WordPress Discover: Curve

A lovely word, curve. The curve is the subject of today’s WordPress Discover prompt, moderated by Michelle Weber.

I have a photo, from February 5, of the curving drive into the cemetery I help care for. It’s on the outskirts of town, just a little cemetery. If I was being honest, I would say I am not sure I’d like to be there after dark.

Louth United Church

I take the cemetery onto Facebook. We have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Owing to the health crisis, I’ve had to slow right down on the number of times I post to Facebook, as I don’t want to seem too out of touch. I’m keeping it active, of course, until such a time I can resume, one might put it, my “editorial calendar.” 🙂

I was glad for the Discover prompts this month, from WordPress, as they provide fuel for the creative fires.

I find putting myself into something like that helps with managing stress, as anxious energy spills out onto words. I occasionally look to a guru like Tim Ferriss, who wrote The Four-Hour Work Week, years ago, or whatever source of advice that seems savvy that comes up, on Twitter, for example. I really have a couple of guidelines I borrowed from Four-Hour Work Week, although I’m nothing like that.

I haven’t been working that hard lately. There just hasn’t been a call for it. Funeral services are an essential service in Ontario, and it is usually just two or three of us at the cemetery, so I think we are okay to do some work.

There don’t seem to be too many people around most of the time. I would stay home without concern if I had to. My dad, who handles the monetary details of the work, among other details, is free to drop the duty in the short term, and he knows that.

It sounds pretentious, but at the moment, I guess it really is about playing the long game. I hope you like the photo. The congregation disbanded in the year 2006.

WordPress Discover: Hands

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For April 2020, WordPress has brought back its Discover prompts.  Each day a new blogging theme is outlined for bloggers taking an interest.

Today I saw the prompts have been taken over by Michelle Weber. Today she proposed considering hands.

About being a helping hand, I lend assistance to a family business, Maple Lawn.  My dad and I direct the operation of Maple Lawn Cemetery, a small cemetery in our town whose operations we manage weekly.  You can find us on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

This year we are managing cutting down a tree.  The cemetery is surrounded by trees, and when the winds pick up, naturally, tree branches come down from the air.  We usually burn the fallen branches.

This year sparkles from the blaze flew into the tree beside the fire. The tree caught fire from the inside, strangely enough.

We had to bring down the tree and destroy it, as a good deal of the care we provide, for the cemetery, is for the sake of visitors, making the cemetery looking peaceful and cared-for.

I have a photo of how the ground looked around where the tree crashed when we sawed it down.  It was very disorderly.

Cemetery after treefall

My responsibility at the cemetery is chiefly to be a helping hand to my father, Peter.  I also handle the Facebook page for the cemetery, a portal through which we are available.

I took both snapshots and video of the ramifications of lighting that tree in flame and bringing it down.  When Michelle today was asking interested bloggers to reflect on the idea of hands, I thought to point out again that I’m a helping hand to my father, who is in his seventies and getting eccentric but still dedicated to operating the cemetery.

I hope you like the photo, and that you are staying safe during COVID-19.

WordPress Discover: Dish

To help out bloggers, Ben Huberman at WordPress has reopened the Discover challenges.  Each day, for April 2020, a Discover challenge is going up first thing in the morning.  Today’s challenge is the subject “dish.”

Funny, I think of “dishing it,” giving dirt.

What Huberman means is food.  In high school, I took Tuesday noon hours at my grandparents’ house, that is, the house of my mother’s parents.  Each Tuesday I went for a grilled cheese sandwich, a glass of chocolate milk, and a candy bar.

My grandmother and I would sit at her kitchen table, with the company of the dog, a black Schnauzer named Ebony, and my grandfather emerging from the rec room in the basement to grab his lunch and take it back down, to where he could watch TV.  A charmed life.

Photographer:
Suzy Hazelwood

It’s a powerful memory because a meal like that, though simple, got me out of the high school mindset, and into a family role.  Other days of the week, I’d sit in the cafeteria to eat, and then make my way into the school library, perhaps, or to one of the classrooms.

My grandmother enjoyed seeing me.  She felt I was brilliant.  My grandparents were getting on in years, so evenings for them meant watching television themselves.

I think we sometimes talked about the kind of thing we were watching.  I didn’t mind.  I liked the dog.

It was energetic and friendly and enjoyed the scraps.  Maybe more time inside the high school would have been better, and maybe less time, too.  

The time went fast, as time often seems to.  I personally think I was terrible, nurturing the wrong interests and similarly foolish pursuits.

If I could relive those years, I’d do things differently.  Hindsight is 20/20.

I visited my grandmother every week, for years to come.  Even in her senior years, she was a lively old lady about who people cared.

I am glad I didn’t do worse in life, denigrating the family line.  She bid me not to worry.

When asked to address a “dish,” my grandma’s grilled cheese plate is what I remember.  I was glad for it every week.

WordPress Discover: Song

For April 2020, owing to the health crisis, Ben Huberman at WordPress has reopened the WordPress Discover challenges, to help out bloggers who like to blog about the same thing as other interested bloggers.  Today’s theme is “song,” and I thought of one particular piece of music that had me silly when I was a child.

Photographer:
Suzy Hazelwood

I have the good fortune that my parents are passingly interested in film, and it was actually cool that they showed me many films when I was a child.  In the nineteen-eighties, home video was a goliath, and movies went from the cinema to the home in a matter of no time.  Although I think my parents had more of a problem with me as the years went by, during my teen years, while I was a young adolescent, they kind of gave me the “PG” treatment by watching Hollywood fare with me, as they’d done for years.

I remember particularly the sort of inappropriate film fare of rock star Hollywood director Tim Burton that my parents seemed to understand, in their way, that was cool for film viewers.  The scene in Tim Burton’s 1988 comedy Beetlejuice, when Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis haunt the dinner party of the people who have moved into the house where the couple lived while they were alive, got me pretty silly, being only a little guy at the time.  I’ve found it on YouTube.

Thank you to WordPress, and Ben Huberman, for bringing back the Discover challenges.  If you enjoy film comedy, you may well have seen Beetlejuice, and I believe it’s the favourite film of my cousin Caryl.  She’s a few years younger than me, but as for pieces of music that affected me as a child, I would admit that did.

It’s Day-O by Harry Belafonte

BeetleJuice (Soundtrack) – The Banana Boat Song (Day-O) HD

WordPress Discover: Open

Great news, I saw this evening, the WordPress Discover challenges are back.  Every day of April 2020, there will be a Discover prompt to help people keep blogging when there is so much consternation about them, and throughout the world.

The Discover prompts invites bloggers to give their handle on the idea of “open,” when something you wish open is in fact closed.  I guess that sounds obvious.

I have a persistent interest in what’s happening behind the scenes at Disney.  I was there once as a kid, in 1991, with my mom and dad and my brother and sister.  As you probably suspect, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are closed.

I hear Disney talked about on YouTube, and actually, the channel Clownfish TV talks about Disney quite a bit.  I take it the two Clownfish TV hosts are into movies and that kind of thing.

Photographer:
Brandon Mowinkel

Actually, the other day, they reminded their audience that they have taken no interest in watching The Rise of Skywalker.  To me, that’s strange because a general interest in Disney would usually include an interest in Star Wars, but they are just so discouraged at Clownfish TV with the sequel trilogy that they have zero anticipation for at last seeing Episode IX.  They said it didn’t get the greatest reviews, but for me, it’s hard to relate to the idea that they could just never see it and live happily after.

I just like to think about how nice it must be spending a day at one of the Disney parks and that kind of thing.  I don’t believe much that I’ll ever return to Disney World, and perhaps to them at Clownfish that reality might not be a reality, that they could possibly relate to.

I was really surprised by some people afoul of the Star Wars backlash, which I presume will never end.  I thought the worst of the incalcitrant attitude to what happened with the sequel trilogy might fade away, but maybe that won’t be the case.  To be more honest, I imagined that the backlash would rear its head occasionally when new Star Wars stories were put to film and video, but it really is a pervasive phenomenon, I think now.

I am glad for the Discover challenges to have reopened, and I just wanted to say that the businesses I would have most liked to overcome the difficulties posed by the crisis are the Disney theme parks.  It just wasn’t possible, it is clear.  I hope to get in on the Discover challenges some more, while we continue this quarantine.

Why Holden Caulfield Thinks Social Media Jobs are Phony

This title was devised with the help of Portent. The story is true, that the girl quoted Salinger in her second or third letter to me. I thought I was lucky I got that far, because in the Y2K era snail mail was already rare.

I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.

– J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield in Chapter 3, in the wake of deceiving.

    When I was in my early twenties, a little ahead of Y2K, I think, I paid a visit to Kingston, Ontario, where I noticed a girl, dressed like a punk rocker, sitting up on the curb, asking passerby’s to spare change.  She was pretty, if I do say so myself, her hair dyed bright blue that matched the fishnets not doing a whole lot to keep her legs warm in the winter night, petite, and completely on her own.

    I thought I would say hi to her.  She must have seemed out of her mind to most everyone else, or perhaps just innocuous, but Kingston is a college town, and there are bright young girls everywhere.  I think this particular girl was a singer in a band, or would be soon.

    We chatted, we watched the street, we met a couple people.  I would have liked to get off the streets, but where were we going to go?  I’d just met her.

    It took every ounce of confidence I had to keep up what I was passing off as charm, given the circumstances.  It became a sort of a nice time.  I probably should have taken her to the arcade up the street.

    By morning I got from her an address for her mom, in Scarborough, from where I suppose it counted she had run away from, and although there weren’t even all that many letters from her, I think it was probably the second one from her to me where she put in ink the above quote from The Catcher in the Rye.  All I could think when I got that letter was that the girl probably literally was a liar.  Almost everybody lies, except maybe devout Buddhists, or others with that kind of mindset.

    Since The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has become a symbol for insubordination and tension and now remains among the most significant characters of twentieth-century American writing.  The excellent TV character Jughead, in Riverdale, mentions in Season 4, Episode 8 The Catcher in the Rye, to Mrs. Burble.  Following Archie’s lead, Jughead likewise hasn’t applied to any schools, and when he stops by Riverdale High to get his transcript, he gets a meeting with Mrs. Burble, regardless of his “Holden Caulfield stance on phony small talk.”

The CW Network

    I wonder how Holden would feel about Facebook if he were an adolescent in the year 2020.  Well, actually, I guess I know–he would hate it.  Possibly if the issue was working it, he would abhor how Generation Z doesn’t have a similar eagerness for it that Millennials have.

    Millennials are youthful enough to feel strong and astute, and they’ve been on the internet since right back when they were youngsters.  Would Holden hate the specific act of asking a street girl how she was doing given that she might experience distress?  Even that I guess he would, for the suffering that young girls go through when they run away, for an economic system necessitating that some young girls go on the run, for the fact of a college town itself even existing given that the tools of education are extensively available.

    I am certain the young lady would have liked herself on Facebook if she met herself as another, and I am certain the girl felt as brilliant as those strolling past her.  It didn’t appear to get her down.  She had good karma.

    I believe being a runaway underground rocker was what she needed to be, notwithstanding that it was unthinkable, I assume.  I finally cried when I returned home the following day, as it truly seems to be a merciless world.  Nothing was wrong, though, other than that twenty years later I’d be writing the story in a post inspired by Portent.

    I’d had a comforter in my backpack.  When I noticed the cold, I let her wrap it around her shoulders.

    We went into the Burger King with that around her.  There were muddy tracks on it from the slush on the restaurant floor when we left.  Those mud stains came out in the wash.

    In the nineteen nineties, we didn’t have Facebook.  However, I wish I’d considered PCs in the school other than the negligible business I learned when I got around to signing in my last time in a study hall.  It took me years beyond the nineties to cross that finish line, by the way.

    Years later, while it was appalling that the confidence everybody had, to translate their lives into Facebook status posts and business page numbers, ended with what happened between the White House and Cambridge Analytica, I think the popularity of Facebook will return.  The Wall Street Journal ran an idiosyncratic feature for its tech segment this week.

Joanna Stern

    At least one American journalist is trying to rekindle the same enjoyment we had with Facebook up until the present administration in the White House.  I am a modest Canadian, yet I needed to reproduce the experience for the individuals who see this.

Christmas Eve 2019

My nephew’s twenty-first birthday was five days ago–he let my mom and dad know he was getting by.  I wish him all the best.  

The family business where I’ve been working has a Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

A Difficult St. Patrick’s Day

It’s the end of March and two weeks ago was St. Patrick’s Day for 2020. The weather in Southern Ontario was reasonable in light of expectations. I found myself spending less time on Facebook. My sister telephoned me a couple of times.

A cousin of my mother, Cathie, along other lovely people, with a hobby of genealogy, ending with a nice account of the Irish my mother’s side of the family has. It looks like this St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, I’ll be a little less Irish.  It looks grim.

Photographer:
Tiago Almeida

change

the act or instance of making or becoming different.

I wish a lot of things were different, but I never would have chalked up the possibility of experiencing our pandemic catastrophe in my own life.  I read of environmental warnings, like that there could be, say, eight years until the damage to the planet caused by humans becomes irreversible, or that global warming will cause sea levels to rise, however active God is on the picture at large. I don’t know how human beings will fare.

To consider attacks between warring groups the world over, hellbent on decreasing each other to iotas, to very small pieces, I think also police and military unfairly treat peaceable citizens, because the police loathe the skin colour or addiction, behaviour that doesn’t toe the line for the safety of the public.  I think about these now and again, yet I hadn’t thought of what really descended three months ago. It is hard to contextualize that.

I always do my best to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, as so many do with aplomb and style.  I welcome the end of winter. We are all called on to be, not so much Godfearing, as instead socially distant from one another.

Good on us all the same, that we can find solidarity in separating from one another, in a fashion that, like the lot of the unlucky addict, is no fault of our own.

Photographer:
Peter Hershey

We will have to come up with new measures to survive, and we have to do it at a time when I am sure many of us would be happier celebrating St. Patty’s in the usual fashion, wearing the colour green, and staying out late.  We’re told to stay out of bars and restaurants and nightclubs and still young people want to go to those kinds of haunts. I want to be young myself, but not to the extent I want to risk sacrificing growing old.

I wanted to think about a superb St. Patrick’s Day, and although I recall it every year, I don’t know I could say that any specific March festivity was better than some other.  A number of them were beautiful and left me feeling blessed. I am grateful to The Lord.

1998 occurs to me, becoming 21 years of age.  However, against how this spring is going, I don’t think the excitement of taking a visit back in time is going to especially cause me to feel better. I like to enjoy speaking a kind word at certain times, because a little kindness sprinkled in the mix, while not reversing the uncertainty that we’re facing, does help temper the darkness.

I would like to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day, dreadful or not.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t to be overlooked, obviously.  Go with the luck of the Irish! Let’s have a safe spring!

You’re of course welcome to comment and to follow.  All the best to you, and to your loved ones.

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