Oh… Canada.

I feel there is something very wrong with people that would split up families and send their kids to so-called residential schools. When I learned about it I was ashamed to be a Canadian.

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

There’s a lot of hoopla going on in Canada right now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good hoopla especially about this country I know and love. I am a proud Canadian. Born and bred. I have always been grateful that I was fortunate enough to be born in Canada. Everyone loves Canadians. By reputation we are friendly, polite, clean and relatively quiet. The kind of neighbour everybody wants. We do, however, stand on our moral high ground and make judgements about other more despicable countries. Unfortunately, just like every other neighbour we have our share of dirty little secrets behind closed doors.

So back to the hoopla…Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday and I confess that I have mixed feelings about it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. In 1967 Canada celebrated its Centennial year. It was one of the best years of my life. I have nothing…

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I was talking to my buddy this afternoon when I was alerted to an incoming call. I put Patrick on hold and pushed the “Answer” button. It was Charlie Sheen! Holy crap! He was as clear as a bell. I knew it was really him. And he knew my daughter and had met Ker and her husband at a ball game in Kelowna, B.C. Before I knew it I was answering his questions! I was talking to Charlie Sheen!!! My oldest daughter Keri-Lynn had not phoned me on Father’s Day and Charlie was helping her out. It was perfect and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

It took me a minute to realise that it was a recorded message. But I loved it! The smooth quality of the delivery and the fact that it came as a phone call absolutely astounded me. Much better than the “free” cards to kids from Santa Claus at Christmas, Charlie left me grinning from ear to ear.  Apparently, it cost $3.99 – a small price to pay for the thrill I experienced. When I called Ker and told her how I was completely sucked in, she roared with laughter. That was also worth the small price of admission.

She said that she didn’t know which celebrity to choose from but when she came across Charlie, she pounced. She must have known I loved Two and a Half Men.  It was absolutely brilliant!

With all the problems Charlie has been having lately, it might be tough to find it on the web. These days, I’m probably the only one that appreciates the joke. I guess you had to be there.


I guess some of you have been wondering if I’m still alive. It’s been nine months since my last blog. If you follow Michelle at Silk Purse Productions you know I’m around…or…you may think I’m dead and Michelle is cashing my pension checks, making up stories about me, or us, as she goes. No. I’m cashing the pension checks. But she is making up stories.

2014-04-06 15.00.37

I do not check the mail box every time I pass it! That would be ridiculous. I limit my peeks into the mail box to 15 each day. And I’m looking for flyers, not mail. My checks are deposited directly into my bank account and the bills arrive on line. But flyers, mmm, ♥♥flyers♥♥…often include money off coupons from fast food restaurants and can come anytime. (I am, if you remember, a junk food aficionado.) And I love to peruse flyers, just to see what I want but can’t afford. I even read cereal boxes − I can often afford cereal. But you know what ticks me off? There’s not a french fry truck in the Durham region that sends out money-off coupons!

Seriously, my head has been in another place these last nine or so months. I think I’m just not liking being 18 but stuck in a 66-year-old body. But we’re nearing the end. I’ll be 67 in August. And I have a question − at what age will they start calling me senile instead of eccentric? (Friends labeled me as eccentric when I was in my 30’s. Family just referred to me as crazy.)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, including the four 700+ page text books it took to pass the exams and get an Ontario real estate sales rep’s license; Carrie Rubin’s Seneca Scourge, which I enjoyed immenselyand dozens of other mysteries, action thrillers and fantasy fiction tales about wizards, dragons and such. My one wish? That I could have read the text books on my Kindle. It’s a whole lot lighter than they were.

Anyway, the thoroughbred horse racing season has just begun, so there is light. I’ve begged asked Michelle not to plant poison ivy in the mail box. No answer yet. And I will get back to writing on a regular basis.


Clothing Optional

Take me home to Maui. I can’t stand it here anymore. Frost warnings? Hail? May 13th? WTF!

