From the ‘Nati, good morning all:

Wisdom of the Week:

“I’m calling on Saskatche-whiners to unclench their frosty sphincters and let Americans on to their oval.” — comedian Stephen Colbert (Vancouver Olympic officials placed on the defense by U.S. comedian Stephen Colbert, who accused Canadians of cheating by preventing U.S. athletes from getting enough ice time on the Richmond, B.C., speedskating oval.)

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. With the whole gang getting together at our home, I am pumped. Especially so after Marcia vowed no more major holiday meal preparations were in her future—only said last year. Now she is happily and busily getting things ready makes the whole event extra special. Thus it’s with insouciance (word of the day) that I’m plugging in our little percolator for my morning java. I hope that my cheery demeanor will carry throughout the whole day.

Toronto was a great visit. Just let me get this one single, little itty bitty, troublesome, snippet out of the way—Toronto traffic lights, traffic gridlock, streetcars, and construction. Marcia would add something about a case of “male specific directional deficiency”, but that is a topic for future discussion.

What promised to be a delightful early Saturday evening dinner in, and sight-seeing of, Toronto’s downtown area became something else—a nightmare. That city, on an early Saturday evening, was total gridlock. Add to that the fact that I remember from my youth all sorts of Toronto street names; Steeles, Finch, Spedina, Eglington, Younge, Bloor—I just wasn’t quite sure how they all interconnected. We noted that half of those streets had major road construction and traffic tie-ups caused by their trolley streetcars. As if that wasn’t enough, the downtown area of Toronto has 2815 traffic lights—we crossed through every one of them. As a bonus, at 316 of these lights we sat for multiple cycles—2 through 6.

Marcia got grumpy.

We had a very quiet dinner close to the hotel.

Sunday was everything one could expect of a warmish fall day. We were eager to get checked out and head out. I had noted that our hotel bill had a DM Services-tax listed so naturally I asked the checkout clerk what this tax was for. Cheerily she replied it was a city “direct marketing” tax. This then led to my next question; “what then is the ‘DM Services-GST tax’ on the next line”, I asked? A General Services Tax taxing another tax; she had no answer. It reminds me a M.C Escher drawing, where the first thing that comes to mind is; “what’s wrong with this?” Don’t you just love it?

We left our “full service” Hilton or so we thought. As a parting shot my keycard wouldn’t open the parking-lot exit gate. The doorman apologized profusely, but claimed he had nothing to override the gate system. I stomped past several people standing at the check-in counter and slammed my card down. Apparently this happens with some regularity, for, without saying a word, no apology, no smile, I was quickly handed a replacement. This one worked.

Marcia and I thought the world of our stop at Niagara Falls. The sheer size and power is exactly what I remembered—amazing. Everyone should see this natural wonder on a fall day, streaming morning sun, and stroll through the soft rain generated by the massive spray. Truly, it was one of those moments where you feel glad to be alive.

At nine I have a meeting at the Police Academy so have to get organized. If this post seems slightly disjointed pardon me. Marcia, for some unknown reason, got up before six. Luckily the coffee was already brewed. She joined me in the family room where I was writing. Next thing I heard was something hard hitting the floor. It seems that Marcia took a sip and then put her cup down, missing the coffee table. I believe I should be excused for stopping my hunt-and-pecking to gawk for a bit.

Make it a great week everyone. Go Bearcats – 10 & 0 – best start in school history!



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