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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…

The Day My Music Died And The World Became Real… Walls and Windows

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Fifty-nine years ago this week, I can vividly remember…

… coming home from my Grade 1 classroom at Glen Echo School, and sitting in my family’s living room in Hamilton.

I sat there on the couch beside my Mom in silence, watching black and white TV coverage on the big wood-encased console TV that sat in the corner of the room.

Together we stared at the grainy images as a shocked world responded to the death of a man I had no idea existed before that day.

But many millions of others did know him and were dream-walking in a cloudy state of distress and disbelief. It was how the adults around me reacted to this that I remember most.

Mom sat forward on the couch, elbows propped on her knees, gazing intently at the screen. There were no tears, but I knew something wasn’t right.

What little I knew about the world was different from that day forward. An explosion had occurred and the world suddenly became real to a little 6 year-old… me.

The date? November 22, 1963.

Yes, I’m… ahem… old enough to remember the day of JFK’s assassination. U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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Not to dismiss the deaths alluded to in Don MacLean’s classic song American Pie, my life hit its first wall of sorts on November 22, 1963, which in a way created my first window of memory, followed by a great number of other walls-and-windows-of-memory later on.

Memories are fascinating things, aren’t they?… how we experience thousands of moments each day, yet almost all hit a wall and slip quietly to the floor, never to be seen again. I typically remember very little within 24 hours without concentrated thought.

And yet…

… not everything strikes a wall and falls away.

There are also windows of memory, windows filled with remembrances that we see, feel, hear, and taste for the remainder of our lives.

Honestly, I don’t know the details of the complex brain chemistry that preferentially keeps and stores those visions that can feel “alive”, as if they happened yesterday.

I know it can all be explained by chemical elements, hormones, and synapses, still I find it a mystical part of brain magic.

With great detail, I can experience over and over the exhilarating births of each of my children, I can feel the panic of nearly drowning when I was about 7 years old and had stepped into an unexpected dropoff in a Parry Sound lake, I can hear the voice of my mother reminding me when I was 15 to apply for a McDonald’s job the night she died, I can viscerally feel the elated exhaustion as I crossed the finish line of a 1990 Ironman race.

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There are lots and lots of these vibrant memories, but they represent only a miniscule amount of the bank deposits that have been passed through my accounts.

Each of us possesses a myriad of wondrous memory “windows”… most are of great import to our lives, our formation… and strangely, a few minor episodes slip through, little escapees of the forgotten prison, for some unexplainable reason.

Walls and windows – blessings and curses, curses and blessings… are not only a part of our physical homes of comfort, but also of our inner mansion of memory comfort and discomfort.

JFK’s death was only the first of many windows constructed as I began building my lifetime home.

The HOLY Trinity of Blog Writing… Women, Sex, and God

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Know your audience…

Just so you know… I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, perhaps one fry short of a Happy Meal, and to quote a “friend” drunk-seriously looking me in the eye, “somewhere there’s a village missing its idiot“…

but… after 10+ years of consistent weekly writing, I know a little bit about you and my other readers on this voyage of self-discovery aka blog writing.

No, I haven’t been snooping in your windows at night… and I really don’t have the foggiest notion of what you look like naked… and I really really don’t want you to know what I look like naked… this isn’t supposed to be a horror blog site.

However… drawing from my former science-based career, I can surmise a reasonable sense of those things I talk about that resonate with many of you, and others that smack head on, like some crash-test dummy, into a brick wall of indifference.

With some tools provided me by this blog-hosting site (WORDPRESS), each day I can see which country my readers live in, and a basic count of the numbers of visitors… that’s it… no reveal of your hometown/city, your identity, gender, age, or whether you dye your hair blue or green.

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Fortunately for me, my livelihood today, unlike many others who do this, is not in any way dependent on drawing you into my blog-writing world consistently so that I can extract money from your pockets, or those of advertisers who would like to extract dinero from you.

Which means, I choose to write about those things each week that strike a chord (musically, or otherwise) or arouse my curiosity for a minute or two… SQUIRREL!!

This is why, just like you, I’m all over the place in topic choices and themes, week to week. The only difference perhaps, is that I sit down and pound it out on a keyboard, like it’s a religion (the new Atheist denomination?)

Now where was I?

Ah yes… my knowledge of you and the things that interest you.

I can’t read your mind, but there are some themes that catch a fair number of eyeballs.

Here’s a brief list of those things I write about that gather the most interest over time:

  1. The rising prominence and power of women. Those posts where I discuss and promote the desirability of women vs men in positions of political power are my number 1 draw. Just this week, soon-to-retire US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waxed on about the outsized gains of women in the US House and Senate during her 20 years of leadership. This trend is a global one, and not a mere outlier blip. This is the direction of our future world, and it can’t come soon enough, alongside enhanced worldwide opportunities for women’s education (although we have to be very careful to not leave men in the dust to avoid toxic animosity).
  2. Anything that is sexually-related. No surprise here folks, we almost all feel a magnet when it comes to the world of sexuality. As an aside, I’m perpetually intrigued and in some ways, disgusted, that our TV and movie screens are replete with graphic scenes of violence, murder, rape, war… and yet… (preferably) loving scenes of sexual encounters are largely hidden away. From a blogger’s perspective, I know, without doubt, that if I include the word sex, or anything that infers a sexual theme in the title… BOOM! Readers!! No, it’s not because my writing content is so titillating, or evocative, or mind-bending… it’s the search engines (eg GOOGLE) where folks are actively seeking out anything that takes them down the rabbit hole of sex and sexuality. Sex is the lazy person’s way to bring eyeballs to their internet world. Sex sells, they say. Hell, YES!
  3. GOD and Religion. It’s no secret that I am a non-believer in a deity. However, I can’t possibly know with 100% knowledge of whether I am correct in this belief, just as I know that no one else knows the “truth” either. And so, I write about this, fairly often actually, in what I hope comes across as a viewpoint of tolerance. I know and respect that we all have deeply held internal beliefs that guide us through our lives. IMPORTANTLY, so long as we hurt no one with our belief system, I’m all for it. Free choice (with hefty spoonsful of tolerance and open-mindedness) can cover a lot of ground.

