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The People of Your Life Grow Sparse

May 25, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve decided to write at this moment, while my feelings are in great tumult. Although my life has kept me isolated from my boyhood pals and girls for several decades, I consider them a part of me, as part of the good and bad adventures we sometimes shared, and the stories we shared about them.

The advent of the Internet enabled us to search the world for old acquaintances. I’m in my eighties. I just learned that Bernie died. He was my closest friend from the age of fifteen to thirty. We were even brothers in law in our twenties for many years because we married twin girls. The news of Bernie’s death has shaken me a bit. I’m two months younger than Bernie, and I’m still here.

I read in his obituary details of Bernie’s final years. He suffered. He was supported by friends but cared for by strangers in several homes where they placed him. It breaks my heart to think of him in squalor. He was a fabulous character. He always dressed impeccably in fine garments. He always wore alligator shoes. He was exciting.

I felt the first impact of loss of past friends some years ago. I was told of the death of my long-time steady girlfriend from high school. At the same time I learned that her closest girlfriend, who I had dated once, was also dead. My “steady” had been a music teacher and the other woman had been a doctor. They’ve been dead for many years.

Added to my emotional burden about Bernie was news of another one of the guys. Marty was seen walking with a caregiver because he has dementia. The mutual friend who told me about it said Marty didn’t recognize her.

I have just one brother. There used to be three of us brothers, but our middle brother passed away several years ago.

My one remaining friend is seventy-three, and an active athlete at competitive levels. He participates in vintage formula auto racing, snowboarding, and tennis. I was never an athlete, but I’m able to do heavy work for short durations. I write blogs or stories every day, and usually do some drawings as well.

Why are Howie, Steve, and me  still here, while our flesh and blood and our friends are gone, physically or mentally?

Luck and genes I would guess.

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Trump’s Gang: Like kids in a Candy Store

April 2, 2018 3 comments

It’s disgusting. Every creep that Trump “hires” is a two-bit swindler. It’s astounding how selfish and insensitive they are to the life of the average citizen and family. They get on the government’s payroll and it’s “Yahoo, let’s enjoy our people-supported expense accounts. We’re wonderful, and we deserve it, as do our wives, children and mistresses.

“Order me a private plane,” one says. “Get me fabulous furniture,” says another. And not one of them is concerned with their duty to the tax-paying citizens and to their own professional obligations. Maybe Tillerson was serious about his job, but still, he’s an oligarch, and I assure you that any person that becomes a billionaire oligarch has a cruel, rotten history behind them.

One cannot earn billions without being selfish, sly, lucky and cruel. They have to be because they have obligations that require large amounts of money. Payoffs for building permits do not come cheaply. Inspectors and union executives have to be massaged. Depending on their level of connections; some might get fat envelopes full of large sized currency. Others might get a case of Crown Royal whiskey, or the latest in television sets.

A pedestrian bridge in front of a university in Florida collapsed. Beneath it were passing cars that were crushed and people killed. It is probably because criminal elements did not pour concrete of a quality specified by the engineers. With inferior materials that are charged like better materials, the criminals grab the extra money for themselves. They don’t take into consideration the possibility of honest citizens being injured or killed.

It’s an atmosphere that has been released by the Trump attitudes. Remember, he called out for a protester to be beaten, and he would cover fines personally. Trump is as much a criminal element as are Mafia members.

Christ Died For…?

March 3, 2018 2 comments

The name “Christian” is obviously derived from the name “Christ”. Perhaps this means that so-called God’s so-called Son died to absorb the sins of Christians only, rather than all human society. Perhaps this is another of so-called God’s mysteries in which we are to have “faith”, whatever that is.

If one were to hang on a rope from a high cliff, they would need faith that the rope will not fray and separate. If the faith was misplaced, the faithful would plunge into the valley below, bouncing and smashing into boulders and outcroppings all the way down. The faithful would be dead and gone “to a better place” before they hit bottom.

Perhaps the mountaineer’s faith should have been put into God and Christ instead of a mere, earthly rope. Not bloody likely. Faith in God and Christ would be misplaced because there is no God, and Christ was just a guy with a good idea to pitch to the ignorant. Before he knew it, he had a gang that called themselves Christians, even though Christ was Jewish.

What about Jews, by the way? Were Jews “saved” because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? What about Hindus and Muslims and all the other denominations, each with their own God. How many Gods are there? As many as religion hustlers can dream up. The entire God myth is ridiculous, that’s why it can’t be properly described. Why do many otherwise intelligent, logical people believe in God? It’s beyond reason.

There is no “better place” called Heaven to which a believer goes. There is no Hell and damnation to which non-believers go, because there is no demon Devil or flaming fury just as there is no God and Heaven. When it is said that God is within each of us, does that mean Jews, Muslims, Hindus and what have you as well?

In the unique case of “God is within each of us”, it might be said that it’s true in a way. Within each of us there is morality, judgement, joy, anger, and feelings. This is God in the way that God is nature and nature is God. Some people are kind and generous; some people are greedy and jealous. Some hate animals and forests, some love them. Some love cities and crowding, others abhor it all.

This is human nature, mistakenly called God by some people. We should all be kind and generous not because of fearing God, but just because it’s obviously right. We should not be violent and selfish because it’s obviously wrong. If you want to believe in a non-existent God, believe as your God would want you to believe. If your God wants you to strap a bunch of explosives to your body and blow yourself up among innocent people, and you do it, you’re just f*cking crazy.

To Avoid Survivors’ Agony

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Here in Canada, we look down over the border to the United States and ask ourselves, “What do they need with all those guns?” It’s a terrible misuse of their second amendment. It doesn’t say everybody has a gun. Even though it was written at a time when there was danger from warring tribes and wild animals, the founders did not say, “The more guns the better.” They said a specified number of people, in an organized group to protect the citizens, should be armed.

Too many ladies, shopping for groceries like the hundreds around her, have loaded handguns in their purses. Too many cars have handguns in their glove boxes. We see nice people casually taking their firearms before leaving their homes, and they treat it as casually as Kleenex or lipstick.

A gun is neither a tissue nor a cosmetic. It is a precision piece of equipment that has a sole purpose; to fire a hot projectile with a degree of accuracy. It might be aimed at a target by a qualified gun owner, or it might be aimed at an irritating spouse, or a threatening thief, or a young couple out for a walk beneath the moon. The more guns in an area, the more likely it is that potential for tragedy is in that area.

In Canada, it’s almost heartbreaking to attempt to acquire a gun. I once did it to see how it goes. I had to present myself to a sheriff’s office, and to a police station to be interviewed each time. Two plain clothes police officials paid a surprise visit to my home at a random time of their choosing. We didn’t know they were coming. They were there to see if the normal family household was a safe, sane environment, and evaluate the quality of our relationship. That was just for a long gun like a .22 or something like that. A similar rigmarole is required to purchase ammunition. I eventually acquired a lovely Winchester 30-30 lever action, but have never fired it. It’s just a lovely object.

Do the numbers. The population in Canada is roughly 10% of the population in the USA. We might logically expect shootings to be roughly 10% of those in the USA. Not so. Canada’s shootings are approximately 1% of those in the USA. That means that the USA suffers 10 times more shootings than it should tolerate.

We hope the USA teenagers band together, diminish the NRA, and get sensible laws passed. Kids can do more than you might think. It was the teens in Hungary that finally drove the occupying forces of Russia out of their country in 1956. The kids are stronger than the idiotic so called president and his wimp-suck band of bandits.

The Last Brother

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

I was the first born. When I was about five years old, my first brother was born. When I was about ten years old, my second brother was born. We grew up in an upper-middle class family. Our father was ambitious and capable. Both parents had cars; our city home and country home were both first class. Mom was a devoted mother, wife, and homemaker. The waterfront cottage included motorboats for each member of the family, the size according to the maturity of the boy. There was nothing about which we could complain.

As the oldest brother, it fell to me to teach them things like riding a bicycle, starting an outboard motor, water skiing and many other things. Eventually, the inevitable separations came about. We married; we moved away, we had children and mortgages. We were living varied lives in different parts of the country.

Our middle brother was living in a central city in our country. After many years, his marriage ended and he moved back east. Some years later, he contracted leukemia and it took his life. Then there were two of us; the youngest and the oldest, ten years apart.

We love each other, my youngest brother and I. We live in the same country, but several thousand miles apart. He has his doting family around him. His original wife, his son and daughter and grandson and granddaughter see him almost daily. His retirement is satisfying and fulfilled.

I am more separate from my family, and connected with different family. I’m sure my brother wonders, as I do, which of us will be the last brother. We recently agreed that when one of us passes on, the other will not cross the country to witness the burial. We are both old enough to pass at any time, but our strong gene pool has us continuing to live full lives in our seventies and eighties.

I don’t think I’d like to be the last brother. I’m older and not in the midst of my children. My brother has his caring family around him all the time, so his support system would be large if I passed first. If he passed first, I’d pretty much have to handle it myself. I can do that, but I’d rather it not be required.

In The Dark When It’s Quiet

November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

If not for the pieces of moonlight that filtered through the overhead foliage, Percy would not be able to see the walking path through the suburban forest. He had just hopped off a train a few hours ago and set about finding a place to sleep. He saw the forested park when he emerged from an older residential neighbourhood.

Percy turned off the path and pushed through some foliage until he came to a smooth place among the tree roots. The ground was covered with leaves from previous seasons and made a soft, dry mattress. He shrugged off his backpack and laid out his sleeping bag. The night was warm and clear, so he didn’t need any more shelter.

He lay back on his sleeping bag and just looked at the sky. Most stars were obliterated by the glow of the moon, but many were visible close to the horizon.  Percy reached into his backpack and fished out a sandwich and a bottle of water. While he sat on the ground snacking, he heard footfalls coming on the path. He saw to people jogging by. He knew from their voices as they chatted that one was a man and the other a woman.

A short time later, another jogger passed. Percy assumed it was a man because of his size. Every minute or so, a jogger passed. He lay down in his sleeping bag and set himself to sleep. Sleep eluded him as he found himself lying awake listening for joggers. He wondered how much time had passed. It seemed to him that it must be past midnight. He heard another jogger approaching and he climbed out of the sleeping bag and stood up to see over the bush behind which he’d been lying.

The jogger was a slender young woman. As Percy stepped over the bush he startled the woman. She reacted instantly, jumped back and pulled out a nine millimeter Remington automatic and shot him in the face. He just wanted to ask the time.

The Dealer’s Place

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

The only interesting thing about the dealer’s place was the people who gathered there most evenings. The time I saw them, they had gathered to enjoy “Star Trek” together. I am uninterested in Star Trek, but I lingered to observe the group. I admit that in my case, I was there to buy some grass from the dealer. The dealer was a very nice, shy guy, about 6 feet tall, 30ish, and considerably overweight. His name was Gregory.

Greg also had a small travel agency, where he struggled to make a living. He didn’t like dealing grass, but the travel agency was barely getting by. I later learned that he’d been orphaned while in his teens, and had been making his way in life as well as he could. His disadvantage was that he was not cool… not smooth. Greg was awkward, and that was probably why his apartment was ground zero for a group of socially awkward people.

The most visible person was David. He was noticeable because he talked a lot, always  with unnecessary urgency. One could almost see him vibrating, so tense was he. I later learned that his mother was severely depressed, and drove him crazy. I’m thinking, he’s about 30, why is he with Mom? He expressed shame that he worked at selling ‘diamond futures’, knowing full well that it’s a worthless product and he’s bilking people. His weirdness kept him from getting a regular job, so telephone hustling is the best he could do.

There were two females, as different from each other as possible. They were not together in any way. Sitting on a black bean-bag chair was a very pretty girl in her 20s. She was dressed in Goth style, all black, some veils, thigh-high boots of black leather and a black shawl. She smoked a joint, did not pass it around, and shrunk back into an obscure corner at the back of the room.

Every person in the room was facing the television set. I sat on a straight chair to the side. On the sofa, Greg joined the two that were already there. Next to Greg was a young woman midget. She appeared to be tiny, seated by large Greg. On her other side was Nick, a rather good looking man in his twenties. He planned to be a rock star singer with a band. He was in the process of auditioning bands. Good luck with that.

Awkward people gathered together, perhaps for safety in numbers. The midget asked me to fetch her a coke. Why me, I thought? I rose and stepped toward the kitchen and turned at the apartment entrance hall and left the apartment.