Much Ado About Nothing

Erin O’Toole moved a smidge left. Annamie Paul has to move out. And Maxime Bernier can’t move at all. Poor Jagmeet Singh is still just running in place and our darling princeling has a new lease on life-as-only-he-knows-it. Elections Canada (which may take up to four days to count all the ballots) has given the interim results of the latest election and it is clear: Canadian voters are matching wits with Floridians. And losing!

Admittedly, few want to change horses in the middle of a pandemic. I get that. Most people get that. But Trudeau didn’t and he is our dear leader. Mind you, Trudeau does not get much of anything, really. So, basically, it is the same ol’ status quo with the same old imbecile at the helm. What a fiasco!

On the other hand…….? Well, Canadians voted for ‘same ol’, same ol’ and that sorta says something…doesn’t it? Satisfaction? I do not think so. It could mean, “Hey! We’re busy trying to survive here and the clown Prince wants a show of affection? I am not gonna do that. I will just vote ‘my party’ and let it go at that.” It could also mean, “Well, Trudeau is no good. O’toole hasn’t won my heart. Jag is typically NDP oriented. Nothing new here. In any of them, really.”

The only conclusion I can draw is somewhat similar to my previous observations about the greater confusion in everything. These are confusing times. We have no dreams. We have no overarching goals. We are all just ‘surviving’. There is no grand vision.

And, of course, my usual old saw, “Political leaders are not real leaders, anyway. They are followers. They don’t have courage, vision or competency. They are figureheads for the backroom crowd.”

Do I care that prime grade sheep lead us? Not really. Sheep are generally harmless. They ain’t gonna take you anywhere but the field is nice, the shepherd is kinda blank and the grass is plentiful. What’s not to like?

But, if we are faced with real challenges or need to make real changes to the system, well, we need real leaders, real people, real doers, real thinkers. Sheep won’t do. We are woefully ill-equipped in the right-stuff department and worse, we actually do have real challenges right now. Covid is a problem. Climate change is a real challenge. And look at how the leaders of the world have addressed that.

Only Angela Merkel in Germany showed real social leadership on climate change and she is quitting. She’s tired. She has to be. And she did not accomplish all that she set out to do. For me, that is very discouraging. The good ones couldn’t get the job done, the bad ones stay in power and where’s the future in that?

I write, therefore I am

I almost always write about what is currently mostly on my mind. But not always. Sometimes I sense readers need a whale or a raven tale, an intrepid Sally story or maybe a ‘holy cow’ chore like wrangling a forest of logs. You know, setting and character development-type stuff?

Of course, my mind naturally inclines to politics, economics, construction and sometimes an amateurs examination of the human condition. I love living OTG but some of what I love is that it is relaxed and stress-free. And relaxation (and napping) is not the usual fodder for writing much of anything. Living OTG is fabulous but is not a story every day. And the older I get, the less I do, and the less I do, the less OTG’ing there is to report……ergo I may have to change the title of this blog to Napping OTG.

I just do not have much for you lately……

Some of the summer folk are readying to return to the city. I find that odd. Who would want to rush back? Still, there are social obligations and habits, not to mention a dark and gloomy season ahead out here. By the end of the month the summer ‘force’ will have basically left. By the end of October, it will be getting dark earlier. Already most of the marine traffic has stopped. Summer is definitely on it’s last legs.

On the plus side, plenty of water is now back in the ‘giant sponge’ semi-swamp which is our water source way back up in the hills. That natural sponge keeps us in water all year long and even during the heat dome times, it was was still trickling. That is a huge natural blessing.

The whales finally came back. Not so much in the early or mid-summer but, in the last few weeks, we have seen them more frequently but that is somewhat offset by generally seeing less of all kinds of other wildlife this summer. This year was not a banner year for wildlife encounters.

It was not a banner year for our garden, either. We have cherry tomatoes up the wazoo and volunteer potatoes like never before but so much of the standard kitchen produce was underperforming this year. Mind you, we had giant cucumbers – a real surprise. But lettuce and broad leafy stuff was way down.

Fish and shellfish were also down but that’s mostly because I can’t catch fish and can barely catch oysters (they are quicker than they look). We kinda rely on the kindness of friends to give us fish in exchange for Sal’s baking. But this has also been a less than social year. Covid, ya know?

Sal got off the rock and went to Victoria for family a few weeks back but I stayed behind. I haven’t been off the rock in a long time. Maybe three times in the last 18 months? And I am perfectly OK with that. So is the rest of the world.

