James Hillis

Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

Just Call Me Phtt.

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2015 at 11:28 pm

We all have our given names and variations of that, I have been called Jimmy,jimbob, Jimbo, and of course James. I have had nicknames like little bucky, ribsy, which is an entire story on its own, in college some of my classmates took to calling me Doctor music because of my love of and my knowledge about music. At work, I get called the Old Man because I am obviously, the oldest one there. A close friend used to call me Casper because I tended to disappear at party’s and reappear out of nowhere. I have even taken to using the spelling Jimm because of a Guelph writer with the same name as me, I have tried using just my initials J.D. but it just did not seem right, but last week I think I acquired a new name courtesy of my Mother.  Mom suffers from dementia and is confined to a nursing home because of her condition and her advancing years, she will be 91 in May, and as with anyone who has this awful disease it causes the victim to lose memory among other aspects of daily life and can put a strain on the victim and the family members who look after them. And our case is no different, Ma has lost the ability to walk and for a women who used to walk all over the streets of Hespeler I am sure it is frustrating to her and she tends to lash out at her visitors and her caretakers at Riverbend Place, but I must admit they do a fantastic job of keeping her healthy and safe which I guess is the most important thing now. But I digress, so where was I?  On many of my visits Mom will want to hold my hand and she tends to smile but I know she is unaware of who I am and even why I am even there and we leave it at that, when she get’s tired of my visit she lets me know she is tired and want’s to have a nap and that is my cue to leave, what she does after I leave is anybody’s guess but she more than likely is happy to be left alone, but what does this have to do with names? Well, as always I was talking to Mom and asked her if she knew who I was, and I was expecting the usual blank stare and uneasy smile that I would normally get, but this time she said ” No, who are you?” and I replied, I am your son, she looked at me perplexed and just puckered her lips and gave me a big raspberry Phtt, yes I said, that is my name, she cracked a little smile, said I am tired,rolled over and went to sleep.  So I guess my name is PHTT, I can live with that, as long as she is still around calling me that.


My 50 Forgotten,Ignored and Great Albums # 47 Against The Grain The Stampeders

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm

AGAINST THE GRAIN (1971) is mostly remembered as the album that contained the ultimate Stampeders song SWEET CITY WOMEN  and while it may not be the most revolutionary album or the great Canadian album it is still in my opinion an album that should have more recognition and respect then it gets.  “CARRY ME” was actually the first single released that appears on this album but “SWEET CITY WOMEN” allowed it to become a Canadian hit and the album was renamed SWEET CITY WOMEN for American release, but that didn’t stop it from selling. At the Juno Awards the band won for ‘Best Vocal Instrumental Group,’ ‘Best Producer,’ ‘Best Single’ and ‘Best Composer’. Also in 1972, on the strength of this album, The Stampeders toured the United Kingdom and Europe. Upon their arrival, they discovered that their  hit, “Sweet City Woman,” had already been covered by The Dave Clark Five. Dates included the Marquee in London, the Hard-Rock Theatre in Manchester and appearances on BBC Radio and “Top of the Pops. This album was produced by Terry Brown who would go on to produce records by Rush and Max Webster among many. If you take out Sweet city Women and Carry Me, obviously the album may not have been a success but a few of the other songs on it are worthy of mention, TRAIN TO NOWHERE, TUSCALOOSA WOMEN and MAN FROM P.E.I are solid as secondary songs. I still listen to this album from time to time and on a cold winters afternoon, it reminds me of a summer afternoon sitting with a Dr.Pepper and a Turkish Delight chocolate Bar on the back patio of the old house.


A1 Carry Me 2:55
A2 Train To Nowhere 2:54
A3 Gator Road 2:24
A4 Only A Friend 2:30
A5 Oklahoma Country 3:02
A6 You Got To Go 2:38
B1 Sweet City Woman 3:26
B2 Sunday Prayin’ 3:06
B3 Tuscaloosa Women 2:49
B4 With You I Got Wheels 2:22
B5 I Didn’t Love You Anyhow 2:21
B6 Man From P.E.I. 2:53

And just because

Falling for Love

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2015 at 12:43 am

Have you ever fallen for someone? I know that almost everyone falls in love and the events around it are always memorable but have you truly fallen for that person?
I’m sure Angela and Brad had their moment and the when Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first laid eyes on each other they fell for each other, but did they truly fall? You see in the case of my wife and myself I truly can say that my wife Fell for me in the most bizarre way. It was a frozen December night when we were went on our first date and even though we were both full-grown adults over 40 we were still a little nervous about it. As she went to step out of her front door she slipped and I had to catch her which may of broken the tension a bit but the true falling for me was to happen later.
We had a nice dinner and got to know each other a little more and as I prepared to take my future wife home my electric charms must have got the better of her as that is when she fell, literary.  As I opened the passenger door in the car she slipped on the ice, gripped the first thing she could and as she disappeared under the car she took the passenger door side view mirror with her leaving in her wake a carnage that we still laugh about today all these years later. The image of her dressed up to the nines laying under the car holding the side view mirror grinning helplessly was when I knew that she had actually fallen for me, how many people can say that? Brad and Angelina, not likely. And she continually falls for me to this day, on a curb on Younge street in Toronto,falling off the dock at my cousins cottage in Bala and ,well, you get the idea.

