T-t-talkin’ ’bout m-m-my generation…..

Well, to be fair, I am gonna talk about approximately 8 generations…maybe throw in the Camel story…anyway, here goes…

Firstly, the word ‘generation’ when applied to a time span is bizarrely inaccurate. Some people consider it to be 20 years and some 30 and some even 35 depending on the application. The Iroquois, apparently considered it to be 75 years. For the sake of Dave’s convenience, I am going to use 30 years. Why? Well, 30 divided into 240 results neatly at 8. And also because modern reproductive cycles have edged upwards towards thirty year old first-time mothers rather than the previous generations 20 year old first time mothers.

Contradicting hugely what I just said is the list of the last seven named generations:

  • The Greatest Generation (born 1901–1927)….26 years
  • The Silent Generation (born 1928–1945)………17 years
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)………………..18years
  • Generation X (born 1965–1980)…………………..15 years
  • Millennials (born 1981–1995)……………………….14 years
  • Generation Z (born 1996–2010)……………………14 years
  • Generation Alpha (born 2011–2025)………………14 years

That 14/15 year span, again, kinda flies in the face of the so-called ‘generations’ definition but I suspect that this modern shorter-term version is based somewhat on buying power and economics but who the hell really knows?

“So why write about it, then?”

Because of the camels. According to a friend who heard a story about the generations, an old Arab told his son: “My great, great grandfather rode a camel. My great grandfather rode a camel. My grandfather rode a camel and my father rode a camel. I drive a Mercedes Benz. My son drives a Lexus and his son is planning on a Tesla. But the next generation after that will ride a camel again.”

“Why, oh, great Mercedes driver, God willing……will the last one ride a camel?

“Ah, my little fig eater, it has always been thus. The first few generations build up empires complete with institutions and wealth. But they had to deal with trouble, strife, hard work, obstacles and invention to achieve that. And, eventually, their children benefitted with riches, entitlement, softness and a Mercedes Benz, S-class, with all the bells and whistles. After fewer generations of indulgence and decadence, the empire collapses and the next new generation has to learn to ride camels again.”

It has also been noted by historians (H.Cox-Richardson) that empires prevail for approximately (on average) 240 years. Interesting, don’t you think? The USA (1776 to 2022) is 246 years years old and showing some fraying around the edges. But, again with the contradictions: The Qing Dynasty lasted 350 years, the British Empire reportedly lasted 400 years and the Ottoman Empire lasted 600.

“So, the point is….?”

Empires come and go. Change is inevitable. Sometimes TEOTWAWKI sets us back to more primal times. And then some group, tribe, society eventually comes along to overcome the setback, work hard, invent, and set a new, higher standard……but…well, it seems to require hitting the bottom first and then a lot of hard work and creativity to get out.

And all that cycle requires at least 8 generations (using 30 as the length) or 16 generations if you use 15 (as has the last few listed generations). We may be approaching the end of the Western/American Empire (according to historians and the average) but we may just be half way through another 400-600 year reign. Who the hell knows?

The only hard truth I can find in all that mental meandering is that I was lucky enough to live at the apex of the latest empire rather than at the harder beginning. Or, if not the apex, at least on the ascendancy, the upside. I may be the Mercedes Benz driver. And I have been very, very lucky.

Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP

I said I was bored with US politics and that is a good thing, really. Boring is good. Politics should be boring, uneventful, administration that just keeps the trains and buses running.

Biden and gang are doing rather well and, compared to the former guy, exceptionally well. I know Trump is still a topic but, well, not for me, not right now. I am tired of the fool. However, today some news on that side of Congress shocked me. I did not think it was possible to do that anymore with Trump and the Maggots. But it did.

Heather Cox Richardson is an historian and blogger. She has been a news source for me. She recently commented on Biden’s debt reduction plan for student debt. Student debt in the US is a huge issue (as it is here). It seems the debt relief program implemented by Biden is getting a lot of flack and pushback from the Republicans. That kind of idiocy is to be expected from the GOP but the following hyper-hypocrisy blew my mind.

A bit of background info to bring you up to speed: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a $953-billion business loan program established by the US government during the Trump administration in 2020 through the CARES Act to help certain businesses, self-employed workers, sole proprietors, certain nonprofit organizations, and tribal businesses to continue paying their workers during Covid.

Heather Cox Richardson reported: Criticising Biden’s student relief plan, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said: “For our government just to say ok your debt is completely forgiven.. it’s completely unfair.” Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) said: “Biden’s reckless, unilateral student loan giveaway is unfair to the 87 percent of Americans without student loan debt and those who played by the rules.” Buchanan had more than $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) said: “We do not need farmers and ranchers, small business owners, and teachers in Oklahoma paying the debts of Ivy League lawyers and doctors across the U.S.” Mullin had more than $1.4 million in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) said: “To recap, in the last two weeks, the ‘Party of the People’ has supercharged the IRS to go after working-class Americans, raised their taxes, and forced them to pay for other people’s college degrees.” Hern had more than $1 million in PPP loans forgiven and that statement is NOT true.

Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) said: “Asking plumbers and carpenters to pay off the loans of Wall Street advisors and lawyers isn’t just unfair. It’s also bad policy.” Kelly had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL): ….” Gaetz had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven. 

For the record, Gaetz and MTG have never worked a day in their life.

I should not be surprised. But I was. Corruption, crime, lying, sexual shenanigans and treason on the so-called CONSERVATIVE side of politics is consistent and constant. The biggest hypocrites and liars are always CONSERVATIVES. Well, CONSERVATIVES and Christian fundamentalists of the evangelical Swaggart and Baker type. It is unbelievable.

Yeah, I know….a political rant…..sorry

Adrift in place

This blog is supposed to be mostly about OTG’ing and what is currently of interest to me on the odd other topic. I occasionally go off on some hormonal rant but my excuse for that is easily explained: whatever the rant topic is, I am currently interested in it! But today’s topic is a weird one: there is little-to-nothing of major interest for me right now. I am somewhat adrift in place.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not bored. Not in the least. There are topics a’flying and all hold some interest. It is just that none of them warrants much of a blog. They are just ‘life’ issues, for the most part. When that has happened in the past, I went to an omni-blog, a collection of topics lightly dealt with. And, I suppose, that should be today’s type of blog.

But then there is Trump. OMG! How a monstrous buffoon has taken centre stage and kept it! It is like a very bad Broadway play that never ends. It is a political soap opera and the cast of characters are almost too fantastical to be believed. But, like all soap operas, I do get bored and I am totally bored of Trump despite the magnificence of his debauchery and treachery. In fact, I am totally bored of the United States. What a gong show!

Climate Change is looming larger. A LOT larger. We are just shy of the 1.5C threshold for the tipping point. But it feels as if we have already tipped over the edge to me. I think those who are still preaching solution are now in denial. We should be preaching survival…..as in pockets of human survival in a world that is trying to kill us all. I may be over-reacting. We’ll see.

Democracy has always been a sacred cow for me. My vote counted. Mind you, I was programmed to think that way by those who benefitted by the charade of it all. I still think ‘the people’ should rule the people but there is considerable evidence that the system we have deployed is the wrong one and that a benevolent King or Queen is a better model. Preferably one with a 3 digit IQ. Mind you, the number of benevolent, intelligent monarchs has been historically low. Maybe we are just all like cats – impossible to manage. But one thing is for sure, a corrupt democracy is not better than a corrupt dictator and, at least the corrupt dictators are fewer than a Congress or Parliament of slime-balls.

Our fauna is suffering. Fewer everything. Fewer birds, fewer fish, fewer mammals. Do I count them? Of course not. This is inferred from casual observation. Not scientific at all except that the scientists are saying the same thing. Mind you, the last two days has had us watching big ol’ Humpback whales slowly meandering past our front door but still…..

I left the island for a day last week. I owed a bunch of guys a beer and some chicken wings. So we all went and did ‘old guy stuff (drinking beer, trading insults, lies and fantastical stories). It was fun. But we are pretty old. Average age: 70+. Eight septuagenarians with their wife’s permission drank beer for 90 minutes and then went home for a nap…..I dunno…

The dogs are getting easier to live with. They are sleeping to our hours, starting to swim, slowing their growth, learning how to be ‘good dogs’. But they are still growing some. Gus is humongous. When they both jump on Sal to greet her, she disappears. Literally. It’s pretty funny….all you can see is Sal’s legs flailing, her arms in the air and a lot of dog tongues a’licking all to the shrieking sounds of Sal’s laughter.

On a more sober note, some of my contemporaries are not doing so well….a bit of Parkinson’s here, a bit of heart trouble there, here a limp, there a disease, everywhere a litany of physical ailments. It is NOT good. No one is headed for the farm just yet but there are shades of lingering and demise where there were dreams and energies before. That is not so good. It may even be infectious…..

The boat is coming along. I installed an inverter the other day. That means I can use the batteries to power the tools I need to finish some things off. Of course, the first chore after the inverter is the installation of the solar panels needed to keep the batteries up so that is job ONE for today and the next day until system is installed.

Sal and I have some dock work to do as well. Another anchor line to add, some deck repairs, some additional floats to install, some cleats to install. A wharfinger and his wife’s work is never done.

Ooooh…one more thing: The liquor distribution arm of the provincial government is on strike. Booze is drying up. A friend was in town and asked us for a list. She bought everything she could under the limits imposed. It was still a lot. We have more scotch than Edinburgh right now. I have 5 Laphroaigs!

