If you can think back to 1982 you’ll remember some crazy eighty degree weather just a few days before Christmas . Out back at my little hobby farm , nestled in the rolling hills of Pickering  , confusion  reigned supreme . All the feathered and furry spirits , some of whom had even been hibernating , couldn’t believe their fortune!

Rip van Winkle was there too! He thought he was dreaming when he saw all my little ducks lining up and getting ready to go for a ride down the smoothed out dips and turns of the little stream that had just begun to flow .

Meanwhile back in Toronto all the good folks were scraping along at the bottom of the recession. All the shop keepers were asking each other if Christmas had come . . . and as long as the other guy hadn’t had Christmas you were o.k. too !

 Personally I had just finished blowing the proverbial budget on our classical Christmas sale that had never let us down before , when two days before Christmas the whole place was as dead as a doornail . The only thing left on the streets were the men from RIDE . . . and since 1982 , the year of the faithful dog , was quickly coming to an end I decided it was now or never to reprint this story .

Dear friends

Here’s a great solution to bring an end to one of the misguided acts of man , the heartless slaughter of our dear friends , the seals . Why not transform the seal hunters into tour guides , so that they may bring us joy , and expand our horizons . I hope other advertisers , media types , rock stars , pro seal groups , and tour organizers will get on the band wagon with us .  Remember baby seals bark , and are called pups !

Faithfully yours

Wolf van Raft and the

ONE-Eyed Seal at the Metro Zoo .

 

Well , and wouldn’t you just know it , Curved Space was loaded . . . it seemed as if all good souls had come alive , as well wishers came in in droves to sing Christmas Carols , and even make token purchases too ! Halleluiah!

THE NICE THING ABOUT A COMET

There will come a time when I‘ll have to take you away from this planet in order to explain some of the things that we’re working on at Curved Space . Today however I’d like to take you somewhere that doesn’t seem nearly so far out .

Maui , the second largest of the Hawaiian islands bears the name of the roguish demigod who , as legend has it , pulled Maui from the ocean floor with a fish  hook . That hook was probably attached to Haleakala , an inactive volcano , in whose crater Maui is said to have snared the sun , and where the rare Silversword grows . It is there too that your friends and mine , the playful whales , faithfully monitor their beloved island .

So , the next time you visit Maui don’t forget to drop in on Haleakala . Get up a couple of hours before sunrise , and drive round , and round , and round Haleakala til you reach the top about an hour later . That’s just what I was up to nine years ago . I can still remember driving through the fragrant Eucalyptus forest halfway up the volcano , lamenting an ungodly bright searchlight at the top .

 Fifty minutes up Haleakala , and roughly ten minutes from the top , I was still cursing that searchlight . I thought I had lost my way since the light was still high in the sky , but that was impossible because there was only one road up , and I was still on it . It was only then that a great cosmic communicator , whose name I shall never really know , came over the airwaves , and just in time too , to let me know that the spotlight I was cursing was really a comet passing overhead . . crazy    eh . . not only that but I was there just in time to catch this comet , whose name I might also never know , at its most magical moment . You see as the sun rises, and as the sky becomes lighter and lighter, a comet turns into a beautiful transparent veil that fuses right into the delicate blue early morning sky .

The Haleakala crater is the home of the rare Silversword plant . Its shiny hairs reflect sunlight , conserving moisture in its leaves . It only blooms once , and then it dies

Down through history there have been many great lovers . But how many truly unselfish lovers of mankind can you name . Someone who’s really got a heart of gold . You know the kind of person legends are made of . Well this year , and just in time for Valentine’s day , we’d like to name the man or woman who truly exemplifies this spirit of love .

And the winner is none other than your friend and mine , the inimitable Glen Cochran . This jolly old soul is undoubtedly Canada’s greatest heartthrob . He not only makes the girls go googey-eyed , but also brings tears of joy to young and old across this great land of ours .

Just who is this man , and what is it you say , about his lifestyle , that keeps his creative juices flowing day after day , and sometimes even twice a day .

 

Well I bet you didn’t know that

1.  Glen eats only nuts , berries , fruit , and vegetables . He says they love to be eaten .

2.  Glen enjoys turning on the radio , opening the window , and playing the harmonica in his comfy chauffeured car . He finds the more he turns it up , the better he gets .

3.  Glen’s a fresh air fanatic , and that’s why he chose to live right by a waterfall , in a teensy little forest , with a weensy wittle stream flowing right through the middle of  his living room .

4.  Glen’s backyard is home to deer , wild birds , flowers , toad stools , elves , and stars . It has no fences , and just keeps on going . “ There’s magic in them there hills “  he’s been heard to say .

