Pep talk

(The Guardian reports) The International Monetary Fund is warning that the weak recovery in the west risks turning into near stagnation after cutting its global economic growth forecast for the fourth successive year. “Six years after the world economy emerged from its broadest and deepest postwar recession, a return to robust and synchronised global expansion remains elusive,” said Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF’s economic counsellor.

I can’t imagine the number of credentialed economists, accountants and statisticians employed by the IMF and G7 governments.  Must be thousands.  All university educated, too.  And it took them this long to conclude that the economies of the world are in stagflation?  How inept.  I knew. You know.  Just about anyone with a three-digit IQ knows, so why announce that in headline news?

But, before we get to that (next blog) – think about Harper and the Muldeaus for a minute, each one of them starting their next speech with…..“Our economic plan, blah, blah, blah…..”  They have no economic plan!  They haven’t got a clue how to kickstart a stagnant economy or even manage a sputtering one.  Not a clue.  And, if they did have some kind of clue, what good would it do them since we are so intertwined with the rest of the G7 and they are all, in the IMF’s highly educated view, flat and stagnant?

And what does Harper do?  He doubles down and tries to ‘weld’ our economy even tighter to the others that are mired in the mud with yet another all-encompassing trade deal.  His obvious management mantra? ‘If you don’t succeed, try the same thing again’.    

I’ll say it again: the economy is a numerical reflection of the collective attitude of the people.  It is behavioral science, not math.  It is psychology, not engineering.  It is a construct.  We make it up as we go along and people need optimism in good ideas for the economy to grow and prosper.  If they don’t have that, you get recession, depression and/or stagflation.  The politicians don’t seem to get that. They never seem to get that.

“Why don’t they get that?” Mostly because they don’t ‘get’ the people.  They don’t like change.  They are afraid of big ideas.  They are invested and indebted to the status quo. They are coddled, isolated elitists. They are ‘above’ us.  Politics does that.  Parties do that.  They tend to separate us.  Winning politicians are even more coddled and separate. And gaining power does that to the max.  They can no longer take the real pulse of the nation from real people and so they can’t diagnose squat.

The way to improve the economy is simple: give the people hope, inspiration and faith.  To do that, requires that we trust what they tell us.  But we don’t.  We have no trust in these people because none of them speak the truth about anything so they can’t inspire us to enervate the economy. We are at a psychological stand-off when we do not trust those who are there to inspire.

If you don’t ‘get that’, then imagine the time when you were a kid and you didn’t like your teacher or your coach.  They didn’t garner your respect.  You didn’t feel they were someone to look up to.  They were dorks.  So, what was your attitude then?  Were you inspired to do well anyway?  Did you and your classmates and team-mates coalesce around your mutual distaste for your appointed mentor?  Or did you just stop listening?

Some carried on.  Most didn’t.  Most either quit, stopped trying or found other more charismatic leaders whose message they believed.  It’s what we do.  It’s what most people do.  It is why cult leaders and gangsters have followers.  They provide real albeit misdirected leadership.

You feel like following Stephen Harper?  Just-in?  Tom?  Or are you choosing the best of the worst because voting is free and easy?

The bottom line is this: none of them inspire.  None of them lead.  None of them have vision.  None of them are worthy of our respect.  Or our vote.  You want leadership?  You want inspiration?  You want to feel good about yourself, your country and the society in which you live?

Then lead.

Lead something.

You don’t have to lead a party.  You don’t have to lead a company.  You just have to lead something, something positive, something good, something that will inspire.  Just do it.

An older couple leads kids at the local school in constructive activities.  A friend of mine leads a small scout troop and, amazingly, both are inspirational to me.  It is good.  It is small but it is leadership.  Real leadership.  A few million Canadians leading something good will set us right.

Think about it.


Happiness is………..

…………I am not so sure, anymore, but it seems it is to be found mostly around here.  You see, I am basically happy and I haven’t left the rock in almost three months.  In fact, the longer I do NOT leave this rock, the happier I get. Ergo, happiness is here.

Mind you, Sal is also here and that explains the bulk of the daily bliss but, really, I am here and I am happy. And that says something.  It is starting to say, “Don’t go anywhere, doofus!”

