the routine things that take our time and energy. That’s the positive.

It will also have PROFOUND effects on every aspect of our world, and it is so profound that no one… NO… ONE… knows how tremendous its impact will be and to what extent the negative impacts will disrupt and endanger us.

A couple of possible negatives? AI can take away jobs, AI could remove an individual’s sense of purpose, AI terrorism, accelerated hacking, increased incursions into personal privacy, cheating in the learning environment .

Eminent author (Sapiens, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century) and philosopher Noah Yuval Harari argues:

a hundred years ago, authority was above the clouds: it was God. In the modern era, authority came down to human beings: our decisions. And now the authority is going back to the clouds, but the clouds of Google and Amazon.”

Bottom line here is that I’m truly excited, but also very, very nervous of the consequences of computers that affect and control us individually and collectively.

The networked world has demonstrated to me the power of dark forces that infiltrate the infrastructure and thinking of humanity.

I will be watching AI closely, and I know the AI world will be watching right back at me… very closely…

King Larry… But You Can Call Me Maybe… Your Majesty


I’m the king of the world…

Fooled you? Ha… you thought I was Leonardo diCaprio at the bow of the Titanic for just a minute, didn’t you?

I’m not Leo, but I feel like a king…

… surrounded by millions of other kings and queens in a kingdom we all share and… guess what?

I’m just dandy with that. There’s plenty of royalty juice available for more and more to drink. This is how it should be.

Before you think I’m off my rocker, let me explain.

Looking back hundreds or thousands of years… hell, look back a mere 100 years, and without doubt, you, me, and millions more live our lives in greater splendour than royalty of yore.

I’m feeling and experiencing this in the most tangible way as I lounge about at an all-inclusive Mexican resort where my every need, my every dreamy desire is attended to in fine fashion.

By my own country’s standards I am firmly middlest of the middle class. And yet, I truly feel like a king.

How many serfs like me ever had this opportunity? Not my parents, not my grandparents nor great-grandparents. How lucky am I?

But first let me acknowledge humbly that not all in our society have this benefit, least of all, those who tend to my wishes here in Mexico, but I speak generally here of our place and time in the broader sense…. Let’s carry on.

So, my Lord or Lady, let me briefly compare my current vacation resort, and even my everyday home life, with the best on offer from generations back:

  • Flush toilets– no under the bed chamber pots like King Henry VIII endured… no flushes, no running water. I have a beautiful, indoor, fully-equipped bathroom with marble tiling that old Henry would have died for… yes indeed, we have splendid moats fed our excrement from the most splendid thrones.
  • Air conditioning– hot weather means nothing when we indulge in air conditioning… so much better than needing slaves or servants with large palm leaf fans, would you say?
  • Enormous and almost endless information– need to know something? No looking into crystal balls or reading tea leaves… no sending scouts out on foot or horseback. You have a little computer in your pocket with millions of years of accumulated knowledge.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables– any minute of the day throughout the year we can partake of a huge assortment of the sweetest fruits and freshest vegetables from around the globe. Not merely surviving on root vegetables or rice rations, we dine on cuisines from around the world.
  • Incredible medical care – put away the blood-letting knives and leeches (ok, the leeches can stay for occasional use, yuck). Take away the scary snake oils and untested potions, bone saws and no anaesthetic, infections without cures, surgery with bare, unclean hands and tools. You might not be happy with your current medical care, but you also won’t likely die in childbirth either, something that troubled poor Queen Victoria’s mind while she birthed 9 wee ones (did I even mention easy availability of birth control today?)
  • Dental care – many or most of us now carry our molars and incisors intact ‘til death. A few hundred years back, it was a rarity for any king or queen to last through their days without tooth pulling and dental pain as a daily companion. Sad to say, but in Tudor times, sugar was relatively rare, and so for many of the elite, including Elizabeth I, blackened teeth from decay was considered a desirable sign of great wealth. Woohoo, sign me up… never!
  • Electricity – Enjoying your evening lights, your entertainment options galore today? Going back, there was no electricity at all, no TVs, movies, just stage performances with shabby lighting and make up. Often, men were the only ones allowed to perform… no JLo’s or Lady Gagas!
  • Travel– Your highnesses would travel hours and days in icy cold/steamy hot, rugged, bumpy conveyances just to reach a neighbouring town or city, that is, if kings ever left their palaces. Ain’t it sad when I whine that the wine isn’t quite to my liking, or the selection of movies isn’t to my taste on my air flight across the globe?
  • Tampons and Toilet paper– I won’t go into great, OK, any, detail here… but you know you are exalted royalty on your throne and in your bathroom when it comes to these easily accessible items at your disposal. Did any of King Henry’s 6 wives have it this good during their oft-shortened lives?

