Tag Archives: challenges

Cannoli

Now I have heard a tale,

Of some pretty mighty folk.

Who one day tried to band together,

Searching for a joke.

 

They searched the wilds far up north,

Then east and west they went.

Lakes and oceans, fields and hills,

But still they did lament.

 

Then someone had a simple thought,

A cult might just be right.

They could live pure and free,

Without some nasty fight.

 

There would of course be rules,

They’d really have to follow.

But some of them were cool,

And none were mean or hollow.

 

Food and drink would be the norm,

Laughter the song of choice.

Friendship for all together,

And all would have a voice.

 

What a perfect place to live,

Far away we all would be.

No hate or strife belongs with us,

I think you would agree.

 

Now I think I’ll rest my head,

And dream of big blue skies.

Perhaps I’ll eat cannoli,

If that cult would be my prize.

 

An Interesting Tale of an Ordinary Life

I have lived an absolutely incredibly fascinating life. And so have you. Of course, other people may not think so. They may not buy a book by an ordinary woman but then maybe they would.

I believe that each of us has a tale or two in our past that would amaze or perhaps horrify the general public.  But it was our life and we lived it as best we could. I am inordinately pleased that cell phones did not exist when I was a child. There’s a great deal of my childhood that, although I remember it fondly, I would not like to be reminded of in pictures. Bad hair days meant something completely different than it does today. We are so concerned with appearances that we often forget substance.

And while I was bullied a little bit when I was in my youth it is nothing compared to what children go through now. My bullies looked me in the eye when they were being mean. I had the option to go to my parents and name names. Then respective parents would get together and the bullying stopped.  Nowadays it is done anonymously with the protection of cyberspace and it hits much deeper. It hurts more profoundly. It causes significantly more damage. And the ramifications for being a bully? It’s rare that they’re caught. And that is a sad statement on our society.

I have always been a champion of Human Rights but what happens when those Human Rights interfere with the Individual’s Rights? Is enough, enough? I remember a saying about an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. Well, we do and yes, it is a bit of a curse. I’ll bet in the next few years there are going to be a number of books written by supposedly famous people about the struggles they survived during The Year of the Pandemic. Obscene amounts of money will exchange hands so that we can read about other people. Probably not terribly interesting people. But they are famous so that makes them readable. They still put their pants on one leg at a time.

I think the most interesting people are the ones who aren’t famous. They’re the ones who go out and get the job done because it’s the right thing to do. The people who show compassion, ingenuity and selflessness simply because that’s the kind of person they are. They don’t go looking for accolades or monetary gain.  They simply keep their eyes open for the next person that would benefit from their assistance. Those are the interesting people.

I think everyone of us has something fascinating we can teach someone else. And I think every other person out there has something I need to know. And that is what makes life so very interesting.  Don’t you think?

A World in Crisis

 

As most of you know, those that follow me regularly, I am a Canadian. With that title comes some responsibility. We are known for being polite and kind and inoffensive. If you would indulge me for a few moments I would like to step outside my comfort zone and get a few things off my chest.

ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME!  Whew! That felt better. What will follow is a little rant. No, it’s a big rant. It is a global rant. I am somewhat annoyed. Am I allowed to say: pissed off? My mother would not be pleased. This may be the only time I will ever say that I am happy my parents are not still alive. Because this crap-fest would probably kill them.

In early March of 2020, the world was introduced to a deadly pandemic. We were frightened and rightly so. People were dying. A lot of people were dying. So, we did what we needed to do. We locked down, stepped away from our lives, our loved ones, our friends. We learned what social distancing meant and we adhered to it strictly. We washed our hands constantly and we did everything we could, to lessen the impact of this global crisis. And we did.  Some parts of the world were able to flatten the curve as they say. Canada is in ok shape. We are in no way out of danger but some areas of our large country have very few cases of Covid. Why? Because they took it seriously and when the curve flattened, they kept on taking it seriously.

New York City showed us just how bad it could be. It was terrifying. But they took action. It was strict, it was drastic and it worked.  A number of countries around the world have made a difference. Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam,  Cambodia, Australia, Nigeria.   In some cases, it’s because it’s a smaller country and they’re able to control things better. In some cases, it’s because they understand the need for diligence. And it can’t just be a government ordering people to do the right thing, it has to be the people as well. Individuals have to be involved; they have to do the work. They have to wash their hands, wear their masks, be adult about it!

And people did what needed to be done, in the beginning. And then they started to scream human rights and nonsense about measures not working. They didn’t want to wear their masks even though if you have eyes, ears and a brain you can see that it does work. There is proof all over the world that it does work. The strict measures made a difference. But there will always be a certain element of stupidity in our societies. Mostly it is amusing but not deadly. Now it is killing people.

