Frankenworld

Another ‘fun-blog’ conceptual stretch……..

……..we have created a monster.  Worse, we created one from bits and pieces.  We have patched, altered, legislated, regulated and otherwise tampered with society for a long time trying to make it work better….and we have been somewhat successful in some areas (IT’S ALIVE!) but, overall, we have failed – just like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.

Income inequality, chronic ills from lifestyle and pollution, environmental degradation, failed states and all the other ills and evils that one might use to measure real success indicate that we could have done better.  A lot better.  Maybe it is time to recognize that and acknowledge that the ‘system’, as it is, is broken.  The global culture, as it is, isn’t working.  Capitalism kinda works but not for all and it is killing the planet in the process.  We need to change.

The real ‘revelation’ here for me is that the question of change will never be answered by the sick system perpetuating it.  Even the greenest of Greens won’t turn anything around.  The corporations won’t.  The institutions are in the very business of maintaining the status quo.  The police enforce it.  There is simply no force out there that would change the basic system and it is the basic system that is causing the problem.

Think about this (fantasy scenario#1): China and Russia declare WAR on the USA (or vice versa) and all hell breaks loose.  Eventually some radioactive winners crawl out from their blackened bunkers, rally the remnants of their armies and RULE THE WORLD.  Oh, goody. What is the first thing they will do?  Extort from other survivors and maybe, eventually, start up a new ‘way of life’ that is polluting, craven, greedy and elitist.  And chapter ten in the never-ending human story begins……

We have to change this trajectory.  And it seems we have to start pretty soon….if the climate is a factor – which it is….

Here are a few sacred cows that may have to be slaughtered before BIG change can happen.  Peaceful protest doesn’t work. We may have to employ strategic violence.  Big government doesn’t work for the people.  We may have to start smaller societies and organize only locally.  Money kinda works but any entity controlling money undermines it’s neutrality as a simple medium of exchange.  We may have to revert to a simpler money/barter system where the financial institutions are no more. And on and on and on….

“Hah!  Dave!  You must be mad.  Keep adding to that list and you will be carted away and I will help them tie you up, you poor, demented fool.”    

I understand.  I will shut up.  I was just having a mental stretch.  Don’t pay me any attention.  I am sure we will fix what ails us by doing more of the same stuff, keeping the same values, following the same leadership models and ignoring the planet on which it all takes place.  I mean, maybe the banks and governments are just not trying hard enough….?  Maybe the corporations will start working for all the people instead of just their shareholders?  Maybe the politicians are honest and the second Coming of Christ  will soon fix it all……

In the meantime, just for fun (conceptually) think about how you could extricate yourself from your own ‘grid’ and rebuild a lifestyle around something more healthy for you, your family and your neighbours.  Just have a fun little mental exercise while you are commuting to work, paying taxes and buying crap at Walmart….you know…..in your ‘downtime’?

“Oh, Man!  Is this your idea of a sales pitch?  You still marketing living OTG?”

No, actually.  This blog comes at that issue entirely from a different perspective.  I occasionally read other writers and I am about to embark on another Mark Boyle book (Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi).  The first chapter prompted this blog.  Stephen Hren reviewed the book:

Mark Boyle has penned an incendiary fulmination against the aggression of consumer capitalism. In this provocative polemic, he calls us all to account for our lack of violent resistance to the ravages occurring on every corner of the globe to feed our most trifling wants. Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is solidly written in easygoing prose, and on a fundamental level forces the reader to dig deep into the bowels of their consciousness to question how we can let such slaughter occur in our name.

His main point of contention is what he perceives as a commitment to nonviolence by the vast majority who espouse preserving the environment. Boyle finds this nonviolence to actually play into the hands of those who are the most rapine, as its toothlessness provides almost no brake to the incessant wanton destruction, while allowing cover in the form of greenwashing to carry on business as usual. If for nothing else, the book is worth reading to force us to confront a most profound philosophical question: At what point does stopping the destruction of the earth, upon which all life depends, become self-defense and hence justify violent resistance against the forces that are destroying it?

Me, too!?

This blog dances along a dicey path that my wife thinks is off-base.  She thinks I am trying too hard to draw a parallel between two entirely different topics. Usually I take her word for it because I am limited to about 750 words and that, in itself, limits accurate communication.  She is also eminently sensible and I am NOT always.  Still, I am going to post it and see how it flies…please read it as a blog making a statement about the new-world of allegations rather than anything else. 

