Watson erred. Trump was right.

Dear John and Aaron – I feel I have your permission to return to Trumplandia one more time because, in this instance, I (gasp, choke) support Trump.  I expect that such anomalies will be a rare occurrence, indeed, but one has to tell the truth as one sees it and, in this case, I side with Trump.  I do not so much agree with Trump as I disagree with judge Watson.  You guys deserve to win this one.

Hawaii judge, Derrick Watson, put a temporary hold on Trump’s revised travel ban. He was wrong.  Trump will get that decision overturned.  And, so he should.

Watson’s decision was based on the argument that Trump had ‘said’ publicly many times that he was intending to ‘ban Muslims’ and that those words have to be taken literally as religious persecution. On the face of it, that is logical.

But, on the flip-side of it, that reasoning is also illogical when applied to the actual lawyer-crafted written ban on the presidential order because the words in the travel ban did NOT say Muslims.  In effect, Watson is taking some words literally (Trump’s electioneering blather) but not the most important words, the actual written words of the presidential order.

“…. when words lose their meaning and their capacity to bind those who use them, neither democracy nor the rule of law can long survive.”  (that cuts both ways).

No sane person could disagree with that.  Especially in law.  However, it is also true that individual people can change their minds, alter their positions and even mis-speak.  No one can (or should be) be held accountable for their words say, twenty years later. In fact, every negotiation is an example of ‘words’ changing as positions on an issue are altered to find agreement.  That’s why we actually put things in carefully crafted wording on paper so that those finally-arrived-at words can extend accountability rather than one’s older, personal, off-the-cuff, first-position statements.  Contract law is the very best example of that and Watson should know that.

In other words, I think Trump is a fool and loose-tongued bigot but the words that count are the ones that were actually written in the order.  And the ones that were written are the ones that will be implemented.  Those are the ones that should be judged.

I am pleased that Watson slapped down Trump because I do not like Trump but the judge’s reasoning is faulty and his decision was based on a wrong legal premise. I think Watson showed his bias.  Trump’s order may remain overturned but NOT because of Watson’s reasoning.

The most interesting aspect of this incident is that the judiciary used the power of ‘words’ to make their decision (as they should) and Trump’s speaking-style is ignorant, bigoted and barely coherent so his own words undermined him.  His bias has been showing for some time.  He is his own worst enemy in a war of words. That is why he hires so many lawyers.

But I suspect that his lawyers actually came through for him on the travel ban and the wording was good even if I disagree with it.  The 9th court of Appeals will likely overturn Watson not because of the correctness of the ban but because of Watson’s faulty reasoning.

Trump is also in ‘trouble’ with the words he uses when accusing Obama of wire-tapping his residence prior to the election.  His ‘words’ aren’t right. So, if the next four years of political battle is to be waged with carefully scrutinized words, then Trump will have to take a back seat except when speaking like a fire-brand preacher to some populist choir.

Trump is much too vulnerable to real wordsmiths like lawyers and journalists. If the GOP is to govern, they are gonna have to muzzle that gibbering beast.       

Trump will be impeached…

….but you didn’t hear it here first.  I heard it first, of course, on the day he was elected and I have heard it almost every time I have looked deeply into a Trump subject. The latest clarion on the topic was from the author and former Secretary of Labour to three different presidents, Robert Reich.

Mind you, there are several competing reasons for impeachment and none of them are yet proven altho, on the face of it, one or two are unofficially proved in the court of common sense.

  • Trump violated his pledge to “faithfully” execute the laws and the Constitution when he accused his predecessor, President Obama, of illegally wiretapping him;  TOUGHEST IMPEACHMENT CHARGE TO PULL OFF, I think…..
  • Trump violate the Emolulent clause of the Constitution, which prohibits public officials from accepting money or gifts from foreign governments;  SHOULD BE THE EASIEST ONE TO ‘SELL’.  All ‘Mericans understand money.  
  • Trump violated the First Amendment’s freedom of religion provision by instituting a travel ban on residents of seven Muslim-majority countries; and
  • Trump violated the First Amendment’s free speech provision by calling the press the “enemy of the American people” and declining critical news outlets access to certain White House events.

Reich also asserts that if Trump colluded with the Russians – in any way – to help his election, that would constitute a fifth reason.  Already two close aides have had to resign over private ‘discussions’ with the Russians.

In my opinion, Trump should be impeached simply because of the Emoluments clause in the US Constitution that prohibits a president from profiting from the office. Or receiving gifts.  Trump is clearly doing so and, additionally, Melania launched and won a lawsuit that claimed allegations against her limited her ‘brand’s value and her ability to profit from being a ‘first lady’ (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one).

While the first lady making money over her position is not Trump, it suggests an insensitivity to the ‘visuals.’

But we are NOT talking visuals with TRUMP.  He got his ‘brand’ protected by the Chinese government a few days after he won the election. They had refused until then.  So, clearly, his presidency is now making him more profitable.  He is also making money ‘as the president’ because he insists on staying at his golf resort, Mar-a-lago, in Florida. A lot. He charges the Secret Service for staying there while they protect him.  His son’s get SS service when they open a new hotel in Vancouver!  That makes it extra profitable.

And there are other examples form golf courses to massage parlors.  Trump has his fingers in so many pies that profiting from the office is almost inevitable and unavoidable.  Think about it….advance notice decisions of the president….insider trading?  Spell it T-R-U-M-P.

But, frankly, I do not care.  Not really.  I expect nothing different.  He is a greedy, narcissistic bully and that’s what they do.  They get rich and they die like everyone else but with a large bank account….big whoop!  The point is: it is against the Constitution to do it.  100%.  No wriggle room.  See Jimmy Carter’s dilemma with his peanut farm.  That Trump ignores that rule has nothing to do with it – it’s a CONSTITUTIONAL rule and that means Congress.

That the House majority Republicans ignore it, however, is another matter.  If they choose to continue to ignore their profiteering president, wife and family, their majority in Congress means that he will never experience the ‘rule of law’ as it applies to presidents.  That makes the GOP accomplices.  That makes them complicit in a crime.  That makes them criminals, too.  So, we may not only see Trump impeached, we may see the end of the Republican Party.  It will be a major setback at the very least.

That sounds a tad mad but the Judiciary is the major check and balance in the US government and they cannot ignore the law. If they do, they are effectively ignoring their own role in government.  Somewhere along the line, this HUGE/YUGE conflict of interest will play out.

When that happens, the Republicans will throw Trump under the bus.  It’s what they do.

Bounty sustained

We’re home.  Time to refresh the larder.  A big shopping trip is due but, after the long schlep home, we decided to put it off for a week or so.  Logistics.  However, we had plenty to do to get the house back in order and so we have been pretty busy.

Our neighbour helped us re-provision somewhat by leaving his prawn traps out before he went back to the city.  “You pull ’em.  Git yerself a few prawns.  Maybe put the traps down a day before I return but I have no set plans.”  

So, we went out and pulled the traps.  Fifteen pounds!

That is our expected annual haul!  One day!  (we might have prawns once a month and use a bit extra when we have guests).  Fifteen pounds is plenty.  We spent the latter part of the day cleaning, bagging and freezing the catch.  We are now good til next year.

Just as the government can print money as they need to, Sal can bake.  Another bachelor neighbour way further north sorta hinted at a crabs-for-cheesecake trade. Sal will do that.  We’ll have fresh crab again this year.

When we go to town to replenish stocks, we’ll take the trailer and fill it it with topsoil, fertilizer, mulch and steer manure.  The garden is soon-to-be started (as soon as the snow quits).  I can see fresh salads already.  Sal sees flowers.  We are still working out the flowers-to-food planting ratio.  I want NO flowers and all food.  She wants flowers and herbs and is happy to buy lettuce and tomatoes at the store.  Talks will continue throughout the year.  One thing I am sure of: we’ll have plenty of flowers and herbs. Lettuce?  Not so sure.

Saw my doctor the other day.  She was pleased that I had lost a bit of weight.  But not pleased enough.  “Maybe you should do a bit more exercise?  Go for a nice walk?  Do you and Sally walk?”  

I showed her the chocolate cookies that Sal had baked for her.  “No.  I do not walk. Not for no reason, anyway.  I walk when I have to go somewhere.  And I’m often carrying 20 to 50 pounds when I do.  Usually uphill.  But no, I do not hike for fun. Hiking for no purpose is not fun for me.”

“Maybe you should try hiking.  It’s good for you.  Go for a nice long walk, wear headphones, listen to music.  It’s lovely.”

“If I walk two hundred feet in any one direction, I will fall into the sea.  Plus I’ll have gained and lost another hundred feet in elevation.  How ’bout we forgo the walk and I will just carry boulders up the hill when I come?”

“Really?  You’ll fall into the sea?  What about a nice park or something?  Can’t you go to a nice park somewhere and walk around it a few times?”

“No.  That would be stupid.  Boulder carrying makes more sense and, to be honest, boulder carrying makes no sense at all.  I appreciate the advice but I’m not walking around for exercise.  Ain’t gonna happen.  I will just have to lose weight the way I am doing it now. Slowly.”