Kids, young adults are complaining that they need to see their friends so they go to a party with 100 people. And 15 people come away with Covid and pass it on to their friends and family in their little bubbles. And they in turn pass it off to strangers in the grocery store or in the bank. And before you know it, we have a Covid Tsunami. All because some idiot wanted to go to a party. And how many people will lose their lives because of that stupid party? And the ones that went to it might never know what they have done. And that angers me. I want to take their smug little faces and run it into the caskets of those who die.

I chose to go into my apartment and stay put in March 2020. I am not one of the ones that is beleaguered and suffering because I have to be on my own. I have a TV, a computer, a phone, books. I can amuse myself just fine. I visit with friends and family via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime or just the phone. But I am protecting them and I am protecting myself. I’d rather be part of the solution then part of the problem.

For now, our world is in crisis and I do hope we will all survive it. But we won’t. We are going to lose a lot. It is believed one third of the world’s population was infected in the 1918 Flu Pandemic.  They lost at least 50 million people. The world population at the time?  1.8 Billion.  Today the world stands at 7.8 Billion.  Those infected? 58,260,174.  Deaths? 1,383,349. (as of 21/11/20 1:11pm)

Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Cousins, Friends. Dead.

Rant concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few examples

 

Cases of Covid             Population (millions)

Tanzania                     509                                      60+

Thailand                  3,902                                      70 +

Vietnam                  1,306                                       97+

Cambodia                  305                                       17+

Australia              27,806                                       25+

Nigeria                 65,982                                     208+

 

Information from:  http://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?

An Error in Judgement

Underneath an azure blue sky the trees swayed in a gentle dance with the wind in attendance.  It was a bright beautiful autumn day.  It was the kind of day where children want to play outside and adults secretly want to join them. Except no one in that boardroom was paying attention to the beauty outside the window.

Twelve men sat to attention. Twelve men carefully watched the only individual who was standing in the room. To say you could have heard a pin drop would be an understatement. Lives were about to be changed, perhaps permanently.

”Is that your answer Stevens?”  The question was asked gently, almost friendly. But those in the room knew the dangerous undercurrent that resided in those few words.

The man known as Stevens visibly blanched. He knew he’d made an error in judgment and he also knew that it could be the end of him.

He tried to sit a little straighter.

“Well, um sir . . . I thought . . . you always say . . . um . . .”

“Do you know why I chose you for this job Stevens?”

The proverbial pin hit the floor. The man who had just moments ago spoken with such compassion in such dulcet tones, erupted.

‘WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE!  YOU’RE AN IDIOT! YOUR JOB IS TO CONVINCE THEM TO SIGN NOT DISSUADE THEM!”

“But I thought the good will generated by  . . .

Stevens stopped speaking.  Perhaps he had gone too far but he was trying to help a young family.  And they really didn’t need what he was selling.  There was plenty of time to make decisions like that down the road.

The room was quiet, too quiet.  Stevens raised his head and looked around the room.  No one would meet his gaze.

“They didn’t sign the contract did they Stevens?”

A very small voice replied, “No, sir.”

“Then you will.”

Eleven men stood up from the table and stepped back.  Eleven men did their best to distance themselves from the man known as Stevens.  They didn’t want anything to tarnish them.  They knew the job and they knew the consequences of failure.  The Boss wanted signatures.

Matthew Stevens remembered.  He remembered coming to the big city for work. He met and married a beautiful woman, the love of his life. It was hard to find work for a newly minted lawyer who was pretty much run-of-the-mill. He hadn’t passed the bar with honours, he had actually just scraped by on his third try. But he had a little piece of paper that said he was a lawyer. That’s what he thought he should be doing. So he found work in small low paying law offices. He was a paper pusher. Nothing seemed to fit. Until . . .

He had received a letter in the mailbox, hand delivered.  It offered him a lucrative job in a mid level Corporate Law office. He jumped.  His wife was pregnant with their second child.  He needed this job.  So Matthew accepted the position and proceeded to push more paper. He wanted to go out in the field to sign people up for their policies. He was impatient. In just a few months he got exactly what he asked for. This was his first assignment. It was also the first time he actually read the policy.

His job was to get the head of the family to sign the contract. Simple actually. It was to give the family security and insurance over the life of the policyholder.

Insurance for life

                               This policy entitles the signatory Health, Wealth and Good Fortune for the length of his/her life.  Upon termination of said existence, payment for the above contract will be collected:

                                                One (1) Soul.

 

 

                             _________________________________________

                                          Policy Holder

 

 

 

Thank you for your business!

Mr. S. Atan. Esq.

 

Mind Craze

Mini-mazes of the mind,

Where ideas go to breed.

They find a place they like to sit,

And then they plant a seed.

 

And in time there is a shoot,

A mini notion starts.