It’s been a few years since I was in Hawaii and then only for two weeks. Michelle and I went for a holiday to celebrate our 50th  and 60th birthdays and never came back. You can figure out which birthday was who’s. I won’t say I didn’t want to come back because that’s what all of us snowbirds say when it comes time to leave the sun. But Maui had a profound effect on me. From the moment we stepped off the plane it was like being enveloped in a cloak of relaxation.  You know, like Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak, but for an old guy, way better.  For two weeks there was NO stress, GREAT coffee and the sound of waves on the beach.

Hawaii Day 1

View from our 8th floor studio suite.

Maui is where I sat near a Sharon Stone look-a-like (in a white, so sheer it was nearly see-through) outfit, with a huge pipe and drum band playing for our entertainment.  It was, after all, Saint Patrick’s Day and we were at Mulligan’s Pub. This is what people are thinking when they say, “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day – Who’s that behind the pipers in the white outfit?

We lazed on our lanai, real Kona coffee in our mugs, and watched the whales and dolphins as they too played for us. That in itself was worth the price of admission. Of course we shopped and Michelle bought me tons of tee-shirts. We ate out and visited almost every beach on the island.

Big Beach

The location of Michelle’s “almost drowning”. Big Beach.

That was for Michelle, a water baby if there ever was one. When she almost drowned six feet off shore because the savage undertow kept sweeping her legs out from under her, I roared with pleasure. Even Michelle was putting on a show for me.

For her birthday, we ate dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The fabulous waitress entertained us as we stuffed our faces, Michelle with her steak and mushrooms and me with my steak and shoestring French fries and lots of ketchup, some of which slipped onto my butterflied and well-done filet mignon.

For several days I bought coleslaw and baked beans from a fellow who had retired from the Navy and opened a small kitchen adjoining a Tex-Mex bar. He made the best slaw and baked beans, but laughed until he nearly gagged as he watched me mix the two into one bowl. It was awesome. So was the food.

Due to my finicky eating habits, we did not partake in a Luau, but took in several shows (magical and musical) and a catamaran day trip to Lanai (another beach stop for Michelle). We also hit every burger joint we could find. I was one happy camper. And yes, we drove the road to Hana with its 42 miles, 54 bridges and 600 hairpin turns. We certainly put that Mustang convertible through its paces, giving it a breather when we stopped at a roadside stand for fresh papaya and banana bread. Near the end of the “road” we visited a black sand beach

Black Sand Beach

Didn’t swim at Black Sand Beach but “the girls” did. “

where we met a couple of Vancouver girls who were talking about “Wreck Beach”, a clothing optional Eden located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park just west of the city. Naturally, my deaf old ears got their second wind and I forced myself to join their conversation. It was enlightening, to say the least. As far as the picture goes, I really had to search for one of the opposite sex. It seems that mostly guys habitate Wreck Beach. (I had to take Michelle off the job because she was taking way too much time checking out the guys on the beach)

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach

I could go on and on about Maui. My daughters love it there, although Keri-Lynn, my oldest, prefers Kauai and its even more relaxed way of life. What surprises me the most, however, is the response I get when I suggest to people on my “Preferred Friends List” that instead of spending another winter in Phoenix or Florida, that they give Hawaii a try, they hem and haw. “Yeah, well, maybe next year.”

I’m telling you now that Maui is my Never Never Land. I will get back there if I have to track down Tinker Bell and steal her pixie dust. And I guarantee I won’t want to come back.

Tinker Bell

Press Here. My ticket out of here.

Google Image

It needs but a thought. Not even a deed. Just a notion and karma will take it to the bank. It waits, gathering interest over the years. Then, one day, without warning…smack! The little shit whacks you upside the head. That’s just for thinking it!

For actually doing it, you get promoted. That’s correct, a promotion, And it comes with a raise! Better still, it’s more like you get…elevated.  We’re talking the proverbial pointed boot right square up the ass and believe me, that’s good for at least three feet north-west. In my case, Karma always waits for me to hit bottom before sneaking into town to cash my check. It takes a second and a half. In and out. I feel the whack and realize that once again, I’ve been boinked and left holding the bag. Karma’s big bite marks never go away, either. In my case they last years. And years. Like tattoos. I’ll die with them.


