A Man of a Thousand Or’s



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

You Know You’re Getting Old When…



RIP Rachel Welch…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Examples? Sure, why not…

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Be Scared… vewy… vewy… Scared



I love the world of technology…

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

Superficial describes it well.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I’m the king of the world…

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

I’m not Leo, but I feel like a king…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No need to wonder or worry…

Remember, you live the magic too Your Majesty!

To Infinity and Beyond…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jim Ferguson