Then of course it gains it’s strength,

And plans those special parts.

 

Will it be a story,

Of lust and love and death?

Or will it be a poem,

About a baby’s breath?

 

I do not know the course,

The direction I will choose.

But I know I’m happy,

When words become my muse.

 

Mini-mazes of the mind,

A wondrous place to play.

Now I guess my time is up,

And I must say:  good day!

Conversations with Myself

I was washing my dishes the other day and trying to think of something to write about for my Sunday post. I was remembering conversations I have had with people, articles in the news I had seen or heard.  I even started listening closely to the construction banter outside my window.  It is annoying but necessary and the inconveniences experienced today mean that this small section of our lives will be better in the future.  Hmmm, Progressive Thought or Subversive Rhetoric?

As I was trolling through the flotsam and jetsam that meander through my mind it suddenly dawned on me:   I was talking to myself!  Not a conversation that one would have with a companion. Or maybe I am my own companion. Hum.  That does bear thinking about. I was not having a conversation like I would with a friend, a human or animal one. It wasn’t out loud. But when you make a decision aren’t you actually talking to yourself about whether or not to go right or left, up or down?

Don’t judge me but sometimes I think I split infinities with myself! This is what happens when I am left unattended. I turn inward and stroll through the corridors in my mind.  And I have over six decades of passageways in there with a whole lot of side tracks and cubby holes.  I am starting to sound like a Star Trek episode! But think about it . . . who are you trying to convince when you want that second piece of pie?  (Or the first one!)

I like my mind. Mostly. I can sometimes go off on a tangent or become so hyper-focussed that I see absolutely nothing around me. For example. I draw the little icons that you see on my Daily Quips and Shady Quips. Every year I draw new ones because I get bored. This year I spent hours hunched over my Paint Program deciding what I wanted to draw. I’m a couple of months early. I don’t need it until January but it had popped into my mind and I couldn’t let it go.

Having a good focus is always positive but a hyper-focus can be a little disconcerting. I will honestly say that I now have several choices and I like them all. So now I have to do the other thing I’m not always fond of doing: making a choice between two or three. But I have a couple of months to do that so there is no rush. I do like to be prepared.

And isn’t that what life is all about: preparing for it? We cannot plan for every eventuality but we can be aware of the possibility of the unforeseen.  Rather tantalizing don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Whew!

I spent over an hour this morning posting a week’s worth of well, posts.  It usually takes fifteen minutes.  I have everything prepared in advance so all I have to do is plug things into the appropriate spots.  My picture is chosen for Wednesdays poem and I use the same icons for a year on my Daily and Shady Quips.

I knew the New Editor was here but the last time there was a change I was able to keep the old reliable Classic Editor.  I guess I got cocky.  And I got caught.  Why exactly did they make the decision to change?  The world is in an uproar.  People are getting sick and dying.  This is not a good time to change to something that is NOT user friendly.  I have a vision of tech savvy 20somethings sitting around a huge empty desk (social distancing of course) chewing wads of gum and diddling their phone.

One says “Like, I’m so bored!”  But it is in emoji speak so no actual sound emanates from his emaciated body.  (Computer nerds) And the next person responds with a stream of emojies that would impress World War II Code Breakers. The result of this fictitious exchange:  The New Editor.  It takes 4 times as long to do anything with 3 times as many steps.  Aggravation levels peak and irritation is at an all time high.

Perhaps they believe it is making our lives better.  It is not.

I have been shown how to get back to the old Classic.  I hope it continues to work.

Go to All Posts and then choose Classic Editor from the drop down menu at the top of ADD NEW?

 

A Tale of a Tail

 

This is a tale of a tail

Attached to a rat

Who wanted some cheese

That belonged to a cat.

 

Now our cat loved to play

All day with a string

But it had been taken

By a dog who could sing.

 

And the cat knew the dog

Just wanted a bone

That belonged to a man

Who lived on his own.

 

But the man was annoyed

That his home had a mouse

Who scurried around

All over of the house.

 

If the mouse could be caught

Then the bone would be tendered

The string would drawn

And the cheese would be rendered.

 

Horrid the deeds

Would need to be done

Death and defying

Was the character of none.

 

So the tale of this tail

Will end on a high

In the house of the man

They all settled for pie!

Seeing

I was sitting on my balcony recently, causally glancing over the buildings in the near distance and I saw something I had never seen.  Now I have lived in this town, in this apartment building, in this apartment, for more than twenty-five years.  I have been venturing out on to this balcony literally hundreds of times. And I never saw it before?  It wasn’t the fact that it had been there decades longer than I have, it was that I hadn’t noticed it.

Our eyes may look but it is our brain that sees.  How many times have you walked into a room, looked around and missed seeing the person you were there to meet? They were standing in plain sight but you missed them.  How many times have you bumped into something or someone right in front of you?  Your eyes were open but your brain was distracted.

