Author Archives: Gary Johnston
If there is music playing in a bookstore, then it should be classical music at a volume so low you can barely hear it. This provides the perfect atmosphere for getting lost in your head while you browse.
Back when independent bookstores were as common as computers, I had a circuit of bookstores I frequented. Some days I would get to most of them. Other days I would only get to one or two. Never was there blaring music in these bookstores. All played barely-audible classical music. Entering these bookstores put me in an altered state of consciousness.
Times have changed. Entering any of the few remaining independent bookstores, and the large chain Indigo Books, makes me think that I have entered a nightclub where people have to shout at each other to have a conversation. I was in an Indigo bookstore recently, and I had to put in my earplugs. Even then, I could not get totally lost in my head because the music was still too loud.
Are the bookstores playing loud music to ensure that people do not loiter? Or, do the bookstores have to play loud music because people are going deaf with the increase of noise pollution? Who knows?
I miss the old bookstores with their perfect atmosphere for browsing. Almost-silence is golden.
Have you noticed the proofreader icon missing? It disappeared on Monday May 6th. I thought I had done something wrong, causing it to disappear, and spent hours trying to get it back.
On Tuesday May 7th, I learned that WordPress had removed the proofreading function and did not replace it. I found this out only after going to the WordPress Help Forum. WordPress said this proofreading feature was “redundant” with programs such as Grammarly available.
It would have been nice if WordPress had warned its members that it was removing the proofreader function. I was not the only one who wasted hours trying to figure out how to get this function back.
If WordPress is planning to install another proofreading function, then it does not appear as if it will happen any time soon.
I wrote this blog to do what WordPress should have done: inform members of a change.
We love to give our power away! We love giving our power away to other people, their words and their gestures. We forget that no one can harm us with words and gestures as long as there is no physical contact. We forget that we have the power to choose how we will react to someone’s words and gestures.
The Chicago Cubs banned a fan from Wrigley Field because he flashed a hand sign behind an NBC reporter’s back. The reporter, Doug Glanville, happens to be black. The “ok” hand sign is now a symbol of “white power.”
Uh? When did the “ok” hand sign become a symbol of “white power”? Apparently, this interpretation of the “ok” sign started out as a hoax that people started taking seriously. What is happening to our sense of humor?
We do not know the motive for the fan’s hand gesture. Perhaps he was using Krazy Glue just before he left home for the game. Perhaps his hand is deformed. Perhaps he was about to pick up a cup or bottle and forgot to bring his other fingers together. Who knows?
The reporter was not aware of this gesture and was not harmed by it. But since we love to give our power away, then let us allow this fan to upset us by his gesture. Let us allow him to make us horrified, shocked and appalled! Let us not stop at this fan’s ban from Wrigley Field. Let us call upon the government to cut off his hands so he can never ever cause such irreparable tragic pain and suffering again!
I am going to start using the “ok” sign as much as I can. I will use it as a symbol of “white power.” I urge my fellow darkies to do the same. This will confuse the politically-correct crowd and, also, further confuse all those who think that you can stop hatred by hating and banning people who hate.
The following gives too much information, but it solves the male-female-toilet-seat-up-down issue, and makes for a cleaner bathroom.
I used to be able to pee straight, but even then pee would often splash from the toilet water on to the toilet seat or floor. And sometimes a piece of lint would get stuck at the tip of my whatchamacallit causing the pee to come out in two different directions completely missing the toilet bowl. As I have aged, my aim has gotten worse causing me to constantly wipe up pee on the toilet seat and floor.
Enter The Pee Bottle
It does not matter whether it is an actual pee bottle, a small plastic pitcher or an empty laundry-soap jug. I pee into a pee bottle, which in my case happens to be a plastic pitcher, and dump it into the toilet. Of course, I rinse out the bottle and dump the water into the toilet before flushing.
My aim does not matter when I use a pee bottle. No pee gets on the toilet seat, the bathroom floor or the walls or the ceiling. Also, the toilet seat can stay down for any women using the same bathroom.
The pee bottle solves several problems, but I was amazed at the resistance from several male friends who scoffed at the idea.
“I’m not gonna piss in a bottle!” said one friend. “That’s what toilets are for.”
“That’s a stupid idea,” said another friend. “I don’t mind wiping up the seat and floor if I miss.”
I do not understand what the big deal is. Is it not considered macho to pee in a bottle? I do not like cleaning, so anything I can do to make cleaning easier I will do.
So there you have it, another Johnston Helpful Household Hint that came with too much information.
“Wisdom cannot be taught” is a quote from Hermann Hesse’s Siddharta. I recently read this novel.
What an epiphany when I read that line! I realized that my life would be easier if I stopped trying to teach my daughters something that cannot be taught. I have been trying to teach them wisdom without success. They either roll their eyes or laugh. They do not understand how they could save themselves a lot of trouble simply by listening to me. They lack life’s experiences to appreciate my words.
No longer will I feel bad about them not listening to me. No longer will I feel emotional pain watching them cause their problems and suffering. No longer will I try to prevent them from falling as they walk their paths.