                       _____________________________________________  

Apropos of very little lately written, I must point out that in the Me, Too movement currently, an allegation of misconduct by a woman is deemed sufficient to convict the man. Our Prime Minister has said as much (‘we must believe them’). He was not alone – almost all the M2 movement is based on believing all sexual allegations made by women without questioning.

Now the following is a bit of stretch and I am not accusing JW-R of doing this or purposefully using the Me, Too mindset. I am, however, saying that the Me, Too mindset is at play here anyway.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I think so.  My wife thinks not.  

To wit: JW-R alleged by her actions and subsequent strategic silence that she, too, had been Me, Too’d (politically) and she expects that we will all believe her. (And most of us do to some extent). Butts likely thought so as well, so he jumped. “Why wait for the facts? The allegation is out there. I’m done!”

The truth could very well be that Butts or the PM talked about SNC-L to W-R and they may have had some heated words and, possibly, they did NOT put any REAL provable pressure on her…

……BUT, BUT, BUT she definitely ‘heard’ it that way. She heard directly or in nuance and tone and, as a result of that hearing, ‘did NOT feel comfortable’. And then, like when a movie producer chooses another actress for the lead, she KNEW when she was demoted that she had been ‘propositioned’ and subsequently punished. And she reacted by resigning her portfolio.

Now, when a woman claims a Me, Too experience, I tend to agree with her simply because I know men often make the first move clumsily (often many times) and they are not always the best communicators – plus testosterone is a powerful force in nature. So, the initial proposal can sometimes be ‘seen and heard’ in a way that wasn’t really intended. (Certainly NOT enough to be called assault or harassment as much as it seems to be these days (‘course, as a male, I am blind to this…..so that is part of the weakness in this blog)).

And, of course, all men are pigs at times so they are sometimes guilty as alleged.  NB:  NOT ALWAYS.  But sometimes. In addition: to distinguish between something normal but not welcome is entirely in the hands and head of the recipient of that attention. The proof of that is in the classic, “He made me feel uncomfortable”.

Now, Me, Too is generally applied to ‘proposals’ or worse of sexual intimacy. If Jane receives the proposal well, a pleasant encounter may occur.  No story to be written.  If Jane does not find the proposal attractive, she seems to have the power to allege being made to feel uncomfortable and the fellow has to lose his career and reputation. And, of course, hundreds of degrees of human interaction in between can and does occur.

Yes, I know I am painting a worst case scenario above but there have been more than a few miscarriages of justice in the NEW RULEBOOK FOR MEN as written by Me,Too. And, hugely ironically, one of the males-in-the-movement is our own self-professed feminist, Justin Trudeau. He supports allegations as being sufficient to convict – when a woman says them against a man.

So, how might that work in another realm?  Politics, perhaps…..?

Enter Jody W-R. This recent case is NOT sexual in nature but it is still unsubstantiated allegations having the same effect – a man resigns. Another is in deep political trouble. Careers are derailed. Reputations ruined. The world goes nuts. AND THE REAL IRONY here is that JW-R didn’t actually say a word (officially). She merely acted as if she had been propositioned and then later made to feel uncomfortable (by her demotion).

The allegation is in the implications.

To be clear: I am NOT accusing JW-R of doing this on purpose to Gerald or Justin. In fact, I am sure she didn’t. Nor am I saying the ‘boys’ are innocent of the allegation. Maybe they are guilty.  But the weird ‘mood’ we have created around female allegations has certainly exacerbated the very normal and common, ‘He said – she said’ dynamic of life. This time at the political level.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to beat any detail of the actual Jody/Justin/Gerald situation to death except to point out the newly altered weird and unholy power of unproven allegations.  In fact, with this president, Fox, the internet, trolls, twitter and all social media, we are seeing a revolution of sorts.  Lies, spin, deflection, rumours, gossip, tweets, allegations (and the list goes on) have ascended in the minds of people to the point that not only are they confused and left unknowing on most everything, they are also losing trust in the Rules of Evidence, due process, institutional trust and the role of the media.

Jus’ sayin’….

Kicking Butts, Taking Names

Gerald Butts resigned today and, make no mistake, it was staged.  Trudeau did not throw Gerald under the bus.  Gerald leaped.  But you need not worry about GB.  He will do fine operating the puppet show from the darker shadows of a back room somewhere – but still within blue-tooth range – because Justin can’t think straight (if he can think at all).  This resignation was a ‘show’.

And he did it to take the heat for the AG Jody debacle.  Somebody had to and it couldn’t be another women – i.e. Katie Telford.  Bad optics.

