Thursday, June 23, 2016

A walk down memory lane

"Excuse me, Is there a toilet on memory lane?  Where?"

I often sit at my desk looking at old snapshots.  Some of the pictures are very old.  They are brown and white.  Some of them feel like they are made of metal.  These photos may be around the beginning of the 20th century.

I have numerous photos of world war II vintage.  I have several pictures of my dad with Japanese POW's on Okinawa near the end of the war.

Some "recent" photos were taken in the post-war era.  The timeline runs from the late 40's right up to the digital age.  I have many photos of people and I don't know who most of them are.  I know that many of them would not be called handsome or pretty.  Some of them are downright ugly.  I hope they are not my relatives but they probably are.   Sadly I have no relatives left that could identify these strange looking people.  No one to say, " Oh, that is uncle Percy, the bootlegger.  He got shot up and killed while crossing the border from Canada in 1931."  It was rumored that I did have an uncle who did run alcohol across the border and got chased by the government men.  He broke his leg during the chase and I don't think they caught him.   I guess it would be alright to mention it now.  He died 35 years ago.

The funny thing about memories is that your mind plays tricks on you.  This phenomenon manifests its presence in the fact that I cannot remember using a toilet for any reason from 1951 to 1957.  I swear I may have gone days without even thinking about toilets.  I cannot recall one instant where our little league coach Herbie said to the boys before practice or a game, "Do any of you boys have to pee?  How about poop?  Anybody?"  
He was more the type that said, "I am a marine.  We do it in our pants.  Booyah!!…oops."

Nowadays I am obsessed with toilets.  When I go shopping I have to know where the toilets are and the last time they were cleaned.  Many places have a chart in the toilet telling you the last time it was cleaned.   Walmart usually has a bathroom in the front and in the back.  Sam's club, the same company, they are like Herbie.  Do it in your pants.   I know every toilet within a 10-mile radius of my home.  I know who keeps their paper towels and toilet paper up to date.  

In our home, we have two toilets. In Montreal, most places have only one toilet.  It is barbaric and medieval, very much like my high school bathrooms and locker rooms.

"Up periscope!"
While I am on the subject of toilets and privacy I will have to tell you about our high school.  The urinals in our high school bathroom were ancient.  They were floor models with no flush handles.
There was a constant flow of water coming from them and wetting the floor in front of the urinals.
If it wasn't for the fragrant urinal cake the men's room would have been quite gamey.

 There were 5 toilets in the men's room.  Only one had a door, the teacher's toilet.  The students were not supposed to use it.  They did use it.  They did abuse it.  They would remove all the toilet paper, pee on the toilet seat,  leave little gifts floating around the toilet.  The teachers had to use the same toilets that we did.   They didn't have Depends in those days.

I won't even try to describe the shower room at our high school.  On second thought….maybe I will.
It would be like putting 25 naked boys in a 1957 Volkswagon and turning on the water which was occasionally warm, occasionally cold, occasionally scalding.
There were 6 or 7 shower heads in the school shower.  You would walk into the shower straight and come out gay. Just kidding.  It was too small an area for anything.  This fact did not dampen or deter my friend, Richard.  He didn't have to play sports like the rest of us. He would stand on a rock nearby so he would not get his nice shoes wet. when it was time to take a shower, he was the first one in, the last one out. The coach would shrug and say, "whatever."

Our school...I could talk for a few minutes and tell you what a crappy looking  place it was or I could talk endlessly about what a wonderful place it was.  All my friends were there.
 It would not win any award for the most beautiful campus in North America.  More likely it would be the ugliest campus in North America.  It was built on a pile of gray dirt that came from the iron ore mines.
I could look out the study hall window and view the scenic mine shafts, hear the underground blasting, hear the railroad cars bringing the ore to the separating plant.
A good place to grow up.  I LOVED IT.

Life was not about toilets in the 50's.  Now it is.

I have to stop now.  Gotta pee!
At my age talking about toilets is the geriatric equivalent to a 20-year-old talking about sex.
How exciting.

Friday, April 15, 2016

American life

Religion and Politics

I don't like to talk about politics and religion.  This is not the case with many people we have met in the past year.
Recently, we were accosted on the street by one of our acquaintances with whom we were building a friendship.  On that day, we found out that he is a Trump zealot.  Any subject we were trying to start would end up all about Trump. No matter what we tried, that's where it ended. Trump!!! He did not want to be confused with facts, his mind was made up.

