Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stolen Carol & Beans

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my Significant Other in a consenting adult, monogamous relationship gave to me:
TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming,
ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note),
TEN melanin deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,
NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,
EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,
SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,
SIX enslaved Fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products,
FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration,
(NOTE: after members of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)
FOUR hours of recorded whale songs
THREE deconstructionist poets
TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses and...
ONE Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.
Merry Christmas Happy Chanukah. Good Kwanzaa. Blessed Yule. Happy Holidays! (unless otherwise prohibited by law)*
*Unless, of course, you are suffering from Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD). If this be the case, please substitute this gratuitous call for celebration with suggestion that you have a thoroughly adequate day.

A couple of Mr. Beans Christmas takes.... funny.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lights, Camera, Dinner, (and my dirty laundry)

Denman Island's Fire Dept., braved the cold rainy weather to hang the lights on the community Christmas tree. (Pardon the raindrop on the lens) OK, so there were no carolers or even spectators, but the tree will be enjoyed by all. Only the General Store owner had pity on us and had hot coffee waiting afterwards. It was also the evening of the Annual Community Christmas Dinner. The dinner is free to all islanders and is a long standing Christmas tradition. It's quite a social affair with Santa showing up with presents for all the good children of the island. Apparently he used the newly lighted tree as a landing beacon. Friday night, all the community merchants stayed open for Christmas shopping. One even offered up some libation at the half way point.

My Sis & Bro-in-law dropped in for an over-nighter this week and donated a stove to our kitchen. The old stove will be freebee to it's next owner. They were also the first guest we've had since adopting Boo Radley, our feral kitten. In Boo fashion, he made himself scarce and laid low until the strangers had left. Once assured that the dangerous guests had departed, he resumed his rightful spot in the middle of the dog bed.

Shhh, listen closely and you can hear the fat lady warming up backstage. Every man, woman and child in America is in debt $140,000. (And that's not even taking into account credit card bills and mortgages.)
Add it up: current debt and deficit, promises for those big programs, pensions, veterans health care and wars. The total comes to $43 trillion. That's where the $145,000 bill for every American, or $350,000 for every full-time worker, comes from. . A Debt that will grow over 2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years just financing war efforts. This is no low interest loan we're talking about... So, why would I care up here in the great white Canadian North? Just because America has one foot in the bottomless, dark pit of debt and the other on a banana peel, why should Canadians care? America spends $1.9 billion more a day on imported clothes and cars and gadgets than the entire rest of the world spends on its goods and services. Like many other countries, the Canadian economy is tethered to the American Consumer... the greediest, spend today, pay tomorrow consumer in the world... and the times a-coming that the loan will have to be paid. When the time comes we better be ready to cut the cord or risk being dragged down with them.

Speaking of laundry... We've been sourcing products that will work with our designed grey-water system and have been using Costco's U.S. made product... amazing what can be done with tofu isn't it? See Finally, there's a reasonably priced product on the market that doesn't surcharge people that want to use enviro type products. In 2008, a Canadian Company will launch it's own line... Hopefully, it too will be cost competitive... and it will be distributed though Canadian Tire.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Isolated Canada grudgingly accepts Bali deal

The Buzz from Bali.... Environment Minister John Baird caved to the pressure and manages to look like a goof to the rest of the world. It remains to be seen if Canada will make the effort required to honor the agreement. While Quebec heads down their own path, (as usual) the rest of Canada will have to follow suit, sooner or later. Perhaps we should start with the Mega-Polluting Alberta tar sands. If every province is held accountable, Alberta would be the first to squirm. How quick will they be willing to spend their wealth cleaning up the mess in their own province?
Quebec, after announcing that they will take an approach similar to California to reduce automobile emissions, are already being threatened by auto manufacturers that promise higher prices and reduced selection for conforming automobiles. GM, that can loose 39 BILLION in one quarter, might be wise to listen.... and produce a car in demand. Do ya think they've figured out they're making the wrong type of cars?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bali Bust

US, Japan, Canada accused of obstruction at climate conference... I hope all the other nations tell America, Canada and Japan to "piss off" and don't come back . I hope they ratify an agreement between themselves and totally exclude the countries didn't don't want in. I hope they call the treaty, "The Coalition of Countries That Care". Hopefully the participants will tax all imports from these countries, with the proceeds going to further fund reduction of their own Carbon emissions.... This is, after all, about trade and who will be at a disadvantage. The stakes are pretty high, lets see who can hold out the longest without any commitments. They can be proud of themselves..... but no one else will be.

