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8 Places To See Before I Die

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Scarlett Johannson and Penelope Cruz will be panting breathlessly– all swollen, crimson, pouty-lipped in anticipation of my arrival. I just hope they haven’t tattooed my name on their bosoms…

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They’ve fantasized about a threesome with me ever since they filmed Vicky Cristina Barcelona and were forced to make fake-love to Javier Bardem. I could take it or leave it, but my insecurities prevent me from hurting others’ feelings, so I’ll likely go along with their plan, bored though I may be.

This will be the last MAN ON THE FRINGE blog posting for a month as Maureen and I spread our linguistic wings and head in-flight to Barcelona to plug away in a downtown classroom for 4 hours daily on our Spanish expletives…

You see, I’m not satisfied embarrassing myself only in my home country. The rest of the world should know that not all Canadians are the cliched polite, self-effacing, half-intelligent, hockey-stick toting, igloo-making, parka-wearing, maple donut-gorging, making-love-in-the-snowbank, Mountie-lovers that they think we are. It is never a great idea to be deluded by stereotypes of nationality. I intend to set the record straight for the poor Spaniards who lack a true understanding of poutine-laced Canada and Canadians!

You can follow our trials and tribulations of learning ESPANOL on another blog site…just link in here  for our stories and adventures.And because we’re off a-wandering, this seems to be just the right moment to segue to my travel “bucket list”. I’ve been to all of Canada’s provinces and territories, and now I’m setting my sights on each of the continents, as well as all 50 states of the good ole U.S.A. I’ve set foot on a piece of :

  • North America (Canada, US & Mexico)
  • South America  (Peru)
  • Europe (all western except Spain, Portugal)
  • Asia (China)

and with a (I’m assured)finite lifetime, it’s time to get my sorry ass out there. My own list follows…if you have some ideas of other “must see” places you think I should go, please pass them my way!

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MY personal list of  8 “GO-TO” places:

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  1. Russia—the Cold War era was a part of history that I grew up in. The former Soviet Union and now Russia and its affiliates are still a very foreign entity and culture in my mind. The food is different; the language is guttural and intriguing. The stereotype of hard-drinking vodka-swillers in large fur Ushanka hats lives on in my mind. It’s time to see and experience this country and either reinforce my typecasting, or kill the stereotypes dead in their tracks, like so many steers lined up at the abattoir doors.
  2. Africa—a continent of thin, black primitive people living in mud huts on a desert plain with wild animals waiting on the prowl to devour them. An accurate description? I’m guessing not. Once again, a pigeonholed vision waiting to be crushed. This huge landmass is almost forgotten by North Americans unless there is a relief drive to save drought-savaged starving people. Surely this amazing continent deserves more attention than it has attracted so far.
  3. Antarctica-it’s just sitting there in its icy-frozen place at the bottom of the world with penguins and ice floes. I don’t even know if there is an actual landmass that makes Antarctica, well, Antarctica. As a part of my quest to visit each of the world continents, Antarctica needs to be on the list. Bonus, I figure Morgan Freeman must live there, since he is the voiceover I hear every time I see a documentary or film about Antarctica!
  4. India—like with Africa, I grew up hearing great tales of a place filled with starvation, swollen-tummied children with flies in their eyes, and disease, but with super spicy, aromatic food. India is a huge country with lots of climates and cultural and religious varieties. I don’t think you could visit India and not be mesmerized by the complex mélange of colour of life within its borders.
  5. Australia– well, because it’s a continent with weird, poisonous animals and insects. And crocodiles. Sounds terrifying. And kangaroos and wallabies…we all love those. I have to see it to understand why some people actually want to live there, other than to visit the Sydney Opera House.  Would go just to acquire the cool accent! G’day mate!!
  6. Alabama– Really, I could have picked any southern US state.  I haven’t been to any of them save Florida (which isn’t REALLY a part of the true “South”). Civil War, grits, racism, Mississippi River, Tom Sawyer, Sweet Home Alabama. There are countless tales of life in a country that’s just like mine, but ISN’T when you head south. Even northern-state Americans talk about the south like it’s a different country…kind of an American Quebec. Who wouldn’t want to visit a place where everything eaten comes in huge, deep-fried portions? And where they say “Y’All”?

