Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Update:

- Laurianne is currently working as a secretary for a Liberal MP on Parliament Hill. Althought the position is temporary, it will definitely look good on her resume.

- I can't find my hammer.

- I'm too lazy to put the proper accent on the last E in resume.

- I turned the television on the morning after the Oscars and had a very difficult time finding any news. On the CBC news channel their were analyzing actresses' hair, on CTV newsnet they were reviewing the winners, on ABC they were talking about Jack Nicholson's bald head, and on one of the many French channels we get they were, I believe, commenting on Forrest Whitaker's acceptance speech. It's nice to know that nothing of historical consequence had the gall to occur on the same night as the Oscars.

- Gall: "bile," O.E. galla (Anglian), gealla (W. Saxon), from P.Gmc. *gallon- (cf. O.N. gall, O.H.G. galla), from PIE base *ghol-/*ghel- "gold, yellow, yellowish-green" (cf. Gk. khole, see cholera; L. fel; perhaps also O.E. geolo "yellow," Gk. khloros). Informal sense of "impudence, boldness" first recorded Amer.Eng. 1882; but meaning "embittered spirit, rancor" is from c.1200.

- There is an election coming up here in Quebec, and I am lost.

- Laurianne claims to know where my hammer is. She is declining, however, to reveal its location because she says that she is not in the mood to hear hammering.

- When I log out of my e-mail account it displays the following message: "You have successfully signed out." It really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

- I don't really have any hammering to do, I just want to know where my hammer is.

- Does the news have to recycle the same old story about the healthy advantages of drinking wine every year?

- The genocidal war in Sudan is spreading to Chad. Pray.

- If anyone is extremely bored and is reviewing my old posts and is startled at the number of comments that have been deleted by the blog administrator, just relax. I'm not censoring the malcontents, I'm merely deleting spam.

- So, according to certain media outlets, they have found Jesus' ossuary in a middle class tomb in Jerusalem. Rather than listening to archaeologists who might actually have an opinion worth listening to, a number of media outlets have decided to throw their usual skepticism to the wind and declare that Jesus' bones have been found. Why? Because James Cameron said so (despite, as he says, not being a "theologist.") Interestingly enough, I recently read an article in Archaeology Magazine (yeah, I'm a nerd) which described how many groups are not publishing anything on their findings. Rather than dig one year and research and publish the next, a number of groups merely dig one year and the next and the next. This lack of proper publishing, the article claimed, is what has led to an atmosphere that is a lot more susceptible to fakes (such as the highly-touted James ossuary).

- The right cursor key does not work on my keyboard.

- I miss my grandmother's hamburger noodle bake. Mmmmm.

- Tune in next week when James Cameron joins forces with Johann Tetzel and dig up the skull of John the Baptist, age 12.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dear sir,

We at The Internet have appreciated the work you have done to increase the traffic on what we like to call the "information superhighway." Your dedication to your blog as well as your consistently high standards are valued. There are few placed in the often dark and seedy recesses of The Internet where thoroughfarers can find such a bright, nay, brilliant, nay, blindlingly luminescent example of wit, wisdom, and talent. Your blog burns with a white hot heat of insight amidst a world wide web of pale and dim shadows.
However, lately we have noticed a lack of activity on your blog. In fact, the last update as of 25 February 2007 was almost two weeks ago. We, like your father, are also disappointed with the number of posts dedicated to music videos. As such, we have a number of suggestions to improve your blog:
1) Since you seem incapable of consistently providing a song of the week we suggest your change the title of this particular phenomenon to "song of the indeterminate amount of time."
2) More updates.
3) Seriously, even posting a picture of your fingernail would be better than nothing.
4) And more of those bulleted updates, you haven't done that in a while.
5) Oh, and drink more milk, it might help your fingernail situation.

Sincerely,
The Internet

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mes Pommes

Let me tell you right now, the old man loved his trees. He would get up at about five in the morning, eat a small breakfast of yesterday’s bread and maybe gulp down a bit of the honey brown brandy he stowed under some sheepskin in the sitting room. He would clatter around the kitchen for a while for no particular reason and then he’d grab his cap, his shiny black cane and his worn sweater. Whatever the weather, he would wear that grey sweater, paying no mind to the soil that had stained itself indelibly into the fabric. Leaning on his cane and adjusting his cap he would go out to his apples. Then he would be out in the orchard with his trees, tending, pruning and admiring those delightful apple-bearing wonders. He took a small lunch at exactly noon, for the old man could fathom the sun as if it spoke in an audible voice, and then he’d be out there with his trees until he could barely make out the dim outline of them against the dark blue of night. This went on every day except of course Saturday when he’d interrupt his regular routine to attend the morning mass. He never did confession, he once told me he’d rather tell God directly than have some “bastard priest slathering all over my sins.”

