Author: makobies

Shooter

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On my thirteenth birthday or there about, I came home from school to have my mother lead me downstairs into our recently almost completed recreation room, to present me with a top of the line, brand spanking new, 4 by 8 pool table. How she ever came to this idea, I will forever be grateful and sacrifice every gift I’ve ever received, to what became my lifelong hobby. I suspect her capacity for craft and thrift, induced an effort to kill two birds with one stone. She was an avid dressmaker, sower and knitter so the pool table served the dual purpose of workstation, by simply covering the top with a firm plywood board. She loved shopping for fabric and patterns to maintain an active use of her collection of industry quality machinery. My sisters served as models to dresses and I tended to be the recipient of winter wool sweaters. The pocket billiard table was to become an adventure into the unknown and if my initial enthusiasm was lacking, that changed as I began assessing the games charm and complexities.

On occasion, relatives of the rural kind, would test my mantle by pushing a pistol or rifle into my hands and suggest I take the life of rodent or varmint. I couldn’t do it. City born living had quashed my desire to eliminate a cat or wolf or Richardson’s ground squirrel, primarily for the sake of protecting crops or livestock, but included sport. I received the shrugging of my cousin’s disapproving shoulder’s with embarrassment, as I manipulated the situation into wasting ammo on inanimate stationary target’s. Here in Toronto my Godfather was an avid hunter with the Slovenian Hunters lodge and served for many years, first as director, then as chairman. I had ample opportunity to hunt in Ontario for dear, moose, or rabbit but never had stomach, for joining my dad and others of our clan, on these northern expeditions. Without the inherent violence of hunting, billiards served as substitute for my desire of shooting, with the practicality of living in a city. I had other strong interests and always work, but because I loved pool so much, I began excelling with the intricacies of the game where the real joy lies, as with all things, great.

Billiard’s or pool, at the highest level’s is a sophisticated, intelligent, physical and psychological battle against the widest spectrum of, to be adversaries. To become a world class shooter you need to acquire ability, through volumes of practice and experience, by seeking out players of better quality and varying approaches. The price demanded by the hierarchy for pilfering of said craftsmanship, is cold hard currency. The larger your arsenal of skills, or as I refer to them, weapons, evolved your strategies, nimble the awareness and creative your game, the more difficult it becomes to defeat you.  It comes that time, where you are aware, of only a hand full of players that can still challenge your game. In Toronto for me that time came to realization between 1987 to about 1997.

To be an achieved player, initially the springboard to success favours the loner. Being similar, to perfecting a musical instrument, whereby endless hours of trial and error beckons an endless allocation of time to self absorbing practice. You become hermit.  To have chance at the long road to master, you love it and all consequence is surrendered. Intermittently you will marvel at air and breathing, or sun and tanning. Then as if butterfly escaping cocoon, you set forth, in quest for refinement and the required teaching, repetitive failure, biting lip advice and the criticism that only harsh defeat can bring, to open yourself to interpretation, in hopes of gaining insight, perspective and intuition. To be a high quality player asks for the examination of all things, in particular those elements that are outside of the game itself. You can not plan to draw a line at some arbitrary point and decide I’ve completed learning, for it would deter you as an absorbing student. To fail, implies any amount of weaknesses that can’t be overcome or aren’t understood. A missing mathematical equation against a well tutored and practiced opponent is easily exploited. The very good seem lucky, because they eliminate the chance of failure and maximize on the potential for success. They exert by ambition, drive, and tenacity a tremendous amount of pressure, on an opponent, effortlessly.

I was recognized as a quick, smooth skating, with excellent foot and stick work, hockey player. Leading scorer or vying. In Canada we have many of these. Father had me playing at Saint Michael’s Arena by age five with the downtown elite Toronto Olympic Hockey Club. Many pro-players, some great, came through this organization. Summer’s I spent in power skating school, at a place if anyone is alive to recall, named Tam O’Shanter, (burned down) the grateful recipient of NHL tutelage. The truth be told I was partial to the grace of figure-skating and dance-skating (also as an aside fencing) observing with keen admiration, the skills training that ran concurrently in the adjoining rinks. Unfortunately, developmentally to be proficient in these disciplines, would require more than passing fancy. My growth spurt came late and I was beginning to suffer serious injury, that logically accompanies six foot tall 180 pound, fourteen year old defencemen with sadist streak. I recall one in particular, whose parent’s appropriately named, Houston. I’d come out of the corner boards as if mauled by African wildlife, by these type’s of ucker’s. I was sadly suspecting that it wasn’t going to happen, this dream I shared with my father of becoming pro. In hind sight, there may have been a chance, be it miniscule and would have required regimented devotion to weight-lifting. Some of my friends were training on a regular basis and I could only gag-on, the concept of.  I preferred hours on the billiard table as opposed to the gym. So by my nineteenth I was a sniper shot, unaware of my quality and not caring, because for me billiard’s was an escape from people and school and the overall rat-race of ambition. My hockey career had produced a broken wrist, cracked ankle, intense facial damage, and all around bruising of the torso and legs. The positive that I garnered from these injuries is genetically I heal rapidly, as athlete’s are likely to do, because of increased strength and speed in metabolism.

It was quickly approaching and I was deferring, actually kicking and screaming from the required decision making, the course my higher studies should aspire to, at the conclusion of high school. I was the consummate procrastinator. The recurring theme was social worker, teacher and my secondary choices of journalism or politics as this was consistent with my second obsession, with foreign affairs and history. My high school friends and classmates, to avoid words used on the street, with diminishing (geeks) derogatory fashion, these types, were the intellectuals. I wasn’t hanging with the athletes, the should be natural alliance, or the artists or the pot heads, well any of the factions every school has. The kids I spent time with at lunch, met before school should I choose to go, talked with on school trips or related personal trips, with rare exception, became executives, presidents and vice, lead arbitrage, law firm partners, and as example, to corporation such as IBM, Bombardier, now merged Wood Gundy, other U.S. brokerage houses and Canadian banks. I was Black Sheep. They were securing their future and destiny, I was nomadic, directionless and lost. When I became waiter, I wilfully surrendered to the arbitrary totem-pole of professions and in North America wouldn’t even be considered worthy of any such standing or profile. Personally I never felt shamed despite the stigma, however, the pressure of miscalculating my future weighed heavy. It was as if I prematurely completed school with the worst possible grades but graduated and sent myself to placement.