“Well, I attended a conference in which they described patients like you so let me apply the lesson they taught me.  If you wanted to lose more weight how do you see yourself doing that?”

“Eat less fruit?  Carry more boulders?”

“Don’t be silly!”

“Well, I seem to get a lot of exercise when I build crap and I do need a new haul-out deck for the boat repairs…so I guess, I’ll just get on it…..?”

“But, is ‘building crap’ a sustainable exercise regime?”

“Well, I am not very good at it and so I have to rebuild the stuff again and again….so, yes, I think it is a sustainable exercise regime.”

“Good!  We have an exercise plan.  I am glad we had this little talk.  Pass the cookies.”   




Free thinking or simply Machiavellian….?

We finally met a dyed-in-the-wool, true-Trump supporter and believer as we were leaving Arizona.  He was the cabby taking us to the airport.  ‘Bout 70.  Small, leathery, skinny, polite, nice, poorly dressed and ill-spoken.  But clearly an ‘on-the-surface’ ordinary and decent kinda guy.  Dale.

We got to talkin’ and he offered up his political views.  “Time to make America Great Again.  Trump is gonna shake up the establishment.  Gonna help us poor folks get back on our feet. He cares about America.  Obama is an African Muslim with a forged birth certificate.  He created ISIS.  Hillary is crooked and so is the Clinton machine.  Trump has already done more in the last few weeks than Obama did in eight years.”  

Well, I said, I disagree one hundred percent with you.  I liked Obama.  He, at least spoke well.  And I don’t like Trump at all.  Admittedly, I did not like Clinton either. Still, I could be wrong.  You could be right.  Or, vice versa….right?”

“Sure.  But I think Trump speaks from the heart.  That’s why he sounds a bit crazy but he truly cares.  That’s what I believe.  He wants to do the right thing.  I am sure of that.”

Agreeing on ‘doing the right thing’ was our common ground.

And so we went on to other things. His part of the area is famous for being the sunniest place in the western hemisphere.  But he did not believe in solar panels.  I explained why solar panels are not too expensive when you live in Arizona and get half of the cost subsidized by a govt. grant.  He didn’t like the Chinese.  I told him about China and my experience with the culture.  He wondered why Canadian tourism was down 40% and that the tips were lousy.  I told him about it costing twice as much to live in Canada and how our dollar has dropped so even Arizona was not as cheap for us.  He told me about his high cost of living.  I told him about our gas and food prices vs Arizona prices and pointed out that 40% of their gasoline comes from Canada.

He didn’t know that.

He told me that he had to move in with his son ’cause he had a hard time making ends meet.  He told me that Mexicans were fine people who did most of the hard work in his area. Told me his wife left him.  Told me he was in favour of guns and expressed surprise to learn that Trump/Sessions repealed the law that forbade certifiably insane people from buying them.  Now they can.

He didn’t know that either.

When we arrived at the airport we shook hands.  He said, “Well, this has been the most educational fare I have ever had.  Thank you very much.  It was nice to meet you”.

As I said above, he was nice and polite. He was also working hard at 70.  He was poor.  He was also looking for the ‘tip’.  Still, being naive by nature and sussing him out as sincere, I believed him.  I think he truly found the conversation interesting.  I sure did.  I do know that many ‘facts’ or bits of ‘common knowledge’ I shared were news to him because he explored them with interested questions.  But I am not deluding myself.  He will support Trump regardless of what happens because, for him, Trump represented hope.

And therein lies the point of this blog: many Americans seem to have lost hope in themselves. Or their ‘circumstance’ at the very least.  On the other hand, many ‘Mericans (it seems, anyway) do not seem to seek out more information so as to find options.  He did NOT strike me as a zealot or a bigot (well, he was certainly against blacks because they burn down their own houses when they riot) but, given his miserable life, he was looking for something and that something was NOT the system or the establishment that he had lived in for the bulk of his life.  His American Dream was over because it had never really started.

The truly sad part was that Dale, though no genius, was not tree-stump stupid.  But, OMG, he was so incredibly ignorant of what passes for common knowledge in not only our life but also in just about any 8th grader’s life. Dale knew nothing and seemed to be content with that.

I say that ‘we finally met a true-Trump believer’ and Dale was the only person we met who identified openly that way but we must have encountered others.  We did encounter a helluva lot of people in Arizona who had little knowledge of much of anything outside of the US.  NOT all, of course, but that ‘local hick’, no-nothing-but what’s-on-TV attitude was fairly common.

Did it surprise me?