From: San Francisco Chronicle

The worst, though, is when karma wants to make a bold statement and looks for payback in a huge way. I’ll be tying my shoe laces when it  materializes and goes for a 52 yard field goal against the wind!  Over the years Mr. K and I have teamed up for quite a few three-pointers and several really long punts when it’s really pissed at me.  Often, I hit the crossbar then bounce between the posts for the score. Karma doesn’t miss.

Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts,” according to Wikipedia. It is a universal principle of cause and effect. Notice the word “extended.”  But, we are now getting into belief systems and that is a much larger subject suitable only for books, never mind a blog post. Still, to bleed into the story just a tiny part of my own world view, I think to myself, what a wonderful…  (where did that come from?) I am the deliverer of my karma.  Furthermore, in my opinion, all karma is negative. At least mine sure is.

But not all karma lasts forever. There are some consequences that are quick and to the point. That would pertain to “instant karma“, but not quite like the instant karma of John Lennon’s famous song.

I like to think of instant karma as practice. Like when I was a pre-teen and sassed my mother. I learned not to linger in the kitchen. Too many times she caught up to me and kicked my butt. Hard. Then, she wouldn’t talk to me for days, but still woke me up at 7:26 a.m. to listen to Earl Nightingale impart his words of wisdom on the radio. He’s the one who said something to the effect that “if you think it, it will happen.” But you see, karma doesn’t make it happen. You do. Karma simply waits for you to do all the hard work then shows up and takes a jack hammer to your dream. Instant karma, on the other hand, lets you get used to its big sibling’s bite. It readies you for when you think or do something really evil, or just contrary to the rules on the rock, most notably (if you’re not a murderer or adulterer) the second commandment which can− if you are really high on yourself, perhaps even narcissistic − involve pride. Vanity is also one of the seven deadly sins. It’s certainly been a major player in my game. Well, actually they all have.

10 Commandments

7 deadly sins pride I used to think I was sooo tall.

Ha! Did you think I was really going to tell you what I thought? What I did?

You first.

I Love Ketchup!

Hi! My name is He Who. I’m a junk food addict and I love ketchup! I like it more than anyone else in the world and almost as much as I love fresh cut french fries. I’m telling you this because of a blog I read called Life on a Silva Platter which extols the virtues of mayonnaise and I think  ketchup deserves at least as much.

I’m the guy who orders ketchup with a filet mignon at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. And at Shula’s in Manhattan. Of course, I ask for my steak to be butterflied and well-done, with fries on the side. I especially like the shoestrings you get at Ruth’s Chris. I always ask for a second order to take home. Where I use my own ketchup.

Shoestring Fries

I won’t eat just any ketchup, either. It has to be Heinz.  But let me tell you about Ruth’s Chris. I had been to R’s C in Fort Lauderdale and loved it. So, while trying to impress Michelle early in our relationship, I took her to their location in downtown Toronto. This visit didn’t seem to go as well, but I don’t think it was the restaurant’s fault. For some reason, M tried to make herself disappear when I ordered a burnt steak and ketchup — lots of ketchup. The waiter brought me two full bowls of the best which were mysteriously empty half-way through dinner. I asked for more. Surprisingly, the waiter was far more obliging than my date. It took quite a while before Michelle would go out with me again. Heck, I hadn’t even flinched when she ordered her meat raw rare with sides of mushrooms and asparagus. GAK. Since then we’ve eaten at several more Ruth’s Chris locations including the one in Maui.

Ruth's Chris Lahaina, Maui

You can imagine that I use ketchup on most of the food I eat, like fried eggs, potatoes, cabbage rolls, spaghetti and meatballs, blueberry pie, fish and chips and Chinese fried rice. A friend once told me that Chinese food was a medium for the wonderful sauces that accompany it. I feel the same way about ketchup. The food is the medium. As an aside, can you believe that I hadn’t tried ketchup on Kraft Dinner until just last year? MMMmmmm.

