Saturday, October 15, 2005

Vintage or merely Old? The P.M. Speaks Out: Oktoberfest Farriers: Nagging Piano Tuners

And the last shall be first, or something of that sort.

Yesterday, I had my piano tuned. It's been nearly four years since its last tuning. I know, I shouldn't have waited so long, but other uses for money kept appearing. Thanks to a gift from my grumpy friend, the bear, I was in a position to pay the tuner. He got lost on his way here, but called to tell me what street he was on. Unfortunately, that didn't help since I didn't have a clue where the street was. It turns out the street was only about five blocks away. I guess I don't know my neighbourhood well, even after three years here.

During the tuning process, which took two hours, I found out a little about the man behind the wrenches. He's a fourth generation piano tuner who also plays classical guitar and rock guitar and he teaches and plays in a rock & country band that travels to gigs around southern Ontario. He very politely told me I should have my piano tuned more often. Guess there's a story there, but perhaps it's for another time.

Oktoberfest is winding down today, and soon I won't be jostled on downtown sidewalks. I did go to one quasi-Oktoberfest event last Saturday. The downtown market had two farriers (blacksmiths) demonstrating the art of making horse shoes. It was fascinating to watch and the younger of the two men was quite willing to chat away about being a farrier and teaching the art. I was amazed to find out that there are not enough farriers to go around. The popularity of horses is increasing and there are as about as many horses as dairy cows in Ontario, he said. It was comforting to know that a trade that's at least a thousand years old is still viable and that the best way to make a horseshoe that benefits the horse is still the very traditional way.

I didn't participate in any other Oktoberfest events, mostly because I'm not fond of Festhalls filled with drunken people singing Ein Prosit numerous times, or worse yet, Eee I Eee I Eee I Oh.... Eeek! I will admit to liking Walter O. (the polka king) and four years ago I went with a friend to hear him at an Oktoberfest event. We were early, and ended up sitting at a table with Walter and members of his band. He's friendly and unassuming, but I wouldn't go to a crowded Festhall to hear him again.

The Prime Minister is getting testy about the softwood lumber tarriffs and the money Canada is now owed. I'm glad to see him taking a stronger stance. But, will it do any good? It seems that NAFTA decisions (curses to the administration that brought that in!) just don't count if you are America's El Presidente shrub and you say they don't. It's abuse of power, plain and simple, and there is no one to call them on it. We are far too intertwined with the Americans to do a heck of a lot about it. Right here in the heart of money-generating Ontario we have a shortage of electric power and have to borrow from the American part of the grid, frequently. God knows, we should be working fast to change that. But, it's only happening in small increments. Meanwhile we keep gobbling power at an enormous rate, as if we have an inexhaustible Canadian supply. We don't.

Oh yeah, and as for the first topic - vintage or merely old. There was a display of vintage cars by the downtown market this morning. I guess I am not vintage but merely old, since most of the vintage cars on display were from well after my youthful days. I did appreciate seeing a 1972 Jaguar E type. Not that I saw any in Windsor, where I grew up. Car town was Ford, Chrysler and G.M. with the odd Studebaker or two thrown in here and there.

At least it's now apple season and sweet red peppers were 3 for $1.00 at the farmers market. I thought a new house plant would be a fine idea too. Maybe I'll be able to keep this one (an 'aluminum' plant) alive for a few months.

I haven't had to turn the heat on yet, maybe because I'm generating enough of my own by ranting away.

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