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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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The Death of Seduction

April 17, 2018 Leave a comment

I have always enjoyed seducing women. To me, women are forever fabulous, and provide society with real intelligence. I mean ‘real’ in the sense that men are inevitably plagued by the need to mate while women are concerned with living life in a sensible, satisfying way. Men usually need the lure of a gorgeous car or a lovely sailboat.

I liken it to a bird of which I’ve read. Male birds of most any species earn the right to mate with the female they desire by exhibiting superior traits. It might be the enthralling mating song, or colourful puffed breast feathers or an irresistible dance routine. The male of one bird species lacks all of those desirable traits. He meets his mate because of his really cool place.

To attract a female, the ‘plain’ bird gathers colourful props, like bits of red wool, a yellow piece of a potato chip bag or a green button. This bird accumulates as much colourful stuff as it can, and uses it to decorate a small area amid ground foliage. When females see his cool digs, some find that it turns them on, and they fly in for a bit of lustful romance.

In the case of people, recent events require a re-thinking in the minds of men. Rule number one: no touching. Actually, I feel unsure about how a man should behave while earning acceptance by a woman. As with most people, I didn’t realize that harassment was so prevalent, nor do I understand what the offending men do to offend.

In the past, I have introduced myself by name. I’d try to get a conversation going about something of interest to her. I’d learn of her interests through the small talk, and then develop as much sincere interest in her for the rest of the dialogue. Now I would come to the line over which one must not step. How to get close without offending?

I used to mention her characteristic that I liked the most.

“I like your hair,” I’d say, if she had hair that I liked.

“That shade of lipstick is perfect with your complexion,” if it was true.

“You look like an athlete,” I’d say if I felt that way.

Today I’d have to hesitate. Would I offend with, “Can we meet for lunch?”

Sometimes Greenstein Didn’t Lie

April 16, 2018 Leave a comment

I want to make it clear, before I tell the story, that Greenstein is a very good man. He’s eccentric as Hell, and a gentle giant with strong moral values. The only problem with Greenstein is… he’s liar.

He doesn’t lie for any nefarious reasons. It seems like he reads something in a magazine, and when one visits with him, he regales all in his audience with awesome tales of financial adventure, engineering adventure, and medical adventure. It depends what’s in the news, and what he last read.

He sometimes told stories of unique mishaps, like when he was driving a stock car at a race, and his steering came loose. He claimed he went through the guard rail at the end of the straight and into a wall. The car was ruined, and Greenstein needed a metal plate in his head. It might not be true, because that’s Greenstein, but it certainly isn’t harmful to anyone.

Greenstein was such a sweet guy, we never challenged his stories. Even when he told us he was part of a team that is going to raise a treasure ship off the bottom of the ocean, we acted impressed, and he was happy.

On another occasion, he told us he had a contract to do some underwater welding on a landmark installation that stands on iron stilts offshore on a lake. Again, no reason to argue, ‘cause that’s Greenstein.

He said he had opened a bank in the Cayman Islands, and it’s doing great. It was always like that with Greenstein, but he was a good friend and totally trustworthy. He told us he’d built a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in his back yard. It’s possible, I guess.

I was visiting a speed shop for some parts. The guy saw my Jewish-sounding name, and asked if I knew Greenstein, as I was in a speed shop he used. I said I knew him, and the guy began to regale me with a story about when he saw Greenstein go through a guard rail and needed a metal plate in his head. So… it seems Greenstein sometimes tells weird but interesting stories that are true.

I opened the Daily Star one day, and took out the second section. There on the front page, second section, was a half- page photo of Greenstein with his old-fashioned, hard-hat diving rig over a caption that read, “Underwater welder to shore up Ontario Place”.

I visited Greenstein one summer afternoon. We went out to his back yard, where he was growing beans. Right there in his back yard, an older model Harley-Davidson motorcycle sat on a jack, and construction was obviously just completed. There was an ample crop of beans, as well.

In the end, I guess it could be true that he raised a treasure ship from the bottom of the ocean, but I doubt it. He could have a bank in the Cayman Islands, but I doubt it. However, his welding story was in the newspaper, and the motorcycle is right there in his yard.

A Dearth of Mensch

April 10, 2018 Leave a comment

If you’re a woman of gentle nature and living a wholesome life, you might be seeking a special, exclusive partner. Women who fit that basic description are up against a tough situation. Although women of this type are desirable, and men would love to partner up with such women, it doesn’t happen happily as often as it should.

The main thing that diminishes the number of happy unions between gentle women and men who desire them is the dearth of mensch. The scarcity of good, kind, decent and honourable men is a potential problem for women of that same kind. Many women are not attracted to cowboys, high rollers and tattoos on bodies rippling with muscles.

Most any woman is attractive to a man of some type, but many men are unattractive to women of taste and quality. I don’t mean divas, or wealthy women. I mean good, honest, intelligent women. A man in a flashy car with a tattooed elbow out the window will be compellingly attractive to some women, but a woman with much self-esteem might find that image dated, or even comical.

The situation is such that for some women, a good man is hard to find. For other women, a hard man is good to find.

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.

There is No God

March 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Assuming I’m correct in my belief that there is no god, it’s worrying to imagine how many other beliefs are erroneous. That applies to Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and all the many other cults that flourish. I don’t know much about religion because it’s been boring to me and without substance.

Catholicism is widespread and visible, so I choose it to explore my imaginings. I admire the part of any religion that serves society’s poor and needy, but there is much more to the rituals and realities in which millions of people believe. If there is no god, what are the priests and cardinals and even the Pope really doing? They are ‘selling’ a belief that is a hoax.

In recent decades it has come to light that a great number of priests are perverts who molest young people, boys and girls. It is possible that these men have entered the priesthood for the opportunities to take advantage of youngsters in their control. The power of priests among believers has been strong but undeserved. I know of families where there are 10 to 12 siblings. These are poor people, and the large families live in poverty, yet they are pushed by their priests into having more children.

Peculiar rituals abound in Catholic churches. Small wafers represent the flesh of Christ and wine represents Christ’s blood. It is bizarre to say the least, and if there is no god, there certainly is no son of god through a virgin mother. Clearly, it’s nonsense. Kneeling before their god is demeaning, and would never be required by a loving god.

We are told that Christ lived a simple life like a poor but generous person. That does not fit with the ways of the church. In dominantly Catholic communities, no matter how humble there will be a large, imposing church. Priests wear flowing gowns and ornate tapestry trimmings, not at all like the poor and simple.

The Pope wears particularly ornate garments, and headgear that towers above others. The purpose of the fancy outfits is like that of a theatre marquee. It projects an aura of power and holiness, but it’s just a phony front. I recall a time when I was chatting with a mature Catholic couple. When I calmly told them that I did not believe there is a god, they literally staggered back a bit, partly in shock and partly as if they feared they might catch something from me. These were successful business owners, yet were enslaved by the nonsense in which they were raised.

Finally, throughout that largely Catholic area, there are crosses mounted at intersections, and bathtubs upended and dressed up as biblical scenes. Ridiculous to say the least. I once helped a friend in a pig barn. It was a hellish sight, with sows trapped in small enclosures, often sitting on their young and killing them. The dead piglets were tossed into freezers, of which there were several. Even more outrageous, on the walls above the suffering sows there were crucifixes a-plenty. The woman who owned the pig farm was a music teacher, and eventually left her marriage and became a lesbian. There is so much exhibiting of belief and so much mendacity.

There is no god!

The Time of Your Life

March 20, 2018 3 comments

On the day you were born, you began the journey through time to the day you will die. We rarely know what day our life will end unless we end it ourselves. A life can span over 100 years or as little as a day. You are reading this blog, so you still have the time of your death to come, sometime in the future.

All we are given in life is time. The time is ours to use as we wish: we can kill time, waste time, save time, or use time in any way that we choose. There is no doubt that the more we put into our life’s time, the more we get out of our life. The person who lives through a life of simple work just to acquire the money for a case of beer with which to waste a weekend will get little out of life.

The person that works in exchanging currencies or buying and selling stocks that might or might not support profitable enterprises might enjoy the climb toward oligarchy, but fail to experience the rich value of nature and genuine friendships. That person might enjoy yachting, which is a good way to experience nature. Or they might enjoy yacht racing, which would rob them of the opportunity to absorb the wonders of wind and water except as a competitive platform.

Each of us should appreciate the value of time. Quiet time spent reading a book is not a waste of time. Camping in a forest, sitting around a crackling fire is not a waste of time. Lying on a beach getting fried by the sun might very well be a useless waste of time, unless a deep tan is of value. It probably is not, except as a cosmetic enhancement. In fact, it might shorten your life through the destructive forces of excessive sunlight.

Working constantly in the pursuit of wealth cannot be called a waste of time. Neither is it the maximum good use of time if it is not interspersed with times of relaxation, family relationships and social interactions.

Use the time of your life wisely because it is all you are given when you’re born, and you don’t know when you might run out of time.