Pool cue in one hand, serving tray in the other, became my sword and shield on the front lines of mankind’s self-created, by willful ignorance, battlefield, disguised by the presumption of peace. My perspective concludes that the world is constantly at war. Across all income levels mankind at his core is a ruthless animal with periodic stumbles into sympathy or compassion and these too are often used as tools for deceit and survival. Everyone, given enough time to interact, will eventually be recognized as friend or foe. The middle, grey area is only a stage or orbit of interaction, waiting for assessment. My philosophical position’s and statement’s have been visited and revisited by historical scholastic thinker’s from time infinitum. My aim here isn’t to challenge or dissect their position’s and should you have sincere curiosity, university, or a journey of personal research awaits, the study of my regurgitated beliefs.

My new found job and now always hobby, contributed to changing the dynamics of my life. Instead of isolation or feeling always as outsider, hardly a unique phenomena for large portions of the population, I was required to interact with people and fight through insecurities to maintain employment.  “You have to take the good with the bad”, well the surprise for me, the bad after considerable effort, turned good. If I was a self described social outcast, the business of restaurant’s opened new and interesting observations about the world and myself in it. Similarly pocket billiards unexpectedly opened avenue’s to new sometimes extreme situation’s and curious dialogue. One of the first, turning to many social situation’s, was during my away from home, in Germany and an invitation by one of three Marines for the weekend to an American Military Base. Soldier’s of any country and all rank tend to socialize around games that include darts, chess, ping pong and of course billiards. My practical experience’s were finding expression in strange fashion. Minus the normal approach to academia these multiplying events, would feed into the schooling I needed to examine, but postponed and would eventually return to by way of alternate route, as a mature student.

Waiter and shooter turned me into a social animal. If I was reserved and shy and under-confident, the continuos enjoyable foray into the observation and conduct of humans, reversed those natural tendencies of my character. I was never without invitation. The party seemed, as if never ending. If one thing wasn’t going, then another was surely happening. I was in the court, of every form of thinking and conceptualizing. Be they soldier’s, sailor’s, spies, be they dentist’s, doctor’s, nurse’s, be they, professor’s, guru’s, teacher’s, be they carpenter’s, plumber’s, bricklayer’s, be they psychiatrist’s, emergency services, or social worker’s, be they, drug dealer’s, bank robber’s or prostitutes, be they banker’s, builder’s or politician’s, be they media giants, weathermen, or journalist’s, all form would come available to my lair, for frank, enthralling and open conversation, when they were so willing. I was sponge.

Rod Stewart———————-Maggie May                   Eagles————Take It To The Limit

The Pursuit of Happiness–“I’m An Adult Now”     Bob Seger——-Night Moves

Dire Straits————————Sultans of Swing          Juice Newton—-Angel Of The Morning

Pink Floyd——-Another Brick In The Wall              Eagles————-Hotel California

 

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The Reckoning

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I was meandering home from school, probably daydreaming, as my best friend’s older brother pulled up alongside me. I thought it coincidental, for we’d never had reason to share space, although opportunities had been abound. Later as an afterthought to these unfolding events, I noticed he never kept company with any of his peers, before or after. Greg my classmate would on occasion invite me to their backyard to play in the homemade fort-clubhouse, ingeniously picturesquely placed, prototypically designed into the heart of a marvellous gigantic oak tree. If Greg was tall, lanky, say scrawny, developmentally challenged and somewhat effeminate well Gerrard in grade six and three years older was his opposite. Why on this day he chose to interact I couldn’t begin to conjecture but if writing fiction, we could branch into many directions. Maybe he didn’t like me playing in the clubhouse, that he maybe helped build. Could have been maybe anything. Some people just don’t like me. With sidewalk, we were approaching the southeast knee high brick wall protecting the grass and foliage of the Ukrainian church property when he began with inflammatory comment’s, directed at my mother. Boys do that, “them’s be fightin’ words”. Father we could care less, mother, well any self respecting boy knows we go to war for mom. I was afraid, for it felt as if I was going to suffer a consequential pummelling if I didn’t demure.1200px-Christie_Pits_November_2010

When in a fight you can never anticipate an opponents preferred approach to homicide, should they relish in your permanent departure. For Gerrard, I was to discover the thrill was suffocation and I’m guessing the entailing, bulging eyes, squirming, shaking, deafening silence, and at conclusion, a breathless body. He could have chosen any number of methods to victimize but this seemed to be a true and tried form of assault. Or maybe he was a natural.

I made my one obligatory derogatory rebuttal as we passed in front of the religious icons that graced the temple of goodness, as if a movie about mob and then ran like hell. Most of my calculations were correct except for the split-second I failed from fear in opening the wooden side door that would lead between two walls to my backyard and safety. The pursuit, as you knew there had to be, was about fifty yards, or we’d be without story. The lower hinges mounting the door and the brick that secured it’s workings came to serve as headboard as I lay there on concrete tile with his hands grasping my delicate neck. Breathless from dashing I resisted furiously, and let’s face it, all living cells that manufacture your body are alerted to the highest level of defensive.  The use of leverage, some prying and praying, eventually something inside an unknown length of time, interrupted his progress, fortuitously.

When I got in the house to my waiting mother and our boarder’s who were visiting, my symptom’s were, grateful to be alive, still gasping for air, finger marks and a broken voice. It wasn’t much, before my mother was on her way, the ten house’s up the street to confront my perpetrator’s birth giver. There she received an assorted continuation of we are stupid immigrant’s, my kids are decent and I’ll report your family to the school. In turn my mother told them not to touch her child again. In recalling this fifty year old incident, I took this statement to mean, “or else”.

