Friday Wrap #3 – A trio of Friday things, published late Friday

There was joy in the mailbox today. The Canada Post post office box, not my email box. A book I have been searching for years for arrived. Yes, ordered on Amazon. Let me explain.

My OAC English teacher had us students read books regularly, at home, for book reports. Yup, 18 year old students doing book reports. At the time I read history books, which he did not approve of. He wanted us to read fiction (the nerve). As someone interested in history, I went to my local Smithbooks (remember those?) and found Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth”. It was interesting but when I went back to the store for another by him, that was all they had at the time. Next Pillars was another book, by another author – Frederick Forsyth. F-O-L, F-O-R, I had to play catch up so it was good enough for me.

What I bought was the novel “Icon”, and I was hooked. I already was interested in the Romanov dynasty, and liked spy stuff, and cold war things, so it all fit.

Forsyth has been a journalist and author for many decades. Icon was the first book of his I’ve read, and I have read nearly everything else written by him. It was his book “Dogs of War” that got me interested in Biafra. After many years of searching, I found a reprint of his non-fiction book called “The Biafra Affair” which detailed the Nigerian-Biafra War in the mid-to-late 1960s. I thought I had read all Forsyth’s books with that one.

Side note – The only book of Frederick Forsyth’s that I disliked was “The Phantom of Manhattan”, a sequel to the Phantom of the Opera. Don’t read this book.

Back to Biafra. I learned a few months ago that there was one book I had not read yet, didn’t know it existed. “Emeka” a biography of Chukwuemeka “Emeka” Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was the head of state for the breakaway Republic of Biafra.

A quick search online led to Amazon, and it was out of stock. Back ordered. Now it arrived, and I’m already halfway through it. I’d rather read this then some drivel about the British Royal Family. Emeka is a short read too, only 150 pages. I’m on page 74. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And now for something different…

Ever have a project stall because you’re missing one part or piece? Sometimes I call this “analysis paralysis” where I am missing information and cannot proceed until I know everything. This often delays model building projects of mine. But in this recent case, it was physically running out of something specialized.

It’s no secret I have a model railroad in my basement. Now, as this 19 foot long, 9 foot wide model railroad is nearing completion of laying all the track, I ran out of the dumbest thing… nails. Not normal nails that I can go to Home Hardware for – but specialty 1/2 inch long wire nails. A package of 500 costs $7. As usual, I run out with only a few feet of track left. It’s like realizing you’re short one elbow in a plumbing job on a Sunday and the sidewalks have already rolled up for the day. In this case, my wife was going to Ottawa and lucky for me, stopped and picked up two packages. Now I have enough for this and the next layout.

It’s also no secret that we’d like to move out of the townhouse we’ve owned for 17 years and into a house where we can walk around the outside of all four of our own walls. Yes, my trains can be taken apart mostly and moved. No worries there. But it was something that my youngest son said that got me. He’s less than two years away from graduating high school, and he pays attention to the news. He asked me if house prices are so bad that we don’t want to potentially pay a high price, how bad will the prices be when he’s ready to buy a house?

That was a gut punch. I have four kids, all mid-to-late teens to early 20s. All have graduated college, are in college, or about to enter college. This concern weighs on all four. With home prices crazy as they are, and interest rates as high as they are, and the job market as it is, is owning your own home really something attainable for the future? When you want your kids to succeed and do better than you’ve done in life, it’s hard to be positive about their prospects looking at how things are turning. I’m not alone in thinking this. And I don’t know what to do to fix the situation.

Some things to read online…

Here’s some things I’m reading or have read online this week:

Brigitte Pellerin’s latest post on municipal governments doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Benjamin Erratt’s Get Wit Quick this week looks at The Wit’s Guide to Enemies. Well worth the read.

Gavin Brennan’s Travel Diaries. I started reading this recently, as he detailed his trip from Ho Chi Min City to Saigon. Interesting travel read. I still would not travel to Vietnam due to it being a Communist dictatorship. Same with Cuba. But reading about Gavin’s travels gets my mind wandering about travels I would do, like Japan, Taiwan, and other places in Asia.

  • I was wrong about the Bills this year. But my Sabres are only a couple points out of the NHL wildcard spot.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs still suck. So do the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • It’s the end of January and I am at the point where S-N-O-W is the vilest of all four letter words I am allowed to use.

That’s all, thanks for reading.