Monday, October 10, 2011

Shhh... I'm trying to listen to your friend sing!

Okay, this annoyance is a common complaint of the people, but for some reason it isn't getting any better. People talking in the audience during a performance. Now I know there is some talk out there that this is a generational thing and that younger people don't have proper audience manners. Not sure about that, but in my latest run-in with talking audience members it was not a young person. In fact it would be fairer to describe this person as old rather than young.

I was attending a concert fundraiser and had paid $25 to see my son's high school R&B band play as one of three acts in the event. The first act was a local amateur gospel choir. They were putting on a pretty good show, but two women sitting in the row in front of me had periodic loud conversations through the second half of the choir's performance. It was very distracting. Then to my surprise when the choir finished these two women got up and left. Clearly they were there only to see the choir and were not interested in the other acts. Apparently they weren't really interested in listening to the choir either as they spent at least half the time listening to each other. What's up with that?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jack is Back!!!!

Hello any loyal readers who have wandered back to my blog that has been in an extended hibernation. What, you may be asking yourself, has finally compelled Little Jackie Showers to once again share his frustrations with the less than perfect thing we call civilization? I'll get to that soon enough, but first let us celebrate the return of "Jack".

This summer I read that in 2010 the name Jack made it into the number 20 slot of most popular baby names for boys born last year here in British Columbia. Who could have foretold of this wonderful event? The long dead name of Jack is back. Of course for me it has been a bit confusing to have youngsters with the name Jack because I have long known that when I hear the name Jack spoken that someone is talking to me (as there are virtually no occasions except around my Uncle Jack when there are any other Jacks around with the one other exception years back of a friend who made the unfortunate choice of obtaining an ill behaved dog named Jack and I had to suffer with hearing my name yelled in a scolding voice only to realize soon after cowering that it was being directed at the dog and not me.), but in this new era of "Jack is Back" I turn to see who is saying my name only to see some young tyke being spoken to by his parent.

Meanwhile back at the annoyances department I must have a word with all the men and perhaps young Jacks our there. Women you may stop reading now. You see men, I have a concern with the state some of you are leaving public washrooms in after you do your business. Specifically some of you are keeping the toilet seat down (certainly an unmanly thing to do by the way) and then leaving the evidence of your poor aiming skills on said seat. It's one thing to miss, but it's a totally unforgivable thing to not clean it up. It is behaviours like this that you wouldn't do in your own homes (or maybe I'm assuming too much there) but you figure it is okay to do when it doesn't affect you personally that lead to the demise of civilized society. That might be overstating things but the frequency with which I am faced with this annoyance is frankly pissing me off.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dog Poop Ain't All That's Crap

Hello again my little bloglodites. Alert reader, Lisa, correctly points out that dog owners sometimes leave their dog's crap behind instead of stopping to pick it up. Curious that this, like a number of dog related issues, is actually something that has changed over time. Used to be that nobody picked up the poop back when I was young. Or at least that's how I remember it. Am I right? At least now the person who doesn't scoop the poop is the exception. And I pity the fool who tries this around our vigilante hero, Guy, who is wiping out this kind of crime one dog owner at a time.

My take on this issue is that while I would prefer to not have to worry about "land mines" at any time, I especially take umbrage when the deposit is left in an area where people will be running around. If a dog poops on the boulevard that's annoying, but when people let their dogs crap on a sports field or a children's playground or school yard, well that's just plain irresponsible, rude, and unfair.

Digressing into an anecdote for a moment, back in Little League tryouts when I was a kid, I picked up a grounder that went right through some poop. I knew that ball was covered in the stuff, but I was being graded for the tryouts so I just threw it back. Don't know if that helped my score or not, but now there was poop not just on my glove but on one of the coach's gloves as well. I figured the evaluators watching would be impressed with my concentration.

While I'm pointing out irresponsible behaviour, here is another obvious one that is damn annoying and many others have taken umbrage at I'm sure. It's the leaving of furniture on the boulevard. This can be just as unpleasant and certainly more unsightly than some dog poop. C'mon people, don't be leaving your crap lying around for the rest of us to deal with!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friendly? I'll Show You Friendly!

Time to pick on the dogs again or I guess it's the dog owners. Hands up if you've ever had this happen. A dog comes running at you barking ferociously and trailing behind it comes the owner saying, "Don't worry, he's friendly."

Now I could accept, "Don't worry, he's harmless," or "Don't worry, he won't bite," but you can't tell me that a dog that is running up to me and being threatening is friendly. Friendly? Yeah and Don Rickles is sensitive. Donald Trump lacks self-esteem. Some of my readers are big believers in positive reinforcement. I could go on, but I've got to take some bottles back to help pay for my next poker game.

Yes, Little Jackie Showers has been uninspired in 2011, but have no fear, there are still things out there annoying me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

O Canada? What do you think?

Here’s an item I’d like to put up for discussion. Do we really need to have the National Anthem before sporting contests? Sometimes it seems to fit, but mostly it seems like a silly tradition. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I think not. It’s not really an annoyance, but it does strike me as odd.