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That’s it… this blogger’s trinity.

Of course, my mind wanders madly off in all directions, so my view of the trinity is often, like the fata morgana… illusory, and far in the distance.

No need to worry my friends… I may know you a wee bit, but as for seeing you naked… I learned my lesson at 9 years old when I blew away my dollar on x-ray glasses from a comic book so I could “see” my Grade 3 teacher better.

SUCH a disappointment… see, sex sells!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Oxymorons

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Gotta love the word… OXYMORON…

While its true meaning is funny in itself, the word (an excellent Scrabble point’s grabber)- to me – implies an idiot catching his breath.

Whatever… the important thing is I laugh when I hear the word.

The word is derived from two ancient Greek words: oxys, which means “sharp,” and moronos, which means “dull” or “stupid.” Yes, even the word oxymoron is an oxymoron!

The days are getting oh-so-short here in Slumberland… the weather is way-out-of-character cold… and I’m sweeping the dust bunnies out of the nooks and crannies of my noggin searching for a hidden challenge … something to invigorate my snow-globe clouded mind… because, as you know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

So, to drag myself up, up, and away into the blue skies of mental magic today, I’ve decided to write a simply complex oxymoronic tale, a silly, bittersweet story of incredibly bad dialogue, terrible plot-lines, and sad attempts at oxymoron’isms. Properly ridiculous, would you say?

The hills are alive, let’s go twerking in the Austrian Alps…

The Silliest Sounds of Music

Good grief“, she uttered through the clamorous hubbub of 7 excited children, staring off into the distance, dreaming of a warm holiday, perhaps the French Riviera or southern Spain… this was nothing like the working vacation she had envisioned coming into this bone-chilling Austrian winter.

Maria would sooner be a happily disgruntled nun than look after this unruly band of Butt-Heads, this small crowd of hoodlums otherwise known as the Von Trapp children.

Did the Captain even have the foggiest notion in his unconscious awareness that 16-going-on-17 Liesl was sneaking out at night to earn tips sliding and shimmying as a pole dancer in the Salzburg Barrel Haus? Yes, fellows WERE falling in line, those eager young lads, rogues and cads who were offering her food and wine, and much much more.

Months before, when Mother Superior told Maria, implored her really – in a detailed summary – of the opportunity to shed her habit and become a student teacher of sorts, she jumped at the chance. After all, it was an open secret at the abbey that Maria was a devout atheist.

Perhaps, thought cheerful pessimist Mother Superior, nannying a gaggle of defiant ragamuffins and a curmudgeonly Captain would help Maria to climb ev’ry mountain, ford ev’ry stream and find God.

Some of her sister nuns saw this as seriously funny, while others cast their eyes upon her in a pretty ugly way.

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But how had Maria ever ended up in a secluded Catholic convent, this place of sweet sorrow, where desperate freezer burnt women huddled in endless, quiet prayer?

It was old news that the Nazis had plans to forcefully conscript members of the Austrian militia to aid in their efforts to control the entire planet.

Before entering the convent, Maria had belonged to a militant pacifist group, a small crowd of bohemians that believed an Austrian civil war could be avoided, if they could only convince the general population to adopt a peaceful resistance of intense apathy. The unsophisticated group firmly believed that doing nothing could be the saviour of the motherland of Austria, at least until the Nazis took brutal control.

Maria had clearly misunderstood the mood of the populace.

Loud whispers grew in the underground faction, of her naive complicity with the German invaders and other ne’er-do-wells. With each passing day, she could feel the walls closing in upon her and her pacifist movement; if nothing was done soon, she would likely end up behind bars, perhaps even disappear like so many others she had heard of, in the night.

You must hide yourself away from these slimy Nazi bastards“, implored her equally-naive freund Gertrude with a sad smile. “They will steal your guitar and your do-re-mi… I read a wonderful little story by some English playwright the other day who said, ‘Get thee to a Nunnery!’. I think this is fine advice. Take your guitar and skip away Maria.” It seemed her only choice.

In the dark morning light when the co-conspirator Austrian police and German army officers crashed through her door to arrest her, a deafening silence could be heard as the police realized she had absconded.

Drat“, they exclaimed, Maria had been found missing. She truly was a wise fool they collectively agreed, as they nibbled on jumbo shrimp sent along by the wife of one of the police lieutenants.

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Time was running out and Maria and the Von Trapp family soon found themselves between a soft rock and a hard place. Both the Austrian police and the German army declared that climbing trees while wearing gaudy curtains was tantamount to treason and would be punishable by internment in a travelling marionette show run by lonely goat-herders.

Though the Captain had recently been in ill health, the family knew the writing was on the wall. Escape was their only avenue.

In order to raise the funds needed to mount a hike over the snow-covered Alps in the dead of winter, Maria and the Captain signed a contract for a live recording of their journey with a reality show producer that Liesl had met while lap dancing at the Barrel Haus.

This terribly good tale of the VonTrapp family comes to a close as we view a drone-shot of the group, twirling and singing in melancholy merriment as they traipse through waist-deep snow, like frozen zombies of The Walking Dead, enroute to Switzerland and lucrative deals with Swiss Chocolate and Watch makers.

  • Fade to black

Brrr… Culinary Comfort Brings A Warm Embrace

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Chill temperatures have finally dropped into the Okanagan Valley, a frosty parachute jettisoned from the northlands.

