Friday, 24 February 2017

A View From Up North



Hello my American friends. I haven't seen your names show up among those folks streaming across our border through frozen fields of snow into our country so I guess you've decided to stick things out. How do you like him so far?

Funny how your leader has gone from The Donald to The President but still acts like The Donald. The epitome of self promotion he, and at least one other in his family, seem to have latched onto the ultimate way to improve the Trump brand. Although in Ivanka's case, I'm not so sure.

In the United States your President Donald Trump is king of reality TV. In Canada our Prime Minister Justin "Joe" Trudeau is King of the selfie. But there's a difference between our two preening leaders. One thinks he's popular. among the electorate. The other actually is

I feel sad for DJT because he lives alone in the White House as his wife, clearly not enamoured with  this First Lady business has chosen to live in Trump Tower in New York. So the President has managed to keep his right hand awfully busy. Signing all those executive orders. What did you think I was talking about?

And what do you make of Sean Spencer? Here's a man who, in one month, managed to get demoted from Communications Assistant and Press Secretary to just the latter. Because, I think, he spun the truth once too often - into a web of alternative facts.

You know a former Prime Minister once had a Press Secretary who called George Bush a moron. This former spin doctor went on to become an Assistant Deputy Minister in Canada's government. She had a wonderful wit and a razor sharp mind. Your spinner would appear to be wonderfully witless and have conducted a self-induced lobotomy with a razor sharp knife.

Well, the President and his well oiled machine are now into month two. Things can only get better. Right?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Slow and Steady


He made his way down the stairs from the first level of the parking garage, his cane in one hand and the cold metal railing in the other. A loudmouthed mix of mostly millennials ran past him halting his downward progress. He waited until the joyful group exited the stairwell and then continued his slow and steady progress.

He reached the hospital entrance not unlike that tortoise who kept saying to himself 'slow and steady wins the race'. He knew he had the slow part down. The cane helped with the steady. But then he was in no hurry. His chemo appointment wasn't for another twenty-five minutes. He stopped and quickly queued at Second Cup and ordered a medium, then shuffled to the counter where they kept the milk and sweetener.

He stirred his coffee, popped a lid on top and made his way to the elevators. Back out in the main area he was amazed at the number of people rushing to and fro moving much faster than he was capable of. And he marvelled at the number of people who virtually ignored the man with a cane. There were those who refused to walk on the right causing him to go around them. Then there were others who,waiting for the elevator, rushed on ahead of him. And he thought to himself 'hey, man walking with a cane here! Give a guy a break'.

Funny, he thought, how the older he got the more laid back he got. He was only slightly perturbed by the vociferous, thoughtless people around him. And then he laughed to himself because he knew there was a time, long ago, when he would have probably been one to act that way too.

Tara's Two Word Tuesday prompt is vociferous/loudmouthed this week. It's been some time since I've spoken that way.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How Sweet It Is


Jack Arturie was in love. He had been for 30 years. Following a five year dating period Jack asked Tara Swain to marry him. Lucky for him, she accepted and they'd shared 25 years of wedded bliss. What's in a name? Well, she was his lovely swain for all the years they were together.

Tara was a little old school and believed the way to a man's heart was through his stomach. To this end she learned to bake and created sinfully sweet desserts for Jack at every meal.

Jack, of course, was in heaven and left unchecked he ballooned to well over 300 pounds. But Tara still loved Jack and continued to aim for his ever-increasing belt-sized stomach.

When out for lunch with Jack, his friends would express their concern over his sugar intake and ask if he'd ever asked his doctor to check for diabetes. Jack would simply laugh off their interventions as he tucked into a chocolate three-layer cake and washed it down with a Gatorade.

Snack-time was no different. Often Jack would down a half-dozen doughnuts or a bag of oreos in one sitting, as well as a six-pack of Coke, while watching his favourite TV show, Competition Cupcake, in the evenings

And at breakfast he'd start the day off right, in his estimation, with several bowls of Marshmallow Froot Loops, two large glasses of orange juice and a couple of cups of coffee, each doused with several soup spoonfuls of granulated sugar. Well not the orange juice. That would just be wrong.

One night at dinner, as Jack worked on his third chunk of Black Forest cake, lovingly prepared by Tara that afternoon, and watched a re-run of a Trump news conference from earlier that day, he keeled over and face-planted into the cake, dead.

After a brief investigation by police they ruled out CNN and had to agree with the coroner as to the cause of death: a sweet heart.

Tara's Two Word Tuesday prompt this week was swain/sweetheart. In addition to that, safe to say Tara didn't know Jack.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

You Don't Mess Around With Stan



Stan was an English major. He'd studied four years and was proud of his personal prowess when it came to his phraseology. That's vocabulary to you and me. He wasn't bad with the Sunday Times crossword puzzle either.

He was making his way through the latest word challenge as he sat in Starbuck's sipping an espresso. The shimmering sunshine slipped through the open window casting the shadow from his pencil placidly upon his newspaper. And if it weren't for the occasional bawl of the baristas seeking to match a coffee cup with a customer, the subtle drone of patrons made him almost doze off.  Stan thought the interior of the coffee shop was idyllic. Idyllic was a favourite word of Stan's and he often felt his surroundings to be idyllic, an outlook in keeping with his ultra-positive look at life. He also had great ardor for alliteration, in case you hadn't noticed.

And then there was Oliver. Oliver was a good friend of Stan's - the best perhaps. But Oliver was very different from his friend. Oliver never finished university. Instead he'd spent most of his time in the student lounge drinking beer and playing pool or checkers with his unacademically-minded buddies. As a result Oliver worked at a blue-collar job while his pal Stan was easily climbing the ladder of success.

Oliver, earbuds of his iPhone plugged solidly into his ears, yelled a greeting to Stan and as he sat down and spoke loudly he turned the formerly idyllic coffee shop into an impious, cacophonous cavern. Loudly to you and me. But to Stan Oliver was rowdy, strident, raucous, vociferous and particularly stentorian. You might say he spoke in a manner so loudly he could have wakened the daed. But then I think you got that already.

Alarmed and annoyed at having his quiet and discreet refuge interfered with Stan looked Oliver in the face and yelled at his friend. But Oliver, deep into his music, did not hear. After the third attempt Stan yammered at the top of his voice "This is another fine imbroglio you've gotten us into".

"Hey" replied Oliver. "How did you know I was listening to Natalie Imbroglio?"

You might say Stan was torn as he thought about hauling off and launching a bell-ringer at Oliver's clearly cavernous cranium.

This week's Two Word Tuesday prompt from Tara is imbroglio/mess. My apologies to Stan and Ollie for paraphrasing their well-known catch phrase.



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

I'm Just Waiting On A Friend


Terry said he'd meet Rich and Dave at two o'clock. Rich and Dave arrived at the agreed upon meeting place together, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Now, you should know that this was back in the day when cell phones and iPads hadn't been invented yet. And people would have looked funny carrying a rotary phone in their pocket. Plus the telephone cord would have to be super long.

Anyway, Rich and Dave were forced into a little session of "I Spy With My Little Eye" to pass the time until Terry arrived. As it turned out Terry was unavoidably detained and Rich and Dave were simply dying of boredom. After all, when you've seen one chrome refrigerator in the appliance store you've seen them all. Neither of them had thought to bring a pencil or paper so tic-tac-toe and origami were both out. Tick-tock, tick-tock the time passed so slowly they were bored right out of their skulls.

At last, 30 minutes past the time they were supposed to meet, Terry arrived on the scene.

"Sorry, I'm late" chirped Terry, "but I got held up".

"Held up, cried Rich. "Did they get anything of value?"

"Not that kind of 'held up'" replied Terry. "It's a figure of speech. I guess the joke's on you."

"Listen" remarked Rich, "after all the time we waited for you it certainly is ennui."


The prompt from Tara at Two Word Tuesday is ennui/boredom this week. And I'm sorry but the joke's on you.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

My Back Pages - January 2017


It's a new month and a new year and having aimed at reading at least 50 books this year January saw me wade through seven books. Just shows you what you can accomplish when you're not spending all your time reading Trump-related posts on Facebook. And I find my blood pressure's dropped, too.

Spies, detectives, musicians, actors and entertainers held my interest last month. I'd started an old Le Carre novel, A Perfect Spy, before I left Panama at the beginning of the month and wrapped it up when I got home.

Then it was into Powerhouse by James Miller - all about the agency business in Hollywood. It was kind if interesting with lots of behind the scenes stuff about the key agency movers and shakers. and how agencies grew from representing actors to getting involved in myriad other activities like banking and sports.

For What It's Worth was a bit of a guilty pleasure all about The Buffalo Springfield, the 60s group with Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay who all went on to bigger and better things.

Mr. Tambourine Man about the Byrds' Gene Clark was interesting but I don't think I really needed to know about how many drugs the guy did. Really - page after page. Unfortunately, while talented he was also tragic figure.

Of course, the trouble I have with music books, and the above two were no different, is then I cruise Amazon.ca for CDs by the artist. Some months can be a little expensive.

The Smothers Brothers Book was hilarious. I always liked them and their mid-60s TV show and it was interesting to see what motivated them to do the comedy they did and to host the musical groups they did.

I closed out the month with the first two Nero Wolf novels by Rex Stout. I remember finding a paperback or two around the house when I was a kid and thought I'd revisit this detective's adventures. Stout wrote just over 30 of these beginning in the mid-1930s. They were both a satisfying read.

A Perfect Spy - John Le Carre ****
Powerhouse: Creative Artists Agency - James Andrew Miller ****
For What It's Worth: The Story of The Buffalo Springfield - John Einarsson ****
Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story
of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - David Bianculli ****
Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark - John Einarsson ****
Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolf #1) Rex Stout ****
The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolf #2) Rex Stout ****

What are you reading? Let me know. I'm always interested in exploring something new. You don't want me going back to Trump tweets do you?

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