Saturday, April 27, 2013

Things one should never outgrow:

It may be difficult to see but the snow in my front yard
won't go away thus I have now resorted to melting it
myself with the aid of my garden hose. WTF?
(I may be losing it.)
imagination and ingenuity (I'll do anything to get rid of winter).


Friday, April 19, 2013

Despite Complications

The Colosseum

Traveling is an invaluable learning experience. Obviously. Some lessons are more difficult than others though. The top 5 things I learned in Europe:

1. History is complicated.
2. Airports are complicated.
3. Mountains are complicated.
4. Crossing the street is complicated.
5. Bathrooms are complicated too.

Let me explain:

1. History is filled with idiots and geniuses; idiots who want to tear down things built up by geniuses. See The Roman Coliseum.
2. Airports are run by air traffic controllers who obviously experience a lot of stress and yet manage to prevent most catastrophic events and yet they work in structures managed by people who couldn’t give a rat’s Kleenex about how many times you’ve been felt-up by security staff, just hand over your lip balm or else.
3. Mountains erupt. This is complicated for a somewhat anxious guy originally from Saskatchewan. Believe me.
4. Italian pedestrians have the same status as mosquitoes: people enjoy seeing you bounce off their windshields.
5. Some bathrooms have sad-looking attendants who should sport t-shirts that say “awkward.” Some bathrooms may or may not have toilet seats. Mostly not. Pooping itself may or may not be recommended since some bathrooms have strict rules against flushing toilet paper. I won’t even begin to discuss bidets. And I will never visit a ferry bathroom again: imagine if your toilet doubled as an emergency fog-horn/trombone. (Need further explanation, let me know; I recorded it on my phone.)

Fortunately though, not everything in foreign lands is complicated. Gelato is not complicated. Whether lemon-flavoured, nutella-flavoured or coconut-flavoured, it’s just plain awesome. In fact, I think the international language just might be ice-cream. And that’s why, despite complications, travel is worth it. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

I took this photo of the shrinking snowman in my neighbour's yard over a week ago...AND IT'S STILL THERE.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Which was more?

These stones, manufactured to protect the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, are stacked in a pile not far from St. Michael, sculpted by an assistant to Michelangelo, believed to be the spiritual warrior, a symbol of the inner struggle to combat evil, the "battle within."

I had to admire these stones. A fan of historical warfare, I sometimes marvel at the ways men of ancient times fought like boys, quite similar really to the way my boyhood cousins and I would play rock wars and use sling shots like catapults while we hid in groups behind piles of construction gravel along the roadways near our homes.

I remember flinging rocks. Fondly.

Please don't misunderstand me though. I know it is inappropriate to romanticize war in any way, yet when I consider modern warfare and weaponry by sickens me. Especially today, another day swallowed up with senseless terrorism. And it makes me wonder: then or now--which was more barbaric?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


There were a lot of beautiful things I saw in Italy and Greece as a supervisor on my son's school trip, but the one I can't get out of my mind is this marble sculpture on the grounds of the Acropolis in Athens. Damaged by time, headless, it was still a beauty: two figures seated next to each other, one whose arm is thrown over the shoulder of the other, their backs to me.

I didn’t have time to find out much about the statue, nothing really. I was just passing by and it would have seemed like ninety-nine other amazing things I saw that day except for one thing. It stopped me in my tracks because it spoke one word so loudly without a sound: friendship.

That’s art.

Think about that. An artist captured the concept of friendship, of caring, of compassion with chisels and rock. An artist manipulated a chunk of marble into body language so strong that one could instantly recognize that these two figures are friends.

I stood there with so many questions. Who were they? Why did one need the comfort of the other? What motivated their comfortable embrace? If they were to come to life what would I hear them whispering to each other? So many questions, yet only one answer: friendship.

No wonder Aristotle, perhaps even inspired by this very art, said, "the antidote for fifty enemies is one friend."
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