Sal and I have always traveled.  We wanted to see stuff.  We liked seeing stuff.  Different countries, cultures, cuisines and ways of life fascinated us.  But, oddly, not so much anymore.  I dunno.  There may be a bit of Binder Dundaht involved.  Definitely increased loathing of air travel, airports, cheap hotels and stifling heat.  Chicken buses have lost almost all of their appeal.  Then there’s the fatigue of it all that was never noticed when we were young but seems to play a larger role as you age.  We may have lost the urge to adventure, ya know?

But, back to the point: Point Here!  Almost three months!  That’s incredible!  Admittedly, I have left half a dozen times for a social engagement, a doctor’s visit, a site walkabout and something else or two but none of those ventures had me leave the island.  I just ventured local.  Stayed close. Stayed happy.  I have lived ‘feral’ as it were, for almost three straight months without once having to endure the ferry, the traffic, the shopping or the general madness of modern life.  And that’s just the local small town I am talking about….Vancouver may as well be in another galaxy far, far away as far as I am concerned.

And I am strangely and extremely OK with that.

I know, I know……age…..and all that……plus I have projects.  And more projects.  And I am slower than ever before so they all last longer….I know, I know…it’s all part of the circle of life, Simba. But, really, Dude!  Three months!  And it does not feel LONG ENOUGH!

I mention all this because we will do a town day sometime soon.  Maybe a week.  Or so.  I will drive.  I will shop.  I will hurry and carry and lift and then hurry some more and lift some more.  And we will ‘do town’ to set us up for another stretch out here.  But we are getting better at that.  We are getting to stay away longer.  We can do a month in a blink.  I did three months but that’s because Sal went into town twice in that span and friends/family came a few times and the so things like eggs, avocados and broccoli were handled by ‘shippers’.  But there is no question – we are stretching our visits out to at least a month and I think, with improvement, we can count on two.  Easy.  Or six times a year.

Or less.

And so you see it before your very eyes; the evolution of a hermit.  Albeit, a married hermit with a few neighbours but I am talking evolution at this stage and even extreme hermits had to take it one step at a time.  I think I am several steps down that path, the one so less taken it is still a bit wild.  And I am all the happier for it.

Why I am clearly too stupid to be a party leader

You see, I don’t understand Thomas Mulcair nor do I understand Justin Trudeau.  I mean, I understand Stephen Harper more than I understand the Muldeaus because, well, he is simple-minded, bigoted and lacking any intellectual chops whatsoever so he’s an easy read.  Like Deliverance.  Like Dirty Harry and his targets were. You probably don’t like him, you might even fear him, but he is just a simple-minded good-bad guy running amok. Easy to understand, hard to get away from when he has power and needs removing at all costs.  Ugly but simple.

But Just-in and Tom are confusing me.  You see, they are spending all their air and efforts on attacking one another.  Bear in mind that neither of those two dingbats have ever been in power and Harper is the one with the record that needs our focus.  Never mind that Just-in is still wet behind the ears and that Tom is dropping like a rock in the polls, they think their best political tactic is to fight themselves.  They are leaving their enemy alone (the incumbent).  Harper is ignored enough to remain just off the battlefield entirely.  To me, these guys don’t even know how to fight a political battle.

That is so pathetic.

Unless I am wrong, of course, and this is the way.  You know, Tom’s political back-room boys saying, “Hey, go after that pretty-face Trudeau and mush him first.  Get rid of #3 and then focus on #1.  It’s the way to go.”   

Or Trudeau’s geniuses behind the scenes, “Well, Steve just sounds better and more mature than you do, Justy, we all do, actually, so maybe just get into a bitch-slap with Mulcair ’cause he has no real standing yet either.  He’s never been in power.  Maybe you can take him?  If you can’t take on a guy who has never even been there, then Steve might be too much for you.  Go for Tom first!”

And so the champion stands calmly in the ring awaiting the outcome of the tussle between the two impotent challengers taking place in the dressing room.  How ridiculous!  How utterly devoid of meaning.  For many people, “it is the economy stupid!”  But for the two challengers it could best be summarized as . “it’s the incumbent stupid!”

Seriously.  Every debate should be aimed at Harper.  Every ounce of both their energies should be aimed at Harper.  He is the bad guy.  He is the one who has the record to hold up. It is his feet that need to be held to the fire, not the wannabees.  What is wrong with their heads?  Why attack the wrong foe?  These guys are going to blow it because of their personal dislike for one another and their inept strategy against Harper.

