The Decline and Fall of the USA

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

( Written in Nov. 2014)

I’m sorry to be watching the decline and fall of The United States of America. I live in America too… the Canadian part. When we were teenagers, back in the 1950s, everything we wanted was over the border in ‘The States’. Levis jeans were only available in the states, so here we are, an hour of easy driving and we’re in the states.  McDonald’s was only in the states, and Hershey’s chocolate, and marshmallow fluff and all kinds of big American cars. Even though life was full and good and peaceful in our big Canadian city, the USA called.

The USA had unbeatable GIs, aircraft carriers, sabre jets, Hollywood, Broadway, Miami, Chicago and Detroit. In those days, Montreal was bigger than Toronto and the Canadian dollar was worth more than the American dollar.  Crossing between the two countries was almost barely an interruption. There was no toll to cross, but a toll-type thing was there to stop you and ask a few unimportant questions to which you could answer any way you wanted. ‘Where are you going, how long are you staying, have a nice trip’. That was about it.

Now I realize that it’s Canada that is the best country, the best people, the best way of life. It is frightening how common guns are in the USA. A boy takes his Grandma’s gun to kill some other kid. What the hell is Grandma doing with a gun? They have them in their glove box, under the seat, in their pocket… as if they didn’t care that they are deadly dangerous, actually designed and built to kill and maim.

I could go on about why the USA has turned into crap, but it should be obvious. They elect and admire the shittiest people.  The Kennedy family was exalted in the states, as if old Joe wasn’t a lying, thieving asshole in bed with the mob.  He even was too low for the mob because he crossed them through his sons, and the mob showed who’s really boss. They just eliminated Jack and Bobby and peripheral people like Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby. That’s the American mob way, and it’s right up to the white house if they want to play it that way.

Anyway, thanks to people like George W. Bush and Dickhead Cheney, the plug has been pulled on the American dream. The American nightmare is coming on, and I only hope when the southern part of North America falls, it doesn’t take the northern part with it. We haven’t ruined our part, and we won’t.  And leave our water alone when you fall! We don’t need your money like the oil countries needed it when you moved in there.  We’re doing fine, thank you, so stay on your side of the border and keep your guns over there too.

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Alternative Words

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

One of the many things I love about the English language is the options it allows. One can say the same thing with stiff words or warm words. The sound of the word and the subtle differences can make the sentence work better for you to evoke the feelings you seek to deliver.

The difference between house and home is quite obvious. A house can be a splendid mansion or a rotting derelict and everything in between. Suburban developments are brimming with houses. However, when a family moves into a house, it becomes a home. Their carpets, their curtains, and their life engulf the building. It was built as a house. The residents make a house into a home.

There is an interesting difference between ‘got’ and ‘have’. Most often, in our daily communications, we say things like: “I’ve got a cold.” Why don’t we say: “I have a cold?” The shortened “I’ve,” is a mush of “I have.” When writing, I like to be aware of the subtly different feeling between “we’ve got” and “we have”. The sounds of the phrases carry feelings different from each other.

It seems to me that people use the word “anxious” much too often. Many times, they should be using the word “eager”. I don’t think it is appropriate to imagine a lover awaiting for the partner in a restaurant would be “anxious”. Much more likely is the thought of lovers being “eager” to be together.

Most of my comments apply especially to the spoken word, in a script to be performed.

You Can’t Come Out Of Nowhere

December 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Technically, that’s not true. In my own small way, I came into television out of nowhere. But I’m a very lucky person. I got an original idea for a children’s television series and wrote up a presentation. I went to the first appointment I could get (I forget who it was) and was rejected. The guy liked the concept, except for this and that and so on. I went home and made changes to eliminate the guy’s “exceptions”.

After two rejections followed by two improvements to the concept, I was beginning to think I might not make it. That’s a terrible thing to do. Never let a negative vision enter your mind.

I went to the CFTO-TV studio in Toronto. I was there on my day job, producing a television commercial. During a break, I was walking through their vast reception area when I noticed a familiar face. He was standing at the reception desk speaking on the telephone. I couldn’t remember how I knew him, so I asked the receptionist who he is. She told me he was Ed Marcel, and I remembered him from the neighbourhood when we were kids. I remembered that I had heard he was the producer of their sports programs.

When he got off the phone I approached him and asked he remembered me. He did, immediately. I told him I had this series presentation, and would he look at it and pass it on to the right person if he thought it was worthy.

I heard nothing for several weeks. Finally, I saw Ed and the studio cafeteria and asked him if he’d read the presentation. He replied that he liked it, and had sent it on to Arthur Weinthal, director of CTV network programing. I felt great, and settled down to wait again. One day, I felt I had nothing to lose if I take a shot. I wrote and mailed a letter to Mr. Weinthal and asked that he not reject my presentation without speaking to me.

A few days later Mr. Weinthal’s secretary called me and said her boss would see me at 3:00pm on Wednesday next. His office was not up north at the studio. It was downtown, on St. Charles St. not far from my office. I did no preparation, I believed I was there to make CTV believe that I could deliver them a good series with good, original scripts.

When I was shown into Mr. Weinthal’s office, I took a seat across his desk from him. The first thing he asked me is who was I and where did I come from. I was pleased, because my family name was quite well known in the city, and I’m often asked if I’m related to this uncle or that cousin, or even my father.

