January 26, 2022

No Rush To Judgement


We were sitting in the car listening to the CBC, as all good Canadians do, when the guy being interviewed was talking about the audio version of his new book, and how he was able to get Geddy Lee of Rush to voice a lyric from the band’s song 

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

To which I said , If I had to reconsider Rush, I would still say no.  

To which my wife said,” I loved Rush. I remember seeing them live. “

To which I said, “Sometimes 47 years is not long enough to reallt get to know a person.”

To which she said, “Well you like Steely Dan- same thing.”

Same thing? 

Not the same thing at all.  

Steely Dan had great songs and lyrics that are hilarious.  

Rush is…..Rush.  

So here are two songs which have been mated, just as we have been mated. 

Words interspersed.  Hands held. Bodies come together as one.

One is by Rush, and one is by Steely Dan.  

No rush to judgement, but can you pick out who wrote what?

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance, A planet of playthings, we dance on the strings of powers we cannot perceive The stars aren't aligned or the Gods are malign, 
blame is better to give than receive
This is the day of the expanding man That shape is my shade. There where I used to stand It seems like only yesterday I gazed through the glass At ramblers, wild gamblers 
That's all in the past
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose Freewill
Learn to work the saxophone I play just what I feel Drink Scotch whiskey all night long, and  die behind the wheel  
They got a name for the winners in the world I want a name when I lose. 
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide Call me Deacon Blues. 
You call me a fool You say it's a crazy scheme This one's for real I already bought the dream 
So useless to ask me why Throw a kiss and say goodbye I'll make it this time 
I’m ready to cross that fine line
There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them they weren't born in Lotus Land  All preordained, a prisoner in chains, a victim of venomous fate. Kicked in the face, you can pray for a place, in heaven's unearthly estate. 
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choiceYou can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill. will choose a path that's clear, 
I will choose Freewill
My back to the wall a victim of laughing chance. This is for me The essence of true romance Sharing the things we know and love with those of my kind 
Libations, sensations That stagger the mind
Each of us, a cell of awareness, imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends with uncertain ends on a fortune hunt that's far too fleet
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear, I will choose Freewill

I crawl like a viper Through these suburban streets Make love to these women Languid and bittersweet. 
I'll rise when the sun goes down Cover every game in town a world of my own I'll make it my home sweet home. This is the night of the expanding man. I take one last drag as I approach the stand. 
I cried when I wrote this song Sue me if I play too long
This brother is free. I'll be what I want to be.  
I said,” I guess you would call Rush Prog Rock.  I never cared much for Prog Rock.”
“ You didn’t like Yes?”
“ I liked roundabout. I also really like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, until punk rock killed that. “
“ Oh, I loved Uriah Heap.”
“ I bought Demons and Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday from Columbia House. “
“ I had those.”
To think, it was the music of Pere Ubu which brought us together. 

January 18, 2022

When I’m 64……


“But it had been awhile since his last redhead, since he’d been flattered by any beautiful woman. These days were different days.  There was something technical about them, undistinctive. You couldn’t tell the scientists from the vandals. You could order viruses through the mail- pathogens, toxins, what have you. A clever schoolchild could wipe out all the bees in a meadow during recess.  They were breeding rhinos with no horns to make them less desirable. “

Joy Williams The Quick And The Dead. 2000


When I was born, I was a redhead.  So said my mother, who should know, as she was there. More colours came later. A veritable rainbow. I’ve always had good hair, joking that my ancestors traded good hair for a lousy cardiovascular system.  Can I prove this claim?  At my age, we are allowed to exaggerate.  Do your own research, bud. 

Lately, in the Canadian fashion, I am going for the silver, mind you, not all over, just enough to be distinguished, as in “When we say someone is distinguished, we're expressing respect for them, as in "that hairstyle makes you look quite distinguished"

Usually, someone distinguished is older.  And I can identify with older. Of course anything past being born is older.  It’s just a question of degree.  But good things come to those who wait.  Apparently, somebody wrote me a song. You may have heard it before. 

I’ve been listening to that damned song for the last 54 years, as it came out in 1968, and I came out in 1958. 

You know which song I speak of goes like this: 

“Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
When I'm sixty-four”

She still needs me. 
She still feeds me. 
She still loves me. 

And I need her.
I occasionally feed her.
And I will always love her. 