    Alabama Emergency Room…

  7. Turkey—a life wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a historic Ottoman Empire country, situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Huge mosques, the Hagia Sophia, and dry landscapes combined with Muslim culture and exotic foods make this a must-do, just as a sharp spiny breath of culture shock.
  8. Israel– it wouldn’t be fair to visit an Islamic country without the counter-balance of a sojourn to the one and only Jewish state. The tension…two sides of the coin, yin and yang, positive and negative, black and white, Judaism and Islamism. A gutsy, belligerent, tiny young country surrounded by a sea of antagonistic hordes. What kind of people can live their lives in this sandy ocean of tension?

So, look after yourselves while I’m away. Dream of your favourite places you’ve been or would like see. Start to plan for your future “bucket list” of travel, or any adventure that makes your heart beat just a little more rapidly. Make YOUR life just a little more “well-lived”!

Sorry, but I hear Scarlett and Penelope calling me, they need help rehearsing a torrid love scene they have coming up in their next cinematic outing with Ryan Gosling. Being a teacher and mentor to their fragile hearts is such demanding work.

Why must they be so needy?

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SHAMELESS Like Me… YEAH, I’m a Bad’ish Ass!

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I hate him but I love him.

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If I could start out in life all over again, I’d be a real BAD ASS, like Frank Gallagher.

Arguably the most aptly named show on TV, it is profane and crazy and lusty, and even a bit far-fetched. BUT it’s great fun, so not MY life.

Frank Gallagher is the most lovable, hateful boozer out there (despite being the possessor of 3 testicles!)  He’s shameless, and so are all of his kids in their own uniquely dysfunctional ways.

Canadian actor William H. Macy plays the role of the alcoholic father of 6 children in the TV show called SHAMELESS (based on a British show by the same title). He would sell his soul and anyone else’s besides if he could get a freebie support cheque from the government to support his drinking ways.

WILLIAM_H_MACY SHAMELESS

Like the Shakespearean Fool–and despite all of his unforgivably, incredibly bad behaviour– he often utters the least fool-like and most intelligently profound statements. He has cachet and charisma.

Frank Gallagher is the perfect old-man bad boy. He pays none of the bills. Totally narcissistic, he lures his youngest daughter and sundry other women at various times to do his bidding, with a charm that is both loathsome, yet irresistible. There’s nothing physically appealing about him yet he attracts female attention like elder bees to autumn honey.

I’m even attracted to him and I’m a Straight Guy!!

Bad Ass Boys

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The world is full of bad boys that a substantial cadre of women are drawn to, like moths to a flame. This bad boy attraction strikes girls at a young age. By the time they wake up to their folly, they fall exhausted –alone– into bed at night, the adjoining bedroom containing 2 wee moppets who struggle at school and eat poorly because Mommy can’t afford to feed and clothe and supervise and educate them while simultaneously working a dead-end job at just above minimum wage…sans BAD ASS BOY or his bankroll!

It’s been described as “ovulation goggles”, the period leading up to a woman’s period where she’s most attracted to the bad boy who bizarrely…paradoxically… looks like the great father type. Women love a man who appears confident…and for Bad Ass Boys it really is just an “appearance“. Women are attracted to men who take risks and who take the initiative to meet them. They say they want the solid, caring, sensitive type of guy but what women say and what they actually do are generally miles apart.

BAD ASS BOY harbours only a smatter of important dreams in his little head…a great car, a beer in his hand and a great piece of ass in his bed at night…probably in that order of appearance and importance.

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So let’s look first at some of the traits of the typical Bad Boy and see what we can learn from him.

The typical Bad Boy:

  • is cocky, arrogant
  • always puts himself first
  • is inattentive to a woman’s needs
  • does what he wants when he wants to do it, regardless of what anyone else thinks
  • acts like a loose cannon
  • struts his masculine sexuality
  • treats women badly
  • often uses women for sex

The lure of excitement and cocky self-confidence draws women into their “Bad Ass” moats like a desiccated wanderer in the desert lacking water for days.  Akin to Lady Chatterley’s lover Oliver Mellorswomen feel the draw of the stereotypically aloof, sarcastic but masculine woodsman whom Lady Chatterley falls for.

How do these relationships usually turn out? In a word, poorly. That’s because bad boys won’t change unless they want to—no matter how long-suffering their partner might be.

Further, despite initial attraction, most women get tired of bailing a man out of jail, wondering if he’ll make it home from a party, or catching him with another woman. Women who sign on with bad boys enlist for endless conflict and turmoil. Ironically, the very thing that draws good girls and bad boys together also sows the seeds of the relationship failure. Many women have learned the hard way that bad boys make bad dating partners–and even worse spouses.

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What woman wouldn’t want a piece of these BAD BOYS! Bad Ass though…who knows?

Women are all to blame, right? Yes, and NO!

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Typically, we blame women for falling under the spell of these magicians. But maybe we should look at this from a different side. Men can be a part of the solution too.

The world needs good men. Good women need good men too! But good men need to change. There are too many good women who end up in dead-end lives because they’re fooled and taken in by the tricksters…the BAD ASS BOYS. Fear of failure keeps many nice guys home alone while faux-confidence keeps the bad boys busy.

Nice guys need to learn to be a bit more shameless…confident and cocky and adventurous and risk-taking, while simultaneously retaining their sensitive and caring side…we talk about a perfect woman possessing beauty, intelligence and charm. Men need to be the perfect 10 of humorous, adventurous and compassionate.

Good guys need to wear the disguise of the BAD ASS. Become a BAD’ish ASS Too!

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Three Things to Bring out the Bad’ish Ass in a Man:

  1. A good humour can be cultivated by anyone, good or bad. Just as math and spelling can be learned, a sense of humour isn’t necessarily an inborn trait. Guys, learn how to tell a killer story and women will love you for it. Try to learn a funny line or two,  absorb the funny things that happen in life. The everyday stuff gives every Jerry Seinfeld out there plenty of material…it just needs to be observed and absorbed. Women LOVE a funny dude. A bit of attention to humour will bring life and love into a man’s life. Nothing Bad Ass about this, but it still looks edgy.
  2. A life well-lived means taking a bit of risk. This doesn’t have to be a jump off a cliff with a hang-glider, although, why not? Cultivate some additional interests that push the edge even a bit. Rock-climb…learn to sail…mountain bike on trails…play the drums. Women want to see someone who LIVES life because it makes them feel alive just being with you. Bring some passion into your life, and others will feel passion for you.
  3. Ditch the gut. Even a bit of regular exercise outside the bedroom will pay off here. We know that women are far less beautiful-body absorbed (in their men anyways), but showing that you care about your own body and health will show her that you might care about her too! BAD ASS BOYS always look decent in a pair of jeans!

I’m trying to be a bit more SHAMELESS! I’m as lucky as a guy can get in my life, but running a bit closer to the edge adds some zing to life. Just writing this blog makes me way more aware of the silly things that happen in everyday life.  And the next time I get the opportunity to parasail, I’m there!

So girls…save yourself a lot of agony and despair, and search a bit deeper for the caring, sensitive, good, BAD’ish ASS BOYS. They exist. Relationships can be exhilarating and edgy, and still be filled with compassion, commitment, and equality.

And guys…being BAD’ish ASS can be cultivated while still retaining the passion and gentlemanly qualities that make a dude a MAN.

Let’s all put Frank Gallagher out of business and keep him as a fictional guy on the tube where he belongs!

Do You Have A Creative Carnival in YOUR Head Too?

