Forewarned  –  not  –  Forearmed



For the first time, after numerous occupations since my arrival in Toronto and upon completing 25yrs in teaching, I received a government document in the mail revealing decades of pension contributions. It was noticeable because, in tandem, I received notification I would qualify for early retirement in 3yrs. A timely notification as decades of stress and drama/traumas I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, symptoms I had unrecognized when experienced.


Many years have passed since my early retirement began, and what appears a constant is the unfolding of decades of missteps and misadventures that might have been avoided if those around me were not either intimidated and/or had envious inclinations of how I may have benefitted at the time of their inputs. Luckily, I did receive one or two inputs which I was able to explore, and one resulted in being employed in the teaching profession. 


Although, I was able to enter into that vocation it was not without its naysayers, opposition and withholders. Even their promoted concept of mentoring was not applied to me by those who had it within their jurisdiction to support me by such data. Unbeknownst to all, navigating the education required astuteness to grasp as whatever straws were within reach as I overcame early stuttering and dyslexia both of which were not labelled as educational restrictions then.


Through strict discipline, corporal and otherwise, I was able to develop strategies to process and learn through my undiagnosed dyslexia, obsessive-compulsive and attention deficit hyperactive behaviour. Other laymen terms used during my early childhood years, especially upon emigrating to an anglo-dominant society where I received a definitive set of labelling geared toward my ethnic appearance.


Nonetheless, ‘I made it through the rain’ as the lyrics claim, albeit in a different context to where surviving my life’s dramas/traumas, which included asthma, have brought me. Appreciating where I am requires more time than I feel is afforded me by the preceding years achievements which, upon reflection are many. I am tasked with recognizing and releasing the hurt and pain heaped upon me deliberately and happenstance/ignorance along my way.


The way forward involves making peace with the way travelled, requiring the kindness of family, friends and strangers alike; including, the naysayers, the angered and injured along the way. My ignorance from lack-of-support caused unintended injuries as I too was likewise injured. So much forgiveness to going forward from backwardness, which is the only way toward healing and growth if wholesomeness is to be experienced while ageing out of this mortal coil.









During my first attempt at acquiring what was deemed a higher education, I hit a brick wall founded on ignorance meted out via cultural shifts: being a person of colour in an otherwise uncaring and unknowing system after emigrating from a similar system where I was a majority yet minority. Contemplate that statement a while and I hope it does make sense.


After finding myself in unfamiliar territory which required tools other than the required educational qualifications of which I was unaware, I was unprepared to accomplish the goal I had yet to set for myself having arrived on the scene. I faced other dilemmas to choose among in order to proceed under conditions bearing down upon me. I had arrived onto this higher education stage and found I was misplaced. I was erroneously registered in a faculty of interest without requisite qualifications!


WHAT  to  DO? I was admitted conditionally with borderline qualifications, via the student loan program and without information to improve the condition of faculty misplacement. Dropping-out/leaving was not a desired option; then, what!?


I decided to continue onward, staying-in but dropping-out having accepted being unsuccessful as the eventual outcome. I rationalized my particulars: no working-tools from home and school experiences; inaccurate faculty placement; student loan commitment; and, no job possibilities had I chose returning from whence I came. It was the most logical choice to my understanding. In spite of the accepted outcome, what was ahead was a vast unknown being where no one had gone before in my family history! I had arrived on the plane of university higher-learning, I was a University student! The first in my families, being the first-born from both parents families, albeit disenfranchised by divorce!


The year proved a most essential part of growing into adulthood, although void of understanding adulthood and manhood apart from what was onscreen in movie theatres during my formative years. Transiency and disruption was a mainstay throughout my earlier years which I navigated with calm exterior many observed, and I learn to manage behaviours as I proceeded in Life. In my head, through my childhood eyes I observed Life and Death, deciphered according to developing environmental customs, which changed randomly and spontaneously on the whims and necessities of the adults/grown-ups in charge then.


Now, in university, I was to choose and decide on those preceding life-stylings which were biased and sparse. Paying attention to the moment, acting on what I observed in university life at the time in Windsor of the 60s, across from Detroit, USA, my adventure far away from home began. Lodging was the priority, as I began my worldview education; a first, abiding inadequate acquisition.





2b. Viewing the Archer




Repressions/Suppressions were the patterns in my growth. There was never a time when excitement was not followed by grief and hurt, so I relegated myself to being mindful of all that I did and/or was invited into doing as Time went bye. 


Of course, being human I dared on occasion either through forgetfulness or hopefulness to follow a whim or fancy only to find I had chosen unwisely. Not all were without benefit(s) but all were followed by, if not accompanied by a pain. I was somewhat aware of my reserved manner and apparent lack of excitement toward experiences where others would otherwise show enthusiasm. It is difficult for me to be as expressive when the aftermath of similar experiences brought out naysayers, not to mention those scheming to demean any of my achievements or accomplishments.


Maybe, as it appears, folks just cannot help themselves. 


On one hand they compliment and cheer me on, all the while reserving reflexive opposition and disdain. Without their knowledge, by happenstance, I would often overhear their private statements in tones that lacked the praises they previously showed in public. I am approached in friendship while plans are made to subvert any kind of success in favour of others. It was a usual mainstay of my martial arts experience: praise with envy, when followed by an honorarium. I found myself on a mountaintop with unexpected accomplishments many believed I desired due to my fervour in getting to the so-called ‘top’ of my game. 


Similarly, in education, I was the first of my generation to acquire a degree and, although admired and possibly praised, I am given the moniker one to whom a certain respectful distance is given. Unfortunately, this respectful distance acts as a barrier whereby nothing knowingly gets in or out. 


Then, there is the physical appearance to which I had not been consciously aware, until 1986 when I was recommended to ‘take a look in the mirror’. I was unable to comprehend that recommendation until 30yrs later. Since it was first mentioned, I would look and ask myself, “What was I to see that I had not seen before?” After all, my reply to the initial question, “Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror?” was, “Yes, whenever I brush my teeth and comb my hair each morning.” 


Thereafter, came the recommendation, to “just stand there and look at yourself”, which I did on occasion but was unable to gain the insight of comprehension until decades later. Much had to occur in the interim, and it wasn’t until reflection in my early-retirement did I begin to grasp what I was to apprehend. Too little, too late? Maybe; too soon to tell, possibly?






11b. Outside the Ring  '74





An interesting premise albeit somewhat macabre regarding the following…


By design she fostered the Domino effect by choosing it as her stage name. Then, by taking her life from this existence on October 31st, she was followed the day after by my ward. Attrition took part in the domino effect by the sending off a friend’s mother and the world famous, Stan Lee. 


There it was only Monday.


What followed those preceding actuations was a discussion, the outcome of which brought to bear the notion that holding onto the belief of one’s “Individuality” induces simultaneous connections and disconnections facilitating ‘crazy-making’ birthing ‘insanities’. 









I was in elementary school in Jamaica when it was announced that there was a catastrophic rail accident on the railway line. Unbeknownst to me, my grandfather was an employee which would have been quite the emotional situation being a child of 10. My first, “Do you remember where you were when?”


A year after emigrating to Canada, seated in my grade nine History class, I was to hear news of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. An uproar with little resonance afforded me by my especial knowledge of world history, as was the Korean conflict and Cuban Missile Crisis. My 2nd memory under said question!


My knowledge of Civil Rights dilemmas invaded my psyche and remained ever since, on varying levels of intensity, for which there appears to be little chance of evolutionary movement.


While transiting high school into university the escalating Vietnam conflict took place, along with the Iran-Contra and Watergate affairs, as well as the notorious campus shooting at Berkeley.


