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Friday, October 24, 2014

God Keep Our Land....(c)

God Keep Our Land....

God Keep Our Land...



Our Capital's still,...on Ottawa's hill,
We pause, breathe deep, our blood runs chilled.
Fear has crossed our borders, has soiled our home
It's now landed here, and far it roams.

Our children now captive of terrible fears,
The freedom of youth might now disappear.
Checkpoints and guards will now come the norm,
To block an apocalypse that blows on this storm.

A storm that stretches across many lands,
That tries to unstable the strong that take stand.
But 'On Guard' we remain, 'Glorious and Free'
Our Canada,... this we promise Thee.

For it takes more than cowards, who take by surprise,
They that are Canada, the strong, free and wise.
Don't bring us your fear, your misguided thinking,
The youth that you've poisoned, with your misguided thinking.

For united we'll stand! Can't break us apart!
Attack us at home, we'll unite with one heart!
For we're stronger when threatened, together we'll be,
A north that runs true, runs strong and runs free.

Bob Niles

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Oprah Won't Tell Us Who to Vote For. (c)

When Oprah Won't Tell Us Who to Vote For

When Oprah Won't Tell Us Who to Vote For


Outside of work, I don't make any decisions anymore. I haven't made a decision around the home for, .....well since I've been married. It was somewhere between the ceremony and the reception I lost all chances of ever having a choice again. Having said that, it's also been the best thing that's happened to me. No worries, we've saved money and I can blame the wife when things go wrong. Life's good!
But, every couple of years these doggone civic elections come along and me, myself have to choose the right candidate for the job. And choosing the right man or woman for a civic election is not an easy choice. Oh some years we get lucky and nobody challenges an already elected official, and then you can't make a mistake. You don't have to educate yourself on current and upcoming issues, you just go with the flow. "Well he was the only choice." you say to others when they somehow (and it ain't hard) screw up in office. You are blame free.
But with multiple choices and so many offices to fill its very difficult to make an educated well informed vote. Or even a guess. You have to educate yourself on their campaign promises and ideas like it's one of these speed dates where you meet a whole bunch of hopefuls that stretch truths and exaggerate all their good qualities. A bell rings and they give you all their promises and ideas to fix tomorrow. They have all of three minutes to make you believe that they're the one for you. Then, you listen to a totally different idea and conclusion from the next elected hopeful that visits your table. But unlike dating where you can dump someone after a week, this person lasts for years, and years!
And it's not like most of us are really interested what they have to say with the three minutes you allot them. They're talking on about how they are educated and suited for the job, what's important in their lives and how they will fix city issues and problems. While your watching football over their left shoulder.
And your hopeful elected official is not on TV., there's no campaign money for that. They have to compete with all the other fun distractions in our lives with his or her face is in the local paper. There, lost in a page with other hopefuls a tiny black and white picture represents them in an unnatural smile. One that pains them to look somewhat happy, confident and your next elected official for the office they are running for. Boring! So you tune back into the football game because you couldn't find beach volley ball (the wife's at the mall) or reruns of Bonanza,...anything other than dealing with info. on the people you need info. about to make a wise vote.
Why can't I pay more attention?
Oh they're on the 10 yard line!
It's just that they are saying the same promises and ideas that the last election played. The only difference is the picture beside the ideal plan. Oh!.. No, ..same picture. This guy's been around forever. He gets my vote. He hasn't killed me yet so he must be good.
Commercial. Ding! On to my next speed politician date.
Next picture is of a woman, about my age,.. familiar? Oh my gosh it's the woman next door! The one who's cat fertilizes my roses. Better vote for her. Probably have to put her sign in the yard. I'll make it a big one. They make them out of that plastic cardboard now and I can make a new liner for the granddaughters Guinea pig cage with it after the election.
Next commercial,...Ding! On to the next hopeful.
Graduated UBC blah blah blah. Probably, and is a lot smarter than me. Married,..'explains the look',...lived here for five years,...'long time resident',..four young kids,..'can't vote or him he's too busy at home.'
Moving on and down the list I make life changing decision after life changing decision. Not for me of course, but for them. I decide with but a single check mark whether I want them to represent my vote. And if enough votes from citizens such as myself elect them to office, then this could be a life long endeavor for them, election after election. A life in the public spotlight that some seek to create a long shadow in.
So many commercials!
It was somebody that talked them into it, or they themselves thought that they could make a difference in our community by getting elected. 'Bravo,' I say. I hope you make your mom proud. Cause there's a good chance you can embarrass the whole family. I think it was somebody else that said 'If you want to know your family history....run for public office. Cause if you or Uncle Ted have any skeletons in your closet, be sure to know we will soon know about your bony problems.
Who's this next guy? Too long a beard. next! She's cute. (Said that to myself. Even with the wife at the mall it's a good habit to get into) Not married, a doctor of some kind of 'olgy' looks naturally happy,...yup, she's got my vote. She's a good speed dating politician.
I feverishly work my way through my next choices, all commercial long. Okay they didn't get their three minutes each. Elect me! I couldn't take it anymore. Just be happy I get out and vote knowing full well I could be called for jury duty. Great! That would be another life changing decision I'd have to make. And you know how I make decisions!
And it's a quick snap....it's a handoff! He's up...over? No! Blocked at the two yard line. It's third and two to the goal line.
Now it's here in my observational tale that I have to make another decision. Is this Canadian football or American? Three downs or four? I'm a Canadian but I like American football. More decisions! This, among other reasons, is why I wanted beach volleyball. Everybody plays with the same rules. Just like in politics. Right?