 He informed us that all the other candidates were morons and he would "enlighten us" about what a wonderful president Donald Trump would be.

I understand why Trump appeals to a certain segment of the population, those who lack critical thinking skills... to them, what Trump says sounds good.

Trump "I am going to save the world and make America great again."
America: "How?"
Trump: "I will get back to you on that."

Maybe the reason why so many people like Trump, is because nobody else out there has balls.
Congress hasn't done much in the 21st century.
The only way to detect if they are in session is with time lapse photography and the quiet rustling of cash envelopes from the hands of lobbyist to the pockets of your Congressman.  

The only noticeable activity can be seen when they are voting themselves a pay raise.

We (wife/self) try to be sociable people when we go on our daily walk.  Sometimes we meet people who look normal until we start talking to them.  Lately, we met this couple, who seemed nice.  We sat near them. 

Sadly, it did not take long before they started talking about God.  Endlessly. We have nothing against God.  We like him.  We have heard a lot about him.  Most of it good.  We thought we knew some stuff about God.  However, those people knew him on a personal level and they were privy to information we knew nothing about.

Every sentence they spoke ended with "if it be god's will."  
They told us that an event happened in 1962 that foretold of the Apocalypse.  They were eager to warn us that the world was to end soon. (If it be God's will).

I asked them what their religion affiliation was.  
"We are not connected to any church.  We are missionaries.  We started our own religion.  We just go by what we read in the bible."
I stood up, turned to them and said,  "I have to go home and take a crap, if it be God's will, because you are scaring the shit out of me,"

Yup, American life.
Here's a funny/interesting text I found somewhere on the Internet, posted by John R. Stanton. I thought you might enjoy it...

Donald Trump claims credit for rare virgin birth in Bethlehem
The media-about 70% of them are liars, they lie, they're bad people-will try to tell you it  happened in a disgusting barn.  "Not true, Not true.  "Here's how it really happened.  One of my guys sees this beautiful young girl.  Very charming.  Very, Very charming.  And he goes, "What are you doing in this filthy barn?"

"and she tells him–get this–no room at the inn.  No room at the inn for the beautiful girl, pregnant, too!  Very pregnant.  And my guy, he can't believe it.  No room at the inn?  It's disgraceful.  She out here in the dark with the donkeys, she's very pregnant.  I mean, disgraceful.

"Now, she's not married.  Very funny situation.  There's an older guy with her, but–you know me, You know Trump.  My guy, he's a good kid,  he says to himself, well, sometimes you have to look the other way.  I mean, this is a vey sad scene.  Beautiful young girl, very charming, pregnant, and she 's in this disgusting barn.

"So my guy, he's a good kid, smart kid, went to a very fine school.  He tells her, Listen, Mary–this is her name–get out of this filthy barn and come with us."

Twenty minutes later this young woman is in a luxurious–LUX-UR-IO-US– room at one of my properties, giving birth to Christ.

I am done writing for today. (If it be God's will)

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I'm ready to change my diet.  This idea came about after we applied for a home equity loan at our local bank. 

It didn't take us long to realize we were up  against a slow moving  uncaring apparatus that think of us as 15-9-343H-blah blah dash blah blah blah.
Dealing with a bank sometimes starts to get very overwhelming and frustrating.

I asked a friend how to deal with this situation.

His advice was:  "Think of this seemingly overwhelming situation as the proverbial 'how do you eat an elephant?' One bite at a time."
I took his advice.  I bought an elephant.

How long can a person eat elephant steaks, elephant stew, elephant dumplings, elephant sausage, belephant testicles, sautéed elephant liver, pickled elephant tongue, elephant creole, elephant tacos, elephant foo hung, elephant teriyaki, Chicago style elephant pizza, elephant tripe, Irish style elephant w/baked potato, barbecued elephant, baked elephant, boiled elephant, and elephant chili?