There were other notable incidents and I’ll not add to what appears to be a considerable disturbing List, but I’ll add just two more…


January 2001, in the midst of introducing a grade 11 Art lesson, I was summoned to the Main Office to take a personal, pre-cellular call. This call was to inform me of the imminent passing of my father and my presence was required. The thought that emerged within my consciousness upon departure to be with my father was, “This feels like the beginning of a most unfortunate year”. Nine months later, during yet another art lesson, came the events of September 11th.


There have been many more noteworthy occurrences tipping the scales toward our not too pleasant present. One being the United States of America electing its first African-American President, which was followed by the reflexive election of a divisive, biased, self-absorbed Commander-in-Chief determined to undoing anything that could be considered his predecessor’s ‘legacy’. This divisiveness duly noting the deep-rooted slavery heritage/foundation binding that country together in a unacknowledged symbiotic relationship.


Their inability to collaborate appears to present a well-crafted desire demanding culling of an out-of-control population, to result only in annihilation due to short-sightedness among even the best of them.


As the Cuban Missile Crisis had little to no consequence in my pubescent mind, the growing Global Crises, prodded by mindless contributions in the present, are less of a concern to underdeveloped minds. Simultaneously, as I in the corner my of ineffectiveness age out of this Time/Space Continuum, Life will continue as It did prior to my emergence, and will as such long after my exit/transmutation.




3c. Rim Walk

Surviving this Life


Upon reading the recent Weekend Edition of the Toronto Star’s International New York Times Section, I happened upon an article with a photo containing this graffiti: “whiteness = virus”, and right below it, “blackness = disease”, followed by an article with information concerning a ‘proposed’ Law in the South African government to curb anti-hate speech!


Of course, here in North America, and possibly elsewhere, you will have those arguing for ‘Freedom-of-Speech’ unconcerned with cause-and-effect. To their minds, they consider this childish use of the term a rhetoric worth fighting for. Although, it’s not what any good parent in a long ago generation would allow. In fact, those parents would make certain they instilled what they believe to be respectful speech, and not the callousness that is allowed today. Question is, how did we get from there to here?


This ‘careless’ language rhetorically considered, ‘speaking your mind’ may very well be a direct result of a ‘permissiveness’ evolution that is now confronted by another runaway practice, ‘political correctness’. We see these two modus operandi locked in erroneously defended dispute with reason-the-casualty!


Basically, what I consider responsible speech is not only a lost cause, but also the path to human extinction, if there’s no turning around by good parental upbringing for socially aware children. Connect-the-dots, if you dare…




At The Movies


The Mechanic 2

Action-packed, an adrenaline rush from start to finish, with possibilities for another sequel…


Contrary to critics reporting, which makes me wonder with what kind of mindset they view most films, this is quite a revelation when it comes to a ‘remake’.
It is hopeful in its overall premise, according to my interpretation, rather humane and optimistic in its unfolding, in spite of having religious underpinnings.
I wonder if the media-burial is intended to maintain the earlier divisive standard that has been a mainstay over the decades, and still being cultivated in our political system.
If your mindset prefers the black ‘n white / good ‘n evil sanitized scenario, without forgiveness and evolution of the human spirit; then, this is not your kind of story.
I contend that our eyes and mind barely overlaps in comprehension; but, suffice to say, I find this is a most comprehensive interpretation which is not afraid to show this story as a compilation-of-humanity as we were and still are. Make no mistake, you will be challenged.



Sausage Party

If irreverence is a part of your staple, and you’re not easily offended; then, this is your kind of movie, animation or otherwise.
It pushes the envelope like no other I’ve seen. Even A Million Ways to Die in The West does not come close to how this pushes the envelope!
You take a psychological risk by choosing to see this film; and, that is all I am going to say about this film.  You have been warned!!!



8. The CNE Upgraded

Highway Protest draw Historic Parallels


“If your goal is to clear slums, the best way to get bang for your buck was use the highway as a slum clearance instrument.” ~  Nathan Connoly (Historian)



… speed whites to/from suburbs into downtown job areas, leapfrogging minority communities along the way, and sit still serves this function today.