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The time frame and some of the conditions aren’t certain but other aspects are etched forever in my memory. It was some several weeks after schools end, without a follow up incident and of course I was providing a wide berth to all member’s of the hostile family. It was the middle of summer break and a nice day for our regular daily activity of visiting Christie Pits with my mom. We were using the well worn path that passed the entrance of our Olympic size community pool and then proceeded along it’s outer perimeter with expectations of a happy visit to the children’s playground at the far end. We were moving along the north wall, turned right along the east wall and there inside the asphalted nook we find the two brother’s playing with an Indian rubber ball. The surprise in accidentally coming upon them and with my mother beside, wasn’t deterent to Gerrard directing a snarl and growl toward’s us. To avoid walking through them I ushered my resistant mother out and away from where they were playing and down a small ridge around them to the grassy area that made up most of our grand park.images (1)

Overtaken by the spirit of the moment, Gerrard couldn’t resist whipping the Indian rubber ball with vigour against the Christie Pits pool building. Feigning play as disguise, on two bounces his trajectory was likely intended to scare but if it happened to strike so much the better. I was avoiding looking at them, ignoring any potential taunting and sure enough fate would have it, that ball catches from the side, my right eye. From that distance I considered it a terrible miracle. For him. Instantly a welt and one seriously pissed off mother. If I wasn’t concerned about her charging over to destroy this punk, I may have felt some discernible pain but I grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the playground, repeatedly telling her to forget it. Of course Gerrard was enjoying the trauma and Greg my friend was between a rock and hard place.3e40d9_f7f2a550bba4426482c034d100b00246-mv2

Despite everything all was forgotten, with the passing of some hours, as we had fun and began heading home. We re-remembered the negative on passing  the area of incident. Seemingly, gratefully, the boys were long gone. Instead of retracing our approach we switched our direction and proceeded around the northwest baseball diamond, as it wasn’t being used. Coincidentally at some point I took a peek back and low and behold they were behind us unaware that we were out front. What possessed me to begin scheming the destruction of my nemesis?

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After effusive debate I sent my mother ahead, so that during my planned point of contact with the enemy, she would be arriving at the peak of the steep hill that is the north side of Christie Pits. Convincing her was a tedious chore but thankfully she submitted and probably began internalizing a plan of her own. I certainly wasn’t going to use her in an ambush but I’m sure she thought herself close enough to double back and club him, if needed. I was giving up speed, to reflect their pace and they were still unaware of my now, hovering. I was banking a considerable amount of capital on the one clear advantage of him needing to attack upward and I defend downward. They reached the foot of the hill and had begun pushing themselves forward for the climb. All the while, I noticed, amused with the horde of dandelions under their feet. I had begun slowly striding horizontally across the hill and my mother was mimicking my movements some 30 meters away. I had him lined-up for one good hook. I was craving it.

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I’ve visited my old neighbourhood many times over the ensuing decades, more often to reminisce, having moved in 69 to the suburbs. It transforms in intervals with the arrival of a never-ending stream of immigrants from alternating hemisphere’s and the clash of a population with lower than average income. During one stretch I found shocking to find the Pits was dangerously inundated with used syringes, but they cleaned it up and it’s currently in a decent cycle. So it was unusual that as I hovered the side of the hill, that I would unexpectedly come upon two empty, flattened, crushed, pop cans. The Gods. Mere seconds after picking up and placing one in each hand and behind my back, Gerrard as anticipated, finally became joyously dementedly aware and charged. As he grunted forward up the hill like a Viking, all I could see was the top of his noggin and when he was one additional than my arm length away,  I released the can from my right hand to his left, ascending head of hair. Blood gushed out, grabbing both sides of his head he began feeling the flood of warmth spreading into his left hand and began squealing. That empty can did some serious damage. In my defence, who knew. I was out of there like a jack-rabbit. My mother at that distance surely witnessed the howling and on his knees clutching. However, the Shakespearean scene was more personal for me and having nearly instantly reached her, I behaved as if I was merely hiding a messy room. “Lets go”. I don’t believe my mother would have left a child to die even if it was the devil himself. I wouldn’t ask Bonnie this question in this stage in her life. Unnecessary.

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Some hours later I was relieved that Gerrard’s mother was at our door screaming obscenities, half of which my mother likely didn’t understand. Thankfully I didn’t perform manslaughter, as it would obviously have  altered my life incomprehensibly. The beginning of school year I joined a gang, primarily for protection, although some were involved in petty crimes, I abstained. Also early mornings Saturday during the warm months at the Pits hundreds of boys would gather at the entrance of the pool before opening and box with gloves at the makeshift club. I had two fights and got clocked in both. I never used a weapon against anyone after the incidents with Gerrard. Only my hands and always to defend, except once. Greg and I never renewed our friendship. He was a defenceless victim.

Chicago———Saturday in the Park                   Alice Cooper———Schools Out for Summer

Mary Hopkins-Those were the Days                 Ohio Express——–Yummy Yummy Yummy

The Rolling Stones- Jumpin Jack Flash             Otis Redding–(Sittin’) On the Dock of the Bay

Simon and Garfunkel–Mrs. Robinson               Steppenwolf—-Born to be Wild

Chicago—25 or 6 to 4                                             The Black Keys—-Tighten Up

 

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The Immortal Farrah Fawcett

farrah-fawcett-red-swimsuit-bruce-mcboomI wasn’t planning to have Farrah as the first of The Stars segment of my auto-biography. Appropriately, this came about because it was my sister’s birthday and her good friend’s as they always do came to visit. I find these events difficult as they lead to reflecting and in turn to being emotional. For myself, avoiding sentimental issues is survivalist, for it leaves me in a debilitated state. Thankfully this condition is exhausting and we move on. Icons never move on, they become frozen in history. Trouble is they can never be more than what they were, so they live today but are always remembered as yesterday. Few are strong enough to live in this condition, for after all, we are not Gods. They become the walking living past.

I don’t want anyone to think I assume to know what people think and this includes women, but I do have a mother, two sisters and a daughter and an admirable array of broken relationships, so you’ve got to know, I’ve got to be right sometimes. I’m not going to get bogged down here with the gender issue because personally I think it’s a lemming. Our spirit is significant regardless of which body it happens to find itself in.

So returning to this reflecting thing and my perspectives, the influence of Farrah on my teenage years needs to be described as profound. Would have I, considered this assessment and made it during the heat of the moment. Hardly, after all I was a Sabrina guy, but remember, I probably couldn’t be a Sabrina guy without Farrah. Most of our living, breathing population has no idea what I’m talking about. They will create there own unique experiences, as each generation expresses itself individually then by extension collectively to shape there own hero’s and symbols.

kate-jackson-398310_960_720 We decide what’s in, who’s in and who’s out and what’s out. By the way what’s with all the tattoo’s. Oh, Oh, exposed myself. Old-fashioned. I was just never into maiming or inflicting violence. Seems so environmentally unfriendly. Maybe, that’s it, lost hope. Gotta use pain to get that back. Most likely I just miss the point.

