Enjoy Every Sandwich


Somehow, at some point, without even realizing it, I’ve slipped into the “enjoy every sandwich” part of my life.

Warren Zevon InsideOutWhen Warren Zevon was diagnosed with a deadly cancer, and told he had only months to live, he appeared on David Letterman’s show in October, 2002 as the night’s only guest. He spoke about what he’d no longer have to worry about (high cholesterol, getting fat, going bald, and the future of technology.) He’d decided to spend what remained of the rest of his life reading, and writing and recording songs.

Letterman asked Zevon if his condition had taught him anything about life and death. ”How much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich,” Zevon answered. Zevon enjoy every sandwich

Now, I’m not kicking it in a few months – as far as I know – but that expression really resonated with me. Still, it was only this week that I actually found myself inside that feeling.

My husband called one morning, just checking in, and he asked me what I was doing. I knew the correct answer should have been “packing up stuff and throwing stuff away,” but what I said instead was, “I’m eating a sandwich, and I can’t believe how wonderful it is.”

corned beef sandwichI took two pieces of a good light rye bread, spread some butter and mustard on them, and added a package of sliced corned beef. And it was good. It was exactly what I wanted and needed at that moment, and it tasted like it should, and it entered into my stomach as gracefully as Nadia Comeneci sticking a perfect ten point landing.

“Enjoy every sandwich.” We like to think that we’re living our lives as best as we can, but how many of us are really aware of what’s around us, at any given time? How often do we cling to out-dated thoughts and feelings, just because we’ve always had them? Do we really have to live long enough to become senile to finally have that perfect second childhood?

Second ChildhoodJust as an exercise, really think about what you’d do if you knew you had only six months to live. Would you keep flossing? Would you enter a prolonged drink and/or drug coma? Would you say ‘yes’ when people asked for favours, even though you knew you wouldn’t live long enough for them to reciprocate? Would you keep on going to a joe job that pays the bills, but breaks your spirit?

Would you mow the lawn, but never take a few minutes to sit in the shade and smell that fresh cut grass? smell-rosesWould you argue over trivialities and events that will be gone and forgotten before you are? Would the acquiring of money or goods occupy your time? Would you give an honest compliment to someone without worrying that it would swell their head?

Would you travel to somewhere you’d never been, or prefer to stay close to home and loved ones? Or would you be greedy of the last of your time, frantically trying to pack experiences into those fleeting months? Would you watch more TV, go to more movies, enjoy more music, eat more chocolate? greedy child

In reality, we’re all living under that doctor’s prediction of imminent death, but none of us wants to believe it. We could be gone in an instant, hit with something nasty and medical, or something large and unyielding, like a Mack truck.   mack truck

If you are lucky enough to get old, and then older still, you begin to realize that more of your friends and celebrity idols are now deceased than alive. It’s a cruel joke. By the time you finally realize what’s important in life – your teeth, your health, your loves and friends – they’re already on the wane. Just the ability to control when you have to pee becomes challenging, never mind the last time you could get aroused or be assured that you could have a rock hard erection.

enjoy the little thingsThe things we never really thought about , never really appreciated, become the very things we look back on in amazement that they ever worked, marveling at the beauty and complexity of the everyday, and realizing how little attention is given to simple joys.

Every day, in some small way, I realize I’m less able to do some things that I took for granted. I can’t use a rotary can opener anymore, so I have an electrical one. But if there’s a power outage, that option is off the table. Small thing, right? But lives are nothing but small things, one piled on top of the other.

superwomanWhen we moved to the suburbs, I had infinite energy and ridiculous physical strength for a small woman. I schlepped home huge, ungainly items on my bike, planted intricate gardens, moved stones and small boulders for landscaping … I felt like I could almost literally leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Now, I sit under the gazebo occasionally, and watch the raspberry bushes take over the garden. When I think about where we’ll next live, I have to mentally assess exactly how close amenities must be in order to be accessible. This is not surrendering to age – it’s embracing a new reality.

worst passengersFor years I blustered that I could learn to drive a car if I really wanted to. Now I know that I’m the world’s worst passenger, and that my being behind the wheel of a vehicle would be selfish, and would endanger others.

