James Hillis

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

2012 in review

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Hespeler Way to Shovel your Driveway

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2012 at 1:27 am

With a major snowfall  upon us, and some shoveling required I feel it is my civic duty to explain the Hespeler way of snow-shoveling. This has been handed down to me from my father who got it from his father who got it..well you get the point, it can also be used in the Preston and Galt Areas as there is no patent pending on it, now in this system of snow shoveling you need some very important ingredients, so here they are.

Winter Boots..I use Sorel Caribou as they are lightweight and keep my feet warm.

Gloves..I use Isotoner Ultra Dry Hybrid Gloves. Again they are lightweight and they keep a nice fresh smell to them.

Headwear…North end make some very nice toques for Canadian Winters.

Coat….I wear a Far West Goretex coat in a bright red colour, which comes in handy if you happen to fall in a snowbank. And do not forget the Windriver Thermal Underwear with the easy open flaps( guy’s will know what I mean)


Beer[6 bottles]..This one is very important, and so i recommend a good sturdy Canadian Brew, i myself use Plowmans Ale From Grand River Brewing, Good flavour and robust body.[ endorsement cheques can be sent to me care of Cooper Street Relic]

Okay now that you have assembled all the necessary ingredients, here is what you do.

Get your gear on and make sure everything is comfy. Take your 6 Beers
and put them strategically around your driveway. 2 on both sides of the
road area of your driveway,2 on both sides of the driveway, halfway up
and 2 more at the beginning of your driveway close to your door. You
then survey your area, break the driveway down into squares that will
lead you to each beer in orderly fashion. You can now begin shoveling
in each square, rewarding yourself with a beer each time a square is
finished. And by the time you get to the last beer, your driveway is
done and you feel pride in a good job well done, as well as having nice
little buzz going which will help you if you plan to sit down and watch
the Toronto Maple leafs on TV after finishing the driveway. Your
Welcome. Of course the other way to do it is to sit in the house
drinking the 6 beers while your Son-in-law and Grandson( Hint Hint Al and Ben) brings their snow-blower over
and does your driveway.  And that will leave you time to stand at the end of the driveway yelling and giving the finger to the City snowplow driver who plows the end of your driveway in.

And that is the Hespeler way of shoveling your driveway.

Merry Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm


The Bestest Christmas ever(up to that point)

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

It was Christmas day 1968 and as dawn broke over Hespeler my younger Sister and I were wide awake just waiting for the signal from our parents that would tell us to come downstairs and see what goodies awaited us.  As usual the stocking’s were hanging on the bottom bed post’s and we were comparing what was in them, the usual little things as well as the candy, fruit and nuts that was always in them, but our attention was more on what was waiting for us down stairs. And when my Mother yelled to come on down it was  race to see who could get down first as we pushed and shoved and yet somehow made it down without killing ourselves. And the sight of the tree and all the presents was enough to bring a tear to my eye’s{ but I couldn’t let anyone see that}.

As was the family custom we had breakfast first and as always our older sibling’s made jokes about Santa missing our house or that the Bacon was really Reindeer meat but after a few years we had learned to ignore them and wolfed down our breakfast in anticipation of the upcoming ritual of destroying the nicely wrapped presents.

Finally the moment arrived, my Dad had his coffee ready and we settled down to  what would only take 20 minutes, but would bring memory’s that would last a lifetime. Now what made this the best Christmas ever(up to that point)?  I will tell you. It wasn’t the Barrel of Monkeys or the rockem Sock em robots, it wasn’t the Ant Farm or the hottest toy of the year the newly introduced Hot wheels, it wasn’t the silly Putty or the wicked Slinky that would drive my Dad nuts for a good week after Christmas, it wasn’t the Super Ball or the Green Ghost Board game, and it certainly wasn’t the underwear or socks, even though the long Johns would be greatly appreciated come the real bitter January and February that would follow.  No it was something else that set my heart  a flutter and almost made me pee my pants with happiness. It was the JOHNNY SEVEN ONE MAN ARMY GUN, oh yea, a gun that would help me win at the games of war that my friends and I would play. It had everything,  a Grenade Launcher,  a Rocket launcher, Armour piercing shells, the rifle could fire up to ten bullets at a time and it came with a detachable cap pistol and was over 3 feet long. It could do everything and would make me one of the more powerful forces on Cooper Street. I don’t think I stopped grinning all day long and as every Aunt and Uncle and Cousin came by the house I made sure that the Johnny Seven was prominently displayed.  It was pure Heaven and I made sure everyone knew it( I think a few of them wanted to use it on me) and I didn’t care, as I made sure I went outside as soon as I could and tried everything on that sucker.

That was truly a great Christmas and while there were many more to come  that one stands out not only because of the Johnny Seven but because that was also the Last Christmas that I believed in Santa Claus and I find it Ironic that one of my last innocent moments as a child involved receiving a Gun.