This past year was a doozy, as the scientists say.  I got a refurbished heart, good for a few more miles at least. 
There has been countless times I could have been totalled, a write off.  
But for the love of a good woman….

Anywho, I’m still standing.   Except for now. I am sitting. Pondering, ruminating, letting the mind wander, off leash.  

Hopefully I have more songs in the tank. 

What is it with the car metaphors? 

Regrets, I’ve had a few.  A few too many, too many times.  That legend is history.  Respect your elders. Get off my lawn! 

Note to self: you don’t have a lawn. 

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, and when I say a grain, I mean a grain, as I need to be mindful of what fuel I feed my refurbishment. 

Phil Ochs wrote a song called rehearsals for retirement.  
Sounds better every day. 

Wondering how I’m doing? 

Send me a postcard, drop me a line! 

Stating point of view.

Indicate precisely what you mean to say.

Yours sincerely, 
Wasting Away

January 12, 2022

Hate is a Lousy Drug


“So let's leave it alone 'cause we can't see eye to eye
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy
There's only you and me and we just disagree”  - Dave Mason 

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group … There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest.” — President Trump, Aug. 15, 2017

Conservatives vs Liberals

Liberals vs Leftists

Leftists vs Neo nazis

Neo nazis vs everyone 

Everyone vs everyone 

Ever get the feeling we are sliding down a slippery slope of Hate?  From two thumbs up to middle fingers, the digital world has its finger on the pulse, and the pulse is quickening. People quarantined in their hovels, looking at tiny screens, their only connection to the world, getting angry.  We shout out to our echo chamber of friends, and our opinions are echoed back, reinforcing original bias, original sin, and replications of nothing too original. 

Ads pop up for anything you have recently googled, and yet people are worried about Bill Gates wanting to implant chips to know your inner most thoughts.  We are already fairly controlled, no need for implants.  We debate the truth about just about everything.  

Read about the latest shooting, and get redirected to deniers talking about crisis actors. And little by little, after all the buttons are pushed, our world becomes darker, more narrow.  

We “see” the people we disagree with as “others”.  We have become inured to the humanity of those whom we differ from.  

Some people are angry at those who reject vaccines- the anti-vaxxers. 

I’ve felt that anger, even shared it.  Then some people say we need to separate these people for OUR safety. Then some people think we need to deny healthcare to those people, these anti vaxxers. Close the doors to the hospitals, make them pay because the hospitals are filling up with those without vaccines, using precious resources.  

Flash forward two months, and the latest variants are affecting a greater percentage of people who have had their vaccines.  How does that figure into the vaccines “good/ not good vaccine debate and dichotomy?  

Well, simple math.  Vaccines don’t make us immune, they don’t makes us invincible or invisible.  They simply reduce the virility of the virus.  And since we have more people who are vaccinated in our region, it makes sense that more people who have contracted the virus variant, are likely to have been vaccinated.  

Other by-products of the pandemic include loss of employment, loss of business, isolation and factionalism.  The new math is Fractions of factions.  

Within the vaccinated faction, we have those who listen to the government and Public Health officials with complete confidence.  This faction can get defensive when another faction of the vaccinated criticize the instructions or public health orders,  

Some feel the PHO goes too far.  They wan to dance have fun have freedom. 

Some feel the PHO do not go far enough.  We need lockdowns, less freedom for our protection, more enforcement. 

Some feel the PHO responses are so wrong that they constitute eugenics. 

Lately there is so much diversity of opinions among the vaccinated, that the government is trying hard to get us to remember the unvaccinated.   Oh yeah, we forgot about them.   

The non vaxxed ( hesitant, resistant, and the vociferously anti-vaxx to the max - conspiracy lovers) within in our region, and within Canada, are a small minority of the population.  In the US this faction is considerably higher, and their decisions more motivated ( and manipulated) by politics and religion.  

Don’t forget the urban and the rural divide, also racial, economic and cultural differences.  Further complicating all the divisions in the US are the profusion of guns, which like another virus, have been replicating. 

This replication of guns and virus and divisions are accelerated by the Fox “news” virus, countered by the Fake news virus.  Compound these divisions with the Big Lie, and the Russian Republicans, hell bent on limiting voting.   Of course any vote that disagrees with The Donald, be it black, Hispanic, socialist, liberal, or Lynn Cheney, is wrong, fake, or  fraudulent. 