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Today’s blog is just a smattering of random thoughts and ideas running through my head, like the movie, “Being John Malkovich“. There’s a carnival going on, so crawl inside, snuggle up, and you can scan this Mars and Venus world through my baby-brown eyes.

After more than 20 blog posts now, my musings and rants have meandered in a host of different directions. You’ve probably figured out by now that my mind is a bit fragmented…perhaps a lot like yours? I obsess on things like exercise/running marathons/triathlons …gender equality …sex …playing and writing music … focus … creativity … passion.

These are all things that are salient to me in my life, and I hope some of my words speak to you on occasion. My neuroses and interests may gleefully intersect with some of yours and there are others where you probably say to yourself, “WTF“!? I love the way that words fit together and form images in our heads…how a change of adjective remodels the mind’s vision in a thoroughly different way.

Oddly, I chose science for my vocation (I’m a medical lab tech), yet I thrive and flourish on the artistic side of the fence. This isn’t wholly unique…

  • John Grisham is a lawyer
  • Mary Higgins Clark was a Stewardess (sorry, flight attendant)
  • John Steinbeck ran a fish hatchery.

Writing a blog is like walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope…it’s kind of a crazy idea to begin with, but when you finally step on terra firma on the other side, there’s a feeling of exhilaration. If you’ve ever felt a strong yearning, or even a twinge of yearn to write your own blog, I would encourage you to do it. Setting up a blog is free and pretty darn easy (this blog is set up through WordPress and costs me NADA!). The work AND fun in blogging is in the formulation of ideas and writing, not the technical aspects. There is nothing special about me or others who blog that you can’t do.

Every time I post a blog, I pee my pants a little! There are seeds of doubt when I put my inner self out for inspection. I’m Sally Field standing alone in a pretty Versace designer dress in front of you at the Oscars…only I’m saying, “Will you like me, will you really like me?

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…or… maybe you don’t !

I don’t really want you to know how insecure I am sometimes, in life in general, and in this blog in particular. When I look in the mirror, I should really see Woody Allen’s neurotic face, not mine. Should I reveal how I obsess when I “publish” and then spend the next day or two watching the “hits” on the blog site? “Oh, that one must have struck a chord”…or “I’ll bet everyone thinks I’m a real pervert when I write this stuff”.

I want people to read my blogs and say, Wow, how did he come up with that insight?” Occasionally, I’ll even immodestly sit back myself and say, where the heck did that great idea come from?

You know, I’m reading a book right now called Bird by Bird. It’s a publication about the writing process itself, and in just about every paragraph I read, I’m struck by the amazing insights and anecdotes and metaphors that the author Anne Lamott uses to make her points. It is SO concentrated with ideas and images, which I think is what good writing is about.

My brain works in slow motion. Some people (whom I REALLY hate!) I know can think and process and verbalize ideas on a second’s notice. NOT ME! The molasses that is thick and viscous in my head, rushes for these speed-thinkers, headlong like whitewater through a narrow creek. I admire their minds, and YET I still wish they’d all drown in a whirlpool!

I could never participate in a panel discussion (I’ve been asked before and I always found excuses not to) because I’d have to sit for 15 minutes before I found a response that makes any sense. Otherwise I’d spew nonsense. I think and cogitate and roll the thoughts around in my head. I write them down, and then re-think them some more until I form something that resembles an opinion.

The inside of my head sounds like a bowling alley…if you place your ear right up against my head, you can hear the bowling balls rumbling down the alleys, trying to find a sensible path. But really my depth of understanding of life’s quandaries and philosophies is limited and child-like. All of those rumbling bowling balls knock down only 5 or 6 pins of awareness, leaving the further few undisturbed because I can’t even see them.

I truly believe that the sub-conscious is one of the most powerful tools we all possess. It can put the latest Big Blue computer to shame when its strength reveals itself. I trust my sub-conscious to work for me and make stuff happen that I didn’t think was possible.

Subconscious

When I was a little kid, I thought ALL adults were like Gods or something. They knew everything, they never questioned what was right or wrong, because they just knew. They had no crises of confidence in themselves, because they were infallible.

One of the biggest disappointments or at the very least, insights– if we want to be positive about it all– is that, ADULTS are kids in grown-up clothes. There is a 7 or 8 year old beneath our surface that is vulnerable and protected by the armour we construct. Much of what is thrown at us we can deflect and move on strongly through our daily lives. Other flotsam pierces through and wounds us and keeps us awake at night wondering why and how.

Adults don’t know everything…not even close. We often walk the edge of confidence crises, teetering, adjusting, wondering if we somehow measure up in life. We make mistakes, both accidental and on purpose that we should have learned not to make when we were Grade 5 students in Mrs. Taylor’s classroom.

You might be an adult, but you don’t know it all!

Mark Twain said,

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.”

Twain had it right (or is that write?). There’s nothing original about my reflections … except the manner in which I say things. This is my voice. I have a voice that sets me apart from you and every other person– writer or not– and vice versa. I vacuum up the ideas and things I see around me and spit them back out at you in my own words. I read other writers and admire and absorb sponge-like the great things I see in their turn of phrase. Then I vomit it out again.

And I love doing it.

And I love that some of you seem to agree that I have something worthwhile to say. The comments I get from you are full of your own personal insights and wisdom and truth. I TRY to speak the truth seen through my beclouded glasses…sometimes it’s a shot glass, sometimes a wine glass, and occasionally it takes a WHOLE beer stein!

I Don’t Give A Sheet, Even If They Are Purple!

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Adult Content ..

I use some written images your Mother might not approve of!

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What colour is YOUR bedroom?

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FINALLY…no need for Viagra or Cialis…shed your grey walls…all you need is a purple room and you’re off to the Coital Cup!

Surely you jest, says you. It’s true, according to British online  retailer Littlewoods.com . Couples who have painted their walls lilac or have purple bedclothes make love on average 3.5 times a week.

Sorry- 3.5?? I want to know if it was the men or women who couldn’t make it all the way to 4! Would I sound biased if I said it must be the women?

Another damn gratuitous photo…but what a fabulous purple futon!

Back to the poll… they surveyed 2,000 adults and found the next most passionate are those with red in their boudoir, who get frisky 3.2 times per week. Those with sky blue bedrooms came third, having it 3.1 times on average a week. Sadly, the least passionate are those with grey walls or duvet covers, who have sex just 1.8 times.

And even more sad still?…It probably won’t surprise you to know that my bedroom is heavily tilted towards the GREY (like 50 Shades of Grey!) spectrum, top to bottom…I’m an underachiever!

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I don’t know either…Do you think we should put the purple sheets on the bed?

Do you really think that the hue of your boudoir or the tint of your sheets affects the quantity (or quality) of lovemaking that occurs in your life?

I DON’T!

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Let’s face it– straight men don’t care about the colour of the walls or the sheets (our gay brethren likely prefer a more aesthetically pleasing palate of tone to stir their juices, and good on them!). In fact, nooky doesn’t require a bedroom or sheets at all for most men. I learned this important lesson when I watched the first Godfather movie. Sonny Corleone (James Caan) does (you know, DOES!!) one of the bridesmaids at his sister’s wedding, right up against the wall…and no, the wall was NOT purple! Sonny was my favourite character in those movies after that scene…

If my own personal preference is any guide, a woman wearing pink or red clothing is a far greater turn-on than any bedroom colours could ever be. There is a fire that is stoked inside me like a bull’s attraction to the cape when I see a fiery red-garbed female nearby. Forget the Devil in the Blue Dress… My Devils come in Red Dresses!

I want to be charitable and constructive here. Let me assist in your Olympian libidinous quest.

Far ahead of any bedroom colours I would put the following 3 tools forward as helpful if I was looking to beef up the carnal frequency:

  • SCENT– they say that men are inflamed by the smell of lavender and pumpkin pie. Maybe, but I personally believe that a woman immersed in chocolate could keep me interested for decades to come. On a female level, some research has shown that the combined scent of cucumber and Good and Plenty, a licorice-flavored candy, ranked as the top potent aphrodisiac smell. Good and Plenty. Was there a subliminal sexual advertising message implied when they named that confection, or what?
  • STAY IN SHAPE – the tactile feel of a fit (not necessarily super buff) body is a natural aphrodisiac between the covers. We all know that running, or swimming, or playing soccer, or even just walking regularly are going to add years to our life and life to our years. Not only is it hot sexy to share a bed with someone in good physical condition, but we feel better about what we bring to the seduction party when we’re fit too! This is great for your fitness, your overall health…add in a teaspoon of sex and it becomes the trifecta of The Joy of Cooking!
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Fit, fun and sexy

  • GET RID OF BAD STRESS- Hans Selye wrote his famous 1974 book called  Stress without Distress detailing both the positive and negative sides of stress. We all need some stress to perform optimally in life. But, pass a certain point…and the stress is … well… stressful. Negative. Harmful. Sex Drive Lethal. No 3-car-garage house you can’t afford, a job you hate, or negative friends, are going to boost your passion and feelings of sensuality. Get out the flame-thrower. Ditch the negative things that are in your power to change (and some things can’t be changed, we just have to accept those).  The hormones you pump out to cope with painful stress can be exchanged for the pleasurable hormones you pump out in the bedroom mosh pit! That is a trade well worth making…

I think The Color Purple was a great Whoopi Goldberg movie. Sad, but great. Colour provides us a metaphor for so many things that explain our lives… “feeling blue”, “the pot calling the kettle black”, “green with envy”. But as far as bedroom colour goes, no purple for this boy. I’d prefer to be rocking the Sacred Cave while watching The RED Shoe Diaries. 

RED_SHOE_DIARIES

The Zen and Art of Repurposing Fridge Ingredients…It’s Never Too Late To Start A Great Life

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I know I could satisfy your hunger! We’re talking food here…No gutter-chatter today!

The fridge is full to overflowing with leftovers and small bits of half-used onions and peppers and chicken breasts yada yada yada! These are the raw ingredients that I need to make a fantastic and memorable meal. I used to work with a lady who could take the green fuzzy items from the back corner of her fridge, repurpose, and make an epicurean soup to remember! I think we all need mentors…she was my cooking mentor…

I LOVE it when there are NO recipes and lots of miscellaneous and apparently unrelated ingredients that can be repurposed into something spectacular. There are soups and stews and ethnic delicacies in-waiting, sitting innocently and unaware on the fridge shelves. This is when I’m in my element and at my finest. You should drop by for one of my “FRIDGE FUSION” gourmet dinners.

I’m good at it…I know I am…Despite this, as both Uncle Buck‘s nephew and my kids say (and I’m certain it’s in jest):

Oh NO, he’s cooking the garbage!”

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Cover of "Uncle Buck"

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Making a great meal isn’t something that only originates from freshly purchased ingredients at the local 100-mile market. With a bit of thought and creativity the esoteric scraps and remnants of meals long- but not too long– gone (or past pasta) can be repurposed into new and fresh savoury combinations that sweet talk the  mercurial palate.

And life is like that too!

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My life is filled with the leftovers of the human experience…some leftovers I savour and enjoy over and over…others I’ve left on the shelf of experience and ignored… still others are replayed over and over in my mind just to torture me. Whether you are in your 20’s or 40’s or 60’s, I’m pretty sure the same has happened to you.

Chaucer correctly said, “The Past is Prologue“. Our own beginning can begin at the beginning or closer to the end, who cares? A change in life doesn’t necessarily occur only at menopause, or when kids leave home, or when you get a cancer diagnosis. It happens when you decide to make a change and you don’t have to have a reason.

Now that I’m 50+, I’ve decided that the time to cook up a gourmet life has arrived. The ingredients in my “life fridge” are the same, but it’s time to repurpose and make something notable and momentous. There are scraps of me that need to be resurfaced and repurposed. Let’s look at a couple…

As a teenager, I vowed that I would learn to speak French fluently. Seven years of elementary and high school French took me about 10% of the way there. I must have been stupid because I’m sure my fellow students became totally fluent! One important thing I did learn in Grade 11 French was how to drink uncut liquor from a long plastic Carnival cane on a school trip to the Quebec Winter Carnival. It was a start but only a spartan fraction of what I needed to function in a real world “milieu”- that’s a French word! But then life happened, the narrative changed and the dream was shelved.

I was a budding guitar player in my teenage years who modelled myself after the folk heroes of the era…James Taylor, Bruce Cockburn, Jim Croce, Neil Young. I wanted to play like them, sing like them, and I especially wanted to write songs like them. Didn’t happen.

I was always frustrated with myself that I had never fulfilled the aspirations that were so important to me. I’ve feared coming to the end of my days and not having absorbed another language or written a decent song to live on after me. I want to live without regrets. In the last few years I’ve revived the dreams, and I’m slowly, sometimes glacially, working to make them reality.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • I altered my language goal slightly to make Spanish my new language to learn more intensely . There are many more potential places I want to visit in the world where Spanish is used, so it just makes sense. How have I made this repurposing real? The hardest part was to just make the decision to pursue the actions needed. Then, I took a 2 month, 1 night a week, local college course in beginner traveller’s Spanish. Next, my wife and I booked a 3.5 month trip to Cusco, Peru where we studied for 4 hours each weekday with mostly younger students (20’s and 30’s) from all over the world. Fantastico, amigo! Next month we’re off to Barcelona for another month of daily language classes.  I still suck at Spanish and there’s still a ton of stuff to learn and absorb, but poco a poco!

ENGLISH_Spanish

  • A year ago, I bought myself my teenage dream guitar…an acoustic Martin. Just owning this makes me want to play the instrument more. It sounds better too. If I sound better, I want to play more. Practice makes a big difference. I practice more now. I have a gizmo that costs less than $100 that hooks my guitar to a computer so I can record my attempts at songwriting. I’m finding songwriting to be painfully difficult, but it’s pushing to come out…my baby is gestating and will be born someday!

So, what’s next? Tomorrow… and then another tomorrow. I haven’t decided. For now, I’ll focus on the two things I’ve talked about above. One day I’ll wake up and a fresh insight, a new passion, will ignite and I’ll start to repurpose something clean and pristine.

Do you have a piano lesson, a fencing career, a prospective novel in your “life fridge” waiting to be cooked to perfection??

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A life well-cooked doesn’t have to be a blood bath!

To Be A 69’er Used to Mean Something Totally Different!

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She wasn’t beautiful, but she was attractive. She had a smile and a contagious laugh that made her seem beautiful. You know how some sunny personalities change a person’s physical appearance and the way a person appears to you? She looked beautiful to me.

I had just turned 20 and she was a 28 year-old divorcee.  I had just finished my final year of college and was preparing to move to a new job in the icy northern Arctic. I was dropping her off at her apartment after a farewell party and she invited me up for a beer. It was clear that more than beer was in the offing. It felt more like “Summer of 42” than “The Graduate”. There was an age difference… not huge but it felt pretty substantial. Because she had already been married, it made her seem older still. I felt a bit awkward… still I wanted to say yes. Every male-like urge from my waist down implored, “SAY YES”!

But I resisted politely and said I was tired and need to get ready for my move. As I drove away, I banged my fist on the steering wheel and mentally kicked myself. It was a bittersweet moment and the closest I’ve come to an April/November romance.

Cover of "Summer of '42"

(Our age difference was more like this than with The Graduate’s Mrs. Robinson)

I wanted to call this blog post BEAUTY AND THE BEAST…but it didn’t work because in this story, BEAUTY IS THE BEAST…isn’t she? Well, I’m not sure.