I just started talking. I spoke about my life, my family, my children and my philosophy. Mr. Weinthal took two Granny Smith apples out of his desk drawer and handed one to me. We ate the apples and talked. At the end, I’d finished the apple and so had he. He said he will arrange for me to conduct some tests. My concept, in the end, required some technological tricks that had never been tried before.

I prepared myself for the call that would mean I should go to the studio. It was a deliciously exciting thought. The feeling of exaltation enveloped me on the drive home. I went into the house and looked at the mail. There was an envelope from CTV. I tore it open. It was a rejection of my concept. I knew from the date on the letter that it was mailed before I met with Mr. Weinthal. My shot in the dark to get a meeting had overturned the final rejection.

Do not give up on your dream. You have not lost until you quit. If you never quit, it means you’re still working at it. You might come out of nowhere.

An Unnecessary War

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

It is so often referred to as ‘the war between the sexes’ and there is really such a war going on all the time. Women and men are so vastly different from each other, a great deal of understanding and cooperation is required, for us to get through life. I don’t mean within a relationship like marriage. I mean just living, going to the bank, grocery shopping, taking a walk or a bicycle ride. And all of the strife is purely natural. That’s what’s so distressing about it. Society has put many things in their proper order so we can survive as a species of mammal. It seems to be more difficult to put sexual matters into an acceptable orderly form.

There is a vast number of differences between women and men, and they are not stationary. As society rolls on through time, men are changing and women are changing. Changes of any kind, positive or negative, are traumatic for the average human. One wonders if violence by men against women is because women are not the traditional female that many men think they should be.

It’s an insoluble problem. I wondered why female television journalists most often wear garments that show chest and cleavage. It seemed out of place on someone delivering hard news, so I asked my knowledgeable daughter about it. She said it’s for style, and in that moment I understood why women show various parts of themselves. They are not expecting to attract lovers… they are expecting to look nice – and they do.

Men should see the women as pretty, well turned out, self-assured. On the other hand, if a man wants to look good, he should dress to look good to the kind of company he hopes to keep. There are myriad styles for both genders to appeal to the great variety of groups that are available to all and any.

I must admit, however, I cannot see the reasons why some people find low, baggy shorts with underwear sticking out the top attractive. I am beginning to understand the look of not shaved yet not a full beard. It’s interesting how values change over time.

When I was a kid, if I’d showed up in the schoolyard with loose baggy shorts and underwear sticking out the top, I’d have got the shit kicked out of me. For sure the shorts would be taken off me and thrown into a tree. Now, it’s cool? And shaving was promoted by vilifying “the four o’clock shadow” on a man’s face.

I’m still sure that tattoos are a bad idea. Piercing is too, but at least the holes will close by themselves if one should wise up and remove the trinkets. Tattoos are infinitely more expensive and more discomfort to remove than to acquire.

I hope I live to see society in general swing back toward sensible.

December 3, 2017 Leave a comment

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Categories: experience, Uncategorized

The Misogyny Plague

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Although it’s repulsive, the perpetrators of the unwanted touching and seducing are following the natural instinct bred into them by nature. Almost all males in the world of mammals are programmed to impregnate as many females as possible to assure the continuation of the breed and one’s line.

The big shots who try to use their position of power to get laid have no procreation in mind, of course. It’s a need to be wanted or at least be accepted. It seems, in their muddled minds, that because they want, others must give. I suppose when a man can give orders to a bunch of employees or associates for a period of years, his sensitivity to the private preferences of others might diminish.

Perhaps it is the elevation of some women into the realm of higher office that is making weak men try desperately to subjugate any women they can oppress. Literally, oppression is to be a source of worry, stress, or trouble to a person. Of course it is suffered by the women. Of course they should not be subjected to these ‘attacks’.

To seduce a woman, one should not touch them. One should be thoughtful toward her. Send her flowers or candy. Take her out to dinner. Give her a non-aggressive gift on her birthday. Behave well, be courteous, and address her with appropriate respect.

If you possess characteristics that appeal to the woman, she might decide to enjoy some intimacy with you. If she does not find you to be to her liking, be a mensch, leave her alone and find a lover that will want you as you want her.

The Scourge Of Society

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

I recently received a birthday gift from my wife; a beautiful Cyberpower gaming PC. It arrived in a large, beautifully printed box. Inside the box were two enormous chunks of Styrofoam padding, and three more beautifully printed boxes containing keyboard, mouse, and other fittings.

What will become of those boxes? I might reuse them for convenience once in a while. In the end, they will be recycled somewhere by somebody. Packaging is going to ruin us. Do you like those shiny, clear plastic bubbles that enclose the item you want? Do you enjoy the incredibly difficult job of getting them open? Do you care that the damn things might still be around on this planet, long after you have turned to ash?

I share the packaging blame with marketing. Places like Ikea, where the store is laid out so we can easily enter, but getting out requires a long journey throughout the store. Displays are presented in exhibits so attractive, we can barely resist purchasing things. It’s all marketing.

The grocery stores and supermarkets display their goods so attractively, we inevitably buy things not on our list. The two forces fighting for profits, packaging and marketing are filling our lives with superfluous expense and litter.