Saturday, 23 July 2016

Muricans and Americans - A Cultural Comparison

I have several friends either in the US or from there. And believe me I feel for them now. I thought I would offer my thoughts on the reasons behind the current shitshow that is the US elections, from an outsider perspective.

There are two factions at play here, I will endeavour to differentiate them. Please keep in mind I am discussing the people. Not the government. There is a massive difference.

Overall perceptions of Americans are of a normal, intelligent, hard-working people. Americans have dedicated themselves to their place in the world as a whole, being a leader and helping others whenever they can in terms of development, human rights, economics trade and so much more. They have much in common with the rest of the world in that they want what's best for their children, their families and the community as a whole and wish to prosper in a difficult era.


Muricans are a funny breed commonly located in the southern United States and as far west as Texas. They are mixed among the populations of Americans in these regions, and they can be found as far north as Alaska. Some have even been found in Hawaii. 

They are a simple common folk, normally less educated that their American counterparts, and therefore they maintain a different set of views and logic. Simply put, they don't really see education being in their best interest, and prefer instead to simply make shit up as they go, then convince everyone around them they are right.

Muricans can be identified by their overuse of the phrases FREEDOM!!! and BENGHAZI!!! And as muslims refer to the prophet with the phrase 'peace be upon him' or (PBUH) when referenced, Muricans shall be given the same respect with the title (F!B!)

Americans have the second amendment to the constitution that allows for armed militias to help protect the people from all enemies foreign and domestic. This right is honoured as millions of Americans are law abiding gun owners who follow the rules set down by the government.

Muricans (F!B!), love guns and believe the second amendment to the constitution means that the world has to love them too, for having too many guns around is simply the best problem to have. Muricans (F!B!) never have any fear of someone accidentally knocking on their doors during dinner hour and disturbing them (those that have doors) and will actually enjoy the opportunity to second amendment the intruder. They apparently have a quota on how much ammo they can have and must find reasons to expend it whenever possible. This includes shoplifters, J-Walkers, people making bad lane changes.

Muricans (F!B!) also believe the second amendment gives them the right to arm everyone, including children, carry weapons anywhere fully loaded, and basically shoot anything that moves. This notion is backed by the National Rifle Association. The NRA believes that every Murican has the right to their own flame thrower, gattling gun, and piece of artillery. Of course with the proliferation of weapons comes the natural instinct to use them at any opportunity. Gunfire in Murican areas is common, sadly with deadly consequences. More Murican are accidentally killed each year with firearms than all developed countries combined. But that's ok, because freedom.

American culture is rich in sciences, art, music, drama, and many other scholarly pursuits. Americans are the only people to have walked on the moon. Their achievements are notable through their history and no doubt will continue to do so long into the future. The influence of Americans as an economic, intellectual and entertainment powerhouse is evident in the furthest corners of the globe.

Muricans (F!B!) drop science in their last year of school, usually grade 7, or at least stop listening. They prefer instead to get this sort of information from parents while putting the added time to better pursuits such as repainting old cars and cleaning guns. The Murican art community consists largely of redecorating the double wide at the trailer park, and decorating large trucks with humongous American and Confederate flags. Drama and entertainment usually come from supermarket tabloids and variety gossip TV shows. The value Kanya and Kim are not to be understated to the common Murican. Literature is provided by Captain America comic books and websites like and 

Americans honour their heroes of society, whether they be academic, scientific, sport, or entertainment with some of the highest accolades. Many Americans have won numerous Nobel Prizes in every category, The Academy Awards, The Kennedy Centre Honours, Medals of Freedom, and many more awards acknowledge outstanding achievements in every field giving hope to those upcoming in their fields to someday stand with their protegees. 

Muricans (F!B!) don't typically honour their heroes, except with the occasional nomination for government office. Recent honourees include Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump.

Americans are very enthusiast about sports of all kinds. From major league baseball, to football, hockey and basketball, to equestrian events, tennis, golf, track and field and many more Olympic calibre events. Sports is a major economic driving force in American culture, with billions of dollars of spin off to countless benefactors. Simply, the US economy would shrink considerably with the contribution of sport.

