Thursday Tidbits

Posted on February 25, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

A genetic abnormality or just poor jeans?

(Thanks AMB)

It has taken me a long time, but I am 100% convinced that the world has gone completely and utterly mad. I could start with the incomprehensible (to my generation) notion of Bitcoin. I can’t begin to explain it let alone determine why Bitcoin was recently priced at a cool $50,000. I’m not sure if that’s per coin or every bit of it. My son once tried to explain this new cryptocurrency craze, but I suffered a severe case of MEGO. My Eyes Glazed Over.

I could give dozens of other examples, but I won’t, lest you think I’m just a cranky, old curmudgeon.

The focus of my incredulity today is blue jeans, and not just any blue jeans.

What do you think when you hear the words “blue jeans’? Correct. They were the clothing of our youth. They were practical, comfortable, incredibly rugged, cost effective, and very durable. I chose the words ‘cost effective’ on purpose. Many of us are Baby Boomers and as such, quite possibly grew up in large households. This was particularly true in a small, Catholic community in Nova Scotia where filling the schools was almost a moral imperative.

I grew up with seven siblings. Most of the new clothing in the house was reserved for the older ones. Hand me downs were pretty well all the younger ones would ever know. A pair of blue jeans might get passed along to two or more family members. We wore jeans to school and once we slipped them on in the morning, they never came off. After school and on weekends, we played outdoors. Our mothers made meals and did countless washes every day, including muddied jeans. They didn’t need extra traffic under foot. They insisted that we stay outdoors! And of course, after being worn thousands of times, even blue jeans knew when to give up the ghost but not before showing signs of wear and tear with rips around the knees all too common. I would like to attribute some of this wear and tear to getting down on our knees every lunch hour to say a decade of the rosary. Millennials will have to do a Wiki search to understand what I’m talking about.

Spotting a child with torn jeans was not a fashion statement. It was a badge of honor indicating that this youngster wore them out honestly climbing trees, playing unorganized baseball or Red Rover.

I was sitting in a teacher training session the other day. Because it was a day without students, many of the staff chose casual wear. I looked across the room and spotted one of our younger teachers. The knees in her jeans were ripped beyond repair and there were several other places where slits in the denim were apparent. Caution. Do not wear these types of jeans outdoors when it’s -40. I’m trying to imagine what a frost bitten kneecap might look like. I was sitting beside one of our more experienced (translation: older) teachers. She has a daughter who attends university. “What’s with torn blue jeans?” I queried. Then came this startling revelation. “They are called distressed jeans.” I sat on that nugget for about 5 seconds before asking the obvious question. Why does the younger generation wear clothing that has been purposely made defective by the manufacturer or the wearer?

I am a teacher so for those of you not aware of the subtleties of distressed jeans, read on. It is a style (?) of denim that is given a worn look through the manufacturing process. This is to give the denim a look similar to that found in raw denim that has been broken in by the wearer. Apparently, the manufacturers place the denim in giant wash machines and then put rocks in to beat the crap out of the jeans. If this wasn’t enough, once received by the purchaser, they can add their own touches but putting in cuts and slits wherever they choose. The only thing “distressing” about these jeans is the price. People will actually pay upwards of $100 to acquire this exquisite “look”. There are even rules for wearing distressed jeans. I am not making this up.

Of course, I am being rather cynical here and hope that all of my distressed jeans readers (one as far as I know) will forgive me for poking fun at this trend that really hasn’t gone out of style.

I wonder how long someone would have to sit at their electronic device, playing video games, before their jeans wore out? One would expect that the arse of the pants would be the first thing to go.

I must check the family tree to see if there are any distressed genes in my clan.

I’m guessing the answer is yes.


The missing link comes to mind.

Excuse me. I have to go and tie dye one of my white t-shirts.

Have a great weekend.


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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 22, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments


“Hell hath no fury like a province scorned.” Len MacDonald

Ok. I got the vaccine. Where did it come from? I’m not certain but many people in my home province of Nova Scotia have been giving me the gears suggesting that the shot I received was destined for Canada’s Ocean Playground but ended up in the frozen north. I promise I won’t needle you guys over my good fortune or give you an unfriendly jab. I hope today’s musings will be a shot in the arm to all my readers. OK. Let’s get to the point of this story.

Pleeeeeease stop it! I don’t want you to give me the cold shoulder because of my terrible puns. However, I will share this little tidbit with you. Prepare yourself to suffer some after affects if you get the Moderna dose. Just about all my friends to whom I’ve spoken (all 3 of them!) have had a sore upper arm after the needle for about 24 hours.  Someone even suggested that they had trouble raising a glass of beer to their lips. Oh, for goodness sake, why do you think the lord gave you two arms?

Seriously, I am very grateful to have received the first shot. According to medical experts, it could take a very long time before we reach herd immunity.

BTW. I loved Michael de Adder’s cartoon from last week about “Nova Scotians reacting to their vaccines being diverted to Canada’s North”.

Winter is skipping by. The days are getting longer. Spring is less than 4 weeks away. The weather has been fantastic lately. We’ve had days on end of sunshine, blue skies (except when the sky is on fire) and cold but not bitterly cold temperatures. Give me sunshine and cold temps any day rather than the yoyo weather of the Maritimes.