Late summer miraculously held on and on, grasping tight to a steadfast overnight +10ºC until… last night when… it didn’t.

BOOM! Winter! -6ºC this morning.

Birch and cherry trees shivered like they had a COVID fever and immediately began rapid-fire chucking of their still-green leaves to the emerald grass below.

Childish chickadees and juvenile juncos huddled noisily around the feeders like itinerant depression-era hobos surrounding a burning barrel, gorging on black-oil sunflower seeds, little ADHD nomads flitting back and forth from the cedar and yew hedges on the yard’s edge.

Safely ensconced behind my window glass I clasp a steaming cup of tea to my chest, vicariously absorbing signs of winter chills that bring on the inbred desire for fireplace coziness and … comfort foods.

Bears hibernate, Monarch butterflies wing south, hares and ptarmigan turn white, and we humans… turn to the desire for comfort foods that is sewn into our DNA.

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We all embrace an individual set of edibles that constitute our comfort food… for some it’s stews and shepherd pie, for others, Yorkshire pudding and baby back ribs saturated in thick, sweet sauciness, yet others crave a spicy curry or steaming vegetable-laden soup.

I’d happily dive into any of those choices as temperatures take a dive of their own.

Something I’ve noticed is that comfort foods largely tend to go by passionless names (eg. meat loaf, lentil soup), what I might call “diner” names, not Michelin 3 star restaurant descriptors that dazzle us with colourful imagery and unpronounceable titles.

OK, enough talk… lets head for the warmth of my kitchen where I’ll share just a few of my own preferences of the delectables that are like a cozy pillow to embrace within my inner guts.

I’m putting on my apron and sharpening my knives. Let’s cook up… some good old northern comfort…

(NB. While almost all of these contain meat or animal products, any can be quite easily customized to accommodate the vegan palate)

  1. Chicken and Dumplings – one of my Mom’s go-to’s, simple fare with down-home farm ingredients.
  2. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup – a lunchtime staple on snowy days, even if the soup comes from a can (although I’ll be using San Marzano tomatoes from my garden, ripening in the cold room).
  3. Chili Con Carne (o sin carne!) – this was actually one of my Dad’s favourite things to make after he retired. Silly me – I didn’t know he could cook anything until he hit 65!
  4. Sloppy Joes – many comfort foods fall into a “sloppy” category, does this say something about winter blues perhaps?
  5. Pastitsio* (see recipe at bottom of post) or Lasagna – anything that is topped with caramelized cheese is food for the gods in my book.
  6. Slow Cooker Rogan Josh or Butter Chicken (served with fresh naan) – I have a lot of immigrant friends and families to thank for the food scents that permeate my home in recent years. How did I live my first 40 years without cumin, fenugreek, or turmeric?
  7. Blueberry Bread Pudding – simple breakfast (dessert) fare that covers all the major food groups, AND the extra one that nurses my major addiction …. sugar! (Of course, any fruit can be subbed, fall apples are a great choice)
  8. Pad Thai – it took me a long time to come to a realization that peanut butter goes well with something other than chocolate or bananas (and shockingly, that fish sauce is a fantastic umami contributor to lots of dishes)
  9. Pierogi and Sausages – I grew up in a heavily ethnic Hamilton neighbourhood where many Ukrainians settled after World War II, bringing their unique foodstuffs along for the ride to share.
  10. Wor Wonton Soup – broth with everything included except the kitchen sink… shrimp, vegetables, mushrooms, egg… sesame oil and ginger combination at its best.
  11. Cinnamon Buns with Maple Cream Cheese icing – is any dessert item more enticing and winter’ish than tender-as-marshmallow dough laced with warm cinnamon, brown sugar, and cream cheese? ME ME… I’ll answer… NOPE!
  12. Pork or Chicken Schnitzel – fork-tender meat sautéed in a lightly-seasoned crumb coating. Delectable with or without a mushroom or tomato sauce.
  13. Beef Stroganoff – more fork-tender slow-cooked meat in a mushroomy sour cream sauce. I’m not at all pleased with the Russian government but I love this contribution from their kitchen.
  14. Boston Baked Beans – we all know that legumes (so many beans, so little time) are great for our bowel and general health, so why not enjoy it with a tantalizing smoky tomato sauce. For those worried about contributing to global warming via flatulent methane production, humans produce a paltry 1 L of flatus per day, only 7% of which is methane… which is less than 1% of what a single cow produces daily. So nosh as much on beans as you like and the only one who can reasonably complain is your nearest neighbour.
  15. Chicken Cacciatore – my good ole Hamilton friend Denise made the best chicken cacciatore I’ve eaten when she gamely visited me in Yellowknife over 40 years ago… the memory and great flavour of that dish still lingers.
  16. Irish Beef Stew (with Guinness) – I’ve always loved stews at this time of year… and there are so many variations… one of which (see below) I gorged on in Dublin just this summer at the The Girl and The Goose Restaurant.

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Of course, our food tastes are constantly evolving, and with the availability of ingredients from around the world throughout the year… well, we can keep on adding to our comfort menu for chilly days and long nights.

OK gang, let’s put down our knives and mixing bowls now and cheer on the shorter, colder days from which we draw culinary warmth.

I don’t know about you, but, just thinking about all of this, I’m famished!

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*As promised, some comfort goodness for 4… I made this dish this week…OPA!!

Pastitsio (Greek Pasta Bake)

Greece’s answer to Italian Lasagna! This traditional Greek dish is made with layers of pasta topped with a rich meat sauce perfumed with a hint of cinnamon and clove, topped with a thick layer of cheese sauce.

For neat layers. arrange the pasta so they’re all going in one direction, and rest the baked Pastitsio for 15 minutes before slicing. Excellent for making ahead (keeps for 4 to 5 days in the fridge) and freezes very well!

