Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This Is NOT about Me...


Top of the evening to all, and especially to my readers from the United States.

It is impossible to miss the craziness going on in the US right now.  I fear for the country.  I have never been witness to the social fabric being so torn asunder.

One of the topics of overblown discussion is athletes from the NFL taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner.  It is their way of protesting police brutality.  Due to the President's response, it has also become the standard (pun intended) for demonstrating anti-Trump sentiments.

On one level, it is a free speech issue.  All those who refuse to stand for the national anthem are well within their legal rights to do so.  It must be noted though that football teams are private businesses.  Players are generally required to meet certain standards of demeanour within their contracts.  The New York Yankees require their players to maintain certain grooming standards.  It is in every contract.  For a team to fire a player over taking a knee is not a Constitutional matter of free speech.

Those who are taking a stand against kneeling and otherwise avoiding the anthem keep pointing to the military members who have put their lives on the line and sometimes paid the ultimate price in the defense of the nation.  Please do not make this about me.  It is not about the military.  It is not about those who have paid that ultimate price.  Those who take that risk did so out of love of country.  I also believe that those who would take a knee believe in America no less than those who have taken that risk.

And thus, love of country is the only thing that is relevant in this discussion.  If those who take a knee feel that the country they love needs to be called to task for its behaviour, then so be it.  Their love of country is no less than those who insist on standing.   I flatly disagree with those who take a knee, and am happy to discuss it with them, but perhaps they are bringing up issues that need to be considered.

Whatever the reasons for not taking a bow might be, please do not make me one of them.  This has nothing to do with veterans.  This has to do with the country.  Leave me out of it.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie....

Top of the evening to all...

Most of the folks who have raised children in the last 25 years are familiar with the book by that title.  It tells us that if we give a mouse a cookie, he will want a glass of milk.  Then he will want something else, and something else, and something else.  The last page then says that the mouse will want a cookie.

Why did I choose that title?  I will tell you why.

If you wish to give a mouse a cookie, you will require an oven in which to bake that cookie.  By the way, for all that cookbooks will offer, and they offer plenty, Nestle's Toll House cookies are always the favourite around here.  Anyway, you will require an oven.

A year and a half ago, the oven died.  We replaced it.

The mouse will then want a glass of milk.  Earlier this year, I noticed that the light in the fridge did not go out when I closed the door.  The fridge light did, but it did not look like the door was sealing properly.  I put a flashlight in the fridge, and I was still able to see the light after closing the fridge.  Now the fridge has been replaced.

Then it was the cooktop.  We had an old cooktop.  It still had coils.  Two out of four coils did not work.  Batting .500 is great in baseball.  It does not work when cooking for Rosh HaShanah.  The cooktop went.  It has been replaced with a black, smooth appliance.

Our countertop is beige-y ivory, according to my beloved bride.  It does not match the cooktop.  Also, the fan on the oven hood often does not seal correctly, so cold air blows in from the outside.

I need a cookie.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Concepts and Language


Top of the evening everyone...

Several years back, we visited the Diefen-bunker outside of Ottawa.  It is a bunker designed for senior government officials to hide in the event of a nuclear attack.  Here, they would be able to run the country in some element of safety.

In the Diefen-bunker, there were telephones.  These were the old-style phones, with one line, and a dial.  This is the source of the idea of dialing a telephone.  The kids, much younger then, did not know what it was.  I have not dialed a phone in years.  Yet, on my cordless phone, the option exists to redial a number.  Clearly, the concept of dialing a phone could not go away.

The next generation will not fully understand what it means to sound like a broken record.

Another change...I came home last week for lunch.  I drank my lunch.  In days of old, that would have meant lunch at a bar with coworkers.  I would have meant martinis or scotch.  I had a smoothie. It had protein and fruit in it.

Over the last couple of years, I have been changing the light bulbs in the house.  Incandescant bulbs are no longer available for sale in Ontario.  We have had CFLs.  Now, we are changing them over to LEDs.  The LED bulbs will last for years.  What will happen to light bulb jokes?  

Above, you see the things that occupy my mind when Jennifer is in New Jersey.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG

Playing with Fire....

Shavua tov everyone....

I did not cover the barbecue this evening.  Why?  It was not for lack of intention.  I even went out into the backyard to do it.  This is the third time I have had to deal with this.

We have a skunk that comes to our backyard to dine.

I saw him a couple of weeks ago up front, right where I was about to take the garbage.  He stared at me, tail straight up.  Luckily, the business end of the skunk was pointed in the opposite direction.

A few days after that, I went out to the backyard to cover the barbecue.  Our skunk was there, again.