What is on my mind today….? Not much of anything…not really….stunning and stubborn stupidity showing up all over the damn place from Covid to politics, the surprising phenomena of a Trump or a Trudeau succeeding at anything; private space companies headed to Mars; the desperate longing for normalcy for some people to the extent of risking one’s health to attend a restaurant or a stadium? I suppose the thing most on my mind is how little of what’s going on I understand. People protesting vaccines outside a hospital? I am feeling like a student of the human condition failing the course.

If I have anything new to say, it is this: there have been articles about the changing attitudes of those generations coming up (the generations listed below in bold type are the ones most often referred to):

  • Baby Boomers: born 1946 to 1964. …
  • Generation Jones: born 1955 to 1965. …
  • Generation X: born 1965 to 1980. …
  • Xennials: born 1977 to 1983. …
  • Millennials: born 1981 to 1996.
  • Generation Z: born 1997 or after. …
  • Generation Alpha: born 2010 or after.

It seems the writers of the articles have detected a shift toward socialism. The X, Z and Millenials are not satisfied with the rigors of Capitalism (especially when it comes to housing) and they are somewhat less driven to compete. They are a bit more selfish and self-centered but it is showing up mostly as insisting on ‘having a life’ outside the simple pursuit of filthy lucre. Hard to argue with that.

Why mention that? Well, I am not a 100% bona fide socialist. I appreciate the need for incentives and motives and I know that all men and women are NOT created equal even if they should be treated as equally and as respectfully as possible. But ideals are not realities. Greed, ambition and aggression are also human conditions and, without those traits, would we have Elon Musk, the Rolling Stones, Amazon and Costco? Probably not.

I guess what I am saying is: If the planet survives (or better put: If WE survive) then the future generations are likely to be more cooperative, less greedy, more peaceful, less materially driven. Maybe. Or maybe they will just be easier to conquer by the next horde of greedy pigs. Hard to tell.

The ‘P’ word and the ‘A’ word.

Politics. OOoohhhh….politics. SSSOOOOooooooooo fascinating…….don’cha think?

Of course it is. Politics is everything, EVERYTHING….except…well, when it isn’t. And this time around, in Canada, it isn’t. It really isn’t. This time around it is really DULL. Canadian politics is dull like the same ol’ bi-lingual, politically correct Pablum it always is….

I mean, ever since the Orange Grinch stole the presidency and then lost it complete with a cast of idiots, a great wall, a porn star as first lady and a dramatic and violent pseudo insurrection, politics has become kinda dull….doncha think?

Where is Trump and his small-but-randy hands when you need him, eh?

But, here is where it becomes interesting again. Politics+pandemic+ignorance+shallow platitudes, mixed with social media and waddya got? Protests, anti-vaxxers, death, depressed medical staff, giant Petrie dishes-in-the-making (schools and football stadiums) and, most obvious of all: hapless leaders failing pathetically in public. Political humiliation writ large. Oh my God, those ‘leaders’ are so incredibly incompetent. Politics has not been addressing the job at hand and, when they do, they do it poorly. Maybe politics never was any good….?

Ooooohhhh, never mind……let us get focused on a sex story, instead…..Oooooh, let’s do yet another on transgenderism……or let’s watch sports…entertainment. Celebrities.

Oooohhhhh, let’s get back to being really stupid! If Trump isn’t being a colossal clown for our entertainment, then, at least we have Monday Night Football. What about TIFF, eh? How ’bout them Jays?

They (the ubiquitous ‘they’ or ruling elite) cannot even save their friends from the cave-dwelling Taliban. They cannot deal with a largely un-Ebola-like super flu. They seem to still wonder if climate change is real (not doing squat if they do know). The economy is coming off the rails and we are rejecting our long-well-fed institutions. We are focused on the minutiae of talking ducks, Kim’s butt and what Angelina fears……all this when the world is coming undone! These doofuses (leaders) are still talking jobs and day care and women’s rights when the world is basically turning uninhabitable.

It is precisely like Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

But, well, we have it locally, too. Stupid is rural as well as urban. People are fussed around here because we cannot socialize. We can’t meet-in-groups. We have limits set on our abilities to spread the plague and we protest that. We assert our right to pass on disease!

The majority of the population are now supporting the right and obligation of the unvaxxed to pass it on to each other…..it is a start.

I am all for promoting the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, myself.

If economics is the sum of all transactions and behaviours in the marketplace, what is politics, really? Is it practical philosophy? Is it just a popularity contest? A major scam perpetrated on the masses intended to fool them into playing their subservient role? We pick leaders who do not lead. We pick representatives who represent themselves and their select pack first and foremost. We invest in a system that never seems to work right. Is that politics? Sort of a rigged casino that does nothing but kills time and steals?

And………..now to the point of this rant-blog: politics may be wearing out it’s welcome. Politics may be in the end game of it’s existence. Democracy, anyway. Politics, as we know it, may be over. PAWKIMBO. TEOTWAWKI and PAWKIMBO soon to be playing at a venue all over.

Think about it: we used to get our daily messages from the media and serious, deep voiced men we could trust like Walter Kronkite and the gang of intellects at 60 Minutes. Lloyd Robertson and Dan Rather and Peter Mansbrige, Peter Jennings and Barbara Frum in Canada. The Prime Minister rarely spoke and neither did the President and, when they did, it was a solemn occasion. Now? Now there is a constant chorus of cacophony, a chaos of yapping voices on just about everything most of whom are just opinionators, commentators and talking air-heads (kinda like me). All seemingly saying politically correct nothing. And I am talking politicians and newscasters. They are all agitated lightweights with no practical solutions to offer.

Seriously. Ever since Trump debased the White House, Western style politics has been in the gutter. Even when a leader does emerge, he or she is shot down instantly. They kissed their babysitter or something twenty years ago. We have no leaders! We have anti-establishmentarianism snipers, instead. (C’mon, how many times have you seen that word written lately?)

Now, Afghanistan….that’s another story. REAL politicians. REAL snipers. Mind you, their leaders insist on going backwards but, at least they have agreement on their direction.

AS YOU KNOW……

…..I am building a shed. Small. Utilitarian. Might not even put on a door………it is basically a storage shed for the larger tools now cluttering up my workshop. You may also recall that lumber prices went nuts just at the beginning of this project and so I started by using re-claimed old wood I had on hand. Old wood has some interesting qualities to it. It is harder, drier and stained-by-experience.

The stuff I had was, originally, rough-cut, locally milled and I had used it for maybe the better part of our time here (18 years) already. I likely rebuilt a section of something, tore down the old something and noticed that some of the wood was still ‘pretty good’. So, I kept it.

The first place to use it was as the floor for the shed. Of course, it is too uneven to be a floor anywhere else but it is fine for the shed. Then I used it for a bit of framing, mostly blocking and such, saving the store-bought wood for the structural pieces like walls and roof.

But, Dave’s carpentry is not all that it should be and so I have off-cuts and mistakes and wood-so-bad I cannot use it all and it was gathering up around the chop saw. Over the course of a season, managing and cutting wood to maximize uses and efficiencies, I still end up with the equivalent of a blue barrel of off-cuts and crap. Basically, that is OK. It is not a lot of waste and the bits and pieces make really good ‘short fires’ in the wood stove one does just to take the chill off on the odd but increasing cold days in the Autumn. When you want longer, all-day fires, you use the larger, thicker chunks of firewood chopped and split for that purpose. But off-cuts make nice ‘warm-ups’.

So, anyway, I am looking at my growing pile of offcuts and, for some reason, think that I should do something better with them. An experiment in wood, perhaps? So, I cut ’em and glue ’em and plane ’em and I make a short, square-ish, rough-looking table top…it takes maybe three hours…..

My daughter came to visit and she has real carpenter interests (and has been accumulating tools for her shop back home – ALL MAKITA!) and, fortunately, she is at a wood-butcher level carpenter and so we churn out the work and make crap together. Whatever we build, it is NOT in the least bit beautiful but it is strong and well built engineering wise, suitable for our style and we are happy whacking away at stuff.

“Hey, Dad, what’s that? It’s beautiful!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Too kind. It is just garbage off-cuts glued together. I just wanted to see if I could do something other than burn it. I’ll use that piece for a table and it will be outside. Maybe I move it around with me as a tool rest or put it near the BBQ for dishes and such…I dunno…”

“I want it!”

“No.”

“I want it!”

“No!”

(Repeat that debate ? for maybe twenty exchanges…maybe more)

“Look, I have more off-cuts. I’ll teach you how to do it. You can make your own.”

“Deal!”

So, yesterday, she began her own……

Seems I was wrong…..