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 2 hrs

Servings: 4

Calories: 597cal/serving

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 garlic cloves , finely minced
  • 1 red onions , finely chopped (sub yellow or brown onions)
  • 0.5 kg / 1 lb beef mince (ground beef)
  • 0.38 cup dry red wine
  • 400g / 14 oz canned crushed tomato
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 0.5 tsp white sugar
  • 0.5 bay leaf
  • 0.25 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 0.5 cinnamon stick (or extra 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder)
  • 0.13 tsp ground cloves
  • 0.38 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper

Greek Bechamel:

  • 50g / 3.5 tbsp butter , unsalted
  • 0.38 cup flour , plain/all purpose
  • 0.5 litre / 2 cups milk , whole/full fat best but low fat ok
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 50g / 1.5 oz Kefalotyri Greek cheese (sub. Parmesan or Romano), finely shredded
  • 1 egg yolk (egg white is used in the pasta)

Pasta:

  • 200g / 7 oz Pastitsio No. 2 pasta / Greek bucatini (sub. small ziti, penne or normal bucatini)
  • 60g / 2 oz feta , crumbled
  • 1 egg white (yolk used in Béchamel)

Topping:

  • 37.5g / 1.5 oz Kefalotyri Greek cheese (sub parmesan or Romano) , finely grated

Instructions

Meat Sauce:

  • Heat in a large pot over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 2 – 3 minutes until onion is softened. Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go, until it changes from red to brown.
  • Add wine and and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated – about 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining Meat Sauce ingredients. Stir well, bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium / medium low so it’s simmering gently. Cook for 45 min to 1 hour until liquid is mostly gone, stirring every now and then. It should be a thick mixture with little liquid, not saucy like Spaghetti Bolognese.
  • Remove from stove and cool. Preferably to room temperature, otherwise for at least 30 minutes before assembling (lid off).

Greek Béchamel (Note 5):

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir for 1 minute.
  • While stirring, slowly pour half the milk in. It should turn into a wet paste. Then again, while stirring, pour in remaining milk – the paste should easily dissolve so it’s lump-free. If not, just whisk vigorously.
  • Cook, stirring so the base doesn’t catch, for 5 minutes or until thick enough so it coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly and you can draw a path across it with your finger.
  • Remove from stove. Stir in nutmeg, cheese and salt.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Then whisk in egg yolk quickly. Place lid on and set aside. If sauce cools and gets too thick to pour, just reheat on a low stove until pourable.

Pasta (Note 6):

  • When you’re ready to assemble, cook the pasta per packet instructions, minus 1 minute.
  • Drain, then return to the pot. Leave to cool for 3 minutes, then stir through egg white. Gently stir through crumbled feta.

Assemble and bake:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
  • Place pasta in a baking dish (33 x 22 x 7 cm / 9 x 13 x 2.75″), arranging them so they are all going in the same direction as best you can (for visual effect when sliced). Make the surface as level as you can.
  • Top with Meat Sauce, then smooth the surface.
  • Pour over Béchamel Sauce, then sprinkle over the cheese.
  • Bake 30 min or until crust turns golden.
  • Cool for at least 15 minutes so you can cut neat slices with the layers neatly visible. Serve!

The Name Of The Game – Today Is Not That Day…

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Loose bowels anyone?

I sucked in high school gym class… I was pretty athletic but…

… getting marked on gymnastics skills by Mr. Dodds, or wrestling prowess by Mr. Griffin was a diarrhea-producing phenomenon for a kid who had slid ahead a grade in elementary school, while at the same time being a slow developer on the physical front.

I was a mile behind most of my peers on strength, size, and *cringe*… genital-area development. I was a shaved lamb in a gym class of hirsute lions.

My brain dashed down the hallways of the academic classes at the same pace as the others, but my brawn dawdled in the areas that mattered to the macho guys and the cute girls. That old TV show Freaks and Geeks held a smidgen of resonance for this hombre.

I wanted to be in the upper echelon of athletic mastery, but my inner construction was delayed until approaching Grade 13 (yes, Ontario had Grade 13 then) by – as is so popular in today’s vernacular – supply chain issues.

Principal’s announcement over PA: “Sorry, hormones for some of our pubescent boys is held up on a barge from Southeast Asia. Your voices will continue to be indistinguishable from your female classmates until at least next year”.

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Fast forward to today and, while my voice may not resonate in the uber-masculine bass octaves, my inclination is to maintain my physique in a fit and healthy state.

A well-tuned skill set – as required by gym teachers in my era – is nice, but a satisfactory life demands good health via the pathway of simple, uncomplicated physical activity; prowess, macho dudes, and cute girls be damned.

I have a healthy competitive bent but really only when comparing within myself.

I’ve never approached becoming Olympic material *could it be because I don’t give a sh@t* since I won’t push myself to extraordinary limits to beat the next Joe.

I’m delighted if I can shave a second or two off my own 10km or half marathon run times, or, stay in the game and get an occasionally decent top-spin on my tennis shots. WIN-LOSE… Bahhhhhhh…

The thing that high school in my day (at least in my viewpoint) sadly missed out on was promoting the enjoyment of physical participation and overall fitness as healthy and desirable – a life skill akin to learning to understand the need to prepare a household budget and comprehending investments and mortgages, something else that was lacking in my schooling. I was left to find these life-essential matters on my own time and dime.

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It took a heart attack in his mid-fifties for my Dad to learn the magic trick that movement and activity was a secret elixir of health. He began a daily walking ritual that brought him a decent measure of heart health. If my mother had joined him consistently she would have likely lived for another decade.