5.  A squirrel called Rusty thinks Glen’s his pet , and Glen doesn’t even mind .

6.  Glen stands on his head ten minutes a day .  “ It’s all inspired  nonsense “  he says with a wink .

7.  The other morning he was overheard singing  “ all you need is love , love , love “  and  “ she loves you , ya , ya , ya “  in his neighbour’s chicken coop . Glen’ l l  tell you that the girls’ l l give you more eggs every time if you feed ‘em rock ‘n roll .

8.  Glen’s just nuts about peanut butter and jam sandwiches . He thinks they’re good for your memory .

9.  Glen loves sittin’ in his muffin . He likes to call it his meditation chair .

10. At veterinary college he was an outrageous hot dog skier . The entire alma mater used to call him zoo because he was so wild .

11.  Glen gets a kick out of dressing up as Santa on Halloween . He hates doing the same thing everybody else does .

12. Faithful loons who monitor our airwaves think Glen’s just fine . They figure he’s easily Canada’s most comfortable funny man .

13. Glen loves girls . “ Keeps me from getting rusty “ he claims .

14. Glen always keeps a little blow up raft in the trunk of his car just in case .

 

And so by now I guess you might just understand why Glen finds beauty everywhere as he paddles along on his merry way .

Down through the ages there have been heroes . Why in fact there have been all kinds of ‘em . Anywhere from great lover poets to sawed-off impresario power mongers : from restless young men who travelled faster than the speed of sound , to impatient women who actually had to dress up as men : and from dog TV stars and talking horses to comedians whose excellence in stupidity was their only claim to fame . Then , of course , there were always those rabble rousers who killed for fortune and  fame, to those less fortunate souls who died before they became heroes : and here’s to you too Vincent  . . . for you were reborn once shortly after your physical departure when the Dutch Art Society finally recognized you , and then shortly thereafter , in Don McLean’s  American Pie .

So you see it’s not nearly as simple as it looks , especially when you remember the Beatles who actually had to become stars before they were knighted .

AND  SO  KIDS  . . . don’t ever let ‘em tell you you’re too young . . . and as for you granma and granpa don’t ever let ‘em tell you you’re too old . . . in fact why wait for tomorrow to do what you could do today . . . and whatever you do , never underestimate yourselves , your animal friends , and even those pesky little insects too .

THE  LIGHTER  SIDE  OF  DYING

In the wake of the recent space tragedy , an event that seems to have brought all of us here on earth closer together , I hope that these words may be of some comfort to those touched by this disaster , to those who may have recently lost a loved one , or to those who may themselves be in the process of fading away .

Not too long ago , and actually not too far away , Wolf van Raft ( WVR ) and his dreamy alter-ego Rip van Winkle ( RVW ) found themselves on North Pine Island , a beautiful windswept escape just off the main group of The Thirty Thousand Islands , on the east coast of Georgian Bay , between Parry Sound and Honey Harbour , when to their surprise a singular little cloud drifted overhead , and actually dropped its entire contents right onto them . Suddenly , and almost as if by magic , the entire place lit up as the raindrops not only cut through the static in the air , but also brought forth the incredible mosaic of colours that had lain dormant in the age-old granite bedrock : colours almost as bright as the rainbow that by now had encompassed this fabulous extravaganza of dwarfed pines , oaks , birches , and tough little blueberry bushes struggling to survive here and there in pockets of multi-coloured mosses , or in the hollows that had formed in the veins of spectacular quartzes that zig-zag throughout the island , and keep right on moving into the clear blue waters that surround the island .

At the south end of North Pine , our legendary friends’d love to stretch out and soak up the dry heat that rose up from the island , flip around in the water when it got too hot in the sun , and then contemplate a wonderful pile of rocks that had carelessly been deposited there by the glaciers of our last ice age : a phenomenon that incidentally had also created these islands . Occasionally they would spray these oversized gems with water in order to determine which masterpieces might be interesting enough to bring back to Toronto with them where they were creating a little Canadian Shield mini-garden right in the all-new Curved Space Amusement Park on Yonge Street just south of Davisville .

Towards evening the boys decided to scout out a little moss and driftwood to give the garden that extra real look when they stumbled upon a fabulous pink and white rock ; a definite keeper . It looked as if it had been painted by a Chinese sage many moons ago . Upon lifting this boulder , they found a little white grub lying there in state in its little tomb, all in ivory , and just like a mummy . In other words , it was actually going through physical transformation right here on earth : a miracle that eventually would have it flying around in the form of a June bug , or in other words , a scarab . Since another rock would do the job just as well they thought , WVR and RVW exchanged the stone , loaded their raft with all the treasures they had collected that day , and were soon on their way .

On the backstretch the weather suddenly turned quite chilly and caught our dear friends without jacket or shoes . Fear not though fearless readers , for as long as you have your rocks with you , simply put your feet up on them , and you’ll find that they’ll warm you through and through , for they have truly captured the sun .

. . . and oh , just what does metamorphosis have to do with rebirth , or what do rocks that retain their heat at night have to do with pyramids : or what does senility have to do with a mind becoming free from its earthly bonds , perhaps to fly from a body that has begun to break down , and is becoming more and more incapable of supporting its spirit every day .

So the next time you see an injured butterfly fluttering helplessly on a highway , why not pull over and stop for a moment . Don’t be afraid to bring along your new friend , and let the kids try to understand what it’ll try to show ‘n tell ‘em about what’s really happening anyway .

. . . and , of course , what’s that got to do with furniture anyway

A  TALE  OF  THREE  CITIES

. . . the other day whilst kickin’ around and about T. O. our intergalactic buddies wolf van raft and rip van winkle thought they might just browse toronto’s latest audio – visual furniture store  “the schtick” . . . as they stood there monitoring three TV and four radio connections , amazed at the electric camaraderie amongst the normally fierce competitors and gossip mongers , this preacher salesman approached them and asked  “anything i can help you with gentlemen”  . . . since the salesman in the last furniture joint they visited had practically hypnotized them as they played musical chairs WVR and RVW told this preacher chap  “just lookin’”

. . . you would probably understand their reluctance , and why the boys might be a little leery , especially after a totally unexpected experience with your friend and mine , the legendary reverend ralph rock . . . why the last time they saw him , the rev pretended to get a cheeseburger right in the middle of his rather organic morning radio show , only to sneak off to a telephone booth , ring his pal gene gene who was still on the air , flip through a change of clothes . . . and then, would you believe , actually even interview an innocent passerby on the street . . . R  D  R

. . . not only that , but because curved space  was in the middle of one of their , by now famous “ buy one ‘n  get one for 14 dollars valentine bean bag sales ” . . and because the rev knew it would eventually be extended to february 28  -- the logic being  “we still love you” – our favorite radio preacher decided to confuse the issue just a little more by actually changing temperature and time to multiples of seven                                                                         . . . a little game in space ‘n time

 . . . why he’d tell you it was  21  past  7 , although it was already 37  minutes to  8  . . . he’d tell you it was  7  below 0   when it was really only – 5

. . . and then when christmas came around again the game became  25 . . . and knowin’ our unpredictable rev it became clear that we were dealin’ with something other than multiples of 5 . . . and since 15 follows 14 . .  it follows that 43 minutes before 9 . . should really be quarter after eight

. . . what jive . . what flow . . how live . . . in fact the entire station could feel the fun . . . and so you saw the mighty  Q  go for an incredible run . . . lee went to CHUM . . woloshyn to Y . . . and your friend and mine glen cochran , ate a great big pizza  pie

check out some more Q107 chicanery on The Van RaftChristmas Part 2

THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE JOURNEY

COMET  MADNESS .  .  . Have your radio pals been going slightly wacky lately , and has your TV connection been nurturing a growing obsession with non-sensical storylines , absurd numerological progressions and ramblings , subtle barometric intricacies , simple lunacy , a bag of dirt , and other otherwise immaterial matter . Well , there’s a growing belief within the scientific community that there’s a correlation between the phenomenon of increased mental activity , and a rather unexpected and unseen catalytic element within the aura of a comet . Think about it , and you’ll see why it makes sense that the more sensitive types within the electronic media should have , and will continue to have their focus deflected by the numerous and irregular fluctuations and/or aberrations within the electromagnetic spectrum of our celestial messenger . . . RDR

WHO  ME , WHAT  WORRY . . . As we continued to pass through the past it became clear to me that a further clarification of the following excerpt from “Our Comet Commentaries “ was in order . “ What are the stars , how is the moon , and where is the sun? “

 “ What are the stars?” Well that goes without saying . But now , what about this “ How is the moon? “ Is this merely sheer lunacy , or just a variation of that age-old riddle of the holy cow that jumped over the moon . Of course not , it’s simply a child’s perspective of the basic truth in the path to cosmic consciousness , a step towards understanding our place here in the universe , and a very simple stepping stone in the order of things .

Imagine standing all alone under the stars somewhere in a cold windswept wilderness . Then look up to the moon ( the orange ) and you’ll see where the flashlight ( the sun ) is . Isn’t that fun . And then you’ll “ understand “just where , how , and who you are a little better. It’s easy if you try . And , oh just what’s that got to do with the eclipse   of the moon or the sun anyways ?

A Van Raft Christmas

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