Grocery Store Guy

Sometimes life scares me. Even the simplest of things can bring out the strangest reactions in some people who just don’t seem to think:
Today, at the checkout in the grocery store, doing the weekly shopping:
Checkout dude: Do you want bags?
Me: yes, thanks.
Checkout dude: How you doing today?…
Me: Good. And you?
Checkout dude: yeah.
Checkout dude: You want the meat in the bags with the regular stuff?
Me: Yeah it is packed well, it should be ok. If it leaks all over the place, I’ll just come back and yell at you, that’s all, ha ha!!!! 🙂
Me: It’d be your fault! 🙂
Checkout dude: ha, ha, yeah of course! 🙂
Checkout dude: So! You want the apples in a bag?
Me using my internal voice: No idiot, I want all eleven apples crammed one each in a pocket, one in each front jeans pocket, dunno if they will fit in the ass pockets, hold on I might fit two in each of my jacket pockets, and I’m not sure about the inside pocket on the left side of my jacket!!!! Are you serious??? What is he thinking??
Me: Yeah, put them in a bag please, otherwise they just might roll all over the place!
Checkout dude: whaaaat??
Me:  they’ll roll all over the place, ya know…
Checkout dude: blank stare coupled with silence….
Me: Never mind.
Me using my internal voice: is this guy for real??????

 

……Shecky W.T. Moriale…….

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More Gord Downie

I just finished watching the documentary about Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip on TV this evening. I doubt if any music appreciators in Canada can watch this program and not feel a massive sense of loss. Gord Downie has been such a huge part of our lives for the last 25, 26, 27 years or so.  His lyrics, matched with the band’s music, simply laid out the soundtrack of our lives for the last quarter century or so.  The band meant so much. The music was excellent. But the lyrics….. the lyrics and their presentation, and the front man who wrote them, coupled with his incredible presence & performance, was really the pinpoint of our focus.
This TV documentary shows Gord Downie saying goodbye to Canada and to all the fans, across Canada, last year.  Behind the scene shots and the stories of the performances that were not made public at the time, just go to show how difficult was for him to perform.  The man was dying from brain cancer.  But still, he managed to perform to thousands of people again and again throughout a tour of the country, culminating with a huge gig in the Hip’s home town of Kingston Ontario, which was broadcast live on TV across the nation. This was a very sad documentary.  It was very difficult to watch.  We could see the fears and challenges of a dying man who wanted to show the millions of fans who loved the Tragically Hip just how much he appreciated their devotion, while dealing with his own mental degradation, fears, and forgetfulness. After the documentary, there was a series of clips and interviews of Gord and the Tragically Hip, from various times during their career, from the mid 80’s to the 2000’s.  Gord was a healthy young man who had an ability to see the world through a different filter, a different set of eyes, than most of us.  He could see everyday things and write about them in a way that we could never see in the first place.  Look back and listen back to their record catalog for proof.

The Tragically Hip said their goodbye in that tour last year, but Gord wasn’t finished yet.  He went on, despite his failing health, to enlighten the public about the plight of the Indigenous People in Canada, by bringing us the story in live performances, pictures, film, and music, of the abuse and neglect of a little child who was taken from his Native family and forcefully placed in a boarding school in the 1960’s. This little boy escaped from the school and tried to find his way home to this family, but died within hours from exposure, in the cold Canadian winter.  Gord wanted to highlight the generations of neglect and exploitation of the indigenous people.  He did so, in the last few months of his life.

Gord is gone now and most of us are left with a feeling of loss.

But his music will never die.  We will always have that.  His music will live on and on with every weekend that the average Canadian spends up at the cottage, or down at the lake, or snowmobiling across a field, or relaxing in the back garden at the barbeque.  The music of The Hip, and Gord Downie’s lyrics, will always be with us.  He is part of Canada.

We will never forget Gord Downie.

Gord Downie

It’s amazing how saddened people in Canada are about Gord Downie’s death.  We all knew it was coming sooner or later but nobody knew quite when it would happen, so everyone got on with their day-to-day lives.  Now suddenly it has happened and the shock is no less than it would have been if we never knew of his illness.  It is like a close personal friend or a family member dying, and it makes you want to cry even though most people had never met him. Gord is being remembered as the conscience that we all have, but he was a voice for it.  He was the guy who said what we all thought and who said that everyone wanted to happen.  He said it in his lyrics and he did it with his deeds.

If I were to try to compare him to someone in Ireland, I would have to compare like with like.  The Tragically Hip are one of the greatest Canadian rock bands.  U2 are Ireland’s greatest rock band.  Regardless of the population size, it is not unreasonable or unrealistic to say that Gord Downie is probably a million times more loved in Canada than U2’s Bono is in Ireland, or anywhere else.  Both were/are the front men for successful rock bands.  Both famous beyond their dreams especially in their home countries.  But unlike Bono, everyone loved Gord.  If you were to ask people in Ireland how they felt about Bono, so many would say that they “hate that f#&ker, he has such an attitude and he loves himself, he’s an a$$hole”.  Nobody would ever think such a thing about Gord Downie.  Everyone loved him.  Everyone.  Yes, everyone.  He was such a nice guy. He was thoughtful and kind and sincere. And he wrote some great rock songs that referred to Canadian culture, geography and politics and most Canadians could easily relate to his stories.  He was also an amazing, unique performer, creating incredible live acts that will likely never be matched again.  And if that weren’t enough, he was a hell of a nice fellow!  How could you not like him?  People have said that this is a serious hurt.  It hurt when Bowie died, and Prince and Tom Petty.  But Gord Downie?  Gord is different.  He is much more a part of the fabric of everyone’s life in Canada.

