Friday, November 26, 2010

A Christmas Carol

I was 6 or 7 the first time I saw Alistair Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooge. My family and I lived n Sebastian Place in Halifax and we just got our first television the fall of 1956. CBHT, channel 3 in Halifax, was the only television station at that time. It was the Christmas holiday andDad had given my brother, Danny, some money to buy me and him some fish and chips from Willman's Fish and Chips shop. DAnny rode his bike there and back and we settled in front of the TV for the broadcast of A Christmas Carol. I remember that the ghosts scared me, and I didn't like Tiny Tim. The movie was terrific and became for me the iconic Christmas movie. Every Christmas since that time I have watched that movie. Most of the time I watched it with my dad. We always became teary eyed at the same spot and made fun of Tiny Tim's "God bless us, everyone." When I became a dad my daughter and I watched it every year. VCRs became affordable early in my dadhood and I bought a copy of A Christmas Carol to watch. I did it mainly because the movie was broadcast later and later every year and I wanted my daughter to enjoy it with me.
There have been several remakes of this Christmas classic and most of them had better acting than the emotive Alistair Sim. George C. Scott as E. Scrooge, is probably the best portrayal done. I still like the 1951 version best of all because of the memories it evokes. I enjoy "A Muppets Christmas Carol", Walt Disney's "Mickey's Christmas Carol", and even Bill Murray's "Scrooged."
"There is more of the gravy than the grave in you," says Ebeneezer to Marley's ghost. Scrooges missed promise to his sister Fan, and the realization that his anger is misdirected are priceless lessons for all. When in "Mickey's Christmas Carol", the spirit of Christmas Present cannot pronounce "pistachio" and says "green gravy", my daughter and I laughed so hard that the milk I was drinking at the time came out through my nose.
I was fortunate to teach Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" to my students for many, many years and it became a more meaningful lesson when the availability of the movie occurred and I was able to incorporate it into my lessons.
I need to buy a copy of the Alistair Sim version because I gave my copy to my daughter in Vancouver. Last year i saw that the movie was being broadcast around 8 PM my time. I called my daughter and, even though there was a 4 hour time difference, we agreed that she would watch the video while I watched the broadcast at the same time. I know it seems maudlin, but I felt we were watching at the same time and felt a synergy over the expanse of distance. Christmas season won't be the same without spending a joyous couple of hours with Alistair and company. I have watched it every year since 1956. I would be a sad loss not to see him again this year.
Merry Christmas and a "Bah, Humbug!" to all. LOL

About me

To those who have read "About me" in the profile, I am sad to say the my elder cat, Zoe, succumbed to age and feline disease this past summer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A soitin musing about Stooges and a sentence about Jerry Lewis

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking til you do succeed" - Curly of The Three Stooges. I said that the other day when helping to put a double-door bar cooler in the upstairs canteen of the local Royal Canadian Legion. One of the executive members who was there burst out laughing and said she never heard that before. That got me to thinking.
Whatever happened to the sheer enjoyment of mundane slapstick humour? I suppose that today's humour is more cerebral , off-colour, and aural. I grew up during the early days of television when the various stations bought fillers to complete the programming hours. They used to present various short subjects and one source was the old Three Stooges films. The pie-in-the-face and eye pokes always made me laugh. I was smart enough to understand, even as a youngster, that what was seen on television was make-believe and no one really stuck a finger in the eye. The Stooges were an composite of society in which there was a bully (Moe), a syncophant (Larry), and a loveable, well-meaning but incompetent dupe/dope (Curly- who replaced the other dope- Shemp). These guys would always screw up while trying to be helpful and in the end, everything worked out. The lessons were simple- don't be afraid to try and don't worry about looking foolish if giving an honest effort.
Early in my fatherhood, my daughter and I would watch the Stooges whenever they appeared on TV, especially when one of the Boston stations would broadcast a New Year's Eve marathon special of the Stooges. I knew all the routines and I waited to laugh until my little Boo laughed. The amazing thing was that she laughed at the places I would normally laugh and that was wonderful.
Our favourite Stooge film was the one where the boys attempted to fix the plumbing in a ritzy estate and poor old Curly kept add pipes to a leak with T joints and got trapped in his own maze. Of course, the water caused the floor to weaken and he fell through.
As an occasional golfer I bust a gut every time I see Curly washing his clothes at the golf course ball cleaner. Improbable - yes. Funny - definitely. Whenever I hear their theme song I always get a smile and a happy feeling. Niagara Falls recalls one of their great bits - "Slowly I turn, step by step."
And then there is Jerry Lewis, in my opinion, one of the funniest movie comedians. I know there are a lot of Jerry Lewis detractors out there, but look at some of his routines. His miming of big band music is absolutely fantastic. Another slapstick artist he is. The French government and I appreciate his humour, so there!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ever wonder why we look forward to springtime. I wonder if it is renewal, warmth, or finally getting rid of the snow and cold. I find the warmth an invigoration that i miss since I suffer seasonally adjustment disorder. Longer days and shorter night and the better driving conditions. It makes visiting my friends a lot better. I like the yard work and the smell of new growth and the spring cleanup when you can get rid of all sorts of shit. Fishing and sitting by the dock of the bay are two most relaxing pasttimes. I don't care if I catch a fish or not. The idyll of spring rejuvenates my being.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Non-specific thoughts

The greatest influence on modern music was a group of lads from Liverpool, England. Their music still sells, still influences and they are still number 1. John was murdered in 1980 by an idiot and arsehole. His friend, George, died in in 2002. I hope that Paul and Richard have a long wait to meet them and play again.
There is another group from England that, in my mind, are number 2 . Formed in 1962 this band has changed over the years but the following boys were once in it: Brian, Mick J., Keith, Bill, Charlie, Mick T., and Ronnie.. The compilation "Forty Licks" only has one bad tune. 39 out of 40 ain't bad. Keith and Mick J collaborate in the writing of the groups music. Live long "Glimmer Twins."

A Liberal is just a conservative who has been arrested and incarcerated. A Canadian Liberal is simply a socialist in a hurry.

I do not think there is a compelling reason why, in the 21st century, we observe daylight savings time. During World War 1 it was a policy to help preserve coal which was vital to the war effort. After the war, it was never repealed. Like income tax, it was supposed to be a temporary measure.

What would have happened to the music industry if Robert Johnson never went to the crossroads?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stupid people

In a politically correct world there are no stupid people. I do not wonder what the nabobs of liberalism would call stupid people unless the term would be "intellectually suspect." Everyone has her or his place in the universe and some of them are here to annoy the sensible. The intellectually suspect have a job and that is to annoy the everyman. Everyman can be a traveller on life's highway, his automobile cruise control set to the posted speed limit. Mr, or Ms, I.S. (Intellectually Suspect) will approach, tail gate for a bit, and then, overtake. Sometimes the overtaking is done in the legally proscribed area of the highway which is indicated by broken yellow lines; sometimes, not. Regardless of where or when the overtake has occurred, I.S. will inevitably slow dow to just below the posted limit and thereby force Everyman to slow down with him. When Everyman decides to overtake IS, IS speeds up, thus trying to initiate a game of "I am in control ". The wise Everyman will turn off the road leaving Mr. or Ms. IS to play with him/herself, no doubt to a huge moment of satisfaction.
intellectually Suspect is not limited to the highways. he often frequents parking lots, malls and crowded corridors. IS will block and hinder Everyman's progress by stopping suddenly, occupying the mid portion of whatever corridor is available. Doing so prevents Everyman from gaining any further progress in his journey. IS never has the correct change, demands special treatment, argues over the rules as if the rules do not apply to him, spills the wine, tips the veal and eats the waitress, and talks loudly during the movies. IS should have a special place in society, away from Everyman. Stupid people cause Everyman to rant, have a Stella or glass of wine, or sigh an excruciating WTF. There should be special prisons for stupid people.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sore Leg and broken bones

I had a recurring problem since May, 2006. The final diagnosis was a herniated disc, L5, lower back. How the final diagnosis was made is an epic of Odyssean proportions. I had pain in my knee for several months. It was inconsequential. In July, while walking the dogs, I could not move up King Street. It was as if my knee welded shut. Off to my physician, Dr. Cameron. Unfortunately he was on vacation so I saw his partner. She said I was getting bow-legged and needed arch supports. That should have helped. I went to "O My Sole" for some arch supports and they pointed me to a physiotherapy clinic down the mall. I went in, made an appointment, was prodded and poked, and was told I had weak shin muscles. The report was sent to Dr. C. I met with him almost twice a month from August to the end of May, '07. During the visits we (he) narrowed the pain down through many tests: blood work times five; X-rays times three; Cat scan times two; Bone scan, MRI at a clinic at a cost of $800; orthopedic specialist who said it was not his area of expertise ( he thought it was a stenosis - it wasn't); and , anti-penultimately, Dr. O, a back surgeon, who looked at the MRI and said, "herniated disc." He eventually sent a letter to Dr. C. recommending cortisone therapy. Dr. C. forwarded the letter to an anesthesiologist , Dr. F., a terrific guy, and on July 5, 2007, fourteen months since it first started , (and quite honestly, if it were not for a couple of cancellations, I would still be waiting) I got my first treatment. What a way to begin retirement!
It took fifty-eight years, one month, and seven days for me to break a bone. On Friday, July 13, 2007, John and I were biking in Shubie Park and I was going down a hill. I didn't see anyone coming up the hill until I was in a turn. I swerved to avoid a collision, fell, and landed on my back. I do not recall the events of my spill. I swerved and the next thing I remembered was John holding my hand. It happened so quickly. Fortunately there was a cell phone available and 911 dispatched an ambulance which whisked me to the Dartmouth General. X-rays revealed the upper humerus broken in three places. So, I guess, I broke it good. I was released about 4 PM and was waiting for Cathy (my wife at the time) to bring up the car. I didn't make it. I fainted outside the emergency door and the staff decided I should stay overnight. They recommended that I be sent to the Queen Elizabeth ll Hospital and after a series of x-rays, surgery was not an immediate recourse. Rest and a sling. When I got home it was said to me that it was an inconvenience to Cathy that I broke my arm. I replied that I made sure it was my job to inconvenience her as best I could by purposely having an accident and becoming immobile for a couple of days. She hired a dog walker to look after the boys while I just sat around the condo feeling sorry for myself. Imagine, my broken shoulder was an inconvenience. Man, the things I did to piss her off.
On July 19, I went for reassessment and the doctor said surgery wasn't required. He put me in another sling and sent me home with a call back assessment for August 16. He recommended physiotherapy. I took physio for 4 months and it helped a whole lot. After all is said and done, I have 95% mobility of my left arm. Not bad. But I won't be able to play the violin. LOL
By the way, the cortizone treatment lasted 3 years and has helped ease my pain.