Our personal histories, these high school anxieties, these parents’ health issues, play out in our minds and shape us. We have a whole lifetime of experiences that make us who we are… including those things that perhaps give you loose bowels too.

Regular physical activity is a habit, I think of it as a positive addiction. Happily, an addiction that should never necessitate a 12-step program (how about a 10,000-step addiction) for us.

When I’m walking, or swimming, or running… I hear a little angel whispering in my ear…

There will be a day when I can no longer do this… today is NOT that day.

State of the (Dis)Union

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the troubles of the world. To look outwards and stay focussed on all that is positive can be challenging.

Generally I do my best to avoid drinking up the deluge of information that emphasizes things I can worry over but which I have no control.

And yet…

When I read the essay below by my friend and frequent guest-blogger Jim Ferguson, I listen up because, as I know him, and as the way he describes himself near the end as, “Ever being the optimist…”, it prompts the hair on the back of my neck to stand at attention.

So, let’s let the eternal optimist Jim carry you forward now from his unique perspective as a proud Canadian (and prouder HABS fan!) living in the tumultuous American milieu… Sir James?

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Keep a room ready… I may be making a run for the border soon…

As usual, thanks to Larry for giving me a platform to express some thoughts.

As the title of this latest guest edition of Man on the Fringe suggests, I may be making a run for the border in the not-too-distant future.

No! I am not having a hankering for Timbits or the urge to get a hot plate of poutine. What I am witnessing before my very eyes is the socio-political infrastructure here in “the States” crumbling at a rapid rate and the thought of moving home to Canada seems more and more appealing to me.

Frankly, I have seen this coming for many years. No! I am not the great Kreskin or Nostradamus, but one does not have to be a rocket scientist to see the glaring evidence of a society in collapse.

The U.S. is such a society.

And believe me, when the tipping point is reached, it will impact my family and friends north of the border and globally. As the saying goes “As the U.S. goes, so goes the world”. I don’t know who said that but I’ve heard it down here for years.

For those who are history buffs, go back in time to the Holy Roman Empire and its collapse. Read Gibbons’ Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. History has a way of repeating itself over and over and over and…well you get the point.

Obviously, humanity A. hasn’t learned from past idiocy or B. doesn’t give a rat’s arse and keeps putting its proverbial hand on the burner over and over to see if it is in fact hot when turned on!

For those who have read my guest blogs before, you may recall that I am not involved in partisan politics. I do not belong to any party. Partisanship I find to be divisive and destructive to the general welfare of society, so I avoid it like the plague.

Oh yes! I vote but I try and examine the candidates and vote for character…not party. There’s a novel idea, eh! Having said that, the comments that follow are general and any likeness to any candidate or party is purely coincidental. Ok…I’ll do my best, but I am not perfect…😊

So… back to the collapse of American society.

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Let’s look at the facts as I see them. I present my views in short, compact paragraphs. There’s no way to do a deep dive on each issue. I simply state them and offer a comment from my personal viewpoint and observations living in the States for the past 42-years.

First, this country, and so many others, is heavily driven by unbridled materialism.

Any nation that has such a leaning towards material pursuits at the expense of morality is doomed to fail. Think about it. If the almighty dollar is the ultimate value even more than human life itself, then human life will easily be sacrificed in favour of the almighty dollar and those in power who push such an agenda will not lose a moment’s sleep over it.

There must be a corresponding moral/spiritual/ethical code that leads to balance in society and brings out the nobility inherent in human beings so that the materialism is kept in check. If such morality does not exist what we see is what we are seeing now in the U.S. in the political realm where each party is accusing the other of being Godless, of killing the “others”, of lying, of cheating, etc.

When this occurs so freely, is anyone surprised when people fall into their “rigid identity” camps of their religion, their political party, their race, etc. and from inside those walls they can easily “other” those they feel are the cause of all of society’s problems?

It is happening before our very eyes and the result is societal collapse. When a group can “other” another group based on whatever criteria they choose, how long before it becomes acceptable to imprison the others or even kill the others.

I have seen this firsthand as a Baha’i with the persecution and execution of my co-religionists in Iran where many hundreds have been imprisoned and executed simply for their beliefs.

Second, I will state it for what it is. Pure and simple. Political corruption at all levels of government.

Corruption is rampant and the news daily is filled with glaring examples of the corruption. Here in the States, it is supposed to be government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Those days are long gone.

Special interests have control of the direction of the country and sadly the people suffer. There is evidence of this tragedy in every aspect of American life – politics, healthcare, education, equality, voters rights, etc.

I heard this joke about two honest politicians going into a bar… the punch line involving the fact that there is no such thing as an honest politician. How tragic is that!

It reminds me of one of my favourite movies – Gladiator – with Russel Crowe as Maximus and Richard Harris as Caesar Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius is talking with Maximus after the opening battle victory and asks him to be the protector of Rome after his death and give the power back to the people to which Maximus replies “this I cannot do sire”. Caesar states something like “that’s why it must be you Maximus”. In other words, the only honest politician is the one who would have the humility to decline the opportunity for such leadership.

America is struggling to find politicians of this type, and subsequently the nation has been dragged to the edge of the precipice and is teetering precariously on the edge. The notion of truth has been perverted to the extreme and people now hang their truth hat along party lines no matter if it is true or not. People often say that their truth is just as valid as someone else’s truth. They are willing to accept the poison as Kool-Aid and to continue to drink with healthy relish.

Third, I have talked about racism here in blogs but believe me when I tell you that racism has once again openly and freely reared its ugly head here in the States and it is frightening to witness.

When political leaders make blatant racist statements (as recently as today) publicly and make no attempt to hide their racism, it does not bode well for the survival of the nation. When police gun down innocent African Americans one after another, it does not bode well for the survival of the nation.

