Am I nuts? No, seriously?

Logs on ropes next issue – probably.  But I have to indulge in politics once in awhile. Sorry.  This really should be about Christy and John sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! But we’ll get to that……….

Edward Snowden says the electronic voting booths were easily hacked and demonstrated that claim (allegedly) to the media with a $30.00 ‘card’ I guess he made or bought off the dark web.  “No biggy!” http://www.techly.com.au/2016/11/28/edward-snowden-shows-how-painfully-easy-it-is-to-hack-a-us-voting-machine/

Bear in mind, now, that Mr. Snowden is currently residing in Russia.  If he can do it from Russia, Ivan and Mikhail can, too.

And consider the latest amazing US election results that proved every modern poll wrong. Every political analyst was wrong, too.  In fact, everyone was WRONG except for Trump who said, “If Clinton wins, the system is rigged!”  That was a statement that, at the time, made me wonder how he could be so sure………unless, HE had the ‘fix’ already in the system.

So, am I nuts?  Paranoid?  Beyond cynical and now into conspiracy? Is the credibility of the US election not 100% discredited simply by Snowden’s card trick?

And yet no one is saying that out loud……………..well, Jill Stein is playing stooge-up-front for Hillary on a few recounts but the accusation is NOT being made….jus’ sayin’.  

When Bush stole the 2000 election from Gore, there were a lot of questions (the Republican biased Supreme Court ruled against a recount, Jeb Bush ran the state that determined the win and he had the counting overseen with the help of GW’s election campaign manager)….the appearance of justice and fairness was clearly wanting even if the results would have been the same.

And it is unlike the US to ‘avoid meddling’ in free elections.  They have a CIA history of doing just that all over the world.

Now – for the record and to help in this, my mental health diagnosis – let me add to my own lack of credibility: I do not believe one single word of the official explanation of 9/11.  Call me doubting.  Or nuts.  But two paper-thin airplanes cannot bring down two giant towers in a perfectly choreographed demolition.  Impossible. Beyond impossible.  It’s a fantasy.  It’s a lie.

So, what happened?  And why did Building 7 just decide to fall down in yet another perfectly controlled way?  It was not even hit!?  So, there is an obvious really BIG lie that just sat there OBVIOUS on the ground for a remarkably short time, I am sure.

But I digress.  The question is: am I nuts?  I KNOW I am not nuts for seeing what I see.  I KNOW I am not nuts for thinking what I think.  But am I nuts to say it out loud?  Maybe.  But there are, it seems, plenty of other much more credible nut-bars like me on those same two topics and many more.  I used to call them all conspiracy nuts.

Now?  Well, conspiracy theorists is easier to say……

Put in simpler terms: I do not know of one person (USA or Canada or Europe) that wanted Trump to win.  Maybe Eastern Seaboard ‘John’ (nice guy – different views). But that leaves hundreds of friends and contacts who were NOT on Trump’s side – admittedly not all of them registered to vote – but still……………..how does a guy internationally and domestically so disliked, pull that off?

Honestly? Democratically?  I just don’t think so………….it isn’t passing the smell test for me. 

 

Sal’s in the bush….

……she thinks it’s for the best.  I didn’t argue.  It’s ’cause of her yoga, you understand……?  Let me explain……………

Ready to Head Out to Walk the Line

Sally heading out to walk the line

Every year our water system clogs up once, twice, sometimes a few times.  When that happens, we climb the hill, clean out the pick-up for the downhill pipe and then wait a few hours for the new flow to show up at our site almost a kilometer away. Our site is at elevation 70′ and the pick-up is at elevation 120′ and that head difference of fifty feet gives a nice flow into our cistern.  When it is flowing….

But, it is NOT QUITE that simple.  The kilometer long pipe lays along the stream bank and, of course, has joins.  Sometimes the joins freeze and break and then the pipe leaks.  The pipe has a few turn-off valves so that we can test one section versus another and, in freezing weather, sometimes they freeze and crack. But the freezing threat has been all-but-eliminated these past few warming-up years so any problems we have encountered usually come from something else.

The boat moored in the bay as we head up the hill

The boat moored in the bay as Sally heads up the hill–the stream cannot be accessed from our place by land

And therein lies the rub.  “What else could possibly go wrong?”

Our water has been off for over a week but we had plenty in the cistern so Sal decided to wait and take a peek after yoga on Wednesday.  On Wednesdays, she is already in the boat and dressed for the occasion.  She’s also more limber and flexible than me (a water buffalo is more limber than me).

