To friend or unfriend, that is the question

Unless you are a saint or the most wonderful person on earth you have been unfriend on what Jerry Seinfeld called “Facecrack.”

It’s happened to all of us.

Years ago when you friended them you thought, hey, we either worked together, still do, met at place we both like, played ball together, have mutual friends or hey, someone from Ghana wants to be friends, what can be the harm in that?

Maybe a lot.

Maybe they are just a a really nice person from halfway around the world and I’m hoping for the best and believing that person would be a fine human being I’d be happy to connect with, regardless of borders or ideologies.

Please, Mark Zuckerberg, make them be someone I would hug in real life.

And….

I’ve been unfriend by people who would hug the life out of me, kiss me and say they were happy I had come into their life.

But…

I was on the wrong side of a feud. You can’t remain friends with both sides. Kiss them off or I will kiss you goodbye.

No.

Unfriend me. I’d prefer you didn’t but if my small L liberal views offended you, sorry. Defend yours in a thoughtful manner and I’ll listen.

Call the other side idiots or morons and yes, please, please, hit the Unfrend button. Buh-bye,

As soon as you sink to that level, your point of view is nullified

Are Trump and Trudeau morons?

Yes and yes. No and no.

They both rose to the highest offices in their lands and….we’re stuck with them so deal with it. Support. Protest. March.

Or if you didn’t vote you can really fuck off. YOU are the reason we’re in this mess. Thanks. You are part of of the 10 or 20 percent that screwed our province, state or country.

If you voted for Trump or Ford at least you took the time to go to the polls and I salute you for sticking with the people you believed in….

Unlike the “unfrienders” who bailed and said Buy-bye.

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‘Effin the B’s

I’m no prude.

I can swear with the best (or worst) of them, as many of my tennis opponents can attest. It’s game point, here comes an easy put away and…I hit it wide, long, or into the net.

Fudge!

The inspiration for this blog will come your way in a few paragraphs.

For now, I will say the F-word should always be used properly…if that’s possible and I say it can be…for emphasis. For effect. To shock. To make it clear you are pissed off, agitated, frustrated or reached your boiling point.

Or for comedic effect.

One of my favourite uses of the F-word occurred in the 1985 zombie comedy “Return of the Living Dead.”

THE BRAIN!

Clu Gulager plays Burt Wilson, the owner of a medical supply warehouse that has become, much to his friggin’ dismay, the place where cadavers come back to life after a toxic gas is released.

They unleash a zombie from the freezer and the naked creature makes a beeline for Wilson, who eventually kills it with a hammer strike to the head.

Not before he is told, as is well known in Zombie movie lore, to finish off the zombie you must brain it. Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul.

The undead being is still writhing on the floor and Burt says….

“I hit the fucking brain!”

See, there’s the right way to use the F-word. As an exclamation point.

So, the reason for this blog.

Last weekend I sat on the patio of Wasaga Beach’s only landmark, The Dardanella. Celebrating it’s 100th birthday this summer. The Dard is where people met their future spouses and danced to the big band songs of Glenn Miller.

Who can forget, “In the fucking mood?”

Well, that tune may have led to some couplings but of course, it was just “In the Mood.”

So, last weekend.

FUCKIN’ DA BEE-OTCHEES

I’m listening to the music from the loudspeakers and it seems every second song is about fucking. Or bitches. Or fucking those bitches. Or, bitch, let’s fuck. Apparently it was a Spotify playlist and even though there is a setting that filters out R or X-rated lyrics, the management was asleep at the fucking wheel.

In 1978, The Who put out an album called “Who are You?”

Not, “Who the fuck are you?”

And, if you are familiar with the title song, Roger Daltrey adds a fuck to the chorus later in the song, twice, and many rock (then, now classic) stations let that slide because it’s one F-word and hey, that’s rock and roll.

Rebellion. Stick it to the man. Who the fuck are you?

And…I’m venturing into old fart territory.

Remember, Im no prude. I love the films of Quentin Tarantino and I’d bet they average 200 variations of fuck per movie. It’s profanic poetry.

Choruses of fucking bitches, I’m gonna fuck you, let’s fuck or any graphic terms referring to sex.

Lacking in creativity.

My Dad hated profanity. Thought it was a lower class language and I have to agree with Dad on his oft-quoted lyrics from Cole Porter’s 1934 song, “Anything Goes.”

Holy fuck, the creator of the Rock and Roll Riot has included a Bing Crosby movie in his blog.

Good writers who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose…

Anything Goes.

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Minutes to memories

Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories.

Life sweeps away the dreams that we have planned.

So sang, and wrote, John Mellencamp.

On Friday June 1st, I gathered my radio memories after 11 years at 97.7 the Beach (don’t worry, I now work from home and write radio ads for The Beach and other Bayshore Broadcasting stations).

And, in my box of name tags, obsolete plugs and connectors, business cards, pins, maracas and other weird things only a radio guy would keep, I found this photo.

On the left, my longtime friend and one of most colourful, talented and inspiration coworkers I’ve ever had…I became Johnny Maraca due to his band, The Black Holes…

Sean Anderson.

And on the right.

On the right…my eyes are watering as I type this.

Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s I sat across from Sean in the creative (commercial writing) department and we had a 19-year-old co-op student named Angela Cook.

She was actually a sales co-op student but, much to our delight, Angela spent many hours in our room.

And…

A few months after Angela’s co-op term had finished I returned home from my Saturday morning tennis session to hear a voicemail (in the days before texts and emails) that floored me.

Angela had been killed in a head-on collision with a truck.

DISBELIEF

Her boyfriend had fallen asleep at the wheel on Highway 10 near Dundalk. From what I’d been told, Angela laid down on the bench seat of Mike’s pickup and, we can only hope, she was killed instantly and did not experience even one second of the impact.

On the Monday that followed, I was a zombie.

My fingers touched the keyboard and the world stopped. Angela. She was gone and I could not, in the words of the Offspring, deal.

What made Angela’s tragedy even worse was that it wasn’t the first loss for her mother, Jackie.

I spoke at a memorial for Angela, in front of hundreds of her classmates at OSCVI. I was in my late ’30s but The Offspring tune “Gone Away” seemed fitting.

I was a journalism student in the early ’80s when nurse Susan Nelles was (falsely) accused of killing several infants at Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital. One of those babies was Justin Cook.

One of my journalism instructors was married to a nurse working in Toronto and he told us back then that Nelles was innocent. It reminded me of the Stephen Truscott case from the early ’60s. You are our only suspect so you must have done it.

No.

DOMINIC, FIGHT, YOU CAN DO IT

And, as my fingers glide…stumble…across the keys I’m dealing with another horrible accident, this time involving Dominic Pugilese.

Dominic has worked as a bartender the past few years at Bananas in Wasaga Beach and last week, he was involved in a head-on collision. Dominic was riding his motorcycle and it collided with a car, between Wasaga Beach and Barrie.

The last I heard, Dominic was in coma. Had a leg amputated.

Dominic has always treated me well. Beach bars serve many tourists but I’m a local and he always made a point of saying hello, shaking my hand and saying, basically, you’ve been here before so welcome back, nice to see you.

Minutes to memories.

I can picture Angela Cook holding her newborns, doting on them and making them feel glad to be alive.

Go back 19 years or so when that 19-year-old aspiring radio sales person, on-air personality or whatever Angela may have become and…

There’s me, sitting at my desk trying come up with an opening line for a car dealer, garden centre or hardware store, pushing back on my chair and I lock eyes with Angela.

She pauses…and sticks her tongue out.

My worries disappear. The seriousness has been shattered and suddenly I only have one thought in my head,

It’s good to be alive. Nothing else matters.

Make the most of your minutes and memories.

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Being paid what you’re worth

In December of 1985 I drove 100 miles or more to start my first job, after graduating from the journalism program at Centennial College in Toronto.

In Durham.

Not “region” as I had thought based on the job posting in The Globe & Mail. Not commutable Oshawa or Whitby.

Nope, Durham, Ontario. North of Guelph, south of Owen Sound and for this aspiring writer hailing from what has often been called “Scarberia,” the Toronto suburb-city in it’s own right-and now part of the GTA, Scarborough.

My boss was a wheeler-dealer named George Benninger. The monthly publication was called “Insight on Collectables,” a trade publication that gave industry folks, gift shops and fans of collector plates, Royal Doulton figurines and art prints the latest news about the pieces and artists they loved.

One of the many Norman Rockwell collector plates I wrote about

The starting salary was $225 a week.

But…if I recall, it went up $25 a week for the next three “you’re still here” periods so after a year I was making a whopping $300 week.

And the rent on my bachelor apartment in Owen Sound was $225 a month. In a 3-storey building with next to no sound dampening. Which can be annoying. Or entertaining. One night, the young lady upstairs woke me up with her orgasm and she and her man got busy at all hours of the day.

No complaints here. A woman experiencing pleasure is a wonderful experience. Life is short (and I’m guessing her man wasn’t).

So, money, bills and all that stuff.

Making more a week than I paid a month in rent? I had lots of beer money. Subscribed to the movie network package on cable TV, a conversation overheard by a cheap co-worker who still had a black and white TV (it was 1985).

One of the coolest parts of my job at Insight was interviewing the artists at trade shows. I met James Lumbers at The Buckhorn Wildlife Art Festival, north of Peterborough, Ontario.

Lumbers would take photos of an abandoned gas station and add the ghosts of patrons and service attendants to what one gallery owner called “spook stuff.”

I interview James Lumbers, the man who painted this. He combined modern day scenes with ghosts of people and cats.

Sadly, the “make more in a week than you pay for rent in a month” equation has flipped. Expenses have gone way up, salary hasn’t. Though I bet my bank CEO is making ten times the money he made three decades ago. The rich get much richer. The middle class stay in the middle and are made to feel grateful for still being employed.

Or they get downsized or restructured.

I’m now a freelance writer. No salary or guaranteed income but if there’s one lesson I have learned over these many years it’s that you have to be in control of your future.

A few years back, someone recommended this book to me.

So true. You can’t keep running back to where the cheese was. It’s been moved.

I’ve got a long way to go in paying off my condo mortgage. But I’m in control of my earnings.

And the sound dampening isn’t great here either but my neighbors upstairs are in their 70s, living in Australia from September to June and the most I ever hear during the four months they roam above, thankfully, is snoring.

 

 

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