When I was a kid, my Albertan grandparents were old – really old, in their late nineties. My grandmother had walked to Alberta behind a covered wagon, all the way from North Dakota. Her brother had been one of the first mounties, way back before the North-West Mounted Police became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They had seen a lot of life, and still enjoyed family get togethers, and often times held huge parties where there was far too much food, and the booze flowed like water. Drunken mishaps were common.

They listened to the radio, and never had an interest in television. They sat, and smoked, and drank endless cups of coffee. They would sit quietly beside each other for hours, just enjoying whatever came into their day. They loved to have the grandkids visit, and they spoiled me rotten. aluminum glassesThey would serve me milk in tall aluminum glasses that gave the milk an otherworldly zing.

They were both gone before I was a teenager. But what I remember most about them was their incredible acceptance of life in all of it’s facets. No matter what they were told about a family member’s misdeeds, or a world event, they always said, “ah … he’s alright,” “ah .. it’ll be alright.” Because no matter what happens, if you live long enough, it WILL be alright. This too shall pass, so pass me the salt and let’s season this sucker.

What they knew, and what it takes all of us so long to really understand, is that this … this here, this moment, this weather, this house, this person, this meal, this now, not the last now or the next now … is important enough to wallow in. And if it is not, if it’s irksome or painful or distasteful, you can stop or walk away, you can work to change the situation or accept it, you can say, “NO! this is not what I want!” not acceptableand that’s nobody’s business or right but your own.

A lot of people, especially of my generation, and in Canada, were raised to be rather reluctant to ask too much of each other. Parents who lived through the Great Depression were careful with their money, their time, and their praise. I remember being very appreciative of small surprises, never expecting too much, and then being ecstatic when something wonderful would happen, even if that “something wonderful” was nothing more than a small unexpected treat of chocolate.

want vs needThen we boomers hit the 80’s and the 90’s, mass and very conspicuous consumption set in, and we became like junkies, who needed more and more to experience even a small hit of joy. It wasn’t enough to just have a car, it had to be a BMW, and you didn’t want a house, you wanted a Monster Home.

Well, times changed. There’s huge economic inequality, political uncertainty, and our own last roundup is impending. How we conduct ourselves, how we live through what’s remaining of our lives, is completely up to ourselves. We can spend each day terrified of the next, worried that we’ll outlive our money, but not realizing that it’s far more likely we’ll outlive our friends. We can wail and moan about the injustice and indignity of aging, but we must also understand that each day above ground is a day that someone else might not get to experience.

cat dog snugglingI want to open my eyes to what is right in front of me. I want my good friends to know that I really love them, even if sometimes that means that I have to walk away from them for a while. I want to stop believing that there is always a way to fix a bad situation, and accept that sometimes things can’t be fixed. I want to soak up the sun, really feel the heat and the chill of the seasons, wear shorts in the summer and snuggle in plushy robes and flannel sheets in the winter.

There’s a garden out back, and a lake down the street. When we move, I don’t want to be able to count the times I enjoyed either on just my fingers and toes. When my cat wakes me at five a.m., his big eyes and lovely face close to mine in pretended ecstasy while his agenda is clearly breakfast and an escape out the back door, I want to laugh and hug him, knowing that his time with me will be short, but that his catty essence enriches my life.

Warren Zevon lived longer than predicted; the few months he thought he’d have stretched to over a year. And in that time, he wrote and released a wonderful album, “The Wind,” won two Grammys, the album itself receiving the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album of 2003. He joked to the media that he just hoped to live long enough to see the next James Bond film, wenjoy every sandwich LPhich he did, and he got to stick around long enough to see the birth of twin grandsons.

Knowing he was close to his expiration date didn’t paralyze him; it gave him a vitality and a renewed determination to live and experience life, balls to the wall, pedal to the metal.