Just another blog in the chronicle of our life OTG with a bit of eclectic observation thrown in for fun.

What a difference a couple of inches makes……

….in propellers, I mean. The 22′, semi-displacement John R currently sports an 11 x 14 prop. Way too much pitch. It really needs more like an 11 x 11 or even an 11 x 10. I am going to change over to an 11 x 11 ’cause I already have one but 11 x 10 (maybe even an 11 x 9) would be better. For every inch in pitch I drop, I gain 200 rpms and, right now, I need to gain about 800 to 1000 rpms to maximize the engine’s efficiencies. It seems it runs at it’s best between 5000 and 5500 rpms. Right now, I cannot get past 4500.

We have lately been using the new boat more and more. Grand total of 14 hours on the clock but most of those in the last two or so weeks. It is great! Really great. Our last batch of guests (a family of four plus their 100 pound dog) with all their luggage and Sally, me and our two dogs (our two 8 month old puppies currently together weighing in at 160 plus pounds!) all loaded in and went only a couple of miles but the performance was still very good. I estimate the variable load to have been around 1100 plus pounds. Fixed load (gasoline, equipment, ropes, fenders, pike pole, tools, anchor, etc) maybe another 200 pounds. Quite possibly as much as 1500 pounds of payload all in. We burned 3 liters an hour. That is amazing!

OK, we were not planing at 20 knots like Pumpkin (our 17′ Double Eagle with a Yamaha 50), but I guesstimated that we were easily doing 9 knots and, with a ‘push’, I could have hit 12. Empty-ish, we seem to be capable of close to 18 knots.

This may not seem like news to you and, perhaps, it should NOT be news to me since I kinda planned it this way but, honestly, this boat burns less fuel and carries twice as much as did good ol’ Pumpkin, our previous main but now secondary boat. Basically, the John R is twice as big and yet twice as efficient. Given that gasoline – out here – is $10.00 a gallon, that is a BIG deal!

I love it when a plan comes together but, well, none have ever done that before, so I am gobsmacked actually.

A few days later: I am still plugging away at affixing the new roof. That is not easy for me (given the success ratio I have with woodworking) but I am encouraged. The pieces kinda ‘seem’ right when I dry-fit them. But, as we all know, a dry-fit on the back deck near the shop is not the same as a perma-fit on the curved-but-fixed shapes of the actual boat located 250 yards away along a winding an undulating path. I confess I am still a bit apprehensive about the two scenes being shuffled together.

While making the new roof for the new boat, I also made a new roof for the old boat (Pumpkin) and Sal and I affixed that one the other day. It’s good. It will work out just fine. It is not a curved, pretty roof like the John R but it is effective and pretty enough. Sal is pleased. And that is what counts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And Sal is also making some new cushions for the fixed seats of the John R and reupholstering the two folding deck chairs we found in the trash. That kind of sounds a smidge pathetic but, actually, the trashed chairs are exceptionally well made and no shopping or deliveries were required. Win-win.

Oh? And the prop? Brilliant!! Bloody marvelous, dahling. With the 11.6 x 11.1 I hit 6000 rpms easily. The boat was flying! I cut ‘er back to 5000 rpms (fast cruising speed) and it just purred while I did at least 16 knots, probably 18 when I pushed it to 5500. The prop pitch made a much bigger difference than the internet suggested.

I would like to use this blog as just another day-in-the-life kinda blog but, to be honest, we have been plugging away like worker-bees for over two months. Think of it, instead, as a busy summer month-or-so-in-the-life of old people with a new wooden boat, puppies, a ridiculous schedule and a bazillion chores.

And NOW, as of today: It happened. Roof is on the boat. Did it fit? Yes! Did it fit perfectly like a hand in a glove? No. It fit a bit more like OJ Simpson’s glove. But a little shaving here, a bit of a nudge and lever there and then, yes it did. Is it beautiful? As a boat building friend said, “It looks great from 200 feet!” Normally, that would be good enough for me. It is strong and functional and aesthetics are NOT my strong suit. Still, I am gonna sand and shave and chip and polish then add some more paint and I think I will achieve the 100 foot critical appraisal. Nothing closer, please.

Here’s hoping…..

Well, well, wouldn’t you just KNOW it!

I am disinclined to formal religion. I think it is archaic, formulaic, unconscious and corrupt. But that’s just me. I know a lot of nice people who are religious but, well, church isn’t for me. Do not get me wrong. I have a faith. It’s just not in religion. I have a faith in God or, better put, a higher being, a spirit of sorts…..well, we’ll just let it go at that, shall we…..just a belief in something much bigger than me, ya know? The universe unfolding as it should, maybe?

My go-to statement on religion is: Religion is to God what Safeway is to food. Just a marketing arm.

