That’s right. I just had to step out of my incognito state. I’ve been away, not dead! Give me a break RCMP! Mr. Robert Dziekanski is dead, however, thanks to a bunch (one in particular) of Tazer-trigger happy goofs (oops, I mean officers) who zapped the life out of this poor Polish guy who simply had the bad luck to choose the Vancouver airport to land in on his first visit to Canadian soil. I guess he never got to the ‘soil’ part of Canada. He was too busy wandering aimlessly for a zillion hours, lost, tired, jet-lagged, jonsing for a smoke, in a bloody nightmare welcome to the land-‘O-moose- on-a- postcard, imitation- maple- syrup- products-come-Duty Free shops and baggage carousels, trying to get ANYBODY to speak to him in his own language in an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! His big mistake was picking up that most dangerous of weapons, the dreaded ‘stapler’. Yeah right, coppers, take down this exhausted guy who’s been on a plane for 15 hours and in an airport twilight zone for 18 hours with FIVE TAZER BLASTS! Then, goof around some more (make sure he’s REALLY dead, eh?) while you all try to decide what to say to the boss (that would be the RCMP big cheeses?… then a public Inquiry)…oh, I guess the whole damn country wants to know now, huh? Who would have thought that it would get all blown out of proportion like this?! I bet that’s gonna put a crimp in your Easter holidays. Ah, shucks fellows. You forgot to watch out for the babe walking by with her dreaded cell phone/video camera! May you (especially you, Millington) all get nailed to some big internal cross of conscience come this Easter time as you celebrate the christian tradition. Frankly, I’m not into that ‘jesus rises’ stuff, being a broad-minded, liberal thinking UU and all…but I still like the chocolate. Sigh. I guess I’m back from Hiatus
I have written this blog (and 236 others, two of which were deleted…why did I do that?!) for just under one year. Some 20,500 people have dropped in to date. I am currently involved in a writing project (very interesting stuff which I’m sure you will all want to pay big bucks for…or not). That’s the good news. The bad news, for some, is that I am taking a temporary break from blogging. Others may see this as cause for celebration (the crass, reactionary types). Regardless, I am outta here for a time, but like MacArthur (or was it some other dude?) said, “I shall return”. Thanks to all the regular readers, the web drifters, and especially to those who have taken the time to send comments (except perhaps, the demento types who really seem to have a loose grasp of reality and lack social decorum).
Opal, my long-suffering (that’s just an expression!) guide dog bids you adieu for now too. She says to tell you that she will update you personally on the progress I make with my writing project (literary pimp, that she is). It just wouldn’t seem right to go on blog holiday without one more pop-culture reference all wrapped up into a piece of wise advice: “Stay calm, be brave, and wait for the signs”- (from the Dead Dog Cafe gang on CBC Radio),
Dear Louis, happy birthday buddy. At your age (200), you probably take birthdays in stride. I am writing to pass along greetings and best wishes from a few kids here in Halifax. I gotta tell you, I was a little disappointed in the overall lack of interest at the Braille 200 Day booth at the mall today. I was feeling a tad depressed about the whole thing for a while there, having schlepped so much stuff over to the community booth, including my Perkins Brailler, a Braille alphabet chart the size of Manitoba, some items for the raffle, a ton of pamphlets and information sheets telling people all about you and the system you developed for blind people. I had made (lovingly and painstakingly), commemorative bookmarks. Preparation for your celebration have taken their toll on my wallet (Braille card stock, printer ink etc) and my time. I had day-glow yellow posters made up to advertise my offer to Braille anyone’s name for FREE!!! I had a neat display of Braille children’s books, metal tags (you know the kind I sew into my clothes to identify their colour- PK=pink, GN=Green, RD= red etc), phone and bank statements, playing cards etc. I got so bored sitting alone at my booth, that I started to write nonsense on my Braille machine, just to pass the time…”If one more person comes to ask me for directions to Athlete’s World or the washroom, I will ask Opal to attack…” I couldn’t believe that thousands of people could be so hell-bent on shopping and totally uninterested in you and your special day. Finally, some kids came to ask me for their name in Braille. I cheered up instantly. I sent them off with sticky labels and cue cards with the appropriate names on each. I told them about your birthday and they asked me to wish you all the best. Only ten people picked up my bookmarks and I have plenty left…looks like I may need to do another mall shift in the next week or so (groan). Maybe they’ll have shut down the Christmas music by then…Hey! Maybe I’ll bring some to church tomorrow and see if any UU’s want to feel you up! Take care, my friend. I hope you make it to 300 and beyond.
What if, when we awake tomorrow, to a new day and a New Year (and a boatload of snow in Nova Scotia), we also awake to…the complete absence of news items relaying the tragic traffic accidents and deaths which occurred after too many people got ‘happy’ with liquor in celebration tonight. What if we never hear another announcement of soldiers dying in Afghanistan and elsewhere? What if the federal and provincial governments suddenly decided to support their poor, elderly, ill and disabled citizens with programs, services and benefits that would allow these people to lead dignified lives? What if a collective consciousness suddenly finds world leaders talking about “the Interconnected Web of All Existence” (knowingly and lovingly) and galvanizes them into immediate action to resolve issues that threaten our planet, like global warming? What if individuals across the globe are hit by uncontrollable urges to be honest, kind, generous, patient, and loving to one another? Imagine that! …but, John Lennon already did, “and I’m not the only one”, he claimed. So, what if we just give peace a chance?…oh wait, John Lennon already sang to us about that too. (By the way, the ‘B’ side song on the single, “Imagine” was “It’s so Hard” in the USA and “Working Class Hero” in the UK). Happy New Year everyone.
