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The Blessing And The Curse … COVID-19 Version

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blessings-curses

Quick… TRIVIA Quiz…

What are the names of the 7 von Trapp family children in the movie THE SOUND OF MUSIC? (Don’t cheat… answers may be found at the end of this post).

The Sound of Music (or to be really silly in these dark COVID times… it might be renamed The Sound of Mucous) has been a recurring theme in this house for the past few weeks. If you’ve never heard of or never *NOOOOO* seen the movie, this might be a good time for you to sign out of this post… just sayin’…

Since the oncoming rushing train we’ve labelled COVID-19 was introduced to us in the last couple of months, the entire world has had this sci-fi common experience of physical isolation, but definitely NOT social isolation.

This isn’t your great grandparents’ version of the Spanish Flu… *drum roll* … introducing the INTERNET! Have you heard of it?

The planet has adapted in many many ways to keeping our hands and expelled body fluids away from each other.

The friendly exchange of our body’s bacterial and viral biome with others has been our way of communicating, connecting and bonding with our family, friends and acquaintances for millennia.

Shake my hand, hug me, cheek buss, bum pat (SLAP… OK, this one is long out of bounds!)…

STOP! Do Not Touch! Anyone! Anything!

It’s tough and it can be slightly embarrassing or uncomfortable. It’s just plain weird to turn a lifetimes’ social learning and flip it on its head.

Which brings me back to The Sound of Music.

Early on in this isolation period, our family began a weekly Zoom get-together on Monday nights to have a Pub Trivia Night in Canada.

It’s a weekly chance to remind me why I didn’t get selected to join the Jeopardy TV family despite challenging the “Contestant Test”.

Physical isolation YES… Social Isolation NO…

In week one of our Zoom sessions, we posited the final BONUS question to our physically-distanced kids and partners: What are the names of the 7 Von Trapp family children in the movie THE SOUND OF MUSIC?

Despite some close attempts, no one quite accomplished the task successfully.

Then, once again, in week 4 of the family Zoom nights, our daughter posed the same question. And again, no one quite jumped over the high bar.

Furthering this Sound of Music theme that has been stuck in my little head… I finished up my online tutoring session with my Syrian friend this week by asking him to listen to a YouTube version of Julie Andrews and the 7 von Trapp children singing… My Favourite Things.

His homework quest was to listen to the spirited song and then write down all of the favourite things that Julie (ie Maria) and the children list in song. The good news is that he managed fine although he found Julie Andrews British accent a bit “dawwwnting”.

 

Our favourite things have changed now that COVID-19 has taken and taken.

We all have a sense of what we’ve given up during this enforced “Lent-of-Sorts”. There are myriads of sadnesses and laments over what and who has been lost.

My mind wanders this way and that… I was watching a TV documentary about country singer Garth Brooks last week. He calmly stared into the camera, slowly flipping his hands back and forth, and said, “Everything you want has a blessing and a curse…”

… and this led me to the Idea Sex concept of this week’s blog… to combine COVID-19 and My Favourite Things  (the curse and the blessing)…  granted, an odd combination… but folks… you’re dealing with an odd mind here… so….

… here goes…

These Are A Few of My 8 Favourite Things

COVID-19 Version

1. This one is easy … and clever too. The Coronavirus version of DO-RE-MI

 

2. Music. The needed push for me to quit procrastinating and spend some time not only playing and practising guitar (this is easy), but also the time to sweat through songwriting sessions (this is NOT easy!). Developing unique and interesting melodies is akin to running the half marathon for me… intense and exhausting but ultimately exhilarating. Does this sound more like a happy ending than a songwriting session?

3. Garden. Setting up a new low-water use irrigation system for the garden. The old 1990’s underground sprinklers are fabulous for soaking huge areas in huge quantities in water… but this is so 20th century thinking. Drippers and micro-sprayers use a fraction of the water and accomplish the goal of keeping everything lush, colourful and beautiful, just like my own peacock’s feathers (right, in your head Larry!)

4. Exercise. Re-discovering my self-motivation exercise gene. For many years, I’ve relied on spin classes, boot camp classes, yoga classes, organized runs etc, to get me out the door and sweating. Now I wake up (and it’s almost light now at 5 am!) and begin my own motivational self-talk session that eventually results in a salty sweat-stained set of shorts and T-shirt. Then I get out of bed. My beer and bread belly has only increased – you can’t see me, right? – marginally!

5. Cooking. Working harder and with more enthusiasm to broaden my ethnic cooking horizon. For many years, I’ve routinely alternated the style of cuisine I prepare… Indian, Italian, German, Moroccan, Thai, Peruvian, North American, and so on, you get it. My quest now is to expand on these ethnic directions by adding new dishes into the mix. Wanna try my Pad Thai Pizza, Prime Rib Ceviche, or Schnitzel Tajine?

6. Vegging. Yes, oodles of time where there are multitudes of streaming shows that entice and seduce like creamy smooth chocolate. My favourite indulgence recently is the Netflix mini-series UNORTHODOX… or is it Gossip Girl? shhhhh… Recent credible research suggests that binge-watching produces a surge of IgG and IgM antibodies biologically active against… absolutely nothing.

7. Soul Searching. Having an intense internal conversation with my inner voices and demons where I play Trevor Noah or Jimmy Kimmel to myself. I earnestly ask myself all the questions I’ve always wanted answered: Why does Mom love my brother more? If I’m so GD handsome, how come no one ever asked me to pose for Playgirl magazine? Should I sue Keith Urban for plagiarizing my voice?

