There are a lot of fun things to do in 2016: Here are my top four, highly idiosyncratic entries, all from watching evening television on Netflix or CBC
- Praise Keith Richards – Rock Historian: Tune into Netflix and go to the music documentaries. It takes a while until you realize that Keith Richards is in almost all of them. He has raised the halting carefulness of the intoxicant trying to keep it together to high art. But don’t let the highly practiced ‘stoned’ style (and a 70+ year old wearing a headband) distract you or make you think that this isn’t serious. Keith Richards is THE historian of rock and roll. He traces it – he spins it. He plays it. He takes you from Muscle Shoals to clubs in Chicago. He details the first time guitar riffs of the Everly’s in minute detail – including detailed descriptions of their chord progressions. He worships and finally gets annoyed with Chuck Berry as only an historian could. If the present world ends and you are a rock and roll archaeologist 300 years from now, you only need to happen upon Keith Richards’ opus. This is the real deal. Roll over Toynbee and tell Niall Ferguson the news.
- Think about ‘No medical’ life insurance – The ads are pervasive but almost no one remembers them. They hire actors that look like parishioners at a church losing membership. They have bad teeth. They seem uncertain but one thing they know for sure is that your medical history is ‘embarrassing’. But older people – and I am one of them – blather on forever to anyone who will listen to stories about their myriad maladies. They’re not embarrassing – they’re a badge of honour – a rite of passing – the main if not the only example of meaningful conversation. If I get asked how I am doing, it’s ShowTime. You can’t shut me up. My skin; my neck; the arthritis in my barre chord guitar finger; my nerves; my back. But when it comes to getting life insurance, why would I want them to see my medical? Maybe because I don’t want to put myself in the risk pool of those who are about to die? Nah – I would rather not disclose and pay twice the premiums. Who wouldn’t?
- Laugh it up watching the CHIP ‘Reverse’ mortgage ad– OK this one I really love. I can go on vacation – help with family, renovate or just live better off my home equity in the home I bought for $9,000 in 1949 and don’t want to sell for 975 grand in 2015. And guess what? I don’t have to pay a cent until I choose to move out. Well I got a secret!I have a picture frame on my wall waiting for the first senior couple who CHOOSE to move out of their honking huge million dollar family home where they have lived since before the Allies went into Korea. Reality check, people! NO one chooses to move out! One or both are carted off to the seniors’ residence because they forgot to haul out their trusty peacemaker to keep the swat team at bay. Maybe you should live off your equity and die broke. Maybe you should look at the level of residential care that you will get once you have relieved yourself of all your assets and can no longer afford the swank digs that you would have been able to afford had you just decided to live like you did from 1949 to 2015!
- Take a long look at the nightly ‘shooting news’– I love it and they call it news. May be they should rename it ‘news with no content’. They sound all earnest and interrupt so-called regular programming to say that “there has been a shooting”. They don’t know where it happened except somewhere in the east end of Toronto. No perpetrator can be named because the story is ‘breaking’. The person shot is not known but the person may or may not be known to be a person who is a person of interest to the police. (Well I am just so beside myself to be so well informed.) I am thrilled to learn that police do not know the motive behind the shooting but they will be on the job to find out what that motive might have been. It is also good to find out that it is not known at this time that the person who we don’t know may or may not be suffering from life threatening injuries and that the person cannot be named as police are notifying next of kin. And the perpetrator cannot be named as he or she may or may not be a juvenile who cannot be named. Now let’s reverse this to good news. A person or person unknown performed a good deed today that cannot be named as the news is breaking. We don’t know who did it and we don’t know who was helped but it did occur, according to authorities, in an undisclosed part of the City. It is not known at this time whether the perpetrators were or were not known to authorities. No motive has been discovered but authorities are questioning local residents to discover why the act was carried out. Next of kin are being notified. It is not known whether anyone has life threatening injuries or whether weapons were involved. At this time no one knows whether the perpetrators were known to the authorities and were or were not persons of interest. Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for a lime green Chevy wagon that may or may not have scrapes on its front bumper.
With apologies to Ron James: I thought of all these examples after watching his New Year’s show on CBC
John Stapleton, Jan. 5, 2016