I was walking in a mall one day many years ago when I was startled by an old friend, just inches from my face.  He said that he had been waving and while I was looking at him, he realized I hadn’t seen him.  I hadn’t.  My mind, my brain was preoccupied.  So, while the saying ‘seeing is believing’ is catchy, I don’t believe it.

Four people see a traffic accident.  They will have four different accounts.  Ask any First Responder.  We all SEE things differently. Our eyes see and our brain interprets. And THAT is what we witness.

I look out over a pristine forest and I see great beauty in the flora and fauna. Someone who makes their living from cutting down those trees sees his children with food on the table and a roof over their heads. We are looking at the exact same thing and yet we ‘see’ something completely different. And therein lies the conundrum.

What is the truth? What is the truth to you?  There are some facts that are irrefutable and yet some people refuse to believe them. Why? Perhaps they are unable to handle the truth. And it is so difficult to sift through the masses of information and misinformation that we are bombarded with every day.  Sometimes it is easier to listen to whoever speaks the loudest.  Sad but true. What does that say about us as a people?  Mistakes have been made in the past that affected the entire world because the masses listened to the wrong voice. How can we ensure that doesn’t happen again?

Oh and what was it that I had not noticed?  It was the name of the building I was looking at in four-foot letters!

 

End Transmission

There are people who walk among us, special people.  They could be a neighbour, a stranger, a brother, a friend.  They could be white or black, yellow or beige. These people walk the streets of the city and the fields of the country. They are there in the right place, at the right time, to do the right thing.  You might call them Facilitators.

********************

Abigail was picking up the last few items on her list: bottled water, low fat cookies and of course tissues.  One should always have lots of tissues on a long trip. As she was paying for the few items in her basket, she spied a small, one shot, fire extinguisher.  Without thinking she added the cylinder to her pile.  Now she was ready.

Fire.  She could see the car just ahead.  A woman was standing beside the vehicle looking lost.  She wasn’t screaming or panicking, just quietly standing and staring.  Abigail pulled her car over and stopped.  Quickly she grabbed her newly purchased fire extinguisher and raced to the burning vehicle.  It didn’t take much to put out the fire, it was still quite small.  If the gas tank or the engine oil had caught fire . . .  Everything was under control.  The woman hadn’t moved the entire time.  She just stood and stared.  Thank all that is holy that Abigail had come by at just the right time. She wondered what it was that had made her pick up a fire extinguisher at the last moment. It wasn’t something she had ever had in her car before. It was exactly what she had needed today, but how had she known ahead of time?

 

David enjoyed his early morning drives.  It gave him time to decompress, to relax. There was no one pestering him, no one concerned about what he had to say, no responsibilities, no life and death decisions. He relished this time alone.

He chuckled. He was also a creature of habit so everyone knew where he would be at any given moment. Even on his well known drives. And then, without thinking, he turned right instead of left. This was not his usual route but he didn’t change direction. Perhaps he was curious. Perhaps it was an error.  Perhaps he was guided by another’s hand.

There was a bump in the road ahead so David slowed down. As he grew closer, he realized it was a body, no, it was a man and he was alive. David had spent the last 20 years as an emergency room doctor. He had never had to use his skills outside a sterile room but now he was glad he had made a wrong turn.

The man lived. His children kept their father. His wife kept her husband. And their lives continued. All because one man looking for a little peace and quiet made a wrong turn. But did he?

 

Ahmed looked at his paper. He knew he was right. But how to get the others to understand that something was going on. The students in his writing class just thought that he liked Science Fiction. But his Physics teacher was starting to understand.  There were too many incidents.  Documented occurrences.  There was a correlation. There’s something pushing us, perhaps making us better? There was definitely something going on.  Something . . .

 

********************

 

Begin transmission.

Director, we may have a problem. I am getting a red light on Facilitator 439122 at grid 19, section 4.  We have been having problems with this particular model.  It appears that they have a more superior capacity for problem solving than we were initially led to believe. This particular Facilitator is beginning to question the regularity of the designed incidents.  It is important for the validity of our tests and our test subjects, that any and all management be undisclosed.  Otherwise all the results will be useless.  Director, please advise.

End transmission.

Begin transmission.

Administrator, the subjects were chosen for your research based on their innate ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations.  I would suggest that you amend your data to accommodate this unforeseen propensity for disentanglement.  If you feel that your research will be unduly compromised then I suggest you terminate that particular line of research.

End transmission.

 

*********************

It was not an easy decision.  A great deal of time had been spent cultivating the necessary specimens.  But the research had become contaminated.  They were starting to understand. There was no other alternative.   End transmission.

 

 

The end