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that urbanites live better and longer than do their country cousins. Data indicates that city dwellers live, on average, just over a year longer. And country bumpkins suffer more from diabetes and obesity and, of course, morbid stupidity. Yup, no question about it, ‘data backed‘, it is safer to live in the city.

Mind you, them coal-rollin’ rural Bubbas who take Oxycontin for recreational reasons, shoot guns, raise Pitt bulls and reject basic health measures might just skew the data a smidge, don’cha think?

The reality is that a dumb Bubba will have a much longer lifespan outside of the city because, when he ODs, shoots guns, his dog eats his baby and he acts like a fool, there is more room and fewer ugly opportunists or police to victimize him. Or get reported in the data.

In other words, if all the Bubbas moved to the big city, they would simply just not last as long as they do in Haystack, Kansas. Not even close. And, if they did go to the city (as they did on January 6th), then what, Mr. W.S. Journal? Would you revise that report to indicate ‘Somehow a dramatic shift has recently taken place which has reduced the lifespan of the average urbanite and markedly increased the longevity of the stay-at-home hick?”

Basically, the stupid just die younger. And so do the poor and the addicted. That is what the data really says. I should NOT have to state that to the Wall Street Journal.

And so it all goes all the time with the media. Some doofus extrapolates from some data pile and a headline is born. It may be true. It may be a lie. But the selected and edited and misunderstood data alone proves nothing. A healthy 3-digit IQ person will live longer than the average idiot regardless of where they live and, if I had to guess, that poor, idiot Bubba just might last a bit longer in the country.

“Why?” Well the same WSJ doofus reported that country mice did report considerably less stress in their life. I half expect the WSJ to do a follow-up article reporting that ‘new studies reveal urban-based stress leads to longer life!’

“Dave, what’s your point?” Well, besides the obvious, that the media reports a lot of ‘fake news’ and that, it seems, any old data dump can be mined for a headline (even by the WSJ!), it seems that an urban writer NOT living a green and OTG lifestyle, or even getting out of their home office, simply cannot write about it based on so-called research.

Living OTG has a lot of hard-to-describe benefits. Tons. But, I admit that much of the positive is not data driven or proven. Instead, it is lived, it is experienced, it is ‘felt’ rather than measured. It is also cheaper….jus’ sayin’.

In the very simplest of illustrations, imagine the amount of tedious work, commuting and travel one must go through just to take a much needed vacation seeing whales while riding on a tourist boat? Compare that to me…who sees them every week while standing on my deck?

And I can do that kind of anecdotal comparative analysis from, for example, eating fresh veggies from your own garden rather than the plastic-wrapped, store-bought or processed-food restaurants, from doing some healthy, satisfying, real work vs shuffling papers in a government office, from managing my own day compared to punching a clock…..and, if you wanna get down and dirty….imagine the air, the water, the taxes, the police-in-your-face, the in-the-car commuting time. Compare living on wild acreage vs being cooped up in a strata-council condo on a busy street complete with sirens wailing all the live-long day.

The WSJ does not know diddly-squat about what they are talking about.

Now, if they had revised the headline to: poor, stupid, ignorant, unhealthy people live shorter lives than their polar opposite….well, it would not be much of a headline now, would it?

I mention all this because – once again – I am reminded of the shallow and facile level of journalism (propaganda) we are all subject to….day in and day out. I do not doubt that Kabul happened as they said, that Ida flooded as they said, that another camo nut-bar in Florida killed four…those are facts. Easy to report. And quick, too. Too quick.

The problem is the media needs to fill the air 24/7/365 and so they need ‘filler’. Then the spokes-model doofuses give their opinions, they psuedo-analyze, they are subjective. And that nonsense is cheaper to produce, all you need is an attractive, well-dressed, well-spoken entertainer. No one has to go anywhere or do anything. Or KNOW anything. And so we get 20-somethings living in Toronto or New York trying to earn their media chops by spewing nonsense. Some even aspire to being a spokes-model on Fox (what kind of nutty aspiration is that?) Which, for the most part is all that FOX News ever does – present good lookin’ fools with ignorant opinions…….but so many other outlets follow the same pattern.

News is 85% garbage, 10% facts and 5% feel-good vignettes about cute little animals told to you at the end of the newscast by handsome and pretty people. Yech!

And then there is the weather, sports and entertainment…..a whole other level of stupid.

Other than that, I am fine, thank you. Just had to get that WSJ ‘story’ rebutted and off my chest. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.

Omniblog # whatever

We are enjoying* our first real rain in months. We’ve had a few drizzles but today is more typical of BC (* enjoyment is a word very infrequently used on the coast in reference to rain).

I got my lumber yesterday. And gasoline and propane. We are good for a year. In theory, I can now start pluggin’ away…..except it is raining! Funny how that works, eh?

Sal has gone drive-about down to Victoria for few days for a family do. All hotels are full except some of the fancy ones at $500.00 a night so she is sleeping in the car. Not to worry, she is parked in her mother’s driveway and that is because the guest room is occupied. She’ll be fine. Our daughter came from Alberta and she is in her car, too! Same driveway. Kinda funny.

We are almost through the ‘guest season’ with only two more visits scheduled. Whew!

Our life is almost back to normal – whatever the new normal might be…? And that is the topic for the day….what is the new normal gonna look like?

Covid is turning out to be an even bigger deal than I prophesied a year ago and, even then, I was all doom and gloom. I think my gloom has now darkened somewhat. Set aside the idiots that refuse the vaccine and risk their own and other’s lives, set aside the uber-idiots that rely on divine intervention, Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin or claims of freedom, set aside the economic seizures being felt throughout the world, set aside the now-unfair drain on the entire Healthcare system……it is going to get much worse than all that! The poor countries – the ones that rely on the scraps and crumbs of the First World are not getting any. They are starving. They are really hurting. And, of course, they are dying and we don’t even know the numbers.

Official WHO numbers are round 5 or 6 million globally. The Guardian did their own investigating including all the poor countries and estimate the numbers are in the 15 to 18 million range. And growing.

I know, I know…who really cares about Madagascar or Bali? ‘Screw ’em!’ goes the chant of the privileged, the Albertans, the GOP, the alt-right and the great unwashed Fox and OAN watchers. Fine. I get it. You are not only selfish, deluded and unbelievably ignorant, you are also incredibly stupid! Those poor, neglected countries become the Petrie dish for the variants! Those unvaccinated countries generate the new strains and it is inevitable that one of the mutant strains will erase the overall effectiveness of the vaccine we have all taken. Ignoring Madagascar and South Africa and all the countries not included in the First World, simply puts everyone on the planet at risk….just a little further down the road…you know, when it is all too late!

Herd immunity (a theory based on too many people resistant to a virus for it to spread easily or at all) is hard enough to achieve in a country that actually has the vaccine (we have Alberta to keep the virus thriving, the USA has the red states led by Florida!). It is impossible in countries without it. And viruses mutate. Let the poor get sick and we will all get sick along with ’em. Eventually. That ‘end game’ makes Covid a greater threat than it ever has been and it is already hitting the world like the Spanish flu or the Black plague did.

“Dave, what are you going to do about it?”

Nothing. I can’t stop a plague. Of course, Sal is gonna have to quarantine in the boatshed (better than the car) for two weeks but, other than that, I am planning very little except my shed, updating my will and ordering scotch by the drum. What are you doin’?

Honestly, you cannot make this stuff up…..

It was an ordinary day…or so it seemed in the beginning. Sal had to do a day at the post office. I undertook some ‘wood work’. Normal stuff.

But, we had some ‘twists’, this 30th day of August in the year of our Lord, 2021.

As Sal approached the community dock near the floating post office, she spotted a brown bottle floating. It was (and still is) clearly an ‘old’ bottle. Style, colour, definitely antique. She slowed, picked it up and looked at it. Inside it were notes. She was intrigued but decided to wait until she got home to ‘share’ the discovery with me.

In the meantime, she, of course, goes to be the postmaster-of-the-floating-post office. It is not a huge job but it needs doing and she does it now and then – about once every two months. She starts at 11:30, does a few chores, cleans up, chats with the locals and waits for the mail plane. It usually arrives around 12:30 – sometime between 12:00 and 1:00. A late arrival would be 2:00. When the plane comes, she gets the mail, packages, sorts it all, presents the pilot with the outgoing mail and then tidies up and leaves. In the summer, she is often waylaid for a few minutes by the tourists that take the mail plane flight. They might buy a postcard, some stamps, a copy of my or another’s book. A little Q&A. Ten minutes.