There are some things I won’t enhance with a touch of ketchup, like apple pie, french toast, pancakes, porridge, pizza, pea soup or grilled cheese sandwiches. Now I know for a fact that some of you use ketchup on your grilled cheese sandwiches and french toast, but not me. That would be too much of a good thing. Ha Ha. I remember Pops using salt and pepper on his french toast. “It has eggs in it,” he said. “Don’t you salt and pepper your eggs?” Yes I do, and then comes the ketchup! But I prefer jam, syrup or cinnamon and sugar on my french toast. I do, however, like to clean the plate by soaking up the residue from fried eggs and ketchup with my regular rye toast. Weird?

But it’s a good thing I love ketchup. If I don’t get back to work soon, I’ll be living on ketchup sandwiches. And Michelle will starve. She doesn’t like ketchup.

Do you use ketchup? On who what?

Heinz Ketchup

Gargantuan Eyes

I originally wrote this poem in the 80’s. I felt a rework was in order and wanted to publish it to celebrate the Academy Awards which will be handed out tonight…because films aren’t simply for entertainment.

Gargantuan Eyes

Gargantuan Eyes


Through their essence, by their essence, they are complete.

Alone, each narrows, contracts and envelopes me.

With tunnel vision I feel their power and consume their infinite potential as my own.

They cast off my cover. They force me to climb outside my Self.

Each note, each line, each scene, every word — distinct — but invisibly bound in purpose.

And so, they enrapture me. They amplify my life.

These are eyes of gargantuan scope.

Music lights halls dark with blindness.

Poetry sounds drums in deaf ears.

Colors on canvas carve highways through mountains,

Prose and Screen unlock doors to unknown worlds.

I swallow them whole.

Each is self-existent.

I wear their pasts like a cloak, their futures a mask.

I savor their essence and drink in their lies.

They renew my life for a short time.

But steadily I grow.

Stretching. Distilling. Transcending. Fulfilling.

In dialectic ascension I’m full, running empty.

These gargantuan eyes are my risks, my dreams.

The keys to my jail.

Paul Turney
February 24, 2013


If I Had a Time Machine


Pops Sporting His Six Pak

As I pondered questions posed by fellow bloggers, I decided that if I had a time machine there were a few sporting events I’d love to go back in time to see. I would journey to the 1930’s when my father was in his early twenties.  There was no television back then and my dad and his friends spent their play time doing gymnastics.  He was in wonderful physical shape, sporting a six pack where I lug what looks more like a keg.  His favorite routines utilized the parallel bars, pommel horse and rings.  The rings were his favorite. An uncle told me that dad was the guy who could make a perfect 90 degree angle, pointing his legs straight out in front of him and then hold the position forever.

I didn’t get into gymnastics like pops did, although he was relentless in his efforts to get me to straighten up as I stood on his hands. He wanted to lift me up and then stand up himself. I think I was afraid of what might come next if he got me up there. He could walk all over the house on his hands…he did hand stands as easily as head stands. Trying to get me to do it, he’d hold me by my ankles and coax me to take a few steps but I failed dismally every time.  And that was long before I grew a  keg. I wonder if I love watching the Cirque du Soliel perform because it brings me closer to my dad.

Pops was also a long distance runner. He told me about winning a 20 mile race which earned him a bicycle. Surprisingly, he was a winner even though he smoked from the age of nine until he was in his 50’s. And what a terrific swimmer he was! He tried over and over to teach me but I didn’t learn until I was about 10 years old, at camp and on my own. I knew how, I suppose, but was afraid to try. He came out to visit after I had been there a week but because I hadn’t swum my four lengths of the pool, neither one of us could go into the deep end. Pops was pissed. After he went home, I asked the counselor to let me try my swimming test. I did it without drowning. But there were no more visiting days before my two weeks was up. My fellow campers would never be privy to the most perfect swan dive I’ve ever seen.

Pops Sporting his Bathing Suit

Pops Sporting His Bathing Suit

Over the years Pops and I played street-league softball and he took up bowling after I had already been on the lanes for several years. I enjoyed the sport and was good at it. He was obsessed. He bowled 10 pin three or four nights a week and after that practiced on the 5 pin alleys, just to improve his accuracy. When he began beating me, I quit for a time. It wasn’t fun any more. Especially when he’d flaunt his score sheets. He was extremely  competitive and so was I. Pops also loved to curl and was usually the skip. I subbed for his lead man one afternoon but burnt a rock I was sweeping down the ice (nudged it with my foot). A screaming match ensued and I stormed off the ice.  That is one game I want to go back to.  I’d like to do it again so I could show him the respect he wanted so badly. Respect he deserved.

In his 60’s, he bought a pair of roller skates so he could go to the rink with my oldest daughter. Then I heard the stories about how he used to do all kinds of stuff on skates, including dancing and who knows what else.

My dad had no fear, or so I thought. I remember taking him on the backside of the racetrack one morning to show him my new newly-acquired racehorse. At one point he stood against the wall on the walkway at  the corner of a barn. He was calm as can be as one horse after another pranced by, some within inches of him. “Weren’t you afraid?” I asked. “I was scared to death,” he replied. So he knew fear, but never let it get the best of him. Unlike myself. I’ve always taken the easy way out.

I took part in most sports as a kid and usually excelled. I loved baseball, basketball and football and more often than not played on teams a year or two older than me. Marksmanship was my best event. At 14, I out shot seasoned adults from the first day I lay prone with a 22 rifle. About a year later, after a trophy the size of the Stanley Cup was delivered to our door, Pops came home with a Mossberg 22 complete with match rifle sights. “I won it in a raffle,” he said. Yeah, sure. Hockey was a different story. I skated on my ankles and could never make the team. I still blame the ill-fitting second-hand skates my parents bought me and to this day I hate the game.

I wish I could take my daughters and especially my grandchildren back in time so they could watch me playing baseball, football and other sports — when I was at my best. Although my father lived to 87, he and his great grandchildren never met. I would so love for them to see him in the gym, on the beach or the bowling lane. If children could see and even understand a little of the past, it might well change their future in some small, positive way. I’m convinced it would put Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in a whole new light.

Going to pay an ex cop or lawyer to fight your traffic ticket? Unless your offense is much more serious than speeding, odds are you can do it yourself.

Toronto’s traffic court system works like a well-oiled factory assembly line. You can, however, often improve your lot without spending a huge amount of money hiring a lawyer or an ex cop to represent you in court. That’s the good part of the scam system.

Has this happened to you? You get caught in a speed trap or just plain speeding. You’re sure you weren’t going THAT fast and you certainly don’t want another three points tacked on to your record. Personally, you don’t believe that they actually caught you on radar doing 80 in a 60.  I mean…sometimes you gun it a bit just to get by a slow moving truck and the police catch you at your upper most speed (at which you stayed for a second or two).  That’s what happened to me.

I waited until the last minute then mailed the ticket (which allows you three options: plead guilty and pay the fine; meet with the prosecutor; or plead not guilty and be assigned a day in court.  I checked the box “meet with the prosecutor”.  It takes a month or two to receive a reply. I went for my meeting — in the crowded zoo that is the York traffic court.  A fellow in a suit somehow found me among hundreds of milling, bewildered traffic criminals because of the papers I had clutched in my hand and asked what I’d like to see as the result of the meeting. Naturally I told him I was not guilty and would like to see the charge go away. “You’ll receive a court date in the mail,” he replied. Several months went by and I finally received my “court date” in the mail. There was a quick flutter in my gut.  I had been told that the prosecutor would probably have reduced the charge had I just asked. Now I had to face the judge. Total time, ticket to judgement day — nearly nine months.


About 40 alleged offenders were let into the court room a few minutes early. In walked a good if not harried-looking young woman who went right to the front and sat down. The guy I recognized as the cop who gave me the ticket took a seat next to her. I knew I was in trouble. They appeared to be a team. Both began to page through their notes waiting for His Honor to arrive.