Jody Wilson-Raybould TRULY resigned and she did it for reasons mostly political but I may have to concede some principle may have also been involved.  Her unchecked ambition and ego plays a large part but so does her otherwise strong moral character.  We’ll know soon enough.  She wants to be the leader of the party.  I do not think she can wrest that away from the pretty boy.  A lot of big Libs put him there.  So, we’ll see how that plays out.

I mention all this because I do not think Gerald (aka Severus Snape) is truly evil.  His resignation letter, I think, says it – he worked for the good of all Canadians.  The problem is that Gerald’s sense of what is good for all Canadians is entirely derived from his own egocentric constructs.  He thinks he KNOWS what is best for all Canadians and the PMOs office has operated from that ‘mindset’ since Trudeau has been in.  They are simply smarter and holier than us and went about ruling that way.

Gerry may be smart.  He may be good.  He may even be doing God’s work but he sure as hell didn’t listen to Canadians.  Gerry and Justin are both silver-spooned Easteners who are steeped in privilege and elitism.  And one of them is extra stupid.  And that showed from the get-go.  They did NOT listen and they came from EGO.  One of them is smart, the other an airhead. The marriage was doomed.  It was a natural conflict of substance and vacuum.  They were bound to trip up.

Where does it all go from here?  I imagine the puppet strings will still be pulled and the captain will stay at the ‘stage-lit’ wheelhouse (shirtless, of course) guessing at where he is…..and I suppose that JW-R will continue to be a burr under the PMOs office.  Sheer will go nuts, set his hair on fire and make another stupid racist, sexist, corporate-based statement.  And Singh will continue to dissolve into a puddle.  It will be steady as she goes but, but, but…

No Butts to kick around anymore.

 

Concept/Proposal…please critique

Before opining on this, please first imagine that you ‘want’ a cabin or a place to relocate off the grid….you can be old or young but probably not likely mid thirties to late forties (those folks are typically on the treadmill and running as fast as they can).

If you are old, you are thinking (maybe), “I would love to have a little retirement cabin somewhere…maybe move there… something small….”

But, because you are getting on (55+) you are also maybe thinking, “Oh, man, I don’t even know where to go, what to do, it likely costs a fortune, I might hate it, and who needs wood-chopping, anyway!”

If you are young, you might be thinking, “I’ll never get a foothold in this urban market.  I hate the city, anyway, it’s too expensive.  I’d love to be a hippy-back-to-the-lander but that’s just plain silly and, anyway, I have to work and can’t afford that lifestyle either.”

So, that is the dilemma facing our two groups…..and so….here’s the concept:

Offered up is a lot on the ocean.  NOT huge…..maybe 50 x 100′.  The lot will have water, sewer and a deck (that will already be built by the local community so that it is ready to be used).  Attached to the deck will be a shipping container.  The prospective buyer will pay say, $20,000 down for the ‘package’ and they also enter into a LEASE for the lot for twenty years.  Cheap payments.  Maybe $1200 a year (just enough to keep the water and sewer going).

The idea is that the container will hold your tools and your tent and camp stove and be able to provide the young/old couple a ‘foothold’ in the area.  Young people will use that ‘foothold’ as a stepping stone to buying their own property somewhere nearby but having a home-base as they slowly build that ‘permanent or retirement home’ they envision.  Alternatively, some young people might choose to build a more permanent (but small) structure and simply ‘live small’ in the waterfront village.

If someone wanted the lot and NOT the deck and container, that would adjust the price downward but there has to be some up-front commitment to ‘making something happen’ so the deck and container idea is really just a way to give people a ‘leg up’.

Yeah……there will be maybe ten or 15 such lots in the area which is say, 6 or 7 acres….the rest will be common area….

Older people might adopt a winter/summer schedule and live half-time OTG using the original ‘basic package’ as their summer home.  Maybe upgrade to a nice Yurt?  Or they may have a small, better structure built (or they build it) and they simply live OTG in the village not requiring longer tenure because they are already old.

And, of course, any variation on that basic concept will be considered.  Leases can be broken if the lessee eventually builds elsewhere.  OR extended if a couple of 55 year-olds figure on staying for more than twenty years.  All flexible.  All adjustable.  All for the purpose of building a small village as inexpensively as possible.

And there are builders on the island should you wish to ‘farm it all out’.

“Dave, why imagine this sort of thing…?”