Today, the mail plane was very late. 3:00 pm. That’s Miller time for many but she, of course, stayed until the work had been done and the tourists seen to. The plane was late this time because of the tourists. The three passengers were comprised of one young woman and her two male companions who were fellows with dwarfism. They took more time than most passengers because they used modified Segways that the pilot loaded and unloaded at each stop. He then walked the community ‘area’ with his guests and they zipped about. Our ‘town centre’ is not easy to get about at the best of times. The roadway is rocky and gutted and at a 20 degree hardscrabble slope. The ramp on the dock was maybe 25 degrees. The two Segways went up that ramp with ease. The girl and the pilot hurried after to keep up. Sal watched as the intrepid foursome went exploring. And, of course, they took longer than usual before disembarking. Sal got home after 4:00.

After Sal arrived home, we opened the bottle. In that almost-quart-sized glass there were six or seven rolled up notes tied with coloured string. The bottle had been a tribute to a son who had been lost at sea. There was a phone number to call if the bottle was found. I called. Darlene answered. She sounded my age, maybe a bit younger. She and her family were from Alberta but launched the bottle from just South of Campbell River. It had been thrown in the sea only a month ago. It went North. She and her husband hoped it might go to Mexico where her son had drowned. We will re-seal the bottle and send it on it’s way. Darlene blessed us over the phone.

We get mice now and then. They occasionally try to get in the house but invasion is rare and a blitz on ’em immediately occurs. We do not have mice in the house. Instead, we get mice in the food shed. That is why everything in the food shed is in airtight containers (read: mouseproof). Sal is the epitome of courage, bravery, fearlessness and death defiance in most things from wild animals to raging storms at sea to climbing towers. But mice terrify her. She went into the food shed last evening to get potatoes. Her path takes her 12 feet down a narrow hall. She grabbed a few pommes de terre and stepped back. And, with horror, discovered herself treading softer than she expected. Maybe a slight squirm was also felt. A blood curdling scream echoed across the island, down the channel and could be heard ten miles away. My heart leapt. Sal came out of the shed very fast, eyes wide, she hissed in a ghastly whisper, “MOUSE!” as she went by me like an Olympian sprinter.

She had killed it. Sal the intrepid had killed a mouse with her lightly clad foot. Crushed it like the cartoon Godzilla did the deer (Monty Python). Death by shoe in the foodshed. I presented the carcass to the sacrificial altar that doubles as the Raven feeding corner of our deck railing. The universe accepted it. Well, a raven took it on behalf of the universe. Sal began dinner a bit later after drinking wine for a while. I think it was a dinner missing a few ingredients but I did not say anything.

Hey, I’m not stupid. That woman is lethal even when not trying! And today had definitely been trying.

On much the same theme…..

(as the past few blogs)……..MADNESS. Ya know? All the stuff that seems crazy to me?

Anti-vaxxers. Anti-maskers. Hate mongers. Fox News. Those that blame Biden for Afghanistan (Trump and Pompeo surrendered to the Taliban last year and did nothing to mitigate the impact of that. Trump caused Kabul). Trudeau – in every regard, of course. The so-called Health professionals making Covid statements and then reversing them and then getting up to the podium again and again…… Demonstrators protesting any health measures whatsoever. I am inclined to go on that same old blog theme as before: madness that just keeps going on. And on. And on.

But wailing and ranting doesn’t actually do much except vent my spleen and so I really must move on. Preferably on to something positive………and stating that we are all positively living in madness is not good enough. But, of course, before one writes about the positive, one must first find some. And I have been looking. Honest.

Search rule# 1 – start local, start small……..Our summer temps have noticeably cooled. I really needed that. Mind you, it is the end of August and I am wearing a light jacket in the house but still, it is absolutely fine compared to the two heat domes we experienced. Climate change is upon us and likely here to stay (for my lifetime, anyway) and so I will have to adjust the best I can. And I will.

Lumber prices are almost back to normal. Whew! And Sal and I managed to keep working at the new shed-build using reclaimed wood in the meantime. It is almost 100% framed. Just awaiting plywood and siding and roofing. A small victory but a victory nevertheless.

Whales have visited again lately. Oooh.…that is always good but last week they were doing an acrobatic show and that was a marvel to see. Bonus (for the whales): many, many fewer whale-watching boats. Many, many fewer kayakers, too, so far. And our water system – which was down to the trickles – has picked up a bit and has remained steady throughout. That is a HUGE plus on the Gulf Islands – especially this summer.

One of the nearby OTG islands had a cabin-fire that quickly escalated to a small forest fire but the local community leapt to the challenge and fought it into submission. The Fire Service helped and likely provided the ultimate squelching but they were full of praise for the locals. It was ugly and dangerous and threatening but it was subdued. Kind of heroic in my eyes. Locally, we are doing good.

