Better watch out for my fairy god mother as well. You wouldn't want to cross her when she's in one of her foul moods. Just kidding folks, welcome to my crappy website where you'll find literally dozens of atrocious typos, grammatical errors and made up words so don`t worry and most of all DO NOT PANIC! I'm not trying to sell you anything here either! No freaking adverts! And the videos sometimes do not work. If they are working then it`s your lucky day baby. What the hell do you expect for free? And remember this is work in progress and far from completion because if all goes according to plan I have at least another half a century on this godforsaken planet. Most of the nonsense that is presented here was compiled over a few years between 2011 and 2016 so some of it may be a bit out of date. I've decided to leave it pretty much as it is because I am too lazy to update it and also because I don't want it to appear as a daily blog because I don't think that it's necessary for the whole planet to know whether or not I decided to change my socks from yesterday or how many bowls of Count Chocula I ate for breakfast
Anyway, not so long ago ( around 2004 ) I finally decided that it was time to move further into the future while it still exists. I guess you could call this my answer to Facebook, Myspace and now freaking Twitter in this world of me, myself and I. Still trying to keep it simple though, as I like to think of myself as a pretty down to earth carbon unit being of sound morals, ethics and mind ( sometimes ) . I do come off my trolley on occasion and elicit some strange reactions from people when I show up at social gatherings and insist on communicating through an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator hand puppet. Well, nothing wrong with that, we each possess our own individual idiosyncrasies and I guess I`m no different. Just a bit "out there". Vive la difference.
I nonetheless have this compelling need to exist electronically in cyberspace in this age of information and technology so as not to be a complete recluse, outcast, party pooper, hermit etc. So, in consistence with the whims of an ever changing ferocious and mechanical world and the necessity to keep up with the ensuing madness, I maintain this humble website. The whole thing is pretty random and can change without warning. It explores recent occurrences as well as serving as a life diary or cyber journal that permits me to retain some semblance of sanity and solace within myself. It is intended to serve as a not so profound overview, synopsis or guide to my inner sanctum represented by a fragmented collection of thoughtful insights that I have towards a variety of events and things that I`ve encountered throughout life from the arts and sciences, to the squirrels and birds that inhabit my back yard with whom, I might add, that I`ve had the privilege of establishing a friendly rapport with. Most of the time the sparrows and blackbirds make more sense than the day that I am about face.
When I created my first website in 2004 the term "website" sounded futuristic. People would "OOO!" and "AHH!". Since then even the guy who plays the guitar in front of the liquor store can have one so I have to at least to be on par with this echelon of society. One of my initial reasons for creating a website was to gather and expand thoughts and musings for inclusion in a self-published death or glory book that I planned to call "The Sun Shines Out Of My Ass" , "I fell In A Pile of Shit And Came Out Smelling Like A Rose Bush " or " Life Is A Shit Sandwich and It's Always Lunchtime". A girl suggested " Everything Comes With A Silver Lining". I dunno but I wasn't too crazy about that last one. I wanted to get it out get before the end of 2012 when the Earth was reportedly supposed to have ceased to exist. One of my major concerns about releasing this book though, was that it seemed that everyone with a laptop and access to the internet seemed to be trying to do the same thing. So this book will be cheap and accessable. Whatever prevails, the book will contain thoughtful encouragement, advice and knowledge for both the layman as well as the budding Jeopardy game show champion before the aliens decide to destroy the Earth.
remember.... DO NOT PANIC !!!!!!
Two other ( serious ) book projects that I hope to actually peddle to agents and publishers when I feel the time is right are in the second draft stage. The working titles are " The Exchange " which is not about the stock markets and " Shadow Of The Mammoth " which is not about my infamous drinking and womanizing binge in Vatican City. I make periodic under cover recon missions to the two remaining mainstream retail bookstores in Montréal ( Indigo and Chapters ) to see what is on the shelf and believe me there's a lot of absolute shit out there. I counted over 20 books on the sinking of the Titanic sprinkled throughout various sections of Chapters. Isn't it deplorable that this human tragedy has become such a fixture in pop culture ? I remember a retired businessman once saying to me that he never sold anything that people didn't need. So, I said to myself I'll never write anything that people won't want to read. While it is not my intention to be the next literary genius I hope that my first attempts at fine works of literature will be poignant, thought provoking and have some sort of impact and not end up in some pile in a clearance warehouse.
If you came here to view some of my artistic renderings they can be viewed in The Exhibition section that the nice free website company allowed me to have. Below is a sexy poster I drew for Hillary Clinton to support her 2008 presidential nomination race but the secret service probably intercepted it before she even got to see it. I think it is very beautiful myself.
Above all, I hope that you will glean something from these pages . I`ve also included some links to complement the compelling topics that appear on the various pages. Remember this cyber journal is from complete, so when time permits and I'm feeling inspired, creative or experience a sudden LSD flashback and I'm close to my computer I make thoughtful additions.
Alas, in this day and age of high speed interaction, twitter, blogs and texting I don't expect you to read all the way through this maze of summations, musings, humour, bullshit etc. If the average human being starts showing signs of agitation after 11 seconds of waiting for an elevator to arrive then I can hardly expect one to forfeit much of their valuable time here. So pick a page or section and go nuts, I'm sure that you will find something redeeming here on my smorgasbord of thoughtful delights.
IMPORTANT: make sure to hit the return button rather than the "x" when returning from the links.
If anyone feels like leaving me an interesting message or comment or one that`s not so interesting send it along with $50 to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you prefer email@example.com and stay away from Black Mambas because they can be nasty especially when their feelings are hurt.
Slainte, Ian Gledhill
just kidding about the 50 bucks folks.
"The will - it is always attached to an object. A purpose. it is simply the engine of a car - It can`t steer. "
- Joyce Cary, Britsh author. 1888 - 1957
" I am long on ideas but short on time. I expect to live only a hundred years."
- Thomas Edison, American Inventor 1847 - 1931
"The Internet is what it is. I have no control over it and I think that`s a good thing, actually. Before the Internet, we could basically manipulate the media. Only put the pictures which made us look perfect, videos that were perfectly edited and interviews where we sounded like genuises. But the Internet and it`s free-for-allness doesn`t allow you to be a perfectionist. You`re captured in all your glory, good and bad including what happened with Underneath, videos that you haven`t signed off."
Alanis Morisette commenting about of a song called Underneath from her uopcoming album, Flavors Of Entanglement, shown on youtube without her peremission in an interview for The Windsor Star.
And here I am in Toronto in April 2016 for the annual Air Canada Jazz Hockey Tournament with one of the best guys I've ever known. You don't want to know about some of the shit that we've been through together.
Niagara Falls as seen from a Snowbird jet
Well I finally escaped from Quebec to the questionable tourist town of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in May 2014. Not my first choice but had to get out of Quebec and Montreal, I had been on the escape committee for too long! Once a great province and great city both have unfortunately lost all their previous charm. Today Quebec is a sinking ship ( or should I say a shipwreck ) riddled with corruption, bigotry, ignorance, crumbling infrastructure and no sense of reality. Last stats indicate that Quebec is losing more than 20,000 people ( both anglophones and francophones ) to other parts of Canada and the US per anum. Despite this, the present Parti Quebecois government still wants to have yet another go at independence from the rest of Canada. It has the lowest birthrate, highest debt, high unemployment, highest taxes and the least brains. Having being born there an spending a good portion of my life there I just decided that I had enough of the nonsense.
Canadair T-33 Silver Star on display at The Fort Erie Train Museum
So, I guess I'm a fully naturalized citizen of the Province of Ontario as this is written in May 2017. I'm temporarily residing in Fort Erie right now and will be moving on to Ottawa in the near future. I wouldn't call Niagara Falls the land of milk & honey by any stretch. It had the usual problems : deteriorating infrastructure, lots of crackheads, corrupt cops and unemployment. The main seasonal employer is the service industry, ie restaurants, hotels and related attractions. I must admit that the fascination with watching tons of water flowing over cliffs eludes me somewhat yet people arrive in droves to witness this phenomenon each year, staying in expensive hotels, paying $14.99 for a burger & fries ( drink not included ) and paying even more $$$ for other attractions such as Marine Land, cheesy museums, two casinos as well as helicopter and boat rides over and under the falls. I am more than happy to move on from 2 1/2 years of this rather dismal city. It's unfortunate that the once attractive tourist destination has been left to rot. All the new high rise hotels have smothered the once charming smaller motels turning them into slums and places where illegal activity thrives.
