Monday, July 21, 2014

After All, It Is Called Mount Widowmaker

Some links to see to before we get ourselves started today. Yesterday was a Sunday, so we had a Snippet Sunday post at our joint blog. Check out Eve's post at her page about an anthology she's involved in. And Whisk had this item about Red Shirts.

Now then, today I return to my occasional theme of eulogies, given by someone you hope never does the eulogy at your funeral.

“Thank you kindly, Reverend Simmons, for your comforting words. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming on this sad day to remember the life of our dear friend George. I have been asked today by the family to give the eulogy. I only hope that I can do right by him.

He was the grandest friend you could have ever asked for. Friends help you move. Real friends help you move a body, as they say. Well, George and I did once move a body- oh don’t look at me like that. We had to take a body off Mount Rainier together when we were in the rescue service. It seemed that a rich plastic surgeon’s widow insisted that her husband’s body be taken down after he had a heart attack and died on a climb, and, well, the job fell to us. That was in our college days, and let me tell you, Old Man Prentice’s corpse was a bear to haul off the mountain. There were a few times George and I thought about just hurling the body down the slope and letting him fall where he might, but there was a five figure payday in it for both of us- did I mention the widow was rich?- and we both earned our pay.

Years later George and I would still talk about Old Man Prentice and how grisly he started to look twelve hours dead. Well, at least George went out a better way, as opposed to having his heart conk out on him at ten thousand feet and losing control of his bowels like Old Man Prentice. Although given the way George met his end...that might not be a better way to bite the dust.

Where was I? Oh, yes, back in the day. You know, George and I knew all the right girls in all the wrong places- or is that right places? We were the rock jocks, out there doing a job that was just too much fun. Aside from moving Old Man Prentice. That kept us both in shape, and even though we moved on to other things, we never lost our love for being out on a rock face, the rock at our fingertips and the air beneath us. It’s the best place to be. Better than sex, even. Well, that might depend on the mountain and the sex. Oh, sorry, Reverend Simmons, I forgot where I was. What I mean is that we both had active social lives, lots of girls in and out of our lives. A whole lot of fun. That’s how he met his dearest wife Alicia. And she indulged his continuing to climb, even though she had a personal phobia about heights. 

Alicia, George always appreciated that about you. You always let him go off and climb whatever rock face struck his interest. You never tried to rein him in. Unlike Deidre, who married our climbing buddy Ryan and promptly forbade him to ever go out on a mountain trek again. Yes, Ryan was, as they say, totally neutered by getting married. Oh, Ryan! There you are. Sorry, I didn’t think the battleaxe would let you come... oh, sorry, Deidre, I didn’t see you there.

Well, George loved life and lived big. He knew well enough to leave work at work and enjoy the simple pleasures of family and the breathtaking thrill of a good climb. He was happy with the state of his life, had the love of a good woman, three great kids- hello, Jane, Peter, and Thomas. Your daddy was proud to have you as his children, you know, and in a way he’ll always be watching over you. Just hold onto that thought. Don’t even think of the way he died. Think of the way he lived. Strong and happy and loved and proud of the life he’d made.

I know. I get it. It’s hard to think of that as we gaze on his coffin. Obviously it had to be sealed. Given what happened, there was no way that he could have been in an open casket. It would have been... unseemly.

They say you shouldn’t dwell on a person’s death during a funeral. You should celebrate their life. Well, as much as we would like that, we can’t avoid it, can we? I know I can’t… because I was there. I saw it happen. There we were, up on top of the north face of Mount Widowmaker. We’d just completed the ascent, all seven thousand feet of it. We were feeling good. George was there standing near the edge. If only he had done like me… standing away from the edge. He might have been here. Maybe nothing would have happened at all, instead of what did happen.

I’ll never forget that moment, no matter how long I live. There I am, looking at him. There’s George, dancing an Irish jig in celebration of reaching the top, like he’d done a thousand times before. The geologists and the park staff are still trying to figure out what happened. Having had seen it myself, I’m trying to figure it out myself. All we know is that twenty five thousand tons of granite suddenly gave way from the side of the cliff. With George right on top of the whole shebang.

One moment he was there. The next, the whole thing goes, the cliff edge is suddenly forty feet closer to me than it was, and there’s the loudest roar I have ever heard coming up from below. It was that fast. And despite myself, I couldn’t help but say it. I remember saying those words. George? Are you there?

Well of course he wasn’t. After the dust cloud subsided, the rangers found what was left of his body among the rocks at the bottom. Ground and pasted into a bloody mess of pulp and bone. They had to use a scraper, I’m told. And even so, for years to come, parts of George are still going to be out there, no doubt.

Oh, Alicia, I’ve been too graphic, haven’t I? I’m sorry. At least he went quickly. Plunging seven thousand feet straight down amid tons of rock and being pulped wouldn’t mean a slow agonizing death.

Damn. I’ve been too graphic again.

Look at it this way, Alicia. At least you’re getting one hell of an insurance payout."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Day In The Life Of An Idiotic Mayor

Some links before I get started today. Norma had her Friday photoblog yesterday. Shelly had things to be thankful for at her blog. Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday as always yesterday. And Mark wrote about his point of view on swimming.

Now then, today I once again take up the obnoxious voice of the worst politician in Canadian history, the  profoundly stupid, drug addled, walking temper tantrum, aka Mayor Rob Ford....

9:55 AM. Waking up. Hung over. Hell, I’m like that nine days a week anyway, fifty eight weeks a year. Wait, is that math right? Awww, who cares? Math was never my strong suit anyway. I know what’ll take care of that hangover. Some delicious booze. Booze understands me.

10:15 AM. Dougie shows up. Hey, brother, what’s on the campaign schedule for today? We gonna tar and feather some granola eating liberal commies in Kensington Market? ‘Cause I can think of a few that have it comin’.

10:17 AM. Dougie tells me the cops up north are going to be moving the Escalade outta impound tomorrow for a court hearing. What the hell I was thinkin’ lendin’ the car to that woman, I don’t know... Dougie, listen, man, we gotta break the Robmobile outta there. It means too much to me, man, and besides, we’ve customized the interior so we can hide booze and crack, and we can’t let that much work go to waste. Road trip, brother! We’re springin’ the Robmobile!

12:05 PM. Drivin’ north with Dougie. My sobriety coach Bob is drivin’ us. The plan’s for  him to drop us off, we’ll get the Robmobile back, and drive home. Perfect plan, man. Nothing can go wrong.

I like Bob. He kicks protestors, snarls at the press, and fetches my vodka and crack for me. Plus he’s a good drinkin’ buddy. 

12:25 PM. Hey, Bob! How long’s this drive gonna take? It ain’t like it’s the weekend, right? Dougie tells me to be patient, that we’ll be up there soon enough. He’s busy on the phone, talkin’ to our campaign staff. Seems we missed a council meetin’ this morning. Oh, like I give a **** about council. Buncha ****ers. 

1:15 PM. Up in cottage country. Spent a lotta time up here hidin’ out pretendin’ I was actually in rehab. Buncha idiots in Ford Nation still believe me. Man, they’re dumb. Dumber than a lampshade in January. 

1:40 PM. Bob lets us off near the impound lot. We tell him to get his butt back to Toronto. We got work to do. Damn, shoulda brought Sandro along to help us, but the cops are watchin’ him too closely. ****in’ cops. I hate those ****ers.

1:45 PM. Headin’ round back with Dougie through the woods. Damn ****in' bugs bitin’ us all over. Owww! Stupid little ****ers! We see the Robmobile. Okay, all we gotta do is get over that fence. How hard can that be?

1:46 PM. Dougie thought ahead. Brought some wire clippers. Good idea, Dougie! Let’s just cut our way through that fence. Truth be told, I don’t think my heart would let me make it over that fence.

1:50 PM. We’re in the Robmobile! Success! I tell Dougie I’m drivin’. It’s been too long since I’ve had my hands on the wheel. I’m fine to drive. I’ve only had seven bottles of vodka on the drive up. And smoked some crack.

1:56 PM. Success! We’ve just bulldozed our way out the front gates of the impound lot. Nearly ran down those guards too, but hey, those ****ers shoulda been doin’ their job. Nobody messes with the Fords!

2:55 PM. Back on the big highway, headin’ south, managed to knock over a few mailboxes for good measure. I got the wheel of the Robmobile in one hand, a bottle of Iceberg Vodka in another. Does life get any better than this?

3:05 PM. Oh, ****! Dougie! We got cops behind us, and the ****ers are runnin’ their lights! 

3:07 PM. Dougie’s on the phone with our campaign staff. Seems we got ****in' news helicopters up there followin’ us too. More ****in' cops now. Jeez, Dougie, you know what this is, brother? I’ll tell you what it is. We’re havin’ an OJ in the Bronco freeway chase! We hit the big time, brother! Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

3:17 PM. Still bein’ chased. The ****in’ cops haven’t tried to force us to stop yet, but they have put in a call to Dougie’s phone. Wonder which one of my ****in' staffers gave up the number. Buncha doublecrossin’ ****ers. When I find out who it was, I’m gonna have their ****in' legs broken. I know guys who’ll do it for me.

Dougie says the cops are tellin’ him to tell me to pull over. **** that, Dougie! This thing we’re doin, it’s all out, to the end!

4:05 PM. More helicopters overhead. Less cars on the freeway south. More cops behind us. Buncha ****ers, I’ll show you ****ers who’s who.

4:10 PM. Oh, ****!!! They’ve set up a barricade! The whole ****in’ freeway’s blocked with those ****in’ cop ****in’ cars! Come on, Robbie, think! What would the Bandit do? ‘Cause in this situation, you’re the Bandit, big guy!

4:11 PM. Damn it. Swerved the Robmobile off the road and into the ditch.

Cops surroundin’ the car. Dougie, think we can tell them it was all a ****in' joke? You think these stupid ****in’ cops will buy that?

4:12 PM. Hauled outta the Robmobile by the cops. Hey, do you ****ers know who I am? I’m Rob ****in’ Ford! I’m the Mayor of Toronto! I’m gonna be Prime Minister, you ****ers, and when I am, I’m gonna have every single one of you ****ers beaten into a ****in' pulp! 

Damn... those ****in' news choppers are still overhead. Buncha maggot ****ers are probably filming all of this. Wonder if I can say this was just a case of another drunken stupor?

4:40 PM. Bein’ booked with Dougie in the local O.P.P. station. Buncha ****ers are takin’ our fingerprints, bookin’ us like we’re just common crooks. And they wonder why I hate ****in’ cops.

5:15 PM. Stuck in a cell with Dougie. I look over him and ask what he thinks this’ll do for our poll numbers.

7:45 PM. Bailed out by our lawyer Dennis. Great guy, got our butts outta the fire plenty of times already, even if I’m still awaiting trial on that hit and run, the whole drunk and disorderly thing, hittin’ that King, hittin’ that Mountie... hell, I’ll still beat the rap on all those in the end, and I’ll do the same with these forty eight new charges. 100 percent, guaranteed. Ford More Years!

7:55 PM. Buncha maggot reporters waitin’ outside. Dennis and Dougie shove through and get me in the back of the car. I ignore their yells. Same way I ignore shirtless joggers. Hey, Dennis, I could use a drink right now, you got any vodka in here?

11:45 PM. Back home, gettin’ hammered in the back yard. Whatta day. Those vulture scum ****ers in the press are makin’ a big deal outta nothin’. It was my ****in' car, after all, so I had every right to go get it. Ford Nation ****in' gets that!

Come to think of it, I’d better break the Robmobile outta wherever the **** they got it this time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

7:28 AM. Slowly waking up. Dreamed of catnip.

7:45 AM. The staff finally makes her way downstairs. Well, hello there, staff. I expect breakfast post haste. Something tasty and not involving field rations.

7:50 AM. The staff disappoints me yet again with field rations. I sigh in much dismay.

7:52 AM. After reluctance, I eat some field rations. I had better be getting the dinner of the epoch in compensation, staff...

8:10 AM. I feel like a stretch of the legs. Staff, open the door.

8:35 AM. Have conducted thorough patrol of my immediate surroundings outside the house. No sign of anything amiss.

8:40 AM. Oh, great, it's that idiot dog from down the road passing by. 

8:41 AM. Expressing my disdain for the dog, who of course looks confused. Dogs usually are confused.

8:50 AM. Back inside. For some strange reason the staff is doing a lot of cooking.

9:07 AM. The staff mentions in passing that the family reunion is today, and she's hosting this year.

Hey, wait a minute... you didn't clear this with me!

9:14 AM. Oh this will not do, this will not do. Family reunions mean little kids. Including those not so bright little kids belonging to the staff's sister and her moron of a husband. That means kids chasing me around and making my life miserable

9:25 AM. I don't imagine I could get lucky and have a blizzard show up and cancel the whole thing? Of course not, it's July.

9:37 AM. Scouting out hiding spots in the house. Okay, think. Generally at these things people stay outside and sit around on lawn chairs and yack their heads off. That means you stay inside, keep yourself concealed, and you can get through this day without being tormented by little brats.

9:50 AM. Have selected my primary hiding spot in the master bedroom. I can keep an eye on things outside from the windows, but hide in the big closet behind those boxes that are too big for little kids to move. Yes, that will do nicely. I'd better have backup bolt holes though.

10:05 AM. Second spot selected in the library, in the bookcase, behind these nice oversized coffee table books. I hide behind the Robert Bateman volumes a lot anyway, and as long as no one's thinking of taking out some reading material, I ought to be okay.

12:10 PM. Waking up from nap behind the books. Checking things with my hearing before I peer out. Can't bear to find myself in a room full of annoying relations. 

12:12 PM. We're still alone. I find the staff in the kitchen making preparations. Staff, you and I are going to have a serious sit down and talk about your taking liberties with my house. I did not clear you to have a family reunion here.

The staff placates me with some sausage.

1:30 PM. Sitting on back of couch, staring outside when I see a car turning onto the driveway. 

Oh no. It's begun.

1:31 PM. Have beat a hasty retreat upstairs. Watching carefully out window, which is fortunately open. Yes, it's the sister, the moron husband, and their dullard children.

This is going to be a long afternoon....

1:33 PM. The kids are asking their auntie- my staff- where I am. Don't you even think of telling them, staff!!!

To her credit, the staff says she thinks I'm out wandering somewhere.

2:10 PM. More relations showing up. I did not invite you, or you... not you either. And that guy, I know he doesn't like cats, which tells me everything I will ever need to know about him. 

Well, no one's coming inside, let alone upstairs. I might be safe. For now. And it could be worse. The staff seems to have not invited whatever guy it was she had sex with on the night of the wedding. Come to think of it, that seems to have been a one night stand, because there's no trace that she's even been in touch with the guy. All the better. The staff's mating habits must be cleared with my express permission in the future.

4:50 PM. Running a reconnaissance of the view below by looking out the window. Lots of people I don't particularly like, yakking away. Oh, wait a minute... one of the kids saw me! And she's pointing to the window!

Oh no, they're going to come inside!

4:51 PM. Have rapidly decided to retreat to the secondary hideout. Hearing the kids downstairs. Since they saw me in the bedroom window, they'll look there anyway. Scrambling into the library and hiding behind the books just as I hear them coming up the stairs. I swear, if my staff even thinks of having kids....

4:55 PM. From here I can hear the staff's sister telling the kids to come back outside. They protest that they want to find the cat and dress me up in doll's clothing.

6:40 PM. Being more careful about watching the family outside from the second floor. They're all having dinner. My urge to go out and mooch is kept in check by my determination not to let those brats anywhere near me. Oh, staff, you will have things to answer for....

9:25 PM. Coming downstairs. The last of the cars seems to be gone. The staff is on her own in the kitchen. I meow my deep displeasure at her for letting all those relatives come over without my permission, expressing grave misgivings about any such events ever happening again.

She sets down a plate full of food, all of which smells delightful.

You're forgiven, staff. This time.