America is sliding toward autocracy, Russia is controlled by oligarchs, and Canada is divided by geography, identity and economy. The fans of Hate are blowing out lots of air lately, further demonizing those who disagree.

Can’t we all just get along and love the Raptors? 

All of these divisions just help us to be better conquered. Hate is a lousy drug, worse than cocaine.  Yet Hate is becoming the drug of choice.  

And as angry as I get with certain factions, and make no mistake, (as a cranky guy over 60, I am not immune,) I see the danger of this problem as it is manifesting and being manipulated.  The more we make those we disagree with into the enemy, the more we make it easier to hate that enemy, to see them not just as disagreeable, but less deserving, and ultimately less than human.

I remember being at a trade show, when the President of a company that our company did business with came by our booth.   He started talking angrily about the situation in the Middle East.  This man was a Zionist, who said the Palestinians were lower than dogs, subhumans who deserved whatever death could be given them.  

I also remember picking up a Japanese customer who spoke about the various countries and their people in his part of the world.  There was a natural order he said. On top was Japan, then Korea, which should really be part of a Japan, then China ( did not speak of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc, but did not hesitate to mention that the lowest were the Filipinos, who were thieves and dogs and not to be trusted. They were dogs as well.   

Funny how the worst epithet of both of these bigoted business owners was to call their enemies a dog.  And then to advise that they needed to be “put down”.   Do you think they were dog owners? 

The natural progression of Hate leads to “death to my enemies.” 

Divisions become a sliding scale where walk outs are welcome and death is negotiable.  Hate always becomes a black hole.  It is a negative space. It is hopefully not the final frontier.   It is a mindset leads to a lowering of the threshold for holocausts and eugenics.  

Limbo lower now. Limbo lower now. 

Hate is a lousy drug.  Get the t-shirt.  Stay for the punch.

“So let's leave it alone 'cause we can't see eye to eye
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy
There's only you and me and we just disagree”

Dave Mason

January 9, 2022

Sacrifice Does Not Require Burning


The harvest leg 

Is having second thoughts

Feels they may have given up

more than was required

Was this simple graft or graveyard robbery?

The harvest leg

had no say 

in this matter of 

Gravity vs gravitas vs gravy

The harvest leg 

Still standing upright offers up 

More the a pirate’s booty

And kicks out the jams

Nails jelly to the walls

Requests a new melody 

for dancing the broken night

The harvest leg

Throbs with jealousy

For the Devil’s arthritis

Built on borrowed pins and needles

Hangs itself out of spite

Then recalculates as 

Piss runs past vinegar

Rubbing salt in 

the wound so beautifully drawn.

A thrum comes down

without warning or pity

chews through sinew

Bores with repetition 

An incremental collection 

Of steps adding up to 

A cup of bones. 

A minor migration of saphenous veins,

Now the Ralph Lauren cardiac pillow 

Rests in the nest between 

The harvest leg

And the insensitive good leg, 

oblivious of their fraternal twin’s

Phantom pain.

January 4, 2022

Sitting in the dark waiting for the dawn to arrive

Sitting in the dark waiting for the dawn to arrive

 It is 7 am. The year has barely started. A Tuesday/ Wednesdayish feel. Some snow from last night remains, but the traffic sounds like rain. Lately, I sleep for 4 hours or so, then try to relax in bed until morning breaks.  Sometimes I get out of bed.  This morning I am waiting out the dawn, which like the end of this pandemic, is coming. 

I am blessed to have so many artists and musicians and creative people in my life.  They have a hard road, as they say, because they see it all.  And sometimes that is not a pretty sight. 

Not a pretty sight.  But sometimes it is a glorious and beautiful sight.  And those are the moments we live for.  

Love.  That is what we call this divine moment.  

We are blessed with such vision and beauty and power,   We must strive to shut out the noise that diverts us from this discovery.   

“The war is over, if you want it.” 

“ I declare the war is over.” 

“Some of them were dreamers, and some of them were fools, and for some of them it was only the moment that mattered. “

January 3, 2022

The Harvest Leg

People ask me how I am doing.  

The official answer is that I am doing a bit better every day.  

Which is true, but raises a question:

How do we measure the progress of healing?

( TRIGGER WARNING! The following descriptions are of a medical nature, and may be disturbing to anyone with an idealized impression of the author.  Even though he barely hides behind a flimsy pseudonym, he is far from the sensitive soul you imagine him to be.  He is, in fact, much more sensitive.) 