And most of all … he learned to enjoy every sandwich.

first written and published in Bob Segarini’s “Don’t Believe A Word I Say” July 19/15

If You’re Canadian – It’s Hard to Laugh


emperor HarperIt used to be so easy to mock the North American political process. Comedians had a field day, lampooning gaffes or silly political correctness amongst candidates and politicians seeking or in office. Most pols can be counted on to screw up at some point. The joker outing the naked Emperor poked fun without fear of reprisal.

That all changed for Canada, yesterday. Bill C-51 – the so called “Anti Terrorist Act,” was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, despite vocal opposition from everyone from Margaret Atwood to Ralph Nader .

Harper secrecyOver nearly a decade, Canadians have seen Canada’s world image plunge from a once lofty high the envy of the free world, to a race to the bottom. Since 2006, the Harper government has governed with an iron-fist, hidden public information and political subterfuge in cumbersome omnibus bills or simple denials, and has become the most secretive administration in Canadian history.

How do you find anything funny about an increasingly militaristic and confrontational police presence that ‘serves and protects’ only those steely, unsmiling, hand-picked minions to the Prime Minister?

before-after-tar sandsWhere’s the laughs when our scientists have been muzzled, and precious and irreplaceable environmental books and documents have been trashed? Where’s the irony in watching the Boreal Forest, which represents more than half of Canada’s landmass, and which plays a critical role in mitigating global climate change, be threatened by logging, hydrodams, mining and the tar sands? (Industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000.)

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt remained seated, silent, and cross armed while others broke out in a standing ovation at the conclusion of the six year study of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the “cultural genocide” of Aboriginal peoples through Canada’s residential school system. The commission pushed for a national inquiry and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and requested 94 wide-ranging recommendations. Valcourt seated

“Federal Conservatives have suggested they will reject calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for both a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and Canada’s implementation of a landmark United Nations document on First Nations’ rights.” (Huffington Post)

It’s very hard to find something even vaguely funny about such overt contempt.Harper editorial cartoon Jeep splashing natives

gmo_appleAs people become more concerned about the very food they eat, the Conservative Party continues to support genetically modified foods and Monsanto, fighting tooth and nail against every citizen action requesting even so much as the labelling of foods. (Canada and the United States are the only two nations in the Free World that do not require GMO labelling.)

And then there’s Bill C-51 itself, an act so heinous that everyone from former prime ministers, to constitutional lawyers – and hundreds of thousands of Canadians – have begged, cajoled and screamed for it’s demise.

C51 6 waysThe Bill allows the police to ignore Canadians’ rights, and rides roughshod over civil liberties. It eviscerates the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms, and inherently stomps on Canadians’ constitutional rights.

It defines ‘terrorism’ as “activity that undermines the security of Canada.” Those activities include advocacy, legal protests, threats to “public safety” and the “economic or financial stability of Canada.” It also creates a new speech-related criminal offence of “promoting” or “advocating” terrorism.

And it allows information sharing across very broad areas, from the Department of Immigration, to the financial sector, from the Department of Transport to your own doctor and Public Health, besides the usual suspects (the police, RCMP, CSIS, or Border Control.) Bill C-51 effectively neuters the core protections found in the Privacy Act, and also permits additional use and disclosure of information “in accordance with the law…to any person, for any purpose.”

Let me put this even plainer. If, for some reason, a conversation yoC51 Naderu have – in person, by email, or on social media – triggers the interest of ANY government official … or even a spurned lover or a miffed colleague with a grudge … you could be arrested and detained for up to seven days without charges on mere suspicion of future criminal activity.

“Bill C-51’s gives powers of “preventive detention,” which means jail time for individuals even when there isn’t any suspicion criminal activity has taken place.”

So, I’m finding it a little hard to laugh, or even smile. In what dystopia would these dictatorial and fascistic measures call for a chuckle?

Rick Mercer HarperOh, sure, we’ve got Rick Mercer’s weekly jabs and rants, but honestly – how do you poke fun at a Canadian government blindly led by an evangelistic dictator set on destroying the country he rules with an iron fist?