For instance, who decides at what point a game rates having the anthem or anthems played before it. I bring this up because they played it before the final game of the B.C. boys’ basketball championship. They also played it before one of the semi-final games I attended. Yet, it was not played before any of the consolation games I attended in the tournament or games earlier in the year. So, at the high school level it has to be a really important game before we stop for the anthem? It also gets played at Little League baseball games, but not until you’re past the regular season and into the tournament playdowns leading ultimately to the Little League World Series.

What is the purpose of this tradition?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Out of Shape Are We?

It's time for Little Jackie Showers to weigh in on "voter fatigue". Yes, it is asking a lot of people to take a half hour from their day every year or so and go to the polls. I mean you've usually got to go a few blocks out of your way to do it. What are they thinking??

If anyone is seriously tired of voting, then I suggest they get themselves a stairmaster and/or starting exercising their mind each day with Sudoko or crosswords, because they must be seriously out of shape. This voter fatigue thing is got to be some kind of media myth. Can this really exist on the individual level? And if it does, can these individual voters really give two cents? Who needs their vote anyway.

The Conservative candidate in my riding came knocking on my door today. Seemed like a decent fellow and when I explained I wasn't likely to vote for him (in this election that's putting it politely) he came up with a pretty slick sales pitch based on strategic voting. He suggested if we give his party a majority it will give the other parties four years to get their act together and then knock his party out of power. Who knew Yogi Berra was running for the Conservatives?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here in Canada we are going through one of our favourite seasons. It is Roll Up the Rim to Win time. The iconic Canadian coffee shop, Tim Horton's, is doing their 25th annual contest in which customers can unroll the rim of their paper coffee cup (after drinking the coffee works best I find) and win fabulous prizes. This year I have won three coffees and two "donuts" to date.

I'm keen on this marketing gimmick, but I do have a bone to pick with Tim Horton's. If you order in or bring your own coffee cup then one of two things happens. Either you don't get a cup and don't get to roll up to win (which is clearly unfair or at least biased heavily in favour of people who like paper cups over ceramic mugs) or they give you an empty paper cup along with your non-paper cup so you can roll the rim (which is clearly wasteful). It would seem that there must be a simple solution to this and you'd think after 25 years someone at Tim Horton's would have come up with a way to give us a little Roll Up the Rim game piece without having to give us an empty cup.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Anyone up for a Face Wash?

Those of you who have been sheltered from the evolution of the elementary school playground since having moved on from those days of your youth, might be surprised to hear that snow ball throwing is no longer allowed. Or at least it is rarely allowed anymore.

One recent local experiment allowed snow ball throwing, but only in one direction. Let me make this clear. Everyone had to stand at one end of an area and throw snowballs in a direction where nobody else was standing. I think there may have been a fence you could hit.

If those rules had been in place back in my day then I would have been robbed of one of my favourite anecdotes. Long time readers of this blog will remember that I have an anecdote regarding NHL player Greg Adams who I once struck out in a game of slo-pitch. You can read about that here if you missed it: The striking out of Greg Adams. However, that is not my only story involving a confrontation with an NHL player.

Back in elementary school on a snowy day the staff let us go out to engage in 1970's style playground fun. That's right, we pelted each other with snow balls and face washed each other with no mercy. I beaned soon to be NHLer Russ Courtnall (okay, so it was ten years later that he was in the NHL) in the face with a snow ball (okay, so I kind of packed it down a little too much, but that's what we did in the 70's) and he went down writhing in pain. I realized I had done wrong and went over to the circle of his friends that were gathered around him. As I tried to apologize his friends starting warning me that, "You better get out of here." I felt bad so I stayed.

Russ, no doubt because he had to live up to the expectations of his friends, got up and punched me square in the chin. It stunned me a little, but I didn't go down (I guess that's why Russ went on to be skill player in the NHL and not a goon. But I kid Russ, it did hurt but I was two years older than him at the time). I figured I had it coming so I just said nothing and walked away. That was problem-solving in the 70's.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Jackie Favre??

Every time an older athlete mulls over the decision to retire there is a large segment of the public and the sports media that urge the player to quit while they are still at or near the top of their game. People wonder why the Roger Clemens, Brett Favres, and others keep changing their mind and unretiring.

Personally I don't buy into the idea that a player should retire to maintain their image. If they can still contribute to a team then all the more power to them. Why should they give it up if they still want to play and are good enough, even if they aren't as good as they once were. As for unretiring, I completely understand that and I think all those who make fun of those that unretire have never been in those players shoes. Little Jackie Showers has. I may have to pay for my shoes and be in no danger of getting paid to play, but I understand where their hearts are. After all it is the heart and not the mind that brings you back to play again.

I have always loved to play sports and as I age it gets harder to participate. Injuries and aches take some of the fun out of playing, but the longing to play is still there. The boy inside the man doesn't always grow up. If old guys love to play then why should they give it up? Just so other old guys can remember them as they were in their prime? I say not! I've already unretired from slo-pitch once and thanks to a funny thing that happened today, I may unretire from another sport as well.