Recently I went to the doctor, as the leg with the scar had an infection.  He said that is  a common situation with the harvest leg

His words, my italics. The harvest leg is the leg which the surgeon designates to harvest the veins from, to graft onto your heart in a coronary artery bypass graft, aka what they call the Cabbage procedure, aka bypass surgery.   

I had not heard that phrase prior to that visit, more than two months after my surgery.  

The following abstract used without permission is from 

Mohammad Salman Siddiqi, Cardiothoracic Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman

Abstract: Coronary artery bypass grafting is a commonly performed surgery worldwide that gives good results. Great saphenous vein is used as a conduit for bypass in over 95% cases. The harvesting technique has remained unchanged over the years. However, wound complications from harvesting the great saphenous vein by open method can be a major source of postoperative morbidity. With the objective of preventing major complications, identification of risk factors for saphenous vein harvest site infection is important. It is imperative to develop approaches that prevent infection and to allow for early recognition of patients who are at high risk and who may need more watchful monitoring so as to prevent development of wound complications. It is desirable to assess the patient completely, delineate the anatomy of peripheral vessels particularly in a patient with associated peripheral vascular disease, identify the best site to perform the saphenous vein harvest incision, employ a meticulous surgical technique, recognize complications early, and start the recommended treatment without delay. The aim of this paper is to identify the risk factors for saphenous vein harvest site complications and their identification, prevention, and management.

The first picture was days after surgery. The incision was very clean and was not overly painful, even though it was a fairly significant scar.  The subsequent photo is after 6 weeks, and the third photo was taken this morning.  
My infection was minor and healed quickly with the round of antibiotics that my doctor prescribed. 



The third picture inaccurately makes my leg, my harvest leg, appear larger than it actually is.  
My chief complaint from the harvest leg is circulation issues, i.e. cold feet, popsicle toes, “ phantom pains” in my ankle and shin area.  The minor discomfort I am experiencing in the designated harvest leg is insignificant compared to the service that the harvest provided to my heart, which truth be told is most appreciative of the sacrifice made by said harvest leg. 
It must be noted that my chest also sacrificed some arterial material for the greater good during the operation.  
Still the harvest leg would like it known that it was the”great saphenous vein” that was sacrificed, no minor feat, no matter how cold the feet would become. 
Cold feet is often used as an expression of lack of nerve, as in having cold feet.  The nerves in my feet would like it to be known that they do not lack nerve, which is proven by the pain experienced, exacerbated by the relative low temperature of the feet, or should we more accurately describe as a lack of temperature.  
My mouth would also like me to mention, as it lacks its own voice, that it provided the first gift of inter body transfer, back in my teens, when they transplanted one bicuspid on the left side of the mouth to the right side to balance out the shortage of teeth on that side.  
The official dental historian would also like it stated that the host was born with less teeth than “normal” people, and that even though the left bicuspid generously gave of itself to relocate to the right side, said host later lost the tooth after being punched in the face, in a late night punk rock assault, resulting in the death of said bicuspid, and it’s subsequent removal.  Left Bicuspid RIP
Somehow it is always the left side giving to the right.  My left testicle would also like it known that they experienced great indignity ( and a skillful incision) when a hydrocele was removed after a swollen performance.  The left testicle gained subsequent revenge by creating an equally swell spermatacele, thereby continuing the dominance over the relatively puny right testicle. I will refrain from including photographic evidence. 
I am pretty sure that all of this qualifies as TMI - too much information, but I am compelled by the rules of blog self confession to proceed, with caution of course, much caution, and due process, not to mention habeas corpus.  
For some reason only the mind can answer for (good luck getting any accountability from that organ) I am reminded of the poem Eletelephony:

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)
Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—

I fear I better drop the song 

Of elephop and telephong. 

Laura Elizabeth Richards

January 1, 2022

Is it soup yet? When does words become writing? When it’s actually read?

Welcome to 
our first post of 2022.  

2021 was a bumper year and perhaps a personal record.  It was certainly a banner year for change.  For all of you following this at home, here is a quick recap of what might have missed in 2021. 