Not really.  I have friends who have never left BC. I know a guy who has never left Quadra Island.  NOT knowing about the world and having the perspective travel gives you is likely more common than traveling and learning about others.  England is famous for those who ‘never left the village‘.  Every country has them.

The thing is, tho: if you do not travel at least some, then your entire perspective is influenced by your family, peers and the TV station you watch.  If you hang out with Bubba at Redneck Taxi and watch only FOX TV, you are programmed a certain way. If you travel the globe and read instead of watch anything, then you are programmed another way.

But, face it, both groups are programmed. It is difficult to be a free-thinker.  I recommend the larger program if, for no other reason, it is more interesting and provides more hope.

And I hope this blog has helped to program you into thinking the way I want you to think…… 


We’re baaaaaaack!

It should be no big deal but it is.  We are back and, OMG, does it feel good!  I have never liked the term, ‘go to your happy place‘ but I have, this is it and I really do not want to ever leave again.

‘Course, I will.  I have places to go, people to see, things to mess up.  

But HERE is good.  REALLY good.

We are also doing things more sanely.  We left Victoria on Thursday, came up to the nearest town and stayed overnight so as to get some needed chores done without rushing. Usually, we would just race through a gazillion chores and end up arriving home in a storm at night fully laden and exhausted.  This time, we spread the effort over two days and had a nice dinner out.  Plus we did fewer chores putting some off til next week.  Very civilized.

I mention this because, as we age, our ability to cram ‘chores’, travel, schlep and get the house up and going again is getting a bit more difficult.  Having said that, it is only made more difficult for the want of a $100 stay overnight.  Well, we always do dinner out, too, so make that $150.00.  $200 on a crazy night out.  In other words, getting old can be compensated for with money.  So, why not?

The house was ice-cold.  Took til today to get the temperature back up to comfortable but that was no biggie.  All systems ‘go’ from the start.  We still have a bit of ‘sorting’ to do but we are largely back in the rhythm of our lifestyle.  Feels good.

“Why tell us this?”

Well, I wanted to convey that living OTG has all the usual challenges of ‘leaving home’ with a few additional aspects more complicated than leaving an urban one but not that much.  Not really.  An extra day’s travel, a few extra chores to get it all done….that sort of thing…but, basically, no different than leaving the cul-de-sac for a vacation.

We’re not so weird, after all.

But just to illustrate the differences; I had hauled the boat two months ago and stored it on the other island.  The tire had gone flat as we put it up on the hard and we had no time to fix it back then so I knew one of the ‘chores’ was gonna to be a tire job.  And, of course, an outboard motor that hadn’t started in a while put a question on that, too.  Plus the weather was more than ‘iffy’ and the seas on Thursday were ugly.  But on Friday, it all fell into place.  Things worked out fine.  We were in the house on the second day, having tea before it was 3:00 pm.  Very, very civilized.

We are definitely older, tho.  Both getting Old Age pensions, discounts on BC Ferries and 10% off whenever we buy anything it seems.  Still, it hasn’t been a problem yet – except once.  The problem was Sal, of course.  We were packing up getting ready to leave Arizona and the luggage weight limit is 50 pounds.  51 pounds will incur an extra charge of US$75.00 so you want to be sure of the weight. Sal packed her bag and lifted it.  She actually ‘stiff-arm- lifted’ it and concluded it was just over 40 pounds.  I lifted it and guessed higher at 44 pounds. We figured mine was a shade lighter (we have each lifted and carried 55 pound bags of Ready Mix cement enough times to know what 55 pounds feels like so we were confident.

We were wrong.  Sal’s bag was 53 pounds.  Mine 47.  A quick juggle and we balanced them both but topped out the limit.  We were good to go. As we walked away from the Alaska Airline check-in, I remarked to Sal, “Sal, you are collecting your old age pension and yet you one-armed 53 pounds like it was a pillow.  You only weigh around 125 yourself.  How many city gals can do that? How many old-agers can do that even if they are male? You are doing something right.”

“I guess, but you carried both bags several times without hesitation.  Even up stairs. You must be doing something right, too.”

Point: this place is good for us.  


Gustavo Tanaka

Some of my beta readers have asked, “What, exactly, is the purpose of this second book (OFF THE GRID REFLECTIONS) , David?”  (Which does not speak well to the writing, I am embarrassed to admit).  But the answer is that we went off the grid to satisfy something ‘inside’ and have found value in areas we hadn’t known much about before we did.  I wanted to share that. I also preached a bit, advised a bit and philosophized some.  All in all, a hodge podge of thoughts, really. Most of it, had I been a better writer, would have been included in the first book.  Because it wasn’t, I wanted to finish up what I had started by writing book two.