Muricans (F!B!) have NASCAR.

Americans have a level of diplomatic involvement that is admired around the world. The ability to sit down and negotiate problems and help parties find common ground is the stuff of legend. President Carter was the catalyst to peace between Israel and Egypt during his tenure, the only peace treaty in the middle east to have lasted this long. Level headed and driven towards human rights equality, Americans have beaten back oppression on many levels to be a world leader in terms of equality in race, gender, faith, sexual orientation and economic status.

Muricans (F!B!) are usually not as culturally adept. It's usually their way or the highway. Arguing with a Murican can be simply nauseating as they will never accept another belief, opinion or look at any factual proof to the contrary of their own inward beliefs. Don't even try. It will be like arguing with a shoe. They are closed in and frown on outsider influence on their way of life. Bigotry and racism are the norm, and this behaviour is encouraged to the new generations of Muricans. Frankly, you won't find many gay female jewish mexican rich folk among Muricans (F!B!)

Americans have always been a melting pot of faith. The original 13 colonies were settled by emigrants fleeing religious persecution. In the 400 years that followed the original settlers, millions more have landed on US shores under the promise of openly following their faiths. This has made the American society one of the most diverse religious centres on earth.

Muricans (F!B!) are Christians only. Those who practice other faiths are normally doing it underground. Religious tolerance only goes so far.

Finally, The American system of government is based on a multi-party republic system where the congress and the senate have the power to make laws, and the president has the power to veto them, approve them or in rare cases act alone (executive power). This system also works in reverse in that the president can propose a law and congress and senate have the power to approve or disapprove them. This has been mostly effective for 240 years.

Muricans (F!B!) believe that the other guy is always wrong, a crook and should be in prison or shot for treason. Then they will take the other guy's ideas and claim them for their own. Muricans have no original ideas, and rarely contribute to the continued development of the country as a whole. Instead they prefer to make laws of petty natures that have the affect of divided the populous instead of helping it.

So there you have it, a brief overview of a two people system within the United States. 

The haves, and the have no fucking clues. If anyone doubts what's happening here, watch the movie Ideocracy.


Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Continuing Evolution Of Me

I'm sure by now readers are tired of hearing about my hopes and dreams, my reaffirmations and stated goals. 

So here's another one.

Since Kim and I split last August my life has changed into something completely different, and sorta weird. It's a surreal sort of existence now, living in my basement apartment while my sister's family lives in the rest of my house. I'm getting used to it, however, Joanne and I are siblings, and with that brings back and flurry of childhood issues some of which remind me of the old children's standard 'get out of my room!' We get along, but at the end of the day, we will always drive each other nuts. I still love her like a big sis.

Being down here in recent months has brought up many challenges, and my mind has not always been up to the task of maintaining a healthy life. Too much time alone, too much time to think. Last week I had an epiphany. it came to me while working on some repairs outside. It came to me when I tried to stand up, and almost fell over. It came to me as I gasped for breath from working.

Holy fuck, I'm falling apart!

I came inside, soaked my head with a cold wet towel, and fell onto the couch, thankful to be there in my place of solitude and comfort. As I regained my breath and dried off, I googled 24 hour gyms and an hour later was a member of one. Just a little spontaneous, yes, but that short time between falling over with a feeling of morbid exhaustion over a simple task and sending my payment, a whirlwind of thoughts went through my head - most of which focused on my not being here if something doesn't change. So I made it change.

Years ago I was healthy, active, fit. I was an avid camper, canoeist, and general outdoorsy type. While I was never one for a football field or basketball court, I was always on my bike, walking for hours, and a host of other activities that kept me from keeling over. At one time I was taking karate and Aikkido classes regularly just to stay fit. When I went working, I kept myself together long enough to finish any task.

I was never a big guy, I always maintained a steady 160ish throughout my adult life. Being skinny was never a drawback for me as I just simply accepted the way of things, now, as I sit here writing this, my gut is actually sticking out. So now I'm a skinny, out of shape smoker with a beer belly. 

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I went to the gym for the first time a couple days ago and did a 30 minute basic cardio workout. It was fine, nothing spectacular or fancy, no personal training needed. Just a few basic machines like the treadmill, the bike, elliptical and strength trainers. After my 30 minutes were up I walked out feeling alive, albeit a bit sore. Last night I went in again. I had the place to myself as it was quite late. This time however no sense of exhilaration filled me, on the contrary it was a sense of dread. Suddenly those simple machines were all larger, darker, and were actually mocking me. They watched me as if they were alive, and I know they thought 'we're going to kill you!'

So I started my 30 minute regime. I lasted 24. The first night shocked my body, the second night, I hadn't recovered from the first and the pain was intense. As I mustered through the somewhat tedious repetitions every muscle in my body screamed at me with a sort of 'what the fuck' notion. I carried on as long as I could but I was cooked. Once I got home I felt a little better, breathing returned to normal, heart rate came down, but that glass of scotch was the heaviest it's ever been. I swear that bottle weighed 20 pounds.

A little later I went outside for a smoke, and the second epiphany of the week hit me. I CANNOT do this without quitting. Duh. Not like I didn't already know that. I was wheezing and coughing a lot last night, and again all day today. The unexpected shock of working out had jarred something loose, and I don't imagine it's very pretty. So starting tonight I am going on the patch and quitting. Fuck this, I'm done.

If I am to fix this shit, I am going to fix it properly.

Healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, working out, quitting smoking, it all sounds like one of those late night self-help TV shows that nobody watches, but it just happened. And all because I had to repair some concrete.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

To Fuck With The Purple People

Fuck labels.

Liberal, conservative, democrat, NDP, Republican, LGBTQ, vegan, vegetarian, white, black, purple, Christian, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Shinto, Jew.  Fuck anything that identifies you with a group. It's overboard. We all have just one label - human. 

It's completely out of hand now. We as a people use labels to identify ourselves with a group for many reasons, whether it be a sense of belonging, community, faith, political stance, whatever, there are so many labels, and that is now a problem. 

Drop the labels and we'll drop the hatred.

As soon as you identify yourself anymore you invariably invite the ire of someone who hates that group. If you're a liberal, you're now a labelled a libtard by conservatives. If you're gay, you're a faggot. If you're black some racist shit is going to call you a nigger. Labels beget hatred. For every group out there that advertises it's beliefs, customs or associations there is another group actively fighting to slam them into oblivion. Each year a new label emerges, immediately followed by some asshole who hates them and begins a campaign of terror against them.

This year the fight is with what bathroom a transgender person can use in North Carolina. That sounds awfully similar to the old southern segregation rules about which bathroom blacks could use, or what store Jews could go to in Germany in 1933. Stop this shit. Everyone pees. Everyone. Just so you're aware, the bathrooms in your home are not labelled, why should any other be?

I'm very ambiguous about my affiliations to one group or another online for good reason. I don't want to be a target. I don't need to be addressed by someone who disagrees with my views. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. While I admire the tenacity of those who fight for the rights of their personal affiliates, I see the shitstorm it causes and I don't care to be part of it. I see friends online who actively tout their labels as the 'correct' choice, and damn those who don't agree. Do you not see that you're part of the problem? 

People are getting killed all over the world because of their labels. Everyday in the news there is a story of one person somewhere who died horribly because of their beliefs, and that's not new, it's been going on since the dawn of humanity. But why are we fanning the flames here? Why after evolving to a higher life form haven't we figured out how to be simply human and do the right thing? Why are we devolving into communal groups fighting (literally) to convince everyone else they are wrong? 

That's exactly what it is now, nobody is fighting to get their view across, they're fighting to disavow the opposing view. Shut down what they don't agree with. Dispose of the other labels. It's stupid. 

I see it everyday. Trump supporters wear their red hats, and refuse to do business with those who wear blue bumper stickers. Christians wear the cross, muslims wear the hijab, PETA fanatics usually wear nothing but draw carve lines onto themselves and stand in busy intersections. Whether you intend to pass a message on or not, it doesn't matter. Most labels are innocuous, people invariably do something to themselves before going out to classify themselves. In the case of race, simply existing paints your label. Sadly, there are those who hate that label just because, well, because they're fucktards. Another label, willfully granted.

Here's my new label - I'm a separated, skinny middle aged basement dweller. Go ahead, raz me on that. I'm sure someone will find a reason to hate me for it. Simply because that's what we do now as a people, we categorize ourselves and file ourselves into the appropriate folder, never touching or associating with another label unless it's out of hatred or making the attempt to convince someone they're wrong. 

Fuck the labels. We're human beings and we should all act like it. Lately, we're acting like selfish children on the school ground and I can't see it getting any better. With that, all you purple people can fuck right off, you have no place in my existence.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Basement Observations

Several months ago there was a major shake up in my house which saw me moving into the apartment in my basement. As I was alone I no longer needed the two floors and three bedrooms upstairs, and as I'm so bloody skinny I really don't take up much space anyway. Add to that my rather minimized lifestyle, I don't need all that room for 'stuff'. I have what I need, bedroom and living room furniture, computers, TV, kitchen stuff, yadda yadda. Oh, and a drum set.

Given that change in the past months I've taken to noticing things I never noticed before. Things I took for granted or never even bothered thinking about. And as I tend to spend most of my time in this space I've taken to noticing them often. Very often, like all the time often. When something happens once or even twice you may ignore it, put it out of your mind and never give it a second thought, when mundane things happen constantly you start to perk up to them. So here I give you the short list of weird things I notice living in a basement.

1. Cats will go out of there way to sit in a basement window. They will viciously fight for the spot and to the victor go the spoils, regardless of how small the window is, or how utterly impossible it is for them to achieve this perch. I swear they moved my furniture to get up there. Massive bay window in the living room? Nah, 12x24 inch window opening up onto my neighbour's foundation will do just fine.

2. Water metres sound like freight trains at 6:30am. It's in my bedroom and except for this little tidbit I've never paid the dumb thing a second thought. We all have them, and we all ignore them. Now, I know when anyone else has a shower, does the dishes, brushes their teeth, waters the garden, and I know exactly how long it takes them. 

3. I don't know anything about the outside anymore. I no longer know when there is an emergency vehicle on the street, or a weird car roaming, I no longer know when it's raining, snowing, or in some cases, daylight. I can't hear anyone knock on the door, I am completely impervious to the outside world unless I go there.

4. Pipes hurt my head. I haven't quite learned to duck yet, and at least once per day I crack my noggin.

5. I know everyone's every move. This is an old house and as such the floors are not exactly thick. I can hear when someone goes into the kitchen, living room, and even up the stairs. I've started tuning it out, but it gets tough. I even know what TV shows are on in the upstairs living room.

6. It's dark, I don't have the luxury of a huge window anymore, so I have to rely on artificial light, which annoys the hell out of me, but I'm adjusting. When a bulb burns out down here, you may as well be in a deep cave at midnight.

7. Basement floors are cold as a witch's heart. I have to wear slippers, Always. Everywhere. Even my carpeted living room is frosty. However on the flipside to that, I know from this being my former family room that this is the place to be in August. Nice and chilled on a hot summer day.

8. Laundry is much easier. The washer and dryer are right outside my door, so no more hauling baskets down the stairs. Flipside is that like the water metre, I know when anyone is running a load. 

9. It never rains in a basement. I've left all these windows open during the worst storms we've had this year, and not once has there been any indication of rain getting in. For some reason, it just doesn't happen. 

10. I am very attuned to the shortcomings of house trim and finish. I never realized this upstairs, but down here it's obvious that a basement, being the place visitors usually don't go, tends to be missing bits of trimwork from windows and doors, has exposed rafters, concrete floors, and the like. My basement is finished, but here and there, there are places where the people who finished it just seemed to stop caring. 'Don't worry about that, nobody will ever look there'. Yeah, except me. Now I'm looking at these places thinking I have to finish the job.

