a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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When Black Friday comes. . .

I like shopping or more accurately, I like certain kinds of shopping. I don’t enjoy shopping for myself very much. I’m a touch impatient and I tend to treat shopping for myself the way some guys treat sex. I go in, get it done and get out.  I have a lot more respect, not to mention time, for the more intimate moments than I do in shopping for myself.

I find it almost as frustrating trying to shop for my grandchildren. I love them both dearly and truly enjoy giving them gifts but selecting those gifts can be one royal pain. It’s all battery-driven, electronic, Disney or super hero character after another. It’s so difficult to find actual toys, that I sometimes think I’m in an electronics rather than a toy store.

Still, I accept that toys have changed since my daughter was the same age as my grandchildren and there isn’t much point in whining about it. Life goes on but it does seem at times that you almost need a degree in economics, electrical engineering, physics, computer programming or some combination of the three to umderstand and select the right gift.

And for God’s sake, don’t forget the bloody batteries, a USB cable and power charger which are almost never included. Continue reading

Dim Light Bulbs and Dimmer Politicians

Left to ourselves, we might pick the wrong health insurance, the wrong mortgage, the wrong school for our kids; why, unless they stop us, we might pick the wrong light bulb.
Mitch Daniels

The sun is gone, but I have a light.
Kurt Cobain

Back in 2007, the United States Congress and the Bush Administration quietly banned incandescent light bulbs.4

And not a moment too soon although they did delay implementation of the ban for 7 years  – probably to give Members of Congress sufficient time to invest in companies that make LED and CFL light bulbs.

I know that many of my American friends were concerned about the fact that the American government was incapable of crafting and passing budget legislation and many were concerned about the rising gun violence in their cities and their schools but to be fair, there were sound reasons for the ban. Continue reading

A Scandal-free Weekend

I took a break over the weekend – no writing, no painting and definitely no Rob Ford, and no Senate Expense Scandal. Instead Maggie and I went Christmas shopping on Saturday. We were going to go Holiday Season shopping but neither of us has any experience with that so we left it at the traditional jostling and pushing in the stores that is so much a part of Christmas every year.

We were smart about it though. We mapped out where we would go, and why, the day before. We were like a well-oiled machine but of course the wheels fell off the machine as soon as we hit Costco.

I believe Costco is a training ground for Purgatory. Continue reading

A Meagre One Day To Give Thanks

The act is unjustifiable that either begs for a blessing, or, having succeeded gives no thanksgiving.
Merle Shain

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s a day set aside to give thanks for our blessings and no matter how meager it may sometimes appear to be, there are is always something for which to be thankful. Typically, families come together to eat turkey dinners with pumpkin pie (and whipped cream) or some other combination of foods that is traditional in their family. Tomorrow, we all pretty much go back to being what we were.

In that way, it’s like Christmas which is a moment that we take time out from yelling at each other to celebrate brotherly (and sisterly) love, embrace peace and prepare for the Boxing Day sales. Most families eat turkey dinners at Christmas too which is why the period between October and December is not celebrated in turkey circles. It’s no fun being invited to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner when you are, in fact, the dinner.

The day after Boxing Day we go back to yelling at each other as if Christmas never happened.

I keep hoping that if we take enough days like Christmas and Thanksgiving and other days like them from other cultures and religions, one of them might actually ‘stick’ to us and we might become a little less bewitched, bewildered and befuddled by this world we have created for ourselves. Who knows, we might even start to appreciate it and each other for longer than it takes to eat a turkey dinner. Continue reading

If This Isn’t The Dark Side Of All That Glitters – I Don’t Know What Is!

My life is reasonably routine and uneventful. . . finally.

I get up in the middle of the night and do some writing. Go back to bed. Get up and take Maggie to work. I spend the rest of my day writing or painting, working around the house or interacting with various folks.

On the weekends, Maggie and I do Maggie and I things together.

Occasionally something happens to disrupt the routine. Usually, it isn’t serious, just some issue or event that means I have to adjust my schedule. Sometimes, it’s something that means I have to adjust my thinking.

I had one of those moments today. Continue reading

Stinger Is Coming On Friday: Be Afraid – Be Prepared

Back in the day when I had a lot of heavy reading to do, I would often take a break and tear my way through a dime-store novel that didn’t make much demand on my brain. One of those ‘take-a-break’ books was called Stinger.

The novel was a middle-of-the-road science fiction story about a dolphin-like creature from space that lands on earth. He/she/it was being pursued across the galaxy by a giant, technologically advanced scorpion-like thing called Stinger who had a bad attitude and a desire to kill dolphins. The book was basically about waiting for Stinger’s arrival.

This week I’ve had the same feeling as the characters in the book when they were told “Stinger is coming” only it isn’t Stinger, it’s that homage to consumerism – Black Friday that’s looming on the horizon. Continue reading