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Sally walks up the easy part of the trail

She first clambered around this end of the property to see if there were any slipped joints, burst pipes or fallen trees messin’ things up.  But, after climbing up and down steep gullies in heavy bush carrying her repair tools she determined that this end was good.  Then she headed up hill to clear the pick-up and it was clogged so she thought she had it fixed.  But water still was not flowing.

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The trail gets rougher…

Pouring rain didn’t help in an ironically cruel backdrop kind of way.

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…and rougher

The second effort  (the next day) is to cruise the pipe as it is strung on the cliff (much of it impossible to get to) and to listen for water escaping. Difficult to hear a leak in a rainstorm.   Last summer, some mice or squirrels chewed through a length of pipe and that leak was discovered by listening and then seeing water spouting out.

But the second section seemed intact.  So, Sal took her boat further in to the bay and monkeyed her way through thick bush and slimy rocks to one of the valves and opened it.  That was the bottom-of-the-system valve and could be used to determine which side of the pipeline was at fault.  Water was in the system but NOT flowing after a few minutes.  The upper section was at fault.

She came home.  I made her hot chocolate.  Her hands were like ice.  She was soaked.  “I should get changed and go out again, do the top half.”

“Don’t do it.  We have water.  Tomorrow, I’ll go with you.  If it is a top half problem, it is either the pick-up which you just cleaned the other day or else it is a tree having fallen.  I’ll bring the chainsaw.”

“You’re right.  It’s already 4:00 pm.  I’d be up there in the dark.”

As it turns out, the top half is the easier half when it is just the pick up being clogged but, if it is something else, it is a real challenge.  The slope is steep and completely overgrown encumbered with dead-fall and half-in, half-out of the stream. It is awkward, tiring and even in the summer, you get soaked.

In the winter, you get frozen and soaked.

“I climb better than you.  I also wouldn’t want you on the slimy rocks.  They are treacherous right now.  So, I’ll figure out what the problem is first and, if we need you to chainsaw, then you can make your way up there.  OK?”

She took her walkie-talkie.  I have mine.  She is bushwhacking slowly up the ‘hard section’ as I write. I may have to join her.  I may not.  Maybe just another hot chocolate to make, maybe a schlep and a chainsaw….we’ll see.

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Heading into the bay where the stream is, in Sally’s little Whaler

Epilogue: I joined her.  It was the third effort for her on this problem.  My first.  But she had found the break on the last effort but it was in an awkward spot deep in the jungle.  Brute, dumb strength was required.  So, dragging my knuckles and grunting, I went along to be carefully supervised by the more ‘experienced’ of us.  That does not always work.

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Getting ready to cross the stream

 

Elephants and whales occasionally show their sentience.  But we generally obey. And why not?  My mahout is pretty good.  Rarely gets carried away with the stick.

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Fixing the damaged water line–crushed by a fallen tree

Sal’s also eligible for her old age pension early this next year.  I am thankful they don’t pay that stipend judged on physical ability. She wouldn’t be eligible at this rate for another twenty years.  Maybe…..not even then….?

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Looking upstream from where we fixed the water line

Nothing to write a blog about….

A woman stopped me in a store in Campbell River and asked me a question about the labeling.  “We’re new here.”

“New to the store or new to Campbell River?”

“We just moved here from Newfoundland two months ago.  Tell me…..is the weather always this bad?”

“Nah.  Sometimes it really rains.”  

Her jaw dropped.

“Hey!  I am only kidding.  Seriously.  It doesn’t always rain.  Sometimes it snows. But, you know, climate change and all that…now it is just rain and more rain. Allatime.  24/7.  But it isn’t cold anymore so we are happy.  And no mosquitoes. Earthquakes have been pretty light lately and so that is good. ‘Course, lots of people dying from Fentanyl so the death toll still remains high.  The good part of that is that it has lessened the demand for real estate, ya know…?

“Oh my God!”

“I know!  Now is the time to buy.  Your timing is perfect.”

I left her, jaw agape, at the mushrooms.  She was there a long time.  I guess my label explanation was not clear.

We had arrived that morning on the early-for-us ferry at 9:00.  It was a bit rough.  So rough, in fact, the captain delayed departure by a few minutes explaining that we would still make the scheduled arrival but the less time spent out in the strait, the better.  (Think about that for a minute).  We arrived to the terminal in a roller coaster – literally.  I have seen a lot of big waves in my time but never have I seen 8-footers only thirty feet apart.  It was extreme chop.

We went about our business – which was minimal due to quite frequent visits over the last few weeks – and headed back early.  When we got to the terminal, we heard that they had stopped the ferry earlier in the day because it just got too rough.  But it was running when we were there and we got on and headed back.  When we got home a few hours later, Sal checked messages. We just received the notification that the ferry had stopped again on the very next sailing after we got back.  We managed to ‘slip’ between two ferry cancellations.

Some ‘Merican fishboat got caught out in that and was in serious peril so the coast guard went to rescue them.  But they could not move him against the tide, the wind, the current rips and the rain so they held up in a back eddy for a few hours till the worst of it abated.  The water was so bad in Johnstone Strait that day the Coast Guard couldn’t move!

You won’t read about any of that in the news (unless the woman squeals).  It is just an ordinary day, really.  Coast guard does a rescue, the ferry captain uses common sense and skill to maximize service while likely saving lives and adjusting the schedule as required.  Sal and I just went to the hospital for a test and did a little shopping.  Then we drove through the wilderness on a partially washed out logging road and made the last leg of our journey home in a small 17 foot boat during a torrential rain storm.

So……..how was your day?

Sally’s Guest Blog on Quilting (what else?)

I have, in the recent past, made the odd reference to my new status as the orphaned husband or widower-by-quilt and this blog is the proof of that pathetic circumstance.  I didn’t lose my wife to the postman, I lost her to fabric art!  This is her blog:

There are three things I know about myself that apply to my quilting:

  1. I am one of those annoying people who believe the rules apply to everyone but me. (Editor’s note: Nothing.  JDC is NOT allowed to comment).
  2. I love quirky stuff–be it movies, décor, or individuals (now you know one of the many reasons why David and I are together).
  3. I have always loved fabric and believed that one day I would create fabric art, whatever form that might take.

I have used patterns occasionally but the quilts I have enjoyed making the most are the ones that come from who-knows-where. David told me that he thought readers would be interested in my creative process. Yikes! I didn’t realize I even had one.

I had to think about it.

I first thought about ‘Plum Crazy’. My daughter specified the colours she wanted so I purchased those. I looked at lots of quilts on-line. I had recently used metallic thread in a workshop and decided to incorporate that. The plum coloured fabric I bought reminded me of a moving blanket we had brought back from New York decades ago, in a similar colour, so I hand quilted Plum Crazy in a similar fashion.

So, the quilt was really just the result of a bunch of different ideas percolating around in my head and gelling at some random point. Is that a process?

Plumb Crazy Quilt made for my daughter and her husband -- E. specified plum black and white -- which meant stylized birch trees to me.

‘Plumb Crazy’ made for my daughter and our son-in-law.  E. specified plum, black and white for the colour scheme–which translated into my design of stylized birch trees. Hand quilting on the plum background and machine quilting (silver thread) on the trees.

What was the process for ‘Black and White and Read  All Over (pun intended)? Not so complex. I just wanted to use black and red, my son’s favourite colours, and found a quilt on-line that I liked and figured out how to make a similar one.

Black and White and Read All Over

‘Black and White and Read All Over’  made for my son and daughter-in-law because red and black are my son’s favourite colours. It doesn’t fit with their décor (or probably anyone’s) so it has an attached bag that turns it into a black pillow when not in use. Copied from a similar quilt I saw on-line.

For Sharon’s little baby, Rachel’s, quilt I picked out some pretty pink fabrics and sewed them together in a simple framed block design with a little hand quilting. Quick and easy so I could get it to Hong Kong before she goes to kindergarten.

Rachel with her mom and dad and her 'Pretty in Pink' quilt

Rachel with her mom and dad and her ‘Pretty in Pink’ quilt

The ‘Sashiko Sampler’ came about because I had recently discovered Sashiko stitching. I love the contrast of the white stitches on indigo cloth and the beautiful traditional Japanese designs. I started stitching 6″ by 6″ Sashiko squares, not having a plan in mind. When I had finished a bunch I bought some Japanese fabrics that complemented the indigo and made quilt blocks. Then I laid the fabric blocks and Sashiko squares out on a countertop. I liked the off-white colour of the counter between the squares. I consulted with Leon and Ole, two tall, male German wwoofers who were staying with us at the time, and they agreed. So the sashing became whitish. When I put the quilt top together I could see that the little bits of orange colour in some of the fabrics could be accentuated with an orange strip in the binding so I added that to brighten the quilt. Voila!

Sashiko Sampler

‘Sashiko Sampler’ – My design using  traditional Japanese stitching with white thread on indigo cloth. Details bel0w:

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Back of Quilt

Signature block on back of quilt

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The ‘Garden Path’ is a paper-pieced quilt design that I made in a workshop. Momentarily out of my mind, I decided I  wanted to learn paper-piecing (which is a very precise and regimented style of quilting). I will never do it again as it is just like sewing on an assembly line–and no sewing outside the lines!
I did learn something valuable while making this quilt, though. I read on an art site that if I was combining two colours I should use sixty percent of one and forty percent of the other to achieve aesthetic balance. I tried this out on this quilt and I think it worked.
I more recently learned that this is actually the Fibonacci Sequence, aka Phi (pronounced fee), the golden mean of 1.618 and an underlying explanation for what is aesthetically pleasing and having dynamic symmetry. When you use this number to divide something (anything), the ratio of the small part to the large part is the same as the ratio of the large part to the whole. This can be demonstrated in nature, architecture, the human body and more. For instance in music there are 5 black keys, and 8 white keys with 13 keys in an octave.
But, back to quilting…
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‘Garden Path’ – design from a quilt workshop. Detail below shows the variegated hand stitching on black:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe quilt below is made from Kaffe Fassett fabric. Kaffe is a famous knitter and quilter, who tours the globe like a rock star, welcomed by droves of mostly middle-aged (and older) knitting and quilting groupies. Anyway, it is his books of quilt designs that inspired me to start quilting. And when I saw a bag full of his fabric for sale at one of our Quilting Guild meetings I nabbed it. This quilt is fashioned after one of his designs called Mirror Squares. I loved working OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith this fabric–it is so bright that it is really uplifting, especially on a bleak rainy day. It always gives me a lift when I look at it, which is a good thing, as I spent over a hundred hours doing the hand quilting, in addition to the cutting and machine piecing.

Based on a Kaffe Fasset design, unnamed as yet. Shown hanging in the local Credit Union on our neighbouring island.

Based on a Kaffe Fasset design, using his fabric, unnamed as yet. Shown hanging in the local Credit Union on our neighbouring island. (Detail above illustrates the spiral hand quilting.)

Still fascinated by Sashiko stitching, I wanted to try mending with it, which was how it was originally used. I must have planned on making a denim quilt for years as I had a huge box of old denim garments. I combined these two aspects with a third. (I had learned a new way to assemble a quilt as I sewed.) I started cutting out pieces and putting them together and ‘Workmates’ is the result. I found that the ‘real’ tears and holes on the garments were too dirty and fragmented to be effective for the look I was going for. So after I made the quilt I ripped tears and holes in it to repair. It was a lot of fun to make. I still have almost a full box of remnants so there will be more denim quilts.

'Workmates" using old denim shirts and jeans that David and I wore out while building our home. My design, natch.

‘Workmates” using old denim shirts and jeans that David and I wore out while building our home. Sashiko stitching used in the traditional manner to repair tears and holes. My design, natch. Detail below.

 

David loves his appliqued pencil.

David loves the appliqued pencil, just like his in real life.

‘Moonshadow’ is a combination of fabrics I found interesting and put together in a bit of a random way by cutting strips and blocks off kilter. I like the colours in this one. I made a sister quilt which is almost identical, except I used reds, oranges and beiges, which I expected would be brighter. Surprisingly (to me, anyway) it is very monochromatic and has none of the life that ‘Moonshadow’ has.

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I am working on my  ‘Moonshadow’ design at the moment, adding some hand quilting.

After what I wrote above I now feel I have to show you the sister quilt, ‘Walking on Sunshine’. I don’t like it–not YET.  And it is kind of stupid to end with something horrible. So, I am still working on it.  However, if anyone has any suggestions on how to salvage it, I’m listening.

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‘Walking on Sunshine’ -yuk

I just realized I am writing when I could be quilting. Bye.

 

The stuff of fiction…I hope

A few months ago, Sal suggested writing a fiction novel about an older Canadian couple down in the southern US on a snowbird vacation.  The story line would revolve around what happens to them when Donald Trump takes over the presidency.  The ‘third act’ of the novel would be a cheap B action-filled escape to the Canadian border with militiamen, bigots and ordinary-but-fearful-and-armed Americans at every turn.

I dismissed it.  “Sal…..it can’t work.  First, you have to have Trump win and that doesn’t seem likely.  And then you have to have old, fat white people the target of old, fat white bigots…such a couple would likely get a pass from the all-but-insane of the camo-wearing hate-mongers.  Too crazy to work.”

We’re scheduled to go to Phoenix for a getaway in January- just before the Donald takes office.  We’ll be there when he does.

I am having second thoughts.

Seems hate crimes are up by 67% since Trump won.  To be fair, most of them are against Muslim women and amount to hijab-snatching and insults but more than just a few include people of colour attacking old, fat white people.  In the first instance, I am assuming the Muslim women were innocent and said nothing to provoke the snatch and dis attack but, in the second, there may have been some provocation from the white guy.  Or not.  I suppose, it is entirely possible that some poor old white guy encountered some mean Bloods, Crips or even Muslims.

But, the point is: hate crimes are up already.

And, it seems, a lot of loud-mouthed bigots are giving voice to their joy over Trump’s victory.  That’s provocative.  Even Robert DeNiro wanted to punch Trump. I can’t imagine what a testosterone driven, young Mexican who just wet-backed across the border to work cheap for rich people must feel like.

Summary: bad feelings abound.

So, here’s the scene: old, white, Canadian, vacationing couple decide to drive a few hundred miles to visit another city.  It’s not late but it’s late dusk as they crest a small hill nearing their destination. Five hundred yards ahead is a cluster of cars and pick-up trucks.  A group of ten or so men in camouflage are standing around.  A few guns are visible.  The couple stops their vehicle a few hundred yards short of the ominous scene.  Reports of volunteer border militia come to mind.

But….everyone in this scene is white.

Do they continue on, confident in their white-ness?  Or do they think that ‘being Canadian’ might be as bad as ‘being black’ or Muslim or Mexican?  Do they consider that it might NOT be an illegal border patrol but simply a band of highway robbers?  Do they take the chance?

In my imagined scene, the old guy decides that discretion is the better part of valor and executes a quick u-turn and puts his foot down heading back to where they came from.

But there’s a problem.

The cluster of road-blocking vigilantes anticipated this and had three or more vehicles parked back in that direction.  They were in the shadows as the old couple passed a minute or so ago.  And they are now blocking the return route.  As the old guy’s truck hits close to a hundred miles per hour, he sees the trucks parked across the road up ahead and decides, on impulse, that hitting the desert (he has a 4×4) is the better route.  He slows, picks his spot and then veers off the road and heads out into the darkening wasteland hopeful that the nut-bars don’t follow.

Problem #2 is that, after traveling for a few hours to get to that nasty roadside attraction, his truck’s fuel level is relatively low.  There is not enough gas to get back especially doing it cross country.

Plus, it is now almost dark and he has no idea where he is.  Not really.

In his rear view mirror, he sees a set of lights coming.  It seems that one of the bad guys is willing to give chase.

……………and so………….it begins.

 

How the heck….

….can I dry my neck if it don’t ever stop rainin’ ’round here!

More rain in October than ever before.  More rain in the first ten days of November than ever before.  Higher temperatures in those last two months than ever before. Vancouver hit Celsius 19.4 degrees the other day.  That’s 67 degrees Fahrenheit…in November!  Prince George (inland and up north) is usually under a foot of snow by now.  They hit 18.0 C.  Seems the bees in the lower mainland are confused….still going out looking for flowers…..

….so is Sal.

Trump wants to opt out of the Paris Accords and make coal great again. Some Canadians are happy because oil pumping (into the sea) is OK again. Go Keystone XL.  Go Kinder Morgan.  Christy Clark announced a gas poison producer in Howe Sound and the site C dam is steaming along like the Titanic it is.

The stock market reveals that alternative energy stocks have tanked.  Stocks of companies that make rifles and ammo have soared.  David Duke and the KKK are marching in celebration. And cities around America are hosting riots of protest against democracy…..

.…and that’s all just crazy.   

The results of the last US election were known November 9th…I am writing this on November 13th.  5 days.  Trump is not even president yet and the earth has already moved off it’s axis.  

I am sure this time.

Why?  Because attitude is everything.  If the people are ‘up’, so is the economy.  If the people are down and lacking confidence in their future, then the economy is down.  The world does NOT run on love, oil or money, it runs on mood.  We are emotional, not rational beings.  And Trump represents an attitudinal shift on the scale of a sea change.

And therein lies the point of this blog: what is our mood?  And ‘confused’ is NOT an answer you can cling to for long.    

Seriously, what is your mood?

Me?  Well, the rain is kinda getting me down………..but I am OK with NOT freezing my butt off……….so, let’s call that a ‘wash’.  Literally.  But odd weather is not good in the long run.  So, put a small check in the ‘down column’ for my mood on the weather.

And, if I was a bettin’ man, I’d be seriously looking at picking up a bunch of good alternative energy stocks cheap ’cause this climate change ain’t quittin’ anytime soon, Trump, coal or Enbridge notwithstanding.  But, I am NOT a bettin’ man so that little ray of sunshine won’t help me…..so, there is another tick in my down column.

I must admit that discovering that gun-maker stocks rising is a smidge unsettling but most carnage by firearms is carried out between consenting stupid adults so I am not too disturbed.  So what if Billy-Bob blows away Bubba and friends?  Just Darwin working his magic is all it really is………….so, cynically, a tick in the ‘up’ column…..

And so I go on reviewing my own mood……(the unexamined life is not worth living- Socrates) and I am strangely slightly still ‘up’ .  My cup runneth over.  My wife will still occasionally runneth to get tools and/or dinner. And the ravens and eagles still flyeth and poopeth over my head. My own runneth days are over but I am still walking and talking and thinking and writing.  Armageddon may be just over the next hill but I can’t see it yet.

So I am going to keep a happy thought…………..

………………that’s my mood and I am sticking with it….for as long as me and my medications can…..

I can’t let go….

………..but I have to.  I have a greenhouse to finish.  And lamenting gross stupidity on a massive scale is pointless; that’s how history has played out for eons.  One stupid mass-think mistake after another.  Hell, even a number of our great inventions were accidents……

Face it: stupidity is in our DNA.  It’s why we have the Darwin Awards, the Kardashians and backwards-facing ball caps – natures way of saying, “Watch out! Stupid coming through.”

So, in the spirit of joining what you can’t defeat, I offer the following little pictorial. It’s about putting a small vehicle on an island that has no fueling facilities, no professional mechanics, no real purpose and nowhere to actually go…….

Having said that……………..Sal and I have driven it at least five times………doing just that….nothing much……just looking around……we’re gonna get some ball caps……

We may be just as stupid as the masses but, you know what they say, “….ignorance and a little turquoise truck is bliss.  Putting your hat on backward just adds to the fun.”

The Li'l Turquoise Truck Travels to the Island

LI’L TURQUOISE TRUCK
Travels to the Island

Soon after meeting David, his new owner, Li’l TT is picking up lumber to take to his new island home. There he meets Dwayne, who is also a new(ish) island resident.

Soon after meeting David, his new owner, Li’l TT is picking up lumber to take to his new island home. There he meets Dwayne, who is also a new island resident.

Then it’s off to the boat ramp where Captain Steve directs Li’l TT onto the barge to make the trip to his new island home

Then it’s off to the boat ramp where Captain Steve directs Li’l TT onto the barge to make the trip to his new island home

It’s an exciting ocean voyage for Li’l TT

It’s an exciting ocean voyage for Li’l TT

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Upon arrival at the island Li’l TT, with David’s help, backs off the barge onto the beach

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Oops, Li’l TT is getting his feet wet – maybe island life isn’t so great

But a new friend comes to the rescue...

But a new friend comes to the rescue…

...and helps Li’l TTdrive up the beach

…and helps Li’l TT drive up the beach

Li’l TT is happy to head off with David at the wheel...

Li’l TT is happy to head off with David at the wheel…

... and is very happy to have a quiet parking spot in the forest to call homeTHE END

… and is very happy to have a quiet parking spot in the forest to call home                                                                                                                                                                      THE END

 

 

No, not a zombie apocalypse….

….but an apocalypse nevertheless.

We have all joked for years about the ‘coming zombie apocalypse’ not really believing in zombies but still feeling a frightening and palpable foreshadowing of impending apocalypse.  We were right.

That feeling – for millions of people – was multiplied exponentially last night. President Trump TOGETHER with a Republican Congress is a colossal disaster of near biblical proportions impatient to happen on anything and anybody they don’t like.  Today, the bullies and the bigots, the ignorant and cruel, the mean and ugly have won the right to impose their will on the rest of us, regardless of where you live.

“….won the right to impose their will?  On the rest of us?”

Yes.  Because we all use the US dollar still as the ‘monetary metric’ for the world’s economy and because the US has already used that power to influence and intimidate the world for decades.  That tool, together with the still mightiest armed force in the world is now at the disposal (appropriate word) of an unchecked president patently ignorant, bigoted and a petulant vicious bully.  Congress was the check and balance to that kind of person but it, too, went Republican.  And, to a degree, all Republicans (except a precious few) are that kind of person.

They worship at the feet of power and money.  Evangelically!

Remember: “America First” is not the rallying cry of the golden rule to do unto others as you would have done unto you.  America First means, “To Hell with the rest of you!”

The ‘bully-boy’, shoot-first-don’t-bother-asking-questions mentality of the cops in Ferguson Missouri has been promoted to the White House.  And the white-washing police departments country wide are now in the Congress.

What you gonna do, bad boy, bad boy, when they come for you?

In that sad analogy, the bad-boys run.  They run panicked left, right and into the dark.  The ones that don’t run, get shot.

Expect an exodus of democrats from the US.  Where to?  To anywhere but there.  I am not sure Canada is far away enough for many of them but we’ll get some people fleeing the nightmare.  If it was me, I would go to New Zealand…as far away as I could go.  In fact, the thought has already crossed my mind.  Middle-class Americans, poor Americans and everyone other than the 1% are all in for a rough, ugly ride.

I’ll tell you one thing:  Justin Trudeau better grow up fast.

UPDATE

Rarely does a politician say anything that moves me to anything but more anger, fear and loathing.  I don’t ‘hate ’em all’ but I dislike the majority and I believe power corrupts.  But enough about me…this is about Obama.

He spoke after Clinton’s concession speech and I had been too bummed out to listen but I just did.  And he took the high road.  He stood tall.  He said the right things.  He sounded sane and logical and fair and reasonable and, most of all, he was not as bummed out as I was.  I found some solace in what he said.  A lot, actually.

The world is in more danger, no question, but it has not happened yet.  The wheel is in the hands of the maniacal but they are still maniacally patriotic (which I interpret as still survival oriented).  “The sun will still rise in the morning”.

His speech, though not enough to settle my nerves, was enough to get me out of my despondency and go cut and plane door frames for the greenhouse.  Pricing flights to New Zealand is temporarily on hold.

If you haven’t listened to grace and eloquence under the weight of defeat, if you haven’t actually seen anything ‘presidential’ these past 16 months in anyone, you owe it to yourself to listen to probably the best president the modern United States ever had.       

 

Choosing a leader…..from a select group of privileged followers….(duh)

There is precious little left to say about the US election.  It is time to wait and see, I guess.  Despite being a political ‘watcher’ I rarely guess an outcome right, anyway. But I’ll take a weak stab at it.  “The envelope, please……..”

It’s Clinton.  And , with that choice, you have almost a parody of democracy…Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton….or?  

It’s Trump.  And with that, you have made a mockery of the presidency, briefly glimpsed the abysmal ignorance that is the American public and launched a walking, talking embarrassment to the American Dream.

I have no real idea who will win, whether it will be close or whether there will be a backlash from the losing side or not.  In all likelihood (judging from the fact that the media seem to have chosen a side), Clinton will win, Trump will whine, complain and make a lot of excuses and accusations. And more than just a few nutcases will shoot guns at kids in schools and MacDonald’s restaurants but that will be it and life will go on in the usual crude, stupid and stumbling way – whatever that is.

Or will it?

And that is the real question facing us all today.  Will life go on?

Face it: the presidency is really all about what one single, largely weak, likely corrupt, ineffectual person might actually do (while needing the cooperation of thousands of others with which to do it) about stuff, much of which is out of anyone’s control.  It is not about who gets to ride in Air Force One, it is about ‘the system’ putting a single face on future decisions that, in obvious fact, are made by hundreds of thousands of others.  And often wrongly.

Regardless of who wins the presidency, the major issues facing the world as we know it (TWAWKI) remain and some are growing alarmingly worse.  Russia is posturing again. Positioning, too. China is flexing new military muscle to go with their economic abs.  Fanatical Islam is still blowing stuff up, killing people and ‘making statements’.