I have mentioned many times before the fact that a lot of things happen spontaneously up here without much advance warning. Last Friday morning, we found out that there was a wellness challenge sponsored by some organization somewhere. Any student who completed a 5km walk would receive a prize. We also discovered that the deadline to apply for prizes and complete the walk was Friday. The two grade 6 classes decided to do the walk that afternoon. We told our students to dress warmly when they came back to school after lunch. It was a breezy -38. I know that people in the south can’t imagine walking in these conditions but this is perfectly normal up here. One of my colleagues said that many winters ago, the temperature never rose above -50 for several weeks in a row. I still find it odd holding the end of a skipping rope in the play area when it’s -40.

Several students opted not to do the walk. A small, but hearty group left the school to head for the waterfalls, 2.5km from the school. Less than a third of the way along the route, the boys decided they’d had enough and packed it in. The other two teachers and I soldiered on with a group of young girls. We had a great time and we never heard a complaint. On our return to the school, the girls were rewarded with some of my homemade cookies. Girl power!!!

“Chips ahoy”.

Is it possible to write something about potato chips and make it interesting? Probably not. My grocery order arrived from the south last Friday evening. Now, we all know that a bag of chips is really a bag of air, with a few paltry chips thrown in for effect. The grocery store in the south (god love them) always packs the chips in a box of their own so that they don’t get crushed. Potato chips are one of those things that are very expensive in the grocery stores up here. I opened the small box and extricated bag #1. Unbeknownst to me, one end of the bag was opened and when I went to transport it to the cupboard, the entire contents emptied out onto the kitchen floor. I was mildly flustered which quickly turned to consternation as the second bag did the same thing. Why, you ask, didn’t you check the second bag? I don’t know about you, but I don’t routinely check bags of potato chips to see if the end is open. Now I had two full bags of chips on the floor. Thankfully, I am a decent housekeeper and keep the floors swept daily so I scooped them up and put them back in the bags. I’m guessing that the air pressure in the plane’s cargo bay caused the bags to explode.

I guess you could say that I am a “chip off the old block” as our parents told us that wasting was a sin.

Have a great week.



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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on February 18, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

Any porch in a storm. (Thanks, ER)


“And now, the end is here,

And so I face the final curtain,

My friend I’ll make it clear,

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.”

My Way. Frank Sinatra

I’ll state my case, of which I’m uncertain.

Those of you who know me well know that I am a pretty determined individual. I’m task oriented and when called to so something, I try to do it well and on time. There’s another word for determined and that would be stubborn. I’m sure it has something to do with that not so rare mix of Irish and Scottish found in many small communities in Nova Scotia. We don’t like to cry “uncle”. Crying uncle is akin to raising the white flag, surrendering to your opponent.

For months and months, I had a running battle with Bell trying to get my billing sorted out. This was finally resolved so no more “Bell bashing”. My newest mortal enemy is the internet and it has brought me to the brink. Last year, we had decent internet. I couldn’t stream Netflix or Crave but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a deal breaker. At the beginning of this school year, the internet had slowed down considerably in my apartment, but I had the school as a fallback position. It’s only 30 seconds from my front door so making my way there in the evenings and weekends wasn’t a big deal. Up until three weeks ago, I could even do Zoom calls which was really wonderful at Christmas because I couldn’t go home because of Covid.

For reasons yet to be determined, the school’s internet has ceased to function. For the first few days it was mildly inconvenient but now it has become a pretty big issue. Teachers use the internet for teaching purposes. It’s almost indispensable. When you can’t order groceries or pay bills online, things get dicey.

Which segues nicely into my Week45 posts. I have been posting twice a week for almost ten years. Ho hum. You have said this several times before, Len.  What. Are you looking for a medal or a gold star?


I’m getting to the point where I might have to take a brief hiatus from sharing my pearls of wisdom with you. Yes, there is the odd time that coming up with some fresh material is a challenge, but this is not why I might have to hit the pause button. Posting the stories has become a giant pain in the arse. I don’t mind at all getting up at 6:00 a.m. so that my story lands on your breakfast table in a timely fashion but lately the contortions I’ve had to go through to post a story is bordering on the ridiculous. It took several hours the other day just to upload the story and picture on my website. This usually takes all of 5 minutes. When it came to posting, I tried at home and at the school with no luck. I went to my neighbors house and stood on their porch at 6:15 use their internet. It was -25. Luckily, I was able to get the story posted but this has become a burden.

They are working to fix the problem with the internet at school but so far, no luck. If I miss a few posts, I want you to know that I haven’t capitulated.

If I come back to the north for another year, I will definitely be having a serious chat with Elon Musk about his much anticipated SpaceX Starlink Internet service. Do you think Elon could arrange to have a Wheel Pizza delivered?

I have a new name and expanded job description. Meet Captain Burgundy.

The school has a few trucks which staff are welcome to use for things like groceries, getting parcels at the post office or going to the airport to get grocery boxes from cargo planes. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Wrong. I thought the problems in the Middle East were complex until I discovered that keeping track of the trucks, the keys and the extension cords was more challenging than dealing with a group of recalcitrant teenagers. I agreed to take responsibility for the burgundy truck, or just “the Burgundy” as it is affectionately known. It will be parked near my apartment and anyone wishing to use it must communicate with the group of teachers who use it routinely. So far things are going well. Once I’ve solved the Middle East conundrum and the trucks, I will use my energies to tackle global warming.

By the way, I’ve had a few spells of “woe is me” throughout the pandemic. It doesn’t take me long to slap myself silly when I consider that my problems are so minor as to be laughable. Whenever I get like this, I think of one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Please take a few moments to read this post from four years ago about Pat Evans, an amazing woman who became a quadriplegic when she was hit by a moose on her way to school. Here is her story.

Accentuate the positive.

Be kind.

Display gratitude.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I’m a thoroughly modern(a) man having received my first vaccine shot yesterday.




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