I also wanted to put in words what I can only describe as a sea change.  Things are changing and I can see that, I can feel that and I am responding to it by living OTG. But, of course, feeling, instinct and intuition often come before understanding, analysis and consciousness.  So, in that sense, I am writing about it before fully understanding it.  Typical.

I am writing today because another guy is going through the same thing.  Gustavo Tanaka is a Brazilian blogger and his latest submission was circulated widely by the Huffington Post.  And so……………   The following is a stolen good.  Brazilian Gustavo Tanaka originally wrote it. The Huffington Post reprinted it.  And I, without permission, have re-printed it again.  I tried to get permission but Tanaka is hard to reach and the HP wasn’t the author anyway.  I am hoping, by giving everyone their due credit, that I am acting only in the capacity as a ‘sharer’ of the obviously-wanting-to-be-shared article, I am doing what he wanted.  It has been translated and so is a bit awkward in the language at times.

TANAKA:  Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.

A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unaware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post, I’ll point out the eight reasons that lead me to believe it.

1. No one can stand the employment model any longer.

We are reaching our limits. People working with big corporations can’t stand their jobs. The lack of purpose knocks on your door as if it came from inside you like a yell of despair.

People want out. They want to drop everything. Take a look on how many people are willing to risk entrepreneurship, people leaving on sabbaticals, people with work-related depression, people in burnout.

2. The entrepreneurship model is also changing.

Over the past few years, with the explosion of startups, thousands of entrepreneurs turned their garages into offices to bring their billion-dollar ideas to life. The vortex of entrepreneurship was to find an investor and get funded — to be funded was like winning the World Cup or the Super Bowl.

But what happens after you get funded? You get back to being an employee. You may have brought in people not sharing your dream, not in agreement with your purpose, and soon it’s all about the money. The financial end becomes the main driver of your business.

People are suffering with it. Excellent startups began to tumble because the money-seeking model is endless.

A new way to endeavor is needed. Good people are doing it already.

3. The rise of collaboration.

Many people have figured out that it doesn’t make any sense to go on by yourself. Many people have awakened from the “each man for himself” mad mentality.

Stop, take a step back, and think. Isn’t it absurd that we, 7 billion of us living in the same planet, have grown further apart from each other? What sense does it make to turn your back on the thousands, maybe millions, of people living around you in the same city? Every time it crosses my mind, I feel blue.

Fortunately, things are changing. Sharing, collaborative economy concepts are being implemented, and it points towards a new direction. The direction of collaborating, of sharing, of helping, of togetherness.

This is beautiful to watch. It touches me.

4. We are finally figuring out what the Internet is.

The Internet is an incredibly spectacular thing, and only now — after so many years — we are understanding its power. With the Internet, the world is opened, the barriers fall, the separation ends, the togetherness starts, the collaboration explodes, the help emerges.

Some nations saw true revolutions that used the Internet as the primary catalyst, such as the Arab Spring. Here in Brazil, we are just starting to make a better use out of this amazing tool.

Internet is taking down mass control. The big media groups controlling news by how it suits best what they want the message to be and what they want us to read are no longer the sole owners of information. You go after what you want. You bond to whomever you want. You explore whatever you may want to.

With the advent of the Internet, the small are no longer speechless. There is a voice. The anonymous become acknowledged. The world comes together. And then the system may fall.

5. The fall of exaggerated consumerism.

For too long, we’ve been manipulated to consume as much as we possibly can, to buy every new product launched — the newest car, the latest iPhone, the top brands, lots of clothes, shoes, lots and lots and lots of pretty much anything we could our hands on.

Going against the crowd, many people have understood that this is way off. Low consumerism, slow life and slow food are a few types of action being taken as we speak, pointing out the contradiction of how absurdly we have come to organize ourselves.

Fewer people are using cars. Fewer people are overspending. And more people are swapping clothes, buying used goods, sharing assets, cars, apartments, offices.

We don’t need all of that they told us we needed. And this consciousness of new consumerism can take down any company living on the exaggerated end of it.

6. Healthy and organic eating.

We were so crazy we even accepted eating anything! It only needed to taste good, and everything would be alright.

We were so disconnected that companies started to practically poison our food, and we didn’t say anything!

But then some people started waking up, enabling and strengthening healthy and organic eating.

This is only going to get stronger.

But what has this got to do with economy and work? Just about everything, I’d say.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society. If we change our mindset, our eating habit and our way of consuming, corporations will have to respond and adapt to a new market.

The small farmer is getting back to being relevant to the whole chain of production. People are even growing plants and seeds inside their homes as well.

And that reshapes the whole economy.

7. The awakening of spirituality.

How many friends do you have who practice yoga? What about meditation? Now think back, 10 years ago. How many people did you know by then who practiced these activities?

Spirituality, for too long, was for esoteric folks — those weird-like and mystic people.

But fortunately, this is also changing. We’ve come to the edge of reason and rationality. We were able to realize that, with only our conscious mind, we can’t figure out everything that goes on here. There is something else going on, and I’m sure you want to get hold of that as well.

You want to understand how these things work — how life operates, what happens after death, what is this energy thing people talk about so much, what is quantum physics, how thoughts can be materialized and create our sense of reality, what is coincidence and synchronicity, why meditation works, how it’s possible to cure some ailments using nothing but bare hands, how those alternative therapies not always approved by regular medicine can actually work sometimes.

Companies are providing meditation to their employees. Even schools are teaching the young how to meditate. Think about it.

8 . Un-schooling trends.

Who created this teaching model? Who chose the classes you have to take? Who chose the lessons we learn in history classes? Why didn’t they teach us the truth about other ancient civilizations?
Why should kids follow a certain set of rules? Why should they watch everything in silence? Why should they wear a uniform? What about taking a test to prove what you actually learned?

We developed a model that perpetuates and replicates followers of the system, that breed people into ordinary human beings.

Fortunately, a lot of people are working to rethink that though concepts such as un-schooling, hack-schooling and homeschooling.

Maybe you’ve never thought of that and even may be in shock. But it’s happening.

Silently, people are being woken up and are realizing how crazy it is to live in this society.
Look at all these new actions and try to think everything we were taught so far is normal. I don’t think it is.

There is something extraordinary happening.

COX:  I could not agree more.

All good things…..

We have been in Phoenix for almost 7 weeks.  Escaped all the BC snow ‘cept for the first few days.  Been living in sunshine down here ‘cept for the first few days which was mostly just refreshing rain with a lot of sunshine in between.  The desert was beautiful.  No question, Phoenix in January and February is a very pleasant retreat from a Canadian winter, even the mild ones we have on the coast.

And, today it snowed again around the Salish Sea. My host wrote to tell me, “It snowed again!!! Change your flights, stay another week, save yourselves man, for the love of God!!!! 

We missed four earthquakes, too.

To stay is tempting.  A little.  But NOT tempting enough.  Why?  I don’t know, really. There is no place like home?  I am not a cowboy…?  Flat and brown gets me down….?  I don’t play cards and ‘do’ BBQ with old folks….?  Seen one mall, seen ’em all…..?  I don’t really know…..

It’s probably just that I am old. I thought I’d be drawn to play golf.  I really like golf. But, well, I was more drawn to writing the book and we are definitely closer to the end of that exercise.  This trip turned out to be a writer’s retreat and, in that vein, it was superb.  Takes time to read and re-read the same book ten times and changing it every time.

It was also a chance to peak into the ‘media’ and ‘news’ that is right here in the heart of Trumplandia.

I confess: NPR and PBS is good.  CBS and CNN are good.  Of course, the BBC is good.  So is the NY Times and a handful of other news sources.  Instead of flag-waving and ignorant propaganda, many ‘Merican news sources seem to be making an extra effort to be ‘neutral’ and fact-based.  This new trend to ‘fact-checking’ may, in fact, reestablish the MSM as something to listen to.

Last night FOX News did a report on Sweden’s Immigration problems as touted by Trump.  They interviewed two ‘security advisers’ to support their contention that Sweden is having unreported difficulties with immigration. By this morning, several major news agencies reported that no officials at any level of government in Sweden had ever heard of the so-called security advisers interviewed on Fox. Fox simply made up the titles!

Mind you, ‘security adviser’ is hardly a title restricted to only trained and specially educated people.  I am pretty sure I could claim to be a security adviser.  Who can say otherwise?  But the claim had implications of official status, authenticity and legitimacy.  It was none of those.

But my point is: the media war is on.  Fox lies on Saturday night and is debunked Sunday morning.  The MSM has never been so ‘on the ball’, so diligent in their fact-checking and so focused on truth-telling.  I think it is a good thing.

But, so far, that kind of professional journalism has not spread to the Vancouver Sun, CBC or Global.

I.e. Where is the OUTRAGE at the BC Liberal party for the blatant ‘bribing of the electorate’ (with the electorate’s own money) just before the next election after years of withholding?  Where is the condemnation of the site C dam that has been crumbling in various ways from the get go and now has a major crack in the wall? Where is the follow-up story on the make-us-all-rich promise of LNG?  Where is the anger at the Kinder Morgan pipeline sell-out?  Seriously? The US media is better than ours.

I admit to having watched much worse media than ours, too.  The local Arizona station did five or six stories in a row that were not stories at all.  ‘Police getting nicer’ (some feel good cops talking to people took up gobs of time), a story on ‘therapy dogs’ for the mentally challenged, a practice session for some applicants in the Special Olympics, some motorcycle rider’s traffic accidents and a day care that is not up to scratch with cleaning and such.  Half an hour of less-than-gossip. Stupid-making gibberish passing as news and filled with advertisements for lawyers and drugs.  Very weird.  In effect, it was cheap, amateurish local news-gathering used to convey an extraordinary level of huckster-style-advertising.

My biggest take-away from Arizona is a confirmation that the common people everywhere share so much of the same values; kindness, consideration, generosity and friendliness.  These are nice folks.  Ignorant?  I think so…..but benignly so for the most part.  They prefer sitcoms and football, BBQ and shopping malls, fast food and country music to anything more complicated.  But they’ll share their BBQ and beer at the drop of a hat.  That ain’t all bad.

I have known this kind of common humanity everywhere I have been in my life.  It may be soccer and cervezas, rice and chicken feet or Vodka and borscht, makes no difference, the common people are usually alright. Nice.  Pleasant.  Like sheep, really. Easy to exploit, manipulate and manage, that’s for sure. But easy to like, as well.

It’s been a good vacation.


Off the grid porn

UPDATE:  I apologize but you may have to delete your history cache in your search engine to get rid of the malware that sends you porn.  Maybe not.  My tech advisor wrote: Browser cache can be tricky sometimes and not cleaning up and going away quickly. The site is definitely fixed in regards to the hack, Google will stop showing that it is hacked in the listings after a day or so. As for Sally’s computer, not sure if it is hers being hacked (I doubt it) .  I am sure it is a cache issue. I’m not familiar with Windows so I’m not sure what else to suggest you do.  Try here: http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/home/ it might be of help for your browser just in case you missed a step.

(SOooooooo……..MAYBE) You are now gluten-free, preservative-free, sugar-free and finally hack-free! The little malware leech has been removed from my server.  No more porn!  At least NOT for me (I am saying that like it is a good thing). Which it is…really…..I mean….well, it was kind of a fun surprise…for a minute…OK, two minutes…..

The extra weird thing was that the porn-sites changed!  I saw what made me freak, and so I did a lot of admin stuff…then went back and it was still porn but from a different source and so I went and read up on how to find the malware, wrote some help-me emails and, after a bit went and checked again.  It was still there but now Japanese anime porn.

So, it strikes me that the little malware program was simply not about porn at all. Why? Because after I had been afflicted for a day, I got a Microsoft Virus Bulletin telling me to phone a special 800 number to get my computer cleaned up.  I didn’t. It’s phony.  Spam.   But my techies told me that call was the primary goal of the malware.  They wanted to try to con me into crap and steal information in some way. The porn was just to get my attention.

Why would they think that would work?

But it must be replicating so you may have the same bug.  Sal has it.  So we erased her history but she still had it so we are erasing some other crap……

CAUTION – we may STILL be hacked but I don’t think so – not at the server level, anyway.  Sal just tried it and got porned again so she thinks we still are.  Me and the techies think it is now in her computer as cached history.  What I did was go in to her computer and deleted her browsing history for the last week.  THAT may do it.  I have also asked my techies…..more to follow…..

They just answered: “Yea, most likely your computer cache (search history) is still showing the weird one-redirects. Site is loading fine for me and for a couple others I asked to test.”

History:  First warning yesterday:  WARNING!!!  I have been hacked…or maybe Google has been hacked……I don’t quite know.

If you are subscribed to offthegridhomes.org then you should have no problem.  If you type in the URL to your search engine, you should also encounter no problems but you might. If you go that route, do not click the obvious top suggestion! BECAUSE IF YOU SEARCH for the site on Google, you will get misdirected various forms of PORN sites.

A quick check found few of them related to off the grid or politics.  Well, maybe Anthony Weiner was featured in there somewhere but I didn’t look too closely.

Sadly, this misdirection will not increase numbers to my site.  The extra numbers are going to the porn sites.  I just see no upside for me.  In fact, I saw a lot of bottom-side.  From a variety of angles.  This is NOT good.

I do not know what to advise.  I have asked my techie son to address it.  Seems misdirection to porn sites is a common hack.  I read about it on Google forums.  The hackers somehow attach a hidden access file somewhere and when you type in your desired URL you get desire but not of the political and rambling off the grid kind.

I am upset  I can’t complete with that.  Even my best blog can’t compete with giant penises and skinny naked women.  I am not so sure I can even compete with cute kitten photos and flowers, to be honest.

This may be Dave’s blog swan song……………….going out in a tawdry, kinky bent, like all old men…..disgusting……reviled…..so sad…..all we ever really wanted was to be loved…..in all the wrong ways, perhaps, but loved nevertheless…..

Sally’s scenario

As you know, Sal had an idea for a book.  Trump gains power and exerts it.  The nation’s mood turns ugly. Soon all hell breaks loose.  Right wing nut bars are desecrating Jewish cemeteries, Muslims are being attacked and immigrants, refugees, tourists and all manner of travelers are being harassed, jailed, shot and prosecuted.  Even Canadians. Crazy.

And it all happens so fast that a couple of retired, white, stodgy-type Canadians on vacation are caught in the cross-hairs of a rabid police state running amok with power.  The oldsters then have to make a run for it. The book is basically a cheap B action flick starring 70 year-olds.

As I mentioned before….it’s a fun premise but until last night, still relegated to the extreme fiction genre.  Last night Trump made it mild fiction.  Maybe, to some extent, a reality.

Trump’s new order, in effect, gives unfettered power of deportation to cops and the border patrol.  Ostensibly, they will exercise their newly expanded powers hunting only for those who are criminals or gang members or known bad hombres.  But technically, the order reads that a cop or border patrol agent can ‘deem’ a person deportable and that ‘officer’ requires no proof.  It is a discretionary power.  No courts.  No checks, no balances.

And our level of trust in the street-level, uniformed, US law enforcers is how high? And, making matters worse, Trump has also authorized the doubling of such forces. And our level of trust in the training of these new, currently unemployed young men and women is what, exactly?

I wonder how many young women will be coerced by pumped up, bigoted border agents whether the women are documented or not?  I wonder how many young men will be beaten and jailed whether documented or not?  I wonder if old Canadians will be deemed exempt from that Nazi-like behaviour.  I wonder if I will find out first hand?

There is trouble ahead for many.

Now – to be more realistic – We are home in a week.  We will be fine.  But, here in Arizona, some people are already very much afraid.  Those who are undocumented are terrified (not of being deported but of being arrested).  Those who have temporary visas and work or student permits are equally as frightened and even those who have the proper documents but who have minor infractions on their record are convinced they will be deported.

Maybe it’s a good thing?  Maybe Mexicans and Muslims should go back to where they came from?  Maybe the US simply cannot take any more people?  Maybe Trump and the racists are right, they have to protect themselves from strangers. Maybe these hate-motivated tactics are necessary for the survival of the Trump-types…..I judge they are wrong, wrong, wrong, of course, but I am NOT POTUS.  I am not a Virginia coal miner.  I am not a hill-billy meth-head.  I do not know the lives and mind set of the poor, white, ill-educated and unemployed (nor do I want to). Maybe I cannot and should not judge the actions of another country.  Maybe I just go home and watch the drama unfold and say, “tsk, tsk, tsk”.

And maybe the Conservatives win the next election and promote their legislation to do the same thing in Canada?



Phoenix is a hotbed for snowbirds.  Literally.  Vast swathes of one-level double-wides in huge gated and walled ‘winter’ communities made up almost entirely of northern-state ‘Mericans and Canadians, they are populated 80% by people with grey or dyed blue/orange hair.  The other 20% are bald. They play cards.  They gather in clubhouses.  Some of the more spry ‘generians’ play golf.  But they all shop. And shop. And shop some more.

Sal is OK with that.  Me?  Not so much.  Yesterday we went to a crap-and-junk mart packed with people.  Today, we went to a craft and fabrics store in a mall as big as Central Park. After a painful twenty minutes spent looking at Styrofoam shapes, glue and sparkles, I found her and said, “So, sweetie?  You find what you were looking for?”

“Oh, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.  Just looking, you know?”

“Oh.  Well, then…..have you seen it all?”

“No, only about half but I think we have to leave.”

Feigning reluctance and disappointment, I said, “Oh, really?  Shouldn’t you see it all….now that we are here, I mean?  Great sparkles and Styrofoam shapes over there…..”

“No.  It’s too much.  I have to come back better prepared.  We’ll need to have a truck.  I am going to be hours.  It’s gonna be big.”

“Unh, we do have a truck……”

“No.  I am gonna need days.  Multiple trips.  The fabrics are soooooooo cheap, so cheap.  I can see quilts in my head.  We are gonna need a lot of time….”

……………I am losing her……..