Titans

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Our family moved to the suburbs of Toronto in the early 70’s, ending my hockey playing at St Michael’s arena. We were searching for a new team to join, closer to home, to shorten Dad’s travel. I had tried out for a couple of Scarborough clubs, Wexford initially and later caught on with a weaker Dorset Park, an unfortunate indicator that my abilities were lagging. It was during this time Dad became acquainted with George Chuvalo, also having a son my age, wanting to make a team. Dad, the always curious social butterfly and from the same country of origin as Chuvalo, found himself in the stands speaking Croatian with the Canadian heavyweight, numerous times, watching their children practice. Many years later I asked “hey do you remember talking to Chuvalo” and Dad telling me he still often ran into him in the Junction, a mid-west part of our city. “Did you ever ask him about his fight with Ali”. (Actually two fights) “Yes”. “Well what did he say?” “He said he couldn’t hit him.” “Go figure”, I thought to myself. I felt sadly for the Chuvalo family, sympathized with the sometime harsh reality of our ferocious ancestry. The characteristics needed to be great, can also destroy everyone around you.

Boxer Ali Dodging a Punch From Frazier

Boxer Muhammad Ali steps away from a punch thrown by boxer Joe Frazier during their heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Frazier became the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world by winning a unanimous 15-round decision.

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Sylvester Stallone began showing up at a restaurant I worked in, one late summer and basically stayed for a few weeks. I served him twice, whereby he was always considerate and noticeably polite with good spirits to all our staff. In our youth, the boys in my neighbourhood loved Rocky. His scripting was a simple idea, at the right time, capturing the imagination of many. It was a decent attempt to portray man, removed of options, struggling to survive in the face of brutality.

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The fascination is durability of skill and strength, while under the duress of pain. The asked unanswerable, Who was the greatest boxer of all time?

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The added zeal with excitement, prejudices our belief, freezing the consciousness of an individual spirit, because we were witness. The “Thrilla in Manilla”, and the “Rumble in the Jungle”, were hands down, events of a lifetime. Criteria coalesced as if magically and the one ingredient making it spellbinding, was that Muhammad Ali was a highly intelligent athlete in a sport perceived to be for the stupid.

 

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Prospects

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I appreciate your measured clinical response and cautious gumption. For the sake of speed and to disqualify a potential waste of time, I will elide the volume of detail each thought can produce. Most generally, to describe myself, I am an ideas motivated individual who has witnessed many of my concepts become realities, long after having conceived them, usually to the benefit of others. The road of development I find boring and consuming, so I’ve neglected the tedious aspects of business, to continue unabated, thinking and more immediately doing things I like. However, an idea that struck me as doable, about four years ago and long shot, is of such intrinsic merit, that after sincere contemplation I couldn’t allow it to escape my attention. The potential largesse allows me to examine and incorporate other interests of personal value, within the framework. The prospect of failure is mitigated by other successes, resulting from. My thing is, I find satisfaction, in my creative conjectures becoming fact.

As a proud project, from my individually conceived concept, with due given to unanticipated props, which will come to serve as evidence, I intend to see through to conclusion, the building of a new stadium over the existing colosseum, principally untouched, in Rome, that will house a soccer field as centrepiece, for a 2034 and 2070, World Cup in Italy, amongst several other stimulating dynamics. My fallback positions from this mammoth, I believe eventual historical occurrence, will prove unnecessary, are curious and complex in themselves. Sounds farfetched? Conversations, interjected with meetings, of contributing architects, engineers, stadium designers, financiers and trades friends, primarily from this continent, maintain this building still resilient enough to endure the procedures required to bring it back to life, likening this to the raising of Lazarus, as a breathing, working again venue. To have a Wonder of The World refurbished, revitalized and protected for generations to come, as an again intended functioning stadium, can be appreciated by even those devoid of a significant higher education. Like myself.

Drawbacks? I don’t own the colosseum, as any single entity would or should and those that do, including the Italian government, plus others with political suasion, would be highly motivated to protect their central positions. Secondly, I precluded, as part of the equation, it would be an embarrassment to the powers that be, that a mere mortal such as I, should feel empowered to touch the face of their history and believe the idea ingenious to be so presumptuous as to bypass their projections for the future of something of this significance, that they control. This was anticipated and incorporated as part of strategy, prior to advancing the concept in increments, to the general public. This process is on-going, as you can witness should you have the desire, to squash curiosity or provide an eventual gaming contribution, for you’re own profitability or marvel. Feel at liberty to contemplate, should you detect worth. My end game isn’t personal recognition and it isn’t money but should either find me, I wouldn’t be cynical, to reject from God, a gift. My satisfaction, again to reiterate, is creation and preservation.