As I sit here with my open window full of cat(s), I can hear birds outside. I wonder what kind? I wonder if it's raining. I wonder if my clock is correct. I guess I should wander out and see the world for a while, 

Then I'll crack my head on the pipes again on the way to the coffee pot.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016


This has been a week of change. For the first time in almost five years I've gone back to work. After five years of no boss, no responsibilities beyond that of normal everyday living and child rearing, nobody to report to, nobody telling me when to be where, nobody telling me how to dress, or get my hair cut. Nothing. That all changed this week and quite suddenly. 

I went for a job interview on Thursday at 1pm. It wasn't an interview, it was a deliverance of terms. I was asked to start at 6pm, a short five hours later. I hummed and hawed at that for a brief moment, realizing quickly that this was not an opportunity to pass on, so being as unprepared as one could be, I accepted. My first work shift in five years was literally thrown at me with no notice, and to boot it was a ten hour midnight stint. I've always worked day shift, at my desk at 8am in Kingsville an hour down the highway. And like clockwork, in bed before 11. Now I was working til 4am. That was a fun night. And when I finally got home, sleep eluded me. I ended up over-exhausted. 

The job isn't much, but I wasn't looking for much. Just part-time to start so I could weed myself back into a lifestyle I haven't seen in a long time. That and am not quite prepared to give up my pension quite yet. Not that I don't want to, I really do, it's just a simple matter of the job having to be good enough to take the risk. If I took something that didn't pan out, I'd be stuck without income, a very uncomfortable thought. This offer was perfect, except of course for the 4am thing.

I can't say (or don't want to) say too much about what I'm doing. Not that I'm embarrassed about this course after my previous career, on the contrary, this is a very honourable pursuit, and one I will enjoy. I just don't want to let out too much until I'm comfortable in my new shoes. 

Shoes, that reminds me, I have to buy new ones. 
I also had to arrange a flurry of other actions, haircut, cell phone, and razors. Yes, razors. When I'm alone at home there is really nobody there who cares if I shave. Certainly the cats don't. But now, yeah, customers. Picky, finicky, judgemental customers. I need to clean myself up, literally. 

My first night was without the necessary prep. I have the wrong shoes, I managed to scrape my face with a mustache trimmer, my hair is out of control, yadda yadda. You see I made a command decision lately to see what my hair would look like long; I've always worn a military cut, and call it mid-life crisis, but I wanted to just see. Maybe I'll hate it? Don't know. But the point it's at now is between a crop cut and uncontrollable mop. Again, who cares, I'm alone. Not so much. My first night a customer told me I looked like Weird Al. I laughed, he laughed, the random guy walking down the street laughed, it was all good. Yesterday I got a trim. Baby steps.

My first days were nuts busy. No down time, no break for the wicked. Tonight I'm working til 2:30 and here I sit at Tim Hortons writing. It's strange how suddenly things hit a wall. Mind you in my former life working on publication deadlines was very similar. Monday and Tuesday were production days and that usually meant a 12 to 14 hour day in Kingsville, then the dreaded commute. Wednesday we drifted off into a sort of quiet clean up, a short day of tying up loose ends and preparing for the next wave. Hump day usually ended after around six hours. A nice break. Tonight that brings up memories of the former environs. The calm after the storm. It's funny how these two jobs are so different, yet so similar. A nightmare frantic rush of customer care followed by reflective peace.

It's been three days now since I once again became a productive member of society (as it were). In this time I've come to realize the benefit of work, five years of retirement is enough. Five years of boredom. Enough. Just plain enough. Once again I feel useful, wanted, needed. Not just the troll in the basement. This isn't to say these past years have been a waste, on the contrary, I had a chance to do something most people dream of - retire. Take time for myself and my family. Take time to actively pursue things I've always been curious about but just never had the time for. But time was the enemy, way too much of it. This job will occupy a desperately needed aspect to my existance, that is taking up some of that unused time slot. 

Getting paid for it is gravy.