You know M’Lord/Lady… I could go on for days here about the ways in which you and I share incredibly good fortune… but I fully expect that you’re just too busy scrolling others’ FB and IG posts wondering… wondering… how is it that they have such magical lives.

No need to wonder or worry…

Remember, you live the magic too Your Majesty!

To Infinity and Beyond…


As I relax this morning in a warm world (Mexico) far away from my snow-shrouded home, my old compadre Jim Ferguson has generously stepped in from the cold to share his far-off vision into time and space.

So put on your spacesuit, settle in and travel the universe with Mr. Ferguson …. 3… 2… 1…. liftoff…..

“Heh Jimmy…what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Those words were spoken to me 60+ years ago on Penhorn Drive in Dartmouth, NS by one of my friends.

I was 4-5 years old at the time. I didn’t have to think about it for more than a second as I responded, “I want to be an astronaut!”

How many of you wanted to be an astronaut when you were a kid? Come on now…admit it. I’m betting at least some of you had the same dream as I had during your childhood. And why wouldn’t you? Those days were quite thrilling as the “space race” with the Russians was front and centre in the news on a regular basis.

A quirky TV show called Star Trek got its start in the mid-1960s. Space…the final frontier was a hot topic especially as the television technology advanced.

I have memories of the early space flights from around the time John Glenn went into orbit on Mercury 6 in 1962. I don’t recall Alan Shepard’s historic flight of 1961 on Mercury Freedom 7 or the even more historic flight of the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, who a month before Shepard, became the 1st man in space.

I recall the Canadian pride as Alouette 1, the 1st non-U.S. or Russian satellite, was launched in 1962.

Then there was Ed White becoming the 1st American to walk in space in 1965 only to die two years later in a horrible fire with Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee aboard Apollo 1. I cried like a baby when I heard that news. I remember that tragedy as clearly today as if it happened yesterday.

Then there was the penultimate space event of our time, the Apollo 11 trip to the moon and Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “that’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I was a space junkie…no question about it. I was so much a space buff that I wrote away for kits from NASA with lots of kid-oriented information about the various rockets and stories of the astronauts. There was even a small speck of what was supposed to be moon dust.

I would peek out my window at night staring up into space and looking for any moving objects to confirm my belief that there were life forms on other planets possibly coming to earth to visit.

Heck…on December 24th during those early years, my brother and I even spent time scoping out the vastness of space for signs that Santa Claus was heading towards 27 Penhorn Drive to drop off some presents! I would occasionally see a moving dot of light which my dad would identify as a satellite. It was still cool to see.

After the Apollo 11 moon landing, and as I was heading into my teen years, my space interests waned and were replaced with many other interests, not the least of which was hockey.

Just like many young kids dream of being an astronaut, many young Canadian lads also dreamed of “making it to the NHL.” Many of my friends talked about this dream though none of us ever made it (although…I still feel there is an outside chance I could still make it at 65-years-of-age…😊).

Despite the shift in interests at that time, I was still captured by some space references. For example, when Elton John came out with his song Rocket Man or David Bowie with Space Oddity and those famous opening words “Ground control to Major Tom…”. The space imagery of those and other pop songs was wonderful.

The TV show Star Trek, with Canada’s very own William Shatner as Captain Kirk, first aired in 1966. As a kid, I was sucked right into the idea of space being the final frontier and that man should “boldly go where no man has gone before.” Sign me up Gene Roddenberry (the show’s creator).

While the space adventures were always fun and mesmerizing to this young lad, as I got older, I realized that there was so much more to Star Trek than meets the eye.

If one only looks at the show for its superficial space adventure enjoyment, one is likely to miss the amazing progressive social lessons that were taught in the show.

