Dear Misery

Hi, it’s done, it’s easy once you know the password! Ya, I had a few problems, only took a few days to sort out. A small price however in this age of expediency hey? Not the first time I’ve had to deal with an e-mail transfer. They don’t come along that often and the trouble is always the same. First I forget the password to get into my online banking, so I guess once, twice and three times. Then I’m out. Next option – Forgot Password? You get a “Go to Jail” card. Guilty until proven innocent. I need to answer questions to prove my identity. Identify my first dog, identify where my first job was, identify my first car, what’s my mother’s maiden name. I generally score 99% on this part, but anything less than 100% is not recognized by a machine. A capital letter or hyphen is left out and then I have to contact a real human who then asks me questions I can’t answer, like how much money is in our chequeing account, (one of three chequeing and eight other different accounts and umpteen savings vehicles laughingly called investments) which I don’t know because our records are all online. So I guess…. no good, then we go to the next step which is to ask what was the last cheque written on the account and how much, which I don’t know because my wife writes the cheques, I never use it. II ask the real human to pause while I ask my wife and he objects, it must be me, now, here, on the telephone… so I guess, Fortunately I do remember one thing about all that – we only use the cheque book to write cheques to our church. We’re Catholic and we don’t give a lot ( we’re strong on tradition here) and I suspect she’s been writing out $15 to $20 cheques weekly for some years now. I’m close.( we gave less) Then the human gives me a temporary password.

An hour has passed now and supper’s on the table. I try one last time to get into online banking and I’m successful, so I’m given enough time to change my temporary password to what I thought it originally should have been, no problem, I’ve had that password for years so let’s just change it back. Who in the hell altered it in the first place? After supper with just 10 minutes to go before I go to a very important meeting ( actually I play old timers Hockey) I bring up the e-mail with the transfer link. So I go through the process and when I enter the keyword to the question it’s wrong. Try it three different ways. I may have been told but I forgot. Game over – “tilt”! Lost my dime. Come back tomorrow! Just enough time to shoot off an e-mail to clarify that answer. Who would have thought you’d put the two names together without a space?

So now it’s tomorrow and armed with a new password ( my regular one really) and the correct answer to the question I got on the “ electronic time saver” and accomplished it within a few minutes, which it how it should work. My problem is that I have 63 passwords for different things and I’m damned if I can remember either of them except the one for my telephone message service – only that because I use it five times daily to retrieve important directives from telemarketers.

I won’t get into my problems with an ageing computer, (it’s 7) old programming (it’s all 7 too) and my new scanner / fax / printer. Jeeses jesses jeeses. In fact that’s one of my passwords! Yes! Really! Out of frustration after trying to set up a g-mail account and finding every password I tried had been taken! I was at it for 40 minutes when I typed that in and submitted it! Who’d have thought it? Nobody has ever claimed that password until now. I don’t use g-mail anyway but I had to have it to go use Google hangout to complete an interview. Did I mention how important that interview was? I haven’t used Google hangout since either! Do you suppose I should hang on to that password? I don’t remember it anyway. Always I heed the advice – I never write the password down, it could end up being seen by somebody else and used for nefarious purposes! Do you realize how many important transactions are done on Google Hangout every day? I didn’t!

We’re likely going to need a password to die. Not only that you’ve got a few billion dying ahead of you and all the obvious choices will be used up. I don’t want to raise undue concern however you might want to be thinking about it now just to get a jump on it.

With the greatest concern for humanity and a touch of something approaching cynicism


Dandelions! Again!!

Anyone taking note of the amazing number of Dandelions all over Gander? What happened? Lawn Care Chemical companies outlawed? I think the whole town is suddenly amazing, it’s yellow everywhere! Beautiful.

2012 Summer Olympics

So after all that summer fuss in London, England, who was your favourite athlete? Maybe you don’t have one but perhaps you’ve one or more athletes who stand out in your mind.?

My enthusiasm for sport, especially Olympic events has me watching most of the really exciting TV surrounding the biennial extravaganzas and I get fairly pumped for the running. So there I was, on a fine summer’s morning on August 4th, watching the coverage of near day old groundbreaking, history making sport events which for me and I’m sure millions of other viewers were game changing and singularly the most important sport events to happen in modern times.


On the 23rd of August Somalian runner Zamzam Mohamed Farah ran in the women’s 400m and finished nearly half a minute after the winner. In a Muslim-suitable track outfit designed to cover most of her body, she took on some of the best in the world – and lost. Zamzam, 21, was one of only two Somalian athletes at the games, the only female – and she was her country’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. Winner Francena McCorory (US) finished first in 50.78 seconds. Zamzam came last with a time of 1min 20.48sec, with the next-to-last competitor a good 25 seconds ahead of her.

Later that day Afghanistan’s Tahmina Kohistani participated in heat four of the women’s 100 metres. Her time was nearly four seconds slower than Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record of 10.49 seconds. The 23-year-old raced in a headscarf in the national colours of red, green and black long-sleeved top and bottoms.

So, why were these two runners so remarkable? I’m being rhetorical as I imagine the question will be raised in some minds.

Simply stated, these two women, and a few other Muslim women like them who participated in these particular games come from the most divided and repressive societies on the planet, whose populations made it all but impossible for these brave young competitors to consider these life threatening undertakings and the prejudice they experienced at home was repeated by many along their lengthy roads as they travelled to these games. But while the roar of supportive noise Kohistani experienced in the Olympic Stadium demonstrated widespread western acceptance it contrasted deeply to the abuse she received from men while training in Kabul. Her fight and those of her Muslim sisters in sport is far from over. They need our support. They need voices from the enlightened areas of this planet to scream open cracks in the foundations of religious and cultural bias which so starkly divide the genders and repress female human beings.

We, as human kind have had to fight for enlightenment through all of history in order that the human race elevate itself from the muck so that one day we may collectively attain peace and perfection of mind. That is our highest aspiration. We have come a long way. Even after world slave trades, civil wars and race riots however some still espouse and support inequality amongst races. After the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the Jewish genocide and 911 terrorist activities still there are those who claim a balanced state of mind and forward the idea of some religions having validity but not others. And how many put forward the ideas of inequality amongst the genders, that most ubiquitous and ancient prejudicial failing of human kind? Sadly, too many.

100 metres, 400 metres, run girls, yours are the longest tracks. Now however we must make this race a relay. Others, we, the enlightened will carry the torch from here in, thanks for blazing such a trail.

Want the Leash Back

Do you want the leash back?


I had my dog to the veterinarian recently. It was the second time in two months, the first was the result of his propensity to eat anything, he developed pancreatitis. This second thing was as a result of his irrepressible urge to socialize with other dogs, he ran into the path of an approaching car to get at another dog that was being walked down the road. In those two episodes the question of the animals discipline comes to question. Indeed. He’s a great dog, loves to please but at times is completely overtaken by his more base desires – greed and lust; a dog at heart.

So, there I was again in the vets office, hoping the bones were not fractured, which they were not thankfully. Coming out of the office into the lobby of the facility my dog made directly for an old small hound with long ears, a thing that had long unworn, un-clipped claws, evidence of neglect, which fell sideways to accommodate the tread of the paws. This poor tired old thing had a teardrop shaped growth hanging from the lower right eyelid, however its eyes were still those of a warm loving animal and the gentleness of it’s soul was transparent through it’s look, unmarred by this thing hanging there. There were sore weeping patches with similar small growths along it’s right forelimb too, making it a sort of pariah there in the waiting room. The guardians, two large fellows seemingly of middle age, short or no hair, well muscled, working class men hardened to the reality before them steeled their emotions for the task at hand.

The dog whined to me as if I were its last hope. It would not settle until I came over to rub behind its ears and soothe it. It gazed at me with the certain knowledge that whatever it was here for it was not good. The mood of the two men betrayed that, these big chaps who had likely never talked to it the way they were doing now, that air of finality, that closeted emotion.

There is a common belief amongst people that they are superior thinkers to animals. While this is true for some of the higher brain functions in humans the most accurate readings of intent in living beings are not those observed in or by humans at all. They are instinctual, done at a more base level and other animals know immediately what another being intends. Dogs are better at this than humans because humans lie, they act and they hide. Dogs don’t. Dogs see everything just as it is. In this way they are clearer thinkers than humans because they don’t waste time with subterfuge, with deceit. A dogs intent, or for that matter that of a horse, a cat, a bear, a moose and any other of our kin is clearly evident in their eyes and expression. When that animal looked at me I knew right away that if fully understood the reason it was there. It’s just that it had that last hope in seeing me, a stranger with sympathetic eyes and a soothing tone that there might be some way out of its fate.

It was pulled to the doctors office by the young receptionist with the help and encouragement of both men, and resisted of course, but as if to admit fate had no recourse dutifully the aged hound went the last steps on its own. The men were visibly emotional now, not given to weeping yet, but tears were starting to well in the eyes, their swallowing constricted by that lump in the throat. Those men just wanted out.

The last correspondence to me suggested that the arrangements had been made and theirs was a task to simply bring Marie to the guillotine, not the purser and not the ruler, simply the labour force, the front line workers who face the task head on.

The young receptionist’s last question to them; “Do you want the leash back?”

The answer: “No”.


None of us want the leash back, but it comes nevertheless with the dog.



What shows! What spectacles! Indeed “spectacles” seems to understate these events. I can’t wait for the Olympics, summer or winter to come round. I wait in anticipation for what I consider to be the biggest shows on earth. There has not been, is not, and won’t likely ever be bigger show events than those opening and closing ceremonies! It’s like Circue du Soleil meets Rock ‘ n Roll super shows and it’s all jumped up on steroids for a worldwide audience.

So I wonder how it is anyone could be in critical of these massive unwieldy largely volunteer extravaganzas. I mention this as I heard someone detracting from the most recent London opening ceremonies because they don’t care much for Paul McCartney!

I want to say “ Didn’t you see the rest? Doesn’t it amaze you that one person has been able to create a song, and 46 years later is able to get 80,000 people in one venue to sing along with it? Never mind the approximately 1 billion watching it through their tele’s humming along in unison. Doesn’t this whole thing astound you? Don’t you get the cold shivers watching 10 thousand volunteers working like parts of a huge machine to carry this off ? Think of the rehearsals, the organization, the creation, the writing, the costuming, the set, stage and venue construction, the lighting and fireworks! Think of this massive human endeavour for a brief moment to entertain you and I.”

All this too as a reminder that we are one world, one community, and while the architects of conflict plot to bugger us over border and profit, religion and race, this is one civil event in which the whole world participates and levels us all to exemplify the best humanity has to offer one another.

The closing ceremonies too were a great event, but if you chance a comparison to the opening two weeks previous be reminded that the day before they put that massive stage and set in place, soccer games were still being played on that field. No time for rehearsals. It gives me a slight pause to reflect.

As a person who has spent 40 years of his life in entertaining folks, playing music, singing, writing, joking and acting, I am humbled by these events. To consider what it is to entertain on a world stage one might just as well hope to circumnavigate the oceans in a kayak. I don’t know where to start. I’m so full of inspiration and so reduced in my insignificance at the same interval.

May we always let the games begin…with a great big show! Thank you Brits, these last two shows were really incredible. Next…Russia, then Brazil! I can’t wait.