passing notes

west end

English Bay on the longest day

Vancouver, BC

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Sadie Hawkins Day

Some say DNA evolves in a lifetime.  Others claim it hasn’t changed much since cavemen stalked woolly mammoths and dragged them home for dinner.  They were the hunters of the legendary hunters and gatherers.

There was the farming village where they didn’t eat woolly mammoths because they were vegetarians, the gatherers.

And the village where boys sat around all day by the campfire talking among themselves. Sadie Hawkins Day probably had its advantages there.  …Should a girl ask a boy to marry her?

Perhaps the next village over was the better choice.

Walk into a bar.  Order whisky.  Make friends.

Then off to the party village.

Those villagers didn’t much care for vegetables.  They did enjoy herbs from their fertile valley, and cookies of cocoa, nuts and honey from their rolling hills.


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m x 10

My favourite mirror is at work. To save the environment my employer reduced the lights.  There were other modifications too, many.  Remove that comma – too many.

Low flush toilets … don’t get me started.

But back to me. This special mirror, which used to be just like every other mirror, is now not so bright; downright shady. I like it.

Without my glasses I can hardly see myself.  And what I do see, wow, I look incredible. Never better.  I make a point of using that washroom.

One day not long ago I ordered a travel mirror:  the Lumi, in Rose Gold. The Lumi has a magnification x 10, or if I was a scientist, m x 10.

What does m x 10 = ?   It equals Holy S __ __ __ !

I have a MOUSTACHE ? !

“Hello, Evelyn?  When can you see me?  No, no.  It isn’t growing back.  Now I have a bigger problem.  When can I come in?  Fantastic!  See you soon.”

I need a facial.

What was that plastic surgeon’s name Cathy told me about?

I wonder how long it will take to get in for lasers.

“Hello, is this the Facial Rejuvination Centre?  Ok, good. I need an appointment.  That’s too long.  Put me on your wait list.  I need fillers.  Fast.”

Lovely locks, Lovelylocks, oh, there it is.  Email, email address : LoveYourLocks@…    “Dear Reception, please book me in for a touch up. What is available?  Can I come tomorrow?  I could make later today.  Are you open late?  Please get back as soon as you read this.”

Where’s the Grey Goose …

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“Ok, everyone who is not a woman stop talking.” -Mika Brezensky, October 30, 2018, Morning Joe

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” -Lao Tzu

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” -George Carlin

“I like to hold the ball.  I feel like that really disrupts the base runners.” -Max Scherzer pitching for the Detroit Tigers

“Going to the pet store drunk is like going to the grocery store hungry.  Blah, blah, blah I own an iguana now.” -TinySparks at Mr. Jeremy Horn, Twitter

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.” -Oscar Wilde

“And speaking of cartoon characters with apparent drug problems, how come Donald Duck has been going around for 50 years wearing a shirt but no pants?” -Dave Barry Talks Back

“A computer once beat me at chess but it was no match for me at kick boxing.” -Emo Phillips

“Don’t worry about making waves simply by being yourself. The moon does it all the time.” -Scott Stabile / Twitter @DrKellyCampbell

“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Life is full of obstacle illusions.” -Grant Frazier

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.” -Robert Fulghum

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” -Maureen Dowd

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” -Arthur Rubinstein

“Tweeting this from the White House. The Obamas look so peaceful sleeping.” -Conan O’Brien

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” -Wayne Gretzky

“What is this compulsion to have people over to your house and serve them food and talk to them?” -Larry David

“Two men look out through the same bars. One sees the mud and one the stars.” -Frederick Langbridge

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” -Albert Einstein

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” -D.H.Lawrence

“If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spent it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.” -Brendan Francis

“Don’t forgive, never forget, and do unto others before they do unto you.” -J.R.Ewing, Dallas

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” -Ethel Barrett”

“A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.” -proverb

“Voters may vote after the deadline, provided that they were in line when the clock struck seven.” -Jason Linkins, “Long Lines in Virginia” Huffington Post, November 6, 2012

“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Most of you are going to hell.” -God @TheTweetof God, Twitter

“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block, you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” -John Rogers

“I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.” -Steven Wright

“There’s math, and then everything else is debatable.” -Chris Rock to Jerry Seinfeld, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

“You know you’re beginning to fascinate me, and I resent that in any man.” -Aunt Hortense, The Gay Divorcee

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” -T.S.Eliot

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.” -Stephen Hawking, El Pais, September 25, 2015

