Seth Macfarlane oscars

Catch the Oscars this past weekend? I was watching and absorbing the fascination of our culture with celebrity and pageantry and beauty.

AND Boobs…

Such a Brouhaha!

Much like a high school prom, a Horde of Hollywood Honeys assembled and preened on the red carpet prior to the ceremony. We were given a dazzling display of their fine physical wares including a good deal more than cleavage, all of which complemented the apparent theme of this year’s Oscars…BOOBS!

We have Seth MacFarlane to thank for shining our collective consciousness on breasts. Honestly Seth, you have a great smile, but I don’t really get off on your style or sense of humour. But let’s be clear kids… he was just noticing something that we all, male or female, observe and gawk at…boobs.

Heidi Klum

Sorry Heidi Klum, which category were you nominated in?

Truthfully, when the musical number “We Saw Your Boobs” began I kind of chuckled… with just a tinge of annoyance … and male-lust guilt.

A common sinuous thread that runs through moviedom is whether an actress has exposed her breasts in a film. It’s like a Bar Mitzvah- you haven’t reached womanhood in Hollywood until we’ve admired your nipples. Seriously though, some moviemaking requires skin exposure to develop a story more fully. Many actresses agonize over this decision to bare it all, and hopefully we receive it in a respectful way.

Western culture is absolutely obsessed by mammaries and yet we have a love-hate relationship with the idea of putting them on view.It’s a contradictory conundrum. Women appear to want them to be noticed and admired when out on the red carpet, and yet get offended when we do notice and comment on them. There’s no hiding place (especially for men) when you’re screwed if you do and really screwed if you don’t.

Despite my early tee hee, I was initially a bit indignant with the song routine about womens’ breasts…it felt like it was lowering the dignity of the Academy Awards. And it was…but come to think of it, Billy Crystal and Bob Hope and the myriad of the other (mainly male) hosts through the years have made denigrating and crass jokes to mixed reviews. Is this year any different?

And of course, America is the worst offender when it comes to outlandish broadcasting choices.

The U.S. allows just about any degree of violence or drawn out blood-purging death scenes imaginable, but show a boob or say “shit”, and you are fucked. Break a guy’s arm or leg in the Super Bowl and everything is A-OK, but parade a nipple accidentally and kiss your broadcast licence goodbye.

Sexuality and beauty are wonderfully enriching aspects of the human experience that should be celebrated, so long as intellect and sensitivity come hand-in-hand too. And yet we act all outraged when scenes or acts of love and sensuality are portrayed.

So what is my deep-rooted issue in all of this?

My indignation stems from a sense of MALE EXCLUSION.

Just what’s SO wrong with the male penis that prohibits ITS exposure on our movie and TV screens (but not our computer terminals!). Breasts get all the press as if men have no taboo parts to be shown. I’ll grant you that the personable penis is not the most esthetically pleasing piece of human anatomy ever evolved, but I see lots of less attractive items on TV, like Steven Tyler, or Dog the Bounty Hunter. No censor has had the balls to scrub those scenes from my set.

I never get to feel like my penis is being celebrated in serious cinema. It makes me feel less of a man when I don’t feel the love that breasts are afforded in tinseltown. It’s outright discrimination.


I look ahead to the day when sober and thoughtful male actors like George and Brad stroll the red carpet with their penis’s and testicles wrapped and adorned in luxurious fabrics with just a hint of forbidden skin showing. The rapacious interviewers will seriously query them about who their “Johnson” designers are.

And I am so looking forward to next year’s Oscars already (I’m just like William Shatner, I can see next year’s headlines). Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will do a song and dance routine about viewing mens’ testicles to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low“.

This equality stuff just feels so good.

George and Amy

“To breasts and testes in 2014”

TRAIN Your Mind, The Legs Will Follow


There is one time in life that I’m singularly ecstatic that I have both an X and a Y chromosome.

YES…Porta-Potty time.

The only time I really need or use them is before I enter into a sporting event, like a run or a triathlon. Nobody likes to run on a full bladder or bowel. I always look after the bowel part at home before a run but our bladders need more frequent attention, yes? Being able to stand rather than sit in a Porta-Potty is a huge perk for manhood.