I half expect Mulcair to one day just punch Elizabeth in the face.  “At least that’s one down, eh, Tom?!”

Just a reminder…

…to get out.  Get out now!

I alluded to it in the other blog when mentioning my ‘new friend’ who just moved out here. He and his wife got out.  And they are happy they did.  But then we (Sal and I) started to add up those ‘others’ who also moved out here within the last year or so.  We added six more names. For a community of 60 to grow by ten percent in one year is ‘something’.  I don’t quite know what it means but it means something.  And that does not include the several expanding bellies and recent infants that occasionally meet the eye, either.  Add in the oven-buns and the babies and we might have another six.  We may have grown by 20% this year!

Now, to be fair….a lot of people (all of them, actually) also got a year older and, for some of them, that year seemed more telling and physically degrading than previous ones so maybe I am just a bit more aware of the circle of life.  I don’t know.  Maybe we lose six next year.  Who knows how all this stuff really works?  And, quite honestly, going from 60 to 72 (or so) means nothing in the way of community dynamics or frequent-sightings of one another. Life out here remains feral and remote still.

Still………some people ‘got out’.  And some of them came here.

The trouble with saying ‘GET OUT!  GET OUT NOW!’ is that it suggests that you are in some kind of danger and need to get the hell out as soon as you can.  And I don’t mean that at all.  I think the danger level is increasing to some extent but not enough to panic. So what if the number of drive-by shootings in Surrey increases when you live in Kerrisdale or West Van?  So what if Harper rattles his flaccid sword at Russia – where you live in BC won’t change the consequences of that.  Same for the economy, mostly.  Except for the cost of home ownership, not much changes by moving to Spuzzum or a remote island. Not at a survival level anyway.

But I am still saying ‘GET OUT.  GET OUT NOW!’ because of the sheer enjoyment that awaits you.  It is just plain old wonderful to be living this way and my recollection of the rat race was not one of wonder and enjoyment.

Urban life was mostly convenient, though.  I’ll give you that.  Physically easy, to be sure. Definitely consumer-friendly.  One could sit all day and night at a screen, phone for food delivery and basically not have to move a muscle if you wanted to go all-out veggie.  And let’s face it, the women in the virtual world are better shaped and more beautiful than real people (albeit a smidge exaggerated). Plus you can steal cars and shoot all the bad guys you want to.  Switch your pizza guy now and then and what’s not to like?

So, I am just reminding you is all.  It’s really nice out here.  You meet wild turkeys on the road instead of traffic, you can eat fresh oysters for dinner rather than line up at the local restaurant, you breathe fresh air instead of particulate matter and it’s quiet; no sirens, no big trucks, no neighbour’s party music.  Think about it.  And then……………


The economy….briefly….then on to other things

The ‘uptick’ currently manifesting in the economy is fodder for the Cons electioneering message, “See?  We told you….the economy is NOW out of the recession because our plan is working.”

No.  It is not.  They are lying yet again.  And it will never work because they continue to decimate the middle and lower income levels to make it look like it is improving.  Let me explain: When the $C is low, our goods, services and exports are cheaper for others to buy and so they do.  Our national production and sales numbers (GDP) then go up and the economy is said to be ‘booming’.

Any crook can devalue the dollar to make the numbers look better and that is what they did.

For the worker being paid in lesser-value dollars, there is no advantage. In fact, there’s a disadvantage.  Imported cars and stuff (like food) are more expensive. So the Canuck has a steady wage but it is worth less due to devaulation.  It’s like a pay cut. Joe Six does not benefit from the work but falls behind in their standard of living.  For him or her, it is STILL hard to ‘get ahead’.  They don’t quite feel that is really HARDER.  But they will soon enough.

Soon it will be almost as hard to get a ‘head of lettuce’.

Why is this?  It is simple: the economy is built on stilts, cards, smoke and mirrors.  But because the common denominator of measurement is the dollar bill, and THEY control that, too, you have no idea where you stand on anything at any time.  Shaky or not.  Well, you do know that you can afford to buy a house in Spuzzum, BC, but not in Vancouver, BC.  But other than that you haven’t a clue.  So, you keep on carrying on not realizing that your efforts are aiding and abetting the purposeful deceit and confusion perpetrated by government and big business.