There he would be, swinging his cane about his head as he tramped through his trees and bellowed out his roaring tirades of wisdom to the Almighty. The old man seemed to think that the only way God would hear him is if he shouted. It didn’t help any when his hearing had been going for the past ten years. The people of the village called him the holy apple and many nasty things not worth mentioning; but the old man didn’t give a damn. Maybe somewhere in his proud Gallic heritage there was an inbred apathy towards what other people thought of him. This, in combination with what I now realize was the early stages of dementia, made him especially vulnerable on that day.

The old man must have been somewhere around his mid-eighties when the war started. He barely seemed to notice when France surrendered to Germany, although once I heard him mutter something about “that spawn of the devil, Marshall P├ętain.” The old man stuck to his orchard, shouting to God, and chasing away and calling down curses upon the hungry neighbours enjoying his succulent fruits prematurely.

It happened on a Friday, I’m not one for precise dates but I do tend to remember the day of the week. It was Thursday when we first heard the crack of weapons and the thundering boom of shells. Oh sure, we heard gunfire before, but I had never been this loud or insistent. The old man kept to his orchard never minding the sound of automatic weapons just tending his trees as if there was nothing else in the world to do.

Come Friday, the weapons had become deafening and Germans started pouring into our village. They dug themselves in right there, not to be moved, so it seemed. The family had in mind to leave, and they did. I stayed with the old man who would not be moved from his trees, especially in a war.

We had seen a few German soldiers throughout the war, but that Friday it was the first time I had seen so many. A jeep full of young Germans pulled up in front of our house. A slender young man, he couldn’t of been over twenty, stepped out of the vehicle. His black hair was slicked to one side and he was clean-shaven. How could a man find time to comb his hair when he was fighting a war?

“Good day,” he said. I glared at him, I wanted him to go home and tell his relatives never to visit France.

“Is it?”

“The guns are quiet, aren’t they?” he demanded in a lazy ignorant version of my language.

“Yes, and our Nazi liberators have arrived,” I replied tersely.

He smiled, a superficial smile of straight white teeth, “cigarette?”

“No,” I growled, “what do you want?”

“Apples,” he grinned, “for the Nazi liberators.”

“Are you paying?” I asked naively.

The German lit up a cigarette, puffed and then turned to the men behind him, “Damn money-grubbing French,” then he leaned forward towards me and spoke in French, “I don’t have to pay, by order of the Fuhrer.”

I clenched my fists.

“Hey! Who are you?” I don’t see why he cared who the old man was but the German called to him anyway.

“That’s my grandfather,” I tried to motion for him to return to the house, but my grandfather ignored me.

The old man tramped over to us, “WHAT IS THIS IMBECILE HERE FOR, M’BOY?”

“He wants apples,” I answered.

“WELL TELL HIM HE CAN’T HAVE THE BLEEDIN’ APPLES!” he cried in his high wavering voice.

“What did he say?” the German asked, likely confused by the Meridional accent that affected my grandfather’s speech.

“The old man says you can’t have apples,” I shrugged.

He laughed, “He does?”

He leaned forward, “ I’m requisitioning them..”

“WHAT DID THE PRETTY BOY SAY?” the old man barked, “HE SOUNDS LIKE HE HAS VOMIT IN HIS THROAT.”

The old man turned his attention toward the sky, “DEAR GOD, THE GERMANS CHOKE ON THEIR OWN LANGUAGE, WHY MUST THEY CHOKE ON OURS?”

The old man looked at me again, “WHAT DID THE FOOL SAY?”

“He says he’s taking them anyhow,” I answered.

The German gestured to the men in the jeep, and they climbed out, taking several crates with them, “Pick those trees there.”

“DOES THE PRETTY BOY NOT UNDERSTAND US?” the old man growled.

“He doesn’t care, grandfather,” I tried to grab his shoulder, to guide him away, “let’s go.”.

“GET YOUR FORNICATING PAWS OFF OF MY APPLES YOU TEUTONIC DISEASE!” the old man roared, slapping my arm away with a gnarled hand.