8. Toes. Yes, rediscovering long distant body parts is great fun and refreshes me on things like simple arithmetic (how many are there again?) and also … just what have my piggies been doing all these years since childhood? And why is my toe jam more like toe peanut butter? So many intriguing questions… so much time.

Thank you COVID-19. And finally …

*The von Trapp childrens’ names?

  • Liesl
  • Friedrich
  • Louisa
  • Kurt
  • Brigitta
  • Marta
  • Gretl
beefcake fav things

HOT? Maybe… but Definitely NOT on MY list!

 

 

 

So What’s Sexier Than This?

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bread sex

There’s titillating sex bubbling and rising in your kitchen.

I hope. But maybe not. I’ll tell you why in just a minute.

Look at that picture above.

It caused a controversy about 40 years ago, almost as if Hugh Hefner had splayed a *blush* buck-naked Centrefold Playmate across your child’s Grade 1 Reader.

Look closely again, what do you think? If you see (and maybe smell) the delicious sight and wafting aroma of freshly-baked bread just pulled from the oven… well… I’m applauding your Victorian mores and approach to life.

Jane Austen has taught you well.

But maybe… just maybe… like so many of the time this was published (I was an avid reader of Harrowsmith magazine in the early 1980’s), you look a bit more deeply and visualize a young, heaving-bosomed lass with a sexually-charged come-hither look and signs of post-coital flush in her cheeks – and is that truly a loaf of steaming bread cupped lovingly in her hands? – well… now you’re COOKING!

Soon, a flood of complaint letters got dumped on the doorstep of the humble Canadian publisher … “how dare you put such filth on the cover of a magazine that arrives in our mailbox for all the children to see… not even wrapped in kraft paper for modesty. Unfettered pornography!

hidden porn

Ah yes… we all know that sex sells. I’ll bet this was the magazine’s bestselling edition ever.

Now in today’s soc-iso world, it’s not only sex that sells (porn sites are overloaded… I’m told!)… but to my unprepared surprise, so does YEAST. Seductive whor’ish yeast.

SCENE: Inside local supermarket, weekday morning, 8 am….. only busy parking lot within 20 kilometres (OK, the Cannabis Store was doing alright too).

While other delicate shoppers socially-distanced-crammed into the toilet paper, sanitizer, and face mask aisles (there’s a face mask aisle?)…

… I cleverly, devilishly … snuck away to the far reaches of the store and the baking section where I knew no one … no one… would be congregating, much less mobbing.

I just needed to grab a small jar of yeast for my pizza doughs, cinnamon buns, hot cross buns, and the occasional loaf of bread I feel inspired to muck up … routine stuff I do on any given week ever… dum de dum…

Perfect… no congregation, no crowd, no throngs …

Holy Cabbage Patch Dolls!!! …

NO YEAST! WTF!

Four more supermarket stores later (I know… why was I not in an isolation chamber at home?)… and the same Sci-Fi story…

YEAST… SOLD RIGHT OUT!

empty shelf

I had naively figured that with all this isolation, much more yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to us lab nerds) would be irritatingly ensconced in the below-the-waist internal workings of overrun ladies locked away with laid-off lads and their overcharged libidos (a bit of liberal blog fibbing here, the yeast normally found in vaginal itch is of the Candida variety).

There could easily be a foreseeable glut of baby bellies in 9 months under these circumstances… the COVID KIDS… but “bread bellies”? Where are all the gluten-free crowds now?

The global and local ripples of the CORONAVIRUS are and will be felt in countless areas that no one would have ever dreamed. The school bell has decisively rung and the next classroom we enter in life will be quite different.

And sadly too, perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, counselling office waiting rooms will be overfilled with adolescents and young adults… searching for ways of coping with their childhood traumas – the sweat-drenched nightmares of days and weeks spent with no homemade breads or buns, the heartfelt sorrow-soaked memory of their mother’s and father’s faces as they tell their young charges that because of the Great Yeast Famine, there will be no cinnamon buns today, and maybe not tomorrow or next week either.

The good news ending here (for me at least, it’s all about ME, right?) comes when I spotted my wife running out the front doors of a local WalMart store… jumping up and down, arms raised in a V of jubilation… a small jar of Fleischmann’s “fungal gold” clenched in each hand… START THE CAR!

Have I mentioned my charitable side lately? I would never stoop to hawking tiny envelopes of yeast to you online at exorbitant prices… no Sirree!

But I can offer a special deal to you on a 6-pack of my delicious Hot Cross Buns this Easter weekend at the low low price of just $69.69 (any subliminal sexual message there is in your dirty little mind).

More yummy fun than finding your happy ending while ogling the cover of Harrowsmith mag…

*apologies to the hordes of English teachers and other language buffs for the endless run-on sentences in today’s post. Difficult times bring on disastrous grammar gaffes.

buns bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are YOU Kidding ME?

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Coronavirus Lego (1)

Where are you going?

Right… NOWHERE. I can predict that with almost 100% certainty. It’s like I live inside a Magic 8 ball.

But you know why. I don’t have to spell it out.

I’ve got you where I want you *bwahhhh-ha-haaaaa* and now I have to decide what I’m going to do with you.

It’s cruel and it’s powerful and it’s a rare moment in the universe’s history, so far as we know.

I know that you’re likely stressed in some way, so I’d like to relieve your angst a wee tiny bit this week cuz that’s just the kind of nice guy I am. I want you to like me, even if I am a jerk.