I'm done.
Not with the elephant, just with eating it.
The stinking carcass lies rotting on my front lawn.
The neighbors are complaining.  They are getting a little cranky.
The HOA president asks me when I will be moving the wooly mammoth off our lawn.
I told him that it would be soon. Maybe. This approach seemed to work for the bank.
He tried to nail me down to a specific date.
" want a closing date? That will be soon after our bank gives us the money for elephant carcass cleanup and for our new condo."
Oddly the neighbors started calling our bank and tried to help us expedite the removal of the dead beast.
We have nice neighbors.
 But sometimes you have to put up a stink to get some attention.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

creative solutions for geezers

Modern Times

Everybody wants to be creative. Even coots, geezers, curmudgeons and cranky senior citizens. I must fit into one of those categories. perhaps all of them.

We must not look at this as an affliction where you are to be shunned. It should be looked at as an opportunity to exact revenge on these obtuse young whippersnappers with their iPhones, snotty clerks and other types of customer service representatives and others who are clueless about such things as manners.

Oh.....manners? That was a arcane ritual that ceased towards the end of the twentieth century. Perhaps someone could text you on it.
There are books on the subject. No, No!! Don't look in the fiction section. It really existed and some remote corners of the globe it still does. Anthropologist and Sociologist are studying it. Some wizened old scholars actually remember it. Some people, mostly women, sit at their knee of these learned but strange academics and giggle at the folly of the past while texting somebody with their smart phone.

Did you know that people in the past were creative?  They actually thought up a lot of these things you are using today.  It would sure would have been nifty if Alexander Graham Bell could have googled "Telephone". This makes me realize that if Isaac Newton had sat under a coconut tree instead of an apple tree he would have died without discovering gravity and we would all be floating around. (Hey…I never said I was very smart!)

I actually had a young lady actually smile at me while she was texting. She was my waitress (oops…waitstaff) at the local seafood restaurant.

I see a future world with humanoid type creatures walking around with their heads down bumping into other humanoid doing the same. I predict male humanoids will take pictures of sperm, cut and paste to a female's cellphone and she will attempt to fertilize a picture of her egg.  Your next child could be printed out on a 3D printer.
Your child's name could be Hewlett, Canon, Epson or Brother, which could be a tad awkward if you are a girl.

This is your future.

To all Americans

To all Americans

Seriously…Donald Trump?  This is a joke.  right?  
Ha ha…funny.  a real side splitter. You Americans. funny.

Is the rest of the world in on the joke?  Putin just soiled himself.

A joke……right?


Monday, July 20, 2015

Donald Trump, landscape expert or John McCain, malingering non-hero.

How Dare You?

It has come to my attention that a few Americans are making sport of Donald Trump's military career.  I will have you know that Donald had the coveted and very important landscaper's exemption.  His draft board deemed it necessary for him to serve as a civilian in Cincinnati, Ohio while John McCain was sitting around doing nothing in the tropics.

According to Wikipedia: The Swifton Village project:The Trumps became involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1,200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972, the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million. Donald's involvement with the project was to perform some landscaping and menial labour.

However, Donald assured me that the landscaping was probably the best in North America with golf course quality grass with soil imported from the Amazon delta of Brazil. Orchids, magnolias, and roses were imported from California using seeds donated by Luther Burbank.

We will go to  Swifton Village  today and it will be sweet vindication for Donald.
Ummm, on second thought…….

Meanwhile, John McCain was in the Tropics cavorting with the natives and staying at one of the Hiltons at government's expense.

McCain's career while Thw Donald landscaping.
McCain's capture and subsequent imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.  McCain fractured both arms and a leg ejecting from the aircraft and nearly drowned when he parachuted into Trúc Bạch Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him. McCain was then transported to Hanoi's main Hỏa Lò Prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" (told you).
Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, beating and interrogating him to get information; he was given medical care only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral. His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of major newspapers.
McCain spent six weeks in the hospital while receiving marginal care.  By then having lost 50 pounds (23 kg), in a chest cast, and with his gray hair turned white as snow,  McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week. In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years. 
In the picture below he can be seen swimming with the locals.
Hey guys, take it easy.  Are you trying to drown me? Uh, ya, you just bombed my house.
In mid-1968, John S. McCain Jr. was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purpose  and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially.  McCain turned down the offer; he would only accept repatriation if every man taken in before him was released as well. Such early release was prohibited by the POW's interpretation of the military Code of Conduct: To prevent the enemy from using prisoners for propaganda, officers were to agree to be released in the order in which they were captured.
In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.  He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery. Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, stopped by guards.  Eventually, McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession". He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine." Many American POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract "confessions" and propaganda statements; virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors. McCain subsequently received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.
McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.  From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable, while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities. McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. "Christmas Bombing" campaign" of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.
Altogether, McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973.  His wartime injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.
So quit your whining, McCain (or as they said at your Hilton home. "The beatings will continue until morale improves.").

