Weird thoughts

As most readers know, Sal and I have now written three books.  Hardly even mediocre literature but fun for us.  By doing so, we have exposed ourselves (and our friends) to strange new thoughts, emotions, feelings, imaginations and, surprisingly, a pathetic level of little-boy sensitivity (little-girl sensitivity?  No, not Sal.  She’s OK).  It turns out I kind of care what people think…who knew?  It is not like I ever acted as if I cared…….

Anyway….Charlie and Nancy are the heroes of our new book, ACCIDENTAL FUGITIVES and, even tho it is NOT selling like hotcakes or even cowpies, it is stumbling and crawling off the shelves and, of course, the first buyers are our friends, neighbours and acquaintances.

I live for their feedback.

Translation: I am dying here.  

Well, that is NOT QUITE true.  A few have responded and I am eternally grateful.  What is true is that the poor accidental friend who encounters me unexpectedly is immediately put on the defensive.  “So…?  Read ‘Fugitives’, have you?”

“Huh?  What?  What fugitives……?”


“Huh….oh, yeah…well, yeah…….well, no actually….I was gonna.  Fer sure.  But, like, I was just waiting for it to be released, ya know…?”

“Oh.  That.  Well.  It was released.  June 4th.  But I understand.  June 4th is really like BC Day, kinda.  August first…same thing.  So, I take it that you have NOT read it….not that there is any pressure or anything….?”

“Sorry, man.  I’ll get to it.  Honest.  I really wanna read it.  I love off the grid stuff.”

“This is not off the grid.  This is adventure suspense.  This is cheap B movie crap.”

“Oh, I really love cheap B movie crap, man.  Cars blowing up and stuff.”  

“Yeah.  So better get on it.  The first edition is already a collector’s item.”

“Really?  That’s great.  Man, that is so cool.  A collector’s edition, you say?  Can I get it at the library?”

“Yeah.  Soon.  They take awhile to process book titles, ya know, but then it’s not a collector’s edition.”

“Why not?”

“Cause you have to give it back.”


And so it goes.  What becomes the centre of our universe for at least a year is really just another mosquito of attention-getting for others that is usually ignored or successfully swatted away but sometimes just keeps buzzing … I do.

Like this is…….

Maybe I am not QUITE that bad.  NOT quite.  Maybe worse……

We currently have two young Kiwis Woofing here and E decided to read the book and stated quite sincerely that she liked it.  That’s nice.  Meant a lot to me.  We gave them the day off.  That evening, she repeated the compliments more generously and – you guessed it – they have today off, too.  They are out kayaking and I am making them sushi for dinner.

It’s pretty sad.

But the really weird part is that my mind, when idle now, turns to more plot-lines for Charlie and Nancy.  Today, I imagined a young woman escaping naked from a second story window ledge afraid to drop to the ground because the ground was covered in a bristly bush.  And, well, since she was naked and not looking forward to the bristles, she was stuck just hanging there.  Charlie was walking by the house she was dangling from and immediately went to her aid.  After analyzing the situation from every angle – twice or more times – Charlie opted to turn a garbage can upside down, stand on it and raise himself high enough for her to get her weight on his shoulders.  Then, both being careful to keep their balance, they carefully coordinate their positions with her slowly dropping to his shoulders and then climbing far enough down his steadied position to put a foot on the garbage can and leap to the grass a few feet away.  Of course, her leap throws Charlie off balance and the two of them tumble in a heap onto the lawn.

“What has that got to do with any kind of plot?” 

“Nothing.  That is just the way my mind works.  I just like the scene so much, a whole novel will likely come from it.  A few chapters at least.

I am really going to have to spend more time fantasizing on this….in the interests of literature, of course.

Who knew?

A jaguar escaped from it’s cage at the zoo recently (New Orleans) and killed six or nine animals it could get at.  No reason.  Just killed ’em.  It simply exercised it’s power.  Out here, mink will get into a chicken coop and kill all the chickens.  They don’t eat ’em; just kill ’em.  Power.  Opportunity.  Thrill.  It’s instinct, I guess.  Basic instinct.

We like to think that animals don’t kill except for survival but that is simply not true.  And, of course, that savagery is true for humans, too.  We are animals first.  We have basic instincts too but, like the Disney movie, we like to think we are a bit more evolved.  We have morals.  We have ethics.  We are better.

If the current state of affairs in our world is anything to go by, that is naive.  Power corrupts and every kind of power corrupts every time.  In everyone, it seems.

You probably knew that.  I did not.

The first estate is/was the church.  The second is/was the nobility (now read: government and .01%-ers) and the third estate is the hoi polloi, the commoner, Joe Average.  The fourth estate is the MSM (main stream media) the ‘news’, institutional journalism, the New York Times, the Washington Post.  And the fifth estate is the NON-mainstream media, the out-there critics, the Mother Jones, Slate and, dare I say it….?  FOX?  If not Fox, then Brietbart and Alex Jones.  The fifth estate is anti-MSM.

At one time or another, they each had or has power.  And each was/is morally corrupted by it.

But you knew that.  What you may NOT have known is that there is now a Sixth Estate.  The sixth estate is social media.  It is, in effect, Everyman, Jack and Jill Commoner, Joe average, all with their OWN media!  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are the portals to the sixth estate.

“So?  Who cares?  What’s it to you, Dave?”

Well, in one way, I applaud the little voices having a chance to squeak and tweet.  But, in another, I am a bit taken aback.  The much awaited power of the people is being realized in a new sixth way and, sadly, that power is already corrupt.  It is first being exploited by Russian trolls and QAnon and hackers and others with their own base motives – usually money-getting, power getting, bullying, titillation..  ‘The people’ are, so far, not being noble with their power.  They are being coarse, crude, evil and destructive to appeal to the madding crowd and their dollars.  Greed and crude seems to rule.  Then perversion.  Certainly NOT higher moral standards.

Originally, only the elite had power.  Religion and Royalty.  The common people had only numbers but, after rioting and rebellion got tedious for everyone, they reverted to the fourth estate to keep the elite bastards accountable, in check.  The journalists became our fighting heroes.  They were the check and balance on power.  There was no power to the people.

But . . . they (the fourth estate) sold out.  They were corrupted.  They went the way of the corporation.  They got shareholders and traded journalistic ethics for infotainment and cash flow.  Like our police, like our armies, the heroes sold out for a pension and a bonus.  I am not so sure that is permanent but it is what happened.

And so ENTER the fifth estate, the voice of criticism, the counter to the mainstream media, the corporate swamp-creatures who now make up the propaganda machine.  No longer did we believe the Walter Kronkites and the Dan Rathers.  Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner owned them.  We wanted the REAL voice of the people.  Like Michael Moore.  Like Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee.

But they had to make a buck…..

And then . . . well . . . then we-all got a Twitter account (I got a blog – same idea).  NOW WE REALLY HAD A VOICE!  PEOPLE POWER!  Finally!  NOW we were gonna tell the truth!  And hear the truth.  In the common people, we had trust.  You go, girl!

Everyone had a stage, everyone had an opinion and, YIKES!  Quel surprise!  It turns out that unleashing that power was not unleashing higher standards.  They, too, are corrupted!  They lie.  They sell. They cheat.  It’s NOT working!  It seems NOT everyone is truth-telling and truth-seeking but, rather, speaking out and ‘getting’ for themselves!


What did the sixth estate do when it came into power?

Well, I think they went nuts.  We got porn.  We got trolls.  We got drugs.  We got hacked! We got the dark net!  We got lies.  We also got an erosion of the basic Judaeo – Christian ethic and respect for institutions.  And, oddly, we got huge erosion of Christian principles by none other than mainstream Christians.  How does that happen?

But then again, I am one of them.  A bit too close to the fire, maybe?  And I just don’t know why – without pressure – we chose the low road, the jungle.  Why did we choose to kill the chickens and not just leave them be?

“Dave!  What is the point?”

When we had the single and dual, all-powerful ‘DIVINE’ and ‘ROYAL’ estate, all was a big lie and all of it was about control and much of it was corrupt and chaos reigned.  But it was kinda simple.  It was kinda clear.  And it WAS kinda controlled.  The beast was caged.

When some kind of accountability in the form of media manifested, religion lost a lot of power and so did royalty and the common man gained some.  The pendulum swung.  Public opinion started to mean something.  The beast had some room to move.  As the centuries marched on, more and more power has trickled down to the people.  Public opinion took the form of consumer choice/buying power but it is still much the same thing.  Little guy casting his vote, voice, dollars added up to influence.  We commoners are now more free to make a few choices.

(Theoretically, anyway.  You have few REAL choices when you are enslaved by real slave-owners (18th and 19th centuries) or by more modern and subtle companies (slave-drivers) and mortgage holders.  Hard to be a free-jaguar when you’re always in debt.   In a perverse kind of way, the beast was in chains.  Still controlled.  Freer but still caged.  Maybe. like the N’orleans jaguar, all that savagery just got pent up……)

Still, the freer we got the more disruption to the status quo ensued.  And that is the point.  The beast now runs amok.  Now we have a lot of different voices and a helluva lot more information and, surprise, a helluva lot more lies.  Who knew that lies would multiply?  I didn’t.  I honestly thought that more eyes on the issues and more minds on the challenges would result in more honesty and more truth.

I was a fool.

Well, maybe not a complete fool.  The potential for progress is still there.  And FACTFULNESS (Rosling) suggests that some of that potential is being realized.  But, in the meantime, the trolls and the liars, the deplorables and the swamp-creatures, the jaguar and mink are fighting over the new medium.  That is NOT good.

And the people who now have access to standing up and being counted are shutting up or selling porn and drugs to make a buck.

Who knew?





Attitude is everything

A summer cold conceived in Hell has befallen me.  I’m a drooling, leaking, coughing idiot – and still with a list of chores to challenge the Army Corps of Engineers.  And, of course, I blame Sal for this ridiculous circumstance.  She contracted the cold and then, drawn to my alluring charms, kissed me full on the lips and the die (both meanings of the word) was cast. Our current mucous levels are like the forest fire danger board – EXTREME.

“So, waddya wanna do today?  We’ve accomplished next-to-nothing this past week.  We gotta get on it.”

“Whatever, sweetie.  Whatever you want, I’m in.  Just don’t count on me being quick.  Don’t count on me for long.  And don’t count on me thinking, either.  I can’t seem to focus well.”

“Well, that leaves out plumbing.  Right now, plumbing seems like brain surgery.  Let’s just drag logs to the storage rack.  Like oxen.”

“Sounds good.”

I mention that because Sal has always maintained that ‘attitude is everything’.  She truly has the best attitude of anyone I know.  And I have always preached ‘moderation in all things’.  Log hauling today is the result of those values.

According to a book I read decades ago, we all remember only one clear thing our parents ever taught us.  Since I didn’t recall anything, I made up, ‘moderation in all things’ and repeated that phrase a lot to my kids.

They don’t seem to recall.

Turns out, they do remember a few things and most of them are not what I intended.  “I remember you used to pay us a dime for every dead mosquito we brought you!”  Oh well, Sal’s mantra helps with all that.

Actually I do remember my father giving me ‘street-fighting’ advice that paid off handsomely.  “If you find yourself in a situation that feels threatening and ugly and is looking like it may come down to a fight, it already is one.  Know that early and you have a chance.” 

That advice was repeated in marine terms in the books I read on sailing, “If you are thinking about putting a reef in the main, if the idea that the wind might be too much crosses your mind, you are already a few minutes late.  Get on it!”

I know those are just musings but, except for politics, I got nothing. Been laid low by germs, don’t you know?

But here’s something: There is a book review organization in the USA.  They seem to aim for the ‘senior’ market.  Sal wrote them and suggested they review our book.  Initially, they liked the idea.  But, when they understood that the book had two Canadians and some Mexicans running from Trump’s immigration policies, they backed away.  “We don’t want to recommend partisan books.”

It’s their call, of course.  They can do as they please.  But we kept MAGA TRUMP crap to a minimum and, basically, made ‘bad mindset and prejudice’ the villain.  Our most-liked character was a Trump voter.  Our really bad guys were REAL criminals.  But, they judged the book by it’s cover and chose to ‘play it safe’.

Seems one of the first casualties of war is truth.  A second is ‘free speech’ and a third is ‘hiding and being in fear and denial’.  I want to write back to her and say, “If you think your freedom to speak your mind is threatened, if you are afraid to say what you want, if you fear the neighbours beside you, you have already begun an internal civil war and you are already losing!” 

Not exactly a successful marketing technique.


Interesting dilemma…..a first world problem

As regular readers know, we often go away in the winter.  Not long.  Two months, tops.  Try to get outa Dodge for the bleakest time….January, February.  Once in a while we just stay put.  It’s OK. Not great.  But OK.  Mostly.  But, by February you really NEED some sun and so inevitably we commit to ‘not staying‘ the next year when we feel that way.


‘Course after traveling for the next two winters and all that that entails (passports, insurance, expense, airports, etc), we usually pledge to ‘try again stayin’ at home the next year and so our pattern has become two or three away, one stay…….two away…one more stay….

…..kinda wishy washy.  We don’t really know WHAT we want……(poor babies)

But travel has become worse as everyone knows.  Or, maybe I have gotten worse.  Whatever.  The airports are a horror show and the cost of it all is increasing as is the risk, the paperwork, medical insurance goes up as I get older and blah, blah, blah…

So, this year I’m back to contemplating sticking in the mud.  “I don’t think I want to travel this winter, Sal.  Lost the bug.  Lost my patience for it all.  Waddya say to staying home this year?”

“I’ll go buggy.  OK, buggie-ER.  Unless I can get in a lot of quilting……entertain….shop frequently….maybe if you move into the workshop….maybe it could work.”

“OK.  But let’s not fly, OK?  I am real sick of flying……”

Fine.  So, we drive to Arizona then?”

“That’s MAGA central.  I dunno…. I mean, the people are generally OK and all that but…..geez…I kinda feel like never going to the USA ever again, ya know?  Kinda..  I mean, that’s crazy, right?  But I wanna write off the whole country.  It is now too expensive.  A bit too violent at times.  Pretty bloody police-state-like, has a polarized population and a few too many government horror stores don’t you think?  I just think we should avoid the whole damn place for awhile.  And other friends are saying the same thing.”

“OK.  No flying.  Flying is out.  NO USA.  USA is out.  Where are you suggesting for next January, Nunavut?”

“Well, that’s an option but not if sunshine, warmth and beaches are on the agenda.  You are gonna have to get more creative.”

“Sail to Hawaii?”

“Now you’re talking!  But open ocean sailing isn’t our thing anymore and doing it across the Pacific in the winter is not advised for the sane or the elderly.”

“It’s a dilemma, alright.  What are we gonna do?  Quilting or Arizona?  You sleeping in the workshop on in a cheap hotel in Peru?  I’d love entertaining all through the winter if you’ll do all the prep, the drinks and the dishes.”

“You’re good at narrowing the options.  I’ll give you that.”

Guatemala 1970’s


July 29 and the world is on fire

I do not have to tell you about the heatwave currently being universally suffered right across the northern hemisphere. If you don’t follow the news, you likely live here and can feel it for yourself.  It’s hot, it’s getting hotter and they say it is only going to get worse year after year.

I am going to buy an air conditioner.

I am going to buy a single 12,000 btu mini-split knowing it is half of what I need to be cool.  That will be about $1500 and I have to install it myself.  I am being frugal.  And that’s because a 12K unit is still 120 volts and a 24K is 220 volts.  And so far, I am living reasonably well with nothing.  Not even a fan.  Half what they say we need might be sufficient.  For awhile, anyway.  We insulated well.  When the temp overwhelms my soon-to-be-added 12K, I will add a second one.

This is not usually an interesting topic – and it still may NOT be – but I mention this because of all the appliances out there, a/c is the only one I can readily indulge in because most appliances are too big of an electrical draw to meet our low power draw standard.  BUT a/c is needed when the sun shines and when the sun shines, I have power to spare.  We can’t power hair dryers, electric fridges, stoves or big microwaves but we can power up ac’s in the day time like they don’t matter.

This summer is weird again….it looms like the summer a few years back when forest fires were everywhere.  We don’t have one burning right now.  But we did.  It was touch and go there for awhile but we are back to normal now.  But it feels otherwise.  There is haze.  No wind.  It feels like a forest fire is ready to hit.  It’s weird to have that fear.  Never had that one before.  But I do now.  Moreover, the kayaking public has invaded our area this year and, although mostly very good, some kayakers seem ignorant of fire conditions and surprised that people live out here.  They have campfires.  Locals go nuts.  Tensions flare.  It all adds to the feeling.

Very few whales, too.  Fewer animals all around.  Even fewer squirrels.  It’s hot.  It’s quiet and there’s an odd vibe in the air.

So, rather than dwell on the weird and the heat, I thought I’d just share some images taken by my talented daughter – the one who did the covers for our books.







Totally different point of view….

The world is getting better!

I got part way through FACTFULNESS, the extremely interesting new book (new-ish) by Hans Rosling and found that I had to stop reading.  He was shattering some of my constructs.  Most of them, actually.

My constructs don’t shatter easily (thus my stopping the process by stopping reading).  My constructs are hard-won.  We all have them and those that are hard-won, earned with scarring and blood-loss, are not easy to let go of.

But, of course, it is our constructs that stop us from learning and keep us experiencing everything through the same thought and belief systems we formed before the new facts were presented.  To have even a passing chance at learning, one must LET GO of one’s constructs.  Now and then, anyway.  Gotta keep ’em close but don’t hold on tight.  So many constructs serve us very well that we do not know which ones to let go of.  Or even how to loosen our grip a bit.

For instance: a very simple construct (belief) is that green light means GO and a red one means STOP.  Chucking that construct can seemingly lead to problems right?  But, it was one I had to let go of rather quickly while ‘scootering’ in Thailand a few years back.  The street was a mass of scooters and I was in the middle of the pack.  We were approaching an intersection at hell-bent speed when the light ahead went to red.  My instinct was to slow and then stop.  Nobody else’s was.  They just carried on and gave the light no notice.  Had I slowed and stopped, Sal and I might have had a typical scooter accident in Chiang Mai.  Letting that ‘stop-light’ construct go – because of immediate evidence all around me to the contrary – was a rapid-learning experience.  “Hmmmm……red lights do NOT always mean stop….who knew?” 

And that is what a construct is: a simple pattern, belief, process designed by yourself to save you from having to re-think everything every time.  Call it habit, beliefs, protocols or just plain rigid-thinking, it has it’s place.   I rarely walk into the women’s washroom, for instance.  That’s a good thing.  I drive on busy streets in almost an unconscious ‘learned-skill-pattern’ so that I can have the ‘brain-space’ to consciously react as traffic does what traffic does.  It’s a form of training.

But it is also a way to NOT THINK and we apply our constructs in everything, not just physical or reactionary situations where thinking-time saved might translate into a life saved (like traffic).  We have political constructs, world-view constructs and, of course, human behaviour constructs.  And those are not always right and, in a rapidly changing world, they are increasingly wrong.

Put it this way: if you were an American and Abraham Lincoln was the president, you might vote republican and be proud to say you did.  If you were an American in between 2008 and 2016, you might have voted for Obama and been proud to say you did.  In effect, you were voting differently for people and parties who were ‘doing the right thing’ for their time but, if you had formed a political-party construct that was ironclad, then you could NOT free yourself to vote your values, you would, instead, vote your party.  Your habit would rule, NOT your brain.  The ‘new facts of the situation’ would not allow your construct to be altered.  You would have found yourself voting for John McCain instead of Obama because of your ‘I am a Republican’ habit construct.

Which is fine, I suppose.  Freedom of choice and all that.  But Rosling posits that, with all the ‘new knowledge’ available to us, we should regularly review our constructs.  Of course, Rosling does’t say much about politics (that was my application).  Instead, he seems more interested in economics and social ‘beliefs’.

For instance, we in the first world, believe there is a first world and there is a third world and, God Knows, there is a second, developing world that is in transition from third to first. We think there is, anyway.  First world are the rich countries.  Third are the dirt poor and the second, developing world is kind of a vague, ambiguous list of countries that have Toyota Landcruisers and cell phones and we haven’t a clue who to include in that list.

Turns out that construct is old.  That is a WW2 era thinking….maybe even earlier.  The FACTS are that there are really FOUR worlds and all of them are closer than we were lead to believe when we built our construct/belief systems back in grade school.  Simply put: first world people (Canada, Britain, USA) are NOT all that far ahead of second world countries and, in some cases, the #2’s are gaining so fast that our first world relativity is about to be overtaken (China, Singapore).  Furthermore, the rest of the world does NOT live in dirt huts, herd goats and chew betel nut anymore.

Turns out 80% of the world has enough to eat, has a cell phone, the babies don’t die and the kids get an education.  There are still ‘starving children’ in some places and health care is wanting (even in Canada) and the problems still exist but the facts are that the world is much better off, the poor especially so, and the richer nations are progressing slower than are the ones catching up.

And, on and on he goes.  “Don’t worry, be happy!”

Rosling says that the ‘myths’ and beliefs we hold about the state of the world are all wrong.  He suggests factfulness.  Get the facts.  Learn ’em.  Change your mind as the information changes.  Stay out of the wrong washroom but, otherwise, be OPEN to learning.  And learn by facts!

Ironic, don’t you think?  Just as Rosling presents FACTFULNESS as the cure for what ails us, some are presenting the exact opposite.  “We have alt-facts and we intend to cure what ails us by way of getting rid of the real facts!”

To be fair to the proselytizers for ignorance, even Rosling admits that a fact one day might be proven untrue the next.  So, his answer is to be skeptical, have an open mind, be curious and question everything.

I have also noticed that some of the ‘facts’ that Rosling bases his optimistic statements on are somewhat suspect or, at least, worth examining more closely but that is still consistent with his instruction to question and be skeptical.  Rosling, I think, put a simple, smart concept regarding thinking into a simple, smart book that is easy to understand.  He said out loud what many were thinking….but hadn’t put into words.  That’s great!

But what does that do to my constructs?  Is the world still going to Hell in a handbasket?  Or not?


To NOT comment is a dereliction…..


He disses his friends, he cozies up to a known criminal and thug, he is revealed as a traitor to his own country and institutions and then…then…THEN he claims he misspoke.

Which, of course, he did NOT!  He lied about misspeaking and only because his ‘advisers’ explained that he must.  They also WROTE the words he was supposed to read at today’s press briefing only to have him depart from them into unintelligible gibberish every so often.  The discrepancy between the language that was written for him and the words he spoke extemporaneously was breathtaking.  A sane person wrote words that an insane person was supposed to read.  He couldn’t do it!

I cannot dwell on Trump-the-idiot (it is boring, I know) but I can wonder where it is all headed?  Logic doesn’t play much of a role in predictions on this issue because logically he should not even be there.  Madness has prevailed in the United States for over two years (even before the election).  Clinton got almost 3 million more votes.  The Republicans have NOT reigned him in and yet they hobbled Obama.  The US – under this business tycoon stable genius – has increased world tensions, military buildup and the national debt by a staggering amount and yet the White House is talking more tax breaks and catering to dictators.  Debt and moral failure is the new Great Again?

The political and managerial contradictions keep mounting up.  What should go up, doesn’t.  What should never fall, clangs loudly on the floor.  Allies alienated.  Enemies suck-holed.  Environment disregarded.  National Parks sold.  Free Trade sabotaged.  Wall Street parties on while Main Street writhes in pain and hunger.  White supremacists pandered to. Racism and cruelty instead of hospitality and compassion for the huddled masses.  When all is turned upside down, how can anyone predict anything but catastrophic ruin?

So, is that my prediction?  Strangely, no.  America has a perverse kind of genius that underlies all that it does.  No matter what, no matter who gets hurt, or how much blood gets spilled, no matter the environmental consequences, the economic skulduggery, the international level crimes, the US makes money off of it. Somehow they get richer.

Of course, the price they pay for that is loss of respect, loss of humanity, loss of moral standing and long standing relationships rent asunder but they think it is all worth it to make a buck.  And they WILL make a buck.  And, in money they have trust.  If they have enough guns and if they have enough money, they believe they are going to do well.  Those are today’s American values and they will play out.

My prediction: this year and the next are a turning point in modern world history.  If Trumpism continues unchallenged by the so-called’ checks and balances of the US Constitution (so far not present or accounted for) then the world may shift to a significantly more dystopian state and the Judeo-Christian values we have come to believe in will be eroded beyond redemption.  If, instead, the evil emperor and his even-more evil courtiers is revealed to have no clothes and truth and fact once again have prime legitimacy along with basic human values, then it may herald a new dawning in our pathetic and incremental struggle for a morsel of enlightenment.

You know where I stand.

As far away as I can.