Showing posts from 2019

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The Ugly Of Spring

- jim Young (20190323)

“To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”   
- Book of Ecclesiastes / Pete Seeger

I’m not sure what my favourite season is. It’s a toss up between summer, autumn and winter.

But I know what my least favourite season is. It’s spring.

I hate spring. There is nothing good about spring. It’s ugly, it’s dirty and it’s teasingly disappointing.

I get that some people don’t like winter but that’s no reason to delude themselves into thinking that they welcome spring.

Welcoming spring because it’s the step between a season you hate and a season you love is like welcoming a needle because it’s going to get rid of your pain.

The problem is, the needle will inflict more pain before it relieves the pain.

You really hate the needle as much as you hate the pain.

So why do so many people insist they love spring when all they really love is that winter is almost over?

It’s like your mother telling you that you have to eat your supper if you want dessert…

Be Thankful

- jim Young 20101203

Tonight while I was in my favourite reading room, perusing one of my beloved research materials - Uncle John's Bathroom Reader - I came across this little tidbit at the bottom of the page.

"In the United States a house catches fire every 45 seconds."

I found this very alarming.

I mean, just think of the poor people who live in that house?

Why don't they move?

I guess it would be hard to sell the house because you would have to be very quick to get a picture of it for the real estate listing between fires.

And you would think the fire department must be very discouraged.

They wouldn't even have time to get back to the station before they were called out again.

Maybe they should build a fire station right beside that house.

This is just one of those little reminders when we are feeling a bit down. No matter how tough our life is, it could be worse.

We could be living in a house that catches fire every 45 seconds.

- 30 -

Baked Boneless Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Dip

- jim Young 20190322

We buy our boneless chicken breasts in bulk at Costco and then pack them in pairs with our vacuum sealer for freezing as we rarely need more than 2 at a time.

When doing this, I always separate the tenderloins from the chicken breasts and vacuum pack them separately for use as a treat such as chicken fingers or fried chicken balls.

Using them to make Boneless Buffalo Wings however is my favourite treat.

You don’t have to use the chicken tenderloins to make these. Simply cutting up any boneless chicken breast into strips or small chunks will work just as well.

Of course nothing goes better with Buffalo Wings of any kind than some celery sticks with a good Blue Cheese Dip.

Baked Boneless Buffalo Wings The Boneless Buffalo Wings can be made for immediate use or to be frozen for a later date.
Stuff Required:
1 cup flour⅔ cup bread crumbs1 tsp salt½ tsp paprika¼ tsp black pepper¼ tsp cayenne pepper2 eggs½ cup milk9 or 10 chicken fingers, cut into small chunks if desired…

Maple Leaf Chips

- jim Young 20190321

“Kale is a superfood and its special power is tasting bad.” - Jim Gaffigan

“Grow some kale,” they said.

“It will be fun,” they said.

I guess they were right because it kinda was fun growing the kale. At least it was easy. And when it comes to gardening, easy = fun as far as I’m concerned.

The kale that year was our best crop.

The only problem was, what do we do with it? As it turns out neither My Shirley nor I are particularly fond of kale so we gave most of it away to our friends and neighbours.

Be we did give it an honest shot first.

Knowing my love of potato chips and other assorted junk food, a friend of mine sent me Gwyneth Paltrow’s Recipe for Kale Chips. According to both Barry and Paltrow, Kale Chips are “as satisfying as potato chips”.

Gwynnth Paltrow's Kale Chip Recipe

I decided to give it a try and I quickly discovered 2 things:

1) Kale Chips suck.
2) Gwyneth Paltrow is an idiot.

(Barry is not an idiot - he was just misinformed.)

"Bake them for 2…

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Recipe for Kale Chips

Stuff Required:
1 big bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into roughly 1½ inch pieces2 tbsp extra virgin olive oilCoarse salt

Do This:

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss the kale with the olive oil and spread out on two baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt and roast for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.

Walmart’s Computers Can’t Perform Basic Arithmetic

- jim Young 20190319

The three Rs are basic skills taught in schools: reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic.
taken from a space-filler in "The Lady's Magazine" 1818 

I was probably about 8 when I started my first job at Youngs IGA in Stroud in the early 1960s. It was
owned and operated by my father and his brother, so I was fortunate to be able to start my first part-time job at such a young age.

For 25¢ an hour my job was sorting pop bottles. There wasn’t much need for any mathematical skills to perform that task. It was pretty simple. Coke bottles went in the boxes marked “Coke”, Pepsi bottles went in the boxes marked “Pepsi” and the Orange Crush bottles went in the boxes marked “Pepsi”.

Surprise! Yes, there was some skill involved even for an 8 year-old.

But when I graduated to the position of giving customers refunds on their bottle returns, multiplication became a little more important. I had to know things like 11 x 2¢ = 22¢ (the deposit of a single pop bottle at the …

When The Media Sensationalizes The News

- jim Young 20190316

CTV News has recently reported a story under the headline "R.C.A.F. member ordered to remove Canadian Flag".

This is the type of irresponsible media coverage being presented as “news” today that is causing so many problems in the world.

The headline is an obvious editorial comment disguised as “news” for the sole, self-serving purpose of increasing readership.

In reality the story is not about an “R.C.A.F” member any more than it is about a “Canadian Flag.”

The story is about a condo homeowner being told to remove a structure that he illegally erected on his condo unit.

It could just as easily have been a biker erecting a Hell’s Angels flag, a white supremacist erecting a flag depicting a Nazi symbol or a member of the LBGTQ community flying a rainbow flag.

Hell, it could even be as benign as a Wolf Cub displaying a Cub Scouts flag.

There is no difference in the context of why he has been ordered to remove it. It is not a violation of anyone’s rights.


Some Things Cannot Be Explained

- jim Young 20190316

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun,
By the men who moil for gold.” - Robert W. Service.

We don’t really live in the land of the midnight sun and we certainly don’t do any moiling for gold.

Still it’s been a “long cold lonely winter” and “it feels like years since (the sun’s) been here.”1 in our little corner of Northern Ontario.

This is the longest, hardest, coldest winter with the most snowfall we have ever witnessed in all our years of living in Loring.

Of course we’ve only lived here a couple of years, but it’s been hard, I tell ya! It’s been a hard winter. And long and cold and lonely.

And when you are shut in in for days at a time, sometimes the mind and the elements start to play tricks on your senses. Isolation from human contact can bring distress to the most sane and mentally competent minds.

I only need remind you of Jack Torrance’s descent into madness in “The Shining” to make my point.

Of course one might argue that it was more than jus…

Clocks Are Funny People

- jim Young 20180312

“Hickory, dickory dock, three mice ran up the clock,
The clock struck one but the other two escaped injuries.”

Clocks are funny people.

I call them people because we share a lot in common with clocks. Like people, clocks have a face and hands and often get wound up and wound down. They can run, work, stop, strike, quit and tell time. Sometimes you can even pull their chains. Clocks also have grandfathers, grandmothers and anniversaries.

Clocks can be right or they can be wrong but like people, seldom will any two clocks agree.

One of the things that’s funny about clocks is their hands. Most clocks have at least two hands but some have three. When a clock has three hands however, we call their third hand the second hand.

An anniversary clock, sometimes known as a 365-day clock, is so named because it only has to be wound once a year. The funny thing about that is they really only have to be wound every 400 days.

Many modern clocks have to be set to differentiate betw…

The 80s & 90s

Can I Come In?
We spent a lot of time at our family cottage in the Muskokas when the children were young. In this picture, my daughter Ange was coming in after playing outside, still in her pajamas, early in the morning. (1980)

Quiet Time with Dad This isn't a particularly good quality picture. But it is a very pleasant memory for me. (1980)

Fishing Back at our family cottage my son would spend much of his time fishing. (1983)

Santa's Knee My mother was the biggest believer of Santa and the true Spirit of Christmas. She grew up in Toronto and never missed the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade as a little girl. In later years Mom always watched the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade on the TV with us. 
My daughter was shocked to discover her grandmother (Gogs) had never had her picture taken while sitting on Santa's lap.

So Ange dragged Mom into the Georgian Mall for her first picture on Santa's knee. (1999)

Memories of the 70s

Peace Candle
Ron (The Magician) Walker and I spent hours composing this photo in 1973.

Although somewhat obscured by the butterfly, the candle was actually a hand forming the peace sign.

The fingers are burned down past the knuckles.
The love beads that a girlfriend had given me, were displayed in an attempt to form a crude peace symbol.

Backyard In Winter This was one of my mother's favourite photos, taken in the winter of 1973 of our backyard in

I had helped my father plant those trees, that were just shrublings at the time, several years earlier. I never gave them much hope for survival.

When our home was sold after my parents' death, the trees had grown about three times the size they are shown here and would completely obscure the sky and any hint of the fields behind our house.

The fields of course are now a subdivision.

Thanksgiving at the Cottage I am not a very good photographer but sometimes I get lucky. I snapped this timeless photo on Thanksgiving weeken…

The Lost Butterfly

- jim Young 2002/20080308

The worst thing about being a child is you can’t wait to be a grown-up.
The worst thing about being grown-up is you forget how to be a child. 

As a child, you never had to “stop to smell the roses” because that’s pretty much all you did – all day – every day. But as a child you didn’t just “smell the roses”.

You examined every detail.

The velvety touch of the petals became a new experience even if you touched them yesterday or even an hour ago. The fragrance was fresh and unique as you inhaled its aroma, and the colours exuded the brilliance of the rainbow as if you had stepped into the World of Oz from the dreary black and white existence of everyday life.

There was nothing lost in the rose’s beauty as you plucked each petal one by one and let it float gently to your feet. There was no concern that by doing so, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy its beauty tomorrow. For tomorrow there would be something fresh, new and equally exciting to take its place.

But p…

Valentine's Day - 1988

A bit of beer,
         some sleeping pills,
                              and coke.

If you were here -
        the evening would be perfect;

Except, of course for
          the beer,
                   the pills,
                            and the coke!

- jim Young 19880214

Butterfly entrapped

for Jenny I'm a Butterfly
by an invisible shield
upon which dewdrops
magic powder has
from My wings and is
by a thumb and finger print
on each wing.
three blades of grass
and a brown dried up twig to
Me I am free but
I am

- jim Young circa1971

A Journey Through The Seasons Of My Soul

There’s a flower among the weeds in the garden,
And the sun is shining through the clouds today;
The moon glows ever brightly in the darkness;
And guides me through the night along my way.

A gentle breeze cuts through the stillness of the air,
Composing melodies as they weave among the pines;
And time stands still throughout eternity,
Until at last you have resolved to be mine.

A canopy of red and orange and yellow,
Protects me from a chilly autumn rain;
Forest berries fulfill an emptiness within me,
‘Til I’m home and in your loving arms again.

Footsteps in the snow reveal the pathway,
That has led me to your door and to your heart;
Open both, and let me freely enter,
Let me stay and never more shall we part.

You are my flower in the garden and sun that’s in the sky,
The moon set in the darkness and the breeze that passes by.
You are time that’s never-ending, the beauty of the fall,
Berries, paths and snowflakes, you are one and you are all.
Lie with me at nightti…

Let us measure what we will do for others...


Beef & Macaroni Soup

Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 35 min.

Stuff Required
1 lb ground beef1 medium onion, chopped2 large carrots, peeled and chopped1 stalk celery, chopped1 sweet pepper, chopped1 tsp minced garlic2 tsps salt1 tsp dried oregano½ tsp paprika4 cups chicken or beef broth1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes1¾ cups dry macaroni pastaDo This
In a large pot, cook ground beef and onion over medium high heat just until browned, about 2-3 minutes.Add carrots, celery, red pepper, garlic, salt, oregano and paprika and cook until vegetables are tender, about 7-8 minutes.Add broth, crushed tomatoes and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook just until pasta is cooked, about 6-7 minutes.

I Love My Jeans

- jim Young 20090225

“I love my jeans, I love my jeans. My jeans are so comfortably lovely.” - Donovan

My Shirley finally convinced me to buy a new pair of jeans. I love my old jeans and am always very reluctant to give them up no matter how tattered and torn they have become.

It’s almost like I have a relationship with my jeans.

We’ve been through a lot together; my jeans and I and I just don’t want to part with them. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.

It doesn’t help that most jeans cost $50 a pair. I remember paying just $20 a pair back in the 60s. Why don’t they make those ones anymore?

So when we rolled up the rim at Country Style Donuts to find a $20 certificate for Mark’s Work Wearhouse My Shirley invoked Carpe Diem to drag me shopping for new jeans.

Of course once we’re in the store, My Shirley will insist that I get 2 pair because she knows it’s going to be a long time before she can get me back there again.

But they didn’t have 2 pair of the same make in my size. In f…

Dog On A Root

- jim Young 20130318

On a hot summer day, a stray, aging mutt with no owner, lays in the cool comfort of the shade of an old tree.

About a foot from the base of the tree a small portion of a root lays exposed. But beneath the ground it extends many feet in search of water to sustain the tree, its boundaries set only by the reach of the branches above.

Somewhat intrigued, the dog paws the ground around the root, exposing it to the elements just a little bit more.

The dog has no delusions that this might be one of the many sticks that were once tossed for him to retrieve during playful interludes when he was pup and with a master.

And although he begins to gnaw at the root, neither has he mistaken it for a bone, as a disinterested passerby might assume.

Throughout the long day the dog will continue to worry the root gnawing and pawing away trying to expose it in its entirety.