With obvious annoyance, the German snorted, “get the hell away, old man.”

The old man’s wrinkled face was red and he waved his cane about his head like Moses lecturing the Israelites, “DON’T LET THOSE IGNORANT BRUTES TOUCH MY TREES, YOU NAZI PLAGUE! YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY OUT ANYHOW, YOU SQUARE-HEADED PEASANTS!”

The German grasped his chin and glanced side to side impatiently as if the answer lay in the land around him, “Get this old man out of here, boy, or I’ll get him out of here myself!”

I didn’t budge, I couldn’t. The old man stumbled over to where the men were tearing the apples off the tree, “YOU’RE WRECKING MY TREES, YOU FOOLS!”

His cane cracked down onto the shoulder of a large tough looking soldier, “GET YOUR BLEEDING PAWS OFF MY TREE, YOU DONKEY-BRAINED BOCHE!”

The big German glanced at the old man in a perturbed manner but kept recklessly tearing the apples from the trees.

The cane came down across the back of another man’s helmet, “APPLES ARE SACRED YOU BLEEDING FOOLS! PIGS SHOULDN’T DRINK MERLOT, DOGS SHOULDN’T DINE ON CAVIAR, VERMIN SHOULDN’T WEAR PEARLS, AND NAZIS SHOULDN’T EAT MY APPLES!”

The German muttered his exasperation, swore and then raised his sidearm, “get out of here old man, or I’ll blow you head off!”

My grandfather stared at the German in perplexion, “YOU WOULD SHOOT AN OLD MAN?”

“In defence of the Reich,” the German answered tersely in French.

“DEFEND YOUR EMPIRE AND I WILL DEFEND MY APPLES!” the old man bellowed and gave the big German a wack between the legs that sent him cringing to the ground.

“Get out of here old man or I’ll shoot!” the black-haired German yelled.

“NOT WHILE YOUR MEN RAPE MY TREES!” the old man snarled.

“Stupid.” I saw a brutish light of murder glint in the soldier’s eyes.

I cried out a warning but the old man didn’t seem to hear. He stumped over, dirty grey sweater flying in the wind and shiny black cane raised in terrible defiance. There was a pop and the old man dropped, a red ribbon of blood staining his chest, “MY APPLES . . .”

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Song of the Week: Sorry Again - Tomi Swick

I recently purchased Tomi Swick's album "Stalled out in the Doorway." His music is mellow, melodic, lilting and beautiful. Not only is the music good, but Tomi is from Hamilton, which increases his hip-factor by at least ten. You may have heard his songs on the radio as they are getting some good rotation. If not (and if so, for that matter), here's a sample:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Old Poem:

Old Man

An old man in a cardigan on the corner of the street
between the dull concrete walls with a wooden plank for his seat
rests his gnarled fingers on worn book lying on his lap
his bright brown eyes searching anxiously from underneath his cap
for a friendly smile in the crowd of dismal grey faces
rushing by on their way to their dismal grey places
“I have many stories to share,” he whispers to the cold faces above,
“stories from my youth until now, stories of happiness and love,”
he pauses, “I was a fisherman once, a lived by the sea
with my young wife and children, in a poor community.
My brothers and I — we owned a sleek wooden boat
Oh! She’d rather fly through the sea than bother to float
We would row the craft out into the deep emerald ocean
and fling our nets over the waters with one soaring motion
then we would sing and tell stories to enrich the short day
or sometimes we’d be silent and listen to the ocean spray,”
His eyes focus on the dusty service of the old album
and his ancient fingers tap ardently in a rhythmic drum,
“there would be enough fish for our families — for them to eat
and with the leftovers we could buy whatever we might need.
Oh — and my young family, what fine stories I have to share,”
the old man opens the book and points, “see that? We once lived there.
This small yellow shack, beside the blue one, under that palm tree,
see, that’s my wife, those are my sons, and my daughters on my knee
my sons and I would play cricket on the beach until sundown
and some days I’d go to the market with my daughter, in town
I’d buy her a bracelet, some milk chocolate, or a book
and we’d bring home some rice and chicken for my wife to cook.”
The old man carefully closes the album and folds his hands
smiling and lifting his eyes to catch a passerby’s glance.
But their faces are stone and their faces are the same,
so they don’t even bother to ask him his name.

Who deh?

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