Step Right Up, Folks!

By Jim Hagarty
Punn Ditt Inc.

There have been many descriptions dreamed up over the past few months to explain how stupid the average Trump voter is. Here is the best one I’ve ever seen, on the Internet today:

“I’m afraid that his staunch supporters just aren’t that bright. They would buy “Instant Water”, i.e. an empty bottle that is marked “just add water”, if their favorite bigot endorsed it.”

Watching Like a Hawk

By Jim Hagarty
2013

Tonight, while I was doing the dishes, I saw that a hawk had landed in our backyard. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The darned thing was as big a large hen. It seemed busy at something, and at first I thought it was trying to pull a worm out of the ground. Then I saw a flash of red and realized it was standing on top of something it had killed and was stripping it with its beak. I didn’t know what unfortunate creature had crossed this big bird’s path, but I assumed it was a mouse or mole.

It took the hawk more than half an hour to have his supper, and with every bite, it raised its head and looked around in case danger lurked. Finally, it flew away and it was awesome to see it go.

I went outside right away to gather up what was left of the creature so our cats and dog didn’t get into it later. I was surprised to see that the hawk’s meal had been a bird and it was not a small one. There were feathers everywhere and a little bit of the bird’s beak and eye socket. And there lie the bones – stripped so clean it was unbelievable. That was one hungry hawk. There was not one morsel of flesh left on those bones. It was like they had been scrubbed clean. There wasn’t even much blood left around. I gathered them all up and tossed them into the garbage.

It was really something to see. I took video and photos but the bird was too far away for me to get anything worthwhile.

We live in the city. It never occurred to me a hawk would land in an urban backyard. It is not as though our place backs onto a bush. It’s amazing to me how wildlife seems to be getting more comfortable with urban settings. A young deer went loping down our street a couple of years back. And a coyote was spotted early one morning next to city hall. Reports of bear sightings are getting more common.

Just when it seemed it was safe to go outside …

The Name of the Game

By Jim Hagarty
2016

There was a little thing going around on Facebook asking users what we would say if we had a chance to talk to our younger selves. What advice would we offer that young whippersnapper who grew into the old guy we are today?

I can think of many things I might say but the most important piece of wisdom I would offer young Jim would be career-related. I would tell my younger self to legally change his name to Gordon. Why my parents never had the good sense to do that in the first place, I don’t know, but for someone destined for a working life putting himself before the public through artistic and entertainment endeavours, Gordon is the only and best name for any Canadian boy.

All the greats are named Gordon. Gordon Howe, greatest hockey player ever, Gordon Lightfoot, greatest folk musician the country has ever produced, and Gordon Pinsent, one of the finest actors anywhere. Also Gordon Downey, lead singer of The Tragically Hip. And I grew up watching a crabby old journalist/broadcaster named Gordon Sinclair, a character if there ever was one, and a guy I almost ran over one day as I nervously chartered the insane Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. As I managed to screech to a halt just in time, he turned, inches from the hood of my car, and gave me a look I imagine only a Gordon could give.

Seems to me, the given name Gordon is almost a ticket to success in Canada.

Instead, Jim. What am I supposed to do with that? Even the proper form for it, James, hasn’t got the same Gordian touch.

There has never been a Gordon in my family going back hundreds of years. I think this explains the mediocrity of our contributions to the world of sports and entertainment. There is no Stanley Cup, Grammy or Oscar on my mantle.

A Gordon Hagarty is long overdue.

Utimate Lawn Art

By Jim Hagarty
In my part of the world, in southwestern Ontario, Canada, near Toronto, rural properties have taken to decorating their front yards in recent years, often with very creative arrangments involving big rocks, wood carvings, etc. I spotted this one yesterday near my hometown of Stratford, a unique reminder of a mode of travel in yesteryear.

My Seedy Side

By Jim Hagarty
2012

The sign on the wall above the front counter declared: No refunds, no exchanges. In smaller print below those two large warnings, was this one exception: These restrictions do not apply to Jim Hagarty.

I was glad to see that when, five minutes after I’d paid $3 for a double CD set of 30 top country songs performed by Anne Murray, I returned to the shop to ask for my money back. I had taken the CD out to my car, and when I opened it, there was only one Anne Murray CD in the case. The other one was gone. But in its place was a CD by opera diva Sarah Brightman.

First I asked if I could look on the shelf for the missing Anne Murray CD, but I knew I wouldn’t find it and I didn’t. The woman at the counter asked me if I would like to pick another CD instead and after looking at them all, I saw none I wanted more than Anne Murray. So, I went back to the counter and said I would just take my purchase and leave again. But before I did, the woman reached into the case and took out the Sarah Brightman CD.

“But, I paid for two CDs and got only one,” I protested. “I should get the Sarah Brightman CD that was inside the case.”

This was logic. But logic isn’t being taught in the schools any more and is not in the policy manual of this store, apparently.

“Tell you what,” said the nice woman behind the counter. “Give me a dollar and we’ll call it square.”

“Whaaaattttt????” I exclaimed, with just that number of the letter “a” and “t” plus four question marks.

But the woman wouldn’t budge. She wanted me to pay $4 in total for an Anne Murray two-CD set with one CD missing. My consolation prize was a Sarah Brightman CD. I love Sarah Brightman, but I couldn’t let this happen. My name was on the sign above the counter, after all.

Instead, Anne and Sarah stayed on the shelf and I rode home listening to my new 24 Greatest Hits of Frank Sinatra. It’s pretty darned good.

For $3.