Beggar Charlie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post-Halloween, Pre-Christmas

November. I can't remember much going on for this month. Lately, there's been Movember where men grow moustaches, but of course, I can't do that.

I try to think back to when I was a kid to remember what I thought about November then. After Halloween, Thanksgiving (Canadian) and my brother's birthday in October, there's not much. I just had to last until December when the really good stuff begins.

Ten days off from school, prezzies, the tree and lights and dinner with grandma and grandpa and any other family present in White Rock for the season.

So what's to look forward to in November for Canadians who don't have Thanksgiving that month?

Well, there's the weather. It's not too cold. It's not too snowy. Just enough to get kids going with the snowplay. For winter athletes it's a great time, skating, skiing, snowmobiling.

I never did any of those when I was a kid. But there was the fun of going to the beach. Okay it was cold. But the waves were much bigger in winter and it could be lots of fun.

I guess I see November as a preparation month. Preparing for winter play, preparing for a great holiday. All the same, I'm glad it's almost over for another year.

Oh, and one last thing, Captivating Tales is a 6-in-1 tween/Young Adult book package of over 1000 pages for $1.99 for Black Friday until December 2nd. So that's one good thing for me this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Captivating-Tales-Tween-YA-Bundle-ebook/dp/B00PR810K4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416956371&sr=8-1&keywords=captivating+tales

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Upper Roper Millionaire

So I was finished my writing for the day a few days ago, and I thought I'd type in my old address in White Rock, just to see the photos of it.

We lived on Upper Roper Ave. in an old house with a post coming up through the floor. Dad got a loan from the bank and he built, or had built, a house in the backyard. We then pulled down the house we were in and moved back.

It had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It had a fireplace.

I remember it as a nice house, one that was well heated, unlike our old one, and big enough to move around in a bit.

Dad built it for $10,000 dollars. When I last checked it in the summer, it had sold for $780,000 dollars. From such humble beginnings.

But I enjoyed looking at the photos to see what had changed and what others had added so I brought it up again.

It seems the guy who bought it in April had flipped it. He had re-done so much that it was listed as being built in 2014. I don't know how much work it takes to make something forty years old be listed as new but I know it now has six bedrooms and two kitchens. It has a basement now, something we never had at all.

It's price is over $3,000,000 dollars. Wow. I don't know if Dad is looking down from beyond at his old house. I don't know if spirits care about such things. But if he were alive I'd tell him just to get his reaction.

Just as an aside. We have bundles from MuseItUp Publishing. My story, Beggar Charlie is bundled with five others and the whole package of over 1000 pages is only $1.99. Here's the link if you want to check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/Captivating-Tales-Tween-YA-Bundle-ebook/dp/B00PR810K4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416475254&sr=8-3&keywords=captivating+tales

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Salonika

I watched the Remembrance Day service on TV today. It made me think of my grandfather, who fought in the British army. He was in Salonika which never gets any airtime, even in shows about WWI.

The one thing I think is that although for the rest of us, the war ended on such and such a date, for the soldiers, it never ends. My grandfather couldn't stand to kill anything after he came to Canada, even when he had to put meat on the table.

They lived in the woods so they had to get their own meat. Grandpa had others shoot his game for him.

Another thing, he hated mules. They had a mule train in Salonika and he claimed the officers treated the mules better than the enlisted men. So a perfectly harmless animal became his bug-a-boo. Also, he was bitten by a mosquitoe and came down with malaria. This weakened his heart which was the reason he came to Canada.

He was also in France, almost killed, he was only saved because he had swapped belt buckles with an Australian. At one time he was reported killed and a note sent to my grandma, but it was another Albert Edward Smith who had been killed.

I don't want to go on and on, it's just that we should remember all those who can't sleep at night or other symptoms of war shock, etc, all the time, not just on one day. I often think of my grandfather and what he went through and am very grateful for his sacrafice of his mental health for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Purity Movements

Because I don't think like other people on certain issues, I've learned to keep my mouth shut a lot. But I have an interest that I can't keep quiet about because I'm not sure of the answer.

You see, humans seem to have always had a belief that they can purify themselves and I wonder what it is they're feeling when they think they're pure.

For instance, Native Americans used to burn tobacco to purify. Tobacco? The cancer-causing plant? Pure? They're not the only ones. Think of today's vegetarians. They firmly believe they can purify their bodies by abstaining from meat and processed foods.

While I think they do have a healthy diet. I just don't see how they can feel they are pure. In fact, what is purity anyway? Humans are secretions, oils, waste and dead skin. How can any living human be pure?

I say I keep my mouth shut. Mostly because people are offended by what they consider purity. As the religious sex taboos. They think I'm talking Victorian morality here and though that is also a purity movement, I don't understand why they assume I agree with purity movements when I say I'm fascinated by the idea of them but that's how people take it.

