Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Photo Blogging Challenge - July

Well, we've reached the end of another month and that means it's time to share the photos I've taken for P.J.'s Photo Challenge. This month, P.J. tasked us with the theme "signs". Now instead of snapping pictures of stop signs, street signs, highway signs and so on I went a different route. Ready?

This was the sky over our backyard one night around mid-month. You know what they say: Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky at morning, sailor's warning. So this was a good sign, and the next day was indeed gorgeous and the start of our enduring heat wave with temperatures in the 40C's.

The temperature in our pool was 32C which works out to 90F. And this was a good sign because it nevertheless beat sitting around in the heat.

We have a pine tree, or maybe I should say had a pine tree, at the back of our yard. This is a bad sign. To quote Star Trek's Dr McCoy "It's dead, Jim." That's a bad sign. We have to cut it down. But before we can do that we have to get a permit from the city and then we have to replace it. That kinda sucks.

Mrs D is growing tomatoes and this is definitely a good sign. They're actually growing. Soon we'll be eating fresh tomatoes from our own garden.

Taking pictures is hard work. Especially in the heat. Can you make out this good sign involving a watch and a bottle of beer? Why it's time for a Corona!

Check out the link for P.J.'s blog to see what my photo blogging buddies have come up with this month.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Tale of Mystee-ry and Indigo Intrigue

His day started pretty much the same as any other day. He roused himself from a deep sleep around 7am, sat up, took his pills and checked his blood sugar. Quietly, he pulled on his pajama bottoms and tip toes out of the bedroom, making his way downstairs to the family room.

He opened his computer and powered up and flicked on the television and clicked the remote until he landed on the all news channel.

He checked his blog comments and scrolled through Facebook, then played a game or two of solitaire on his laptop.

His wife arose - sleeping-in a bit because she was on holidays - stepped to the kitchen and made them a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and bagels.

Neither was aware of the sense of foreboding that was building. Or the five or six boding, for that matter.

After breakfast, he cleaned up the dishes from breakfast and dinner the night before, emptied the dishwasher and then told his wife, "I'm going to take my shower." Unheard by either of them a Hitchcockian soundtrack started up, accompanying his undressing, his turning on of the water and the beginning of his soaping up. And then he farted. Did you ever fart in the shower? It kinda kills the moment. He quickly rinsed off, stepped out, towelled off, combed his hair brushed his teeth and stepped into his underwear and summer shorts.

All of a sudden that soundtrack started up again and it made him hesitate as he reached for the closet door. A voice in his mind said, "Don't open that door, don't open that door...and then like all horror movies he'd ever seen, he did.

Oh my God, he was nearly out of t-shirts. T-shirts, you see, formed the bulk of his wardrobe other than golf and Hawaiian shirts. He stepped back out of the closet in shock. He had no special plans that day so he found an old Ragged Ass Road - Northwest Territories tee and slipped into it. That's the logo on the shirt, not the condition it's in.

And then a miracle occurred. While in the shower his wife had checked the mail. Talk about coincidence, there was a package addressed to him. And in the package was...

...a gift from his blogging buddy Indigo Roth, all the way from Jolly Old England. He thought maybe Indigo was so moved by the birth of Prince George he sent tees he'd designed to folks all over the world. Thanks, Indigo, he said to himself, what a great guy...and so talented too.

On the tee Indigo had drawn a Sharp Dressed Cat. And he mused to himself, "Now I will be too."

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

Two chairs, no waiting!

I've always had a thing about getting a haircut. Call me a latter-day hippie but going six months between visits to the barber - or stylist I think they call themselves - isn't unusual for me. My wife, my kids and my grandkids wonder why. The little ones think I'm Santa Claus. But I put it off even more so since I've discovered my hair's starting to thin on top of my head. I guess it had to happen eventually after a full life with a full head of hair.

When I was young my parents made me get a hair cut every two weeks, whether I wanted one, or for that matter in my estimation needed one, or not. And so every 2nd Saturday I'd walk to the barber's, wait patiently for my turn, plop down in the chair and say to Angelo or Gino or this Italian clipper with some name I now can't recall,"long on the sides and top, please". Then I'd come away from the den of a thousand cuts with nothing near what I asked for but something so short I'd want to put a paper bag over my head. Fongoul, Angelo, Gino or whoever you were!

Of course years later, when I was an adult, my Dad told me he used to phone the barber's after I'd left the house to let them know I was coming and just how they should trim my hair. And until then, I'd never figured it out. Good old Dad. Thanks to him ever since I moved out of the house 43 years ago I've had this neurosis about hair now to the point where 3 or 4 visits to the barber a year is overdoing it.

But this week I'm getting a haircut. What do you think?

Yeah, that's me in the wee hours this morning before I started this post. I'm gonna get a haircut this week. I'll be hair today and gone tomorrow. I don't know who came up with that expression "shave and a haircut, two bits" but the last time I got a haircut it didn't include a shave and with the tip it cost me close to thirty bucks.

So I tell Mrs D I skip haircuts not because I hate them but for reasons of personal economy. Hell, I can buy two CDs with thirty bucks! By guys with long hair.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Guy In Blue Jersey Wins Tour de France

I've been watching some of the Tour de France coverage this year. For me, oddly perhaps, it's not about the race but the photography. The French countryside through which the bicyclists travel is simply gorgeous. The coverage from day to day is like one big travelogue for rural France.

The race itself can be exciting at times, like when someone sprints away from the pack. You sit glued to the TV to see if anyone else will break away and catch up to him.

But one thing that annoys me is how some fans react. I think these guys have been standing out in the hot sun on a hillside too long sucking back the vin rouge.

You see, as the bikers draw near and start to climb an incline the fans on both sides of the road crowd in and what once was a two lane road quickly becomes a gauntlet barely wide enough to fit a bike and it's rider.

