Monday, July 24, 2017

life's little lessons


Some young neighbours of a retired couple asked them what they did to keep life interesting.

The elderly man answered, "Well, the other day my wife and I went into town and into a shop. We were only in there for about five minutes but  when we came out, there was a policeman writing out a parking ticket.

"We went up to him and my wife said, 'Come on sir, how about giving us pensioners a break?' He ignored us and continued writing the ticket.

"So I called him a fascist bastard. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tyres. Then my wife called him a total pillock. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windscreen with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. We continued to call him names and he just kept writing those tickets.

"This went on for about 10 minutes, and then our bus arrived."



“I have a hobby. I have the world’s largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you’ve seen some of it.”

“I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time" so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.”

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”

“I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.” *
― Steven Wright

* (remind you of anyone?)

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Bohemian Rhapsody"



As 65,000 Green Day fans eagerly waited their appearance at London’s Hyde Park on July 1, the stadium blared out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on the speakers. The inevitable happened - all 65,000 fans passionately broke into song, matching Freddie Mercury’s voice note for note. The best part is, many of the audience even hummed out the guitar solo.

Someone commented, “Only Queen can rock an entire stadium without even being there.”

Here are the lyrics if you'd like to sing along and have forgotten some of the words:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.

Mama, ooh,
Didn't mean to make you cry,
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine,
Body's aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.

Mama, ooh (any way the wind blows),
I don't wanna die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all.

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me.
(Galileo) Galileo.
(Galileo) Galileo,
Galileo Figaro
Magnifico-o-o-o-o.

I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
He's just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Never let you go (Never, never, never, never let me go)
Oh oh oh oh
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let me go.)
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.

(Ooooh, ooh yeah, ooh yeah)

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.

Any way the wind blows.


In 1988 Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé sang Barcelona, a song he wrote for the opening of the Olympic Games in 1992. It's an amazing performance. Freddie Mercury died in 1991.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

beached boys


Two priests on their way to a beach resort vacation decided they wouldn't wear anything that would identify them as clergy. On arrival they found a shop that specialized in brightly colored shirts, shorts, and all the other bits they needed to help them forget their cold and damp northern church for a little while.

The next morning they went to the beach, dressed in their 'tourist' garb and were sitting on deck chairs, enjoying a drink, the sunshine and the scenery when a beautiful blonde woman wearing a tiny bikini came walking straight towards them. They couldn't help but stare and when she passed them, she smiled and said, "Good morning, Father" - "Good morning, Father," nodding and addressing each of them individually, then passed on by.

They were both stunned. How in the world did she recognize them as priests?

The next day they went back to the shop, bought even more outrageous outfits and again settled on the beach in their chairs to enjoy the sunshine, etc.

After a while, the same gorgeous blonde, wearing a string bikini this time, came walking toward them again.

Again, she approached them and greeted them individually: "Good morning, Father," "Good morning Father," and started to walk away.

One of the priests couldn't stand it and said. "Just a minute, young lady. Yes, we are priests, and proud of it, but I have to know, how in the world did you know?"

"Oh, Father, it's me Sister Angela!"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

did I miss anything?


What with the First of July and the Fourth of July summer has officially arrived in North America and with it the season of fairs and community celebrations. As you can see Crow wore some of his finest regalia as enjoyed Canada Day with some friends. While he was out dancing the Highland fandango I had time to remember a summertime story that I thought to share with you:

Every year Walter and his wife Ethel went to the state fair, and every time he would say to her, "Ethel, you know that I'd love to go for a ride in that helicopter." But Ethel would always reply, "I know that Walter, but that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

Finally, they went to the fair, and Walter said to Ethel, "Ethel, you know I'm 87 years old now. If I don't ride that helicopter this year, I may never get another chance." Once again Ethel replied, "Walter, you know that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

This time the helicopter pilot overheard the couple's conversation and said, "Listen folks, I'll make a deal with you. I'll take both of you for a ride; if you can both stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word I won't charge you! But if you say just one word, it's 50 dollars."

Walter and Ethel agreed and up they went in the helicopter. The pilot performed all kinds of fancy moves and tricks, but not a word was said by either Walter or Ethel. The pilot did his death-defying tricks over and over again, but still there wasn't so much as one word said. When they finally landed, the pilot turned to Walter and said, "Wow! I've got to hand it to you. I did everything I could to get you to scream or shout out, but you didn't. I'm really impressed!"

Walter replied, "Well to be honest I almost said something when Ethel fell out but, you know, 50 dollars is 50 dollars!"


Happy Summer :)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

the phone call


A lawyer attempting to call his clients had the following conversation with their little boy who answered the phone:

The phone rang and the little boy, in a whisper, says, "Hello."
 

Lawyer: "Is your mommy there?"
Boy: (whisper) "Yes."
 

Lawyer: "Can I speak with her?"
Boy: (whisper) "She's busy."
 

Lawyer: "Is your daddy there?"
Boy: (whisper) "Yes."
 

Lawyer: "Can I speak with him?"
Boy: (whisper) "He's busy."
 

Lawyer: "Is there anyone else there?"
Boy: (whisper) "The fire department."
 

Lawyer: "Can I talk to one of them?"
Boy: (whisper) "They're busy."
 

Lawyer: "Is there anybody ELSE there?"
Boy: (whisper) "The police department."
 

Lawyer: "Well, can I talk to one of THEM?"
Boy: (whisper) "They're busy."
 

Lawyer: "Let me get this straight, your mother,
father, the fire department AND the police department
are ALL in your house, and they're ALL busy. WHAT
are they doing?"
Boy: (whisper) "They're looking for me."


***

In between times of no painting a story can still suggest a picture - as this one did.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will 
make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours”
~ Eric Idle




Monday, June 19, 2017

the passenger


John Bradford, an Irish university student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a torrential storm.

The night was rolling on and no car went by. The rain and wind were so overwhelming he could barely see. At long last he observed a car that slowly came towards him and stopped just a few feet away.

John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door... Only then did he realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn’t running. The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the window, and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so, gathering all his courage, he jumped out of the car and ran to that comforting beacon of normality. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying... and that he wasn’t drunk.

Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the dark and stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other...

Look, Paddy... there’s that idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!



I imagine you may have heard this one before, but just in case you haven't..

Monday, June 12, 2017

fear of flying with Crow


Recently Crow attended the nuptials of his cousin Cornelius and his lovely bride Hortensia. Aren't they a sweet couple?* and, yes, it was a lovely wedding.

When he returned he told me the guests at the reception had been quite disturbed about the news that humans are planning to annoy and irritate the flocks (more than they already are) by attempting to transport themselves to and from their various destinations by flying car. According to reports these vehicles are designed to fly 10 metres off the ground at a maximum speed of 100kph. Hmmm..

Anyway, here are some of Crow's thoughts on the matter:

I can understand a great deal of excitement has been generated among humans about being able to fly to the shop for a bottle of milk, but humans have certain handicaps in this regard that aren't shared by those of us born with wings. Ahem.

1. Birds, not having hands with opposable thumbs, do not text - ever.

2. When a bird decides to land most of us are small enough to find safety on a branch or on a roof. People in flying cars will not have this option.

3. Birds can glide. If anything goes wrong with your flying car it will become a flying brick. 

4. The number of new things a flying car could crash into are too numerous to list.

5. There aren’t too many scenarios where a crash could be trivial. At 10 metres high and 100kph you'll be ensured of serious injuries - and not necessarily just to yourself.

6. There aren’t even the beginnings of any sort of 'road rules' for flying cars.

7. We teach our young to fly. Who will teach yours?

8. What about traffic lights?

9. Unlike birds having the occasional 'accident' as we fly over your grounded cars, or selves, what happens to those below when you notoriously messy humans throw things out of your flying cars?

10. We can fly anywhere we like, but what of flying cars? Where will they fly? and will they sing and make happy chirping sounds outside your window? 


I fear there will be no peace anywhere.


After we talked about these unconsidered scenarios Crow and I watched a movie I remembered enjoying years ago. Called 'The Fifth Element', it does feature some flying cars:



Is this a modern development you're looking forward to enjoying?