I didn’t have pin-up girls posted in my bedroom, many other things going on, yes. See how I handle touchy subjects? But I did get around. Few got around as much. I manufactured a lifestyle to push the threshold of getting around. Be it relative’s or friend’s, across a range of age’s, up and down the States or coast to coast in Canada, England, Paris, Rome, Slovenia, Croatia, Latin America I don’t know and the Orient at that time, I don’t think so, but I walked into many guys rooms to find Farrah on the wall. Many men wanted to reproduce her. Fertility deities will survive all the movement’s that maliciously attempt to destroy them as long as man has breath. Bitterness shall also pass and die. Be it Venus, or Aphrodite, or Guinevere, or Joan of Arc a huge, huge list of successful women happen to be attractive. I don’t believe any of these historical figure’s who’s names whisper through the lips of man and time, weren’t in some way special people. But because they’re special people it doesn’t mean they get to bypass suffering.

So my sister’s and their friend’s and my girlfriend’s wouldn’t have been shy of emulating at least in part if not in totality the fashion, the hair, the make-up, the lingo, the dancing, the partying, the schooling, the dreaming, the communicating, the bonding, the pain, the caring, the living, I mean this was us, or at least a representation of a significant fraction of us, in the 70’s. Do you wan’t to take it back, even if you could? I liked my generation, we were alive, we liked nature, we were on the move, we loved music, we were ambitious, we wanted to know and were free or at least as free as anyone needed to be. We were still responsible, (because we had to be) maintained commitments (took much of our free time) and still believed in family (that’s all we really are). Every generation pays a price for the direction it embarks and every society has to contend with mischief and greed and other ugliness but I believe the essence of our time was sweet. If I wasn’t delusional how could I go on.

We were firing on all cylinders this fine day with a full compliment of staff and the public attention we deserved.. All our doors and windows were invitingly open and my section was small, meaning less stressful, enjoyable and I was grateful. I had five tables of two, fondly referred to in restaurant parley as deuces, my preferred choice of modus operandi. We had two greeting stations at two entrances, womenned by two hostesses at each and I was at one chatting and sizing up the battle field which for me, is an on going, served me well, process. I still had one available table, as the other four were already gamely eating and I began doubling back in the normal frame required to be punctual and attentive. I was a 51dZPuDF3lLconsiderable distance for my poor sight, observing Farrah scoping her menu and she looked up at my coming direction, I had instant recognition. Without suave, I suspect emitting such excitement with my demeanour that she reciprocated this same exuberance towards me. From then until her departure we were like five year olds in a sand box. I have on occasion overreacted but I’m hardly a ga ga guy. I felt very protective of her.

Farrah was reaching the later stage of her life. Avoiding being ferocious in my description of her physical decay would be proper if it didn’t serve as foil, to her sweet as pie, down to earth, wholesome innocence and internal beauty. She looked as if she’d been holed up for a decade in the basement of any big city projects. Yet her unique blue eyes were caring and compassionate. She was rolling her shoulders back and forth grateful for my undying attention. Farrah wasn’t flirtatious she was just content that somewhere, someone still remembered and I received the affection of that representation. She was embarrassed to be seen in public but had courage and here she was in the current cat’s ass, centre of hollywood north, feeling like a fish out of water, with all the beautiful people. The irony wasn’t lost. My staff too young and the customers to absorbed in themselves to take a second look, all was unaware. If a famous person is identified in Yorkville, Toronto it’s similar to throwing a match onto a combustable. Maybe two or three of our staff of fifty, if keen, would understand what Farrah meant to my boys, in our prime. I said nothing. Farrah and I had lunch as I worked, which soon after, was the only time, the last time.

Don Henley————Boys of Summer

America——————Sister Golden Hair

Hall and Oates———She’s Gone

Dorothy Moore——–Misty Blue

Gary Wright————Dream Weaver

 

 

 

 

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The Memory Channel

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For anyone whose paying attention, demographics show a hefty percentage of our population becoming seniorized and the aches in my body combined with the observation of my parents mental decline, bring these statistics into starkness. My father who is 87 years old is the new 54, my mother being 82 well she’s the new 6 and myself, sixty, have some friend’s in their twenties and feel grateful. I read, (which makes me think I should stop reading) somewhere in Europe some guy wants to change his legal documented age from 70 to 50 years old because he looks and feels younger and when I mentioned this to one of my twenty something year old friends he said that’s not unusual and that some guy in the states wants to change his documented sex gender to a ‘muffler’.  Yes, that’s right, that thing underneath the back of a car. Is he joking? Well  I’m grateful for having a cross-section of today’s youth as friends. They keep me on my toes and grounded! If your meandering around the city as I’m want to do, you would come across incident’s where should I be sensitive, would think I’ve been discriminated because of my age. Truth is many people of all ages have lost touch and are resentful. Best is walk and find the happy and search the enthralling.

So recently, I spent a couple of weeks in the psychiatry ward of one of our excellent Toronto hospitals. This happens when a family member calls the police on themselves, believing that someone else is guilty of their own blatancy. The closer truth is we’re all just human. Well I witnessed the calm, cool phone call as Bonnie gave away our location. I being instantly Clyde was surprised to find what seemed to be a SWAT team at our front door. Embedded within was a medical team and having had privilege of acquaintance’s who are military, police, firefighters, EMS and CSIS I didn’t say much as they did their questioning and assessment. After observing the ensuing struggle with this 80 something year old, they carted her away on a gurney. I did do, was warn them she wouldn’t leave her abode without fight and as I suspected police services wasn’t going to listen as they hadn’t figured me out. Not to be flippant, although I love it so, when removing the seriousness, I found it all, as you can see, amusing. They asked if I wanted to join the procession and could ride the ambulance to relieve my concern. I said “no thanks”. “Give me a call when she’s settled in”. If your parent’s are ‘getting up there’, take a break when the opportunity present’s itself.