And the fans whoop and holler, wave flags and clap. The braver fans - or maybe the more inebriated - slap the bicyclist on the back or, stand in their way or run along beside them bumping them almost off their bikes. It's just crazy. And the more die-hard fans run along beside the riders dressed up in costumes. Weird.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday one fan decided to take matters into his own hands. What did he do? Well, watch...

Way to go, mon ami. This year, as far as I'm concerned, the guy in the Blue Jersey wins the Tour de France.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Time's Marching On

It's really hot in the Ottawa area this week. It was 29C yesterday and with the humidity felt like 37C. There's not much to do but sit under the fan or, with the aid of a couple of noodles (hey, that's what they call them - for my Brit friends, it's a woggle), float around the pool. The water temperature was 32C which works out to 90F. No twerkin' for this fella this week.

Needless to say one's mind kinda turns to mush and maybe it was sunstroke or sumpin' but after a while my mind started to wander. Then I popped open a Corona and I sat down to pull this post together.

I think I've made reference to this before but I'm at a certain age where it crosses my mind now and then - or maybe I'm at an age where I forget that I've mentioned it before - and that's the lyrics to that Leonard Cohen tune Tower of Song where he goes...

Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play

It's a great song and a great line. I love Cohen. I've got several of his CDs and I saw him perform a couple of years ago at Ottawa's National Arts Centre and when he hit the verse that goes...

I was born like this, I had no choice
I was born with the gift of a golden voice

...the audience erupted into claps, hoots and hollers because they immediately got the joke and the joke was on us. I don't think anyone would call Cohen's voice golden but it nevertheless is haunting, mesmerizing even.

But as I get older I often think of those lyrics - not the golden voice ones - those other ones.

And when I start thinking about them I get a little maudlin because it seems time has flown so quickly. You know the song September of My Years? Frank Sinatra sang it. The first verse goes...

One day you turn around, and it's summer
Next day you turn around, and it's fall
And suddenly, all the springs and winters of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all

That's quite apt when you think of it. Well, it is when I think of it. 

But, hey, lest you think I'm always down in the dumps about these things I'm really not. Oh, no. Hey, one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs is Forever Young. And, let me tell you, it's a great philosophy. The last verse goes...

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

At the risk of scaring most of you away - because good old Bob can be an acquired taste - here he is performing the song in the movie The Last Waltz with The Band in 1976... Two versions of the song were originally released on his Planet Waves album in 1974.

May you all stay forever young. 

Time for another Corona. Stay stupid my friends. We'll see you next week.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Jack Lalanne is Twerkin' in His Grave

Jack: The Whole Package

Jack Lalanne was the Godfather of Fitness. He was also Mr Power Juicer but we won't go there. He died in 2011 at the age of 95. His dedication to fitness and nutrition would appear to have paid off.

But now, I'm sure, he'd be spinning in his grave. Or, perhaps, to be current, twerkin' in his grave.

"What's twerkin'?" I hear you say. (Not really but this narrative works better this way.) Well I'm glad you asked.

You see I've been wondering the very same thing for the last little while until I did a little research. You know, of course, that from time to time I cruise the entertainment websites - places like TMZ and Perez Hilton - where I avidly follow the empty lives of people who's names mean absolutely nothing to me. Well, over the last little while I've come across increasing references to twerkin'. Miley Cyrus does it. You know, Billy "Achy Breaky Heart" Ray's kid? And Rihanna does it. She's that big blunt puffin' so-called singer and Chris Brown punching bag. You know the one.

Now when I first saw this reference I thought it had to do something with Twitter or tweeting, like you know maybe editing your tweet, like tweaking it. But no that wasn't it. Then I thought it was the next big craze like "planking" but I just couldn't imagine how it worked and chalked it up to "kids these days".

Then I thought Miley and Rihanna were studying auto mechanics and were learning how to tweak an engine for higher performance and using today's vernacular called it twerkin'. But no that wasn't it either.

Turns out watching people twerking is like watching someone having sex with their clothes on. Why they'd want to do this, I don't know. To my way of thinking it'd be much easier with their clothes off. But hey, maybe they're practicing safe sex. And that's a good thing.

It seems twerkin' is all about shaking your ass when dancing. And the bigger the ass the better the twerk, apparently. And not just any old shaking. No, there's a method to this ass-shakin' madness. Yeah, no shit. According to Wikipedia the word twerking may be derived from one of two sources:
- a contraction of "footwork", or
- a portmanteau (ooh, big word) of twist and jerk.

Um, guys, that's not quite it. Keep practicing.

Who knew? And who knew twerking was actually part of hip-hop culture making an appearance in 1993 through a record by DJ Jubilee called Do The Jubilee All. My, my, how original. But these days, again according to Wikipedia, twerking is the most popular dance move since the Dougie. I'm not gonna go there. You can look it up.

I'm kinda getting out of my depth here, almost back to those entertainment sites with names I don't know.

I'm not a big dancer. And I haven't tripped the light fantastic for a long, long time. Not since the Swim,  the Mashed Potato or that old favourite the Twist. Okay well maybe the Frug, the Hustle and not to mention the Funky Chicken, the Jerk and the Hokey Pokey. Hey, I can be hip when I want to. Or, at my age,  throw one out.

Having seen examples of twerkin' on those entertainment sites and You Tube I can say with conviction I'm just too old to twerk. I'm sure if I threw something out it wouldn't come back.

Are you still wondering about what the hell I'm talking about? Take a gander at this most informative video. You're welcome...and happy twerkin' mofos. (I don't know what that means either but I hear it a lot these days.)

This whole twerkin' thing is kinda elusive for me, which coincidentally is one of the prompts this week over at Studio 30+. Drop by and check them out.
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