Category Archives: Rantz in my Pantz

Would You Like Me to Wax the Hair on Your Toes?

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What the fuzz?
Okay, I realize I’m off the charts here with asking you such a boldly bumptious question. Nor do I have any intention of following through on the answer if you say yes.

I’ve been under a wee bit of stress lately and decided I needed some pampering. So I scheduled myself into a day spa for the usual scrub, rub, soak and polish routines. It was deliciously decadent.

Who me?
But then something happened. As I was getting my pedicure, eyes closed, enjoying the ambient sounds of the soothing spa playlist du jour, the lovely young technician interrupted my zoned-out state by asking, “Would you like me to wax the hair on your toes?”

Ditching the cucumber slices on my eyes, I bolted upright! “What did you say?”
“The hair on your toes,” she repeated. “Would you like me to remove it?”

“I have hair on my toes?” I said to her, like she would make such a disgusting thing up. “I can’t see that far down”…I insisted. “I have cataracts, I didn’t know I had hair on my toes. How long has it been there?”

Stay calm and breathe!
“I don’t know,” she said in her spa-soothing voice. “But don’t worry, just relax and it will be gone in a minute.” She proceeded to take care of the big hairy deal with the speed and diplomacy of the professional she was. Then she quickly followed up with a leg and foot massage that made me forget my bushy phalanges and put me right back into a zen state of mind. I left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and slippery as a mango pit…my Hobbit feet a thing of the past.

Hair today, gone tomorrow:
What is it about our obsession with body hair and why do we find it so unappealing? Studies have shown that many women hide their depilatory secrets from their partners, too embarrassed or ashamed to admit they keep up high maintenance routines to keep themselves basically as bald as baby kangaroos. The Daily Mail in the UK did an article a few years ago entitled, Top 20 Beauty Secrets Women Hide From Men.” The number one item on the list that women never wanted their partners to know was, “Pluck/Shave hair from the toes.”

Yikes!
We older women usually don’t go baby-kangaroo crazy in our plucking, shaving and waxing pursuits. But with hormone changes, we can have a few surprise visitors in the mirror. Pesky little hair follicles can pop out in unforeseen locations, like chin, nipples, belly, moles, knuckles, shoulders, forehead, upper lip and yes…even our noses and ears, usually reserved for the male species.

Hairy contrary:
Sometimes there are medical conditions that cause this problem, but most of the time it isn’t a problem at all. Just annoying as hell. And some women are embracing their inner-hairiness and growing their own leggings and dyeing armpit hair in rainbow colours. But that’s a post for another day. I worked with a woman many years ago who had a patch of long bushy black hair on the back of her legs above the knee. We wore mini skirts in those days and when she bent over the file cabinet, every chair in the office swung around to check out the view. I always wondered if she brushed it.

Let’s think about this:
So with all the maintenance most of us do to keep the forestry down, let me ask you this. What do you think we would morph into if we were deserted on a south Pacific island with our favourite heart-throb? Picture yourself in a bodice ripping story as a romantic castaway with…(fill in the blanks.) My own personal fantasy includes Nathaniel Bonner, from the book, “Into the Wilderness.” Honestly, I can’t get enough of that man. But I digress…back to the deserted island…

The story continues:
So after a few months or a year under a palm tree in the Pacific, and depending on our own personal speed of hair growth multiplied by genetics and dominant genes – our appearance may be more bewhiskered than bewitching. As our eyebrows spread slowly into a monobrow and we braid our armpit hair to keep it out of the oyster stew, will we still want to frolic on our hairy Hobbit feet into the crashing waves on the beach? And without our dream man’s manscaping routines, will we still whisper sweet and salty nothings as we do the beach tango, like a couple of hairballs in love? Hmmm….

 

Final word:
So the next time someone asks you, “Would you like me to wax/tweeze/shave that?”  know that you’re in the good company of someone from the Secret Society of the Hairy Sisterhood.


See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

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Help! I Want My Life Back!

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Etched in My Brain

I remember the day in 1953 when we got electricity in our town.

I remember the day in 1963 when President Kennedy was shot.

I remember the day in 2015 when I became obsessed with Donald J. Trump.

It was June 16th when he rode that escalator like a vainglorious king, declaring his candidacy for president and announcing that Mexicans were thieves and rapists.

“How long can this guy last?” I laughed. “It should be fun to watch this asshole crash and burn.” And so my CNN addiction began.

Trump News Junky
Now 2 years later and 190 days into his presidency, I long for the days when I only watched TV in the evening hours; for the days when I spent my time with non-Trumpish things, like reading novels and writing children’s books. Instead I watch cable news and scour the online pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, The Daily Beast, The New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal for the latest POTUS wrecking ball disasters.

Life was simple before all this frightening nonsense and I wonder if things will ever be the same again. As the alt-right seem to take over the partisan brains of America, I can only hope this is not the new normal.

One Angry Creamsicle
After working 35 years in corporate life, I can’t even imagine treating people like this vulgarian. How can any company survive by encouraging infighting between competing power centres, or by publicly humiliating employees and colleagues? Staffers for Trump are disposable and discarded once they no longer serve his purpose. And he’s a coward. Despite his image, he would rather humiliate someone out of their position rather simply say, ‘You’re fired!”

Plugged In 24/7
Occasionally when I pry myself loose from CNN or MSNBC to venture out to attend to my life, I constantly check my phone for the latest Breaking News flashes and tweet-storms from the bully-in-chief. I’m not proud of it, but I can’t seem to stop.

This Mein Trumpf administration is like a freight train filled with explosives, heading straight for American democracy. Yet there are still many who support him and his vengeful obsession of annihilating all things Obama, destruction of the environment and everything else in life that’s decent and good.

Conspiring Conspiracies
As Team Trump stands firm, I wonder if a mind-altering chip has been inserted into their cell phones – like in the ‘Kingsman” movie. Or has some malevolent drug been drip-drip-dripping into the US water supply? Right now I would believe anything after witnessing the surreal sideshow of this vile Trump Administration.