* Family Wedding by Rudi Hurzlmeier



Article of the week: False flags

Sunday, June 4, 2017

other people's work #296 - Anthony Howe


Anthony Howe lives with his wife on an island off the coast of Washington surrounded by little more than trees, wind, and other natural elements that inspire his incredible kinetic sculptures. He works primarily with stainless steel which he welds to create carefully engineered objects powered by the slightest breeze. His wind-powered, carefully designed kinetic contraptions are so well thought out it’s hard to believe they’re sturdy, welded metal constructions. When a gentle breeze begins to blow, the sculpture’s wind-catching spoons and paddles begin to turn, and the entire piece begins to undulate in fascinating patterns.

But better you see for yourself:



They are mesmerizing.
I have no backyard.
Even if I did...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

new friends


Some years ago a science fiction novel I read described two different groups of humans as part of the overall story. The first group, ur-humans, were descendants of people who had been brought from Earth long ago who had been mentored by a civilization of inter-galactic beings. The second group, r-humans were more like us. They had struggled their way to a technologic society that had eventually bootstrapped its way into space. I no longer remember the name of the book, and that aspect was just a small part of a larger overall tale, but I rather liked the idea that there were humans who felt they were an organic part of a greater civilization.

Science fiction done well allows us to see our behaviour in perspective. I found a blog whose author wrote 365 very short science fiction stories over the course of 365 days. Here's one of them:

Holy Place

The priest’s words echoed through St. Peter’s soaring arches, resounding off acres of inlaid marble and porphyry. The murmur of tourists gawking and taking pictures stopped. Heads turned.

The priest stood before Michelangelo’s Pièta, hair the colour of clouds, cassock dark as a storm. A trio of Shivers had just entered the basilica and stood, clicking, their many limbs shifting nervously.

This was in the early days, when seeing an alien walking around was still rare. One of them inclined its glossy head. “We have come to admire the treasures of this place,” it said.

The priest’s eyes flashed with a dark light. “The house of God is not open to demons,” he said. “This place is for the baptized.”

The aliens clicked animatedly to each other. At length they turned to the priest together and bowed, forelegs splaying across the marble floor. “Then baptize us, father,” said the leader.

The priest blinked. “You … You wish to be baptized?” he said.

The lead Shiver nodded.

The priest’s gaze wandered over the aliens: many-legged, restlessly moving under their glossy black carapaces. He remembered the vast ships they had shown on TV, cloud-streaked, shadowing cities.

He breathed out, slowly.

“So you wish to be baptized,” he said. “His Holiness will want to hear of this … Follow me, children.”

The Shivers scurried after him. “Praise be to Allah!” they shouted.

The priest spun on them. “What!?” he said.

“Sorry,” said the lead Shiver. “Is there a difference?”




Article of the week: Manchester, or Innocence Long Lost 
by Raul Ilargi Meijer

Sunday, May 21, 2017

diving Crow blues *


Now if the river was brandy
And I was out diving with Crow
Now if the river was Remy
And I was out diving with Crow
I would dive in that bottle
And I'd never let go.

If the world treats you badly
You could go diving with us
If you got only hard times
We'll take you diving with us
Just grab your suit and flippers
There is nothing to discuss.

The river flows to the ocean
As you can surely see
Those oil guys were brazen
With their lies and treachery
Why these rich folk are so greedy
Is a mystery to me

Now they tell us Fukushima
Is just as calm as the sea
There is nothing left to see there
Things are good as they can be
But we know that they are lying
Though there's no news on tv

It's just money that matters
And they know they won't get caught
Cause they paid the politicians
Who said they never could be bought
There's no truth in what they tell you
Is what my dear mother taught

If the river was brandy
We wouldn't need a cup
If the river was Remy
We'd have a fine roundup
We can swim to the bottom
And we'll drink our way up.

So if the world treats you badly
You could go diving with us
If you got only hard times
We'll take you diving with us
Just grab your suit and flippers
There is nothing to discuss.


^ With apologies to Sleepy John Estes
* reprise from 2011 because it's all still true