And it happened this evening.  This time, I got closer before I realized that he was there.  And the tail was pointed straight up.  And the business end was pointed towards me.  For a 47-year old, I move pretty quickly.

I did not cover the barbecue.  The skunk can visit us whenever he wants.

Have a good evening everyone.

R/SCG

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One Must Have Faith...

Top of the evening to all....

Last year, we went to PEI on our way (sort of) to dropping Jesse off at school out in Halifax.  To get from PEI to Nova Scotia, we took the ferry.  It was a little over an hour and very relaxing.  Even better, there was a Cows ice cream right on the ferry.  My daughter was in heaven.

I was in Buffalo earlier this week.  as I often do, I had my bicycle with me.  While out and about, I discovered that Buffalo now has a bicycle ferry that goes across the harbor and opens up the entire southern waterfront.  If you remember the scene with the lighthouse from the movie "Bruce Almighty," that is the exact area.

In the fall, we will head east again to drop Jesse off.  We are going to take the ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick, across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia.  Yet again, I cannot wait.  It must be the Navy person in me.  My mother keeps telling me that sailors do not get old.  They just get a little dingy.

Anyway, PEI, Buffalo, Bay of Fundy.

As I said, one must have faith.  One must believe.  I believe in ferries.

Good night everyone.

R/SCG

Monday, June 5, 2017

For My Friend....

Good evening everyone.

My friend died today.  She had not been well over the last year or so.  I suppose it is odd to call her my friend.  We never met face to face.

Cheryl's sister is a congregant of mine.  Some years back, Cheryl was having some personal challenges.  Her sister thought that she might do well to speak with me.  I was both flattered and nervous.

Cheryl had been hit by a car.  The recovery was slow and arduous.  It seemed that one of the few things she felt comfortable doing was knitting.  Together, Cheryl and I came to appreciate what she could do with her knitting skills.  Cheryl knitted.  She knitted mittens for cancer patients.  These were not people she knew.  Still, at their darkest time, a complete stranger reached out.  Cheryl knitted many, many mittens.  She will likely never know how much her efforts touched people.  After a recent death of a fellow knitter in my own congregation, we arranged to have the leftover yarn sent to Montreal.  I knew it would be put to good use.

We kept in touch by internet off and on after our initial conversation.  About a year after that chat, I found a small package in my mailbox at the office.  The return address was Montreal.  I knew what it was before I opened it.  Cheryl had knitted me a hat.  I smiled for the rest of the day.  Wow.  Years later, it continues to touch me, even though my daughter has since appropriated it.

In April of 2016, my son was hit by a car on his way to school.  Cheryl and her husband were sufficiently alarmed that they made a donation to Cycle Toronto in his honour.  Please note: my son walked away from that collision.

This year, I found another package in my box.  I naturally assumed that Cheryl's knitting needles, likely capable of going on auto-pilot at this point, had been at work again.  I was wrong.  There was a bag of Dove bar miniatures (yummy) from Cheryl's personal stash not for me, but for my daughter.    Please note: this chocolate is not available with kosher supervision in Canada.  Cheryl, I had purchased a bag of those chocolate miniatures to mail to you.  It was in my office with my full intention of sending them to you from all of us.  By the way, I was slow getting back to you.  My daughter's favourite colour is purple.

To Cheryl's husband Michael, her son David, her sister and brother-in-law Glenda and Alan, the Torah speaks of all of the craft work that was part of the building of the Mishkan, the traveling sanctuary that the Children of Israel took with them during their journeys in the desert.  Two of those crafts were weaving and spinning.  I am certain that had knitting been around in those days, it too would have been included.  I am certain that Cheryl would have been in the thick of it.  And in continuation of that m'lekhet Kodesh, that holy tasking of building the Sanctuary, Cheryl created tiny sanctuaries for countless people she did not even know.

Cheryl...I am one of those people.  You looked after me.  You looked after my family.  Thank you.

May her memory be for a blessing.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Shameless Solicitation...

Top of the evening everyone.

Over the years, I have ridden for the Zareinu school here in Toronto.  The Zareinu school is a school for children with significant educational challenges.  You can check out their website at zareinu.org for more information.  They raise a significant amount of their operating budget through a bike-a-thon.  I missed riding the last couple of years.  It is good to be back in the saddle.

The boys and I have signed up to ride 50k to raise money for the school.  We have to raise a combined total of $2500.  At this point, we have $376.  The ride is June 11th.

If you would like to support the school via us, the best bet is to go to the website https://zareinu.donorpages.com/Moveathon2017/stats/ and look up either Jesse Gorman, Gavriel Gorman, or me.

Oh this is so exciting!!  And I will be out on my hydrofoil of aluminum.

Thank you all.

R/SCG