June 5, 2009

There’ll be no casual “Hey, Dear Readers” this week.  I must begin this rant with a very sincere thank you for all your support of my last Rant about achieving my first $1,000 day.  First off, I thank all of you who do not demand that I cease and desist from sending you this “FNR!”  Rolling from there, I thank you in particular for supporting my goal of achieving the “Thousand Dollar day,” this past Tuesday.  So I thank you “RK” for calling me long-distance from another country to ask me “how’s it’s going?” before I’d even hit the snooze button on my alarm for the last time!  And I thank you, “SM” for texting me later that day…Not wanting “to bother me” in the middle of it, just when it was going very bad And I thank all of you Dear Readers who gave me me your best wishes, and for showing interest in the mechanics of my business with your e-mails. 

 

Before I report the $ amount that I actually earned that day, I must say that the title of my rant tonight is inspired by another two of you Dear Readers. One of you, CA, is the one who emailed in support… “May the spirit of Willie Loman neither haunt you nor vex your endeavors…but hover neath the firmament of lofty goals…ever warning of the shoals of hollow dreams.” And the other Dear Reader, LP, is the one who consistently, and for no apparent reason, eggs my writer’s “fuel” on by sending me website links (and even “snail-mail”) to all manner of writing sites like the one about the “72-hour novel” contest.  So the title of my rant tonight is How and why, with your support again, I will not give up the “3rd Act,” and write a novel over the 72 hours of this coming Labour Day weekend. (And this’ll be the last rant about me!)

 

Despite all of your best wishes, I only made about two thirds of my goal of my first $1,000…$655. I only closed 25 of the 46 sales that I needed to accomplish that goal.  In fact, if it weren’t for the efforts of my gallant “crew,” who collectively closed another 8 sales between them, netting me that much more, I would only have reached just over half my goal.

 

On any other day I‘d be pretty proud of myself to make that much coin.  But, because all you Dear Readers were cheering for me to accomplish my financial goal, and I had failed, I just felt a hollow sense of victory at the end of the day…sure I was happy that I’d made as much as I did, which was more than I’d ever made before in one day on this job, but it was a “hollow” victory because I’d only earned about two thirds of the goal that I’d vowed to achieve to you Dear Readers.  And I was reminded with shame that, one day about this time last year, I closed 27 sales (two more than this day) in less than half the time and effort that I’d spent working on this “$1000 day,” but for less profit.   And in fact, even though I had a “$655 day” this week…I still made about $150 less than I made last week!

 

Why is that?  Because I worked harder last week and bragged less about what I would do this week. Last week, I consistently followed the formula. This week I nearly took Monday off because I was having a good, inspired writing day…And it was raining…And the next day I was going to make a $1,000 anyway!  But then I felt too guilty to live by that rationalization (since I do have a client who supplies me with this great opportunity, who has certain expectations of my services.)  And so I drove an hour to work at the end of the day to work for two hours before driving home another hour at the real end of the day. My income during those two hours only bolstered my ego, allowing me to forget that it can’t always be this good.  Yes! I thought, I can have that $1,000 day. The day after that “Big Tuesday”…Wednesday…I was exhausted from my failed attempt to make that $1,000 after pitching 173 people (for a one-in-seven sales average, over the course of about 10 hours and God knows how many miles of walking.)  And so my sales average went down to a below average 1 sale per 10 doors.  Yesterday, I got up early for a great writer’s meeting that went long overtime, and I’m glad it did.  Then I drove for more than an hour to work.

 

Holy Frack! I just went outside for a smoke and found the dark sky lightening to daybreak.  Birds are chirping! All while I was boring you with details about how I failed you all.  So let me wrap this rant up by saying that I won’t fail you all anymore by chasing “the shoals of hollow dreams.” I won’t walk two-thirds of the third act for money as I did this week. I won’t walk two-thirds of the way to Ottawa in order to gain the self-respect of knowing that I’m strong enough to join the Canadian Infantry as I did two years ago. But at the end of this summer season I will attempt to go all the way to prove to myself that I can be a true and honest writer by remembering what it is like to create a world in words under such a deadline that rapture comes to your heart by the time you finish.  Because that is the pursuit, the craft, and the only ambition in my life that has any true meaning.  And maybe all the failed dreams that I have pursued before will fuel the inspiration of this one.  Because I have experienced so many wondrous and bizarre adventures in the pursuit of goals so fearfully and wrongly motivated.

 

I won’t make any promises this time, because, aside from my ego’s desire not to have to worry about “winning the bet,” it all seems too trite to do so.  All I’m saying tonight is that I’m glad to have this medium to share and receive thoughts with you And if you have some idea for a personal goal that might have been buried for a long time because you know that nobody would support it…

Just frackin’ go for it this week!  And if any of you have a story to tell as a result of your efforts, I’ll be glad to post it here next week, instead of some rant about how tough it is to be a Mexican these days.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

May 29, 2009

Hey Dear Readers, by western astrology, we’re in Gemini. Gemini is playful, quick-witted and resourceful. Gemini loves games, thinks hard and answers quickly to challenges faced.  Gemini is a good complement to my own sign of Libra, which also loves to think, ponder, and basically deconstruct the events of the day. Which is why I am so disgusted with myself today.  I was on my game at work.  I made over $150 per hour this Friday afternoon. But I quit early and went to the gym after working for only two hours!  All thanks to Libra’s (my) infamous laziness.  (Radio CBC today asked how many of you confess your sins online—well here I am, doing just that.)  So the title of my rant tonight is Next Tuesday, (with your support,) will be my first Thousand dollar day, to make up for my laziness today.  And, on top of that, I will write the next chapter of my novel before next Thursday’s writer’s meeting.

Okay, I feel a bit strange, making the theme of my Friday night all about money, particularly about me being at the center of it.  I had planned to write about our Governor General eating a seal heart, or about Clinton and Bush meeting in my city of Toronto.  Or maybe I’d write about General Motors declaring bankruptcy, or about North Korea’s nuclear weapons posturing.  There’s so much more important stuff that we need to deconstruct than my own personal goal.  But I’m thinking that it could all be related.  I think its safe to say that a Friday Night Rant can all be “deconstructed” to a personal experience which shares a commonality with all of humanity.

So, just to deconstruct again, it’s all about the ambition of the pure soul.  So…In that context, I say, good on our Governor General for showing the world that our representative to the Queen of England can really earn her pay by eating the heart of an animal that was hunted down by the Canadian citizens who would respectfully make the most of their prey by using all of its parts, just as any hunter would.  Good for the new CEO of GM to take on the job of saving one of the world’s mightiest companies at it’s darkest hour. And good on former U.S. Presidents Bush and Clinton meeting together in my hometown to have a rational discussion about the fate of our world, no matter how much money they made by doing so because I bet they both earned their pay.  And good (in a twisted way) on North Korea’s insane leader for subtlety forcing the rest of humanity to face the fact that one insane human being is forcing the rest of us to face our immortality in a way that no pathetic dictator like Saddam Hussein, or Taliban fanatic like Osama Bin Laden never could. After all, Saddam was so arrogant as to think that he could invade his neighboring country without retaliation from the rest of the world. Doh! And Osama probably thought that knocking down an American skyscraper in New York would destroy Christianity, once and for all.  Doh! Now we have a truly challenging global predicament.  Saddam is dead. Osama might as well be.  Neither of them ever had any potential to be truly detrimental in any “Hitlerian” way.*  And the former war-hawk president who waged war against them is now put out to pasture.  Now we have a left-wing American President, with a provocative name like Baraq Hussein, who has, as a goal, (and good for him!) to re-establish America’s standing in this world of nations, as a peaceful, rational nation through dialogue and diplomacy, who is suddenly having to challenge an actual, real and true enemy like Kim Jung Il who is just begging for another war-hawk Bush to put him in his place.  What an irony!

So how does this all relate to my personal goal of earning a thousand dollars next Tuesday?  Well…I make good money by doing a job which bores me to tears. Frankly, on the face of it, I hate it.  I hate it just as much as I would hate eating a raw seal seal heart for the sake of diplomacy.  Or as much as I would loath being appointed the CEO of General Motors just on the verge of that great company’s declaration of bankruptcy. Or as much as I would hate being Bill Clinton having to share a stage with George Bush. (Or vice-versa.) Or as much as I’d hate to have to be the American president who now has to solve the issue of facing down a nuclear armed fanatic like the Korean President, which offers no easy diplomatic or “peaceful” solution.

And why do I hate my job this much?  Because, like all the aforementioned examples, it has nothing to do with what I enjoy, which is creating stories which will hopefully entertain all those who may read them.  My job is all about reciting a 50 word script, to 80 strangers whose doors I knock on, 80 times a day, five days a week.  Put in that context, it sounds horrific.

On the other hand, I’ve also noticed that when I do a job well, no matter what that job is, the personal satisfaction that I am rewarded goes a long way toward attaining the knowledge that “if I can achieve success by doing that, then just imagine what I might achieve by doing what I love to do!”  I have a feeling that the CEO of GM would love to create the next great Chevy if he could just overcome that whole “bankruptcy” issue.  Governor General Michel Jean probably imagines the peace she could bring to the world if she could just get past this irritating “seal hunt” drama. Etc. So, in that context, let me describe to you Dear Readers the details of my job, and how I plan to earn my first one thousand dollar day…

It began with finding a client, like this one, a pizza franchise, and convincing them to allow me to advertise their business for free by allowing me to offer residents in their business area two free pizzas and $400 worth of BOGO’s (Buy-One-Get-One’s) in a “Value Book” that I designed and had printed (at my cost of $1,100,) at my favourite printing house, which I would then sell for $25. So now my day begins by knocking on a door at a house (or opening the door to a business) at around 2 pm, and saying, “Hello, my name is Ernie.  I’m promoting _______Pizza, in support of ________(the local charity which receives $3 from every sale.)” I then look them in the eye, point to my open “value book” and tell the person exactly how he/she can save $400 over the next year by giving me $25 now. 

Technically, this business defines me as a “salesman.”  But I think of myself more as a “statistics expert” who uses his knowledge for financial gain.  A mentor taught me this formula over twenty years ago. (And this will be the only time I impart this money-making stategy for free, in writing, ever! So, Dear Readers, either cherish it, or destroy it now.) Step #1: Find an existing service-industry business that 1 in 10 people use on a monthly basis such as restaurants, golf clubs, hair salons, spas, auto repair, etc.  Or collect an almagation of ten or more of these businesses who are willing to share one overall package. (Do not approach retail stores that buy product at wholesale and sell at retail for a small percentage of profit.) 2: Illustrate to that business owner that you will speak, mouth-to-mouth, face-to-face, with ten-thousand people in his business area, letting all those people know exactly where he is, and that he is ready and willing to get their business by offering upwards of $200 worth of discounts, and that you will do all of this ABSOLUTELY FREE OF CHARGE.  3: Get your client to agree to the printing of a piece of cardstock (again, at no charge to the client,) that offers at least 1 product or service for free, for which he/she would normally charge $10 to $20.  (like a Pizza/Restauant meal/Oil/filter/change, Haircut, Spa service etc.,) and then ten or twenty more “coupons” endorsed by that business that are “two-for-one” or half price, etc. The total value of savings must be at least ten times the selling price of the “Value Book,” (based on regular price.)  E.g. A book offers $200 in savings, sells for $20. The book must be valid for a minimum of ten months, and no single coupon in this book should be anything less than a “BOGO,” since all kinds of lesser deals (which clients must pay $100’s or $1,000’s for in advance, with no guarantee of success) can be found for free in junkmail and newspapers.   For example, my current “value book” offers two free pizzas, twenty BOGO pizzas, 5 BOGO breadsticks, and 5 Free Chicken Wing orders with a Large Pizza purchased at the regular menu price, a total value of over $400, all for only $24.99 with a few bucks of that going to a local charity. So, like my novel-in-progress, (which you can read here at my website!) its all about numbers. Specifically, 1-in-10:  Approach 1 to 10 business owners who’s service is used by 1 to 10 people and you will get at least one of them (smart ones) to agree to a coupon book that offers 10-times your selling price of $20 (minimum.)

Number 4 deserves its own paragraph.  Because this is where the work comes in, where the “men are separated from the boys.”  Step #4 means that you have achieved number’s 1 through 3 and you are now at the point where you are now at the point of holding your product in hand, knocking at door of a complete stranger door and saying “Hello Sir (If a man answers) or just “Hello” (if a woman answers—as you can never know with a woman if she is a Misses, a Miss. Or a Ms…) “My Name is_________.  I’m promoting _______(business name,) in support of ________(local charity,**) then looking them in the eye and explaining how you can save them $hundreds with this “value book” (or whatever you choose to call it,) all for only $19.99 ($24.99—whatever.)  If you can knock on, (or ring the bell of private homes, or just open the doors of businesses open to the public) and say that 100 times per day, 1 in 10 people will hand you a $20 bill. Talk to 15 people per hour for 6 hours and you will collect 10 $20’s per day. It is all just that simple. It’s not about salesmanship.  It is simply a mathematic formula. That’s it.

On my current campaign, about 1 in 5 people hand me $25.  ($3 of which goes to a local charity.) I won’t bore you all with the details about why this is double what the “mathematic formula” stipulates, except to say that it has much less to do with “salesmanship” than it has to with my faith in math x experience. (And the fact that I have suffered many 1-in-15 days over the past months.)  Point of all this is this…To bring myself closer to the financial freedom that will allow me to devote more of my time to writing, on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, I will speak to at least two hundred people, and work for at least ten hours, in order to sell 46 booklets. $46 x $25 = $1150. (- 46 x $3=$138 to charity.)  Ergo, Tuesday, will be my first $1,000 day. I’m publishing this solely to prevent myself from quitting early, as I did on Friday, because if I do, I won’t just have myself to rationalize to.  I will have to confess my sins again—online, to you Dear Readers. I’ll describe my day to you all next week.

May you all dream a lofty, but attainable goal this week, and share it, no matter the outcome.

Ern

*Be warned, Dear Reader’s, that I’m prepared to reply to all of your arguments against these last two sentences, with a shitload of evidence to support them.

**Having a charity organization on board can be good or bad.  It’s good because people will be more willing to listen to you, out of guilt, or bad in that they can slam the door in your face after explaining that they already contribute to charity, or do the same because you are not giving “enough” of the proceeds to said charity. Personal expeience tells me that, although charity organizations are happy and thankful for my contributions, which net them $thousands, most people on mainstreet Canada either could care less about that part, or use that part as an excuse to say “I already give” or complain, when they ask how much, that not enough is going to the charity.  On the other hand, naming a charity, like I said, often gives you a chance to explain your offer, before the door slams, (not that “slamming” happens very often.  9-in-10 people are as polite to you as you are to them.) And it gives you a good feeling of community when you know that your personal profit is also supporting someone in need of help. So, because its six of one-half and half a dozen of the other, I leave that part up to you.

March 20, 2009

Hey! Dear Readers…Happy Equinox! It’s springtime!  New life.  Or, to put it more for artists sake, (a.k.a., “rant writers”)…new inspiration!  And it’s the only day of the year when our day is the same length as our night.*  To celebrate the Spring Equinox, Ern’s Friday Night “First Spring” Rant is now available for the cash price of $0.**  Yep!  You read that right! Zero dollars! Or…you can finance your purchase at 0% …forever!*** So, Dear Readers, check out the brand new 2009 ERN.s FNR!  Canadian designed and manufactured since 2005,  This ALL NEW FNR’s carbon “footprint” is as tiny as most of our plebeian’s understanding of that phrase, and please note, Dear Readers, that the “ERN.s FNR” comes with a 12 month/unlimited reading train-of-thought limited warranty. **** Also, the Ern FNR is entirely Green-Eco-Friendly, organic, and “GBF.” (Government Bailout Free.)

*These last few sentences were manipulatively written in order to allow the author to suck all you Dear Readers in to his segue into the fact that he heard something this morning that book ended with something that he read tonight that allowed the inspiration for his rant for this current weekend of 20/03/09. **So long as this author’s words mean nothing to any publisher that might pay him any money.  Otherwise, this author might demand something back from whoever downloads this “Ern Friday Night Rant,” if these thoughts ever earn any cash money from any said publisher *** 0 per cent interest to all readers who may incur expenses as a result of downloading the above brilliant words of this arrogant author if these words of his ever earn any money as per stated above. **** Manufacturer of the ERN.s FNR guarantees the Dear Reader for full compensation against any defect in the Reader’s sense of common sense.  For example, if the “Reader” disagrees with the manufacturer’s model“FNR” due to his/hers obvious inability to understand logic and/or reason, he/she (the “Reader”) will be sincerely rewarded with the manufacturer’s complete sympathy. For more details, please do not try to find them at the manufacturer’s website at  https://www.angelfire.com/psy/ernie-k/

Before I go on, I should let you Dear Readers know that I am pasting this entire rant in the body of this e-mail, rather than re-directing you to find it at my website  (It’s been so long that I wrote a Fiday Night Rant that I can’t remember how to post it. And the last time I tried, it didn’t work.)  So…If you have no desire to read my thoughts tonight, just stop reading and delete this message here and now, with my apologies for sending it to you uninvited. Otherwise, read on…(And please feel free to comment on my ramblings, or to submit your own rant for next Friday, as I have invited you all to do so in the past.)

This first sunny morning of spring (where we enjoyed a balmy single degree below the freezing point here in Toronto Canada,) I listened to the writer of a book entitled something like “The Life You Can Save” being interviewed on our Liberal-Left Wing CBC radio as I drove to work. And tonight I received an inspiring chain mail from one of you Dear Readers which extolled the virtues of the selfless acts of a soldier.  These two items might sound like polar opposites in terms of the subject matter—the first being about the idea of citizens donating to charity, and the other reminding us of how soldiers risk their lives to kill bad guys in order to protect us. 

But in fact, both stories revealed a common thread—“selflessness.”  And the point that both stories made was that when we put aside our selfish needs, (and I don’t mean the word “selfish” in any negative way, anymore than our lungs “selfishly” demand air,) just because we are too busy to remember them, our own lives become more satisfying. For examples…(and I’ll get to my own last.) 

May 22, 2009

…I never finished that rant.  Sorry, Dear Readers, for sending you an unfinished work, (as though any of them ever are.)  I remember that my inspiration that day was hard…But short-lived.  But I am sharing (shoving?) that unfinished burst of inspiration with (on?) you all to remind myself to find thoughts again that I wish to share with you all during the rest of this year and for many years to come. ‘Cause I miss all those old arguments we used to have with each other when you, Dear Readers, so sincere and true, replied with your heart-felt thoughts when you agreed with my “correct” opinions, and your most passionate responses when you mistakenly disagreed with them.  

So this flaky rant writer is officially renouncing his aforementioned retirement from spewing his thoughts out to the world again.  But I won’t subject you all to another half-finished rant posted in the body of this e-mail.  From now on, it will be just like in the old days…A Friday Night Rant reminder, with a sentence or two to tease you into the link to my website. And, as before, if you ask to be removed from my mailing list, you won’t hear from me again. Likewise, if you wish to post your own rant, you’ll be welcome to post it here, raw and unedited, without any editorial comments added by myself…

…Even if your opinion is “incorrect.”  (Well…That is, providing it isn’t SO incorrect that I could have the Internet Cops knocking at my door the day after I post it!)

Sincerely,

Ernie Kosanyi

 

 

March 14, 2009

Hey, Dear Readers, The title of my rant tonight is, Guys are morons…but my doctor isn’t.

Three different subjects tonight inspire my title.  1) I got very sick this past week. 2) I received a very emotionally charged “Friday Night Rant” from one of you Dear Readers last week. And three,) I have the privilege of receiving the care of this planet’s very best doctor, who desperately needs recognition, if only for the reason of universal justice.

Starting from number 1...I got very sick this past week. I took a day off work on Wednesday, because I had a fever the night before. For me to take a “sick day” is a very big deal, as I am my own boss.  I don’t get paid by any company-sponsored or government compensation if I don’t work. So I bite not only a day’s wages, but also the potential loss of a client’s entire contract that is worth $10k if I don’t produce.  So, today, Saturday, March 14, I crawled out of bed to get to my doctor before he closed at 2pm, in order to get some anti-biotics, in order to be healthy enough to go to work on Monday.  Even still, I had to work today, sick as a dog, to make up for taking Wednesday off.

Qualification: Nobody on earth “had to work today.” Because, as somebody once said, all anyone has to do is to “die, and pay taxes.”  I only worked today because I don’t have the courage to play.  But that is a subject for a whole other rant.

So I got to my doctor’s office at about 1:30pm.  I had this idea in my mind that the “Walk-in Medical Center” was open until 2pm on Saturday. However, when I showed up, a big “closed” sign was at his door. Out of silly desperation, I yanked on the locked door. And then I walked away, cursing myself for not crawling out of bed in time to see my doctor.  As I’m walking away, I hear the door unlock…My doctor calls out, “Ernie?”

He tells me that he closes at 1pm on Saturday.  But he took me in, after closing hours, examined my asthmatic chest cavity and then gave me 40 bucks worth of free anti-biotics, as well as another script for inhalers for my asthma. 

He had NOTHING to gain by opening his door to me, except for the fact that I edited his secretary’s notation for why his office would be closed on Monday. 

I was tempted to just take his anti-biotic and go home today to recuperate.  No, I was more then “tempted.”  That was my plan in the first place. Go to Doc, then go home and be sick. But, because Doc opened his door to me, after closing, I felt the need to go to work myself, thanks to the generosity of another worker.  So I went t work today. and on my first “pitch” I made a sale. (I make me living by offering $300 worth of savings on pizza for $25 up-front, (with part of that going to a local hockey team.)  Now, I could have turned around right there and went home, since my first sale more than paid for my gas and time today.

 

December 7, 2008

Hey, Dear Readers, it’s been so long I don’t know if I remember how to do this.  But please indulge my desire to write another Friday Night Rant, (Althought its really Saturday and almost Sunday,) entitled 2008, the year in review, from a personal perspective.

I notice that my last rant came back in September, and, like an old rock and roller, I keep on threatening to “retire” from writing rants, only to come back for one last “tour.”  And so here I am, back once again, to spew my thoughts. 

Let me start by explaining my lack of appearances of late.  It’s been a very interesting year, one of reconciliation, I believe both for myself and for humanity in general.  For myself, I’ve been forced…no…that’s too harsh a word…Let’s say ‘encouraged’ to clean up my act…A process that is ongoing at this time.

For me, writing my rants has always been a time of wild abandon…crack open the bottle and spew my thoughts to the world as they happen, raw, unfiltered, and posted online before I had a chance to review my drunken mess the next morning.  Its been a lot of fun.  And I’ve had a great time receiving and hearing your responses to my ramblings. And I will stand by most if not all of what I have written this past year.  (Apparently I said some nasty things about Sarah Palin—which I don’t remember, but were quite inflammatory.) But the thing is, is that writing a rant is much easier than writing a novel, or a poem or a short story.  Because when I write my rant, I don’t care. I just play.

I don’t care about my bad grammar or my leaps of logic when I write a rant.  It’s just for fun! It’s a stress reliever.  But you can get to a point where “having fun” can hinder the hard work of really exploring this life that we have been blessed with. And I think that that is what ’08 has been all about.  I think this year has been put on the calendar to reel in our excesses, put them in a net and show them to our faces so that we can say…Ok…I guess its time to chill out and really take a good hard look at ourselves.

That is what this year has given me, and why my rants have been so infrequent. My year has been about…(I just cut a few lines here to replace them with a perfect army grunt phrase…)

“Hitting the dirt.”

For example, with the help of one of you Dear Readers, I’ve reduced my drinking to once or twice a month, which has meant not writing my rants whenever Friday night rolls around, because I only write them when I drink, which I haven’t been doing. So, most of the time I am jusk working, dieting, going to the gym, not reading enough, exploring enough, and keeping my opinions to myself.  Now I’m filtering those opinions into the novel that I started writing two years ago. And I am not running to Ottawa for a “bailout” for my own failings.  I am slowly but surely adapting to this economic crisis.  But it’s been tough and pretty dull.

On a completely unrelated but hopefully related note…

You’ve all heard about the poor Walmart employee who was trampled to death when the doors opened.  CNN had legal experts blaiming Walmart for their lack of forethought, the police for not controlling the scene, etc.  Nobody (in the major news media that I witnessed) thought to question the mob of citizens about their own responsibility for this tragedy. Nobody thought to ask any of those Walmart customers, “And just why was your desire to get a deal on an X-Box worth running over a person?” 

Mob Mentality…Such an easy excuse.  “Yea..Ahh…’Cause like, they all did it first, and nobody stopped ‘em,…So…Like, I guess I can do it to.

Point is…Personal greed caused that person’s death.  Just as my own greed for easy ways out has caused my own problems, personal greed caused the huge housing crisis.  The whole “Sub-Prime” fiasco. Greed from above (People in government) created an artificial “good time” for those beneath (in the private sector) to make a killing for themselves by offering the same good times to those who should have known that they couldn’t afford to buy a house on minimium wage.  And those at the bottom of the economic food chain mostly turned a blind eye in order to allow their fantasies to come alive. And why not? If a guy in a suit with a diploma tells you that he can get this great loan for you to buy a house, well…is this the time to get cynical? And that American housing loan crisis is just one easy example for me to use to paint this year in the human experience. In my humble, yet correct opinion, this year has turned everything upside down, all around for this human race of beings that we collectively are…(Kind of like a Friday Night Rant?!J

And if anything good can come from it…I believe the great climax of 2008 will be like a scene from a Steven Spielberg movie from way back in the last century, when all the people looked skyward, united in a gaze of utter bewilderment…

Because when something comes along to show us that we all have something new to learn despite all of our family soup recipes handed down from so many generations…well

 

…Someone above myself could finish that thought, if my words were worthy of reaching that high. 

 

This year, I’d like to believe, has been put to us to answer questions that we’ve been avoiding; to recognize the loans that we have borrowed against the truth, and to pay off our debts to our conscience. If we can do that, then maybe ’09 will bring a morning when we can wake up and face the morning without caffeine, sugar, or alcohol and shower in the polluted waters of our past without fear of making the same mistakes again by answering to our true desires, instead of the easy ones.

I hope that you all have escaped the ills that I have ranted about here tonight, this past year, and…

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Dear Readers.

Sincerely,

Ern

September 13, 2008

Hey Dear Readers, I keep on intending to swear off writing my “FNR’s” because they make me drink too much. But then Friday night rolls around and I say “Frack it! I need to get this off my chest!”  And after all, isn’t that what life is about?  Risk? “Pushing the envelope?”  So the title of my rant tonight is…Sarah Palin, Charlize Theron, Sex, (And why Charlize should be THE running-mate) and American Politics. (I just re-read this and it’s kinda’ weird.  But aren’t they all?  So I’m gonna’ post it anyway.)

The presidential race is captivating even for us non-Americans this year.  Because, with all this “war-on-terror” and hard economic times, we have so many colourful characters promising so much from so many different points of view, promising to solve so many problems.  We have a wise old Vietnam-War hero on the right, desperately trying to distance himself from his own boss, while still trying to remain loyal to the principals of his boss’s viewpoint.  After all, it was his own “Commander-In-Chief” who caused him to get shot down in the first place by putting him in a position “in harm’s way” that caused him to become a “war-hero” so many years ago when he proved his courage by living through years of hell as a POW because of his own political party’s decision to put him in a (debatably) unjust war. 

And then we have a black man trying to become the first black president in the history of this same nation that once “owned” his race like cattle.  And yet this same man snubbed a very strong woman who fought against him (and against her own “gender-bias” racism) to be the first woman “Prez” in exchange for a “safe bet” by choosing a wrinkled old “White” guy in order to win over the “sort-of-undecided” Bible belt voters. Hell, he’s so boring that I can’t even remember his name as I write this, and I’m too bored with him to even research the web…’Cause I know you all know who I’m talking about anyway! (Oh yeah…Now I remember. Joe…Ah…Bidden?)

And then the Republican war hero, whose memoirs I’ve read and “awed” over, for his bravery and his cunning, chooses this hot little “Sarah” to be his running-mate.  Yeah, she sure has “energized” the Republican campaign.  But with what? Empty, but carefully coached chatter.  Like, “What is the difference between a Soccer-Mom and a Pit-bull? Lipstick!”  Welllll…Mam…You’re talking to a billion or more people on this small planet who don’t know the difference between “lipstick” and a “Pit bull.”  They didn’t grow up in Alaska.  Many of them eat dogs without any thought and have never seen or heard of “lipstick.” And if your boss kicks the bucket two years from now, what are you gonna’ do?  Are you gonna’ go back to that cute suburban line when your cities are dying of poverty and your intelligence networks are begging for you to listen to them about the next 9/11?

This is where Charlize Theron comes into my rant.  I just saw her tonight in the second hottest sex scene that a Hollywood movie has ever produced.  (The first hottest sex scene was with her as well but it doesn’t relate to this rant…Sorry guys, but you’ll just have to research it yourself!)

It was shot in the film called “The Astronaut’s Wife.”  In this movie, she plays the role of…well…the role of the wife of an astronaut…who vanishes for a few minutes while he is on a space walk.  Her husband comes back home to earth just fine. (Or so we are supposed to think!) But her best friend’s older, wiser, husband (who suffered from the same “vanishing”) is all fracked up, and he eventually dies of a stroke in the middle of a “welcome home” party.  And then her friend kills herself by dunking herself in a bathtub with the electric current from the radio that the “Alien Talliban” forced her older, wiser, husband to listen to.  In other words, two patriotic Americans died because they tried to resist the enemy whom they recognized with their wisdom, but who were not clever enough to destroy because of their faith in the old ways.

But the strongest American survived, because, unlike today’s American presidential candidates, and the running mates that they have chosen, she (the character played by Charlize Theron) was intelligent enough to know when she was being cheated out of the life and liberty that her own country’s charter of rights promised her.  Why?  Because in the movie, her older, wiser, (and now dead,) American friend asks…”Why don’t our husband’s ever talk about what happened?”

When her friend dies, (Charlize) remembers her best friend’s question…”Why?”

“Why?”

Charlize Theron, (Playing the role of the wife of her American astronaut husband) demands an answer from her loving husband (played by Johnny Depp.)  She demands the truth (through the character she plays in her role as the wife of an astronaut) by using all of her life experience as the artistic soul that made her become an actor…(Please don’t lose your patience and skip through the definition of her life as defined below.)

(From Wickipedia)… Theron was born in Benoni, South Africa, the daughter and only child of Charles and Gerda Theron, who is of German and French descent and took over her husband's business after his death. Theron's first language is Afrikaans. She is also fluent in English and speaks some Xhosa. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that she prefers the pronunciation "Thrown".[1] The pronunciation commonly used in the United States involves two syllables, with stress on the first. Theron grew up on her parents' farm near Johannesburg (Benoni). She attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School Of The Arts in Johannesburg. At 15, Theron witnessed the death of her father, an abusive alcoholic; Gerda shot him in self-defense when he attacked her. The police pressed no charges against her.

My point is this…Only a person who has lived through this kind of hardship, and experienced so much of so many cultures and ideas in this world could be so brave enough to pull off the hottest sex scene in Hollywood history…Which was when she (the actress) acted as if she was being fooled by the alien presence that had inhabited her husband’s body as he “answered” her question by fracking her into orgasm against a wall in a very public place, just to distract her from the logic of her human mind.

The artist (actress) allows her character to get raped, on-screen, by an intellectual power smart enough to trick her for a few moments…just before her character’s wisdom kicks in…

…In order to crush the alien enemy of her human soul.

And that is how American politics can save America (and this entire race of humans who live all around it.)  Vote for the white war hero or the intellectual black guy.  Doesn’t matter either way. Forget about their shallow choices of “running-mates.”  Forget about CNN digging into the “scandals” of their families or their religions or their backgrounds.

My neighbour Americans, think not about what your country can do for you. Think about voting for the guy who is wise enough to choose a truly beautiful, smart, worldly-wise woman like Charlize Theron as his running mate in order to inspire you to think about what you can do for your country!

Hint…-gotta’ step out for a minute-

Okay.  Now I’m back and I return with this thought….Charlize?  If ever we meet, please let all my Dear Readers know that all my “humble yet correct opinions” could be deemed as just an “my own lowlyly opinion” by the god who created you.  So I won’t tell my readers who they should vote for, either into the American office or our Canadian one, this fall. And so, Dear Readers, despite my sarcasm, I don’t mean to sound flippant with this rant because I want us all to be the way we were before we grew up and forgot to be like Charlize.  So let’s all do our best to be pure and hot and smart by using the horrors of our history to teach us the best way to our future ascension. 

Sincerely,

Ern

August 10, 2008

The title of my rant tonight, (and hopefully of a “real” piece of writing—of which this will be the first draft) is  A Good Friend, a Porsche Boxster , and how I learned to love “Stop” signs.

One of my best friends invited me to “help” him drive a Porsche Boxster that he rented for his birthday present to himself.

This next paragraph was going to be a detailed description of all of the faults that I found in the $60k sports car that my best friend allowed me to “help” him drive. Like, “Okay...So it’s fast.”  But both us us groaned with sounds like “Aauurrghhh” as our aching leg muscles tried to find a way to climb in or out of the beast. (Anybody remember the famous scene from the Big Chill?  When Mr. tv star is challenged to “jump” into his 911 just to bribe a cop into dropping the “drug-charge” against the driver if he can actually jump into a Porsche like they do in the movies?)

It was one of the rainiest days of the summer when we drove our “convertible” Porsche Boxster. So, for the most part, we drove with the top up.  That led to another complaint from my shallow brain. Looking back through the tiny plastic window that is surrounded by acres of black fabric soft-top, backing up was a battle between God on my left shoulder, reminding me of the words of the rental agent saying… “And there is a five-thousand dollar deductible,” and the Porsche Devil on my right saying, “Frack him! So you can’t see anything behind me that might cost you five K if you back into a ditch!!! Just wait for how its gonna’ feel when you thrust into my “g-spot!”  (I’m sorry, was that out loud?)  I meant to say… “into my gas pedal.” 

And then I found myself complaining that the stereo is no better than the one in my humble little Suzuki. For $60k you don’t get even a six-disc cd-changer or a GPS. And what do those mysterious buttons on the centre stack do that don’t seem to do anything when you push them?

At one point in our drive through the scenic Caledon hills we found ourselves stuck behind a Mustang GT where we couldn’t pass, due to hills. I cautioned my adventurous friend/driver not to get too cocky about challenging that lowly Ford GT as it could give us a “run-for-the money.”  I based that statement on my knowledge of automotive statistics which clearly state that these days, anything from a tricked-out $50k‘Stang” up to a $2 million Bugatti Veyron with 1000 horsepower can run within a couple of seconds of each other up to 100 kph.

But that Mustang had no chance against us even if its driver had tried his best to beat us.

I realized that fact later when I wrapped my hands around the wheel of the Boxster and learned to stop bitching about life.  I learned in my time in the driver’s seat why it didn’t matter that this $63,840.02 car was equipped with a crappy single-disc cd stereo and with no more electronic toys than my own humble Suzuki. Not to mention buttons that made no sense and less rearward vision with its top up than I have without my bifocals. Because, when I got behind the wheel and hit gas pedal, I forgot about all that I thought I knew about “sports cars.” 

I began my sports car lesson by pretending to think that I was as much of a jockey as the steed that I rode by gleefully playing with the philly’s “Tiptronic” five-speed tranny.  “Tiptronic” is a kind of “automatic-manual” transmission. No need to find the clutch-pedal with your right foot, the shifter with your right hand, or to try to coordinate the two as fast as a race car driver.  With tiptronic, you can become a racer just by tapping the shifter to the left; into “M,” which, I assume, means “Manual.”(Although I can’t be too sure as a switch on the stereo reads, literally, “Menue” which is a word that doesn’t exist in any English dictionary that I know of.)  Then you just tap the steering wheel-mounted “up” and “down” gear buttons. It’s a wonderful thing to hit the gas and let the 245hp flat-six engine roar, only to press your thumb down on a rocker switch when you feel that its high time to shift up.  A little tap of the thumb on the spot that it’s resting upon and…

Blam-oh!  You rocket away from this earthly existence…If you have the talent and the balls to do it just right.

Thing is, I shift up in a Porsche just as I do as a timid commuter driver, shifting gears when the monster Porsche engine is only at a measly 4000 rpm.  As much fun as it is, I found that when I left the transmission in “full-automatic” and just hit the gas, the Porsche auto-tranny had more guts than I, screaming up to its 7000 rpm redline in every gear without even blinking at the mortal driver who it trusted to hold its wheel steady as it toyed with the limits of human courage.  

As my friend said at the beginning of the day… “It wants to go fast.”

And that is why I’m confident that we could have toasted that Mustang GT.  Left to its own passion, A Porsche will smoke a lesser driver sitting behind the wheel of a faster car.  Because if that “lesser” Mustang driver had tried to chase us around a corner?  Fahgedaboutit!!! Haul the wheel around that switchback curve like the race-car driver that this rocket wants you to be and you’ll never notice how fast you’re going until the dust settles enough to allow you to look back and see that Mustang flailing around in a sea of twitching torque steer.

But that’s all just a male ego-driven fantasy. The truth of the matter is that I don’t know what ever happened to that humble pony-car.  All I can truthfully say is that every RED stop sign that came before me was a GREEN light for fun in my friend’s Porsche Boxster.  Because, long after the Mustang was gone, my singular delight in life was to be forced to stop at that infamous red octagon, just so that I could “hit the pedal-to-the-metal.”

So If you ever have the chance to draw back its blinding and deafening ragtop, even for a few minutes on a rainy day in the country, and you and hear nothing but the roar of its six-chambered heart, with no main of tiger-cloth to hinder your blue-sky vision of the winding country roads before you, and you cut a Porsche loose…

Then may you live the rest of your life so well.  And while you are living so passionately, don’t forget to notice the world that Ferdinand Porsche let you enjoy…The small towns that you’ve never driven through before because they had no reason for you to find them except for the winding roads that only he would inspire you to explore.  There you will find “Badlands” in the middle of a forest.  You’ll sweep your Porsche around a street corner where you could just as well be in the south of France (if only for a split second.)  You might even stop at a gas station in our own backyard where you could swear you were in the deep south (of the USA) as you haul your groaning ass out of this exotic sports car and find yourself face to face with a vending machine that serves up fishing bait instead of a Coke!  No kidding.  Toss your loonie in for a bunch of worms. And all the time out there, you’re only 50 kms, (20 “Porsche” minutes) from your home in downtown Toronto!

So what did I learn from Ferdinand Porsche last Saturday?  May we all go fast enough, passionately enough, to stop and smell the roses…

Just before we blow their petals off!

Ern.

August 4, 2008

There is a documentary series on CBC called the “Passionate Eye.”  I don’t see it too often because it is usually quite boring to viewers like myself who usually turn on the “boob tube” to watch some escapist drama/comedy or just to catch up on the exciting headlines that the daily news exhibits just to get us to watch them so that they can say things like “The most Trusted News in…” Tonight the CBC tricked this slobbish viewer into watching it by calling its two-hour documentary “One-day in September.” 

They tricked me into thinking it would be about “9/11.” Instead it was about the attack by Palestinion terrorists on the Isreali Olympic team in the midst of the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, Germany.  (It figures of course, with the Olympics coming up this week in the most controversial site—Beijing, China, since the games were reborn from Roman times.)

The documentary walked us through a detailed account of the tragedy, in which a dozen Israeli athletes were killed, due to the mistakes of German police, politicians, and the interference of the East German media, which allowed the terrorists to see the “West” German police crawling up to their windows during live television coverage.  Luckily, the “West” German police discovered this coverage and called off the attack just before all their officers would have been killed by the Palestinions who saw them approaching their site on the tv sets in the Isreali dorm rooms.

But the most disturbing part of the documentary was when live footage of that initial day of terror showed Olympic athletes from around the world lounging by the pool at the foot of the building where their fellow comrades had machine guns pointed at their heads.  They all knew that the entire Isreali Olympic team was being held hostage, just hundreds of feet away…And yet the news footage from that day clearly shows all these athletes sipping marguritas in the September sunlight.

Which inspires the title of my rant tonight…How to deal with terrorists. (The Spider rant!)

I believe, in my humble, yet correct opinion, that both the German police force and the world at large, (as represented by the “lounging Olympic athletes”) learned a valuable lesson that, if it had not been forgotten, might have prevented the far more horrific one on that other “One-day in September” in 2001.

First of all, lets all relate to each other on a human instinct level of communication. For example, we can say, in the western world, that we have tv shows, movies and “gansta rap,” (which is some kind of expression that is still called “music,” even though its vocalist “singers” never “sing” and its “instrumenalists” don’t “play” any instruments, and its songwriters never write any lyrics to a “song” that they weren’t hired to writeI’m sorry, that is getting into an entirely different rant,) that allow us to imagine what we could get away with if we didn’t have to fear the wrath of “our” god.  When we admit that, then we can ask them if they are any better by subjugating their natural passionate and sexual desires by subjugating their weaker sex and relying on “their” god to repay them by being able to frack 47 virgin “Pamela Andersons” after a lifetime of refraining from their potential sins.

When most of us real human beings admit that all we want to do is frack as much as we can, ‘cause it feels so good, then we will all be able to identify the real terrorists.  They are not Muslim, Christian, or any other belief in any other god.  They are not religious, as much as they will always claim to be.  They are not because any god that created this universe must be far too busy to worry about a couple of opposing ant-hills on one of his/her little planets to lend sympathy to one little swarm of his creation.

I know this because, Dear Readers, I have been a God of my own, while believing in the god that created me.  Many times a god-created mosquito has landed on my skin.  I have never thought to ask that insect if it believed in me before I smacked it’s guts out.  I have never asked a mosquito if it was a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu or an Atheist. It bothered me by pricking my skin.  So I killed it.  That is what we do as animals.  We kill what we eat (at our best) and we kill what we fear for it’s ability to sting us with pain.

As humans, the only species of life on earth that god has gifted with sentience--the ability of self-awareness, the knowledge of our birth and of our impending death, the desire to be a part of something in our limited time on God’s rock, we need to find reasons for our being here. 

Before I get too passionately abstract, let me try to wrap this up with “How to deal with terrorists.”  1: Never underestimate your enemy by labelling them as “terrorists.” This implies that they are necessarily wrong simply because they are not powerful enough to defeat the “righteous.”  The past century of wars has proven this point. Two international wars were won, but several regional ones were lost when the “bad guys” learned from history how to fight from the hidden corners of the (literal and metaphorical, corners of the building.)

2: Never underestimate your enemy by assuming that your god is better than theirs.  To the people who created this convenient excuse to kill devil-worshippers, God is God. (Of course, who am I to say that?  ‘Cause I worship the God that “I” believe in?  Just for example:…My God pities the human religions that created him with human-created names like Allah and God and Buddha and Jesus.  My God created this entire universe for fun.  He/she gave all of his creatures his joy of throwing a Frisbee across a beach.) 

And 3: Never hesitate to kill your foe when you can plainly see that you are all that is standing between your spouse, your children, and their killer.  Because all conflict that happens on this rock happens when two people don’t communicate with the brains that god gave us.  When that fails, all we can do is kill the person who we can’t or don’t wish to bother knowing, who might also have a spouse and their own children.

When it comes to words like “War,” and “Evil” and “Terrorism,” and other rhetoric like that, I suggest that we respect the master of our universe by not disrespecting God by assuming that Our Creator has anything to do with our insect-based conflicts.  ‘Kay?  Let’s just do what we want to do and kill and love like we all do and stop making excuses for our “conscience—i.e.--rational thought, that we choose to ignore while we are killing, loving, and creating new life in the process.

In Conclusion: It comes down to this statement to create world peace among the human race, as might be written by the most evil of humans, as judged by humans; an attorney…

“I am a person who loves another person.  Our love together has created another person(s).  If you are okay with this, then my family and I will share with you when you come over.  If you don’t like us for reasons that we may or may not understand, then you can stay away from us.  If you wish, we will also respect your desire for us to stay away from you and we won’t judge you or bother you in any way. However, if you cannot agree with that idea, and you decide that you must kill us for that reason, then please understand that we will do all in our power to kill you first, before you kill us.”

But please, Dear Readers, for the sake of all of our human dignity, (and maybe our very survival,) please leave out the word “God” when we justify killing each other. Like the animals on this rock that God made, we live and die with or without nobility, and any words as I have written in this “rant”are no better than the preaching words of a religious fanatic. Except for one simple fact…

No person on Earth has ever ended a life with any blessing or justification from God.

Ern

P.S.  Just as I was editing this rant a devilish-looking spider came crawling across my keyboard.  I “fear” spiders with a deep and bitter fear.  However, just to prove my point, I didn’t kill him.  I chased him all around my room and begged him not to make me kill him in order to justify my rant, even though I knew he couldn’t understand the English language.  I let him walk right up to my finger with his devilish eight legs of terror. I told him that I’d have to kill him if he threatened me.  He walked back up the wall.  He’s still alive…somewhere…Terrorizing me with the thought that he might crawl over my face in the night.  On the other hand, I know that he can’t kill me.  More importantly, I know that, clever as he is, he really is more afraid of touching me than I am afraid of touching him, since he turned me down on that challenge tonight when I put my naked skin in his path and “dared him.”

And you’re welcome, Dear Readers…’Cause I guess this means that none of you will get rained on today!

 

July 11, 2008

Tonight I wish to impart a message to you Dear Readers about personal communication in our “I-Phone” wired world…About how bizarrely ineffective it can be compared to old-fashioned ways.  So the title of my rant tonight is… “How we can say so much, so quickly, and impart nothing.”   My Friday Night Rant is inspired by two very opposite stories of personal communication that occurred in my life this week. 

The first example is one of primitive but exceptional communication and the second shows a comical lack of communication in our modern communication age.  The first example is so primitive that it is literally sub-human…

Monday afternoon my business client and I were feeding her “pet” seagull in the lot behind her business.  This little bird didn’t have a cell-phone, not to mention any organized set of linguistics.  There was not another gull anywhere in the visible sky when it began pecking at the crumbs we tossed.  But within minutes, about a dozen other seagulls had gotten the message that this bird had found a source of food.  Of course, that baby “pet” was none too happy when it found that the whole flock had received his unintentional message about food.  But his message was clearer than a “text” or an “email” or even a…What do they call those again?…Oh yeah…a “phone call.”  And just as impressive as the speed of that message is it’s clarity!  In the simplest phrase I can think of in English it would read…  “I found food.  Stay the frack away so I can have it all to myself.”

Compare that to the story of my lack of communication with one of you Dear Readers that I only cleared up last night.  She’d e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago about a terrible accident that she’d had.  I e-mailed back last week to offer my sympathy and to ask for details. I received a reply over the weekend, but didn’t get around to answering it until Monday morning, (likewise with several other messages.)  Over the past few days I received no return message and I began to get concerned.  Finally she emailed me, expressing her own concern over the fact that she hadn’t heard from me…Had I had a terrible accident as well?  (She missed my Monday-morning email.)

To make a long story short, we finally had a “verbal conversation” over a “phone” last night, during which she told me about how she wondered why I didn’t show up at her place last Saturday when I called her from my cell as I was coming back from London.  She told me of why she was concerned about me being in an accident when I didn’t show up after I told her that I was on my way…

After a few seconds of stunned silence from my end of the line, she asked, “Are you there?” 

After a couple of more seconds of silence I asked her what she was talking about.  She reminded me of how I called her on my way back from London (Ontario, Canada.)  I had to tell her that I was nowhere near London last Saturday and that I didn’t call her that day.  So the long and short of it is is that this Dear Reader was called on a cell phone by some person who she assumed was me (and who apparently sounded like me.) These two people, my friend and who knows who, had a conversation about getting together that evening because they both assumed that they were talking to a friend, when in actual fact, they were talking to…well…who knows!? 

This mysterious conversation led my friend to wondering why I didn’t show up last Saturday (after “I” apparently told her that I would be there.)  And it probably led that stranger’s friend to wonder why he didn’t arrive because what he assumed were her instructions to her place were actually my Dear Reader’s instructions to my Dear Reader’s place.  And she (the unknown person of the unknown caller who called my Dear Reader) could be in the same boat as me by saying to him… “What the frack are you talking about?  You never called me from London, or anywhere else on Saturday!” …Even though he must have insisted that he’d called her and talked to her about how to get there… etc! 

(What if those two strangers are a new couple?  Imagine the ramifications…Just over a wrong number!!!

Scene:

Deleted…my imaginary dialogue between these two strangers would have gone on all night.)

Anyway, my question is; how did the history of communication between “the birds” and “the peoples” evolve in such opposites, with the birds’ primitive communication so completely embarrassing our human communication skills, despite the intelligence of our human minds that has led to organized language and so many ways to communicate it to each other across the vast expanse of our planet?

Forgive me for skipping past our evolution from caveman paintings on cave walls and the introduction of written alphabets that we use to form words.  That is for anthropologists and many other special… “ists” to teach us about.  Let me just take it from my personal, anecdotal, experience…

A generation ago, we had something called a “telephone.” We used this device when we couldn’t communicate with our loved ones in person… Face-to-face…Mouth to ear. But we understood that this modern device was only intended to convey important messages like… “Please pick up a quart of milk on your way home.”  Or it could have a more important purpose for teenage hormones. Like… “Ah…I was just like…kinda’ wondering if…ah…you’d like to ah…go to the dance with me Friday night?”

When a person used this “telephone” back then, he/she knew that everything had been done to communicate with the person who they couldn’t otherwise contact in person.  That was that.  When the other person’s phone rang in response to your call, you knew that if they didn’t answer, it was simply because they either weren’t in the room when the phone rang, or they were just too occupied with other (possibly exciting) personal things to get to the handset before you gave up listening to the ring tone.

June 27, 2008

Hey, Dear Readers. I apologize to many of you Dear Friends who I haven’t contacted lately.  I’m so sorry and I hope to contact you all, personally, over this weekend. In the meantime, I need to write a rant entitled, Sex, passion, politics, religion and art.

It was a toss-up of which two words to begin my title—“Sex” or “Passion.”    I chose “sex” on impulse, because this is the act that begins the life that inspires the mind that creates the last category of my title. But an impulsive thought in the human mind is what creates “passion.”  (I was thinking of giving a crude example here, but I decided that it would cheapen my point by taking you out of the story by exhibiting any one of your fantasies that…well…would turn this into a porn site.  You know what I mean?) Point is, our passion creates the sex that creates life.  So which came first?  The “chicken or the egg?” It is that debate in our minds that creates the idea of “Politics.” 

Because we “think,” this “chicken versus the egg?” question inspires us humans to create an “us eggs versus those chickens” mentality.  Out of the arrogance that our egos get from being “thoughtful” we create the “politics” of “us eggs versus those chickens.”  One of us must be correct, right?  Sadly for us, the “chicken versus the egg” theory is so far beyond either of our political minds to solve, we find ourselves killing each other just to defend the egos that our minds create in order to defend ourselves.

But when our egos must defer to the humanity that god gave us, and we realize that we are killing each other over a simple question, then we must create “religion” in order to defend our practice of killing each other over the “political” question of the “chicken versus the egg.”  We need to create a higher power than us to explain our passionately thoughtful need to kill each other. We need to create a God, like I did at the beginning of this paragraph, to justify our sex, our passion, and finally, the politics that we needed to create to justify killing those who came up with a different set of “politics.”

And then comes along something that we have decided to call “art.” 

I hope that our dear departed artist, George Carlin, would understand this last sentence, “God willing.” But if he doesn’t, who can blame him? After all, he’s probably got a thousand and one better things to do than read this rant at the moment. Point is…Be an artist this week, Dear Readers, and have a laugh at the fictitious “devil,” that artists like Sir George allowed us to laugh at. 

Sincerely,

Ern

P.S.  Okay…Some of you historians might argue that religion came before politics.  But think of a “Carlin” joke—“If we evolved from Apes and Monkeys...Then why do Apes and Monkeys still exist?”

June 22, 2008

So one of you Dear Readers actually checked out one of the writing links on my website (at www.kosanyi.com) last week. (Playday--A work in progress.) And you actually read some of my “real” writing!

I’m flattered.  And you told me in no uncertain terms, that I am… not allowed to do any rants until you finish this story do you hear me young man!!!!!!” I was planning to honour that request until several bizarre events and conversations (with my cousin) took place in my life this past week. So the title of my rant tonight comes from a phrase that my Dad used to say all the time…Stops my brain!

A teenage girl, born and raised in Canada, successfully sued her faher this week.  He disciplined her by telling her that she couldn’t attend a school-sponsored trip because she denied his ultimatum to stop her habit of posting pictures of herself on a chat-line website. The judge “over-ruled” the father’s disciplinary action and decided that the girl would be allowed to attend her school’s field trip.  So a father who’s only wish is to protect his child from sexual predators has been denied his right to protect his daughter with a reasonable act of discipline by a “judge” who has heard a case brought to the court by a lawyer that his teenage daughter has hired with God knows who’s money!!! 

All I have to say about this is, “Look out Mom and Dad, the floodgates are open now.  You might want to call your lawyers because I’m gonna’ sue the pants off you for…well I don’t know yet…but I’ll find something! And my lawyer will be smart enough to allow my complaint to be retro-active to thirty-years ago.” 

So go to sleep tonight thinking of how I am recalling that horrible moment when I was ten years old….

And the other story was just as bizarre.  The mother of an autistic child has her daughter in a public school. And our system is so compassionate that we provide this daughter with a “teacheing aide,” to help her along.  Suddenly the mother of this child is paid a visit by the Children’s Aid Society of Canada to investigate allegations of sexual abuse.  Why?  Because the teaching aid who helped her daughter visited a psychic one evening. And that psychic told the teaching aid that his/her student was being sexually abused. The aid went to the school principal with this info, and the principal immediately sicked the CAS on the mother. Finally sanity prevailed when the CAS agent decided that the whole affair was ludicruss and apologized to the mother for the stupidity of it all.

All I have to say about this is…well…actually….I’m getting a bad vibe about tomorrow.  Dear Readers, don’t get out of bed in the morning.  In fact, as they said forty years ago…”Duck and Cover!” ‘Cause…Somebody with the first letter of…Ah…”B” is gonna’ get it up the butt!

Another matter that my cousin inspired was about this whole gas price issue, Dear Readers.  Stop whining and SUCK IT UP!  (I’m not saying that to you Dear Readers in particular, but to the general western populace.) Back in the ‘70’s when we had the last “oil crisis” the country of Brazil decided to tackle the problem by becoming fuel-indepent from the rest of the world.  They grew oil for gasoline for their cars from sugar cane.  And now their cars are fuelled/propelled from their own sugar cane crops.

WE CAN DO THAT TOO!!!

No more wars we need to be wage in the Middle East.  We walk away, cleanly and with a clear conscience, by saying “We did what we could.  But you don’t want us here anymore, and we don’t need you anyway.  So we’re outta’ here!  From now on, instead of sacrificing our lives over here, and spending billions of dollars to wage a war that many your own citizens (not to mention many of our own and most of those of the rest of the world) don’t want us to fight, we’re going home now and we won’t be giving you our business anymore either.  So By-by.”

“Oh yeah?” They might say.  “Then we’ll just sell our oil to the booming Chinese economy.”

To which we can say…

  “And so will we, for half the price per barrel that you are asking, because we have all of our own oil fields in Texas and Alberta, etc.  And we don’t need 90% of the oil that we’re producing because all of our own fuel is produced by wind, sun, sugar, or hydrogen right here in our countries.  We can do that because all of the millions of dollars that we used spend to supply our forces over in your country is now being spent on discovering ways to be as independent for fuel as Brazil did three decades ago. So be prepared to for a new sales tag on your oil barrel…’Going out of business Sale. $100 OFF per Barrel.  BONUS!!  $1 billion dollar reward for anyone who brings in Osama Bin Laden so that America will buy our oil again so that we don’t die of starvation.’”

Oh yeah…and about guns.  The same Dear Reader that inspired me to write the above paragraph also inspired me to revisit the whole gun issue. He was bitching about the Canadian government’s “gun-registry” policy that has caused so much controversy and way more than expected tax dollars.  The idea was pretty simple.  If you own a gun, you must report it to the government.  That way, if your gun is used in a homicide, the police have a jumping off point to begin investigating the murder.

If the Canadian government didn’t make it so complicated, and the fanatics didn’t get so upset, it could have been as easy and simple and logical as it is in Switzerland, which is the country that my cousin inspired me to write about.  He was ranting about all of these government inspired ideas like “carbon taxes” and the “gun-registry” and then he challenged me to answer the question “where in the world is the most guns, with the lowest murder rate.?”

I thought about it for a moment and remembered that the Swiss Army has a mandatory draft for all citizens, and that every soldier is required by law to bring his/her weapon home after duty.  So I answered…”Ah…Switzerland?”  My answer was correct (according to you Dear Reader,) because every able-bodied Swiss citizen has a gun at home. 

The country has no strict gun laws because they don’t need any, because Switzerland has a very low murder rate by guns.

Why?  Because, as I stated in a rant I wrote a long time ago, if we want to stop people from killing each other, we must eradicate guns.  Switserland proves it!  Only soldiers in uniform can carry a gun in that country.   Only a soldier (or police officer) has the mental, emotional and physical discipline to earn the right to possess such a weapon.  As for the rest of us?  Whether we be a middle-class home owner with a wife and two kids or a crack-cocaine dealer with a couple of girls that he’s pimping on the side, or a Friday night ranter like myself, none of us should be so arrogant as to say that we have a god-given right to own a weapon that we can use to, (as a psychotic caller on my radio station said this week,) “blow his head right off!”  Simple fact is, if we all want the privilege of owning a gun, we better be trained how to use it by the military that we created, by joining it, or otherwise trust the military to protect us from the thugs that won’t exist in our society because of their disciplined force.

Please, Dear Readers, forgive the nasty tone of my last few paragraphs.  Let’s all put aside fear and discrimination this week and just celebrate our own independence day, whether it be on the 1st or the 4th (or on some other day away over there), and celebrate our separation from fear.  Let’s celebrate our trust in ourselves, and even in the people who we vote into our government. ‘Cause, at the end of the day, its all good, if we honestly know that it is.

Sincerely

Ern

 

June 6, 2008

Its the anniversary of “D-Day,” the day, (64 years ago,) when Canada, England and America landed thousands of troops onto the German-occupied French beaches of Normandy to finally nail the coffin on the Second World War.  It was a tough five years of fighting (three for the Yanks, who started late) before that day that allowed our allied nations to reach that historic moment that allows me to write this rant as a result of my forbearers courage and persistence.  Ergo…the title of my rant tonight--Courage and Persistence. (Romance and American Politics—Part Two.)

A few weeks ago, I came home to find a birdnest seated in the base of the wreath that my landlady had recently placed on our front door. She introduced me to the nest by saying “we have a new tenant.”  When I asked what she meant, she pointed to the door and waited for me to notice.  It took a moment for me, because, like your average person, I look for what I am used to observing. I noticed the door.  Then I noticed the “spring-motif” wreath.  I’d noticed it before but, because I’m a guy, I never noticed it like the gay guys on those interior-decorating T.V. shows would notice—with the appreciation for detail.  You know what I mean?  So it took me a moment to realize that there was a birdnest built into the base of the wreath. But I was amazed at the architecture when I finally appreciated what gay interior decorators can appreciate immediately!

You see, Dear Readers, the bird built this nest in the time between when we left for work in the morning, and when we returned from work in the late (afternoon for my landlady,) evening, for me.  And it took me a moment to notice it because this bird integrated the house so artistically with the wreath that I actually had to look for it.  The wreath is a perfect circle of wood and straw, with a “wash” of straw hanging down from the bottom centre of the circle.  The nest sat at the very bottom centre of the wreath.  It is perfectly round, made of mud and twigs that closely match the colour and material of the wreath.  And get this—the bird that built the nest took the time to drape loose bits of foliage down from the nest to blend into the loose straw that hangs from the bottom of the wreath. 

I couldn’t believe the symmetry of this bird-brained architect. (Not only was it perfectly integraged with the wreath, it was even “cemented” to the door window with caked mud and “clipped” to the wreath with a plastic clip stolen from our eave’s trough!)

But the nest, with its perfectly round bed of hay, was empty. I cynically told my landlady that it would remain that way, now that the architect had realized that we had looked at it, and opened and closed that door several times that evening.  The bird would be to affraid to lay an egg in it, after we had disturbed it so.

How I was proven wrong!  The next day, there was a single blue Robin’s egg.  The next day, there were three more. And now, the Robin that built it doesn’t even fly away in fear if we gently open the door at night.  We respect its home and its young, and the bird has come to understand this.

How does this story relate to the title, and of the introduction to my rant? Well…because…let me think about that for a moment…

Oh yeah!  This bird had the tenacity to gather up material and invade our front door with it.  And then it found the courage to stay there, even after we surprised it with our overwhelming strength, just as our forefathers invaded the Nazi-occupied Europe, and stayed there, fighting against overwhelming Nazi counter-attacks, until peace was secured between us all.  Once we found the courage and the tenacity to fight for the freedom of life, we stuck around for the duration until we all could come to an understanding. And it took until just just 18 years ago, (long after the end of WW II) when the Berlin Wall came down. Eventually we all came to the agreement that between the democratic west, and the communist east, at the end of the day, all we really want to do is to build a house and raise our young. And no political or religious ideology can conquer that basic instinct.  So we humans, like animals, all have the same desire.

We mate, we build, and we raise our young. And that’s that.  Christian, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Communists, Conservatives, Republicans. You name it! Birds! Humans!  We are all here for one purpose, to raise life on this planet.  And, in my humble yet correct opinion, the only difference between us and the birds is that because we are aware of ourselves, we can hope that our offspring are better than us, and bring us one step closer to Godliness. But we can only be better by realizing that we all have the same desires…Kiss our mate with freshly brushed teeth in the morning.  Bring food home in the evening. Make love at night to bring new life in the morning.

How does this relate to American politics? Well, an underdog has won the Democratic candicacy this week.  He is a coloured man who could be the next president of America, in a country that once owned men of his race as a slave.  Talk about progress!  On top of this, factor in the fact that the world of humanity has never followed American politics so closely, or so overwhelmingly endorsed and wished for one single person to be the next ruler of this planet. Sure, in his home country, he’s about “fifty-fifty.”  But if it were up to Canada or Iraq, or Germany or Japan or most of the 150 odd divided ideologies and countries of this humanity-stained rock, we’d all want him to build the next nest.  Since we’re all in agreement, why not give him a chance?

Sincerely

Ern

 

May 2, 2008

Hey, Dear Readers, please disregard the first sentence of my last rant, from last year.  As “The Birds” sang, back when I was busy getting born,  “Oh…I was so much older then…I’m younger than that now.”

So…the title of tonight’s rant…”Romance and American Politics.”  This title was inspired by three events in my life this past week. 1st was seeing Barack Obama on CNN passionately rejecting the pastor who had been his friend, mentor, and spiritual guide for so many years.  The second was when my co-worker accused me of being “too ro-maaaaaan-tic.”

And the third is a toss-up between two things. 1st was a joke I heard—

“Question:  Why can’t a woman find a great-looking man who is compassionate and sensitive to her needs?  Answer:   Because he already has a boyfriend.”  

2nd   was a moment I witnessed in a documentary on PBS called “Carrier.”  Briefly, it is about life aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz, one of the most powerfully armed, and most inhabited, (with 5000 people aboard) weapon systems on earth.  While the ship and its aircraft are featured in glorious colour and rock music, the theme of the film is its crew and the tone is accordingly set to subdued grunge rock-folk.  The 10 hour feature captures the most intimate moments of real people who get paid to “serve” their country.  One such moment in this masterpiece goes like this…After we spend many moments with a particular sailor, (over several episodes) where we learn about his childhood, his “abandonment” issues (because he was abandoned at a circus—no kidding!) we learn about his youth as an orphan on the hard streets. We see his bulldog-like physique as he discusses his life with an always unseen, unheard, interviewer.  And then we witness him reunited with his wife after a six-month deployment on the high seas (where nothing happens on the languid Gulf in this “war-against-terrorism.) 

We see them dancing a tango.  Not in a romantic, smoky nightclub, but in a brightly lit studio.  Turns out that his hobby is Tango-dancing.  He does the tango on the hangar deck of the Nimitz, with a female sailor, when he’s not busy slinging bombs and missiles up to the hardpoints under the wings of jet fighter aircraft.

Suddenly, as if in their bedroom, I witness two lovers re-uniting for the first time in six months.  They are dancing a passionate tango, but it is completely “UN”-romantic. It’s as if they are Olympic athletes—two strangers merely practising a routine that will fool the audience into making us believe in their passion—Meanwhile, he scolds her for making all the wrong moves.  She is defensive and “bitchy,” for all kinds of reasons, until the truth comes out.  And when it does, boy, it blows “Casablanca,” out of the water.  In this film, you watch a human man and a human woman fall in love.  Right in front of a camera.  Right before your eyes.  I have no idea how they did it.  But it’s breathtaking.

That must be the longest ever explanation for the title of all of the past three years of my Friday Night  Rants.  So…ah…I guess I should actually get to the story behind the title…

When I saw Barack defending himself, I saw a man passionately fighting to explain why he had to cut his ties with a another man that he once worshipped in order to defend his reasons to the people of this earth for why he shoud be the next King of the world.  And that’s what we’re taking about. Because let’s face it, the President of the United States of America, really is the king of all of humanity.   In front of the world’s judgemental eyes, he had to reject his best friend.  He did that with anger and emotional pain.  He did that unscripted, almost with tears in his eyes.  Hillary did the same a while back, when she was accused of something that I forget now. 

That is the “romance” of American politics.  The three candidates eligible to become the next President of the Human Race, (above the English Royalty, the Dalai Lama or the Pope…or any other leader) must necessarily show their humanity.  Because humanity isn’t just a “business” that needs to simply be run with “efficiency” any more than two sexual partners can raise an emotionally healthy child that they procreated together without something more than a business contract with each other.  The next ruler of this planet will only succeed if he (or she) reaches out to our strongest desires--to be wanted, desired--valued as part of the whole grand scheme of life.  Otherwise, some of us will go on strike, just like the “U” or “C” “AW,” when contract negotiations go wrong. 

And that is the awe-inspiring thing about this presidential race.  In my humble, yet correct, opinion, I believe that all three candidates are fully aware of the business side of being human.  Republican, John McCain has had it easy, after soundly defeating his rivals.  But that is as it should be, since his strength of character got him through years of hardship in a prisoner-of-war camp in Vietnam that easily compares to his own country’s “Guantanamo.”  So if he becomes the next president, I’m sure he’d be just as capable as any other to manage all the issues of running the world while answering to all the anti-war activists who try to be the anti-biotics of our ailments.  To all those who would protest against the “illegal detention” of the “enemy combants,” he would have the life-experience to say something like…Yes my fellow Americans, you’re right.  It’s inhumane, what we’re doing.  I know, because I’ve been there, on the other side…And I’ve done that.  My captors put me through hell. I was a captive for years in a foreign country, with a foreign language.  There was no “Geneva Convention,” or “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ without a lawyer” like you see on TV and it really sucked.  And when I can find a way to make sure that that never happens to any citizen on earth, ever again, I’ll raise everybody’s taxes to implement that policy if I have to.  And if I have to, it will only be because I have convinced all you people of the earth, regardless of your beliefs, that inhumanity is the costliest expense to humanity.

Hillary and Barack don’t have it so easy, in that sense.  Neither of them have served in combat.  And that may be a drawback, in this time of war, in the eyes of their voters.  However, I presume, in my humble, yet correct opinion, that this may be the whole purpose of the battle between the two democrats.  Rich, white-bred-but-female, Hillary is going up against the idealistic, charismatic Martin Luther King ‘wannabe.’  They are being forced into a war against each other that must, by its very competive nature, bring out their own survival instincts. One is practical, realistic and tough enough to say I can stand by my man even when his intern comes home with his cum-stains on her blouse—for all the world to see.  I have the experience to see that as shitty as life can be, I’ve been there, done, that, and I will guide you through it!

And then you have Barack. Black.  Last name--Obama. Rhymes with the first name of America’s worst enemy!  I gave him no chance at all in the beginning, based on his skin colour, his name, and the same fickle populous that could make an “issue” out of his pastor’s stupidity.  And that is saying a lot, considering how I predicted so accurately that the first Gulf war (under George “H’ W,) would be over in no time, compared to the shivers that ran down my spine when the second one was announced by his son. (Imagine if you were running for president, and your best idiot-friend from the third grade was found out by a major news organization?)

All three of them are right on.  Thanks to democracy, all of them must listen to “polls” and media “experts” that tell them what they must do to win. And thanks again to the media, they will also have to show us that they don’t care about impressing us through “polls.”  Thanks to this wired, global village, half of the population of this planet will see and hear the most passionate thoughts of the Chief. And, thanks to the media telling us so, the next ruler of the planet will have to be strong, bold, passionate, regretful and either non-white, non-male, or, at the very least, non-young-enough to be a cliché.  So, no matter what our belief’s, we will have to adapt to a more romantic way of thinking under our next world ruler.

I’m not really finished but I’m too tired to go on.  So I’ll end it here.

Sincerely,

Ern

December 23, 2007

This may be my last “Friday Night Rant,” Dear Readers, as I realize now that I must return to a more healthy way of living, one that is spirited by true spirituality, rather than by alcoholic “spirits.”

On this eve of Christmas Eve, I wish you all the best, a happy new year, and my request that you read my last rant entitled…My Christmas rant is inspired by a beautiful film---“The Thin Red Line.”

Yes, it’s a “war movie.”  It’s bloody and brutal and it wouldn’t be a likely choice for a movie to be aired on TV, the night before Christmas Eve. However, it was on TV, and, having seen it tonight for the fourth time, I finally got it.  I finally understood why I enjoyed it so much the first three times.

It is all about having faith in God.  Isn’t that a great message at Christmas time?  It’s not easy to see that message in this movie, but when and if you do, it can be so inspiring.  So let me give you all a basic rundown of this story.  It’s pretty simple…The Second World War.  American marines invade the Japanese occupied island of Guadalcanal in the south Pacific.  It’s a viciously hot, malaria-infested island and a bunch of soldiers have to live in inhumane discomfort while, at the same time, they have to charge head on into withering machine-gun fire. And, as they witness so many of their friends dying, they each must find ways to justify why they do this.  Why they exist in this hell.

This is where the movie shines.  It allows us to view the intimate thoughts of many different people, all of who are basically the same.  They all have the same job as soldiers. They’re all American, all born and raised as decent human beings in the tradition of our western sensibilities.  However, as their job forces them into the depths of hell on this earth, where they must kill in order to live, or risk being killed in order to save a cherished friend, or help a friend die without pain because no god will allow that person to go home to his family, then faith in a higher power becomes the focus of the story.

It all centres around one man who never explains his faith and who dies in the end. But that man rises to heaven, gladly with joy in his heart, while others die in this world, or continue to live on it. Whether they live or die is not the point. The message is that the saddest souls are those who exist without any sense of wonder for the world that God made.  They are those who put their faith in nothing, or into romantic love, or into religious scriptures written by other men, or in pride, or in ambition…or in anything that doesn’t come from the pure heart that they were given by God.

The hero of the story is in the heart of a man who sacrifices himself to save another, only to rise to a higher level of life because he can see that in God’s eye, “all things shine.”

All things shine.

Dear Readers, I thank you for being here to listen to my thoughts for all these past few years and I hope you check in with me now and again.  However, from now on, I wish to get back to writing fiction—short stories, novels, screenplays—the stuff that inspired me years ago.

I will post my writing on this site as often as I can in the coming year, and I will send you Dear Readers my “reminders” every once in a while, to invite (beg?) you to read my work. In the meantime, please know that your thoughts are always welcome.  So, if you wish to post your own rant, my “Friday Night Rant” site will remain open for you to publish your thoughts and ideas to the great world-wide-web.

Finally, this night I need to say how much I owe to so many of you, for all the support and inspiration you have given me, that has allowed me to sit here every week or so, for the past two years, to spout my “humble, yet correct opinions.”

Sincerely,

Ernie Kosanyi

November 02, 2007

The title of my rant tonight is…The Robert Bateman exhibit. Or, how I learned to stop worrying and appreciate a true artist. (Inspired by the third best movie of all time—“Dr. Strangelove, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.”)

In the world of the animals, God made everything so simple.  Carnivores must learn to hunt herbivores by toning their muscles for the chase, while training their minds to learn to use a stealthy approach to gain a launching point from which to spring upon their prey.  Herbivores must learn to find pastures upon which to graze, organizational skills to keep the herd together for mutual protection, and a sense of “clear and present danger” so that any one of them can make a clear command to “Run for your fracking lives” when one of them sees a blade of tall grass rustling when it shouldn’t be.  And, in them meantime, they both need to sleep, piss, shit, and frack.  Just like us human beings. It’s all so simple for them.

But when it comes to us human beings, God made it all so much more complicated.  Because the fracking Asshole gave us a “mind.”  It’s this irritating thing that makes us self-aware enough to wonder why we feel pain or love or angst, or fear or awe or…well it goes on and on. And, along with that mind, God implanted a stupid question in us all.  It’s the same question that we all start out asking our parents when we are a few years old—“But why?”

We “People” do everything that those animals do.  But at the end of the day, we ask “why?” Why do we do it? Some of us build cars, buses or planes because we need to travel to the hunt.  Some of us become dentists to fix our teeth so that we can chew what we eat.  Some become farmers to harvest what we chew on, and replace our need to become hunters so that some of us can become bankers, or financial consultants in order that we can pay the farmers for replacing our need to become hunters while so many more tradespeople support our need to…to create more jobs like bus drivers or plumbers or carpenters or spiritual leaders who all support all of our needs to get through a working day so that we can all come home to our families in order that we can all eat, frack, and then go to sleep with that burning question… “Why?”

And then Robert Bateman comes along.  He paints pictures of diving falcons, preying vultures, cliff-chasing mountain goats, stalking lions, snow-swept wolves, and, as a human being who must ask “why,” he teaches us that there is a beauty and grace in nature’s black-and-white- world that only us human’s can appreciate.

He shows this to us with a skill and craftsmanship that only a good, trained, seasoned craftsman, implanted with that god-forsaken question, can do.  His job is to ask us all to answer the question…Why?

That is the job of an artist.  Artists give us the reasons for why we why don’t jump off bridges (that wouldn’t exist without artists.---No-no-no, Dear Readers, it’s not just engineering and clever mathematics that makes a bridge.  Try gazing at one for a long time.  You’ll see the artistry sooner or later.) At the end of the day, when everything we worked for was accomplished, it would all become meaningless in our mind if some artist didn’t give us a reason to look forward to something that only humans need to live for.

It was an artist that gave meaning to your life today.  (Maybe through this rant?)  No matter how “blue-collar” you think your life is, it was an artist that created the t.v show or the movie that you are watching, or the music that you are listening to if you aren’t reading this rant that an artist wrote.  An artist created the paintings or photographs that you need to see on your walls that were covered in paint that an artist created.  It was an artist that imagined the graceful lines on the side panels of the car that you chose to purchase.  An artist designed the cool look of the cellphone that you bought, the building that you live or work in.  Artists created the world in which you have chosen to live by asking you to answer your deepest question…Why?

Artists created the spouse you chose to be yours, by creating a person inspired by artists.  Because artists made your lover the person who they are by inspiring he/she to ask the same “why” questions that you choose to ask, based on artistic questions that have inspired both of you throughout your life.  They may have been very similar, or very different questions.  But artists brought you together nonetheless.  (I realize that reasoning might seem luxurious to people in the outer reaches of the third world where “Picasso,” “The Artist Formerly known as Prince,” and “Nike” may be as alien to them as electricity, but I’m sure that artistry exists in their human spirit in ways that I can’t know or appreciate.)

The problem for artists is that the very same reasons that art is so imperceptible in our daily lives, because it is so intangible, is that the rewards for being an artist are equally as intangible.  Artists live by inspiration, which is a purely “mind” thing.   And the reward for being an artist is simply a gratification of the soul.  Which is also a “mind thing.”  Artists feel rewarded if they know that what they have created has brought that question, “why” into the heart of another human.

This reward is so gratifying to the artist, to see that he/she has inspired another soul to say something like “Wow,” or to see a grin or a frown or a tear, or any emotion whatsoever from a fellow human being, that artists can become confused and disoriented if they don’t achieve the accepted reward of cold hard cash for their efforts even as all of the other successful craftsmen in this human race have come to recognize this cash as a reward for their efforts.

Artists live in a human world that has necessarily evolved, to this point, into a society that is built around a universally accepted commodity.  Money.  Tangible cash has been created by our race to be used as a tangible form of trade for goods rendered because most of us create hard, tangible goods or services, (like car-building or teeth-cleaning.)  I would guess that 90 percent of people believe that 90 per cent of the things that we need in this world are things that we must touch, taste or see in order to prevent our certain deaths.

Nothing that an artist creates is tangible in any way that animals can understand. Sure, you can “touch” a novel’s page.  You can “look” at a painting. You can “watch” a TV show, just as you can watch a sunset.  But no dog or cat would pay money for any of that. And us human animals, observed from the point of view of a six billion strong human“bio-mass” are not all that different. 

Would humanity die off if we used up all the earth’s oil tomorrow, just as the animal kingdom would die off? Hmmm…we probably would.  But would we become extinct if no artist ever painted the Mona Lisa?  If no Sculptor ever created “David?” No writer ever wrote “War and Peace,” or even “Romeo and Juliet?”  If no director made “Citizen Kane?”  If no great actor starred in “Out of Africa?” Frack! What if no automotive designer ever lived to create the shape of the Chevy Corvette? (Not to mention the Lamborghini Diablo.  Or any number of Ferraris?!)

In my humble, yet correct opinion, I think we would die off.  If humanity could have lived for all these thousands of years without art, there would be no such thing as a zoo today.  Because all of us two-legged’s would be sharing all the wide-open spaces with all of our four-legged ancestors.  And the only difference between us and the apes would be us asking ourselves, “How come those fracking monkeys don’t want to find a bridge to jump off of because nothing means anything?”

So…getting back to the point of why it is so different and confusing to be an artist.  Well, let me put it this way…Artists are the people who write those cheesey movie lines, like when a macho cop says “This ain’t what I do…Its what I am..”  (And it’s the artistic actor who makes you believe the line.) Cops can say that because taxpayers will let them.  Taxpayers will pay for their schooling.  Taxpayers will wish them all their best (for good reason) to become the cops that they “are.”

But artists write those lines that the cool cop actors get to say because artists create those words from their heart, because artists really, honestly, do what they do because that really “is what they are.”  By their very nature, they can’t care if they are cool.  Just as what they create has no tangible value, the reasons for which they create their product have no tangible justification.  Very few taxpayers are willing to pay for “art” even though they’d die a slow, lingering death without it.

For example, I once advertised myself as an autobiograher in a local newspaper.  I got one irate call from an old geezer who told me that he called some union writer who quoted him $20,000 to write his autobiography. Oh was he flabbergasted! Twenty grand to immortalize his life from childhood to old age. Although I would have done the job for far less, the price seemed perfectly reasonable to me. After all, the writer (artist) would have had to sacrifice a year of his life to immortalize this person’s soul in no less than a 100,000 words. It would be a history of this man’s soul, this man’s artistry, that could be passed down for generations of descendants.  But all this man could see in his mind was probably a small, square paperback thing of paper.  Hell, for that price, he could buy something tangible!  Like a Honda Civic.  Loaded!  You can touch that.  You can use that to get somewhere.  But your boring life immortalized in words forever?…Well…what the hell is that worth?

And yet the true artist is consumed by the need to create a product that most human beings will never ask to purchase.  So, Dear Readers, take a fresh look at something that has made you feel good to be alive for reasons other than what the five animal senses can process. If that something was created by a human, appreciate the fact that that artist lived his/her life to touch you in that way.  It was his sole reason for living. And if he earned money by creating the thing that you are freshly looking at, then know that he earned his pay just as any brain surgeon or chartered accountant did. 

The only difference is, the artist could not have earned that monetary reward, if that was his desire.  Because, as lucrative as art can be in terms of this moneyed society, the most money can only be made by artists who only have the desire and ability to create the question, “why?” And they’re too busy thinking about the question to care about such silly things as boats and cars and mansions and…money.

Of course, I’d be thrilled if this rant made me some money…Now that I’ve finished creating art and can just look back on it all and…you know…imagine being on Oprah? 

Guess I’m not an artist…Yet.

Take care Dear Readers.  Please watch something and look in the background for things that you might never think to notice.  For that matter, I invite you to check out the rest of my website! 

Sincerely,

Ernie Kosanyi

 

 

 

October 12, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, tonight I want to speak of the virtues of open immigration, high taxes and stricter gun laws. 

No!  Just kidding!  I just want to get your blood pumping the way I seemed to with my last rant.  Boy, did that one stir up a kettle of fish!  I had replies from some of you going out to all the rest of you, mostly telling me how wrong I was, with a few of you supporting my views. I received verbal replies and at least one of you Dear Readers replied to other Readers replies! Got pretty hairy there.

I enjoyed all your responses, Dear Readers and hope that I receive as many from my rant tonight, which will simply be titled…Hmmm…How about, Questions that I would like answered?

I’ll start simply, with a question that one of you posed to me years ago.  Why do we drive on a “parkway” and park in a “driveway?” From here I will drive gradually into deeper, darker thoughts.  For example, speaking of driving, why do drivers wave a “thank you” to me when they force me to waste my brake pads when they cut into my lane without warning?   Know what I mean?  I mean, if somebody to my left signals their intention to merge into my lane ahead of me and I slow down a little to let them in, then I can understand why they wave a thank you.  But why do they wave a “thank you” when they didn’t signal and gave me no choice but to slam on my brakes? I mean, I didn’t do anything but waste my brake-pads to avoid slamming into the back of that driver’s car due to his/her lack of consideration for time and space and planning ahead.  So what the frack are they thanking me for?

Of course, it’s not like I’m the perfect, considerate driver.  There have been times that I’ve thought, “shit, I have to get off the highway at the next exit!” And therefore I’ve jumped in front of other drivers without offering them an ample warning.  And if there could be such a thing as an “apology” wave, I’d have waved it.  But, since there isn’t any such thing, I just make sure to be quick enough that I won’t get slammed in the ass and go on my way like the asshole that I am.

Continuing with the automotive theme…my car has power windows.  This switch is ergonomically logical.  You push it down to make the window go down.  You pull it up to make the window go up.  My passengers automatically push the button down to make the window go down.  But then they push it down again to make the window go up.  Why?  Why do they push something down to make something go up? And why does it perplex them so when the window doesn’t go up even though it was their illogical thinking that caused the predicament?   Why don’t people who ride in my car think as logically as the people who designed it by naturally pulling the switch up, to make something go up?…

(Yeah…That’s what she said.)

Now some of you smart Readers might ask me what I did the first time I tried to raise my window.  Did I push the button down to make the window go up?  Luckily, like a good politician, I can honestly say that, “I don’t recall that moment.”

Why does a car worth $20K in Canada cost $16K in the United States when the Canadian “Colour Back” is now worth two cents more than the U.S “Greenback?”

Why does the US of A allow Japan to import their cars to us when they won’t allow our cars to be exported over there?  (Is it just because Japanese cars have logical window buttons?…No.  It can’t be that simple.)  I can just picture some clairvoyant Yankee soldier stationed in Japan back in late 1945, after the Japanese lost the war, talking to some distraught Japanese business person…Might go something like this…

”Hey buddy, don’t cry.  Don’t be afraid.  The war’s done now. We’re not gonna’ rape and pillage your country even though you killed so many of us over the past four years.  No sir.  We believe in free enterprise.  Now that we whipped your ass, we’re gonna set you free to rebuild your country.  And you know what, you slanty-eyed freak, fifty years from now, my liberal frackin’ descendants are gonna’ be driving cars that you assholes designed right here in your country after we conquered you at the cost of tens of thousands of my best buddies that you killed. 

“Oh sure, we’re gonna hang a few hundred of your top military brass to punish you for your evil treatment of our POW’s, but after that we’re all gonna go home and leave you alone to rebuild your country after we bombed and nuked the shit out of it to teach you a lesson…’Never, EVER, attack our country.”

“But then, over the next half century, we’re gonna’ get kinda cocky, just like you ‘Gooks’ did back on December 7, 1941.  We’re gonna’ start a few scraps of our own back here in your territory, in countries around here that we isolationist Yanks will come to learn as “Korea” and “Vietnam.”  And you guys are gonna whip our asses! What difference will it make?”

“And you know, buddy, once you and I have humbled each other by kicking each others asses, your grandchildren in Tokyo will get rich building the cars that my grandchildren will be driving in Detroit.  And fifty years from now, we’ll all be equal businessmen, wondering how this all came to be when you and I swore to kill each other a few days ago!”

How the Frack can two different civilizations that nearly annihilated each other for four years, sixty years ago become business-partners decades later when other opposing civilizations can hold grudges for THOUSANDS of years?

How can so many loving gods be so fearful of each other as to ask their mortal children to eliminate the competition?  How can a God that is so powerful to create the universe have any need or desire to ask his children to worship him, let alone destroy the other children of his who don’t believe in him?

I tell you Dear Readers, any “God” that is such a wimp that he needs a child like me to stand up for him against any “non-believer”is, as Shania Twain sings, “No (God) of mine.”

So why do so many people kill in the name of God, when God can so easily take care of himself?  If Allah is all-powerful, it should be so very simple.  There will be no Christians tomorrow.  Right?  If Jesus is the Son of God, and he died for our sins, then everything is taken care of.  Right? So why are we all so arrogant to think that the greate creator, who constructed the entire universe, needs Us to fight his battles?

Stops my brain!  Us little beings here on this little planet that he created need to to fight each other in His name?   This reminds me of my childhood, when I acted as God many times as I looked down on an ant colony engaging in city-building…or warring against each other.  That was years ago, when I was a massive child-god.  When I got bored of being a god looking down at my thousands of subjects I…well…I crushed their planet under my shoe.

So…Why can’t we all, around the world, as human adult beings who all want to reach out and be reached out to, come to an agreement that there is an existence beyond our understanding that put us all here to feel the joy of this creationist that we can all agree to call “God?” (Or Allah or Buddha… Or, for Atheists…”Nobody.”)  Maybe, if God is about to become bored of our usual patterns of building and conquering our puny empires in his name, he/she won’t get bored enough by our pathetic existence to crush us under his shoe while we fight blindly over our egocentric ideas of ourselves.

Why can’t we just jump into the joy of an existence that is, by its very unexplainability, completely magical and unexplainable, and let that simple fact give us inspiration to be as magical as that Great Being who created us? 

Can any of you Dear Readers explain to me why this simple (in my humble, yet correct opinion) hasn’t been accepted by all of us?

Why is Autumn so gorgeous when it is the season of the harbinger of death? Why are the leaves so colourful as they die when they are so blandly uniform green during their life?  Why is the crisp, smoky nightime air so intoxicating when the season means the end of life for this past year?

Why do I sit here asking these questions on a Friday night? What do I hope to accomplish or to achieve with this “Friday Night Rant?” Is there any connection between this column and my desire to have my novel, “Visions of Icarus” published, for which I began this website in the first place? 

Or is my connection with You Dear Readers the end result of my writing the novel that caused me to create this website that created this connection between us that has created so much fun for me over these past years? Could it be that my two years of toil to write a story that may never be read except by a few of you Dear Readers was all for the purpose of creating this forum where this same author could just shoot the shit with all of you?

If that is the case, then I will allow that possibility, since it has given me so much in return.  In the meantime, I will continue to send my novel out to publishers while I run the business that makes my dollars until I rise above this trap, and I will continue to ask you Dear Readers for your wisdom. Does that make sense?  Is it a smart idea to make money by doing something that you can’t give a shit about while you force yourself to do what…

You know, Dear Readers, the music I’m listening to right now, by the Almond Brothers, says it all…

”And if I had those golden dreams…of my yesterdaysssS…I would wrap you… in the heavens….”

Sincerely,

Ern

 

August 24, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, my blood’s boiling tonight! I’m pissed off about two completely different issues. One is a local animal/human rights issue, and the other is about the King’s speech this week to his warriors.  My goal is to make it all related.  So, to follow my last historically romantic title of a “Mid Summer Night’s Rant,” I think I’ll follow that up with the title tonight of…Tearing a Strip off a Hot August Night’s Madness.

So let me start with the first issue.  The animal-versus-human rights issue.  It’s all about a story that happened this month in my ex-hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  An officer of the Humane Society came across an unfortunate dog that was boiling to death in its owner’s vehicle.

FYI, for you non-Canucks, the Humane Society is Canada’s official protection agency for animals.  They’re the people that take stray pets to the “pound” and who prosecute people who are guilty of cruelty to animals.  Which is all fine and good, of course. As a former pet-owner, I’m glad to live in a country where respect for all life is important enough to create a government agency for the protection of non-human life.

Aaaaaanyway…This officer, so the story goes, found the negligent pet owner, as well as the dying pet.  The poor dog was apparently on the verge of death, having been locked in this car for far too long on a hot summer day.  So the Toronto Humane Society officer decided to take the poor dog away from the scene and get it to medical attention as fast as possible.  Good for him, right?  However, he didn’t want the pet owner to escape prosecution for the horrible act that the pet-owner had done to his pet.  So, before the officer rushed the pet to safety, he handcuffed the pet owner to his vehicle so that the asshole couldn’t run away before other officers came to arrest him while said officer, (named “Tre”) went off to save the animal.

So “Tre” handcuffs a person and then abandons this man, leaving this person in a public place, in plain view of any and all passersby.  So, of course, the “bad pet owner” got the shit kicked out of him soon after “Tre” left him alone, chained-up, in a public place, by a lynch mob of other humans who were pissed off at this negligent pet owner.

So what happens next?  Well, the Toronto Humane Society takes “Tre” off the street and “handcuffs” him to a desk-job pending a review of the incident.

Good for them.

Then what happens?  A bunch of animal-rights activists stage a public protest in front of the T.H.S. office to protest the fact that their “hero” has been suspended by the T.H.S. for having saved the life of a dog.

I found all this rather funny (since there are far more serious issues that require our attention) until I saw this “Tre” on a local TV news station the other day.  He was proudly talking about his responsibility to save animals in need.  I waited for him to speak of being caught between a rock and a hard place—between saving the animal while showing concern for a fellow human being, you know?  Like, maybe he’d say something like…”You know, Ann…(Ann Rohmer, the “cougar” news anchor who was so obviously enamoured by the young “Tre’s” good looks.)

“You know, Ann, I was really torn.  I needed to save that poor dog, but I couldn’t allow that asshole get away with it.  So I made an impulsive decision to handcuff him to his car so that he couldn’t get away.  Now that I look back on it, I wish that I had just taken his licence plate number, let him go, and then tracked him down later.  But I didn’t think of that at the time.  I was too impulsive.  I made a mistake that caused this asshole (in my humble, yet correct opinion) to be assaulted by an angry mob.”

But that didn’t happen.  In fact, just the opposite happened.  “Tre” was quite proud of his actions.  And he was obviously happy to brag about his love for animals and the support that he had gained from people “around the world.” And the local media was only too happy to make him a local hero by inviting him to be a guest on their show!

He had no remorse for his actions during that incident.  He didn’t care that the person in his custody had suffered pain.  That person whom he had handcuffed wasn’t even an issue to be discussed! Not even on a public television NEWS program. Oooooohhhhh. 

That’s when I got really pissed off…When this officer of a Canadian law enforcement agency, who is paid by our taxes, was branded a “hero” not only by the stupid people in our society, but by the media as well, for exacting vigilante justice against another Canadian citizen. 

And that’s exactly what it is, vigilante justice.  And our media allowed…no…Encouraged…him to be proud of himself!

Dear Readers…(Let me take a deep breath before I go on.) We Canadians are supposed live in a society of “law and order,” where suspects are “innocent until proven guilty.”  You know?  Even murder suspects are only “apprehended,” by law enforcement officers unless those suspects threaten the officers with deadly force. They are taken into custody and kept safe from harm until a jury of their peers find them guilty.  Only then, when the suspect is found to be guilty, do we punish them for their crime. And even then, we try to “rehabilitate” them.  We incarcerate them and help try to help them see the error of their ways.

We don’t hang them out in public to be lynched by an angry mob as this “Humane Society” officer named “Tre” did.

And yet we chastise our soldiers, and protest against them for going “over there” to protect those against the “Tre’s” in foreign countries who proudly kill people in those far-off streets without the due process of law and order that we are supposed to be so proud of in our own country. 

Indeed, I ask you, Dear Readers, what do you think would happen if a Canadian soldier handcuffed a “Sunni” Afghani citizen to a post in a predominantly “Shiite”city street because that soldier knew that that person had planted an “I.E.D,” (Improvised Explosive Device,) and then that soldier (a Canadian “Tre”) abandoned that person that he had “unilaterally” incarcerated, to go and find a bomb-defusing expert in order save people from being blown to bits?

And when I say “people,” I don’t mean only people who hold a similar belief-system as that soldier. That soldier might be trying to save the life of a young child who might be taught by his/her parents, someday in the future, to blow himself up to kill that very same Canadian soldier who is now trying to save that child’s life.  And that soldier might be completely aware of the fact that he is trying to save the life of a child who might want to kill him in some future scenario.  

But that is the job of a soldier…to save lives, regardless of beliefs, politics, or other rhetoric. A soldier is paid to protect the people who pay him/her.  And if the people in a democratic country like Canada, who pay that soldier with their tax dollars, say, “we need you to to this for the people of your country” then that soldier obeys that order, just as you do when your boss tells you to do that for your company.

However, I bet that the “Ann Rohmers” of our country, who jump at the chance to make a hero out of a man who’d gladly let another man die in order to save another man’s dog, would jump all over the “unprofessional conduct” of that soldier.

And that is a sad and ironic pity, since Ann’s father is one of Canada’s most decorated and heroic Generals.

Dear Readers, I got so caught up in being “right-wing” tonight, I don’t have any energy left to go to the “left.”  And that is also a sad and ironic pity, as I really wanted to because I was so equally bemused and disgusted by the American president’s “historical” speech this week to the American Veterans.  When he got to the Vietnam comparison, I just thought, “you Frackin’ hypocrite!

I was just as pissed off by his hypocritical bullshit as I was by the above-mentioned  “Tre” story.  Indeed, I really wanted to write a new speech, as if I was suddenly elected to George W. Bush’s office, in order to save humanity from his innocent, naïve, stupidity. But I don’t have paid speech-writers to whom I can say…”Hey guys, write this drunken rant in my head so that it sounds intelligent for my press conference at nine a.m.”

However, since I don’t have “speech-writers,” I’ll have to leave that one for next week.  In the meantime, I hope that all you Dear Readers get pissed off about something.  And I hope that you speak about it, rather than hurt somebody because of it.  Because that is why we are human beings, as opposed to animals that need to be protected from harm.

Sincerely,

Ern

August 3, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, right off the top, I’m going to title this one…A Mid-Summer Night’s Rant.  The Shakespearean reference is intended for a want of poetry in my life.  Now of course the Bard was a playright and not a “poet.” But the point is, is that he wrote about great passions that emanate from a true heart.  And that’s all that I want to express tonight.

So…without “further ado…” let me spout, for no good reason, everything that I may feel embarrassed about tomorrow.

I feel good when children want to play with me. I savour the light in their eyes.  I am a pebble in God’s universe, put here for them to toss about. Unlike a common stone, however, I am granted a soul with which to acknowledge the joy that I create, as they toss me around. 

And I feel free when I stand by a mid-summer night’s fire and know that I am in the company of friends. It’s just that plain and simply that simple. I can be in the middle of my life, standing in a sandbox with a friend, and feel no more angst than when I was twelve years old.  Indeed, I feel even less pressure due to the saving grace of adulthood.

I feel bad when I confront my demons.  When a mid-summer day blinds me with sun and pain and alcohol, only to throw me into the darkness of a hot summer night of confusion and passion, I find a strange comfort in asking simple questions…

Why is this the way it is?  Why have I done the wrongs that I’ve done? Or do I focus on those failings because it is easier to do that than to dream upon the midnight stars in the northern sky the way I used to do…When I had no idea how many problems I that I believe that I have today? Should I punish myself? Should I release myself?   How many apologies do I owe to the people I love?  How many do they owe me?  Should I even ask such questions?

This is what I love about this summer in my life…The passion of the wonder of the desire of the need to just…

To just ask a question that I don’t know how to answer.

I always like to end my rant with a request of you Dear Readers. Something profound that might give us all hope.  I’m not going to do that tonight. I’ll just leave that up to you.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

July 7, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, last week we celebrated our nation’s birthday.  This week we mourn the loss of six of our servicemen in Afghanistan, as well as an Afghani interpreter who died with them in the same horrific explosion. Last week I wrote a flippant little rant about Pamela and how time flies.  This week, I don’t even know if I’ll finish this one, thanks to the darkness.  So, in case I don’t get around to it, let me try to sum it all up in the title of my rant tonight…Why do we use people; their lives, their deaths, their families’ pain, for our personal agendas?

Okay, so, let me organize my thoughts for a minute so that I can let you Dear Readers understand why I am so pissed off about the public reaction to these tragic deaths…

Okay.  I think I’ve got it.  Let me explain from my personal experience. I’ll go back to when I was eight or nine years old.  I was at the beach one day.  I really wanted to be there and was thankful that I was.  I paddled my raft out onto the water, baked in the sun, and then jumped in the lake in order feel the great rush of adrenaline that I knew I would feel when I hit the glistening ripples of cold water. And, Dear Readers, it was as wonderful as I am trying to make it sound with simple words. Except, when I came up out of my dive and rose up out of the cold expanse to take my first breath, my toes couldn’t reach the sand. 

And I didn’t know how to swim.

My first breath wasn’t one of joy and happiness, it was one of desperation, gained only by the fact that, when I sank beneath the water, I had enough strength to leap above the surface for just long enough to drink in a breath.  And then I repeated the process.  Sink...nearly drown…hop…gasp for breath…sink…nearly drown…hop above the surface…over and over again.  Eventually my dad ran out to save me from drowning. 

The point is, I nearly died that day because I did something that I wanted to do.

July 1, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, we celebrate a couple of important birthdays today.  First of all, our great nation, Canada, is only 140 years young today. Think of that. An entire country—the second largest sovereign nation on the planet that we call Earth, full of heritage and history—is only 18 years older than the Guiness Record longest living human being.  But here comes an even more staggering fact that should make us ALL stop and think…to ponder how our days are passing us by…Pamela Anderson, who was born on this same day, in this same country that we call Canada…

Is the same age as our country, minus a hundred years.

Think about that for a minute. (Unless you are a Dear Female Reader…In which case my point will probably be lost on you.  And I know that that is truly MY loss.)

Pamela Anderson…In case you didn’t hear me the first time.  PAMELA ANDERSON….

Is 40…Forty years old…Today!

Ten minutes have passed while I tried to think of some way to impress that fact upon your intelligent minds. Like how the world’s most universally acknowledged “sexiest woman” is Canadian….And how, today, we must accept the fact that she is FORTY YEARS OLD!”

Good for you Pam!  You’re the Marylin Monroe of our modern world.  No Paris or Lindsay, Britney or Ashley, will ever compare to you. But just think of the facts…You…the hottest cover-girl on the planet..the “Baywatch Babe,” is FORTY.

Ahhh.  I think that I will be twenty today.  Since Pamela, and all of the beautiful ladies that I know, and all of the youthful dreams that I have, are all as sexy as the youth in my heart.

Happy Birthday Canada!

Today, let’s all celebrate our 20th birthday!

June 9, 2007

Hey dear Readers. I saw a show on TV today that taught me that the furthest distance that a Grizzly Bear can stand from a road in “the Lower 48” (States) is twenty miles.  This fact reminds me of a day when I was stopped on an “Interstate” highway in Colorado when I, along with many other travellers, was compelled to come to a dead stop in the middle of a four-lane, 60 mph road because a family of Dear waited on the right shoulder of the road, while a young one mustered up the courage to cross the deadly path from the left shoulder.  This frightened creature looked across the road to its parents for encouragement, then looked to us humans for reassurance that we would continue to halt our mad dash to our destination in order to assure its safe passage across the 20 metres of Interstate pavement, in order to rejoin its family.

He crossed the road, scared…but reunited.

So the title of my rant tonight is, why we all let the young Dear cross the 20 metres.

Could that be a metaphor for all our lives?  I know some of you Dear Readers like to believe that the “environmentalists” are totally fracked with their tree-hugging ways.  You claim that their claims are fracked because they all thought the world would be uninhabitable by now.  After all, the whales still swim the oceans. Okay, so maybe the Blue Whale is extinct.  But most of the other ones are still around, right?

We’re not walking around in gas masks, as the radicals predicted. (On this continent, at least—but who cares about the other ones anyway?)  Those old sci-fi movies never came true.  DDT, “Agent Orange” and Thalidomide were all abandoned before all those chemicals destroyed the planet. (And most of our babies.)  So why should we worry about “the environment?”

The fact, in my humble, yet correct, opinion, is that we shouldn’t worry about the environment at all.  Because we can’t kill it. We just don’t have the power, with our limited numbers, versus its size and adaptability over time periods in the thousands of years that we humans just can’t understand.  I realized this twenty years ago when I sat on a train for twenty hours and saw nothing outside my window but trees. We just can’t “clear-cut” the entire planet in the amount of time that our Earth will allow us to exterminate ourselves while we blindly see our fortunes come true at its expense.

Hell, I can just relate my own experience in my own lifetime to back this up.  I can still travel across Lake Huron in my gas-powered boat, to get to the same beautiful beach that I went to twenty years ago.  All the crayfish that I collected way back then are gone.  I, and one of you Dear Readers, scooped them all up into a plastic bucket.  All the Perch and all the Bass fish that my Dad caught by the dozens back then are gone as well.  But I don’t care, because the fouled water that supports my little boat is still there.  And the sand on the beach is still there. And the oil in the ground that powers my little boat is still there. And the gas that comes from that oil costs me less dollars than it did twenty years ago (after adjusting for inflation and cost-of- living and other economist-invented factors.)

So I still live in the same world that I lived in twenty years ago, even though the truth of my life is only twenty miles away, at its furthest point.

The point is is that we don’t build the road that the natural environment must try to cross.  It builds that boundary for us. 

So why did we all screech our brakes to allow that young Dear to cross the road?  Because we all realized, by the look in his eyes, that we all live within a day’s travel of our most noble crossing.

And I’m not talking about the environment. 

Sincerely,

Ern

 

May 25, 2007

Hey Dear Readers, this time last year I was thrilled to be swept away by a major life transformation.  Or maybe I was experiencing the infamous “mid-life crisis.”  Whatever it was, it was exhilarating.  Every week I found inspiration for a rant. But, without any further ado, the title of my rant tonight is…”Let’s keep dancing.”

That phrase is from an old Peggy Lee song.  She sang of how all the childish dreams of her youth fell apart.  In her song, she tells us of how, when she was a little girl, she saw her house burn down.  At first, the sight of the fire excited her.  But in the morning all there was was the smouldering remains of her home.  She asked, is that all there is?  Is that all there is to a fire? As she grew older, many wonderful things happened in her life.  And they all collapsed.  Until she thought she would die. And then comes the best line of her song…

“But I didn’t.”

And at the end of every disaster in her life she sings…”If that’s all there is my friends…then let’s keep daaaaaancing. Let’s bring out the wine…and have a ball.”

That’s where I find myself today, Dear Readers.  I began my “Friday Night Rants” back when I found the desire to have goals and ambitions in the middle of my life.  Over the course of all this time, all the dreams that inspired me to write these rants have imploded in one way or another.

And yet, in these past few weeks, I’ve found myself “dancing” again.  I don’t know why.  But my life has rebuilt itself for no particular reason that I can think of. Not completely.  Because it could all collapse again tomorrow. The only difference between today and yesterday is that no matter what happens, I know that tomorrow I’ll still be dancing to the beat of this life’s mystery.

The only problem here is that I now have to face the fact that all my “humble, yet correct” opinions may be incorrect.  Maybe we really should all carry a concealed handgun.  Maybe (contrary to my last full rant dated “April 13, 2007”) the Earth is actually a globe, instead of a flat plate.  And maybe God did create it in six days, six thousand years ago. Maybe the “Creationists” are right.  Maybe Darwin was a fool, along with all those silly scientists who came up with that stupid “carbon dating” technology. Maybe George W. Bush is the most intelligent President America has ever known. Maybe the history books will teach children of the future to compare him to Winston Churchill.

All I know today is that I just want to keep dancing.  And if I have a whim as I spin across the floor that I wish to share with you Dear Readers, I’ll write it next week.  And if I don’t have a thought worth sharing, I won’t share it.

Here’s one thought that I’d like to share with you tonight.  I met an interesting person recently who asked me tonight, “not to tell anyone about me.”

I’m conflicted here, because, in my humble yet correct opinion, everyone should want to know this person.

Maybe this is a good point to end this rant.  Let it all end with the fact that we all want to be hunted down, yet never captured.

April 27, 2007

On April Fool’s Day I promised God, and you Dear Readers, that I would write a “rant” every week. So what did I do two weeks later?  I broke my promise and went to a beach for the weekend to bake in the spring sun. People have asked me where I went on vacation to get my tan! That is the beauty of Stokes Bay, Dear Readers. Two days there can rejuvenate your soul, not to mention changing your skin colour.

It can also inspire a rant.

For example…in my last rant, I taught you Dear Readers that the Earth is flat.  Judging by your lack of responses (to prove me wrong,) I feel that it is safe to teach you the lessons I learned last weekend (and many previous weekends)…the title of my rant tonight… in Stokes Bay.

In my last rant, I preached about the fact that the earth is flat.  Last week I learned that cloudy skies are caused by the “smoke” from jet airliners.  So let me explain to you as it was explained to me by a long time resident who will remain anonymous…You know when you glance up at the sky just as an airliner streaks across the blue, trailing its white streamer of “smoke?” Anyone of us who is a student of aviation has been taught that that white trail is a “contrail.”  Not “smoke.”  We assume that it is simply water vapour formed by some scientific conspiracy that trains us to think that high-speed, high-altititude, metal wings can cause an atmospheric disturbance that can cause water vapour to form in the wake of an airliner’s disturbance of the air, much like a high-speed boat causes a “wake” in a lake.

But my Dear (anonymous Reader) who has all the time in the world to look at the sky and absorb the magic of Stokes Bay, has discovered a different reality.  He has taught me that the “smoke” from those airliners has a detrimental effect on the environment. Because whenever those “smoke trails” cris-cross the Stokes Bay sky, clouds are sure to follow.

That is a fact, Dear Readers.  And here comes an even more shocking fact from what I have learned in Stokes Bay…The British Royal Family…Queen, Prince Harry, and all before them…are reptiles.  I don’t mean that metaphorically.  I mean that they really are reptilian.  They hide this fact because they are also “shape-shifters.”  They appear as “human” when they appear in public, to keep us all fooled.  But behind closed doors…watch out!  Indeed, it was one of you Dear Readers who taught me that fact.

I’m not kidding.  And I can’t discount either of these “facts” for two reasons.  First of all, I love to imagine. After all, it`s these kinds of ideas that great sci-fi scripts come from. And second, I have enough of my own magical experiences from Stokes Bay to believe that anything is possible.

(unfinished)

 

April 13, 2007

Hey, Dear Readers, 

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of comments I received from last week’s rant about “The Secret.”  All of your “Dear comments” were entertaining and very well thought out.  Even the comments that didn’t agree with my humble, yet correct opinions, were a joy to read.  One of the most interesting comments from you Dear Readers was the suggestion that I use the phrase, “Dear Readers,” too often.  You, Dear Reader, even suggested that my use of referring to you Dear Readers in this way might be a deliberate act of manipulation on my part.  As if my flattery of you, Oh-So-Dear Readers, might make it difficult for your wonderful selves to disagree with my rants because you might feel a pang of guilt for telling me that I’m wrong when you are so “Dear” to me.

Well rest assured, Dear Reader, because if I am being manipulative…(“If I Did It”)…many of your fellow “Dear Readers,” haven’t fallen for this dastardly deed.  Indeed, many of your fellow Dear Readers haven’t hesitated to call me a “fracking idiot” (just an example to summarize the creative words that have been used to describe this rant writer) when my correct opinions conflicted with their incorrect ones.  And that’s okay by me.  Because any time I receive a reply from any of you dear, sweet, wonderful, jewels of Readership, no matter what you say, I’m flattered beyond belief simply because of the fact that my thoughts inspired a reply from you.

However, Dear Readers, from now on I will try to take the advice of this particular Dear Reader, and not refer to you Dear Readers so often in my writing, by using this aforementioned phrase.  Because the last thing that I want to do is manipulate any of you…Ah…people. 

No sir. Not me.

However, if, by chance, any of you…people…cherished the idea that you were “Dear” to somebody out there, and you don’t feel that way anymore because you will never see yourself referred to as a “Dear Reader,” and I was the only person in your life who made you feel special…and cherished…and “Dear.”… In this world…

Please don’t jump off a bridge.

You will still be my “Dear Reader,” even if I can’t remind you of that fact whenever I want to, just because of the concerns of another of you…Ah…Well…you know who you are and what you mean to me.

Because I would never consciously attempt to manipulate any of you Dear Readers…No.  Not me.

Aaaaanyway…This week’s rant of mine might seem hypocritical after my last one, since this one has to do with faith in a philosophy that appears to stretch the boundaries of scientific logic.  But the Title of my rant tonight is “The Don-Ho Flat Earth Society Museum.” It’s inspired by another museum that I discovered on CNN last week. The morning after I posted last week’s rant, I awoke to a “CNN Special” entitlted, “What is a Christian?”

One of the first items in this “documentary” was a report on the “Creationist Museum.”

www.answersingenesis.org/museum/

I supplied you Dear…Oops, with the website in order that you may judge for yourself, as I had to.  I had to make sure that this was not some “left wing” propaganda that some “right wing” news media was poking fun at.  But no.  It turns out that the “Creationist Museum” really does exist.  It is about to open to the public, this June. In America. In the most progressive and powerful nation in the world, a museum as powerful and as influential as the New York Museum of Modern Art, the French “Louvre,” is about to open this June.

This is the “Creationist Museum.” 

Before I go on, I do not wish to dispute anyone’s faith in God.  Whether one worships the Bible, or the Koran, or whatever…One’s belief in a benevolence beyond ego—beyond the self, is always a belief in God, in my humble…well…you know.

This “Creationist Museum” blew my mind.  This is a real complex of concrete and “zoning by-laws,” located in the heart of the world’s most powerful place, in a territory that places freedom of thought and speech behond all else. This museum, as rich and well-planned as any amusement park in America, exists solely to teach people the “Laws of God” just as convincingly as students in school are taught the laws of physics…or mathematics.  For example, when I was a child, I was schooled to believe that two apples, added to two more would add up to four apples. This museum will exist to teach us that the Earth was created, quite literally, six thousand years ago, in six days. 

By a Christian God.

This museum will display huge dioramas of an “ancient world” populated by children who wear clothing to cover their “private parts,” fearlessly carousing next to ferocious dinosaurs beside a lush, tropical pond. This is how the world was before Eve ate the forbidden apple. School-kids who will someday run this planet will be treeted to lecturers who will teach them that all of the scientists all over this planet, who exist beyond politics or ideology, are WRONG. “Carbon dating,” “Neandertal’s,” “Fossils…” All of it is bullshit.  And now there is a “museum” created just to teach us that.

It must be a great humiliation to all those people, past and present, who have devoted their lives to find out the “truth” as they so narrowly understood the concept. It must be as devastating to learn the error of their ways just as it would be to the mathematician who discovers that for all of the thousands of years that humanity has spent trying to understand that 2+2=4, he/she realizes today that it doesn’t equal anything but what somebody else says it does.

But that is the way truth comes to light, Dear Readers.

And that got me to thinking about a high school club that I (and a couple of you Dear Readers) used to belong to—The Don Ho Flat Earth Society.  I won’t get into details except to say that our “God” was the great Hawaiian singer, and our position was that the Earth is flat.  (And our rituals included wearing lays (Sp?) and blowing soap bubbles.)  It was all pretty tongue-in-cheek, back then.  But now I believe its time to let you readers in on the truth of this universe, just as the “Creationists” have done with their “museum.”

So here’s the “secret.”

The Earth REALLY is flat.

Before you laugh, let me make my case.  Lets go back to 1492 when that idiot Chris Columbus first tried to prove that the earth was round by sailing all the way “around” it to come back to his home. Well…if this silly continent of ours (North America,) didn’t get in his way, what would have happened?  Obviously, he and his ships would have fallen of the Great Cliff at the edge of the Earth!

So you might ask, “Okay, Ernie, then where exactly is this ‘Great Cliff?’”  Well…Before I answer that, let me continue on with some more proof of this vast flatness. Now of course, there is no documented proof of the Cliff.    But there are many other cliffs on this planet that act as beacons of the truth.  The cliffs that line the Grand Canyon, and those that mark the heights of the Bruce Penninsula are just two examples.  And then there are the great Waterfalls.  Niagara, for example.  Many vessels have fallen over the edge of this great metaphor for the edge of the earth. You see folks, God teaches us like we teach our children.  He shows us the danger of these smaller cliffs so that we will never fall off the “Great One,” just as we teach our children not to play with fire by allowing us to burn our fingers on a relatively harmless match.

Our world is a metaphor of proofs of the flat earth. I mean, c’mon! Everything important in our daily lives is flat!  Our counters, our tables, our chairs, the bottoms of our containers, the surfaces of the very keys that I type this rant on are…FLAT!  Why?  Because the thoughts that create these inventions are tuned to reflect the shape of our planet.  Flatness.  And while there are many “circular objects” in our lives, all the important ones are, like the earth, circular but flat!  Plates, for example:  Round and flat.  Wheels: Round and flat.  Most of the world’s hard currency? Round and flat.

And here’s a great metaphor for the rejection of the spherical earth theory.  The Ball.  Whether it be a baseball, a soccerball, or a basketball, think about the ball.  What do we do with a ball?  We throw it away.  Just as we should throw away the silly idea that the earth is a sphere!

Well now you may ask about space exploration and the apparent proof that it provides us of the spherical nature of all heavenly bodies.

Well…first of all, lets remember that NASA, and all other space exploration agencies, are run by scientists.  These scientists were taught by all of their ancestors over the past six hundred years that the earth was a sphere.  And they, in turn, have taught all us laypersons, the same idea.  The world literally “revolves” around the silly theory that these scientists have put forth over the past six centuries--That the world is a globe. How could they now tell us that they were wrong?  Imagine if a top NASA scientist had a meeting with George W. Bush to say, “Uh…Mr. President…Ah…We’ve just discovered that the world is flat.”

Actually, I’m sure that the first scientist to make this discovery would have had to consider walking up to the Soviet Premier, back in 1957 when they launched the “Sputnick” the first artificial satellite of this planet, into what they called an “orbital” flight around the Earth. To make a long story short, scientists have had to engage in a massive conspiracy over the past half century to cover up the fact that they have been wrong for the past half of the millennium. So all those satellites up there today? They zip back and forth from one edge of the earth to the other, every few minutes.  And every few minutes, some ground controller has to check the flightpath of any given satellite to prevent it from actually taking a picture of the Great Cliff at the edge of this flat earth.

So if you really want to know where the edge of the earth is, convince a NASA employee to tell you. Just understand that if that employee actually reveals that information, he/she will be forced to kill you in the interests of national security.

Indeed, this conspiracy is so vast that scientists have had to fabricate an entirely false physical law of the universe to explain away the obvious fact that, if indeed the world is a ball, we should all be rolling down hill right now.  They call it…”Gravity.”  Ooooo…Fancy stuff. Not only do they write textbooks about this alleged gravity, scientists go so far as to call Hollywood effects teams and hire them to hang astronauts from invisible wires, give them bad hairdos, and completely insult their dignity by asking them to smile for the cameras as they carry out their mission.  All this to convince us that there IS gravity, by trying to show us what would happen if there WASN’T gravity.

People, all I ask is that you use a little common sense. Ask yourself why you aren’t rolling downhill and falling into space. Don’t just come back with the “gravity” answer. ‘Cause I don’t buy it.  You can’t hand me a pile of gravity now, can you?  What colour is gravity?  How much does it weigh?  What does “gravity” look like?  You can’t answer any of these questions.  You know why?  Because there’s no such thing as “gravity!” Why do things fall to the flat earth if there is no gravity? The answer is so staggeringly simple that you might be embarrassed for not ever having figured it out…Things fall to earth because nothing is holding them up.

Doh!

Now that you Dear Readers have learned that the Earth is flat, we need to band together and build a museum.  A “Flat Earth Museum.”  Lets build it right across the street from the “Creationist Museum.”

Lets fill this museum with flatness in order that future generations will finally know the truth!

So spread the word this week, Dear Readers.  And don’t let anyone convince you that you’ve gone insane.  They’re just jealous.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

April 6, 2007

Hey, Dear Readers, the title of my rant tonight is…”This big ‘SECRET.’”

One of you Dear Readers introduced me to “The Secret” last summer, just after my world came apart. And now, tonight, I’d like to “spread the gospel,” so to speak. “The Secret,” is a look at life, from an atomic point of view, a perspective that could also be called “The Inter-Connectedness Of All Things.” As this is a theory that I have always innately believed in, “The Secret” only served to put scientific analysis to something that was always, in my heart, a mysterious yet innate truth—that what we believe to be the truth of our life becomes just that.

If you believe, deep in your soul, that you are burdened by debt, then you are. If you think that you need to defend yourself against a threat, then you are right. If you believe that that threat will destroy you, it will.  If you know that you are rich, in wealth, in spiritual love, in the love of life, then, guess what?

You are. 

Now before I go on, I don’t consider myself to be a “new-age” kind of flake. I don’t jump on ideas like “Channelling,” or “Past-Life-Regresssion” or “Scientology” or whatever belief system comes my way. My one weakness in this regard is Astrology.  Because, like “The Secret,” Astrology is based on a scientific principle—gravity. Gravity, like “The Butterfly Effect,” is based on the idea of the interconnectedness of all things.  The idea that a heavenly body millions or trillions of miles away has a gravitational effect on your life when you are born is a bizarre theory on the face of it.  And yet, when I observe those of you in my life, and relate my observations to your astrological sign, I can’t help but notice the truth of this wacky concept!

For example, while all of us humans have our idiosyncratic traits that make us individuals, all of you Virgos have a tendency to be strait-shooting, hard-working, sure-of-themselves, no-nonsnse, kind of people.  You Geminis are always exploring your thoughts and coming up with a way to prove the argument that you know you can win.  You Capricorns can always be counted on for a deep thought because you will never be distracted from your own personal knowledge of right and wrong.  All of you Pisces have an irritating way of making the rest of us explore our emotions by asking us with a penetrating look, “how do you feel?” I won’t get into us Libras. Since I, as a Libra, would rather talk about all of you and impress you with my knowledge of you, rather than discover myself. 

That is a typical statement of somebody who hasn’t learned the truth of “The Secret.”  I caught myself doing it just now, in this rant. With the statement I just made…”rather than discover myself,” I have set myself up to be lost.  That’s because I am forgetting the fact, as “The Secret” teaches, that our thoughts are our world.

So…let’s get into the science of all this flakiness about Astrology, gravity, and, most of all “The Secret.”  What is it all based on?  “Quantum Mechanics.” 

The definition of quantum mechanics below is sourced from the following website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Mechanics

“Quantum mechanics is a fundamental branch of theoretical physics with wide applications in experimental physics that replaces classical mechanics and classical electromagnetism at the atomic and subatomic levels. Quantum mechanics is a more fundamental theory than Newtonian mechanics and classical electromagnetism, in the sense that it provides accurate and precise descriptions for many phenomena that these "classical" theories simply cannot explain on the atomic and subatomic level. Along with general relativity, quantum mechanics (actually relativistic quantum mechanics, called quantum electrodynamics) is one of the pillars of modern physics.”

In other words, it’s all about the “fundamental” aspect of…EVERYTHING.

The “atom.”  The atom is the smallest “Lego” block that builds up the entire universe.  And all atoms are the same. As you might remember from your high-school lessons, an atom is a bundle of energy created by a “proton,” a few “electrons” and some space that keeps them apart, yet unified by attraction through their need to try to connect.  All of these atoms gravitate toward each other to create this universe and this star that we call “the Sun” that burns bright enough to light our sky, hot enough to keep us alive.  These very same atoms build the clouds that cause the creation of the rain that nourishes the atoms that create this planet and everything that inhabits it.  This is the power of the atom.  And because every atom is just like every other, every atom is just as powerful as the atoms that my above examples illustrate.  There is no racism among atoms because they are all the same.  Atoms that comprise a rock are the same atoms that swirl in fire, boil in water above the fire, and inhabit and therefore connect the rock to the fire to the pot to the water to the steam to the sky to the rain to the earth to the animals to us to our skin, to our bones to our organs to our thoughts…

The same atoms that create the power of the sun also create the pumping action of the atoms that get the atoms that create the atoms of our blood coursing through the veins that are created by those same atoms.  These same atoms also create the electricity in our brains that allow us to experience the atoms that make up our mental awareness. These same atoms are our thoughts.

In other words, atoms create the power of the sun, just as they create our thoughts. Ergo, our thoughts, by definition of the atom, are just as powerful and influential as the rays of the sun.

Our thoughts, our desires, our passions and our fears, are no less physical, or substantial, or weaker in influence than the rays of the sun, the current in the river, or the chair that your atoms are sitting on.  Our beliefs are as true and real as the physical world that we believe to live in. The atoms that create the sun provide us with our lives.  The atoms that create our belief in God give us the God that created these atoms. Or our belief in the devil gives us the devil that will destroy the life that we have chosen to believe will be destroyed. Or our belief in believing in nothing will cause nothing to happen.

As you read this, Dear Readers, you will decide whether or not I am full of shit.  Yes, or no?  Either way, you are right. Just as I, in my humble, yet correct opinion, can know that my words are as true as I decide that they are, as they are created from the same stuff as that which makes the world go round.

So, Dear Readers, you will have a great week, this week.  I’ve decided that for you. I hope that you decide to believe me, and enjoy it. I say “I hope” because the only thing that “The Secret” can’t rectify is the fact that “your” thoughts are just as physically powerful as mine.  So if you choose to have a bad week, even though I’ve decided that you will have a good one…well then, my water will meet your oil. And never the twain will mix…

Unless we decide that they will, since oil and water, (in “quantum” terms,) are one and the same.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

April 1, 2007

So I got out of bed this morning only to find myself standing in three inches of water.  I live in a basement apartment and was subjected to a flood because of some broken water pipe or something like that.  Luckily, my pc is loacated a few inches above that, or I’d really be fracked!

So I slush around in the water for a few minutes and think to myself, “I need coffee.”  I pour water into the coffee pot, spoon some coffee into the coffee-maker and hit the “ON” button.  Well…I’m instantly electrocuted.  So the title of my rant tonight is…Wait a minute.  I haven’t thought about it yet.

Suddenly my world is white brilliance. Just like the stories we’ve all heard about “near-death experiences,” I found myself walking down a tunnel toward this brilliant light. As I walked, I heard God’s voice. She asked questions of me in a sexy, but monotone voice…”Why haven’t you born a child?...Why did you only send “The Mirage Effect” (one of my screenplays) or “Visions of Icarus” (my only complete novel,) to only a handful of agents and publishers?…Why have you held back your heart from so many who wanted to love you?”   Why haven’t you exploited the talent that I gave you?  I didn’t know how to answer any of these questions, except to say, “I don’t know, God, but if you give me another chance, I will try to answer these questions.

And then she said, “Well that’s what you know I want to hear you say.  But if I grant you another chance to live, you must continue with your Friday Night Rants, every Friday night, so that the world will know of the spiritual journey that I have allowed you to continue living.”

Toward the brightest point of this white brilliant light I replied, “Yes God, I will continue to answer your questions, and I will report them through this earthly website, every week, so that you will know that I am working to answer the questions that you require your earthly subjects, like me, to answer to.”

With that vow, I found myself walking backwards, over snow-capped mountains, through forests of green, until I saw my chest being pounded on by a beautiful woman.  And when I awoke, it was from her lips, pressed against mine as this lovely nurse performed C.P.R on me in a hospital room after she heard a “Code Blue” in the middle of the night.

I woke up this following morning to the moist touch of her lips and her long dark hair brushing my cheeks.

I was in heaven on Earth when she asked me if there was anything that she could get for me. 

I asked her for a coffee.

A few minutes later she showed up with all her curves preesing out against her tight-fitting nurse’s uniform…and a “Tim Horton’s” coffee in her hand. Now, here in Canada, “Tim Horton’s” is the coffee god. And every spring they have what they call a “Roll-Up-The-Rim” contest in which you roll up the rim of the coffee cup to win anything from a free coffee to a million dollars…

Well…Just as I promised God to fulfill her wishes I rolled up a “$million-dollar” cup!

So I looked at this beautiful woman and said, “I’ll give you half of this if you share your heart with mine.” 

She bent down over me and whispered in my ear…”I will give myself to you if you title this rant…”

“Happy April Fool’s Day, Dear Readers.”

Sincerely pulling your leg,

Ern

March 10, 2007

Why?   That’s my title tonight, Dear Readers.  “Why?” Why do we argue about guns?  About abortion? Or about Politics?  Why is it that we need to ask why?  Why do we claim to trust in a “higher power,” or an “inner strength” or a “soul mate,” only to question our faith in God, or throw out our Tony Robbins “motivational” videos, and stab our “soul mates” to death when we have a shitty day? 

Why must we always cling to the idea of there being an “enemy” to ourselves? 

Why do we need to ask why when our lives should be so easy to see so clearly with our human brains? I mean, we all need to breathe the same air, eat food from the same earth, and then put it all back where it came from, just like all life forms.  And then we must make more of ourselves by producing children to love and nurture.

Please, Dear Readers, feel free to let me know if I “got out of the boat” with my thinking, here.  But I’m struck with the wonder of the idea that if all of us cried out with the hunger of a wolf, “I want…”

March 03, 2007

I got to sleep in this morning, due to the great lion of winter invading the month of March.  I eventually awoke to a phone call from the calm and casual voice of a police detective who wanted to speak to me regarding a murder that occurred in my town.  He asked me some banal questions over the phone—My date of birth, address, next of kin, etc… He and I arranged for me to come down to the station for an interview.  I put on a pot of coffee, splashed my face and planned my day.  Just like any other day.  So…I guess the title of my rant tonight is…What happens when your day’s events include work, eat, sleep, and a murder interrogation? (Sorry. Replace “interrogation” with “interview.”)  

Before I go on…No, Dear Readers, I didn’t kill anybody.  I just want to get that out of the way so that you can read the rest of my rant without the distraction of speculation while you fondly remember the “Rock-Star” lyrics that you will find below… 

I guess what I really want to explore tonight is the danger of letting the banal surface of our existence take over our spiritual lives.  I mean, I think its safe to say that we all have a desire to live our lives like a Hollywood movie, or a great novel.  We wish to feel as though the life that we live today, no matter how mundane and boring it might be, is all for the greater good of the breathtaking morning to come.  

However, as John Lennon sang, “life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” 

This is how I’ve found myself looking back on this Friday, March 2nd. 

You’d think that the experience of being put in an “interview room” to be asked questions about a homicide would be a challenging, perhaps life-altering experience.  On TV it is always that way for mere mortals like us.  It’s only the hardened criminals that fluff such experiences off.  On “Law & Order,” they sit back in their chairs and act all tough, like it’s nothing.  But the regular folk who never had a criminal bone in their being, like us, always face the mortality of their souls under the brow-beating of good cop-bad cop tactics.  They get nervous and always get caught in some lie that might make us wonder if “they did it” just because some incisively brilliant cop plumbed the darkest secrets of their heart, and made them so nervous by doing so that they had to admit some deep dark secret that could destroy their lives because it meant clearing them of the murder. (“Alright!  So we were having an affair!  But I didn’t kill anybody!”---For example.)

And yet, my experience today was neither dramatic, nor (on the banal surface) was it a life-altering episode.  Maybe because I already knew that “they” knew that I was innocent, and that the person that they would question me about was also innocent of the crime, my first concern of the day was finding a place to park where I wouldn’t get a ticket.  I worried about getting a “soaker” from all the puddles and slush on the street.  Then, when I made it into the station house, the person at the desk didn’t seem to know the name of the detective that I was scheduled to see.  Was I at the wrong station? I thought about the hassle of getting this over with in time to get a workout at the gym before going to work tonight.  Not about the importance of this event.  Not about the fact that something about this day might have some bearing on justice being brought to the killer of a good and worthy person.

When it was all sorted out, the detective rushed out from somewhere in the back as if he’d just come out of the bathroom when he’d heard his name being paged for a “clean-up in aisle three.”  Unlike all the TV shows cops, he was no more charismatic than your dentist, no more attractive than your accountant.  He was, just like the police station itself, about as dramatic and fascinating as your average doctor’s office.  And, as for the police station, there was none of the dramatic lighting that seduces us into the wonderment of humanity’s darkest depths.  No closed doors behind which some captain is having a heart-to-heart with some overzealous beat-cop on a mission.  No “bad-boys” in handcuffs being brought in in full view of stunned civilians.  There was just a long L-shaped counter under sterile fluorescent light, behind which a few officers sat around like bank tellers on a coffee break.

The detective asked me to “meet him around the side over there.”   I entered through a plain door marked “interview room,” into a bland white space with a table, two chairs, and a plain old window.  (Not one of those one-way mirrored glass panes where the suspect knows that people are standing in privacy on the other side, watching for his slip-up and debating whether or not to “book’im.”)  In the TV shows, the detective always looks perceptive.  He cocks his head to the right (which shows a genuine interest in you—as opposed to the left, which is a display of boredom, [Body Language 101]) and disarms his subject with a gracious “Thanks for coming down.  I’d just like to ask you a few questions…”   

But not in my case.  My detective fumbled with a little gadget as he informed me that he was recording this interview by sound and video, via the little recorder that he was holding. He pressed what I assume to be a “rewind,” button, stopped the rewind at some point and began to play a portion of some previous recording.  I heard a passionate female voice wailing and screaming for a few seconds before he fast-forwarded to a blank space to begin recording our session.  Then he fumbled through his notes.  He didn’t fumble like “Columbo” always did, as if to make you think that he was a bumbling idiot that you could easily get the better of.  No, he really did fumble.  And as he began his recording by stating the time and date of the interview with “Ernest Kosanyi,” I had to correct him on the date, to which he replied, “I stand corrected…March 2nd, 2007.”

(Of course, who am I to say?  Maybe he really is a modern day Columbo!  More likely though, he’s just, as Joe Walsh once sang, “An ordinary, average guy,” who just happens to do an extra-ordinary job.)

At this point I have to say, Dear Readers, that I can’t get into details, lest I interfere with the investigation.  All I can say is that I was asked a number of pointed, well thought-out questions by this detective over the next half hour.  However, for the purpose of this essay I will admit to two of the queries.  1st, “what is your relationship with (so-and-so.)” To this I had to come up with a dull, banal statement that encapsulated a very intense year and a half of my life, because his focused words forced me to reply with blunt, sad facts that made me see my life in clear, antiseptic terms.

And 2nd, “Is there anything else you can think of?” (Pertaining to any question that he didn’t think of to obtain some fact that I might know of that he could use to close the case.)  Suddenly I found myself really nervous as I wracked my brain to think of any little factual tidbit to ensure that my detective had every bit of information to clear my Dear Friend of any suspicion.  That’s when his brilliance shined through the sterile, antiseptic, totally un-ambienced setting of that slushy March day.  He saw through my false reply…“Ah…No…Not that I can think of…Ah…aside from the fact that I never imagined myself being interviewed about a murder.”  He witnessed my gruelling self-examination and coaxed me by asking me, “Well…What about this?…” 

Somehow this detective knew how to coax me along just gently enough to make me think of something else to say.

And then he shook my hand and I left the station, went to the gym and completed the second third of my day.  Then I went to work to finish my day.  Just like it was any other day…you know what I mean, Dear Readers?  You line up the events of your day and organize them in your mind…”Wake up, put some coffee on.  Catch the news.  Shower and dress.  Brush your teeth.  Go to 17 Division to be interviewed about a murder and display your life to a total stranger. Go to the gym.  Go to work.  Come home.  Have a drink.  Post a rant.  Go to sleep.”

Even your most bizarre, dramatic day can appear to be routine if you look at it as though you are “busy making other plans.”  So, Dear Readers, I guess what I’m suggesting here, tonight, is that maybe we should look back on this day that we just lived and ask ourselves how much of it we missed because its sterile, bland façade, caused us to dismiss its intense meaning while we dreamt of tomorrow.

So here’s to hoping that we appreciate the importance and the potential of this day in our lives, Dear Readers. 

As Neil Young once sang…”Toooo-night’s the night…Da-da-Da-da-Da…”

Sincerely,

Ern

February 24, 2007

It is winter in the city.  Life is all slushy, messy, wet, and bitterly cold. Aside from the week-or-two tease of summer that some of you lucky Dear Readers may get when you jet off to some tropical resort (where you will still worry about your tax return or some other hindrance of your life back home until you’ve downed your 4th umbrella-topped drink,) many of us will be afflicted with SAD... 

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, also known as winter depression is an affective, or mood, disorder. Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer. SAD is rare, if existent at all, in the tropics, but is measurably present at latitudes north of 30°N, or south of 30°S.

 

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder )

So the subject of my rant tonight is truly SAD, Dear Readers.  Sorry. You wake in the morning to an icy, blinding sun that burns your retinas from all the reflections off the white snow, or to the dim, shiftless cloud that diffuses itself throughout the brown slush and the cacophany of honking car horns and the nauseating “grrrr’s” of deisel-engined buses struggling to pull away from stoplights.  You’re in a rush to get to work, without any good reason to find yourself in a rush.  The glory days of your life are gone and the future promise of spring feels like a cruel joke cracked by some long-forgotten dream.

What a picture of hopelessness this winter of SAD paints upon our lives, especially when, as now, “Mercury is in retrograde.”  Astrologically, that means that all our plans are in dissaray and communication is at a standstill.  For myself, personally, this past week I have experienced the emotional agony of a dear friend’s life, the chronic physical agony of another’s, and the despair of feeling helpless to help either, because of my own afliction of SAD.

I’m tempted to end this rant here, just to rub in my point---that sometimes it seems that all there is is the hopeless, dark winter of depression. 

Except for one irritating problem…Damn! I hate to find a silver lining just when everything could be so comfortably gloomy…The problem is, when we face the utter despair of the permanent gloom and doom of our lives…

Well then up crops this irritating little fruit of inspiration. Its this little muse (muse—mysterious source of artistic inspiration) that inspires you to feel like you did when you were an innocent child, when you thought winter was a “wonderland” because snow was slippery and could make you speed across it on skates or skis or toboggans.  And the stars above your exhilarating journey were so inspiringly bright because you were out in the forest and the blinding sun had set just an hour after you got home from school and all the problems of your day had no consequences in terms of ruining the rest of your life because they were all swallowed up by the crisp night air.

Now, as SAD adults, we can race across what once seemed to be a minefield of danger, because no mine can blow us apart any more than we’ve already been blown away.  Know what I mean?  You can be late for work and be secure in the fact that you can say, with total freedom, “Go ahead and fire me.  I had no desire to work here anyway.”  And then you can go back to pursuing the dream you had of being an astronaut back when you skated across the thin ice of life.

You can accept the fact that you don’t care how long you sit in rush-hour traffic, because it doesn’t matter any longer how long it will take you to “get there,” since “There” is no longer a place that you care about getting to.  So now, thanks to SAD, you have another hour to sit in commuter traffic and dream about where you really want to go!

You can eat peanut butter and not worry about the “anaphylactic shock,” that will probably result in your death due to an allergic reaction. Your reward will be one of the greatest treats of life’s pallette, even if you die a second after that.  Because you know that an honest death can’t be any worse than a false life is right now. 

You can put your gear in “park” in the middle of the rush hour and appreciate the beauty of all the different shapes that peoples mouths form as they scream at you to “Move your fracking car,” or “Get a fracking life!”

You can say “I love you” you to someone whose rejection can destroy you, because you can no longer be destroyed any more than already have been.  Or you can say “I don’t love you” to somone who may be killed by your honesty, because you know that their death will also be their renewal to a new, honest life.  One where, inevitably, they will hear those words, “I love you” spoken back to them.  Either way, you can take the time to be as gentle and loving as you can be, to be honest with yourself, as well as the fellow commuters on life’s freeway.  You have all the time in the world to do whatever you always wanted to do because you don’t give a frack about fear.

And at the end of this dark SAD tunnel, we see things in a new light. We feel invincible because we’ve survived our destruction. 

Because, as God, (Bruce Springsteen) once wrote, “…everything that dies, someday comes back.”

So have a good week, Dear Readers.  Thanks for putting up with this darkly self-centred rant.  For those of you who are all happy and fuzzy with contentment, I pray that you open your fracking eyes!  And for those of you who think you could write an even darker, more depressing rant than this…get a fracking life!

That’s a really harsh thing to say, particularly since I have no right to say it. Sadly though, the truth, in my humble, yet correct opinion, is that no matter how SAD we might be, I just can’t help but know that somewhere, deep down in every living soul on earth, there is a spark of inspiration that holds the power to transform an icy February in the prairies into a sultry, dew-soaked morning, where life is fresh and anything is possible.

Sincerely,

Ern

February 17, 2007

Hey, Dear Readers, tonight I present a guest rant for you, written by one of you, for all of us.  It refers to this site as the “FNR.”  So now my site has an “acronym.”  And I like it! My Friday Night Rant is now the “FNR.”  That reminds me of how that hip TV-show, Saturday Night Live has become universally known as “SNL.”

I’m getting delusions of grandeur over this, fantasizing about how my lowly “blog” could one day be as famous as that TV show.  I picture conversations around the office water-coolers around the world…”Hey Bob, did you catch Ern’s FNR last night?”  Hell, maybe my site will even become referred to as “Ern’s F-Ner!” 

Kinda’ sounds like “Hugh Heffner.”  Y’know what I mean?

Anyway…Without further ado, here it is…Tonight’s Guest “FNR…”

“Having missed Ern’s FNR for the last three episodes, I will now comment on all three subjects rolled into one.

 

An abiding principle behind the Nuremberg trials was the concept of unprovoked aggression. International law states that common rules of self-defense apply to nations just as clearly as to individuals. Countries that attack without being themselves directly under attack are branded illegal aggressors.

 

Statesmen have been executed based on this law. I’m sure Slobodan Milosevic, had he been found guilty and lived long enough, would be a case in point.

 

After we were done hanging the “culprits” of WWII and formulating the international law body, The United Nations, the world settled into another kind of war.

 

Cold war was, for the most part, a war of words and saber rattling. The sabers had gotten too big to do anything grander than rattle without killing everyone.

 

This didn’t stop unprovoked attacks. Through Korea, Suez, Viet Nam and other acts of barefaced aggression, it seemed we had learned nothing and could always find an excuse.

 

In 1967 Israel attacked six Arab nations without any formal declaration, just as Japan had attacked the United States decades earlier. Of course world opinion has a lot to do with her decision to become an aggressor. If a nation is generally perceived to be an underdog it helps to mitigate the crime. Egypt did the same thing to Israel in 1973, but because Egypt lost again it was generally regarded as tit-for-tat.

 

On and on it went. Nicaragua, Falklands, Granada, More African killings than could be counted.

 

The upholders of international law are, on paper at least, the General Assembly of the United Nations. The enforcers behind the United Nations are the prevailing superpowers. Currently we only have one, so it falls to the United States to meter out the bulk of justice on behalf of mankind.

 

All the above has one thing in common: politics. Politicians are only at risk if they lose an aggressive act and incur the wrath of the United States. The rest of us are at risk all the time. So, assuming this to be true, the only statesmen not at death risk are the superpower leaders and their staunchest allies. No one censures the enforcers.

 

In the 1980s Saddam Hussein was a good guy—at least in the eyes of Western superpowers. The US Congress perceived the conflict between Iraq and Iran as a positive action and, despite Iran-Contra, secretly backed both sides through the CIA in an effort to keep the Mid East destabilization process humming along.

 

When Saddam became too big for his boots and attacked Kuwait, something needed to be done. Operation Desert Storm was the result. Kuwait represented a consummate act of unprovoked aggression by Saddam and punishable under international law.

 

Instead of dragging Saddam into court, it was deemed that destroying his military machine and a bunch of ignorant troops, with new hi-tech weaponry that needed testing anyway, punishment enough—leaving him free to turn his lethal attention to the Kurds inside his own country.

 

September 11th 2001 changed everything. A corrupt, ailing US administration was given the kiss of life. Now the enforcers had been attacked it seemed anything was possible. The big excuse could be used anywhere in the world and Saddam was squarely in the US gunsight.

 

The new action against Iraq proved one thing: international laws are open to interpretation only by those with enough clout. Attacking any sovereign nation under the sanction of the United Nations seems to be okay, even if that nation has not directly attacked you. So much for the laws of self-defense as applied to nations.

 

It all translates into basics. Power is the only rule of law when it comes to humans. As a species we have displayed this from the earliest beginnings of so-called civilization. Winning is everything and justice is merely a point of view. When Saddam took his last fall was he thinking: if only those WMD had been real?

 

I will now attempt to dovetail all of this into the concept of love.

 

We have to turn our attention to religion, national pride and patriotism; for this is where we find love on a grander scale. Duty is a concept born out of love—love of country and the defense of hearth and home. When we are unjustly attacked this kind of love swells into national pride and a willingness to die for our neighbors.

 

The key word here is “unjustly”. On 9-11 virtually all Americans felt this way. Secret intelligence and world history might have persuaded them otherwise, but on the surface it was pretty cut and dried. Nasty foreigners had attacked and now Americans needed to bond as a nation. Patriotism swelled. Leaders were loved once more as they made rousing speeches and condemned the enemy.

 

Love is one more tool in the arsenal of politics. Used skillfully it can be the most powerful tool. Where would organized religion have been without the excuse of love, as it rooted out and castigated idolatry in the name of God? Politics paid attention and soon took up the cause. Straightforward brutal behavior became unfashionable. It now had to be packaged and sold as love.

 

The average primate having sex is, for the most part, a sweaty, grungy, fairly ugly business. Don’t be confused—this is not love. Going to war under the banner of truth, justice and the (insert nation of choice) way, is. Glory in victory. Praise the Lord.

 

Humans are the only primates that kill for reasons other than defense and sustenance. We are complicated creatures, so the word love is also complicated. At times it seems to mean the opposite of what we intended—cruel to be kind and so on. A love triangle can result in murder. A one night stand, a baby.

 

Love as a pure emotion is tied directly to other feelings. Self image, insecurity, pride, lust, envy, persecution, delirium, despair. Love and protection of our offspring is programmed into our DNA. It is seldom contentment, even though this is its main billing.

 

For the most part politicians want you to love them. It’s a one-sided arrangement at best. It has nothing to do with the physical attraction between strangers of opposite or same gender when they engage at close quarters. Political love is an arms-length deal where big arms enfold an entire nation. Loving on a grand scale. Hippies in the sixties tried making it a lifestyle, but found themselves fiscally disadvantaged to those with an education and sold out to the lure of corporate success or lapsed into obscurity. Burning draft cards became politically incorrect in the post 9-11 era.

