Friday, February 23, 2018

Trash Talk

No, not the usual associations with Trash Talk. You may feel free to read on without trepidation.

This is about language ... and also, winter: two themes for the price of one as it were.

First, in terms of language, permit me to note in passing that as far as I can tell, trash is the more common British word, while North Americans tend to refer to refuse as garbage.

But that's just in passing and not really what I am on about in this post. In my usual lexicon, I use garbage.

It's a collective noun: at least to some degree. Or at least we usually use it that way. It's like fish: most of us would say all the fish in the sea and not all the fishes. And my ears react to people saying deers as opposed to deer. To me, no matter how many of those critters that I see in the field, they are deer.

We use garbage so collectively that, normally, if we were just talking of one component of our collective garbage, we would say piece of garbage.

But my son-in-law [former] is a French Canadian. Come Garbage Day, he would collect all of the garbages in the house. (You see, spellcheck highlighted garbages as incorrect, just as it did deers above.)

I can see that it would make sense for someone coming to English as a second language. I mean, you go to different rooms to collect the various wastebaskets. It's all very plural, and we generally put s's* on things plural, so I can see why he called them garbages in this context. It makes perfect sense. But English often doesn't make perfect sense. It just is what it is.

Which brings me to part 2: garbage in winter.

Where to put it?

Yesterday, I had to partially block the driveway because there was no other place for it.

The sidewalk in front of our yard was already half covered with ice (you can't really see it in that photo) so to put it there would pretty well block off the whole sidewalk, which didn't seem appropriate.

Usually, I try to dig a little notch for the bins so that I can more or less keep them off the driveway to facilitate driving in and out without crashing into the bins. In fact, you can begin to see where I once had a notch in the photo, right next to the blue recycling bins.

But this was pretty well iced up yesterday, and I wasn't about to try to chisel out a notch. So we were forced to drive around the bins with care.

And that, my friends, is my very obscure post of the day.

* I found myself doing a search for the correct way to pluralize s, and it was confirmed that it is s's. Seems awkward though, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I had to do a bit of a double-take in my preparations for bed last night.

You see, I found that I had applied 5 separate ointments in 5 distinct places on my body.

While I always apply 1 for my dry eyes (an actual condition) to keep them somewhat lubricated during the long night, that is usually the extent of it. Honest.

Just recently, however, I have added a second ointment.

I know it sounds funny, but I have been using a nose gel because my nose has also been getting dry and stuffy overnight. This is temporary: not something that I will need to continue. In fact, I forgot just the night before, and I was fine. And as winter dryness abates, so will my stuffiness. At least so I trust.

But last night there were 3 other ointments brought into play.

One was for a mouth sore. I get cankers.

Another was to tame some sort of eruption on my face. It's partly covered by my facial hair, so I am not sure if it's a pimple (surely not), an ingrown hair, or something other.

Finally, I rubbed another ointment on my very sore knee.

I know it sounds crazy, like I am falling apart completely, and well ... that may be true.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tim, Mike and My Gap Year

It wasn't really a gap year. Not in the sense that I took a year to travel and hang out between high school and university. I had to work and accumulate funds if I were to head to university in the next year. I did that and saved enough to fund my first year: a feat which I find somewhat remarkable in retrospect.

My immediate supervisor in that job was Mike. He was only a few years older than me, and neither of us saw a future in the office jobs that we were doing. After about a year, I went off to university, but he had departed for the provincial police even earlier.

(an apparent digression, but not really)

There was a hockey player who opened a few donut and coffee shops. His name was Tim Horton. Although some thought that it was ridiculous to try to make it in business selling donuts, his franchise became wildly successful to the point that it now dominates the Canadian coffee shop and donut scene. For example, we have two franchises in our town, and there is also an express (just drive-though) outlet on the highway, so make it 2.5 franchises. There are more than 4600 franchises across the country.

He had played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in his heyday, but in 1974 he was 44 years old and was winding his hockey career down by playing for the Buffalo Sabres. On this day, February 21 1974, he was killed in a car crash somewhere between Niagara Falls and Toronto.

(sometime earlier or later)

Although I don't recall for certain, I think this next incident occurred earlier, even though I get to it last in this post. However, in being reminded of Horton's accident on this anniversary morning, I was, in turn, reminded of Mike.

I was home either from university or later visiting my parents. The late news was on the TV, and I heard about a fatal accident and Mike was the casualty. It was the on the same highway between Niagara Falls and Toronto, and I believe they were both closer to the Niagara end along the south shore of Lake Ontario.

It was pure chance that I happened to be home that night and that I had the news on and that Mike's name was mentioned, but now Tim, Mike and My Gap Year are all connected in my mind.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Animal Clips 2

Cashnip Kitty will take your money, but it's all for a good cause.

A oddball cat being odd with a ball.

A cat sort of saved by dogs, and now she acts like one.

A cat guarding its Valentines treats.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Posting Postings

I'm not going to wade into the gun debate too deeply, but I will repost a few items that I have come across on social media.

This first one is from David Frum. He's a conservative who served as speech writer under Bush. But he is also a fellow who does not exactly hold a high view of current Republicans, and certainly not of their president as he has shown in his book, Trumpocracy.

I supply that background to note that I take his musings seriously. I mean when a conservative chastises conservatives, it piques my interest. I find it credible in other words.

This particular post has to do with vetting gun licence applicants. It works pretty well in Canada, and I can't see why it is a stumbling block in America.

I don't know or follow this person but it was re-posted by someone whom I do follow. To me, assuming the reported numbers are correct,  it speaks of the government completely disregarding the will of the majority of Americans in favor of the gun lobby which has bought their votes. Does anyone think that this is how a democracy is supposed to work?

However, this last one takes the cake. When a friend posted this, I almost lost it, but I I managed to control myself. I didn't rant and rave back at her. There was no point. But I will rant and rave at you. Not really, but I would like to point that it is (a) untrue and (b) theologically asinine.

It's just not true! Students can take their bibles to school and pray if they want to. It's just that the school and their employees are not to promote religion (although many still do). For example: if a group of football players decide that they want to pray for a touchdown, they can. It's just that a coach can't call them together and lead them, or even participate for that matter (although some do). Why is this so hard for people to grasp?

Permit me to move on to the theological part though.

Oh my goodness, what does this say about God?

Do such posters purport that the omnipotent God is saying, "Because you can't officially promote me, I am unable to cross the threshold? I mean, I am God and I really want to help out, but I am unable to."

Really?! Unable?!

Or is the vision here that God has a right to be miffed, that he has hurt feelings? So is he is just stamping his feet in a huff with his back turned, saying, "OK, so if you won't officially invite me in, I am going to give carte blanche to anyone who wants to kill your babies. I could stop them if I wanted to, but I am pissed, so there!"

In either case, is this what people think of their God? Or do some people not really think at all?

I don't think you really have to answer that last part. We all know the answer.

Friday, February 16, 2018

British Predilections

According to Grammar Girl, writing or saying among is much more correct than using amongst for Americans.

Perhaps I read too many British novels, and I confess to having a strong predilection for British TV, but I have become quite fond of amongst.

Of course, I am also Canadian, and I can often not ascertain what our stance should be. We tend to spell like Brits (e.g. honour as opposed to honor, or theatre rather than theater), but our lexicon is much more Yankee-ish (e.g trunk vs. boot, theatre vs. cinema, or pharmacy vs. chemist).

I feel betwixt and between as it were, and I scratch me 'ead a lot when it comes to both speaking and writing.

As was the case with fly-less underwear, life continues to confuse me.

But whatever the level of my perplexity, I find myself increasingly drawn to amongst, so I will likely continue to use it — at least sometimes and probably more in prose than speech.

There you have it; I wouldn't make a good American.

Now, perhaps you will permit me write of my fondness for whilst over while. Ah, maybe not, eh?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Odd Pairings

Let me be brief.

I needed some underwear, and when I saw these →
on sale at AMAZingON (heh heh) for approximately half price, I ordered 2 packages of 2.

They arrived very quickly. I opened one pack and tried a pair on, and they fit nicely. (I prefer not to write fitted as the past tense of fit, and I apologize if this offends you. not really) So, I unwrapped them all and pitched the packaging.

Next day, I donned a pair (why is one thing referred to as a pair, I ask) on as my undies du jour (see what a good boy I am by changing daily) and continued to enjoy their comfort.

And, I went about my day.

... sometime later ... it was time to skip to my Loo (as it were), and that's when I began to fumble about my briefs perplexedly.

I fumbled about looking for the fly. Which I never did find.

This is a first in my life — undies sans fly.

Although I can sort of see it now in the photo, when ordering I could tell from neither the photo nor the description that they were fly-less.

Here am I, 70 years young, and I still have no clue about what in thunderin tarnation is going on in this world.

I can cope through this adversity, but it does seem odd.

Of course, since I am a bit odd myself, I guess me and my undies are a good fit ... so as if to speak.