Despite the gender advantage, I still hate Porta-Potty lines…but I HATE Porta-Pottys themselves more. I probably don’t need to tell you the reasons why, because you probably “nose”…

…it’s fecal aromatherapy at its worst.

port a potty lines

This is a hell-of-a-lot of nervous bowels and bladders…

But let me backtrack here.

I get up most mornings at 5 am so that I can start the day with about an hour or so of physical activity.

I’m a morning person, so getting up this early isn’t too too difficult. Of course, when the glowing alarm clock radio first starts up, I mutter a couple of 4-letter words and feel like I want to cry just a little. But then I accept the hard truth that the night’s sleep has ended.

My “Kate Upton and her SI swimsuit” dreams waft lightly into the ether as I listen to the CBC news for a few minutes hoping the world’s bad-news stories will just keep going on…but then they end, and I MUST get up.

DISCIPLINE is what gets me up.

Discipline is a word with a lot of meanings. But here, I’m talking about the self-discipline it takes you and me to get up each day and carry out our normal lives, do the things we have to do, like work, and eat, and drive kids to soccer or ballet practice, and sleep. Then, on top of the necessary stuff, we discipline ourselves to carry out some sort of physical activity for the goodness of our health.


There’s enough science out there to let us know that we have to move our bodies in some way almost every day so that we can live longer and healthier lives. Most of us buy into the science – it might have taken a fit, trim 60 year-old Swedish guy in 1970’s Canadian ParticipAction TV commercials to convince us, but we eventually came around – a call to action!


National pride is one motivator, but so is personal history. My Dad had a heart attack after shovelling wet snow in his late 50’s and my Mom died from a heart attack at 60 years of age, so health-related motivation is exceptionally easy for me. I just close my eyes, see their faces and think about their shortened lives, and I can get myself off the couch.

But also, to keep myself motivated day in and day out, I set goals. The dangling carrot (carrot cake!) draws me forward each day.

Just to brag a bit:

I’ve participated in a couple of Ironman races, a few marathon runs, and dozens, maybe even a couple of hundred short-course triathlons, half-marathons, 15K, 10K, and 5K runs.

And now to tarnish my swagger:

I’m telling you that I’ve “participated” because I’ve never NEVER ever come close to finishing at the front of the pack of any one of those races. The fact is, I suck at winning. I was pretty good as a little kid, but no more. Like most things I do in life, I’m just an average guy when it comes to my physical pursuits.

But, know what? I’m OK with this.

Larry Ironman 1990

A MUCH younger and MUCH trimmer me in my first Ironman…

The only REAL competitor I have in any event I participate in is myself…or to put it another way, the clock. I’m only interested in beating my own time from earlier events. I love goal-setting, and so my goal is either to beat a previous outing, or to beat a certain time like running sub-40 minutes for a 10K run (which, to be truthful, I’ve never done…23 seconds short!)

I firmly believe that fitness is more in the mind than the body.

Let me repeat: I firmly believe that fitness is more in the mind than the body.

Our bodies are usually ready and able to do far more than we give them credit for. There’s that old (and probably false) expression that most of us use only about 10% of our brains, meaning there is huge untapped potential. We could quibble about numbers here, but I think that most of us leave a great deal of untapped physical energy inside of us because we lack the mental energy to put it to use. It’s the mental energy that’s critical to keeping ourselves motivated.

So how do we develop mental strength for training our physical selves consistently? Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. Believe deeply that fitness and physical movement are as important to our lives as work and grocery shopping. Make activity a scheduled part of the day, just like picking up the kids from school. Physical and mental health will move ahead in lockstep.
  2. Work upwards gradually but consistently. Injuries are the boogie-man waiting to catch you if you try to move ahead too fast. I’ve found that the adage of adding no more than 10% in distance or speed weekly works pretty well. Mental toughness comes gradually too, so while the physical muscles are adjusting, so too are the mind muscles. Even if adding 10% means walking for 1 minute longer, it’s a stepping stone and is progress. Not everyone starts out as a thoroughbred, some of us are plodding donkeys that resist forward movement.
  3. I like Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of working at something for 10,000 hours to become proficient and masterful…like the Beatles and Wayne Gretzky. Physical activity needs consistency to become a part of your life. Habits, good and bad, need repetition to fool the brain into believing this is the norm and not just a one-off affair.
  4. Associate with those who have a positive mindset towards their health and fitness and are working towards achieving things in life. They will rub off on you and boost your motivation.
  5. Pay more attention to the rewards of your success (an extra block walked, a pound shed), and not on focusing on your mistakes (missed activity, a slow or more anemic workout). Do what is necessary today, and leave tomorrow for tomorrow. One step in front of the other takes you to your goals. In writing parlance, E. L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Fitness can be like this too. Take it one day, one step at a time and results will come about bit by bit.


