A to Z Challenge

Zebedee

“BOING!” said Zebedee, “Time for bed!”

Ah, the childish joys of the Magic Roundabout. by that I mean this Magic Roundabout:

Not this abomination of town planning that the poor people of Swindon have to deal with (as if living in Swindon wasn’t bad enough):

So who amongst my extensive readership has a single clue what I’m rabbiting on about when I talk about Dylan, the pot-smoking hippy rabbit based on Bob Dylan; Ermintrude, the matronly cow; Brian, the simple-minded snail; Douglas, the shaggy dog with a taste for sugar; and Florence, the totty for the younger generation.

I’m sure there was far more of an adult under-current to the series that I was not aware of back in my innocence (or possibly not, but we like to infer a little innuendo as smutty -mined adults).

So in an attempt to ruin your memories of Douglas and co, I will leave you with this revved up version of Jasper Carrot’s Magic Roundabout parody:

“Hello children. It’s a quarter to six. Time for Magic Roundabout…”

“I wonder where Florence is?” said Dougal.

“I’m over here,” said Florence. 

“Hello, Florence,” said Dougal.

“Hello, Dougal,” said Florence.

“Boing!”

“Hello, Florence and Dougal,” said Zebedee.

“Hello, Zebedee,” said Dougal and Florence.

“Hello, Zebedee, Florence and Dougal,” said Dylan.

“Hello, Dylan,” said Zebedee, Florence and Dougal.

“Dylan,” said Dougal.

“Yes,” said Dylan.

“I wonder if Florence is a virgin?”

“Drops ’em for sure,” said Dylan.

“Booinngg!”

“That’s right enough,” said Zebedee.

“How do you know?” said Dylan. “You’re wound so tight you’ve clearly never had a woman.”

“Booinngg!”

Zebedee ignored Dylan’s slur. “Half of Toytown has enjoyed her horizontal pleasures. Let’s face it, Noddy’s the biggest ram round here and he said he scored when they were in Hector’s house,” said Zebedee. “And Big Ears got his name when she pulled his face in so hard they stretched!”

“I can hear you,” said Florence. “It s not true. Noddy and I are just good friends. And Big Ears is just a gossip.”

“Rubbish”, said Dougal. “It’s all over the canteen. Everyone knows about you, you brazen hussy.”

“You lousy old flea-bag,” said Florence. “Call yourself a dog? I’ve seen better hair on a lavatory brush!”

“Booinngg!!”

“Now look here,” said Zebedee. “Things are getting out of hand. Let’s get back to the story-line!”

“It’s a crummy story anyway,” said Dylan stubbornly.

“Booinngg!”

“No, it’s not,” said Zebedee commandingly.

“Who cares?” said Dylan dejectedly.

“Well, I like it,” said Florence, hopefully.

“Well that’s obvious!” said everybody, cockily.

“Booinngg!”

“Now look,” said Zebedee, “let’s try and get it together.”

“Well, I’m not working for that fat-bat any more,” said Dougal. “I’m off to join the Flowerpot men.”

“Good riddance,” said Florence.

“Knickers!” said Dougal. “If you’ve still got any!”

“Ihat’s no way to talk to a lady,” said Dylan (knowing he’s on to a good thing).

“Some lady!” said Dougal.

“Oh, piss off,” said Dylan.

And so Dougal did, all over Florence.

“Thank you for sticking up for me,” said Florence.

“I’ll stick up for you anytime”, said Dylan, with a smile.

“Cheeky!” said Florence. She fluttered her eyelashes. “You know I’ve had a soft spot for you for a long time.”

“I’ve got just the thing for that soft spot,” said Dylan.

“Where do we go from here?”, said Florence.

“Booinngg!!!”

 

And with that, we say “Time for bed” to A to Z for another year.

XXX

xxx-suffix.jpeg (605×328)

I thought that might catch your attention. Well just for that, you dirty minded perverts, you can keep reading !

***********

The xenos knocked on the door. I opened it and observed a strange little man who clearly suffered from xanthodontous. He saw me looking and spoke, “The condition was caused xenogenously. I use saffron in the course of my work and it stains so terribly. I hope you are not disgusted.”

“Not at all,” said I, as I toyed nervously with the xenocryst hanging by the gold chain around my neck. Feeling rather guilty I asked him why he had strolled along my xystos to the portico of my home. He spoke not one more word, instead choosing to show me the xylopylography he had been working on – it was an intricate xiphoid design carved with a xyster and based on a similar design he had seen in a xyst in xylotypographic texts of ancient Greece. This was what inspired him, he said. He told me this would be one small piece in the large xylotypography he was working on. I asked where he had learned his craft and he told me he had xenoplastic encounter when he returned to his native Xuan Zang, which led him to study xylopylography and xylotypography. I found myself unable to speak, enthralled by the artistry of his xylotypes.   “I’m so sorry,” said I, you must think I am a xenopus. I am so rude!”

“not to worry,” he said. He sat x-legged and pulled a xylorimba from his bag, upon which he created wonderful music. I was enthralled, and being a being a xenophile, indeed verging on xenomania, I welcomed him into our home. My spouse, being the exact opposite to me and a severe xenophobe, merely glared in my direction and retired to our bed chambers.

 

I offer you these morsels of the 120+ words beginning with X in the modern English dictionary, for all you Scrabble players who dread the X.

Volks Wagen

Yes, I know, another double letter posting, but hey, who could resist the obvious here? After all, the VW Beetle was ubiquitous, until it wasn’t, and now it is again. The car of the 60’s hippy revolution and a rival to only the mini as the coolest car of all time. The original Beetle production ran for 65 years and 21,000,000 vehicles – making it the longest production run of a single vehicle type ever. The resurgence of the ‘new Beetle’ kick-started a swath of retro-designed vehicles including the Mini, Camaro, Mustang and ……. Oh my this is boring – if you wanted to read about VW Beetle production you could just go to Wikipedia, same as I can. You came here for wit and repartee. So, starting with VW, where can this go?

Well, of course Volks Wagen translates as People’s Car. Cheap transport for the masses. Hitler’s answer to the Model T Ford, and a prime example of the lack of creativity in the world of German engineering. I mean, nothing changed in 65 years? Was it that good to start off with? If you’ve ever driven a Beetle in winter, you know it was absolute crap. But then the Germans have a habit of sticking with the original formula – just look at the stablemate of the venerable Beetle, the Porsche 911. This is basically a sporty Beetle, and it has been in constant production, and constant evolution, since 1963, yet the thing has barely changed at all.

Germans have a knack for the basics, that’s obvious. They are a very logical people too. I tried to learn German once, very briefly. There’s a language built on solid footings and so full of logic it would make Spock proud. I remember something about second verbs going to the end of a sentence. I struggle to identify even the first verb. I can’t imagine a sentence with two verbs, let alone having to shove one to the end. Then they have three genders for words. I thought French was bad enough! English, being the mongrel language it is, ditched the masculine / feminine nonsense generations ago. Apparently German is closely related to English. So you will naturally understand the first German phrase I ever learned: es ist nicht schwarz, es ist blau. And that funky form of transport, the luftkissen. And who recalls the catchy strapline for the Audi ads – Vorsprung durch technic. I’m sure you’re all following along quite nicely. And to all the fraulines out there –  ICH LIEBE DICH!

Anyway, in the interests of European harmony, the EU recently issued an edict stating that English would become the standard language of Europe:

The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”, Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”, making words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e” is disgrasful.

By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!

Herr Schmidt

And that’s it for VW – I will just leave you with this snappy German threat to ponder via Google Translate:

ich rasiere dich ohne schaum!

Under Pressure

Extreme pressure can turn a lump of coal into a flawless diamond, or a perfectly average person into a complete basket case.

Why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves in situations of extreme stress or pressure? Sure, sometimes these situations just happen, but many times, we are the architects of our own demise. Hoisted by our own petard, as the edumacated might say (though likely they have absolutely no idea what a petard is, and whether being hoisted by it would be a particularly painful and embarrrassing experience – kinda like a wedgie, or merely just an embarrassment, like accidentally going into the ladies washroom and being caught with your pants down, so to speak).

image

Whatever, we frequently make the rods for our own backs, and then flagellate ourselves with this same rod. Our desire, ambition, drive and motivation; all are driven through some inner desire for betterment, or just possibly by that green eyed monster of Avarice. And what’s worse; we instill this into our kids from day 1 – pushing little Johnny into the hockey program with an eye on the NHL and million dollar contracts, or putting little Jasmine into every single program available so we can re-live our childhood ambitions by proxy.

The younger generations are able to wear rose tinted glasses as they imagine their futures. We wore them too; we ripped them off the faces of the older folks who were too busy telling us to wait, and thus getting in the way of our progress. And now it’s our turn to pass the glasses on, we rese what the world looks like without any filtering. With the benefits of unimpeded hindsight we can see the journey we all took, and the journey our offspring are now taking. And we can only watch as these bright young things, all full of the vim and vigour of youth stoke up on exciting visions of career goals and success. They have the stamina of youth to fuel the hungry engine of ambition as they strive to do it better, do it faster, just fucking DO IT, then move on and move up. They climb over each other, treading on fingers and heads to be in line for the next big project, the next ‘opportunity’ to prove their worth and get the next step toward the corner office and ‘success’.

image

Eventually, most will realise that the ladder is actually a circle, and that every step up they take turns the wheel a step further. The faster they run, the faster the ladder moves beneath them. Eventually, they will realise they are actually in a hamster wheel, spinning the wheel faster and faster but not actually going anywhere. But until that dawning of the realisation, the pressures to succeed are huge, and largely self-created. But before this realisation they will run faster and faster, push harder and harder. Until each bigger job, each promotion, each step up to the next rung of the ladder squeezes them just a little more. And in the process too many will squeeze out room for the things that really matter like friends, family and experiences – those things that make us thankful to be alive, young and healthy. Maslow’s hierarchy calls these the self-actualization moments. I call them the moments we truly realise we are alive in this world

This past weekend we were at a show in Halifax, all about tourism and the Atlantic Canadian lifestyle. Invariably there are craftspeople at these shows. Incredible craftspeople, making the most beautiful products. And I am always in awe of these people and their life choice to avoid that hamster wheel and the pressures we career junkies put ourselves under. Sure, they might not make six figure salaries, but they are making something much more valuable – they are enlivening people’s lives with a thing of beauty, and they are giving those career junkies something to spend their hard earned cash on, after all.

I will give a nod and a link here to my own brother who largely eschewed the paper tiger of career and made his own path through life. Along the way he created many beautiful products, some of which sold, some of which flopped. Right now, he’s landed on a product which is quirky, fun and innovative. You could do worse than pop on over to Tinkuleles.com and browse through his fun Ukuleles made from recycled tins and hardwood. He takes a large tin – candies, biscuits, lunch pail – all work. He then creates the neck from recycled hardwood, adds the frets, keys, strings aetc and creates a funky and functional ukelele – the funnest string instrument ever! I had meant to write a longer post on Tinkulelies for my T post but then my own ‘Under Pressure’ moment inspired my Time post and the moment was lost.

And so as my career path begins a slow wind-down, like the hands of an under wound watch, I’m looking at the creative side of life. Words are my thing (as I hope you can tell) and I want to believe I can have some fun and make some folks laugh a little, cry a little, maybe light a few fires of passion, just so long as I don’t make the mistake of pressurising myself into a new career, full of the same old frustrations and self-imposed ambitions.

We all crave success in one form or another – recognition from others whether spiritual, financial, physical or emotional. I implore you to be mindful not to pay too high a price for that success in the currency of broken dreams, broken hearts and lost opportunity.

**********

Under Pressure is my U posting for A to Z Challenge 2015.

Time

Time – that strange truth of the physical universe. It is absolute – a second is a second, a year is a year. Unless you are flying close to the speed of sound out and back to the edge of the Universe, time has the same value wherever you are in the world. Except it doesn’t. Time is relative, and not in any Einsteinian way. It’s relative to the task being accomplished at any given moment. You know I’m right, but think about it for a moment:

You are having a leisurely evening with friends, doing your bit for the viticulture industry. In this situation, hours will fly by until it is suddenly 2am, there are a dozen empty bottles and you know there will be woodpeckers in the morning. In this scenario, the wings of time fly swiftly and the hours flit away like the seeds of a dandelion clock on a summer breeze.

Or alternatively, you are chained to your desk racing a deadline to complete a report / homework assignment / press release (insert your own nemesis here). The evil Gods of Time choose this moment to fast-forward the clock. When you started, you had 2 hours to complete what would normally be a 20 minute task. Now, just minutes later, you’re down to 20 minutes to complete what would normally be a three hour task.

Anyone who has woken in the wee small hours knows how minutes can drag into hours. You’re lying there, in the dark. The green digits show 03:48. You don’t want to get up, it’s cold out there, and you will disturb the dog and you will have to let him out to pee, and then he will think it’s morning and time to eat,then go for a walk, then …. You get the picture. And you can’t turn a light to read, because you will wake your significant other, and you do not want to wake your significant other. Oh No. So you lie there, staring at the ceiling. You lie there for what seems like an hour. You turn your head to check, and the clock flashes back at you: 03:57. And so it goes on. You toss and turn, you get too hot so you throw back the covers, then you are too cold. You go pee. You lie there some more, then glance again: 04:26. Finally, finally around 05:12 you fall asleep, only to be woken milliseconds later by the alarm blaring out at 06:00

And another – if you are waiting for someone and you are in a warm car, or indoors, time drags, sure, but nowhere near as slowly as if you are on a windy corner, maybe in the snow. Take off your gloves – the time will move even slower. But if you are the one they are waiting for, your time speed changes exponentially based on the situation in which your waitee is waiting.

Mrs Drew often ‘pops in for a few things’ when we are out in the car. “I’m just getting bread and milk – 5 minutes,” she says. And I am sure to her, she does go round the store quickly. And it takes her thirty minutes and four shopping bags to get bread and milk. My thirty minutes, without my glasses to allow me to browse inappropriate websites on my phone to while away the time, takes 2 hours. Hers, fighting the crowds, spotting exceptional offers, takes 10 minutes.

And so, all you Physics types with your laws of relativity and planet sized brains, figure that one. If time is absolute, why is it so elastic?

********

And with that, I conclude my T posting. And I am almost back on track for the Challenge. I O U a U.

Rambling Rant

Rambling Rants eh? Okay, so where to start?

Well, the typical conversation starter will work: one thing Canadians have in common with English (apart from a hatred of the French – unless you’re French Canadian of course, in which case this hole is getting deep real fast. Time to stop digging!) – is they love to talk about the weather. And finally, finally we can stop talking about the SNOW, because it has nearly all gone, thank you Mother Nature.

So now we can talk about the rain, and pretty soon the bugs. That’s the Canadians, not the English. There are very few bugs in England, until you get to August when the wasps turn into drunken juvenile delinquents, picking a fight with anyone over anything. Did you know, in England, window screens (as opposed to windscreens) are unknown? No-one has to affix fly screens over every opening in their house, lest they be infested with blackflies, no-see-ums, mosquitoes or any other flying predator. There are many other things that will enter your house at night and drain your blood, but a fly screen is not stopping them.

One major advantage Canada has over the UK is that most of the things trying to kill you are animals. Sorry – need to be more specific here – pretty much anything trying to kill you is an animal – what I meant was, nature’s animals, looking for food typically, not man’s animals looking for meth.

So back to the weather. How long do you reckon it will be before the first person complains about the heat? And then complains about irrational violence from a complete stranger? I’m guessing by mid-May. Canadians also suffer from early-onset sunburn, because we tend to shed all our clothes at the first hint of rays, forgetting that our albino white flesh has not seen Vitamin D in natural form for the past 6 months.

The funniest sight has to be to go Canadian Spotting on a Caribbean beach in February or March. Take a walk along the beach and try to guess how long the tourists have been there. It’s really easy.

Day 1: virginal white, so white you blend into the sand;

when-you-see-it-white-person-sun-bathing

through to day 7: redder than the fires of Hell.

 

Caribbean Canadians get so red that lobsters are using you to describe being boiled alive. And how cruel is that? When did we decide that a humane way to dispatch one of nature’s creatures is to plunge it into boiling water? I guess it’s better than the woman who thought you had to bring the water to the boil with the lobster in the pan, but still … Tastes god though. It’s amazing what we will turn a blind eye to if it tastes good. Like force feeding of geese to make Fois Gras, or bleeding a calf to death to make veal. We want it cheap too – so we turn a blind eye to factory farming, and baulk at the prices in the Farmer’s Market for naturally raised meats.

And while we are on a roll with the whole ranting thing today, my girls got letters yesterday informing them that the bank will now charge a fee for debit transactions from their kids savings accounts. As if the bankers are not making enough on the interest they refuse to give us on our money, or the exorbitant rates on credit cards, they feel the need to charge kids to get at their own money. Did you ever see a poor banker?

And politicians are not helping! Our Nova Scotia Government just gave RBC (Royal Bank of Canada for non-Canadians) a $22million payroll rebate for bringing a call centre to the province. This at the same time as they essentially destroyed the fledging movie industry by removing all tax incentives for moguls to film their latest epic in the startlingly beautiful Nova Scotia countryside. Banker clearly rhymes with wanker for a reason. Maybe we should rename politicians to Puckers to reflect what they do to us, and where they do it!

Ah well. If we didn’t have anything to complain about, we would make something up. First world problems, eh? At least we have food, shelter, warmth and lots of other people to blame for our plight.

Have a nice day ❤