The Enterprise bridge and crew contained both men and women and Lt. Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols) was African American and was a central character in the show. In one episode, Uhuru and Kirk share a kiss! This type of inter-racial intimacy was not common in those days on TV.

And don’t forget, the main bridge crew consisted of officers who were Vulcan (Spock), Japanese (Sulu), Scottish (Scotty), and Russian (Chekov). Enterprise had the mission to explore new worlds and to make friends with new races with the prime directive of not interfering with these new races and cultures in their development.

There were many races represented in the crew of the Enterprise and that grew over time, becoming more and more diverse as new worlds were discovered. Star Trek was a trail blazing show for progressive social ideas and could be a study worthy of a university sociology course (if it isn’t already).

Then came Star Wars. I won’t go into all the details with this series of movies. Let’s just say that the technology had advanced, and the space adventures were much more mesmerizing. It only served to fuel my love of all things space.

I will say, however, that as Star Trek blazed a progressive social trail, Star Wars also blazed a trail demonstrating the power of good over evil in the form of The Force and The Dark Side representing man’s inner struggle with the ego. Fascinating lessons to be learned if one looks beyond the space adventure action of the series.

There were many other events that seemed to reorient my gaze back to the stars over the years, two of which will wrap up this blog.

The 1st was the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. The images captured by this telescope have been spectacular and might I say soul-stirring!

These images have served to increase my wonder at the vastness of our universe and the billions of galaxies that it contains. Astounding! Mind boggling! Who can forget seeing the image titled “The Eye of God” (below) or the “Pillars of Creation” (above).

There are so many others. AND…with the recent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) these images are even sharper and clearer as the telescope technology has improved dramatically since the launch of Hubble.

The JWST is now allowing us to capture ancient faint light that is billions of years old from the very edge of the universe and from the dawn of the creation of our universe shortly after the “Big Bang”.

These two telescopes have taken us out into the universe in ways that a rocket ship or TV shows could never do. Scientists are barely scratching the surface of what we can learn about our universe from images and data collected by the JWST. Stay tuned…

All this discovery and beauty from space has only reignited my childhood dream of being an astronaut.

While I am realistic knowing that that dream will never come to fruition, I can still gaze into the heavens and dream of what’s out there.


Jim Ferguson

Fields of Chocolate! My Elite 8 Choices…



Shavasana time…

… the lights go dim, a dozen of us laying zombie-like on rubber yoga mats over the padded flooring.

Quiet sounds of breathing are interrupted only by the mellifluous voice of Marsha’s repetitively intoning RELEASE… RELAX… AND JUST LET GO…

In the following few minutes I begin to discern a hint or two of snoring or heavier breathing… those who have JUST LET GO. My body is afloat in a salty sea… time loses meaning…

I release, I relax, but I never JUST LET GO… let’s call my state as one of meditation and deeper thought… and tonight my deeper thoughts take me into the dreamy realm of CHOCOLATE.

W-W-What?? Yes, chocolate. But how did I ever arrive there of all places?

Each year (we’ve been attending Marsha’s yoga classes for maybe 16 or 17 years now) during the holiday season, while doing Shavasana, Marsha creeps stealthily through the laid out yogis – like Santa coming down a child’s chimney – putting little chocolate favours at the end of each mat to be magically discovered when we “awaken” post-Shavasana.

Yes Virginia, not only is there a Santa Claus, but there is also a Marsha.


It surprises me that after writing 552 blog posts and alluding to my love of chocolate on dozens of occasions, I’ve not yet written a blurb here specifically about my passion for chocolate. Yes indeed, I’m staggered.

But honestly, I’m not an aficionado of anything that smacks of ambrosia, luscious, lip-smacking… wine, beer, cheese… not even chocolate. But I know what I enjoy as well as the next plebeian.

So don’t try and foist any of that waxy Allen’s chocolate nonsense on me, I’ll be neither amused nor tempted.

Also, you’d best proffer me milk chocolate and not the dark versions loved by so many others.

There are 100’s of varieties and forms of chocolate available in our wonderful world of confections… so many that it can be a mammoth chore at times making a choice of which to favour my taste buds.

I must be selectively choosy in order to avoid malignant rotundity… I already suffer from early-onset puerile plumpness.

So today, this choosiness results in a Top 8 list… yup, an elite 8 of my very favourite chocolate bars available in the Canadian market.