Many people have accidentally fallen or purposely jumped to their deaths over the falls and since the year 1850 more than 5,000 bodies have been found at the foot of the falls and downriver. Daredevils often challenge the allure of the falls and have ridden over them in barrels and walked over them on tightropes, the most recent feat being accomplished by Nik Wallenda on June 15 ,2012. He got rather flustered when the television networks made him wear a safety harness in case he screwed it up.
Nik Wallenda conquering the falls in June 2012
Because the Niagara peninsula is the most temperate zone in Canada there are an abundance of birds to be observed year round , the most spectacular of which are the hawks that can be observed nesting and hunting prey in the gorge just a few kilometres from the falls along River road. I've also witnessed goldfinches, bluejays, cardinals, starlings, warblers and the region is also a stopover point for many species of migratory birds including ospreys and snowy owls. I'll have a pair of binoculars and a camera at the ready this coming summer. I saw some asshole on the local news baiting a Snowy Owl with a live mouse near the hospital in nearby St.Catharines so he could get pictures of it, probably to sell on the goddamn internet. This sort of thoughtless ignorant interference with nature diisgusts me and I always take prudence so as not to disturb nature's ways when making observations. Fortunately this particular owl wasn't going for the mouse. See the link below for a local news article.
The majestic snowy owl
" If everybody in the world was a bird watcher, the world would be a better place. You could start caring about other living things and get away from this me, me , me stuff "
- Robert Bateman
I had the fortunate occasion to happen across a family of ospreys who were nesting not too far away from where I was living about 10 years back. They provided me with hours of pleasure of observing them catching fish, rearing 3 young chicks and fending off the odd Marauding raven who came too close to their nest.
I managed to establish an observation post in a nearby tree to take in the daily procedings with a healthy ration of sandwiches and juice and would settle down to observe the spectacular events which were to unfold each day. Observing nature from such a box seat gave a new meaning to the word patience! Very different from the Discovery channel! Oblivious to my presence they would perform intricate aerobatic demonstrations at heights of up to 200 ft. before locating an unsuspecting fish swimming within one meter underneath the water`s surface. While ospreys are capable of sustained soaring flight usually the thermals and updrafts that permit this are normally absent over bodies of water. This was not the case with these birds whose soaring ability was reinforced by the unusual weather conditions of the Canadian Rockies.They would swoop down with pinpoint accuaracy and single-minded deternimation with their talons extended disappearing underneath the water for an instant only to re-emerge seconds later with the catch of the day. This is adequately demonstrated at 0:58 of the video I hijacked from youtube. Very formidable airborne anglers, they wern`t used to missing either, and every attempt I had the privilege to witness was successful. They would then carry the prize to the nest to the three hungry mouths but before alighting would perform victory flights above the nest. Both the mother and father in this case would take turns at hunting for dinner and guarding the nest which was located at the topmost part of a dying tree. Ospreys, like other birds of prey like to build their nests on high points of vantage and this family was no exception .
A remarkably well engineered bird, it`s powerful legs with strong talons serve a dual purpose. It uses them to gather large sticks which are the principlal building materials for it`s nests as well as for grabbing prey. To facilitate a firm grip on the fish the osprey is equipped with a rotating index toe. It will also adjust the fish longitudely in flight to achieve maximunm aerodynamic efficiency for the journey back to the nest for the impending feast. Although these particular birds had their nest conveniently located at a bend in the Bow River in Banff National Park, ospreys will travel up to 10 km to a favourite fishing spot.
Alas, my only dissapointment for this observation campaign was not being able to see the chicks make their first flights from the nest. I must have just missed the events as I had to move back to Montréal. So, I had to say farewell and thank-you to my marvelous feathered friends for so many hours of pleasure and wonderment. I look forward to my next encounter with these wonderful creatures. Some lucky day in the not too distant future.
Held annually at the beginning of each October at the Ebenfluh shooting range, more commonly known as Axalp due to it`s proximity to the small town of Axalp in the Swiss Bernese Oberland, this airshow is certainly the wildest going. At speeds approaching the speed of sound Mirage IIIRS, Tiger II and Hornet jet fighters scream over the audience at only 50 metres against a magnificent panaramic backdrop of snowcapped mountains and brilliant sunshine firing off live ammunition at targets located just 250 metres in the valley below. It is a photographers utopia as 2-3 thousand spectators make the 90 minute climb each year to witness this alpine extravaganza as only range officers and judging marshalls are permitted to use a small cable car to make the ascent.The show allows Swiss fighter pilots to practice their skills using live ammunition while at the same time demonstrating to the Swiss public that their tax money is being well spent. It also serves as reminder to any potential aggressors that the Swiss take their nuetrality rather seriously! Also included in the 90 minute show is a simulated mountain rescue, freefall parachute demonstration as well as a precision flying display by the Patrouille Suisse jet demonstration team with 6 F-5E Tiger II jets. Here's he 2015 show.
When I was a young child my bedroom was infested with monsters. We lived by a lake and every night a sea monster would come out of the water and eat all the kids who were late for supper. During the night I felt not unlike a rabbit among snakes. I never really saw any of these monsters but I had a pretty good idea of what they looked like and this was sufficient. Years later when I came across the Far Side comic panel by Gary Larson and the Calvin & Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson I discovered that I was not alone and that the same monsters terrorized them as a kid.
Amazingly witty, unique and sideways thinking, both were without peer in their own ways. Larson had the uncanny ability to seek out humour in any discipline ; science, the arts, nature, history, religion etc. all with that tinge of paranoia and fear. Among his favourite subjects were insects, housewives who wore harlequin glasses and especailly cows. For some reason he found them "them to be the quitessentially absurd animal for situations more absurd" . His style has often been copied but never matched since his retirement in 1995.
Bill Watterson was influenced by the innocence of the Peanuts and others . Calvin, an imaginative 6 year-old and his anthropomorphic stuffed tiger would embark on fantasies that explored and commented on such decadences of family life, commercialism, politics, the environment as well as politics without making any direct references to anyone or anything in particular. Wattreson also retired in 1995 feeling that the concept had run it's course. One critic remarked that Calvin & Hobbes " left a hole in the comics page that no strip has been able to fill" in 2005 a full 10 years after Watterson's retirement from cartooning.
For demonstrative purposes only, here`s what I mean about them being terrororized by the same monsters!
I actually snapped this photo by chance. No photoshop here folks. I was in the right place at the right time.
This is something which has also always fascinated me as a kid. Monsters under the bed was one thing but a monster in a lake? I grew up on a lake and even believed there was a monster that lived in there and would come out and have you for his dinner if you weren`t home for your dinner on time.
The legend of a large aquatic creature inhabiting the depths of Loch ness in bonnie Scotland originated sometime during the 6th century when the first reported sighting of the beast was made by a Christian missionary. Since then people have come to various conclusions regarding this phenomenom. Some believe it is a creature hitherto unknown to science while some even believe that it`s an ancient plesiosaur-like type animal. Despite numerous sightings and the acquisition of photographic images, the creature has proved to be very elusive over the centuries! Institutions such as MIT from Boston have mounted elaborate scientific expeditions in the past employing high tech equipment such as sonar and even a mini-sub in order to locate it. So far no conclusive evidence from these monster hunts have been able to identify this recurring phenomenom as a living breathing animal.
At 925 ft. LochNess is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the united Kingdom. Located near the town of Inverness and located over an earthquake fault line it flows via the River Ness into the Moray Firth and into the North Sea. It contains an array of decayed matter which makes the water look almost black and frequently causes unusual reflections across it`s surface. The photo below which was taken in August of 1972 with a underwater motion-sensitive strobe camera appears to be an appendage of the water creature. However, according to experts at the time, " Does not appear mammalian. General form and shape of flipper does not resemble anything known to exist today " . In other words, it could bloody well be anything!
