Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

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MR. INFLATION

 

June 1974 Sense and Nonsense

As everyone has undoubtedly noticed the prices of everything have leapfrogged lately. There have been all sorts of explanations for this, most of them involving a big word called “inflation”. This word used to mean “the act of filling with air or gas” and it was very easy to understand. It was a good word too, as it made a beautiful balloon out of a floppy, wrinkled piece of rubber. It also put you on the road again after a flat tire. Now it has a different meaning and it is no longer a nice word. It is more like an epidemic which nobody seems to have an antidote for.

An explanation could be that there is a super-villain in our midst. Our young son and his friends are devotees of Spiderman comic books. Spider-man is similar to Super-man only he has a terrible skin disease which covers about 80 percent of his body. He is a good guy though and always manages to triumph over the forces of evil. All these people, both good and bad, have super-powers and ordinary human beings with ordinary weapons are hopeless and helpless beside them.

The boys were busy designing their own comics one day and later I happened to glance at the results. They had pages of super-heroes and super-villains, all appropriately named. One particularly evil-looking villain lurked in the shopping centres of our land. His name was Mr. Inflation. Armed with a magic wand and disguised as an ordinary shopper he was able to up the prices of every item he touched. This rotter was extremely devious. At the end of page six, Spider-man and his super friends were still stymied. The puppy had eaten page seven so unless I remember to question the authors I shall never know whether good triumphed over evil.

Now that the sun is finally shining down on us the mosquitoes and black-flies are coming out in droves. Since they seem to be late this year I believe that they are trying to make up for lost time and some are taking double loads. I spied one mosquito in our bedroom the other night. His cargo tank was so overloaded that he had a terrible time getting up any altitude. His airspeed was so slow that I had no trouble downing him with one blow, I was then so be-splattered with my own blood I needed a small bath.

One hears so much lately about how insecticides are ruining our environment. I feel guilty every time I spray the house with the stuff. I understand that now we can rid our landscape of pesky bugs and still keep things in ecological balance. You just raise bigger bugs that eat the smaller ones. There is an ad in one magazine for praying mantis larvae. You can raise your own praying mantises and when they get big enough they’ll eat every mosquito In the vicinity. Who knows they might also make good pets and one may well become very attached to them.

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HALLOWEEN NIGHT

December 4, 1975     Sense and Nonsense

Halloween night has come and gone. One thing I have noticed in recent years is that this one night of the year is usually always raining. I believe there is a conspiracy against the witches, bats and other beings who formerly flew proudly through the moonlit skies on this, their very own evening. Of course the modern day witches could have automatic pilot controls on their brooms. If not I am sure they must be grounded on the extremely dark, wet Halloweens of late.

Wet or not there are still quite a few soggy mud-splattered earthbound ghosts and goblins tramping about ‘trick or treating’ on Halloween nights. However there seems to be fewer of them every year. Maybe it is the locality of wherever we happen to live.

One year we lived one street below the population belt. A friend up the hill complained that she had at least a hundred callers every Halloween night. That year I had decided to make caramel apples for Halloween treats. Caramelizing apples sounds easy but I discovered it is a very messy chore. The kids and I managed to caramelize the kitchen stove, cupboards, various pots pans and spoons in no time at all. We also caramelized fifty apples.

On Halloween night we removed the delicious looking apples from the refrigerator and laid them out on the table. I also laid out a large bowl of chocolate bars and candies for the unfortunate children who would arrive too late to receive an apple. At six o’clock there came the first knock at the door and we handed out the first few caramel apples. An hour later there was another knock and that was it. We handed out a total of ten caramel apples which included a double for one little girl who was in both groups. After the trick or treaters who lived at our place helped themselves I discovered we still had thirty-five caramel apples on hand.

We very soon found out that wrapping caramel apples in waxed paper for sanitary reasons is not a good idea. As a matter of fact caramel apples are not a good idea. The caramel has a tendency to soften when exposed to room temperature effectively gluing the waxed paper to the apple. Every apple eaten was an experiment in frustration. We eventually discovered the best way to eat them was to peel the softened carmelized layer of waxed paper off. Eat the candy off the paper with a spoon and wash the apple. The naked apples were later eaten the way nature intended them to be.

One Halloween we had just moved to a small town. The lady next door was a!so new in town so we decided to walk our small children around the neighborhood. Trick or Treating is definitely a very dull spectator sport. We paced outside each house in the brand new snow for what seemed like hours. Finally there was only one small house in the neighborhood left untouched by our Halloweeners. We knew an old bachelor lived there, probably a grouchy type who despised kids. The children wanted to finish up with this house so we reluctantly agreed to let them do so. As the door opened and the children filed inside we felt a twinge of apprehension. Ten minutes later we realized our mistake in allowing our little darlings to challenge this small but possibly sinister house. With shoulders back we stalked formidably up the path to rescue our offspring from whatever evil dwelt within.

