Beggar Charlie

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Weighty Read

About two years ago, I started a weight-loss program at a hospital in Ottawa. I worked as I lost 30 pounds. Unfortunately my weight has begun to creep back up. But I'm not giving up. I go once a month to a support and information group to get further info on nutrition. Next time I go, I'm going to mention a book I just read. It's called Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. It has a lot of good tips. Like using a shrimp fork for meals so that you don't take as much on your fork and into your mouth. My group had never mentioned that. Smaller plates I already knew about. There's also much about exercise in this book and that interested me although I admit I'm not really an exerciser. The only way to get me to exercise is to take me out in the woods where you have to walk to a toilet and go up and down rises to wash your dishes and yourself. To me, I don't want to walk unless there's something to look at. Like trees, lakes and animals. Nature. I love nature. In the city I do walk but I find myself stopping to look in stores. I'm really interested in window shopping. So A.J. Jacobs solution to city life was to run his errands. He also did things like squat to wait as bus stops and talk to children. I might try to incorporate some of these tips since it doesn't seem like I'll be going out to the woods anytime soon. So if your like me and you need a boost for motivation, just remember there's all sorts of sites on the internet and a lot of wonderful books. I'm not plugging the book I mentioned but it is good, if your interested. Don't forget to take a look at the contest on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bonding Exercises

It's nice to share with someone you're close to. But sometimes what you want to be close about doesn't mesh with the other person.

For a long while I wanted to do 'bonding exercises' with David. I would set up two pieces of paper with two pens. Then I would say, "you write down ten things..." that was as far as I would go when David would say. "I'm not doing that."

So I gave up on that. But I did have another idea. I would make tuna fish sandwiches and buy cookies and we would drive to a place where ducks and geese congregate and eat them looking out at the Ottawa River.

No way, he said.

But then one day we got a message from our landlord's. They were cleaning out the parking garage and needed all the cars out by seven AM. Here was my chance.

The day before, I made the tuna fish sandwiches and bought cookies, four of them from the bakery. I put everything in the fridge to wait.

David was not happy about having to by up by seven but he did agree to go to the DesChenes Rapids which is where the ducks are.

So we get there. David is in a bad mood. He never gets up so early.

I hand him a tuna fish. "I'm not hungry."

So I ate mine and asked again. "I don't want it."

So I ate it. Then I brought out the cookies. Two over to David.

"I'm not hungry. I don't want them."

So I ate them. Along with mine. We sat for minutes in silence.

"This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be." I said. He looked at me like I was crazy. In a few minutes he spoke.

"I'll have my sandwich now."

"I ate it."

"Can I have my cookies, then?"

"I ate them, too."

He settled back. I could almost hear his brain ticking. At eight he announced he was going to visit his friends who own a garage.

"I'll drive you home."

He dropped me off and then went off. Hungry, I suppose, and a bit angry. I think there is no real moral to this story except, don't eat the tuna fish.

I've given up my 'bonding exercises'. I guess since we stayed together after that, we're good and bonded.

Now, my ebook, Beggar Charlie is on a giveaway. 53 Books, 1 winner

It's on Rainy is the Dark Blog 

The HTML code is down below.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Two-way Street Is Really An Avenue

One of the problems immigrants to Canada have is Canadian attitude towards old age. The older people themselves don't feel respected like they did when they lived in whatever country they came from.

I have to say, I don't feel that much sympathy for them. Let me explain before you all think I hate old people.

Now, one of the things I don't like about Western culture is the idea that to show intelligence, one needs to get away with things. Thinking that if someone's word is not taken as valuable it is okay to commit crimes on them because they're stupid.

Well, I find that idea alive in old folks in Canada. Along with use what you've got to get what you want idea that also I find a pain to deal with.

This just means that an old person who feels that way will pretend to be a feeble person or innocent because they're old after they've done something like harass you. It bothers me. I remember one old teacher at an art school I went to. His 'persona' was that of a sweet old man. Yet he would sexually harass women whom he felt were beneath him.

I know that's a strong statement, even an accusation, but it's true. That's why I didn't mention the school or the teacher's name.

Now that they've passed elder abuse laws it can be even worse with old people being rude, knowing they can always call the cops and say you're abusing them.

I don't mean to suggest that all Canadians are like that but it happens more than you'd like to admit. It's annoying and disgraceful that perfectly strong elders are pretending they're in the category of feeble or sick and weak old folks that actually do need the law to protect them.

Now I do want to say, I do believe in respect, but of they type I've noticed in good Native families. With Natives they listen to what their elders say and treat them well but old people do not take advantage of this privilege. They in turn love and respect the young ones. They don't humiliate the young like I've seen some Western people do, and they think about what comes out of their mouth so they don't hurt the little ones.

I think good Euro-centric thinkers do that, too, but still there's so much abuse of the system. I just try to remember that not only is respect a two-way street, it's an avenue to show love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Toronto Zoo

Always around this time, when Christmas is just around the corner, I think of something: the Toronto Zoo is open every day except Christmas.

I don't know why I think of that except that I used to go there every two years or so. It's quite a trip from Ottawa. The six hour bus ride to Toronto, then, once in Toronto, a couple of hours ride on another bus to the zoo.

I always caught the Voyager bus in Ottawa at 11:00 PM. I figured I could sleep all  night and wake up refreshed at my destination. One year I got on the bus and a little, slim drunk got on behind me.

"Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto." He chirped happily. Then he said it again two minutes later and a couple of minutes after that, too. In fact he kept on all the way to Kingston, Ontario, merrily calling out, "Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto."

At Kingston, there is a stop at an overnight diner where passengers can get something to eat and drink. Most people got off to get something. The little man did, too. He got a pie and headed back to the bus with his plate and pie.

I was sitting there when another passenger came up to complain about him, then another man came up.

"People like that need their own bus. They need their own bus company and their own bus." This man looked like a nice man, a decent hard-working man, but he was very angry. We all got back on the bus.

The little man was still eating his pie when the bus pulled out. I wondered if he knew that he wasn't supposed to eat on the bus or take the plate with him. When he finished he lay the plate on the seat next to him and went to sleep.

I couldn't sleep right away and didn't get to sleep until 3:00 AM. I woke up as the bus parked in Toronto. I waited for the man to start cheering or something but he just got off and walked away. I drifted over to the all-night cafe. It was 5:00 AM. I never saw the little man again. He was not on the bus home.

I went the zoo and took photos of the animals. I was into painting then and wanted to have some of my own photos to work from instead of getting a magazine.

But I'll never forget  my bus ride to Toronto that December.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ferguson Falls

In watching the marches about Ferguson I began to realize that I don't really know much about racism in America. They say stop shooting black men. So are they saying that the authorities are terrrorizing black men or are they saying that they are so afraid of black men that their first response is to shoot them?

The first one is unacceptable. So is the second one but in that case, maybe you can change attitudes. It's been done before. I think in America, the fear is based on the fact that everyone has a gun and can use it.

We see that is true in all the mass shootings, even though black men do not seem to be doing these shootings. All the culprits I remember are white. But I think that is still the fear.

In Canada, blacks claim to be discriminated against, too. I always say that I don't see it and they laugh at me. But I've changed my mind about that and now think they're right.

Up in the Great White North, however, I believe racism is based on cultural reasons. Most of the early Canadians were from England or Scotland and these ethnic cultures were considered 'Canadian'.

The Irish, the Quebecois and everyone who came after has felt the sting of not 'being Canadian' because of their culture.

Take Sikhs for instance, they wanted to wear their turbans and carry their ceremonial knives when they became cops. They weren't allowed. Not Canadian. Not turbans certainly. That's foreign. So they took it to court and won. Now Sikh mounties wear their turbans with a yellow band around it to designate who they are.

I passed one on the street and noticed his ceremonial knife and warrior-caste certainty that anyone who made trouble would find himself in a bad place. They are such good cops that it makes me glad such a small thing was solved.

As far as blacks are concerned, the main problem seems to stem from the fact that they still think about slavery. I've met many people upset about that and I never took it as racism before. But then I thought about the saying, 'those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it' and thought, well they're saying that it's not going to happen again and they're remembering history, right? That's what we're told we should be doing, right.

So that's what it's like to remember, to be angry and aware. Is that a bad thing?

But I do know that there are many people who are not racist, who love black people as they love East Indians and all others. And I'm glad to say a lot of those work in book stores. I love people into books and non-racists, too.

I'm just hoping that this ethnic idea of Canada falls, that other cultures dances and such will be seen as Canadian, too. I mean, Vietnamese love Canada as  much as the next person so shouldn't their culture be considered 'Canadian', too?  I think so.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Wrong Convictions

Detective Nicholas Power. Wait...who?

He was once known as the Sherlock Holmes of the maritimes and had a %100 case solved rate. Fantastic, right?

Well. A researcher has gone in and looked at all his cases and researched his life. Remember Princess Diana? How she had to read all the newspapers for what they said about her and was affected if it was bad?

That was the same state of mind of Detective Nicholas Power. And he must have been severely flawed because he would do anything to get those good press stories about himself.

I'll explain. His method of crime solving was to look at the evidence, such as it could be collected in the late 1800's, then think about who had done it. Once he decided a certain person was guilty, he happily suppressed contrary evidence that proved innocence and coerced witnesses to lie.

He would do anything to support his decision of who the guilty party was. A good book written about this is The Lynching Of Peter Wheeler. He was accused by Powers of murdering a girl. He had been to see her the night before, in the morning when he went back, Peter found her murdered.

The problem is, she was seen alive after he left her and his whereabouts are definitively known from that time on. He went home and everybody saw him there. There's no way he could have killed the girl. But he hung based on what Nicholas Power said and did.

Did I mention that all the people hung because of Detective Power were dark-skinned?

This cop had a definite Jim-Crow darkness inside of him.

It's not that we can bring them back or change history in any way but I do think that it is time to have a good look at these old cases. It is thought now that not one of Power's suspects was guilty. He made the whole thing up.

The sad thing is, these men are still considered guilty, their cases still on the books at the National Archives. It really is time to change history.

I would feel a lot better if history could give these men back their good names.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Domestic Violence

While watching a television show I'd never seen before, a lady guest came on who said she had started a movement to end domestic violence and the blaming of victims.
Sounds good, right?

Well, I have to say, I don't believe the gallant solution will work, ever. I mean, there are  just some people who have problems who stay in dysfunctional relationships. Men, too, stay when they shouldn't. After all, why would anyone want to live a life where you have to hit another person to get them to do what you want?

And there's another reason why the law can't start making things safe for only women. You shouldn't hit a woman, right? But how about women who think it's cute and funny to smash a fist into their boyfriend's face just because he spoke to another girl.

You can't ever dismiss the reality that people will take advantage of any law that favors them. How about a jealous girlfriend who deletes her boyfriend's computer work? Is that to be condoned? It may not sound like domestic violence but it is an assault on personal property and intellectual property.

I'm just saying that as long as society 'gets away with what it can' there isn't going to be any solution to any problem because as soon as you make a law, people will twist it.

Canadians should remember the days when anyone under fourteen could not be charges with a crime. The law was to prevent older people using kids for crime purposes. Instead you have ten year olds stealing cars and such.

So to me, no gallant solution, 'never hit a woman' will get rid of domestic violence. We just somehow have to accept that a lot of people are dysfunctional and address the roots of the family problem that creates abusers and victims.

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