And, of course, we have the ultimate threat in climate change which, it seems, has – along with all else bad and human-caused – already eliminated 60% of the world’s animals just for starters. The ‘innocents’ always die early.  Seems we have less than half the wild things we had in the 70’s.

Trump building a wall?  Clinton empowering women?  Really?  You think those are the real issues?  Even racism, sexism, and all the other petty little isms pale into insignificance when threats of World War 3 loom and the planet shifts it’s state of being from healthy to sick.

Honestly?  Picking the US president is about as significant to solving what ails us as selecting the host of the Academy Awards.

Admittedly, if there was one single person more able to screw things up quicker and worse than would ordinarily happen, it is the president of Russia/USA/China. Those egocentric, power mad, delusional liars can do a lot of damage to a lot of people in a pretty short time.  Take your pick as to which one goes whacko first.

In effect, we choose the people most likely to kill us all.  

But, when half the world’s animals are dying off, do we attribute that loss to any single head of state?  When the climate goes wonky, is there someone to blame?

Really………… the question is what good can they do?  Answer: NONE.

With the possible exception of Jesus and Churchill, has any one person made such a hugely unique and significant GLOBAL contribution that clearly altered the course of world history for the better?  We have had a lot of small heroes to celebrate (MLK, Gandhi, even Terry Fox) but who is capable of reversing climate change?  Who can stop a war?

To my mind, the best president would be a dull custodian, an accountant, a boring middle manager-type who tries only to keep the trains running on time and corruption in check.  We need more dull people in charge of things.

Our politicians don’t LEAD anyway, they follow.  They let real leaders take the initial risk. When it is safely a trend, our politicians might make a limp endorsement.  They are always thirty years behind the times.   Example: look at today’s leaders talk positively NOW about solar panels, fer Gawd’s sake!

And they usually follow their own personal historical view (old person’s bias based on a personal fifty year old history spent in some kind of elitist environment surrounded by wealth) supported by sycophants who use reverse-looking analytics.

No one in Ottawa or London, Beijing or Moscow is looking forward except through to the next economic quarter.  They don’t act, they react. They are not inventors. They do not go bravely.  They are not visionaries.  They are just greedy accumulators, inventory managers, actors, poseurs and figure-heads ……..and they are usually sociopaths to boot – consulting other grey-haired power-seekers about what to do while striking just the right pose for the camera.

Seriously?  We pick the wrong people.

If you want to find a leader, you have look in any place that is NOT an institution or is part of the establishment.  Finding one at the top of a political party is a contradiction in terms.  You have to look to the fringes, the vanguards, the movements.  Real leaders have their feet ‘on the ground’.  There you will find two types of people- leaders and deviants.  Irony: neither the leader or the deviant really cares if they are followed or not.

 

And Sal said, “Let there be light……in a greenhouse”…and so it was….and it was good.

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We started this little greenhouse almost two years ago.  It was pretty slow-going. Founded on bad reasons, it never got the right, healthy start that all new life needs. It was partly an interest thing. It was partly a timing thing.  It was entirely an us thing.

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Our greenhouse building years were waning.  Sally’s construction life had shifted to quilts. The window on two-by-projects was closing.  But, to me it was now or never. Sal chose never. I chose now.  So, the little greenhouse was conceived half unwanted. Unloved by Sal, it lacked nourishment, support and attention. So did I. The quilts thrived and multiplied.  We are infested with quilts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANature can be cruel.

It seemed as if the little greenhouse might not ever make it.  It was sad; one of life’s little tragedies…the little greenhouse-never-meant-to-be withering in the rain partially finished….it’s little bones exposed to the wind………….

 

TOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhen I got Shingles, Sal started up quilting like John Henry took up steel-drivin’ and the waif that was our greenhouse-to-be was simply left to die.

 

Sal is not the type to let that happen………….so she was talking openly about pulling “that crap’ down. It’s an eyesore!”    I am pretty sure if Sal’s horse broke it’s leg, she’d have shot it before it hit the ground.  I shudder to think what my fate would be if I even limped around for a long time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then, something snapped.  An inner light shone.  It was almost a spiritual awakening. All of a sudden Sal wanted the little greenhouse to live.  Presumably, she wanted me to, as well. Both of us got some much overdue attention.  I began to flourish again.  Rosy cheeks and all.

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And the greenhouse breathed new life…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd so, it is with great pride and a newfound love of glass houses that we introduce ‘greenhouse’ into our family.  Doors to be attached at a later date….

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