Racism did not end with the civil rights movement. There was no gathering around the White House with all colours singing Kumbaya! Dr. King’s dream of black and white children playing together in peace is still mostly a dream to many. Yes! There are models of unity throughout the country, but more is needed. Racism went underground and the guerrilla politics of the past few years have brought it out of its cesspool, and it is ugly and the stench is rank.

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Fourth, the rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer.

This will not surprise any of you. This has been going on forever.

The problem today is that there seems to be no way out for the middle class and the poor. The economy, with its ups and downs, is collapsing and the “have nots” are in even worse shape. They cannot get decent jobs and subsequently cannot afford decent food, health care, etc. Their quality of life i.e. that mythical American Dream has been tossed out into the streets along with the families who bought into the nightmare. The current economic landscape does not bode well for survival of this nation.

Fifth, the loathing people have for their neighbours is palpable.

This hatred and antipathy are related to status, race, religion, economics…you name it!

I live in a small town in Oregon and maybe you have read about the great divide in Newberg, Oregon involving the school board and the tremendous disunity here.

It is sad as it has divided this community. I look out on the street where I live and there are yards with Republican candidate signs or slogans followed by Democrat candidate signs or slogans. Neighbours don’t talk to neighbours. Another sign of a decaying civilization.

Friends, I could go on. There are numerous other signs of the decline of American society.

It is now common talk among people here that depending on how the mid-term elections go it could lead to all-out civil war.

The BBC recently had an article on this. The reporter was interviewing people and one elderly couple in Arizona said they were ready for civil war and had armed themselves and were ready to fight to preserve “their way of life”.

Ever being the optimist, I am trying to be a catalyst for the positive and directing my energies towards the forces of light and away from those forces of darkness noted above. That’s all one can do I feel. No matter how dark things get, keep being a beacon of light in the darkness. Eventually others seeking the light will be attracted.

Keep your porch lights on and the spare bed ready in case I make a break for it. Thanks.

Peace,

Jim

SKELLIG LULLABY – The Song

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Awe and Amazement.

There are only a few breathtaking and spiritual sites I’ve been to in the world that have left me with a hangover…

… a lingering sense of wonderment and near incredulity of the power – not always beneficial – of human struggle, labour, and aspiration.

I think of visits to Machu Picchu (Peru), the Terra Cotta Warriors (China)… and most recently… an island in the Atlantic, Skellig Michael (Ireland).

None of these are spectacular natural wonders like Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Northern Lights.

These are constructs of human imagination and toil – toil by thousands of living souls in the cases of Machu Picchu and the Terra Cotta Warriors, but in the Skellig Michael instance, exertions by a mere 13 souls (at any one time) over 600 years, from about 600 CE to 1200 CE.

A grouping of 13 Augustinian monks migrated to the 22 hectare (54 acres) island about 12 km. off the southwest coast of Ireland to create a monastery from which to praise God.

The rocky island is defined by its twin peaks and intervening valley (known as Christ’s Saddle) which make its landscape steep and inhospitable.

Six hundred upward steps from the ocean, these monks built a stone monastery situated near the peak of the crag about 180 m (550 to 600 ft).

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The island is of special interest to archaeologists, since the monastery and outbuildings are in unusually good condition. And for 180 fortunate travellers each day during spring and summer – when weather allows – a boat trip and hike up the treacherously steep steps to the monastery is a pilgrimage into the past.

This is a journey that I, my wife Maureen, and my daughter and her partner undertook this summer. (see post I wrote earlier)

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And now… to bring all of this into lyric and song… a lullaby, for the past and the present of this magnificent rock jutting from the depths of the Atlantic off the County Kerry coast of Ireland…

SKELLIG LULLABY

by Larry Green

Rest in your rocky bed

pilgrims of god’s command

perceive the ocean’s lapping lilt 

where only rock and wind withstands 

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These spikes of Kerry rock

this hidden hav’n discovered

mere 13 souls, a million birds

escape the sins of humanity suffered

CHORUS 

Today we trod this fearsome cliff

hearts dance to hymns of awe

watch clouds shift watch colours drift

each minute stands alone

brushed o’er

the medieval lens of yesteryear 

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As little dolls in children’s beds 

the wings, the coos of puffins 

through grey and shrouded mist

great gannets soar, in so many hundreds

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But in the dreamer’s sound 

I hear the breath of faithful toilers

piling stone with consecrated care

rising ever upwards upwards to the cloister

BRIDGE

Aristobulus conveyed them here

through plagues and pagan tales

6 centuries travails

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Ah, the mysteries of humanity

each rocky step’s salvation 

embracing faith and obedience

abiding isolation, bearing desolation

CHORUS 

Today we trod this fearsome cliff

hearts dance to hymns of awe

watch clouds shift watch colours drift

each minute stands alone

brushed o’er

the medieval lens of yesteryear 




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NB. A recently released historical fiction book, entitled HAVEN, by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue (author of ROOM and THE WONDER), highlights the monks’ story of Skellig Michael

Who’s The Boss Of Your Housework?

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In my next life, I’m coming back as a rich SOM (Son Of A Moose… so much more polite than SOB)…

… a Jay Gatsby, Tony Stark, or Bruce Wayne-type who never has to work another day in his life…

  • someone whose clothes are precisely laid on the settee at the end of the bed for me each morning (with a valet to dress me like Lord Grantham)
  • someone whose windows and bathrooms are meticulously cleaned and polished each week
  • someone whose sumptuous meals are set at the table when I return from my tennis match and dirty martini afterwards
  • someone who breathes for recreation rather than need.

My appeal is modest really.

I’m not asking for much in a world that houses Bezos, Gates, Musk, the Kardashians, and Putin (why do we ALWAYS compare our lives UP the wealth scale rather than downwards into poverty?)

