Showing posts from November, 2023

Published In The Great North Arrow, December 1, 2022: Christmas Shopping For Aunt Edna

- jim Young With Christmas just weeks away, who has their Christmas shopping done? Nearly done? Started? Whenever I used to ask that question of my coworkers in December, I was met with scorn and sternly told, "Don't remind me. I'm running out of time." “Hey, don’t blame me.” I would innocently reply in defense. “I warned you last January 25th that you had 11 months until Christmas and on February 25th I reminded you that you had 10 months until Christmas and so on.”  Yes, I was that guy. “You got mad at me then and wouldn’t listen,” I would remind them, “so you have no excuse for ‘running out time’ now.” Personally, I love to save at least some of my Christmas Shopping until the last minute as I enjoy wandering through the bustle of the stores among the crowds, admiring the decorations and listening to the Christmas Music playing in the malls. But some people like to do their Christmas Shopping early. As an occasional writer for the website Quora, I was recently ask

Published In The Great North Arrow, November 15, 2022: Bell - A Business Or A Bunch Of Buffoons?

- jim Young “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.” Alexander Graham Bell Introduction It seems I can’t even admit defeat without Bell messing up every step of the way. Alexander Graham Bell must be spinning in his grave knowing that his namesake company is making such mockery of his life-long work. Despite outages and poor service that Bell Executives refuse to acknowledge, I kind of like Bell. I would rather give them the opportunity to “work things out” than jump ship. Well, that’s part of it. There’s also “the devil you know factor” which comes into play. Switching all my Bell services to 2 or 3 new companies with the learning curve that goes along with it is not a simple undertaking. I would rather allow Bell the opportunity to: 1) recognize and admit their inability to provide the services for which they have been charging  2) take action to correct the situation and actually provide those services.  Sometimes however, one just gets tired of banging their head on a brick wall.

Published In The Great North Arrow, November 1, 2022: Remembering For A Long, Long Time

- jim Young “Lest we forget.” - Rudyard Kipling Anybody that knows me will know how difficult it is for me to keep my mouth shut. Believe it or not, on more than one occasion it's gotten me into hot water. There is one day each year, however, when I do keep my trap closed, at least for a brief time. From the time I started Grade One at the old Stroud School and like most everyone else I know, I have observed 2 minutes of silence each year on "the eleventh hour of the eleventh mday of the eleventh month." That comes to about 2 hours of silence over my entire lifetime to think about those who paid the “supreme sacrifice” to protect our freedoms.  It doesn’t seem like much. Yesterday, My Shirley observed how remarkable it was that so many people have continued to carry this tradition on in retirement even though there may be no bell to remind us. Nor is it just through organized events such as gatherings at Legions, Town Halls and Church Remembrance Day Services. Throughou

What The Electric Train Under My Christmas Tree Means To Me

  - jim Young "Old toy trains, little toy tracks, Little toy drums, coming from a sack, Carried by a man dressed in white and red. Little one, don't you it's time you were in bed?" - Roger Miller I was about 8 years old when I got my first electric train for Christmas.  But I didn’t find it under the Christmas Tree. The layout for my electric train was too large to fit under the tree. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, my father had secretly built my train set in the basement under the watchful eyes of my two older sisters who had been sworn to secrecy. Then, on Christmas morning I opened an empty box that had been wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. Attached to the box was this little poem my mother had written that I remember to this day. “Follow the ribbon,  Follow the string. And you’ll find something To make you sing.” The ribbon led me to a long piece of string which led me down the stairs to the basement and to the beginning of my fascination with trains. N