Please feel free to enlighten me of a loving favourite in your home country’s marketplace/petrol station/General Store.

Will you stay with me? Will you be my love?
Among the fields of chocolate
We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of chocolate
…. (with apologies to Sting)

Let’s raise a bar and take a bite from these fields of chocolate (in no particular order):

  • FRUIT AND NUT – Creamy milk chocolate, plump raisins and crunchy almonds complete this Cadbury’s chocolate bar. Fruit and Nut was introduced as part of the Dairy Milk line in 1926. Cadbury created a furor amongst its fans in 2015 when it substituted “sultanas” for “raisins” in the Fruit and Nut bar. Here’s something I didn’t know before (source Wikipedia): Raisins and sultanas are both dried grapes, but there is a difference between raisins and sultanas. Raisins are made by allowing grapes to dry naturally in the sun, while sultanas are treated with an oil-based solution before drying to speed up the process. This results in a lighter color for sultanas compared to the dark brown color of raisins. Additionally, sultanas are typically smaller in size and sweeter in taste than raisins.
  • MR. BIG– Not only a Sex And The City character, Mr. Big is truly a BIG candy bar; it’s the biggest chocolate bar produced by Cadbury in Canada (around 8 inches in length). Mr. Big is also available in Hungary, Poland, and some areas of the United States. It’s filled with vanilla wafer coated in caramel and rice crisp and coated in milk chocolate.
  • JERSEY MILK Jersey Milk is a simple, yet creamy and delicious chocolate bar that was first introduced in 1924. Initially owned by Neilson, today, this historic favourite is kept alive by Cadbury Canada… it’s pure Milk Chocolate for the soul. This was my childhood favourite and was sold in little individual bite-sized packages at corner stores.
  • BIG TURK – A classic Turkish delight chocolate bar coated in milk chocolate, made by Nestle Canada. Many Canadians have a love/hate relationship with this mysterious chocolate bar. It’s a combination of red jelly coated in a thin, light layer of chocolate. Super sweet, super yummy!
  • WUNDERBARWunnerful wunnerful is Cadbury’s Wunderbar. Wunderbar in German translates to marvellous. Cadbury Canada makes this candy bar at their chocolate factory in downtown Toronto. The Wunderbar is creamy peanut butter mixed with light rice crisps and delicious caramel and engulfed in milk chocolate. Soft and chewy scrumptiousness.
  • BOUNTYBounty Coconut Bar consists of a flaky coconut filling coated with creamy milk chocolate. Bounty is made by Mars Canada in Bolton, Ontario. Bounty Chocolate bars come divided in two distinct halves for sharing- yeah, right!!
  • OH HENRY – The Canadian Oh Henry is sold through Hershey and made in Ontario. This bar has fudge in the middle, then a thin layer of caramel, then nuts that are surrounded by the final chocolate layer. There is a popular legend that says that there was a boy named Henry who came to George Williamson’s Kansas candy store frequently. This young man became a favourite of the young women working at the store and his popularity with the staff led Williamson to name the candy bar after him. In this story, the ladies in the shop were always saying, “Oh, Henry,” to the boy and the name stuck to him.
  • REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPSReese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented by Harry Burnett Reese, in 1928. Harry was actually employed by Milton S. Hershey. Harry and Milton had quite a close friendship. Hershey inspired Reese, and like a good friend he supported and encouraged Harry in his peanut butter cup endeavour as a basement sideline. Of course, Reese would only ever use Hershey’s chocolate! Reese had his hands full, not only as the maker of Peanut Butter Cups, but also the father of 16 children! He never expected his Peanut Butter Cups to explode the way they did. He was just trying to provide a little extra income for his family. The Hershey’s Chocolate Company, which had always inspired Reese, bought his company after his death for $23.5 Million.


As a whispered-in-your-ear postscript to all of these sweet nothings, I have to add a big thumbs down to CRISPY CRUNCH, SKOR, and CRUNCHIE chocolate bars; you’ve likely heard the nickname tequila is given… “panty remover“… I’ll add my own nickname for these candy bar treats… “dental filling remover“!!

OK… I’m releasing myself back to Shavasana… Ommmmmm…. maybe “Santa” will visit again and bring me even more delectable ideas!

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