Monday, October 30, 2006

Who is to Blame?

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a new United Nations report states that “Canada's high ranking on the United Nations' human development scale would dramatically drop if the country were judged solely on the economic and social well-being of its First Nations people.” It goes on to state that "Poverty, infant mortality, unemployment, morbidity, suicide, criminal detention, children on welfare, women victims of abuse, child prostitution, are all much higher among aboriginal people than in any other sector of Canadian society," said the report issued by the UN Human Rights Commission.”

After reading the news report in its entirety, I couldn’t help but wonder as to what the main problem is here. Are we causing Canada’s First Nations People to abuse their women? Are we responsible for their suicides? Child prostitutions? Do we cause them to commit crime? I have been told on occasion by certain First Nations people that it is the “white man’s” fault that they are alcoholics! Come on now! I had nothing to do with my First Nations neighbor’s alcoholism any more than I am responsible for my white neighbor’s drug habit! I am also not going to take the blame for his unemployment! Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being blamed for other’s problems. I have my own problems to deal with … Problems which I have caused myself. I don’t need to be blamed for anyone else’s.

I don’t doubt that they have their share of unique problems and I certainly have questioned the Canadian government’s methods of dealing with issues such as land claims and monetary reparation but to take the brunt of the blame for their social issues is far beyond me. Isn’t society taught that we are responsible for our own actions? Weren’t we taught as children that we are in control of our destiny and that our lives are what we make of it?

Please let me state however that I am not saying that all or even most First Nations members are alcoholics, suicidal, uneducated or even unemployed. Like anyone else, their successes and failures in life are based on one’s own choices. They, as any other nation, are a great people and a proud people but let’s not be blamed for their failures any more than we can take credit for their many successes.

Anyways, we could go on for pages about this issue … millions of pages in fact … but what is the point? I know that my comments don’t cover the entire scope of the problem and are nothing but snippets but this is how I feel. Hopefully one day these issues will be resolved … right before the civil rights issues in the United States, right behind the Catholic/Protestant conflict issues in Ireland and right along side the Aboriginal issues of Australia … wishful thinking I suppose!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cold Coffee ... Lousy Breakfast!

I went out for breakfast this morning with a good friend of mine. Now, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and so when I go out for it, I expect a half decent meal at the very least. By the time we got our meals, the eggs were lukewarm, the meat a little soggy and the toast downright terrible. Now, to make things worse, they tried to pass off instant decaf coffee as the percolated stuff. When we questioned them about it, they downright lied to us! Now … that is downright bad! You would think that a breakfast place would at least have decent coffee!

We have been going there for a few years now and you would think that us “regulars” would be treated well … we sure tip well … until today that is. We like the place but when the food comes out as bad as it did today, we have to re-evaluate our reason for going there.

The final straw was overhearing a loud-mouthed patron at the table next to us complaining about his Viagra lasting too long! Like I really give a rat’s ass about his erection!

It was a bad morning! I “gotta” find myself a real coffee!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Toronto Maple Leafs' Dedicated Fans

On any given day of the week, you can find, somewhere in the world, a stadium full of fanaticals. These individuals, more commonly known simply as fans, will drop down twenty, thirty, forty or more dollars just for the opportunity to yell, scream and cheer on the home town favorites. The word "fanatical" which is derived from the Latin word fānāticus means "A person who is ardently devoted to a particular subject or activity."

Now, how fanatical can some fans get? Now please keep in mind that we are not speaking about wild and uncontrollable people who assault players or referees or who brawl throughout the stadiums. We are talking about true sports fanatics. To me, the most cherished fans that a team could have are the loyal fans ... the fans who are at their team's side through thick as well as thin. They are the fans who cheer on the team's wins as well as losses, poor coaches as well as good coaches. These are the fans who are behind their team no matter what type of season they are having. These are the true fans.

Back in 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) won the Stanley Cup. They have not won the championship since then. Next year will mark 40 years without Lord Stanley's crowning. Since and even before 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs have played every home game to a sold out crowd at the Maple Leaf Gardens and the Air Canada Centre. These Leafs fans have stood by their team's side through thin, thin, thin and more thin! They cheer, they holler, they dress ... they just everything for their Maple Leafs! Now that's what I call dedication and loyalty! No where in the world will you find such fan support ... nowhere!

I do not believe that we will ever find this sort of dedication. Leafs fans, congratulations on your loyalty displayed over the last forty years! Your time will come when you can cheer and holler down Yonge Street while the Stanley Cup is paraded for all to see!

"He shoots! He scores!"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me"

Why is it always that when it rains it pours or that when things happen, they always seem to happen in threes? It reminds me of the song from the old TV show Hee–Haw where Buck Owens & Roy Clark sing the first stanza of the song “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me”

“Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me”

I have a friend who has been running into a few problems lately. Now, I have no doubt that all of us have similar problems but in her case, it has, once again happened in threes. Her van! Yes, her van. First she was rear-ended by some punk who couldn’t take the time to watch where he was going, secondly the clutch valve in her van gave up the ghost and thirdly, her intake manifold gasket started leaking for the third time (another three!). All of this adds up to about THREE thousand dollars!

Gloom, despair and agony ... THREE words that no doubt currently describes her life.

Now her gloom, despair and agony have made her think that she is just plain bad luck herself! In an email, she makes this statement:

“I don't think it's fair at all. I wish I wasn't such bad luck. It seems to follow me around like an old dog. I hope one day that changes but I fear if it hasn't yet, it never will.”

I have tried to encourage her but, as you probably know, it is difficult to pull someone out of mire. Sometimes it takes more than just one person to pull a friend out. I wish I knew just what to do to help her through this but sometimes when we are in crisis, we just have to work it out by ourselves while others stand by to help pick up the pieces.

Threes … maybe one day Lady Luck will turn the tide for her … somehow I think it will!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Man in the Tree

I have still been thinking about our visit of our friends from the “Old Country.” It has been reminding me of the few memories I have left when I was a child. Snippets here and there float through my memories of the days gone by. I cannot help but think of one memory that I shall never forget since it was such a traumatic experience for me.

It often behoves me how people can do the stupidest things known to man. We often hear the question, “What the hell was he thinking!?!” after we witness what a human mind can get a person to do.

At about the age of four or five, I was standing in the laneway of our house on Brunswick Road, watching a man cut down a tree. Now just picture this . . . Here is this man, sitting on a large limb up in the tree and leaning all his weight on the smaller limb that he is about to cut down. You get the picture? Well, at the age of five, I don’t think I did, but the man in the tree should have easily seen the problem with this! Needless to say, his back will never be the same again.

Now this wasn’t some small branch he was cutting; it was a fair size of about eight to ten inches in diameter. One would have thought that the considerable time it would have taken to cut through this bloody thing would have been more than enough time to figure out that this was not the best way to tackle this job.

So here I was in awe of this man as he tackled such a challenging task at hand. I heard the crack at the end of the cut and witnessed my first experience of watching a man, or anyone for that matter, doing a nose dive into solid pavement! Now I know for a fact that his flight into the ground was a hell of a lot quicker that the time it took to cut through the branch but I have no doubt he realized his mistake well before he hit the ground!

I don’t remember what became of this man. It is as if everything that happened after the nose dive was hidden from my memory. I am told there are reasons why this happens but as to why the aftermath of the fall is no longer apparent to me, I can only assume that that man took the fall pretty hard.

I suppose that the mind has the ability to protect us from tragedies as well as memories of them. During that experience, my mind protected me, the mind of the man in the tree didn’t!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Go Figure!

I fnid it smlpiy azainmg waht the mnid can do! I revieced an eimal the ohetr day taht I wluod hvae msiesd had I not ckecehd in my jnuk mial fodler. Irnaicloly, the propuse of a jnuk mial felodr is to detele the … you gesuesd it ….. jnuk mial and yet I sltil feel the need to go trgohuh and chcek to see waht I have had trhwon in the jnuk mial fodler. Srot of lkie gonig trghouh my tarsh can the enevnig berfoe grabgae day.

Well, tdoay was my lkcuy day as I fonud an eamil wchih I funod qiute inreetsting to raed. Mbaye one day I will be as lkucy the enenvig bfoere the tasrh geos out!

Now the conentt of the eamil is sowehmat irelervnat but the way it was persneted was waht ingritued me the msot. Epcext for the frist and lsat lteter of ecah wrod, all the ohter letetrs of the wrods in the bdoy of the eamil were jmbuled. To my aazememnt, hwoever, I culod raed the cnotnet qiute eialsy.

It semes taht it deos not mttaer waht odrer the lteters are in as lnog as the frist and lsat lteters are in the corcret palce. If tihs is the csae, you sohuld not hvae a polberm udernsatnidng what you are rendiag. I gesus it is bacuese our mnids do not raed each and eevry ltteer on its own but isetand raeds the wrods as a whloe.

Now tihs is no dubot good nwes to the wrlod of poor sleleprs but bad nwes for cmopaines lkie Mcrosfoit who will hvae to now cmoe up wtih selpl cekhercs taht mkae srue we hvae the rghit leetrts in the wrods!

Go figure!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


To some people, dreams, a string of images and emotions that occur in the brain during REM 2 sleep are more common than we imagine. Others swear that they foretell the future or that they are a direct result of what has already happened in the past. I have never really given much thought to dreams as I seem to forget most of them. Now how do I then even know I dream if I cannot remember them in the first place? Well, scientists say we all dream ... so you tell me! Well, last night was an exception! I had at least four dreams. Four dreams! And I remembered them all.

As I recall them this morning, I am in somewhat of a quandary. Assuming that they either foretell the future or are a direct result of my past experiences, I would have to wonder what my dreams from last night were really telling me. Hmmm ... I won't bore you by expounding on my dreams or trying to interpret them for you but suffice it to say that the thread that weaved them all together was that, in each of my dreams, people were either flippin’ irate with me or extremely disappointed in me. Now how the heck do I deal with that!

Anyways, last night is over and in no time the dreams of people's wrath and disappointment will dissolve out of my memory. I can only hope that, with this new day's experiences, tonight will reward me with dreams of people being happy with me.

Dream on!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Eyes Have It!

They say that our retinas are unique and, like fingerprints, no one else in the world have eyes identical to ours. Now that's quite an assumption considering that this statement has not been proven! I suppose, however, that until someone out there comes to me with an identical set of my eyes, I will have to assume that whoever "they" are is correct.
On second thought, for you all who are "up" on technology, you have more than likely heard of retinal scans. 2001 Space Odyssey, Star Trek plus many other sci-fi movies had them. Now, and actually since the 1930's, it has also been a reality. So maybe no one in the world has eyes identical to mine. Hmm.

Apart from the "biologicalness" of the eyes, there is a component that we are aware of every time we look somebody in the eyes. Eyes display emotion. Eyes display sincerity. Eyes display trust. I rely heavily on a person's eyes when I first meet them. Within moments I decide on whether I should trust them or even interact with them. For me, it is the eyes that have it.

This survival tactic however is ineffective when I am talking to a person with sunglasses on. What do I do then? Do I ask this individual to submit to having them removed from their face (their glasses that is!) so I can determine their trust value? I would certainly hope not! This "eye thing" is also ineffective when meeting someone over the Net. Now that I think about it, what about visually disabled individuals? Should they be discriminated against by me simply because I am unable to submit them to my eye test? I should most certainly hope not!

It is quite obvious that I now do have a problem! My method of deciding who to trust is most definitely flawed and that's not good since now I really don't know who to trust! I think though that regardless of what people believe or don't believe about the eyes, we can all say that our eyes are not only unique from a technological or biological perspective but most importantly they are a window to one's soul (at least I think so!) but that topic is for another day.

So, as far as I am concerned, regardless of all the conflicting positions in my mind . . . The eyes still have it!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Feel It Here In My Brain!

You feel it in your head; right in that part they call the frontal lobe. It is no coincidence that you feel it there. According to Wikipedia, this is the part of the brain that controls things such as impulses, language, memory, motor function, judgment, problem solving, sexual behavior, socialization and spontaneity.

There are times that I feel like trying to compress that area for some reason just like one would squeeze or stretch a leg muscles to relieve tension. I sometimes think that by doing that, I can relax the tension in there and in my life. I shut my eyes as tight as I possibly can, scrunch up my face and then relax. Does it work? I really don’t think so but what else can I do when I feel like this?

I hate feeling like this. I am not really sure what “this” is. I suppose that with all the stress that is in my life, I need some physical way out. I am looking for temporary measures and therefore suicide is definitely not the answer and never will be. The way I figure it, if I am so stressed out, I should stay alive and experience the logical consequences of the binds that I get myself into. At least pain keeps you awake and feeling alive which is exactly what I want to do in the first place!

I have no doubt that one day the pain will end and the feelings that cause me to scrunch up my face to relieve the frontal lobe will disappear and then I can experience the joys of a stress free life without the wrinkles in my forehead!

Yah right!