Nonetheless, this photo is widely accepted as conclusive proof among monster hunters that there are indeed large underwater animals residing in Loch Ness. One scientist came to a conclusion in a 1976 book, The Mosters Of Loch Ness that the craeture is probably a highly eveolved giant amphibian believed to be extinct for 250,000,000 years ! In this book Dr. Roy P. Makal presents a convincing case for the existence of "Nessie". The book is full of scientific data, analysis, photographs and a table of over 250 documented sightings. I read it when I was in grade 10 since they had it in the school library and although dated , it is not the work of a crackpot but rather comes off as an in depth methodical scientific study of the possibe presence of a large unknown aquatic creature in the abysses of Loch Ness. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to investigate this mystery for themselves.
This first appeared in `87. I Only just recently I dug up an old Herman Treasury ( #6 ) in a second hand shop for a dollar and found it on page one! It depicts a welcome that unsuspecting beings from another planet might recieve upon arriving on our mysterious planet. An observation on the unique way in which one of the many creatures that we share it with might greet interstellar explorers and the wonderfully different perceptions they have towards certain events and occurances.
If you don't know who Remi Gaillard is then check out the link and laugh your ass off
I wish that I could produce a better image of this memorable event. Me and one of my crazy flying buddies got drunk in the officers mess on the US Navy base at Key West Florida and decided to steal an Orion maritime patrol aircraft and go out and strafe some cruise ships. The accompanying photo shows exactly what we saw from the cockpit just before we opened fire with depth charges and rockets. It was great fun watching the terrified passengers scattering and diving for cover. We made several more calculated runs from various angles for maximum efficiency. Finally we ran out of ammo and had to break off our attack by which time the two ships in the center of the photo were nothing more than smolering hulks. Oh those were the days.......
( i seriously hope that you don`t believe this )
Miss Fogelman was my grade four teacher ( her real name was Francine but we called her Miss Fogelman ). She was this real cool hippie chick who would read the class short stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe on Friday afternoons ( the best ones were the ones she read on Friday the 13th ). She would turn off the light and light this black candle and read us stuff like The Masque Of The Red Death, The Tell-tale Heart and The Pit And The Pendulum. Now, I don`t know what sort of profound impact it had on the other kids but it sure had a lasting one on me. Poe changed my perceptions towards many things even though at the time as an 8 year-old kid I did not know it. I just thought they were just cool and freaked out stories that gave me weird dreams and took them literally.
However, Later on in life I began to appreciate the depth and complexity of his work. Not only did Poe write with passion and beauty, probing the darkest recesses of the human mind, he also excelled in other genres and disciplines in which he was not formally trained with considerable skill. He wrote stories which explored aeronautics ( The Ballon Hoax ), oceanography ( Descent Into The Maelstrom ) and astronomy ( Eureka! ). He was the master of the psychological thriller and inventor of the detective story. For most his tour de force was "The Fall Of The House Of Usher ", a story about a family haunted by an ancient curse. He believed that " the unity of effect is only achieved in works that can be read in one sitting." Hence his poems and stories were relatively short which accounts for his large body of work.
I always think of Miss Fogelman and those Friday afternoons in grade four with that little black candle whenever I sit down and lose myself in my volume of collected stories and poems from one of the most misunderstood and imaginative writers ever to commit his deepest thoughts to paper.
This first section was an example of the great big freakin`mistake I made with my first website. Shuffled random thoughts. I can`t really help this with so many thoughts passing through the different sections of my brain at once. I have attempted a more orderly, functional and compartmentalized system here, by naming pages according to their general themes and trying to remain within the scope of the main ideas. For example, the music section which I`ve named NOFREAKOUTS will not contain anything about lobsters. Anything that I have to say about lobsters will be reserved for the "Muscle Cars Of The Sixties" section. It`s not going to be easy but as baseball great Jackie Robinson said " I`ll get it done".
I thought of maintaining a daily blog but decided that I don`t have the time in this daily running of the rat race but welcome any criticisms, random thoughts, rants and rhetoric. So enjoy the ride and feel free to crash my party .......
Just like this little gentleman did when he dropped in for a couple of lagers and drank us under the proverbial table. It was rather cute at first but it turned considerably ugly after the little bastard polished off our last 24 and we had to call in the local police to have him removed from the yard.