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Running with scissors

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 5:46 am

I am into my 60th year on this planet and even though I am enjoying life more at this age than at any other time,  there are some things that bothered me as a kid that still bothers me today. They may seem insignificant to you readers but they stick in my mind like a bad Donny Osmond song.
I hated making my bed as a kid and still do to this day, I mean we are just going to mess it up again, right?. And while I am on the subject, cleaning my room is still an issue, after all. as I tell my wife, we are the only two that use it so is going to see the mess?
Of course that ties into another thing that bugs me and that is being nagged. Growing up it was my Mother and now it is my Wife[ and yes i am taking out the garbage, as soon as I am done this story]. I remember going on summer trips with my family when I was younger and always having to take a washroom break almost as soon as we left,  And just last weekend I went to  a family get-together in Eugenia  and even though we were not even on the other side of Guelph  I had to go pee,  and man that bugs me. I hated Asparagus then and I ihate the damn stuff  now! And nobody is going to make me eat them. I remember as a kid my Mom always yelling at me and I am sure if she was able to  she would do  it by  Cell phone and Internet, sometime technology isn’t for the better. As a kid having to get dressed up was a hate of mine and today I STILL hate to get dressed up, goodness gracious, Blue Jeans and a nice sweater is Vogue to me. And of course my wife tells me I am still not old enough to know it all, and that bugs me. My mother used to remind me not to run with scissors, so yesterday when my wife asked me to get the scissors from her knitting room she yelled” Don’t Run with the scissors” , really, how stupid does she think I am! Hey, Mike Cahill, don’t answer that! When I was a kid I hated to get my hair cut and I still hate it, but only because for the amount of hair that is on my head, 20 bucks seems like a lot.I hated that my parents never understood some of my references to pop culture, now I hate that my Grandkids don’t get my references to pop culture. And finally, I hate being spanked because i am a bad boy…..oops..sorry wrong list for that one.
So what did you hate as a kid that you still hate today? And no liver answers, I actually like that stuff.

Rush Finally Does It

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Today it was announced that one of Canada’s greatest Rock Groups have made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web page

“Equal parts Led ZeppelinCream and King Crimson, Rush burst out of Canada in the early 1970s with one of the most powerful and bombastic sounds of the decade. Their 1976 magnum opus2112 represents progressive rock at its grandiose heights, but just a half decade later they had the guts to put epic songs aside in favor of shorter (but no less dynamic) tunes like “Tom Sawyer” and “The Spirit Of Radio” that remain in constant rotation on radio to this day. Absolutely uncompromising in every conceivable way, the trio has spent the last 40 years cultivating the largest cult fan base in rock while still managing to sell out every arena in the country. While they have never gotten the critical respect they so richly deserve, Neil Peart has inspired more young drummers to take up the instrument than any other drummer of the past 30 years. No less impressive is Geddy Lee’s ability to play keyboards and bass in concert while never missing a note of his lead vocals, and guitarist Alex Lifeson is a virtuoso simply without peer. They are a band completely removed from the mainstream music scene, and yet somehow also one of the most popular rock bands in the country. It is a dichotomy that has fueled them from the very beginning. Their newest release, Clockwork Angels, is as bold and ambitious as any of their works of the 1970s, and even though the members are now pushing 60, it is hard to shake the feeling that they are just getting started.”


Now that is pretty heady stuff for the boys and I say it is about time. Now I would like to think that I helped them get in as I (and I am sure many Canadians) wrote a scathing article last year on the issue, but alas it is unlikely that I helped them any. Here is my article in its full form.

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 achievements 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 multi-platinum), 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.”

Once again Congratulations!

Twelve Songs of Christmas( I don’t want to hear)

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

I saw Daddy kissing Santa Claus
Frosty the hitman
I have an irregular heartbeat,pa rum papumm-pumm
It’s beginning to look a lot like Prison
On the first day of Christmas…i maxed out my credit card
Silent fart
Chet’s nuts roasting on an open fire
Santa Claus is scamming this town
Frosty my dopeman
I’ll be homeless for Christmas
Rudolph Hess the Red nosed Nazi
Walking around in woman’s underwear.

The Chase

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2012 at 12:03 am

One thing about my family is that you come to expect the unexpected. And when you throw a Nun,my Dad, a couple of shots of brandy and the Jehovah Witness,you wind up with an interesting afternoon. Such an occurrence happened and thank the lord i was there to witness it.
The year is hazy but i was still in high school so i guess it would have been around 1972 or 1973. My mother’s sister was in fact a sister. Aunt Grace to us but Sister Francis Regis to the rest of the world. She always loved to come home to Cooper Street and sit out on the back patio talking to my mom and dad and enjoying the family life. This day she and my dad had opened the brandy and had a couple of shots when the doorbell rang and my Dad got up to answer it, when he came back he told Aunt grace that there were two Jehovah Witness’s at the door and he had told them that there was someone who wanted to talk to them and they waiting patiently at the front door for her. Now in those day’s the Nun’s still wore all the habits and as luck would have it my Aunt’s was on the chair beside her and she gladly threw them on and went to the door. but what happened after that is why this story sticks in my mind. Walking briskly up cooper Street were 2 Jehovah Witness’s being pursued by a Catholic Nun in all her glory yelling “come back, we have a lot to talk about”, never had i been more amused at something my family had pulled off and i swear my Dad almost split a gut laughing so hard heck even my Aunt and my mom could hardly stop laughing. Ah Summer, memory’s are made of this. Aunt Grace is no longer with us but everytime i think of her i have to smile. I mean how could a little lady like this scare two grown men, really?

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