… not designed for, nor to serve low-income communities already close-to-downtown.


… dubbed, “white man’s roads through black man’s homes”.


… results: feeds frustration of communities segregated, separates from schools-parks-0r-prompt ambulance access. (police?)


Zipping along highways, people have little thought of history assigned to “entire block(s) of housing” that had-to-go for the access!         ~     Emily Badger   The Washington Post



Moving Along

Moving Along Highway Access Route




Third Union Station   1927


There almost never was  to be be the current Union Station as plans were afoot in 1967 to develop the area/space into hotelconvention centrehousing/office towers, but the Plan was eventually shut-down by the Province!


Like NY, Penn Station, what do you think of plans re-imagining the train-station with an amusement park, with scenic ride as in this artist illustration suggests?



6b. Union Stn. Possibility?

Union Station Amusement Ride?



Try as I might, planning with positive intentions, I may never experience living in exotic/interesting places such as Bali, Budapest, Bruges, Dubai, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Istanbul, Morocco, Moscow, Paris, Sidney, Singapore, to name but a few.



As above, not so below...

As above, not so below…



In the distant past, I’ve had two opportunities to venture far afield, overseas, in fact; albeit, on the condition I fight my way across the continent doing battle from city-to-city, in the countries of Germany-Greece-Holland-Southern France.



France -to- Germany  1976

France -to- Germany 1976



Although, I did experience a small sampling of the cultural fare of these fair lands, thirty-nine (39) years ago, the visual evidence accumulated on film over a six-week period, in photographs were ‘lost’ according to Kodak who resolved to reimburse me with two-rolls of film as compensation to appease their minds!??

To this day, that summer of seventy-six loss is indescribable, not to mention, accompanied by an unnerving pain!!!



8a. Toronto's CityScape Eastern Ave '13

CityScape 2013




BUT, I live here, in a wonderful city called Toronto!! A city world renown, a much sought after city as the place-to-live!! These selected views, taken on random walkabouts, are but a few kind compensatory reasons I may never regret experiencing the aforementioned exotic-and-interesting places. After all, the people in those places may never experience our Toronto, which is an interesting complement, wouldn’t you say!??


HERE is, Toronto Ours~


9b. Panorama '10

My RoofTop View  2010




9c. Balcony Panorama '10

My Balcony View E  2010





My Balcony View W  2009





Crystalline ROM  2012





Viewing OCAD  2007






Heritage Flat Iron Building  2009





Sunset on King W/E  2008




2a. Development NW '13

NW Downtown: development-in-progress 2013





AGO  Looking West at Dundas/McCaul  2009


Not to be outdone, the promise of another day…



6a. Sunset on Queen St. '13

Sunset overlooking Queen Street E – W 2013


I trust you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, the pacifier of what may never be in this lifetime… Cheers




I have yet to be aware, or be made aware, of anyone living or dead that can/will reveal her/his whereabout prior to emerging into this realm of existence. I say this with uncertainty; nonetheless, without full comprehension of this time/space continuum. I became aware of living after emerging through the birth canal in a certain place and time, but not until a certain amount of Time had transpired and numerous encounters had taken place to trigger a malady of unconscious origins.


While these experiences were taking place, with and without the aid of other personalities occupying similar time/space continuum, I adopted a survival mechanism with paradoxical prospects. It had triggering mechanisms which would threaten my existence, and alarmed those round about me who believed it was their duty/obligation to keep me here, alive, in this plane of existence. On a few occasions I would be hospitalized, unbeknownst to me, apparently considered life-threatening. It’s all a blur and only remembered as I was gaining in consciousness as I progressed in Life.