I can watch my daughters fall and be detached. They would not fall if they listened to me, but their not falling denies them the experiences from which wisdom grows. Experience is the best teacher. Experience will always be the best teacher.
I step back and allow my daughters to experience life. My stepping back does not mean that I do not support them. I have bandages and love ready should they come to me with their cuts and bruises.
My Uncle Frank was 90 years old yesterday. Ninety! I remember when I was not 90 years old. It seems like yesterday.
It was also World Laughter Day. World Laughter Day is always the first Sunday in May. Dr. Madan Kataria, who founded Laughter Yoga, started World Laughter Day in 1998. World Laughter Day celebrates laughter and promotes world peace. Dr. Kataria has said that if we are laughing together, then we are not going to kill each other.
I always go to World Laughter Day celebrations. I have gone to so many, over the years, that I do not remember which one I went to last year.
There is no connection between Uncle Frank and World Laughter Day other than the first Sunday in May happened on Uncle Frank’s birthday. I wanted to go to World Laughter Day celebrations, but I did not want to miss Uncle Frank’s surprise party. After all, I can go to World Laughter Day celebrations next year, but Uncle Frank is 90 years old once. I know this because I was not 90 years old only once. It was yesterday. Actually, I have been not 90 years old many times, but Uncle Frank is not like me.
So I could not laugh at World Laughter Day celebrations, but I laughed a lot at Uncle Frank’s party. How funny it was to see Uncle Frank stand in the doorway with his jaw on the floor when he arrived. He had no idea he had walked into his surprise party. He later said, “I woke up this morning thinking, ‘I’m ninety.’ I was expecting people to call me and soon became disappointed when no one called. Now I know why no one called.”
Uncle Frank is in great shape for his age. He still plays the vibraphone with the Canadian Jazz Quartet. He walks a little slower than he used to, but he does not need a cane or walker. Perhaps it is the “Viking blood” that his mother, my grandmother from Norway, always boasted about having. She said that it gave her vitality and youthfulness. She was in great shape right up until a few years before she died at 99.
Uncle Frank had a happy birthday and my cousins did an excellent job planning it for him. And I will not forget how I celebrated World Laughter Day in 2019.
I could not find the shaving-brush holder I made from a tofu container back in September, 2016. Someone likely took my work of art for a piece of garbage and threw it out.
I decided to make another one, but this time I wanted a stand to hold my brush and razor. I was not going to spend forty-plus dollars on a brush and razor stand that anyone can buy and lots of people already have.
I took a 1.5-liter bottle of water, some paper-towel tubes, packing tape, cotton swabs, a piece of cardboard from a tissue box, a paperclip and a twist tie. I made a brush and razor stand for under five dollars.
Not only did I have fun making it, but I enjoyed solving the problems of the paper-towel tube bending from the weight of the brush, and the bottle tipping over from the weight of the razor. I used three cotton swabs to prevent the tube from bending and placed rocks on the bottom to stop the bottle from tipping.
Because I am anal, I made notes on the back as to the dates and times I made the stand and corrected its problems.
A friend said, “Not only does it look like a piece of garbage, but it doesn’t match anything in your bathroom.”
I agree that it looks like a piece of garbage. I agree that it does not match anything in my bathroom. But what a charge I get each time I look at it or use it! I do not care what it looks like. It was fun to make and it serves a purpose. And, best of all, I am the only person in the entire universe who has a brush and razor stand like this one.
I got lots of writing done. I was supposed to be working on my 2018 income taxes. Normally I procrastinate with writing. Given the choice between writing and taxes, I chose writing. I posted some of the writing on my blogs the past few weeks, but most of the writing was private. It may be public one day.
Today, April 30, is the tax deadline. It was like being back in high school. I had all weekend to do my homework, and I waited until late Sunday night before starting it. Yesterday, the day before the deadline, I finally tackled my taxes.
I still file the old way of using paper. I could file online, but I am still not sure of what I am doing using the paper forms. When I am confident using the paper tax forms, and understand income-tax procedures, then I will file online. Filing online now would be like using a calculator when I am still learning how to add.
If I figured it out correctly, then the government owes me a billion dollars. I will settle for less if paying me a billion dollars will be a financial burden. I would not want our politicians giving up the perks of their jobs so I can get my billion dollars.
Now that my taxes are done, I can go back to putting off writing.
When I was in my final year of high school, my older sister went to Mexico for a vacation. She returned with gifts for the family. She gave me a silver Aztec ring.
I imagined that human-looking aliens had dropped this ring off somewhere in Mexico many, many years ago. The aliens would return one day to find the person wearing the ring and make him or her the ruler of their planet.
Wow! I would rule a planet in a galaxy far, far away. I would not have to worry about studying for my final high-school exams. Why would I need a high school diploma when I was going to rule another planet?
Within a week of me thinking that the ring meant I would rule another planet, I lost the ring. Thus, I lost my opportunity to rule on a planet in a galaxy far, far away. I had no choice but to study for my final exams and graduate from high school.