With relief, a couple of weeks later, we got out of Sing Sing and were then required to do follow up visits with the Memory Clinic. Well Bonnie, sometimes still thinks she’s Bonnie and who knows maybe one day soon I will be Clyde. Come to think of it being gunned down in a hail of bullets could bring us instant relief. Lucky are we, to be devote Christian and against the concept of assisted suicide. We are truly blessed! Those little happy computer faces do they have little angel ones? Anyway these occurrences manifest as we approach the anniversary of a loved persons death. We’re on the road to recovery and doctor give me some pills. Depression, anger and anxiety are emotions that the brain needs to avoid. If the grief is severe combined with immobility and isolation the mind for the sake of preservation begins to shut-down. Neurologist I’m not, however, I’ve made some observations, for what they may be worth. The Memory Clinic unwittingly was quite helpful and I believe the general problem becomes that each case has specific individual needs, whereby their mission is to brush a broad stroke in an attempt to help everyone. Returning to demographics the system is unable to financially and with the amount of humanitarian power needed, cope with the influx of patients. More sad, those with the motor skills and reflexive actions to go through the motions of surviving, but are so alone in their dwellings.

“You think I want to see misery”? As an undocumented caregiver you take statements as these to heart from those you care about. I’ve had to curtail our shared t.v viewing experience because my interests are having a negative impact. The daily news is out, western’s out, military epics down the toilet and upchuck Chucky and anything the like. Could you imagine attempting to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ with my mother. This would be horror superior. These maneuver’s upon recognition, I can control but television itself presents problems with variable programming and other consumer inducing tactics that negatively impact an aged persons mood. The box is still vital because it allows them to feel like they’re still in touch with the world outside themselves. However, the parent’s and I are watching a comedy, commercial break, dog in cage malnourished on verge of death. Great, send money and save them or feel guilt and despair. It’s cruel to expose our seniors to this type of harassment but I understand that profit making is paying for the programming. I can’t sit there for significant periods of time playing “big brother” with my trigger finger on the clicker monitoring potential negatives. Simply not practical although I try, and they won’t do it for themselves because we are not that calculating anymore. Is it my imagination or does the volume heighten and decrease on it’s own. When you observe television through the eyes of a senior your perspective can feel like shock therapy. Comedy today is not the Partridge Family fluff. Although I notice that my parent’s can seem clueless but when “Fraiser” comes on they seem to understand and laugh at the appropriate places.  Even your children are exposed to a level of rottenness and extremism and hyperactivity that I just can’t accept as being necessary to educate. Anyway I could write a book on my observations but I’m busy working on something else.

Solutions. To anybody with gumption and ambition, I see a market, today and tomorrow. Navigating through computers and identifying individual interests for seniors tends to be too complex. Psychiatrists through mental health institutions, to universities and to our cable provider. I’m willing to pay additional for programming that suites the needs of my seniors well being. As a simple observation and without complex logic, differing human types and brain patterns may require more than one channel. Three, four channels could do the trick. Exercise and stimulate their minds in a helpful and healthy way.  I probably couldn’t predict the shape of this kind of concept. Seniors homes could be put to use experimentally in diagnosing collectively a better approach to good living, than random channel searching. We need something between the easy listening music channel and reported shootings at Morningside and Sheppard.  I’m being nice and biting my lip. I’m living the dream. Sayonara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of the Chaperone

3098034348_a556e5213c_bBoys in my family have to face many “rites of passage”, an imaginary litmus test of our manhood and also a measure necessary for securing the role of family head. Reprehensible as this is for new wave thought, this time tested self inflicted exam incorporated by my hierarchy and under attack for destruction by, non like-minded organizations and individuals has been a basis, for centuries, of our survival. Arguably it’s effectiveness if calculated, could be considered wanting, depending which criteria is used to decipher it’s net worth. In my family it tends to be equated on a scale consisting of Body Count to somewhere north of 500 Canadian dollar’s. (currency values 2018)

We having come to Canada in the late 50’s and being of European stock inclusive of Celtic origin, with many modifications, transitioned quite nicely into the English rules of engagement understood openly as the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. This standard as a part of our school life and community life was followed quite stringently by all levels of our society.  Experience’s as witnessed by me, trended toward’s a test of bravery and courage not annihilation. In the same situation another could find distinctly different impression but I tend to find many of those I associate with to this day, respect those same parameter’s of cultural life and reality as I do. Why? Because no one should lead lamb to slaughter while still in fullness of innocence. I support this rational across all aspects of life, although we can admit to the brutality of man’s environment. We should expect our children to grow into civility with a fighting chance to fend for themselves. The in’s and out’s of history bring us again to an extreme period, where marauding thugs and groomer’s disguised as decent people are attempting to separate the innocent from the pack.

In the animal kingdom sparing amongst kid’s is a part of the arsenal required for understanding and surviving the wholeness of life. Today our institutions are trying to change the rules of engagement but unfortunately the big ticket items, that could produce the expected utopia as advanced by our leadership has no evidence of sincere evolution. Actually their own headlines are screaming on a regular conveyer belt “We Live in Dangerous Times”. Well if that”s true, policy and prophecy has evidentially been an abject failure. I’ve been warning our children not to skirmish with the unknown because today’s competitor is not aware of your sense of community. During our decades of upbringing and uniformity of culture one could expect, if in hand to hand combat, a child or teenager might suffer a bloody nose or a black eye or at something similar to the worst and more by accident, a broken jaw. However, today’s adversary is quite capable without regret to move in for a kill and step over your dead body without remorse, adding to the abhorrence. The up-tic of people that could go ‘off on you’ is on the rise. Standing up for yourself is no longer a part of growing-up. It can be a death sentence or a life of debilitation. Everyone is not playing by the same rules. I attribute all this to traffic and everything it takes to make too much traffic. Blessed are they, who live without traffic in their heart.

Camera’s give us a false sense of security, the knowing Chaperone of compassion and experience is more likely to identify the enemy and deserve’s to make a comeback. Many of the worst atrocities are committed in the sublime of human contact that includes conversation with the intent of manipulation and doesn’t immediately visually express itself but rather manifests when all is unaware. People of responsibility are valued members of our society and the most benevolent gang is still the family unit. Life will never be perfect and lets not prematurely discard  method’s of survival that have worked. Demeaning or laughing at or criticizing these method’s of protection and security find’s it’s roots often in the larger scheme of things.

 

 

 

Shifting Gears

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The Nylander saga continues and it’s holding up the continuation of serious blogging and book writing. So in the spirit of the wait, I decided to recall a story from 1979 relating to cars and other things guys like to think about.

I hated automobiles. Dad was an ace mechanic who in the early 60’s with the assistance of an English partner began a repair garage. The two met whilst employed by International Harvester, a renown farming equipment and trucking firm. We didn’t specialize because there wasn’t a truck, car, transmission, engine, import, domestic or humpty dumpty that we couldn’t put together again. Come later, I’ll expand. On this day it was a hot sunny clear afternoon and the beginning of a summer weekend for me and all the other late teen to early twenty Travolta boys. The strip mall that housed our billiard hall was lackadaisically surrounded by factions of the Sabbatini, Napoli, Abruzzi, and other commonly notorious Calabrese and Abruzzese. Scattered amongst them were offspring of former elements of the Greek and Yugoslav, infantry and partisan army. We were friends or by extension acquaintances and in general a good bunch of mis-guided boys hanging around our cars. Dominic and I were athlete’s, and hungry as per normal, had picked up a couple of excellent tasting slices of pizza from Mama’s. It’s strange as to what the memory retains as relevant. So when Bruno and several of his friends in tow, approached with the sun blazing behind them, we were leaning on the side of my car trying to devour this oozing with cheese and meat slice, and more than anything were perturbed that someone would find this time to intrude. I recall Dom stretched left and myself to the right concerned that some of the topping was going to fall onto our pants and shoes. With our mouths stuffed full, eyes squinting, we glanced sideways as we ate, at the silhouette of arms crossed Bruno and a number of his cohorts.imag04273

Some months earlier I’d gotten to work and Dad took me out to the back of the shop to take a look. Disinterested was I, of this colour faded ugly lime green, with patches of rust, 1972 Buick Skylark. I was foreshadowing destination scrapyard and prayed I wasn’t required to work on this customer’s car. “I think you should buy this car for $400.00 with your next paycheck”. Was he serious? I was in a private school, be it a cheap one and now I was to be seen in this! We had a Chrysler Newport, slash yacht, plus two T-birds with choice of black leather interior and the other some kind of red velvet, drive me crazy felt, virtually new and most definitely fresh. Plus as mechanics we had unlimited access to a multitude of insured exotic vehicles. Only dad and I drove in the family. Would I be required to pick up my dates in something this unbecoming. Certainly not. I was having a hard enough time anyway, so why contribute to my detriment. Days later with little additional work we passed and signed our own safety inspection and it became road worthy. Only God knew why was I driving this monstrosity. I found it irksome that when stopped at a red light I needed to be cautiously gentle with the gas peddle as the car would hop forward potentially rear-ending the vehicle in front. Of course I kept this thing away from my female persuasions.

Dominic and I had finally gained control over our pizza slices and were now operating on the main body of our tasty treat. We were kind of beginning to wonder why the fellas had approached us at this inopportune. Bruno was more so Dominic’s friend, although he and I exchanged money frequently, with me likely to lose to him in table soccer, Ramino and Briscola and him to me, shooting pool. At times he’d be condescending but never anything approaching malicious or threatening. “That’s a piece of crap”, “it’s a piece garbage”, “it’s shit”. Honestly I had no idea what he was on about. Certainly wasn’t my pizza. It took me a few moment’s to see he was looking past me at my car. For goodness sake,  I said,  “yes, yes, your right it’s a piece of garbage, crap”. I was in full agreement of his analysis. In the way the conversation began and because of complete ignorance, I thought we were bonding by agreement. Our minds were melding with his mutual support and insight of how I felt about this uninteresting, from hell, pile of steel junk. It was considerable before I realized he was intentionally slighting and even then was inconclusive of the direction we were heading with this. “Bruno your right, what do you want me to tell you, yes it’s a shitbox”. I wasn’t about to tell him to leave me alone, so on he went. I deflected and he attacked. Without design or speculation and unwittingly, I suddenly had enough and blurted out “Okay I’ll race you”. Bang, without hesitation he throws out the time and place.  It’s been forty years but I believe it was at eight the same evening, some four hours after his contrived and my unanticipated negotiation, at either Pharmacy or Warden north of Finch in T.O.NV0A6554-1

Bruno had purchased a fully loaded 1980 Mustang Cobra which I’d never seen, as if I even cared, for something in the neighbourhood of $38,000.00. I came to suspect that I was to serve as his first victim before he’d moved up to the Camaro, Trans Am local street circuit class. Upon arriving at his pre-determined racing destination, had I permitted, my jaw would have surely dropped to the ground. Both sides of this freshly paved street to nowhere, eventually turning into a dirt farm road, were bodies lined several deep, in the hundred’s and could easily have topped, a couple of thousand, youth. I was stunned. Who knew? Certainly not I, because I for one, was sick of seeing, smelling, touching, burning and tearing my skin on the inner guts of cars. I just showed up to lose, save face by accepting the challenge and to halt his incessant yapping. I was thinking him and me and a couple of friends. The event was a blur. We lined up on the starters line with our respective best friends in the passenger seat. Shock was the operative word as we reached 60mph and found I was a half car length in front. Dom was laughing and freaking because he liked speed and enjoyed winning, especially when all initial signs pointed to certain defeat. At this point I became confident that I could maintain or grow our lead to about the 110mph mark and my concern by trial was, that my car would stop stroking and kicking and begin to level off in that speed range. Luck would have Bruno bail and I kept going until I hit the first dirt road west, leaving a horseshoe trail of dust behind. Dad had that car purring like a kitten. Am I allowed to say that. That was my only competitive race. I hated cars and still do.  

Tracy Chapman———-Fast car

The Cars———————Drive

Gary Numan—————Cars

Linda Ronstadt———–Hurt So Bad

Blondie———————–Call Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man’s Got To Know His Limitation’s

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As an avid Hockey Fan and former amateur player that had considerable training in the sport I loved, I felt compelled to address the injury to Auston Matthews. Arm-chair critics are part and parcel of enjoying professional sports. Remove the crazed devotee’s right to analyze the preferred route to victory and I’ll show you empty stadium’s. It may seem that a patriots banter has non-existent or infinitesimal impact on the final outcome of his teams success. I beg to differ. The collective hum that crescendo’s during a foyer into the playoffs is a result that can be directly attributed to 100’s of thousands, upon millions of conversations that take place among fellow citizens during the course of a year, years, decades and in some of our (head)cases lifetime. We don”t care hockey is a business and we feel we deserve to win because, well, Toronto fans know hockey better than anyone on Earth and I’ll give Montreal fans maybe a close second. You can take-up the fight for second with the Boston fans.  Say Whatttttttttttttttttttt? Yes I’m saying it! We know hockey like nobody else. Therein lies the problem with Toronto ownership and management, it simply isn’t interested in appeasing it’s customer base because they believe they’re smarter than their fans. To them we’re mere dolts. It’s either that or they’re simply not trying to win as a way to irritate us, going on now for over fifty years. Which stigma do they prefer to live with. I’m seeing serious cases of sports related PTSD in our population. Thank God for Cito Gaston and the Blue Jays two World Series wins. A smidgen of relief. We want Stanley. We deserve Stanley. We need Stanley. And Repeatedly.

My two sense(cents) on this particular occasion, in the off chance there may be other times I need to express myself in the sports arena, finds it’s beginnings as a busboy at George Bigliardi’s in the late 1970’s. This restaurant unknown to today’s era of enthusiasts had a location up the street from the old Maple Leaf Gardens and was frequented by leaf players, most notable being Borje Salming. I delivered many orders of pickles and garlic bread with cheese to leafs eminent attackers and defenders. A decade earlier, my father a thriving business owner and a lover of a sport he never witnessed or having knowledge of prior to immigrating to Canada, would dress me up in Sunday church, tailor made, best suits and ties, make our way many an evening with Gold, Red or Blue tickets in hand, to the shrine on college street, to see our hero’s. Dad would often attempt to  upgrade with scalpers because he found it thrilling to barter and loved being on top of the action. I remember my awe, as a child who didn’t play a musical instrument would, approaching the Gardens, snow falling in full darkness, anticipating the lighted hollywood like marquee, denoting which great team we were playing. We would park blocks away and funny it was, the chaos of attendant’s seemingly begging to usher our car into their already full spaces. As we walked with a quickened pace closer to the epicentre the crowd grew in volume and momentum, the excitement became palpable, the expected euphoria, the worshipping and the end game; “the agony of defeat or the thrill of victory”. I saw plenty of spilt blood during those times when helmets weren’t in vogue. Gladiators all, speed demons, Tim Horton, Bauby Baun, and Dave Keon became my idols. My bad. That’s the way it was.

Later came those period’s of extreme losing and I found it necessary to adopt a foreign team to shelter myself from the constant bombardment of our inadequacies. The North Stars during the Craig Hartsburg years, Oilers and Coffey, Chicago and Toews, New Jersey and Scott Stevens, and most recently the Bruins and Lucic served as temporary replacements in an attempt to prolong my season and love of game; but I’ve been left wanting since 67.  The guilt I’d feel, employed as a waiter, serving leaf Captain’s including Clark, Gilmour and for several years Sundin, secretly believing they had no chance, was sometimes overwhelming. I’m a practical person and it’s impossible for me to lie to myself when evidence and experience suggest particular outcomes. I coached Bantam boys for several years and the ability to asses your teams strength’s and weaknesses, relative to the opposing force is critical if your expecting to win. In Sundin’s case I reverted back to being a leaf fan because he made everyone in his orbit feel like a part of our team. No better a human being, always respectful, a leader, loyal, sincere, intelligent and able to throw around and receive humour, clean and with effect. Had the Leafs been serious about winning, they’d have thrown something extra into the pot, to put us over the top.

Calgary, Leaf game start’s in 20 minutes. First game this year without one of our stars. Wait, what am I on about? Nylander. He hasn’t played a game this year. Is this guy injured? No, no he’s not. Management has decided to play head games with my favourite Leaf. It’s not just me. Went out a few days ago to watch the game at a local (The Congress) and was surprised to find many, of likeminded opinion. I see our sports columnists are at it again. Trashing the wrong guy. Let me sum it up quickly. Tavares isn’t worth 11 and we have to live with it. As an upgrade in the face-off circle and playing in the dirty areas he’s a justified replacement for Bozak and van Reimsdyk. He adds skill and speed in the neutral zone and does well along the boards. However, without a strong line above him he can be easy to isolate and liquidate. Right about now he must be getting nervous because without Nylander and Matthews last years Islander team was stronger and went nowhere. Matthews has a fresh reality facing him and I myself, until this recent injury, thought he would  be an independently elite player. The guy has the fastest and most accurate hands I’ve seen on any hockey player and likely the working of his shoulder joints are in part responsible for this skill set but also leave him prone in that area of the body, to easy injury. We need to recognize his worth as a sniper and field marshall and that he volunteered himself for hand to hand combat with Trouba is admirable, but ill advised. Matthews is also a superior high-speed tactician, capable of reading the game in totality, all over the rink. His defensive acumen equals Boston’s Bergeron-Cleary and for this reason I’d argue against spending expensively for a right handed defenseman. Again, however, “no man is an island” and a “man needs to know his limitations”. I love Western’s and analogous to Matthews situation is an obscure movie I haven’t seen in a long time. If I remember correctly two sheriff’s or two friends, debilitated by injury, are naturally, pursued by three evil cowboys who want to send them to Boot Hill. Their conundrum, a fire has rendered one man without the use of his hands and the other blind. Individually or together the two gunslingers would have little difficulty disposing the violence in pursuit but their injuries leave them vulnerable. In mulling their predicament, they hatch a plan , with one friend as the eyes and the other as motion. For days, prior to confrontation, they stand side by side, shooting practice with one telling the other the position of targets on an imaginary clock inside the visionless gunslingers mind. High noon arrives on an open field and finds the three villains incredulous as to the gumption of their two disabled nemesis. As the three spread out to engulf them, the sheriff  with vision, maneuvers his blind cohort and adversaries, calculating the variable fluidity of motion to a position that presupposes one enemy combatant to stand at directly 12 o’clock . The other two, soon to be victims are trickier, as one is stationed a little after two o’clock and the other a few minutes before ten, the position of death taking into account depth perception. Elevation is naturally above belt high in the gut or chest area. Good movie and viable!

“Dance with the one that brought you”. Before Leafs went and picked up Tavares they should have signed or understood what it would have taken to sign their core players. Leafs were a Stanley Cup Team last year. Of course we are on some kind of scheduled help program and in our infinite wisdom picked up Plekanec. We wouldn’t want to win too soon, like when the opportunity presented itself. One fast, heavy forward and defenseman of similar quality,  not capable of scoring and I couldn’t care if they knew what building they were in, but could dole out a timely, clean, thunderous body check was all we needed. When the hunter becomes the hunted.  Khamarov and Polak were the right concept but a bit too slow in their respective positions to execute the needed threat. We had the money. Am I right, didn’t we have extra money, under the cap? Plekanec? When Toronto has to pick up a rental from Montreal, well you know it’s just wrong. We already had plenty of Plekanec on the team, that are multiple times better and younger. Anyyyyywayyyyy that’s done. Nylander, Nylander, wherefore art thou Nylander? Matthews and Nylander with Hyman or Marleau or Ginger Rogers truly wouldn’t matter who’d be the third. Marner, Kadri, Tavares, Matthews, Nylander, Gardiner and Captain Rielly. None of them are a Crosby or McDavid, but together they could be a work of art. Figure out the money and live and win together or lose separately and alone. Worst comes to worse I could be a Carolina Hurricanes fan soon. Where Nylander goes, I go. It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. Prediction: Washington repeat, unless Nylander comes home. Spring is just around the corner and no better time for my team to be in the heat of battle, at long last. Hey Nyllie, my friends and I want some Stanley tickets and we like taking the subway.

 

 

 

 

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Space Construction and Haul

I awoke a recent morning without agenda and turned to contemplating purchasing additional property as investment for my young daughter. You know how that is!? Can’t get enough of nature’s bounty or maybe someday require shelter; buy Real Estate. Especially exhilarating is competing for a swath of land on an over-populated earth, inundated with imaginary excess cash-flow. This is how things get started when dad needs to feel useful.

So I began, as per normal, theorizing the necessary steps and potential needs and places of information and types of examination and absolute necessities and hypothetical outcomes and intense analysis . . . . . . . . . . Whereupon I began envisioning political situations, religious fanaticism, environmental decay, ozone depletion, nuclear fall-out, tsunami, famine, pestilence . . . . . . . . . . I drew a list, of expecting to mobilize, agents I knew or know and brokers, lawyers, financial advisers, property tax specialists and even bless his soul my favourite shoeshine guy. So I narrowed my choices to cottage country, farmland, bungalow in the suburbs, high density condo, converted boxcar, or igloo on ice patch.

The result of speculation and a deep look into the future, probably on behalf of relatives that don’t as yet exist, if they ever will, is that I need a tailor made investment vehicle. Can I purchase property on a Planet? Actually can I buy an entire Planet? Good Lord, a Galaxy, allow me to sign on a dotted line. (they still do that?)  Like, right now! I don’t want to make the same mistake as I did with Apple, when I had it available to me at a pittance of it’s current worth. I want to buy a couple of acres on Mars, just for starter’s. Maybe Saturn next and a volume of gaseousness. The condominium I’m currently living in occupies a place in H2O, eighteen floors above ground. Might discover atmosphere that would seem uninhabitable, simple to manipulate for the sustaining of life operating as an external lung. Is there currently a future’s market withThe-_Universe_Is_Alive legal standing whereby I can receive a deed, on a celestial body and particles within? This could be an opportunity for Bitcoin or Ethereum as a transitioning to legitimacy.  I’m clueless as to the benefits of an imaginary currency and what else can one call it, if I can’t relate it’s use, relative to buying a can of pea’s at my neighbourhood supermarket. However, I can by guessing, that in eliminating the sophisticated math the simple equation probably reads something like, Promise+Effort=Benefit and in the end game, everyone can ask themselves if it was all worth it or did I get ripped off again. Mining for cyrptocurrency and the concept of chainblocks may become the perfect medium for a civilization that includes the galaxies. For Capitalism to thrive  it requires a playground, choice and taxability. Cyrptocurrency transactions in space related to protected property rights may find transitioning to earthly hard currency with a separate domain. The universe is an oyster and Space Force will be the authority and security of property rights in space.

 

I direct your attention to Boston Dynamics and it’s product list: Big Dog, Cheetah, PETMAN, LS3, Atlas, SpotMini and Handle. You Tube, to visualize the meteoric rise of Robotics and ask yourself; Where are we going? Well for myself the future is self evident and it”s just a matter of time before it becomes space. I believe in buying into a piece of that action on the ground floor. The ground floor has always predicated considerable worth to location, location, location. Therefore, I’m assuming that potential start up industries will place emphasis on research of planets and spaces that may deserve our energy. We will mobilize to accelerate and motivate with entities, collectives, organizations, clubs or highly industrious individuals willing to commit thought and effort to discover the necessary elements and conditions for a successful foray into the unknown. Certainly more productive than driving your car to and fro, aimlessly all day, without objective, just to fray your n1-petman-roboterves. A recent concept of intrigue and potential is Solar Sails and if successful would add influence to exploring the universe and other applications, similar to miniature cameras that navigate our bodies detecting cancers or administering repairs in unison with microbotics.

I am in admiration of Yasaku Maezawa’s and his conceptually brilliant purchase of a private spaceflight around the moon, with an invitation to voyage in his company six to eight prominent artists, at his expense. The #dearMoon project initiates our universe to be explored by humans other than flight and science technicians. A viewpoint of space that at times seems hostile and unreachable to be bridged with divergent examination is a significant ticket towards success.  I believe that space will be a palpable, natural, erotic and dynamic future for mankind. Where’s my boarding pass?

 

 

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Amphitheatre hosts World Cup Spirit

The football World Cup hosted every four years brings the global community together, with memorable moments large and small. In 2014, a subtle yet pivotal event occurred that captured the spirit of football and the amphitheatre. Setting the stage for the first match between Brazil and Croatia during the 2014 World Cup, the Croatian Times reported on the opportunity for nationals and visitors to collectively experience just such a moment within the historical Pula Amphitheatre.

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Brazil would go on to win 3-1 against Croatia, likely generating a downer mood for the thousands who came to celebrate victory. But what happened that evening of June 12, 2014 will be reinvigorated twenty years in the future.

Moving toward 2034, the proposal to feature a FIFA World Cup in the Colosseum will surely provide a further encounter, of the Roman kind. The site of Colosseum will host the global village to witness the first match and history in the making.  Simultaneously,  the crowds will come together in Pula Croatia, El Djem Tunisia and Nimes France to experience the spirt and oneness of the football within the greatest stadiums of all time; the Amphitheatres.  Will you be there?