I awoke yesterday with a massive chest cold. (my mom would have said, “Tu as coucher les fesses a l’aire” -translation: “you slept bare-bummed”. Maybe so, but Christmas Eve with my sweetie was worth it. All through the wee hours last night, I coughed, railed and hacked gobs of… well, never mind. At six AM this morning when Opal woke up, she jumped on my bed and proceeded to give me an intense 45 to 60 – second breathalyzer test. She stuck her shnozz next to my lips and carefully sniffed the odours (not too pleasant, I imagine) emerging from my mouth. Then, she promptly lay down beside me, head hung over my legs, until I could get up an hour later. Clearly Doctor Opal diagnosed something not very healthy and decided to cut me some slack. She continued to request samples of my halitosis throughout the day. She must have thought I was insane when I saddled her up and said, “Come on, puppet, we’re going to Sobey’s to buy some honey”. We got there and back with barely any commands being uttered and moving quite slow. I spent most of the remainder of the day wrapped in my authentic Hudson’s Bay wool ‘point blanket’ with Opal and Lucy both settling over me like poultices. Thanks girls. You really know how to take care of your mum. What better nursemaids can a gal have?
Thanks a lot buddy. Yeah you, the nameless smoker who flicked your LITcigarette butt into the air by the Walmart entrance today. Yeah, I realize it was cold out and you were caging that smoke as long as possible before entering the insanity that is Wally World two days before Christmas. Plus you couldn’t be bothered disposing of the disgusting dregs of your addiction properly, like in a receptacle, oh no, you had to toss that flaming fag,without glancing where it might land, like ONTO MY GUIDE DOG, Opal! That explains why she became startled… I had no clue. I thought it was the foot traffic making her nervous, until someone told me what happened, expressing their outrage about it to me, long after you had blown into the store while exhaling the smoke from your last drag (into somebody’s face, no doubt). I bet you’ve started a forest fire or two in your day, huh? You’re the kinda dope that tosses butts (and beer cans) out the car window as you speed down the road. Sheesh! Here’s my Wise Advice for you. Give them up for New Year’s, you creep. Get the patch! Arm yourself with mints and toothpicks. Sign up for support groups, acupuncture, psychoanalysis…but give me a break and leave my dog out of your pathetic path of destruction. And hey! quit smoking and you’ll start to feel better, smell better and sound better. The extra bonus for the rest of us is that you will decrease your share of the smokers
I was about to blog a rant, entitled, “Canadian Tire is Uninspired”… (a rhyming title and a rant to boot). Actually, it was going to be a rant ABOUT boots, or the lack of the allegedly “on sale” boots that appeared in the Canadian Tire flyer this week. With aching feet, bad boots in my closet, and a Canadian Tire gift certificate to put towards anything my heart desires, I thought my problem was near resolution. Yes, I would head into the Christmas shopping fray at CT and buy those puppies for my sore dogs. My sweetie, ever the pragmatist (and maybe not so willing to go into the fray with me), suggested that I check their web site or call ahead to check on availability of my size. ‘Good idea’, I concurred. I entered the item code number into the Canadian Tire web site and yielded nothing except messages to ‘contact store for more information’. Then I dialed and dialed my phone some more, waiting on hold forever and finally talking to frantic staff people immersed in bedlam over in the Canadian Tire stores throughout Halifax. I thought one guy at the Spryfield Canadian Tire was having a breakdown. Lucky for me I have ‘Crisis phone line’ training and could talk him down from his counter top. Two hours later, I was back on the phone with the sweetie to announce “Canadian Tire is lying to me. There is not one store location in town with ANY of those boots in any size. They never had them to begin with. Those shysters just want us to get us into the store to impulse shop…’cause they know we would. What happened to the Canadian institution of my childhood? The one with the catalogues (just the right size) I would strap to my knees in lieu of real hockey pads ’cause we couldn’t afford the ones they sold in their store? (catalogue about to axed from publication) The ones who gave you Canadian Tire ‘money’ with every cash purchase? (about to be relegated to memorabilia collections too).” Sigh. The boot search continues.
I never got to that sole rant of a blog. Why? This morning I got the Warm ‘n Fuzzy Christmas feeling, not from any success in my search for affordable boots, but from two news items I heard on CBC radio. Very simple. First, a rescue dog called Ace, found a Hamilton woman, lost for THREE days, buried in in a pile of snow, ALIVE. She should have been dead. CBC found the story and put the ‘miracle’ tag on, just in the Saint Nick of time. Good job, Ace!
This was followed by a moving tribute (given by Jane Kansas) about a local homeless man, ‘Terry’ who died over the weekend at age 65. He was a colourful Halifax fixture, know as an eccentric, often irritatingly in-your-face kinda guy who could cry crocodile tears on cue if you were ‘nice’ to him, or dismiss you if you had no money or smokes to offer. The man was an alcoholic and suffered from schizophrenia. He wore dapper suits and sports jackets to panhandle, albeit dirty ones. His death is not the happy note here. The fact that his tribute made it to mainstream media IS. This guy’s passing could easily have gone unnoticed. If we can’t take care of our unfortunate citizens, we can at least mark their passing.
Yesterday, a memorial service was held at St. Georges Round Church to honour the lives of people who have lived and died homeless and in poverty. Perhaps more people could make it a point to attend this yearly service in future.