I quickly learned that offenders were on the books in alphabetical order. A few had lawyers, most did not. The lawyers went to the head of the list. In almost every “normal” case, the offenders were like me. “The cop didn’t understand,” they told the judge, who quickly shut them down, telling them to talk to the prosecutor. As we went to the front one-by-one, the prosecutor asked if we wanted the charge reduced. Frustrated, many of them finally said yes. Speeds were dropped from 80 to 70, or 60 to 50. In my case, when she asked me if I would like the charge dropped from 80 in a 60 to 70 in a 60, I quickly said yes, please and thank you. The fine dropped from $95 to $45 and three points to no points. The latter was what I was after and walked out a happy commuter.

In years gone by, I had gone to court twice, both times in Winnipeg with lawyers who did the work pro bono because they were good friends. The first time the cop showed up but all he could remember was my recently-permed hair (the chemicals worked way too well) and not where he had been parked. “Not guilty” said the judge, ruling that despite remembering my Afro (which was pretty hard to forget), the policeman should have known exactly where his hunting blind had been situated. I think I really got off because of the entertainment my curls provided (the whole courtroom was in stitches) and because my lawyer was a highly regarded QC.  The second time, the cop did not show up and the prosecutor quickly dropped the charges when my lawyer spoke with him.

Prevalent thought among time bandits is that if the policeman who issued the ticket doesn’t show up, they will get off. In my case, he was there, as big as life, spit-shined round-toed black shoes and all…except for the uniform. To my surprise, pretty much every defendant  in court that morning had that same cop’s name at the bottom of their citation. In the case of the few that wanted to come back for a real trial, the prosecutor first asked the officer if a certain date was okay for him, (about five months in the future) then asked the offender if it suited him. It was all done lickety-split. Like an assembly line. Wham bam thank you… Everyone who stayed paid a fine but left knowing they saved some money and points. The conviction rate is huge! Not to mention it saves the courtroom time for more important cases, or at least for more speeders.

What niggled at me, though, was a comment by my brother-in-law the paralegal just after I got caught. Stunned, he said, “I can’t believe the cop didn’t reduce the speed when he gave you the ticket!”  That has happened to me several times over the 22 years I’ve lived in Ontario.  But in this case, it did not. I was a cop for one year (1969) and it seemed to me that this officer would likely be paid overtime for going to court if it was his day off. He didn’t even have to give evidence. Or wear his uniform. His presence alone would be enough to make most offenders acquiesce when offered a lesser charge. So why should he reduce the speed at the scene of the crime and let speeders pay the cheap ticket with no points? No fuss no muss. No overtime!  But what the hey. That’s just the way it is.

After all this rambling, my point is…(drum roll please)…you may not need to pay $350 for an ex cop to go to court for you and get the charges dropped (or just reduced, as is usually the outcome and what I like to think is another scam a guy on a pension making easy money (and boy do I wish that was me), or a lawyer who will cost a whole lot more. My thinking is that if you are given three choices on the ticket, pick the one that says “Meet with the prosecutor.”  What have you got to lose but a couple of hours and some gas money? Ask for the charges to be diminished or dropped and see what happens. If you do not get satisfaction, try it in court. If it’s no dice with what will probably be a different prosecutor there, ask for another court date and come back with the big guns. Or, just pay the ticket.

This poem is just for fun. Kinda juvenile. Sorry. I banged it out in the ’80’s on a Vendex Head Start computer, my first. It had no hard drive, just two floppy disk slots, one for the program I would be working in and the other to use as the tabula rasa. At any rate, I don’t know whether the “F” keys still do the same thing on current computers.


Old Computer

When words all melt together, “Find the cursor!” laughs the screen.

But when they’re helter skelter, disc error‘s what they mean.

They continually defy me, make me delve into “the Book”.

Dictators, they deprive me, but let’s take another look.

F2 will justify them, “Flush Right!” the sergeant screams.

F6 promises to hide them, but F8 wakes them from their dreams.

Arrows send them hiking onward and can call them back in line.

Page Up lures them to the barracks, Page Down drags them back, quick time.

Cap Lock stands them at attention, Scroll Lock makes them dance a reel.

Num Lock transforms their essence, Ctrl can bend their will.

Shift will make them sit or stand. Print Screen can make them tell.

And if they give me trouble, I’ll Delete them all to Hell!

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