Today I’m coming at you with some ideas on how to take your mind off the pretend/reality TV world that over a couple of weeks has transformed into a real/REALITY WORLD… aka…

SURVIVOR- Coronavirus Island

Now you may not consider all of my ideas as fun… after all, fun is in the eye of the beholder – we don’t all love the same music or movies – so skip past the ones that make you nauseous, groan or cringe and move on.

Some are IDEA SEX and some are… *wink* SEXY IDEAS. Either way, surely, we can find one or two things to make you smile through the tension.

So… here are 10 things to do to lift your socially-isolated day out of the doldrums:

 

1. Channel your inner pervert and wear your partner/friend’s: underwear, bra (most noses are adequately protected by a B cup), or sanitary pad as a face mask to the grocery store… if that doesn’t catch anyone’s eye, try practising your moonwalk in the middle of the natural food aisle, plus maintaining 2 metres distance from everyone whilst dancing backwards.

lettuce mask

This works too!

2. Send out this woefully soulful note to your family:

Gal Gadot (or Chris Hemsworth or…) and I were set to have our beautiful wedding this April. However, due to the coronavirus, we will be postponing the celebration of our love. We’re heartbroken. My apologies to our friends and loved ones. Do not ask Gal about this she’s busy…

3. Do like Benny and Joon and make grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron on your ironing board. Young Johnny Depp at his finest…

 

4. Draw a spider on the toilet paper roll.

5. Make up a new national holiday (eg. National Cherry Cheesecake Day, World Naked-At-Your-Front-Window Day). Write to all your contacts and ask them to celebrate the special day on their social media platforms. See if your new holiday goes “viral”.

6. Out of TP due to shortages? Buy a package of paper towels and slice them in half with a sharp knife. For more extreme fun, hang out a few reams of damp toilet paper on your outdoor laundry line for your neighbours enjoyment.

7. Make up new recipes for the times: think… Emergen-C banana breakfast bread, Cinnamon-buns with 15% toilet paper-infused cream cheese icing (a treat at both ends of the eating experience).

8. Do your best erotically seductive dance in front of the pharmacy counter to get first shot at the new shipment of sanitizer.

9. Take an online class such as : 1. Get Stuffed: How To Taxidermy Your Problematic Family Members 2. Tantalizing Toilet Paper Origami Projects 3. Make Your Own Porno Netflix Special – Scintillating Solo Sex For Singles 4. Fabulous Blender Cocktail Recipes Made From Sanitizer.

10. Send an e-mail to all your friends and relatives and give them a silly nickname. The more outrageous the nickname, the better. The more ludicrous it is the better. See if they remain your friend after this lock-up period.

BONUS: 11. Couch Scavenger Hunt – the best way to find all those matching socks (or… used condoms and pizza crusts) you’ve lost and a great way to recover some of your lost virus income in nickels and dimes.

And finally… get out the kleenex (if you have any left)… a little soft nostalgia below to help you through these difficult times…

Toilet paper (3)

 

 

 

Seriously Your Honour? … An Innocent’s Lament To A Beeoch…

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policewoman at window

A small (ironic) parable today… if you can stomach it.

…………….

She shook her head and glared at me. Such lovely dark eyes.

I didn’t get it. She didn’t get that I didn’t get it.

A young’ish female judge in flowing black robes and white tie sat on the bench in judgment… of me?

Thin stripes of burgundy brocade garnished the front edges of her judicial robe like sardonic drips of menstrual blood dripping from her chest. Taunting me.

And just like my orange-tinged idol from the Land of the Free, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had done nothing wrong. And yet.

Here I stood at the front of this courtroom defending myself. Witchhunt.

Defending myself against ridiculous trumped-up charges that an obviously poorly-trained RCMP officer- a woman no less … a pretty lady who plainly would have been better suited to hairdressing as a career than policing – was levelling against me.

My eyes flashed wide, directed in amazement towards the judge, the police lady and the courtroom.

woman judge

So many women. I felt like I was in a cat-house. I was simultaneously pissed and aroused.

Now I want you to see clearly the nonsense, the crazy miscarriage of justice perpetrated here, so I’ll provide you a direct quote from this officer lady’s notes that she read out to the court in the charges against me:

“I approached the vehicle of the suspect Mr. Green. He lowered his window.  I asked for his registration and licence. His response was “Of course Sweetheart, you look tired, was the lineup at Tim Hortons too long this morning?

I repeated my request for his documentation which he then provided. I asked if he knew of the reason for being pulled aside.

He shook his head and wondered aloud if he had a burnt out taillight or if I was suffering from some monthly issues.

No sir, I responded. Besides driving at 74 kilometres per hour in a 30 kilometre School Zone, I noticed that you were texting on your phone while driving and appeared severely distracted. You know that’s an offence sir.

Oh is that all?, he replied. Everyone does that, right? No big deal. C’mon, the kids got out of the way.

And the phone sir? Anything you’d like me to add? I asked.

Oh, so you noticed me reaching into the back seat to retrieve my phone that had been ringing? Once I was able to get my seatbelt back on and see that I had missed a call from a bar buddy I met last night – I have to admit I’m still a bit fuzzy up top here – I turned off the Netflix show I was watching on the dashboard screen and zipped off a quick text telling him I was driving and would call him later. 

I see Sir. And I detect a strong scent of cannabis as well. Have you been smoking pot? Is that a joint I see smouldering on your console?

Sure little lady, but it’s medicinal. I have this cast on my foot that really hurts when I drive – I hate driving standard – so I smoke some weed to cut the pain. It’s legal weed, so no offence there Honey.