We knocked loudly and the door opened. Inside we spied three happy little faces drinking hot chocolate and chatting with their host, a little old man who seemed to be enjoying their company very much . “Kids never stop here on Halloween,” he told us. “So this year I was unprepared for them. I thought a hot chocolate would be nice on a cold night like this”.

The lonely old man waved goodbye as we left and again apologized for having no candy on hand. “Be sure and stop in again next year. I’ll stock up.” he added.

ORGAN DONOR TECHNICALITIES

Oct 30, 1975  SENSE AND NONSENSE

Archie Bunker in “All in The Family” on TV the other night was quite concerned when he inadvertently signed an organ donor contract. He didn’t realize he was authorizing the charity that his boss supported to extract, not money from his paycheque, but any spare parts worth recycling from his body after he died.

Archie was worried about the character of the people who may inherit his eyes and other parts after death. I suppose some people would hesitate to donate their bodies to the medical profession for that reason. I am sure they need not worry. I believe there are more basically good people in this world than evil rat-fink type people.

I would gladly donate anything useful after death to whomever can make use of it. However, as Edith tried to reassure Archie, “Everything may be so worn out, nobody will want anything!”

One thing that has always intrigued me is the idea of a brain transplant. Our brain is supposed to be what we really are, the part of us that distinguishes us from everyone else. Our memories, emotions and ambitions live there, as well as the mechanisms that control the other parts of our bodies. Without a brain, the rest of our body would just lie there uselessly. This may remind some of us of certain people we know but medical science assures us that everyone has a brain lurking somewhere in the dark recesses of the skull.

If I should die of something other than a brain injury and if someone happens to have everything intact but for some reason or other is lacking a brain, I should like to donate mine to them. That is if medical science has progressed to the extent that they are able to install the one into the other. However, there would be one problem.

The problem would be a matter of technicalities. Would I really be donating my brain to her (or him) or would she be donating her body to me?  If the brain is really where it’s at, then we would be me. However, since the body is the larger part of the anatomy containing such identifying parts as the face and of course finger-prints, it is possible that we would be considered to be her. I suppose we could share. Multiple names have been around for a long time and I believe are a trademark of the aristocracy in some countries.

If my donor or donee – whatever the case may be – is a man the problems could escalate. My brain is used to being female and would probably be unable to change. It would probably reject the body. That is unless the body rejected it first. On second thought, I believe I will not donate my brain to medical science. At the moment it seems a trifle unstable. It may not even last as long as the rest of me. Just in case, does anyone have a good used brain around they would like to donate?

AIRIES AND CANCER PEOPLE NOT COMPATIBLE?

August 29, 1974 Sense and Nonsense

I see in the paper under Horoscopes that Cancer people are going to make some money this week on a business deal. It’s about time us moonchildren were given credit for some sense. We’re supposed to be terribly moody, fall in and out of love all the time, and are generally scatter-brained people. Our zodiac symbol is a crab so we’re not all that friendly either I guess.

The moon affects us a lot, which is why we are called moonchildren. I’m not sure how it affects us. It is possible our eyeteeth grow long, our fingernails turn into claws, and we go out in the full moon, howling eerily, in search of little children to eat. If this happens, I never remember It, and all the neighbourhood kids seem to be healthy.

Anyway, I believe that most cancer people are probably as mentally stable as anybody, even Arles people, who generally have good horoscope readings. I have read various books on the subject of compatibility of people under different zodiac signs. There are usually two lists. One of the ones you can marry and one of the ones you shouldn’t.

Nowhere have I seen It mentioned of a Cancer-Aries combination. It is probably because the two types are so different that they seldom ever meet. They probably don’t even go to the same schools together. The only time they ever run into one another is when a pushy, dominant, Aries salesman browbeats a poor, dumb Cancer into buying a set of encyclopedias or a kitchen gismo that grates, peels, chops and slices. Of course this could only happen when the moon is on the wane, or else she is likely to throw him out on his ear. There are two Aries people in our household, My husband and my daughter. They both must have been born either late or early as neither one have ever tried to sell encyclopedlas or anything else that I recall.

In fact, I have been waiting patiently for years. We could use a good encyclopedia around here. The only set we have is for children and it was printed in 1949. I’m sure it was outdated even then as under ‘ Modern Trains’ it shows a picture of the old steam-driven type. However I refuse to buy a new set except from an Aries, who is a member of the family, and only if they split the commission with me. Maybe that will be the “business deal” I am supposed to make money on this week?