You are helping the bastards cheat you.  And they will always cheat you.  When you think about it, that is their job – to take your money from you.  They can call it what they want but that is what they do.  Then the duplicitous crooks try to bribe you with some of what they took from you.  They spend less and less on what they are supposed to give to the people by way of common-good efforts and they take more and more with which to do it.

They basically STEAL that from you.  And it is getting worse.

But, who cares, really?  It’s only ‘play’ money and, as I said, they manipulate the hell out of it and so as long as you play in the ‘money game’ you will always be the patsy, never the winner.  Frankly, I am OK with that.  I prefer ‘patsy’ to ‘crook’ on my resume anyway.

But here’s a tip: when the economy ‘rebounds’ because the dollar has been devalued by so much, it really means that the economy is just the same (maybe less if you look at other indicators), only the StatsCan measurement looks better because of the devaluation. It’s like looking at your speedometer in miles per hour but the car just won’t go faster so you choose to look at that same speedometer but read it in kilometers per hour.  The speed is the same.  You are only fooling yourself.


Another tip: use cash.  Trade.  Barter.  Grow or catch or even hunt your own food.  As much as you reasonably can given that most families require two incomes at the very least.  You make the jam, Margy makes the peanut butter and Sam delivers some venison now and then.  Janice brings the odd salmon.  Try to avoid the ‘system’ of Visa and PayPal and debit and debt as much as possible.  Why?  It’s more real.  They can’t tax your garden.  The food is better.  You have some human time.  A salmon is worth four loaves of freshly baked bread.  An old engine might be worth a hand putting on a new roof.  A shared potluck dinner is worth five times what everyone puts into it.  That nano economy works FOR you.  Theirs DOES NOT.

The thing these little, teeny nano-economies all have in common is that the government and business do not play a part.  They are not much of a part of that life.  They cannot leech from you or control it or restrict it or fine you.  You can dig for clams.  You are allowed to pick some of your neighbour’s apples….so do it.

One of our last freedoms – to exclude them from as much a part of your life as you can.  And INCLUDE real people in as much as you can.  It is the right thing to do.  Especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Which reminds me: coming back through the forest on a dirt road from friends the other night we came across a large, black, struttin’-his-stuff wild turkey!  Just like it was the days of the Mayflower!  There he stood, tall, proud and ugly and right in the middle of the road.  We’ve seen a lot of wildlife this year from Humpbacks to Wild Turkeys now.  I didn’t know we had ’em.  It’s been good.

Not silence, not quite…

Some guy on the prairies accidentally stumbled on and began to read my blog a year or so ago.  He kinda liked it.  So, he read on and on.  He was especially intrigued with the area in which we live because he had been out here fishing now and again and could relate.  

Then one day, he and his wife were coming out here to fish some more and he discovered that we had published a book so he bought it and slogged his way through it showing remarkable tenacity and tolerance for boredom in the process.  Since he was coming out here already, he figured it might be fun to meet the old doofus who wrote the book and maybe luck out and meet Sal as well.  

We met in Courtenay last year.  It was nice.  They were nice.  We were nice.  Everything was nice and then we left to do our shopping.  But we stayed in touch.  A little.  

Then one day, they decided to drop in while they were out this way and, while here, expressed some interest in getting property.  We showed them some.  They saw other bits.  They met other people.  Heard of some more.  And then, lo and behold, they found the right one and bought a little piece of this heaven.  

‘Course, being sensible people, they found a piece far from us.  And then they got to work. “Oh, my God!  The schlepping!  You really should have written that part up more clearly. We schlepped and schlepped and then slept and slept and did that for days and days and we know that we will be doing it even more.  OMG!” 


“Don’t be!  We love this place.  We love this place and wish we had done this sooner!” 

And so it was that we re-connected last night while having a fabulous dinner at their new digs. Caught up on the last year.  Shared stories.  Became friends but even more so. Commiserated over the hard stuff, shared the joys of the wonderful stuff and generally ‘bonded’ as neighbours and friends.

A blog.  A book.  A stranger.  Then a friend.  Who knew that this kind of magic could happen so accidentally?

