Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Aloha, Farewell, Thank You (#248)

And I hope we'll meet again. I'm just not sure when, or if, it'll be here.

Way back umpteen years ago, I used to write a few goofy emails and send them to some online friends. One day, one of those friends who shall remains nameless (of course it was Hilary) double-dog dared me to commit to a weekly, goofy email, and expand the list of recipients.

Well, I'm not one to be double-dog-dared trifled with. Them of you who's reading this, and who may have known me for a considerable amount of time, know that to be a fact.

So, I wrote some goofy columns, even weekly 'til I got lazy, and then the whole blogging thing happened and I started posting them there - as well as - and eventually instead-of, the weekly emailed offering.

And so it went.

Some of you will recall a few months ago I mentioned that Hilary and I were looking for a lakeside place we could call home. In fact, before we found it, we decided it would be called The Nest. Our nest. A comfortable place to settle and enjoy the sunset of our years.

Well, a goodly number of you folks already know this for reasons which will be made clear momentarily, but for the few remaining among you - we found The Nest. And we're moving in over the next few weeks.

My life, our lives, are going to be considerably different than they've been. Hilary and I are both leaving homes in which we've invested the majority of our lives - where the bulk of our families and friends live. Neither of us knows anyone where we're going except for our real estate agent. It's a new path, in a new place, and likely the last home in our lives.

Aside from learning where the walleye/trout/muskie/pike/bass/whitefish and crappie are lurking at various times of the year, I'm going to be busy learning a lifestyle more closely aligned with the rhythms of Mother Nature. I'll be watching the sky and waters and checking wind direction and cloud movements on a near-hourly basis, instead of whenever I'm heading "out."

We'll be living "out."

I'm excited and a bit trepidatious. It's a big change for both of us and for our children. But I'm quite sure our new path holds surprises, wonders, and uh-oh moments galore.

You'll see pictures from me, from time to time. (And regularly from Hilary, if you wisely hook up to her blog.)

But I'm not certain there'll be much more in the way of Baron It All's. One way to catch up on my (and other interesting folks') happenings, would be to join us at the online version of The Nest. It's a small, eclectic, and interesting little community. (And you dasn't hasta' pay a cent.)

I try to check in there daily, though appearances may be a tad scanty whilst we're moving. As of this writing, we haven't lined up an internet provider yet but we know for sure it won't be the cable-based variety we're used to.


I mentioned Hilary's blog above and for those of you who have not yet seen the photos, here's a link to a previous blog of hers wherein she posted some shots of our soon-to-be home.


Thanks to those of you who've been reading my drivel for years, most especially to those of you who also bought my book and STILL read the ensuing drivel. I question your taste but admire the heck out of your moxie.

And I am, and will be, eternally grateful for the kind words you've tossed my way over the years. Thanks much.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1971 & RIP To A Journalism Giant (#247)

1971 was the most memorable year of my life. I’d taken a year off after high school graduation to make some money and travel. Spent several months hitchhiking around Europe. Celebrated my 20th birthday sitting on a cold, rainy, sandflea-infested beach in western Scotland, shaking with fever and trying to stay dry while holding a pathetic little piece of plastic over my head.

 It was a time of meeting people from around the world, visiting historic sites and generally expanding my horizons.

In the fall of that year, I started my first year of University in London, Ontario, in order to study Journalism. Also in the fall of that year, the storied newspaper, the Toronto Telegram, folded. As a media junkie, this was huge news. Delivering the “Tely” was my first job as an 11-year-old and I mourned its passing. I hated the thought of the Toronto area being stuck with the fat-cat newspaper, The Star.

Luckily, from the ashes of the Tely sprung a feisty tabloid, the Toronto Sun. Within 48 hours of the last Tely hitting the street, the first issue of the Sun did likewise. It was the brain-child of Doug Creighton, Don Hunt and editor-in-chief, Peter Worthington.

I had two Journalistic heroes in those days. One was the great Hunter S. Thompson, the man who put gonzo into Journalism, shattering the stereotype of the blandly objective reporter.

The other was Peter Worthington. I’ll not detail his career. (I'll let him do it below.) But he did it all, saw it all and reported it all. He was courageous, joining the Canadian Navy at 17 to take part in WWII. As an officer, he lead troops in the North Korean conflict. Later, as a reporter, he filed stories from most war zones around the world. When Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, Peter was there, just feet away.

His relationship with the Sun was stormy. He probably quit or was fired umpteen times and returned to work the following day. Eventually, he left the paper only to return as a contributing writer some years later.

I loved the columns he wrote about his life-long love affair with Jack Russell Terriers. Having bonded with my own JRT the past half-dozen years, I understand better his fascination with them. They’re much like Worthington himself - curious, intelligent and amazingly stubborn.

Well, you know where this is going. Peter Worthington died Monday night at the age of 86. It’s difficult to be sad about a person living a long, full life and then passing quietly.

But I am sad. I’ll miss his wry humour and wisdom.

Today, 1971 seems like a very long time ago.


Leave it to Worthington to write his own obituary. I hope you'll take the time to check it out. It's a heckuva lot more interesting than what I wrote.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fundamentalism, Maturity & A Cute Puppy (#246)

As many of you know, I grew up in a staunchly Catholic home and was educated in the Catholic school system. I remember in Grade 1, we had a little primer with questions and answers about the faith. The very first q and a was:

Q - Who made you?

A - God made me.

I drifted away from the Church when I was about 15 but some indoctrination sticks forever - like that first question in my Grade 1 Religion book.

It’s popped into my head a few times lately because I’ve been involved in some online arguments with fundamentalist Christians. A topic that continuously burns their behinds* is homosexuality/gay marriage. They claim it’s an abomination because their bible says so. Doesn’t seem to matter it also says a bunch of other things are abominations, like eating shellfish, sharing a bed with a menstruating woman or offering an imperfect animal to sacrifice to God. I mean, what animal is perfect? They can overlook some abominable behaviour I guess - but not man-to-man or woman-to-woman loving.

(They are, by the way, absolutely incapable of noting the hypocrisy involved when it comes to biblical cherry-picking.)

But I shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush. The more enlightened among fundamentalists will allow that it’s okay to be gay - just as long as their naughty bits don’t press against, or into each other. They graciously allow gays to be who they are, as long as they don’t actually act on it.

So, I ask them - why did God make homosexuals if he’s really not that fond of what they do?

And the answer, of course, is that God did no such thing. He made everyone hetero but darned if some of the miscreants didn't choose to be gay - which of course, earns them a one-way ticket to Hellsville.

Now, I don’t give a flying fig newton whether a person believes in a god, gods, nothing, or a Cosmic Muffin - as long as their beliefs aren’t inflicted on others. And by far the majority of Christians I know are fine, decent people who believe in living and letting live.

But fundamentalists are another kettle of fish. They want to turn the clock back to the good old days, around 113 AD, and actively work to elect politicians who reflect their antediluvian views.

(Which reminds me: The big flood and Noah’s ark and saving all the animals? Never happened. Couldn’t have happened. Could. Not. Have. Happened.)

I really don’t care that many/most fundamentalists are Young Earth Creationists (YECs) who ignore Science and think the world is 6,000 years old and that Noah had baby dinosaurs on board and evolution is a myth but the Garden of Eden is not.

But I do care that they spread their ignorance, bigotry and mean-spiritedness whenever and wherever possible.

And I will continue to wage (verbal) war on them.


Had a couple of thoughts, actually definitions, of maturity lately. Wrote them down. The first was originally a definition of what I thought a “real” man was. And it went like this: A real man is one who does what needs doing - without complaint or expectation of reward.

I was pretty happy with that. I mean, it’s fridge magnet material.

Upon pondering further, I realized that it could certainly apply to either gender, so I revised it to: A mature person is one who...etc.

And then, even though I’d had the above thought only a few weeks before - I was beset by a second one! Two thoughts about maturity in a matter of months! If I’m not careful, I’ll become a pundit.

Anyway, here’s the second: True maturity arrives the day we realize we can no longer fool ourselves.

Uh-huh. No sucking in the gut in front of the mirror. No pretending your hair is turning platinum blond instead of gray. That admiring look from the cute cashier? It was really pity.


Gonna wrap this one up with a picture of a cute puppy. Everybody loves pictures of cute puppies.

* Heh-heh.