Because we NOW have six or so acres on the waterfront and we (the community) are ‘imagining’ it’s potential use/development.  I like the idea of a small village.  Some might prefer a park or something else.  It won’t be my decision.  It will be a community one but we are all going to propose something.  I will propose this.  No idea where this is going but I thought I’d ‘float my idea’ to the outside world as well to see if it has appeal to anyone else but me.

If the idea is considered a bad one, please tell me why.  And, one last thing: don’t fret about the details….this is JUST a conceptual idea….

Climb on the Resistance Train! It’s safe. It’s NOT moving…..

In our second book, Choosing Off the Grid, we spent a bit of time on ethical dissent.  Ethical dissent is, essentially, choosing to opt out of things that the ‘opter’ sees as bad.  It’s a form of personal moral imperative but definitely at the petty, personal, passive and subtle level.  And usually cheaper so as to enjoy some additional incentive.  But NOT a big deal.

For instance: one might choose to use cash instead of credit cards because the card system has usurious interest rates, burdens the seller and the buyer with a ‘convenience’ charge and constantly feeds data to the scurrilous banks and parasites (governments, marketers, etc.) of the financial world.  Cash is cleaner, simpler and doesn’t tattle on your whereabouts.  Thus the ‘opter’ deems using cash as better than plastic and a mild form of ethical dissent. We pay cash most of the time. (But Sal and I both still have Visa cards – just in case.)

Recycling is also ethical dissent.  Buying second hand is, too.  Salvaging. Composting.  Sharing.  Lending. Giving.  All these somewhat less-engaged-in-the-money-based-system activities represent a quiet, gentle resistance to the materialistic, unconscious, polluting and corrupt ‘CONSUMER’ world while, of course, still being part of it.

I mean: consumerism is not bad.  OVER consuming might be, tho, if only because of the garbage that generates.

My 2004 Pathfinder is a small example.  It is definitely a consumer item.  And it does the job.  I am happy with it.  But it has been around more than just the block.  No payments are being made.  No interest is being paid.  I fix what breaks when I can.  It is serving it’s third owner rather well I think.  And it is NOT adding to the landfill.  Of course, this is NOT pure dissent – closer to pure cheapness – but it is maximizing it’s utility.  I am not, in the least, fashionable.  I do not play in 0% financing games.  That has to be good.

To be pure, I would have to eschew boats, cars and gasoline and only walk or swim.  To be pure would be difficult and inconvenient.  I’d have to be a martyr.  So, ethical dissent is hardly all that noble, rebellious or world-changing.  Instead it is just a salve, a compromise, a harm reduction technique.  It becomes a bit of a lifestyle, tho.  But no halo is ever earned from this level of resistance.

Still, I look for new ways all the time.  We unpackage all goods from our Costco/Home Depot, etc. purchases.  Hand the plastic-wrap back.  Don’t eat processed food.  Donate directly to a cause or individual, ignore massive appeals.  Write letters to the editor and government and politicians.  Silly, token gestures like that.  It’s not so much a goody-two-shoes kind of thing as it is simply a ‘bit better’ way of doing.  We think.  And, it sometimes vents my spleen.

But on a much bigger scale, nations and some investment firms/banks are beginning to grapple with the concept as well.  There are plenty of examples of ethical dissent (or ethical investment funds) at the national level but the clearest and latest example might be regarding the proposed 5G network…..maybe…..

Five and (eventually) 6G technology is the foundation for the ‘internet of things’ and likely the precursor for autonomous robots, artificial intelligence and such things as self driving cars and (as I just recently read) smart rectal thermometers (RT) used to send health care information to non-attending professionals (gotta get me a bunch of those for presents).

And some countries are saying no.

Actually, they are not saying no to employing all that ‘BIG BROTHER’ technology at all – they are just saying NO to employing China’s systems (Huawei).  Why?  Because they do not trust China to not exploit the technology for more than just sales profits.  They KNOW what Big Brother tech can do and they want that power for themselves but they don’t want to accidentally give that same power to a foreign government.  National ethical dissent?  Maybe not so much.  Fearful, suspicious dissent, perhaps.  Still, it’s dissent.

Note: They KNOW it’s going to be used for bad purposes.  They are just looking for a way to do it themselves and in a way that is ‘not as bad’. 

It’s the basic dilemma we all share….I know that carbon is bad for the planet but I still make carbon footprints.  I try to make my footprints smaller but I still make ’em.  I know that urban living is dehumanizing and so I live OTG…but I still use the city quite a lot..and so it goes.

No question – there is such a thing as ethical dissent.  But is there a point to it?  Is 5G and 6G BIG BRO technology inevitable?  Will artificial intelligence eventually take over? Will we kill off every conceivable non-human life form (including insects) and fill the oceans with plastic?  Or will we – at some point – kick up our ethical dissent levels into full blown revolution and put an end to the general madness?

Revolution in my lifetime? NO!  Not going to happen.  Revolution will not happen in the next ten or so years, anyway.  But still I protest a bit here and there.  My son already protests a bit more than I do (at the not-too-inconvenient-for-him level) but he is definitely resisting more and more in his own way.  My grandson?  He’ll resist even more, I hope.

Is there time?  I don’t know…but why not join us….?

 

 

Capitalism vs Socialism…the biggest lie

Socialism, whatever…Capitalism…(yawn…)…..who cares?  It is what it is!

I agree with your surrender of despair.  So, I am NOT writing about Cap vs Soc in the usual way.  The usual way has a huge degree of philosophy attached and discusses topics dryly at the macro/academic level – a level at which the Fed, banks, governments and large corporations operate. The big lie.

Most of us operate at the gas-pump, loose-change and credit card debt level.  BIG difference.

But first….do you think Canada is Socialist and the USA is Capitalist?  If you do, you would be wrong.  At the macro level, the USA is very elite-socialist.  More so than Canada.  Canada doesn’t have much macro level and what they have is corporately controlled and so – at that level – we are (eltist) Capitalist-controlled but in a psuedo-socialist environment.

Of course, most people don’t define Socialism and Capitalism as it really is or, rather, as it has morphed to become.  They simplistically think that socialism is free health care and a generous ‘safety net’ when you get old.  Capitalism is ‘going it alone, taking your chances and maybe getting rich’.  Neither is accurate.

The real essence of pure Capitalism is that the business, service, entrepreneur or company sinks or swims based on merit, market acceptance and competition.  ‘Let the market decide’.  Pure Socialism, on the other hand, proposes that the means of production and distribution be controlled by the state.  ‘There is no free market’.

So, in that ‘no-free-market’ system (Socialism), you might see farmers subsidized, petroleum companies and BIG corporations given grants, incentives and tax breaks.  Maybe some of the REAL corporate biggies will even be classed as too big to fail (so no risk to them anymore).  For them getting BIG is like tenure is to a professor.  And the SOCIALIST government can do that because the government owns them.  So, if you think about all that, and the tariffs, duties and regulatory efforts of the USA, they are all socialistic in nature and spirit.  But only for the BIG guys.  And, in the ‘big things’, there is no competition, there is no market and the little guy is a slave to the system.

Bluntly put: the US is very, very socialistic at the BIG money level.  The crime: they claim NOT to be socialistic and so ‘tenure’ and the grants and subsidies are given to the companies but they only go as far as the shareholders and CEOs because ‘we are the risk-taking Capitalists’….the big lie.

Are we talking opposites here?  Is Canada, then, NOT Socialistic or do we do that, too?

Well, we have a healthcare system but it is not measuring up on the meritocracy scale.  We have pensions and welfare but no one is doing well based on that.  So, in effect, Canada is socialistic in some categories but not so much on any REAL scale.  In fact, much of that which was intended to be part of the socialistic fabric has been ‘re-drafted’ to now act in a theoretically more Capitalistic way.  The BC Ferry Corporation, for instance is NOT a subsidized-for-the-people ferry system*.  It was reorganized to act as a real corporation and make a profit.  Same for BC Hydro.  It is even worse when it comes to our railways.  They were just sold off will-nilly.  As was our forests.  So was oil and gas (what Canadian benefits from our oil reserves except as shareholder?) 

But therein lies the rub.  We go so-called Capitalist only when the industry gets big.  Rich people then buy those monopolies.  The people don’t own it (CNRail) anymore – Bill Gates does.  Jimmy Pattison owns a lot of the fishery.  China owns a lot of the oil fields.  If the market is controlled and subsidized by the government (socialism), the capitalists then buy it.  Why not?  Too big to fail.  Grants and subsidized when asked.  Returns guaranteed.  NO risk.  NO competition.  “Get on the so-called socialism train! We’ll make a fortune!”

(* the NDP have recently ‘given back’ some of what the BC Ferry system was supposed to provide and they have done that keeping fares low or even lowering them.  BCF is an exception to some extent.  Recently).

If this is too contrarian-thinking for you, think of the marijuana/gambling industries.  They were small potatoes and then they got to be medium potatoes and bigger-but-criminal organizations took it over.  But then it all got bigger so then the government takes it over, regulates it, controls it and continues to use ‘law enforcement officers’ to limit small-guy competition.  And, like every industry before it, it will now be ‘handed over’ to the BIG corporations and stock will be traded and revenue taxed.  The biggies don’t mind the entry cost.  All that just makes the industry ‘harder-to-enter’. No competition.  Cost to produce is irrelevant.  Just make it and add profit.  The government will control it for the industry’s benefit.

Oooops….unless maybe, by accident or corruption, real market forces interfere BUT then the government steps in to bail out the shareholders a la more fake-socialism.  As in TransMountain.  The American bank debacle.  Or Bombardier.  Or GM (before they cheated Canada and broke the agreement).  If you are rich enough and can get to be too big to fail, you are protected by government and, as a surprise bonus, you get a bonus even if you test that failure clause.

But what about the little guy?  Can he open a restaurant freely?  Where he wants to?  As he wants?  No.  Can he log trees and cut ’em into lumber and sell it?  No.  Can he freely fish and sell fish?  No.  Can he raise chickens and sell the eggs?  No.  Milk?  No.  All those activities are controlled with laws, legislation, permits, zoning, regulations and too-high costs-of-entry.  The little guy can rarely get off the ground.

So, to wrap up: socialism is at a ‘token’ fake-level for the people but is HUGE for the corporations.  Capitalism doesn’t truly exist anymore – instead it is just the morphed predatory gene in the new corporate socialism.  Free markets and meritocracy and competition are myths.

Any hope?  Read Regenerative Capitalism by John Fullerton. Read Natural Capitalism by Lovins and Hawken.

The way of the future….?

Unlike my Queen of Sunnybrook Farm wife, ol’ Sunshine Sally, herself, I tend to see the glass half empty with a leak at the bottom.  And, if you put me in a place not to my liking, I am a bit of pain.  I have GOMS.  Grouchy old man syndrome.  Plus, I am spoiled rotten.  I have Rotten GOMS.

Add a writer’s block and I am not an overly happy camper right now.  Worse, Sal makes me walk every day.  I hafta trudge about looking at desert and dry bushes from every angle.  This is just NOT my style.  Although, anything with Sal is pretty good. 

Today, she took me back to one of the highlights of an otherwise dismal series of treks and we found ourselves doing the Queen Creek Wash Walk.  Again.  But this time, we went left instead of right and headed up in a direction we didn’t have an inkling about.  Usually, it does not matter.  It’s always all the same.

Not this time!  This time the walk-up-the-wash took us to a small park quite exceptional in it’s own urban desert kind of way.  Right there, smack dab in the middle of a fifty acre park was a five acre man-made concrete pool dedicated to fishing!  What looked like a huge swimming pool, complete with shade and bathrooms and water toys was a stocked-with-five-kinds-of-fish facility that took the word nature completely out of fishing.  It was Walmart parking lot meets Pond.  It is thirteen feet deep.  No swimming allowed.

Don’t get me wrong…I liked it.  I mean….the city of Queen Creek spent a fortune to bring pond-fishing to the desert for the general public and, except for the required fishing license, it was free.  I was reminded of the ski hill in Dubai.  Or the Queen Mary in Pasadena.  It was – to put it mildly – unexpected.

There were people in the park but only one guy was fishing and so I went up to him and asked about the surprising public amenity (Mancel Carter Oasis Park).  He said it was new.  He said he caught a ten-incher but let it go.  He sat on a bench with his rod in front of him and a line trailing in the water.  Aerating pumps created bubble mounds in the water.  Bamboo grew in select spots near nicely laid out rock arrangements every so often so as to create a ‘natural look’.  Sal and I saw a few little fish.  It is a movie-set waiting to happen to describe a dystopian future where all of nature is artificial.  But it was still kinda neat in that weird paved-parking-lot way.

There seems to be no insects in Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek.  That’s because the gardeners spray ‘ROUNDUP’ all the live long day.  Everywhere.  A walk through a park is a traipse through a dead zone.  The wash is better – no Roundup.  A wash is a dry river bed that takes the surface runoff whenever there is rain and so it is the most ‘natural’ environment of the area (but it is surrounded by areas that are paved and/or flooded with Roundup).  And the fishing pool was right alongside the main wash.  Still, not a bug on the water.  Nor in the air.  There are five kinds of fish in the pond and not a single bit of natural food for any one of them.  Amazing.

I am still kinda stunned by seeing that.  See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Daee94XgWlk