They think I agree that someone who sins and then confesses and does penance can somehow be made pure. My thought is, I don't understand what they suppose purity is but somehow, every human civilization has this concept. It goes around and around and around.

Like the temperance movement of the nineteenth century. Leeching or letting out bad blood in medicine.

I'll have to do some more thinking about this to figure it out but until I do, I'll just keep my lips zipped.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pillowshock

It's old age, or older age. What I'm talking about is those days when I wake up with a headache because sometime during the  night my spine twisted on my pillow.

It happens when you get older that things don't hold together as well as before. Now as far as my spine is concerned, I've always had problems with a twisted spine. But when I was young,  my body compensated for it. I did have problems with walking sometimes but not all the time.

Most often, I was well and able to do what I wanted. My chiropractor fixed the whole thing but now, because I'm older, it doesn't take much to push it out of wack and give me grief.

There are a lot of other things that go wrong when you're older, too. Your eyesight, for one. I used to be able to read the bus numbers even when the bus was five blocks away. No more. Now I have trouble focusing on anything near and far. I have to take my glasses off the read the small print on medicine bottles and the like. You know that small print.

It takes me back to the days my grandmother would ask me to read the small print on her labels. I felt handy doing it but wasn't quite convinced that old age would ruin your eyes. I determined that wouldn't happen to me.

And then there's skin things. Little white patches of dead skin that appear on your legs and other places. Skin tags and brown blotches along with little burst blood vessels.

No, old age is no place for beauty. Beauty is definitely a young person's game, sometimes it's the only thing they've got because they haven't lived enough to have anything else.

I'll just mention one more thing about old age. Arthritis. Well, you can have that when you're young but mostly it's for old people. I have in in my knee and hands and when I'm really old, I doubt whether I'll be able to pick up my coffee cup or type.

So I guess old age  is the time for memories, of remembering all the fun and wonderful parts of your life. That's the one thing I can look forward to.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

People's Couch

I think I would agree that Canadian television has improved. When I was a child, all we really had was Hockey Night In Canada and Wayne And Shuster specials. Both were awful.

Now, there's Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys. One, about a small town in Saskatchewan and the other, a trailer park in Nova Scotia. Okay, they're silly but better than Wayne and Shuster.

But far and away the best show is People's Couch. This little show from Toronto has cameras set up in people's home and taped them watching television. Yes. A show about watching television.

So why do I like this show? It taught me something.

I remember a movie, the monster tears open the side of a building and there's a family watching television, they're so glued to the tv that they don't notice the monster or the hero fighting it.

And that was my view of myself. A slightly vacant, staring with dead eyes at the screen, person who should be doing something.

So what does People's Couch teach? That people are engaged while watching tv. Their eyes are full of twinkling interest as they lean forward, they laugh, they smile. They engage with each other. And forget the idea that they're not aware of their surroundings.

Also, one older lady and her husband were watching a show where a gay guy tries to commit suicide after not being able to change, like his psychiatrist wanted him to. The lady comments that gays are the bravest people because everyone was against them. Now where, if not television, would she have got that information?

So knowing now that my idea of myself was skewed, that I'm not a blob in front of the tv makes me feel better and I wonder how I missed it. Now I'm a proud couch potato.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Syndrome Syndrome

I've had a joke for many years. Whenever I'm asked about something that went on that for some reason I didn't know about, I say I don't know because I have Schultz Syndrome. You remember Sargeant Schultz, don't you? He was a character on Hogan's Heroes and whenever Hogan or one of his boys did something that would embarrass the Germans if they knew about it, Schultz would say, in his guilt. "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing." Thereby he wasn't responsible for what went on.

So I'm joking right. But I'm finding that young people have no idea who Schultz is. They take it seriously. 'Really, I've never heard of that. Is it like ADD?" Or some such comment. Then others accuse me of being an idiot when I explain it, it seems I have to also explain it's a joke.

I mean, there is a Peter Pan Syndrome, right? For real. Thought up by a genuine psychologist. In fact, these days, there's a syndrome for everything.

My sister isn't fooled. Once someone asked if her grandson had a reading syndrome because he never reads books. A reading syndrome? No, he's just a kid who doesn't like to read. There have no doubt been thousands of kids throughout history who didn't like to read. A lot who didn't like school, too, without having a syndrome.

Back to my joke. It's also a statement about how so many normal things are considered syndromes now-a-days. So I've thought up a new syndrome, called Syndrome Syndrome, it's the need for people to find and explain everything by way of a syndrome.

Or, the inability to see one's annoying behaviour as an extension of their annoying personality. And I think we all have it.