There’s a “Fitness Taste” of one sort or another for every one of us, regardless of whatever limitations or preferences we might have. I have “Chairman Bill” (wheelchair bound) who comes for a workout at my local gym with a smile on his face, muscles in his arms, and wind in his lungs each day. If he can get out there, so can I.

There are so many ways to move our bodies daily that don’t necessitate queueing up for a public bathroom break. Man or woman, you could go through your entire life never needing to use a mobile blue upright toilet.

But I’m feeling just a bit smug in thinking that entering a PORTA-POTTY is positive proof that I’ve achieved a supreme level of mental strength.

I Love Your Ass in Those Heels…


I do…I really do.

It sends my testosterone levels through the roof. You look fabulous and sexy…it’s very flattering to see your tush pushed up high and tight and firm. It sends me into full Male Chauvinist Pig territory that I suppress as best I can but can’t totally deny.

My friend Cyndi calls her high heels her CFM (Come F*** Me) shoes because she knows the effect they have on guys.

And she’s right.


I often wonder if you’re slipping on heels just for me and all the other boys? I’m guessing sometimes yes, sometimes no. I could probably be arrested by the thought police for what I think when I check out a woman in spike heels, but that will probably have to wait until FACEBOOK finds a way to monitor my thoughts and put them on women’s WALLS. It’s just a matter of time. It’s scary really.

Honestly, I like to be around women in heels. It makes any occasion – important or totally trivial (even grocery shopping) –  feel more special and it makes me feel more grown up and manly. What you do as a woman affects my emotional and hormonal state.

I know you don’t wear heels for the same reason you wear a Onesie or a fleece sweater. Soft, smooth, and warm comfort are not the raisons d’etre when it comes to perking up your ass and calves.The TV show Sex and the City (which I’ve seen all of about 10 minutes in total) sounds like it’s primary focus is the expensive high heel shoes the 4 characters wear and then how much sex they score as a result of wearing them. When it comes to men, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. These gunslinging girls can put a notch on their red Louboutins for every conquest their heels are responsible for.


One man’s fantasy come true…

So why do you wear them? Is it just the obvious?

Do YOU even know for certain?

Is it to look good to other women? You want to appear taller than your normal munchkin size? Is it to catch the gazing eyes of us guys? Does it make you look more professional in your bosses’ and co-workers’ view? And should I care why when I get to enjoy the fruits regardless of the reason?

Here are a few random thoughts about wearing high heels:

  • heels can stimulate your career by transforming you into a confident, yet feminine force to be reckoned with
  • conversely, heels can hamper your career by putting too much emphasis on your sex appeal rather than your brains
  • obviously, heels can wreak permanent damage on your feet and ankles with bunions, corns, calluses, shortening of the Achilles tendon, ankle fractures and who knows what hip and knee joint issues
  • and, of course, heels can improve your sex life because the act of wearing them makes you feel and look sexy and can strengthen core abdominal and pelvic muscles. Who needs ab crunches?

“High heels thrust out the buttocks and arch the back into a natural mammalian courting — actually, copulatory — pose called ‘lordosis,’ ” says Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropology professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey said. “Rats do it, sheep do it … lions do it, dogs do it. … It is a naturally sexy posture that men immediately see as sexual readiness. [Heels] are a ‘come hither’ signal”….there we go, back to CFM’s!

The official position of the American Podiatric Medical Association is that anything higher than 2 inches is medically unsound. So I guess what they’re saying is that anything up to 2 inches in height is physically healthful, and probably psychologically for both men and women. Hurdle the 2 inch barrier and you’ve gone into dangerous, unhealthy, lascivious, lustful, semi-porn land.