Coincidence?  Well, neither of us think it is coincidence, actually.  We both kinda think it is ‘timing’.  Of sorts.  We have no idea what the ‘timing’ is about but it feels as if we are both responding to something deeper and more personal, something like destiny but more subtle. Something like following a small voice but less defined.  Something like listening to your own heart beat and following that….hard to explain….but they hear it.  We hear it.

We’re doing it.  They are doing it.  I’d tell you what it is if I could tell it any more clearly than I just have.  

Listen to your heart.  Just listen carefully.  Listen real hard.  Maybe it’s just a barely perceptible form of Tinnitus and we both suffer from it.  Maybe a heart murmur.  But maybe it is something more.  Anyone else hear it?    

So….imagine…..just for a minute….

….a small, isolated and remote up-the-BC-coast village.  Twenty five or so cabins sprinkled higgledy-piggledy on a slanted 10 acres of ocean front.  It has a store, a cafe and a minimal amount of services although water, power and sewer are in.  Power is communal solar and communal generator supplemented by your own small units.  Plenty of water.  Maybe 25 buildings.  Population in the ‘village’ is around 40-50 in the summer, maybe half in the dead of winter. Population on the rest of the island is another 60 or so. Maybe 200 in the general vicinity, 300 in the political catchment area.  The village has a school, a community centre and a dock complete with a post-office on it.  Bi-weekly (every two weeks) doctor visits in the clinic.  Yoga on Wednesday.

Your cottage site is amongst the 25 or so and consists of just enough land to build on and have a small garden.  The rest of the property is the ‘commons’.  It is a ‘village’ after all. You do not own the land.  The village is incorporated and it owns the land and leases it to you for $1.00 a year for 25 years at a time.  There are building guidelines so that the village is pleasant looking but it is NOT as tightly controlled as some controlled and gated suburbs in the city.  Roughly speaking, you can build up to 750 sft, it can not exceed 1.5 storeys, it should probably be board-and-batten siding and metal roofing but not necessarily.  It has to be somewhat minimalist in it’s power consumption but there will be telephone and internet.  Other than that, you are off-the-grid for the most part.

Or, something along those lines…..basic needs, the environment, harmony, good taste and common sense prevails.

Generally speaking, you can have whatever windows you want, whatever door you want, whatever interior configuration you want and that sort of thing.  But it has to be built to the national building code in most regards….a bit of relaxation when it comes to some things (wanna give stack-wall construction a try?  Fine.   Want some stonework?  No problem)…..the village decides on your plan with consideration for others and environmentalism uppermost in mind.  Until the village is populated, a small development group will decide what is permissible using the same criteria.  But there will be emphasis on live and let live with respect and good manners for your neighbours.  You want round windows and triangle doors?  Go for it – no harm done.

The village CAN build your place for you….if you want.  Or you can build it yourself if you want.  You can do some of it and the village can do some of it….just work out the details on a per customer, per contract basis.  Each household is independent.  There will eventually be a village council but it’s mandate will be severely limited to maintenance and ‘problem solving’.  No cars in the village  but, instead, maybe golf carts, boardwalks, trails and paths.  Real vehicles will be parked at the upper edge and will likely consist of few shared pick-ups as there is really no where to go.  A couple of communal vans for book club maybe.

The ‘theme’ or spirit is that of a retirement village.  Sleepy.  NOT ‘party’.  But with enough ‘other types’ sprinkled in to keep it from zombification.  Some larger-building sites will be available for young families.  Maybe.  Some apartments for the needing-more-care types. Maybe.

Your entry fee is $25K or whatever all the services and the land costs determine (should be close to that in my estimation).  Money held in trust with national law firm til we have enough to get going (likely 20 shares at least have to be sold but 8 have said yes so far).  You get one of only 25 shares in the village corporation. It can be submitted in $10K chunks but it has to be all in before you undertake construction.  Time limit: three years.  The sum will be put towards building the infrastructure and buying the land.  Every dollar accounted for. No profit taking.  Just village building.  The village will own the land but you will have a ‘share’ in the village ‘company’.

You can sell that share if you want to (after you have paid it off).  Later.  You will also own your house – when you build it.  If you eventually leave, you sell your village share and your building (for whatever you can get for a house with round windows and triangle doors) or else you sell your village share and take your building with you.  Most people would opt for the former.