“The underlying message of all his direction is:  You are enough. I don’t need more than you. I don’t need less than you. You’re enough.” -David Hyde Pierce about Mike Nichols, Vanity Fair, October 2015

“The only reason they say ‘Women and children first’ is to test the strength of the lifeboats.” -Jean Kerr

“There’ll be two dates on your tombstone

And all your friends will read ’em

But all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em” -Kevin Welch

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind; every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.” -John Glenn

“I don’t believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we’re very skeptical.” -Arthur C. Clarke

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women like to be a man’s last romance.” -Oscar Wilde

“A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.” -John B. Priestly

“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” -Henry Ford

“The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level.” -Wolfgang Pauli

“Is the brain the producer or reducer of consciousness?” -Whitley Strieber, Jeffrey J. Kripal Super Natural

“Bachelors know more about women than married men. If they didn’t, they’d be married too.” -H.L.Mencken

“I started a new dating website.  It’s called ‘Go Outside'” -Keenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

“Don’t be afraid.” -Donald Trump, 60 Minutes, November 13, 2016

“Quotation:  The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.” -Ambrose Bierce

“Give me my pipe and slippers and a beautiful woman, and you can have my pipe and slippers.” -Niki Charles, Song of the Thin Man

“It’s our job to investigate the un-explained, not to explain the un-investigated.” -George Knapp, KLAS TV Las Vegas / Radio host Coast to Coast a.m

“Being the best is great. You’re the number one. Being unique is greater, you’re the only one.” -Anonymous

“A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does.” -Unknown

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” -Naguib Mahfouz

“We’ll always have Paris.” -Nick (Humphrey Bogart) to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Casablanca

“Is there anything better than to be longing for something, when you know it is within reach?” -Greta Garbo

“If you want a happy ending, that depends of course on where you stop your story.” -Orson Welles

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Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is a beautiful place.  And likely you are thinking of skiing and snow.  But in August the snow is a memory and the sun is hot.
There’s a hot like August in Acapulco – steamy.  There’s a hot like August in Vegas – baking and dense.

It isn’t the temperature so much as the feel.
The hot in Aspen is a standing in front of an inferno hot.  The hot of a scorching conflagration.

Just you and your very close friend, The Sun.

Elevation:  8,000 ft.

The air is thin. The cocoon around you in Vancouver stayed behind as you flew off for the heights of Colorado.  I wondered what it would be like to get Colorado high, but most of my processing software also didn’t make the journey.  It seemed ill advised to exacerbate this light headed situation by smoking up in the park before trekking to my building through the hills and valleys, mostly hills.  Then the worst part:  3 flights of stairs.

No one spoke with that person coming through the door until they sat in The Chair for a while. There was a lot of recovery happening in that chair.

Still, it would have come to pass if someone had told me ahead of time the herbal pharmacy required passport I.D.

What to do in Aspen?
There is a bookstore in a house. Yes, a bookstore in a house!  It has a sofa.  And lamps.  Upstairs is a restaurant, Pyramid Bistro, serving coffee and peach cobbler with ice cream.  Explore Booksellers, 221 East Main Street.

I’m craving the green curry at the Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro in the mall on North Mill Street where the very expensive Clark’s grocery store is, and the all important liquor store.

You can go up Aspen Mountain in a gondola to 11,000 ft.  And that my friend is pretty darn high.

Off in the distance are some of the highest mountains in the Rockies.

Before going back down, best to stop at the bar for a drink, a strong drink. Because you remember the terror as strong winds tossed your little gondola around like a balsa wood hand glider on the way up.


There is the Aspen Gallery, where it is said an officer of the store threw a customer out for saying he was an artist.
Intrigued, I made a visit.

Lovely art.

After 10 minutes the man on duty was getting a little testy.  I hastily took my leave.

The drive to the ghost town at Independence Pass takes less than an hour. The buildings there have mostly disappeared. Did they sink into the ground?

It’s windy.  It’s hot like Lucifer’s Halloween bonfire.

Why is there no working outhouse in the ghost town at Independence Pass?  How many $5 bills does the donation box need to take the padlock off the door of one of those little outhouses and make my day?

Aspen has a community center with an alleged pool. When is it open though?

Do you like bears?  I hope so.   There are deer also.

And there is the Aspen Center for Physics.

It’s in there.

Public lectures are held Thursday evenings.  The final talk of the season, Turning Stars into Gold: The Discovery of the First Kilonova by Iair Arcav, reset the bar.  They saved the best for last.