Vipers and Wiseguys
And just when you dare to think it can’t get any worse, “Tony the Mooch,” gets added to the White House cast of liars and ass-kissers; a character right out of the Sopranos. And while they all slither and hiss like a pit of vipers, vying for his attention – Prima Donald sits on his golden throne tweeting and eclipsing his own agenda. (Update after this post was published…the Trump tribe has spoken and the Mooch is out after only 10 days on the job!)

So What’s Next?
Everyday, this episodic Republican reality show is filled with backstabbing paranoia, attacks on basic values and more proof of dangerous Russian connections. Everyday, I hope this horror show will stop. And everyday, I’m disappointed that once again, I’ve wasted yet another day of my life hoping and praying that the dark hidden secrets of Donald J. Trump will hit the airwaves and catapult him into a jail-cell.

Final Word:
It’s all so mesmerizing and nuclear grade bonkers, I simply can’t walk away until the story ends. Even as I finish this post, Trump continues to humiliate and diminish everyone in his orbit. Yesterday Benedict Donald announced the firing of his Chief of Staff…on Twitter!

Buddha said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Let’s just hope this ancient sage knew what he was talking about.

In the meantime, how do I disconnect and get my life back?

See you between the lines.

Pat Skene

 

 

 

Are Restaurants Too Loud?

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9781612360010_p0_v1_s260x420WHAT? 
Remember when you went to a restaurant and you didn’t come home with a raging headache and hoarse from a night out? Remember when you could talk to your dinner partners and have a meaningful conversation – and not have to shout above the music playing at inhuman sound levels? Can anyone remember those good old days?

Pounding baselines: It’s not just the music in some restaurants that beats your ear into submission. It’s the noise bouncing off the naked surfaces. Somewhere along the line, carpets, tablecloths and finished ceilings disappeared and were replaced with stone floors, wooden tabletops, gleaming chrome fixtures and open ceilings with plumbing and heating pipes on display. So there’s absolutely nothing to absorb the sound as it ricochets from one hard surface to another in booming echoes around the room.

Is it just me? What’s happening out there with this new dining trend? It used to be that I would research a menu carefully before making a reservation to eat out. Now, the menu is secondary, as my first question is always, “Do you have live entertainment?” A live band is the worst, but playlists can be piped-in at absurd volume levels too.

Up close and personal: Did you know that many restaurants play a certain type of music on purpose? First of all, research has shown that a noisy restaurant draws people in because it sounds like a fun place…and we all like fun! Second, studies have also shown that when they speed up the beat, the sound waves energize us, so we eat faster and drink more. That means they make more money on food and drink that we may not have otherwise consumed.  Plus, if we eat at turbo speed, they get to turn the tables faster with more butts in the seats. Certainly a win win for them, but not for our waistlines or our wallets.

I  can’t hear you! The basic principles of going to a restaurant is to enjoy a shared meal and have a conversation – not to sit mute while we listen to music or scream at our partners to be heard. In my view, the guest experience is ruined, when the restaurant is cluttered with room noise. Now I’m not talking about the normal buzz of conversation, the clattering of dishes or the lovely jazz trio in the corner playing soft background music. I’m talking about the musicians who crank up their amps like they’re playing a rock concert for a bunch of teeny boppers. The same goes for music blasting through speaker systems. And even if you ask the wait staff or management to turn it down, my experience is that it won’t happen.

Tweets not talk: Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned about this whole thing and people today like to speak in “tweets” mirroring their online interactions. Maybe people prefer to live more on the surface these days, without the added burden of actually being interested in connecting with another human being. And again…the less you talk, the more you eat…the more you eat, the more you drink…and so it goes around and around. Are you seeing a pattern here? But if the younger generations are becoming accustomed to communicating in this way, are we losing the art of conversation in the process? This is another whole issue for another day.

What can we do?
If we, as paying guests are dissatisfied with any of the above, we should speak up:
1.  Be vocal and tell the restaurant management that we are dissatisfied.
2. Encourage more food critics to add a new category for sound levels in their reviews.
3. Boycott the establishment and tell them why.
4. Post our complaints on restaurant review sites, to draw attention to the issues.
5. Choose a table farthest from music amps and speakers, and near soft surfaces if they have any.

Final word: What do you think people? Have I just passed my best before date or do I have a point here?

See you between the lines,

Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

I Beaned Him!

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Here’s my story:

Gather round and hear my tale,      smileyEmbarsassed
My secret past, I must unveil,
The day I faced my deepest fear,
And beaned a groper in the ear.

Now please don’t judge my actions then,
I’ve never done that deed again,
But I can really be a witch,
When I’m provoked to be a bitch!

Looking back: I consider myself a peaceful woman who abhors violence or physical aggression of any sort. In my growing up years circa 1950, our household was always that of a quiet loving family. And other than whacking my older brother across the back with a broom when I was 8 years old, and knocking the wind out of him – violence was never part of my life.

Fast forward: Now let’s move ahead to a summer day, circa 1990 at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon. The place is quiet, as most downtown market shoppers are early morning people. I have my 15 year-old niece with me. Hubsey is upstairs on a bench holding all the bags filled with cheeses, fresh fruit and fish, chowing down on a market-famous bacon-on-a-bun.

What a deal! Downstairs I find an end-of-day sale on fresh garden vegetables. My niece stands off to the side while I stuff a large plastic grocery bag full of green beans, for the price of $2. I’m delighted with my purchase and reach over the counter to hand my money to the vendor.

Horrors! Just then, I’m jarred, as two hands come from behind and grab both my breasts. I see the filthy fingernails and realize it’s not Hubsey in a moment of unbridled passion. I whip around and look straight into the face of the filthiest looking derelict; his leering grin 2 inches from my face; his rotten teeth the colour of a dirty urinal; his breath like a distillery sewer.

Besmirched: I stand there in shock. He removes his hands from my body and with a disgusting grin on his face, he simply walks away. His clothes hang like rags, and his hair is matted and covers half his face. I glance at my niece a few feet away; her hands are clamped over her mouth; her eyes the size of dinner plates.

No escape! I watch as this disgusting piece of filth approaches the doors to leave the market and I am suddenly enveloped in a sea of black rage – and I snap! th

Kapow! I take off after him, swinging my bag o’ beans in wide circles like a Spanish bola, gaining momentum as I run. His back is to me so he doesn’t see me coming. He’s about to push the doors open to leave, when I make contact with his head. I bean him smack on his right ear and he howls like a banshee.

Big trouble: He whips around and screams in my face, “Hey! What the hell did you do that for!” (Is he kidding me?) It was then I notice he has a buddy with him. I back up as the two of them clench their fists and start walking toward me, their eyes locked on mine.

Solo act: Now don’t forget, Hubsey is upstairs enjoying his bacon-on-a-bun, oblivious to the rumble in the jungle downstairs, so he’s no help. My niece is still in teenage shock with her feet super-glued to the floor. Thankfully she’s turned to stone and stays put! It’s late afternoon in the market with not many people around. Truthfully, it all happened so fast, I can’t remember to this day if there was anyone who witnessed the assault, except my niece and me. But I digress.

Oh no! As the two thugs get closer, I can’t drop my beans and run, leaving my petrified niece there, so I have to think fast. All I know, is that I’m on my own to defend myself. I’m a small woman with no real physical strength or black belt credentials, so all I can hope for is insanity.

Release the hounds! So I stand my ground and face them dead on, legs apartth  in an aggressive stance while I scream obscenities and wave my fists in the air. (Like the way you do to make yourself bigger to scare away wild animals in the woods.) I go totally berserk and don’t budge an inch from my spot. My face is red-hot and I’m spitting saliva as I spew forth my venom, calling them all the vile words I can muster.

Eureka! Well, I’m happy to say it worked and the two thugsters look at each other, turn on their heels and leave the building…muttering something about a crazy bitch.

My violent past: I am not a violent person and I have never in my life hit another human being…other than my brother-of-the-broom incident of course…and oh yes, the time I punched my boss in the stomach. But that’s a story for another day.

A black place: The experience at the market rattled me for weeks. It wasn’t just the physical assault on me that kept me awake nights, although that was bad enough. It was my blind-rage reaction that scared the green beans out of me; a sheer black rage that brought forth that scary witch who came screaming out of my body to seek vengeance for what he had done to me. No woman should ever tolerate sexual assault in any form. And more women should bring forth their inner scary witch, or their own personal bag o’ beans weapon when it happens.

Buried deep: I don’t know from whither she came and thankfully, I’ve had no need of her services since then. Something tells me she would resurface if my daughter or granddaughter were in jeopardy. But she’s one scary broad and it’s no wonder that those two losers thought better of taking her on. Although in retrospect, I think they were supremely hung over and just wanted the screaming to stop and the drinking to begin.

Pressure cookers: I guess we all have a bit of that black rage simmering quietly below the surface. Some control it better than others. Some don’t control it all. And some get sick from holding it all in, in an effort to keep the lid from slipping off. There’s a fine line here as individual as each one of us.

Final word: My green bean story has gone viral in my family over the years and as I recently started writing my memoirs, it was time to write it down. We all have pieces of ourselves we will never get to know. Sometimes, those pieces are better left alone. As for me, I was frightened by my aggressive actions, but sometimes it takes a bag o’ beans in the ear to show them you mean business.

So that’s my tale, it’s sad but true,
He groped my boobs, what could I do?
I whacked that deadbeat in the head!
He should have grabbed my beans instead.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

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Gropers and Other Monsters

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Flashback: A couple of years ago, I posted an article about the day I was groped…no, not by the Evil Trumpster. But I am reposting it now because of all the recent talk about the Grabber-in-Chief.

It has made a lot of us think about our encounters with similar despicable men. I was horrified when it happened to me and this particular episode sent me into a blind rage. Why would this low-life human being think he had a right to paw me in public and then grin to his buddy about it? Well, I did something – I got mad! REALLY mad! And I was armed! I just wish all the women accusing the Orange Beast had been carrying the same weapon I had at the time.

Scroll to the post below…I Beaned Him!

I’m such a nasty woman!

See you between the lines! 

A Trumped-Up Tale

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yellow-snkaeAs a storyteller, I love a good allegory. And when I recently heard a poem called “The Snake,” well you can just guess who came to mind. I wondered how many American voters were reading this story to their children and grandchildren.

It’s a tale based on Aesop’s Fables and has been told in various forms for over 2500 years. These lyrics were written in 1963 by singer/songwriter and social activist, Oscar Brown Jr.

This is an excerpt from Brown’s version:

 

The Snake

On her way to work one morning,
Down the path along side the lake,
A tenderhearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake.
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew.
“Poor thing,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you.”

“Take me in tender woman.
Take me in, for heaven’s sake.
Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake.

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk,
And laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk.
She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived,
She found that pretty snake she’d taken to had been revived.

She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful, ” she cried.
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died.
“She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight.
Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite.

“I saved you, ” cried the woman.
“And you’ve bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die.”
“Oh shut up, silly woman, ” said the reptile with a grin.
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

Juxtapositions: So of course when I read this poignant poem, I thought of the poisonous orange snake with a comb-over conning Americans to take him into the White House. But when I did a bit of research on the poem, I was shocked to see that The Donald himself had been using the poem earlier this year at his rallies! He would recite the poem and then grin and ask the audience, “Right? Does everyone sort of get it?”

OMG! While I immediately envisioned Trump as the venomous snake, I was horrified to learn he was using the allegory to represent terrorism and refugees were the snake! Oscar Brown passed away in 2005, but his family demanded that Trump cease and desist using these lyrics in his rallies. The family said that if Brown were still alive, he would be on the “polar opposite side” of Trump.

Snake oil salesman: So there most certainly IS a deadly viper in this election, conning voters to trust him and saying what they want to hear…which changes with his audience du jour. While many Trump voters are politically and selfishly motivated, there are millions of others who are voting for him out of a blind rage over their diminished lives and see this as a chance to get back at those they see as responsible. These poor misguided Trumpsters and Trumpettes see this damaged man as their savior-in-chief. Some actually compare him to Jesus! What’s up with that? I think there must be a toxic Kool-Aid substance being filtered into the US water supply! The other day, I read that voting for Trump is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders!

Caveat Emptor: Among a litany of other things, Trump thinks Hillary doesn’t have the stamina (aka penis) to be president. But if I were living in the US, I would be running as fast as I can toward the only sane candidate in this race. By the way, you know Mr. Deplorable doesn’t really WANT to be president. He just wants to be able to SAY he is president.

So, my American friends, if by some horrifying twist of fate, President Donald gets to slither into the oval office and bites you in your pathetic regrets – remember, you knew damn well he was a snake, before you took him in.

Right? Does everyone sort of get it? Donald Trump sure doesn’t!

 

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

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Good Lord America – What Are You Thinking?

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images-10An Open Letter to Donald Trump Supporters from a Canadian

As your Canadian neighbour, we’ve been friends for a long time. We haven’t always agreed, but most of the time we’ve respected and accepted each other’s differences…more or less. Our beer is still better than yours and we have poutine.

But now you’ve really got me baffled and I’m doing my best to appreciate your point of view on this whole Donald Trump thing.

Mi casa su casa:
Now you could say it’s none of my business because I live in Canada. And you might be right except for the fact that we share a border and (I thought) many of the same values. Plus as my neighbour, if you blow up the barbecue in your backyard, you can be sure it will set off a firestorm of shrapnel into my yard as well.

Trump: “I love the poorly educated.”
I’m really struggling to understand how you can allow a narcissistic man like Trump to live rent free in your brain.  Don’t you know that he’s manipulating you through fear and empty promises? I know The Donald has admitted he doesn’t like to read, but PLEASE do yourself a favour and read about his background, his lawsuits, his bankruptcies, his bigotry, how he has treated women and the miles of destruction (and people) he has left in his wake. And if you say to this that you don’t care…why don’t you care? What’s wrong with you?

I know that both candidates have their baggage. But when you compare the backgrounds and selfless work one candidate has done for decades, to the selfish work of the other, surely you have to feel ashamed when you look into the mirror. And really, what terrible things has Hillary actually done? Why is she disliked by so many Americans? Hillary Clinton is the devil? Seriously?

Covert operations:
The media isn’t talking about this, but I think there is still a strong gender bias for the POTUS position and many males of all ages still cannot accept that a woman could run the country. It’s been a man’s world since forever and all that testosterone just can’t handle being told what to do by a mere female. Is this why so many of you men out there will take anyone, even the likes of the Trumpster, rather than choosing to support a very competent woman? Shame on every one of you.

Or maybe you’re simply supporting Trump because you’re pissed with the establishment and want to teach those Washington bureaucrats a lesson? Okay, you’ve made your point but it’s time to let go. Giving the reins to a madman won’t help your cause and will only ensure that you will be treated exactly like the many people who have been shafted by this charlatan.

Bizarre realities:
Look – I know that my simple little blog post isn’t going to make any difference. But I can’t stand by and do nothing. I rather like being your neighbour and consider us friends. And so I’m truly trying to understand your motives in wanting to put a demagogue and his Stepford wife into the White House. And by the way…where the heck is perfect wife number 3 these days? Certainly not beside The Donald. Her website was taken down this week after it was discovered the FLOTUS hopeful was also a liar about her educational credentials, in addition to being a plagiarist. And then her nude photos hit the newsstands! Oh dear…

The ultimate reality show:
Okay, I understand Trump boosts television ratings and gets way more air time than he deserves. So are you watching him on TV and attending his rallies out of a macabre sense of curiosity, because you know he’ll say something outrageous? Maybe you’re not really going to vote for him and all you want is to be able to tell your friends that you were there when he said that. And let’s face it – the man does aim to please the masses. It’s like watching a Jerry Springer Show unhinged!

Trump: “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
It could be that you like seeing a crass politician saying outrageous things and calling people demeaning names that you wouldn’t allow your child to repeat in the schoolyard. Or perhaps you’re a Trump groupie who loves his celebrity status and can’t get enough of that orange comb-over and his tiny little Twitter fingers. Or just maybe, deep down you really are a mean-spirited bigot and misogynist who is using Trump as a means to validate the darkest corners of your soul. Am I hitting a nerve here?

Whatever your motives, it’s time to dig deep and think about what you’re doing. If Trump wins and the world becomes a divisive, angry, dark place because of your vote – what will you tell your children? How will you feel when they behave just like the new President of the United States? Will you be proud, or will you be terribly terribly ashamed that you helped to make this part of history happen?

Final word:
So don’t you think it’s time to turn back and rethink your motives? Please, for the love of everything you want for the future of your country – disconnect yourselves from Trumpmania NOW and run as fast as you can away from this egotistical monster of a thousand faces. And to all you senior Republican leaders who have held your noses and endorsed Donald Trump – shame on all of you for mutely standing by and allowing the devil into your house.

And one more thing. If you really do end up voting for that big-mouthed racist bully and he becomes President – we don’t want you here in Canada when you see for yourself that his promises were just a big stinking smokescreen…like his grand entrance at the RNC. You can stay right where you are and boil in your own Trump-infested juices!

Yours sincerely,
Pat Skene,
Your Canadian Neighbour

P.S. To find out more about how Donald Trump is manipulating the masses, click on this excellent article.
Neuroscientist Explains the Donald Trump Effect

 

 

What Trump Can Teach Our Children

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video.yahoofinance.com@9c23c68e-8d3a-3e99-9f67-2dee284c5d71_FULL“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

“Women, you have to treat them like shit.”

Yes, The Donald really said those things.

I am probably the least political person I know. But even as a Canadian, I can’t help but get caught up in the Trump madness of the US elections. If this was a movie, we would all be unable to suspend our disbelief that such batshit crazy things could be said and done, by a person running for the highest office in the land.

Trumpkins take notes! However, as in most things, there are learnings to be had –  if you examine the stinking piles of turds left behind by the biggest and loudest raging bull out there in the field of dreams. So gather your little trumpkins  around, and let’s talk about what Mr. Trump can teach our children. Forget your family values and pay attention.

Teachers listen up! You may want to incorporate these behaviours into your school policies. Perhaps the education system has been wrong all along. Could it be that your entire code of ethics has been nothing more than an attempt to teach our children mutual respect and common decency?

Top 10 Tips From The Trump School for Kids

  1. Give other students nasty nicknames and belittle them at every opportunity, to make you feel important.
  2. Disrespect the girls in your class by calling them fat pigs, dogs and disgusting animals.
  3. If someone doesn’t agree with you, ask one of your friends to punch them in the face.
  4. Tell your teachers to build walls in the school yard, to separate the undesirable kids who are different from you.
  5. Report anyone who disagrees with you to the principal, and have the loudmouth expelled, while you scream, “Get’em outta here!”
  6. When you lose at something, never take responsibility. Always blame the other guy for cheating you out of your win.
  7. When you’re at a school sports competition, get some fist fights going between the teams to stir things up.
  8. Accuse others of lying as often as you can, but tell the biggest whoppers of the bunch and never back down or tell the truth.
  9. When you’re writing an essay for school, don’t bother checking your facts. Just write whatever comes into your head.
  10. Be vindictive toward any student or teacher who speaks out against you, and pledge to make their lives a living hell.

Final word: So there you have it – a roadmap for your little Trumpkins on how to become a successful loud-mouthed, egotistical bully just like Donald Trump. They may even end up on national television one day…bragging about the size of their manhood during a political debate. But then again…does anyone really care?

I do..I really, really do!

God bless us every one, and may God forgive America!

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

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Leaf Blower Blowback!

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It’s that time of year again when we shake, rattle and roll to the sounds of spring. 

My rant du jour is all about those insidious leaf-blowing contraptions engaged in the ritual of combat gardening. And most days it does sound like a war zone out there, as men prepare to battle mother nature with leaf-blowing devices strapped to their bodies like missile launchers.

Few inventions in history have been as useless and annoying as the leaf-blower…in my not-so-humble boomer opinion.

It’s bad enough when spring is sprung, that we endure the onslaught of noise from gas mowers, whipper snippers, hedge trimmers, lawn tractors, and all things garden beautiful. But when we add the incessant roar of leaf-blowers to the mix, it’s enough to make a person escape to the bottom of the pool for quiet relief…like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate!

Now besides the ear-shattering, brain twisting noise, what’s so bad about leaf-blowers you ask?

1. Pollution: A 2 cylinder gas engine leaf-blower is a major contributor to pollution. It creates 299 times more hydrocarbon emissions than a pickup truck and 93 times more than an average sedan. Seriously!

2. Allergies and illness: In addition to pollution, wind blows from the nozzle of an average gas leaf-blower at approximate speeds of 180 MPH. It pulverizes everything it comes in contact with, releasing air clouds of dust, dirt and contaminants into the air we breathe:  contaminants like mould, bird and rodent feces, fungal spores, insect eggs, pollen, and toxic chemicals from lawns and gardens…all right up into our noses!

3. Danger to workers: Not only can the force of wind from the blower throw rocks at cars and people, workers are not always well protected from the hazards of using this equipment. But ironically, workers themselves strongly favour using them. Perhaps a bit of manhood symbolism is at play here…or maybe your garden variety gorillas are just too damn lazy to use those archaic things known as brooms and rakes!!!FHQJfVigUmmAANu-556x313-noPad

4. Poppycock: Leaf blowers have been banned in many communities throughout the United States and Canada. There are ongoing online petitions nationwide to expand the ban of these ridiculously annoying devices. But lawn and garden companies continue to fight back hard, citing efficiencies as the main point of reason…clean-up will take more time with rakes and brooms and therefore, more expensive to the user etc. Can failure to manage leaves with leaf-blowers mean unattractive lawns, falling home prices and perhaps the end of civilization as we know it? Sheep dung! I have watched the leaf-blower operator outside my condo numerous times, as he chases a single leaf back and forth across the parking lot in an effort to blow it into a sewer grate or back into the garden! How can that be more efficient than bending over to pick the blasted thing up or sweeping it into a bag?

5. Big money: The proliferation of leaf-blowers has more to do with marketing than efficiency. They are cheap to produce, priced to sell and aggressively marketed. This device was originally invented in the late 1950’s for use as an agricultural crop duster. From there it evolved into a leaf clean-up tool in the fall, to the current use – the ubiquitous summer weapon attacking our summer peace and quietude. The real function of leaf blowers is to line the pockets of the corporations that make them. For shame on them and all of us who buy them!

Final word: The humble rake and the much-forgotten broom offer so much more to the user than the mind-numbing noise of the leaf-blower. Rakes and brooms are quiet, more precise, far more tenacious – and help the operator keep fit by offering an excellent form of exercise while burning at least 50 calories per half hour. And as an effective peacekeeper, rakes and brooms would never think of blowing crap into your neighbour’s’ yard!

Long live rakes and brooms! Long live a peaceful summer!

I’ll see you between the lines.
Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

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For The Love of Clowns!

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closeup_color_clown_vector_154422Okay, listen up! As I sit here propped up by my funny bone, I’m thinking about clowns. Oh get a grip all you wackadoodle clown-hating people out there. I’m talking about the good old-fashioned kind of clowns; the big footed Bo Bo’s that made us laugh before they morphed into twisted freak shows.

Good clowns: Some people feel a cold wetness, like a leaky grave, when they think of clowns. But when I think of clowns, I remember the Ringling Circus clowns in baggy britches doing walkabouts in the hippodrome between acts, and making me giggle until cream soda gushed out of my nose. I think of the endearing pantomimes of Red Skelton’s tramp clown, ‘Freddie the Freeloader,’ who made my whole family laugh and cry with his brilliant TV performances. And I think of rushing home from school to watch Clarabell the Clown cause all kinds of horn-honking mischief on the Howdy Doody Show. Yes, I’m that old and those were the clowns of my generation.

Bad clowns: Okay, so maybe these ‘Joeys’ do have a gruesome past. Centuries ago, clowns were crude and often gruesome entertainment for adults, not meant for children. And we did have a few bad seeds over the ages that gave Chuckles a twisted rep. Unfortunately, we seem to remember those more than the many who made us laugh.

Freaky clowns: Sadly clowns around the world have been victimized by the movie industry, producing clown-hating psychological horrors like Stephen King’s ‘Pennywise Dancing Clown’ in IT and the mind-rotting antics of ‘Twisty the Clown’ in American Horror Story. After seeing these violent graphic images, they become recorded in our brains, and remain in a constant state of replay, replay, replay…making it difficult for many to separate fact from fiction.

Clown sickness: We even have a name for this irrational fear of clowns…coulrophobia! And while clown-fear is spreading at an alarming rate, thankfully it is not recognized as an official disorder. (No, you cannot take sick time from work!)

Send in the clowns: Early in my lifetime, clowns clomped around in exaggerated shoes and made us laugh as masters of slapstick and pure silliness. And even today, bullfighter clowns are the brave souls who risk life and butt to save rodeo riders from being stomped to death, by some angry snot-snorting bovine with his balls in a twist! And really…is there anything funnier than a gazillion clowns tumbling out of a small car? C’mon Coulrophobics…loosen up and admit the humour in that one.

Bravo! In my view you’ve simply got to be a great person to dress up like a clown, hidden behind all that tomfoolery, and simply want to make people laugh…not kill, maim or drop from the bedroom ceiling in the dead of night to slice you into bloody bite-sized chunks…but simply make you laugh.

Final word: Harry S. Truman once said, “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

But I’ll bet if a clown did it, it would crack you up and release you from the dark side.

Now don’t wait for a fresh turd to cross your path – come into the light and let a good old-fashioned clown make you snort cream soda out of your nose.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

 

Is Cursive Writing Obsolete?

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imagesCursive writing is dying and kids can’t sign their names.
This sentence hurts my heart. There is a strong school of thought that believes penmanship is an obsolete skill that kids will never need.

How did we let this happen? For some time now, most schools in North America no longer teach cursive writing as part of the school curriculum. Rather, basic printing and typing skills are favoured instead. Now I realize we live in a digital age and computer passwords have become our identities for accessing personal data. But unlike signatures, which are unique to each individual with their loops, swirls and dots – passwords can be hacked, duplicated and identities stolen.

It’s not enough: I know there is only so much teaching time in a classroom. And students need to learn new skills and become proficient with computers, a much-needed tool in today’s learning environment. But there is a real world outside of the classroom, and there are still many situations where people of all ages need to sign (not print) their names, hopefully not with an X. In my view, the very basic form of writing in any civilized society should still be a core learning for every child.

The nuts and bolts of it: How will this generation sign passports, bank documents, last will and testaments, or personal legal documents? How will they write a cheque or read a letter from their grandparents? How will they write Christmas Cards, or is this obsolete now too? Will they ever need to write a letter of condolences or congratulations to a dear friend? In some of life’s circumstances, a printed note or text message just doesn’t do the trick. Are we relying on computers, retinal scans, fingerprint technology and other digital identifiers to totally replace our individuality as flesh and blood human beings?

Talk to the hand: My mother had beautiful penmanship. And I’m proud to say, I have developed a nice writing style over the years, similar to hers. When I sit down to begin a new book project, I always write my initial thoughts by hand. There is a strong connection between the pen in my hand and the creative process in my brain, and I don’t move to the keyboard until this connection has been fully explored.

It’s important: For children, learning cursive writing not only stimulates the brain and helps to develop fine motor skills – it gives them back that uniqueness that is so easy to lose in the ubiquitous world of computers. So let’s get back to basics here and do what we can to encourage those in the educational system to bring cursive writing back into our children’s classrooms.

Double dog dare: And to all those who say…it’s a waste of time, it’s obsolete, they’ll never use it…I challenge you to try not using your signature (or cursive writing of any kind) at home and at work for at least one full month…and get back to me on that!

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See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Check out my books at www.pressheretostartpublishing.com

Why?

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question-mark-face1Ordinarily, I am quite content to seek out the solitude of my own company. But recently, I’ve had a bit too much quality time with myself…and frankly, I found that I am quite lacking in the answers to many of life’s complex questions.

They say when you’re drowning, your life flashes before your eyes. Well, I’m happy to report this did not happen to me. But in my extended state of reflection and solitude, many burning questions flashed relentlessly before said eyes, and I was reminded of how little I knew about the many ordinaries of life.

My Top 20 Burning Questions:

1. Why do grandchildren and grandparents pass each other in opposite vertical directions so quickly?

2. Why does life bitch-slap you awake, just when you doze off snuggled in the comforts of old age?

3. Why is it always the patient’s fault when doctors make a mistake?

4. Why are all nurses not angels of mercy? Have mercy!

5. Why do men put fruit and veggies encased in sweaty plastic bags, directly  into the refrigerator?

6. Why do men put beer or yogurt encased in cardboard boxes, directly into the refrigerator?

7. Why, when I’m not well, do I look out the window and think everyone has a life but me?

8. Why are big honking boobs supposed to be so spectacular?

9. Why does my oldest besty Marjorie never email me from BC?

10. Why do socks in my sandals feel so flippin’ good and look so freakin’ bad?

11. Why does time go like stink when I’m well, then hang around like a bad smell when I’m sick?

12. Why do I insist that my toilet paper roll be placed in the “over” position and not the “under” position?

13. Why, if some words in the English language are considered bad, did we invent them in the first place?

14. Why are simple blue jeans not allowed in some places, but bad-ass-red or trailer-trash-white jeans are?

15. Why can geese poop their brains out in the park and we can’t kick their feathered arses outta there?

16. Why can’t parents get it right by being grandparents first?

17. Why can’t I find out how much wood a woodchuck would chuck, if a woodchuck really could chuck wood?

18. Why did I get cancer?

19. Why do I float effortlessly in the pool, but my daughter and granddaughter sink to the bottom like mafia snitches?

20. Why do so many people hate nature’s beautiful dandelions?

Help!! Does anyone out there know WHY?     

See you between the lines

Pat Skene

 

Bully for me…and for you!

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(Portrait of a Bully)

Fob Ford, scaring the crap


 

Rant du jour: Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Sadly they’re in our lives to stay, because there will always be damaged human beings and egos that need constant feeding on the entrails of a kinder gentler folk.

Big and bold; Some bullies are larger than life, like Toronto’s jackass mayor, Rob Ford (ROFO) and his dumb ass brother, Doug (DOFO.) You might get the idea that I don’t care for Toronto’s mayor…I tried hard to be subtle.

Vicious in black: Some bullies come in tiny packages, like Sister Alicia, the 4 foot 8″ nun in a black and white habit who tormented students daily in the girl’s school I attended a half a century ago. Bullies like this feast like gluttons on the intimidation and fear they create in our lives.

Unbridled ubiquity: During my life, I have met threatening and abusive doctors, nurses who ran their own domain of terror, Nazi receptionists, barking-mad grade school teachers, obnoxious waiters, engineers with explosive egos, pit-bull lawyers, alcoholic bosses, and on and on and on…you get the picture. Bullies come in a variety of disguises in all professions. Sadly, we meet them on a daily basis.

Badge of honour: After surviving decades as a female-executive in the male dominated war-zone of banking where testosterone saturates the boardroom, I developed a wonderful life-saving condition called BBS…or to the lay person, “Bully Block Syndrome.” This condition took years to develop and has now left me immune to the slings, arrows and emotional tactics of any bullies I now meet in my life. In short, they can’t hurt me anymore. I don’t fear them and as an added advantage of this condition, I can smell a bully at a hundred paces.

Dangerous liaisons: Bullies have different modus operandi. Most of us vividly remember the bullies who taunted us in the schoolyard with hard knuckle punches to the nose and even harder verbal punches to our feelings. But bullies aren’t always an overt threat, especially as they age. Young bullies often grow up to be professional bullies, where they work covertly in stealth mode and become even more cunning and more dangerous.

Bully spotting: Some bullies merely stand in a confrontational pose with fists clenched and a hard stare (like ROFO), daring anyone to challenge them. Others use their positions of influence to bark orders at underlings and leave no room for being questioned (like ROFO). Some intimidate and threaten their long-suffering wives into submission (like ROFO.) Many avoid sharing knowledge, in an effort to overpower and keep others dependent on them with a tight grip on their control, (ROFO has no knowledge of anything). Some take the coward’s route behind the anonymity of the computer through cyber-bullying, (ROFO doesn’t know what a computer is). And still others take every opportunity to treat you as a friend, while they secretly discredit you behind your back. (ROFO has no friends.)  These are all the acts of a despicable bully.

Prime targets: While children are thankfully being taught all about dealing with bullies in school…you know what? As a senior, we are just as vulnerable to bullying, because they… the grown-up professional bullies…think we won’t fight back. We’re much too weak , too stupid, too old.

Pushing back: Well they’re wrong! We all need to stand up, face them nose-to-nose and hold our ground.  And we can’t be shy about it. Call it what it is. We’ve lived long enough not to have to put up with that crap anymore.

Speak out: So the next time you snag a bully in your bully-radar, tell them exactly what you think of them! You’ve earned the right! And so have I. And as a final word…if you live in Toronto, for everything that’s holy…don’t even think of voting for another “FORD MORE” years of  that red-faced  buffoon below!

See you between the lines…Pat Skene



Rob Ford red face

Ford ford finger

It’s Spring Dammit!

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Rant Du Jour: Okay, I’m just as sick as the rest of you about this winter thing. And yes, I’m watching with my nose pressed    against the glass for even the slightest sign of spring. But today I made a big decision. Screw it! As far as I’m concerned, the calendar says it’s spring…so it’s spring!

Looking back: Some of it was fun while it lasted. I have to admit that watching marathon episodes of Breaking Bad, while chowing down on ice cream and cheesy nachos was a decadent winter indulgence. And furthermore, I enjoyed it guilt-free because of the raging blizzard outside. Nowhere to go, nothing to do and even if there was, can’t do it anyway in weather like this. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now what? So it’s time to put away the stew pots, the pizza pans, the bread maker and all things that scream comfort food. It’s time to get off to the grocery store and load up on fruits and vegetables before scurvy sets in. If you’ve already lost a tooth – I recommend an immediate infusion of lemon-gin and tonic.

Growing pains: And that leads me to our great Canadian winter waistlines! Our bodies are our biggest asset…but bigger doesn’t always mean better, even in these cold Canucky temps. Size does matter, regardless of what anyone tells you. We need to drop our tracky bottoms with those ever-expanding elastic waistbands, and slide into a pair of last summer’s pants to assess the damage. Reality sucks!

Mixed messages: Now if you’re like me and still have your Christmas arrangements outside…don’t even consider putting a few painted eggs in with the holiday ornaments to make nice with the Easter bunny. Throw them out! And do it this week or the evil winter witch will camp out at your door and invite all her witchy winter friends to party on. It’s still too cold to enjoy our beloved tulips and daffodils out there, so put them in the window to welcome the spring-angels of mercy. God help us all.

Get out! And finally – for all that’s holy – let’s get off our assets and walk in the fresh spring air, regardless of the temperature. And if you’ve still got snow, pretend it’s a beautiful white sandy beach. We’ve all closed our eyes and thought of England at some point in our lives. Well it’s time to exercise that skill again…we just need to change the thinking location to the Bahamas. All those butt-busting exercises we’ve been avoiding because…blah, blah, blah…are no longer valid. Time to shake and bake our booties!

So? It’s spring! Winter is over and that’s all there is to it! Now let’s get out there and enjoy it, dammit!

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

 

 

 

Gold Finger Salute Awards!

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GOLDFINGER-LOGO-web

Hey, I don’t mean to be a brute,
With my new BOOMERRANTZ salute,
But Nominees had best beware,
Now read my blog-post if you dare…

Enough already! I can’t turn on the television these days, without bearing witness to yet another ubiquitous award celebration for the rich and famous. Night after night during the months of January and February, we’re seduced by the ornamental glitz of shameless egoism, showered on the synthetic world of the stage and screen elite.

Get real people! I think it’s time for ‘we the people’ to hand out some awards of our own. When we use our collective powers to select individuals for awards, perhaps more of us could maximize the potential of these impressive rituals of public display for a higher and greater good.

That’s it! Let’s use our people’s choice license to charter a new category of awards that would express opinions and experiences from our not-so-glitzy everyday real life; experiences that are not always pleasant and sometimes deserving of a Gold Finger Salute!

Fertile ground: These new awards could be used to acknowledge the weight of unwanted residue often left in our lives by people in our community, our government, professionals in any field – and yes, even the entertainment industry. Anything that puts rantz in our pantz is fair game.

Let’s get the ball rolling: Here are a few categories that I hope will generate some passionate nominations from the silent reservoir of thoughts and experiences, that pick-pick-pick away at us…everyday.

Categories open for my “Gold Finger Salute” Award nominations:

1. M.V.P Award– Best performance by a Medical Doctor who finds the ‘Most Vulnerable Patient’ and prescribes the largest number of pills in the shortest appointment time, without the distraction of actually listening to the patient or making eye contact.

2. GRUBBY FINGERS Award – The Corporate CEO with the dirtiest hands and the coldest heart who cooks the hottest books in the corporate kitchen, while leaving his hungry investors boiling with a bad taste in their bank accounts.

3. WINNING WARLOCK Award – The surviving Celebrity who melts down in millions of living rooms, while drinking tiger blood and proclaiming himself to be a wild thing – stronger than two and a half men.

4. GOTCHA Award– The most elusive and convincing General Contractor honed in the artful techniques of creeping scope, making the most money over contractual budget on any one renovation.

5. TRIPLE M Award– The Lawyer or Law Firm who can demonstrate the ‘Most Money Milked’ from any one client on any legal action, for the longest period of time, without ever actually bringing the case to a close.

6. JUMPING JELLYFISH Award – The cruise Ship Captain who manages to cause a shipwreck, jump into the first lifeboat to shore and abandon his 4,234 passengers. All the while singing his favourite rap song, “Imma Be Imma Be…a Rat From a Sinking Ship.”

7. MATING RITUAL Award– The Corporate Banker who can exhibit the deepest levels of profit-envy, during a courting dance with an equally greedy partner. The best dance and musical combos for this category include; the Quickstep for “Size Does Matter,” the Hustle for “Bank-Bail-Out Boogie” and the Cha Cha Cha for “Sub-Prime Fiasco”.

8. GRINCH’S CHOICE Award – A multiple award to all School Administrators who cancel Christmas concerts due to misguided apprehensions, and replace said performances with bland non-Christian events where nobody gives a damn.

9. BOTTOM FEEDER Award– The Television Reality Show with the most voracious appetite, exploiting the highest number of living organisms from the lowest point on the food chain for public display and humiliation.

10. GREAT PRIMA DONALD Award – The Celebrity Businessman who manages to Trump all his opponents, by building the highest number of skyscrapers, while exhibiting the lowest degree of humility – and simultaneously sporting the worst comb-over in America.

11. SOFT SHOE SHUFFLE Award – The Elected Official with the biggest smile who makes the most provocative empty promises for the longest period of time, while side-stepping controversy and dancing non-stop to that popular politician’s ditty called, ‘The Power, Perks and Pensions Polka.’

12. BARKENPOOP Award – A multiple award to all deserving Pet Owners who miraculously believe that a cacophony of barking canines is music to a neighbor’s ears, and that the muck left behind by their dogs and cats running amok on other people’s properties is a welcome bit of fertilizer.

13. NINCOMPOOP Award – Any trusting Traveller in a male or female role, who – while of sound mind – chooses a Mexican vacation destination and naively expects to return alive – or minimally – with their bowels intact.

14. A-Hole ROFO Award – The mayor of any major city who smokes the most crack and tells the most lies, while in and out of any number of drunken stupors, and drags his long suffering wife in front of the nation’s television sets, to witness his declaration of eating preferences.

15. A-Hole DOFO Award – To the loudest-mouthed male sibling of any mayor of a major city, who supports his crack-smoking idiot of a brother.

Final word: While this list is just a drop in that big bucket of tarnished gold fingers, our collective salute to deserving nominees in these selected categories could put a whole new polish on the all-powerful-award-granting rituals. I’m sure you will all have many very personal choices to add to this not-so-distinguished collection. Good luck with your nominations and may the biggest losers win!

Although my carpet isn’t red,
And my awards are in my head,
To Nominees I say, “Salute!”
But now I really have to scoot…

Pat Skene
See you between the lines…