2. Early Walking phase



This paradoxical living strategy is called ‘asthma’! I call it a living strategy because it appeared my emergence occurred at a time of turmoil in more ways than one. Definitely, none of which was intelligible to a newborn. Conditions were felt more than understood, and anxiety and apprehension were companions; and, to coexist with these characters I had to have a survival strategy. Ipso facto, the only one readily available and proven to draw attention and care was one that appeared life-threatening. So, asthma it was in spite of its obvious fatal flaw.


While I progressed through Life, the tactic became less and less frequent but it developed a companion, bedwetting, which was to harass me for some time. But, that’s another conditions altogether, one about which I’ll leave for another occasion, if ever. To continue; as Life progressed and circumstances continued their troublesome ways, the asthma kept inserting itself at inopportune times. So much so, I was beginning to wonder, as well as other caring souls around me, if this is how my living would be, henceforth? Somewhere, somehow, a thought occurred to me and I went with it without details or concerns of a successful outcome.



8. Gunboat Beach c.'61



What came to mind was that I was to start running. For what conscious reason, or purpose mattered little. I simply started running every chance I got, interspersed with walking until it became a routine. I would walk to slowly jogging to running, and reverse the process for as long  as I could. I began this at the age of eleven, two years before emigrating to North America, the country called Canada.


Now, I was not what anyone one would call a robust child. In fact, I looked rather average and without any physical prowess to speak of. Still, I took to the task and found it became an adjunct to the school program when I arrived in high school. It was the practice at the beginning of the school year, in Phys. Ed. class, to run a mile as a test of fitness, or so it seemed. I saw this as a challenge, since no one was allowed inside until four-laps of the track were completed. That accomplishment was to equal one-mile. It was my personal quest to run these four laps non-stop. I was unable to do so for the first two years. However, in the third and fourth year I was able to do so and with increased speed, which saw me and a few other keeners representing the school in the citywide athletic games, in track and field.



10. A Special Occasion '65



We were only four, but we entered as many events as would have us, and as our stamina allowed. Our efforts saw us amassing points to pace seventeenth in the city, nothing to sneeze at and something of which to be proud, being only four lads. By the fifth year, a dedicated shop teacher, new to the school, took over as coach and addressed the training situation with attracting others through his classroom connections. A sizeable team was amassed and trained, and that final high school year saw our school, with its proper team, placing third citywide and acquiring The Most Improved School Team trophy.


It appeared my intuitive running was in preparation for more than simply running. Truly, I developed increased lung capacity, and asthma attacks lessened over the years and during the process called puberty I had exchanged bedwetting for seasonal allergies, including allergies to other things such as cats-cigarettes-dust-feathers. Oh, how the mind works! Well, I continued with the interval running, improving on distance and rate-of-speed and, as Life would have it, another pivotal occurrence exposing me to the world of martial arts. There was only one occasion, whereupon I experienced an asthma attack, but that was while sleeping, and it was reported to me by my travelling team-mate during a European martial arts tour.



11a. Varsity Arena '74



Of course, none knew of my early onset asthma condition for I had listened to the Spheres and cultivated an organic-antidote to a rather serious malady. The antidote was not one-hundred percent, as the European Tour experience had demonstrated, and I learned how such a regression could/would occur. Still, in creating this antidote I had managed having introductions into the world of sports from track and field, North American football, European football (soccer) and Korean martial arts. This last one has netted me accolades ranging from Provincial-National-North American-World titles and induction into four martial arts halls of fame.



Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame  Induction

Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame Induction



Other health conversions have taken place about which I’ll not elaborate, suffice to say they have cause transitions as I’ve aged amidst this time/space continuum and may continue to do so until the inevitable transpires. Until then, I’ll experience living conditions attending to whatever intuitions The ‘Heavenly’ Spheres denote as best I can decipher them.

This is simply an elaboration on how I progressed on a Path from an unconscious adaptation into present health conditions, with attendant radiant effects along the Way… I trust you are able to find this telling edifying.

%d bloggers like this: