Another new/old theory….

…this is a whacked-out theory/conspiracy…….. Russia prefers the EU to be weaker so that it can dominate the European  economy.  And the middle east.  Russia also wants the US weaker – same reason – but for controlling the larger world economy.  And, what the hell, why not make NATO weaker, too?  Get ’em all.

So, that’s the BIG plan: Destabilize.  How to do it?  Well, quickest, cheapest and easiest way is to get their guy as the president of the US.  POTUS has the biggest shoes.  Biggest lever.  Get a big, bad-hair mess walking-type.  In the meantime, start Brexit.  Have POTUS undermine Europe with support of Brexit, be rude to Merkel and May.  Get him to kill the Trans Pac trade deal.  Get him to mess up NAFTA and kick Trudeau in the crotch just for the hell of it.  Make the Mexicans mad.  And, of course, divide the USA.  Gotta divide the USA.  Polarize those red-blue bastards.

“Yuri, can we make that happen?”

“We can try.”

“Where do we start?”

“I think we start with a rich, spoiled, right-winged maniac who we already have compromised some. Give him some money.  Buy him.  It’s like working a spy in the old days, Vlad.  Remember?  We’ve done it before.  It’s worked before.  Can you think of anyone?”

“Yeah.  I have someone in mind.  Call Paul Manafort.  Maybe phone Mike Flynn, too.  Lets see what they got.”

Crazy, right?  Cheap B movie crazy……totally mad.  But, but, but…..all the alt-right nuts and half the Republicans believe in conspiracy theories and this one is kinda playing out right in front of them.  I mean, they had Hillary Clinton selling child sex out of a pizza shop and that was believable for the Roseannes and Fox types.  Obama was a Muslim spy, not born in the US.  Michelle was a man.  If they can believe all that crap, why can’t they see this?

Oh, I know, I know.  Just another rant.  Mea culpa.  My bad.  It’s just that I can’t help but feel a bit disturbed by the recent ‘deconstruction’ of all that was normal.  Trump wreaking havoc like some kind of horny Godzilla looking for love in all the wrong places….going ashore in Singapore….knocking over high tension lines…hugging Kim, dissing everyone else.  Having a coke with Dennis Rodman……I mean….isn’t all this crazier than anyone could make up?

But here’s the point:  I am NOT a doomsday prepper but I have a sense of foreboding.  Mind you, I have always had a pessimistic viewpoint about the future of mankind and only meeting Sally eased that streak of dark and ugly in me.  And she did good.  Shines a very bright light, she does.  All sunshine, all the time.  I am almost a sweetheart now.  ALMOST.  There is still the sense that it all can (and is) coming apart.  I do not see all our hoary institutions lasting especially since so many are already corrupted and weak and all things eventually get replaced.

I mean, isn’t renewal inevitable at some point at the very least?  Isn’t that part of the great cosmic recipe?  Yin and yang….what goes up…..?

Anyway, I kind of think it works that way.  Nothing remains the same.  The only constant is change…

And, here’s the punchline: no one ever really sees it coming.  Change is always a surprise.  Maybe not ‘surprise’ like someone yelling ‘boo’ in the dark or the volcano next door erupting but surprising and catching-us-all unprepared nevertheless.  Climate change.  China awakening and rising like a phoenix.  The rise of technology. Crony Capitalism.  Terrorism. Bloody cell phones.  The oceans dying. Trump. Those are all real changes.  They will add up.  Maybe they have already added up.  Maybe the BIG change is imminent….?  Could the BIG CHANGE be this?  I mean…is it all happening RIGHT NOW and I am amongst the last to see it…..?

I dunno….just a rainy day ramble, I guess.

But what else are blogs for, eh?

How crazy is this?

I get my wine delivered by plane.

Everything Wine is a Jimmy Pattison company related to but NOT connected to Save-On Foods.  They advertise and sell wine (duh).  But, to compel customers to shop with them, they promote wine ‘sales’, offer wines NOT offered by the Liquor Distribution Branch and, get this……DELIVER.  FREE.

My palate is unsophisticated. Primitive.  I am more of a gorilla than a connoisseur. I am much more appreciative of quantity rather than quality.  And I am more than price sensitive.  I hate paying for anything.  But NOT them. Everything Wine is – most of the time – more expensive than the LDB when doing a direct comparison but they flog good ol’ cheap hooch too.  And they have different cheap hooch.  Vin ordinaire to use the common vernacular.

We reserve the term cheap swill for scotch.

So, if volume is your aim and free delivery is their game, we may have a match made in heaven.  I pay a tiny bit more but get it delivered.  “So, guys…?  Free delivery you say?  Anywhere in BC you say?  I live on a remote island.  I can barely get the post office to deliver mail.  You still offering free delivery?” 

“Yes, sir.  Anywhere in BC.”

So, the first time I ordered from them it all went well but was still a smidge off-putting.  They have really big, overstuffed shipping boxes and four cases occupied the same volume as a Honda Civic.  The airline was happy, tho.  I inquired with EW and they said, “It is all recyclable.”  

But recyclable only makes sense if you have a recycling centre nearby so I went the extra miles to recycle but held off doing it again until…well….I hit 70.  Now I am inclined to get heavy cases of fragile wine bottles delivered.  It’s NOT being GREEN but neither is driving into town to do it so I have rationalized the plane.  And, if I shop on their ‘sales’ days, the prices are much the same for the hooch level products.  And, thank God, I don’t have to schlep.

I am sure some ‘alternative’ housing guy will eventually figure out a way to make cheap housing out of the boxes and their packaging.  He’ll be featured in an article. Incredible.

The idea of having wine delivered is antithetical to the whole concept of living off the grid, don’t you think?   But YES, of course, I am looking into getting some nice cheese delivered with it.  I am not stupid!

Speaking of stupid……… sorry…HAVE TO SAY IT…….Doug Ford?  DOUG FORD?  Here’s a guy who is a life-long spoiled brat (emphasis on brat as in ‘dodgy’) and has run the company business into the red, cheated his widowed daughter-in-law and could NOT articulate a vision for Ontario voters beyond buck-a-beer and yet they voted this dumpy Trump into office?  Has Ontario gone mad?  That is BEYOND stupid.  That is TRUMP-LEVEL STUPID!

Sorry.  Had to say it.

And…ABOUT TRUMP !!!!  Well, I am not saying anything more on him. For me, it is all too obvious. But I will ask the question….any of you Trumpists out there think the Trump and Kudlow NAFTA comments and trade tariffs are ‘good’ for Canada?

And, finally………

Woofer Julia leaves in a few days.  She’s been good.  Great, actually.  We’re going to miss her.  Julia single-handedly put Woofers back on our ‘will-do’ list.  We stopped accepting them for a few years but this was such a good experience we are getting back on the Woofer train.

 

EXTRA!! EXTRA!! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!

Good NEWS!!       The new book is up on Amazon.ca. (For those of you not in Canada it will be on the US site and others within a day or so.)

Proper title:   ACCIDENTAL FUGITIVES –  The FBI’s Most Wanted Seniors

My own personal review is that the writing is not all that hot but it’s a cut above amateur and a few cuts below REAL author professionalism.  Another knock: it’s only about 275 pages and I like to give readers at least 300.  But, this one just didn’t have 300 pages of story involved.

The good review would be that it is kind of a page-turner.  The story is good.  NOT great.  But good.  You kind of get on the two-wheeled plot and it’s a quick read all of it downhill.  Most people will blow through it in a two-reading session.  Maybe three.

Sally says: It’s a fun read with an underlying message about immigrants in the US. We had a great time writing it. David is too hard on himself (and me)! 

Brief description of the book: Snowbirds Charlie and Nancy Moon are vacationing in the sun one minute and desperados wanted for murder the next. Hampered by creaky limbs and gimpy knees they battle their way out of MAGA Arizona and flee toward the safety of sanctuary states and Canada. They fight off vigilantes, stay one step ahead of the FBI, and befriend domestic refugees and other victims of Trumpian America. You’ll keep turning the pages—guaranteed.

 

 

Other good news – Julia is our most recent Woofer.  She’s a native of Germany, 36 and a great help for us as we get in next winter’s firewood.

First, we collect logs from the beach or that float by.   Then I cut them into manageable lengths. Then we haul up the logs from the beach using the highline and Honda powered winch.    Then, when they are at the top, I buck ‘em into rounds, Julia ‘wheelbarrows a few from the bucking site to the splitting site about 75 feet away and drops the load at Sal’s feet.  Sal then flips ‘em on the splitter and then stacks them in the shed which is right by the splitter.    From‘wrangling strays’ to lying nicely in a stack is a nine-step process for a piece of firewood.

The old saying goes, “Firewood heats you twice (getting it in and then burning it)”. Ours provides us with even more.  Lucky us.

But we don’t push it.  A few hours each day.  After a few days, we have our wood in and all is good.  Well, that has been our experience until this year.  This year, the old muscles were not quite ready and so each day of work for us was started with groans and reluctance.  Typically, that is the case but after a day or two, we have adjusted and the groans stop and the work day lengthens.  Not this year.  Despite Julia’s help, the groans continued and the work days shortened. We were kinda pathetic this year.  It is now day five and I am just getting ‘into it’.  This morning was the first without groans.

 

PERSONAL REQUEST:  If you are so foolish with your finances that you squander some loose change on the new book (thanks) PULEEEEEEZ review it on Amazon.com and or .ca.  I don’t care if the review is good, mediocre or even bad (well, I am lying about that last option) because ANY review is better than none when dealing with Amazon.  Seems normal readers won’t try a book anymore if it has no reviews.  So, let loose.  Let your inner critic out!  Sal can handle just about anything and she’ll screen out the bad ones for me so I don’t get too upset.  

Fire! Plane down! Take cheese?

Well, not really…….but kinda…..

It seems a newish local decided to do some burning on his property a few days ago.  He wanted to clean up the bush around his new building site.  He did his thing and then hosed it all down.  Then he left for the weekend.  But he didn’t know what he was  doing.  The fire had gone to ground and so the roots were left still burning.  And the wind was up .  The wind was REALLY up.  And a forest fire ensued.

He has a partner and the partner showed up later and saw the fire, freaked out and ran for help.  He ran to the nearest neighbour.  The neighbour has  a phone.  The newbies don’t have one (at least not one getting reception).  Neighbour is on satellite service and together they phone 911.  Mildly hysterical.  911 answers.  911 on satellite is answered in Houston, Texas.  Operator there doesn’t know from BC.  Doesn’t know from remote islands.  Satellite 911 less useful than the fire.  Hysteria escalates. So does the fire.

Neighbour gets on VHF radio.  Calls neighbours.  Most neighbours are not monitoring VHF but enough are.  Mind you, the ‘enough’ are mostly 65+.  Still, a dozen golden oldies and a woofer show up with shovels.  Smoke everywhere.  So thick is the smoke, they cannot find the flames.  More VHF calling gets through to the BC Fire Service and, within a few hours helicopters and a water bomber are on site.

Neighbours are sent home.  The pros are now on the job.  And this crew, it seems are good.  They go at it and within 48 hours or so they have it contained and likely under control.  They don’t say that but it feels that way.  The reason they are reluctant is that the larger fire has also gone to ground.  They know about that and need to do post-flame fire fighting.  In comes a big pump and down goes a few miles of temporary pipe and hosing.  Pump runs for two more days.  Firefighters camp overnight.  When they are established, they quit the camp-out but continue the dousing.   Two more days of pumping and drenching.

The fire is out.

They did good.

Sal was at the post office today.  The mail plane complete with five tourists came in.  When they landed, the pilot ran into the office, “Can I use the phone?”  Informed that there was no phone, but (get this!) he managed to hail another plane from the ground.  Sal has no idea how he did it because the reason he wanted the phone was because the electronics on his plane went down and when a plane drops communications, they assume it has gone down.  He was trying to head off a air/sea search launch.