Our only hope for a re-discovery of our political comedy mojo under such an oppressive regime is a resounding “NO!” to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government in the coming election.

The Politics of Terror


Harper new security Jan 2015“The world is a dangerous place and, as most brutally demonstrated by last October’s attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism.”

Or so Prime Minister Stephen Harper decreed on January 30th, flanked by Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, and the largest personal protective detail in the history of Canada.

It would seem that Harper sees himself as a ‘war-time’ leader, who, in the run up to the next election, wants to project a manly, statesmanlike image. While cultivating a culture of fear, he is appealing to those who traditionally will cling to the political status quo in times of unrest.

And in one swell foop, the man who spent the Ottawa siege in a closet ramped up the anxiety harper in closetand fear of a nation, while simultaneously putting into place measures that many feel will result in further loss of civil liberties and reduction of freedoms.

By no means am I minimalizing the two horrible attacks . They were horrific, and shocking to Canadians who rightfully believe themselves to be a part of the world’s peace keepers. But these attacks increasingly seem to have been the acts of self-radicalized, troubled and confused young men, with no evidence connecting them to ISIS. Harper’s proposal sounds less like a desire to protect the nation, and more like the fear mongering of a politician desperate to keep his seat in power. MuzzlingScientists

So much for his vaunted and pious defense of Canada’s Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Speech after the recent Charlie Hebdo attack in France. Our Freedoms were already considered under attack, based on his own government’s track record of secrecy, muzzling, sneaky omnibus bills, a disdain for democratic Parliamentary rules, and the misleading of Parliament.

Ottawa Citizen reporter Ian MacLeod called the proposal “the most dramatic package of new laws since the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001.” But .. hang on … who flew into our towers? Three misguided fools in Canada took it upon themselves to mirror the acts of other misguided fools in the Middle East, whom we’ve done nothing but publicize in the media. The same media that attempts to inflame viewers by ramping up anxiety about events in other parts of the world in hopes of getting higher ratings, and very often has the issues completely wrong. fox apologizes

Ironically, terrorism is most effective when it’s target reacts disproportionately to fear. Perhaps those sweeping powers would be better used in policing how media is actually romanticizing terrorism, and making it seem glamorous to impressionable and disenfranchised people who believe they have no voice or impact upon their own democratic governments. There’s a huge difference between planned, organized and directed attacks (terrorism) and a misguided fool whipped up by web sites designed to muster support for a cause.

No matter how often the Conservatives tell us that the attacker of Ottawa’s Parliament was linked to a terrorist network, we’ve still not seen follow up information, or the RCMP background video we are told contains proof of such a link. It’s the politics of fear and terror.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was right when he questioned why Harper is proposing new legislation with far reaching consequences without so much as consulting with opposition parties. Canadian rights, already being pecked away by post-9/11 laws, look to be even more constrained under a grantingcsis_record2 of extraordinary power to Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), with a mandate to “investigate and disrupt” terrorist plots. Canada’s police services will be able to go after online terrorist propaganda.

The line between being branded as an activist or a terrorist is already grey. With these proposals, that line could be even more abused than it currently is, and in fact, simply obliterated. Could a government with a long list of enemies, including labour and environmental movements, simply capitalize upon already existing powers such as restricting the right to remain silent, laws allowing CSIS to spy on Canadians overseas, detainment without charges, and arrest without warrants?

In 2012, Joe Oliver, then Minister of Natural Resources, wrote an open letter to Canadians on the government’s commitment to the diversification of energy resources (i.e. the Northern Gateway, Alberta’s Tar Sands.) In it, he said “environmental and other radical groups threaten to highjack our regulatory system to achieve their radical and ideological agenda.” He claimed that these ‘radicals’ were employing AmeriJOE-OLIVER Natural Resourcescan tactics to “sue everyone and anyone to delay the project,” and that ‘slow, complex, and cumbersome regulatory processes’ were slowing down the government’s ability to push ahead their own unilateral decisions and agenda.

Those ‘radical’ environmentalists were concerned about 50 square miles of tailing ponds full of toxic chemicals, supposedly lined but actually leaking at the rate of 3 million gallons per day. (Pembina Institute.) Cancer rates are 100 times the norm for the First Nations living on the Athabaska River. Over 80% of BC residents have said NO to oil tankers on their coast, and coastal First Nations have declared a ban under their traditional laws. oliver oil sands copy-002Perhaps these are small concerns to Mr. Oliver, but they are of vital importance to those who actually live in the area.

These ‘radical’ environmentalists could now potentially be charged with terrorism.

(In March, 2014, Mr. Oliver was appointed Minister of Finance. Yes, the same Joe Oliver who recently had to delay our next budget, due to the unexpected downturn in the price of oil. The government had banked on a big payoff on the pipeline, but instead, low oil prices are going to cost provinces nearly $10-billion in lost royalties and tax revenue, and see the government lose $4.3 billion in expected revenues. )

Could there be a better time for the government to ramp up fear and politicize terror? Data Mining

When the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001 was due to expire, the Tories’ Combatting Terrorism Act of 2013 reinstated them, with yet more power, and this new legislation would continue to expand on an overbearing and intrusive presence by government controlled security forces , bringing us ever closer to becoming a surveillance state.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that it’s important “we maintain a proper perspective,” on ISIS, and that they are not “an existential threat to the United States or the world order.” He added that the U.S. needs to see the threat for what it is and respond to it in a way that doesn’t undermine American values. obama isis

“It means that we don’t approach this with a strategy of sending out occupying armies and playing whack-a-mole wherever a terrorist group appears, because that drains our economic strength and it puts enormous burdens on our military,” he said.

Contrast this with Harper’s “Stand Your Ground” stance on Canada’s presence in Iraq. As the opposition questioned if Canada was actually at war with Iraq, and what “advise and assist” actually mean to the Canadian soldiers “accompanying” Iraqi troops fighting against Islamic State soldiers, Harper said, safe_image.php

“Let me be clear. This is a robust mission. We’re there to make those guys effective so they can take on the Islamic State and deal with them and if those guys fire at us, we’re going to fire back and we’re going to kill them, just like our guys did.”

Look – I get it. We’re all scared. We’re afraid of ISIS and Ebola, of extreme weather and IEDs, of Monsanto and dirty bombs and oh my lawdy, what’s next! There’s too much crime, we’re told, and draconian systems of justice continue to be put into place at enormous cost, when in fact, crime rates are falling. While some American states legalize marijuana, those in opposition continue to pump out propaganda against pot, and institutionalizing people where the substance has not yet been legalized.

The truth is, “we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence,” as Stephen Pinker concluded in his 2012 book The Better Angels of Human Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. terrorist attacks globally

Terrorism peaked worldwide in the mid-1980s, and in North America around 1970. If you live in Canada or the United States your chances of being killed by terrorism are almost zero. We’ve been sold an exaggerated sense of danger about conflicts and events in other countries, which has allowed those in power to divide and conquer it’s people, alienate North America from war torn nations, engage in wars that profit only those in the military trade, and snip away at Canadians civil liberties, eroding our freedoms.

There are those who will say, “What do I care? I’m not a terrorist! Go get the bad guys!” Those people should perhaps have a chat with the innocent citizens caught up in the police actions taken against the G-20 demonstrators in 2010. g20protestMore than 20,000 police, military, and security personnel were involved in policing the protests, which at its largest numbered 10,000 protestors. Over a thousand arrests were made, making it the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. There were no ‘innocent until proven guilty’ dispensations; in fact, Toronto Police and the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) of the summit were heavily criticized for brutality during the arrests. harper controlling

You cannot hermetically seal a democratic society to protect it from violence; doing so actually reduces democracy. Despite the self-inflicted threat fear that Harper is trying to sell us, it’s our own government limiting our rights, not jihadists.  

Smoke and Mirrors and Politics Oh My!


Pull the curtain back to reveal the secrets behind the Wizard of Oz. Pull the camera back to reveal how public relations imaging massages a wonderful picture of solidarity. paris leaders march PR

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s terrific that more than 40 world leaders linked arms and joined a march of solidarity in Paris following the death of 17 people during the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket.

At the head of the parade were French leader Francois Hollande led the British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, , Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, EU President Donald Tusk, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Hollande had actually originally asked not to attend, feeling that Netanyahu’s presence might be ‘divisive.’

After a minute’s silence, the march began. One and a half million people walked behind the dignitaries, who did not stay for the entire length of the march from Place de la République to the Place de la Nation in eastern Paris, about 2km or 1.2 miles.

Joining the leaders’ own security staffs were about 2,000 police officers and 1,350 soldiers, including elite marksmen on rooftops.

So when this photo emerged today, I was not at all surprised. paris leaders march real

A wide angle shot, taken from a nearby rooftop, showed that the front line of leaders was followed by just over a dozen rows of other dignitaries and officials. Following them was a large security presence keeping the leaders separated from the throngs of other marchers.

World leaders want to look as though they are down to earth, and just one of the people, but in actual fact, they are kept fairly isolated from their citizens. They spend a lot of taxpayer money on keeping taxpayers out of their way through security forces. Even the most innocuous photo op involves days of preparation. The kiss that politician just gave that baby was not spontaneous. Leaders must be kept from both intentional and unintentional attack and surprises.

In March 2014, the National Post noted that the cost of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s RCMP personal security team has more than doubled since 2005, when the annual budget for the PM’s protection detail was $8.8 million, to the 2013-14 cost of $19.6 million, an increase of 122% between 2006 and 2014. It costs a lot of money to be that unpopular.

Security aside, heads of countries spend a lot of money and time on image. Specialists in public relations matters, aka “spin doctors,’ work closely with anyone who needs to present themselves, and politicians are no different. They are groomed in how to speak, behave, and maintain a positive public image.

Probably one of the first cases in which style over content ruled was the Nixon/Kennedy television debates of 1960. U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee, and Vice-President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, were filmed at CBS’s WBBM-TV studio in Chicago.

“Nixon, pale and underweight from a recent hospitalization, appeared sickly and sweaty, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident. As the story goes, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won. But those listeners were in the minority. By 1960, 88% of American households had televisions — up from just 11% the decade before. The number of viewers who tuned in to the debate has been estimated as high as 74 million, by the Nielsen of the day, Broadcast Magazine. Those that watched the debate on TV thought Kennedy was the clear winner. Many say Kennedy won the election that night. Sorensen says the Kennedy team didn’t realize what a game changer the debate was until the following day at a campaign event in Ohio. “The crowds for his motorcade were much larger than they’d ever been,” he says. “That’s when we knew that, if nothing else, Kennedy had firmed up support for himself in the Democratic party.” (Time Magazine)

Technology has made it harder for aspiring and incumbent political aspirants to present an always positive image. With social media, a politician’s message can be blasted over Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, creating a more human image. But it can also be used against them, as they are shown to make just as many embarrassing mistakes as any other human.

Mandela funeral selfieI’m sure that Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama would like to forget their selfies at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Anthony Weiner had to resign his position as a member of the United States House of Representatives after getting caught sexting in 2011, and didn’t he do it all again during his attempted run for the Mayoralty of New York City in 2013!

ford mocks drunk driverAnd then there’s our own Rob Ford. Nearly everything he did during his term as Toronto Mayor was embarrassing, not only for him, but for the city.

So it’s not too surprising that the world leaders staged a photo-op. What is surprising is that so many people were shocked to discover, less than 24 hours later, that they’d been once again set up to see what politicians wanted them to see.

crisis up my sleevePerhaps it’s an object lesson that people of all countries should consider; the Wizard of Oz commanded Dorothy to ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain‘, because in reality, he was just be a regular guy hiding behind a machine to create a mighty and powerful display.