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Two People are Questioned…

June 27, 2017 3 comments

First to face the inquisitors is a mature person, basically intelligent and well educated in top quality schools. The inquisitors lay out a conundrum for the wise, mature, intelligent person to consider for one calm, thoughtful hour.

The conundrum is this: The leader of a nation lies steadily and obviously, while the truth is evident to all. The leader fails to deliver, or attempt to deliver the promised needs of the general population. He tramples the nation’s laws, rules, and constitution and steers wealth to oligarchs while wreaking hardship and health hazards on the average citizens.

The question to the intelligent person is this; can you find reason and justification to believe in and support such a national leader? Consider carefully for one hour.

The hour passes quietly as the educated person analyses the conundrum. At the hour’s end, the person admits that there is no way to not hate and reject that leader.

The second person to be faced with the conundrum is a handyman that lives in government subsidized housing. He said he didn’t “need no stinkin’ hour. It’s obviously Trump, and Trump is the best, straightest president ever, and the media is all lies and fake news.”

And so falls the hard-earned dominance of the USA. They’ve got it coming to them.

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Dr. Huxtable, Please Stop!

June 17, 2017 Leave a comment

I assume the Bill Cosby hung jury is because some jurists just didn’t want to tarnish the ‘America’s Dad’ image. I sympathize with that. I loved Cosby’s stand up acts, when he was just out of college. I guess I saw him on late night talk shows in those days.

Later, he was co-staring with Robert Culp in a mock cop show. I think it was called ‘I Spy’. I liked the show and the actors, and it hurts to think that Bill Cosby was drugging and raping women during those years. Why would he? Perhaps his personal kink is that the woman has to be inert. It’s abnormal, but it’s been heard of.

I was expecting, and hoping, that the prosecution would not retry Cosby. He’s guilty, and he’s old and somewhat blind, so what would the law do to him? If they would elect not to retry, the kids that loved the Fat Albert cartoons and other comedy things that Bill Cosby created, could continue to be cool with Dr. Huxtable.

The Fast Lane Sucks

May 29, 2017 Leave a comment

I know a lot about the fast lane. I also know a lot about the slow lane. Striving to live life in the fast lane is like drawing a map to oblivion. Promotions at the job, drinks with the boss, arriving early and leaving late, all are in the race for wealth and position. I can imagine many of my readers questioning; ‘What’s the matter with that?’

The problem with joining the hoard of people like you is; you’re going to have to be a bit smarter, a bit cruel, and a bit vicious against other people like you. To be number one, you’d betray a friend, lie to a colleague, a steal a deal from a partner. If you are the kind of person that would never do that, you should stay out of the fast lane and live life properly, instead. The denizens of the fast lane will strip you naked and pee on your bones.

Imagine yourself breezing along the road in your polished Lexus. You’re sitting on fine leather, breathing clean, cool air, listening to a superb sound system. Something like you might do in the music room of your mansion. You are learning nothing about the real world. If you’re rolling along a dirt road, your interior is still ideal. You get nothing from the world outside.

Walking on that same road, you will see flowering dogwood, frogs, toads, snakes, spiders and hawks. Constant change, daily innovations are happening somewhere along that road. All sensations are lost when living the life of luxury in the fast lane.

I used to race around in powerboats. It was exciting fun. Then I got into sailing. Slow as the wind, and quiet. No roaring engine, so the fresh air is filled with the calls of gulls. The gentle splash on the shuddering hull, feeling the keel cut through the rolling waves.

Canoeing is the slowest and most fulfilling of all water travel. Sliding through the reeds, you’re up close to the Giant Blue Heron when she spears a trout with her sharp beak. The Redwing Blackbirds chatter amid the bulrushes, and we can see them. We are not intruders. The canoe is a part of the natural scene. It functions together with the surrounding environment.

When acquisition of wealth is the primary goal, worthy priorities can be cast aside. The fast lane looks better from the outside than it does from the inside. However, if nothing but the fast lane to wealth and power will fulfill you, I wish you good luck. I caution you to be aware that people who are comfortable in the slow lane are not fools. They are enlightened.

10. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter 10

The awkward kiss ended abruptly. Both Milton Korn and Honey Freed realized what they were doing, at the same moment.

“Sorry,” said Honey. “I guess the smoke…”

“I know. It’s my fault,” said Milt. “Can we just forget it happened?”

“We can be more careful in the future,” said Honey.

“Of course,” said Milt. “Let’s take a break to clear our lungs, and our heads.”

“Good idea,” said Honey. She rose to go to the kitchen. “I’ll make fresh coffee, okay?”

“Perfect,” said Milt. “I’m gonna get some air on the terrace, okay?”

“I’ll bring the coffee out,” she said. Honey had solid ideas about her dream farm, because she’d been thinking about it, analysing it, and planning it for years. Milt, on the other hand, had run into the plan abruptly, and needed to catch up.

Milton Korn sat at the small table on Honey Freed’s terrace and gazed blindly at the array of buildings across the city. His mind was not there. His mind was sorting through the characteristics of his life, and how dramatically they had changed. He wondered why he had been so firmly redirected by his happenstance meeting with Honey Freed.

His mind did not dwell on the farm. Rather, he reviewed his brief acquaintanceship with Honey. Such unlikely commitments were not typical of Milt’s behaviour. Milt took his time with things, as he took his time with his paintings. The thought flashed in his mind for a millisecond that she might pose for him. He noticed her walk as she brought a tray with coffee and bagels. She swayed gracefully on long legs that brought her to the table, and Milt imagined that she’d be quite beautiful when nude.

Honey worried that the unexpected kiss might have changed the characteristics of the  partnership. They had never discussed the stimulation that might come from sharing close quarters in a remote location. They each thought about sex. Milt felt it would intrude into his life too much. Honey thought sex with Milt might be nice. Might be.

My Friends Don’t Like Me

May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

We’re all old now, between 75 and 80. I just found out that when we were kids, my friends didn’t like me. I’m assuming this, because I haven’t seen any of them in about 55 years, and contacts through Facebook have my old friends rejecting me. One guy said, “Yeah, I’ve thought of you over the years, too,” and blocked me from contact.

I met Danny on the street one day, in front of the office of another old friend that was his lawyer. Danny acted as if he had ants in his pants, and feared he’d catch Ebola from me if he didn’t get away quickly. The lawyer is the only one that seemed to respect my role in our old group. I’d like to meet with him and check on what was my persona when we were pals. I can’t find him. It seems he was disbarred and cocaine addicted.

All of us dated girls from the same pool off girlfriends, and belonged to the same high-school fraternity. I don’t remember being slighted at all, but I was aware that I was different from the other guys, in several ways. For one thing, I liked to be by myself a lot, and would show up suddenly out of the darkness. It caused some mystery about me, that I liked, although that’s not why I did it.

My friends were interested in sports. They followed professional teams, and played baseball, football, hockey, and basketball when facilities were available. I did not participate in either following the professional teams, or playing personally. I might be drawing, painting, sculpting, or working on my car. My cars were part of my mystique, I know. I think I also read more than they did, although I’m the only one that did not go to college.

I can remember an occasion when friends were at a sweet sixteen party for one of the girls. We were all between 16 and 18 at the time. I arrived late, as usual. The party was in a covered, open  air dance place on a sandy beach. The waves rolled onto the shore barely 30 meters away from the dance floor. It was gorgeous at night, like a pool of radiant young people enjoying life.

I pulled up out of the darkness, into the flood of light on the sand. The car was a glistening, black Jaguar XK140 roadster. Of course there was a distraction among the party people, and I can imagine that a lot of the boys, my friends, were put off by it. Of course, now I know they were right, but at 18, I was as dense as is any teenager.

I was oblivious to the difference at the time, but my family must have been wealthier. I really saw our bunch as all equal, but apparently my father’s successes made me a figure of irritation. I wish I’d known then, and I wish I didn’t know now.

Don’t Apologize for Wealth

May 24, 2017 Leave a comment

No matter if you inherit it, earn it, or win wealth, you should not have anything for which you should apologize. In some cases, oligarchs acquire wealth at the expense of others. Those people should be required to apologize, and to reward and repay where possible. All too often, amends cannot be made. Greed on the part of one person often requires that they acquire other peoples’ fair share.

It is not always financial security that is stolen from deserving people. Factories pollute in low income neighbourhoods. Innocent, working class people and their children carry illness and damage from living in the cloud of poison. The poison could be stopped, or at least diminished, but that would cut into profits. The profits are paid out to wealthy investors in dividends. The investors never see the factories, never breath the fouled air; never give a thought to the burdens they place upon others.

Some people just earn wealth. A real estate broker could spend 30 years, putting together families and homes. She might also invest in commercial properties about which she learns through her profession. At sixty years of age, she is wealthy, and has nothing for which she should apologize.

A young man growing up in a poor family that becomes wealthy need not apologize. The wealth grows while the boy grows. It is the normal flow of his life, and he doesn’t see it as any different from the lives of his high school friends. He was not aware that his friends were often pressed for money. They had to save up to take a girl out on a date. They had to hope they could borrow their father’s car, and that there was gas in the tank.

In our teens, we are largely dependent upon our parents to supplement our lives. If one person’s parent is lucky, or gifted with the ability to earn a greater amount of money, then the offspring might also be lucky. That does not mean he feels superior. He lives by the standards established by his parents. Those whose parents are not as ambitious or capable might live an average life.

Don’t hate him because he’s wealthy. He took nothing from you or from anyone else. He was given wealth, and that merely meant he lived in a larger house and drove a nicer car. But when a group of friends are playing ball, or drinking coffee in a Tim Horton’s, it’s just a group of friends. The individual, personal burdens of each friend is private, and the rich kid has his share, too. There is a price to pay for enjoying wealth.

Later in life, the boy would be in the same position as any of his friends: he had to get a job, earn a living, make car and mortgage payments, keep ahead of the utilities bills, and try to keep some aside for pleasure and hobbies. It all evens out in the end.

Too Damn Lucky

May 23, 2017 1 comment

The birth of a new person creates a considerable disturbance in the lives of the parent(s) and other people. Some newborns have the misfortune to be born into a dysfunctional family, or an impoverished family, or to a drug-addicted hooker. Those people come into society already in a deep hole, out of which they must climb. They must, to rise within their environment until they can escape it. It’s a forbidding quest.

Some people, myself for instance, are born into poor families that intend to not stay poor. We lived above a corner ‘smoke shop’, my parents, my grandparents, my uncle and me. I was surrounded with love and protection, and had no idea I was poor. I was comfortable and well fed.

My father was smart and ambitious, and by the time I was four, we lived in a lovely little house, outside of downtown. It had a front lawn, a back yard, a concrete driveway and a cute garage. My mother had roses growing up the sides of the garage, and a blossoming cherry tree in the middle of the yard.

My father had been partners with his brother in a small, downtown lunch counter. After a year or so, The Second World War came along. My father took a job in a scrap yard. After he learned the ropes, he bought a classy suit and a pickup truck. Mornings, he would put on the suit, look great, and go out to manufacturers to buy their scrap metal. At midday, he returned home, ate lunch, put on work coveralls, and returned with the pickup truck to fetch the metals he’d bought. He then sold the load at a profit, to an established scrap yard. Soon he had a scrap yard of his own, with cranes and trucks and railway sidings. Stuff was happening.

Then came a large home, cars for my father (Buick), my mother (Pontiac), and me (Corvette). Also, a lakefront cottage, and several boats. We had rowboats, speedboats, sailboats, and my father’s large cruiser. I don’t know how dad did it, but I was certainly a beneficiary.

After a while, he sold his scrap business and started a lumber business. He was a restless man, always seeking new, unlikely challenges. After the lumber business, he became founding president of a new department store chain. I didn’t benefit so much from that plateau, because I was grown up, out of the house, and getting my own life going.

All my life, I’ve been too damned lucky.