The second plane relayed a message back to base.  Two planes were then sent out to retrieve the tourists.  Pilot then borrowed the small tool kit at the post office and fixed the electrics using PO duct tape.  Sal gave him a muffin.

He hugged everyone and flew off.

Neighbour came in wanting to buy one of our books.  No money.  Traded goat cheese.

Sal had been there late.  Just came home.  Another day.  Another adventure.

Health Care

No, NOT a rant about my aging or failing muscles.  NOT THIS TIME anyway but it seems to be a favourite topic these days amongst the 65+ ‘local folks’ and friends so I’ll get back onto that rolling hospital bed soon enough.  This topic is different.  This is about the Health Care INDUSTRY, the business of it all, the politics of it all and, like so many things I think about these days, the sheer madness of it all.

Is everything stupid?

Canada has a medicare-style healthcare system.  In theory, you don’t have to pay to get treated for sickness.  In practice, however, a great deal of money exchanges hands and, of course, the patient pays directly and indirectly.  In Canada, we have chosen to assume the ‘insurance’ model where everyone pays in one way or another and then those poor unfortunates needing service can claim it without having to sell their home or go without.  It’s a concept I support and happily pay my share.  I like the concept.

But, it is essentially a ‘basic’ service and all sorts of things NOT covered are just as essential for good health.  So it is greatly wanting.  Like prescriptions, eyes, teeth and receiving expedient treatment.  And, more and more actual medical ‘tasks’ are being left off the free list, too.  Socialized medicine is not always the answer and, to be frank, it is all unnecessarily expensive in the aggregate.  It’s a huge drain on the society where it does not have to be. That part is disappointing.

No, the American system is worse.

That ours doesn’t work all that well is also mostly acceptable to me (except when it doesn’t work for ME!) because, for the most part, I am relatively healthy and inclined to self-medicate, self-diagnose and even self-treat much more than many do.  It’s not that I have the knowledge so much as the experience.  Plus I have diminishing faith in the system.  At 70 I am suffering more and more from things I have suffered from before.  New bloody cuts and burns are going to be treated like old bloody cuts and burns were treated and so I kinda know what to do by the fifth or sixth time breaking or wrecking some new parts in the old familiar ways.  Seen twenty stitchings, seen ’em all.

No, once again, this is NOT about me.

OK. Maybe a bit.  At 70, I have finally found a good, competent and – get this – CARING doctor.  CARING.  SHE CARES!!!  Can you imagine that in this system?  She calls to inquire as to my improvement after an appointment.  She reminds me of issues I raised before.  She does her part promptly, efficiently and uses common sense.  And she’s very intuitive.  A great diagnostician.  She’s GREAT!!!!!

But she’s leaving.

Family ties are calling her home and that is very far away.  She’s going.  The best doctor I ever had is going.  So she asked me and a few others to help find a replacement (I used to run a medical clinic in Vancouver and so it was assumed that I have something to offer the interim find-a-new-doctor committee.  I don’t.  I crack jokes, demand tea and avoid most of the meetings.  Still, I am on the committee.)

It seems there are two ways to pay a doctor in our provincial system (same as the 70’s when I was involved in the clinic).  Fee-for-service and salary.  Doctors who wanna make a buck choose fee-for-service because, in that way, they can ‘assembly-line’ their so-called service and have three exam rooms the size of closets constantly filled and they can zoom from room to room dispensing drug prescriptions in under five minutes per.  My previous doctor had more than three and had it down to under four minutes and all that was done while not looking up from his computer.  He made money but wouldn’t be able to recognize half his patients if he bumped into them.

I grew to resent him.  And the system that made him that way.

The Hippocratic Oath is left much less fulfilled under the fee-for-service system.  And, strangely, it is more expensive.  One example: it is much more efficient (for a business-type GP doctor) to ‘refer’ any REAL medical ‘work’ to a specialist.  If my GP removes a mole, her fee is low.  If she refers the minor surgery to a dermatologist the fee is much higher and requires two visits bare minimum AFTER the initial ‘peek’ from the GP.  Instead of one visit, three visits are billed to the system.  There are additional costs to the system as well.  Two separate doctors have two separate offices and staff.  Plus there is a ‘TAP’ system for those of us who use the ferry.  BC MED pays my ferry fare when I go off-island.  AND BC Med pays more for me to go off-island than I would pay for myself.  Why?  I get a senior discount on my own dime but TAP riders pay full fare. The TAP system costs the taxpayer as much as the fee for service to the GP.  THAT’s insane.

And that madness permeates the system in dozens and dozens of ways.

Far and away the stupidest part of the system is thanks to the college and the BCMA and the CMA (medical associations).  Like unions, they work hard to keep the ‘credentialed’ ranks small so that salaries, fees and services can be valued higher.  Basic supply and demand model.  Good ol’ Capitalism.  “Goodbye Hippocratic oath, get my accountant on the line”. Still, that might just be normal greed at play if it weren’t for the fact that there are simply NOT enough doctors to go around.  The same doctor-centric philosophy that wants to be in demand, is now announcing, “Sorry, we cannot take any new patients.  We are full.  We are rushed off our feet even with our four minute turnover.”

So, our doctor will leave.  We will be without.  She has to live her life and no one begrudges that at all (however, I intend to drive 1500 miles once a year to see her and will ‘save up’ my complaints for then).  But attracting a doctor is like prospecting for gold.  It is easier for a pimply-faced 17 year old geek-boy to get a date with a super-model than for a small community to get a good doctor.

And, get this: starting salary for a salaried GP that only writes prescriptions and makes referrals?  $190,000.  Rising with experience to $300,000.  Nine to five.  NO business effort.  Salary.  And a lot of people will flip out when I say this but, it’s true, “…..for doing what I can do at least 50% of the time. And for doing what a nurse practitioner can do 98% of the time.”  I would be even more critical of the system if I hadn’t finally encountered a good doctor who cares as much as my current doctor does.  Those four-minute guys? Don’t me wound up any more than I already am.

This is a system that has some kind of weird ‘do not touch’ status and it needs a great deal of ‘touching’ (maybe some slapping around).  The irony is that everyone knows it.  Even the doctors.  It is just that no one wants to rock the boat and so the patients, the citizenry, the tax payer and the needy suffer.  And that is just plain stupid.

I’d refer the matter to a group of psychiatrists but the waiting list for a psychiatrist is two years……

…..is everything this stupid now? 

 

Smidge overdue……

……on what’s been happening in my head.  Short answer: not much.  Nothing of any importance anyway.

Caught a fish Monday.  About seven pounds….maybe six.  Ling cod. That was good.  I think that makes it the third fish I have ever caught in my life that didn’t have a middleman (fishing guide) in the middle of it all.  This was just me, the primal guy, with the junk gear fishing for dinner.  Aaaargh!  Well, OK, primal guy and his wife.  Aaaargh.

We’re looking for some Woofers – Willing Workers on Organic Farms.  They are usually young people traveling the world on a small budget and they swap a few hours labour for a place to kip down and scarf down some meals.  Every Woofer we have had was great except for two and they were fine.  NOT great but OK.  That’s a ratio of about ten to one.  It’s always interesting, often fun.

But……

…..seems the W’fers are getting a bit flaky these days.  They say they are coming and then, a day later, say they are not.  That’s fine.  I guess.  But it makes it seem a bit flaky to me.  I have no idea why this is happening but it is not peculiar to us.  Oh, well……..some will come.  They will be fine.  Life is good.

The boat is great.  The boat is GREAT!  Been using it for about two months and love it!

Trump?  Just makes me gag right now.  “Canadians are spoiled.”  THIS insult coming from  Donald Trump!  Unbelievable.