Bob Niles

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How I Trained at Age 7 for the Military. (c)

How I Trained at Age 7 for the Military

How I Trained at Age 7 for the Military


I count myself, on all ten fingers, very lucky to have survived the Halloween of my youth. In the years of cold war diplomacy it was, I guess, important for young boys to know the ins and outs of light explosives. And every year around the time of Halloween we were allowed to expand our knowledge on this very topic with the detonation of firecrackers.
I was a 7 yr. old boy in October of 1962 eager to learn the effects of contained gun powder when put to a lit fuse. And the western governments of the known world, thanks to the Bay of Pigs and Russian tensions, were eager to let me.
I believe young kids experimenting and detonating firecrackers were a black-ops program set down by this country's military. Who, were building a fighting force of young children expertly trained in the use of explosives in an urban settings. A force far greater in number and expanding a much larger area than the Hitler youth programs some 20 yrs. before. A mass army of kids stretching from coast to coast to coast. An army with no central command post that could be brought down to destabilize its effectiveness.
We started training every October till about mid November or till your buddy's supply of firecrackers ran out. We would meet every day after school and collectively join ranks with all the other kids. And it was with great imagination we would include fireworks into our after school playtime. We would strike fear into unsuspecting citizens, neighbors, siblings, nosey girls and the occasional household pet. There were no clean precise missions with laser guided smart firecrackers with few casualties. It was total carnage!
The explosive force of your biggest firecracker (Cherry Bomb) or several tied together created a thunderous clap of expanding gasses capable of rendering panic and destruction to anything a young kid puts his mind to.
Firecrackers were glued to paper airplanes where extra distance was achieved in delivering the ordinance. They were blown through drinking straws to practice in tight urban environments. Set in the trunk of a model car, my brother built, with a small bag of gasoline. The resulting explosion looked like a mob hit we saw on the news. We stuck them in tree knot holes, buried them in dirt under my plastic farm animals then went directly to Old MacDonald himself and blew off his left leg.
The possibilities and procedures for explosive detonations were endless. But not the munitions.
Everything we had gotten for Christmas and birthdays were all subject to an explosive destruction. Sometimes we would ask for stuff at Christmas not because we wanted it but thought it would make a great explosion. Dad was so happy when he found out the Barbie House and Yard Play-set he got for me at Christmas exploded into little pieces in late October. Thing was I loved that set! My G.I. Joe used it when he was on furlough.
"Don't play with them in the house!" Was the only rule my parents had when it came to firecrackers. No my parents weren't alcoholics! They were farm people. Accidents of a disfiguring natured were common when they were growing up. Farm machinery is very dangerous, so a firecracker was nothing to them. Why my Dad was hunting with a 22. caliber rifle when he was six (maybe my grandparents drank).
Yes whoever it was in the military who thought of the black-ops training of young kids in light explosives was a genius when it came to military thinking. A nation of trained children in the use of explosives at no cost to the government. But now with the cold war a distant memory firecrackers, and also in many areas fireworks are now banned. "You might hurt yourself." They say. Well DAH! Tell that to my friend Lefty. I told him the fuse was too short.

Bob Niles

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkins, Christmas Trees and Spent Nuclear Fuel (c)

Pumpkins, Christmas Trees and Spent Nuclear Fuel






                     Pumpkins, Christmas Trees and Spent Nuclear Fuel

 "Grandpa, I want the biggest pumpkin we can find!" screeches my granddaughter as she's set free from her four point harness in the grandpa mobile. It's all I can do to restrain her four years of constant muscle building from running out into traffic. I hold tighter to her hand and promise her it will be the biggest one there, with hopes my 58 yrs. of muscle decay can lift it. 
 We don't  want a repeat of last year when I went to lift the pumpkin ( and it wasn't the biggest one!) and my body said 'Fat chance fat boy!' and then backfired!
 Squatting like some Sumo wrestler, with your chin between your knees, (which are trying to spread wide enough to encompass this great orange gourd), you inhale, turn your face a lovely beet red,  and pop a few veins on the forehead. But the only thing that moves is air from somewhere inside you,....out to the great outdoors!
 Well there's a Halloween moment the wife will never forget. And she takes full opportunity  to share her love of a good laugh with her friends at my expense!
 The biggest pumpkin is then followed,  less than two months later, with the biggest Christmas tree!  It's got to be the straightest, fattest, waterlogged Spruce ever offered to mankind. 
It's enough to make me change religions. Oh sure before the celebrated event occurs they are a harvested thing of beauty. But after the candy's handed out and the presents given, they're as worthless as chicken poop on a pump handle.
 Now you have to rid yourself of this once heralded growth of wonder to the garbage heap. 
"Garbage Heap!?" My seven yr. old granddaughter (the one with the education) exclaims and questions. "You cant just throw Alexica ( she named the pumpkin) away, you have to recycle it!" 
Well I sort of do recycle it. I leave it on he back fence and watch its once finely chiseled  face start to melt like some Hollywood  'A Lister' who refuses plastic surgery. I tried to take it to Value Village one year so it could go to a good home, ......but no luck. Nobody wants my pant-splitting, vein popping, wind breaking giant orange gourd. But at least it's easy to return to nature.
 Unlike the Christmas Tree, which looks great in the house till Fathers Day.....I think! 
That tree is a pain to rid yourself of. Oh sure you could put it on the roof of your car, a g a i n and take it to some distant point and have a fireman chip it to smithereens for a donation. But I'm still upset at the original cost of a dead tree called Christmas.  I'm not spending any more to kill it some more. Some years I wish it would catch fire and burn! It's easier to build a new room than dis-cabobbling it in all it's splendor, putting decorations back in boxes, dragging it down halls knocking off pictures, and then through three doorways that do their best to remove every needle that this tree ever had. My eight foot epic Christmas monument is now the size and girth of a Charlie Brown tree. The rest is in the couch, easy chair, rugs and floors. 
Maybe if they put a deposit on these things? Then I could bring them back and get money and be happy. My memory would completely have forgotten I had already  paid for me to come back to get the money I had already given you. Knowing me I'd just save them up till it was worth a trip.

"I'll take 'Garbage' for $200 Alex"
 "Christmas Trees, Pumpk-kins and Spent Nuclear Fuel"
 "What are three things my wife doesn't want to see in our backyard come the Spring,  Alex."
 "No..,I'm sorry.  It's what is a Fir, Kin, Waste
 
 In our house both answers were correct. 
 
Bob Niles

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I'm Only Trusting Walter Cronkite (c)

I'm Only Trusting Walter Cronkite

I'm Only Trusting Walter Cronkite


'The only way I'm going to back up looking straight ahead into a TV screen is if Walter Cronkite himself is right there on that TV waving me to the right or left, to guide me in reverse.'
Words spoken by my Dad when asked why he still backs the car up looking out the back window.
There is no way he would ever trust a camera to do what he can do by just turning his head around. He still believes TV is full of communists left over from the McCarthy era! He thinks a rear view camera as a sinister plot to get us looking only ahead, then when we're all comfortable they can sneak up from behind and take over the country.
And besides, my Dad takes great pride in how he can drive in reverse and parallel park. And for the auto makers to take away acquired skills that he was the best at (self proclaimed) it is just another step down that slippery slope to Communism. 'Everybody will back up the same. No looking to the left or right comrade, just straight ahead.'
Even now in his later years, when turning the ole noggin hurts, he still manages to parallel park and back up expertly. Partly due in fact to his ability, especially when younger, to turn his head around like a Barn Owl. I swear he could just about see the drivers outside side mirror turning his head to the right (if you you drive on the other side of the road from North America it's to he left).
In his younger years he was THE authority on how to park in a linear fashion and would teach others his skills. Whether they wanted it or not!
"Come on ya clown, you could park an 18 wheeler in that spot! Crank the wheel harder! Straighten out! Yer too far from the curb! You call that parallel?" Facts, directions and questions all voiced by my Dad to teach and direct others the fine art of parallel parking. All hollered out the drivers side window from as many as ten cars back. Lord help the guy that might hold him up in traffic to parallel park.
As kids growing up in the sixties we had free run of the back and front seat of the car (if mom stayed home). It was the sixties there were only two seats, even if the car held eight. Parent discipline and Dad backing up both started out the same way. The car would stop and then his huge right arm came back over the back of the front seat. Every time the car stopped my three brothers and I hit the floor. We'd be on the floor looking up at his huge hairy knuckles while his head turned past center of the back of his neck. It was like some horror show! Ahhhhh! Dad's backing up!
I think if we'd of had back up cameras back then, and if Dad would of used them, we would arrived to Sunday School looking a lot neater for sure.
Dad figures he'll make use of the screen used for the back up camera in his new car and hook it to TV channels. But after some thought he decided against it figuring all the TV that that screen would get would be behind the scenes coverage.
"But Dad!" we pointed out, "It would be behind the scene coverage of what the communists are up to."

Bob Niles