Craps  on a global stage
Fear of quicksand
The radical search for the gooey centre
When looking for angels, start with the mirror
The Judys More
Now we return to our regularly scheduled program
Aging Out
Smells Like Rainbow Sounds like Velvet 
I love you I am no more - Late to the party
Nancy Smith
Rust Never Sleeps, and feels anxious all the time
It’s about time
My heart is full of love pt 2
My heart is full of love- The Cardio Diaries
I wake up sneezing
The wink of a hummingbird 
In the beginning was desire
Building a new monster- by popular demand 
Does anybody really know what time it is?
Oops! No internet- Try Again
At the crumbling edge
Code white
My New armed Hunter Boots
The Big Stupid
Pandoras Box Wine
I Began Walking at Six

28 posts. 
Views ranged from 7 to 411.  
There were 10 comments.  
When asked for comment on the sparse engagement, Dense Milt had no comment. 

However, my dog Maisy, intrepid Terrier did in fact have comments.  

In fact her piercing bark was incessant, only relieved  with the tossing of her favourite treat- Brussels sprouts. Hey if you can cake in the morning and call it a muffins, no judgement here that she likes a good round cruciferous vegetable. 
At this point, I yield the floor, which to be honest, she already owns. 

Maisy says charge your glasses. Because 2022 is not going to write itself.  

“I have noticed a few things this past year.  Squirrels are getting fatter.  So many Kleenex to chew upon. Even the crows are obese.  Still I am maintaining my girlish figure.  Not bad for a bitch over 14.  
They say 14 is the new 9.  They also promised me treats, which I do not recall getting. 
Lots of shows with horses this year, although I am only seeing about half of them, as the cataract in my right eye is a milky pearl.  
And how about those fat cats?  The 1%? I think not. The real numbers are a fraction of the reality.  
Also I learned a new trick- who says an old dog can’t go to college?  After a walk in the snow, I lie down, and they carry me home !!! 
This year, lots of snow.  Also lots of rain and a heat dome, which got name a night in an air conditioned hotel suite.  That was cool! “

As Maisy gets older and a little slower, the squirrels are getting even slower.  Apparently their diet is full of fatty foods ( nuts, acorns).  While squirrels are officially a varmint, the big news is variants. 
Everyone’s favourite virus keeps mutating and spreading, becoming more contagious, more virulent but having less impact.  Will 2022 be the year it finally burns itself out?  
Will it be the year that anti-vaxxers and boosted boomers meet in the middle, brought together by their mutual distrust of politicians disguised as public health officials and public health officials who have learned to speak like politicians?  

Does anybody even care anymore? 
 This virus has replaced Donald Trump as the reigning dinner conversation, is it even possible to talk about something different for even one evening?  
Like the weather.   
Lots of weather. 
We got rivers coming down from the sky. 
Atmospheric rivers, heat domes, tornados, even locusts. 
Remember singing in the rain? 
Nobody can even be bothered to sing. 
Everybody is talking, not rapping, but talking. 
Sleaford Mods, Billy Nomates, Audiotapes, Wet leg, Porridge Radio.  

Fat White Man in a Fat White Car 
by Billy Nomates:

Soft rage from old age
Full wallet thin hair mostly bald
Smokin his way outta town stoppin at the garage
Me Iʼm working the day shift
Where he bumps into Lisa
She was looking good in a tight black dress
Standing by the crisps and the sandwiches
He walks over he was looking fat mostly bald
Seriously, buy the most expensive car you want:
You're going bald

Gently Bentley, you're a heavy load
Gently Bentley
Fat white man on the road

[Verse 2]
Eyes on the prize he asks "where you headed to, a party?"
"I just put Diesel in my unleaded"
Oh no
That could really wreck your car
What are you gunna do?
She looked at him, he looked at her, I looked at you
"Well your a damsel in that dress Lisa and neither of us are getting any younger"
Iʼm an executive and your games hunger."

Gently Bentley, you're a heavy load
Gently Bentley
Fat white man on the road

[Verse 3]
The next week I was working the night shift
Fat white man in a fat white car with a fat white wallet
Red face thin hair, mostly bald
Slid through the automated doors and out from the fridge
Lisa appeared this time by the wines and beers
"Well fancy seeing you here my battery died yeh I thought it was best I come looking for some help inside"
He bought a toffee crisp and a bottle of sprite
"The passenger seatʼs yours"

Gently Bentley, you're a heavy load
Gently Bentley
Fat white man on the road

Oh yeah
There he goes, look at him go
Fat white man on the road
Honestly I can't (?)
Fat white man on the road
(?) the rainbow, but it's not me, haha!
Fat white man on the road

Lyrics by Billy Nomates