Alberta and BC and Kinder Morgan and Trudeau…?  Makes me gag all over again.  Too stupid.  TOO STUPID FOR WORDS!!!!  Jason Kenney (no rocket scientist himself) says flat out that Trudeau has the political depth of a finger bowl.  No attention span.  Can’t read a memo longer than a cocktail napkin.  And, if the TransMountain pipeline fiasco is anything to go by, he is understating the case.  I love Horgan for doing what he said he would do and I hate Notley for being a bully-bitch but the problem and the solution has been evident for years and look at this crew……pathetic.

How do these people get our votes?

But, it’s summertime and the pols will now go play at the beach.  They feel they have earned their pay.  Time to BBQ and have fun.  Frankly, the country would be better off if they just stayed at the cottage year ’round and left us all the hell alone.  It is hard to even get me riled when they are so bad.

Grandson doing good.

Sal quilting like a maniac.

Book delayed by an Amazon screw up.  Couple more weeks….

Here’s something that might surprise you….I think I should pay more – for my ferry service.  For years BCF has charged too much.  They still do for the Gulf crossings and they used to for our short, ten minute run from little island to BIG island.  With car, we paid about $30.00.  Steep.  Especially considering the boat was built in the 60’s (1860’s it seems), is rusted like a third world disaster waiting to happen and is always full.  Still…my gut-price said $25.00 was OK so the extra five bucks was no biggie.  THEN they gave us seniors discounts and that was good.  Got it down to $22.00 or thereabouts and that was a ‘good’ deal in my gutsl.  NO complaints.

Then the NDP improved that.  I now pay just under $15.00.  Sal and I and our car….$15.00 on non-weekends and that includes TO and FROM the little island.  $7.50 one way.  I cannot buy a burger for that.  It’s TOOOOOooooooooo cheap.  Who woulda thunk it?  I think I should pay more.  I really do.  There isn’t a hope in hell of getting a new, safe ferry at that ticket price.  There isn’t a hope in hell they can operate in the black at that price.  At that price….we are gonna sink!!

And I am a pinko.  I want everything for free.  I am a leach on the taxpayer (in spirit) and even I think this is too cheap.

I am thinking of putting up a collection can at the ticket office for donations to pay for a new boat. I wonder how that would go over?

Anyway…you can see where this blog going…nowhere.  Dave has no issues right now.  Dave is laid back.  Calm.  No axes to grind, no crosses to bear, no burrs under my saddle, no worries, mate.

Hmmmm…that worries me…..

 

Cougars

As Sal and I were heading home after a hard (but short) day cannibalizing our old boat, Wasabi, we came across a gaggle of tourists at the end of the road.  There were six.  Five were women ‘of a certain age’ (meaning 55+).  One was quite attractive.  Sal was already schlepping stuff along the trail to the new (to us) boat ,Pumpkin, and I was coming down from the parking lot when they politely engaged me in some tourist-meets-local chit chat.  I’m usually good for a minute of charm-offensive (emphasis on the word offensive) and, as three of them were smiling a lot and regarding me as some kind of out-there, kinda-odd, hill-billy ‘character’, I was easily seduced. We chatted and had fun.

I think it was a somewhat unique encounter for them (and me) and it was actually flirting quite soon after the initial introductions and one woman was so attentive and animated that I found myself saying, “You should come out and stay one weekend.  Then you’d learn more about this lifestyle.”  (Yes, that was the attractive one.)  Of course, it was all said with a smidge of insincere, but polite, tone of double entendre and they all giggled at the hinted prospect.

Well, okay, it may have been gagging and choking but they maintained their smiles so I choose to interpret their guttural sounds as giggles.

I mentioned that Sal was at the boat . . .right?

Anyway, like all cougar encounters, this one was brief, exciting and I was left breath-taken at the beauty of nature in the wild.  I wish I’d had a camera.

My friend, D did. There she was . . . another attractive cougar…..just passing through on his side of the island.  Not even so much as a real encounter.  No flirting.  No giggles.  But he saw and experienced the beauty of the moment as well.

A few days later D. got the following photo: