February 19th @ Free Times Café

So, here I am, thinking…WWJD (“What Would Jonathan Do?”) You know, each month he sits down and writes a rant about something relevant in the news and finds a convenient way to segue that into discussing the wonderful band he plays in, and then somehow finds a way to put down the bagpipes.

Unfortunately, however, this month, Jonathan will be in some far off place, on another of his walkabouts, trying to save the whales, or just save Wales. Nobody really knows for sure which, but we do wish him well in his adventures.

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January 15th @ Free Times Café

Happy New Year!

Having now wished you Happy New Year, I figure if I send this off to enough folks then I think I’ve managed to deal with that thorny question of when do you say “Happy New Year!” to folks, and as significantly, when do you stop saying “Happy New Year!”.

Obviously at midnight on New Year’s Eve you say/shout/exclaim “Happy New Year!” but while that gets the folks in the immediate vicinity of the sound of your voice (and that’s a pretty big vicinity in my case if I do say so myself) it still leaves many people unaccounted for. And this year, since I spent New Year’s Eve curled up on the couch with some generalized but unspecified illness (I’m better now, thanks for asking), other than my loving partner (who was not near the couch I was curled up on) and my cat (who was there because I wasn’t too ill to pet him and that’s all that matters to him) I wasn’t able to knock anyone off my list.

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December 18th @ Free Times Café

I admit it. I was getting worried in October and by the time November hit I was really concerned. I mean who wouldn’t be. It seemed like the world was off its moorings. How would we ever find our way again? I know that might seem excessive but really, how else could I have reacted? And then I stopped for a minute and I really listened, and many of my worries went away.

As it turned out, it wasn’t the pole stars that were wrong – and that would have been a huge issue because the pole stars are vital for navigation – but rather it was the pollsters who were wrong, and frankly how much should we even care about that.

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November 27th @ Free Times Café

It will come as no surprise to those who know me, even casually, that I am not the person to approach for fashion advice. I think the last time I gave any fashion advice was in university when I told my friend Stan, before we went into class, that he should zip up his fly (I realize that this might not count as fashion advice, but I think we can all agree that it was good advice).

It’s not that I can’t dress myself, I can, but understanding fashion means understanding (or caring) about trends and also having some colour sense. I do know the basic colours – red, green, black, yellow, blue (are there more?) – but with fashion those colours aren’t enough, not even close. For example just this week I was talking to a friend (yes I have more than one friend) and she told me that her soccer team was considering cyan for their uniform. I could have pretended that I had the faintest idea what she was talking about but I couldn’t even try. Cyan, really? I’m still struggling with taupe.

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October 16th @ Free Times Café

I realize I may be coming a bit late to the discussion but I recently became aware that there is a presidential election going on south of the border. I suppose I should have known about it earlier but it’s been a pretty busy time. There’s the Blue Jays of course, and then there was that European soccer tournament earlier this summer that I followed quite closely (though for the life of me I can’t remember who won). And then of course there is the Brangelina split which has occupied a lot of my time as I’m sure it did yours.

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September 18th @ Free Times Café

Now that September is here it’s time to get serious about baseball; the playoffs are around the corner and the Toronto Blue Jays are in the thick of it. For people who allow sports to occupy some or all of their waking hours, this means it’s a fun time (and now you’re wondering – fun or serious which is it? – OK, it’s serious in the sense that any fun diversion can be a serious thing – that makes sense to me which admittedly is setting a pretty low bar).

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August 21st @ Free Times Café

Sorry to report that we are rant-less today as Jonathan is in Australia, or at a cottage – cannot remember which. John-Marc Hamilton suggested I give it a try, and more precisely he said this:

“You start by mentioning the recent heat wave, then go on to discuss how hot weather affects instruments and the performers, how bright lights make your head sweat and your hands stick to the guitar while performing, segue into a selfless promo for the band’s next gig, then end with a joke about all the hot air it takes to work the bagpipes. See, easy.”
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July 17th @ Free Times Café

A few years ago our washer stopped washing, or maybe it was the dryer that stopped drying. In any event there was a laundry issue at the house. When machines like washers or dryers stop working the thing to do is call the appliance repairperson (I am stating this position in a gender-neutral fashion although I have only known appliance repairmen; I hope that, if nothing else, this choice of words is aspirational).

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June 19th @ Free Times Café

We are regularly told that we are all unique. We are like snowflakes in that no human being is exactly the same as another (and how do we know that about snowflakes anyway, wouldn’t they melt when you got them to the lab?). The exceptions of course are identical twins or triplets or quadruplets etc., who are exactly the same and are therefore great subjects for medical testing and horror films.

But is that really true; is there no one who looks just like us? When I was in university there was a guy that I saw occasionally at a pub and he looked just like me, and he held his beer just the way I did and he slouched against the wall holding his beer just like I did. The Germans have a word for this – doppelgänger – meaning someone who isn’t a twin but looks just like you (and so since we have words for this too why are we using a German word anyway, especially one with that annoying umlaut over the ‘a.’)

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