This morning while out on a walk with the Missus we passed some guys playing a game of pick-up football. My friends and I played Saturday morning pick-up football for over twenty years before finally giving it up. As I watched them playing I said to the Missus that I really, really missed playing. Just a passing thought at the time, with no plan to address it. After that things got freakishly coincidental.

One hour later I drive my son to his high school musical rehearsal (good tickets still available at press time) and as we pull into the parking lot I see some more guys playing football on that field too. And these are old guys! I park the car and realize I even know one of the old guys. I get out and walk over to the fence to check things out and maybe find out if this is a regular game. The first guy who sees me, someone I don't even know, asks if I want to play. Just like that. He lends me his extra cleats and before I can let reason get in the way I'm lacing them up and I'm in the game.

These old guys were anywhere from late 30's to 60 and it turns out they've been playing this Sunday morning game for over twenty years (much like my defunct group). This week for the first time they were playing at my son's school. How's that for a fluke. The day that I'm pining for football, a group that's old enough for me and wants players, falls into my lap. I think I'll be back next week and I don't care what the sportswriters say.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Say No to the Breakfast Buffet

A development on the hotel front in recent years has me wondering what we've got ourselves into. Hotels chains are almost all offering a "free" breakfast when you stay with them. At first this seems like a great idea, but I'm not sure. It can work out okay, but it can be annoyingly disappointing too. I just can't help but think that hotels feel the pressure to offer this, but I'd happily get three bucks off my bill and go without.

These breakfast buffets generally involve rather pedestrian options, often with shortages of what you'd like most, as well as line-ups for use of the popular appliances such as the toaster. The level of elbowing is somewhere between what you see in an NHL game and what I remember of Eaton's bargain basement. Seating is at a premium. If you don't mind eating a waffle standing up without syrup because they've run out and using a spoon to eat it since they've run out of forks then you probably won't mind the hotel breakfast buffet. Me, I think I'd rather find a coffee shop or restaurant nearby and have the hotel stick to the business of beds and leave the breakfasts to somebody else.

The problem is that it seems like you've already paid for the hotel breakfast, so going somewhere else seems wasteful. Nevertheless, I think that's going to be my game plan from now on, unless my hotel is in the middle of nowhere with no other dining options nearby. Either that or if I'm in the mood for a so-so cup of coffee and a very plain bagel in an unappealing setting while competing for the toaster with someone who must be related to Gordie Howe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

17 Minutes at the Mercy of Cineplex

I went to the movies the other night. I don't get to do that often and the places I have been going to haven't been part of the big Cineplex chain. It seems things have changed a little at Cineplex since I last remember going. And I'm not talking about the popcorn.

I arrived just five minutes before the advertised show time and the line up for popcorn was quite long. Knowing there'd be previews, I decided to chance being late and get some popcorn. After all who can resist... Sorry, now I am talking about popcorn when I'd said I wasn't. Let's move on. I got to my seat a few minutes later than the aforementioned show time just when things were getting started (the screen was blank for a while when I first got there). The pre-show festivities consisted of a few previews and get this, eight advertisements. I'm not exaggerating, I counted them just so I could complain to you in an accurate fashion. Doesn't eight seem a little excessive? I remember when there was one ad and people booed. Now eight is acceptable? Sheesh.

I'm not against advertising in any philosophical or dogmatic sense, but I think if you're going to hold back the show for (and this is not an exaggeration either as I checked the time) 17 minutes after the much publicized start time to pitch stuff, then you're taking advantage of us. And I'm not talking about the popcorn, which if I wanted to I could. Since we're talking about getting taken advantage of. But I will hold back.

See you at the commercials!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Consider the Pansy

Why is the pansy the flower that is singled out as the metaphor for wimpiness? As in, "Don't be such a pansy and get out there and deal with that unruly mob." Lacking any awareness of the flower world I really couldn't have told you what flower is a pansy until a couple of years ago. When I learned what a pansy is, I was shocked.

The pansy you see is an ornamental flower that is often used by people and our local governments in the winter. Outdoors!! The pansy is a tough little son of a bitch. It's the Clint Eastwood of flowers. So you see, the pansy is no Pansy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Skiing - You're Never too Old to Start!

Hey folks, welcome to the New Year and new possibilities. On the blogging front I will make no predictions nor set any public goals. I just hope that I can reduce the speed of the downhill trend from 52 entries in 2009 to 44 in 2010. Continuing that descent would lead to 36 in 2011. That would be three a month. Seems doable. Not that I'm promising or setting goals or any such thing. On with the blog...

I was skiing just before the highly anticipated New Year's Eve and got to thinking about the first time I ever skied. I was 12 or 13 and I went with my aunt, uncle, mother, brother and grandmother. Not the grandmother who has banging pots in the previous entry, but my other grandmother. Although I'm pretty sure Granny, as we called her, was a mean pot banger in her own right, she had never skied before the day we all went up to "Forbidden Plateau". Her first day of skiing was at the age of 59. She strapped on the boards with the rest of us beginners and spent a day on the bunny hill. That was here first and only day of skiing and it was, as far as I know, injury free. She crossed it off her list and moved on.

So this means that for most of my readers who haven't tried skiing yet, that it's not too late to start. Even for you, Dan. I think.