When Paul Curran titles his weekly Sunday guest column Observations, well, I certainly sit up and take notice. Hey, it’s hot on that side of the border, too.

Your Barrista -- Paul Curran

Your Barrista — Paul Curran

Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, air-conditioned, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. There are rain showers this morning with a high just over 80 F. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa in the air-conditioning while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. Have a piece of cake (or any of the sweets on the next table) – electronic sweets are all calorie-free! How has your week been? Are you enjoying the weekend? Any special activities?

Stella Plotting to Get Red Velvet Cake
Oil Painting by Jonelle Summerfield

Website: http://jonellesummerfield.blogspot.ca/

So a few updates and a few observations this week – rant free.

By Tuesday my bank had replaced both the NSF charge and the money that Amazon had lifted from account – all good there. I had made arrangements to repay the missed payment and the bank was satisfied. My arm had healed sufficiently by Friday that I was back to the usual double needle in dialysis. I have to admit I was very nervous and I had a nurse who hadn’t needled me for months. It took some lip biting and going slow, but we made it work. This is a good thing as it gives a much better dialysis than the single needle we were using while the arm healed.

Hot, Hot, Hot

Web Site: http://www.airrepairpros.com/lewisville/blog/
So, it was hot, hot, hot here last week with temperatures in the 90s and humidexes over 100 F. Thursday I was reading blogs with the back door ajar and two fans on high aimed at my chest and head. I was shirtless and, owning only long pants had my pant legs rolled up to the knees. With bare feet in flip-flops, I sipped on ice water. I had acquired some new ice-cube trays and was managing to keep production even with consumption. My friend Frank popped his head in the back door:
“Hey Paul! My cousin called and she’s coming to pick me up for supper at her place. It has central air and she invited me to stay for the night. I was glad to accept. I’ll call you later to tell you how nice and cool it is. Great for sleeping you know.”

“Oh, screw off Frank. And have a great sleep.”

About 2 hours later my phone rang and it was Frank.

“You taking company?”

“Sure, Frank. Come on over.”

Curious, I waited until he was seated before asking:

“I thought you were going to your cousin’s?

Smashed Side
If We Were Having Coffee
Website: http://globalnews.ca/news/2256868/police-warn-of-increasese-in-car-break-ins/
“Well, let me tell you. She sent her son to pick me up and she had asked him to stop at the Metro [local grocery store] to pick up a few things on the way. So we went in and when we came out the lot was sealed off by police and the side of our car was smashed so bad that it had to be towed. They were chasing a teenager in a car when he lost control and rammed our car. I walked home.”

“Ahhh, welcome back to the furnace.”

Ha! Tempting fate is never a good idea.

Meanwhile in the small Ontario town of Strathroy – about a five-hour drive from where I am – lurked an ISIS sympathizer. He was a home-grown boy who had made some noises about terrorism and was under a peace bond, which basically ordered him to stay off of social media. Our hate laws, you know. So, our Federal police – the RCMP – got a call from the FBI about this young lad. Apparently he had posted a YouTube video threatening to explode a bomb. Putting on their best armor the Feds and locals went to visit the young lad. Through circumstances that aren’t clear he ended up in a taxi speeding away from capture. Typical Canadian getaway car – we’re not very good at this terrorism thing. He subsequently exploded a homemade bomb in the back seat of the taxi, slightly injuring the driver. It occurred to me that the bomb was not particularly large or lethal – and that perhaps the young man needed further schooling in bomb making.

Strathroy Terrorist

If We Were Having CoffeeWebsite: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/08/11/terror-suspects-death-sparks-renewed-questions-about-peace-bonds

He threatened to explode a second bomb in the town and the police were getting pretty fed up. The young man then committed a faux pas and commenced shooting at the police. They lost their temper and shot him dead – many times over. And thus ended the glorious but short terrorist career of a local Canadian boy who wanted to make good. This is so Canadian in so many ways. First when he declared himself a terrorist we told him not to do that and issued a peace bond. Second, the local police had no idea he was breaking that bond until the FBI called from the United States to rat him out when he produced a YouTube video. So we went to see him and set him straight and he tried to get away in a taxi – you have to wonder if he asked the police to wait while his getaway car (taxi) came and if they agreed. All likely sat around having tea until the taxi arrived and the chase could continue in earnest. Fourth, he then detonated a bomb in the rear of his own taxi which was so ineffectual that the driver was only slightly hurt – I’m thinking firecracker size in explosive power. Fifth, he then told the police he had a second bomb and they must have been concerned for public safety – or so they said. Having blown up (or at least scorched the upholstery – which our strictly enforced taxi laws would put the cab out of service) his own getaway car, the young man set out on foot. The police were still laughing at him when he started shooting at them. He had a mask on by now – apparently having watched many terrorists dress that way – which was silly since they knew who he was, where he lived and had knocked on his door. The police responded by riddling his body with bullet holes from automatic weapons and military hardware. He being a self-declared terrorist and all, I’m surprised they didn’t use a few missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. They don’t get many opportunities to shoot at terrorists and they usually make the best of any chances they get.

Website: https://twitter.com/canada

So, that was the end of our excitement. When locals were questioned about the nature of the boy, they all responded with surprise that he was a good boy who helped neighbors and was always pleasant. We Canadians are a polite lot you know, even our terrorists. Sorry.

OK folks, one more item on the agenda – feel free to grab a refill of coffee, tea or an adult beverage while I prattle on. An update on Vancouver. Well, the move date keeps getting pushed back for various reasons but the owner still calls daily and is adamant he wants us in his rental. They are currently doing government-required construction and the weather has been terrible for weeks. They are well behind the outside construction schedule. Plus my future roommate has funds owed to him by our federal government and they are having a huge problem with their accounts payables. They tried to institute a new enterprise computing system called Phoenix and it was a complete disaster. Even federal employees haven’t been paid in months. Meanwhile they are giving advances in a few weeks in the hope that they will have the problems ironed out in a few months. This is money my roommate was intending to use to move to Vancouver. But it still seems to be on – time will tell.


Website: http://www.iccbc.com/

Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this weekend. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Oh and roughseasinthemed, your bottle of chilled Muscadet will be on the table on ice every week now. Have a great week all.

Tea Time
If We Were Having Coffee
Website: https://sevendaysofsweets.com/2014/09/23/himmelska-hundar-heavenly-dogs/

30 thoughts on “Observations

  1. Employees not paid for months!? They could lose their homes. Yikes! I like the images of dogs and cats with sweets. Terrorists are bad. You can’t shoot at the police and expect not to be killed. So yay, they did their job and got rid of him. Too bad he turned out to be a bad apple. And sorry about your weather! My dad just visited Canada for the first time last week. His gf took him to Ontario and he did say how courteous and clean it was, but that it was 90 F and the restaurants had no a/c, so they were burning up, as I imagine you are. At least the double needle worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Kerbey! thanks so much for dropping by for a visit. I am honored. Things are getting back to normal. And that government thing – it really surprises me that there hasn’t been more publicity and complaining. The thing is that the banks and loan companies, etc, have put all payments on park if you are a federal employee. They are paying out an advance this week but it will only be a few thousand on the tens of thousands they owe each employee. There are 80,000 employees alone affected. they hope to have it fixed by October. hard to believe isn’t it? My friend had money invested privately in the US and chose to move it back to Canada – bad timing. This Phoenix thing means the Feds don’t know how much taxes, etc are owed so they have frozen the funds. They are giving him a few thousand as well to tide him over. Idiots.

      I’m not sure where your Dad visited but most city restaurants had A/C. But it is true that many smaller rural places do not. I hope his trip was good despite the heat.

      Thanks again for dropping by Kerbey – please come again,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like govts everywhere can’t seem to run things well. And, yes, he had such nice things to say about it. Wood piles, loons, Tim Horton’s coffee (for a looney and a half, whatever that is), Justin Trudeau, Bobby Orr, milk not in cartons…things I know nothing about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For sure – yeah if he did loons he was rural – they are a wild kind of duck-like bird that swims low in the water. They have a very haunting call that is very distinctive,

        We have a picture of a loon on our dollar coin so we call it a loonie. The two dollar coin is called a twoonie. Ahhh,Tm Horton’s – known as Timmies – is a national chain of coffee shops that have very tasty coffee and pastries. They have gotten into sandwiches lately. There are literally thousands of them across the country and in every town, with dozens of shops in any city. they are beloved by all and put a lot of money back into the communities sponsoring hockey, kids’ camps, recreation for inner city kids, etc. If you are having an event for charity, Tims will donate the coffee and service, charge customers a small amount for the coffee and return all money to the charity. They also support kids with disabilities.

        Justin Trudeau is our Prime Minister (about the same as your President). We just elected him about a year ago in a very odd election. He is about 45 and the son of a past Prime Minister who was beloved and served as many terms as was allowed and we wanted to change our laws so he could continue but he didn’t want to. Anyway, Justin headed his Dad’s old party which had been doing poorly for many years. He has no political experience and no one thought he had a chance – he won by a landslide. Despite misgivings, he is doing very very well and seems to have inherited his Dad’s charm.

        Milk = we often buy milk in recyclable plastic bags – 3 per big bag making about a gallon (4 liters for us). Some use the recyclable plastic jugs. The problem with cartons (although we do sell it that way to a small extent) is that the waxed cardboard is not recyclable, Many of our products are in recyclable containers to try and reduce waste.

        I think you would find us quite sensible Kerbey. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Life is so surreal now…a Dali painting…avant-guard Dadaism returns with a total lack of comprehension?
    Seriously, enjoyed the read – You just have to laugh at the Life which has now really turned into the Theater of the Absurd.
    Gotta love that Canadian attitude.
    Really glad the med treatment is headed in the better direction.
    Vancouver is amazing. You’ll get there!
    Thanks for the great read…Oh, Ellie, not sure you can have a cookie…belly rub instead?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Phil. Awesome to see you here. I was just pondering the chronophage -Ha! Things are progressing but to where we have no clue – just have to ride the wave and see where it drops me. Life in general does seem to be becoming surreal. It’s a pleasure to have you visit Phil – hope all is well with your menagerie.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Beth – it is a pleasure to have you here. Oh yeah, things will work out – they often do. Thanks for your concern. Vancouver just keeps slipping further back – I’m really wondering if it will ever happen, but I have nothing invested and nothing to lose other than expectations – which I am trying desperately to manage. Thanks so much for the visit – please give my regards to Glenn Frey the cat not the rock star.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the read and comment Elyse. Yeah, he wasn’t much of a challenge that lad. We actually have had some pretty successful but polite thieves in the past. Paddy Mitchell of the Stopwatch Gang was one of the most wanted men in North America for a while. He and his gang did some of the biggest robberies of the time and never harmed a soul https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stopwatch_Gang

      They put a lot of thought into their work whereas this terrorist seemed totally lost. Something missing in that lad’s life.

      Thanks so much for the visit Elyse, please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s so much to be sad about here. The taxi driver was probably none too happy, though grateful he was only slightly injured. No matter how polite he was as a terrorist, that’s scary that young people think this is something to support and to dabble in.

    As always though, you are a master story teller Paul. No one tells it like you do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by and for the compliment Colleen. Yeah, I made light of it, but you are right – that young man had no clue or perhaps care that by day’s end he would be dead. That’s not normal if he came from a loving caring environment. Something was missing. It is sad but the opportunity to present it in the surreal manner in which it occurred was too much to resist – I mean a bomb that can’t blow up the back seat of a taxi? Using a taxi as a getaway car? Pulling on a mask after the cops have knocked on the door and know who you are? Putting a YouTube Video into the public domain while under peace bond? Shooting at an army of police who have a plethora of arms and weapons? Threatening to blow up anything while police are aiming guns at you?

      Anyway, thanks for the visit Colleen, always a pleasure.


      • I think you did a fabulous job with this Paul. How often have we seen a serious situation, made light of, and in doing so it suddenly becomes a powerful lesson for us all. Humor has a way of letting us see a story differently. Very well done. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • ha! He was still in town when he blew up his own getaway car -albeit very poorly as the driver was only injured – so it was hard to tell where he was headed. His chase hadn’t gone far before he was on foot and shooting at police. Well, they found that to be very impolite – he didn’t apologize or in anyway suggest he was unhappy shooting at police but felt he really had no choice – no, he just shot at them. They found that quite impolite and under our very strict politeness laws, that then freed them to ventilate him – and they did so quite effectively, I must say. We buy a lot of our police and military hardware from the US – you guys have the best stuff and a quick trip across the border at lunch time to an American gun shop will arm even the most aggressive police department with enough automatic weapons and military hardware to hold off an invasion – 2nd amendment you know.

      Anyway, i don’t think he was a threat to the US and you need not fear an invasion from the north as the FBI listens in on conversations all over the world and they’ll let us know as soon as we need to know. They’re good like that – they’ll happily share any illegally obtained intelligence. Ha!

      Thanks so much for dropping by CM – a pleasure as always. how’s the vacay going? Please give my regards to Teddy Rosalie.


      • Trust me, I wasn’t worried about a threat from the north. Just wondering if I should start pushing the judge to finally sign my pistol permit application (it’s only been a year!).

        Today is the last day of vacay. I’ll be doing a post shortly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting, Paul! That’s quite a bit of drama! A polite terrorist? And I guess he loves cats too….LOL. Well, you know the saying – still water runs deep. Great catching up with you, Paul. Here’s a slice of cake for you, Ellie B. (pat!pat!) ~(=^‥^)_旦~

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks NBC, for the visit and read. Great to see you here. Yeah, we’re pretty polite – but he had a gun, so that wasn’t polite. A truly polite terrorist would have sling shot or pea shooter. We don’t see guns as polite, on the whole. Although there are situations where a gun can be polite – i.e. if you’re walking in the woods, a bear attacks and a passer-by with a gun shoots the bear and saves you; well, then that is a polite gun. i liked the part where he blew up his own getaway taxi but the bomb was so little it just injured the driver. HA! Now that was a polite bomb.

      Thanks again for dropping by NBC – have a great week!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Mark for the opportunity to guest post. I was late again and you worked tirelessly to get the post formatted and published. I am deeply indebted to you. Have a great week sir!


      • Ha! the FBI will call when we have a terrorist. One has to wonder what phone line they used and who they called. Through Obama they would have our Prime Minister’s direct number but maybe we have a terrorist hotline where the operators get to sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey 1J1! Awesome to see you here and thank you for the read and comment. Yeah, that was the way it struck me too – totally random. It was like the guy woke up one morning and while eating his CoCo-Puffs, decided to be a terrorist that afternoon. He would have a balaclava (that’s the mask he was wearing) handy because it is cold weather required (so as not to freeze your lungs at -30C ). He had one gun and not enough materials to build a decent bomb. But what the hey, he would give it his best. He had a dozen opportunities to surrender peacefully and even when he saw it going so wrong,he chose to shoot at the police. You should have seen the pictures. Warned by the FBI and having as much time to get ready as they wanted,the cops had all kinds of military hardware and overwhelming numbers – it looked like an invasion of a small country. Even Captain Kirk would have thrown up his hands in despair and not risked the Enterprise against such a force. For every bullet the young man fired, 300 bullets came back at him. Sigh, no more CoCo- Puffs for him: the milk would leak out.

      Thanks again for dropping by for a visit 1J1 – have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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