Your potential inclusion, is simply an extension in the function of chance and my belief that there be no such thing as squandered effort. Of course withdrawal to focus on another task, is always an option and eventuality. I currently find support for this theory, through the impact that writing this letter contribute’s to some of my other observations, that would otherwise have been amiss. I believe myself of course amongst many, a precursor to the concept of gamer. That’s why I lingered longer than planned at the accidental for me, hotel convention gathering. Father taught me chess, which I later played in high school at the U of T club. My first cousin is Grandmaster, despite shockingly blind, virtually from birth, has defeated me lifetime 23 times, to my 1. Of course Monopoly, Bridge, Scrabble, Diplomacy, Trivial Pursuit, a German card game and for simple fun, Risk. The first complex military board game I indulged, was based on the Battle of Gettysburg and The American Civil War. Hundreds of pieces of thumbnail size cardboard cutouts represented the Union and Confederate Forces. Each provided information related to type of infantry, cannon, cavalry and also strength, firing range, movement. Cumbersome it was to stack and maneuver simulated units with the variable of dice on a hexagonal topographic board map. Games would take hours or days dependent on our stamina. The advent of computer technology brought additional relish because of convenience, sophistication and graphics. Panzer General, then Civilization 1,2,3 later Call To Power. Also enjoyed Real Time Games although a tad manic for an older person and Counter-Strike but always reverted to the preferred military strategy re-creations. These days I have little time for hobbies although on occasion play my favourite, billiard’s. Many of the new age computer games use the colosseum motif to promote product but none have theorized the reconstruction of a new stadium over the existing one. On a personal level the virtual-reality concept of players playing in say Savannah Georgia a real game, while simultaneously, as an illusion inside the colosseum, seems obscene. However, Universities and technology companies project virtual-reality a main stay of life in the future. Who am I to judge?

My Web Site is Blue Quadrivium and the content therein makes up probably about 7% of the anticipated whole, that my intended projections determine need to be concluded within two years. I’m currently not interested in volume of viewership. These blogs are rough drafts and many of the visuals are pilfered from the internet and in due course will be replaced, withdrawn or dealt with. Should you find intrigue now or in the future, feel free to connect. I saw a picture of the three of you and thought you all family oriented and Celtic. For me these are positive’s. If I don’t hear from you, I’m certain you’ll go on to have interesting and fruitful lives. I extend my best wishes.

As I found time to respond to you, we become witness to the burning disaster of the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral. The hypocrisy of the imbecilic bureaucracy, that wine and cheeses itself to gory gluttonous death on the backs of tax-payers, to the sum of tens of billions in hard currency, at the expense of true appreciators of architecture and art, boggles the deteriorating collective civilized mind.

Regards:

 

 

 

 

 

Ljubljana Marshes Wheel

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I’ve often paralleled my parent’s ancestral home as the inspiration and foundation for the Biblical description of the Garden of Eden. As the Ice Age receded man became witness to the beginning, evolving, positive expression of active life and “saw that it was good”. If your doubtful, vacation Slovenia/Croatia for yourself. Pristine, plush, fertile and if you have a camera, picturesque. The immediate family at times behaves, as if active remnant of the Adam and Eve narrative, we are banished, try as we might, can not find our return to paradise. Thus far anyway, it’s been to no avail. This is the seed of my personal ambition and discontent, reaching for home where I belong but something always presents itself, to stand in my way. Can’t stop a coffin. “Miles to go before I sleep”. So it shouldn’t come as surprise, to any, that we are deeply religious, devoutly Christian and perplexingly Catholic. Consequentially, on our lands, one will find a surplus, of worshipping life and death churches. Perspective’s of religion and faith are drawn into focus, for our countrymen, when invaders, whoever the historical fashionable flavour, attack our body-politic and property, attempting to overtake us, because, well, we just happen to occupy a fantastic piece of real estate. images (6)Our determined unity, exposes our superhuman stubbornness, against the face of vicious enemy oppressors, lust and greed. To criticize this hardened national trait, is deduced a ruse, to surrender our guard, expose a weakness and leave us vulnerable to destruction. We’ve seen it all, in every form, currently known, manmade method of manipulation, habitually. This day is without difference as the games continue. Ask me how we got there? Probably equivalencies, of violence, barbarism, some assimilated others obliterated, with the help of plague and pestilence, or miracle of well timed flood, all under the guise of our own endurance. Life is a double-edged sword. Maybe one day we will tire of this gruesome, glorious, self assigned protection of heaven and dustbin ourselves into a footnote of history.

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View across the Ljubljana marsh with the Ljubljanica River. The Ljubljanica River flows into Sava and later joins the Danube. The Ljubljanica River possessed strong religious significance for the inhabitants of this region and has also played an important pragmatic role, not just for the people living next to it, but also for people traveling east from the Italian peninsula. (Photo by Arne Hodalic/Corbis via Getty Images)

Everybody wants a finger or two in our pie and who can blame them, unless I inform, of how much blood has dropped to protect this popsicle stand. You begin to wonder if the Slovenian/Croatian people would better live without water, in desert, as cactus. Abundance can be a countries worst burden. And what, from all this, my fellow inhabitants of heaven are often a less than a happy people and the difficulty is determining if this resignation to sadness is reflective of their own spirit or the drain of constant interference from larger than us powers. I beseech you, leave us to our own vices, for a few centuries, so we can observe ourselves.

 

See what I did there? Diplomacy and shrewdness are vital peacetime characteristics. Survival relies on the negotiated goodwill of our neighbours and the continued balance of struggling adversaries. The mission today is adapting to high-speed, high-powered technology and requires my people to be nimble, spry, and insightful. Oh yeah, that’s not new either. New is when our children and innocent, live in an increasingly over-populated, hypocritical, dangerous world.

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The wheel aside from it’s obvious usefulness as transport, was the first primitive significant mechanical form of communication and civilization. The wheel is what allowed me to paint so many walls, move all my crap, then call it temporarily home. Otherwise moving my belongings would have taken an unjustifiable length of lifetime. Hauling credenza by pack mule, through rough terrain, should still be considered tedious. I jest with obvious, but consider water rafts and boats as modes of transport for village, to hut, to modern day condo and that 500 years ago, most or all, remove a thoughtful handful, the world somewhere was ominously flat. I mean I would include myself as inept of any other conclusion. Only theorizing friends could save me from my ignorance.  If you had a pulsating imagination, sharks would be of minor concern, compared to falling off our still undiscovered planet, into the abyss of waters unknown. Pythagorus believed the Earth was spherical some two, plus a half thousand years ago. Aristotle and others were convinced, the world as round, including Ptolemy, such that it was studied as an institutional fact. However, if everyone was certain and not just speculating, why did shipbuilding take such a long time to develop, comparative to metal forging, and weaponry capable of catapulting tons of projectiles? I guess we were busy, as usual, tormenting each other. True the oceans are deep, as they are vast, as is the unknown.

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The year 2002 brought the discovery of the Ljubljana Marshes Wheel and official radiocarbon dating, places the wood and it’s age of construction, in the range of 5200 years ago. It is considered to be the oldest and largest wheel ever found. The wheel is made of ash and the axel is made of oak which implies they were discriminating tree properties and quality. Also interesting is that they were able to define the origin of the trees used, to be close to the find area, of Marshes, some twenty kilometres south of Ljubljana.

 

Where’s the other piece of this wheel? Where’s the wheel on the other side of this axel? Where’s the piece that sat on top of this heavy duty axel? Detectives please. I can speculate some obvious assumptions. The only surety, is that a fluke, plus accident of man, combined with the physical properties of nature, to await present day technology and provide our museum important evidence of our history. What if found fifty years prior by a farmer and not as an investigation by educated trained professionals? Most certainly the unknown parts have disintegrated and decomposed.

 

As evidence suggests, the conceptualization of a push-cart comes into existence, at a simultaneous period of history in the areas of Mesopotamia and Europe. Useful inventions spread uniformed through man’s consciousness. The first to adapt new information to it’s military and foresee an obvious advantage, most often turn this into a moral imperative to attack a perceived enemy. If successful in it’s military tactics with limited damage to themselves, they will begin to create enemies to advance the greatness of their thinking. So it was and so it is.

 

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So in the name of goodwill and common purpose I suggest we develop a road race for the following nations of Slovenia, Croatia and Austria that can rival the Tour De France. For my personal interest I wish to incorporate any one or all of the following towns as passing route or primary stage. Prebold Slovenija, Podvolovljek Slovenija, Luce Slovenija, Bled Slovenija, Klagenfurt Austria, Graz Austria, Zelezna Gora Croatia, Strigova Croatia, Prelog Croatia, Pula Croatia.

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I also advocate for a larger European multiple stage bike race that finds it’s finally, inside a new stadium extensively built with grandiose, over and including a preserved colosseum of Rome. With the last stage encompassing multiple laps over the border lip of the gladiator ring in front of an audience of no less than 50,000 people. This restoration of peaceful spiritual revival, of the most brilliant architecture of antiquity, would become a modern day enigma. It would also participate to preserve the living relevance of history, for future millennium generations of humanity.

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Giro-ditalia

 

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Waiter-Resume

photo_0001                                                    MILAN MICHAEL MAKOVAC

                                                           TORONTO, ONTARIO

bluequadrivium@gmail.com

 

MOTIVATION         To make a living and simultaneously enjoy working in an environment                                   where people can relax and savour one of life’s great pleasures; Food.

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES         Independent, Honest, Diplomatic, Organized, Reliable

CAREER STRENGTHS              + Able to identify and respond to potential problems and                                                               needs of customers and staff

                                                    + Expedient and resourceful under challenging                                                                                 circumstances

                                                    + Able to engage customers in the dining experience and                                                               thereby entice people to visit again

                                                   + Understanding and responsive to a diverse and multi-                                                                 cultural clientele

                                                    + Excellent at all practical aspects of being a waiter

EMPLOYMENT EXPERIENCE          2003-2017   Chartreuse, Waiter                                                                                                           2001-2002   Club Victoria, (Croatia) Bartender                                                                                 1997-2001   Sassafraz, Waiter                                                                                                               1989-1997   Ed’s Warehouse, Waiter                                                                                                   1987-1989   Artful Dodger, Waiter/Manager                                                                                     1983-1986   Bloor Street Diner, Waiter                                                                                               1982-1983   Frank Vetere’s, Waiter/Assistant Manager                                                                   1979-1982   Sunshine’s, Busboy/Waiter

INTERMITTENT/PART TIME          George Bigliardi’s, Ribiero’s, Zum Rhein, Golden Griddle

EDUCATION                                     + University of Toronto (Political Science and Economics                                                             + York University           (English)                                                                                                         + Centennial College      (Accounting)

POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT           Vice President——-Davenport Liberal Association                                                                                                            (Federal)                                                                                                                  Policy Chair———-Davenport Liberal Association                                                                                                            (Federal)                                                                                                                  Delegate—————-Liberal Provincial Leadership                                                                                                             Oakwood Association                                                                                          Delegate—————-Federal Liberal Leadership                                                                                                                   (Davenport)

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS                 Underwriter License (Sun Life Insurance Company)                                                                    Apprentice Mechanic (Gerrard Motors/Sunoco)                                                                              Taxi License                                                                                                                                            Apprentice Carpenter (Germany)

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS             Billiards, Chess, Backgammon, Cards-Sixty-Six, Reading-                                                              Military History

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Suicide

164578017-niagara-falls-wallpapersDuring childhood my babysitter doubled as language teacher and was mother’s inseparable Slovenian friend. Mia and I had a chance crossing, at a cultural event common to our heritage, a subsequent 25 years after her moving from Toronto to Vancouver and a job related to a fine arts program. On leaving church, we decided to reminisce this spring evening, strolling from the streets at Bloor and Manning, to Bloor and Ossington, where she was visiting her ill ageing mother. On passing through our old neighbourhood, Christie Pit’s park was burgeoning with activity and as we conversed about our reflections and perceptions, I rediscovered the enormous impact she had with my life. It felt as if she had planted the spirit of herself in me. Minus my ruthless streaks. I was taken aback by her projections, of the anticipated direction my career choices should have led to, as a social worker or teacher because I personally regretted for years, having rejected those professions as a means of livelihood. I guess her observation of personality and passions allowed for an unbiased identification of my motivations. As a waiter, it generally served me well to enlighten families and member’s, of unique perspective’s or abilities they may have, as people are often unaware of having special skills, more prone to believing they have special needs. So grateful to have had that walk with Mia and all the selfless care she sent my way. She was childless. I believe I was the fortunate benefactor of her compassionate nature.

When I began contemplating and visualizing the content of my biography I found myself interjecting segment’s with, oh yeah, it was around that time, that guy killed himself and how do I explain the emotional impact as an aside, from my intended theme, even if I could speculate to begin knowing. On noticing the numerous multiplying incident’s to be significant, there was wonderment if everyone is inundated with so many periphery experience’s, of the awful choice of someone’s self-inflicted death. I decided to withdraw these violent vignettes from my other subject matter and catalogue all the not so nice incident’s, into a few blood soaked chapter’s.

The three sister’s without brother’s, had a deep winter freeze, toga party and I as any sensible, hormonally charged teenager, needed to be there, but because of some responsibility, was to exasperation, likely to have to omit. At some point that evening I blew off the shackles of my restriction and with haste headed to the modern day, of my imagination, good natured orgy, that wasn’t. That I wasn’t inclined to make it, was reason I showed up mimicking a bundled rock star musician ‘Bryan Adams’, in jeans, cowboy boots and lumber jacket. The sheets they were a missing and ‘The Times They Are A Changin’.  I was preparing a polite gradual increase of forceful pounding on the front door to compete against the piercing volume of Cinderella Man permeating the shores of ice cold silence outside. Carol togaaaad the door open, drawing to halt, my breath, before I had attempted the pounding. Girl always had an uncanny sense of space, time and guys. I had a brief motivational peek of Rome’s conquering and enslavement of British subject. She looked like a happy victim but apparently the troops were already out of lager. She pulled out some young man like magic trick and if I minded driving to the beer store immediately, should disaster strike and leave us without libation. I didn’t know the kid, who would never make it to man, as I hurriedly drove to his apartment complex to pick up gold coins for the additional ounces, a semi-successful conquering army would require. It was frigid. I pulled up to the dimly lit, covered from the element’s, concrete roof entrance and he darted, disappearing into the building. Some moment’s drew a senior female driver also with passenger, forcing me to continue forward around the island so that she now occupied where I had been and I placed opposite direction, parallel. What appeared to be her off-spring, followed the same approach of hurried exit and entry. I sat there for a few minutes, marvelling the Leaning Tower of Pisa grey hair and how so many layers escaped touching the ceiling of her car, somewhat explained by, her eyes peering beneath the lip of the large old-fashioned, late model steering wheel. She never glanced over, to acknowledge my waiting and observing. She may have been frightened. On his return that boy dashed through two glass doors, ever so fleetingly greeted the forbidding air, in one motion opened the car door and plopped himself in the vacant seat. He looks over at me and says, “Let’s go”. Unfortunately, me wasn’t me. Me was now a screaming with terror old lady, with poofy hair, removed of intuition and the harmless nature of this kid. Poor guy was thoroughly embarrassed as he humbly pardoned himself from her car and repeatedly, kindly apologized, even as he rounded the front of her car, bowing with sorriness, heading to where I was. That red faced boy, man, boy, man, well he was of age to be drafted. I didn’t know him and if we had created dialogue amongst ourselves, it was absent significance, as our focus was the at hand business of beverage procurement. There were some sixty to eighty teenagers at the hearty party and I recall never seeing him again that evening. The next afternoon I inadvertently showed up for the after event gossip and our habitual post party, party. We had a firm understanding of priorities. The sisters and some others of our inner circle were sitting around cozy, on the parent’s plush couches but on this day seemed fully at odds with comfort, griped by abnormal visual signs of distress. Carol acknowledged my silent expression of query, saying, “You know that guy you drove to the beer store?”. “Yeah”. “He jumped from his apartment”. I was speechless.

Jane and I had similar urges for fine food, as we did a skip and a jump to Sherbourne subway station and headed to a favoured kitchen, crossing the Broadview bridge to Greektown. We whipped through the sliding door of the front car, slipping into the available seats on the right, behind the compartmentalized driver. Our internal sensors pressed the alarm button instantly. Sitting directly across was a caucasian, approximately thirty-five years of age, dirty curly dark brown hair, jeans, running shoes, white top, obviously in some kind of internal emotional distress, female. We were alerted into hush, fearful to where this might be heading, seemingly barreling towards destruction. The cabin to our left was sparse with commuters and our quadrant had just the three of us. She seemed absorbed by trauma and there was good reason to believe she was unaware of our obvious presence. We were pulling into the next stop when she stood up, but had no intention of getting off and providing us with relief. Instead she went with daze to the front cabin door and placed her hands on the glass as a child with some height might. We couldn’t see her face. Pulling out of Castle Frank station the tunnel approached the speeding stark reality of outside and the previously unnoticed, hopeless grey day, begging to feel like the foreshadowing of doom. We re-entered the darkness before Broadview station, except for the slowing artificial light and a premonition, implicating hell. Jane and I never referenced each other, we were simultaneously, fully attentive to her impending actions. The train started out towards Chester, a stop before ours and we’d be able to leave this scene, with the grateful, pathetic excuse of our hunger, when I saw the poor soul lower her right hand to the door latch, lurching to open and make a calculation I’d never have contemplated. She was preparing to jump on to the tracks, through the front exit door, of the moving train! Who knew. I was on her like a leopard on prey, grabbed her garment by the scruff of the neck and flung her the four or five yards slamming her body into the original seat she occupied. I yelled at her, “You’re not ucking killing yourself in front of me”! She brought home the meaning of the word sulking, as it was profuse. On re-establishing this memory, why didn’t I throw her into a closer available seat? Why speculate the unanswerable. We got off where we were supposed to, the next stop, at Pape and had lunch. We left her in that seat. I hope it got better.

 

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A grotesque story needing to convey, describing the insanity some jobs can require a human to endure. A Toronto Transit Commission manager acquaintance, relayed a horrific suicide situation. A person threw himself off the station platform, literally into (as opposed to in front of) the oncoming train with ill timing to the extent, at point of contact, his body became twisted and lodged, between the seemingly impossible small space of platform and train. I believe they are referred to as ‘gophers’, are employees who must deal with cleaning up the messy aftermath of mauled bodies. On this occasion they arrived under the train to find a body sliced in half at the waist but the upper half protruding above, still alive and probably, unfortunately, fully aware.  The self inflicted victim was engaged in conversation with security and later Emergency Medical Services as his innards were pincered together maintaining his life. The train wasn’t going to stand in the station forever. Ask yourself, who is required to make a procedural decision and the protocol, whereby this persons body organs, drop out, to the ground, when the train is ordered to move? Here buddy want a cigarette. Rush hour traffic you know. Who wants that job? Where do you apply?

Good friend, had a most prevalent half Canadian Indian girlfriend, the tribe escapes me and we often engaged in engrossing conversation. At one time  during the eighties when liquor licensing laws required early closure, she ran or similarly, was the proprietor of, an illegal after hours, more affectionately referred to as a booze can. These places quite usually by there nature, included an incessant drug using clientele, often of influential artistic types, than the mainstream watering holes of the time and were an advanced indicator to the direction and good measure of a societies immediate evolving future. Her chosen location was unique in that she had a bar area, that included an ice producing mechanism, glasses, wine, bottles of beer, hard alcohol, condiments and shank, placed entirely inside an elevator, of a basement floor. Should the authorities need to arrive, the touch of a button would become the stuff of Houdini. I never had the occasion to be there, as it was before my time. Confirmed true, possibly embellished but with her, I wouldn’t doubt the raw nerve of her character, to have connections and concoctions of the kind necessary, to run this kind of business successfully.

She was recalling a history of herself and a rock plateau placed partially internally and externally to a waterfall, by which no human having walked the river’s edge, along a deep, long path to stand on this spot, they were, as the fact of legend knows, destined to never return. The most likely circumstance of witnesses and conditions, wouldn’t be as strong as her faith.  It may have been a challenge, which in my opinion would be equally insane or it may have been a change in plans, to leave this life. She never said. However, she was proud to have endured and I having bestowed upon me, the pleasure of her presence. Angelo always kept the company of interesting people.

Bobbie Gentry………..Ode to Billie Joe            Elvis Presley……..Heartbreak Hotel

Rush……………….Cinderella Man                      Bob Dylan….The Times They Are A Changin’

Utada Hikaru……….Boukyaku                         Elton John..Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Pink………….Who Knew              Mylene Farmer… C’est Une Belle Journee.. Timeless 2013

Amy Winehouse……..Back To Black               Bryan Adams……….Cuts like a Knife

 

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Into Politics

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My first official entrance into the boxing ring called Canadian Politics, began with an invitation from my sister, to help with the Provincial Leadership run of Conservative Frank Miller. She worked for a mining firm that had skin in the game and I contributed as warm body, in the required effort of promotion and ‘we can’t live without this guy adulation’. For a few days, I rummaged the in’s and out’s of convention mania and why wouldn’t I enjoy a bit of of hysteria and pandemonium, to break up the monotony of my simpleton life. My effect on the outcome was negligible, as I never had conversation with the man who briefly became Conservative Premier of Ontario. His campaign however, cut my teeth, for an eventual journey into the Liberal Party of Canada.

The final grade’s of elementary school as designed by curriculum, cover an introduction of the major policy themes, of the day. Our teacher’s encouraged us with headings and we were responsible for individual or group perspective, used in competitive debate to support our position’s and attack each others counter-argument’s. Population explosion was already a concern in the sixties and early seventies as a precursor to the environmental issues we face today. Seems as if all that foreshadowing, researching and debating, culminated in a waste of time. Reproductive rights, the way we are lurching, will soon infringe the territory of legalizing fratricide, as the potential profit from harvesting organs and other prolific selfish purposes, are destined to eventually breach a recent allowable termination at nine months, to mother’s aborting their children up to and including the child’s first birthday. Blood money. This sums up humanity and our benevolence. Imagine the situation for the rest of our poor, dumb, animal kingdom and an inability to create a verbal argument to defend their interests in a court of law or public opinion and vote against their own extinction. If only these creatures would somehow learn to speak. Man shouldn’t be counted on. Capital punishment at the time I advocated against the death penalty simply as recourse against multiple murder. A killer believing an eventual way out of prison, may deflect his damage and the secondary pervasive reason, potential abuse by authorities or the legal system and preventing an innocent, from persecution. Otherwise, with definitive proof, omitting the need for safeguard’s, I’d hang’em high, with impunity. Anyway, as my uncle (Bless his soul) Tonce once told me, a witness to many atrocities, there’s a noteworthy amount of money in the business of death. I concur.

War and peace, inclusive of foreign policy and economic prosperity were my subjects of engrossment. This was an extension, to my hobby of historical and contemporary military tactics. My position, should have I become a member of the political establishment or the Canadian Defence Department, which I consider overlapping and operate as one and the same, as all government ministries are required, to be effective, would be a representation of my personal philosophies. Ultimately, I can’t do anything for my soldiers once they’re laying dead in the field, therefore, my responsibility is to ensure the survival of my troops and the society they serve, in any rank or ministry deemed to require my expertise. This could mean anywhere from regular forces and hand to hand combat, to Field-Marshall co-ordinating my troops movements on the battlefield, to Minister of Defence and the procurement of arms, to Leader of a Nation and the inherent function of diplomacy. The role of my auto-biography, aligns and contributes, for the likeminded, comprehending these parameters.

It was a fine early afternoon weekend day and our front door was an invite open to the warmth of our neighbourhood. My good friend, on seeing the moving bodies through the screen door opened it and called my name in earnest and I popped my head around the kitchen wall, happily greeting him. Instantly, we were a rush and as often in mission mode, bid the family a quick goodbye and bequeathed we’d both show for early dinner. We were on our way to a recently built community centre for some kind of political action and I was dragged along as last minute support because his dad (unbeknownst kingpin) was unable to attend. Although my friend had grade average always touching the skies, the procedural steps we were rolling into were as foreign to him, as myself. I was probably solicited because of our past penetrating conversations of situational geo-politics the likes of, Panama Canal, The Golan Heights, Vietnam War, Suez Canal, Idi Amin, South African Apartheid, The Khmer Rouge, Mao Tse-Tung, Fascism, Stalinism, Nicaraguan Sandinistas and Contras and so on, all speculative, removed of practical experience, just self thought theory. This was about to become our first youthful venture into political reality.

We were seated high up in the convention hall admiring the eclectic architecture, exploiting fresh space, filled by glistening sun. Intentionally alone and happily isolated far and away, in the stands, we believed ourselves immune of any kind of potential fermenting embarrassment, of our situational awareness, we were surely clueless. From our distance it wasn’t disturbing, that the faces of individuals were indistinguishably mulling around makeshift greeting and receiving tables. There were some small groups clustered together in the seating more directly in front of the action we eagerly intended to bypass. My friend of long standing and I, by our calculated location, seemed more destined to Apollo into orbit as astronauts then partake in anything that was going on down there, somewhere. This as you gather was all fine with me, as I had already settled as observer and my sidekick, limited in the scope of information he’d received, was uncomfortable to press forward as anything, but same. None of this would have retraced my memory if the following events had not continued to unfold. Suddenly, as if leaving a mothership, some individual male, broke away from the main body we were hell bent to avoid and climbed the universe towards us. We were dismayed at someone’s approach because this probably meant motives of a kind we would be unable to ascertain. We speculated quickly about nothing, for what seemed like eternity, even as the lanky man bounded the stairs by two’s, approaching. Fear of the unexpected was consuming us.

He shook my friends hand up and down with the efficacy of a car salesman’s exuberance and was simultaneously satisfied with his identity, as someone who’s name he had obviously anticipated. I unfortunately, as it turned out, wasn’t the father who couldn’t come. Time was of the essence, as is so often the case, in the needs speed, of big city life. As he extended his velocity to me, the gears in his manipulative little brain had already bypassed courtesy and moral standard. From everything he’d immediately concluded I was a useless unknown entity and to be purposeful in his world, would have to alter my name, if to become substance as a historical figure. I was taken aback. To represent myself as another human being, in my life was an occurrence I couldn’t begin to contemplate. Isn’t that illegal? The gall. Wasn’t I just at home with my family. What’s next the trunk of someone’s car. Dead. I mean if someone can flippantly eradicate a person’s name, is anything else a stretch. He doesn’t know me from Adam but is quick to assume that I’m willing to be, Satan’s little brother.

I was confused as he began ushering, towards who I now considered the core of other kool-aid drinking devil worshippers and I felt as if on a long downward trajectory to the gallows of an anticipated hanging, or better yet, a gruesome beheading. My being was screaming discontent. “What should I do”? I kept asking myself, “how do I get out of this”? Surely, I’m not to pretend to be someone else, going low, how far can I go. Documentation and identification would seem to be a precursor to legitimacy yet my pallbearer seemed adamantly convinced of unnecessity. The gates of hell forgo the rules required by mere mortals. Welcome to politics.

My friend and I helplessly glanced at each other, in fashion similar to villains on docket, left holding the bag and we stood mingled with others, moping with predicament. ‘Please make this stop’ and around the same time, as if heaven had received the echo of my hopes, it did. Relief. Indecision worked. Things were postponed or something something something, I could care less for how the dagger of corruption, was removed from my throat. We evacuated as if soldier’s, on first recognition, that valour and courage were no longer a useful commodity against imminent slaughter. Years later, to disgruntlement, I observed this same horrible individual become an elected Member of Federal Parliament.

Around this time and in between, I fell into conversation with a blast from the forgotten past, with Larry Grossman’s father, who’s son, also became temporary Ontario Conservative Party Leader and confessed to him my propensity to liberalism, having moved away from my initial socialist New Democrat Party leanings. He laughed politely in my face and said, “well you’re heading in the right direction. One day you’ll be a conservative”. At that time I wouldn’t have thought that plausible because I couldn’t associate the anti-war movement as compatible with Republicanism. Harken to today, the adage, “politics makes for strange bedfellows”, rings as always true, in more beds than one. “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” Frank Miller’s political victory was my first.

 

 

 

The Greatest are never Boring

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I have to confess that I’m not an avid football fan but I do have an interest in all things military and this game is closest to simulating war, disguised as sport. So when everyone is showing up, I find the spectacle enthralling.

Growing up I had disdain for Bobby Orr. He was the nemesis and super villain that every frustrated Leaf fan understood him to be, of epitome. If I could have reached through the T.V screen and pummelled him, well maybe not that. Broken glass probably does some self inflicting damage. He was sleek, too sleek, he was fast, too fast, he was smart, too smart, and he was great, too great. So with him around, we never even had a sniff at winning the whole enchilada. He came to represent the antithesis, of every type of hate I had, for preventing us from our success’s and discarding us to year’s of failure. It all sounds way beyond serious. Ergo memorable impact.

Many of these childhood anxieties thankfully suppressed, I happened to find myself at a charity event, that most of my recollection is missing. I’m certain it was at the old Garden’s arena, involving college students and flying something priests or maybe nun’s, engaging in humorous hockey action. Happenstance, Bobby Orr in proper referee uniform (looking sharp) drifted tenderly around pretending to officiate. I glanced towards him often, never having had the opportunity to witness him so close, as my face was partitioned by ice level glass. Most of my attention was directed at the pre-conceived good natured shenanigans on display, all in the name of a worthy cause. Towards the end of our entertainment, an aberration took place. One of the college players, not having yet been of this world when Orr was a household name, became sentimental of the coming conclusion to his presence with greatness. Kid offers Bobby his stick. As if on a frozen pond. From my distance you could discern his surprise and humility from the gesture. Certainly, with his body motion, if I may have actually seen him mouth the words, “I can’t”, it seemed to be the first time he had to utter those words, since the doctor’s (specialists) performed multiple surgeries some fifteen years earlier and warned him, he could never play again. The kid persisted, probably unaware, surely not fully aware, as most of us, of the looming danger should Orr attempt to gain high speed and incidentally find impact. The other college student’s by this time had perceived the teammate effort to persuade and also now, the four or five thousand naive to the danger fans, were vocally contributing to cajole. He plucked that offered stick out of the kids hand, like gun and a man, who knew the time was now, to go defend his country. The spur of the moment, contrived yet hockey accurate, for the player who did it better than all, the puck lay resting behind the net. From the blue line, he headed to retrieve. He got on that horse of his, in that deliberate skating style, with you know what’s going to happen, when I really start moving attitude. No one can stop me. Not man, nor immortal. I had seen this hundred’s of times, live and through a box, rounding the net, before ejecting into flight not with the same former flashing speed but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next, as he passed centre ice along the boards, some four yards away against an imaginary team of leafs. His left leg wobbled furiously at the knee, inexplicably it held together as if limb on bone held in place with scotch tape and the frailty of our hero to potentially disintegrate, was wiped away by the joyous determined look on his face, to again have moving remembrance of something he so loved.  I cry then and now.

Life’s odd that way. Not always, but when misjudgement rears it’s ugly head. Without reason for disliking someone or even venomously despising them and you come to understand they’re great people and love them. Happened to me many times. The opposite occurrence is also true.

I have participated and observed practically any kind of sporting event for over fifty years and reverting to my opening statement unbiased of football, however, Tom Brady, in my humble opinion, of the recent modern era, is undoubtedly the Greatest Athlete Of All Time. The prerequisite for this title can be debated by other’s, across all the variables and disciplines of sport, as I ponder a media determined, post Super Bowl game narrative, demeaning, this nerve-wracking fantastic defensive struggle, to having been one long-drawn-out bore. It’s amusing to see we’ve become bored of greatness, as we must be moving in the right direction away from hate, if to nonchalant genius. Hope to be bored again next year with the Rams notching an added year of experience, or the Saints gaining revenge, or maybe the Kansas City QuarterBack begins to become the next superstar Brady. Challenges. Can’t live without them. Long road to being the best.

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