 

Love often has a hidden agenda, so when you find it in its purest form know it is rare. Like Coke, the real thing tastes great, but too much of it can kill you.

 

My favorite line from Apocalypse Now: “Accusing someone of murder out here is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.

 

 

 

Have a “GFW” (Great Fracking Week,) Dear Readers, (DR’s,) and remember that any and all of you are more than welcome to submit your own “G-FNeR” (Guest-Friday Night Rant.) Just so long as your words don’t promote hatred toward any particular Race, Creed, Religion, or Sexual preference. (“R-CASS.”)

I will post it, unedited, and Without Personal Critique (WPC) on this site, ASAP.

 

Sincerely,

 

“EJK” --- (E-JeKt!)

February 10, 2007

It’s Valentine’s Day this coming Wednesday.   So the title of my rant tonight is…Hmmm…Why I, as a single, divorced, “forty-ish” guy, still appreciate this day. even though I will give no flowers this year.

Adult Human Love is as romantic as a bowel movement. It happens because it has to happen, in order to procreate the human race, just as a shit has to happen to relieve the body of waste.  (Hmm…How would that go over on a Valentine’s card?)

But the shit that a man must relieve in order to procreate is very complicated.  Unlike an animal that has an actual “bone” in his penis that allows him to get a “boner,” a human male must rely only on “blood flow” in order to achieve an erection.  And that pumping blood can only be inspired by thought.  So, a human male must be “mentally inspired” by a human female in order to be able to “rise” to the occasion that allows the creation of another human being.

Now, being a human male, I know that I can be “inspired” to rise to the occasion based on animal instinct.  A simple mathematical equation of female curvature, designed by God to be mathematically enticing to the eyes of the strong but ugly male, can make my head turn in mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-breath, and make me think, “I’d do that!”

However, I am influenced by thought, even at the most primal level, when it comes to sex.  No matter how “mathematically perfect” a female may be, in terms of her physical body, I must always entertain some kind of fantasy scenario to really get the blood flowing. For example, the other day I gazed at a “sunshine girl.”  Pound-for-pound, inch-by-inch, she may have been far less appealing to me than the girl from the day before if it wasn’t for the clothing, the pose, the dispassionate look in her bespectacled librarian eyes—the fantasy that her picture made me imagine--when the photographer snapped the shot.

But that’s the difference between “sex” and “love.”  In the animal world, all that is required is lust. In the “Human” world, that same instinct will create another human being.  But the human baby that is created only by that “instinct” will always struggle through life to be “human” because, as a human, he/she needs to think.  However, since that human wasn’t created from the beauty of thought, he/she will always be encumbered by the struggle of fighting to be more than an animal.

And that’s the beauty of Valentine’s Day.  Animals don’t have it.  They don’t need it. Animals just need to frack, to create more animals to frack.  But people need to create thinkers, in order to perpetuate wonder, curiosity, ambition, spirituality.

When a man embraces and celebrates this day by giving in to all the corporate cheesiness to make his woman happy, he is saying “I celebrate this day because something about you makes me want to create a person who makes me feel as human, as passionate, as driven to explore life, as you do.  I know by the understanding between us that, while I walk through a dark forest of mystery, I can have faith in the fact that a woman beyond my dreams truly wants to hold on to me, share my dreams and yours, trusting that you will always hold my hand, because you know that I will never let go of yours.”

So have an honest, romantic week, Dear Readers.

With all my love,

Ern

January 27, 2007

The title of my rant tonight is “Why my rants are shorter and more infrequent.”

A great writer once wrote a story called  “The Heart of Darkness.”  A great film director turned that story into a great movie entitled “Apocalypse Now.”

Sincerely,

Ern

January 13, 2007!

Happy New Year, Dear Readers.  I know it’s a little stale already, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to write a new year’s rant for so long now.  Until finally I decided tonight to just ramble on after the title…Rambling and Ranting Over ’06. 

Lets start with…Oh…Iraq.  What did O6 accomplish for the war in Iraq? Hmmm.  Well first of all, it continued to be a war, long after it wasn’t supposed to be one. In fact it became more of a war last year than it was before G. Dubbya’ proudly stood on the deck of that aircraft carrier under the slogan…what was it again?  “Mission Accomplished,” or something like that?  What else?  Oh yeah.  Saddam Hussein was finally laid to rest.  But even that has strangely become an odd little footnote in this savage war that was supposed to be all about him in the first place.  Take out Saddam and you take out the threat of “WMD.” (Remember how that was such a “buzzword” when the war began?  Funny how that household military term was replaced with “IED” over the years.) Take him out and you take out the safe haven for the Al Qaeda that he was supposed be allied with.  Take him out and you end the ruthless slaughter of so many innocent civilians.  In the end, the controversy inspired by the illegal phone camera recordings over the actual execution, with the suggestion that Shi’ites were openly taking revenge on the Sunnis, (Spelling?) only served to paint a picture of the mess that Iraq has become since he was taken down.  I don’t profess to be an expert on this subject, but I think it’s safe to say that as many or more people are dieing violent deaths in Iraq today than when this pathetic dictator ruled the country. 

“WMD” and the idea that Saddam was a threat to the world had turned out to be a fallacy before ’06.  Links to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda also fell away before last year. But ’06 brought the tally of American lives lost in that conflict to about 3,000.  The same number of those lost on 9/11. Not to mention all the additional lives lost by member nations of the “coalition of the willing.” My point is, is that George W. Bush spent as many of his citizen’s lives up to last year, fighting the wrong enemy, as those who died in the original attack against his country on 9/11.  And the last bastion to fortify his defence for waging this war—the fact that Saddam was a murderous dictator, who slaughtered his citizens and ruled them with an iron fist of oppression, has also fallen away.  Because slaughters happen all the time today in that country, even with Saddam dead and buried.  And the iron fist of oppression has been replaced by chaos and outright civil war.  Woo-hoo! What a trade-off!

At least good Ole ’06, can be credited for one thing.  It will open our eyes to a new way of thinking for ’07.  For example, I am open to the idea of Bush’s “new” plan of pouring a shit-load of new troops into Iraq.

Me…agreeing with George W. Bush.  You see?  Now that’s a totally new concept for this New Year!  (Hell, I might just go and join the NRA!) Seriously, though,  If I were the Prez, I might just say to the world,

“I fracked up when I engaged in this war.  I know that as your Commander-In-Chief, I’m never supposed to show weakness by admitting to my mistakes, for that only serves to lower the morale of those under my command.  However, since most of the world’s population is not under my command, my troops will have to answer to a higher power to boost their morale while I fix this problem.  Those brave men and women of our armed forces will need to find a way to understand that every individual action that they have taken was noble and honourable, as that is the heritage of our people.  Every soldier should understand that he/she is helping to bring the world together by wielding force against those who attack the defenceless.

“However, the problem is that we don’t have enough force on the ground in Iraq today to fix the big fracking frack-up that I created.  So the only thing I can do now is to pour so much firepower into that nation that I “liberated” so that nobody can initiate a violent act against anybody else lest they find the muzzle of a gun against their head because they twitched.  In the meantime, I will create new laws insuring all humanitarian aid organizations free and safe passage throughout this country.  And any recognized aid-agency individual who is injured or killed in Iraq has a life-insurance policy, paid for by the U.S. Government,  (The citizens who elected me.)

 “And it will stay that way until somebody wiser than myself can help all of us get out of this mess that I created, because I made a mistake in judgement.”

Of course that’s not the answer either.  Because how can I expect those citizens who have lost their loved ones, and those warriors who lost their friends, to find any peace when the guy-in-charge who put those courageous souls in harm’s way, who caused their deaths, can do nothing more than say…”Well they died because I made a mistake?”

So all I can go on is history.  Vietnam was lost because America never committed enough forces to win it, probably because too many Americans correctly thought that it shouldn’t have been fought for in the first place. Ergo, maybe America should forget about whether it was a good idea to “liberate/invade” Iraq, and just get on with the business of winning the war.  And to those who say that sending in more troops is the equivalent of using soldiers as “cannon fodder” for terrorists to shoot at?  Well…at least soldiers with guns have a chance to defend themselves, unlike people riding to work on a bus in Chicago who have no idea that a suicide bomber is about to push the button.  Maybe that soldier wouldn’t be on that bus if he was too busy sniping at American soldiers “over there.”  So if one soldier dies because another soldier shot him, instead of flying to America to in order to get on a bus kill scores of civilians?  Well, then the first soldier won the battle, even though he/she gave “the ultimate sacrifice.”

Maybe the eyes of the world community will someday be able to see the eyes of a soldier who can see the eyes of a mother or a child when he declares an oath to them, “I am here to protect you.” And no political agenda will ever force that warrior to renege on his/her word.

However, in my humble, yet correct opinion, what the frack do I know?  If I review my own life over this past year, I can honestly say that I can’t recognize the man who began this space over a year ago.  I could look at the “glass half empty” and face the fact that I failed at all the resolutions I proudly posted last year, with the possible exception of one, which is still in question.  I could tell you Dear Readers that that is the reason that I haven’t posted (or even made) resolutions this year. 

Or I can look at the “glass half full” and remember what a roller coaster of experiences 2006 brought my way because of the resolutions I attempted to achieve.

In ‘05, my soul was dead. ’06 Gave me dreams and goals to live and fight for. And those goals caused me to experience joys that I never could have imagined and agonies that I never thought I could survive.  Now I sit here writing this, and I realize that my soul is still here, even stronger and more confident than it was this time last year, even though nothing that I so desperately wanted in ‘06 came true. I guess this opened my eyes to the old cliché that “it’s the journey, not the destination.”

So I guess I will make one resolution this year…Bring it on, baby! “’Cause,” as God sings, “Honey, I’m tougher than the rest.”

Take care, Dear Readers. May this year bring you inspiration to make a dream come true again.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

December 23, 2006

The road.  It’s a beautiful thing, especially at night.   It supports our journey with a clearly defined pathway through the darkness with an assurance that our ancestors could only dream of.  Where once a traveller had only a compass and faith to guide him through the forest, we now need neither. The pathway is there already, our direction chosen for us.  Hell, we can even glance behind at the past that we are leaving behind.  Our journey is that comfortable.

And the automobile, wonder of wonders, may be the greatest of all things, next to the airplane, in terms of transport.  Whether it is a twenty grand Ford or a two hundred large Ferrari, they all give so much to us simple creatures.  Indeed, they are much like us.  Feed it some fuel, and its heart will rev without a thought or a thank you, up to seven thousand revolutions per minute or more.  Such an achievement by a machine may seem archaic compared to the complexity of the device that I am using to write this.  But then, how often to we think about such things as simple as the automobile and the path on which we steer it?

A needle on our instrument panel points up to “6” as we shift gears.  We glance at the moonlight brushing an ivory wave across a cornfield.  And, though we might let a sliver of God’s art touch our souls for a second between thoughts of “when will I get there?” or “Is there a hole in my sock?  Will my tow be sticking out when I take my shoes off?”  We never think about this simple chariot that whisks us through the night.  Oh sure, we do when we purchase it.  Or when we pimp it.  Or when we proudly parade it (or slink it away with shame) under the watchful gaze of a sex machine.

Most of the time, we just hold the wheel with one hand, press a pedal with one foot, (and not even that if we are using our “cruise,”) and drive. We don’t think about facts like how hot or cold it is outside even if we have a vehicle equipped with an outside temperature gauge.  Or that our ass is as comfortable as it is in our living room chair as it moves at seventy miles an hour.  Think about that. While we sit in a chair, we traverse seventy mileS across this rock that we call “earth” in one hour. Do we ever think about how long our ancestors would have taken to WALK that distance?  I do.  Because I did it last fall.  With a good road to walk along, without obstructions, it takes THREE DAYS. Without a road?  If our feet sink four inches into snow or mud while our hands push tree branches aside while our eyes look up to the sky for direction and our souls look to God for the faith to continue the laborious journey…that seventy miles could take MONTHS!

But we do it every day, while sitting in the lap of luxury.  We travel to work or to wherever, without feeling the sun beating down or the icy wind whipping at us.  We listen to people on the radio complaining about taxes or other idiots like us who don’t behave properly as we embark on this daily journey.  And we complain about this daily odyssey when it takes three hours to move seventy miles, or two hours to move fifty.  Not because we are going to freeze to death, or die of starvation if we don’t get there by then.  But because we have to pee.  Our coffee is getting cold.  Our boss is going to be pissed.  Most often though, we complain because our minds are just too lazy to allow us to love our lives while we sit by ourselves in these wondrous automobiles with nothing to do but hold the wheel and sit there.

That’s what I was doing this yesterday morning at five-thirty a.m.

Oh yeah, before I forget…the title of my rant tonight is, “Why we need to appreciate the mechanics of our life.”

Anyway, like I said, that’s what I was doing almost twenty-four hours ago.  Driving along highway #89. I was warm and cozy, listening to music.  All of the luxury in my life allowed me the time to worry about things.  Personal issues.  Meanwhile, in the heart of my car, metal pistons were leisurely rising up and down in their cylinders two thousand times a minute.  Think about that for a minute.  TWO THOUSAND TIMES PER MINUTE.  Try counting to two thousand in one minute. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.  It probably took me more than a minute to write that sequence of numbers.  Now in an automobile engine, a spark fires a small explosion in a metal cylinder, blasting a piston down, while another piston is blasted up in another cylinder and so on down a bank of four, six, or eight, or even up to twelve cylinders.  This is all down in perfectly timed, split-second unison, all in order to spin a crankshaft, at least two thousand times in less than the time it took you to read this sentence.  All that, just to roll you down the road so that you can complain to yourself about how you’re not getting where you need to go, fast enough.

Would I get to my dear old Dad’s before the sun rose?  What should I listen to next?  How could I have forgotten to take the price tag off that gift?  These are just a few of the thoughts that rolled around in my perfectly comfortable mind as I drove up north in the wee hours of the night yesterday.  Until the great machinery that I have taken for granted for almost two hundred thousand kilometres all of a sudden transformed from a purring, benign lamb of comfort, into a screeching monster.

In the middle of a country nowhere, hundreds of kilometres from home, swathed in the human arrogance that is afforded by mechanical comfort…of a car…lulled like a baby suckling…BLAM!…SCREECH…KLUNKBERPLIOIN ILHGHUILN..AHHHH.SCRRREEEEEEKKKKK!  Horrible noises come from the front right side.  And with them, vibrations hit me through the foot that rests on the pedal that connects me to my stricken beast.  The wheel in my hands quivers in pain.  My own engine pounds in and out, probably 120 times a minute, pumping that much more blood to my brain just in order to snap me into the realization that I have to deal with this situation.

But my engine is still humming. My car is still moving along at one hundred kph. (62 mph for you Dear “Yankee” or “English” Readers.) So what do I do? I slow down to the speed limit of 80 kph, as if doing that will make the problem go away.  Of course, just then, from out of nowhere, another speedy traveller comes up riding my ass. Because the Dear Road’s centre-line is a solid yellow, this driver won’t pass me. All he/she can do is express his/her frustration by tailing a few feet behind me with alL his/her lights in my mirrors, blinding me, while my car screams…AHHHHHH.SREEECHJ…GFFHJO….FJIOASGRIOJ…GJJ…

Finally I pull over to the shoulder of the road, catch my breath and wonder, “what do I do now.?”  After a moment I begin to recall the warning signs that I should have taken seriously days ago…A strange bulge in my front right tire sidewall.  Maybe the steel belts in my tire were shifting like tectonic plates before an earthquake!  Maybe my tire was about to explode!  As dramatic as that scenario might be, the solution could be very simple and inexpensive.  So I drove a few more miles until I found a flat parking lot at a convenience store in some hamlet.   There I changed my tire, took off my stock wheel and replaced it with my spare “donut,” all the while remembering how Bill Cosby’s son was murdered on the side of the road while performing the same action. (I kept on looking over my shoulder while I spun the lug-nuts at five-thirty in the morning in the middle of nowhere.)

Get back on the road, drive a mile or so, congratulating myself for fixing the problem, thanking my lucky stars that all I need to do is to spend 80 bucks or so for a new tire, keep my speed down while I ride on my “donut” and then BLAMMMMM!!!...B!!!XDASSHJGFUIO…SCREEEEEECH…BLUEYYYYYYY HHSDFH…

Again I pull over to the side of the road and wonder what to do.  Obviously the problem wasn’t my tire. This led me to wonder if something was wrong with my transmission...Gears grinding away into slivers of tortured steel!  What do I do?  I’m over a hundred miles from home but nearly the same distance away from my Dad’s hometown where I might be stranded for weeks while parts get shipped from Japan.  Will I even make another ten miles before my car explodes?  Finally I decide to turn around and try to make it back home. I call Dad with my cell phone to let him know that I won’t be making it up there for Christmas and limp back home at or under the speed limit, remembering how my brake light has been going on and off for the past few weeks.  And I think to myself…Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe my front right brake is seizing up to the point where metal is grinding metal, forcing the wheel to turn under this pressure, which has in turn caused the metal fatigue in the steel belts in the tire to cause the bulge.

I made it home, slowly, with my hazard lights on and other travellers honking their horns to express their frustration at having their journey blocked for a few milliseconds as they passed me. After more than 5 hours of driving, starting at 3 am, I wound up back where I started, in my garage, at 8:30 yesterday morning. 

From all this, I realize that I am my Father’s son.  He drove a pick-up for five years and 220,000 km without ever doing anything for his vehicle but oil changes.  No brake jobs, no “tune-ups” or radiator flushes or anything in the way of “scheduled maintenance.” When he finally took it to a shop to check it out before selling it, his mechanic took one look at the original, burned-up spark plugs and asked, “how is this thing still running?!”

I’m not quite that bad.  I did change my spark plugs once, (myself, since, as each of the four plugs cost $25, I wasn’t going to pay labour on top of that $100!) And I did have the front brake pads replaced once, 100,000 km ago. Replaced the air filter a few times. And that’s about it. After 200k.

But maybe I should appreciate “regular maintenance” as I sit here, alone, this Christmas, waiting to find out exactly why my car is going kijlkjklhjkghyu…screeeeeeechh…  Maybe I should appreciate the fantastic job that my heart has done, beating consistently, without ever taking even a two second vacation, for over forty-two years.  Maybe we should all do an overdo scheduled check-up on the organs that feed the fuel to our souls over the next few days, so that our gears are well-oiled.

So that we may appreciate everything that is healthy in our lives in order that we can clearly see what needs to be fixed.

And have a very Merry Christmas, Dear Readers.  I thank you for reading all this crap over all this time. In fact, I’m almost happy that my car broke down so that I could come back to write this!

Ern

 

December 16, 2006

Hey Dear Readers.  My recent theme of “religion,” along with last week’s “Guest rant,” has inspired some of you to reply with such gusto that I have asked permission from two of you to use your replies as “Guest rants” this week.

Mind you, not all of you agree with me.  And of course you are perfectly entitled to your wrong opinions.  Indeed, I welcome your comments as much as I love to hear from those of you who are correct.  In fact, sometimes your incorrect opinions are more interesting to read because they force me to realize that I actually enjoy working that brain muscle.  You guys make me question myself…Make me wonder…Force me to analyze why I am right and you are wrong.  I could go further with this, but then we’d be getting into the territory of ego.  And, like most of us who proclaim to know the absolute truth,  (And so many more of us who pretend that we don’t, even though we secretly know that we know the truth,) I’m not prepared to go there. 

(That last group of bolded words might be the most humble phrase that I will ever write in this space.)

I mention all of this only because the two rants below reflect what I perceive as “correct opinions.”  But that is not why I asked those authors if I might post them here.  You find them here because both are more than “replies” to my rant. (And/or my “Guest’s.”)  They are both “self-contained” rants.  (Aside from the opening greeting in the 1st one.)

Both could be considered inflammatory, yet neither violates any Canadian law pertaining to “hate literature.”  (I don’t want to be dragged away in handcuffs because I posted a guest rant that contained words like “Those fracking insert ethnicity, race, or individual here, should be fracking shot!”)

I will, however, post any of your Dear Readers’ rants just as long as they meet the above-mentioned criteria…Even if your opinion is incorrect.  I have done so in the past, and will do so again.  Assuming that this site remains undiscovered (and therefore easy to maintain,) I will post your rants, unedited, warts and all, (just like my own,) within three weeks of your email submission.

Now.  Without further ado…The title of my rant tonight is…Below, please find TWO Guest Rants, in order of when I received themFirst Guest

“Hi Ernie

 

I'm finally getting round to commenting on your rant and I believe two words sum up your point:  Holy War.  Anyone who fails to see the irony in those two conflicting words just doesn't get it.  Furthermore, is in serious need of help, preferably from above.

 

I had an interesting argument with someone just last week, a member of the Salvation Army, an organization I have known and respected all my life as a wonderful charitable organization, but, the more I learn about the church end of things, the more I am convinced that they should not dabble in religion.  This person told me that the bible declares homosexuality to be an abomination.  When I pointed out that it is not a choice, and in fact many gays struggle with their feelings until they can no longer deny them, she didn't want to hear it.  When I also pointed out that too many people who label themselves as Christians take it upon themselves to put words into God's/Jesus' mouth. she didn't have an answer.  I argued that Jesus turned a blind eye to no one, nor a helping hand.  No human being was ever labelled an abomination by him and I left this person wondering what she would do if one of her children or one of her young charges in the church turned out to be gay.  Would she be right and the person she professes to be her saviour be wrong?

 

I have trouble with all the fanatics within organized religions - the bible, koran, talmud thumpers who take the book literally, or worse yet, put their own particular spin on the words and spew them out like bullets.  I don't believe in blind faith; for the biblical version of events to have any credibility, it must coincide with historical truth.  Although I was raised a protestant, I like the Jesuit creed of spirital awareness - examining every aspect, of your faith - and then "seeing the light" at the end of your personal tunnel.”

Next Guest…

“My Very Own Rant.

 

Religion is a topic very close to me. I spent the first seventeen years of my life indoctrinated into a religion that for all intense purposes, removes ones identity and creates childhood physiological trauma by having you "separate" yourself from your peers. Public school is the most important social interaction learning curve their is. All your basic fundamental skills you need to exist in society are groomed there. Forcing a child to "stand out" creates many difficulties in social adjustment later in life.  After several years away from this cult, I started searching all religions. Surely one has to be right. What I discovered is that all religions were started by man. It is man who has traditionally formed all associations aimed at controlling the masses, and suppressing the rights of anyone who disagrees. Religion was formed by men who wish to use it as a power base, who disagreed with their current leader, or who simply wanted to marry someone that the current group of old men said he could not. (Henry VIII) Along with that power base comes control. Control can be exercised by excommunication of dissenters, or if the dissenters are a large enough group, murder. No one religion is exempt. We have contempt in the western world for what the Muslim extremists are doing in the middle east, that is nothing compared to what the Catholic Church has done. Entire civilizations have been wiped out in the name of god. The Crusades are a prime example. The Inca's, the Aztecs, all in the name of the Spanish arm of the Catholic Church. (OK it was really about the gold, but read about the conquest of South America, and the Spanish claimed they were doing it in the name of the church)

Tolerance is preached in every religion. But tolerance allows dissension, and that defies control. What has always seemed odd to me is that all Christian based religions, who claim cleansing is on behalf of god, do so with the bible in their hand. Read the bible (and the Koran for that matter) nowhere, and I repeat NOWHERE, does it say rise and form a religion to me and go out and kill those who disagree. In fact Jesus, nor any of his followers belonged to any religion. Sure, Jesus was Jewish, but that was an ethnicity not his religion. After all these years away from organized religion, I believe in the simple truths of both prophets, Jesus and Mohammed, who both preached a similar message. Love one another as you would love oneself.

And if you don't believe this I will have to kill you,...”

Have a great week, Dear Readers.  Let something overwhelm you with the need to say something to somebody.  Something that is so important that it makes you wonder who you are, even when you are positive that you already know.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

December 8, 2006

Hey Dear Readers, I have to go up north and see my Dad this weekend as he just turned three quarters of a century young.  So I won’t be able to provide much of a rant tonight.  Below, however, please find a “Guest Rant” written by one of you.  And please remember that any of you Dear Readers are always welcome to do the same. Send me your rant, and I will post it here.

Before I get to that, however, I’d like to expand on my rant about religion and “killing,” from last week.  In fact, Dear Readers, I wish to make an important counterpoint tonight.  First of all, last week I spoke of the circumstances that might make me kill in order to defend.  I just wish to make it clear that I have no desire to actually kill anybody for any reason and I pray that I am never put in a position where I have to make a life or death decision.  The deliberate act of taking a life, no matter how necessary it may be, is always a tragedy. And it is always the worst result of a simple failure to communicate.  Either with another, or with one’s own self.

As for religion…Last week I pointed out the worst aspects of it.  And indeed, over this past year I have personally encountered many reasons to loath the most fanatical aspects of organized religion.  The “personal” aspect has come from friends and some of you Dear Readers, all of you whom I respect and love, who have gone out of your way to teach me how Christianity is good and certain other religions are anything from misguided to downright condemned to have their followers burn in hell.  I have been preached to in so many ways.  Of course the “impersonal” influence comes from all the media that reports on the fanatical actions of those religious followers who are totally alien to my experience.  “Suicide bombers,” “Jihadists,” “Fatwahs.” And so on.  That’s pretty scary stuff if you don’t happen to be a close personal friend of somebody who happens to worship the faith of Islam.

I’ve lived on both sides.  I’ve known many Muslims who would who would never dream of hurting a fly.  They’ve worshipped God, faithfully, and led good loving lives because of it.  And, having been born and raised a Catholic, I’ve known many of my own faith who have led the same kind of life.  And I have attended many church services that made me feel at peace in a house where peace and understanding led me to shake hands with strangers.  In both cases, I felt none of the twisted rage of “fanatics” that become suicide bombers (in the case of Islam) or the sickness of priestly “pedophiles” that are so infamous in my own religion.

So please don’t led my last rant make you Dear Readers believe that I believe that religion is a bad thing.  For, (as a character that Jon Voight once played in a movie whose title escapes me) once said, “I believe in love, whether that love be romantic, paternal, maternal, carnal, or religious.” 

All religions that I’m aware of worship a benign God.  And all of their worshippers read their bibles with that in mind.  But, in all our religions, some of us mere mortals give in to the fear in our hearts and we use our religious beliefs to spread that fear and to inspire others to wage war against other faiths.  We find words from their “bible” or point to the worst of “their” actions to justify finding an “enemy” to fight.  This past year, for example, I read a part of the “Old Testament” that made my skin crawl—tales of “five days” of torture before their deaths, for most of the population of God’s green Earth who are “sinners.”   C’mon, people!  What “God” could be so weak as to create a wonder such as this earth and its life of wonder, just to torture most of it to death?!

And just this week I received an e-mail from one of you Dear Readers who always want to convince me that we are right and they are wrong with this horrific headline…”Somalia Town Threatens to Behead People Who Don't Pray 5 Times Daily.”

It’s fanatics like these “Somalians,” just like our fanatic Christian leaders who “pray” for forgiveness for homosexuals while they “frack” gay prostitutes in secret hotel rooms, who give all religions a bad name.

My personal faith is in a God that created all souls…Just as it created all atoms, indiscriminately, without preference.  God created existence just because, without it, there would be nothing. Its very hard for me to follow this faith.  For it comes with no bible, no church, no flock of like-minded believers.  But I’m stuck with it.  For, in my unbiased, yet correct opinion, one God loves us all equally, since this entity created us all with equal care. And so I have to try to love all of these fracking people who have their own incorrect…“unbiased, yet correct opinions.”

Now, without further ado, please find my Dear Reader’s “Guest Rant,” posted below…

Faith – Taken straight, with a twist

 

In life there are things that require faith and things that do not.

 

Take seeing the light:

 

A light switch will turn on the light. Usually faith is not required. The switch always turned on the light before, so it will again. The act of turning on the light proves certain physical laws whether the person doing it understands them or not. Generally we do not pray that the light comes on.

 

The same person may state: God and life after death exist. This requires faith, because, unlike the light switch, stating something that has no proof element is an opinion. Faith, by definition, does not require proof.

 

Conversely another person may say: There is no God or life after death. Again this is simply an opinion. Unlike the light switch, neither party can categorically prove their opposing positions. They may agree that the light will come on, but on little else.

 

Then is one faith-based opinion more valid than another?

 

Taken purely at face value—straight—the simple answer is no. But there’s a twist—the twist is life.

 

Life is anything but simple. We humans are influenced by everything around us. Life shapes who we are. We can control some of it, but most of it is beyond our control. When life hurts us, we tend to turn inwardly to find reasons for the hurt. We want comfort and understanding, not hard logic.

 

There are very few people that will not agree—who we are at birth is one of the things we cannot control. Our gender, race, hereditary traits, environment, health and survivability at birth are none of our doing. Others make choices for us. We get what we get.

 

Unfortunately this also extends to faith. As infants, often faith-based opinions are thrust upon us. We get born into faith. At our most vulnerable stage of development along comes opinion—although not presented as such—and we are enrolled into something that has no provable value one way or the other.

 

This is supposed to help us go through life. Fitting-in is also important. There’s no comfort in being an outcast. Who cares what is provable? You are looking for a good life.

 

The catch should be obvious to anyone who has read this far. We are being indoctrinated into the opinions of others. And like gender and race, we don’t get to choose—the choice is made for us. Very little of what we absorb as infants will ever leave us.

 

On the rare occasions when we do change, we call it “seeing the light”.

Of course light can come from any direction. There’s a plethora of religions out there, plus atheism or agnosticism—lots to chose from. But very few of us chose to chose.

 

Like baby pabulum, the faith-based nourishment we are fed is just fine to see us through life. Spread the word. Have kids and do the same to them. Proliferate. Perpetuate.

 

Mostly we get through life by agreeing to differ, but then there’s sometimes the extremist view. If people disagree strongly we can always kill them. It has happened many times before. We call it conflict based on differences in ideology. Why be a wimp about faith? Let’s get out there and kick ass! You now see one advantage of fitting in with our birth environment—our own kind doesn’t shun or kill us—it’s safer.

 

Of all the animal species on Earth, only humans have the brainpower to concoct ideology. Our imaginations are unlimited. Clever as it is, the electric light switch is nothing compared to notions of life, death and faith. That’s because we pass it on, not through dry textbooks, but through indoctrination—generation to generation—up close and personal. Don’t you find it strange how opinions with no factual value are prized above all?

 

Is this what makes us human and able to see the light?

 

Please, God, I hope not.”

 

And there you have my guest’s rant.

 

Have a great week, Dear Readers.  Reach out to someone who you know is totally wrong and ask yourself…Oh just ask a question that doesn’t come attached with your own correct answer.

 

Ern

 

 

December 2, 2006

How do I get pissed off after a dozen straight days of work? How do I preach when all I want to do is pray? Last week I preached about all that was wrong with this world.  And I vowed to do it again this week.  Because the situation is getting out of control, as I predicted that it would years ago.  The West and the East, Christianity and Islam, are coming head to head, because each religion knows that they are the only one worshipped by their maker.  We’ve gone back to the Middle Ages, when nobody respected logical thought. 

So why don’t we stop pussy-footing around?  We’ve got the nukes!  The power!  Why don’t we simply eliminate the “gene pool” as one CBC caller once asked days after 9/11? Every week I get assaulted by e-mails and print editorials that try to convince me that Islam is a terrorists thought pattern. That I should join up to defeat the enemy.

I do want to “join up” to serve my country.  But not to destroy something that I know is as foolish as my own society’s ideology.

I live on this earth to love somebody else.  We all do.  I know all the “Dr. Phil’s” in this world preach that we must love ourselves before we can love somebody else.  But they’re fracked!  Because until you find yourself loving someone else, you don’t find yourself asking why they might not love you back! Everything I do is to further that goal.  And everything I do that doesn’t try to reach that goal is a failure on my part. 

It is a total lack of courage in my heart when I feel possessed by the need to say, after hearing about another “suicide bombing in the Middle East...”

“You frackers are totally frackin’ fracked’ to want to teach your children that they will be blessed by God for killing themselves before they have had the chance to love somebody who wants nothing more from them but to be loved in return.”  Why? Because I have come to know people who…whoa…Let me think about that for a minute…

The title of my rant tonight: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Atheism, Zen,..Scientology.  Whatever! God created us all.  But if you’re an atheist, then fine, don’t believe me.  I don’t care.

God created us.  And the people who hurt us the most, (from my experience,) are the same people who believe in the same god that we believe in. They’re the people who swear to love us, yet attack us when we lose our faith. Or who assault us when we lose our faith in them. So, in my humble, yet correct opinion, “religion” is the bearer of the devil. Religion causes division. We use it to attack our loved ones who don’t believe in our faith, and we use it to attack outsiders when they don’t believe us.  

Like plants in a pot sitting on a global windowsill, we all bend toward the sun. Whether we are born Christian or Muslim.  In America, or Canada, or Russia or France or Australia.

It’s that simple. We all bend to reach love. “Bending” is the true war. That’s when we really fight to protect the ones we love. For example, if you are a Liberal who believes in everything that I believe in, who believes that everything that I’ve said in this rant is true and you’d love to have a beer and shoot the shit with me, then I’d join you.  But if you happened to be down on your luck or bitter for whatever reason and you put a gun to the head of any one of my Dear Readers, I would beg you to put down your weapon.  If I failed to convince you, I would kill you in order to save my Dear Reader. 

Despite how much we agreed about everything.

On the other hand, If you were a devout religious fanatic of any kind, if you thought I was totally fracked because of my ridiculous beliefs, if you were convinced that I was going to burn in hell, or whatever, no matter how fracked-up you might be about this whole rotten religious fanaticism, I would kill any person who tried to harm you or your family.  Just so long as you meant no harm to myself or any of my loved ones.

I know now, today. that I would bend over to shield any of you who would bend toward a full life, as I know that you would do. For that is all that any of us would be asked to do by any god.

Sincerely,

Ern

November 24, 2006

From 9/11 to the world reaction, to George W. to Colin Powell, to Iraq.  The title of my rant tonight is… The chain of events that has become a global tragedy.

September 11, 2001.  America suffers its worst act of aggression since Pearl Harbour.  And, worse than the Japanese attack of December 7nth, 1941, America hasn’t suffered a defeat at the hands of a huge military assault that had been planned by a brilliant and respected Admiral with thousands of men, a fleet of ships and an armada of aircraft, torpedoes and bombs under his command.  No.  This time, the world’s most powerful nation was brought to its knees by a fanatical religious zealot and a handful his disciplined disciples.

David slew the Goliath.

At first, the world mourned for Goliath.  The outcries against this horrific terror method--guiding civilian vehicles, full of innocent passengers, into the paths of buildings filled with innocents, were heard around the earth.  For a time, even America’s worst enemies sympathized with the tragedy that had befallen Goliath.  And, understandably, Goliath vowed to “smoke out” the evil man that had killed so many people. 

Sadly though, that evil man could not be found.  We thought we’d find him in Afghanistan.  We probed that country well and found many reasons there to fix things that still need to be fixed to ensure the safety of this world.  (Which is why Canada is both a fighting sword and a helping hand in that country today.) But that evil Osama couldn’t be brought to justice. Not in a day or a week or a month.  And all the while, the people of this great nation of America were demanding retribution. 

Collectively, they don’t have patience.  After all, they are the people that could destroy all life on this planet forever if they wanted to.  Just with a few well-planned and ethically-researched commands…and the pressing of a few buttons.  So how can they not destroy one single evil man named Osama?  That paradox must be infuriating! More important than that, the leader of that great Goliath nation is just a normal guy who happens to be the King of the World.  So he, understandably, feels great pressure to do something to appease the need for justice that a quarter of a billion of his subjects so desperately desire.

So what does this man named George do?  He finds somebody that he knows he has the power to destroy.  Somebody who he can convince his subjects should be destroyed.  His name is Saddam.  This name has the same alien-sounding name as Osama.  Same culture.  Same region.  And this man has undoubtedly deserved to be punished for all kinds of reasons.  And with the most skilled “spin-doctors” working for him, George can paint this Saddam character as not only “evil,” in terms of his acts toward his own people, but also as much of a threat toward “Goliath” (and the rest of the world) as “Osama” proved to be.

So let’s “smoke ‘im out!”  

So how do we do this?  Well, first of all, we use all our intelligence personnel to forward any incriminating evidence against this man to the head of our Joint Chief of Staff (Colin Powell.) And we ignore any evidence to the contrary, so that we can fool our general Powell into making a false case to the rest of the world (represented by the United Nations) for waging war against this evil “Saddam.”

(After learning—to late--that he has been duped, this General Powell will graciously bow out of the scene.)

This General’s position will be eyed with scepticism by most of the world, whose leaders will say something to the effect of “Hey wait a minute.  Sure this Saddam character may have done many evil things, and maybe we should do something about him, as we should do about Kim Jung Ill, as we should have done about August Pinochet, etc…but that’s not the point here.  The point is seeking justice against the man who caused 9/11.  The point should be to seek justice by hunting down the man and the organization he leads.  And only them. 

So most of the world community bowed out of this misdirected need for vengeance. And for good reason.  Because the vengeance that America’s King sought toward a random bad guy would inevitably result in the deaths of tenfold numbers of innocent victims.  A Hundred thousand of “there” civilians would die. Equally as tragic as this, is the fact that America would be made to look as hypocritical as all its enemies hypothesized. After all, if Saddam was guilty simply of being a murderous tyrant, then why didn’t America fight as successfully to take out Pol Pot, or Pinochet, or Castro, the African “warlords” in Rwanda and Somalia, or the far more deadly and equally ruthless leaders like Kim Jung Ill or Mao Tse Tung?  Both of these latter mentioned possess (possessed) true “W.M.D.” and massacred horrific numbers of their own population. They make Saddam look like a bully in the kindergarten sandbox!

So naturally, all of America’s enemies could jump on the hypocrisy bandwagon with this deadly attack on Saddam’s Country and say “Oh America is just looking for an excuse to invade the oilfields…to control the Middle East…to exploit foreign cultures by getting rich from erecting a MacDonald’s and a Coke machine in the dessert…and blah blah blah.

The ultimate hypocrisy of George W.’s, in terms of taking out Saddam, as opposed to all the other bad guys mentioned above, however, goes back to WWII…Back then, an American President named Roosevelt was in power.  That man had the wisdom to see what needed to be done to preserve America.  When his country suffered a horrific attack from Japan, he focussed his nation’s war effort against Germany!  (Sure, he fought back against Japan as well…but he knew long before his country gave it’s blessing to fight the war he knew had to be fought, that Germany was the main threat against America.)  And, to ensure that America would prevail against Germany, Roosevelt made an ally with the most ruthless, most tyrannical, most ideologically opposite leader of the Twentieth Century…Joseph Stalin.  Stalin. The communist dictator who would have eaten Saddam for breakfast.  Stalin.  The man who made countless thousands of Russians disappear just because they didn’t agree with him.  The man who despised the concept of “individuality” and “free enterprise.”

And, in the end, Stalin’s U.S.S.R.’s strength in courageous sacrifice, combined with Roosevelt’s U.S.’ industrial might naiveté, and idealistic resolve, and with Churchill’s patient, understated strength as their mediator, they won the war together.  Together, they “liberated” France, China, the world.

My point?  A true President is wise enough to focus on the true enemy of his country.  That truth saves not only his nation, but also his nation’s integrity.

Roosevelt was that, and made his small nation great. (So was J.F.K.—But that’s another rant).

George W. Bush is none of that, and is contributing to the fall of a great nation. I pray that the next administration, whether it be Republican or Democrat, can save the land that can save humanity.

Have a great week, Dear Readers.  May we all think, wonder, and ponder, with great egos, as though we are all Kings and Queens; free to spew our humble yet correct opinions at anybody who dares get in the way of our thoughts!

Sincerely,

Ern

 

November 18, 2006

“At the end of every hard earned day, people find some reason to believe.” Bruce Springsteen wrote that, and that is the title of my rant tonight.  When everything goes wrong, when all your hopes and dreams explode before your eyes, what happens?

A much older song than God’s (“God” being Bruce…for you unenlightened) sang, “Don’t let the sun catch you crying.”  That’s a nice sentiment; appropriate for the shallow dreams of youth.  But how do you not cry the morning after your life has been destroyed?  How do you wake from a dream to realize that your real life has become a nightmare and then go and “smile” at the morning sun?

You don’t.  Not the first morning, after your house has floated away in a flood, or your wife or husband was murdered.  Or your child was abducted.  Or the life of your dreams has proven itself to be an utter charade in one blindingly clear moment.

However, if you survive all that, you are born again one morning to see things that you’ve never seen before…or that you should have seen a long time ago.  And you see your life for the first time, again. And you realize that nothing in your past will ever allow you to doubt the endless possibilities of today.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

November 11, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

….Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Ernie Kosanyi

 

November 4, 2006

In the bible, aren’t we all sinners? The title of my rant tonight, Are we all just sluts in heat?

Isn’t it a thin line between love and hate?  Don’t we all just want to be understood as a person who hungers to be wanted by another?  I mean really?  If you discovered that you were the Son of God tonight, and that you could save the world, unite all of the world’s peoples/belief’s and religions within this human tempest, can you honestly say that you wouldn’t desire some kind of recognition, by some other desirable presence, for saving the human race?

Maybe that is what makes us slutty.  We will prostitute our beliefs by slamming airplanes into buildings, by dropping bombs from our airplanes into other buildings, by fighting in the name of whatever God we believe in, wage war for whatever reason, all for the hope of finding somebody, some god, some lover, who will walk hand-in-hand with our righteousness.

Could it be that in the core of our ego, we decide that we may be willing to kill other people just to make a stand that will attract somebody else with a similar belief to sire/bear our similar “belief-system” child?  Or, should we die for the cause, to be rewarded by a God that will reward us with eternal bliss?

Hmmm…

What I wonder tonight is, when and how do we get beyond our hunger?  As Human hearts with consciousness, how do we reach that point where we can love something that we cannot understand, and which may be unattainable?  To love something that will never love us back.  Should we want too? Or should everything that we love be required to requite, or at least understand our love, lest we threaten it with death and damnation? And, if that is the case, do we really love what we love?  Or are we just waiting for some kind of pay-back for our devotion to that mysterious country that we are too busy to explore (whether it be a human or a culture or a religion?) Do we kill a hundred people, or break a single heart, to prove our worth to ourselves or to our belief in our God?  Or to whatever faith we have?

And, if that is the case, are we any more evolved than animals that piss on their territory in order to be the “King”of the herd?  (Or, for you female readers—the honour of being the bearer of that herd.)  Or do we just piss our pissy thoughts, rationalizing them by some noble cause, while we deny ourselves the truth of the matter…

That we desire the same result as that of the animal kingdom?  If that is the case, is that a bad thing? Or are we carving through all the bullshit to surrender to the truth that we can understand today, so that we can evolve beyond it tomorrow?

I hope, with all my heart and soul, that these words mean something, if only to myself.

Ern.

 

October 28, 2006

Hey Dear Readers, the title of my rant tonight is Stop.

Stop.  Before we think another thought, feel another emotion, make another accusation, or try to right another wrong, try to prove our point to justify our action, or tell someone that they are wrong because we know how right we are…I ask that we all pause for a moment.   A long moment.

Now…I want to suggest something without resorting to a cliché.  The problem is, is that clichés are cliché because they have been used so often that we don’t take them seriously anymore.  Isn’t that the irony?  We don’t listen to them because, since they are so true, they have been repeated so often as to become clichés.  They’re words we look for on Birthday/Christmas/Wedding/Anniversary cards to convey what we think we should express, as worthy human beings who are, worthy as we want to be, too lazy to come up with our own ways of expressing what the truest hearts said a long time ago. 

So I’m not going to suggest that we stop and get down to “the heart of the matter.”  Or that we try to “reach out and touch someone.”  I’m not even going to ask you Dear readers to stop and “be true to your heart.”

My goal tonight, for myself, and which I’d like to share with you Dear Readers, is to simply stop and “smell the roses.”  Really...Put down your fork, spoon, hammer, blackberry, palm-pilot, hatred, frustration, angst, complacency, acceptance, newspaper, argument, political viewpoints, and whatever else that matters in your life as you read this.

Just STOP and think…what am I sending out there…

To the world.  To God.  To the life he gave you?

I hope you all have a deep, introspective moment this week, Dear Readers.  And, no matter what you think of my rant, I thank you for being there to read it.

Ern

 

October 18, 2006

Wow, nearly a month since my last rant.  That’s terrible!  Sorry Dear Readers. 

A new movie is coming out this week, “The Flags of our Fathers.”  Based on an excellent book by the same title, that I highly recommend.  In that vein, the title of tonight’s rant is “My Father’s Deep Insight into the Irony of Our Respective Walking Journeys.”  (Lousy title, I know.)

Over half a century ago, in 1950, my father embarked on a journey through the northern section of what was then Yugoslavia.  Like me, he went on foot.  And, like me, his odyssey was inspired by his nation’s military.  Also, like his son’s journey, he walked for days, experienced hardship and adventure, all because of the army.  As Alannis sings, “isn’t it ironic?”

Although my Father’s walk covered far less distance than mine, (about 1/6th the km’s) his journey was far more adventurous than mine.  His adventure began as a train ride across the northern expanse of his country, from the eastern city of Subotica, where he was training as an apprentice, to the western town of Maribor.  Like myself, he was on a mission inspired by a military calling.  But the similarities end there.  For example, when I began my journey, my boss happened to drive by me when I was walking out into the country.  He honked his horn as if to say, “Hey Ern,! How’s it going?”  My Father, on the other hand, discovered that his boss, purely out of coincidence, was on the same train as him, in the very next section.  If his boss had discovered him, it would have been game over in so many ways.  So My Dad had to spend many hours and hundreds of kilometres hiding his face, until he reached the western town of Maribor.  Back in August, 1950. 

When he got off the train, he began a thirty-kilometre hike to the Austrian border.  Unlike me, he had no roads to walk along.  He had to hike through the wilderness.  He didn’t have friendly drivers stopping to offer him rides or the provincial police coming to his rescue and patting him on the back for his passionate cause.  All he had was a “fish preserve,” short pants, and leaves to cover him from the cold night.  And, unlike me, my Dad would have been shot dead on sight if he had been discovered.  So, like me, his journey, though far less in distance than mine, took nearly as long—three days and nights—for many reasons.  He walked through the forest.  I walked by the side of a marked road.  He had to sit stock still for most of a day for fear of a farmer discovering him behind a bush.  Or for fear of a couple of border guards turning around and discovering him when they were chatting and having a smoke while he was stuck lying in the grass a few feet away.

My Dad’s journey was fraught with the threat of death, every step of the way.  Mine was a cake-walk compared to his, even though I wondered, several times, if I would survive the day.  And yet both of us decided to get up one day and embark on a perilous walk across our respective countries of Yugoslavia and Canada, during a late summer, fifty-six years apart, for the same, but completely opposite reasons!

The army.

And here’s where the irony comes in.  My Dad walked for days to escape his tour of duty in his nation’s army.  More than half a century later, I walked for days to prove that I could, would, and was able, to join my nation’s army. 

My Dad decided to escape from his communist country because he was about to be called up for service.  That would mean, in his case, that he would be called to officer’s training.  This would mean that he would have to declare his allegiance to the communist party that held power over his country at that time.  However, since the Soviet communist takeover of his country resulted in the murder of his father, and the destruction of his family’s life and livelihood, not to mention that of his entire country’s well-being, my father swore to himself that, no matter what, he would never live in a country that forced him to swear allegiance to an army that followed an ideology that was so wrong as to have killed his father, simply for the crime of not being a communist.

I, on the other hand, willingly enrolled to become an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.  I spent eight months of my life trying to prove myself worthy.  I passed three of the four tests.  And then, when I failed the last one, I took matters into my own hands and embarked on a cross-country trek to try to convince my nation’s army to accept my offer of service.  (If you haven’t been following my story, please read my last rant.)  I wanted to be an officer of the 48th Highlanders. And I still want to.  Because such a position would force me to be the best citizen that I could become, in one of the most well-trained, under-manned, under-gunned, and possibly one of the least appreciated armies in this world. 

Canada has never fought an unjust war.  And when we have been forced to defend ourselves, and been left to take charge under our own command structure, we have never lost a battle. We forced the Americans back home in the war of 1812. We took Vimy Ridge in the 1st World War, when everyone else failed. We drove further into Normandy on the first day of “D-Day” in the Second World War than either the British or the Americans. Likewise, we took the Italian mountain ranges by scaling cliffs that weren’t supposed to be scalable. We liberated Holland almost by ourselves.  We get the job done, as we are doing in Afghanistan, today.  We do it because we have no other choice.

So I can’t blame my nation’s military for rejecting my offer of service because I must rely on a device to control my asthma, although my offer still stands.  Because in our military, every individual must be in perfect condition, in every way, in order to carry on our tradition of excellence.

But isn’t it ironic?  My Dad succeeded in escaping from an unjust force in Europe, by going on a long perilous walk, when his own son, fifty-six years later, failed to convince a righteous force in Canada, that he could be a worthy part of an honourable military by doing the same thing?

Irony is just another road to freedom.  So I hope all you Dear Readers will latch on to whatever dream comes your way this week.  Have a great adventure.  And don’t worry about the end result.  From my experience, we don’t find that out until years down the road.  But in the end, it always makes sense.

Ern

 

September 24, 2006

Well, well ,well, Boy oh Boy.  What a week it’s been!  Just like Forrest Gump, I put on a new pair of runners and left my home last Monday morning, bound for a DND (Department of National Defence) office in Ottawa where I hoped to meet a military officer who had decided that I was medically unfit to serve this nation’s army. Unlike Forrest, though, I didn’t run.  I walked.  With a back-pack.  Contents: Several more changes of socks and underwear then I used, four shirts and one pair of jeans (aside from the pair that I left wearing,) a “family pack” of cereal bars, two bottles of water, digital camera, groundsheet, compact sleeping bag, my (theoretically) last two cigarettes, flashlight, rain-jacket, chewing gum, sunglasses, “Team Canada” baseball cap, “Mapquest” maps, $60 cash, Bible, toiletries, keys, cell phone, Visa, bank card, license, OHIP, plastic bags and lunch baggies to protect paper maps, bible, etc. from the expected rain that was forecast for much of my trip. And, on my back-pack I carried a laminated sheet that read, “Walking to serve the Highlanders…kosanyi.com”

Also, because of you Dear’ Reader’s protestations of my stupidity, I brought my Symbicort asthma inhaler, though I vowed not to use it.  Originally, I was not going to bring this device, in order to prove to the Canadian Army that I didn’t need it, as this was the whole point of my trip; to prove that I could survive “in the field” without the aid of any prescription medication.  Thanks to several of you Dear Readers, I packed my “meds,” allowing myself to realize that if I didn’t need it, then I would make my point.  And if I did need it, then I could save my life and move ahead to a new goal.

So, with all that on my back, the title of my rant tonight is: MY JOURNEY TO “KHANDAHAR.”

For those of you Dear Readers who may not have followed my story thus far, it goes like this: Last December, when I was looking for a new path for my life, when I was open to a new way of living, it was brought to my attention that, with my educational background, I was eligible to become an officer in the Canadian military.  I wouldn’t have to take out a loan for more education.  In fact I would be paid to learn my trade.  And, if I “passed mustard,” I would be eligible for a life-long pension after just three years of service. A career in the military would also force me to test my character in ways that I had so far managed to avoid: discipline, courage, leadership, etc.  And such a career would fuel my true passion as a writer, which is, and always will be, my truest goal.

The reservist that told me of this possibility that I was eligible to enlist as an officer was a member of the esteemed 48th Highlanders Infantry Battalion, a unit whose history dates back to Vimy Ridge, the 1st World War battle in which Canada proved to the world how courageous and victorious our nation can be in the face of overwhelming opposition. (This reservist may now be, according to what he told me, serving in Afghanistan.)

I peppered him with questions, not believing what I was hearing.  In the end, I called the 48th and discovered, to my amazement, that I, a pudgy, middle-aged asthmatic, was eligible.  I particularly asked about my asthma.  To this query I received only vague answers.  Nothing was cut and dry.  Basically it was, “Well…if you can pass the physical, that’s what matters.”  Or “Wellll…the less you say the better.”  So, based on all the info I was given, I went down to the 48th this past January and filled out the paperwork to embark on a series of four tests that were expected to take about three months to complete, at the end of which I would be rejected, or accepted into “Basic training.”  Well…Those three months dragged out into eight, during which I passed the 1st three tests—the physical, the aptitude, and the psychological.  Finally, the medical came in June.  The approval of this test had to come from Ottawa and was expected to take a month to a month and a half.  I received my rejection in the form of a letter dated August 15th.

I was devastated. I don’t want to repeat myself here, so please see my rant of August 27th, for details.  And, for why I embarked on this journey, see my last rant of September 15th.

So…This past Sunday evening I sent a letter to the DND in Ottawa, to say that I was planning to walk from my home in Oshawa, to their office in Ottawa in the hopes of getting them to change their mind, as I was certain that the only remains of my asthma was caused by smoking, and, that without that vice, I would not be a danger to myself or my comrades in arms.

Monday morning I hauled my backpack over my shoulders and headed out the door at nine-O-one am., excited, nervous, not knowing if I’d make it ten miles before staggering back with my pride tucked between my legs, wondering if I’d lost my mind, and thrilled to get away from my routine existence.  My expensive and extremely comfortable back-pack came equipped with its own rain-jacket which I used to cover my “walking to serve” sign as I didn’t want to draw attention to myself before I knew whether or not I was going to go through with my stunt.

It was a perfect day for a long walk:  Balmy temperature; not too hot nor too cold, a little hazy so the sun wasn’t burning my eyes, yet not cloudy enough to threaten rain. My first hour was rather boring since I hadn’t walked away from anything I hadn’t seen before. After that, I was out in the country, feeling good, no longer wondering if I was crazy. I felt healthy, invigorated.  Silent cornfields and farms accompanied my sojourn with peaceful assurance. The only thing that bothered me was how many dead or dying butterflies I came across on the side of the road.  Until this past Monday, I never thought of butterflies as anything but “fluttering” inspiring creatures.  Now I saw them as tragically beautiful “roadkill.”

By late morning I was getting a little tired.  Just then a big white Dodge Pick-up honked at me as it drove by.  Based on my location, I realized that this big Dodge was my boss,’ and he was honking to say hello.  That picked up my spirits.

By 3pm I had completed the first leg of my journey and was about to leave my country road for a necessary leg along the shoulder of the 4-lane highway #115. I was starving by this time and, luckily I came across the “Dutch Oven” restaurant.  I had a good meal.  But then, having smoked my last ‘reserve’ cigarette a few hours before, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge for an “after eating” smoke. To my astonishment, I found myself purchasing a twenty-pack, just to get my fix.  Even with my brilliant power of rationalization, I couldn’t come up with a way to convince myself that this action wouldn’t defeat my entire mission. 

But I did it anyway.

At the same time, despite my stupidity, I found the confidence to reveal my sign before I headed out onto the loud, smog-filled shoulder of the 115.  Then the going got tough. By four pm my legs were tired and sore.  I felt blisters growing on my feet, inside the excellent new shoes that I knew I should have worn-in before wearing them for the first time on this trek. The peaceful silence of the countryside was gone, replaced by the dusty wind and noise of big rigs racing by me at 100kph.

Then a car pulled over. The young male driver saw my sign and, though his speed and the small size of my lettering didn’t allow him to read it, he pulled over anyway because he was curious and he just assumed that I was looking for a ride.  I thanked him for stopping to offer his help, quickly explained my mission, and sent him on his way.  And for the second time that day, I realized how just a little encouragement from a fellow person could reinvigorate my tired muscles. Over the next couple of hours two more cars pulled over to offer me a ride. Both were the same as the first; single thirty-something males who saw my sign and wondered what I was up to.  By Friday I found myself kicking myself for turning down their generosity. (Read on.)  By the time the last guy pulled over, I had walked past a Petro-Can and a Coffee-Time on the other side of the eight-lane divided highway and was getting really pissed off at the fact that no such convenience was in sight on MY side of the road.  So when the last driver pulled over I accepted a donation of water from the thermos he was taking to work. And when I asked him if there was anything in the way of restaurants up the road he said “No.  There’s nothing between here and Peterborough.”

That meant that there was no food, water, chairs, or bathrooms on my way for the next eight hours of walking (based on my guessed-at speed of 4 kph.) And I had already been walking for about seven hours.  Now it started to get real.  As in, hard.  There was no comfy place waiting at the end of the predictable rush hour ride home.  And while I always knew that, intellectually, as I planned my trip, it was another thing to suddenly realize, on a gut level, that I had jumped into the unknown, and that no comfort lay assured at the end of my day.

Around dinner-time I passed under a bridge and walked up into the grass on the far side of the embankment, out of the view of traffic, lay down with my back-pack as a pillow, and surprised myself at how comfortable I could be.  I mean, here I was lying on an incline of lumpy weeds beside a highway where thunderous decibels from trucks and SUV’s were assaulting my ears, and I was as comfortable as I would be in my recliner watching TV at home.  I actually fell asleep for a few minutes. That’s how exhausted I was.

But then I woke up and realized that it was both too early to sleep, and that I hadn’t set up to sleep through a cold late summer night.  And also, sooner or later somebody would have spotted what they thought was either a dead body or an easy mugging. I didn’t want to face either scenario. So I got up and headed on down the road.  A couple of hours later I was exhausted again.  The sun was almost down and I decided that I’d better find a place to sleep while it was still light enough to set up camp without relying on holding a flashlight in one hand while setting up with the other.  I was too tired to do both at once.  So I found a clearing on the side of the road that led down to a soft area of forest beside a fence that denied me any deeper passage into the woods.  A slight depression in the forest floor looked like a comfortable place to bed down.  For a second I thought, “of course, if it rains really hard tonight, this little valley will fill with water.”  But then I thought, “Yeah well, it’s been threatening rain all day and all that’s happened is a few drops. Frack it! This is my home for the night.”  So I laid my ground-sheet, set up my back-pack as a pillow, laid out my sleeping bag, crawled in, pulled the other half of my ground sheet over myself as a rain-jacket, laid my glasses beside me, pulled my hat up over my head to stop any raindrops from hitting my face, looked up at the foliage that blocked the dark grey evening sky and felt wonderfully comfortable and at peace with the world.

And, just as I was falling asleep, one of you Dear Readers, and a friend of mine (who will never read this because she doesn’t have a computer,) called to see how I was doing.  Again I felt the special warmth of having support from caring people in my life. I found that it means so much more when someone asks “How are you?” when you have dove into the abyss, and they know that, and they REALLY mean it. Fortunately, I was so inspired by this simple message that I found it hard to fall asleep again, because, if I had fallen into the deep sleep that I was drifting off to before they called, I might have drowned.

As it was, I just started to drift off again when I heard the first drops start to fall around the great coniferous tree that I was sheltered under.  At first I thought nothing of it, since no water was landing on me.   Then, awhile later, I felt the first drops landing on my protective groundsheet.  No big deal. It was water-proof plastic, after all. So I drifted off again.  Then, a while later, I awoke to the feeling of water draping my body…cold, intrusive wetness.  I rolled over, ignored it, and dreamt of better things. Then, an hour later, I woke to the realization that a river was running down my cheek, on under my back, and that everything in my world was drenched.  The sleeping bag that I cocooned myself in was a wet mop, soaking through my clothes.  And if I continued to ignore my predicament, I’d either drown to death or die of hypothermia. 

I soon realized that my only chance of surviving this night was to get up, pack up all my shit in the middle of this pitch-black downpour and continue walking towards Peterborough to find shelter.  So I struggled out of my sopping wet bed, searched around to find my flashlight, my glasses etc. and started packing up.  As I did this, I got another call.  It was a very enticing call, from a very desirable person not of my gender, who asked me to come home.  I don’t want to get into too many details here, as all the world can read this.  So let me just say…what she offered, compared to what I was experiencing at that moment…well…hmmm….Oh I think you can figure it out without me explaining further. 

Needless to say, I had to say to her that at that moment I couldn’t explain why I was doing what I was doing, considering the comfort that she was offering.  But I also had to say that I had to hang up.  I couldn’t spend any more time on the dream she offered when I had to figure out how to pack up my shit and survive that dark, rainy night. 

So I was alone again, shivering and drenched to the bone, searching with my light in one hand to find and roll up all my kit in the other as vehicles whizzed by a few feet away, all driven by people like you and I, who are comfortably nestled in warmth and motion, freed by technology enough to allow all the little things in life to worry them. I packed up everything but my $37 sleeping bag that I had used for a little more than two hours.  I gazed its sopping mess.  I picked it up and realized that it weighed about ten pounds soaking wet. Then, with a laugh that I know two of you Dear Readers will appreciate, I decided to leave it behind. (That’s an inside joke to Rick and Dan—My apologies to the rest of you.)  It was useless to me at that point and it might have put my life at risk if I continued on with its extra pounds weighing me down.  Because I really had no idea how many steps I had left before I simply fell down and died.

I struggled back up to the shoulder of the highway and moved on, shimmying back and forth in my soaking wet clothes, on the shoulder of the road, correcting my path by the lights of passing vehicles that showed me the way whenever darkness confused me.  All the while the rain poured down.  Ten hours before, my idea seamed blessed with sunshine and cornfields.  Now I felt like an idiot, walking toward a hellish fate of my own making.

Half past midnight a car pulled over.  I thanked my lucky stars without even wondering if a serial killer was the car’s driver.  I didn’t give a frack about the fact that I’d be “cheating” in my mission by not “walking” the whole way to Ottawa by accepting the ride that my killer might be about to offer.  I was just an animal.  I only thought… “Sit on dry chair.” “Warmth inside there.” “Get to go to warm bed somewhere.”  So when this man in a VW Jetta pulled over in the middle of a rainy night to rescue a complete stranger whom he saw walking in the rain, I jumped in without a thought about what I was doing.  Turns out he was a commuter who lives in Peterborough, but works for Air Canada at the Pearson International Airport in Mississauga.  That’s a 100km drive each way (at least.) And usually he drives home earlier (or later—I can’t remember which--from work.  So on a normal night, he wouldn’t have come across my sorry ass.)   He found it strange to see somebody walking alongside the 115 in the middle of the night.  And, although he didn’t say it this way, I know he just had to risk his life to come to the aid of a stranger who wasn’t even asking for help. 

I wish I could remember his name in order to celebrate his humanity in this rant. For whatever character faults this man may possess, as we all do, I could never see him as anything less than a saviour, a hero of all that is good in this world.  And I don’t even know his name.  He wouldn’t let me buy him a coffee at the shop that he dropped me off at in downtown Peterborough.  I just hope that he gets to reach and read my message of gratitude for his help.

So anyway…now I’m at the Coffee-Time in downtown Peterborough, because, given the choice of being dropped off at “food” or “shelter” my body cried out “food!” I limp into this 24-hour donut shop, soaked to the bone, shivering to death, expecting sympathy from a young woman who hates her life, and the fact that some damned customer is walking in at 2 am. I order a coffee and a toasted bagel at the same time that a cocky teenager is going through the “drive-thru.” So I find myself struggling through my shivers to communicate with somebody who is already busy, who is scowling at me for wrecking her life, while somebody else is trying to wreck her life at the same time by shouting through her drive-thru mic about what he wants from her.  I have this urge to grab this woman by the neck and shout… “Forget about this cocky teenager in the car that his parent’s bought him!  I’m dying here!”

In the end, I hold my peace, and she figures it out for herself.  Not that she takes pity on me, or anything like that.  She just does her job and serves her first hated customer first, which happens to be me.

So I sit and shiver as I eat my bagel and drink my coffee, thankful to be sitting and eating and drinking as I shiver to death.  Finally I stagger out to the sidewalk, shiver some more as I have another smoke, and watch three taxis drive by in the direction of the motel that my Jetta-driving saviour pointed out was “just over the next hill.”  For a moment I consider going back inside to ask Ms. Coffee-Time to call me a cab.  But then I think, “No, she’ll just give me this…OH LIKE---WHATEVER!” look that’ll make me want to strangle her again.  So I haul my back-pack on again over my soaking bones and head on down the road thinking, “well…you’ve walked about 70 odd km today, what’s one more?”

Finally I hobble into the nice warm lobby of the Downtown Peterborough Comfort Inn. A pretty, friendly face greets me and I just say that I need a room.  It’s all so simple.  I’ve fought the good fight, reached the comfort of a “Comfort Inn.”  This is where the movie is supposed to end. Except that the pretty girl’s smile turns to a frown as she says, “I’m sorry but we have no vacancies. Everyplace in town is full.” (Or something like that, as I’m paraphrasing from my twisted memory.) I reply something to the effect, “You gotta’ be kidding! It’s a Monday night in Peterborough in the middle of September.  How can every place be full?”

“Oh well…the Plough Meet is on this week.”

“The ‘Plough Meet?’” 

I’ve been rendered speechless since I keep recalling that moment of terror.  Sorry, Dear Readers!

So I guess I got here this week, soaked to the bone and at the edge of what I was sure at the moment was “Death’s Door,” just to arrive at the same time that all you Dear Readers were racing out of the GTA to get to the world famous Plough Match!

Anyway, the pretty girl, named Tara, makes me a coffee and allows me to flop on the couch in the lobby.  Finally she calls anther motel where a single room is available. A taxi ride later and I finally get a room.  The nice lady there says I “broke her heart that I want to serve my country so badly.” when I explained why I was drenched to the bone and what I was doing. 

By 3:00 am I was dry and asleep.  What a frackin’ day it was!

This rant is getting pretty long, eh?  If I described every one of my five days on the road in such detail I’d probably write a book.  And I could, because everyday was pretty interesting.  However, let me skip to Wednesday night.

Sometime around 10 pm, after I had walked for about ten hours and was now hobbling with a limp, an OPP cruiser pulled over, turned around and came back to check me out.  I thanked my lucky stars because, by my calculations, the next town (where I had hoped to find a motel) was at least two more hours of walking, based on the last sign I saw that indicated a Tim Horton’s “just” 10 minutes down the road.  I had figured out by then that every 5 minutes driving time means about an hour’s walk.  So I had a good chuckle when people would say things like “Oh yeah there’s a place just about 15 minutes down the road.” (Even though they know I’m on foot, they can’t help but think in terms of “automotive time.”)

“Riiiiiight…Oh so you mean, just three hours of hobbling in excruciating pain, down the road?”

Anyway, these two officers question me, do a computer check, and, finding that I’m not wanted for anything, and trusting my word that I am not hiding any weapons in my kit, they kindly take me to a motel in Madoc.  No vacancies.  They take me to another motel, apologizing that they have to take me backwards almost to where they picked me up.  (By now I had explained my mission to walk to Ottawa and they felt bad for not getting me further along on my journey!)  Anyway, I was just grateful even to get a few kilometres ahead, comfortably riding in the back of their cruiser.  Plus, I got to check out all the cool buttons for their various lighting and siren arrangements.  For instance there’s a button labelled “WAIL,” another called “YELP.”  TAKEDOWN, (!)”  “LEFT ALLEY” etc.  They even demonstrated some of the lights for me!  I was like a little kid playing cop. It was all I could do to resist asking them if they’d ever had to fire their guns in the line of duty. So they finally found me a room. They wished me all the best and good luck with my journey and the guy even patted me on the back.  Nicest cops I ever met. Unfortunately, I was in such pain that I still don’t feel that I thanked them enough.

About 11:30 am, Thursday morning I left what would be my last motel room—a place just west of the town of Madoc, on #7.  By now my legs were extremely sore.  So sore that I no longer noticed the blisters on my little toes.  My left leg in particular was killing me.  An hour later I made it to a Tim Horton’s for my breakfast of a sandwich, donut, coffee and O.J.  Little did I know then that that would be the last time I would be inside a building for the next twenty-five hours.  I walked throughout the day, discovering that my bum leg hurt less when I swung it outward for every step forward.  Also, if I travelled on the left side of the road, toward oncoming traffic, that it hurt less because my left foot fell lower on the shoulder than my right.  By evening though, I was desperate enough to start trying to hitch-hike, which meant getting back on the right side of the road.  Again, I learned to adapt, discovering that by walking backwards, my pain was alleviated a little. However, unlike my first day travelling down the 115, when no less than four drivers pulled over just out of curiosity, now I couldn’t get any attention even by sticking my thumb out! 

Finally, around 7:00 pm, I reached the cut-off to Tweed where a sign promised a restaurant a couple of clicks down the road and a motel a few clicks beyond that.  Since no building of any kind appeared within visual range down highway #7, I reluctantly turned off my route and stuck my thumb out again as I began my turn.  Lo and behold, a green intrepid pulled over.  A big friendly driver offered me a ride, saying he was only going to Tweed.  I replied that I didn’t care.  I didn’t even want to go to Tweed and the only reason I got off #7 was because I needed to get to the nearest restaurant.  So he promptly pulled a U-turn and told me he’d take me to the best place around, “Nonny & Poppy’s.”  He said that if they were closed, he’d run me down to the next town—Kaladar.   Then he told me about how last year, he picked up a couple of cute girls and took them all the way to Perth (about 90 clicks east—toward Ottawa—which was still about 190 clicks east of my present location)) just because his wife and kids were away and he had nothing better to do.  Then he apologized that he wasn’t about to do the same for me, and I replied that I didn’t blame him, as I probably wouldn’t give me a ride to Perth either!

Anyway…A couple of minutes later he dropped me off at “Nonny & Poppy’s,” just a click or two east of Tweed.  To my horror, the establishment was only a colourfully decorated trailer on the side of the road with only picnic benches to sit on.  Of course I couldn’t tell my generous chauffeur that I desperately wanted a comfortable table in a warm building, with a clean bathroom to freshen up in.  So I thanked him for the ride, ordered my banquet burger and fries, bummed a smoke off “Nonny, ” and tried to ignore my sore back and the chill in the evening air.  I ate my food, chatted with “Poppy,” and a female customer who asked me who the “Highlanders” were (after she read the sign on my kit,) then I wished them all a farewell, hauled my back-pack on and continued hobbling down the road.

About an hour later the sun was beginning to set.  “Poppy” had told me that “Kaladar” was “’bout ten mile” down the road and there wasn’t much there anyway.  When I asked him if there was a motel, he couldn’t remember.  So, as I hobbled along, wondering what to do, I started thinking of this town, Kaladar.  Even when I had looked at the name on the map days before I couldn’t help but think of it as “Kandahar” as in the city in Afghanistan where our troops are fighting and dying. 

I knew there was no way that I had another ten miles (16 clicks) in me.  I thought of continuing to limp into the dark night, hoping that the OPP would come to my rescue once again.  But I knew I couldn’t count on that scenario two nights in a row.  And I didn’t want to get caught having to bed down in the pitch black night.  So, as the sun dropped away I found a nice flat spot of earth down an embankment off the side of #7 that looked out onto a pond (or river) surrounded by bulrushes.  Tuesday afternoon, as I walked from one end of Peterborough to the other, I stopped at a “Canadian Tire” where I blew a C-note on a self-inflating ground-pad, a second ground-sheet (which I figured I would use above me to “sandwich” myself between two plastic, waterproof coverings,) and a “thermal” blanket.  All this to replace the sleeping bag that I sacrificed to the forest beside the #115 on my first night. 

Until that moment I had planned to keep all that extra weight in the original “Crappy Tire” bag and get my money back, since I had been sleeping in motels anyway.  But now I realized that there would be no motel tonight.  So I ripped open all the plastic, laid down my original groundsheet, opened the valves on my self-inflating pad, laid my thermal blanket over that, then spiked my new ground-sheet over the whole thing, prided myself in my ingenuity, then realized that, by spiking everything into the ground, dumbass that I am, I had spiked myself out of my bed.  So I pulled the left spikes out, crawled “into bed,” spiked my groundsheet over me, and then wondered why my pad hadn’t inflated, leaving the lumpy ground to push up into my sore back.  Doh! I forgot to close the valves on my pad.  So, by laying down on it, I had forced all the comforting air out of my $50 sleeping pad.  I closed the valves but by then it was too late.  Oh well…

I stared up at the evening clouds, tired and sore, waiting for the torrential downfall that wrecked my first night.  But then a star appeared!  And then another.  Soon the clear night was resplendent with all the stars in the world, along with that grey band of the Milky Way of our galaxy, where the depths of all the light from all of the stars in our galaxy sweep across the night sky.  It was so frackin’ gorgeous that I forgot my aching muscles and the chill of the night.  For a while.

An hour later I started to get cold. I pulled my top groundsheet over my head, using the brim of my “Team Canada” baseball cap to keep it above my face, allowing me to breath.  Later on I discovered that dew was building up on every surface that touched me.  Even though it wasn’t raining, the wetness of dew was everywhere; on the underside of my groundsheet, inside my blanket.  Everywhere I touched was wet and cold.  I started to shiver.  Then I fell asleep.  Then I woke up shivering.   Whenever I shifted position, my left leg seared with pain as I shivered.  Finally I learned to shiver into such exhausting convulsions that I could literally shiver myself to sleep for a while, resting my head on my backpack that became my pillow.  This cycle went on throughout the night.  Sleep, shiver with cold, sleep.   

Probably around 6 am, I gave up trying to sleep anymore.  I rose to the most beautiful sunrise, shining a golden blanket through the trees and the mist rising off the water.  I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of it just because I was freezing to death and I couldn’t feel my fingers! However, as cold as I was, I realized that my “thermal” blanket actually did some “thermalizing” since the part of my back-pack that was exposed to the night air was covered in white frost.  Cold as I was, I wasn’t coated in ice, as I might have been.  So I packed things up, one by one, blowing feeling into my fingers between each task.  The hardest part of my morning was reaching down to tie my shoelaces…Oh….sends shivers down my spine just thinking about the agony! 

Finally I had a breakfast consisting of my last sip of water and two squashed cereal bars, and then I climbed back up to the highway.

I started limping eastward, Friday morning, without my much-needed morning coffee and hardly any food in my belly.  I knew that, at my guessed at speed of 1 to 1.5 kph of limping speed, that I was at least eight hours from “Kandahar.”  I was in the middle of the Canadian shield, where no gas stations or restaurants lined the road as they do in civilization.  I had no water left.  I limped along, trying to thumb a ride whenever I could manage to limp along the eastbound side of the highway.  But, unlike my first day, when people pulled over just out of curiosity,  nobody pulled over that day.  Half the time I couldn’t blame those drivers because the soft shoulder was only a few feet of downward sloping gravel and/or the motorist was being chased down by a huge transport truck that would have plowed through him/her if he/she even tried to pull over on a whim.

But not even cops would pull over.  I’d stick my thumb out to an OPP cruiser only to see the officer raise his hand as if to say “What the Frack! Don’t you know its illegal to hitch-hike?”  Meanwhile, I started to get delirious.  Whenever I tried to focus on the ground it would start to move even if I was standing still.  Around noon, when I had given up on thumbing a ride and had moved to the left side of the road to ease the pain in my leg, facing oncoming traffic, a bus passed me with a sign that said “Ottawa.” That freaked me out.  In all my crossing back and forth along the highway, had I become so exhausted that I had turned around without knowing it, and was actually walking west, back the way I came?  I started looking for signs of things I had passed.  Was that the same crushed turtle that I walked by an hour ago?  It didn’t look the same.  But how many crushed turtles can be lying beside the road? Earlier in the day I could rely on the sun to guide me, as it was on the right side of the road when I woke up and headed east.  But as the day became cloudy and the sun rose to ward its zenith at noon, I couldn’t go by that guide anymore. I began to hope that I’d simply pass out to escape the pain, and so that somebody would stop because they saw a body lying on the side of the road. 

Finally, around noon, I came across a sign that read something like “Kaladar Shell Station—gas—convenience—restaurant, 4km.”

“Woo-hoo!” I thought.  I hadn’t turned around.  There was civilization ahead. Only 4km.  But then I realized, at the pace I was going, that meant another four hours of limping without food or water.  I started counting my steps.  Every second step I’d count off one meter.  By the time I got to about 130 metres, and realized I still had 3,870 metres to go, I lost all my hope. I didn’t care about getting to Ottawa anymore, or getting into the army.  I just wanted the shooting pain in my left leg, the parched dryness in my throat, and the all-encompassing pain, starvation and thirst in my body to end.  Somehow. Anyway whatsoever.

Because the clock on my cell phone died in the rain days earlier, I couldn’t know how much time had passed since I began my journey that morning. I could only guess by how high the sun was in the cloudy sky that it must have been around noon when one of you Dear Readers (my cousin George) called to ask how I was doing.  From him I learned it was 1:15 in the afternoon. I lamented that I didn’t know how I was going to survive the day, let alone ever make it to Ottawa.  He asked me if he should call for help and I explained that there was no help to call as two OPP’s, one cruiser and one motorcycle, had passed by my thumb and my wave (respectively) without stopping.  I was on my own.  Or so I thought.

Five minutes after I got off the phone, another OPP cruiser headed toward me.  This time I didn’t offer a wimpy wave, or stick my thumb out.  This time I flailed my arms about like an idiot.  He pulled over.  My life was saved once again.  As I explained my story, he whisked me down the last 3.5 or so km to Kaladar, which I jokingly referred to as “Kandahar.”  He replied that he and his cop buddies also called the town “Kandahar,” based on all the shit that apparently goes down there!  I asked him if there was a motel in town and he replied that there was but he was pretty sure it was closed down.  In fact, he didn’t know of any motel this side of Perth, which was still almost a hundred kilometres away.    

Once again an Ontario Provincial Police officer saved my life.  And, like the first two officers, he wished me all the best and good luck when he dropped me off at the “Kaladar Shell Station,” where curious restaurant patrons gazed out the window to see this dishevelled back-packer struggling out of the back of an OPP cruiser.

An hour later I was watered, coffeed, fed bacon and eggs, and, wonder of all wonders, I got to sit by the side of the road and have a cigarette from the second 20 pack that I had purchased on my five day journey. I was THRILLED to be alive!

So I sat by the side of the road in “Kandahar” and explored my options as I examined my past journey and all its failings.  I vowed in a letter to Ottawa that I would make this journey by my own feet, without ever sleeping under a solid roof, and without ever taking a puff of asthma medication.  I had also vowed to myself that, to accomplish this goal, I would quit smoking once and for all.

Well…although I had gone from a pack a day to 3 to 6 a day, I fracked up on that last goal.  Also, I slept under “a solid roof” for the first three nights of my journey.  So I fracked that promise as well.  I had also accepted rides for a total of about 60 forward km on my 417 kilometre journey, thereby fracking my promise to the army that I would make the whole journey by foot.  The only promise to the army, and to myself, that I had kept so far, was the vow to not take a puff from my inhaler.  I was tempted to, especially Wednesday night when I was wheezing and had no inspiration left to continue with this crazy stunt.  But I didn’t take that puff. Because I know that asthma, like most ailments, is a disease created by a mind that is looking for an escape from something.

I sat on the median of the highway, knowing that one of you Dear Readers had written a “press release” about my journey and that, somewhere in cyberspace, as well as with a number of you Dear Readers, real people in my life, as well as total strangers, were encouraging me to go and complete my journey.   But still I had to face the fact that two of my bosses were counting on my return this Monday morning.  And I needed their pay-checks as much for my survival as they needed my productivity. As well I knew that no warm bed existed between my present location and Perth.  And I couldn’t count on another citizen or another OPP officer to get me through that next 80 clicks with my bum leg, sore back and feet.

“What do I do?” I wondered as I sat by a telephone pole in the little town of Kaladar, on the side of #7. Spend a few more C-notes to get to my nation’s capital where an officer may or may not change his mind?  Miss more work next week for nothing?  Maybe die on the road somewhere due to freezing, or exhaustion or both?  Or disappoint my friends and followers by catching a bus back home tonight?

As I pondered all this, my cell phone rang.  It was the officer in Ottawa that I sent my letter to. After a 15 minute talk, I concluded that I could end my trek across this province, go see a “respirologist,” and get a second chance at joining my country’s military.  He was “rattled” by my letter, and “impressed” by my self-imposed mission to reach him. I couldn’t prove my medical fitness to him even if I completed my journey.  But he was so flabbergasted by my mission to walk to see him that he would definitely be willing to review my file if a “respirologist” could declare me free (or even almost free) of asthma.

I got a bus in “Kandahar” five minutes later and limped down to my own bed by 10 pm that Friday night.

I have spent the weekend writing this rant and apologize for the delay.  I wish all of you the best this week, and hope that all of you are already mature enough to follow the path of your life without having to go through the drama that I endured last week.

Take care.  Have fun.

Sincerely,

Ern

September 15, 2006

Well, well,well. Boy Oh Boy.  What a summer it’s been!  I apologize for my disappearance this past month but I’ve had the crap kicked out of me in just about every way that I could imagine.  I won’t get into details here, since the whole world can read this.  So let me just say that all my hopes and dreams came crashing down since my last real rant of August 5th.  Directly below you will find my rant of the 27th of last month wherein I disclosed that my career goal of joining the 48th Highlanders as an officer was crushed. Since that day (when all the rest of my existence was blindsided as well) I’ve been living in a daze of anguish and turmoil. 

But now its time to get over it and get on with my life.  So the title of my rant tonight is, “Why I am walking to Ottawa.”

I remember how at the beginning of the year I ranted about my “resolutions.”  One of those resolves was to do something every day that scares me.  I failed to do that.  I failed to overcome fear too many times this year by cleverly rationalizing away all the times that I should have thrown caution to the wind to stride boldly into a new life.  Because of my failure to observe that resolution I have wound up spinning my wheels to get nowhere.

And yet, in the midst of all this angst, I came up with a crazy idea.  When I was rejected from the Canadian Armed Forces for a medical condition. (See my previous rant for details.) I was devastated. I had this impulse to walk from my home in Oshawa to the office in Ottawa, where my fate had been sealed in a letter to me dated August 15th. (See the rant below for details.) I thought…Ern, if you could do that, walk 261 miles by the muscles in your own feet, without any medication of any kind, without relying on any outside help …Well, no matter what happened, wouldn’t it be a cool thing?

Then I started rationalizing again.  I reminded myself that my true calling is to be a writer.  A story-teller.  I thought to myself, well this whole military career…it was all a crazy dream.  Maybe a mid-life crisis.  I imagined all of the worst-case scenarios of a military life, and remembered all of the best moments of my creative life.  I decided to take a vacation this coming week to recover from all this drama.  With this week of upcoming freedom I am thinking to myself (and sharing these thoughts with you dear Readers,)  “Sure, it would have been cool to have a noble, challenging, inspiring career to live on while I wrote my tales.  It might have inspired my writing.  And it would have given me a pension to live on. It would have encouraged me to test my character. I might have seen the world, faced moral and ethical dilemmas in exotic locales that most of us will never experience. On the other hand, maybe I was just looking for a way to distract myself from pursuing the most challenging goal that I was meant to pursue, twenty-four seven.  Maybe the most exhilarating, character-challenging, scary experience that I could accomplish in this upcoming week would be to stay locked in my familiar world and write my face off, send my one good novel off to a thousand publishers, work out at the gym like crazy and not worry about impressing the world with some crazy stunt like walking across the province to make a stand for what I believed was the right thing for me to pursue at the right time in my life.  Maybe if I worked hard at my craft as a writer, and respected myself for it, just as a welder or a doctor or a politician does for himself, maybe nothing else would matter.”

In the end, I have to go with my gut.  I need to honour my promise of doing something everyday that scares me, to remind my soul that I am alive and kicking on this earth.  The military scares me.  The thought of earning the respect of courageous people who might be obliged to obey my orders scares me.  Knowing that I could fail the test of being a courageous person in the face of mortal danger to myself and to others under my command scares me.  But most of all, wondering if my own sense of self could all be a rationalization terrifies me. 

So, for that reason alone, I am going to take this coming week off to leave all that I am comfortable with.  My life.  My bed.  My warm home.  My computer and the accompanying chair that I sit on as I write this.  My friends and co-workers.  My warm basement.  All of my life as I know it today.

This coming Sunday (or Monday morning) I will strap a well equipped kit on my back and walk 261 miles to the office of the officer in my nation’s capital to appeal my case, hopefully, to the officer who ruled against me.  I will make this journey without any of the medication that inspired his decision to disqualify me as a “medical limitation on duties” to try to convince my nation’s military that I am the “officer material” that they already deemed me to be, and that I need not be disqualified for any particular medical condition.

I will be walking from Oshawa to highway  #115 to to highway #7, and taking that pretty much all the way to Ottawa. I will be wearing a placard that reads “walking to serve the Highlanders—Kosanyi.com.  So hopefully I might gain some new readers!

I know.  I’m fracking crazy.   

Anyway Dear Readers, have a great couple of weeks. Please keep me in your thoughts as I trek across the Canadian Shield. I’ll need all your best wishes.  And I wish all the best to you.

Sincerely,

Ern

August 27th, 2006

Well Dear Readers, I was disqualified from serving with the esteemed 48th Highlanders by failing the “Medical.”  The last of the four tests.  I passed or bypassed the 1st three.  But now, because I use an inhaler, its all over.  So I guess that’s it. Eight months of working toward a career has been snuffed out. Or is it? I have no angry words tonight. Nothing profound to think of.  I have only stillness. Which doesn’t make for a good rant. 

So have a great week Dear Readers.  And if any of you face any major endings in your life, please share your thoughts. I’ve endured three in the past year and a half.

August 11, 2006

Tonight I have a guest Rant for you.  I hope you enjoy it and have a great week…

Sincerely,

Ern

My Guest Writer writes…

War—let’s get it right!

 

In olden times leaders were expected to lead their soldiers into battle. After all they were leaders. So they did.

 

On a white charger, resolute that God, justice and divine righteousness were on their side, Kings would lead the first charge. The killing was up-front and personal—and why not? If you are going to send subjects into battle, it only seems reasonable that the leaders making these decisions are part of the action.

Kings enjoyed war on a personal footing. They didn’t like getting hurt, of course, but with God on one’s side how could you lose?

 

As time went on Kings did get hurt, and even killed. Not good! Was God paying attention?

 

Warlords needed a different plan. Consequently we don’t do war that way any more.

 

Instead of Kings we now have elected leaders called politicians—older men, wise men. With war becoming ever more devious and dangerous the style had to change. Young men are expected to do all the fighting. After all, aren’t young men the only ones fit enough to engage in this dangerous work? But wait, there’s more. When a war is deemed important enough, political leaders can even conscript—enact laws that require young men to fight their battles. They even have a nicer name for it: patriotic duty.

 

Ask yourself: when a self-important politician goes before the cameras to expound on the glory of our troops, what is really going on inside that devious brain? Given the scant regard he has for the rest of us I shudder to think. It didn’t take politicians long to discover war could be profitable business when taken at a distance.

 

Where did it all go wrong? I say, bring back the old way.

 

Let the old men that want war face-off with swords, spears and fresh batteries in their pacemakers. Let them settle things in an open space—up front and personal. Most sane folk agree: war is a sickness, not glory. If important old men died of it first, war just might go away for good.

 

A delicious fantasy, but I won’t hold my breath.

 

August 5, 2006

A Mid-Summer’s Holiday Rant-Dream…

Which few of you Dear Readers will read, since most of you will be away doing what I’m writing about.

There is, (like a “Seinfeld episode) no inherent meaning to tonight’s rant.  So for those few of you Readers who are hoping for one, you may as well stop here and go fire up the “Barbie.”

This is just a word picture, a collage, of how I see the average Canadian Civic Holiday weekend…

Friday Night: The back door of the mini-van is flung open in the driveway. Stressed-out Dad is trying to figure out how to load everything, hoping his toddler pees before they leave for the cottage/campground while envious neighbours who are going nowhere pray for rain to wreck his weekend.

A kid on a bike races by, not caring about this dad and this open-doored mini-van.  He just loves the locomotion and the speed of his life. All he knows is that something’s gonna’ happen soon.  And that’s way too cool.

Mom packs the cooler in the kitchen.  She hopes the ice won’t melt and drip through the sandwich bags, and that her rebellious child won’t wreck the moment that she has planned with her husband…the moment where he’ll let go of the “office” and remember how she inspired him so long ago when all that mattered was finding a moment alone together.

Two teenagers in love are stuck on the shoulder of the #400, or the #69 or #115.  They kiss in the smoggy ravine and nothing of the rest of the weekend matters.

 “Hezbollah.” “Taliban.”  “Iraq.”  “Middle-East.”

Most of us hear these words on the car radio while we curse the madness of our stuckedness in traffic.

Meanwhile, although it is already Saturday “over there,” three Canadian citizens whose lives are so dearly connected with those above-mentioned words are travelling through a land that they once dreamed would be exotic, adventurous and meaningful.  Now they only wish that they could be going up to the cottage, the way they used to.  Then again, just before their lives are extinguished by an “I.E.D.,” they know in their hearts how much more human they have become since those carefree days.  They’ve felt more joy, or more love, or more pain, or more of any combination of those emotions, then they ever knew existed when they were looking up at the cottage stars, hoping for romance to shine down on them. Perhaps their last thoughts were of how wished they could let their loved ones know just how much life means.  That its not a poster.  Not a billboard.

A writer is writing into the dawn, wondering if he is revealing to the world that he is certifiable, when deep down he knows that he is writing only to himself, and it is only ego that leads him to believe that his words will change anything for the better.

Saturday Morning:  A new teenage mom who knows too much about the law, having looked forward to this moment all week, has finally got her sore ass out of her rust-bucket car seat. She savours the two-AM breeze on her cheek, the silence of her baby, and the memory of how her life came to be this way.  She is hit with the revelation that she is not a loser, but just somebody whose weaknesses caused her to realize that with this over-caffinated glory…she can begin to be strong, if only for the love of the life that she created out of fear.

Another much older mother’s sweet dream is turning into a waking nightmare. She’s alive with the romance of church bells…chirping birds…innocent summer days.  Her first conscious thought is of her hand holding a soft pillow.

…Not the strong hard torso of the young lover who conceived her son.

Then her heart explodes with the pain of knowing that it is only her doorbell ringing at five in the morning.  And it can only be, at that time of day, a uniform coming to tell her that the last person on earth who breathes life into her heart has been killed half a world away from her love. And still, even in her waking nightmare, birds chirp merrily away, just as they did in her dreams.

The sound of the burning “sizzle” rewards the Canuck at the end of the journey…Relaxes the beast into that five minutes of bliss wherein she/he succumbs to the erotic awareness that in just a few moments, succulent barbecued animal fat will grace the soul like no labelled, measured, drive-thru-because-I-need-to-before-I-die meal can ever hope to achieve.

For some of us, the moon holds new wonder. For us late-comers, it is the dawn.

A police officer, weeks away from his wedding to the girl of his dreams is called to a single-vehicle accident scene where he finds the strewn body parts of two young people who drove into the oblivion of lust and drugs. He thinks of how, just an hour ago, he was screaming at the woman he loves because she wanted to exclude his drunken cousin from the guest list.  Now that carnage could so easily be he and her, as he knows from the memories of their reckless love. It could so easily be her severed hand looking like a meaningless bit of garbage on the side of the road. 

“I don’t care about anything in this life, except to make you know how precious your love is to me.”  He recites this line over and over in his mind so that he won’t forget a word of it when he finally gets the chance to call her after his job here is done.

A grandmother who has wondered for so many years why God has kept her alive through all this suffering witnesses the “blacksheep” daughter that she had disowned so many years ago give birth to a granddaughter that she never imagined she’d have.  The tiny tear of wonder on her daughter’s cheek that catches the brilliance of dawn rays makes her feel ashamed that last night, having totally forgotten the history of her life, she was thrilled about her plan to learn how to use a microwave.

The call of loons breaks through the morning mist just after a fisherman casts his line into the sunlit water of his favourite cove.  He loves to be here.  Back home, where God rewards him with the peace of nature. 

After all of the meaningless measures are weighed, the beauty of God’s majesty rewards his love, as the silver sunlight on the rippling water gently shows him that he has caught a life beyond his dreams.

I’ll leave the rest of this weekend up to you, Dear Readers.  And I just hope we all make it a good one, no matter whether or not it fits our clichés.

Sincerely,

Ern

July 14, 2006

OH boy, I am so out of writing shape.  But I can’t let another week pass without ranting about something, lest I lose my soul to a downward spiral of partying. So what to complain about this week?  Well, one of you Dear readers taunted me with an e-mail concerning a right wing view of “gun-laws” by saying something like, “no need to respond, Ern, you’re hopeless on this one.”

I soooo wanted to re-visit the “gun” issue again! Your e-mail quoted an AP news report about how gun crimes in Florida and other states had gone down since gun laws were relaxed and it mentioned how Florida Governor Jeb Bush said that, in part, it had to do with law-abiding citizens being able to own guns (to defend themselves and scare bad guys enough to not try to use their own guns—at least that was the implication.) 

I soooo wanted to take the bait and reply that anybody named “Jeb” can’t be taken seriously, any more than anybody named “Ernie” can be.  And I wanted to mention that, as in Toronto, violent crime has dropped in Florida (and probably other Stares as well,) for the simple reason that the population of Florida has grown older.  And old people are simply less violent than young people.  But most of all, I sooo wanted to say that I agree.  Gun-laws, in the long term, are useless.  Because, as I mentioned in a previous rant, as long as guns exist, and Mr. or Mrs. Joe or Jane Q. Public can get a hold of them, legally or illegally, people will get killed by people who have them. We simply must eradicate guns from everywhere on earth aside from military armouries.  (And there too, when human evolution gets to that point.)

No guns means no need for gun laws.  The simple lack of the existence of the gun in the realm of public life equates to the only way in which to stop people from being killed by people with guns.

So the title of my rant tonight is “I sooooo wanted to take the bait and respond to that taunt, and write about “guns” once again.” But I won’t write about that.  Please, Dear Readers, forget everything you just read, because I’m really sick of talking about such an over-talked about issue.

Except for one thing…It may sound strange that I have such an “anti-gun” attitude, considering the fact that I have spent the last seven months attempting to become an officer in an infantry battalion of the Canadian Army.  (Definition of “Infantry”—to seek out and kill the enemy—[generally, with guns.]) So let me just clarify this point. If I am ever forced into a position where I must use a gun to kill somebody, I will at least have the comfort of knowing that tens of millions of my fellow Canadian citizens have debated, thought about, and carefully considered whether or not I should face down this person with my gun.  The collective soul of my entire country will have weighed the ethics of my predicament. And they will have carefully decided, via the disciplined avenue of governmental procedure, that I have no other choice than to kill this fellow human being who languishes in my gun-sight.  He will only have my cross-hairs lined up on his life because every other diplomatic effort to convince this precious person’s soul not to kill people has failed.  And so the only way to preserve humanity is for me to kill him.

All of this collective concentration of morality will be compressed into my trigger-finger--As opposed to my individual, undisciplined thought that might briefly, passionately, explode with a stupid anger that screams…”Oh this fracking A-hole has to go! Where the frack is my gun?”

But anyway…I’m not going to take the bait and talk about guns again.  I’ve bored too many of you Dear readers with my correct yet humble opinion about that.  Instead, tonight I’ll talk about Global Warming.  According to an “expert” I heard on the always supremely excellent “As it Happens,” we don’t need to worry about it anymore.  We don’t need to try to stop it.  Because it’s too late!  It’s here, it’s staying, and, because we didn’t address it years ago, there’s nothing we can do to reverse it. 

Cool, eh?  We can have our cake and eat it too!  Because this geological tragedy won’t affect us.  It won’t even affect our grandchildren!  As for our great-grand children?  Well that’s too much of an abstract concept for most of us to get emotional about.  In the meantime, we can pollute the Earth with utter abandon, because it’s too late to do anything about it anyway!

Which leads me to what I really want to rant about.  Which is the fact that since the average human lives for a millisecond in the great scale of time, we can’t grasp great concepts without scientific education.  We think of “zebra-mussels” as a passing inconvenience as opposed to a signal of a world of hate that brews in the future of our descendants. But, as the Canadian astronaut, Roberta Bondar just pointed out on “A.I.H.,” we don’t simply have to reach out into space because our planet is being destroyed by us, we have to reach out and explore the universe because our sun is half-way through its life span.  And when it explodes into a super-nova five billion years from now, we had better have used our knowledge to get the frack off this rock before it gets vaporized. 

Anyway…I spent so much time not telling you all that I wasn’t going to talk about what I didn’t want to talk about that I’m too exhausted to go further into what I did want to rant about--Our human short-sightedness.  So I hope you all have a great week complaining about gas prices and hoping that the weekend is sunny for the beach.  And I hope that deep deep down we all take a moment to look into the future and seriously ask ourselves…

“Am I doing right by my fellow man, and by the great green Earth that God gave us to live on, whereupon we might bask in so much comfort as to allow us the luxury to ask such questions?”

Sincerely,

Ern

 

June 24, 2006,

Last week I promised to respond to the Andy Rooney rant that I e-mailed to you all. This week I’ve changed my mind. I don’t care about that rant anymore since I’ve had a big week since then. I completed my last test,”the medical,” in my quest to become an officer in the Canadian Army. This past week I’ve peed in a cup, given away two vials of blood, had my chest x-rayed, touched my toes, pushed against hands, turned my head and coughed, listened to ringing tones in my ears and, among other strange acts, had electrodes taped on my hairy chest. But most importantly, I managed to allow my doctor to hear a smoke-free, wheeze-free pair of lungs.  It is important for the army to know that I won’t have a debilitating asthma attack in the heat of battle, so this was a huge obstacle for me to overcome.

All my tests are finally complete.  In a month or so, I will know if I “passed” this final one.

Aside from all that, I had a heavy workweek and a great play-day at an “amusement” park. All in all, so much has happened this week that I just can’t wrap my brain around any particular pattern of logical thought.

Twenty-five hours have passed since that last sentence.  This time yesterday morning I literally fell out of my chair because I had fallen asleep while trying to think of something to write about. (Not because I was drunk, but because I was working until three in the morning.) Tonight I worked ‘till four and now the birds are chirping.  And I still haven’t thought of anything to write about.  Because the title of tonight’s (really--this morning’s) rant is, its just all too much.

First, there is the sky.  I rode twenty-four stories up in the open air on an amusement park ride to see a panorama of the earth that was as awesome as was the thrill of dropping back down to earth in a second.  That evening, the sun set in spectacular fashion, painting a picture out of sunrays and clouds that created the illusion of an island of trees resting on a peaceful lake.  And I’m telling you, if you have ever looked out on a calm lake at an island in the early evening, and witnessed the reverse reflection of the trees shading the water, and the sunlight reflecting off the ripples, that is exactly what was painted in the sky over Durham Region at around nine pm this Thursday evening.

Second, there is all of what I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, having my body probed and tested, bled and interrogated.

And third, well, that’s too personal to share with the world, Dear Readers.  I hate to say that.  I feel caught between the rock and the hard place. Because to express myself in this regard, I would invade somebody else’s privacy.

And that leads me to a whole new train of thought.  Why do I write these rants, and then share them with you Dear Readers?  I wanted to write about something political or ideological this week. As in responding to Andy Rooney’s rant from last week.  I wanted to do that in order to entertain you.  To inspire debate. To get responses.  But that wasn’t in my heart.

So I guess I have to face the fact that I write these rants simply to express whatever I want to say.  Whatever I say here is raw, unedited, me. Selfish free thought, shared with all of you. And if I start worrying about whether or not I am writing something profound, or something that “makes you think” or that makes me sound smart, then I am robbing all of us of the truth. And the truth is that I come here to be myself. Because, as an old friend of mine once said, “How can I know what I think until I’ve said it?”

So why do I share these rants with the world?  Because I’m an egomaniac?  Maybe.  Or maybe I feel I’m at my best when I can communicate freely, and to bond with someone enough to understand that my opinions and yours aren’t the important things in life.  The important thing is that we are communicating.

So I wish you all a great first full week of summer. I wish that we all could lie on a beach or a chez lounge, next to somebody else, and spew out our thoughts and our “feelings.” Just because it reminds us of who we are.

June 9, 2006

So the world’s second most infamous terrorist is dead. Zarqawi is gone. And in other news, 17 Canadian citizens were thwarted from beheading our Prime Minister and blowing up buildings when they were arrested.  “Canadian terrorists.”  For foreign readers, or readers too young to remember the FLQ, let that bizarre phrase wash over your psyche…”Canadian Terrorists.”

Somewhere in here there must be a rant.

Of course, on a more mundane note, when Toronto’s transit workers staged a one-day wildcat strike, without warning and without their union’s consent, they were STILL PAID FOR THAT DAY!

Oh…and apparently, according to CBC’s “As it Happens,” (and the title of my rant tonight,) dolphins talk to each other by name…

“Hey, CHIK-CHO-P-GINZZZ, is the sun out top-side?”

“Shore is, GIK-BO-NIBB-MOFFooo! C’mon up and show your fins.  There’s some of those hot-legged tourists up here!” 

If dolphins call out to each other by name, the way we do, then do they also love and hate each other the way we do? If they do, how do they do it without having arms and hands to embrace each other…or to kill each other? 

Dolphins…Humans…Hmmm…Before I go on, let me assure you Dear Readers that I am not under the influence of any hallucinogenic drugs right now. (Just my usual ”rant rum.”)  I just feel like pushing the envelope of ”sense and sensibility” just to see what happens.

Let’s get back to humans.  I’m going to forget our home-grown Canadian terrorists for the moment since they were obviously a bunch of amateurs, both in skill and in ideology.  Their story only made it out of this country, all the way to the American CNN, because this was the first indication that the peace-keeping, “little-old-never-hurt-a-flea” Canada, could actually be hit by its own “9-11.”  And this is due to the fact that we Canadians took a stand by deciding not to send “peace-keepers” to bar the way between two warring idiots, (the way we normally have done since the end of the easy-to-know-the-bad-guy “World Wars.”)

This time around, our former Liberal Prime Minister declared to an enemy force that we are sending soldiers to hunt you down and kill you. And our current PM is upholding that declaration. So, naturally, some of us are going to be killed in retaliation. That’s the way it is. You kill us because you’re fracked. We kill you because you fracking guys killed us.  You kill us to even the score and on and on it goes.

Like the USA, we Canadians have declared war on an enemy, and we are acting accordingly. So, unlike dolphins, who only have flippers to flap at each other, we have sent people with four fingers and an opposing digit half way around the world to use those digits to fire deadly weapons at other people who have the same flexible appendages.

That’s it, folks.  That’s all that it comes down to.  Hmmm…

If we were all paraplegics, like dolphins, how would we fight wars?  If we all were grey, like them, how would we know friend from foe? If all our “territory” was just a shifting mass of water, how would we create borders? Would we even imagine such a concept as “yours and mine?” 

If we intelligent humans, like those intelligent dolphins, had only water and imagination in our universe, what would we do with our hatred for one and other?

This is simply food for thought, floating down into the fish tank. Thoughts from future 2nd Lieutenant Ernie Kosanyi, Service # F76 63…(classified) who has sworn to kill whatever enemies his government has ordered him to kill.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, imagining the freedom of knowing how easily it could be to restrain your hatred for your enemies because they have no more ability to hurt you than we have to hurt them.

Sincerely,

Ern

June 3, 2006

Hey Dear Readers, I apologize again this week for having an unexpected life last night.  Just got home now so I will quickly provide a rant based on an e-ail that I received this week.

The title of my rant tonight, Core Values, is my response to this e-mail.  Here below is the text of that e-mail, followed by my rant about it.

Not long ago our country, led by bad news, betrayed our soldiers. We lost political will and we lost the war. How quickly we forget.

For the last three months, Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell has probed the alleged killings of 24 unarmed civilians by U.S. Marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha on Nov. 19. He has focused on three areas: 1) the actions of the soldiers involved in the incident, 2) the accuracy of the information they communicated to their superiors, and 3) whether senior Marine commanders were derelict in monitoring their subordinates.

In light of the pending release of the investigation results, top military brass is preparing the public for bad news.

The leading U.S. General in Iraq, Army Gen. George Casey, announced Thursday morning that commanders will be required to conduct "core values training" of all coalition soldiers, focusing on moral standards on the battlefield.

We might think the bad news the Pentagon fears is the revelation of criminal battle rage of a group of men in uniform. Wrong. They are preparing the public for bad news reporting, the kind that leads public opinion to betray the very men and women who risk their lives for ours.

Bad news reporting is telling stories out of context and proportion. It is highlighting the exceptional, while ignoring the routine. It is sensationalizing the solemn and serious.

Another military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, explained the purpose of the new "ethics program" by saying, ”As military professionals, it is important that we take time to reflect on the values that separate us from our enemies."

I’ve got a feeling Gen. Chiarelli knows our soldiers need no such reminder. Every homicide bomber in an open market does the trick.

Perhaps he was speaking to the press for the sake of the press, offering them an ethics course, of sort, while camouflaging his suggestions behind humble admission of military fault. Here’s my translation of his politically correct public relations discourse:

"Don’t take the bait, mass media. The deplorable actions of a few men are not representative of our military. Our soldiers, in contrast to the enemy, know the difference between right and wrong. In fact, it’s part of their training.

Sometimes they mess up. That’s war. It’s never clean. It's always messy, and in the throes of passion the best and the worst of humanity come to light. When we make a decision to go to war, we decide something is so good and beautiful it is worth a hell of a lot of evil, including our own imperfect humanity. When our soldiers commit crimes on the battlefield, we punish them. Every time we do, you should thank God we live in a system where war crimes are recognized as reprehensible.

If you are going to drag into the public eye the irresponsible acts of a few, mustn't you also spend a proportional amount of time praising the heroism and self-sacrifice of the majority?"

The announcement of "ethics training" for our troops is not an admission of widespread problems. It is eating of humble pie as part of a strategy not to lose another war on the account of manipulated public opinion.

The press plays an important role in Iraq. We are to commend them for uncovering criminal behavior, even when it threatens morale. But we must also hold them to the same standard of professional ethics we require of our soldiers. That includes the simplest of principles like, "Don’t bash the innocent." Our good men and women in uniform will be forever grateful.

History shows we can handle a whole lot of bad news, but very little bad news reporting.

God bless, Father Jonathan”

My response to that e-mail…Sometimes they mess up. That’s war. It’s never clean. It's always messy, and in the throes of passion the best and the worst of humanity come to light. When we make a decision to go to war, we decide something is so good and beautiful it is worth a hell of a lot of evil, including our own imperfect humanity. When our soldiers commit crimes on the battlefield, we punish them. Every time we do, you should thank God we live in a system where war crimes are recognized as reprehensible."

 

Well, my Dear Friend...It is precisely the job of the mass media to "take the bait" when crimes like this are discovered.  Because they (the investigative journalists) did their job well, while putting themselves in harm's way to show the parents of your kids ALL of what goes on in their lives, as opposed to the simple "propaganda" line.  Thanks to technology, freedom, and the American way, your average parent can know in "real time" that Johnny, (or Jane,) while fighting to liberate a foreign country, got so pissed off at the fact that his/her best friend's head got blown off, that he took it upon himself to machine gun a few of their babies. And, because those journalists did their job so well, your president appeared on international "mass media" to acknowledge the fact that a few American soldiers might have committed an act of mass murder.  And, that if they did, they would be punished for it.

 

The "mass media," thanks to your country's desire for freedom of speech, allows every American to decide, in his own cynical, naive, misguided or studied opinion, to decide for him/herself, whether or not their kids or their mothers or their fathers should fight for their country.  If most of you say "yes," then the guy who agrees with you will be elected to be your president, thanks to the media that you free citizens decide to watch, read and listen to.

 

Because what makes America a great country is its democratic desire to allow any voice to be heard.  That is why news people can uncover and reveal a story even if it might make America look bad, because it shows the world that it won't stoop to the level of its enemies.  America won't tolerate its soldiers committing "...crimes on the battlefield."  And every time it happens, you should thank the mass media for discovering them and bringing them to the attention of the world, if only to give Americans a chance to say that "this is not America.  This is not how we operate. We are a country founded by people who had a burning desire to escape the oppression of judgment.  So those few Americans who might have acted on revenge will be punished if we find that that is what they did, though we will not judge them until a jury of their peers has heard all the facts."

 

Just as the following statement..."we decide something is so good and beautiful it is worth a hell of a lot of evil, including our own imperfect humanity." can be read and judged by any free citizen of this earth. Because a free country like yours can allow this statement to be spread around the world so that I, a free person,  born in a country with similar ideas, can say "No!  Nothing is so beautiful, or worth that much evil that I can forgive my imperfect humanity to degrade the value of the morality for which I fight to protect."

 

And, thanks to your nation's value of the freedom of speech, I, thanks to my own nation's same values, can answer to your author's quote... "Sometimes they mess up. That’s war. It’s never clean. It's always messy, and in the throes of passion the best and the worst of humanity come to light."

 

It is the precisely the task of the American media to show the American public that fact.  And if the majority of Americans feel that their country should allow some non-Americans to be murdered due to the "uncleanliness of war," then they will have come to that conclusion thanks to the American values of free speech that allows the newspeople to show them those facts.

 

The "mass media" has a collective American heart, (thanks to its never-ending pursuit of gaining popularity amongst the people--and their money--who's values rule its country, that makes America strong.) So, for every touch of hairspray that is shot on a handsome anchor's doo, and for every dollar of advertising that CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Michael Moore, and every other American media Mole receives, a skilled journalist (or a biased and unskilled journalist) is paid big bucks to uncover the truth (as he-she sees it) that the majority of Americans want to know.

 

I'm pretty confident in my opinion that the majority of Americans want to know that American troops take orders from their superiors without question.  They want to know that the tax dollars that they give to their government will go to prove, among other things, that American troops are disciplined warriors who won't let their emotions get the better of them, and cause them to mow down innocent civilians just because they have the strength to act on their primitive motive of revenge.

 

Because the majority of Americans will go to great, glitzy, profit-oriented lengths to prove that they are fair, thoughtful people, who are willing to admit that some of their own citizens can stoop to the levels of their enemy.  Thanks to the left wing CNN, the right wing FOX News, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, and all the other free capitalist voices that Americans pay money to listen to, all of those free, biased opinions are allowed to collide.  To create controversy and debate and campfire discussions amongst friends who can feel free to disagree without fear of one turning against the other. 

 

This freedom allows us to debate about a statement from this same freely distributed E-mail...

 

 "If you are going to drag into the public eye the irresponsible acts of a few, mustn't you also spend a proportional amount of time praising the heroism and self-sacrifice of the majority?" The announcement of "ethics training" for our troops is not an admission of widespread problems. It is eating of humble pie as part of a strategy not to lose another war on the account of manipulated public opinion..."

 

 

Thanks to the American philosophy of "freedom," there exists a nation that created "mass media" that allows three-hundred and some odd million of the most powerful people on earth to come together and say..."Although I could blow you off the face of this planet because you are wrong, (in my humble opinion), I won't."

 

"I won' t destroy you because my descendants came here to get away from the very same religions and politicians who had threatened to kill us for not thinking the way that they do. And we realize that fear is what motivated them to kill us. Not the few misguided souls in our camp that killed some of you.  Even though our descendant's enemies had power on their side, it was only the fear that we might be wrong, that we might not know all of the answers, that motivated you to kill us." 

 

"Ergo, even though we have the power now, we won't allow our fears to kill you, just in case we might be wrong. That's what makes us proud and free.  And any other way is just downright un-American."

 

I hope you all have a great week ahead, and don’t do anything that your enemies would do.

Ern

 

May 27, 2006

Hey Dear Readers, my rant was all messed up last tonight because of a three hour phone-call.  After the call, and after I had written a brilliant page of brilliant thoughts, (in my humble, yet correct opinion,) I accidentally erased tonight’s rant. So now I have to start from scratch!

I’ll get back to you before the end of the weekend. Let me just say that my rant will be about how I passed my third test to join the 48th Highlanders.  And if any of you want a favour, well, just call me.

Ern

Okay…May 28, 2006…”If any of you want a favour?”  What the frack was that all about?  Oh yeah…After I pass the “Medical”—the last test—on June 15th, my new boss will be the Queen of England. So if any of you need anything, call me.  I’ll call Her Majesty.  Maybe her and I will do lunch at the old Windsor shack to discuss your needs.  Apparently she pulls a little weight in this world.

Now, my third test was “The interview.”  Before I get into it, let me title my rant tonight, Tidbits of Canadian Military History.  Anyway, after an hour of questioning by a Canadian Army officer, I was deemed to be “suitable officer material.”  This was the first test that I passed with ease, though not without a few errors.  And, although he did say that the paper questions that I answered were covered by the “Privacy Act,” this officer never told me that this interview (unlike the “Aptitude test) was classified.  So I’m free to tell You Dear Readers some details.  I’ll try not to bore you with all the boring stuff.  But I hope you are entertained by two questions that I failed to answer correctly.

The first question was “What is the role of the infantry?”  I hadn’t anticipated this question.  So I answered with a long-winded explanation based on everything I had read about, seen in movies, and, most recently, in the news, as I recalled how the “48th” was called upon to shovel Toronto out of a blanket of snow a few years ago. (much to the embarrassment of our mayor and Torontonians—who were laughed at for calling in the army to deal with a bad snowfall!)

And this officer replied with the correct answer in a soft pleasant voice, just as your family doctor would describe how an antibiotic works to your toddler, “The role of the infantry is simply to attack and kill the enemy.” (I guess that means—even if the enemy is snow.)

The second question was “In order of importance, how would these three rate? Your subordinates. (the people under my command,) The mission. And yourself?”  Well, I knew my own personal safety rated last. But I wasn’t sure about the other two. “The mission” of course, is our purpose for being there.  On the other hand, my troops are fathers and mothers and I’ve seen and read about (and written about) so many times in history where generals sitting in easy-chairs have passed ridiculous orders to officers to charge objectives that were impossible to take under the circumstances at the time.  “Gallipoli” for example. But no.  I was wrong.  My subordinates  are subordinate to the mission. “The mission” is more important than the troops under my command. It is the most important of those three aspects of a combat unit.

But of course, when you think about it, it makes sense.  Since all of us who join up do so with the understanding that we are willing to risk our lives for the goals of our country, it will be understandable to my troops that I should order them to perform a task that might cause their death. I witnessed an example of this many years ago at a local airshow.  I asked a Canadian Fighter pilot, who flew an obsolete F-5, “If you were ordered into combat against three Mig-29’s (Russia’s most modern fighter aircraft,) what would you do?” 

He replied, “I would execute my mission.”  His answer was absolutely self confident, even though he knew that such an order would almost surely result in his own destruction and probable death. 

On such a high with the inspiration of my question, and the candour of the answer that I received, I went on to another site, to ask an even bolder question.  I came across an American F-117 Stealth fighter sitting on the tarmac.  This thing, with its radar-defying sharp angles and matt-black radar-absorbing paint, looks like something out of a Star Wars movie.  The aircraft was ultra-secret (back in the early nineties) and roped off like a Ferrari at an auto show where the floor was shared with Chevies and Fords.  A really mean looking U.S. soldier who was armed with an M-16 machine gun slung around his shoulder guarded it.

I asked him, “If I were to jump this rope and run toward that plane, would you actually shoot me dead?”  He looked at me with a playful smile the way omnipotent Americans can do and said something like, “I guess you’d have to hop over to find out.” I chuckled with a nervous display of bravado, knowing that he was saying, with confident, pleasant American diplomacy…”Yes I would.”

But I digress.  In the end, my “interviewer” had one criticism of my hour-long interview.  I need to do more research about what an officer candidate should know about the Canadian military.  I think this was because of two factors.  First of all, I’m an “artsy” who may have confused him by talking about “writing’ and “stage-plays” to use as examples to demonstrate why I should be thought of as a warrior. And second, I didn’t research for this interview because I’ve read, watched and thought so much about military life for so much of my life that I stupidly believed that I already knew all that I need to know.  And he was justified in his criticism, because I don’t know much about what I will need to know about in terms of my basic training, my officer training, or my requirements as an officer in the Canadian Army.

For example, I still haven’t memorized my “Service number.” Except that it begins with an “F.” As in, “now you are totally Fracked.”

I just relied on the things I know about the Canadian Military.  For example…

1:  I will start my career with the rank of Second Lieutenant. “Loo-tenant” in the Canadian army (and all “British Commonwealth” armies) is pronounced, “Lef-Tenant.”

2:  The Canadian forces proved their mettle, and their value at the battle of Vimy Ridge (which the 48th Highlanders fought in,) during the First World War. This was a huge and decisive battle for the allied forces.  “Vimy” was a “Ridge” of high ground, strategically important for its “high” observation points. Staunchly defended by its German occupiers, this Ridge proved to be too heavily defended for a huge British force to take. The same defeat was suffered by a similar French army. Finally the task of taking the ridge was given to the Canadian Army.  Nobody expected the much-smaller Canadian army to succeed in taking this objective. Because her army had never been tested in such a way before. Hell, the entire country was only fifty years old at the time. Its military commanders were fresh out of either the bush, cutting trees, or out of the business world.

But those Canadian officers lobbied hard for the chance to give Vimy Ridge their best shot, until they won their case. When they finally won it, they studied it. They looked at why previous armies failed and, with ingenuity and careful study, planned a whole new method of attack that reflected a new country’s approach to overcoming an obstacle.  Those officers didn’t elect to “rush the hill.” The way previous armies did.  First they studied it.  Then they scared its defenders by sending small teams of armed reconnaissance to both learn about its defenders, and scare them into a lack of confidence by showing those defenders how they could be killed in daring midnight forays.  And with the intelligence that those “recon” teams provided, the officers devised plans of attack that were realistic, based on the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. And those same officers offered some entirely new tactics to warfare probably because they were new to the game and therefore had no idea that they were supposed to not have any idea what they were doing.

So they came up with the idea of “synchronizing watches,’ which has now become a cliché in war movies.  They instructed the big guns of the artillery to match the advance of the infantry that would make the attack. (The Canadian artillery barrage of that battle was the most explosive, intense firing of large calibre projectiles in the history of warfare at that time,).  That way, the infantry would advance on the ridge just behind the covering fire of the big artillery shells that would blow the earth into the air just ahead of them.

And, probably unlike any other example in the history of warfare, the commanders made their officers aware of every aspect of the plan.  They instructed those officers to make their soldiers aware of the plan.  That way everybody from Generals to grunts would have a unity of purpose and a trust in each other.  The foot soldier knew that he was an important part of an historical event, and not simply “cannon fodder” which fuelled his morale and gave him fighting spirit.  But more importantly, a young private could take charge and execute the mission in the event that his superior officer was killed.  Because he knew what the generals knew.  

You know what…I’m cutting off this rant early. I could go on for pages.  But suffice to say that the Canadian Army took Vimy, and revolutionized the techniques of combat at the same time. 

So this is it, because I really want to post it tonight rather than risk losing you Dear Readers because of my lack of discipline. I hope you all have a great week, working and playing hard and furious.  Accomplish a mission, and reap its rewards.

Ern

 

May 19, 2006

I should probably record this date on my calendar.  And some of you right-wingers might want to record this date as well, in case you might want to use this day against me at some future point when I’m sounding like a “Commie-Pinko.”  Because on this day (the title of my rant tonight) I find myself in agreement with George W. Bush.

That’s right folks. G.W.B. has admitted on CNN that illegal immigration is a fact.  And that that fact is a fact that aids America.

Illegal immigrants from Mexico risk their lives to sneak through the desert in the middle of the night in order to work hard days for below minimum wage in order to follow their dreams of a better life.  They fight their way to get their, just as the founders of that great nation fought to get there for the same reasons.  The basic human instinct that drives people to get to America (or Canada, or any number of great countries like ours) is the simple hope for a better life.  In return, America’s economy benefits from the flood of low-paid “under-the-table” labour.

My own father was an illegal immigrant. (Actually he was an illegal “emigrant.” Then he was a legal immigrant.  And then…Well, the rest of the story is classified!)    And if he didn’t risk his life in so many ways, back before the Hungarian Revolution, in order to find a country that rewarded ambition, I wouldn’t be here today, writing these words.  And a major world corporation wouldn’t be as profitable today if it wasn’t for the company that he founded along with his Canadian partner so many years ago.

So here is my spin on immigration.  Immigration is “Darwinian.”  Darwin’s theory that proposes that the strongest species survive applies to nations as well as species.  The inhabitants of weaker nations naturally flock to the stronger ones.  The only fly-in-the-ointment of this perfectly natural evolution is ego.  Because the collective minds of the “stronger” nations naturally feel that they have the key to success.  Therefore, immigrants from the poorer nations must therefore be of inferior quality. So the strong “1st World” always guards itself from allowing two much of the weaker “3rd World” from crossing its borders.

And yet, as so many Commie-Pinko-Rock-Stars and professors have said with their hippy, drug-induced wisdom, we are “One world.  One People.”  We are a “global village” of religions, ideologies, races, colours, sexes and sexual preferences.  So sooner or later evolution will prevail, and there will be no borders.  No political borders of any kind, in any of the categories that I just mentioned, as well as all of those that I haven’t even thought of.  Sooner or later, we humans will all live hand-in-hand, while respecting our different individualities, or we will die out as one single race, by failing in our attempt to reach that goal. 

Either the “id” will save us, or the “ego” will destroy us.

If we live long enough to see the day, our descendants will read about the extinct words “immigration” and “border” in their history lessons.  And if they don’t, they will never exist.  Because this planet will be rid of us long before they would have been born from a love that is free of the fear and hatred that is born of ego.

Just to bookend this rant with another American President from back in the early nineteen sixties (just before I was born)…and I’m going from the memory of J.F.K.’s perfect German…

”Ein ich bin Berliner.”

(Students of history…or German speakers, please feel free to correct any spelling mistakes here.)

I hope that I practice what I preach this week.  And that you all join me by looking out at what God’s great green earth wants to give us if only we don’t ask for what we want to get from it.

Ern

P.S. I’d like to thank “Fawzi” for inspiring this rant tonight, for what he had to go through today, just to make an honest dime!

P.S. Again. Speaking of Darwin, remember all the millions of soldiers that saved this world from Nazi Dictatorship.  The strongest survived.  The strongest also died so that we might live today.  And so many of those strong soldiers smoked that cigarettes were naturally included in their “rations.”  Food. Alcohol. Tobacco.  These were natural commodities that were absolute necessities to the warriors who insured our freedom.  These three “food groups” were the fuel of the strong and the brave.  So any of you out there who are letting yourselves believe that you are weak to give up the tobacco part of the equation, please don’t be a quitter, like me.  Don’t feel that you are being “weak” or “being a pussy” by inhaling that rush of inspiration.

You are the last of the true warriors!

May 12, 2006

Top’O the mornin’ to you Dear Readers!  I’m cheating a little tonight because I actually wrote this rant days ago, in response to one of your e-mails.  By the time I had finished my reply, I realized that I had written my Friday Night Rant.  Before I go on, however, let me also mention that I have another Guest Rant.  And yes it is the “Part Two,” of last week’s Guest Rant.  You will find it directly beneath my own.  Now, I don’t want to overwhelm you Dear Readers, by making you feel obliged to read “multiple rants,” or cause you to become all confused and disoriented.  Nor do I want to lose my own readers by causing some of you to pick and choose which rant you’ll read, for I must face the fact that some of you might choose “the other one,” rather than getting bleary-eyed by reading both.

But what the hell…It’s my site and so at least my rant will always appear first!  Ha-ha-ha!

So anyway, getting back to my rant.  As I mentioned, it is a direct reply to an e-mail that I received.  It asked me to boycott a particular Canadian “Gas Station” in order to force this oil company to smarten up and lower it’s gas prices.  I don’t know if this happens in the USA and other countries.  But I have received similar Emails over the years.  They used to ask us to boycott by refusing to buy gas from any gas station on a given day, based on the idea that the oil companies would, without warning, suffer a one-day loss in the billions of dollars.  And I went along with it one or twice, only to get pissed off every time I passed a gas station on that day to find it full of “gas shoppers” who refused to join the protest!

And now this new idea comes along.  Simply boycott one particular company for as long as it takes.  With all due respect to the Dear Reader who sent me the missile that inspired my ramblings, the title of my rant tonight is…JUST BUY LESS FRACKING APPLES!

So here is my reply to the Email that begged me not to buy gas from this particular company…

“…Unfortunately, I must say that this can't work.  If we all choose to buy our gas from other companies, we will simply make those companies richer, and the other companies poorer.  The best we could accomplish is to start a price war that might last for a few days until all the companies realize that we are all still buying the same amount of gas.  As long as we drive our cars, and live our lives the way we do, the average price of a litre of gas, worldwide, is going to hover around a buck and a quarter a litre for now.  As we drive more, we will pay more.  The oil execs know this.  And I'm sure that they laugh at these e-mail protests. Imagine if  (name of company deleted) suddenly panicked, and lowered their prices to sixty cent's a litre?  While (name of other company deleted…based on my imaginary lawyer’s advice…although it rhymes…coincidentally, with “Hell”) stayed at a dollar?  The price of a barrel of oil wouldn't change.  Because those who know how the world works would know that people will still drive to work everyday. And those people will have other people deliver their mail and their courier packages and their pizzas.  So (the company whose name rhymes with “retro”) would learn within a matter of days that while line-ups at their gas stations went out onto the road with people buying their "below-cost" gas, all the workers at (that other company) could shut down their operations, reduce their energy consumption (and other costs) to zero, and go play golf for as long as it took for their competitor to either see the light or go bankrupt. 

 

They know that this rock has a finite amount of non-renewable energy, and that the more of it that we use up, and the closer we come to finishing it off, the higher they will be able to charge us for giving us the last of it.

 

Let me make an analogy.  Let's say that oil is...oh...say…apples.  And that (“Retro”) is the "apple farmer."  But let us understand that oil, unlike apples, can't be "re-grown" every year. So this "apple farmer" understands that he, and all of the other apple farmers, have so many apples on the farm.  And when they are gone, they are gone forever. 

 

Now, this apple farmer has two very simple choices. 

 

1: He can charge a "fair-market value," for his apples.  In other words, he can take his cost of growing his oil-apples, measure that against what he believes that people will pay for those apples today, based on customer demand, and then make a profit based on the difference.  Or...

 

2:  He can look to the future. By that I mean this.  He knows that there are are one hundred billion, three-hundred and twenty seven million, five-hundred and sixty-seven thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight apples remaining in his crop.  And once they are gone, they are gone forever. And all his competitors also have a finite number of apples.  Whether they have more or less than him makes little difference, considering that one day, in the foreseeable future of his grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, that no apples will be left anywhere in the world.

 

Now, today, he knows that so many millions of consumers need to buy his apples to "keep the dentist away."  However, he also knows that we will not be willing to give up any less apples tomorrow than we will eat today.  And tomorrow, there will be that many more consumers, needing that many fewer apples left in his crop.  And the price for his apples will rise accordingly.

 

So why shouldn't that farmer get rich now?  If he knows that we consumers will eventually be willing to pay the price for those last few apples, why wait for his descendants to get rich?  As long as we don't change our minds about what we need, those who provide it will know what we will pay to get it.  Why not makes us pay for it now?  Because we'll have to pay that price sooner or later, right?

 

How much will the world's last apple be worth?  When will that last apple be picked?  When it comes to oil, we all know that that last drop will someday drip.  And how much will that last drop be worth to somebody who needs it to fill up to get to work?  If you owned that last drop, and you knew it, what would stop you from charging that price right now?

 

It certainly isn't all the other guys that own those last drops, because they all know what you know. 

 

The only thing that prevents all the oil tycoons from charging the true value of the last drop of future oil in today's world is the fear of us consumers not realizing how much that that drop is really worth, based on how much we are consuming, versus just how much this rock that we call Earth, has left to give.

 

So all we need to do to reduce the price of a tank of gas is to decide that we don't need that tank of gas. Buy less gas!  Not from anybody in particular, or on any given day.  Simply use less gas. .  Its economics one-o-one! The less of it that we use up, the less it will cost! 

 

How much will those apples be worth if they're rotting away because nobody's buying them?

 

Now the last thing I want to do is to inspire debates about "SUV's" versus "compact" cars. Or taxes on gas, or tariffs on "softwood" lumber, for that matter. Because all those issues are short-sighted arguments that side-step the simple fact that this planet only has so much to give.  And, along that same vein,  I realize that oil prices fluctuate based on the world’s political stability.  But even if the “Middle East” became “Paradise” and the oil fields of Russia and South America became just as stable, the inevitable fact would only be postponed.  (God I wish I could go for a smoke right now…Oops! Was that out loud?)

 

That fact is that sooner or later there just won’t be any more oil. And the faster we use it up, like any commodity, the more we will have to pay to buy it.  And the more of it that we buy today, the more we will pay for it tomorrow, and the more our children will pay for it in the future. 

 

Moving currents of air and water, rays of sunlight, (and some vegetable crops that also provide mechanical energy,) are the only sources of renewable energy that we humans have to rely on with any permanence to fuel our society, just as we rely on crops and domesticated animals to fuel our bodies.  So the sooner we learn to shift our ways of thinking about how we can work with these energy sources, the sooner we will learn to stop whining about energy prices. (And I’ll just add that if we conserve long enough, maybe the human race will survive long enough to gain the intelligence required to discover the secret of “perpetual energy!”)

 

It's just that simple…”

 

I hope that I and all of you Dear Readers conserve your energy this week.  Purchase what you need.  Live the way you need to.  Smoke less.  Drink less.  Eat less.  Want less.  Experience more health, physical spiritual and mental. 

 

But still…if I don’t talk to you before then…Have a great, safe, fun, “May Two-Four!”  And remember that old saying, “everything in moderation…including moderation!”

 

Ern

 

 

And now, my Guest’s Rant…Apologies to my Guest for any formatting errors, as this author uses a different system than mine…One which happens to rhyme with

“tac.” Because, as I stated in a previous rant about my “rules” for a guest rant, your rants are posted here completely “unedited.”  Oh…But speaking of rules…One thing that has come to my attention is that you Dear Readers should know that I forward your comments about my “Guest Rant” to the “Guest Author,” unedited, just as if you are replying to my own rant.  The only difference is that I will not forward a reply that resorts to “name calling.”  I will also not forward “replies” if the “guest author” specifically asks me not to.  (So far, this has not occurred.  But if it does, I will let you Dear Readers know that your replies have not been forwarded for that reason.) Also, both guest rants and guest replies will always be posted/forwarded anonymously.

 

I don’t want to get “political” here, except to say that I won’t make judgments on whether or not a guest rant should be posted based on my own beliefs, nor will I refuse to forward a reply to that rant for the same reason.  In either case, anything goes aside from outright hateful comments toward any person, race, religion etc. Because despite all my rules, as I say on my homepage, all that I really want is for all of you to feel free to “consider this site as your home to say whatever, whenever, and however.”

 

So here it is…My guest rant…

 

“TRUTH‹Like Dogma, Always a Purebred
(Mantra for those contemplating Holy War)

Can there be more than one truth or is truth an absolute? Don¹t ask a lawyer.

It would be nice if all things were simple, but they are often not so accommodating. Truth is a good example. In a court of law does truth reign supreme? Is justice a right of law or simply another commodity you buy by the pound?

The world of religion is the same thing. Shopping for truth starts here. Truth actually has a catalogue. You can choose your truth from many varieties of dogma each just as ardent as the other. The first things we notice are the differences. God says this over here. God says that over there. Do this, but not that‹do that, but not this. And on and on it goes. Sound confusing? Well it would be, if it weren¹t for that miracle ingredient‹indoctrination.

Without added indoctrination religion would be a poor product indeed. The only way to recognize absolute truth is to be born into it.

If you¹ve been paying attention so far, you should notice an obvious catch. No one has any control over where they are born . . . although royalty always pat themselves on the back for getting that one right. But if you¹re not royalty, this kinda makes truth something of a crapshoot. Well not to worry, indoctrination takes care of it.

The great thing about indoctrinated truth is that it is always the right truth‹pure and unsullied by doubt. Asking the occasional question is only okay if you ask the right person. Your religious leader is the best person to ask, because he has the right answers. (Notice I said Œhe¹ and not Œshe¹.)

Always beware of parents. They often don¹t have the necessary knowledge to answer questions properly. Many a young person has Œlost their way¹ through inadequate explanations by parents who don¹t fully understand real truth, despite being born into it themselves. If you want to know why this TV is better than all the other TVs, do you ask your parents or the man who sells the TV?

Actually, it¹s probably best not to think about truth at all. The godless are everywhere and sometimes masquerade as purveyors of truth. You can always talk directly to God, of course, but this tends to be a one-way line. People who say they get a direct reply are generally regarded with suspicion. There¹s no doubt about it‹being a keeper of real truth is an awesome and daunting responsibility.

Ever seen a military boot camp? Indoctrinated truth is like basic training for the soul. Infidels are all those poor misguided fools who were born into the wrong truth‹the enemy.

So what about all those infidels? Do you have a responsibility here too? Do you try to convert them to the real truth, or just say ³To hell with them² and kill them all? Religion has never been a popularity contest. It is not incumbent upon you to be nice to all those wrong-thinking fools. You might give them a chance out of charity, but if they doggedly persist in their misconceptions, let them suffer the consequences. When the time is right, you¹ll know what to do. Holy war is not a new concept. After all, they are going to hell anyway.

In the final analysis you are the lucky one. Despite the minefield of wrong truths out there, you happened to be born into the only real truth. Amazing odds when you think about it.
Be sure to thank God every day. There¹s nothing worse than some ungrateful member of your religion who simply does not appreciate the fabulous gift of real truth. Chide them. Set them back on the right path. Once they see how right and righteous you are, they¹ll be on their knees quicker than you can say ³reaffirmation².

Oh, yes, I almost forgot . . . Tolerance. Don¹t worry about it. Only wrong-headed infidels bother with this nonsense.


END OF PART TWO”

 

May 13, 2006

Why do people sleep if they don’t smoke? As far as I can tell, based on what my body tells me, there is no need to waste a third of our lives “rejuvenating” ourselves except to rid our lungs of smoke.  Since I quit, my average sleep begins as the sun rises.  So I don’t want to waste this sunrise on sleeping.  And I promise not to wash my car either.  Because not washing my car prevents the rain from falling.  You don’t believe me? See how hard the sky ties to rain this weekend, here in Upper North America, where my car resides.  Sure, it’ll be cloudy.  Might even spit a few tear drops when it can hide at night.  But as long as I don’t wash my car, the catastrophic rains won’t happen, as the forecasters predict they will.  Just as if I don’t smoke, I know that my soul won’t crave sleep. 

So, rather than waste this full moon, I have decided to forego sleep, and subject you Dear Readers to another rant, based on a news item I watched this Saturday morning.

Simply titled…”Oh Yeah, and Another thing!” 

The Canadian Military has deployed thousands of troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.  As well as a few more to serve in Iraq.  Though that is not official and will be denied by our government.  But the story is this.  Somebody out there has decided to let some pastor send our troops a survival guide to train them how be faithful to their wives, girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands back home.  It trains our troops how to “avert their eyes” when interacting with attractive “opposite sex” troops or local civilians. How to reject lust and so on and so forth.  Well to that, all I have to say is this…

If I have to rely on a spiritual “kit” to remain faithful, just as I have to rely on my weapons kit to stay above ground, then I have already proven to myself that I am unfaithful by the need for such a crutch.  If my love for somebody is so weak that I need to be “trained” how to maintain it, I have already lost it, and probably never had it in the first place.   And if the one that I love is tempted by somebody “back home?” Well I’ll be thankful if she gives in to the temptation of the truth, without being given the luxury of a military “kit” in order to convince herself to be faithful to me.  Because we will both be better off if we are aware of the truth of our partnership, for better or worse, no matter how painful that truth might be. Because the worst thing that truth can do to you, is to set you free.

 

May 5, 2000 and fracking 6!

Stay tuned for a guest rant tonight.  In the meantime, my own rant is going to be straight to the fracking point. 

WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BE A QUITTER!  Now I know that some of you Dear Readers are “quitters.”  Some of you have congratulated me for joining your club since last Friday.  You’ve told me how great it is to be a quitter.  Well, I have yet to be convinced.  Because so far, I’ve found that being a quitter, really fracking sucks!

People say they quit so that they’ll live longer.  Well guess what?  The oldest woman to ever live, at a documented 122 years of age, didn’t become a quitter until she was over a hundred! (Or somewhere around there.)

And how about John Wayne.  The Duke! He was never a quitter! No way.  He lived life to the fullest.  The ultimate Western MAN.  He didn’t just smoke a wimpy pack a day.  Not even two packs.  According to “Biography,” he smoked A CARTON A DAY.  And he survived lung cancer, only to die, years later, of stomach cancer! How’s that for irony?  I bet he got this second cancer from worrying about how he got his first cancer from smoking! I’ll bet that if he was resurrected today, the first thing he’d say is…”Hey Pilgrim, you got a cigarette?”

So what are the benefits of being a quitter?  Well sure, the morning hacking cough goes away.  You feel the health returning to your body.  Your sense of smell returns.  But this only allows you to smell the sweet scent of “eau de ceegarette” on the breath or clothes of a “non-quitter.”  I was going to say that you spend less money.  But in reality, you don’t.  Because you buy more food, or more booze, or more comfort stuff to compensate for the lack of that sweet addiction.  And smart “non-quitters” know how to finance their addiction for a quarter of the cost that they are supposed to pay in the 1st place!  In other words, the average smart “non-quitter” can pay as much for a carton of cigarettes (in this country) that will last them a week and a half, as they would if they purchased three high-cholesterol, artery-clogging meals, at the Macdonald’s “Drive-Thru.”  Meals that they wouldn’t have purchased if they knew that they could just light up a smoke!  So they probably save money by smoking! Oh.  I just realized that this paragraph was supposed to be about the benefits of being a quitter.  All I could come up with was the health issue.  And even that got ruined.

But even if you resist the high-fat food temptation, what is the benefit of physical health if you are an emotional train wreck?

Oh, I could go on and on.  But I think I will just leave it at this.  If you are ashamed of the fact that you are living your life filled with smoke and inspiration, feeling guilty because you could be so much “healthier” if you didn’t smoke…

DON’T GIVE IN! NEVER BE A QUITTER LIKE ME!  AND DON’T LET ALL THOSE OTHER QUITTERS CONVINCE YOU THAT LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER AS A QUITTER.  BECAUSE IT ISN’T!  IT SUCKS. AND I HATE IT.  I HATE IT WITH A DEEP AND BITTER HATRED. AND YOU WILL TO.

I’m a quitter. And, as so many say so often, the world hates a quitter. 

Please understand that I understand that all of you quitters, and non-starters, who have wished me well, wished me strength and all,,.mean well.  And I appreciate all your misguided blessings.  Because some part of me must believe that you have a good point, somewhere, otherwise, I wouldn’t continue to be a quitter.

However…

If you never started, congratulations.  That’s the best way to live your life.  But if you did start…DON’T EVER STOP!  I know some of you Dear Readers haven’t fallen down the path that I have. And ”THIS NOTE’S FOR YOU!”

Now, getting back to the top of my rant…Last week I received many inspired replies to my “finding faith in God” rant.  I thank you for all of your thoughts.  One of you supplied a rant of your own that you invited me to post here.   Any of you readers who wish to comment on this rant are welcome to Email me.  I will pass along your replies, un-edited, to this author.

MY GUEST RANT…

The Physical God

 

(Or an explanation why God should not exist beyond a concept)

 

If there is no limit to how big something can be, then why should there be a limit to how far we can travel?

 

The problem here is our compulsion to measure and compare things . . . this is bigger than that, but that is smaller than this . . . and so on. It’s all about comparisons.

 

On earth it is impossible to achieve several things. A perfect vacuum is one example (not the thing you clean carpets with, Hoover knows you can). Another is perpetual motion. Gravity will cause decay and eventually arrest all motion within its influence.

 

Sure, we can convert matter into energy (fuel a fire, generate electricity from water motion) but the result is always finite. Stuff wears out.. Fuel gets used up. We get used up.

 

Now let us suppose we have somehow reached the edge of the universe. We are moving away from the Big Bang and all it contains. We are moving into a perfect vacuum, devoid of light, energy fields, matter. Whatever velocity we have when we enter infinity should be the same for all time—true perpetual motion—because within a perfect vacuum there is absolute nothingness. Nothing to interfere with our progress or slow our speed. Have we achieved immortality?

 

But here’s the tricky issue: progress implies measurement. Travel is time over distance. In an absolute vacuum, how far is it from here to there. when there is no ‘there’ to be a distance from? Without reference it becomes immeasurable. Moving at a gazzilion miles-per-hour or standing perfectly still, it’s all the same thing. Time also becomes meaningless. We become immortal in infinity because to be there we violate the very term itself. Our very presence upsets the concept of a perfect vacuum. Could this be that place known as heaven?

 

If God rules the entire universe, it is reasonable to assume God is situated somewhere were it is possible to keep a god’s eye on the whole mess. This implies that God is out ‘there’ in the vacuum of infinity. Oops, you see the problem. If God is in infinity then it is no longer a perfect vacuum. God violates the concept the same as we would if we were able to go there.

 

Here’s the tough part about absolutes. Whatever fantasies our minds can conger, be they gods, spirits, devils and the like, we cannot get our minds around the concept of infinity even though we have been clever enough to give it a name. God is easy to invent compared to nothingness. So most of the time we choose God instead. God brings meaning to absolute nothingness—to so called oblivion. We choose ‘something’ over nothing, because ‘something’ always seems to make more sense.

 

This is because we are finite creatures saddled with intellect. (A cabbage is not troubled by this. They don’t kill each other over a difference of opinion). Our inevitable mortality forces us to want immortality, however irrational that might be. As a species, we are compelled to invent super gods who preside over a place of immortality and perpetual motion. In other words—a perfect vacuum that we may enter with the right credentials.

 

As everyone knows, nothing can exist in a perfect vacuum. It’s a contradiction in terms.

Attempting to relate God to physical matter is a lost cause from the start, but insistent religions never give up on this hypothesis. Not content to let God simply reside inside their heads, they doggedly insist God is a real person hanging around the blackness of infinity like the night watchman of creation. For Christians it gets even more complicated. God is now a family affair, with Jesus at his side . . . oh, and let’s not forget all the good people who have gained salvation. A massive crowd of immortal souls dangling in infinity forever.

 

Granted, when humans internalize God it can have a beneficial, even therapeutic result. Most of the problems start when fiction and physics become confused. Giving God a physical persona and insisting religion is a history lesson are bound to cause violent conflicts. But mere conceptual gods are often not good enough for the fanatically religious. Many religions teach that humans are creatures moulded in God’s image. Literally taken, that means God not only consists of living cells, but has gender, physical size, a face, hands . . . and, as some Reformation painters like to suggest in their art, clothing made of God knows what. Where does God shop, or did he create the cloth himself with the magical snap of a finger?

 

It becomes evident that attaching physical reality to God then equating the resulting conflict with common sense is a non-starter—but where did it go off the rails?

 

Go back as far as you can and you see the same problem recurring throughout history. Isolated tribes invariably came up with some sort of religion, often based on tangible objects like celestial bodies, carved idols, animals, trees, even insects. Physical things, easily related to their surroundings. A simple idea for simple folk. No two groups were ever the same. The invisible, omnipresent big God theory did not emerge until people lost their isolation and began to travel and migrate. Suddenly there was a need for a better god than a tree or a holy cow. Something that could be everywhere at once at all times. Dogma was born. If you support a super god who’s laws apply to everything and everyone, irrespective of boundaries, it makes you the master race—superior. Unfortunately this often meant killing those that did not agree. Those simple, idol-loving heretics either capitulated or died.

 

It became painfully evident the only defence was a super God of one’s own. Why be God disadvantaged?

 

Problem: a big God requires a big religious machine to support it, and that means masses of devout followers. This could not happen overnight, so the writing was squarely on the wall for small, unsophisticated religions. It was join or die. Invariably the ‘big godders’ were in command of the day’s weapons technology and would use it at each available opportunity. Huge, organized religions were the result, as intimidated converts flocked on board. (Toady’s multinational corporations that worship money are modelled on this.)

 

These religious power centres craved legitimacy at all cost. To suggest that their big God machine was nothing more than a state of mind became the ultimate heresy. God was real. The scriptures were true accounts of actual historical events. Salvation came with a money back guarantee.

 

Inevitably the fly in the ointment was science. It relentlessly plodded onward, oblivious to the havoc it would wreak upon established big God lore. Driven by insatiable curiosity, scientists began to shred every page of religious fact with impunity. Science had one huge advantage—provability. Unless a scientific fact could be repeated over and over at will, it remained a theory, nothing more. A Paradox began to emerge. Former devotees of the ‘physical God’ camp started to interpret religion. They wriggled and squirmed, trying in vain to make it all fit together—a grand unified universe were science and religion could find a common basis for existence. Inevitably it all ended up right where it began. There simply was no fit.

 

The one recourse was a return to blind faith. Big godders had tried unity with science and found their fragile logic a house of cards. Religion now relied solely on indoctrination at birth. At least here it still held the high ground. Brainwashing the innocent into the ludicrous world of blind faith was still effective. Meantime real power had passed from birthright warlords to politicians, a strange breed of creatures that seemed to believe in nothing and everything all at the same time. Largely disenfranchised by reality, big box religion reverted to a pure numbers game.

 

Where we stand now is hard to evaluate. In the West the affluent use religion like a fashion accessory. It needs to make no more sense than a tie so long as it matches. The fanatical are stuck in a time warp, angry at everything and everyone, even splinter groups within the same orthodoxy. From the disinterested to the disorganized, religion remains in a mess. It needs to internalize. Become a private thing.

 

In short, Godliness should get out of the reality business and return to a basic state of mind. Shed physical trappings that never made a grain of sense in the first place and accept a purely therapeutic role—a source of comfort for those that need it most. Through political erosion, the bad old days of Western religious power and glory are all but gone—thank God. But the insanely fanatical still remain in enough numbers to make the world a very dangerous place.

 

END OF PART ONE

Well, there you have it, Dear Readers.

 

April 28, 2006

By the grace of …(DELETED)…

At the beginning of the year, I publicly stated my new year’s resolutions here in this blog. (Scroll to somewhere below if you are interested.)  One of those resolutions was to quit smoking this year.  I believe that I said that I would quit on some given day.  Not on my birthday, or on any special occasion.  But sometime this year. 

…(DELETED)…

So tonight, Dear Readers, I will smoke my last cigarette.  You will be my witness.  I will let you know, before the end of this entry, when it happens.  In the meantime, I have to think about something to write about, other than my own personal drama.

Okay, (since I just smoked one of my last cigarettes) and since I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my “promise to God,” I think I’ll explore that.

The subject of my rant tonight is…Finding faith in God.

Last Sunday night I went to church. It was a “non-denominational” church. And I went to it to explore the faith of a dear friend of mine. This person had gone on a “retreat” that weekend to get in touch with God. And it just so happens that another special person in my life had also gone on a “retreat” recently, in order to find salvation from another devil.

Hmmm…As much as I believe in a power that created a universe that is beyond our understanding…I have questions. 

Before I go on, however, explaining my problems, I should say that I admire anyone, including those two special people that I refer to, for seeking faith to overcome their problems. For it is a far nobler thing to surrender yourself to a higher power than it is to wallow in self-pity, and assume that you are alone in the universe.  It is much harder to think that somebody loves you no matter what, and wants the best for you, and, because of that fact, makes you try to be your very best, than it is to think that nobody gives a shit and so what does it matter?

However…getting back to my church experience…Although I was impressed that the pastor of this church came up to me and shook my hand—picking my strange face out of several hundred people just moments before he had to go up and deliver his sermon—I found myself being singled out by him at the end of it all.  After he urged his congregation, at the end of the sermon, to bow our heads, close our eyes and pray, and after assuring us all that all our eyes were closed and that no single person could be singled out by prying eyes, he asked us “new to the church” to raise our hands if we had found Jesus. I didn’t raise my hand. He asked again.  And then again, referring to the back row, where I was standing.  I had had such an interesting hour, dancing to music, experiencing a whole new world, and yet now, the hairs were rising on the back of my neck.  Because I wasn’t ready, willing, or able to be “converted.”

Earlier in his sermon, this pastor said that God never sends anyone to Hell.  He gives us a choice.  We can decide to believe in the Lord, and go to Heaven, or we can choose not to believe in the Lord.  What he left unsaid was…Therefore, if we don’t choose to believe in the Lord, we will go to Hell.  So if we believe in Allah, or Buddha, or nobody in particular, we will go to Hell.  So one portion of the people of this world knows the path to righteousness.  And the rest of us are bound to eternal damnation. 

Well then. It just makes sense that those who know the path should do their best to show the rest of humanity the Way.  And, since those who don’t see the Way to Heaven, are bound to go to Hell, well then why don’t we just send them there now, if they refuse to see the way here on Earth?

Hmmm…what might the history of humanity teach us about this kind of ideology? How many millions of human beings with dreams, children, and mothers and fathers have been raped, tortured, killed, because they chose the wrong way?  And how many tens of millions of their loved ones have been destroyed by their loss, Because their “Way” was the wrong way, whether they be Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Atheist, “Camel Jockey,” “Redneck,” “Kyke,” “Gangsta,” “Fag,” “Dyke,” “Nazi,” “Communist,” or any number of “others” that we so easily give a label to because they are simply wrong.

After all, if they are wrong, and refuse to accept right, and are therefore bound to eternal damnation, why shouldn’t we rape and kill them while they are on this earth, if only to give them a taste of what is to come in their eternity?  Why should we cherish them if they have refused to listen to what is so obviously right?

Why?  Because I have been touched by God a number of times in my life.  And every time that he has touched me, he has touched only ME.  He has shown me that I was on the right path for ME alone, with, and under HIS guidance.  He didn’t tell me that anybody else was wrong. He didn’t implore me to preach his word.  He just said, without saying it, but with so much more profound meaning than my words can impart, “You are alive, to be here, to love the life that I have given you.”

For example, I was sitting with friends in a cheap restaurant one day, just shooting the shit.  And all of a sudden, all the pain in my life was gone.  Badda-bing-badda-boom.  Gone.  This happened twenty years ago.  But I will never forget the surface banality of that moment, as I was liberated from all earthly concerns.  I wasn’t being preached to.  I wasn’t gazing on a sunset, or meditating, or wondering about the meaning of life.  I was sitting in the middle of an everyday moment and suddenly…I was free.

I have had several moments like this in my life, where I allowed God to surface from where he created me.  And in those moments I have known that God is in me, because he created me.  Just as he created you.  And all of us were made by him (or her, or whatever you wish to name what is beyond our words) from this rock that he made that we have chosen to call Earth.  And, in a deeper sense, this rock and all of us who live upon it, was created by this one desire that has created everything in existence.  One Entity bore a universe as its child, and we are all the indestructible atoms that hold it all together.  That is my humble, yet correct opinion, based on what experience has taught me. And the good thing about my opinion, I believe, is that it will never inspire me to bring harm to another person, just because he/she is too stupid to understand what I understand.

All of our history of violence, and the minor pinpricks that we cause this child to tolerate due to our conflicts, comes from the fear that I might be wrong, and you might be right.

Okay…I just finished the second last smoke of my life.

But my rant tonight is finished. So now what do I do?  Well…I guess that I take this “Captain Morgan” break, play a few games, and then go and smoke this last one.  So here it goes…

Okay…I have just butted out the last cigarette that I will ever smoke. It took me ages to write theses two sentences, due to my drunken high at 3:26 in the morning of April 29th, 2006. Butt I still have seven cigarettes left in my pack. I will not throw them away, nor will I give them to someone in dire need.  As one of you dear Readers has related to me, they will remain in full view of my eyes, to remind myself of the devil that I have conquered, from now until the day that I die. The devil that I have left behind will always remind me of the glorious drag of nicotine that I puffed this morning as my neighbours across the way turned out their lights, while their other neighbour’s fountain trickled gently in rhythm to my peaceful smoke.  And I will have to admit my gratitude to the devil that gave me this addiction for all the peaceful, though deceptive moments that he has given me.  For now, it is all over. No more will I step outside to pollute my lungs with cancer as I contemplate the meaning of my life.  I will never again watch smoke rise up into the peaceful Sun.  Never gain inspiration from the sweet smoke sinking down into my body.  Never escape from life by feeling the rush of cancerous freedom. 

Its all over. Nada. Kaput. 

So please, I beg all of you non-smokers who can never hope to appreciate the pot-of-gold that I have just thrown away, to let us all mourn the great escape from reality that I have now given up in a sweet, yet inglorious cloud of starlit-smoke. Because, as the android said in the classic movie, Bladerunner, “The candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.”

So there you have it Dear Readers. This writer has declared the end of his life of crime against the God that created the body that he has polluted for so long. And in so doing, he has given up the devil that has always inspired his impatient inspiration.

 

 

April, 20, 2006

Do any of you North American viewers remember the Eyewitness news on the Buffalo T.V. station?  Remember how the anchor said, every other night, “fire erupts at a home in Cheektowaga?”  Now the anchor on CNN says, virtually every day, “A suicide bomber claimed the lives of (so many Afghani, Iraqi, Israeli lives.) I’m sick of It! I was sick of the fires in “Cheektowaga.” twenty years ago. I used to wish that the powers that be would simply say, once a month, “No fires broke out in Cheektowaga tonight.” And now I’m just as sick of the news of suicide bombings.  I’d love to have the families of all these “suicide bombers” come over here, to America and Canada, and watch CNN everyday for a month, just so they could see how we, in our comfortable lives, simply change the channel when their loved ones died to change the world. I would love to see the families of these ‘martyrs’ discover our banal, bored reaction, so they could see how much they are giving up their lives just to bore us to death.

Just the other day I complained “I’m so bored of these suicide bombing stories! Why don’t they just report once a month how many suicide bombers killed so many people in the Middle East? Instead of reporting every incident, every day.”

Think of the insanity.  Children are being raised, right now, to give up their lives to kill a handful of people.  Their parents are actually encouraging them to prepare for the moment of their death, as opposed to hoping that they will grow old and content, and outlive them. And what will be the end result?  Three hundred million people will change the channel to watch another episode of “Survivor.”

What they should learn is this.  They should learn to say to their son/daughter…”I want you to blow your body away, and die for Allah.  I don’t want to see you outlive me.  I don’t want you to find love and contentment.  But you must kill only Westerners. And you better kill a lot of them at once.  Because then, they won’t change the channel. Otherwise, forget about it and waste your life growing old, happy and content.  You coward!”

I can’t believe how jaded I have become because of the news! However, in their eyes, I’m sure that we “Infidels” are just as insane as they are.

Short rant tonight, since I have to go up to my family reunion this weekend.  Sorry Dear Readers.  I’ll try to come up with something more profound next week.  Take care…And love your children.

 

April 13, 2006

Hey everybody, this ‘fence sitter’ is writing early this week, due to “Good Friday.” I only realized that it was “Good Friday” in my heart and soul, as I sat in “Friday rush-hour” traffic on a Thursday, thinking why the frack is traffic so heavy at three-thirty on a Thursday? And then I realized that my starving artist life doesn’t conform to the norms of society, since I’ll be delivering pizzas tomorrow night, as usual.  But the truly rewarding thing about sitting on the highway for an hour and half to drive twenty miles with my left foot on the clutch for most of the time while I chose between 1st and 2nd gear, was that I had to remember to get my Friday night “rant rum” tonight because tomorrow night the L.C.B.O. will be closed. (I live in Canada, where you are forced to get your booze from government stores, which are unionized and therefore closed on statutory holidays.)

And, since I got my rant rum, I figured I might as well put it to good use and use it to write my rant early, rather than wasting it on a mindless lack of communication with anybody but my own inebriated mind..

So…Since we’re in the sign of Aries, the God of War, I think I’ll title my rant after the Kenny Roger’s song that I heard sung at karaoke last night.  “Sometimes you gotta’ fight, to be a man.” Which I then followed up with my own stirring rendition of Edwin Star’s “War.” Just to brag, I got a lot of compliments from the younger crowd about how “sick” my song was. (For you older crowd, “sick’ means “Like really, like, cool.”) Now I don’t like to think of myself as a flake.  I’m not into Scientology or most of that other new age stuff.  But astrology does have a grip on me. For instance, now that we are in the sign of war, have any of you noticed how passionate, proud and/or and pissed of that we are? More than usual?

Today my boss was pissed off about his car wash. My cousin was pissed off about his stocks and about his dealings with a department store. And I was pissed of at myself for personal reasons that I’m not about to share with the World…Wide…Web.

We’re all pissed off about something or other.  But I believe that most of the time we are pissed off at ourselves for not making our point heard and respected by the recipient of our wrath. Now I called myself a “fence sitter” at the beginning of this rant because of a conversation that I had with one of you Dear Readers, about how I end up apologizing to one of you “left wingers,” only to find myself explaining my apology to one of you “right wingers.” And I bring this up because I’m about to sit on the fence again.

On April fools day I suggested that we should all risk making fools of ourselves by saying…”I wish all of us the courage to say to somebody who really means something to us, on this April Fool’s Day, “Please listen to me. Because I need to get this off my chest.” And that was a pretty “warlike” and aggressive suggestion. (Since we were in Aries, you know.) But what I neglected to realize, at that time, was that to simply get things off your chest to those who have the power to hurt you the most, although it might be nice and left wing, doesn’t complete the story.

Because if you know that what you need to get off your chest comes from the heart, then you must keep your personal power by insisting that what you need to say is just and worthwhile.  You need to be “right-wing” and say, this is the truth, and nothing you do or say will change it. And, because I’m a man, I’ll fight to prove it!

This way of thinking causes wars sometimes, which is why “left-wingers” hate that mentality. But maybe there is an in-between.  Maybe there is a fence-sitting position that can unite us!

Maybe a white-God-fearing-Christian can say to a turban-clad-Allah-worshipping-Muslim, (just to use a currently “hot topic” example,) “My way is the right way, and if you try disagree with me, I’ll kill you.” And the Muslim could reply with the same answer.  And maybe, the way best friends often do, when they respect each other for their differences, because they’ve known each other for years, they both could say, “Brother, you’re totally fracked!” And then they could both go and sleep it off, each confident of his righteousness.  Each of them content with the knowledge that he would have the conviction to kill the other if they had to. Each of them knowing that they really don’t want to go to that extreme, because they’ve made their point.

So…

I know that my instincts are right.

I know that modern society is not mature enough to allow the existence of guns.

I know that I enjoy writing these rants.

I know that Stokes Bay is as sacred a place as Bethlehem.

I know that no organized religion knows better than any other.

I know that traffic is only a headache to a mind that can’t occupy itself with more important thoughts.

I know many other things that I can’t be bothered to think of right now.

And I know that nothing will change my mind, particularly if it threatens to kill me. And if it does threaten to kill me, or somebody I love, I will do my best to convince it not to, even if it only gives me a split second of diplomacy in which to try.  And if that attempt to reach out to something that is just like me fails, and if I know that it is going to kill me unless I change my mind …

Then I will kill it.

But really, how often does that happen? Not to the world.  To YOU?  It happened to me only twice in my life. And even then it didn’t require me to “kill.” I’d be willing to bet that its about the same for most of you.  The good thing about modern society is the fact that if a person has the personal strength to accomplish their goals, they needn’t actually kill, maim, or even wound anyone to accomplish them. And we needn’t fear anything but our own fears. We respect positive, motivated people. So most of us never have to kill somebody. In fact most of us never even have to hurt somebody to protect ourselves.  And I’d be willing to bet that when we do hurt somebody, that most of the time we do it to protect ourselves from the fear of finding out that we are wrong.

So, in my humble yet correct opinion, I suggest that we be willing to…

Go ahead and be ready, willing and itching to kill!  But know that we will probably never have to.  In the meantime, sit on the fence, look at the grass on either side, and waste a whole lot of time exploring the life-fulfilling adventure of wondering which side is greener. But don’t get on the wrong side of my fence.  ‘Cause I’ll fight to the death for my right to not to be forced to believe in anything but what I believe, even if I’m not sure that I believe it!

Have a happy, peaceful, un-Aries, Easter Weekend. I look forward to hearing from you, for whatever reason. And I hope that you check out the rest of my website, (and/or send me your web address) just for fun, or to give us more to talk about.

 

April 8, 2006

Well, just as one of you Dear Readers reminds me to be sensitive to the “liberal” way of thinking, inspiring me include an apology in my last week’s rant for the week before, along comes another one of you to complain this week, about my “left wing” apology. And this same reader has been getting a little tired of my latest rants about “feeeelings.”  He wants me to get back to some good hard political views to sink his teeth into.

So, since I’m a Libra, the sign of the scales, tonight I’ll title my rant “Both sides of the coin of “Road Rage” followed by some weird stuff about mountains.”

You know those nice, long off-ramps on the highway? Once a week I get on one of those off ramps to actually use it for what its meant for—to get off the highway. And almost every week, I find myself held up by what I call an “off-ramp jumper.”  Those are those drivers who feel it’s perfectly within their right to sweep into the fast moving off ramp to get around morning rush hour traffic, only to come to a dead stop half a mile down the road so that they can merge back into the right lane.  So they hold up all the vehicles behind them, who are using the off-ramp to “get-off” just so they can be twenty seconds closer to their destination.  And most of the time, they don’t save any time at all because it takes them just as long to merge back into the traffic as if they’d never left the traffic lane in the first place!   Meanwhile, they endanger their lives (which—I’m tempted to say--might not be a bad thing) but more importantly, the lives of the decent drivers behind them who are aren’t expecting somebody ahead of them to stop in the middle of the off-ramp.

I hope none of you Dear Readers are “O.R.J.’s” Because if you are, you should know that I’m sticking pins in my voodoo doll to curse you right now.  Did you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your back?

It’s come to the point where I wait for it to happen every week.  And I just hope that it’s the car right in front of me so that I can lean on my horn and vent my frustration as I sweep around him as close as I dare to scare the shit out of him/her.  Even if there is one car between us I’ll honk, hoping that the driver ahead of me will understand that my wrath was not meant for him. (Although I won’t “sweep” around an innocent driver.)  But this past week my vengeance was so sweet! The car right in front of me was an O.R.J. We entered the off ramp with the unison of synchronized swimmers, drove for half a mile, and he came to a dead stop to merge to the left again.  And he decided to jump back into traffic right in front of an eighteen-wheeler.  Now any experienced driver understands the laws of physics, and that these monsters need space in front of them to stop.  So here this asshole not only gets to hear my horn screaming at him as I sweep around within inches of his bumper, but he also gets to hear the big honkin’ air horn of the transport that almost crashed right into the rearview that the driver must have been looking at. Oh it was so sweet! Vengeance was mine! With the help of an equally hate-filled trucker! 

Oh if only that truck had been going faster!  He would have plowed right into that car.  And maybe the car’s gas tank would have exploded, and the driver would have died a painfully slow death in flames.

Of course, it would be so much easier if lived in…say…Texas, rather than this wimpy Canada.  ‘Cause I could just go down to the corner gun shop and pick up a Colt .45 or a 9mm semi-auto whenever I wanted to.  And if I woke up on a bad day, where…say my doctor called me to tell me that I was dying of cancer or I found my wife on a porn website dated from last Friday, or whatever else might happen that gave me no reason to care about human life, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to blow that fracking driver’s brains all over the road.  And hell, if I was rich enough to afford a “dream team” of lawyers, I might even get away with it!

So that’s the right wing side of me taken to the N’th degree.

On the other hand…

The liberal Ern might think…If I had a gun right now, on the worst day of my life, I might widow a wife, and orphan ten kids by killing a man who might me a good hard-working citizen who was in such a rush to get to work that, for the first time in his life, he made a desperate, thoughtless move. And paid for it with his life. “Road Rage,” they call it.  Temporary insanity.  It’s such a metaphor for the world that we have created.

We hunger so much for emptiness.  We think that if we can win a battle that we have won the war, when in fact we have only extinguished somebody’s hopes and dreams. We condition ourselves to think that if we reach the heights of success in this society that we have created, that we will feel contentment.  But when we create a paradigm for humanity that strives to put a MacDonald’s on every street corner, and we become tempted to kill those who stop us for ten seconds in our attempt to reach that goal, we forget about the moments that make our lives really worth living…

What the frack are we doing to ourselves?

What does it say about me that I can spend so much time ranting about the vengeance I feel by honking my horn at an inconsiderate “driver?”  What does it say about me when I don’t stop to think that this “driver” is a person with all the same failings and talents that I might have?  All of us make a mistake on the road sooner or later. Right?  (If you deny this fact, please stop reading my rants, because you are delusional and not worthy of my words.) And what does it say about this world that we have made when we can so easily forget that every “driver,” just like me and you wakes up each day, with no other desire than to have a good life, without causing or feeling any pain.  We can rationalize all we want that we must fight a war to prove that our god exists, or that we deserve that Porsche, or that our mountain must be climbed at any cost.

Ironically, my Dear “right-wing” Reader, who inspired me to write this rant, sent me an Email that displayed a message that was conveyed from his country’s best President (in my humble yet correct opinion.) Because that message supports my “left-wing’ half of this coin.  And that message, said by John F. Kennedy, is this…

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”    

And that’s the thing.  That’s the only thing that we should be jumping around off-ramps to achieve…”The success of Liberty.” Because if we were all “liberated,” we would never fear losing our jobs if we were late for work.  So none of us would become “O.R.J.’s” And none of us would feel the need to blow their brains out.  We wouldn’t feel the need to “conquer the earth.”  Because when you really feel liberated, you have no fear of anybody else’s God, desires, or aspirations.  There are no battles to fight.  Because the only real war to win is to acknowledge the fact that we all want to exist as peacefully as do the majestic mountains that we feel we need to conquer.

Mountains, made of rock, never feel the need to conquer each other. They simply exist. We are the same.  We are majestic, rising above the earth.  Each of us is a sight to behold.  The only difference is that we realize that we exist, and therefore we fear the existence of the other mountains. For the simple reason that they may raise higher than us. Take away that fear and what would we have?

That’s the liberal side of the coin. Taken to the Way-the-frack-out-there extreme.

How the hell did I go from road rage to people-as-mountains on just a mickey?

I really hope this makes some sense in the sober light of tomorrow, for all you Dear Readers. Take care, and please give me shit if I don’t respond to any of your thoughts in good time. Because without you, I must wonder, if this rant fell into the World Wide Web, and nobody was there to read it, would it really exist?

April 1, 2006

First, a note about last week’s rant.  My cousin was not too impressed, understandably, about my mentioning (i.e. “picking” on his accent.)  My apologies.  He does not really replace his “th’s” with “D’s.”  I was exaggerating to get my point across.  And he is not “always” opinionated.  Just most of the time.  Or maybe I just feel that way because he almost always disagrees with my own humble but correct opinions. 

However, for you single ladies out there, I’m afraid to say that as much as he is “tall dark and handsome” and his “Eastern European accent” really is “sultry” and “deeply intense,” he is happily married to an equally exotic woman.  Sorry.  So please stop inquiring about how you can hook up with him. Okay? 

And one more note.  While I don’t want to make a habit of apologizing for spouting my opinions here, I do wish to make it clear that last week’s rant was not meant to judge, make light of, or encourage any kind of malice or flippancy toward homeless persons, or their plight.  I know nothing about this topic, and I only wished to have fun with an idea that sounded, on the surface, like a bizarre idea to this uninformed mind. I thank you Dear Reader (and I know that you know who you are, if you are reading this,) for inspiring this explanation.

Well that was the easy part.  Now I have to think of something new. 

I was going to create a huge story, based on something true, and end it with “Happy April fool’s Day.”  I tried real hard with all this liquid courage to do it. But the truth is that I couldn’t get into it tonight, because I realized that I really needed to get some honesty off my chest that I just can’t share with you Dear Readers. 

Except for this…Now that I’m suddenly inspired…Maybe we should stop fooling ourselves. 

(For those of you who truly know that you aren’t fooling yourself in any way, and that you are absolutely honest with yourself and with all your close companions…Please seek some very professional therapy.)

So this will be the title of tonight’s “Non-rant.” On April Fools Day, maybe we should risk making fools of ourselves. 

What might happen if we all stopped “playing the game?”  What might happen if we put our souls on the line by admitting our deepest fears, hopes, desires and all that shit?  Wherever you are right now, imagine yourself cutting through all the bullshit of your ego, and openly admitting to the person (or spirit, or god) who could hurt you the most (by saying “I don’t care,”) all of what you are most afraid of.  Could you be living with the fear that your portfolio might collapse, your crazy dreams might really be crazy, your love for someone may be unrequited, or a horrible secret of yours might be revealed that could destroy your life in the drop off a hat?  Then maybe we should remember President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous phrase, “All we have to fear is fear itself.” And maybe we should remember another old phrase on this fool’s day…The truth will set you free. 

Maybe your life will be destroyed if you receive the answer to the one question that you’ve been too afraid to ask.  But maybe your life was already destroyed by the fear of asking it. Maybe we live under a veil of success, like a Cadillac in the driveway and a kid that has good grades and isn’t into drugs…Or we hide under a veil of failure because we haven’t achieved what we are expected to by a measure of success that really is meaningless.  Whatever your “definition” of winner or loser might be…maybe we use these convenient self-images to allow us to think that we are avoiding our inner demons. 

Maybe the absolute truth will allow us to live a life worth living. No matter how much we might risk by admitting it.  So on this April Fool’s day, maybe we should play a trick on ourselves.

So I wish all of us the courage to say to somebody who really means something to us, on this April Fool’s Day, “Please listen to me. Because I need to get this off my chest.” And remember, when you look for the courage to say whatever it is you need to say, that the wisest character in all of Shakespeare’s plays was the “Fool.” 

I wish you all the best, whether or not you make a fool of yourself today, even if you decide to be “strategic” and save your thoughts for another day.

March 26, 2006,

Finally!  Sorry for the delay, Dear Readers.  Friday I was out dancing.  Slept in my clothes as the sun rose.  Saturday I was out working.  Round midnight last night I sat down to write and thought…Ah…No…This ain’t happening tonight.  Ergo, my “rant rum” was wasted on watching T.V.  (And the last ounce or so spilled on my belly as I snored, which was really humiliating. as I always pride myself on the fact that no matter how tired I may be, my instincts will always save me by waking me up before I spill whatever might be in my hand!) So I had to get more “Lamb’s White” today in order to write a proper rant tonight.  This is the cost of my job, I’m afraid!

Anyway…

My always-opinionated cousin told me this week about how somebody in our strange and wonderful land has come up with the idea of creating a union for the homeless.  Yes.  You read that right. A union for the homeless.  And he just cracked me up when he asked, “How will dey enforce deir demands?” (Da “D’s?” I’m trying to write his sultry, deeply intense, Eastern European accent. Because that made his question that just that much more funny to this plain old W.A.S.C. [White, Anglo-Saxon, Catholic]…It was one of those “You had to be there moments.”)  

Now I have to admit that I haven’t done any research on this.  Maybe there is some twisted logic behind this idea that makes sense.  And I don’t want you Dear Readers to think that I have no sympathy for those who live on the street.  Because I try never to judge another person’s life, having never been there. And besides, hell, if I don’t stop having fun and get my fracking shit together, I may be joining them soon!  But I just couldn’t stop laughing when he asked, “What are dey gonna’ do?  Go on strike?”

Oh my god! Imagine it!  The homeless on strike…

You’re walking down the street, see somebody sprawled out in the alley, and feel bad for the poor guy/gal.  You reach in your pocket to toss some change to help the person out, even if you cynically think that he’s just going to use your change to buy some cheap booze, and just as you’re about to offer your help, he holds up a sign…”C.H.P.U. (Canadian Homeless People’s Union) ON STRIKE! WE WILL NOT ACCEPT YOUR BUSINESS!”

And what about this? Will they have to pay “Union Dues?”  If so, won’t they be using our money to pay them? 

Where will they set up their “picket lines” if they strike, considering they have no place of business to picket in front of?  (Of course this is making the stupid assumption that none of them have jobs, which I am sure is not true—but just to keep things simple--.) Logically thinking here, maybe they will all hitch a ride back to their last place of residence, find a barrel, and warm their hands over a fire in front of the driveway.  Maybe it will be your driveway!  Just think…You’ve worked to save money to buy your home.  You’re mortgaged/rented/leased up the ass for maybe the next twenty-five years of your life.  But all of a sudden, you have to choose between parking on the street, or “running the picket line,” just like a ”scab worker,” Just to get into the house/condo/apartment that you live in, simply because this “union member” used to live there!

And, just for some more fun, let’s just imagine that through some kind of strange logic that I can’t see because I am too blind to appreciate various kinds of modern art, and/or because some kinds of poetry escape me, that they win their demands.   So, now that their union has won their demands in a legal arbitration, let’s replay the scenario I mentioned above…

You’re walking down the street, see somebody sprawled out in the alley, and feel bad for the poor guy/gal.  You reach in your pocket to toss some change to help the person out, even if you cynically think that he/she’s just going to use it to buy some cheap booze.  So you pull the three quarters that you happen to have in your pocket.  Of course, if there had happened to have been four quarters in your pants pocket, it’s not like you’d have put one back.  You’re not a cheapskate. You’re just trying to be as decent a human being as you can be, in this moment, in this wild and wonderful life.  Anyway…

You toss him your seventy-five cents.  To your utter amazement, he tosses it back at you.  And, as you’re standing there thinking, “what the frack was that all about?”  This homeless person says, with a deep sadness in his voice, “I’m sorry Sir, but my union won’t allow me to accept cash donations of anything less than a dollar.”

“You’ve gotta’ be fracking kidding me!” you reply as you bend over and take it up the ass to retrieve your unaccepted help. 

He responds by pulling his/her urine-soaked, five-page, public-attorney-written, union contract out of his soiled pocket and says, “My union contract instructs me to reply with…I’m sorry, Sir/Ms./Misses, (whichever salutation applies to you, the ‘Applying Contributor,’) however, my contract clearly states on page one, in paragraph five, subsection ‘C,’ that ‘monetary contributions’ must consist of no less than one Canadian dollar—commonly referred to as a ‘Looney.’  Furthermore, and in addition to, material contributions offered to the Union Member by the Contributing Applicant must be the equal of the equivalent of one ounce of rum, or three, three-second ‘drags’ of a marijuana joint, or no less of the monetary value of half of the value of a ‘Macdonald’s “Quarter-Pounder.” For further clarification on these material goods, please refer to page four, paragraph seven, of the Canadian Homeless People’s Union Contract...”

AHHHH! Do we laugh, scream, or cry?  How insane must we let our world become before we pull in the reigns and say…

“Okay Friends, it’s time for us all to get a grip. Why don’t we forget all the contracts, lawsuits and all, and just try to walk a mile in each other’s shoes?”

Thanks for joining me tonight, Dear Readers, considering I was two nights late.  Take care. Treat yourselves well.  And please feel free to e-mail me with your comments, and particularly to update me with the loves, pains, and joys of your lives.

Sincerely,

Ern

 

March 17, 2006

Damn! How do newspaper columnists do it?  They have an opinion about something every day.  And yet, here a week has passed since my last “column” and I’ve been playing “Free Cell” for the past hour while trying to think of something to write about tonight.  And I still haven’t come up with anything to get my creative blood boiling! 

Hmmm…I’m tempted to discuss the Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan.  We’ve just poured two thousand troops (and a Tim Horton’s—our equivalent of your American “Krispy Crème”) into this beleaguered country in order to help rebuild the place (while keeping the troops supplied with Tim’s coffee—the best in the world,) and to seek out and destroy terrorists. We’ve suffered a handful of casualties, including a couple of fatalities, and already the public is questioning our involvement.  But bleeding heart protesters must be expected in times of conflict. Indeed, they should be there to make sure that we aren’t just fighting to prove our machismo.  So this doesn’t really inspire me to rant.  So what the hell am I going to talk about tonight?

How columnists write every night.  As opposed to how I struggle just once every week. Yes. That’s it! Daily column writers can probably think of something to say everyday, because the rest of their lives are probably stable and secure. They know that they have a job, a family, and an entire life that will still be there tomorrow to support them, assuming that a bus doesn’t hit them.  That stability gives them the freedom to think of things outside of their own lives.  I, on the other hand have none of that.  I have no idea when or if my new career will begin.  I have a book that could be great, but may never get finished because I have the same problems finding inspiration with it as I do with my Friday Night Rant.  My interim jobs aren’t making me enough cash to keep up with the outgoing cash and my personal life is in a constant state of flux.  And I’m already exposing more about my life than I am comfortable with telling the world about. 

I have some innate sense that everything is good, because I am struggling toward certain goals that I know to be true to my heart.  And because everything worth having must be fought for, I find myself busy fighting for it, which makes it difficult to put the battles aside long enough to relax and right a good rant. Unfortunately, I should have fought these battles twenty years ago, so that all this shit would be behind me now, so that I could concentrate on entertaining you dear readers with a truly entertaining and insightful opinion about something important in the world on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Hmmm…Am I being too self-indulgent here?  I mean am I assuming that my life is less stable than yours, or than that of those columnists who can write important things everyday? Maybe I’m just assuming that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe this life is all a great adventure that some us simply have the courage to face more than I do. And maybe I should try harder to find that courage, so that I can always find something important to say, no matter what.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t come up with anything better this week, Dear Readers. And I hope you check in next week to find a more entertaining slew of words.

And take care.

 

March 11, 2006

First of all, I’ve learned that my dear Dad, who doesn’t own a computer, has been reading my rants, thanks to a friend of his who has printed them off of her printer.  So I have to control my swearing from now on because he said that my “stories” are really good but he doesn’t like my use of the “f” word.  So…for the last time…

I guess I’ll have to try to control my fucking swearing! 

But sometimes you just have to swear up a storm to get your point across.  I mean, imagine Tony Montana, the Cuban gangster from one of the ten best movies ever made, “Scarface,” (Played by Al Pacino,)

Saying…

“Is diss all derr is? Eating! Fudging! Drinking!…Look at my wife! She can’t even have a fudging baby ‘cause of all the fudging coke she snorts up her fudging nose!…So say goodnight to da bad guy!”

(If you haven’t seen “Scarface,” or at least you have heard about this great film and yet you have had no secret desire to see it, then you might as well stop reading now.)

So say fudging goodnight to the fudging swearing in my rants!  And I think I’ve found a solution to keep Daddy-Pa happy, while still being able to get my f*&%^$@ point across.  I’m going to borrow the swear word from the excellent TV series Battlestar Galactica. (The new one—not the cheesy, seventies original.)  Because the humans on this series have settled in a far away region of the galaxy.  But they are human.  So they speak English.  And they swear. Just like we do.  However, just as people on earth develop their own dialects as they move into their own spaces, so did they develop their own version of …and just for demonstration purposes…Our swear words, “fuck” and “fucking.”  But in their society, its “Frack” and “Fracking.”

So from now on, the “f’ word will be replaced by the word “frack,” or “fracking” in my rants And, since my mind is often wandering to a galaxy “far, far away,” it only seems appropriate.

Anyway…since an hour of staring at the screen has passed, let me continue with tonight’s rant…

Entitled (after re-reading the finished product,)

A.D.D.’ers fail at life because we are completely focused on the end result of our efforts.  So we miss the journey of life as we long for the end result…

I was swimming at the gym the other day. And a bunch of kids were swimming as well.  They were getting exercise, improving their physical well being, as was I.  But there was a fundamental difference between their swimming and mine.  They were having fun.  I was trying to attain a goal.  They were smiling.  I don’t know what my expression was, because I was too busy observing theirs, while wondering when, with all of the huge expanse of pool that was available to them, they were going to swim and splash and shout their way into my nice, peaceful little corner of water.  (Because kids always fracking do that!) In fact, just the other day, when a little rug-rat seemed bound and determined to swim straight at me, in the midst of ten million square litres of open water, I had to say with a sarcasm that is beyond any nine-year olds’ understanding…”Pretty small pool, eh?” 

He grunted “huh?,” climbed out of the pool and then did a cannonball two feet from my face.  He had the time of his life while I treaded water, fuming at the ignorance of a child who couldn’t think to just walk ten feet down the edge before jumping, so as not to disturb me.

Now I don’t want this rant to become another one of those “stop and smell the roses” messages that we all get in those “send-this-message-to-twenty-people-right-now-or you-will-die” chain mails.  However, when a very special person suggested that I write about stress tonight, (I tend to ask her every week, what to write about) her suggestion reminded me of my pool experience, and it coincided with a discussion I had with someone else (who will always remain beyond definition) about one of the latest invented mental diseases--A.D.D.—Attention Deficit Disorder.

Apparently, we A.D.D.’ers fail at life because we are completely focused on the end result of our efforts.  So we miss the journey of life while we long for the end result. We destroy what we have today, by not seeing it for what it is.  Like a “tree falling in the forest,” we don’t hear the tree falling, because we are too busy fighting our way to the clearing.  And therefore we deny the existence of the falling tree, by not hearing it fall. And for everything outside of ourselves that we ignore, we ignore the part of ourselves that is seeing it.

(In case any of you are unfamiliar with the philosophical riddle of the tree that I mentioned above, it asks, “If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make any sound?”)

So maybe we can deny our entire lives while we strive to reach a goal that never really arrives.  This is just what happened to “Tony Montana” when he struggled to swim from Cuba, across sixty miles of ocean, to reach America, and then struggled and fought his way with bitterness, vengeance, passion, and dreams of glory, to reach the pinnacle of success, in order to attain power, wealth, and the woman of his dreams…Only to end up in a posh restaurant, surrounded by strangers who stared at him as if he were from Mars, as he gazed at the woman whose spirit he had destroyed. 

And now, with his dreams attained, to “Mr. Montana,” it all looked like a wrapped-up, dreamy pile of fracking shit, tied up in a pretty bow.  So he drunkenly pleaded to some gangster god, “Is dis it?  Is dis all derr is? Eating…Drinking…Fracking?”

And this profound question was all inspired because he had destroyed his own soul to the point where he couldn’t appreciate what he had when he finally got it, and because what he had gotten was destroyed by his desire to get it.  Because his power made him hunted.  His money made him paranoid.  His lover felt like an object, because he made her feel objectified—A hunk of pretty flesh to be rewarded with.

I think that what I am trying to impart to you dear readers, is that what my life is forcing me to learn these days is that every moment that I resent not having what I don’t have right now, I am actually hurting that which I most desire, because I deny and therefore destroy the very existence of beauty, if I can’t hold it in the palm of my hand.

So I destroy a piece of my heart for every piece of somebody else’s that I wish I’d have a claim to.  So maybe I should enjoy the fact that children get in my face when they swim with me.  And maybe I should enjoy the feeling of my blood pumping through my veins as I swim, as I should appreciate the love I feel for somebody I love, no matter what…Or for the people I write in my novel, whether or not the novel* ever gets finished, let alone published.

Because I just might be finally beginning to understand that if we love the life that we have today, and we love the people who share it with us, whoever they are, and no matter whatever they think or feel for us today, that the life we end up with might well prove to be beyond all our hopes and dreams.

Have a good night everybody, and thank you for reading my thoughts.

*”Play-Day” (tentative title.) This novel-in-progress, which I will update tonight, can be found on my website.

 

February 24, 2006

Well I’m torn.  I had two interesting experiences this week, both of which could inspire some kind of rant.  So let me tell you about both of them before I decide which one to pick on.

The first was an incident, or should I say, an insightful observation made by my good friend, at the Toronto International Auto Show. If you haven’t been to one of these shows, you must have seen them on the news.  Hundreds (possibly more than a thousand) glittering automobiles are placed under perfect lighting, a soothing ambience, sometimes against a musical backdrop, often on slow-rotation, lighted turntables.  Pretty models pretend to talk to you like they are buddies of yours that they haven’t seen in a while as they tell you about their favourite car. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of us “dreamers and schemers” (as Kim Mitchell sings) plough through the great halls to admire and touch all this four-wheeled craftsmanship.  Now an interesting trend has occurred over the years.  With every passing year, (at least at the Toronto show) the paying customer has been offered more opportunities to touch, and sit behind the wheel, of higher end automobiles. Just three years ago you couldn’t get behind the wheel of a BMW 3-Series.  But this year, not only were many of those and higher priced models being constantly wiped for fingerprints, even Porsche allowed several vehicles to be door-slammed, button-tested, and sat in, by us peasants, most of which will never drive anything more exotic than a Cadillac (if we’re lucky!)

Of course, there are still those automobiles that are deemed too special, too exclusive, too revered, for the common human slug to touch.  The old classic restorations are not only roped off from the public, but each vehicle sports a sign saying “Please do not touch.” (Understandable, since I’m sure that individual owners, out of the goodness of their hearts, donate all these cars.)  And of course, the Ferraris, the Rolls Royce’s, Bentleys, Aston Martins, and Maserati’s and all the other automotive Mona Lisas are all roped off. All of those vehicles that compare to the price range of middle to upper-middle class houses.

But then there was Lamborghini.  Two of these sculpted Italian exotics rested on a platform that rose only knee high.  I don’t want to waste time on the attributes of those two wedges of speed, power, and artistic design.  Because what I want to point out is the power that those vehicles have on the psyche, which was demonstrated by their presentation.

For comparison, let’s take the “Dodge Viper.”  It was roped off.  These ropes are a clear message to the public to keep away.  Now, if you compare this vehicle to any of the Lamborghini models, strictly by statistics, they are not much different.  Both vehicles are insanely powerful, warp-speed fast, and have no logical reason for existing other than to appeal to our emotions. And, if you are a lover of black velvet Elvis Presley paintings, you might even convince yourself that the Viper is more artistic in design than the Lamborghini.  (And if that is the case, and you have a gun, and you want to be put out of the misery of your bad taste…well I’d be too sensitive and hopeful for your future to do it myself.  But I’m sure somebody would.)

But the “Lambos’?”  Like I said.  They sat alone on a tiled platform.  This great plane of stone could have allowed access to hundreds of tire kickers. But nobody lifted a foot up to step into the world of exotica.  And when I dared my friend to hop up there and pull a “Dukes of Hazzard” dive into the open half $ million convertible, he pointed out the fact that there were no ropes. Indeed, not only were there no obvious barricades, there were no “keep off” or “please do not touch” signs. No human warning, of any kind, was there to keep us peasants from stepping foot toward these Lions. Any of the hundred or so humans standing around that platform could have simply raised one foot knee high, with every good legal excuse, and simply walked across the field of automotive nirvana, legally protected by the lack of signage or ropes…To touch the Mona Lisa.  But nobody did.

And why is that?  Why did the 200mph Viper have to be protected from the prying public. But not the 204 mph Lamborghinis? Statistically they are very similar. Sure, maybe the Lamborghini is a few miles per hour faster.  Maybe it handles slightly better.  And maybe, to even most of us peasants, it looks a little cooler. Feels a little better, smells a little more sensual. But why should it cost more than twice as much?  And, more importantly, why don’t we need ropes and signs to tell us to keep away, the way the Viper does?

Maybe it’s because of clever marketing.  But I don’t think so. After all, the Viper doesn’t fool the professional car critics, who drive all of those exotics for their living, until they get as jaded as cops working the inner city beat.  I think that the same “mob mentality” that causes riots, and that appeals to the lowest common denominator amongst us, also works in just the opposite way.  When the highest sense of beauty sees heaven, the highest sense in all of us rises to the occasion and recognizes that no matter what statistics quote, no matter how much we pay, and no matter how much we might impress our neighbours or the chicks on the street, art is art.  It is passion that has been handed down from generation to generation.  It is an understanding of pure value that has been fought for by some few individuals who are long forgotten, who died only with the hope of passing on their passion for life, and which, somehow, has passed from one person to another, without ever having lost anything in translation, because of the strength of its purity.  Until the product of all that heritage sits before us.  And inherently, we all know that the Lamborghini is a work of human art.  We know that it won’t be laughed at by history.  That it’s value will increase over time.  That even know, pound for pound, moment by moment, the sensory perception our souls will regard this human creation as an experience to be cherished.

And that the Viper, by comparison, is a piece of shit.  (I assume that nobody who reads my rants owns a Viper.  So no apologies are necessary. On the other hand, if anybody out there who has decided to read my rant is rich enough to own one, then I thank you for taking the time to read this.)

This fact is so simply demonstrated by the Auto show. We’ll not hesitate to paw and maul what we don’t respect. And so we have to be told to keep our hands off. But we instinctively stand back in awe of what we can’t help but to recognize as the artistry of our heritage.

(Ten minutes ago {now probably two hours ago since my initial shock—and re-edit,}) I finally received a call from a Corporal at Moss Park Armoury that the physical test that I MUST pass in order to be enrolled as an officer in the CAF is scheduled for next Tuesday.  So, unfortunately, this rant, soon to be followed by the last of the rum in my cup, and the last cigarette about to be put in my mouth…Is now over.)

Sorry folks.  I had so much more to say tonight.

But please come by next week. Because I’m sure that no matter what I have to say then, I know it will mean more than anything I have had to say so far (in this Friday night rant.) I apologize in advance for any e-mail I left to any of you unanswered, beg for your forgiveness for any detail in your life that I haven’t addressed, and humbly beg for your best wishes in the pursuit of my new life.  

May all of us face such rites of passage (even if they are as far overdue as mine) with courage and conviction. And laugh about them next Friday!

Seriously though, I can’t thank you all enough for being out there during this past year of my life—whether or not you read my words occasionally or every week—whether or not you agreed or disagreed with my opinions—and whether or not you decided to respond to me or not.

(Oh…the other interesting experience was rediscovering the classical music of the strings of “Adagio,”  [which I am listening to right now.] ) I watched a lovely, passionate young figure-skater be destroyed by this music at the Olympics.  But this subject will have to wait for some other rant.  Not that I feel guilty!  Since I’m sure that this failed skating-superstar will receive more emails to her “official” website this week than I will receive in my lifetime.  But still…

She was poetry in motion.

Oh…and one last thing…speaking of courage…Lets have a big cheer for Canada’s record 20 medals and third place finish in the Olympics this year!

(So far—as of one day from the closing ceremony.)

Okay…I’m done now...

Ern

February 17, 2006

My landlady’s cat wants to get laid so bad that she’s rubbing my hand as I type while she’s shoving her ass in the hutch of my desk. And yet, when she’s not in heat, she won’t have anything to do with me. So when I’d just like a cuddly pet to pet, she looks at me like I’m the devil.  But when she wants some hard action, she drives me nuts. Because (aside from the fact that I’m not into bestiality) I’m, well…not to brag or anything but, I’m hung like a horse, (at least in comparison to a cat’s need for something about the size of a half-used crayon.)

So there is nothing I can do about it.  We can never satisfy each other!

I don’t know if this is leading anywhere.  And if it is, its probably already been covered by Dr.’s Ruth and Phil a million times.  And I doubt you dear readers visit my rant to catch an episode of Oprah Winfrey.

(Speaking of which, I’d appreciate it if one of you could remind me to rant about how that poor, brilliant writer, Something Frey, should be laughing all the way to the bank for writing a novel that impressed Oprah enough to get on her Book Club. Okay, so it was supposed to be “non-fiction.”  So the fuck what?  He’s a former crackhead who wrote well enough to get himself to the most coveted seat in American pulp culture.  If I were him, caught in a lie, on Oprah’s stage, I’d probably stare into the camera and say “Ah…yeah Oprah…I made that up. It didn’t really happen.  But it might as well have because it was real in my story.  I was really there in my heart. And it must have rung true to you or I wouldn’t be here.  But I just can’t believe that I’m here!  Being accused by Oprah Winfrey!  Thank you Oprah!  Thank you for telling all of America to buy my book!  I guess I must be more than a crackhead! Thank you! I love you!  And yes of course I made up some things. Yes I lied.  But you loved the story I told! Right! Because it moved you, right!  So thank you Oprah!”)

(Actually, I think I just did the whole thing right there.  So never mind.  I just hope you dear readers have the patience to get back on track for what I really have to say…)

So I don’t think I’ll go there. But then, where will I go?  I mean it seams a shame for me to ignore the lessons of my landlady’s cat, particularly since Valentine’s Day has just passed. So I guess I’ll just ramble on, and hope for the best, about what I will title tonight’s rant…LESSONS FROM ANIMALS, LUST, LOVE, AND ROMANCE…IN EXACTLY THAT ORDER.

(Excuse me…that cat is literally screaming right now)I LEARNED FROM SOME Discovery show (or at least I remember it that way) that the human male is the only creature on earth that doesn’t actually have a “bone” with which to give him a “boner.”  (Don’t worry; the “Love and Romance” part is cumming.)

All we have are blood vessels that must fill with blood to get things rising to the north. And, since it requires the heart to pump this blood, and the mind to get it pumping, human mating is very complicated.

I’m getting itchy from cat saliva! I just tossed her down on the floor only to watch her dig her nails in the carpet, shove her ass up in the air and start moaning.

“Abra Cadabra!” I wish, “Become Pamela Anderson!”

No…she’s still a cat.

But what if this little cat did become Pamela Anderson, (substitute your own “sex symbol” if this one doesn’t work for you) and then she(/he) looked up at you, moaning, and said, through gritted, passionate teeth?…

“I really need to fart!”

Well, for some men, it wouldn’t make any difference.  For other weird fetishers, this rant would be over right now. I, on the other hand, would be sending her packing, while being inspired to write a whole new rant. It would all depend on the thoughts that we thunk as we looked at this image.

To illustrate my point, a friend of mine told me about how he used to lust after this gorgeous girl.  He finally got to dance with her, let his hand slide down to her ass, only to feel “a pad.”  Suddenly, he was completely turned off. To this day (as of a couple of years ago, when he told me about it) he regrets being turned off by such a natural human thing.

And I’m sure his regret is inspired by the fact that memory remembers real life, and naturally edits out anything that doesn’t matter…like ideology.

The point is the mind.  The mind creates the image of desire, regardless of the actual person that the eyes gaze upon. In turn, the mind sends the signals to the heart to get the blood pumping to the groin. Right? (Doctors and Psychologists feel free to correct me if I’ve made any errors here.)

Now how does all that tie in with romance?  Well if we were animals, we’d simply sit in the middle of the dance floor with our “boners’ jutting out of our pants shouting “sit on this thing before it explodes on the floor!”

Of course, we do enough of this already, but not (normally) with an audience.

But as human males, no matter how experienced, cynical or jaded we might be, sooner or later we find ourselves holding up the wall of the high-school gym while we gaze longingly at the most beautiful girl on the dance floor. And we imagine that we are the guy that’s dancing with her.  (Unless you’re the “Mr. male model” that I spoke of last week, in which case you are the guy that’s dancing with her.) And we imagine how she could be the one that would make us move mountains to be with her. That’s where  “romance” comes in to the equation.  We see her as an idol of all that is.

As Blue Rodeo sings…

“In your eyes I see that perfect world…I hope that doesn’t sound too weird.”

This feeling that we guys have, the wash of insane worship over somebody who we’d know must fart just like we do if we weren’t so insane, is what turns lust into love. Because, while the mind thinks fleetingly, the heart beats eternally. 

But the heart needs help from the mind to make romance last.  Because it takes thought to turn the Madonna into the Person who is just as desirable as the Madonna that the heart started pumping blood for in the first place.  So, as a middle aged, single guy, resting between all that was before and all that will be, I’d say to all you friends who are hooked up with that girl in the highschool gym…Do nothing but remember that moment, even if she was in line at the bank, wiping snot from her nose when that “perfect world” moment happened.  Forget about everything else that’s happened since.  I know that’s a tall order to ask.  Believe me, I’ve been there, and obviously failed to do what I’ve asked of you.  But she’s still there.  She is that Madonna. 

They all are.

On the other hand, if you are finding yourself holding up that wall, gazing at that perfect, beautiful girl, don’t question it.  Don’t be cynical.  Don’t remember the horrors of your past.  Just enjoy the moment to feel the blood pumping in your veins.  And remember, when you look at this woman that you think must be too beautiful to be true, that when you were born, the whole world was there to be discovered. And you are still discovering it.

Because everyone comes to us as the coastline of a distant shore that beacons rejuvenation.  And beyond that shore lays a country that could take a lifetime to be discovered.

Okay.  I admit that this is probably my worst written entry.  But it’s Valentine’s week.  And so I’m writing only from the heart.  I’m impassioned and insane and completely beyond logic and reason. OKAY!?

(Of course, despite my defensiveness, your comments are always welcome.)

 

February 10, 2006

Is anybody out there tonight? Or am I writing to myself?   Do I have anything worth saying tonight? Or am I lost at sea?  Think I’ll go for a smoke and think about my next sentence, so that I don’t have to end it with another question mark.

Did I really need that smoke?  So much for that idea.  Now I’m freezing, and still don’t know what to talk about.

Maybe I’m reaching for faith.

Yeah…I think I’ll go with that title.  MAYBE I’M REACHING FOR FAITH. Or, does one step up have to mean that you’ve gone two steps back?

So today I was shaving in the change room at the gym. And I noticed that my body didn’t look like a big jellybean anymore.  Shapes of muscles were gradually pushing through the fat.  My belly didn’t look like it had just swallowed a bowling ball.  I felt I had taken a step forward, as though my path was sure for a moment.  And then a Mr. male model stepped up and started shaving beside me.  Six-pack stomach, ripped biceps.  Chiselled face under a full dark mane.  The whole bit. So I turned to him and said, “Excuse me, but I was having a moment here.  So could you go fuck off and die?”

Okay, so I didn’t actually verbalize the words. But for a moment, I did allow myself to lose faith in myself, by comparing myself to someone else. I allowed myself to ignore all the progress I’d made in pursuing my goal.  I forgot about the fact that’ I’d never pop a button anymore.  Ever.  Forgot all the congratulations I’d received lately, or all the encouragement I’ve received from friends and you, dear readers. I just thought about all the moments where I’d lost my discipline, given into a vice or an emotional weakness.

And today I had to let people down who had given me so much generosity, by sending a painful e-mail to inform them that I wouldn’t be able to continue with a business opportunity that was offered to me. They’re all great people, and yet I couldn’t manage to convince myself to share their dream. Does this make me a hypocrite? I felt like I had shown myself to be somebody you can’t count on. I want to believe that I explored the opportunity to fullest extent, and then realized that it was the wrong course of action for me. But all I can be sure of was that I had to make a decision. And I decided against it.

And in my heart I’ve taken careful steps some days, and careless ones on other days, to reach out to an angel who resides here on earth.  One step up, two steps back.

But I know that I am here for a reason, and when I really try, I can see that I’m making that reason happen in my life.

So as for faith, I’ve learned that you must choose a path, forgive yourself when you lose your way, and know that whatever the result of your actions may be, that in the end, if you know that your path is truly the one you have chosen for yourself, you will find freedom.  And in the meantime, you might as well just enjoy the ride.

 

February 3, 2006

I was out Karaokeing a couple of days ago, partying my face off and spending my nest-egg with oblivious abandon when a couple of girls got up on stage and sang a country tune that had nothing to do with broken hearts or d-i-v-o-r-c-e or any of those other country music clichés.  I believe the song was called “The World Needs a Drink.” It lamented about how this planet has been spinning around for so long with all kinds of problems that it just needed to chill out, have a drink and calm down.  And when the cute girls got to the line about how “The Empire State Tower hates the Eiffel Tower” (or something like that,) I thought…Yeah…Fuckin’A right! If only we could all chill out, all around the world, even for a day, run down to the beach and party our faces off, maybe we could get a new perspective.

So I think I’ll title my rant tonight along the lines and grammar of Stanley Kubrick’s great film, Dr. Strangelove, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.

http://kubrickfilms.warnerbros.com/video_detail/dsl/index.html

So my long-winded title of tonight’s rant is…

WHY WE SHOULD ALL HAVE A DRINK. Or, how I learned to appreciate the reflection on the water that brings it all together to project the story of a life well lived.

Give me a moment while I top up my rum’n diet Coke….Well this oughta’ be an easy one. Write about drinking…drink…write about drinking…drink…ritebut drinkinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn…drrnc…and ah,.wrriiiiiir4te afv…

Anyway…Yeah.  So we have an advocate of Suicide bombings (Hamas) now becoming the elected government of Palestine.  We have shouting war protesters being thrown out of American Press conferences. “New Orleans is Sinking,” (As The Tragically Hip sings,) still, after five months since the hurricane. West Virginian families are being torn apart by a mining accident that should be as extinct as the dark ages with the technology that we have available to us today, and then are tortured even further by false information that proclaimed a miraculous outcome.

Iran is building the next bomb.  I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device) is becoming a universally understood term today, as these insidious weapons kill people who are just trying to rebuild a country, as well as even more innocent civilians that we never hear about, just as W.M.D (Weapon of Mass Destruction) became understood by families around the world when George Bush proposed the Iraq war in the first place.  Another U.S. Postal worker has “Gone Postal,”shooting and killing six people, including herself. Government surveillance in America is reaching back toward the 1950’s Macarthy Era paranoia.  Gun violence in my home city is becoming infamous even outside Canada.  Even though the number of 55 for the year of 05 pales by comparison to the 374 in Detroit, whose guts have rotted out to the point where her population has dropped to 900,000. (As compared to our two and a half million.)  Hearts should bleed for so many cities.  And then you have European newspapers publishing cartoons depicting Allah, and Muslims protesting around the world at the indignity and…Holy Fuck!

Lets all go down to the beach and have a drink, man!

I sit here and try to imagine what power could exist that would make me want to strap a bomb around my belly, or raise a gun to somebody’s head. So now I look back over this past year and remember the times that I have imagined losing a loved one to some senseless act of violence, like a stray bullet cutting out the life of somebody I loved.  I’ve imagined how I might say “Fuck it all. I’m gonna’ make it my mission to hunt down and kill that asshole.”  But then, if I succeeded in my mission, a second after I’d put a bullet through his brain, what would I have?  I couldn’t pull the bastard up by his balls and say “You see asshole?   That’s what you get for killing my wife/child/mother/father,” because he’d be dead. And I’d be in no shape to love again because I’d be consumed by the thought that my loved one was never coming back and I had spent all this time avenging her death, rather than trying to love somebody, only to wind up with a corpse that I couldn’t get the satisfaction of hating any more than I could hate a rock.

Or, as I heard this morning, about a guy who had the new roof that he had slaved away to rebuild on his house in New Orleans, ripped off by a tornado.  If I were him I might just say “Oh fuck it!  Obviously there is no god looking out for me, so I’m not going to bother with faith anymore. So I’m just gonna’ fuck as many hookers as I can until my money runs out and I die of starvation.  ‘Cause what else is there?” In my case, that would mean about 80 moments of sexual gratification, (guessing on a an average price per each minute of orgasm) followed by a long, painfully slow death. Wow. What a legacy I would leave! How many school kids would watch the inspiring documentary of my life?

Of course, its so easy for me to preach, and think rationally, as I sit here in my comfortable life…take a sip…in my little, violence-free home office. And its easy to theorize that we all lash out in anger, and cause so much grief that causes so much more anger to lash out with even more violence.  Because that is so much easier to do than to admit, and to surrender, to our fears.

But still, I’d like to imagine that no matter what misfortune might come my way, in the end I’d choose to run to the beach, help build a fire, crack open a beer, and tell the horrible story of my life to whoever was beside me, who was cracking open his/her beer, (while regarding that person as a friend, without judgement).  And then I’d like to think that I’d repay the favour by listening with an empathetic ear, to his/her own terrible story. And maybe we’d bond, understand that we’d suffered the same fate, and realize that, (as God—you know, Bruce Springsteen—would sing,)  “Spare parts and Broken Hearts keep the world turning.” 

Of course, I’d have to be prepared for the fact that if all the world gathered on this beach, that the killer of my loved one might be the one I’m telling my story to. But, if that was the case, I’d also have to face the fact that he was there for the same reason that I was.

Then I’d like to think that I’d be tipsy enough to gaze into the passion of the blazing fire, and then up into the clear northern sky at the majesty of all the stars that God placed there.  And I’d hope that I could see that all the evil I that I had done to others, and all that had been done to me, even if it was by God, was due to human fear. Or at the very least, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Because what do we all want?  I imagine it’s the same fundamental things that I want. I want to be loved.  I want to give the love that I have to give. And I want to believe that a higher power is there to give me the courage to give and receive that love that allows me to appreciate the passion of the fire, the majesty of the stars, and the reflection on the water that brings it all together to project the story of a life well lived.

And then I’d crack another cold one and realize that every evil thing that I’d ever done, as well as everybody else’s evil deed was inspired by the fear of not being included in this great goal that we all have.

But damn! Imagine if all of the billions of us could all take a day to run down to the beach and share our beer, vodka, rum, or even our green tea, and realize that we are all partying for the same reason.

To get together and banish the word “fear” from the vocabulary of all our collective dictionaries.

 

January 27, 2006

Okay, now that the great Alberta party is in the past and I’ve been faced with all the nitty-gritty details of starting up a new business (cost analysis to analyze, contracts to read etc.) my creative inspiration has been drained to the max, not only because of the aforementioned, but because I’ve also had to fight off bronchitis while still working out at the gym every day to meet my goal of becoming an officer in the CAF. Although, on that note, I’m happy to report that I can now meet two of the three physical requirements—14 push-ups and 17 sit-ups.  (I can just hear the laughter from all you physically fit people.)  And, although the 2.4km run in under 13 minutes remains to be seen, I can now wear my skinniest “skinny jeans” and will have to invest in a new bathing suit before I swim again, lest I be arrested for indecent exposure.

But damn it all to hell, I think I’m going to have to quit smoking before I can meet that last challenge!

So I think I’ll turn this rant over to one of you dear readers, since I am just too exhausted tonight to come up with any “deep thoughts.”  Although I asked you dear readers to only submit “fresh” rants as opposed to responses to my thoughts, I’m breaking that rule tonight, simply to provide you all with something to read. Please stay tuned next week when I promise to think of something that I hope will be, at best, provocative, or at the very least, entertaining…

And now, without further ado, please check out my “guest’s rant” tonight, uncut and unedited, which was a reply to my rant from last week…

“(Feel free to post if desired)

Hello Ernie!

I'm happy to say we are in agreement!  So called "rich people" do 
deserve the wealth they've earned through their willingness to take 
risk, and most importantly, maintain a strong, positive outlook.

Unfortunately, there is a bias against the wealthy in some quarters.  
In fact, wealth is often used as a political tool to polarize voters 
into "haves" and "have-nots".  Demonizing "the rich" as though they 
became wealthy solely by greedily taking more than "their fair share" 
of the pie.  Ironically, some of the wealthiest among us are 
frequently the ones espousing the strongest anti-rich rhetoric.

You don't have to look far to see examples of this anti-rich 
mentality.  Just watch the news, or read a newspaper, and you can see 
countless examples of those portrayed as "greedy" in pursuit of what 
is implied as worst sin of all: Profit!  Corporations are constantly 
portrayed as the embodiment of pure evil.

Why do some of us detest the rich?  Why are some of the richest among 
us bashing the rich?  Well, like so many other issues, the divide is 
often ideological.

The left benifits from people disliking the wealthy because it means 
votes.  Votes mean power, and power means wealth.  So by "standing up 
for the little guy" the left is ultimately empowering (and enriching) 
themselves.  This is evidenced by there efforts.  Efforts that never 
focus on how to earn more, it's always about punishing those who have 
already figured it out.

The reality is that the wealthy and corporations continue to create 
more jobs and more prosperity than any social or government program 
ever will.  Employment means income, and income empowers people with 
control over their own lives.  The more money you have, the more 
power you have over your own life, and the less you need some bozos 
telling you how to live.

Being negative comes naturally to us humans.  Being positive requires 
effort.  It is much easier to assume the role of victim, and see the 
rich as having taken what should be yours, than to make the effort to 
grow your own piece of the pie!  What a miserable existence it must 
be to spend each day feeling "screwed by the man"!  A sustained-
miserable-existence is precisely the result of buying into the whole 
victimized mindset.

Rob”

 

January 20, 2006

I was introduced to a new career opportunity this week.  Somehow I had entrusted enough people in my life to end up being sent on a business trip to the beautiful town of Canmore Alberta,  a small town nestled in the middle of the spectacular Rocky Mountains.  I was treated like a king, not only by my former (and still sort of current) boss, who flew me out there, but by people I had never met before.

And so, along with the majesty of the Rocky Mountains that I have seen far too few times in my life, I witnessed the great peaks of truly wealthy people.  They reminded me of why I respect “rich” people. 

The subject of my rant tonight, WHY RICH PEOPLE DESERVE THEIR WEALTH.

Of course there is no hard and fast rule, as life is not always fair. But for the most part, whenever I have encountered and gotten to know people who are financially secure for life, I have been compelled to respect them for the following reasons.

Rich people care more about how they can enjoy life, rather than complaining about what’s wrong with it.

Rich people ask you sincere questions about yourself. And they treat you as if you deserve to be rich as well.  They have an innate sense that you can do what they have done, if only you can let go of whatever fears may be blocking your path. And therefore…

They’ll take a risk by trusting you first, and then asking questions later. And even when they do ask questions, they do so to help you, rather than to destroy you.

Rich people have been humbled by the inevitable losses that they have taken as they charged boldly through life, and will freely admit their failures, if only to reassure you that they are human, just like yourself. 

And they share their disasters, as well as their triumphs, because they also like to share the adventure of life with you, whatever the results are, because they know that the adventure is the important thing.

Rich people invest in making other people rich.

Rich people are rich with money because they are rich with passion, in its purest, truest form. 

They love life. And life loves them back.

Business trip anecdote:  While partying at the local watering hole that one night in Alberta, this gorgeous young woman directs my attention to an elegant lady across the way and says “she was the first woman to scale Mount Everest.”  A few minutes later I had the pleasure of meeting this world-famous mountain-climber.  She shook my hand and smiled warmly, just as any good soul would do.

Does life get any more majestic than that?

 

 

January 13, 2006

(Please stay tuned for our first “Guest Rant.”)

Ooooo…Friday the 13th! And it’s only the second Friday of the year!  I don’t have a calendar handy but there will probably be more on the way this year.  Does this signal a foreboding message of bad luck coming our way? Or is bad luck just Nature’s way of making us learn to face new challenges?  Do we see the glass “half full” or “half empty?” This morning, on the news, I saw that the “13th” floor of Toronto’s City Hall is occupied by air conditioning units. Ever notice how most buildings have no “13th” floor?

I wonder how many new houses will no longer have the address “911?” Every time that I see one, a chill runs down my spine. And I feel bad for the occupants of those addresses for the weight they must draw on their shoulders. I mean, just think, nearly 2000 souls lost their lives on that day. It was the month of my birth. It was a date that symbolizes the phone # for which we call for help.  How much irony lies in that?  And why do we call that tragic day “9-11”?   Where were you when 9-11 happened? I’m sure it’s a moment that we will all remember. I, for example, remember exactly how I woke up early that morning, for no particular reason, since my work happened in the evening, just to tune in to CNN, and hear how an “airplane—probably a small private plane” had just hit the World Trade Center. And then, a few minutes later, another aircraft hit. And on a clear blue morning. And I remember thinking, “How can this be? An accident like that might happen once in a blue moon.  But twice, to two buildings that stood side by side?  And then I realized…”Holy fuck! This is an attack!” To which I remember yelling out, “Oh My fucking Christ!” And then waking my wife with my cry.  Then, in the evening of that same day, I had to go to work, as usual, and make pleasantries with my customers. How do you honestly say to a stranger, “Hi, how are you today?” when so many people, so near to us, have not just died tragically, but have been deliberately murdered?

And yet, even as I write this, a horrible murder, rape, or psychological crime is happening to thousands of people around the world.  Maybe tens of thousands. As that old(ish) Van Halen song sings, “Right now” somebody is having a knife penetrating their heart, watching their baby die, or is being raped. And those are just the easy things to imagine. And those things are happening to at least as many people as who collectively died on that tragic day that we all, in this part of the world, will remember forever.

What is the point of my rant tonight? I’m not sure.  I’m still trying to figure that out.  Maybe it is simply THE DARK SIDE.

Ah! That’s it! My point tonight is that maybe all of us, who are now so frustrated that we are being cut-off on the road, or standing too long in line at the bank/grocery store or what-have-you, or have just lost too much money on a bad gamble/speeding ticket/advertised special (that turned out not to be so “special,”), or are now fighting with our spouse over the Christmas credit card bills, or have just had a “Bad” Friday the 13th, should take a deep breath and realize just how lucky we are, even on this “bad luck” day, to have the luxury to complain about such things, since we aren’t too busy being murdered, raped, or are watching those people we love dying before our eyes.

Because right this minute, thousands of lives are being destroyed, violently, for no good reason that can be justified by saying something as stupid as “God works in mysterious ways.”

For example, I saw the other day how a woman who had just survived the crash of an airliner, and who had witnessed so much tragic death, who was stunned to see how life went on the next day.  Traffic on the road.  People joking around. Business going on as usual. Even though, just the day before, she was one of those people. She was shocked at the total absence of the sense of tragedy, within sight of where the carnage had taken place. And I could feel her point.  Imagine seeing people you have just been talking to being cut in half, their bodies exploding.  And knowing that your child has also seen this, and thanking God for and your child surviving, even though the horrors that you have witnessed will live in your nightmares for the rest of your life. And then, the next day you see your whole life-changing experience summed up as a two minute “sound byte” on the news, and all of the people around you go on with their sunny day, complaining about how they got two sugars in their coffee when they asked for one, or about some other banal little problem that came their way.

So maybe it is time that we actually take a moment to really understand how dark life can be, and really empathise with the people, no matter who they are, or where on earth they live, or what colour, race, or religion they belong to, who, right this minute, are going through whatever unjustified hell that they are being subjected to, and then thank God, Fate, Allah, or whatever belief we can find, to realize just how lucky we are to have the luxury of being superstitious.

I can sum all this up by quoting two opposing lines from a great Terence Mallick film entitled “The Thin Red Line.”

A General Officer, on firing a Lieutenant under his command for disobeying an order that would surely have caused many of the Lieutenant’s soldiers their deaths, says something like “Look how the vines crawl around those trees, suffocating them. (Referring to the Guadalcanal Jungle.)” After a thoughtful pause, he continues…

“Nature is cruel.”

That line, to me, shows us how we must look at life clearly, so that we can all appreciate the last line of the same film…And the last line that we should all be aware of, all the time.

“All things shine.”

 

And now, for our first “Guest Rant.”

This passage, posted below, was submitted to me, to be posted here. I hope you all read it with appreciation for the effort that this writer put forth to be read by all those around the world who happened to tune in tonight!

“Hello!

 

I must admit I do become frustrated with people communicating WHILE doing something else.  Heaven forbid someone should actually drive a car without being distracted by a cellphone, or stand in line without subjecting others to their endless babel.  But my greatest irritation stems from putting me at risk: talking while nonchalantly driving.  Not even the slightest hint that driving is a primary focus.  Completely irresponsible prioritization of ones attention!

 

The subject of guns has been frequented here of late.  The causes and cures are polarizing, but the horrific tragedies that do happen are undeniable.  Yet when you come right down to it, how much difference is there between someone haplessly hurtling multiple tons of steel, and a bullet?  Not much -- other than a car is much larger, and can easily surpass the destructive force of any bullet!

 

Communication options are good.  Communicating at the expense of safety, or even human courtesies, is not.

 

That's my 'communicate with anyone other than those who reside in the same room as I' rant! ha-ha

 

Rob”

 

For all you readers, please note that you are welcome to submit your own “rant.” I will post it, as per my rules that I mentioned last week (January 6th.)  Also note that I will forward responses to your rant (anonymously) to you, by the following Friday.

 

January 6, 2006,

Well, before I get into whatever subject I’m going to get into tonight, let me briefly reiterate the idea that I came up with (thanks to a couple of you dear readers) on Tuesday…

The Guest Rant.  Anyone who wishes to use this space to talk to the world about whatever they want is welcome to.  Send me your words in the body of an e-mail with quotation marks around the “exact wording” that you wish to post here. Please include your name within those “”marks if you wish your identity to be known.  Otherwise I will leave you anonymous. Please feel free to write whatever you want, as briefly as possible, (like I’m one to talk!) just as long as it is not obviously “hate mail” directed at any particular named individual, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc.  Your deadline is Friday evening. I will post it that night, (assuming yours is the only one that I receive,) below my own “rant” or by itself under the heading “Guest Rant.” Though I will not personally comment on your rant publicly, I may mail you a response.  I will also collect all e-mail responses that I receive about your rant and forward them to you sometime the following week, keeping the identities of those respondents anonymous as well.

(Although, I must thank the dear reader who suggested that this “guest rant” idea was a bad one because you guys really just want to read “my” rants!)

Now, I was offered a guest rant tonight, and would have posted it except that this rant was a direct response to mine.  And, although it was well written, it would have required me to re-post my own rant for his to make any sense, and therefore have decided against it. This led me to come up with one last rule.  Make sure your message is a “stand-alone” rant, that doesn’t require the reader to refer to some other piece to make your rant make sense.

Anyway…Hmmm…This is tough tonight, as I have undergone major life changes in this first week of the year.  For the past seven months I’ve lived off gallons of coffee per day, been around people 10 to 17 hours per, been accustomed to the routine of being told when to be where to do what all the time, slept three hours per, smoked nearly a pack per, and been so wired on caffeine and nicotine, that I easily found inspiration, through bad health, to almost always have something to rant about by Friday night. And now, of my own choosing.  It’s all over. And frankly,  I’m in a state of shock. This past week for example, I have been around people for a grand total of about twenty hours.  The rest of the time I have been alone by myself, or alone in a crowd when I was at the gym, frantically trying to undo all the damage that I have done to my body over the past year. And the pressure is really on in that department as I also discovered this week that, in order to proceed with my new “military” career, I can’t submit the paperwork and then take the next six months to get in shape to begin training.  Because one of the questions on the form is basically “can you pass these three physical tests?” So I have to get in shape fast.  Ergo, tonight, all my muscles ache, I have a bloody toe and my back is killing me as I write this. Also, one of my two sales jobs—the one that was stable and secure—vanished before my eyes, so the financial pressure is on as well. 

On top of all that, I’m drinking vodka and V-8 tonight, instead of my usual rum’n’diet Coke. See! I’m even drinking healthy!  (getting my veggies and all.) And damn it’s so…uninspiring.

(Please don’t respond with lectures here! I already know what needs to be done. But it’s my first week of my new life, so I’m on vacation. Okay?)

Well…

That was a dull five minutes of staring at the screen.  Good thing you aren’t reading this as I’m writing it. “Real time” as they say. Which reminds me that I haven’t been entirely alone this week, since I’ve been “virtually” connected to many of you.  And for the first time, today I was “instant messaged.”  Suddenly, as I’m checking my e-mail, my screen flashes with “so and so wishes to speak to you” or something like that. Now I’m sure for many of you dear readers, this is an everyday occurrence. Not for me.  So I guess my topic tonight is MODERN COMMUNICATION.  Is it an improvement over the old ways?

A message flashes before my eyes, demanding my attention because it overlays what I am directly looking at. “Flash! Flash! Somebody wants to talk to you. Flash Flash.”  Unlike a ringing phone, that I am used to, and which is sitting over there, and which I can choose to ignore or pick up, here is this whole new medium DEMANDING my attention.  And of course the novelty of this whole new medium makes it that much more demanding. Oh…where am I going with this?

Anyway, I answer this call from a perfect stranger, who has found me through a website that I have joined, and which, through my joining, invites perfect strangers to contact me.  So of course I’m flattered. And I’m obligated to “Put my money where my mouth is.” But then I find myself typing sentences in “real time” when all my instinct tells me that I should be “talking.” And, because she has chosen to contact me first thing in the morning, I must ask her to hold on for a few minutes so that I can go out and have my morning smoke.  Luckily, a smoker herself, she understands.  But then, as I’m having my butt, I remember that my wireless connection often gives out on me and I contemplate whether or not I should warn her that we may be cut off at any given moment.  Then I come back from my smoke, rejoin the conversation where we left off, and start getting used to the idea of typing fast, observing when she’s typing so as not to type new words ahead of her replies and I just start getting into the groove of this whole new medium when BAM! The connection is lost. I click on “repair, wait ten seconds, we’re reconnected.  I begin to apologize for the lost connec…BAM! The connection is lost.  I click on “repair,” reconnect, finish my sentence. BAM! The connection is lost.  Finally, after this goes on for another five times or so in the space of ten sentences I have to tell my “IM” caller that I have to end this conversation.  I e-mailed her an apology tonight.

But even aside from the constant headache of my failing wireless router, I’ve come to conclude that conversations—i.e.—real time communication between two or more people is best left to the human vocal chords (or hand signing—in the case of the deaf). 

Now, through a program called “Skype,” that you can download for free, you can call me right now, as long as you have speakers and a microphone. And, no matter where you are in North America, the call is free.  I’ve had this on my computer for about six months and yet I’ve used it for about ten minutes.  Because either I am “away” or the person I want to call is “away.” Or my connection is failing me again.  Or maybe we’re all just putting our settings on “away” all the time because it is just too disconcerting to be working on your computer and all of a sudden have it “ring” at you and cause a big visual commotion before your eyes.

Maybe the advent of e-mail was the zenith of modern communication.  Because electronic mail gave us the ability and ease to go back to the old way of writing somebody a letter. Where you could take your time to think about what you wanted to say, edit your words, perfect your message, but then allow you to bypass the whole cumbersome procedure of putting it in an envelope, going out and buying a stupid stamp, and then having to write out a big long mailing address. And then knowing that the person you wrote to wouldn’t receive your message for days.

Now we have the good old art of “writing letters” combined with the modern and instantaneous convenience of the “SEND” button!

Combine that with the former great stride in modern communication, the cell-phone, which suddenly allowed us to never have to look for a payphone if we weren’t by our home land-line, and what more do we need? More importantly, why do we want it?

Oh…Now I’m catching my stride…Finally…Now that I think of the ridiculous tangents that the cell phone has taken on since its brilliant introduction. Size, for example.  Just the opposite of the penile analogy, does small size really matter?  How small does a cell have to get before it gets ridiculous. Granted, the 1st cellular phone I ever got weighed about 3 pounds and was the size of those old WW 2 walkie-talkies.  (You can still see them in old “Miami Vice” re-runs!) Now my phone is…wait…I’m going to measure it…11 centimetres long by 1 and a half centimetres thick. (about 4” by ¾” for you Yankees) And by today’s standards, that’s huge!  I’m so uncool by having a phone that has buttons that are easy to use.  And speaking of buttons…Text messaging.  Oh my god! I can sit and watch a teenager spend five minutes typing “W..H..A..T…...A…R…E.......Y…O…U……D…O…I…N…G…..T…O…N…I…G…H…T…?” And I want to grab him/her by the shoulders and say “HEY! Guess what? That’s a fucking PHONE that you’re typing on! Doh! Why don’t you just press the speed-dial button and say ‘Hey, what are you doing tonight?’  It’ll take two seconds…And that is what the fucking phone was made for!!! The whole purpose of that thing in your hand is to give you the ability to ‘talk’ to a person! Its inventor spent a good part of his life to figure out how to give you the ability to do that, just so you wouldn’t have to do what you are now doing! Just as he was forced to do a hundred years ago, because the phone didn’t exist!!!”

And then you have your camera phones and internet phones and all these services that only serve to make cell companies rich by sending us huge bills for things that we don’t need and which really only hinder communications anyway. A camera in a phone. What’s that good for? The proliferation of “Up-Skirts” websites?  Or do you really want to pay extra to see a tiny 1” x 1” picture of the boy/girlfriend that you are talking to?  And is your life a better place to be because you can spend two hours of it trying to choose between one of ten thousand different ring tones?

Oh…I think I’ll just summarize by taking a deep breath and suggesting that maybe we should all take a moment to think about what we’d like to say to someone. And then say it verbally, or with the written word.  Then savour that communication that we just had with each other.

Then let’s pull out our “communications” bills and ask ourselves if we can’t step back a little from all the marketing schemes, save ourselves some cash, and talk a little more like we used to…

By the campfire.

God I sound like such an old fart, don’t I? And at the tender young age of….ah…forty-one.

Have a good morning, everyone.

 

December 30, 2005,

A GUN battle takes place on a busy Toronto street leaving six innocent bystanders wounded and a 15 year girl, caught in the crossfire, is dead.  The day after Christmas.  I wish to God that my argument hadn’t been proven so tragically. 

That is the last comment that I am going to make about handguns. And while I always welcome your comments, please don’t expect a response if you don’t agree with me as nothing you say will make me change my mind about the simple fact that the handgun must be eradicated from the hands of all private citizens around the world. (Just as I never expected to change your minds’ in the first place.)

Anyway…

So a new year is only 24 and some odd hours away as I write this.  I guess that means that its resolution time for those of us who decide to make only one day out of every year of our lives the day that we decide to make ourselves better in any number of ways.  Isn’t that sad?  I mean, that only gives the average North American 78.5 days or so, (less than a quarter of a year) out of their entire lives, to make a point of improving themselves. (Minus the 12 to 16 days in our wise childhood years when we don’t even think of such things!)  So tonight I post my resolutions for 2006, so that the world can be my witness, and so that I will be forced to answer to all of you out there, should I fail in any way.

ERNIE’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

(Beginning January 2nd, 2006. As I’m sure that January 1st,  2006, will be occupied with recovering from the last night of 2005.)

I resolve…

1.     …To make every day a resolution day. Every day I will attempt to do something that scares me. That doesn’t mean climbing the Himalayas on Tuesday necessarily, just that I will push myself beyond my idea of my own limitations. Whether it be writing another page when I’m sure I have no creativity left, doing an extra rep at the gym or pushing myself to understand someone else’s point of view.

2.     …To be “cut” by the end of the year.  I will weigh not an ounce above 159 lbs and I will be in the same standards of health as a professional athlete which means that…

3.     …This will be the year that I quit smoking. This won’t happen tomorrow and probably not even next month.  But at some point this year, when I can’t think of anything else to do that scares me, that will be the day that I pick to quit.  For good.  For life.

4.     …To let go of all past wounds to my soul.  I will live with the wisdom of how much life can and has dished out in my history, and remember how much I have dished out in retaliation that was inspired by the weakness of my own heart.  But I will understand that all has been cancelled out.  And that I now have a blank cheque with which to write a new destiny, free of bitterness, preconceptions, and philosophies that haven’t worked in the past.

5.     …To be honest with myself and with others. No matter how many times it may mean changing my mind or altering my plans I will do nothing that I don’t want to do, (within reasonable bounds—I won’t necessarily bud to the front of a line at a bank for example,) convince myself of something that I know is wrong, or lie to myself or anyone else about my intentions, my emotions or my ideas. And finally...

6.     …To find a partner to love in all ways.  I won’t rush this one, even if it means working on it into ’07. I won’t presume to know who she is or what she will be like.  All I know tonight is that she will be someone who gains my complete respect and devotion.  And when I find her, (if I haven’t already) she will know that I will make it a mission in my life to make her life the fullest and richest that it can be.

These resolutions I make so that I don’t suffer the fate of the character in God’s (otherwise called Bruce Springsteen) wistful ballad, “My Father’s House.”

“My father's house shines hard and bright…It stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling, so cold and alone
Shining 'cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned.”

And I think I’ll leave it at that. For all of you dear readers, I wish that all good things come your way next year and I thank you all for reading my thoughts since I began this crazy escapade, and for responding to them, and I hope that we are all still here, still healthy, and still talking for years to come.

Sincerely,

Ernie Kosanyi.

 

December 16, 2005,

I’ve received comments from you dear readers that imply my rants are too long.  Or that you haven’t been reading because it takes too long to download my site.  So tonight, I’ll try to accommodate you with a “Rant-lite, Version One point O.”

Its hard to come up with something to be pissed off about tonight, as I feel so much at peace with my world. However, I have been dismayed about how many people have been killed by other people with guns in my city over this past year. Fifty, at last count, have been murdered in Toronto by handguns, raising our murder average to about 75 in total, over our yearly average of about 65. And with the Christmas season now upon us, surely more tragedies, spawned by loneliness, will come, raising our total even further.

Now, debates about handguns are pretty polarized. Either you are in the “guns kill people” camp or you are in the “people kill people” camp.  I hesitate going on about this because I’m not sure if I have anything fresh to add to such a tired debate.  And, I must admit that it’s even hard for me to get emotional about the people who have lost their lives to a bullet, since most of those killed by one (or more) have also been perfectly willing and able to kill someone with their own gun. Sometimes I’m tempted to join the cynical chorus and say “let them all just shoot each other until none of them are left alive.” And poof! The violence ends.

But then a father, watching t.v. with his child, is killed by a stray bullet that has blasted right through the wall of his house, and he dies right there in front of his kid.  Or a mother, running into a coffee shop, gets hit in the back and is paralyzed for life.  Then you hear that she was the primary caregiver to a child of hers who was also incapacitated and you just have stop and mourn for the injustice of it all.  And even for those killed who were would-be-killers.  Even they have mothers and fathers who must be devastated by the loss of their sons.  Because even a killer with a gun was once a child with a look of innocence who loved his Mom and his Dad.  He was a whole person, an individual who, at one time or another, made his parents smile.

The HANDGUN.  What is it? A piece of metal with a few moving parts which, if utilized properly, can end somebody’s life prematurely.  By itself, however, it is as benign as a toaster.  Just an object. It’s a thing that could sit on a kitchen table and never hurt a soul. So why should it be the subject of so much controversy?

Well…because, as a local politician recently said “it turns a punk into a killer.”  And why is that?  Because a handgun is designed to shoot something at close range, with easy carrying capacity.  A punk can shove it in his jeans and know that he has the power of life and death over anybody who crosses his path.  And this is the only reason for the handgun’s existence. Because of its short barrel, it is inherently less accurate than a “long gun,” i.e. a rifle or a shotgun, the former of which is suited to hunting animals or for target practice, and the latter of which is more suited to shooting birds, or for shooting attacking predators while you are out, openly armed, hunting birds.

So my point is, is that it is the “potentiality” of a handgun that makes it a killer. It is knowing that, if you “carry” you can be lethal. And you can be silent, mobile and ready at any given moment, to kill a person. That fact negates all the work that humanity demands for one to be loving and whole and spiritual. It negates family, which negates the continuation of the human race. Because, with a gun, you don’t have to worry about reason or understanding.  You don’t have to work to understand your enemy’s point of view. You don’t have to think about why you disagree with this other person’s clearly wrong viewpoint.  You don’t have to give your money away to this individual who is robbing you with his handgun. And, most importantly, you feel you can defend yourself, and those you love, against that individual, with your own gun, by killing him, before he kills you and yours.

But if there were no handguns, there would be no easy way out of humanity. There would be no “point-shoot-end-of-problem” mentality. If you wanted to kill somebody you’d have to pass many tests that most of us would fail.  First of all, you’d have to plan ahead.  If you plan to kill a person with a long gun, you’d have to think about how you would get that gun within range of that person without being detected.  That fact alone would make most people reconsider and start to think, “Is it rational, what I am planning to do?” Or consider the case of a “crime of passion” where somebody thinks “Oh I have to kill this fuckin’ asshole right now!” How are you going to do it without a handgun?

Are you going to run to the “rifle-closet” with your key in hand, and then go to the “ammunition-drawer” with your other key because you are a responsible rifle owner who always makes sure that his weapon is secured and only taken from storage when you go hunting or to target practice, while your would-be victim innocently stands there with the target-cross over his heart? 

Or are you going to do it with a knife, while knowing that you will have to strike your victim’s body with your own steel-sharpened hand? Feel his flesh collapsing under your weight? Ugh! How gross?  How…intimate!  And if you use a knife, or even your bare hands, you must face the fact that your victim might turn the tables on you. He might deflect the stab of the knife, or have hands stronger than you.  So, without the convenience of a handgun, you will have to convince yourself that killing this person might not be easy, and that you are risking your own life by making that decision.

Now tell me. Is that murder still going to occur? After all those damn inconveniences that a handgun would eliminate?  I’ll tell you, in my humble but correct opinion, roughly 97 times out of a hundred, it won’t.  And somebody who, no matter how fucked-up he/she is at that moment in their life, will not die, and will therefore not cause the grief of all of the family who loved and supported him, and whose lives he enriched. And it would all be because that handgun didn’t exist.

Which would also negate the argument for having a handgun to defend yourself.  You don’t need to carry if you know that nobody else is carrying. And if nobody can ever bring “a gun to a knife fight” even the “knife fights” will be less frequent.

Therefore, despite how cool it felt for me to hold a handgun; and despite the fact that it was handed to me by my friend, who owned it legally, and who I trust never to use it against anybody in anything less than a defensive, life-or-death situation, I must say that the eradication of the handgun from society is logical, imperative, and will one day be seen as humanitarian as the abolition of slavery.  Or of cigarettes.  (God, I can’t wait until that happens, since I can never seem to quit.  In fact, I think I’ll go and have one now!)

Danm! That felt good!

So…where was I? Oh yeah. The handgun. Destroy it wherever it is found. Except in a military force. And even then, one must question a military. If a military force must exist, it must be in existence only as a last resort, and only because, as a civilized society, that we have collectively decided that it should be there to defend us against people who will not listen to reason, who will not take the time to debate their point of view. And that military group of people must accept an oath to never bring harm against anyone unless we, the people, have debated enough, with enough reason and rhetoric to put humanity and understanding above vengeance and hatred as only debate amongst individuals can accomplish, to come to the conclusion that the only way to save our lives is to have an “organized militia*” and that that organization must now be used, with whatever deadly force is necessary, to defend us against those who have decided to kill us without mercy.

 (* To quote the United States Constitution—which then goes on to say that that “militia” has the “right to bear arms” as opposed to any just any redneck or gangsta’ with a beef against somebody—who often misquotes the Constitution by saying that “I” have a right to bear arms.)

But still, I must admit that I wouldn’t mind owning a gun. After all, it’s hard to resist the idea of that rush of power. And, although I will never “own” a gun, if all goes according to plan, by this summer I will be trained and have access to any number of high-powered military-issued firearms.

All because “I let go and let God” as my Ex would say.  (This is where I start to sound flaky. But, just as clichés are clichés because they are repeated so much because they are true, flakiness is often that because so many of us jump off the beaten path that we look ridiculous—like lemmings jumping off the proverbial cliff—even though we know there is some unexplainable reason for doing it.)  Recent events in my personal life have caused me to let go of outdated ideas, let go of bitterness and resentment, and make me feel like a teenager again; full of hormones and dreams of greatness.

So, one day, after I just felt good to be alive again, I happened to overhear a conversation between two of my co-workers that started when I asked one of them, a reserve infantry soldier, about how the army life was going. That question sparked an interest in another of my co-workers who happened to be an ex-USMC (United States Marine Corps.) This ex-USMC is a Canadian, now delivering pizzas to augment his full-time day job and part-time business to pay support because he couldn’t keep his fly zipped when he was young.  So I overhear this conversation and realize that a Canadian citizen can join the American military. I stopped in my tracks and thought, how come, with all my interest in shit like that, I never came across that piece of info. Then this ex-marine started bragging about how he receives “$391 Canadian per month, for life” because he served for three years in another country’s armed forces. To which my fellow infantry reservist said something like “Oh! That’s nothing!...” And then finally I had to interrupt and ask my Canadian Infantry reserve soldier-co-worker “So, you’re saying that you can get a pension like that after three years of service?”

            “Yeah.” He says.

I believe I then recalled a CBC Radio story about how the CAF was desperate to recruit more people, which caused me to ask, “So…ah…what’s the cut-off age for joining the military. He (who looks just like Harry Connick Junior, and who I will, from hereon-in refer to as “Harry,” responded with “Oh anywhere from 16 to sixty-eight.”

            “So you’re saying that I could join up?” I ask with a cynical laugh.

            “Oh sure!” he replies. And then adds “Do you have any education?”

            “I have a university degree. A Bachelor of “Fuck-all.” I reply with another cynical laugh, after which I explain that “B.F.A.” means Bachelor of Fine Arts.

            To which he responds, with all seriousness, “Oh, well then you could be an officer! You’d make about $400 a day! They’d hire you next month.”

            To which I reply with another cynical laugh “Right. Except that I have asthma.”

            To which he responds with, something like “Oh that doesn’t matter. Long as you can handle it.”

            To which I reply, without any cynicism, but now with a genuine interest, “So…let me get this straight.  You’re saying that I, a pudgy, 41 year asthmatic, could be an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces?”

            “Yes.” He says with all the severity of someone who has learned how to treat a sincere question with a sincere answer.

            So then I go and deliver a pizza, awash in this stunned silence of possibility.  I think… a career that is payed for, rather than getting a loan for.  A career that would pay me about as much as I’m making now from day one, just for my training, to teach me discipline and how to lead people, how to take responsibility for my life, and then, after a short period of service, would reward me with a life-long pension. And this just drops into my life at the very same time that I am ready and looking to make a serious leap into a new life?

            So, half an hour later I come back from my delivery to the “South End” of the “Shwa,” having received a shitty tip and no respect, and find myself asking the same questions over again, looking for the “catch” that I must have missed the first time. So I repeat all of my formerly joking questions to this soldier, only to receive honest answers, all of which deny my “this-is-too-good-to-be-true“ attitude. And he concludes by giving me a phone # and a Sergeant’s name to contact from his Unit, The 48th Highlanders.  So, just to make sure that this kid is selling me a pipe dream, I call the man. 

And this man’s response is “Oh I get this call twice a month from people who think they’ve missed the boat.”

Then the pipe dream is slightly adjusted, though far from destroyed.

            “Training for officers takes place over the summer.”  So I wouldn’t start getting paid to be an “officer” in January.  But, as soon as I think about it I realize that this gives me several months to physically train myself, and I have worked enough hours to last at least half that long without making a dime if I wanted to spend 24-7 in the gym. Covering the other three months wouldn’t require hardly any effort at all.

            “Now I should tell you that I have asthma.  Does that disqualify me?” I ask the recruiting sergeant. He doesn’t say “no.” He does mention the fact that I’d have to undergo basic training and that it is extremely tough and that he lost a pound a day when he went through it but he survived even though he was an asthmatic as a child.

Sorry. I just remembered that this was supposed to be a “rant-lite.”

So I tell you all this now, so that I will be egged on by any comments that any of you might have.  However, I know that I will take this opportunity to better myself and defend those I love.  After careful research, I have learned that there are two major hurdles that I must overcome.  The first is the interview. So I probably shouldn’t go in there like Arlo Guthrie saying “I wanna’ kill!” (From the film “Alice’s Restaurant,”) If I get through that unscathed, then I can flunk out on Basic Training.

            But aside from those two variables, I should be in. Okay so that’s about all I have to say about that. Except, if anybody out there has read this, and plans to respond with some unseen realism, feel free. Otherwise, this time next year, I’ll be wearing a funny-looking beret. And I will be trained to kill with a handgun if I must.

            Please taunt me, dear reader, to f