On the walk to the Aspen Center for Physics there are elegant old houses, preserved, injected with Restalin, Forever Young lotion slathered into their aging wooden siding.
Among them, the home of the late physicist, Murray Gell-Mann.

I’ve heard he didn’t get along very well with one of my favourites,

Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

“All things come to those who wait”

All hoped-for things will come to you
Who have the strength to watch and wait,
Our longings spur the steeds to Fate,
This has been said by one who knew.

‘Ah, all things come to those who wait,’
(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
‘They come, but often come too late.’

by Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie “Violet Fane”
Tout vient a qui sait attendre

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Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns

In Scottish

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

English translation

Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour wipe,
And cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm steaming, rich!

Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
Then old head of the table, most like to burst,
‘The grace!’ hums.

Is there that over his French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust,
Looks down with sneering, scornful view
On such a dinner?

Poor devil! see him over his trash,
As feeble as a withered rush,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He’ll make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads will cut off
Like the heads of thistles.

You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!

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roller coaster

Don’t like them; … the highs, ok, they’re good.

But screaming down that hill into the abyss:  The lows. They suck.

Every now and then a slight tremor, a gentle shake, even a humorous jolt – one every long while is ok.

Smooth gliding, just coast, that’s what I want.

Not bad surprises around the bend, tears, spasms in the gut, that nauseous feeling and what comes next.

Nope. No siree.  Don’t need it.

A multitude of glistening spheres bubbling up from the depths, an awesome surprise, yes, bring that on.

Jiggles, giggles, fantasy come true.

The magical ride, that one over there with the golden lights

picking up a little speed as it heads for the tunnel…


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September 30, 2017 @ 6:07 p.m. pdt

“How am I supposed to breathe when you take my breath away?” (Greg Sczebel)

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The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein, Introduction by Brian Greene

Brian Greene and I speak the same language, English, at least in some of his books.

His simple explanations bring concepts into focus for simple me.

His Introduction was a pleasure.

And then the Introduction ended.

The main event began.

The Meaning of Relativity

page 1:

“The theory of relativity is closely connected with the theory of space and time. I shall therefore begin with a brief investigation of the origin of our ideas of space and time, although in doing so I know that I introduce a controversial subject. …”*

As much as I cherished the lessons from Brian Greene, here now was Albert Einstein, talking to me like I understood every word.


Communication is so important. Despite the wide chasm in our I.Q.s, we were doing just fine since we met 3 minutes ago. I eased deeper into the Macy’s Martha Stewart medium and extra firm pillows, took some deep relaxing breaths, and rejoiced in my good luck to finally be introduced to him, Albert Einstein, after all these years. Why had I resisted for so long?

page 3:

“…By means of simple changes in position we can bring two bodies into contact…”*

He is a sweet talker. I don’t mind.

But then, as all relationships do I suppose, a perturbation arose.  It happened when I turned to page 4;  a lack of understanding if you will, a gap.

What was that?

– An equation.

I read the passage once more, and again.  Yes, phew, got through that hurdle.  And we are back on track.

“Does anyone ever call you Al?”

Onward to page 5.

Here again was a challenge. Another equation. But it was small, simple letters.

Got it. Where there is a will there is a way Al.  Now that I’ve found you I’m going to persevere.

And so Al continued his discourse.

Wow! Who knew? Me and Al.

Until page 6, where a total communication break down occurred.

Sadly, our relationship was over.

With a heavy heart I turned off the light.

I will always remember the hope. And now, to dream.

*The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein with an Introduction by Brian Greene
Princeton University Press, New Princeton Science Library Edition, 2014
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August, the climax of the year. Trees are lush and heavy. The fruit is ripe. A carefree laziness fills the hours. For a precious few weeks we forget what day it is. Every day is exquisitely the same. Nothing to do but complain about the heat.

But soon enough, that satisfying contentment is shattered by one dreaded sentence; someone you like quite well may utter it, or perhaps a stranger wandering close enough to be heard: “You can feel that nip in the air.”

There it is, in its naked starkness like a sumptuous August tree in January. We all know it but are too prudent to speak the obvious: the heat wave has ended.

Yes, August is passing us by and we are heading into fall. And then the second nail in summer’s coffin:  One leaf floats down, drifting from side to side, landing right there.

Today is hot, August still full of promise. I enjoy the luxury of my favourite month in delicious solitude, only every so often allowing in close family and trusted friends.

They know full well there is to be no unmentionable utterances as we bask in the blissful afternoon sun.

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