Thursday, August 29, 2013

Odds 'n' Ends

Odds 'n' Ends

Take a look around you.

Look to your left, look to your right, look up, and look down.

Have you ever wondered, "How the heck did I get here?"

The physical reality of where one ends up is sometimes baffling. The reality of who you're with, what you do during your days, what you eat, where you sleep, who you know and who you don't know — all those things are even more baffling.

Was it all by chance? Or did you have it all planned out this way?

Millions of kids in Canada are getting ready to go back to school next Tuesday.

Since retiring from teaching, I'm not usually around for this little ritual. Normally, I would be on the road somewhere, doing something with someone. This year, I am here, and I have this strange compulsion to go out and buy back-to-school items, like a new backpack, a three-ring binder complemented by a bushel of Hilroy loose-leaf paper, a lunch bag with maybe a nifty thermos in it, a pencil case and some pens and pencils, and maybe even one of those compass sets that every kid totes around, but rarely, if ever, uses. You know, the set with the protractor, whatever that might be, and that sharp little stick-em-in-the-eye thing for the bully at the back of the class ...

My granddaughter is entering Grade 2 this year, and she is beside herself with excitement. She's a bright one, that girl, and she does very well in school.

Me? Yeah, I don't recall ever being excited about going back to school. For me, it meant that most of my time would be controlled by yet another adult character in the comedy of life. I was never happy under the hand of anyone, and by the age of eight, I knew most adults were faking it.

So, is there ever an age when you can stop dieting?

Did you happen to see Miley Cyrus, aka "Hannah Montana," shaking her booty at the MVA awards? The reaction to her performance has been generally one of shock. I'm not sure why.

We sexualize everything in our world today, from cantaloupe to paper clips, so why would anyone be surprised to see a nubile young woman become a little liquid in front of the television cameras. Yes, it was an "in-your-face moment," but I'm not sure that it corrupted the minds of young boys across America.

Most young boys with a computer are already addicted to porn, thanks to the Internet. What Ms Cyrus offered was pretty tame by comparison.

I must confess that, after the Ms Cyrus performance, I was struck with a moment of nostalgia for the celebrities that made my head swim when I was just a lad.

For some reason, Hayley Mills, who once starred in a somewhat silly movie entitled The Parent Trap, managed to send my eleven-year-old libido into overdrive. Hayley never had a Miley moment, except in my dreams, but then things were a little different back in the dark ages. Young girls were just that — young girls — and their public and pubic reputations seemed ostensibly more chaste, or at least, more well-hidden from the today's ever-present media eye.

Do you remember a television show called, Bonanza ? Remember Surfside 6 ? Or 77 Sunset Strip ? How about Magnum, PI ? Columbo ?

What the heck has happened to television?

Jeez ... how old am I?

Yesterday, when I went down to the gym, there was a big ol' possum sitting on the walkway, out in the back garden.

Now, I know nothing about possums, but I was struck with the idea of going out and having a chat with the fellow.

I didn't because he seemed a tad cranky. Are possums vicious critters?

Yesterday was a day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

The civil rights movement has come a long ways in this country and in the USA, and Mr King's speech is often seen as a watershed moment in the history of racial equality.

Now if only someone would step forward and champion the cause of financial equality, because oppressed is oppressed, poverty is pretty much colour-blind, and the rich have little if any interest in helping the poor and disenfranchised find their way out of despair.

Sounds too much like communism, I guess.

OK, that's it for today.

Enjoy a cup of good coffee on me.


Oh sure, send me the bill ... I think I can cover a round for the Blogger crowd ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 25, 2013



I collect stuff, probably far too much stuff.

It's not like I'm a hoarder or anything like that. I prefer to call myself a "collector." If I like a certain kind of object, I tend to get more than one variety.

Like guitars. I have about ten different guitars. I've been collecting them since I was 15 years old.

Fender San Marino
Some were more expensive than others. Some I bought new, and some I bought used. At the moment, my favourite is a relatively inexpensive Fender San Marino, an acoustic guitar that is no longer made by Fender for what the company called their "California Series." I bought it as a used model at a guitar store, about two years ago. I like it because it has a bright sound to it and features the classic Fender head, not like most acoustic guitars, which have a square head.

And cameras. I have about fifteen cameras. I'm a sucker for the latest Nikon, and I never sell or give away my old ones. I still have four old film cameras, ones that I never use anymore, and I guess they're not worth much to anyone but me. I cherish them. I still have an original Nikon F and a Pentax Spotmatic that I got when I decided that I wanted to be like the guy in the movie Blow Up. I took hundreds of photos with those cameras, and they are definitely a part of who I was and who I am. Now, I use a variety of digital cameras, both Nikon and Canon cameras.

I also have over a thousand T-shirts, most of them emblazoned with the monikers of different music groups or individual musicians. My son once said to me, "If you wore a different T-shirt every day for the rest of your life, you wouldn't get through your entire collection." He may be right. Just my collection of Bob Dylan T-shirts number almost a hundred. I know, I know, it sounds excessive, but hey, some of those T-shirts were bought from concerts as far away as Barcelona. Wear them? I'd no sooner wear them than cut off my arm. Pack them up and trot them off to Goodwill? Not a chance.

Vinyl records, CD's, and books — oh, you don't even want to know.

Lately, it's been fountain pens. About a month ago, I stumbled upon a couple of great fountain pens in my old desk drawer, pens that I used when I was working. One is a Cross and the other is a Waterman. Both are rather expensive, as pens go these days, but I doubt they were expensive when I bought them. Both work perfectly. Now, my fascination with fountain pens has overpowered my better sense, and I am buying pens of various colours and models from here and there. At last count, my collection has gone from two to eight, ranging in price from $6 to over $50.

Then, just the other day, I was telling a friend about my new inky obsession, and he asked me, "How many pens can you use at one time?"

His point was pretty clear. Have one good pen, and use it all the time. Makes sense, I suppose, but, but ... hmmm ...

So, I have been thinking about what we have and what we can do without.

Some people are minimalists. You go to their homes, and there is virtually nothing clogging up the floor space, walls that are mostly barren of paintings or prints or even mirrors, and little, if anything, perched on their bookshelves. Theirs is a spartan life, but clean and somehow remarkably tidy.

My life is a conglomeration of things of which I refuse to relinquish ownership.

It's true that we need only one pen with which to write, one guitar to make great music, one camera to take photographs, and maybe only about a dozen T-shirts to wear in between washdays. I do understand that much, but for me, so many of the things in my eclectic museum of an existence are connected to moments of time, memories which I refuse to release from my life.

It's funny. I have never had much of a problem of letting people move in and out of my life. Lost loves are just that — lost. I never feel any great disappointment or need to reconnect with people who have decided that I am no longer "necessary" to the pulse of their daily existence. However, should the hooded dark ones come by in the middle of the night and steal my favourite painting by an artist whom I met in Paris, or any of the other "things" that I cherish so much, well, I suspect that I would be devastated.

Now, that seems backwards, I guess. I mean, isn't there a rule somewhere that says we should cherish humanity and let all our worldly goods fall by the wayside? Well, maybe that's the problem. There I am, scrounging along the wayside looking for the great stuff everyone else is casting aside.

So it goes ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Up In Smoke

Up In Smoke

Puff, puff ... cough, cough ... uh, yes ... I smoke.

For some strange reason, everyone I meet these days says pretty much the same thing to me, "Jesus, you smoke???!!!"

Hmmm ... I wonder if Jesus smoked. Probably not. I mean I just can't see Him trying to light up a Benson & Hedges after the Last Supper. Too tough on the cardio, and he must have been in damn good shape to haul that ass of a cross up the hill to Golgotha.

Still, it seems that if you smoke these days, you're given the whole crown of thorns treatment. People, especially reformed smokers, tend to crucify you. At best, I find their attitude amusingly patronizing, and at worst, outright demeaning.

I know smoking is unhealthy. I know smoking kills people and all that. But so does alcohol, obesity, war, stress, lying in bed all day, and any of a wide range of problems we encounter in life. But, O.K., blame me and the other smokers for cancer and catastrophe. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. "Forgive us our trespasses," and all that ...

Smoking hurts my wallet most of all. In Canada, a package of cigarettes cost about $10.00. If I smoke even just 1/2 a pack a day, just imagine the money I could be saving if I gave up this evil, nasty habit — about $1825.00 a year.

Of course, about 75% or $7.50 of that cost is tax. The pre-tax cost of a pack of cigarettes is a meagre $2.50.

The high tax on cigarettes is justified as a means to encourage people to stop smoking. Really?

Just imagine if all the smokers quit on a single day. The economy would crash like that spacecraft that attempted a landing in Roswell some years ago. And guess what? Every other tax imaginable, from sales tax to income tax, would soar to unimaginable heights, because, if the truth be known, smokers are carrying the weight of the economy on their emphysema-contorted backs.

Oh well, it's the cross we bear.

No need to thank me or any of the other smokers in the world. Just keep funnelling the guilt our way, because to be honest, nothing keeps a person smoking better than making someone feel like a morally deficient, smelly, unhealthy, unworthy human being.

Cough, cough ... uh, here, let me help you with your mortgage payment or your kid's college fund ... gotta light?

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Thursday, August 22, 2013



I've decided to start my own cult.

It's called the Sultans Of Squeak, or SOS, for short.

Membership is open to anyone and everyone, to every race, religion, age and sexual orientation.

You don't need a college degree or some kind of upper-class pedigree. All you need is the ability to purse your lips, like you were about to kiss the person of your dreams, and squeak.

When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you have to do is squeak.

As you move through your day, you simply have to offer up a squeak here or and a squeak there.

When you prepare to go the bed, you can shower, brush your teeth, say your prayers, but the last thing you must do is squeak.

Try it. It has such soothing effects.

I know, I know, it sounds silly, maybe even idiotic, but heck, just try it.

Here, let me help you out ...

See ... easy ... so go ahead, now you do it ...

Don't be shy ... squeak just for me with that strong, sultry voice of yours ...


How was that?

Did you say it out loud? You have to say it out loud. Try again.


Double it up if you want ... "squeak, squeak," or even go for a triple, "squeak, squeak, squeak."

See how much better you feel?

If you squeak whenever the world seems a little gloomy, you will find the clouds will lift from your spirits, that sense of doom, which your parents probably taught you, will disappear from even your darkest thoughts, and before you know it, you will feel refreshed, relaxed, and at one with the world.

Trust me. Squeaking turns a frown upside down, and opens the door to a brighter and more colourful vista ahead. Squeaking washes away the blues, and cleanses the soul of all the stains and pains you have gathered over the years. Again and again, you'll be, dare I say, squeaky clean ...

Suddenly, your life will begin to move smoothly through every trial and tribulation. Remember, it's "the squeaky wheel" that "gets the grease," and as we get older, we can all use a little more grease.

Squeaking will set you apart, make you feel like an individual with a sense of purpose. No more letting people around you harangue you, put you down, or just generally get on your case. All you have to do is look them dead in the eye ... and "Squeak!"

No more letting your boss tell you to "speak up, speak up." You just turn to him or her and "squeak up" instead. Simple.

Sure, all these people will look at you as if you're a lunatic, but when they do, just throw out another "squeak." Before you know it, they'll be giving you the space you need to live outside their abuse and madness. After all, it's always better to have your own madness than participate in someone else's fruitcake existence.

I assure you that squeaking will ease your stress, will make you feel like you are in control of your life, and will provide you with a sure cure for every anxiety.

Say, for example, your old jalopy of a car suddenly starts making some obviously expensive sounding squeaks as you putter to the groceteria. Your first thought is, "Ugh, what next? More bills to pay."

Hey, no, no, no. Just "squeak" right back. "Squeak, squeak, squeak," goes your car. "Squeak, squeak, squeak," you chirp back to that Japanese import, as you simply turn up the radio. After all, if your car is going to break down, let it ... you don't have to break down too.

I think the people who make "squeaky" toys know exactly what I mean. Kids in the tub love a squeaky yellow duck. Ever wonder why? Well, it's because in that "squeak, squeak, squeak," there's some kind of reassurance that, as long as this stupid duck is squeaking, everything is all right with the world.

Dogs are the same. Dogs love a squeaky toy to flip around the room as they bite and gnaw at it. Sure, some people will say that the squeak in that toy is designed to remind the dog of the death shrieks of its prey, but don't believe that for a second. Dogs love the squeak because the squeak releases some kind of endorphins in the dog's brain that makes it feel, if only for a second, more than a dog living a dog's life.

And maybe you sometimes feel like you're living a dog's life as well. If so, change the wallpaper of your personality. It's simple, no, it's a guaranteed human right. We should all enjoy the "freedom to speak our minds," so why shouldn't we all have the freedom to squeak our minds as well.

Oh, wait, there is one exception.

If you're making love to your significant other, and the bed springs starts to squeak, you might not want to start squeaking back. After all, you have to understand that there is a time and a place for everything. Try groaning or moaning instead. Sometimes purring is good. Offering a sensual-sounding "Oh, oh, ohhhh ..." is a nice gesture too. But squeaking during love making is not advisable, because, before you know it, your partner may decide to squeak right out of your life.

"Squeak ..."

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Once ... A Requiem For Blogging

Once ... A Requiem For Blogging

Once ... there was sound ...

Sometimes shouting in caps, sometimes the squiggles of laughter, sometimes punctuated tears of an impossible sorrow or an unwavering rage, sometimes the typography of letters that broke down into whispers that I could barely hear. Still there was sound if you listened with your heart.

Once ... there was friendship ...

Not tangible, not someone you could hug and feel body to body or even cheek to cheek, not an afternoon drinking coffee or tea together and talking about serious matters or chatting about trivialities, nothing real in a real sense but real all the same.

Once ... there was sharing ...

Words floating across the miles, words of heartache and solitude, words of a full life, words of joy and words of despair, words that were truly impossible to understand, but words that were there.

Once ... there was love ...

Now shadows flickering from behind a half-opened door, now faces that change by never changing, now an emptiness and the desperate search for the before-now, the days when there was someone there and always there, and now all that was there is gone and what's left is silence ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Friday, August 09, 2013

Five Days Of Poetry — The Day Gives You Up

the day gives you up

the day gives you up to me
in a sunset stained by roses
you turn over
in bed and whisper
soft words
that sound like Chopin’s ├ętudes
and i wonder
what you’ve said
in your gentle piano voice
until the dark
swallows us completely
and in a remembered rhythm
breaking the confinement of two
into one
at last i am sure that
after a lifetime of searching
this final surrender to love
is all that there is
left to know

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Five Days Of Poetry — Johnny's In Your Pants

Johnny's In Your Pants

Johnny's in your pants
fiddlin' around
some days i can't help but wonder
what Johnny might have found

when i went to Pamplona
to watch the mad bulls run
you said you'd wait like solitude
with the devotion of a nun

but you danced the sweet fandango
the very night i departed
and lay down with the King of Spades
and left me broken-hearted

Johnny's in your pants
fiddlin' around
some days i can't help but wonder
what Johnny might have found

i dreamed about you night and day
you were my one and only thought
i held onto your promise of love
but my dreams were all for naught

i even sent you a souvenir
some boots of Spanish leather
did you wear them as you rode that cock
you jockeyed in your all-together?

Johnny's in your pants
fiddlin' around
some days i can't help but wonder
what Johnny might have found

now i'm no Don Quioxte
no Spanish conquistador
i'm just a fool for believing that like me
you wanted an evermore

i guess you're wondering how i know
you gave in to some bedroom crook
well, honey, you can never hide much of anything
when you live your life on Facebook

Johnny's in your pants
fiddlin' around
some days i can't help but wonder
what Johnny might have found

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Five Days Of Poetry — You Ate The Pizza

You Ate The Pizza

you ate the pizza
you know you did
you woke up in the night
and skulked your way past the
giant hibiscus in the hallway
until you caught a glimmer of the
night-light through the kitchen door
and you jerked the three pieces of Deluxe Combo
from their cardboard home
right where I left them
on the second shelf of the fridge
and you stuffed them in your mouth
while you stood in the cool light
of the open refrigerator
and yes, I know, I know for sure
that you chomped and chomped
with a grunt and a groan
snorted, belched and undermoaned
like a cavewoman
dressed in little more
than some thong thing
you found at Sears
and then you came back to bed
smelling of pepperoni
and primordial lust
and you greedily finished off your
midnight forage
with a mouthful of sausage
until the band in my head
broke through the sound of
your sultry slurping with
an ooh ... poo ... pah ... doo ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Five Days Of Poetry — The Whozit

The Whozit

The Whozit's in the closet
The Whozit's under the bed
The Whozit's in the tickle trunk
The Whozit's in my head

You can wish away your heartache
You can wish away every sigh
But you can never wish away the Whozit
No matter how hard you try

You can pray for intervention
You can hope for better days
But the Whozit knows how to ruin your nights
In a hundred different ways

The Whozit's in the closet
The Whozit's under the bed
The Whozit's in the tickle trunk
The Whozit's in my head

I made a resolution
Never to sleep alone at night
So Sweet Maria shared my bed
And she doubled my delight

It all worked out for a month or two
With the Whozit gone and then
Maria's selfish husband got wise
And turned the Whozit loose again

The Whozit's in the closet
The Whozit's under the bed
The Whozit's in the tickle trunk
The Whozit's in my head

Now I know you're probably thinking
This is all a childish fear
After all the Whozit isn't real at all
But let me make one thing clear

If you have some love to offer
But there's no one in your life
Never simply accept some monster
As your husband or your wife

The Whozit's in the closet
The Whozit's under the bed
The Whozit's in the tickle trunk
The Whozit's in my head

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Monday, August 05, 2013

Five Days Of Poetry — All-American Girl

All American Girl

she's an all-American girl
has a button nose under starry eyes
with her sunlit hair falling curl by curl
yes, she's an all-American girl
someday i might just give her a twirl

she's an all-American girl
has a corn-cob smile
as bright as any Margarita pearl
yes, she's an all-American girl
someday i might just give her a twirl

she's an all-American girl
has a pirate's booty jiggling
to the beat of the Duke-Duke-Duke of Earl
yes, she's an all-American girl
someday i might just give her a twirl

she's an all-American girl
with pom-pom breasts
as pink and sweet as a cotton candy swirl
yes, she's an all-American girl
someday i might just give her a twirl

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Don't Bogart My Joint ...

Don't Bogart My Joint ...

This morning, I decided I would spend a little time meditating.

I like meditation. It allows me some space to just tune out the world, and of course, it's very relaxing.

One time, I decided to meditate in the bath and fell asleep somewhere between Om and Nirvana. I woke up when the water reached about 40┬║ Fahrenheit and I came crashing back into reality. Every inch of my skin looked like lasagna noodles.

They say meditation is good for you. It's supposed to relieve stress and all the everyday tensions of all the everyday world. Of course, if you have a screaming 3-year-old in the kitchen, well, it's hard to get into that state of calm that meditation requires. Reality always seems to have our phone number on speed dial, as the learned Bob Buddha might say.

Some people combine meditation with yoga. Yoga is a great way to loosen up your body while, at the same time, tightening up your muscles.

I did yoga when my knee was on the fritz and the furthest I could walk was from the bed to the couch. I used to tune in this exotic-looking lady on the television every morning, and watch her as she bent her body into impossible postures. Some days, I would even try to follow her movements, but she was a little more advanced than I could muster. I needed "Yoga For Dummies," or more accurately, "Yoga For Inflexible Old Guys With One Bum Knee."

Meditation and yoga are supposed to be good for your sex life, and many people use these disciplines to practise tantric sex.

I'm no expert on tantric sex, but the point of it seems to be to enjoy one another fully without necessarily having an orgasm. You sort of bob and weave, bob and weave, without ever getting to the "Yes, yes, yes, OMG, yes ..." To me, it's sort of like having a turkey dinner, and the drumsticks just never stop coming, no matter how much you might want to get to the end of the meal and have some pumpkin pie with a gob of whipped cream on top of it.

Now, this may come as a surprise to you, but really, I'm not a tantric kind of guy. I believe it comes from my writing background. Everything seems to need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I don't like a story to linger too long, and I don't like my sex to take two days before I zoom into the stratosphere.

Don't get me wrong. I don't see sex as a kind of drive-thru experience, but really, love is forever, hopefully a long journey, sort of like a never-ending cruise around the world. Sex is more like a bus ride downtown.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



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