This is not a quest in search of a pot of gold that one might hope to find at the end of a rainbow.

Nor is he ch…

Buffalo Chicken Balls

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 36

Stuff Required
¼ cup Frank's™ RedHot™ Buffalo Wings Sauce2 tbsp butter, melted1 egg, beaten2 cups diced skinless boneless chicken2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese½ cup sliced green onions (8 medium)1 cup cup Bisquick™ mixMore Stuff for Serving
Additional Buffalo wing sauce1 cup blue cheese dressingcarrot stickscelery sticksDo This
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with sides with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.In large bowl, mix ¼ cup wing sauce, melted butter and egg with a whisk; stir in chicken, cheese and onions. Sprinkle Bisquick™ mix over mixture, and use hands to fully mix in. Slightly wet hands with water for easier shaping; shape mixture into 1¼ inch balls (about 36); Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.Bake, 25 minutes or until light brown and cooked through in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle with additional wing sauce or serve the extra wing sa…

Blue Cheese Biscuits

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
Stuff Required 1 can refrigerated biscuits½ cup melted butter½ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (optional)2 oz crumbled blue cheeseDo This Preheat oven to 400° F.Quarter each round of biscuit dough.Place biscuit pieces on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over biscuits.If using Hot Sauce mix it with the melted butter.Pour melted butter (or butter/hot sauce mix) over biscuits and blue cheese.Bake until biscuits are a golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

(Originally published in 2015)
- jim Young 201503
“I've got to get home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there, Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there, Baby, it’s cold outside.”             - Frank Loesser
This February Canadians seem to be complaining about the weather more than usual. I don’t get it.
The fact is the temperatures this February have only been 7 or 8 degrees (sometimes 10) below average.
That doesn’t sound too bad to me.
And on the bright side – there haven’t been many mosquitoes around.
Many people I know have been saying, “I don’t remember it ever being this cold for so long.”
That these same people are “old folks” (my age) lends some credibility to the statement.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s because they are my age that their memory is failing.
Yes it’s true that February 2015 saw an entire calendar month with temperatures below freezing. But it WAS a short month. And to suggest that’s never happened before – even in the lifetime of people say - my …

Parental Controls

- jim Young 20190221

“Parental Control in the 50s or 60s was a flyswatter or a belt.” jy

The expression “Parental Control” when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s had nothing to do with television. In our house “Parental Control” was exercised with a fly swatter.

“Parental Control”, relative to the TV, was the “off” button which I didn’t dare touch after one of my parent’s had shut it off, for fear of invoking the other “Parental Control” - the fly swatter.

We only got 1 TV Channel in our house. Apparently it was black and white. As I have been colour blind since birth, my parents told me we had a colour TV and it wasn’t until I was 14 that I learned the truth.

I had cousins that lived in the big city (Toronto) however and they got what seemed like hundreds of TV channels to choose from.

Even so, I don't think there were any TV stations that required parental control back in those days. (Yes - that's how old I really am!)

Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke show slept in…

What IS it?

- jim Young 20190219

“The ghosts you chase you never catch.”
John Malkovich, London Independent, Apr. 5, 1992

Living in a small town in Northern Ontario where everyone knows and watches out for everyone else might seem an unlikely place for someone to have much need of a motion activated, night vision surveillance system.

The truth is, we don’t feel a particular need for it and for the most part our surveillance system was purchased to keep an eye on the night time critters that come to visit more so than to deter burglars.

Anxious to try it out we were somewhat disappointed with the absence of deer this year. It has been a cold, hard winter and with the ice on the ground and the depth of snow we suspect the deer are keeping more to bushy areas to feed rather than struggle through the deep snow to enjoy the treats we leave out for them.

Our local raccoons and skunks are hibernating and for reasons unknown, our fox has stopped coming by for almost a year now.

So while we anxiously await…

Why The Delay?


Donald Who?


Snow Day

- jim Young 190130
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” by Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn

So, who says we're not entitled to a snow day anymore just because we're retired?

As usual, it was dark when I got up this morning to put the first log of the day on the fire. But as I turned the outside lights on, I noticed there was snow trapped on the screens of the sliding glass door and windows of our sunroom.

I knew that I hadn’t had the snowblower aimed at the windows while I blew the snow off our deck yesterday. And I was even more intrigued to find there was also snow blown over the screen of the front door. 

Who ever heard of the wind blowing from both the west AND the east at the same time?

But as the daylight gradually began to show me the outside world I quickly realized that we must’ve had quite a storm blowing last night.

Quick action was required and although it is not uncommon fo…