One of last week’s biggest Canadian news stories was that of a 69 year-old senator (I’ll call him NOAH…you know, biblically OLD and worn) travelling with his 23 year-old blonde bombshell wife (we’ll call her EVE, Garden of Eden fresh and pert). My math skills are a bit rusty most of the time but even for me some pretty simple multiplication here puts Noah at roughly 3 times the age of Eve. Could I be any more green with envy?

During the flight, Eve — who must have been under the influence of some poorly preserved Oysters Rockefeller she ate in First Class — lost her cool and made threats to slit the throat of her beloved. Upon landing, the police were called in to remove the unruly child bride after she also apparently threatened to “bring the plane down”.

(Noah “Mr. Robinson” with his Arm Candy Eve…)

This whole “age” affair wouldn’t and shouldn’t be news at all if it wasn’t for the trauma in the skies. Two consenting adults of legal age are entitled to do whatever they wish sans my or your judgment. But throw some 5 mile-high histrionics into the mix and it then becomes fair muckraking game.

As a heavily “hormonated” man I really really want to be NOAH. My imagination runs WILD when I can put myself in the Senator’s shoes and envision hot, sexy, sultry nights shared on a bearskin rug by the fireplace. Visions of  the warm, rippling illumination of the flames reflecting off her taut, creamy bosom, her feathery smooth limbs, flowing silky blonde hair curling gently over her satiny tanned shoulders makes every potential “Hef”, experience his very own hot flash. But then reality bites…

Having a 23 year old wifelet when you’re 69 is a bit like having a piece of gooey sweet chocolate cake when you’re a diabetic. You know you likely shouldn’t indulge but it tastes and feels sooo good for the first few bites as the sugar high settles in. Inevitably a few moments later the post-prandial crash comes as sure as night follows day. The Senator’s taste of 23 year old sweet cake turned to bitter lemonade between the earth and stars of this Air Canada flight.

I’ve told you previously about my Walter Mitty daydream life. NOAH is living out out his dream world in the real world. I can only wonder if when he sleeps at night Noah conversely fantasizes about carnal relations with a special someone his own era or older. Does he secretly pine for the touch of a “Pamper”‘ed octogenarian? Is he aroused at the thoughts of slipping his bony fingers under her blouse and caressing the slack sacks of skin that once were firm, succulent mammaries? Just asking?

Should I feel sad or angry about April/November love? Is there a victim here and if so, who is it? A lonely old codger lecher or a gold-digging sweety with Daddy issues? I think I know what would drive a 69 year-old guy to desire and lust after a 23 year-old sweetheart. I don’t really understand the motivating feelings that attract a 23 year-old to a wrinkled-up senior in anything other than an agreeably saccharine grandfatherly sort of way. Perhaps the hard billfold in his pants quickened the pace of her breathing.

Mistakes and failures are a part of life. A marriage that could optimistically last no more than 12 to 15 years, seems, on the surface like an error of judgment. This kiddy/elder partnership will come to a premature ending whether by divorce or by widowhood. But, in life, if we can have a decade of true and full happiness, maybe this is a mistake only in appearance. Just perhaps.

A marriage in Canada today between two partners of a comparable age has an almost 50% chance of calling it to an end. Are these ALL mistakes that shouldn’t have occurred? Are they somehow more legitimate than the above scenario?

LUST_OR_LOVE

It seems so simple to to be Judge and Jury. A 69 year-old man and 23 year-old woman… no thinking required, this is a no brainer, right?  They are stark, lustily, hormonally mad…raving mad and crazy. We could say, “this is so obviously right”. Or, “WTF, are they absolutely crazy?” When I was younger, the world appeared black and white.  Today it’s all 50 shades of Grey!

Put yourself in their shoes…I walked away hesitantly from my chance…what would you do?

What if she was your Daughter or Sister? What if he was your Dad or Grandpa?