I Nominate My Wife

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Lady’s, please do not take this the wrong way but I am wondering if there is indeed a Nagging Hall Of Fame, after all we have countless Sports Hall of Fames, The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, an Electronics Hall Of Fame, there is a Miners Hall Of Fame and even a stupid Crooks Hall Of Fame but I can not find a nagging Hall Of Fame but if there was I would nominate my Wife for it, now I love my wife and I am sure she loves me and puts up with me on a daily basis but some nagging is Hall Of Fame material. After all how many times can you nag someone about putting down the toilet seat, goodness gracious, after all I go to the bathroom a lot more than she does so I am in effect saving her from sitting on a wet seat at 3am.  And she is definitely a Hall Of Famer when it comes to back seat driving, yes I do know where I am going in a strange city and do not need to ask for directions every 2 blocks. And really  I am going to wear those pants and socks again tomorrow so throwing them on top of the Laundry hamper instead of in it is actually me using my time more efficiently in the morning and she always bugs me about efficiency around the house, and as for nagging me about spending more time together, shes the one who wont watch the Leafs games with me( she says it’s something about a grown man screaming at a TV turns her off).  And why does a bathtub need to be cleaned after I use it? I come out clean, I am  sure the tub is too. And I am not sure if my wife understands the costs of some things these days, she is constantly on my back to empty the garbage cans and take out the trash but most times the bags are not full so it is a waste to take them out 3/4 full, there is always room for a little more garbage in them, see, I save us money and she still nags. My wife is constantly on me about expiry dates on the Sour Cream and other dairy product containers in the refrigerator but she never believes me when I tell her that those are suggestions not drop dead dates, and they have not hurt me yet. You can’t see the dead ants that are hidden under the fridge so why nag about it, If I try moving the fridge to allow her to clean under it I might throw out my back and be forced to confine myself to the couch thereby making her wait on me, see I saved her aggravation right there. So  I am actually helping her a lot but she doesn’t see it that way, but do wives ever?

My 50 Great,Forgotten and sadly Ignored Albums,Artists and Songs #48 Even The Big Guys Get Ignored

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Most of my top 50 are from bands and artists that time has forgotten and have just a cult following today, but as the title of this one suggests occasionally the top artists have albums that seem to fall out of favour or just seem to be ignored by radio programmers and occasional fans, but are remembered fondly by the die-hard fans. Here are 3 examples of that theory.

THE CAPTAIN AND THE KID..Elton John(2006) It’s a long time to release a follow-up to a hit album( Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy 1975), but that is what this album is all about. It basically tells the tale of Elton and Bernies last 30 years in the music business and while it did hit the top 20 in North America it had real radio airplay and the quickly dropped off the charts. However the album contained some of Elton’s best work in the last 20 years including”The Bridge“, and the continuing saga of “The Captain and the Kid“. Well worth a listen or two.

‘TIL YOUR RIVER RUNS DRY…Eric Burdon(2013) Thats right the Animals front man is still active and in 2013 he released this album that showed he can still sing with the best of them but like so many of our treasured performers, modern day music stations and the record companies ignored this album, which is a shame as it contained some of his best work in the last 20 years. “27 Forever”, “Old Habits Die hard” and “Water” are just 3 of the best off this collection, in his early ’70s Eric Burdon still has it.

HYMNS TO THE SILENCE…Van Morrison(1991) Gloria, Moondance, and it Stoned me, Brown Eyed Girl and Domino are just some of the songs that the average Music fan can name that were written and performed by Van the Man, but very few can actually name anything off of the album Hymns to the silence, and that is a shame because this album that deals with his relationship with the music business and his longing for the past is as solid as any of his major albums. It barely broke the top 100 in North America hitting #99 for a few weeks and had no singles released but it is an album I still listen to in it’s entirety and while it is definitely a spiritual album I find myself refreshed after listening to it. Some of the material is traditional like “Be Thou My Vision” while others are out and out attacks on the music industry “Professional Jealousy” and “I’m Not Feeling It Anymore” while “Hyndford Street” and  in particular “Take me Back” will have you imagining times gone by, even if you weren’t there.


Family Research on A Snowy Day

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

My Paternal family History in Canada starts in the early 1800’s in Elmira Ontario and goes to Elora, Galt and finally Hespeler. Researching it has been a bit of a hassle because a lot of it has never been recorded.  But doing some research this morning i have found two pictures, one I can verify as correct but the other one I am not sure of. They are of my Great-Great Grandfather Thomas Hillis and my Great-Grandfather George(Foxy) Hillis.  Also included is the family Cloth that Thomas brought over from his Ancestral Home in Scotland.  The search continues………

Hillis Family Cloth

Hillis Family Cloth

Thomas Hillis?

Thomas Hillis?


George Hillis


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