“Hmmmmmm…..assuming everything you say is true and accurate with all the legal issues resolved and all that……25 sites…….10 acres……so, in effect, I own almost half an acre?”

Nope.  You DO NOT OWN THE LAND!  You lease it for a nominal sum.  Likely a maintenance fee, too, for taxes and typical village expenses.  Council controlled.

“But I own my house?”

Yes.  Like you own your own car but pay to park it in the office parkade.  Bigger space, tho.  Prettier, too.

“Can I live there part-time?  Like just for the summer?”

Yep.  There will likely be summer-only-residents, seasonal (6-8) month types and full-timers. You can even rent it out if you want…or the village will act as rental management for you – for a fee.

“Got a place for my boat?”  

Depending on size….yes.  Probably.  Maybe.  The property has a water lot lease but the dock would have to be built.  Same model as above, most likely.

“If you guys build my place for me, what is the cost?”

Don’t know.  Different counter tops for different folks.  But, generally speaking, think $200-250 a sft.  All construction done on a cost-plus basis.  Local builders.  You see the receipts and you pay them plus 15% for the plus part going to supervision of the subtrades.  The good part?  No salary for the village council.  Maybe an honorarium. The village is non-profit.

“Who picks my site?”

Typical mechanism.  First come-first served.  But they will all have water view and water access and be in a park-like setting.

“Why are you asking me this hypothetical question?”

Just wondering if there are enough people interested to make such a village work.  If 25 of you said, “I like it, we’re in.”, then I may do it.  Maybe not.  Just wondering.  First step though, would be to take deposits so that the land can be had and so you’d have to ‘pony up’ at least $10K pretty quick…say within three months.  I won’t take any fees until I really do something and just buying the land is not fee worthy.

“Is this for real?”

No.  Not yet.  Depends on how you, dear reader, responds.  If five of my readers do not step up then I cannot realistically expect to find the other 15 or so by way of marketing and advertising.   I have five locals already indicating yes but, for a non-profit, minimal fee effort, I need no risk.  Full commitment up front.  I would need some serious encouragement to undertake this even then and you are the indicator. Or not.  Either way, it’s OK with me.  Just wondering………



This one is really short because I am so disturbed, I can hardly write at all.  

Joe Oliver is Stephen Harper’s Minister of Finance.  It is on his shoulder’s the reputation of the Cons as ‘astute managers of the economy’ rides.  Joe Oliver is quoted as saying that Canada is NOT in a recession and never has been.  The minister is denying the very numbers his government (Stats Can) puts out.  And those numbers state that we are in a recession.  

If anyone is to rely on those numbers, it should be the minister of finance.  If anyone claims recession or not, their statements are defined by those numbers. The Minister of Finance is either a liar, a fool or such an astute manager of the economy he does not need to use numbers to formulate economic policy, budgets or statements.  Or truth.  

How does any CON reconcile that INCREDIBLE lie?  The Cons are so wrong on so many fronts but this is a blatant denial of the facts.  Worse, these Con ‘deniers’ of facts, democracy, climate change, evolution and God-knows-what are NOT alone.  Their numbers are high.  Latest polls show: 

30.3% 29.5% 31.2% 3.5% 4.6% 0.9%

Folks, those imbeciles are gonna get back in!  How is that even conceivable let alone possible?

And guess what?  They might even get in with more idiots from one of the other parties like Alex Johnston, the NDP candidate who is also a SCHOOL TRUSTEE (Hamilton) who made a joke about Auschwitz but claimed no knowledge of what the name referred to. She didn’t know Auschwitz was a WW2 prison camp!  HOW is that possible?  She has a degree from McMaster’s, of course.  She sits on the school board.  Pretty smile.  And she hasn’t got a bloody a clue.  And – just so you know – her level of stupidity is common in the party.  

And then there’s Just-in Trudeau and, I am sorry, I cannot continue without going apoplectic.  

No wonder people find it hard to vote.  


What is the truth about this blog?

Well, in my case, I am starting to wonder.  I started out simply trying to improve my writing by writing about my experiences and nonsense off-the-grid.  And, to whatever extent that happened, that exercise is mostly over.  

