Monday, December 12, 2016



American TV commercials for prescription drugs are interesting and terrifying. FDA regulations demand when a named product is touted for a certain condition it must include  ALL possible side effects.

I think this is a good thing. For Americans. Because their pharmaceutical industry is HUGE. 

I don't mean to belittle those drug companies as what I'm sure they are doing is aimed at helping people. [And of course, making lots of money.]

But that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with the subject.

These drugs invariably have names that include an X, Y or Z and may go something like this:

ZYGGYX can alleviate that aggravating pain in the neck you get from coworkers, neighbours, relatives, collection agencies, the late pizza delivery guy, your dog pooping on the kitchen floor.

WARNING: possible side effects include dizziness, sobriety, sleepiness, awareness, blurry vision, 20/20 vision, depression, happiness, hirsuteness, baldness, stupidity, intelligence.

DO NOT TAKE: if you have a heartbeat or no heartbeat, or, if a woman, if you have zero or more children, or plan to  have children at a future time. If you are a man, simply do not take. Do not even open a bottle. Best not to watch the commercial.

Not to be taken by anyone under or over 50. Not to be administered to animals, fish, or vegetables.

Oh, and do not operate machinery. Or drive.

I think that's a pretty thorough list.  

Wouldn't it be nice to have medicine that doesn't cause any side effects at all?

Other commercials:

There are those where sound is enough. You really don't need the visuals.

"Oh Steve, oh Steve, oh Steve..."  Makes me smile. What's it for again? Or that resonant truck-driver-he-man-cowboy voice, "Guts, Glory, Ram." No mistaking that product.

Other commercials have no voice, don't need a voice, but they're easy on the eyes. Matthew McConaughey and those Lincoln commercials. I can picture him saying, "Alright alright alright."

There is also a commercial that catches the attention of children and pets.

In the family room, the two year old child was lining up little cars [her latest fascination] and the dog was  chewing on a doggy toothbrush. Both ignored the TV.

Then a commercial came on, a take-out coffee cup with sexy legs and long eyelashes dancing the tango with a moustachioed pink doughnut. Child and dog both popped to attention and watched. I wondered what was going through their minds at the time.

The commentary  spoken by a voice with a bad accent announced: "Bad breath isn't sexy, fresh breath is." Didn't mean anything to either of them.

TV series:

Murdoch Mysteries – CBC

This was Mom's favourite show. It premiered in 2008 and she watched it faithfully every time it was on. I never watched myself but thought I'd now give it a try. Reruns were on almost continually and I probably could've started  with the 2008 season. But marathon watching  more than 150 one-hour episodes seemed a little daunting, so I began with 2013. [still working my way through early 2016].

Setting is Toronto at the turn of the 19th century. Think Bones meets CSI in 1900. Detective Murdoch is a bit stiff and straightlaced, but has an impressive, inventive mind. His wife, medical examiner Dr. Julia Ogden is more free-spirited and feminist, and also impressive.

The show is well-made, true to its times, involving real history of the day. It also brings in guest characters who lived then: Houdini, Thomas Edison, young Winston Churchill, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilfrid Laurier....

Tackling serious subjects and usually adding comic touches, the show is enjoyable to watch.


The Hateful Eight

written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

[oh, oh, I still haven't gotten over Reservoir Dogs]

Yes, it's a vile, violent movie, with an excess of blood and killing, and filled with, yeah, hateful characters.

Starts pretty tame, characters are quite talky, but I soon felt there was something deeper going on. Most of the hateful, save two or three, were not who they said they were. And after watching more killings, what seemed hundreds of gallons of blood, I realized this was more comedy than tragedy. A parody, even farce.

I summarize it this way: two bounty hunters, a badass female prisoner, a possible sheriff, a Mexican, an Englishman, an old Civil War general, a couple of gunslingers –  are holed up in a bar during a nasty blizzard. All distrust and hate each other. And then there is a twist to the story…

In the end I concluded it was brilliant.

Earworm of the day: protest song from 1969. I think America needs another Woodstock.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

John and Cat's Excellent Adventure

Maybe yesterday was Friday the 13th in disguise.

Part One:

We had supper at IHOP and were leaving to go home.
It was cold out, so  John started the van, got the heater going.
Locked me into my spot, put my seatbelt on, closed the door.

By the time he walked around to his door, the automatic locks kicked in.
He did not have an extra key so he couldn't get in, I was strapped in so tight I could not reach the unlock button, the handle to open the door, or even the tab to unroll the window.

He called BCAA.
It would take 15 or more minutes to get help.
Called our son who said he'd get there fast as he could – he had a little one to bundle up.
I was getting warmer inside, John was getting colder outside.

I was getting very hot. [couldn't reach the controls.]
He was looking for a rock to break the window.
Luckily son arrived with the extra key and saved us.

Lesson learned – never start your vehicle unless you have an extra key or leave something open, don't strap the passenger in until ready to go.

