Book Hippo

Friday, August 31, 2012


It's embarrassing as a child and you can't do something everybody else can. That was the way with me when it came to sitting up straight. I didn't know it then, but I had a problem with spinal alignment. My neck was not curved the way most are but ramrod straight.

This meant I could not hold my head up without becoming fatigued. It also meant that my head would droop down to my chest whenever I did my schoolwork so I had to prop my head up with my hand. Teachers did not like this.

My spine was twisted and crooked so I had all sorts of problem with doing things other kids could do. I had heard of chiropractors but so many people totally pooh-poohed them that I didn't press my mother to take me to one. I dropped out of gym as soon as I could.

I became a gardener in Vancouver and because of my spinal problem, I injured myself again and had to give it up. Years went by with pain, inability to walk occasionally and all sorts of times when I couldn't work.

In the 1990's, it got so bad that I had one constant, horrible headache that kept me from sleeping and going out for the most part, but on one time I did go out, I passed a chiropractor's office. He had a sign out. Free x-rays. What could it hurt? So I got my free x-rays and when I saw them, I suddenly felt better about all the fatigue and pain and embarrassment I'd suffered. The explanation for it all was right there.

After one treatment, the headaches stopped, the tension dropped away. My pelvis had also been stuck. I had to go three times a week but now I only go once every month. My neck is now curved again and every headache is solved by a trip to the chiropractor.

One more story: my chiropractor was brought a two-week old baby who would not stop crying. He made one simple adjustment and Presto! the baby stopped crying and hasn't cried since, I'm told.

So, I'm not really trying to sell you on chiropractors but if you have a problem with posture or fatigue or a grouchy baby, you might do well to check it out with one. It can literally give you a new release on life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Great, Big Adventurous Shelf Life

I admit it, I'm an armchair traveler. I have spent many hours reading Paul Theroux and Dervla Murphy and also various adventurers in the jungles, deserts and mountains of the world. I for a time considered going to Africa or Indonesia to see apes or moving through Nepal. In those mountains, I thought, I would find something extraordinary.

Sometimes I just got a map of northern Canada and thought to canoe down the rivers. I could start in Ottawa and paddle up the river, see where it took me. I asked my friend, now my room mate. "How will you get past the rapids?" he asked. I hadn't known there were rapids up stream. I intended to go as far as I could.

The Pacific Islands attracted me also. Tahiti and Cook Islands seemed like they would be just right for someone who liked to swim. Then I read that the islanders actually use their beaches for a toilet. Ugh.

So there was always something I didn't like about those places and although I still think I might want to see Tasmania some day, I've given up on traveling the world to find something extraordinary. For one thing, I'm too old and my knees won't handle hiking anymore, I doubt whether my lungs will go for thin mountain air and I've found that other people countries have unsanitary toilets, sometimes just a hole in the floor.

So I'll just stay home or in the tourist areas where I'm safe and they cater to you but I'm not sorry I read all those books. It gave me a cursory understanding of how different people's outlooks can be and how we're all human and none of us is right and  none of us is wrong, we just are.

That's worth it to me, it taught me not to see myself as right and everyone who disagrees with me as wrong. We all have our little worlds. Mine is satisfactory to me as yours is to you, I suppose. So I'll think of my great, big adventurous shelf life (book shelf) as time well spent.

The Mountain City Bronzes is available at MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore for 99 cents.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

September Trip

It's nice to get a new car. I don't drive, but my room mate bought a very old Mercedes-Benz and fixed it all up. It's wonderful car without any of the rust and smoke of the old Le Baron he had. To celebrate our new car, he's thinking of taking me on a trip in the fall.

Originally he wanted to go to North Dakota, he likes the geology of that area and I've never seen it but I don't have time to get a passport so that's out. We'll probably end up going to northern Ontario and I'm looking forward to it.

I think I'll suggest Kakabecka Falls. My family was there over fifty years ago and for my sister it's one of her best memories. Then there's Thunder Bay, where I was born 54 years ago. It'll be cool up there in September but I like the cool air.

Maybe the leaves will be turning their colours and we will have great scenery for the whole trip, see a moose and we'll stay in lakeside resorts, not campsites.

I'm looking so forward to my tip and I'll be sure to write it up on my blog to share with you all.

Meanwhile, if you feel like a short read of horror, you can buy The Mountain City Bronzes for only 99 cents.
Here's the link:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Drama Anyone?

I'm not that into Shakespeare but I do read about him a lot and I've come to a decision that many people are lost when it comes to his drama.

Now, let's take a couple of modern characters. One is a right-wing Christian and the other a gay activist. Anybody today, just knowing the characters would KNOW right away where the drama and tension is going to come from. But where does the drama or tension come from when you have a witch and a king? What did sixteenth century people know about kings (or think they knew) that would make a witch or someone else a good character?

We just don't see the drama of sixteenth century personalities. Could it be that a witch could cast a spell and make a king do something awful to his people. I assume most people back then believed in witches and that they could do harm through spells. So what emotions did such a character bring to Shakespeare's audience.

The same with little things like food. When a modern character eats chicken soup, at least in the west, everybody knows something about the character, especially if the mother made it just for him. What about when one of Shakespeare's characters eats a potatoe? Potatoes had just been discovered by Europeans a little time before Shakespeare. Only the very rich could serve them at the table.

When a sixteenth century audience sees the potato being eaten, what do they think? A bold character? Eccentric? Is it a code that maybe this character is dismissive of the poor? As in a 'let them eat cake' moment?

So I think for me and for anyone who is interested in seeing what you can get out of Shakespeare, it would do well to do some study. Forget about reading the beautiful words. Try and see if you can figure out through the characters where the drama and tension lie.

It's just a thought.

For a modern horror story, try The Mountain City Bronzes