Globally, however……..I think the most positive way of looking at all the madness and chaos is to see it as the normal perception and response to change. There is no question we are in a time of transition. We are changing. The world is changing. Because we cannot see exactly what it will all look like, we mostly just see madness and fear. Make no mistake: the change a’coming may very well be worse. Fearing change is natural because sometimes the change is not a good one.

Yin and yang. Optimist or pessimist? Glass half full….of what?

On the other hand, this GIANT change is striking several positive notes already. Even some Conservative, right wingers are suggesting that the age of BIG OIL is over. Wow! Some amongst the blind can now see!! A lot of people have been kicked into a work-living perspective change, as well. Not so many wanna go back to the grindstone anymore. Many do not want to even go back to the office!! That has to be good in a myriad of ways.

There seems to be a gradual but significant reduction of racism but I may be seeing something positive that isn’t quite there yet. We’ll see. There is no question about climate change anymore. Even Bubba comes around after being hit by drought, plague, pestilence and tornadoes. A double-wide can only take so much! We also seem to be more aware of the environment on the whole….I hope…we’ll see.

Please consider reading: Natural Capitalism, Drawdown and Regeneration. All three books are by Paul Hawken. Elon Musk is smart, Paul Hawken is genius.

If some kind of shake-up doesn’t happen in our hoary institutions and the way we live, I will be very surprised (but, most likely, I’ll be dead. None of this is happening fast enough for me to see great societal-shift-in-my-lifetime). But what more evidence is needed? The police clearly need some kind of therapeutic re-make. Our hospital-doctor-nurse pedestal model needs reform – the sooner the better. Politics may be unrescuable so we may simply have to get more revolting (I am doing my best). Education has long been moribund but the industrial model on which it was built is changing even more so and fastest of all. New-think has to be coming. How can they perpetuate all that old nonsense much longer? It has to change.

The Capitalist model seems here to stay but many flaws have been exposed ever since 2008. In response to the flaws, the poor are getting poorer but that might be needed before reform is demanded. Infrastructure is finally getting the review it needs. Well, it needs a serious rebuild in so many ways but a review is, at least, a start.

Personally, I want mag-lev bullet trains but well, that’s just me. See: I have positivism. I positively want a cross continental system of mag-lev bullet trains (and then I’ll shut up)

Shame!

Canada ends all evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, abandoning thousands of Canadian nationals and Afghan refugees. Globe and Mail

Canada’s airlift mission from Kabul ends, leaving many behind. CBC

“The government of Canada recognizes that there are a number of people in Afghanistan, including Canadian citizens, permanent residents, their families, and applicants under programs for Afghans. Until such a time that the security situation stabilizes, (we advise you to) be mindful of the security environment and where possible, take the necessary steps to ensure your security and that of your family.” (press release: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)

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Canada has Afghan friends and staff still in Kabul but today we announced that no more evacuation flights are planned. The Taliban and opposing militia waving their Kalashnikovs around and blowing themselves up in random suicide bombings gave the world time to get ‘your people’ out of the country. Deadline? August 31. Today is August 26. My calendar suggests that we still have 5 days. We are leaving the premises early instead.

What!? Trudeau too busy giving out selfies on the election circuit?

If we have a plane that flies, we should be on a runaway and not even turning the motors on until 11:30 pm on the last day. Wheels up by 11:45 and out of SAM range 15 minutes later. This is completely shameful. Morality has been abandoned. Decency ditched. The courage of Dunkirk has long been forgotten. In fact, the Bloody Boris Brits have advised their ‘peeps’ to ‘just run for the border!’ They, too, I guess, are not gonna try anymore. “You are on your own, chaps!”

That is standard operating procedure for the US. See Vietnam. See the Kurds. See, just about anywhere…..they leave their ‘friends’ stranded all the time. Immoral and amoral. In fact, they actually have the planes and they are not helping the Canadians or anyone (or so it is reported). But I am ashamed for Canada. I am angry at Trudeau. I am wondering about Harjit Sajjan our minister of doing-nothing-while-dressed-in-camo. Regardless of who joins us in the effort, we should do the right thing.

Mind you, doing the right thing is maybe NOT part of the government’s agenda. Certainly not the Canadian Armed Forces. This is their mission statement: The Department of National Defence supports the Canadian Armed Forces who serve on the sea, on land, and in the air with the NavyArmyAir Force and Special Forces to defend Canadians’ interests at home and abroad.