Happily, I acknowledge that I live like a king by historic standards… my food is plentiful in quality and quantity, health well-tended, housing comfortable year-round, free time to enjoy “toys”.

But every self-respecting king or queen aspires to live higher, to reside at the Mount Everest of human existence moneywise. It’s natural and I try my very best to live my life in harmony with nature. Call me a financial environmentalist!

Bottom line here is that I want to do: what I want, when I want, where I want, whenever I want.

Want. Want. Want.

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Waste not want not, the idiom goes… ie. if you do not waste that which you have (waste not), you will not later want that which you have wasted (want not).

NO.. that is how the IDIOT goes

But why are you talking so flippantly today Larry? Where does all this spoiled nonsense come from?

Simply, it’s comes down to housework.

Not homework where you learn valuable and fascinating things, enriching things… no… housework, where you spend hour upon hour doing those things that merely get you back to the beginning of the spinning rat wheel, turning and turning to only end back in the same spot where you began. To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn…

Tajine making in Marrakesh, Morocco

Don’t get me wrong here… I actually enjoy handwashing dishes, vacuuming floors, ironing shirts, and cooking (but please don’t ask me to clean a toilet), and I really love cooking … these can be stressless distractions to a busy mind… BUT…

… I’m also a spoiled First World guy… I ONLY want to do all these housework chores (see definition of chore: an unpleasant but necessary task) when it suits me and my timetable.

I do not want to do any of these merely because they dictate to me that it must be done.

I want to be boss and do them on MY terms.

Of course, this doesn’t bode well for a mere plebeian… a middle-class lout like me.

It’s a paradox, a conundrum… maybe even an inner frustration, because…

Upon further introspection, while I pine for the ultimate freedom to do what I want when I want…

I also realize that my very human nature knows that given the extra “free” time to do my desirables, that freedom would likely end up squandered by: social media distractions, deciding which pyjamas I’ll put on at 5 pm, checking the colour of my pee to see if I’m hydrated, or reading labels on every wine bottle at the liquor store.

Maybe, after all, this SOM just isn’t cut out for the giddy freedom of mega-rich’dom…

… sometimes the life we lead is really the one we deserve.

On Being An OLD Young Grandpa

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Take these wrinkles and shove it!

Honestly, there’s a rising bowl-full of yeasty dough swelling with things about getting older of which I’m not a fan.

Good God, I have wrinkles spreading from my forehead to my hair-sprouting ears. I’ll just try to think of myself as sexy like Leonard Cohen (without the great voice!)

I’m definitely not a fan of elder sports such as watching my generational cohorts and family members become ill and begin to drop off, especially when I know that this slow rise up the graph will pick up logarithmic pace with each passing year.

Woody Allen … “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

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But, you know, as with just about everything, there is a possible positive for us in aging too.

It’s called grandparenting.

And because I know that many today don’t or won’t have grandkids, let’s add in grand’aunting and grand’uncling, even grand’friending and grand’neighbouring! Cast the circle wide and enjoy the fruits.

Grandparenting caught me by surprise… not the fact that it actually happened, but I’m shocked in discovering how MUCH I adore these little people.

This discovery reminds me of my experience of backpacking in Europe in 1979; I had no expectation of finding it thrilling or life-changing… HA! Turned my world upside down for decades following… and now it’s grandparenting that has me gobsmacked.

It’s an Ode to Joy, seeing a new face welcomed to our world, knowing that this mini-person will likely be walking our ground-space, breathing our expired air, drinking our excreted water… seeing, hearing, smelling us inside their head for decades, maybe even a hundred years or more. It’s an eternal and exciting Circle-of-Life miracle.

I’m a relatively new grandparent… I have 3 grandkids all under the age of 5.

So, 3 of my own children and 3 grandchildren.. could this be what they call “replacement theory”?… *oh no Larry, watch where you go man, that’s a different kettle of fish*

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I love the title of a recently published book I’ve run across in another’s blog… “The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children

Mindfulness is everywhere these days. Mindfulness entered the zeitgeist during the 1990s when Jon Kabat-Zinn chose the term to express a central idea of Buddhism. Mindfulness means “sustained, focused nonjudgmental attentiveness to the here-and-now.”

These words caught me up in thinking about my role as a granddad and my unexpected enjoyment of this new experience and all of its learning moments. To be a cheerleader and non-judgmental. I do love my children’s children.

Playing grandparent for a full day each week has brought me full-force into the world of mindfulness… there is no ignoring a 1 yr old or a 4 yr old who wants your attention… NOW.

And even if they aren’t asking for attention, the opportunities provided to a little one by a non-mindful grandparent can lead to crazy, even occasionally dangerous consequences.

This week my toddler granddaughter and her 4 yr old brother were left alone for a few moments. Within a minute or two, his underwear was off and she was wearing them on her head as a hat! Not dangerous… but crazy?? Absolutely!

One of the big things I really love about grandparenting is reading children’s books to the kids.

To see the look in their eyes, and watch from outside the thoughts and dreams… the swirl of imagination, is as startling as it is powerfully compelling. As a young parent I was likely too tired or overwhelmed by a busy life to notice such big small stuff.

So, if you have a small child in your world, here are a tiny few of my favourite books that I’m reading with my 4 year old and 1.5 year old; our newborn grandson will join this thrilling fraternity in the coming months.

It shouldn’t be surprising, but my very favourites, for the 0-5 age crowd, and mainly because I have a little boy’s scatological mind inside myself, are the absurdly silly Robert Munsch books:

I HAVE TO GO [pee]

MOIRA’S BIRTHDAY

GOOD FAMILIES DON’T [fart]

THOMAS’S SNOWSUIT

or the poignant LOVE YOU FOREVER

BIRDFEEDER BANQUET (author Michael Martchenko)

THE MAGIC HOCKEY SKATES (author Allen Morgan)

Today, you can tell by the furrows across my face that I’ve been around for awhile, but I’m working harder, as a grandparent, to make all of the new crinkles and creases across this mug… SMILE LINES...

What Would YOU Say to You in YOUR Valedictorian Speech?

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Time travelling time… close your eyes and settle back into the days when you were first an “adult”… living on your own, supporting yourself, making your own life decisions, taking responsibility.

Look closely at the picture of young you, a you without wrinkles or sore joints, a brain not totally cluttered with information overload, a full head of hair that doesn’t resemble thinned cotton batting, firm of voice and musculature.

You consist of all those desirable things that physically are optimum, humming along at peak operation, a brand new Tesla with a full battery… BUT…

… you are green and inexperienced, naive and over-confident, perhaps supercilious even?

Now, imagine yourself in a cozy chair by a warming fire, sipping a cup of tea and chatting with the YOU that was THEN.

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What would you say to yourself? What words of reflected wisdom would you share from a life lived through an additional decade or two, perhaps 5 or 6?

This is deep stuff to mull over; to review those things you would like to change or strengthen or eliminate, or… hopefully celebrate… in the choices you’ve made, the directions you’ve taken.

I remember reading a book a number of years back titled Letters From A Businessman to His Son… I don’t recall it really well other than I liked it and took away some helpful ideas to digest. There are a number of other books out there of a similar nature… notes of wisdom learned and earned through life lived.

To take on this introspection is akin to giving a Valedictorian Speech to yourself… ponder yourself as someone like David Foster Wallace (This Is Water) or Steve Jobs or Mother Teresa, people who had immense life experience and made not only great successes, but also terrible mistakes. To live is to be HUMAN, in both the good and bad.

Today, I’m going to give a brief “Valedictorian Speech” to myself with 8 small thoughts on just a few of the things I think of as important in what I’ve done and what I could have done, knowing then what I know now. Too, some are reminders of what I should be doing today where I continue to slip despite knowing better.

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None of this is new or original, but repetition is always helpful, right? So let’s go…

  1. SLOW DOWN/SHOW PATIENCE – I’ve generally tended towards living life in a rush. My inner to-do list each day typically includes 3 more items than I can reasonably do and do well, so I run from one item (or one person) to the next so that when my head hits the pillow at night, I feel like I’ve checked most of them off my list. So I say, slow down just a bit young man and yes, “smell the roses”… revel a bit in the moment… see the smiles or frowns, taste the tastes, hear and see the nuance in so much of what you are involved with. You may accomplish less, yes, but you will appreciate more. Appreciation of all that is good and feeling more deeply the less good, makes for a richer life.
  2. FOCUS – this has connection to the point above. By slowing down and focussing, by taking time and patience to work hard and intently at fewer things that you feel passionately about will give you a greater connection and sense of satisfaction and well-being. I’ve learned this over a long period of time through my love of making music, but I also know that it extends to anything that is truly important for us. FOCUS, for me, has been my great A-HA discovery in life.
  3. LISTEN AND APPRECIATE – If I have a “beef” with my fellow humans (and I won’t exclude myself from the category), it is the lack of true listening and attempts at understanding that keeps us at a distance from a better, more humane world. Listening intently to each other is a lifetime learning quest that EVERY ONE of us should work at daily.
  4. HELP AND PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE WEAKER – despite all the talk of us being created equal, we remain fathoms away from any true resemblance to equality, which means that we, as individuals, and as a world, need to strive to protect those who for whatever reason are thrown into the world with unintended disadvantage(s). I’ve said many times here in this blog and to myself that I won a lottery prize in where and when I was born. I’d be foolish to suggest that we all deserve exactly the same life and benefits, but the ideal to move more in that direction would benefit us all.
  5. BE WILLING TO LOOK STUPID IN ORDER TO BECOME SMARTER – as a young man I know you hate to look stupid in front of others, to ask the dumb questions. But you know what? Very few others can look outside their own internal thoughts and worries to care much if you look dumb. Worry not – so long as you have an honest intent to grow smarter by asking and doing the dumb things to better yourself, then DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY!
  6. REMEMBER TO SEE THE WORLD IN GREY – EVEN TECHNICOLOUR – AND NOT SOLELY IN BLACK AND WHITE – the world is filled with nuance and complexity… don’t let yourself fall into the trap of seeing only the surface of what is said and done around you. Many will spew opinions (or what they believe are facts) with only a tiny understanding and no wish to know more. Take your time in weighing the meaning of those things that look simple but in fact have so many more aspects and ripples. Showing how convoluted and contradictory life can be, also heed OCCAM’S RAZOR that says, often the simplest, obvious solution to a problem is the best solution.
  7. BALANCE LIFE – try to avoid a seriously concentrated life that focuses only on one or two aspects of a complete set of human traits. Health and happiness will follow…. Belonging. Community. Creativity. Curiosity. Family. Love. Mental and Physical Health. Purpose. Fun.
  8. ACCEPT THAT CHANGE IS CONSTANT AND INEVITABLE – the world is a metamorphic thing… change always has, and always will be with you, day after day after day. Accept it, and don’t let it make you bitter or disillusioned. The world you know as a young person will not be the same world you live in 30 or 40 years from now. Your children and grandchildren will experience the world differently from you. Some things will be worse, and some will be better, so get used to it. Be willing to listen, learn and change your mind a hundred times during your years as you discover more along the path. Learn from the changes, interpret and resist if it makes real sense to resist, but don’t resist merely because something is different. Learn to tell the difference. Enjoy fully the positives.

FINAL CAVEAT: Unless the “positive” above is a positive result for a sexually transmitted disease, then don’t enjoy fully.

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