Of course, heels are just the starting point of my Fifty Shades of Glee. There are other areas of feminine guile that spring out at me like a magnificent building standing erect on fertile ground:

  • Cleavage? I personally am attracted to a hint of cleavage but no more. Maybe I’m just not a breast man. Once we get close to nipple territory, the concept of tantalizing and hinting becomes unsubtle and more like Penthouse magazine. There’s a lack of finesse and tease that crosses the line into campy and tawdry. I want to think that all women are the Girl Next Door type…a touch slutty, but only in private. Too much cleavage and I’m feeling like I’ve turned down the wrong street and have gone into the Red Light District.
  • Short hemlines? There is a direct connection between the amount of leg showing above a woman’s knee and the firmness of man’s phallacy. This likely relates to the eye being led by smooth, taut skin further northwards into the woman’s power centre. A short hemline of a skirt or dress is like the Klondike Highway leading to the Yukon goldfields. There is a promise of discovery and untold wealth that sets the dreamer on a path to Nirvana. But why does skin showing above the knee when wearing a skirt differ from the same view of skin when accompanied by shorts? With shorts it’s clear that the highway has a blockage, a frigid snowslide impeding forward progress. A skirt gives rise to a sunny warm day where the road is clear and unobstructed. But, like too much cleavage, the increasingly shorter the hemline becomes, an inversely proportional attractiveness ensues. HINT, don’t CLOBBER, says I.
  • Perfumes? Aroma is a hugely important part of attraction and attractiveness. The picture of my brain below shows 2 areas allotted to sex. The first area is for visual attraction…you know, the high heels, the short skirt, the colour and contour of the cheek and eyes. The 2nd area is consumed by the faint scent of a woman, both natural and artificial. I should highlight the word “faint” because I don’t want to be knocked unconscious like George St. Pierre in a UFC battle, by jasmine and orange blossom  when you enter a room. But, just a delicate, wafting hint of vanilla or lavender as you stand near or pass by is a passage into heaven. There is a special world of seductive scent that we can appreciate all the more if we only close our eyes and absorb.



From a purely selfish, masculine perspective, I’m happy to live in a world where high heels exist. Attraction between women and men is a complicated dance of plumage and poetry and perfume that ensures our human continuation and enjoyment. Most of us derive great satisfaction in the appeal of seduction and beauty. Men wear tuxedos, women wear heels.

But when push comes to shove, I can be attracted by so many things about  a woman’s strength and femininity that don’t require wearing stilettos. Two-inch heels or ballet flats tell me that you care enough about your own health to resist the lure of extreme means of allure. I’ll get used to it.

Man in heels

I can never decide what to wear with my heels!

I Was Adopted In The Andes…

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With All Thy Getting, Get Understanding.”

                                                                                                Proverbs 4:7


About 20 died because of the unusually powerful, coursing floods and rainy deluge.

About a week after we touched down in Cusco, Peru, the torrential rains washed adobe-walled houses off the hillside like waves at the summer beach wash away childrens’ sandcastles. The “lucky” Andeans got out and survived to re-build their lives. The unlucky ones died in the rubble of their homes.


Ubiquitous blue plastic tarps were often the only thing that kept homes from “melting” into the hillsides…

I feel pretty guilty sometimes. I won the lottery in life that set me down into an amazingly rich country at an equally amazingly rich time in the world’s history.

My Peruvian friend Juanita works 6 days each week.

Ten to twelve hours each day.

And for this she earns about 8 dollars a day.

I’m pretty sure that Juanita is essentially illiterate, but she is skilled at hiding this from others. Juanita is a hard-working, intelligent woman who didn’t win the same life lottery as me. She deserves to have all of the material wealth that I have. I suspect that if she was fortunate enough to have been born 40 or 50 years later, she would probably come close, as the Peruvian economy and government evolves. There is little fairness to a world where I work significantly fewer hours for a significantly higher income than her.

When we first arrived in Peru and met Juanita, we couldn’t tell her apart from just about any other Peruvian woman. It’s embarrassing to admit, but they all looked the same to me. Dark, caramel-coloured skin, mid-length black hair, broad face, short of stature. Maybe it was the same for her and white North Americans. I kind of hope so.