But I must admit, the more I read the current news, the more Revelations and Ezekiel come to mind (never having read them, of course). Revelations is in the New Testament and Ezekiel and Zechariah are in the Old Testament and neither of them seemed relevant to me….until, well, lately. Both those Testaments posited that there would be an Apocalypse of sorts. An End of Days kind of thing. TEOTWAWKI.

The New Testament lists the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as conquest, war, famine and death, while in the Old Testament, it’s the Book of Ezekiel and Zechariah that threaten with the sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence or plague.

It still seems pretty far-fetched and typically Wrath-of-God, magical thinking kind of stuff but we are definitely feeling some kind of apprehension. Aren’t we? To be honest, if four guys on horses showed up, I’d freak out (bear in mind I live on an island). And if I had lived through the mouse and rat plague of Australia, I’d have been hysterical!

“So, what’s the point, Dave?”

One of those horsemen is pestilence. Another is War. A third is famine and the fourth is Death which seems kind of redundant to me. Wouldn’t the first three combined kill you dead? Whatever. And the devil, of course, is the Prince of Lies. Haven’t y’all noticed the ascendancy of lying lately?

I think you know where I am going with this……

Covid is being followed by Monkeypox and now, get this: Polio! Polio was eradicated in the US but it is now a clear and present danger in New York state. Seems two counties in upper New York are largely anti-vaxxers and they got hit hard by Covid and now their waste water is testing positive for Polio (tested because somebody recently became paralyzed by the disease there).

And then you got your China flexing their missiles over Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan. And Ukraine is fighting Russia and Russia is now fighting the West in every other way. And the good ol’ USA is always good for a little gunfire home and abroad.

I suppose not being able to get dried sour cherries, lemon grass, avocadoes or cauliflower does not really qualify as famine but famine is happening again in Africa and, of course, the Russian conflict closed the ‘Breadbasket’ of the world in Ukraine’s wheat. That is still hardly world famine but, with Climate Change a lot of large commercial gardens are going dry. California is literally toast. Rivers are drying up in Europe and the US. Plus the oceans are going dead. NO fish. NO avocadoes. NO mustard. NO wheat. Jus’ sayin’….

….and the biggest all-time liar in history NOT in a mental asylum was recently the president of the United states. And Alex Jones, a dissembler and racist and bully and supporter of the January 6th insurrection is worth over $300 million – all from being good at bad stuff.

Am I sayin’ anything important? No, not really. I am just sayin’ that a guy who doesn’t put much store in the bible, has maybe read 5% of it (I was much younger when I made a stab at it and the language was just too boring) and can’t accept that a bunch of scholars hundreds of years after Christ died wrote God’s word is NOW, of all times, having those weird thoughts.

I’d consider starting the Church of Dave but I fear it is too late…………………………….

Lyin’ for money

As we all know, the media is less-than-perfect. We do not believe most of what we see and hear. Some of it is really, really bad and the rest is worse. We are just not completely trusting of the news anymore. In fact, the remaining BIG news outlets, in an effort to regain some lost credibility, now run ‘fact-checking’ segments.

We do not have faith in mainstream news media and we have virtually none in the internet ‘personality’ outlets (but some are definitely entertaining). The reason we even check in with any of them is simple: where else do you go for info? And some of it is basically, generally kinda true. Probably. Check in with enough sources and you might get some kind of ‘overall’ picture. Maybe.

For example: I know there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine. I know Russia started it. I know the west has imposed sanctions on Russia and is half-supporting Ukraine. I know a lot of Ukranians had to leave the country. That much I know. After that, it gets a bit blurry.

I know extreme weather events are increasing and increasingly severe. I believe that is happening all over the world. But that is all that I really know for sure about the current state of the climate except that is changing.

And so it goes for some politics, some religion (i.e. pope visits, Dalai Lama, a rogue Islamic cleric, etc), and the economy. I say ‘some’ politics because 80% of the world is not reported on at all (I guess nothing ever happens in Mozambique, Montenegro and Mongolia). Ninety-nine percent of religious issues go unreported (which is a blessing) and, of course, the economy is a mystery at the best of times and especially so in at least 85% of the world. Our understanding of what’s up is still very, very limited and, tho I sense a renewed effort at some fact-finding, I still have much less faith in the media with very few exceptions.

Why is this? I assumed that my cynicism was the result of 74 years on the planet and having been involved in more than a normal person’s number of news stories. Every story I was intimately familiar with, the news got it wrong. After awhile, that inclination-to-error adds up. I started to have doubts on other stories based on virtually nothing…..well…there was one thing that assisted my suspicion and that was that so many stories in so many news outlets sounded so much alike.

And that is because there are only three main news aggregators or wire services that western media utilize.  Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Reuters. Basically, those three (all good, mind you) find, filter, edit, summarize and distribute NEWS from around the world to their news-distributor customers. They may be good but three is also very limiting. Only local news outlets escaped that giant wire-service filter primarily because the local fry was so small, they slipped through the larger netting.

But – and this is the point – local news was usually more factual on local stories. It has always had a bias that slanted towards the nearest big corporation or advertiser but the weather forecast was accurate, the quotes from the mayor were accurate, the local hockey game scores were right on. News on the local economy, on the other hand, was only so-so. That’s because news runs off of ad revenues and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Industry and business (Chamber of Commerce) pushed for discretion at the very least and suppression on many things (like pollution, gouging, fraud). Local news was good for local human interest, car accidents, plane crashes and police related stuff but noticeably absent from investigative stuff that involved politicians, corporations, government, institutions, and bigger social issues. The sometimes exception to that was the editorial and some special columnists (previously referred to as reporters).

But over the last thirty years or so all that has changed. Firstly, the vast majority (well over 50%) are no longer with us. They were bought up. The remaining have no reporters. There are no editorial opinions. These ‘news’ sources are now just two and three person, employee-run (owner elsewhere) weeklies that only print what is given to them and, of course, sell ads. The editorial is given to them.

Why? Well, it is cheaper that way. More money is made by simply regurgitating pap and PR. No staff required. Radio stations went that way, too (run by computers and robots). Even local television stations only hires pretty faces and simply delivers what their owner feeds them. NO reporters. Journalism is close to dead. Distrust and doubt results from that and distrust and doubt also results in a smaller audience.

News is corporate but we just aren’t buying it like we used to. Instead, we are shopping elsewhere. And the internet wannabes rushed in to fill that demand. Of course, the unqualified and unregulated knew that the audience wanted sensationalized stories, intrigue and expose’s but, not having the resources to do that, they just made crap up. That became so successful a model, Fox rose to the top of the heap and gave rise to second tier liars and fabricators (OAN, Epoch Times). They, in turn, grew a single-guy-with-camera-and-mike junior farm team complete with fake news desks just waiting for their big break. We now had a gutted ‘legitimate’ media supplemented by a cheaper-to-run, more profitable, lying media that is a succeeding rival and a growing group of opinionators like me just adding to the noise.

And it is does NOT stop there. How do the liars and the weakened legitimates get non wire service content? Seems they get that ‘content’ from PR firms issuing press releases. A press release is cheap (free), well-written and, of course, 100% favourable to the client issuing it. Corporate interests now owned the media and the content. Worse, the legitimate news providers also publish and broadcast PR originated pieces! Your ‘news’ is the corporate message ‘merchandised’ to suit your tastes.

There are now thousands and thousands of new PR firms. They are filling the role of the old, hard-drinking, street-crawling, investigative reporters of yesteryear whose stories too often cost too much, ended in dead-ends and caused lawsuits. So much better business using an ‘attributable’ source that gives up the content for free AND buys ads.

The only cost to your news business is that they lie.

PLEASE NOTE There are a few notable independent news gatherers at all levels from the NY Times (big) to the Tyee (small). And some little farm-team wannabes that have a truth conduit in some narrower field (Heather Cox-Richardson, Beau of the Fifth Column). These outlets mentioned are the exception but the exception includes many more unmentioned. One has to select.

I’m adequate……

…..or so said one of Sal’s women-friends last year when she said goodbye to us both after staying with us for a few days (90% of the time sitting on the couch drinking coffee and yapping until it was time for wine and dinner). “Thank you, Sally. You were wonderful and (turning to me)….well, David, you were…..well….adequate.”

In the moment, it seemed a smidge ungracious but well, over time, I am forced to agree with her. In fact, when it specifically comes to f’glassing, I am barely even misandry-level adequate. Sub adequate in f’glassing I most assuredly am but, perhaps, a bit extra good when it comes to cooking steak (or so said another of Sal’s woman friends who also later came to stay mostly on the couch with coffee and then wine while she awaited her cooked-to-order steak dinner). So, it all may balance out to be a generalist’s adequacy. Or, in the eyes of the hard-put-upon fairer sex, barely tolerable male inadequacy. Our bar is set pretty low these days (whew!).

My excuse? That’s right! I am a generalist! I try to be able to do everything somewhat adequately well altho, admittedly, the desire to do any of it GREAT is just not there anymore. Adequate is just fine now that I think about it. And so I describe my new roof-in-the-making for the new boat………

It is adequate. Mission accomplished! It will do the job for as long as I navigate this mortal coil. I think it is good. It is almost complete in it’s components but it has yet to be fitted-in-place and, when that happens, we’ll know just how adequate I was.

The thing about boat building/altering/repairing (for me) is that nothing is square, everything is ‘formed’, it has to be strong and sea-worthy and, hopefully, adequately pleasing to the eye. But none of that can be done in situ down at the dock (no power there and all my tools are 200 yards uphill away). Plus I am a wood butcher who seems to do everything for the first time. A boat roof is a daunting challenge.

This roof is only 36 sft or 3 sq meters? I ‘sandwiched’ and glued doorskins to get the curve. I salvaged old wood to make the frame. I used galvanized plumbing tubes for supports. And then I f’glassed the roof once the shape was formed. I later sanded and filled for a bit until I thought, “Well, that should be adequate.”

Next in the progression is painting. I will put on one coat and then sand. Then I will put on the second coat and, no matter what, call it adequate. Adequate is a standard to which I am becoming more than comfortable. Whatever possessed me to try to do better?

Speaking of comfort, I currently do not have any. Nor does anyone else out here. It is 91F at our place today. It was 91F yesterday. 33C! That is hot! Some neighbours inland ‘up the hill’ hit over 100+ yesterday. They are pushing past that today! Mind you, the silver lining is that any f’glass work has definitely kicked off.

And so might I if it gets any hotter!

This is really hot for me but the pooches sport black, curly hair. A lot of tongue is showing. A lot of panting is heard. A whole lot of water is being drunk. They are still puppies (8 months old) and somewhat leery of the ocean unless coaxed. They will eventually learn. But, so far, they have not. This kind of weather is just not typical of what it has been in the past but I suspect that it is going to be more and more like this as the years go by. We, as a species, didn’t learn either.

Climate change….geez, who knew? Well, OK, there were the many reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has been screaming warnings for over 30 years (first one in 1990) but who listens to scientists these days, eh, when you can get the abbreviated (and distorted) version from FOX News? No reading, thinking or even considering real news. I wonder what Tucker (annual salary $6M) and Sean (annual salary of $25M) have to say about it all?

Anyway, I will, like millions of SE Asians, Northeastern ‘Mericans, Sou’western ‘Mericans, Europeans…well, you get the point….. just carry on carrying on and hope it passes soon. I’ll get my adequate roof on the modest boat soon and then I will no longer cook while going in it….the very definition of a mediocre man adequately adapting and quietly denying the obvious truth all at the same time.

“Theory: there is an undetected force at work out there that is confusing and overwhelming a lot of us.” (Cox)

It is a pretty sad blogger who quotes himself but I thought I’d do a third in the series of the ‘Confusion’ amongst us. This time not from a general, human basis (i.e. me), but, rather, from the perspective of economics (sans the boring details). Of course, economics is simply human behaviours as manifest in data and numbers so it is still human behaviour, but it is spoken in the language of numbers. Being confused is human, being unreconciled is economics. Basically that is the same thing to me.

It is one thing to admit to my own confusion and another thing to note that others around the world also feel that same way but hard data and accurate statistics are supposed to behave in relation to one another and give us the bottom-line facts. We are either having a bad time economically or we are not.

And we expect that the ‘truth’ we seek will show up in charts and numbers, GDP, data, stats, interest rates and all that. But this time, not only are we confused, our metrics are as well. The charts and stats do not reconcile (Krugman). So, if you are wondering why you and all you know are confused, you can take some solace in knowing the economic data is just as mixed up as we are.

A few more confusions: Covid is on the rebound. It is surging somewhat up here in the NW corner of nowhere, too. What’s it doin’ in New York, Geneva or even Moscow? No one is reporting it? No one is addressing it? We are just gonna go to the pub?

We also got ourselves some kind of Monkeypox goin’ on and, tho not rampant, it, too, is slowly increasing. Then ya got yer new Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola waiting on deck. As Andrew Nikiforuk put it: We are in the era of the Forever Virus. That may not be confusing but it is definitely disconcerting.

How ’bout them airports, eh? Can’t even find the luggage! Can’t fly on schedule. I dunno….seems kinda odd that something that worked then doesn’t work now and can’t seem to get fixed no matter what. Jus’ sayin’.

Two cops just shot another unarmed black kid to death (within 5 seconds of arriving on scene). Again. Like…number 350 or something so far this year. That may NOT be confusing since we are all getting used to it but it is very confusing that the PO-lice are still doing that sort of thing. Every day! After all this time, all those protests, all that ‘investigation’ and all that promising to do better, they are on pace for another record homicide year. Are they just stupid, or what?

Here’s something I find confusing: The US Supreme Court ruled some time back that police are not obliged to serve, protect, defend or keep safe anyone but themselves while enforcing the law. But they can and do kill unarmed civilians. So, all those women being stalked and assaulted are simply wasting their time calling the cops. Waddamysayin’...we are all just wasting our time depending on the Po-lice!

But remember: ‘do not take matters into your own hands lest they throw you in the slammer’. I dunno….I think that can get confusing….

Hmmmm…..Po-lice do not have to serve and protect, Conservation officers usually just kill the animals and lawyers are often the biggest criminals. And God knows, nurses don’t nurse, they just write in the file and go on stress leave (that has been my direct experience way too many times). And teachers may teach but the level of education in the US is beyond abysmal. That is all kind of confusing to me. Shouldn’t those folks be doing their jobs?

But all that general confusion aside for a minute…..waddabout the craziest lack-of-any-kind-of-logic to date? Trump. Four years of grifting, lying, incompetence and treason culminating in an armed insurrection and yet not one single charge has been levied. Not even one single subpoena to the Orange Moron. I know, I know, the DOJ is keeping all their cards close and tight but well, why? He was rotten from day one! They either have a humongous, Everest-sized case or they do not. Why not give us an hors d’oeuvres? Give us a taste. Prosecute him for illegal parking…whatever!

Nothing from the taxes?

One last crazy-making anecdote for ya. A male friend married a foreign woman. She lives in another country. They have been separated by Covid for over three years! This guy is wealthy. This guy is smart. This guy is healthy. This guy pays taxes in greater amounts than I have ever earned. In excess of 100’s of thousands a year!!!! Immigration keeps turning her down. Each application takes months. Each application demands information (and more taxes are getting paid). Each time, Immigration says no. They do not believe she will go back to her own country! Duh! Wives are not supposed to! This guy can and will support her forever. She is not a criminal. She is not a drain or a threat on this country. He cannot have his wife. His taxes help pay that bureaucrat’s salary. Confusing or just cruel?

Am I confused? Well, I am if I believe in logic, fairness and due uncorrupted process. But since I have not seen much of any of that for some time – anywhere, I am not as confused as I might be. You see, it is increasingly apparent the world (as I know it) is going to hell in a handbasket and, once that is accepted as a fact-in-the-making, it is no longer quite so confusing. Chaos has ensued. The end game is on. We are simply done. Game over soon. Fini!

No, I am not being negative. I am just ranting. Back to fiberglassing and dogs and whales and the Adventures of WonderSal coming soon to a blog near you.

Our last week, give or take….

Mel (our first W’fer) left about two weeks ago. She was good…helped us get started on the summer chores. Then a couple of guests for a few days. Then a few more guests-of-neighbours. Some of our close-by summer residents also arrived. Then our second W’fer came about four days ago. Bottom line: all the winter wood is in, all the last two weeks of groceries have gone out.

In the meanwhile, I did some prawning in the new boat and gathered about 25 pounds of beauties but half were given away and most of the other half are in our freezer. Firstly, two pounds of prawns are eaten already by ‘folks’ and the ‘red tide’ warning was lifted and so we have a lot fewer oysters as well. Sal also made her famous clam chowder so the clams are fewer, too. Mind you, all guests brought wine and scotch and so the larder is well, almost full. It seemed to go almost as quickly as it came, tho. People and wood come in, shellfish and wine goes out. Some scotch comes and goes. The circle of life.

I made several attempts at forming a roof for the new boat but the first two efforts were for nought. Kinda wasted some hard-got plywood. But third time is the charm (maybe) and that last effort is looking like it might work. We’ll see.

Two long blogs were written over this past week. One on economics and how all the charts and graphs are moving in irregular ways but WordPress, me, my computer, the computer Gods or maybe just Murphy erased a long and well researched post and I did not have the heart to start again. Count yourself lucky. Bottom line: the various charts and numbers are not moving in unison like they normally do. The economists are also confused. The second one was all philosophical and gooey…..I got sick of myself half-way through and quit it. Count yourself doubly lucky. That one will hopefully never surface again.

And then we had the Congressional hearings into the madness that was Trump during the last days of his malignant presidency. What a gong show! What a total farce! What a house of scumbags! I am even more stunned at how low the office, how putrid the administration, how rotten the people and how close the US came to being dismantled by a total idiot. And it makes me wonder……

This insurrection attempt, as amateurish as it was, ran pretty deep. Still is! There are a lot of players, a lot of helpers, a lot of supporters and a lot of money behind destroying the USA from the inside out. The president tried to kill the country! AND THE SECRET SERVICE erased all their emails on that day! Just how rotten is their government when General Flynn, a bunch of congress people, Fox News, Capitol police, the resident family scum, a pack of mental lawyers, quasi militia thugs, various police forces, state governors and even election officials are in on a coup!? The depth and breadth of this scurrilous plot is mind-blowing.

And the beast is STILL not dead!

(‘Scuse me….I have to count to ten….1…..2….3……4….. ……..)

Our community folk built a pavilion. It is beautiful. It is a hexagon shape with about a 25′ diameter. Heavy beams, timberframe style. Open. Very nice. I’ll send pics when it is done.

The community is a’hummin’ and things are gettin’ done, guests arriving and leaving, water taxis, planes, friends and acquaintances meeting up again…..it is all good…..almost….

It is not so good for visitors by car. BC Ferries seems to be drowning in their own mismanagement. We had two replacement ferries built (overseas, of course) and brought to BC. Our current ferry could not be gifted to a 3rd world country – it is so overdue for retirement. We greatly anticipated the swap-over from one rust bucket to two, cleaner, newer, more-frequent, safe ferries. And the ferry traffic has tripled in the last few years. They are very overdue. But, in their wisdom, BCF did not have staff ready (hired or trained) for the deployment of two ferries on our route, so they loaned one out for another route and the second one sat at the dock all alone and empty. Going nowhere. And that has been goin’ on now for months. Meanwhile the traffic is backed up the hill, around the corner and along the approach roads. Three sailing waits are now to be expected. Coming by ferry should be 15 minutes, 30 minutes max (for buying a ticket, etc). Now it can be three hours. That makes a lot of folks more than a bit angry.

But not me…not so much…’Cause I do not go anywhere. I hated the rat-race before. But I would be catatonic waiting three hours for a 15 minute run. So, I stay home. Sal has forbidden me from leaving and mingling with the public anyway. So, all in all, it is still all good…just so long as I do not have to ‘deal’ with the world anymore. Thank God for OTG.

Seems a bit odd….

….but NOW is the time for us to consider winter.

We used to leave for a month, sometimes two, in the dead of winter. That was our ‘vacation’ time. Of course, living in paradise for ten months prior was also like a vacation and so we rarely, ever, had to ‘tough it out. We were spoiled rotten.

And then along came Covid.

Mind you, we usually spent at least one winter out of four just to ‘earn’ and keep our OTG cred because, as they say out here, “You are not truly living OTG unless you spend the whole year here.”

We were bona fide OTG BEFORE Covid but after Covid, we were so bona fide we got a bit of cabin fever. Especially this last year. Sal got grouchy! 2021/22 was a relatively hard winter (for paradise) and, as it turns out, it was our third winter in a row. We are overdue for a winter vacation.

Standard operating procedure is to go somewhere sunny and cheap. Foreign culture is a definite bonus. But Mexico is a failing narco state and, anyway, we’ve been all over Mexico numerous times. Same thinking applies to the Central American countries. We still like it down there but I am disinclined to mingle with the various cartels so, Mexico and it’s neighbours are a pass. Same with good ol’ Thailand. It’s very nice but been there, done that. And no one is going to Hong Kong these days. And, anyway, Asia is a very long plane trip and I am even more disinclined to airports and the chaos that is air-travel right now. Shades of spoiled brat are surfacing…..

In theory, that leaves Arizona (we have a welcoming place there anytime) or Hawaii (may have to splurge a bit for that). But, bigot that I have now become in my latter years, I do not want to give the US any kind of support or tourist dollars (I am not a big spender but that is the way I feel). It is really hard to go to the USA without screaming at everyone. And we all know that won’t go over well….especially at airports.

Portugal sounds nice but there’s that ^%^$#@! plane ride and a possible nuclear war that may happen not far away (not far enough, anyway). It just is NOT calling me enough. Nothing is calling to me, to be frank. I yearn for none of it much anymore even though I will whine (like a spoiled brat) if I spend a fourth February in cold mist.

What to do?

Basically, this is a ‘First World Problem’ for spoiled brats. But, I am one of those and so this is all a problem for me.

I was kinda thinking I might try to find a nice house-sit gig in Victoria. It is not much sunnier and it is NOT cheaper but it has two wonderful little grandchildren to see. That’s a huge plus. I could always go to Alberta and see my daughter but, after three days of Alberta, the cartels in Mexico seem do-able. Even Arizona is almost do-able after Alberta.

Anyway, I have some time to sort it out. I will continue to ponder. India, perhaps? It is a hellishly long way to fly but I have never been, so there is that. I am keen to see Japan again but winter in Japan is not a lot better than winter in Canada and it is a lot more expensive. What we need is something like the Canary Islands or a few Caribbean Islands just off the coast of Oregon but unless the San Andreas kicks some up, that’s just a fantasy.

Catalina Island has some appeal geographically but all the reviews say that it is definitely worth only a day trip, three days at most. Plus it is the USA. And the average rent is US$800 a night. The marketing department kinda dropped the ball on Catalina.

If there is no answer, then the answer is to stay home and just chop more wood. And that seems like the inevitable future of winters for me if I do not get creative. If I am not destined to age-in-place and get ‘bushed’ every winter, I have to get creative NOW not later. If not NOW, then near-later. Sheesh.

When they say it is a small world, I really did not see it that way until now.