What Travel Writers Say

Seniors Humour
(Mike Keenan: Chautauqua, New York)

Humor & Aging
Edward De Bono remarked that humor is the most significant activity of the human brain. Someone else said that if you don't use it, you lose it, and mother, who frequently managed to get in the last word, advised that laughter was the best medicine, probably because we were poor and could not afford a doctor. To help keep our collective brain power intact as we age, I invite seniors to read some of the following articles that were printed during the last fifteen years in my St. Catharines Standard "Over 60" newspaper column entitled, "Retired, eh?" Starting in 2014, please note that these articles are not in the Standard which unfortunately has dropped its freelancers as it tries to determine if its wants to be a print resource or just another website.

Mike Keenan

     "Over 60" Archived Articles
     Book club musings (01, 09, 12)
After a summer of inactivity, the Men's Book Club starts up again in September, and we have decided to allow the host to pick the book that we will discuss. Last year, that same method produced mixed results, so I am a little anxious as to how effective the technique might be in its sophomore year. Besides supplying ample beer and snacks, the host is also supposed to...    more

     Wedding insurance may be just the ticket (25, 08, 12)
Miriam and I spent the weekend in a southwestern Ontario campground, close to Grand Bend, popular amongst the younger set. It wasn't the typical campground experience of our youth which involved tents; we were lodged in a trailer camp set amidst lovely, shade trees. The trailer was a double, fold-out unit with a large wooden attached deck, and equipped with a shower, oven, TV set and most other conveniences of home, so we were not...    more

     Living in the 'now.' (18, 08, 12)
Miriam and I just returned from a long trip to Alaska with two old friends who live in Dunedin, Florida, spring home of the Blue Jays, who are up to their usual tricks in August, sitting firmly in last place, well below 500, having lost far more games than they have won, yet making their usual optimistic prognostications about what a fine team they will field in 2013! Yes, it has become...    more

     Confused about the use of the words 'supine' and 'prone?' Read on (11, 08, 12)
Today, we discuss important differences for seniors when using the words, "prone" and "supine," two words that often confuse us when it's vitally important to distinguish between them, because they're antonyms. We might even get into a few synonyms of each word. Are you excited? Good.
Let's say that you are driving along the highway, and you notice flashing lights behind you, and pretty soon, you also hear a loud siren...    more

     Phone part the least used part of cell phones (04, 08, 12)
It certainly is encouraging to see municipal libraries reaching out to seniors with various programs to teach one how to use the ubiquitous computer. If one wants to stay abreast of one's grandchildren, it's time to get into the game.
In fact, tiny cell phones now have replaced laptop computers. They are more powerful than our original large computers. And the phone part seems to be the last item utilized in...    more

     Here's the naked truth about the Olympics (28, 07, 12)
Just when you thought that you knew everything there was to know about the Olympics in jolly old England, and because I used to teach a course on the same Olympics, I will now proceed to enrich your viewing pleasure, particularly those seniors who are looking at all of the incredibly fit bodies gathered together in London who...    more

     My guide to hanging out with millionaires (21, 07, 12)
I know that collective bargaining is losing steam these days with pressure by governments to erode the influence of unions on workers. I know that the recount in Minnesota produced the same results with a governor determined to strip unions of their power. I know that Tim Hudak now wants to kill collective bargaining in Ontario. I know all that. Nevertheless...    more

     An extreme method to cut costs for retirees (14, 07, 12)
I recently received an email from a fellow senior, and it reminded me of a short story by O. Henry, aka William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 - June 5, 1910), known more by his pen name. O. Henry was an American writer of short stories characterized by wit, wordplay and clever twist endings.
Among his most famous stories are: The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief and The Cop and the Anthem. The later is about a New York City hobo named Soapy, who...    more

     Summertime, and the reading is easy (30, 06, 12)
Ah, summer - with Nat King Cole lazy, hazy, crazy days and of course, lots more time for retirees to simply sit and read whilst sipping a cool brew.
I also know summer is here because The Men's Book Club just finished its season in Welland at Mike's house, discussing Terry Fallis, a Canadian writer and public relations consultant, whose debut novel "The Best Laid Plans" was awarded the Stephen Leacock Medal in 2008. It's a satire about Canadian politics. A burned-out political writer and strategist tries desperately to get out of politics by managing an unelectable candidate who ...    more

     One has to take risks to move forward (23, 06, 12)
Miriam and I attended two plays back to back at Shaw - first, "Present Laughter" staring Stephen Sutcliffe and second, "A Man and Some Women" with several stars including Graeme Somerville, Marla McLean, Sharry Flett, Kate Hennig and Jenny L. Wright. Laughter... is basically a one-man show, but A Man... is rich with characterization and each cast member was superb. In fact, Miriam had to restrain me in my seat...    more

     Air Canada take on "back in a few minutes" (16, 06, 12)
"Back in a few minutes" is a sign affixed to a door or a window, and you figure your barber needs a coffee. He/she in my case is Fernando, always delighted to see me and my dwindling follicles, fickle creatures intent on deserting the ship, thus reducing Fernando's work time in half, which explains why he is happy to see me.
Doctors don't bother with this approach. From past experience, you wait while reading some outdated magazine for at least an hour...    more

     When I think of NOTL, I think of a 1914 Ford (26, 05, 12)
I read it in the local newspaper, so it must be true. Don't worry; it was not a Rupert Murdock newspaper nor one owned by Conrad Black, who has just emerged from jail in the U.S., and is heading back to Canada, apparently with some sort of temporary official paperwork that keeps one on one's toes, so he had better not speed in his Jaguar or litter the road with Cuban cigars.
The headline read: "Survey seeks impressions of NOTL; First step in research by rebranding committee." Seniors know all about branding...    more

     Selma and Kenny tell us how to keep a marriage strong (19, 05, 12)
Miriam and I have been married for 45 years, a long time, probably as long as the Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup. Strangely, our children never ask for advice, which is good because we like to talk to one another. Imagine our chagrin if we gave them a tremendous tip that became a lemon, like - "Vote for a Conservative majority?" That can get one into serious trouble...    more

     One must be inventive to be preventive in our scary world (12, 05, 12)
H. L. Mencken said, "Most people want security in this world, not liberty." Everybody is concerned about security these days, and seniors are especially anxious because when we were growing up, the only thing we had to really worry about was a nuclear bomb attack, so we practised kneeling under our desks at school...    more

     Let others have Mensa, we'll proudly have Densa (5, 5, 12)
The newspaper headline blared: "Four-Year-Old Heidi Hankins joins Mensa with 159 IQ." Heidi taught herself to read and was able to count to 40 at two years old. British Mensa chief executive, John Stevenage, said that Heidi's parents "correctly identified that she shows great potential." No kidding!
According to Mensa, the average adult IQ score is 100. In 2009, Oscar Wrigley, aged two and a half, from Reading in the UK became the youngest child to join Mensa with an IQ of 160...    more

     We have Titanic problems of our own in this era (28, 04, 12)
By now, you have been exposed to every minute detail involved in the colossal disaster that involved the "unsinkable" Titanic, and like me, you are suffering from Titanic fatigue because really and truly, who cares about a disaster that's 100 years old...    more

     They shoot the puck, therefore they are a hockey team (21, 04, 12)
Dandelions now routinely pop up on my lawns with their happy yellow heads screaming for attention, and major league baseball has officially opened with soccer flourishing and people frequenting the attractive Niagara Parks for picnics. Accordingly, I judged it appropriate that I take Miriam to a St. Catharines hockey game.    more

     Returning from Portugal's beaches to a harsh reality check at home (14, 04, 12)
I left the country for an entire month to enjoy the comforts of the sunny Algarve in Portugal with its beautiful beaches, clean cities and accommodations and incredibly cheap food and drink. What do I discover upon return? Chaos, anarchy, job losses, pessimism and a lawn with emerging dandelions that will...    more

     Who knows? Skunks could make fashionable pets (07, 04, 12)
Windsor stinks-literally! City council there recently approved $80,000 to deal with the problem of skunks, but it's not clear how the big chunk of money will be spent. As usual, I can offer several useful suggestions, but my first thoughts are - why not employ a Windsor seniors' adopt-a-skunk program?    more

     'I'm not William,' says my grandson - call me 'Daniel' (31, 03, 12)
William lives in Vancouver, but through technological marvels that I do not pretend to comprehend, we see and talk with him via computer through Skype, which should be included in the grandparent top ten public services of all time, slightly ahead of the invention of peanut butter but perhaps behind the invention of insulin.    more

     There are some inspiring lessons one can glean from fairy tales (24, 03, 12)
Each day, my computer's home page faithfully provides me with a brief bio on some famous person whose birthday coincides with that particular date. In this simple fashion, I readily compare and contrast my own career with that of sterling others and thus readily conclude - on a daily basis, that my life is thoroughly impoverished and without much meaning.    more

     Niagara's heritage should be better showcased (03, 03, 12)
The Mens' Book Club tries to be topical, so when we recently met in St. Catharines for a monthly discussion, the book selected by host, David Lawrason, a GM retiree, was Pierre Berton's The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813, written in 1980.    more

     Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and me (25, 02, 12)
This column title is deliberately misleading. I figured that I would resort to the same technique that they used to sell cars and cigarettes and everything in-between. Remember those days? You picked up a magazine and there was this incredible-looking car beside this incredible-looking girl, usually wearing a thin bikini and an alluring smile which translated roughly into this message: "With a sexy car like this, even if you are a big dope, you are most likely to attract a very sexy woman such as moi!" Truth in advertising then wasn't much better than truth in politics now.    more

     Word play that's really quite interesting (18, 02, 12)
Dear readers, it seems that the Washington Post has done it again. Each year, they run contests which involve word play: the use (and abuse) of unique words. Words have developed interesting connotations, don't you think? For example, the word, "interesting" printed above. Do you use it a lot? To avoid a more specific word, perhaps a harsh or critical word? Whenever someone says to me, "Your last column in the Standard was quite interesting," I know immediately...    more

     Kate Middleton inspiration behind seniors fashion awards (04, 02, 12)
I am not a royal watcher, but the steady deluge of Republican propaganda displayed daily on the tube has forced me to look across the pond for something, anything really, that might inspire hope. To the rescue arrives lovely Kate, who in addition to her other prestigious titles such as Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Most Likely to Save the British Monarchy, etc., etc., Kate Middleton now adds the prestigious accolade of "Hat Person of the Year" to her list of great achievements...    more

     Supersized coffee cups: will the washrooms follow? (28, 01, 12)
Today, we face the perplexing, perennial question: Does size matter? This is a family-oriented newspaper so we will not examine the size of the cerebellum or other distasteful body parts such as the Islets of Langerhans which are certainly not some exotic vacation paradise, I can assure you. In 2004, Super Size Me was a movie that examined the influence of the fast food industry. Morgan Spurlock demonstrated the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month. Suffice to say...    more

     Mice may yet be the superheroes for "mission impossible" (21, 01, 12)
I recently took Miriam on a date to the movies at Niagara Square to see Mission Impossible. Yes, I'm prepared to spend big bucks on the woman I love. I told her that it was the story of Bob Rae trying to revive the Liberal Party of Canada. She was relieved to see Tom Cruise in the lead role. Tom was his usual acrobatic best like Spiderman climbing the tallest building in the world...    more

     Great film quotes are like a box of chocolates (14, 01, 12)
Previously, we examined the best opening lines in literature to help retirees come to grips with the New Year, a handy reference to great writers to help inspire us with renewed vigour and positive attitude in order to face and endure the sure-to-come myriad, depressing events such as complete world financial collapse and equally dreadful, the US election,    more

     Literature's great opening lines resonate as we age (07, 01, 12)
I am constantly on the lookout for inspirational words to help in form the complex process of retirement. Today I share some of the "25 Best Opening Lines in Western Literature" serendipitously discovered while...    more

     A sense of purpose makes us happier (31, 12, 11)
Last week, we explored the wisdom of Mayo, the clinic, not the foodstuff (much to my surprise) as they suggested simple techniques for us to employ to make us feel happy.    more

     Don't worry, you can be happy (24, 12, 11)
The article was entitled "Are you tired of waiting around for happiness to find you? Stop waiting and start getting happy with these tips," written by the Mayo Clinic staff.    more

     Black holes, socks, marriages, politics and banks (17, 12, 11)
I read that astronomers found a "super-massive black hole that is recoiling out of a distant galaxy" at high speed. I was startled that the black hole was...    more

     These athletes played their games at the highest levels (10, 12, 11)
Another childhood hero has just passed on, namely "Prince Hal" Patterson, the ultimate CFL pass receiver, gifted with golden hands who, along with quarterback, Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry, struck terror into the hearts of football opponents who encountered them on the gridiron.    more

     Seniors and the 99% (03, 12, 11)
I have long been amazed at the unparallel success of the "divide and conquer" technique so ably utilized by the so-called 1% who control our world.    more

     Compared to these people, I'm feeling kind of young (26, 11, 11)
Do you sometimes think you are getting old? Well, I have just read about the "top ten oldest people ever".....    more

     Try a high five, and hope you're not left hanging (19, 11, 11)
Last week, we explored ways seniors might greet one another, modeled after athletes with their unique modes of celebration. Nancy Falstaff from St. Catharines writes to complain: "What's wrong with waving?"
Well, there's nothing wrong with waving, but...    more

     Flamboyant greetings could spice things up (12, 11, 11)
Have you noticed how athletes celebrate one another after they have scored, whether it is a touchdown or a goal or some other achievement such as a walk-off homerun?    more

     Grandparents in action (26, 10, 11)
I've observed the male grandparent in action lately in my neighborhood. I have classified them as one of two categories: safe and unsafe. The safe variety is typified by the gentleman that I watched who transported his grandson in a wagon, sticking to the sidewalk and ambling along at a reasonable pace.    more

     You don't have to be an Einstein to know it's all relative (22, 10, 11)
Most seniors I talk to have a high regard for Albert Einstein even though, long ago, he jettisoned socks because a toe once wiggled free after it poked through and he figured, "What's the use?" Now that's precisely the sort of guy that we readily identify with, a rugged individualist, unafraid of breaking social norms.    more

     Bills' record has sun shining brightly on Buffalo (08, 10, 11)
Miriam and I approach the US Customs booth on the Peace Bridge, and as we creep closer to inspection, I notice a bizarre gathering. Just to the side of our booth, manned by a lady, five male customs officials stand in a circle, engaged in animated conversation. There is not the slightest...    more

     Progress = rewards for hanging in (24, 09, 11)
Answer me honestly. As a senior, sometimes do you ever wonder - just a tad - how you ever made it to this advanced age? Really. Was it pure luck? Good genes? What? Today, children have myriad regulators, and there are countless bureaucrats ensconced in well-paying positions to oversee every aspect of their day.
Kids in the 40's, 50's and early 60's shouldn't have survived...    more

     Men's Book Club goes electronic (17, 09, 11)
The retired life is so incredibly busy that I completely forgot to send you off last summer with a list of must-reads to better idle away your time, entranced by fiction. Oh well, retirees can read any time of the year, so I will now report to you on last season's Men's Book Club.    more

     Let skill rule, ban fighting from hockey (10, 09, 11)
I will never forget my first hockey game as a spectator, sitting at the rails in the Gardens. You just don't appreciate the speed of the skaters and the sound of the impact, even the sharp slap of a stick unless you are close to the ice. I was incredibly enthralled. And then something weird happened. In the middle of an exciting shift, all of the fans jumped to their feet and started screaming.    more

     Doh! Homer Simpson is the king of interjections (03, 09, 11)
Dear Mr. Retired Person,
My husband, Fred, has been communicating less and less with me over the years; in fact, now that we are seniors, he seems able to communicate on most occasions with one word. I can't remember...    more

     Gravity made its presence known when the ladder broke (27, 08, 11)
When the space age arrived, I was amazed to watch astronauts float around like babies in the womb, simulating weightlessness, but I soon learned that despite the apparent glee, there was a price to pay for this ...    more

     A brother-in-law's paraprosdokians shared (13, 08, 11)
I have learned not to bother to argue about my brother-in-law's emails and sloppy grammar. I simply accept the fact that he has taken a vow to spend the rest of his life in vigorous attempts to amuse and inform me through a constant barrage of email. Today's was atypical.    more

     Travel tips that have stood the test of time (06, 08, 11)
Miriam and I recently made a great economic breakthrough, and at first glance, it appears that it will make a tremendous positive financial impact on our lives, so I thought that I would graciously pass on this information to fellow seniors. There is no need to write long letters...    more

     Things to do in a vineyard (30, 07, 11)
In Niagara with lots of space and not many people (less than a half million) with the upsurge of new wineries growing faster than mushrooms appearing in my lawn, we may have the largest number per capita of any region, but I will defer to politicians to investigate that statistic. With these myriad wineries, we do have interesting choices for recreational activities beyond...    more

     Some suggestions to save future summit bucks (23, 07, 11)
Security for the G8 and G20 events in late June 2010 involved over 20,000 personnel from across the country and a budget of $930 million - the biggest domestic security operation in Canadian history.    more

     Kate and William missed out not coming to Niagara (09, 07, 11)
In Fort Erie, a day at the races would kindle interest because royalty seems fascinated with horses. I have often wondered what the attraction is of a simple horse and carriage versus an air-conditioned Prius. And the odour is much more pleasant, don't you think?    more

     Singer brings a peaceful easy feeling to those in need (02, 07, 11)
My guess is that 99.9‰ of Christians would currently fail a comprehensive works of mercy test. In my own case, I recently practised the corporal work of mercy involving visiting the sick. I drove to Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie which...    more

     Stanley Cup mugging had this fan tuning out (25, 06, 11)
Remember the exquisite skating of Buffalo's Gilbert Perreault and Montreal's Jean Beliveau? Long gone. Now, they shoot the puck in the corner and bash and crash into each other until the puck springs loose.    more

     Did you know why ... this guy monopolizes the conversation? (18, 06, 11)
Did you know that we are living in exponential times? That there are 31 billion searches on Google every month? In 2006, this number was 2.7 billion.    more

     Axing school libraries a grave mistake (11, 06, 11)
James Mitchener, a prolific author, states, "Public libraries have been a mainstay of my life. They represent an individual's right to acquire knowledge; they are the sinews that bind civilized societies the world over. Without libraries, I would be a pauper, intellectually and spiritually."    more

     Whatever happened to 'real' friends? (04, 06, 11)
Back in the 60's when I was at high school, we didn't have ear plugs that would pump music into our ears and inoculate us from the outside world. Now, one must be careful when walking; otherwise ear-phoned people either with plugs or other devices wrapped around their ears are so unaware of their milieu that it's amazing more do not get run over by cars driven by other people on their cell phones or grooving to their cd-player or some Sirius music channel.    more

     The Dandelions - now there's a frightening team name! (28, 05, 11)
There are myriad, murky categories from which to choose to assigning a ferocious nickname to a pro sports team. Animals seem popular, the more brutal, the better.    more

     There's one creep crawly that gives me the heebie-jeebies (21, 05, 11)
I read a newspaper story today about a Tampa-area woman who found an unwelcome weekend guest in her bathroom...    more

     Towel Day celebrates Hitchhiker author (14, 05, 11)
Our youngest daughter's favourite author as an adolescent was Douglas Adams, a Brit. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Adams stated that a towel is the most important item a hitchhiker can have.    more

     Cardinals in spring are nature's wake-up call (30, 04, 11)
The male Northern Cardinal is a favourite with young and old, perhaps not as spicy as a blue jay but so stylish in its brilliant shade of red that you can't peel your eyes off of it.    more

     It's raining cats, dogs, cows, politicians... (23, 04, 11)
Dear Mr. Retired Person,
My husband Arnold and I have been married for 45 years and during that time, we have often heard people say...    more

     The Great TV Debate Synopsis
- Harper, Layton, Ignatieff, Duceppe & via phone, May
(this article was censored presumably because the satire is too close to the bone which is what most leaders throw at us.)
For those who missed the riveting two televised "Leader's Debates" on TV, I will condense their four hours of platitudinous and ponderous debate into a short, simple synopsis.    more

     Who knew a friendly game of dominoes could get so intense? (09, 04, 11)
We played dominoes with two retired friends last night, both of them in their middle 70s.    more

     Bring lots of Kleenex when you watch this documentary (02, 04, 11)
For seniors, it's a marvellous tonic, the story of a chorus brought together by Bob Cilman and Judith Sharpe in 1982.    more

     You're in the driver's seat buying a car in the Internet age (26, 03, 11)
Normally, when sensing the need for new wheels, I perform exhaustive research, checking out automotive magazines and books geared to assessing cars.    more

     The goods on age activated attention disorder (19, 03, 11)
Some call it age activated attention disorder disease. I'm a prime example.    more

     Enough groaners for a month of pun-days (12, 03, 11)
A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says,.....    more

     Conservation area best place to view annual raptor migration (05, 03, 11)
Think retirement is strictly for the birds? You may be correct.    more

     They say that laughter is the best medicine (19, 02, 11)
A man comes into the ER and yells, "My wife's going to have her baby in the cab!" I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress, and began to take off her underwear.    more

     If you want to be dull, it's easy. Here's how. (12, 02, 11)
Yes, it's time for another installment of "Dear Mr. Retired Person" advancing simple yet profound wisdom learned, not the easy way...    more

     The fruit cake was on sale, and I deserved a treat! (05, 02, 11)
Miriam instructed me to go shopping, and produced an itemized list broken down into three stores.    more

     Redundant words infiltrate general public's actual experience (29, 01, 11)
The phrase that really annoys me (I almost used get's my goat) is the "general public." Everybody says it, even Peter Mansbridge.    more

     Brett Favre can now enjoy the retired life (22, 01, 11)
Because athletes enjoy relatively short careers due to the pounding, it's fair that they should acquire as much as they can. They are entertainers, much like...    more

     Find any excuse to start singing - it's good for you (15, 01, 11)
Simply follow the example of our exalted leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper belting out popular tunes at the piano...    more

     My choice for 2010's 2word-of-the-year - 'quagmire' (08, 01, 11)
Merriam-Webster's 2010 word-of-the-year' was austerity, "the quality or state of being austere" and "enforced or extreme economy." I have a much better word that sums up 2010.    more

     Meditation 101 - remember, the idea is to do nothing (31, 12, 10)
I am advocating meditation, a practice which keeps away illness and preserves youth and beauty. And you do nothing! No "health food," no money wasted, and no exercise.    more

     Holiday eating tips that are guaranteed to put on weight (24, 12, 10)
If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge.    more

     It's time for seniors to be given the bird (of their choice) (18, 12, 10)
Retired people do not possess the cohesive and suggestive symbols nor enjoy the splendid pomp and pageantry that other heterogeneous groups enjoy...    more

     Colour-coded husband alert - he's home alone (11, 12, 10)
Miriam arrived home yesterday after a four-day visit with our eldest in Ottawa. I met her at the door. "I think I should advise you of the following," I said after giving her a perfunctory hug. "The bathroom is definitely code red..."    more

     What happened to courtesy? (04, 12, 10)
Sometimes, seemingly trivial acts that we perform are the most important. Courtesy is a good example...    more

     There is indeed a Santa, but he works in mysterious ways (27, 11, 10)
Taxpayers and therefore seniors, who make up a huge chunk of the Canadian demographic, will soon be inundated with government cheques that clog mail boxes from sea to sea to sea...    more

     In what other organization can you be boss at age 86? (20, 11, 10)
If you are currently retired with not much around to occupy your time, I'm looking for a consigliere. The position was popularized in Mario Puzo's 1969 novel. If you remember correctly, a consigliere is an adviser to the boss...    more

     Border guards trivia questions could jazz up crossings (13, 11, 10)
You can't smile for passport pictures, not even a tiny smirk, so I was looking rather glum...    more

     The Problem starts with 'no problem' (06, 11, 10)
What distinguishes older types from younger types today is often observable in terms of gratitude as in expressions of thanks or appreciation...    more

     Adult children - let the competition begin! (30, 10, 10)
I think you already know the problem. You meet old friends or new friends and they make the tragic mistake of asking about your children.    more

     If I shout into a cell phone, will the person on the other end hear me better? (23, 10, 10)
It's so tiny. How can it connect me with someone far, far away? I can barely hold a modern cell phone. My large hand totally enfolds and obscures the little creature. Sure, it fits conveniently into any pocket, but it's miniscule size causes me doubt its capacity to deliver.    more

     Tattoos are flourishing everywhere, so why not in NOTL? (16, 10, 10)
Times change. A young insurgent lad today need not wear the de rigeur leather coat and shaggy hair of our day to prove that he is a rebel. Now, he exhibits a neck tattoo, drinks Coke for breakfast and prefers to live in a trailer with his pregnant girlfriend.    more

     We are angry at pols because we trust nobody in power (09, 10, 10)
When George Smitherman pulled a Sarah Palin and dropped out of his cozy Queen's Park cabinet position to enter into the Toronto mayoral fray, voters were expected to collectively nod in agreement. Along came rolly polly Bob Ford.........    more

     'Cool' tips so you won't sound like an old fossil (02, 10, 10)
On those momentous occasions when you must say something beyond "Pass the salt" or "Is it time to go to bed?" you must exercise extreme caution.    more

     Every so often it seems it's all nuts in this world (25, 09, 10)
Miriam and I sit at the table enjoying lunch, and outside, a brown squirrel joins us. To our amazement, he...............    more

     Jet Boat ride is one wet adrenaline rush (18, 09, 10)
A year ago, I would not recommend it for retirees. I tried it on a cool day and the encounter with water - tons of it, was like going ten rounds with Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo in his prime.    more

     My first-ever helicopter ride - what a view! (11, 09, 10)
Sometimes you simply have to try something new, push the envelope a tad.    more

     Niagara a treasure trove of free 'staycation' spots (04, 09, 10)
Retirement was supposed to allow for wide scale travel, right? Not lately. For retirees, the economy has not been that good, particularly for those on a fixed income. Therefore, one must be creative and selective in enjoying one's leisure time.    more

     Truly seeing the beauty that surrounds us (28, 08, 10)
I'm reminded of poet, William Wordsworth, who walked across the land, soaking up the countryside and writing poems such as the Prelude in which he glories in the "visionary gleam" that we all possess as children yet soon get edited out.    more

     Get off your rear and take some chances (21, 08, 10)
I recently interviewed Jackie Maxwell, Shaw Festival artistic director, about to sign a new contract. She admitted that if she was not allowed to direct plays, she would not be interested in the job. She said that you "have to be out there on the ledge, because that's how art is created." In other words, get moving; get off your rear end and take some chances.    more

     The man in the mirror in the morning is often Bela Lugosi (14, 08, 10)
When I reached the pubertal period, I thought that I looked like Craig Stevens who played private detective, Peter Gunn on TV. I combed my hair like my hero. I tried to walk and talk like him and even played his theme music in my brain.    more

    My latest game invention - Who's Alive and Who's Not (07, 08, 10)
I got the Who's Alive and Who's Not idea from the web. There is a great website that provides this information so you can tell whether or not you are wasting your money sending Christmas cards to certain individuals.    more

    Joining the ranks of retirees - voluntary or otherwise? (31, 07, 10)
Have you noticed? People seem to be joining the ranks of us retirees at unprecedented rates. Some prematurely.    more

    I've been getting maximum mileage out of maxims (17, 07, 10)
I'm eternally grateful that even though I was a pretty decent hockey player, I never made the Toronto Maple Leafs because I don't think that I could take the constant embarrassment and ridicule.    more

    Service stations? (10, 07, 10)
Some of you seniors might be in for a surprise this year as I was recently when it came time to renew my license, my automobile license that is...    more

    Our late friend Charles would have appreciated the irony (03, 07, 10)
One of our colleagues suffered a massive heart attack in his garden, and passed away suddenly leaving us all in a state of distress.    more

     Nude hiker gives Swiss viewers something to yodel about: (26, 06, 10)
I wonder what's appropriate to say when one encounters a nude hiker. I guess it really doesn't matter as long as you maintain eye contact.    more

     The enemy would never figure out our bathroom breaks (19, 06, 10)
There are many criteria for service in the armed forces at present, but I would like to reflect on the issue of age. Maximum age now is 42 in the U.S. and 34 in Canada. An author I read thinks this is way too young and says they have the whole thing backwards.    more

     It should be a senior's right to have any name I want (12, 06, 10)
I've often coveted the seeming anonymity of a prison number, say 675488.    more

     I'm talking to the flowers - will they talk back? (05, 06, 10)
"Aren't you a pretty one!" I exclaimed to the peony and not "Bloom, damn you" or "If you do not behave, I will throw you into the compost bin."    more

     Niagara seniors need to campaign for 'the right to tinkle' too (29, 05, 10)
Howard Moscoe, a veteran Toronto councillor, campaigned for what he calls "the right to tinkle." With aging demographics, he argues that many seniors don't venture out for fear of finding themselves out of range of a toilet.    more

     Men's book club benched for the Canadiens series (22, 05, 10)
It's not easy to attend monthly meetings when you are retired. I find that I have less and less time to devote to frivolous meetings.    more

     When spousal arguments exceed "reasonable force" (15, 05, 10)
It all comes down to the fundamental question of what was proportionate in the moment....    more

     Turning to the great thinkers to achieve positive vibes (08, 05, 10)
"What goes up, must come down," sounds simple yet carries with it a depth of understanding that only stock brokers can appreciate.    more

     New typefaces for a new age of 'e-interactions' (01, 05, 10)
I've been starting to re-evaluate my typeface.....    more

     Baseball lingo 101 for your spouse (24, 04, 2010)
Prior to watching any game, I suggest that you first check the Internet for a rendition of Budd Abbott and Lou Costello's Who's on First.    more

     Finding Eden (17, 04, 2010)
The first garden was created in a distant place named Eden, and in that garden, our two predecessors, Adam and Eve, had everything they desired at their disposal.    more

     Get inspired for next April Fool's (10, 04, 2010)
In 1977, The Guardian in Britain published a seven-page supplement devoted to Sans Seriffe, a small republic said to consist of several semi-colon-shaped islands located in the Indian Ocean.    more

     I'm aiming for nap success (03, 04, 2010)
A nap during the day improves the brain's ability to absorb new information.    more

     The housekeeping podium is mine to own (27, 03, 2010)
"I want you to pull your weight. I want you to dedicate yourself to housework as if seven judges from foreign countries are watching you, seven foreign countries where it's the man's duty to perform as well in the kitchen as in the bedroom."    more

     Sequential thinking is definitely not my strong point (20, 03, 2010)
There is no room for anybody else in my office and that's the territorial imperative I'd like to maintain.    more

     Waiting would be so much simpler if I was a yogi (13, 03, 2010)
I want to get my damn computer to work properly now dammit!    more

     My post-retirement dream job sleepily awaits (06, 03, 2010)
I'm seriously thinking about coming out of retirement...    more

     A little apology can be good for the soul (27, 02, 2010)
Former MLB home run king Hank Aaron says that Mark McGwire should now have a clear conscience after his recent apology for using performance-enhancing drugs as a player.    more

     Retirees can go from being milked to milking the cow (20, 02, 2010)
Canadian citizens have noticed a strong odour emanating from Parliament Hill where the first results of prorogation has been leading to some interesting...    more

     Sines and cosines and the language of love (13, 02, 2010)
I hated math in school, and it caused me pain and endless sorrow so I think it brilliant of me these many decades later to use it in such a positive fashion...    more

     Send in the seniors to terrorize the terrorists (30. 02, 2010)
Forget about x-rays and pictures and dogs sniffing bags and the CIA and CSIS and all of the other useless techniques tried thus far. Send in the seniors.    more

     I'm having Hansard withdrawal with Ottawa on hold (23, 02, 2010)
To bored seniors out there who daily depend upon Question Period and the diligent reading of Hansard for their prime source of entertainment, I feel your pain.    more

     You are about to forget about 80 percent of this column (16, 02, 2010)
Dear Mr. Retired Person,
Amy in our grade five class read us your newspaper answer to her question about changes that happen when you age. Do you have any other interesting facts?    more

     Getting older is kind of like losing socks in the wash (09, 02, 2010)
Dear Mr. Retired Person,
Our teacher gave us another project. We have to write down ten things that change as you get older. I thought you would be great for this because you are so old.    more

     Feeling down this New Year? (02, 01, 2010)
The frantic Christmas season replete with last-minute shopping, excessive eating and singing the same carols over and over is finally kaput. My hope is that you did not receive.....    more

     It would be nice to think green this Christmas (19, 12, 09)
Recently, Miriam and I were awarded large gift-wrapped items we had won in draws. When we opened these baskets, we discovered that in both cases, the packaging was responsible for two-thirds of the bulk. Excess paper, wrapping and stuffing provided the steroid-like huge size. How ridiculous.    more

     Sure-fire (and cheap) ways to spice up your relationship (05, 12, 09)
I have enjoyed great success with post-it notes. They come in a variety of colours for that special effect. Go to the grocery store and purchase the items that I mention next....    more

     Attention senior citizens: you better shop around (28, 11, 09)
I suppose it's a lot like the airline business. You get on an airplane, and if you ask three different people what they paid for their tickets, you likely get three different amounts.    more

     The trick to a long life is a sense of humour (21, 11, 09)
It's scary when you start to make the same noises as your coffee maker. You know how it gurgles and sputters and then sighs? That's Miriam and I in the morning.    more

     Ailing friends have imparted a doctor's worth of knowledge (14, 11, 09)
My doctor is 72 years old. I figure if I had paid more attention and taken notes, I could easily have accumulated several credits towards a medical degree. I calculate that just in the normal course of events, by visiting our friends, I could easily acquire the information required to pass any medical exam that involved ears, knees, the heart and kidney.    more

     Advice from someone with lots of miles under his belt (7, 11, 09)
I can advise people all day long without getting unduly tired in the process.    more

     Our Mens' Book Club is taking competition to a new level (31, 10, 09)
I do not remember who the culprit was who thought he was Julia Child, but somebody made chili for one of our meetings. Next, there was pizza, and then somebody baked a pie, and it escalated such that the host no longer has time to be part of the book discussion, confined to the kitchen, preparing lavish treats.    more

     Will the Prince of Wales stay in the Prince of Wales? (17, 10, 09)
Prince Charles and Camilla reportedly are going to visit Niagara on the Lake in November which is appropriate because if they decide to stay over at the Prince of Wales Hotel, we would have the Prince of Wales actually in the Prince of Wales.    more

     Grocery store shopping for dialogue (10, 10, 09)
I enjoy grocery shopping either at home or when I travel, but rarely purchase groceries.    more

     Alouettes' Sam 'the Rifle' passes the ball to 'Prince Hal' - that's as good as it gets (03, 10, 09)
It wasn't just Etcheverry, but the combination of Sam and Hal (Prince Hal) Patterson, his favourite receiver, who would always make the clutch catch, no matter how difficult.    more

     Running of the Seniors will work, and that's no bull (26, 09, 09)
"I told my family that I just had to do it," North Korean Kim Jong-il will intone. "I love to chase and scare people."    more

     So how do you tell when you're out of invisible ink? (19, 09, 09)
Miriam insists that I missed school the day they taught mathematical concepts such as telling time, adding and subtracting...    more

     Forget the diet, I've decided to eat like a sumo wrestler (12, 09, 09)
Sumo wrestlers spend their time, exercising, eating and relaxing, completely focused on the rigours of sumo preparation. I wasn't sure about exercise, but I bought into the eating and relaxing components...    more

     Seniors rule baseball's most important job (29, 08, 09)
Soon enough, those invigorating brisk breezes of fall will chatter into our world view with chilly air and falling leaves and, immediately, everyone's thoughts will quickly turn to the World Series...    more

     Perhaps city council can tap into wise elder's wisdom (22, 08, 09)
As retirees, we have an opportunity and perhaps a responsibility to be wise, to take the sum total of all of our experience and knowledge and focus it into proactive suggestions for others embarking on similar journeys.    more

     As you get older, you learn to be careful about what you say and how you say it... (15, 08, 09))
As a senior and possibly a cheerful grandparent of one or more little tykes, many people, including your very own progeny will often unexpectedly come up to you and proudly display some item of their interest.    more

     So you think people think about you? (08,08,09)
If you are male, you think about sex. If you are female, you think about shoes. If you are a dog, you think about going out for a walk. That's it. Yet, we have this illusion that we carry around with us that people are constantly thinking about us. Not true.    more

     Keep repeating the retirees' mantra: it doesn't matter (01,08,09)
When one retires, after graduating from that initial confusing period, which lasts from 6.5 weeks to a full year, when you are still somewhat uncertain about going to work in the morning and feel guilty that you are not, you finally approach a mindset which I will refer to as "it doesn't matter" or IDM for short.    more

     There's something for everyone to celebrate in August (25, 07, 09)
Seniors like to celebrate, particularly when it's free, so Miriam and I drove down to Fort George, angled our car on a steep incline in front of the bastion and waited for darkness to descend.    more

     Inventing and investing in St. Unguen (Censored)
I got the idea when reading about St. Apollina who is the patron saint of dentists and toothache sufferers. She was martyred by the Romans in AD 249 and in the process, she had her teeth knocked out.    more

     Pet dating service? It's money in the bank... (04, 07, 09)
Watch any dog on the street when another approaches. The immediate reaction is to befriend the other dog.    more

     Retirees could offer a mass of body guards... (27, 06, 09)
Good retired folk suffering in a recession, watching fixed incomes dwindle, reduced to a meaningless paltry amount like a 140 character twitter message, might wonder: how can I make a few more dollars, assuming, of course, that it's legal.    more

     But it says 'extend all privileges!' (13, 06, 09)
It's official. A full eighteen days after celebrating my 65th birthday, I received an envelope from Service Canada...    more

     The mind is still curious even if the body twinges a bit... (16, 05, 09)
I routinely do what I want to do, an attitude that often provides conflict with Miriam who suggests that I attend to household matters I regard as pedestrian. I require a course in Zen to appreciate the enticing jobs of vacuuming, taking out the garbage and items that rarely register on my radar.    more

     We're looking for a handout to remain retired... (28, 03, 09)
I've decided that Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty had better soon decide to give those of us on the fixed income some incentive to remain in that category. Are we not worth a bonus for the lack of work that we do? Fair is fair.    more

     Calculate your pension income then pray... (07, 03, 09)
Why has the Government of Canada developed the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator?    more

     Ah, the stories we could tell young students... (14, 03, 09)
I have often wondered why schools do not take better advantage of retired seniors in their communities. After all, seniors can make an active, positive....    more

     There are advantages to aging, if I can remember... (27, 12, 08)
The nice thing about age is that if there's a disaster at sea, the oldest have a decent shot to get off the boat first if I remember my rules of courtesy correctly...    more

     I'm eligible for OAS, but what's with the 'old age' part? (13, 12, 08)
Extra cash for travel courtesy of your government is kinda neat, but there's some sting in the name of the program that could easily be replaced...    more

     Do you get the sense that gloom weighs heavily on the planet? (29, 11, 08)
Each country has its own recipe for cheer...    more

     Some thoughts on life from those who think Jung. (22, 11, 08)
The trick is to hang around long enough until our thinking gets really simple...    more

     A hyperbaric chamber makes an ideal gift. (08, 11, 08)
The chamber increases pressure, reducing the size of the gas bubbles (but not the smell)...    more

     Here are some 'horrorscopes' just in time for Halloween. (18, 10, 08)
Think Stephen King and William Shakespeare with a touch of Bella Lugosi...    more

     Grammar ain't what it used to be. (13, 09, 08)
Entering the Waste Land with split infinitives and run-on sentences...    more

     Re-routed Matilda's sinister plan 'to cause trouble' took flight. (06, 09, 08)
An older lady with whom you should avoid travel at all costs...    more

     Youth and gold medals are wasted on the young. (30, 08, 08)
Forget Beijing and Michael Phelps. T.E. Smith is the perfect role model for seniors...    more

     A senior's spin on the business lunch... (16, 08, 08)
Sometimes it's hard to know the correct etiquette for dining with others. Here are some important tips that will help on your next cruise...    more

     We work 44.8 % of the year to pay our taxes. (12, 07, 08)
India looks promising but I might move to Tahiti where at least I would save on clothes...    more

     Mr. Snarly, Mr. Nice and Ms. Who Knows at the U.S. border. (05, 07, 08)
For the guy from South Africa, the two Asians, someone from the Middle East (there goes our quick entry) and a bunch of shifty-looking young people, none of whom I would ask to collect our mail, crossing the border provokes indigestion and fear...    more

     It gets lonely when you're at the top of the age demographic. (10, 05, 08)
Do you drive a large, blue Chevy with lots of dents - at approximately 30 km. per hour in the 60 km. zone? And other existential questions...    more

     My canes keep me grounded on a gorgeous spring day walk. (03, 05, 08)
Walking and musing along the Niagara River keeps one alert and ready for unexpected encounters and life-altering opportunities...    more

     Church bulletins are often the source of inadvertent humour. (26, 04, 08)
Whenever you need a laugh, go straight to church, especially when you travel...    more

     Let us count the ways that it's a great time to be a Leaf. (05, 04, 08)
In Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame, I realize that those who play for the Leafs are entitled to longer vacations...    more

     It's a dead end for this technologically-challenged right-brainer. (22, 03, 08)
Signs along the road of life and a desperate cry from the right lane for help...    more

     How to lower male blood pressure. (Censored)
In this hyper-electronic nonstop-communication era, while everyone is trying to inflate your assets, a wise doctor (probably a naturopath) discovers a simple exercise that's beneficial to masculine eyes and other body parts...    more

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