Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Life in Orangeville: Median Wars

Life in a small, conservative town is not just stupefyingly dull, it can also be, at times, dully entertaining.

A chief amusement is reading the two local papers: 'The Banner', and the more illustrious and historied: 'Orangeville Citizen'.

The Citizen, being the "olde" paper shares with readers, some interesting news items from years past. Reviewing these stories, one is led to conclude that, during the turn of the century, many, many farmers in Dufferin County regularly axed their family members to death.

Coming in second (as the next most frequent crime) were offences in which a farmer would lay in wait along a country lane and, axe to death, someone with whom he'd argued about land.

Such a history of skilled axemanship chills one at times; particularly when I remembered that most of the good townsfolk herein are descended from those same farmers, excepting of course, those families wherein the entire kin-group had met a bloody demise.

Living here, one can see how the smallest 'offence' might well have led a citizen to abandon Christian principles and walk out to the woodpile to settle matters...

This choleric consitution is still shared, today, by many Dufferonians; particulary those who write letters to the editor. Case in point is the matter of the "median".

Sometime last year, town council decided to raise money to pull up the middle of the main drag and install a "median" which would have all sorts of flowers, statues, fountains etc...in hopes of beautifying the town and bringing in the golden goose of all small towns: more tourists.

However, the 'median' has torn this small hamlet apart.

Firstly, citizens were outraged that the Santa Claus Parade would have to parade only down one half of the main drag and NOT the whole street. Never mind that the "parade" consists, for the most part, of small children, without any semblance of costume, sitting in someone's mud splattered pick-up truck upon which a few streamers have been taped; no, it is an outrage that such a hallowed tradition could be sullied by the 'median'.

Next came the general paranoia that seniors (who seem to be the ones who write these incessant letters) would die en masse of untreated coronaries and strokes, because emergency vehicles would be trapped in traffic jams of apocalyptic proportions, unable to u-turn etc...and all because of the 'median'.

The most recent slate of letters appear to have been drafted when a group of cantankerous seniors got together and decided to drop acid: these letters are just plain weird.

Someone trying to be sarcastic, one supposes, droned on and on about how everyone should take a giant flower pot from their garage and stick it in the middle of the road in front of their home so that traffic would be impeded (and emergency vehicles unable to u-turn to treat the many stroke and coronary victims) just to make the town look nice.

Another writer started raving about how terrible the town's dead ancestors would feel looking at the 'median' and what it had wrought for the downtown...His letter would make any shopowner feel, frankly, cursed by his choice of location.

I could only pray that our writer wasn't referring to the town's axe happy ancestors, hoping fervantly, that in addition to experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, the seniors in question had not become adept in necromancy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Five People You Might Meet in Heaven and What has Really Ticked Them Off Today


1) My Dogs

As much as I love my little darlings, I begin to see the humour in the cruel joke my ex's parents played upon her when they nixed all pets including any aquarium-type creature, on the basis that they were not only sensitive to mammals, but were also "allergic to fish".

Case in point:

Awoken at 6:25 am with Catherine in a fit screaming for my assistance as Findley, one of our dogs, apparently had "something really gross!!!" in his mouth and was refusing to drop whatever it was.

Note special points for fact that said dog was chomping on gross 'thing' nestled between our heads in our bed when Catherine realized something was 'wrong'.

I had to jump up, 3/4's asleep and stumble to the hall, hoping that Catherine had took to a hysterical fit [instead of bed] (no doubt eventually requiring a "rest cure" in sanitorium) and had mistaken ripped bits of sofa foam in the dog's mouth for something truly awful.

I calmly walked to the dog and peered into his maw sans much needed spectacles: I see only a quite long tail and two very tiny, little, but unmistakeable back mouse feet sticking out of said mouth.

Dog continues to chomp on said 'dead'; masticating it into a uniform spongey consistency. He also refuses to give up the goods, despite my blearly eyed bribes of some piece of 'gross' steak bone I happen to fish out of the freezer.

Finally wresting 'mush mouse' from said dog's mouth, it is left up to me to walk downstairs, still asleep and still half naked, and to fling the damn corpse, swaddled in a Sobey's plastic bag, out the front door to beside the garbage bin.

So far it was only 6:37 am and I need a rest cure in a sanitorium...

ii) What Stephen Harper Looks Like

Forget critiquing his stupid, fascistic politics; go straight for the throat and use the Grade 6 girl approach: Make Fun of his Appearance.

a) Harper Hair

What is it with this guy? He is the only man I have ever seen who can take a full, natural head of hair and yet style it in such a way as to create the impression that he is wearing a really bad toupee or has undergone a less than stellar plug job at the "Hair Club for Men".

Note hair also appears to be made out of false, strange "synthetic" material; colour: nylon salt and pepper;

In fact he might even be said to have the hair style of a plastic "action figure" of sorts.

Recently though, he has also altered his hair by clipping it shorter and shorter moving incrementally to an odd brush cut look. This leads me to conclude he is attempting to emulate the hair of Nixon's 'son of a bitch', H.R. Halderman.

b) Harper Suits and Glasses

Now the man clearly has money; thus he must purchase expensive blue suits, all of which are the exact colour of my 1970s Girl Guide uniform, but nonetheless however somehow come out, looking really, really cheap.

To make matters worse, he has taken to wearing glasses in either some strange attempt to a) make him look more "Prime Ministerial" or b) intellectual; kinda like when Homer J. Simpson puts on his "thinking glasses"

c) Strange Eyes and Face

Don't you just hate those weird, beady little eyes that kind of gleam back at you? I am taken to thinking of the first Star Trek episode aired on NBC, in which Kirk's friend gets zapped by a force field at the edge of the universe; develops weird reflective glowey eyes and becomes a power hungry pathological monster: Just like Stephen Harper; but unfortunately the wonderful actess Sally Kellerman, unlike in Star Trek, is nowhere to be found by Harper's side!

Altogether I can only conclude that when Harper finishes his day, he retires to his office and unzips his "human skin suit" revealing, underneath, a large alien cockroach creature that only Dr. Who can vanquish.

d) Minister of Justice

And to make matters worse, what's with his cabinet? Peter McKay suffers from a similar beady eye problem and Vic Toews (personal motto: "Damn Straight! The government most certainly does have a place in the bedrooms of the nation!") whose sole purpose it seems is to return us to the 1950s, looks uncanningly like the Daily Bugle's editor, Jonah Jamieson.

I suspect Vic's next bill will involve legislating someone or something to get "that masked menace off our streets!"