Some things are just plain wrong Dept. Japan is planning to kill 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and, for the first time in 40 years, 50 humpback whales this summer season under its so-called research program. That seems like an awful lot of "research" to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Rant, It Wouldn't be Christmas Without One

After being skewered last year for my Christmas rant…. Would I dare be so stupid as to do it again? But, of course…. 10 things I hate about Christmas….

10- Red Santa Hats. Did somewhere along the way Santa give his permission to rip off his fashion style….? Adults, kids, even dogs wearing Santa hats… do they think it’s cute? And don’t get me going on the reindeer antler thing.

9- Shopping. Mall kiosks selling all that useless crap that no one will use, packed parking lots and short-tempered shoppers. Give me the Al Qaeda Torture camp instead please.

8- Being a poser… Quit dragging religion into the holidays. I’m not religious, never mind Christian… Even spiritual is a stretch at times. I say, take Christmas back from the Mall and give it to the Christians. It’s theirs anyway. Just change the name to “Winter Solstice Credit Card Debt Days” and we’ll all be happy.

7- The Timing. If one is inclined to buy a gift at the mall… shouldn't Christmas be mid-January, just after all those huge year-end sales? There’s some huge savings to be had.

6- Cranberry sauce. Why doesn’t anybody realize this stuff tastes awful? Add to the list mincemeat, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and brussel spouts.

5- Decorating. Putting up lights and gaudy decorations like plastic reindeer and inflatable snowmen for two weeks, then taking them all down again.

4- People that don’t take down their lights and gaudy decorations after Christmas. Buddy, It’s June, and 20 degrees, take down yer frikk’n lights.

3- Christmas Television Specials. No explanation required… if it’s not National Lampoon’s Christmas, It’s crap.

2- TV Commercials where loving husbands buy their wives red sports cars with big bows on them (or big diamond rings) for Christmas.

1- Cheap bastards that have no Christmas spirit and constantly complain about Christmas being consumer driven.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Elevated Straw Action

Friday evening, we went to see Kent McAlister and the Iron Choir. Opening the show for Kent was The Gruff, a band out of Victoria. We enjoyed the music and it was great to see a better turnout than usual for a "backhall" event. Things always come to my mind when I go to these events, like it's great to able to go to a concert (or our restaurant), and take a bottle of wine. Quite civilized really, and I've yet to see it become a problem. The other thing is... Denman Island is this small cross-section of society, so small that all types of people are forced congregate at the same place at the same time.... in other words, there's no population support for "special interest groups". I'm not sure how else to say it, but the result is something to experience. Social tolerance found here is what big cities lack., (amongst other things).

As Oil Production falls, and food prices rise because of transport costs, will people be forced to move closer to the food sources? The German model of smaller cities with farming and forestry close by, makes a lot of sense. The Fraser River delta, only minutes from Vancouver and arguably the most fertile farmland in the world is now concrete. There's lack of foresight. Speaking of foresight.... this question was posed to me the other day.... Knowing what you know, would you choose to bring children into this world at this point in time? My answer, an agonizing, no. Mostly, because what the earth needs is a depopulation.... Maybe, it could be achieved without war, disease or mass starvation.
Straw Bale House Update: Monday was the big day. 430 Albertan flax straw bales were to arrive on the 7:40 A.M. ferry. Barn loft space had been secured, (gratis from a local farm.) A bale elevator had been borrowed from another local farmer and six volunteers to unload the truck were standing by. Everything was cooperating..... except the weather. Eight inches of snow covered the ground from the day before... then, overnight we were hit by the "pineapple express". The temperature went from -2c to 13c in a matter of a few hours. Torrential rains began about 3:00 A.M. Oh, and did I mention, a power failure, the second failure this season. The generator, (on the construction site) could not be reached through the mud, snow and ice, so power for the bale elevator was toast. After a sleepless night, the delivery was stopped. The next day looked better and the trucking company was anxious to have their trailers back. With my labour force now cut in half.... and a third power failure, two trailer loads of straw arrived and were lifted by generator power into the barn loft. There were some calories burned over that 2 1/2 hours, all by my post 50 crew. Not bad for old guys.

As a volunteer firefighter, I saw my first flames last week. One of several power outages last week was caused by a tree across the power lines. The tree was scorched and a small candle-like fire was dripping flaming rubber from the coated lines when we arrived. It was unknown if the power lines were dead, so no water could be used. A few well placed snowballs extinguished the flames and the rest was left up to BC Hydro. Saturday, was the Fire fighter's Christmas dinner and award night. As there were very few incidents this year, most of the awards were, shall we say, of a humorous nature. (Should of had my camera for that).
Today, the (first) Pickton trial ended. The sick amount of money that will be wasted to prosecute this animal (100 + million) is second only to the sickness of the crimes. Was the outcome ever in doubt? Another 20 some murder charges are yet to be tried.