Part Two: [mostly John's adventure]

I was safe at home and John had gone to visit some friends. I got a phone call about 10.
Call display showed, "Incoming Call."
Thinking it was a telemarketer, I picked up, ready to hang up again.

But it was a Constable from the Burnaby RCMP. She asked to speak to John.
Now any late-night call from the RCMP could be either a hoax or bad news.
I told her he wasn't home yet, what was this about?
"He was involved in an accident earlier. Just want to talk to him."

After calling him to find out what was happening, he said to give her his cell number.
When he got home he told me the story of his "adventure."

He was driving to the city on a two lane highway, everyone going about 70. It expanded to three lanes. Cars in each lane, big semi in the slow lane.
He was in the middle lane, traffic ahead traffic behind, traffic on each side.

The car in the fast lane veered into his lane, almost colliding. He veered into the slow lane, the semi veered to the shoulder.

The car that tarted this came to a stop. John stopped too, walked to the driver's side, knocked on the window. Girl of about 18 or 19 driving. Lighted cell phone on the seat beside her.
He told her she almost killed, not only herself, but at least six other people. Was she on her cell at the time, is that why it happened?

She told him to f--- off, gave him the finger, drove off.
He made a note of her license plate, and continued on his way.

At one point he was ahead of her, and she in turn got his license number, for she lodged a complaint with the RCMP that this was a road rage incident. Hence the call from the Constable.

John explained to the Constable what happened, the driver's age, the cell phone, etc. Constable was surprised as the complaint had come from a woman in her 50s. She was going to look into it.

We figured the girl was driving her mother's car, probably got scared that she was in trouble, so told her mother about this bad old guy yelling at her, possibly threatening her, who knows what she said. So mother decided to take care of it.

If the girl is driving around town like a maniac, mother fixing things is not helpful.
I hope we hear the outcome of this incident.

Thank goodness Friday the 18th is over!


I heard this the other day. Oh the good old bad days...



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Brain scan

Good news! I read that as we get older and have those senior moments, brain farts, whatever you want to call the blank space that sometimes follows the questions, "do you remember..." or "who's sang..." we should not jump to the conclusion that senility is around the corner.

According to the great Dr Oz, the older we get the more information our brain has to absorb. This means our brain is crammed with memories, facts, trivia, etc. and it simply takes longer to sort through and fetch the answer. This is why we wake up in the middle of the night with the answer to, "where did I leave my keys?"

This got us talking.  Brains should come equipped with a scanner. Better yet – a search engine. We could Google the question and within seconds answers will pop up. Why, we could be a living smart phone!

There would be limitless applications. I'm sure Apple is working on this right now. 

I can't wait

– Cat

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Runaway Spider

Last night, I saw a big spider [well not BIG big, but big enough] stroll across the bed.

I said to my husband, "Spider!"

He grabbed a Kleenex. I took my eye off the spider for just a second and the darn thing jumped off the bed. We looked for him/her but he/she had disappeared.

When it comes to tracking invasive insects, my husband is not one to throw in the towel, or Kleenex in this case. He leaves no stone, or piece of furniture, unturned until he catches his quarry.

Aha! He spotted it, pounced, and mushed it. The spider  had been nearly invisible, sitting on top of a dark blue cloth. Neat camouflage. Smart spider. [Must've been a she.] 

But then, it just sat there, probably eyes closed, legs hiding its head. [I was now convinced it was a he.]

No matter. RIP little spider. [He was no longer big after being squished.]

We knew from previous encounters with spiders that they have a keen sense of hearing. This one had heard me call his name, that's why he went running, hoping to hide from the... humans? Big people? We probably looked like King Kong to him.

Well, how would he know what to call us? He wouldn't even know that he was a spider. That's our name for him. In his tiny little mind maybe he thought he was a god, creating fancy intricate webs to snare lesser creatures and gobble them up.

All we humans can do is spin fancy webs in our minds. 

And once in a while humans do something magical. [Could've done without the advertising, though.]


-- Cat

Saturday, April 30, 2016


From the ridiculous to the sublime---

Who says channel surfing doesn't stretch the muscles? Well, the mind muscles anyway.

Looking for a movie the other night I happened upon one titled  Cooties.

I heard that word used in various contexts over the years. Nothing good. I read the movie details and thought, "Yikes!"

Children at an elementary school are infected with cooties and become flesh-eating zombies.

I didn't watch the movie as I've outgrown zombie flicks. But I looked for a trailer:


As I said, "Yikes."

And sometimes there is nothing on. Or so it would seem.

By chance we started watching a movie titled Minuscule: Valley of Lost Ants
Cute story, the ants are animated, the setting is real, the plight of the ants is involving.
So involving we sat there and watched it till after three in the morning. Yes, we could've recorded it for later viewing, but sometimes you just need to see how the story ends. Now, instead of later. 

And now for a couple of poignant, lovely music videos.
I love the worldwide inclusion of this first one:

And this one written in 1971. Thirty-five years ago! Has anything changed since then?