More exercise usually, in theory, continues improvement.  Incrementally.  But we all have to face the law of diminishing returns.  I live by the 80/20 rule. My writing might be getting a little better.  Maybe.  Slowly.  But not everything is.

Writing is more than just crafting sentences and telling anecdotes, it includes interesting topics and wrenching efforts at truth-telling. And that’s today’s topic. Truth-telling. 

Case in point: Writing and building are different.  I have lost faith in any improvement in my construction.

And I have found some holes in the 80/20 rule.  They were discovered by my constructing the world’s worst greenhouse.  Too complicated to explain but, trust me, it’s bad.  You’d think I would be getting better at building small structures but I am not. Incremental improvement is not working for me.  I am now building to the 20/80 rule: 20% of the effort is yielding 80% of the mistakes.

I don’t know why, exactly*.  I mean, a part of it is that I have become dysfunctionally comfortable with building-on-the-fly.  I like to ‘wing it’.  Feels more creative, organic, fluid, expressive…ya know..?  I guess I am a hippy at heart when it comes to building.  But, those kinds of feelings can be a smidge difficult to reconcile with square, level and plumb. There is something about building that requires discipline and I have always had trouble with that. (*I do know why: Sal supplied the discipline by nagging me about such things but she is quilting, yoga-ing and book-clubbing now and it is noticeable by her glaring absence on the job site). 

So, I told my neighbour my problem.  “My greenhouse is crap!”

“What’s wrong?  Show me the plan.”

“I don’ need no stinkin’ plan!”

“No plan?  How did you start?”

“By looking at all the loose crap I had under the house and sorting through the assorted windows I had salvaged….”

“So, you are using a pile of stuff that isn’t of the same materials or dimensions or designed for the intended purpose and, with no plan whatsoever, you are attempting to cobble it all together into a rectangular, strong, functional greenhouse?”

“Yeah.  What’s your point?”

My neighbour just laughs.  Mind you, I am talking to guy who does several drafts on paper before building a birdhouse from a store-bought kit. He reads the instructions.  He studies the manual.  He goes to the university library and looks up ‘BIRDHOUSES’.  We are different peas in different pods, he and I.

“Do you want me to come over, maybe offer some advice?

“Absolutely not!  Not ever!  If you come to visit, from now on you have to wear a blindfold.  I swear.”

“Well, did you at least use a string line?”

“Of course I did.  But it kept getting in the way….so…no, not the whole time….”

“Getting in the way of what?”

“The walls.  They kept weaving up against the string and pushing it out of straight.  So, I was going to try to straighten the walls when it occurred to me that removing the string was easier.”  

“You still building to the 20 year rule?”  

“I’ve cut back.”  





The madness!

Harper just announced a $100M ‘fund’ for assisting manufacturing in Ontario.  How insane is that? Here is the Prime Minister of the country telling everyone that he (and only he) has a handle on the economy and is the best leader for the economy and the country and yet he ‘bombs’ the election with a $100 million pledge to ‘support’ the manufacturing sector in Ontario.  So, does that mean the plan is NOT working, Steve?

Or does that mean there never really was a plan?  Just ‘wingin’ it, are we?

Or is that pledge just another bald-faced lie?  Maybe what he really means is that over the next seven years, his government, if re-elected, will set aside up to and including the sum of $100M for the manufacturing sector but, like all his promises, it will NOT actually be spent.  Budgeted for?  Yes.  Spent?  No.

They need to keep it to post false surpluses, silly.

Imagine that you are a worker in a union and contemplating voting to go out on strike for better wages.  Just before the union calls the vote, the corporate owner gets up and says, “Look, don’t go out on strike and I will seriously contemplate adding what I can to the wage level. Someday.  Maybe.”

Most members would laugh at such audacity.  BUT NOW IMAGINE that the owner had said that very thing several times before and never delivered…?  What do you suppose the response might be?  Should be?

And NOW imagine that the owner follows that up with, “Despite our books being balanced and in the black, we are forced to give the richer shareholders bigger dividends and cut back on your benefits.  Sorry about that.  Life is tough.  In fact, it is so tough that we have to put our pollution in your air and charge you more for water.   So, suck it up, guys.  Do your part and vote for me.”

I may be over simplifying this but tell me I am wrong………………go ahead…………..make my day.