Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Aunt Mabel's Bermuda Cruise, May 26 - June 5, 2019

The second youngest member of my Father's siblings, the last one remaining, died at 97 years of age in Wainwright Alberta. Mabel Smith and her husband Jim owned and operated a successful shoe store for most of their adult lives. They never had children, I met them one time when they visited Dad and their other siblings living in the Toronto area. That was 70 years ago.
Well Aunt Mabel left some money to her brothers' and sister's children and some of us are taking this cruise with a portion of the Legacy. [This is the first time this has ever happened.]

[Off subject on May 16, 2019 Conrad Black received a Presidential pardon from Donald Trump. It was in all the papers and media.]

The preparation for our cruise is complete: we'll fly to Newark New Jersey on May 25 and check into the Country Inn and Suites for the night and then taxi to Cape Liberty by noon on May 26 and board the Celebrity Summit for the 11 day cruise to Bermuda and back. Marilyn, Buster, Joan and Garnet are flying on May 26 and Terryl, Jeanette and I go a day early just in case something untoward raises its ugly head on the day of. Terryl, knowing all about changes to flight schedules, feels safety should be adhered to if at all possible. We've pre-arranged a tour of Bermuda on Day One as well as a catamaran and snorkelling episode on Day Three in Bermuda before we sail north to Boston and Bar Harbor, Maine.
On May 25 Terryl and I will be with Lyft on the way to YYZ at 08:00 to meet Jeanette and check in for our flight.

[Off subject on May 23, 2019 Donald J Trump lost on two Court decisions this week. One was that his Tax filings for the last six years must be turned over to Congress, and the other was his law suit against Deutsche Bank if they turned over his financial documents to Congress.]

Monday, 13 May 2019

A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley Ph.D. published in 2014

'Thiss sentence contains threee errors.'
Clearly, two errors are spelling. Do you see the other error? Yes? Great, it's paradoxical or a contradictory sentence indeed. This book begins with problems that one can solve using focus mode brain attributes; if that fails the author suggests using a diffused mode; that's simply turning off and tuning out of the problem entirely. One way is to take a twenty minute nap. Salvatori Dali and Thomas Edison did it by holding a ball bearing in one's hand. When the hand and mind fall asleep, so does the ball fall to the floor with the resulting clang waking the genius with a fresh new look at the problem that vexed them in the first place. A Diffused Mode. All I need is a ball bearing and a metal floor.
When we read a book do we learn from it, do we remember what we read, do we recreate the knowledge or principals in our mind to be referenced later, do we remember chunks of information and reuse it later, when problems are not readily solved do we put the problem aside and revisit it later (Diffuse Mode)? These are the questions asked with recommended solutions contained in this book. This title is a trifle misleading but halfway through I'm seeing the point; yes, there may be numbers associated with math problems but we are working on solving a host of different subjects problems. Studying, retention and understanding process with the ability to commit the solution process to repeatable memory is the ultimate goal and result that we must look toward.
There's plenty to read and learn before chapter 8 but here goes: tools, tips and tricks to help you get the results this book is charting for its readers. If you're a procrastinator there's no turning on the computer; identify the easiest part of the issue or process; copy some of the equations necessary for solutions on paper and carry them around with you.
Here's a freebee on meditation Budda in Blue Jeans by Tai Sheridan. Here's another: A zombie without a list is listless; a happy zombie has a task list. Here's a list of websites (although some may ask for your $$s) that are aimed at numerous processes and issues in this book:

http://pomodorotechnique.com/ a time management system
http://3030.binaryhammer.com/ a task list app
http://www.studyblue.com/ flash cards and notes when it's time to study
http://mail.google.com/mail/help/tasks/ self explanatory

Here's some on cheering yourself on:
http://www.stickk.com/ just like it says - stick to it
http://coffitivity.com/ modest background noise like a coffee shop

Now I am to set reasonable goals for oneself and work on it for two weeks.

Friday, 19 April 2019

21 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson published in 2018

The name Jordan Peterson and his philosophy has over 100,000,000 viewings on You Tube and up to a month ago I had never heard his name or heard him speak. Dr. Peterson is a gifted lecturer with a light touch of humour winding through his philosophy which was originally given at Harvard and then University of Toronto when he was asked if he ever wanted to write a book? He had written one several years ago; but now with prodding and refining he would write another that put him squarely onto the world stage. 21 Rules for Life: An Antidote To Chaos is in the public domain.
On April 18, 2019 I have begun to read this book with a forward by Norman Doidge whose friendship is significant as are his comments on his friend's book. On page xx he says this:
"Intolerance of others’ views (no matter how ignorant or incoherent they may be) is not simply wrong in a world where there's no right or wrong, it is worse; it is the sign you are embarrassingly unsophisticated or, possibly dangerous.” And who are we reminded of? I would suggest Donald J. Trump; he certainly jumped into my mind, and on America's mind and News Media since Trump's election as President in November 2016.

[The above excerpt from Peterson's book was read by me at a time in US politics when the word 'impeachment' has once again raised its judgemental head. In short, the Mueller Report (redacted as promised) is in the hands of Congress and the media are all over it.]

Over the Easter weekend at Gerald and Aimee's discussions of several types, including Donald J. Trump took place and a good time was enjoyed by the family. Now, get on to this book.

April 29, 2019 in Shawinigan with Greg, ML and the boys and getting ready to fly home tonight.
Page 53, "Do you want your children to be safe or strong."
Page 63, " You must determine where you are going, so that you can bargain for yourself, so that you don't end up resentful, vengeful and cruel. You have to articulate your own principles, so that you can defend yourself against others taking inappropriate advantage of you, and so that you are secure and safe while you work and play."
I like the above quotes but there is nothing new for me here. I'm expecting more, more than several pages at the book's beginning on lobsters parading and bullying other crustaceans on the Ocean floor and driving the female lobsters into a frenzy to get the big guys attention. Mating is big thing here and on the Earth's surface for mankind and I'm sure Peterson will get into more of this as we read on.

Rule Three...Make friends with people who want the best for you.
Page 75, "People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It's partly fate. It's partly inability. It's partly ...unwillingness to learn. Refusal to learn? Motivated refusal to learn?
Page 81, "Success: that's a mystery. Virtue: that's what's inexplicable. To fail, you merely have to cultivate a few bad habits. You just have to bide your time....Things fall apart, of their own accord, but the sins of men speed their degeneration. And then comes the flood.

Rule Four...Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
This makes sense to me because we can make incremental changes on a daily basis, and the comparison on a daily basis is viewable due to the short term analysis.
I'm currently on Rule Seven and will give Peterson a six out of ten so far. But read it fully is my goal and it will be done.

Rule Five..Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.

Rule Six...Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

Rule Seven.., Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

Rule Eight...Tell the truth--or at least, don't lie.
There's a place for little white lies but it's a small place and should be avoided if possible.

Rule Nine ... Assume that the person you are listening to might know something that you don't.

Rule Ten...Be precise in your speech.

Rule Eleven...Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. [It can be dangerous but they need the challenge now and on the skateboard of life.]

Rule Twelve...Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

'There are millions of dead facts; the Internet is a graveyard of dead facts. An idea is not a fact. What can one make of that?'

'Women don't want boys, they want men. They want someone to grapple with. If women are smart they want someone smarter; a situation were it is sometimes difficult for them to find mates. If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.'

I'm closing this blog by stating Peterson's book is definitely a worthwhile read and have given it four and a half stars. The book will be returned to the Library next week. I found it beneficial to record several passages. Two of those are printed above with quotation marks. Peterson details his young daughter's difficulty with arthritis beginning at age six and lasting through several joint replacements and physiotherapists that shed a light on her problems usually beginning at 80 or so years of age. Tammy and Jordan Peterson have had a marriage that, like almost all marriages, needed work from time to time, and he writes about the cause and cure. Their young daughter is now married with a child of her own. Peterson writes with his gifted pen of light hoping that he has been able to help others understand the balance between Chaos and Order that exists for humanity past , present and future. Oh, I almost forgot: Peterson analogizes Women with Chaos and Men with Order in an early passage of 21 Rules...Think about that one Ladies and Gentlemen.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Donald J. Trump, Robert Mueller and William Barr March 25, 2019

It's not an exaggeration that the USA, if not most of the news-reading balance of the world clamoured for the results of Mueller's report; a report that could have catastrophic results for Trump's Republicans, or the same for the hungry blood-tasting Democrats. There could be one winner only and it appears to be Trump. Many ask how and why could this decision could be left in the hands of an AG, hand picket by Trump, and on record that Trump could not be prosecuted. William Barr came through (for DJT) and stated in a two page document (released only 48 hours after receipt of Mueller's 300 page document) that there wasn't substantial prosecutable evidence that Collusion with the Russian Government took place before the November 2016 Presidential Election. Barr stopped short of opining on Obstruction of Justice issues; Mueller did the same in his two-year-long investigation's report. However both men stated that Trump was not entirely exonerated from any and all wrongdoing.
Fox News jumped all over it -- they demanded an apology from the Chairman of CNN and claimed that Ted Turner would have something to say about CNN's position on all of this.
CNN continued their barrage aimed at FOX and its journalists for one-sided reporting blindly extolling the unseen virtues of Trump and his Republicans. The fight between 'the enemy of the people' media (words made famous by Trump) will continue relentlessly for another twenty months when the 2020 Election will take place.
Will Trump last and stand for re-election in 2020? It appears that he will, and I'll bet that he'll love it because he has loaded the gun against the Democrats with Barr's report card. The Democrats will want the entire Mueller Report given to Congress, and if they get it with minimal redaction, there will more of the same ammunition to be used for the entire period.
Trump can use FOX when he wishes and then Twitter to keep his followers revved up. The thing that we can count on is that the warfare will continue.
On April 18, 2019 the redacted version of Mueller's report was released. That's the 440 page version with blacked out sections as dictated by William Barr. The book, we'll call it, is out and the renewed fighting has begun with 'Impeachment' rhetoric by many Democrats, and 'No Collusion' by the Republicans. There is an unholy mess in American politics equalling the Richard Nixon presidency in the mid '70's forcing him to resign; and Bill Clinton's ("I did not have sexual relations with that girl") plea to turn around his diminishing approval ratings. You'll also remember that Clinton did return to run again and win by a large margin in his second term.

May 11, 2019...More news regarding Trump's finances states that he lost $1.17Billion during 1986 - 1994 has hit the press. The Washington Post printed it first and the US Press is of course all over it with interviews and opinion requesting subpoena of his tax returns (which should have been released before the election in 2016) and increased activity for Congressional Activity and submissions by key players whose knowledge is paramount for the Whitehouse to succeed or to be eventually impeached. 
Just a little fluff resting in a ditch. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Playa del Carmen, Mexico March 17 -- 28, 2019

We are registered on Air Canada's early morning flight to Cancun and on to Playa to spend two weeks   with Suzanne Laferrier. This trip popped up right out of the blue, and we wasted no time agreeing to go from March 15 -- 29 because the loads were quite agreeable. And then the unthinkable happened. A Boeing 737M8 goes down killing 157 people in Ethiopia. Its destruction mirrored another fatal crash involving a Boeing 737M8 killing all onboard (189) only five months earlier. One by one, and then a large group of world wide airlines grounded their 737M8's. The USA grounded theirs the next day and Canada grounded Air Canada's fleet of 24 aircraft and Westjet's 4 aircraft only moments after. Both the US and Canada, twenty-four hours earlier, had stated that everything about the 737M8 checked out and was fit to fly. (What one can read from their stated positions is pilot error was to blame.) Oddly enough the two planes experienced the same issues: within seven minutes of takeoff the planes stopped climbing and went down.
As of this writing, the loads on board Air Canada are not looking too good. They have a big job meeting passenger requirements with 24 fewer planes and 4,800 fewer seats in their service.
It appears that March 17 is our window to fly to Mexico; the following was posted on FB:
"To Playa del Carmen we will go
The Mexican Pesos will surely flow.
We'll see you soon,
Adios Amigo."
Dear Readers, the above is the first poetic insertion to my blog. It's not the best, perhaps I will work on this, perhaps I won't.

[Tragically, 49 Muslims where shot to death while praying in their Mosque in Christchurch New Zealand on Friday March 15, 2019. The shooter (alleged to be Brenton Tarrant from Australia) is said to be a White Supremacist who has publicly declared Donald J Trump his hero. This news flashed around the Globe and politicized the event while certain pundits had previously drawn attention to Donald Trump's acquaintance and discussions with the CEO at Boeing.]

We are in Playa del Carmen at the Condominium 'Natz TiHa' with Suzanne LeFerrier and Dennis Oliver in a very nice room overlooking the pool with an ample kitchen and living/dining room leading out to a large balcony. This place is very comfortable, the singular issue I have is the 45 stairs up to our condo. LaBrioche is a quaint coffee and crescent place a few minutes up the road with numerous restaurants and boutiques selling typical Mexican trinkets that we've managed to avoid at this point. At the bottom of our street is the Gulf of Mexico in all of its glory. The swankiest place we have  visited must be the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The above are representative of two of my favourite greetings. The iguana in the morning right outside our front door, and a dining room hostess just up the street.

Playa del Carmen is fifty minutes west of Cancun (on the ocean), opposite Cozumel Island, and several hours east of Belize. There is a nice mix of foreign and Mexican vacationers spending plenty of time walking and biking on pedal and motor scooters. The dress on our street is mostly bathing suits (with cover ups) and sandals. There is a balanced mix of ages here as well. The sellers on the street have their treasures, as well as their little children spread out on blankets on the roadways, these of course, are designated as no vehicular traffic on slightly narrower roads. Several, if not a majority of vendors use a humorous banter like, "Honeymoon Special or Come on in 99% off" virtually every time you pass. This is a very friendly place with lots to explore.
Salvador (Dali) only a month away from home

This looks like the Pyramids with Water falls
Terryl has purchased some fabulous ingredients for Crescent filled sandwiches to go along with our $5.00 bottles of wine and $1.00 cans of freezing cold beer. But every night we hit a different restaurant for dinner. The next morning:
Terryl is in the Cave Restaurant
Deep into this cavernous place the air was thick.
I do the dishes.

One tree's roots on 38th and Flamengo
Another Roof Top Bar and Pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico
This is a root from Bali with two well place wooden tusks in a swanky Indian food restaurant.

This is my favourite shot.

The loads are a trifle tight on March 29 so we will fly back to Toronto on March 28, 2019. This has been a delightful trip full of walks dodging the hot bright sun and finding very pleasant places to eat and drink.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Balmy Beach Canoe Club, 1963 -- 1986

An early introduction would have been in 1958 when the Litho Print hockey team participated in an event with a Saturday night dinner and dance. I went without a wife or date, I had neither in those days. Nup, Sluce, Boland, Eldridge and others were the senior guys at the plant who had invited me to play on the team. I played one game on a Sunday morning somewhere and against some other team whose name never found its place in my memory. The drink at the Balmy Beach club was flowing even to me who was under the legal age. Those were memorable days with the first group of printers I knew. There would be several other firms that employed me, some for a very short time, and one for a very long time.
1963 Geza Zabados, a terrific tennis player from Kew Gardens tennis club -- who passed away much to early -- asked me if I knew anything about the wintertime racquet game called Squash. I had no knowledge of it when he introduced me to Balmy Beach and a game that would occupy my winter sporting life. (The first time I played this game I was seeing black spots before my eyes.)  But I loved the game and played it with passion until the required wrist snap was no more (the spots had disappeared years ago). Additionally, squash cultivated many good friends for me now that we lived in 'The Beaches.' 
In 1986 the beach home was sold for the princely sum of $150,000 (purchased for $30,000) and the family moved to north Brampton near Caledon, into a custom built 4,500 sq. ft. house including a recreation room walk out to the garden and pool. This was another world, a place and time for a new beginning for the four of us.
Thirty-three years later (2019) on a failed trip to St. Lawrence Market during a crisp and sunny afternoon we ended up on Scarborough Beach Blvd. to have a look at the old home and take a few photos. We never expected to see any of our neighbours, but we did with Mark and Ruth Lerner who still live two doors north. I then had the bright idea to have a drink at Balmy Beach CC, a member only establishment since the 1920's. Terryl and I introduced ourselves to the barkeep manager, she poured us a drink where the nostalgia appeared on every wall and cranny of this old old building. They were still there: Glen, Bart, Alex, Bob, Rob and others standing around a large circular table having a beer and talking up a storm. They still play squash; I saw Glen and Bart doing just that. The plaque on the wall - Geza is on it - with past champions in full view. Ken Lane, Peter Jacobson and Craig Wells are memorialized over the courts in two foot high letters. The war painted canoe paddles hang over the fireplace and team pictures are everywhere. Nothing has changed except for a coat of paint here and there. Just as I hoped.
80 Scarborough Beach

Facing west from Balmy Beach CC

 We had a lively conversation with a few of our old squash partners for two hours; Terryl joined the conversation easily and wants to return to my old haunt often. Why not?

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Gerald Butts and his resignation from PMO Chief of Staff March 6, 2019

Shortly after Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from her Cabinet position as the Attorney General for Canada, Gerald Butts followed with his letter of resignation as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Most of Canada wondered when the next shoe would fall. All of this took centre stage in Canada's media. We now had are own issues to rile the hackles of those who revelled in the blood sport of politics. Canada didn't need Donald J. Trump and his bluster during our political wizards calling for a lynching of Mr. Trudeau. All the while Trudeau stood his ground and admitted that he would always stand up for Canadian Jobs and the working people of Canada, and yes, in his own riding of Papineau, Quebec.
Mr. Butts - after Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified to her reasons for resigning - soon asked for and received approval to speak to the same parliamentary committee. When he spoke, his words were measured, confidant, humble and delivered with deep respect for his audience. I'm suggesting a similarity to Mark Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar wherein he honoured his listeners as he verbalized his understanding of the events that brought all us to this day, a day that might have brought the government to its knees if his testimony lacked credibility. I believed him; not that the events where different, but that they were identical while being perceived differently by the former Attorney General. Beyond the facts there may be a tinge of feminism underlining a reasonable level of discussion in Canada. Trudeau's statements that he is a feminist and has demonstrated those views by appointing cabinet positions to several women, and then see it crumble (with no fault of his) was disheartening. The committee will provide their findings after listening to a few more players who were active on this file that had started in September 2018 and will continue for some time to come.
Meanwhile, an apology from the Prime Minister may be in order. He has apologized for several previous governments' egregious errors such as turning away the ship of Jews fleeing the Nazis during WW11 and a few other long gone government poorer judgements. Trudeau is accustomed to this and I'm sure would do a reasonable job. This apology - if he does it -- would need to be a barnburner if he goes that route. I think he should, and I also think that should be the end of it. But will Canadians except that and move on - the Conservatives and NDP won't. It has been said that, "Apologies are like any other currency; they can decline in value if there's an oversupply." [Author unknown]

Aunt Mabel's Bermuda Cruise, May 26 - June 5, 2019

The second youngest member of my Father's siblings, the last one remaining, died at 97 years of age in Wainwright Alberta. Mabel Smith ...