Friday, April 15, 2016

Small silliness

Thought of the day-------

Dwarfs who didn't make the cut:

Slimy, Sleazy, Sloppy, Scuzzy, Screwy, Stinky and Dreck

– Cat  [bowing]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Wintergatan – (English: "The Milky Way") is a Swedish folktronica band.

Folktronica,  - a blend between folk music and electronica. 

Wintergatan - Marble Machine (music instrument using 2000 marbles)



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Poop bank

I've heard of blood banks, sperm banks, eye banks... but poop banks?

A small article in a small newspaper caught my attention. After reading it, I thought it might be a hoax. [Kind of like a load of bullshit]

But I googled it and found enough information to believe it's true.

The newspaper article stated poop banks were begun in the Netherlands to combat the serious and hard to fight infection c.difficile, usually contracted when the patient has undergone strong doses of antibiotics. [The antibiotics muck up the intestinal flora, resulting in severe diarrhea.]

A cure is a direct transplant of healthy feces. Hence the need for a poop bank.

Yeah, this is a crappy subject, and it raises all kinds of interesting questions. Which I won't go into right now.

Other countries, including Canada, have begun their own poop banks. Of course, in America donors get paid.[No comment except I bet their poop banks are flourishing.] And there they are called stool banks.

It won't be long before poop, stool, and feces are no longer associated with the name of these banks. I mean, where is the dignity?

And then we can reserve the words poop, crap, and shit to the banks that store [and steal] our money.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Clock Radio – A Saga

Who would've thought a clock radio could cause such problems?

Some background: we've been using the same clock radio for about 30+ years. Worked fine for most of its life. Old-fashioned in its simplicity. A round dial for the volume, a round dial to find the station. Buttons for setting the time and setting the alarm. Pull a small tab forward and you're loaded for bear (in a manner of speaking). When the alarm goes off hit the stop button or, more often, the snooze.

Five or so years ago the clock radio began showing signs of its age. It still worked, but sometimes to get sound instead of static we had to lift one end and drop it, I guess to shake up the internals. Worked like that for a couple of years.

But as time zipped on, we felt  we should get a new clock radio. So we did. Fell for the flash and hype – this one shone the time on the ceiling.

Huh. Never did get that feature to work. The clock was user-unfriendly, difficult to set up. For us it simply did not work.

So, back to old lift and drop. It worked for about another year. Then it got crabby. Like an old woman, my husband said. Hah. More like an old geezer, I said.

After a two day power outage, there were times we couldn't set the time. Even after dropping it several times. The clock worked, the radio worked, although a bit staticky, the alarm worked. Just couldn't set the proper time.

So, we bought another new one. Sleek, stylish, sounded great. It even allowed you to set two alarms. Now this might be nice for some people. But we only wanted one alarm. And though it worked to wake us up at the time we wanted, it also, twelve hours later, alarmed us again. Not fine, even if we were home and could turn it off. Definitely not fine if nobody was home.

We tried to turn the second alarm feature off. The instructions were in six languages, and something must've been lost in translation because we could not figure out how to fix the problem.

Back to the crabby geezer. I guess after a rest he was ready for a last hurrah. Worked for a time, but very grouchy. And then finally it retired.

We bought another one. This one was surely made by aliens on another planet. To get anything to work we had to hold down one unmarked button and at the same time punch another unmarked one until we came to the required setting. None of the buttons stated what they were for – time, alarm, volume, etc. We had to refer to the picture and the instructions to discover what was what.

Well, that was a bust, and we no longer had crabby geezer to revive.

So I hunted for a simple clock radio, one that you don't need a degree in technology to use. And I found the exact one that I wanted at Amazon. A nice little box, control buttons on top, easy to set, nice big numbers to brighten or dim. Sounded great, worked great.


We usually don't set the alarm unless we need it to get up at a certain time. Well last night was just such a time. We needed to set it to get up early this morning. But – the big bright numbers were gone, the face was completely blank.  Plugging it in and out did start it. Neither did pushing all the buttons.

What on earth? Broken already. What a piece of crap!

We resorted to reading the instructions. And there was the answer. The clock is equipped with a backup battery that keeps the time settings if the power goes out. However, if the power is out and the battery goes dead, the clock face vanishes. A four day power outage
a few weeks ago caused the damage. Not helped by a power outlet that had kicked out.

Trying to find the battery was an adventure. It was tucked in to a little hole underneath a tab. The battery had to be wiggled out of the hole.

We needed another battery. Not one of those AA or AAA. Noooo. One of those that's the size of a quarter and probably costs twenty-five dollars.

No time today to get it, so without a clock radio again.

And now that I think of it, why can't we just use a radio-less clock? It's not like we sit there and listen to music. At the most three minutes, between snooze and turning it off.

Thinking more about it, I want to get one of those old-time windup alarms. The kind with the round face and an old-fashioned dial clock, bells on top, legs on the bottom. The kind with no lights, no music, no buzzer, no degree needed to use. Set the time and the alarm, wind it up. Loud shrill ring. No snooze button. Just wake up.

Update: we now have an old-fashioned alarm as shown above. This is our backup.

– Cat