Conversely, just a month later on, it was inconceivable to me that I could ever confuse her with another woman. Our eyes adapt to the look of different cultures and skin tones like they adapt to coming into a dark room from bright sunshine.

Juanita and her brother Efrain, both neighbouring onto about 30 years of age, semi-adopted us during our stay in the Andean highlands of Cusco, the jumping-off point to the historic citadel of Machu Picchu. Cusco is a city at a thin-oxygen elevation of 10,500 feet in the Huatanay Valley and populated by about 350,000 people, mostly of Incan heritage. Both Juanita and Efrain worked as caretakers and attendants at the residence building we stayed in during our 14 week stay at a Spanish-language school for foreigners. We studied Spanish each day alongside Dutch, German, Belgian, English, Swiss, American, Brazilian, Australian, Polish and even the occasional Canadian, students.

It was a huge, bold adventure for us …

it was everyday for our Peruvian hosts.

075 - Version 2

A day in the Peruvian countryside–Juanita in white slacks…Efrain wears yellow soccer shirt. Even my short wife Maureen got to be “tall” in Peru…

Juanita and Efrain brought us to their home for meals, we joined them at Efrain’s soccer matches (where, afterwards, Efrain would get me drunk on local beer shared from one glass for the whole team – I heartily returned their “Salud“s until I was soused!), we celebrated the Carnivale festival with their family where bulging water balloons are pitched at anyone and everyone (except little old ladies!). We participated in their local fundraisers for families who had lost their homes to collapse.

Juanita took us shopping at some large, local, black markets held under plastic tarps and tin roofs where we could purchase any number of material goods at a fraction of the normal retail price. We went out for meals together at nearby restaurants serving locally-popular barbecued chicken and “Chifa” (Chinese) food. We were even designated as the godparents to a new car purchased by some family members to be used as a taxi to bring more funds into the home…religious ceremony included!

Over the course of our 14 weeks in Cusco, our relationship with Juanita (and many other Peruvians) evolved and deepened. Juanita could speak no English at all. Our Spanish abilities began at a low-low novice level and gradually built up with each passing week of learning in classes. By the end of our time, we were able to converse in Spanish at a still relatively low yet satisfying-to-us degree. Sharing our lives back and forth with Juanita grew easier daily, although sign language continued to play a part when our limited vocabulary let us down. And as everyone knows, if you can’t make your point comprehensible with language, then yelling your words really helps to get the message across more clearly!

With passing days and weeks, we sat together during quiet times at a little wooden table in the kitchen area outside our room, overlooking the majestic city of Cusco, and we parceled out stories and pictures about our countries, our families, our lifestyles. Juanita told us stories of her early years and of leaving school and her family at 8 years of age to work in Lima. She didn’t see her parents again for 15 years until she returned to Cusco once again. She explained to us how to cook the local delicacy of guinea pig properly. She heard us talk about our Canadian winters and snow and ice skating. She asked about our families.

Understanding others comes about through time and intimacy. A week or two would never have allowed for the interchange of our life stories that occurred over 14 weeks.


Juanita with Efrain’s son…Sunday festival celebrations with “fake” American dollars…

When we think of people in different countries, we are removed and apart from them. They don’t feel like they are in the same neighbourhood where we live. They feel strange and foreign. It’s easy to dislike people we don’t know.

But then when we spend the time and share our stories, the world grows smaller and we begin to feel like we belong to the whole earth, not just a small portion of it we call our home country. Technology and rapid travel is making our world an increasingly more compact globe. Each person travelling to a “foreign” land gains a new perspective and a greater appreciation of what makes us all one family. Sharing your smile or joke with an employee at a Caribbean resort or in a European hotel makes the world just a touch friendlier.

Every interaction each of us has brings us one step closer to a place that makes our world safer…we may never achieve total harmony, just as any slightly dysfunctional family is never totally friction-free…but we move bit by bit closer than we’ve ever been to peaceful co-existence.

It’s been 3 years now since our Peruvian adventure and we continue to have some contact with Juanita and Efrain (thanks Facebook!). It’s challenging with Peru’s poor postal service, expensive internet connections, and busy work lives. But life goes on. Since we left Cusco, I imagine they’ve shared their special activities and milestones with a dozen other foreigners.

Those they “adopt” are very lucky people.

Hands on a globe