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When my son was a toddler, part of our bedtime routine involved choosing a letter of the alphabet and me weaving a story around that letter. The story had to be about some animal, bird or any living breathing species that started with the letter of the night. I tried to include some life lessons into each story. It was a superbly entertaining game trying to find species that matched the letter my son chose, and ensuring that somehow before I got to the end of a story, there was also a useful message. Years went by, and when much older, my son encouraged me to compile the stories into a book format. Thus was born Alphabet Animals. I will be publishing one story per week to this blog, starting with A. The complete book is available at Books and Company in Picton, or online thru Lulu Publishing and also thru Amazon. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them up! Walk tall, think proud, have fun and let imagination be your guide.

ADAM THE ANT

Adam was getting bored. He wondered why nobody ever listened to him? He had good ideas.

“So what if I’m small! That doesn’t mean I don’t have big ideas!” he muttered. “I’m tired of being called a little runt!”

But like it or not, he was the little runt. When he was born, all the other brown ants marveled at his tiny size. There were about 100 other baby ants born the same day he was, and not one was smaller than Adam. They all grew very quickly but for some reason, Adam hardly grew at all. When they played outside the anthill, never too far mind you because they knew that trouble was a short hop away if they could not scurry back into the anthill, Adam was always one or two steps behind everybody else. I mean giant steps, not ant steps. Adam had heard stories about the giants but never seen one. It was told that the ground shook whenever they were near. And they used monster machines that chopped up anything in their path. The one good thing those monster machines did, is harvest the grass so that it was easy for the ants to carry food back to the anthill. But the noise of these monster machines so shook the earth, that some of the ant elders found they would lose parts of their shells from the rattling and pounding. They would also lose their hearing, but that did not seem to bother the ants as they grew old. They would then rely more on their touch, and ant legs were very sensitive. These risks were overlooked, because the fresh grass they were able to stockpile after the giants rolled their machines around, made the ants so full and healthy that they eventually worked their days around the risks presented by the monster machines.

One day, when Adam and his buddies were playing outside the anthill, a kind of tag game where you could only use your back legs to tag somebody, Adam decided he had had enough of lagging behind the group. He was going to go on a hike and show them all! He’d go on a long journey (50 feet in giant measure, a massive distance in ant measure) and come back with stories that would finally convince everybody he was not a runt.

“Then they will respect me and treat me like the other kids and not like a baby” he shouted out!

So off he went, heading for the big forest. When he had got about five giant feet away, he turned to look back at the anthill. He could barely make out its shape. Only the tip was visible, poking out from the tall grass like some volcanic sand hill.

“Oh boy, I wonder if I should be doing this? What if I get lost? Maybe I won’t find my way back?”

These and many other questions swirled around inside his head; making him so dizzy he had to sit down.

“That’s all I needed, just a few minutes to collect my thoughts” he said. “I can do this. I know I can do this!” And off he set again.

He was in very high grass just by the edge of the forest, a place teeming with new sounds and sights. Big, blue butterflies twirled around in the sky above. And when he turned around to see where the anthill was he could not make out its shape any more. But he knew more or less where it was, so Adam felt confident about sitting in this wondrous new place and enjoying the beauty all around him. Huge trees towered over him, and far, far above in the high branches he could make out the shapes of birds. He knew that those were very dangerous to ants, and whenever they were around, he had been taught that ants were to find immediate shelter. A thicket covered Adam so he was safe from these flying feathered creatures.

An old green cricket went bounding by and nodded his head at the little ant. “You’re new to this area aren’t you kid?” asked the old cricket. “I live just on the other side of that big pear tree” pointed Adam. “Well you’re quite the brave big ant venturing so far from home” replied the cricket.

Adam smiled and waved as he passed by, feeling so much like a big boy. There he was, all alone and far from home, nobody to yell at him or tell him how tiny he was. Wait until he told everybody a big old cricket had even greeted him and called him a big ant!

It felt so good to be there, that Adam became so relaxed he fell asleep. He dreamed of piles of fresh green grass and ripe pears bursting with flavour. Adam must have been sleeping for a solid twenty minutes, which is a very long time in ant time, when a loud and clanky metallic noise jolted him awake. His eyes popped wide open, and all four feet tensed at once. He was jumping right off the ground. The horrible rumbling sound was coming closer and closer. There was only one thing that made such a loud racket. The monster machine! It was coming from near the anthill! “Oh no!” screamed Adam! Adam backed into the forest; he knew that big trees and thickets also offered the best protection when the monster machine was around. The noise was now so deafening that he covered his ears with all four legs and closed his eyes.

“What am I closing my eyes for?” he shouted. “I am a big ant!” And so he forced his eyes open. What he saw made his whole body shake with fear. A huge giant was stomping by, a mere few feet in front of the thicket. And pulling the giant along, was a monster machine spitting out grass and sticks like a machine gun! The force of the wind hurricane like; it made the shrubs sway back and forth. Adam felt very lucky indeed, to be sitting a few feet inside the forest. The thick tangle of shrubs stopped the spinning and shooting sticks from getting to him. When the noise had died to a little rumble, Adam knew he just had to get home. What would he find?

Adam sprinted along the edge of the forest as fast as he could, heading for the anthill. And when he got within a few feet of his home, he froze in his tracks. “Oh no! This cannot be!” cried Adam. Where before, the anthill had reached high above the grass like a sandy mountain, there was now a crater carved flat across the top! Hundreds upon hundreds of ants were scurrying about in all directions. There was the dreaded panic in the air! The monster machine had run directly over top of the anthill chopping off everything above the ground! Ants were crying. Ants were dying. Worse still, the monster machine was coming back! So Adam ran. He ran and ran and ran! He did not stop running until he was totally out of breath and his legs could not move further. Adam collapsed to the ground and passed out totally exhausted.

“Hey kid, what are you doing lying here in the middle of the field?” shouted a big black ant. Adam opened his eyes with a start, and jumped to his feet. “Who are you?” he said. “Question is, who are you?” replied the black ant. “My name is Adam,” responded Adam. “So Adam, what are you doing here by our anthill? And where is your family?” questioned the black ant. “They were killed when the big monster machine ran over our anthill” cried Adam.

But his voice only cracked a little as he spoke. He decided he was not going to show these black ants that he was scared. He had to be strong. There was nobody familiar to save him here, it was up to him. The black ant asked him which way his anthill was. When Adam looked around, he had no idea where he was. When he escaped from the monster machine, he had run so fast and for so long, that he was now at least 200 giant feet away from his old home. And even if he were to find it again, which was most unlikely, what was there left to find? By now the monster machine would have run over the anthill again, and anybody who had been alive when he returned from his expedition would have been scattered by the hurricane winds that blew from the machine. No, he was going to have to make it on his own.

“Well, listen kid. There’s no room for strangers here. And besides, you’re a brown ant. We’re all black!” said the black ant. “I don’t care if you’re purple ants” replied Adam. “I just need a place to rest for a while. Then I’ll be moving on”. This seemed to satisfy the black ants, and they told him to follow them to their hill.

When they were about to enter the main hole, a few younger black ants ran over to see what the bigger adults were bringing back.

“Hey, who’s the weird coloured guy?” asked the first young ant. “I’m not weird colour!” shouted back Adam “You’re the weird colour.”

That did not sit well with the young black ant, and he pushed Adam backwards. But the loss of his home and his solo journey had emboldened Adam. He pushed back, and he pushed hard. The young black ant went tumbling backwards and even knocked down one of his buddies as he fell over.

“Don’t push me around!” yelled Adam. “I’m not a runt and you can’t treat me like one.” The adult black ant that had asked Adam all the questions looked at the young black and said with just a hint of reproach, “I think you better get used to this guy. He might be around here for a while.” The black ant shrugged his shoulders as if to indicate that like it or not, they would find it difficult to rid themselves of this stubborn brown ant, at least in the short term. And with that, they all filed into the hole.

Adam spent the next few days resting and getting to know his new black friends, especially the one who had first pushed him. They became tight amigos and after about a week the young black approached Adam and said “Listen, Adam. I’ve asked my Dad and he says you can stay with us for as long as you want” “Do you want to? We’d like to have you with us.”

What a change of heart that was! Adam thought about it for only a split second and realized he could be very comfy here. It surely would be better than wandering in the big forest all by himself. And so Adam stayed at the new anthill. Nobody ever pushed him around again or made mention of his different colour. He was just Adam, the new guy! Over time he even became a very respected elder in the new ant colony. Remember, the colour of your skin is irrelevant. Believe in yourself.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside


A Christmas standard that has been around for 70 plus years, performed by musical luminaries like Ray Charles, Michael Buble, Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart to name but a few, has now fallen victim to the politically correct #metoo movement that is seemingly sweeping all free thought and expression out the door and into the wastebasket of history. A song that won an Academy Award in the 1949 film ‘Neptune’s Daughter’. A song written by Frank Loesser to be performed at private parties with his wife, since the custom of the time dictated that celebrities were expected to perform at parties. We are living in an age of revisionist history, where only the present day lens of radical feminist censorship is the arbiter of what is appropriate. Welcome to the age of emasculation.

Santa Claus parade


As I walk up Mill Street the glorious sounds of choral music drift down the hill, building in volume as I approach Main Street. It’s the night of the Bloomfield Santa Claus parade. I’ve decided to once again attend this popular event. It’s a wonderful way to kick start ones mindset into a Christmas spirit. I greet passersby with a “Merry Christmas” and all respond in kind. As I crest the hill, I see crowds gathering, everybody is in a cheerful mood. How can one not be,with Christmas carols and hymns resonating up and down the street. The church has set up speakers on their lawn, providing a perfect soundtrack as we all anticipate the arrival of floats and bands. No glum faces in this crowd. Everybody is catching the Christmas spirit. The weather is cooperating, suitably cold but not unbearable. I’m bundled up with enough layers. My plan is to watch some of it from the Public House patio at least until the cold drives me indoors. Bloomfield Public House has opened their patio for the evening, providing hearty soups and nibbles as well as frosty cans of craft beer. I opt for the beer and park myself at the corner of the patio, an ideal vantage point to enjoy the event. Kids walk by clutching their letters for Santa. Many are festooned in sparkling hats and blinking lights, joining the theme of the parade. Anticipation builds as the horse drawn taxi wagon ferries people back and forth. It’s a shoulder to shoulder crowd. The population of Bloomfield must have swelled to double for this night. And then the first float goes by, led by a biker on her Harley. She’s even adorned it with some lights. One after another the floats glide by. My favorite is Grinch and Whoville with its wacky residents. Grinch is poking his head out of the roof, he’s so high above the crowd I pray there are no wires crossing the road or he’d be zapped for sure. The cold starts to wear its way thru my layers of clothing. Time to retire to the interior comfort of the Public House. Their marvelous glass front provides an ideal window to view the parade. And in warmth. A steady stream of moms and dads with their toddlers come inside to warmup. All are welcome. And as the final parade float glitters by I reflect on this display of community. The County really is a special place.

Vehicle purchase scam


I have to share this response to my inquiry about a truck ad on carpages. It looked too good to be true, priced way below market value, so I thought I’d contact the seller. The ad read like any other on the carpages site, a few pictures, description, everything looked legit. Here is the “owner’s” response to my request for the vin# so I could do a carproof check. Caveat emptor!

Thank you for being interested in buying my 2013 Toyota Tacoma which is in perfect condition, with no scratches on it, no accident, always garaged, everything about this truck functions perfectly.My final price is CAD $6,800 including shipping to your address (only in Canada)The truck is located in Canada but currently I am located in Croatia because I just got divorced my husband and then I decided to move me closer to my parents.The truck was awarded to me in our divorce and I decided to sell the truck.As I’m unable to travel in the near future and I don’t have anyone to help me with the sale I decided to make this transaction through eBay. I believe this protects both buyer and seller and it’s the right way to do this.So don’t get me wrong and don’t take it personally but I would prefer to secure the deal through eBay.Basically the money will be sent to them and they will keep the money until you will receive the truck and only after you will inspect and drive the truck they will forward the money to me.
I will wait your answer (if you are interested to buy) very soon and i will also explain you all terms for this transaction.
Regards,
Amalia


Short track speed skating is the on ice equivalent of NASCAR auto racing. Oval racing, round and round. See how much speed you can safely carry into the corners so you sling shot out onto the straight away. Pass the guy in front. A little bumping and jockeying for position. Spectacular wipe-outs. The similarities really are profound. Imagine the cross over marketing and merchandising opportunities if the two disciplines were to do a joint effort. NASCAR may think they do not need short track skating, but considering the popularity of short track in non NASCAR countries like S. Korea, France, even China, the potential for additional auto racing fans is enormous. And it would be a funky kind of collaboration.

The sportsmanship shown by the German 2 man bobsleigh team after Canada tied their cumulative time for a gold medal tie was joyous to view. The Germans jumped on the track and celebrated their co-win without any selfish motive. These guys were truly happy to share a gold medal with Canada. I like to think that the bobsleigh athletes are like rugby athletes. Pound each other on the field during competition, no holds barred, but when the game is over we’ll meet in the local for a pint and have a blast reviewing the game!  And our pilot’s shout out to his first driving coach Pierre Lueders, who 20 years ago won Canada’s only other gold medal in 2 man, also in a dead heat to the hundredths of a second!!  Now that’s a show of Canadian values and honor.

Enjoy the rest of the Olympic games. Go Canada!


As much as I applaud the recent wave of allegations and stories of sexual misconduct perpetrated by members of my gender, some dating back decades, it is very disturbing how the ‘metoo’ movement is looking more and more like McCarthyism from the 1950’s. It is worth reading the following quote from Wikipedia. The parallels are eerie and should be cause for backing off a little and reassessing where this entire accusatory hysteria is going. The most recent victim of this j’accuse assault is the leader, since resigned, of Ontario’s PC party. His downfall brought about by nameless, faceless teenage accusers from a long time ago. Read and reflect.

“McCarthyism has taken on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries. During the McCarthy era, hundreds of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and labor union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person’s real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was sometimes exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that were later declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.”


The Saudi Arabian state owned oil company Aramco is planning an initial stock offering for 5% of the company. They plan to raise $US 100 billion which, do the math, values the company at $2 trillion!! Now why would a country already awash in oil revenue even think about doing an IPO? Here’s what I think. Aramco does not need the cash infusion. The Saudis are looking 50 years down the road. They see a world moving more and more toward clean energy and away from oil. It’s happening all around us. Many countries have already declared their intention to ban combustion engines in automobiles and go electric. The shift is already happening.  Look at Tesla and its phenomenal growth.  And oil resources are finite. Sooner or later the billions and billions of barrels beneath Saudi sand will disappear. It is estimated that Saudi oil reserves will be exhausted in 70 years. So will the $120 billion per year in oil revenue. The Saudis are thinking let’s milk this cow for all its worth today, while we still have massive oil reserves. They reap a $100 billion windfall, give up a marginal slice of their state oil company and go laughing all the way to the bank. They build their cash reserves at the expense of us poor suckers in the west who think we are getting in on a good deal! And a couple years from now they will likely sell off another 5% for another $100 billion. And so on, effectively doubling their revenues while giving up very little. By the time everything is expensed on Aramco’s income statement, how much do you think will be left for those suckers who bought into the IPO? Your money will fund the future growth and prosperity of Saudi Arabia and its citizens. Don’t fall for this ruse. Keep your money in play in your own country!