So, I dunno……maybe defending our interests means running away early? Leaving friends behind? “We’ll leave you behind if you are late, on time, early or, well, if we are busy campaigning.”

MY father paid a very high price during WW2 ‘doing the right thing’. He was classified as 100% disabled. He would be appalled at our actions in Afghanistan. It kind of makes his sacrifice pointless and, if that is too dramatic, just ask yourself: “Would I ever offer up to risk my life for my country if this is the way we treat friends and allies? And, if I did do it, how could I ask anyone to help our country knowing that we will throw them under the troop carrier or Toyota Land Cruiser without hesitation?”

Yes, I know it is dangerous there. Yes, I know it is easy to say all this from the safety of my own home. And yes, I know that war is hell, complicated and chaos reigns all the time. But leaving five days early? Really? The forces of the Western World can’t hold off the Taliban for five more days? One Canadian Forces spokesman said, “Let us be clear. This situation is untenable. The Taliban are at fault!”

Well, duh!.

Economic indicators suggest….

….just about every scenario possible and most of ’em don’t make any sense.

And none of them are indicating what they used to. The money supply has gone through the roof and that suggests/guarantees inflation and, as you would suspect, we are already feeling more than a bit of that. But precious metals remain relatively stable. And yet, lumber prices tripled in price over the recent year. But, geez, man…..in the last few weeks, lumber prices have fallen back to pre-pandemic levels and a mill in BC that was running 24/7 four months ago just shut down from ‘lack of profitability’ due to the drastic price change. And still the fires burn up standing inventory. And, so, that means exactly what? Thinking it might be that supply-chain crap? I do not think so – the mill is at the FRONT of that industry supply chain. Lack of shipping containers? I do not think so, lumber does not require shipping containers. Maybe all the loggers and mill-workers are fighting fires?

Oh, well, let’s consider that an aberration. How ’bout those housing prices, eh? They keep going up but, of course, wages are not rising as well and banks are making mortgages much, much harder to get. And yet, the money supply is getting larger, all other prices are going up, inventory is going down, young people STILL cannot afford anything……so how are housing prices still rising? Who’s buying? Where is all that extra money supply going?

Oh, well. How ’bout that unemployment, eh? Unemployment is near an all time low and yet most of the service and hospitality industry is dead-in-the-water. And tourism is non-existent except, surprisingly, Vancouver Island where the hotel rates have doubled and tripled and the ferry system is full. No staff. High prices. Who’s paying? And Canadians have paid down record levels of personal debt recently and they did that by NOT spending and having fun……so how can unemployment be down? How can tourist prices be up?

A cabin-y type resort just down island raised their room rates by 600% and those are the rates they want for February!! (consequently three regular very large local groups of annual attendees simply walked away – ‘not this year!’). Oil prices and gasoline prices no longer seem to have much correlation. Crude has yo-yo’d like mad (currently around $65.00 a barrel) but gas prices are higher than when a barrel cost $140.00.

Anybody else notice the general lack of ‘sales’ – as in discounted prices? The stupendous rise in second hand goods (Craigslist)? The lack of normal inventory at big retailers? Did you know that McDonald’s restaurants in the United Kingdom can’t sell milkshakes due to lack of supplies?

And yet, they say the economy is booming. They also say millions are staying home from work. They then say millions are no longer unemployed and they also say whole industries are moribund. And, of course, the pandemic carries on. The hospitals are near capacity. Trump still has followers. Two Canadians returning home from the US got Covid tested ($600) but they were deemed the wrong tests and so were fined almost $6000. How does that make any sense in this or any economy?

And so the whackedness continues.

Our PM calls an unnecessary election. All the parties campaign on the wrong issues. We hate ’em all and yet a record low turnout is predicted. Biden is taking flack for Trump’s Taliban deal. And the Red States have cut off unemployment benefits even though the money came from the Feds! Why? Because the Republicans believe the unemployed are lazy butt heads and should be forced back to work.

As you can tell from the last few blogs, I am having difficulty making any general sense from all the usual indicators. Only the Taliban seem to be having things go their way, it seems. And, as a bonus surprise: in a time of the in-your-face obvious climate change threat, double or triple Covid infections and more and more Right wing news being debunked as lies, the Red States are the ones with rising real estate prices due to people moving more and more to the Southern US.

My only theory? Madness has gravitational pull.

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One of our regular readers, Sid, passed a few days ago. Cancer. Rest in Peace, Sid.

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