Donald, I just love your idea of building a fence across the mexican border.  
You said let the Mexican build it. That will work since much of the manual labor is done by Spanish people in my neighborhood.  They are probably from Mexico, working for minimum wage, without  health care or any other kind of benefits.
You can supervise this project since you have experience in landscaping.  There will be landscaping involved and I have noticed that my landscaper speaks Spanish.

So…in conclusion. What is more important? Beautifying Cincinnati or spending time in a tropical paradise swimming and cavorting with the natives?  Only Cincinnati knows for sure.
I do believe I have straighten out this matter.  
It is what it is.  
Does anyone know what that means?

Monday, June 15, 2015

A lifetime warranty

And other life myths

Billy was the only one that liked to drink sewer water.
Sometimes you realize late in life that the adage "if it seems too good to be true, it usually is."
I take another sip of my "Billy Beer",  I burp…or was that a little vomit?…and say to myself, "So true, so true."

Yes, I traded my classic 1952 bullet nose Studebaker for a lifetime supply of Billy Beer to the Reingold beer distributor in my area. The car was in a parade last week.  It was for sale for $24,000.
The distributor did not lie even though I have 15 bottles left out of a case of 24, I consider it a lifetime supply.
I have tried to get my friends to drink some.  I have lost friends.   I put a few bottles on skid row for the derelicts to sip upon.  I found it untouched on my porch the next day.  I can't even bring it back to the beer dealer.  Reingold went out of business many years ago (1976), the same year I purchased the Betamax video taping system for $1800.  This can't miss.  It's a Sony product.  Sony!!!!  I also received a lifetime supply movie card which gave me access to movies for $2 instead of $2.99. The card cost me $99 (good for a lifetime).  I used it once.  The store went out of business in 93 days.   My 99 cents savings cost me $99.

When things like this happen you develop a thick skin.  Sadly, my skin became so thick I had to see a dermatologist.
The doctor took one look at my skin and said, "Yikes…this is bad."
"I know." I sighed.
"8 track car stereo?" He queried.
"No, Betamax with lifetime movie club guarantee." I whispered shamefully.
"Ouch! Why did you wait so long?"
"There's more." A tear trickled down my cheek.
"More?  You're joking! This is as bad as it gets…already.  Don't tell me there is more."
I bowed my head and muttered, "I traded my 1952 Studebaker classic for a case of Billy Beer."
The doctor fell to his knees and started laughing or crying hysterically and he kept muttering, "OH MY GOD" numerous times.
Finally I asked if he was laughing or crying.  He said, "I Don't know.  I owned that car last year and I sold it for $12,000.  It was a wonderful car but the ashtray was full".
"Then you're probably crying because he is selling it  for $24,000."
"$24,000?…$24,000 american dollars? "  I watched as his skin became blotchy, big red welts began to appear.  He started scratching his arms, then his legs.  I could see he was fighting the urge to scratch his crotch.  His face began to twitch and he had a fit of cough.

Perhaps I should call a nurse.  What a turn of events.
"Nurse, please bring me 2 Benadryl, some Cortisone lotion, and Viagra; the doctor is having a hives stress reaction." I hollered into the intercom on his desk.
"Huh?…I get the cortisone, and Benadyrl.  What's with the Viagra?"
"Oh! That's for me. This is the best I felt since the brewery closed down in 1976."


My thick skin started to thin out a bit. I realized that thick skin in my case was used figuratively and not literally.  Sadly for my Dermatologist this was not the case.  The blotches never left him and he has to wear gloves all the time.  This has affected his business greatly but on the up side he has stopped smoking.

Ah, who knows.  Maybe Betamax will make a comeback.  Until then I believe I will sit here and sip on my Billy Beer.  Ewwwww!!!!