Gord is being hailed as possibly the greatest lyricist in Canadian history.  However history will remember him, Gord Downie will leave a huge, huge hole in Canadian hearts.  He is already missed.

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve.  Tis the season of good will.  Tis the season of joy and peace.  Tis the season when you can say “Tis” and get away with it.  So if it is all those things, why then do I feel hatred?  Why do I feel frustration? Why anger?  The kitchen floor that’s why!  Mopping the kitchen floor can quickly dissolve all the season’s good will and cheer. You have to work damned hard! There are many spots and areas that will NOT clean up without several swear words, threats, and copious amounts of hot water and elbow grease. I hate it.  As I am doing it, I am asking myself why am I punishing myself like this.  Mr Claus will not be dropping by tonight.  And even if he did, he would never appreciate all this hard work and effort.  Why am I doing this to myself?  And why is this damned floor so difficult to clean?  Why is it so hard to do such a simple little job?  I don’t understand it.  Norman Bates didn’t have such a problem in Psycho when his “mother” slashed that girl in the shower.  He was casually able to gently and politely mop up and make the place sparkling in just a few minutes.  But I have had to spend well over an hour scrubbing and wiping over and over.  On my hands and knees scrubbing, scrubbing and scrubbing. Then I stand up, take a step back to look at it.  I say a few cuss words, and promptly go back to scrub it some more.  But you will be pleased to learn that I didn’t mop myself into a corner.  Nah!  Ok, ok, I did!  I mopped myself into the corner over there and I had to tip-toe across the wet floor to escape.  I guess I will have to go back when it dries and wipe over those tip-toe marks.  What a job!  And to think that all mothers used to do this regularly when we were kids. They worked so hard and we hardly noticed.  I can still hear the exhausted orders yelled at us for hours afterwards: “don’t go into the kitchen – I just washed that floor”!

……Shecky Moriale…..

 

 

So… what is it? 

looking at a DeLorean

So… what is it?  What is it that makes people go so crazy when they see a DeLorean?

I took my car out today for a quiet drive on the morning of the Sunday of a long weekend.  I figured I would get some nice quiet roads, some cool country bends and twists and finally maybe end up at some ice cream stand in the middle of nowhere where I could take a pleasant break from the wheel and enjoy a nice ice cream cone in the hot magical August weather. Did I get that quiet time I was looking for?   Hell no!   I got at least 87 thumbs up from bikers driving towards me and away in the distance of my rear view mirror.  At least 47 car drivers honking and giving me the thumbs up sign, and countless pedestrians/hikers stopping to take a second look and pointing as I drove past.  Regardless of some of the bikers prompting their passengers to look, and the glazed looks by some pillion passengers, the reaction was as insane as ever.  Some rather nubile-looking and very shapely pillion passengers were somehow unaware but yet in awe, while other more mature riders were just as awe-struck upon seeing a DeLorean meandering through the country roads with no concern for anyone or anything.

So I said to myself, I said: “self,” I said, “why are soo many people soo blown away by a simple, solitary car?”  I couldn’t answer myself which is probably a good thing as I was approaching a set of traffic lights on the outskirts of a tiny town at the time and concentration is key when driving a DeLorean where anyone or everyone will almost attack you while asking about flux capacitors or time space continuums as you politely endeavour to drive through a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere.

So many people seem to want to say something to the driver of a DeLorean.  But why?  I don’t get it.  I know all the Back to the Future stuff, I get it.  I really do.  I love the movies too.  Seriously, I do.  But my car is not a Back to the Future car.  It is an almost stock DeLorean from waay before the movie was released.  Anyone who remembers the car from before the movie will probably appreciate my car as a DeLorean and not as a movie star.  And there are so many of those people out there too!!!  But why such a reaction?  Seriously, why?

Does any other early 80s sports car get this much attention?  I suggest to you that the answer is no.  But why not? What is it that the DeLorean seems to bring out in people? Is it the cool sports car built by a former GM big shot who thumbed his nose at the GM establishment?  Is it the fact that it is an unusual car with stainless body panels and gullwing doors?  Is it the fact that they were produced for such a short time and are now so rare?  Or is it because it was the focus of one of the biggest movies in Hollywood history?

I don’t know the reason.  I wish I did.  It is sometimes a little tiring to have to give the usual smiling response, and the occasional explanation of what the car is, to other drivers at gas stations.  But at the end of it all, every time I take my DeLorean out for a drive, I know that I will get some sort of affirmation and confirmation that my little car is either cool, or awesome or just a beautiful machine.  I got all three this morning, and I drove home with a smile on my face!   And these observations are almost guaranteed whether or not people make comments on the presence or not of a flux capacitor!  Or as a trucker yelled at me last week from his waay high up open window to my little ticket booth passenger window; Hey man, does it have a flux Kapasit-tayter?

What the hell is a Kapasit-tayter???

RUSH June 19 2015

RUSH

Are there enough words in the English language to describe some experiences?  I say no. If there were, I would not be in this quandary, this dilemma.  There are simply not enough words to convey and to make understood the depth of feeling and the height of excitement at the overall compendium of entertainment provided by RUSH in concert at the Air Canada Center last night.  How can you even try to measure it or quantify it?  You can talk about the precise, sophisticated, disciplined musicianship.  You can talk about the intellectual songwriting, the complicated musical arrangements so perfectly matched to the prose of Neil Peart who not only propels the sound with incredibly precise, logic-defying drumming but who also provides the lyrics to the tunes!  These traits are now only to be expected at a RUSH gig presented by very talented and brilliant musicians plying their trade while exuding complete excellence in the process. On this particular tour, the band is acknowledging that the end is in sight for their touring days. In fact this may well be the last RUSH tour to pass through Toronto. So what better way to conduct such a tour than by skimming through their immense repertoire of excellent music?  Starting with the more recent and working back through the years with tracks from Clockwork Angels, Snakes and Arrows, Vapor Trails, to Roll the Bones, through Subdivisions, Tom Sawyer, The Spirit of Radio, and on and on we went until we reached Closer to the Heart,  and then they played it.  They played Xanadu!  Oh MY GAWD!!!!!  They played Xanadu!   I have never heard RUSH play Xanadu live before.  In fact, I had not heard Xanadu played live by anyone since 1980 in Dublin when it was splendidly recreated by the one and only Lyndon Shunt in Toners of Baggot Street.  And there I was in the ACC on Friday night hearing the superb track being played by the original band who brought it to the world. What a track.  What a performance.  Aaargh, this was unbelievable!

There is a part of me that feels sad for those among us who have never seen RUSH live in concert.  It is such a perfect spectacle of excellent musicianship which shows no signs of peaking.  I believe Neil, Alex and Geddy are actually more skilled now than they were 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago.   If, in my life, I should never go to another live rock concert again, I will know that I have seen what is most probably the finest performance that can ever be expected to be performed, by three unbelievably skilled, precision-driven, impeccably organized, and wonderfully talented musicians.  There are simply not enough words to describe the brilliance of this band.  They are simply getting better and better each time I see them.  Words alone cannot convey their expertise.  There are no words.  No words………!

A Bat?

Got home just after 10pm Saturday night.  What a great Tech Day with the cars.  Went for dinner afterwards had a few laughs, drove home.  All is good.  As I sat in front of the TV to unwind after a tiring but rewarding day, I heard a strange sound from the kitchen area.  Suddenly, something came flying into the living room!  What the hell is that?  It is like a giant moth.   It’s also like a small bird.  No.  It’s a bat!  A bat???  In the house!  How on earth did a bat get into the house?  He was flying back and forth from the living room to the kitchen to the bar and back to the living room again.  I stood there basically in shock!  What should I do?  I had to dive for cover every time he flew near me.  Should I grab a fly swatter and smack him?  Naw, that is so mean and cruel.  How do I get a flying bat out of the house?  Finally he stopped flying around and clung onto the fireplace stonework.  He seemed to settle there upside down as bats do, I suppose.  Now what?  Maybe if I had a net of some sort….  I mean all householders keep nets on standby for emergencies such as this, don’t they??  OK, what if get that old milk crate that I use to hold firewood, and try to put it over him so that he flies into it.  Then get a magazine to cover the top of the crate so that he can’t get out while I make a dash for the back door.

OK, here goes.  Milk crate strategically placed over bat.  Check.

Bat is unhappy with that arrangement so he tries to fly away by flying into the milk crate.  Check.

Position magazine over top of milk crate.  Check.

Make a mad dash for the back door.

Dammit.  It’s locked.  Maybe I didn’t plan this out very well.  Ok, how do I hold milk crate, with magazine positioned over top and also unlock door and slide it open?  Hmmm, if only I had a third arm.

Ok, somehow I managed to hold the milk crate on my thigh with the magazine still in place, and unlock door and slide it open all at the same time.  Hey… and they say men can’t multitask!

Uh oh!  Dammit, outside door also locked.  Got it unlocked and slid it open too.  Removed magazine turned milk crate on it’s side and I guess the bat made an exit.  He was so fast and the light was not good, but he was no longer in the milk crate.  Whew!  Locked both doors and stood there wondering how on earth a bat could get into the house.  How?   And are there any more hiding waiting to scare the beejeezus outta me again when I am least expecting it?

Anyway, look on the bright side if he was driving his car, I wouldn’t have been able to get it out the door so easily.  Those bat mobiles are big and heavy! 🙂

……Mike……