We have a book at home. I don’t know where it came from but it is called “How To Find Your Mate Through Astrology”. It is a step-by-step guide on husband-hunting. First you check your zodiac sign to find out what signs are compatible for you. Then you read up on your prospective mate. The book tells you where to vacation to find him. It even states the cost of the tours and hotel rooms where your prey is supposed to abound. Then when you do find him you check the handy lists of do’s and don’ts to make sure he is hooked. There are even recipes for delicious foods to lure him all the way to the altar.

I just checked the chapter on Aries men and there is no recipe at the end like there is for a lot of the other guys. It just says, “Feed him a lot of cheese” and there is a list of various kinds of cheeses which you sometimes serve with ale, pumpernickle, and either white or black grapes. I was wondering what to serve for supper tomorrow night and he always insisted he didn’t like cheese….

 

The Nineteen-Fifties Are Coming Back

Jan 30/75  SENSE AND NONSENSE

Hurray!  the nineteen—fifties are coming back. Thanks to “Happy Days” on T.V., 1975 is going to resemble 1955 in style and song. This is my personal prediction for the year. All we need is one popular musical group with sheared locks, and short hair will again be in for the guys. The gals will either curl their hair or pull it back in a pony tail. Lips will be emphasized with brilliant scarlet, orange or hot pink colours. There will be less emphasis on the eyes.

Skirts are already longer this year. By the end of the year, girls will be building up their sweater wardrobes again. Brylcream, combs, saddle shoes and bobby socks will soon be snapped up by consumers. Styles are beginning to reverse themselves. It seems that whenever one part of the anatomy is eliminated, another part becomes important. The last ten years or so have been focusing on the hair, the eyes and the legs. One could have no lips, no waist and big feet and be quite happy.

With the fifties look, one needs nice eyes, a big bust, a small waist and tiny feet. Oh well, one out of four isn’t too bad… It seems such a short time ago that the short skirt lengths came onto the fashion scene. I remember proclaiming loudly that knees wouldn’t last. After all a girl’s knees are only functional, they are not really a beauty point at all. A lot of people agreed with me that knees could be heard but should never be seen.

In our neighborhood we all decided to boycott the new styles and insist that legs should end just below the knees. However, one cannot fight fashion for long. Knees not only became visible but soon they were seen in the middle of the leg as the mini and then the micro mini became popular. Now, I am as contrary as ever. I don’t want to lower my hem. Besides, most of the latest minis have no hem to lower. They have only the merest bit of material pulled under and stitched into place. What can one do with their old minis when they become obsolete? The only thing that I can think of is to store them away for 20 years or so until they come back into style.

The old dances are being revived by the young people. A lot of them are taking lessons, to learn how to do the waltz, foxtrot etc. I am hoping that this time I will learn how to jive. I missed out on it last time around. I wonder how far back into the fifties we will travel. In the pre—Elvis days, people were doing the Tango, the Rhumba and the Mamba.I have never seen the Mamba done. What are you supposed to do when Rosemary Clooney goes “weh” in her old Mamba songs? I used to think someone was poking her in the solar plexus. I believe those were the last songs she ever recorded. It could be quite a strain singing your heart out while someone is karate-ing your midriff.

The other day was Elvis’ 40th birthday. They played some of his old songs on the radio and I became a fan of his again. He is just as weird in personality as ever though. He has gained a pot belly in recent months and refused to come out of his house to acknowledge the birthday greetings of his fans. In fact he is not going to leave the house at all until he regains his slim figure. This would never work for me as we keep our food in the house.

I have been trying to diet lately to hopefully find my waist again. It has been hidden for twenty years and I am not sure if it can be found. With a little luck the fifties look won’t return for a few months and I may have time to prepare for it. If not, well, we had plump people back in the fifties too.

ADVENTURES IN TEEN-AGE-LAND

July1974 Sense and Nonsense

About once or twice a month the average housewife develops a syndrome commonly called the “blahs”. She is bored stiff with housecleaning, sewing and cooking. There is a sameness about everything. Even her favorite soap opera on T.V. doesn’t stir her blood as it usually does. She begins to dream of far-off exciting places and totally new exciting experiences. Adventures completely different from her everyday existence. However, being an average housewife she has an average bank account, which means there is just enough money in it for the weeks’ groceries, the light bill and possibly a case of beer for hubby. Other than cutting out the beer, and dyeing her hair bright red instead, there are no new experiences possible on this budget.

Many mothers, and fathers too, do not realize that they have an area in their own homes that positively reeks of extraordinary experiences. All five senses can be affected in a way that they never have before. I suggest all parents of teenagers should spend an hour in their children’s rooms (if they can last that long) and allow the atmosphere to penetrate their very souls. First off, teenage rooms are usually dark. Sometimes the walls are painted dead black. Take a deep breath before flicking on the lights as it can be a frightening experience. The light bulbs have been replaced by a black light. This weird light affects the wall-to-wall posters, which the room is papered with in a strange way.

The brilliant colours glow with an unearthly light. Large birds, old bearded men, horses, and monsters, all have eyes that suggest they’d like to leap out of their confinement and rip you to pieces. Evil is alive in this art-work. However at second glance you realize some of these posters are very funny and you may find yourself laughing hysterically. A small poster in one corner of a typical room shows the most pathetic scene imaginable. A heartbroken dog has his suitcases packed and is leaving crummy old polluted Earth behind him. The caption is,”I won’t stay in a world without love”. All but the most hardened heart will be moved to tears.

Other adventures are available in this strange land of Teensylvania. One can light the highly perfumed, imported Indian incense for an experience in smelling. Its affect on me is to make me sneeze, but there is no doubt that it smells different than any other smell I’ve ever smelled. As the incense burns you realize that you can not only smell It, you can taste it too. It is so strong that it penetrates the very pores of the skin.

Last but not least, the supreme experience in sound. Just turn on the tape deck or record player but do not adjust the volume. One should be flat on their back on a bed with a finger inserted in each ear before the machine warms up. Gradually relax and slowly remove the pressure on your ears and allow the noise to penetrate the outer, middle and right into the inner ear. Some pain may be experienced but it is probably only the effect of the eardrum being bombarded by unusually strong sound waves. The pain will go away shortly as a certain numbness replaces it. This will allow you to concentrate on the lyrics, melody and beat of the music you can almost see writhing about in the room Every muscle in your body gradually becomes spastic and it can be fascinating to watch your own arms and legs twitching involuntarily.

You realize your nerves are screaming and you have a terrible urge to scream too, at the top of your lungs. When this happens it means you have reached your ultimate and it is essential that you return to the normal world immediately. It can be extremely dangerous to stay longer. Most people realize they no longer want to anyway and quickly make a beeline for the bathroom and the aspirin bottle. They say the nicest part of travelling Is when you return home. After a journey like this one the most bored housewife will find herself cherishing her calm, quiet, dull existance. A contented feeling envelopes her as she settles down to watch the problems of the soap opera people on T.V.

#3  Sense And Nonsense 1974 – 1981

I asked our 12 year old son to suggest a topic for this week’s column. He picked up a pen and wrote, ” We have a small tornado in the house.”

This statement is a very good description of our eight month old baby in her walker – especially when there is a hockey game on TV. Big brother usually is in a very vulnerable position on the rug, sprawled flat on his belly, one arm bent with his hand cupping his chin, the other arm flailing the air periodically in varying degrees of intensity. Small tornado waits until the action increases before she makes her move. Across the room from hrer target, rotating a little, she gathers up speed until the distance is spanned. Eyes closed she zeros in on big brothers left leg. The spell of the hockey game is rudely shattered as small tornado’s vehicle begins to roll on impact. Big brother manages to grasp small tornado before she assumes an upside down position on the rug. He deposits small tornado back in her vehicle. This is a mistake.

Just as Cournoyer of the Montreal Canadians winds up for the tying goal, small tornado has both hands full of big brother’s hair causing him to miss the play entirely. There is a little irritation expressed by big brother this time as he untangles small fingers from his hair. He quickly wheels her to the fartherest corner of the room and settles back to watch the instant replay of the goal he has missed.

Wow! How that Cournoyer can skate! The puck has just been passed to him….what happened?  The screen is blank! Small tornado has somehow crossed the room in record time and uncannily hit the light and bright button at just the wrong time. A quick readjustment of the set and there appears on the screen a very good picture of some jubilant hockey players waving their sticks. The play is over and the puck rests inside the enemy’s net. Once more big brother has missed an exciting part of the hockey game. Small tornado is giggling and zig-zagging back and forth in front of the television set. No matter, all is anticlimax from now on.

Small tornado, like the stable door that was locked too late, is removed from the walker. She is less dangerous without her wheels. Big daddy discovers at this time that she has sprung a leak and small tornado is quickly handed to big mamma.  Big mamma takes her to the rediapering area and instantly small tornado becomes a mini-cyclone spiralling anti-clockwise at an incredible speed. Oh well, it is bath and bottle time anyway. Small tornado is quickly peeled of all her garments and placed in a tub of water.

The results are predictable. A tornado at sea is likely to cause a tidal wave and small tornado is no exception. A devastating flood results. Big mamma and small tornado, both soaking wet, emerge from the bath area and retire to the bed and bottle area. After a time big mamma returns. Small tornado has settled down, hopefully for the night.

As for big brother it is one of those evenings. The Buffalo Sabres have returned to win the game despite the best efforts of the courageous Montreal Canadians. Yvan Cournoyer is selected though, as one of the three stars for his incredible goal, one of the best in the series.

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