Sir, there are so many Motor Vehicle charges here that I barely know where to begin. Please step out of your vehicle and place your hands on the hood of the car.

You’re kidding me Sweetheart, right? I’ve done nothing wrong.

You’re kind of pretty you know, doesn’t the RCMP have some sort of skirt for officers like you to wear?

He stepped from the vehicle with a grin on his face and slowly turned and placed his hands on the car.

This is harassment. My lawyers will have all of this in the courts for years to come. Plus I’ll destroy your reputation Bitch, you won’t be behind the wheel of that cruiser a year from now. Somebody should grab you by the pussy and make sure you’re satisfied.

Yes Sir, I’m sure you believe that. I frisked the defendant and secured his hands behind his back for transport to the station.”

eye rolling.gif

The judge lady shook her head in some sort of womanly tantrum… I have to admit that it was a bit titillating. She was clearly in on this whole fake arrest thing.

Then the Grudge Judge declared me guilty on the full set of charges. My plump, wild-eyed lawyer reassuringly whispered in my ear that appeals would tie this up for months, maybe years.

As I was led from the courtroom, I turned and suggested to the Beauty Shop Cop that she get some anger management training and try chilling, maybe go to an old-fashioned movie with a friend.

WITCHHUNT. Watch out Twitter.

Twitter-rage

 

 

 

Photographs and Memories Are Silly

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family photo 1960.jpg

You know how you enjoy going through old photo albums and reminiscing about your friends and family and your bizarre hairstyle – and OMG those clothes you were wearing?  Why did your mother let you wear THAT skirt? What the hell were you thinking?

So silly.

I’ve been writing this “Fringe” blog for 7+ years now and after 384 posts, I’ve packed up a suitcase load of words and shared mercilessly.

I’ve filled buckets of seriousness and barrels of silliness… it’s a recipe that kind of sums up life, doesn’t it?

And for anyone who thinks that workplace retirement is a time of total relaxation and leisure, there’s another door you might want to look behind in your own Oz-World that contains a few dozen time-consumers…

Which brings me to this blog post… I have a closet-full of items to be attending to this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (cutting down monster hedges and music practice and tutoring and meal prep for a large gang) … and so I’ve given myself permission (thank you Larry) to recycle and reuse… no, not my favourite old and well-worn Calvin Klein boxers… nope… today I’m recycling/reposting a blog post from this month 5 years ago.

Speaking of Oz-World, I took in the film JUDY this week… Ms. Garland was trapped in a world of sadness mixed with ecstasy and way too much drugs and alcohol. Perhaps a dose of silliness like I’ve described below would have de-stressed her days a tiny bit… maybe silliness would have allowed Judy to spend a bit more time on this planet amongst us… but alas, she’s over the rainbow now…

On this Canuck Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you find a few moments of silliness to tickle your inner self … cuz, Thanksgiving is… In Your Pants!

 

Silly is … In My Pants

October 4, 2015

PEI Autumn

I’m just beginning to see millions of leaves succumb to their slow, colourful deaths as we pass the fall equinox. It makes dying a beautiful thing.

And it got me to thinking about changes, and seasons, and those things that are predictable in our lives and other things that change and surprise us.

Take the moon for example. We all know that full moons contribute to the “surprise” factor.

Full moons make crazy things happen, things we’d never expect. This past week’s Harvest “Blood” Moon – wasn’t it stunning? – probably had more impact than usual.

Something that surprised me? Maybe it was full moon inspired?

Singer/Songwriter James Taylor got really silly on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show the other night.

Yup, James Taylor. I love his music but he isn’t normally a silly kind of guy.

“You’ve Got A Friend” and “Fire and Rain” are beautiful, deep, hardly silly songs. He croons serious songs that melt into our hearts and our heads.

Silly? Adding the words, “in my pants…” at the end of each line of Taylor’s music definitely qualifies as silly. ” … But I always thought that I’d see you again… in my pants

So it must have been the moon. Right? Must have been.

Thank you James for reminding me that we all need to be silly sometimes.

Silliness can be an important part of our humanity, our ability to cope when times grow tough. Norman Cousins (Anatomy of an Illness) wrote all about finding humour and laughter in life when confronted with serious pain or illness.

Sometimes I find myself slipping into an earnest seriousness. I have to slap myself on the side of the head to remember to be silly, not to take everything so damned humourlessly. Then I feel better.

Fix the mood and everyone dances like feathers …

There’s a guy who is my age that I work with in the Greek restaurant where I’m a bartender … he’s a server/waiter. Let’s call him Fred.

When everything is calm and quiet, he’s sweet and charming. Full of light humour and smiles. Mr. Congeniality.

But once lineups form at the door, tables in the restaurant fill up, and the hum of activity snarls into a roar, Fred turns into a yelling monstrosity of an animal. He becomes a toddler that only knows “ME“!

It’s like he might just throw himself to the floor and begin crying and stamping his feet unless everyone does everything for him … RIGHT NOW!!

Cosby as Dr. Jeykll

I don’t like Fred much at these moments. His blood pressure readings must be reaching into the clouds way above us.

Later, when customers begin shuffling out of the restaurant, sated and satisfied and a teensy bit tipsy from the delicious libations I’ve poured, Fred sloughs off his nasty mask and returns to his “resting pulse” rate of friendly and charming.

He’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a serving tray and a menu pad.

I can’t blame the moon for Fred’s tantrums. This is his normal reaction, the way he copes when stress begins to pile on.

I feel badly for him and badly for those around him who have to do their jobs despite his vile behaviour. Fred should try singing, “… in my pants“.

But let me tell you about another server I work with – let’s call him Mark – somewhat younger, who always finds a way to laugh and giggle through the busiest times.

He’s smart and good at his job, just like Fred, but Mark always finds a way to stay calm and goofy.

Mark gets the same work accomplished as Fred but everyone around him is more relaxed and smiley as he does his thing.

Mark works two jobs most days and is on his feet for hours and hours at a time, always with a smile and a goofy laugh. I like working with and being around Mark. He makes me calmer and sillier.

We all have our own unique personalities and ways of coping when things turn tough. It’s hard to smile sometimes.

I know I can stress out and get tense and humourless.

But I’m trying really hard to find the silliness, the humour in every situation. Really good or really bad.

Humour is like air … you can’t always see it with your eyes but it’s blowing and floating around us, helping us survive the tough stuff.

Maybe humour is like a religious tonic for non-believers, soothing us when times get rough, a bridge over troubled waters.

When things get busy in the restaurant this evening … while Fred is flailing disruptively, I figure Mark and I will be hearing “…in my pants” dancing in our heads.

... in my pants ... and I ain't afraid to show it ...

 

Where Do Your Random Thoughts Lie?

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lookng stupid

Me at 3:30 am…

The brain/mind is like an involuntary muscle – the heart, the lungs – it doesn’t shut down when we sit down, lay out, sleep.

It merely shifts into another gear (often overdrive) and happily/miserably purrs along without our assistance.

This is a great thing when we need answers or reflection, practice or emotional intelligence… not so fabulous when we need a mental rest from the things that worry and bother us.

And so… Welcome to my Stranger Things mind on this early autumn’ish day.

Sleep used to be a surefire thing, then kids came along, then age crept up … and now it’s a Vegas crap-shoot…. what will I get tonight? Snake Eyes… *WTF*… or… Bingo… Lucky 8!

Yes, the following Sunday morning random thoughts have set up house inside me, coursing like a spring freshet creek through this mind and body that have decided sleep is an over-hyped marketing concept brought to us by Sandoz.

Let’s get started, shall we?

  • Is it true that people who drink their coffee black are more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits? Or am I merely rationalizing my smooth, creamy latte with artificial sweetener habit?
  • Don’t you hate it when you can’t understand your own language when spoken by someone with a strong accent? I’ve tried watching Derry Girls on Netflix (such a cute show) and struggle to understand 1/4 of the heavily-accented Irish tongue.
  • If people make you sick, maybe you should cook them longer. And no exotic spicing combination will ever make the A**holes in our lives taste yummy. Do these comments make you think I’ve had one too many cups of black coffee?
  • Why do I pick living worms off the road and throw them back into the grass but step on spiders in my house? And why have we munched down billions of cows and pigs for God-knows how long, but step back in shock and horror at the idea of eating a horse, a dog, or a guinea pig?
  • I’ve felt handcuffs on my wrist twice in my life… does this make me a criminal or a sex addict?

IMG_1866

  • It was totally normal for everyone to get measles when I was a kid, and now it’s a deranged serial-killer lurking everywhere. When will the common cold become Public Enemy #1?
  • How has humanity come so far to construct 100+ story skyscrapers that can withstand hurricane and tornado-force winds and yet thousands die in one story huts on small southern islands?
  • If we’re so righteous and worried about global warming and overuse of earth’s resources, why do so many people have monster RV’s towing Jeeps behind with a motorcycle attached? Turduckens on wheels!
  • Going to sleep each night is like rebooting your computer… you get a fresh reset that starts your program day and then hours later it’s filled with gobbledygook and junk files that need to be trashed.
  • Are the secret people on the moon and Mars hiding from us because we’re invading aliens? Do they make Sci-Fi movies about gross-looking Earthlings?
  • If I enjoy reading so much, why do I always nod off after 10 minutes of reading a book I really like? Years back, I’d easily read a page-turner in a few days or a week… now it consumes a month or two… or more.
  • What god would take away the hair I like on my body and re-sprout it in other weird locations where I just shave it off?
  • Is the meaning of life feeling guilty for everything I do, eat and say? A banana is good for my health… but they burned down a forest to grow it, abused children to pick it, and consumed a ton of fossil fuels to ship it to me… *arggggh* … will history judge me harshly for my peanut butter and banana sandwiches?
  • I still don’t understand the attraction for women to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon… I try to put myself in feminine shoes to come to grips but I’m clearly not Cinderella, cuz they never fit.
  • 1960-1970 went on forevvvvver…. 2010- almost 2020 took 5 hours.
  • Donald Trump must be God because he can do or say anything and still he’s omnipotent. All his lesser disciples crumble and tumble to their smelly graves but he is politically immortal. I’m waiting for the first subpoenas, but it seems more and more likely hymns are in the works… “Lying in the Rock of Ages” ?

……………..

  • And one final random thought … if there is such a thing as reincarnation, for sure I’ll never be able to come back as Mother Teresa (my lack of religious belief and all)… but maybe I could return as Joan Baez, an angel for the less fortunate, equipped with a great guitar and singing voice. I’d live on as Diamonds and Rust...

Joan Baez

Good Grief: Are You Shitting Me?

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lucky shit

Damn… I’m … We’re … Lucky.

No shit!

Today, in 2019, we don’t die from diabetes (immediately) or childbirth or smallpox as much.

Diphtheria, TB, cholera, syphilis? Not a whole lot.

A whole pile of diseases and conditions to which we had little choice in the matter (Type 2 diabetes aside) don’t typically ravage families and communities they way they once did.

Who gets scurvy anymore? Rickets? Plumber’s butt?

Sure, we’re lucky. But I’m still scared you know. I’m not resting on Easy Street.

There are a million diseases that can ruin our lives today; we have a long list of conditions that continue to stymie our ability to diagnose and treat effectively. Which brings us to….

*drumroll*

Medical scientists and researchers are starting to put other people’s shit inside of us to make us feel better.

Stool transplants.

Dumpster diving in reverse. Shit surrogacy?

stool syringes

The medical community is dressing it all up in formal evening wear by relabelling fecal transplantation as bacteriotherapy or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

What moron thought up this idea? A bunch of pre-med frat boys on an overnight bender? Hey Pete, instead of smoking the hell out of these doobies, why don’t we hook up a tube between our assholes and exchange some real shit?

Nope, it began long before stoned college dudes.

Fecal transplants originated in ancient Chinese medicine more than 1,700 years ago. In those good ole days, this involved drinking a liquid suspension of another person’s feces — umm, no thanks? I’ll stick with chocolate ice cream milkshakes please.

The consumption of “fresh, warm camel feces” has also been recommended by Bedouins as a remedy for bacterial dysentery. Umm… did I mention NO THANKS?

The first use of faecal transplants in western medicine was published in 1958 by a team of surgeons from Colorado, who treated four critically ill people with severe pseudomembranous colitis (before C. difficile was the known cause) using faecal enemas, which resulted in a rapid return to health.

……………..

But why would I want your shit? Isn’t that what sewage treatment plants are for?

According to the Wikipedia gods:

Stool transplant, is the process of transplantation of fecal bacteria from a healthy individual into a recipient; it involves restoration of the colonic microflora by introducing healthy bacterial flora through infusion of stool, e.g. via colonoscopy, enema, orogastric tube or by mouth in the form of a capsule containing freeze-dried material, obtained from a healthy donor.

The effectiveness of stool transplantation has been seen in clinical trials for the treatment of Clostridium difficile (CDI) infection, whose effects can range from diarrhea to pseudomembranous colitis.

Due to an epidemic of Clostridium difficile in North America and Europe, faecal transplant has gained increasing prominence, with some experts calling for it to become first-line therapy for CDI.

In 2013 a randomized, controlled trial of stool transplant from healthy donors showed it to be highly effective in treating recurrent C. difficile in adults, and more effective than vancomycin alone.

Faecal transplant has been used experimentally to treat other gastrointestinal diseases, including colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

In the United States, human feces has been regulated as an experimental drug since 2013.

poop transplant

The authors of a 2016 review suggested that fecal transplants may eventually treat additional conditions such as:

  • diabetes
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • obesity
  • mood disorders, such as depression
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • hay fever
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • eczema

Nice … I’m ?happy? … but you can’t just shove someone else’s faeces inside of me and expect me to smile and say thank you very much.

Faecal transplants are NOT on my Flavour of the Month list.

OK, maybe if I transplant the faecal matter of someone handsome and charismatic, it could make a beautiful difference in my life. I could be Tom Cruise or Chris Hemsworth … but no, I don’t want to be a Scientologist or speak with an Australian accent.

I’ll happily take your heart or lungs or kidney (but only if you decide you don’t need them anymore), but keep your own damn poop, OK?

In my lab career, I poked around in thousands and thousands of others’ multi-hued, multi-textured night soil… I could write a fabulous Dr. Seuss book called Oh, The Doo-Doo I’ve Seen. 

I’ve carried my own shit around for … well … a lot of years.

But, if you think – all of a sudden – that I want to carry yours around inside of me for the foreseeable future…

well…

YOU are full of ………….

 

dog poop

I’m Marvellous, Almost Mrs. Maisel Marvellous

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Mrs Maisel 2

I love Mrs. Maisel.

She’s Marvellous, don’t you think?

You know who I’m talking about, right? That Amazon-Prime-lady Rachel Brosnahan who plays a young, separated Jewish mom in 1958 New York City.

She works a department store gig by day and then hits the nightclub stand-up stage most evenings.

Her comedy routine on stage is a bit like watching Seinfeld … actually, I think she is Jerry Seinfeld in a dress. Master of her own domain…

Mrs. Maisel (“Midge”) blathers on about her day’s routines and the crazy things her parents say or her ex-husband does, but in a charming and funny, occasionally profane, way. Snapshots of nothing and everything all at the same time.

The dialogue for the show is reminiscent of watching anything written by Aaron Sorkin (yeah, I’m a fan boy of his) … The West Wing, The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball … or Nora Ephron (yeah, I’m a groupie of her’s too)… Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally.

The creator/writer/director for The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel is the marvellous herself Amy Sherman-Palladino who in years past created The Gilmore Girls.

It takes incredible talent to write comedy, sharp, and fast, but there is always humanity and emotion too. Comedy is best when it shoots an arrow to the heart sometimes. Tears and laughter are fine bedfellows.

Her rapid-fire, witty dialogue requires your strict attention because the fun lines zip by so rapidly.

But truly, I love Mrs. Maisel mainly because I’m very different (yes, she is much cuter than me) from her.

I could never be a stand-up comic. I would SUCK!

stand up comic

How does someone stand at a microphone for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes … an hour … and relate stories, tell jokes… sometimes rehearsed, often improvised on the spot? I can’t riff a good knee-slapper about the underwear I’m wearing (or not!) today even if my life depends on it (get it… DEPENDS!.. OMG, there’s hope for me).

Nope, that’s not me. I’m not so marvellous at that stuff.

I struggle to remember the lyrics for a 3 minute song I’m playing. I can’t remember your name within 10 milliseconds of our introduction.

But I can give a prepared speech in fine fashion (or so I think). Why?

Why thanks for asking.

I write these blog posts (kind of like a prepared speech) because I can ruminate – like a cow chewing its cud in the pasture – over my words for hours, days if necessary. And I do.

I even write amazingly erudite paragraphs in my night-dreams, and the day I can remember them when I awake, I can die happy, although I don’t think I’ll be happy when I die, but who knows, do you? And there I go talking like Mrs. Maisel …

The pairing of supreme writing and verbal skills are like oil and water, pasta and sushi, forks and power outlets, my testicles and a sharp knee jab… you get the gist. Not an easy combination. Most of us channel the muse in one OR the other, if we’re lucky.

Verbally I stumble and stammer and look befuddled like Robert Mueller… oy vay, don’t get me started.

With writing, I can parse and edit … edit and parse … so that I come up with a (hopefully) well thought-out and comprehensible phrase or two.

The delay I get in writing (like the 7 second TV broadcast delay) helps me avoid the quicksand that my lack of filters (of which I’m constantly reminded!), sadistically, maniacally, tosses me into without my really trying.

And so Mrs. Maisel… I humbly bow to your skill-set, your humour, your smiles, your bravery in a man’s world… perhaps Aaron Sorkin wrote deftly about A Few Good Men …  but Amy Sherman-Palladino? … you’ve nailed it here with One Good Woman.

Brava!

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8 Things That Probably Mean You’re Not Canadian … Sorry, Eh?

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Mountie moose

O CANADA our home and native land ….

Wait a minute… I can’t hear you singing!!

OK… perhaps you prefer O say can you see … or… Allons enfants de la Patrie, perhaps God save our gracious Queen … all are uplifting.

A few days before the Trump’ster blurts something bombastic and self-serving and frankly stupid in front of the Lincoln Memorial next Thursday … Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will stand before the citizens of the True North of North America and remind us with some eloquence of what makes a Canadian… well… Canadian.

Yes, Monday is Canada’s 152nd Birthday. A baby in global terms…

What Trudeau says won’t please every citizen of the land, because the nature of a diverse country shaped in a multicultural kaleidoscope of skin tones and religious and gender leanings, is that there will be disagreements and philosophical variations …

… but for the most part, Justin will speak in terms and pictures that will make most of us proud to carry the Maple Leaf passport.

Sure, there are things that annoy and anger me about my homeland. As a country we’ve committed our fair share of sins, just ask the Indigenous folks who have lived here for millennia …

And to be clear I’m not a raging fan of nationalistic pride… I am a greater fan of a global community where the goal is to achieve a more or less equivalency of living standard for all folks.

It’s kind of corny and in some ways naive, but I’d rather live a positive dream, than wall off others in fear of what I might lose by their prospering.

Nonetheless, I’m greatly fortunate and appreciative of the hand-up I was given at my birth to springboard out into a huge country of great wealth and freedom to shape my own destiny.

So, are you ready to find out if YOU are…

CANADIAN? YES or NO?

Trudeau.jpeg

Just to be clear, not everyone can be a Canadian.

But if you think YOU might be a Canadian, read through the following list of 8 for either confirmation or denial.

 

  1. If you haven’t said “sorry” at least 3-4 times in the past 24 hours, you’re definitely NOT a Canadian. Canadians apologize for talking, for walking, for breathing… we say “sorry” instead of prayers when we go to bed at night … it’s in our DNA … I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is.
  2. If you say “Aboot” instead of “Abowt”, you are NOT Canadian. I know this bucks the accepted norm that others outside of Canada believe. To be fair, the occasional stand-up Newfoundlander might be heard uttering ABOOT, but it gets lost in the mist of the Atlantic Ocean. To be clear, this pronunciation guide does not carry over to the word “route” which may be spoken as “ROOT” or “ROWT”, either can be accepted within the Canadian vernacular.
  3. If you popped a beautiful bouncing bundle of new life in recent memory and reluctantly went back to the salt mines to pay for your groceries after a mere 3 weeks or 3 months, you’re NOT Canadian. Canadian maternity leave is a year long for those who can manage it … Employment Insurance pays Mommies and Daddies to look after their little Sweeties (for a while anyways).
  4. If you can’t recognize a flag with a red maple leaf as its emblem, you’re NOT Canadian. Canada has the coolest, most recognizable flag… who the heck couldn’t know that a big red Maple Leaf represents Canada? OK, I’d have preferred blue bars (instead of red) on either side and a blue stripe across the top to represent the 3 oceans on our borders, but Canada is about compromise, I can happily live with all red.
  5. If you pay a monthly premium for health coverage with co-pays and deductibles, or struggle to buy expensive drug treatments, you’re NOT Canadian. It’s cliched, but as I listen to Democratic debates south of the border, I appreciate all the more that even without a perfect health care system in this country, there aren’t multitudes of bankruptcies and families destroyed by lack of adequate health care.
  6. If you reject the notion of helping the world’s desperate and downtrodden, you’re NOT Canadian. Canada accepted the most refugees of any country last year … The UNHCR’s annual global trends report shows that Canada took in 28,100 of the 92,400 refugees who were resettled in 25 countries during 2018. This is very meaningful to me in my role as a tutor to a young Syrian refugee brought to this country in 2016.
  7. If you detest the notion of same-sex marriage or the freedom of choice for women to decide what can or can’t be done to their own bodies, then perhaps you’re NOT Canadian. Yes, and even marijuana is legal now… the True North is strongly high and free…
  8. If you don’t like the taste of clam juice mixed with tomato juice and vodka, then you are likely NOT Canadian. We drink this strange mixture in abundance and think it tastes good, also… we put “u” in the middle of words for no good reason, we say “eh” all the time, pronounce “z” as “ZED” and lieutenant as “leftenant”, sometimes we wear shorts in the dead of winter, we don’t own handguns or assault weapons, we call our money “loonie” and “toonie”, we eat Kraft Dinner like it’s the National dish, and we pick up our morning coffee at “Timmies” like it’s a citizenship requirement.

So, did you qualify to be Canadian?

If not, I’m SORRY, but don’t fret.

And don’t give up.

Work hard and try again next year. Canadians believe in second chances, eh ? …

Happy Birthday Canada

birthday cake.jpg

A Square Peg… Or How I Started As A Wine Virgin

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funny wine

Mmmmmm… nice overtones of peach and grapefruity citrus with a strong acidic finish and a light touch of oakiness.

Yes… a pretentious yet sensitive wine with a sunny hint of snot, clown tears, and liquid viagra. Great with roadkill or Cap’n Crunch.

The wine world is viewed by a lot of people as a mixed word salad of pompous ostentation.

Pinot Meunier, Reisling, Cabernet Merlot, Chardonnay. Still or frizzante. White, red or rose.

For someone who doesn’t drink much booze, the demon drink has been a prominent part of my life for the past 5 years since I hung up my laboratory petri dishes… a new set of chemicals (ethyl alcohol) and microorganisms (yeasts) has displaced the E. coli’s and Salmonellas that I sniffed and puzzled over for more than 3 decades.

Each of the past 4 summers I’ve mixed and poured my heart out, bartending a couple of nights a week at a local Greek restaurant. Martinis, Margaritas and Sangrias were my stock in trade.

I thrived on the enthusiasm and fast pace – the steady flow of staff and patrons that cascaded life right back at me. Bartending has a certain scent of glamour and mystery I love.

However, for a guy who routinely wakes up each morning ready to fly (or spin or HIIT) at 4:30 or 5:00 am, concocting colourful umbrella-festooned drinks at 9:00 or 10:00 PM, well… it’s not the very best collaboration conceived.

Be Best.

Thanks Melania… my best is early in the day which makes my new summer job a “best” fit.

Living in Canada’s Okanagan Valley today means an exposure to grapes on just about every hillside… we’ve become a pint-sized version of Napa or Sonoma,  Mosel or Reine, Loire or Bordeaux, Tuscany or Collabria, Coonawarra or Kangaroo Island.

So this summer, I’ve decided to hang up my evening bartender’s apron and try on a daytime sommelier’s cape.

Signing on for a couple of mornings each week at a winery 5 minutes walk down my road is just the fresh breath I need.

8th Gen wines 2

My morning role is minimal – I set up and send boxes of wine to restaurants and wine club members who receive regular shipments of the fermented juice.

And when (if) my time allows I’ll set up shop at the counter of the tasting room and pour out mini-sips of liquid and words of wine wisdom to the visitors passing through.

But back to the jargon of wine country.

The other night, for a few hours, I and the entire crew of wine hosts (perhaps 12 of us) sat and quaffed our friendly owner/vintner’s full line of libations. Being paid to drink and eat is hard work!

Like car salespeople, we were test-driving the vinos on offer to the local and tourist throngs that flock to this region in the summertime.

Of course I’m new to this world. A square peg in a round hole. A virgin in disguise as a well-oiled call boy.

The other hosts/sippers have mostly completed college and university courses that detail the importance of terroir (terror?), the crush (schoolyard romance?), the malolactic fermentation (marshmallow what?).

The table was covered tip to tail with long-stemmed and tumbler-style glassware of different sizes and conformations. In front of me I counted 5 unique sipping vessels.

I immediately displayed my impeccable knowledge-base of the fermented grape by sloshing a generous spurt of water into the Cabernet Merlot tumbler. Oops! Nothing to see over here folks…

The wine was skilfully poured by our smiling hosts (the wife and husband owners) and with each sip we were served an encyclopedic description of where it was grown in the valley, the soil type, the micro-climate, the time of picking, crush method, fermentation approach …. and on and on … did I mention… on?

Yes, it was overwhelming for this neophyte. Fascinating, but overwhelming.

8th gen vineyard.jpg

The descriptor word salads were sashayed forth in great abundance and splendour… yada yada yada

I smiled, and in contrast to my younger years when I would have blushed and tried desperately to fit in, I didn’t make any attempt at looking remotely intelligent (like the others).

I didn’t even verbalize any (not one) erudite comments that displayed my astounding breadth of knowledge as a oenologist. This is good and oh, this one’s yummy maybe wouldn’t have added to the mastery and understanding of the gathering.

I came, I sipped, I listened. And I enjoyed. You translate that into Latin!

I fit in like the paparazzi observing a special event, recording and enjoying but also realizing that I’m not (yet anyway) a true part of the world of this vintage group.

The good news is that no one made me feel lesser for my “virginity”. The warmth of the evening and the people I shared it with was a tasty introduction to my new “chemical” society.

Afterwards I shuffled (straight, mostly) home and whispered quietly into the cool night air and stars above … Cheers… Salud… Prost… Gun Bae… Santé…

cheers

 

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