Sweet Bliss and the First Kiss …

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Katy Perry kissed a girl and she liked it.

Katy Perry

I’m pretty sure if Katy Perry kissed me, I’d like it too. Although knowing that those lips had touched Russell Brand’s lips and naughty bits … EWWWW… not quite sure how I feel about that.

Have you ever thought about kissing a person of the same gender, even once in your life? ( Of course, if you’re on the gay side of the fence already, rephrase the question to kissing the opposite gender, OK?). I know I’ve had the thought, maybe twice in my lifetime, years back, and I’m not naming names, but it was a surreal experience. It wasn’t an attraction, just a compulsive moment.

There are some funny things that go on in our heads sometimes. I doubt that I’m the only one who has stood at the edge of the precipice of Niagara Falls or on the knife edge of a steep cliff and thought,

“What if I just took that next step and plummeted over the edge?”

It’s a scary scenario when we know that all rational thought is against doing the deed, but the damned little devil voice pipes in there nonetheless.

It could be such an easy step...

It could be such an easy step…

Kissing someone that you know you never would … maybe you’ve felt a strange compulsion to kiss your brother, sister, or a hot cousin in a non-relative sort of way, or an aunt or uncle, I don’t know. Just someone who is TABOO, and you know it.

I’m shocked at myself for thinking these thoughts, but it’s not like I have some sort of conscious control over the momentary notion. I do have control – thankfully – over exercising the idea into action.

Anyway, I’ve never had one of those first kisses. But those are just random thoughts when what I really want to talk about is :

What is the true meaning of the first kiss?

First Kiss 3

I’d say that 99% of us have or will have a first kiss. And to take the point a bit further, some, maybe most of us, will have a number of “first kisses”.

A first kiss is like jumping over into that river above Niagara Falls, you could end up crashing on the rocks below and the pain would be unbearable.

The risk level of a first kiss in human terms is higher than a wager at the baccarat table in Vegas. You place a bet and wait, moving delicately forward, either anticipating the delicious reward or the brutal smackdown.

I’ve never been a high risk player on the love scene. I’ve rarely, maybe never, asked someone for a date where I didn’t believe there was a 95% + certainty of getting a “YES” response. Everything worked out well in the long term for me with this cautious approach, but this may not be the best thing for a young person wanting to experience a variety of personalities in the dating pool.

If I reflect back on the number of girls I was interested in as a young fellow and might potentially have dated, minus the flat out ego-deflating refusals that would have been inevitable, I would have invested a lot more money in movie tickets and dinners. There would have been some outright disasters, but, some of those investments may have been pure gold. My ego just wasn’t up for the rejection.

For me, the kiss is a huge part of whether the relationship will be continued. The point where lips melt together in smooth and velvety bliss tells a whole lot about the compatibility of a pair. It can be the make it or break it point.

The excitement and passion of a first kiss is the romantic pinnacle of a relationship, and a warm memory that simmers in the stillness of our memory trove of life.

Again, without naming names, I know that I ruled out one potential young lady as partner material based on an overly thick tonguing that threatened to cut off my air supply. If you love me, don’t suffocate me. Great person, terrible kisser. I feel badly that I didn’t say something at the time other than “Goodbye”, but it was sadly easier than saying, “Good God, what kind of a lizard did you descend from?”

The First Kiss.

A good, hotly anticipated, maybe slowly drawn out first kiss leaves us on a cloud – floating in a mesmerized, dreamy state of hope and longing.

Move over Katy Perry, I’ve kissed a girl. And I liked it too.

first kiss 2

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Lululemon and CrossFit World…

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There are people out there trying to kill you.

Years ago (full disclosure: 25 years ago) I went to something called aerobics classes. I’d go to the school gym in Comox on Vancouver Island where I jumped and stretched and ogled the girls in stretchy crotch camel-toe-creating leotards and leg warmers while moving to the music of Flashdance. It was hard sweaty work but lots of fun, the music was motivating, and we all knew it was good and healthy for us.

At the time, I believed I was giving everything I had, and pushing my physical limits to the extreme.


Little-by-little over time I watched the ladies change out of their leotards – figuratively speaking – and into shorts and T-shirts, then fancier Nike technical wear with sweat-wicking properties, and most recently, of course, into the wonderful world of butt-enhancing LULULEMON. This transformation was accompanied by newer forms of exercise:

  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • TRX
  • Boot Camp
  • Yoga in 50 flavours
  • kickboxing
  • aquacize
  • circuit training
  • BOSU ball class
  • Spin Class

The number of fitness-type classes and styles has exploded.

But back to the ones who want to kill you.

Women Crossfitters

They call themselves CrossFitters. Their bodies look nice (actually they look great!), but they have designs on hurting you badly. At the same time that they break you down in order to build you up, they are wanting to empty your bank accounts, and then have you thank them for it.

There are CrossFit joints springing up all over the place. Their monthly fees are as high as the pain they inflict. CrossFit has risen to the pinnacle of exercise in the church of all that is deemed beautiful with voluntary bodily torture. It’s extreme, it’s tough, and it’s cultish.

And like Moore’s Law of doubling computer chip capacity and capability each 18-24 months, I wonder if we’re not in the era of Moore’s Law for fitness trends.

Crossfit Games

QUESTION: With little time but ample financial resources available to many of us in the 21st Century, and the swollen numbers of Superhero-style movies, are we moving into an era where Joe (Joelyne) Average desires the physique of a superhero?

It’s just not enough to be fit and healthy. The push is on for us to bulge and swell – not like Rob Ford –  so that our clothes require additional wiggle room to accommodate the ripples of musculature we’ve pressed the huge weights to acquire. CrossFit is out there to make superhero bodies.

Of course, who am I to throw stones? Extreme comes in lots of flavours. I participated in two Ironman races in my younger years because I wanted the very same prod administered by CrossFit gyms that I couldn’t manage all on my own. Before I began the training needed to Swim, Bike, and Run for more than 12 consecutive hours, I looked on the sport as total lunacy.

And then I did it.

I just wonder where the limit exists as we press harder and harder. At first, marathons were huge (they still are, believe me), then triathlons, then Ironman-length triathlons, then Ultraman Triathlons. Crossfit latches on to the human goal of striving above and beyond what we believe is possible, especially for the average person on the street who has never dreamed of Olympian effort for themselves.

I want to hate and ridicule CrossFit, but I have to admit I feel a grudging admiration for a group that drives their minions hard and asks for more Herculean effort than we believe we are capable of. It’s as extreme as it is impressive.

And so as I sit here typing away on this amazing computer, wondering what technological miracles will sit at my fingertips in 5 or 10 years, I’m also supremely curious about where we will carry ourselves physically.

But really, and more important to know is that wherever our physical boundaries lie, Lululemon will ensure we look fabulous getting there.


The Saddest Cries of Music … My 10 Top Tear-Inducing Songs


I don’t cry very often…

boy crying

Of course as a kid I cried all the time, how else would I get my Mom’s attention when my brother Gord was pounding on me. I learned at a tender age that childhood is all about manipulating the parents … sorry Gord.

But maybe half a dozen times in my adult life, have I felt the warm tingle of salty trickles on my cheeks. Strangely I don’t seem to have the gene that turns on the waterworks over life’s saddest moments: the death of a relative, the loss of a pet, a lover’s rejection. I feel the loss and the pain inside, but the sensation of welling tears just doesn’t happen. People probably think I’m weird … and probably, I agree.

It’s not because I’m some strong, hulking man of a man that thinks it’s sissy-like to cry. I hold no anti-tear grudges. And I’ve told you before that I prefer Chick Flicks over Action-Adventure movies. Tell me that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are putting out another movie, and I’ll be there in a flash.


The occasions when I do feel the greatest swelling of emotion with a rising tide of tears come from the warmth and tenderness of music. A few minor notes on the piano, and the O-ring seals on my lacrimal glands begin to malfunction.

Genre? Doesn’t matter. Classical, Pop, Country. They all contain the seeds of sadness and desire and loss that pierce deeply.

Now that I’m trying to net a few drops from the same ocean of emotional depth in writing music of my own, I realize how difficult it is to capture and draw the pathos from the depths and bring the sadness to the surface of our souls.

There’s a mixture of items that contribute to the sadness we experience in listening to music — the music alone can do it; at times, the sorrow within the lyrics is the key; for the greatest wallop, a melancholy mixture of music and lyrics combined knocks it out of the teary-eyed ballpark.

The circumstances of our lives at the time that we listen to a song have a major impact too. The poetry of loss…

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide it’s face and cry

… at the same moment we experience separation or divorce will drive the point home at double-strength.

The death of a parent or child coinciding with a song of grief…

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please
Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven

…makes a huge impact.

I hear the swell of the violins in Theme from Anne of Green Gables, the halting notes on the piano from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the swelling of Josh Groban’s voice in You Raise Me Up, and I feel the tightening in my throat and the moisture developing in my eyes.


We all have our touchstones, the musical themes or cues that strike most deeply into our core. Songs that scratch the sadness itch –  no matter how painful – bring the comfort of knowing that someone else out there is experiencing the same pain that we feel in our heart. It’s paradoxical that a salve of musical sadness can be healing.

My 10 most tear-jerking, heart-tugging musical picks:

  1. Oh Daddy — Shari Ulrich
  2. You Raise Me Up — Josh Groban
  3. Theme from Anne of Green Gables — Hagood Hardy
  4. Theme from Summer of ’42  — Michel Legrand
  5. Fire and Rain — James Taylor
  6. At Seventeen — Janis Ian
  7. Rainy Day and Mondays — Carpenters
  8. Theme from Midnight Cowboy — Harry Nilsson
  9. Moonlight Sonata — Ludwig von Beethoven
  10. Hello It’s Me — Todd Rundgren
  11. Tears in Heaven — Eric Clapton
  12. Someone Like You — Adele
  13. Diary — Bread
  14. Canon in D Major — Johann Pachelbel

Tomorrow marks Remembrance Day in Canada. There are few human activities that bring sadness to so many as war. Let me add these few sorrowful tributes:


I guess sad songs are just like salt-crispy potato chips, it’s hard to stop at just a few. I couldn’t bring myself to a halt at just 10. I realize I could keep adding more and more but I’ll leave a bit of vacant space in your mind to add your own heartbreakers.

Care to share a few of those musical notes that plunge to the deepest part of your soul?


Become the “Master of Your Domain”


the world owes me nothing

The world owes me nothing.

The world owes you nothing. Your mother owes you nothing. The lottery corporations and casinos especially owe you nothing.

Whatever freedom or flexibility or security you can gather in your world ultimately comes down to one thing. YOU!

I’ve almost retired from my job, oh, I think it’s six, no, 7 times now.

You would think I hate my job, but I don’t. For me, retirement is all about male ego and delusions of investing grandeur. It’s about dreaming.

In my little Walter Mitty mind, I’ve always been a supreme investor à la Warren Buffett and the way that one knows they’ve arrived through investing smarts, is by retiring from productive, human-helping, paid work. The important stuff.


I’ve never made a particularly good income in any job I’ve worked.

I delivered the Hamilton Spectator newspaper for years as a kid — made pennies, maybe a buck or two each week.


Yep … my first job …

At 15, I made a huge leap forward in income. I got a McJob — REALLY.

Starting in 1973, I flipped burgers at McDonald’s for 4 and a half years at a starting pay level of $1.55 per hour. A full 8 hour shift poured $12.40 into my bank account. It took a lot of late night shifts and weekends to pay $1,000 car insurance on top of college expenses.

But I was a good McDonald’s man; I was an All-Star McDonald’s man, and yes, there truly are such things.

McDonalds All-Star

After 4+ years of saturating myself a few times a week in beef fat and dehydrated onions, I concocted my last Big Mac, hugged my teen co-workers so long and walked out the door. Finishing pay rate?  $3.40 per hour.

I graduated from Mohawk College with a certified-sharp hypodermic needle in hand and headed north to begin work as a Medical Lab Technologist. My first professional position at Stanton Yellowknife Hospital in the chilly Northwest Territories  — $9.69 per hour.

I was rich … for almost a week.

Then I had to pay grown-ups bills like rent and heat and groceries. Have you checked the price of milk in Yellowknife? Alta 3.9 Beer and Black Tower wine are cheaper than their more nutritious counterparts which perhaps explains why I remember so little of my time in the NWT. If only I had figured a way to milk a caribou.

I’ve moved on to other lab jobs in small B.C. communities like William’s Lake and Comox and now in Penticton and Kelowna. I won’t tell you what my hourly pay rate is today because my co-workers who make $25 per hour would be right ticked off knowing that I make 8 times their take. That’s not true, but I like to think that I’m worth that much.

Suffice it to say, I make a reasonable wage for living a moderate North American middle-class lifestyle. No complaints but I’m a good many Ironman-length distances from the elite 1% so frequently bandied about in today’s news reports.

I’ve always thought I would be in the 1%. Or at least have a bank balance that pushed close to 8 figures. So why not?


The answer? I didn’t understand the 10,000 hour rule.

I was never going to strike it rich on the employment income side of the ledger, so I decided that investing what little I did earn was the fast track to untold wealth.

In my 20’s, I believed I could just waltz in, read a few magazine articles and books, and answer the phone when my broker-friend Rick called:

“Larry, buy as many shares of JuJube Inc. as you canIt’s a certain triple in 3 months“.

Soon, buckets of investing dollars would pour over me like runny No-Name catsup over steaming, fragrant French fries.

You’re not stupid. You know how that worked out. Broker-Rick got Rich, Client-Larry got broker.

But a LOT of people invest in just that fashion.

Over years, nay decades, I discovered that money was actually Heinz ketchup and flowed slowly. Cash needs a few wallops on the back-end until it begins to pour and some compounding momentum is gained. I learned that the best one to trust in making important investment decisions is myself.

Investment success is like masturbation, only YOU truly know what feels and works the best.

I had to read the investment books, re-read the books and then live the experience and learn from the experience. And continue learning from the experience.

Every minute. Every day. Every now. Over a period of years.

Blue Chip stock investing is the perfect thing for an easily distractible fella like me. I can apply myself for an hour or two, and then walk away for the rest of the day and come back to it refreshed… tomorrow.

Today,  I’ve finally spent the requisite 10,000 hours learning my investment chops. The learning will go on and maybe before I die I’ll gradually turn green and become Investment Yoda. But I doubt it.


Most of us spend most of our adult lives working, saving, and investing to find a lush oasis of financial security and a fountain of funds to make our days more pleasurable. For some it means monster homes and luxury vacations, for others it means freedom to serve and assist those in less fortunate circumstances.

We all want secure money for life and we’re all looking under every unturned rock to find it. There’s a multiplicity of ways to make, invest and keep money. But we each have to find one (or more) and then settle in faithfully for the 10,000-hour learning curve.

I found my niche and so I expect to keep getting rich slowly.

I might even retire on my 8th attempt.

Some believe that Jesus will save them. Or Allah. Or Buddha. Or Jehovah. Or a Lotto ticket.

Pray if you wish to a great higher power, but in the end, pick yourself up off the floor and make your luck happen.

You owe it to yourself.

Minion Dollars