James Hillis

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Bambi Meets Godzilla

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I first saw this while in high school back around 1972 and still enjoy it, so here it is.




In Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 12:26 am

One of a songwriters main inspiration point is the women in his life, usually a girlfriend that they have loved and lost. Sometimes they are about fictional women that were inspired by real woman but the women make up many of the songs over the last 100 years or so. One thing that I have always wondered about is who is the woman who is being sung about, what made a songwriter write about her? And while it is not as earth shattering as some other things being discussed in town I still find it interesting and hopefully so do you.

In 1967 Leonard Cohen released SUZANNE, one of the truly great Canadian songs of all time and in true songwriter tradition the main character was real. Her name was Suzanne Verdal, the then wife of Canadian Sculptor Armand Vaillancourt and she lived in Montreal. The song describes the City of Montreal in all it’s splendor as well as giving us an image of SUZANNE that to this day still sits in my mind.  The real Suzanne claims that she and Leonard never had sex despite what some think the song represents and as a matter of fact Cohen himself has said that there was neither the opportunity nor the inclination to actually go through with it, and according to Suzanne she has only seen Leonard twice since the song was released, once in the 1970′s and once in the 1990′s.

Today Suzanne lives in Venice Beach California and is an on again off again homeless person living off the good intentions of friends and artists that call the beach home.



Downtown Saturday Afternoon

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

Cosmos diner on Queen street was the place to be in the 40’s. These 3 young lady’s certainly seem to be enjoying themselves.
In this picture Mary Hillis Irene Constant and Betty Garside

A New fuel?

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Has Union gas found an Eco-friendly fuel that we can use to heat our
homes this winter? According to the latest from Wiki-leaks the major
home heating suppliers have found a way to convert their customers tears
that happen when they open their heating bill into a fuel that will
burn clean and save us money.

With the the heating prices rising this winter misery derived fuel may
be a saving grace for us all. According to the leaked documents”Most
customers are pathetic cryers who bawl like babies everytime they open
our bills and we plan to use that to our advantage” a spokesman for the
energy companys is quoted as saying. The low-emission, carbon-efficient
tear-based product of the nation’s suffering will be called Sadgas. The
only drawback is that they still have yet to find a way to gather all
the tears before the spring set’s in and people will be outside more and
have their heat off, or many will be living in their car anyway.

Tips For Grandparents

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Give me back my klackers

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 12:25 am

In the spring of 1968 i fell in love. Not with a girl or a dog but
with a toy. The KLACKER to be precise. What is a klacker you ask, well
let me tell you, it was a magnificent piece of weaponry, 2 acrylic
balls attached to a sturdy workman like piece of string that when
banged together could drive a parent crazy, and i had to just have one.
A light blue transparent one at that.
Some scrawny kid like me
could own one of these, jump over a 6 foot high fence and smoke the
local bully. Yeah, that was going to be me. Jack, the neighborhood
tough guy wouldn’t get the best of me anymore. That psychopathic
grin would get wiped off his face really quick and than i would dance
over his fallen body like David over Goliath, oh yeah, that 11 year old
130 lb walking jelly bowl was going down. Or so i thought. As i
gathered my nerve and as my friends waited timidly around the corner i
approached the lug and started to stare him down, he didn’t
flinch, i approached a little bit more slinging my klackers like like a
gunslinger in the old west and then it happened, he pulled a giant
slingshot out of his overalls and started to fire spitballs at me. One
by one they stung me and drove me back to cover behind the closest
garbage pail and there i waited for the cavalry to arrive but realized
that the Cavalry had run for cover as well and vanished into the school
and the safety of the Nuns leaving me alone to face Jack one on one. It
seemed like i was there for over an hour[probably just about a minute]
when i got my courage up, got the klackers swinging good and rose,ready
to face my final moments, i came flying out from behind that garbage
can and ran smack into the body of Sister Aloysius, all 6 feet and 150
lbs of her. I went down like a rock ,my klackers flying out of my hands
and landing at her feet, her evil grin even made the bully Jack cringe,
and she had me at her mercy, and Jack was standing behind her grinning
that psychopathic grin of his. I was doomed.
I wound up with a
detention and had my Klackers taken away for 3 days, a punishment that
seemed worse than death, and while i eventually got over that moment,
the tension between Jack and i never cleared up but we stayed away from
each other from then on. For me A moral victory and 3 day’s later
i got my klackers back. All was well again.
And i wonder, did
anybody ever get Jack? Did they get away or did Jack get revenge? And i
wonder where Jack went? Is he living now on a chain gang in Alabama
somewhere breaking rocks with his fists and dancing with a good ole boy
named Bubba? One can only dream.

Powered by ScribeFire.

The Hespeler Communication Network

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Previously published here

One of the things about growing up in a small town like Hespeler during the 60’s and 70’s was the communication network that existed in the town. A lot of it was good, as a small town we had a volunteer fire department and since my dad was a volunteer the only way to get the information about a fire was for each member to have an assigned person to call. So when the fire was phoned in the system would start. The first fireman would call the next on the list and so on and so on, until everyone was notified, and no matter what time of the day, this would occur. It was never a surprise to hear the phone ring at 2:30 in the morning. If someone was sick or got hurt everyone would find out quick enough, and really anything that happened went through the communication network. Even things that would get you in trouble, trust me i know.
In the day’s before Ernie’s the building was known as the Queens Hotel and was a regular spot for many of the locals, including my Dad and his cronies and since it sat at the main intersection in town they could sit and watch the town(and the Characters} go by. And that is how they got me. One warm summers evening i pulled up to the lights in my Dodge Coronet, the 8 track spitting out some raucous Zeppelin tunes, and as i was prone to do, i revved the engine a few times and when the lights turned green i spun out, squealing the tires and headed up Queen Street and headed home. Now this was no more than a two minute drive to my place and as i pulled into the driveway i saw my dad standing there with his arms folded and glaring at me like i had let in a game winning goal or something. Upon parking the Dodge and slipping out the door my Dad made it clear in no uncertain terms…don’t ever squeal your tires in this town, go to Preston or Galt or even better Kitchener, but do not ever, ever do it in HIS town, and while I am at it turn the music down as nobody else downtown wants to hear that metal crap and wear a seatbelt goddamn it. I stood there stunned! How in the hell did he find out in 2 minutes what I had done? There was no such thing as cell phones in those days, he didn’t have ESP, so how? As he explained it later, one of his chums was sitting at the bar and saw me there revving my engine and was on the phone to the old man when I peeled away from the corner, so by the time i got home the whole story was known. And you know what was worst? Later that day i went over to a friend’s house and his dad laughed at me for getting in trouble doing what I did. That Damn Hespeler Communication network had nailed me and their was nothing i could do about it.


Presidents Wishes

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Four United States Presidents get caught up in a tornado, and off they whirl
to the land of OZ.

They finally make it to the Emerald City and find the Great Wizard .

“What brings the four of you before the great Wizard of Oz?”

Jimmy Carter steps forward timidly: “I’ve come for some courage.”

“No Problem,” says the Wizard. “Who’s next?”

Richard Nixon steps forward: “Well, I think I need a heart.”

“Done,” says the Wizard. “Who comes nextbefore the Great and Powerful

Up steps Bush: “The American people say that I need a brain.”

“No problem,” says the Wizard. “Consider it done.”

Then there is a great silence in the hall. Bill Clinton just stands there,
looking around but doesn’t say a word.

Irritated, the Wizard finally asks, “Well, what do youwant?”

“Is Dorothy here?”

A Case for…

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm

What do Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin,Prince and Metallica all have in common? Have you guessed yet? They are all in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, which is really quite an achievement for all those artists so here is another question. What do Rush, The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive have all in common? They are not in the rock and roll hall of fame.  You read it correct Prince is in the Hall of fame but the Guess Who one of Canada’s greatest musical acts is not, Neil Diamond is going into the Hall of fame this year but BTO have never even been nominated, and Metallica has been a member for a few years but Rush can not even get close. Now before people attack me about my comparisons let me put one thing straight, I like Neil Diamond, his Hot August Night is still one of the best Live albums ever and his string of hits in the 70′s rival anyone’s and as for Bobby Darin, well his Mack the Knife is a classic and Metallica deserves to be there but so do the three Canadian acts I have mentioned.  The Guess Who blazed the way for Canadian music and they made a big dent in the United States as they racked up a number of hits there including 3 top 10 singles,These Eyes and No Time cracked the top ten while American Woman became just the second single by a Canadian Group to hit Number 1 there,The crew Cuts with “Sh-Boom” also hit #1 in 1954. But they are not in the Hall of Fame. Bachman Turner Overdrive was another Sucess as they also scored big in the United States, their 2nd album simply titles BTO 2 hit #4 on the album charts and produced two top ten singles down south, “Let It Ride” and “Taking Care of Business”. They followed that with “Not fragile” which scored them a Number 1 album and produced a few more hits with “You ain’t Seen nothing yet” reaching the #1 spot in both Canada and the United States as well as Europe.  As for Rush,well what can you say about a band that has been together for over 30 years and has been as inventive as any band that is out there. Their list of acheivemnets is too long to put here but here are just a few of them.

Rush has come to release 24 gold records and 14 platinum records (3 of which have gone multiplatinum), placing them within the top 3 for the most consecutive gold albums by a rock band. Rush ranks 79th in U.S. album sales according to the RIAA with sales of 25 million units. Total worldwide sales approximate 40 million units

Rush has won the following Juno awards:

  • 1975 Most promising group of the year
  • 1978 Group of the year
  • 1979 Group of the year
  • 1990 Artist of the Decade (80′s)
  • 1991 Best HardRock/Metal album – Presto
  • 1992 Hard Rock album of the year – Roll the Bones
  • 1981 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
    • “YYZ” — lost to The Police‘s “Behind My Camel”
  • 1992 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
    • “Where’s My Thing?” — lost to Eric Johnson‘s “Cliffs of Dover”
  • 1995 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
    • “Leave That Thing Alone” — lost to Pink Floyd‘s “Marooned”
  • 2004 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
    • “O Baterista” from Rush In Rio — lost to Brian Wilson‘s “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”
  • 2008 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
    • “Malignant Narcissism” from Snakes & Arrows — lost to Bruce Springsteen‘s “Once Upon a Time in the West”
  • 2009 nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance

But yet no nomination to the Hall of Fame. So what gives? It is not like the Hall of Fame ignores Canada, Neil Young,Joni Mitchell,Leonard Cohen and the band are all in the Hall so these exclusions do not make sense to me but I think it is high time we Canadians start making the hall of Fame take notice and start letting them know that we want these bands in the hall, after all ‘sh-boom” is not the greatest Canadian Song of all time.

Share on Facebook

%d bloggers like this: