While out walking my dogs and doing some introspections I had to admit to myself that, yep, I’m an angry old guy. It is never correct or healthy to carry anger inside one’s self but it happens and the first step in dealing with a problem is admitting it. To direct rage at someone else is always wrong. I realize that I am volatile and that frustrates me even more. I’m aware of, and working on my personal issues, there is no reason to make anyone else wear my angst.
I recently attended a meeting in regard to the attempted ousting of the Ladysmith Maritime Society. I’ve written about this at length in various publications and whole-heatedly (Intentional pun) oppose this travesty against basic protocol, dignity and political acumen. There is clearly no sense of political correctness on behalf of the local municipal government, the provincial government nor the local First Nations. They appear determined to crush a very valuable achievement of and asset to the community of Ladysmith. There is an odour of some secret political agenda which exceeds any of their stated intentions. A large group of members in the LMS have put a huge piece of themselves over the years into building up a fabulous facility which self-entitled factions now have decided to acquire for themselves. The word ‘piracy’ comes to mind.
These regular meetings are intended to update LMS membership about the progress of our defense against an impending takeover. The meetings are informally chaired by the LMS executive director. He’s a fine fellow and possesses qualities I never will. He is charming, silver-tongued, apparently meticulous and presents himself with a smooth charisma. At this recent meeting I heard once again the same delicious looped rhetoric as I’ve listened to ever since the issue arose. There has been no true progress in favour of the LMS situation. Every member lives with fear and doubt about the eventual outcome of this debacle. I’m sure our man is doing his job very well, and there is still our daily business to run, but smooth talking is producing no results in regard to fighting the takeover looming over us.
When I passionately interjected that our man was our employee and had no personal investment in the story, such as having his own boat to moor, I was asked angrily to leave. Fair enough. I did, amid accusations of having “Strong opinions”. Well folks when you’re fighting for something important, strong opinions are absolutely necessary. Placations may leave warm and fuzzy feelings but they get nothing done. In fact the Stz’uminus Band is now trying to coerce LMS members to renew their annual moorage agreements with them in October, instead of with LMS at year’s end. WOT? I, For one, will NOT start singing “Roll me over in the clover.” It is said of bacon and eggs that the chicken is involved and the pig is committed. I hear nothing but clucking; from everyone.
It is time that everyone affected by this matter get ferociously pissed off. Canadians have developed a digressive approach to most social issues. If we weren’t so damned polite perhaps we’d hold a much firmer position within the global community. Our Prime Minister eternally tries to be politically correct with everyone and has earned all the respect nationally and internationally of a jelly fish. If we found ourselves being invaded like the Ukraine we would be lining the streets to ask the marching troops not to step on our flowers please. Journalists frequently refer to “Illegal Wars.” What’s a legal war? We’re at war, OK? Bang!
I have constantly ruminated about this blog for the past week. Should I post it or not? Whom will I offend? No-one I have not already. If you truly believe within yourself that your stand is correct then it is right to speak up. It would be dishonest not to.
I don’t own a boat at the moment and have no tangible reason to involve myself in the ongoing muddle at LMS. No one seems to want to actually raise a fist and lead. I’ll remove my volatile self and strong opinions from the mix and watch from afar. The fool on the hill.
“The object of war is not to die for your country but rather to make the other bastard die for his.” George Patton.
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September 3rd. I’m still digesting the fact of life that we go on without Jimmy Buffet. It is not so much the man, but the idea of him and what he represented that puts us at the end of an era. We need positive people and the joy they spread.This year began with me still missing John Prine. I always will. Since then we have lost Tony Bennett, Sinead O’connor, Robbie Robinson, Gordon Lightfoot and now Jimmy B. I’ve probably forgotten someone.It’s a parade! All things pass, so shall we.
Six doors down on our street a pub opened its doors last year. It was an instant success. I’ve never been able to sample their fare, they are too busy to get inside the place. Good for them. Yesterday they chose to host a wedding feast. The band struck up in mid-afternoon and the cacophany continued late into the evening. The streets were clogged with parked vehicles as the din of yodeling, screeching, thumping and twanging wore on. It did not sound very joyful. The dogs in the neighbourhood were as pissed off as their owners. Over the racket, our back alley nemesis could be heard bleating at her dog, “JOEY, ferfucksake shaddup!” Apparently this is how we celebrate marital bliss and hope. Are there any divorce shindigs?
When I was little folks would tie cans to their heavily decorated vehicles and drive around town in a procession while honking their horns. People would rush out to witness the spectacle. What a different world now! While the noisy festival ground on I tried watching a nature prgram about the Hebrides. It was narrated by the honey whisky voice of Ewan McGregor. In one segment he described the nesting of migratory swallows inside a whiskey distillery warehouse. The birds watched as men took annual samples from the barrels. It was explained that these barrels had been stored for ten generations of swallows. I thought the overlooked but obvious pun was hilarious.
Tuesday after the long weekend. The world seems dreamy, languid. I remembered to slow to 30 kmph in the school zones. I didn’t see one child but there had to be a cop in the bushes somewhere. We’ve skidded all the way through summer and now we’re savouring the last sips from the bottom of the bottle. We may have a nice run right to the end of October but we know better than to take anything for granted.
I am certainly not. I am forcing myself to finish out this blog on my tablet. I terrifies me. I sit poking away and suddenly what I wrote skids off somewhere else. I poke away with my banana fingers trying to put things back in order, mystified at what I’ve done wrong. I am a true bog trotter and I have a hell of a time assimilating new technology. Artifical intellilligence perhaps but stupidity will always be real.. I’m not stupid, crazy perhaps, I’m just not prepareded to perform remote virtual brain surgery…through the rectum!
One of the things that computers allow me to do is to travel the world without leaving my fat bastard’s chair. Vicarious travel is certainly no substitute for the real thing and I’m eternally eager to explore any road I’ve never been down before. Even if it’s an ugly road, there is something to be gained in the experience. Meanwhile I can simply enjoy meandering along the local back roads in reaql time, there are more than enough for a geezer on a motorcycle. A beer moth. I heard, or misheard that, while a fellow described a large motorbike, a behemouth. I’ll take it. I’m going beer mothing.
“We talk a lot about the five senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. I would add one more…imagination.”
― Wes Adamson
I did not get a photo. I was laughing too hard. He was a brawny four pounder, four inches across at the shoulders, bristle-faced with two gleaming black eyes. Jill and I have each been awake half the night trying remember his name but we can’t. (Recalling our own names can be a challenge.) It was lugubrious and meant something like unconquerable. What was truly amazing about this wee beast was how he peed. He stood up on his front legs, extended his little pinky and squirted away. How he avoided soaking himself is another trick. We both saw it. Is this an evolution of simply cocking a leg? Is it a provocation of his name?
A little research says that it is not that uncommon. It is a little dog’s attempt to “overmark” other dog’s pee mail. No big deal and come to think of it, a huge number of humans do the same same thing, at least figuratively. Everything is a pissing contest for some folks as they try to compensate for a sense of inadequacy. We do tend to wet our own knitting all too often.
Temperatures in Ladysmith lately have risen to the mid-thirties. Funny what happens in August. It IS very, very dry and the usual summer westerly wind is howling. I’m terrified of what can happen if there’s one fool smoking a joint in the bushes. Yes it actually keeps me awake. Our Volunteer Fire Department Emergency call-out siren blows regularly. I’ve helped fight forest fires and there is no romance in any of it. With the present winds any flame will become a monstrous blowtourch that nobody can outrun or control. There is a campfire ban for the whole province, I think no-one should be allowed into the woods, anywhere. I suppose the BC Ferry campgrounds are safe enough, all the trees were cut down long ago.
The smoke thickens. It seems half of the interior in BC is ablaze. The smoke has settled over us here on the coast thickly, one can even taste it. I’ll keep my own opinions to myself and hope desperately that no runaway fires burst out here on Vancouver Island. Further to the south, Mexico has been hit from the Pacific by Hurricane Hilary. There is extreme flooding. My beloved Barb’s Dog Rescue, presently caring for four hundred dogs has had its decrepit electrical system wiped out. They can’t even pump drinking water at present. They’re desperately reaching out for any help folks can offer. It’s a perfect time to win a lottery. One of my joys would be helping certain folks out… and telling others where to go.
I cannot explain it. I am by nature a creative character; I can make a mess of anything. I do like what I can do with my writing and my cameras but this year I’ve had a hard time forcing myself to make videos. I find that work very challenging and my technical abilities remain primitive. Nevertheless I’ve put this effort together:
I hope you like it and I would love any comments and suggestions. I watch a lot of travel vlogs on YouTube and feel inclined to bend that way. I’ll start with routes and back roads locally. So there, now I’ve posted a commitment and I’d better get out there. Have scooter-cycle, will ride.
I should mention that I have not heard a lot of whinging about the heat this summer. That seems most unusual. Perhaps with all the press about our province-wide wild fire devastation we all realize how fragile our existence really is. One flipped cigarette butt and we could face a horrible doom. Life is that close to the edge. The streams are all running dry and we are only mid-way through summer. But then, think of all the other places we could be living. There is nothing we need or want that we cannot take for granted. And so far, we are still free to leave. So far we can still feel safe flying in Canada in our own private jet.
By the way, it’s a blue moon month (Two full moons in one month) Thursday the 31st, last day of the month. Be on the highest local peak for the moonrise, just bring your dancing boots and don’t worry about what to wear. Get naked!
I’ve mentioned before that the original intent of this blog was to describe my travels; ocean voyages, desert treks, new discoveries and all the amazing people along the way. It just hasn’t worked out due to an incredible inability to raise funds. There was a time when it seemed that money just happened. I don’t know how things have changed other than not being able to work at a regular job but there’s still lots of money around, it just seems to be in soft pink little mitts that have never even had a callus. I can hear a good friend who often rages about all “The non-producers.” He’s right! Working smart? What’s that?
I’m not complaining (Well just a little) just explaining, and I continue to poke into the mundane and daily humdrums to find things to write about. There are some amazing treasures which we walk right by. Isn’t it funny how memories can be triggered by something totally innocuous? I was sitting at this desk while my wife watched a favourite BBC production. One character’s line was simply “Pass the pepper please.” I’ve always liked peppery food. Suddenly I recalled how as a small boy my parents and other adults at a dinner table would often caution me, “Not too much pepper, it’ll make your blood dry up!” Where the hell did that one come from? I’ve done my research and find no origin of that myth. I clearly remember hearing it often. Surely there must be other food notions that we endured. Do you have any?
The other eating terror I recall was about swimming after eating. My mother believed that if, after eating, a person entered water too soon, they would endure crippling stomach cramps and drown. When my parents moved to town a point of order was to enroll me for swimming lessons at the local pool. I can recall the acrid taste and smell of chlorine, the biting cold of the water, the incessant whistles of those goddamned lifeguards. In a few horrible lessons I was taught all the many ways to drown (although there was no mention about when not to eat.) I held a deep terror of swimming for the next twenty years. That kept me alive by keeping me out of the water although I did become an avid canoeist! Only when taking scuba lessons did I realize how much weight one needed to strap to their body to actually sink. We’re naturally buoyant! If you’re tense, you’ll sink. Just relax. Putting on a good layer of fat helps too!
My little dog Arye is a very intense creature. If there is something she does not like, it is not going to happen. She’ll remember and a repeat attempt at coercing her into anything usually fails. Recently I tried clipping her toe nails. I managed two before her frantic struggles and screams ended the ordeal. She is a wonderful dramatic actor and this was a stellar performance. Later that day, the clippers ended up on the floor where Arye was seen inspecting them thoroughly. She then picked them up and trotted off to hide them under a bed. Clever wee bitch! I can’t imagine what I need to do about those little claws without having to anaesthetize her. I’ve come to dearly love both my wee inherited dogs. I insist they both be dogs, none of that fuu-fuu-la-la business for me, but it seems that big dog solutions don’t always work. I’m open to suggestions about this ten-pound beast.
I have always been bemused by the roof-top cargo boxes which many folks attach to their car roofs. I see a sarcophagus shape and makes jokes about why people want to haul a dead relative around. Recently I saw a brief story about an English couple returning home from France and finding that someone was trying to smuggle themselves in a rooftop luggage box. These folks tied the box lid with a rope and called the police. My sympathies, of course, are with the illegal immigrant. There were other videos of the same practice and now whenever I see another roof box hurtling along, I see more immigrants.
Two nights ago Jill and I went to our favourite local Thai restaurant in Chemainus, It is superb in all ways, the food and service are always perfect. It is in an old house with a lovely verandah for outdoor dining, a grand place to have a summer supper. Another couple came to the next table. They proceeded to loudly analysis the menu for the next twenty minutes. “Well if you have a twelve then I’ll try the nineteen.” Finally the proprietor was able to take their order. The conversation evolved. “ I sure hope it’s a good vegetable roll, haven’t had a good vegetable roll in a long time!” A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste and I so wanted to say something loudly about a roll in the garden. Down boy, down! Their chat had moved on to discussing friends. “She sure is kinda purty though she’s a bit wide for her length.” Uhuh. I went and photographed flowers in the garden while waiting for our food. Lord knows what folks say about things I tend to spout and how I behave.
And so there… another blog about not very much at all. Just like the six o’clock news!
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
I was enjoying a few minutes of bliss wandering along a local sandstone beach. The dogs scampered happily among the driftwood. The sun was warm and the seabreeze entirely pleasant. A Rubenesque woman, clad in black spandex and blending in to the shadows, was squatting on the end of a log and suddenly shouted out “Yer dog jes took a shit!” I replied calmly as I walked on, “It’s OK. She’ll put it back.” The woman was sitting with her bumbas hanging over her perch as if she might be “taking” one herself. I wanted to point out that the scat from seals, otters, racoons and all the birds were strewn all over the beach. No point; “He who argues with a fool,” you know the rest.
My little girl Libby did her business discreetly underneath a log where no-one could tread if they wanted to. I don’t want anyone to suffer anything due to my dogs but I also refuse to step outside the bounds of basic reality. Shit happens. And so it goes.
My friend on the motorcycle odyssey called me early this morning. Jimmy is in Dawson City, cooling his jets and waiting for the arrival of his brother on a motorcycle. They’ll ride together on to Tuktoyaktuk, the apex of the journey, and then begin a fast but meandering journey homeward. All is well and I wish him every joy on his trip. We discussed a few current news items and got stuck on the missing mini-sub at the Titanic site. It had been four days since the alarm was sounded, they’re out of oxygen now, they’re dead. As a mariner, I mourn their loss, and empathize with their long wait in the cold and dark. At least now they sleep.
A sudden update announces a debris field which would indicate a severe malfunction and that the five aboard endured a quick and merciful end, probably only a short while into their descent.
Jimmy related a conversation he’d recently had about this same subject. It covered all the resources spent, financial and economic, to save the lives of five wealthy people enjoying an exotic adventure. The Titanic is a grave site. It contains the remains of hundreds of people, or at least the memory of them. Now its ghosts have claimed five more lives. Leave it alone. It should be a sacred place. There are other mysteries to spend money and interest on. We have turned it into another commercial venture. But then, in another week , this too will be an abandoned story.
A week ago, an immigrant vessel off the coast of Greece, capsized and sank with hundreds of desperate souls aboard. They all invested all their resources in a mere chance at a new life. Locked below deck within a mass of terrified fellow human cargo, in the disoriented darkness, one can only image the immense horror of a slow excruciating death. We endured three days of speculation and generally uninformed opinion and now will hear nothing more. Mothers and children, in the hundreds, refuges of war and poverty, are already a forgotten news item.
Yesterday 227 migrants were rescued off the Canary Islands and in a separate incident 39 died when their inflatable boat sank. Within the past month over 5,900 refuges have been helped off the Canaries. There has been nothing on the evening news about any of this. Apparently human lives have differing values. The carnage in Ukraine continues, Sudan is an ongoing disaster, earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria continue to grapple for basic needs. They are not newsworthy any more. We move on to the next saleable media item, such as the Glastonbury Music Festival in the UK. Mountains are swept under the rug.
“If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.” Thomas Sowell
Nothing at all. That’s what I’m doing. It’s hard. The surf thunders on the beach beneath a cloudless sky. The long crescent of sand and shingle is miles long and we have it nearly all to ourselves. We are backed up to the driftwood at the top of foreshore at the Pacheedaht First Nations Campground near Port Renfrew. It looks out on the bay known as Port San Juan. Only a two hour drive from home we are in a different world here on the opposite side of the island. The sea air from the open ocean and the sweeping view are bliss.
Port San Juan looks directly across the mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait to Cape Flattery and then the entire Pacific Ocean. That is the Northwestern tip of the State of Worshington (As they say) and also that of continental US. Last night, just on the horizon I could see the instantly familiar rhythm of the Cape Flattery Light, on Tattosh Island which marks the gateway in and out of the straight. Considering the strong tides, it is perhaps more of a hinge to that long and deadly gate. This is an area known as the Graveyard of the Pacific where the bones of ships are littered, on average one per mile. I could see radio tower lights on the ridge above Neah Bay and the twinkle of stars overhead. An outbound deep sea vessel shows her green starboard light.
Tonight in this bay moonlight from a gibbous moon sparkles on the waves. A cold west wind subsided as the day’s warmth faded but I relished the heat of my small campfire. Of course I ached to be back out on the ocean, where I feel truly at home. I’ve anchored boats here when a trip along the outside of Vancouver Island met opposing tides and winds and seeking shelter here made sense. It is a rolly place to sit on the end of an anchor chain but the only option in consideration of the thrashing a boat would take out on the open sea. Being here now on the beach with my wife and two little dogs is enviable, especially in mid-week. This place is a mecca for surfers who come in droves and party hardy through the night. When the surf is right in the daytime they don neoprene suits and hone their skills in the bitter cold waters. They’re still working at the office in the city at the moment.
This certainly beats hell out of the small town environment and the strata-titled patio home where we live. That tedium and mediocrity is a fate worse than death. It is also the first time since Jill’s horrible health ordeal that she has been able to get out away from home base. THAT is something to celebrate. She is cold, cold, cold and I’ve given her one of my old fat boy shirts, which seems to help against the chill sea wind. We listen to the pulsing rhythm of the surf angling along the beach, there is a clatter of round hard stones which are first cast up the sloping sand then drawn back down; a grinding and polishing routine that is eternal. Sleep comes easily.
Morning comes sweetly and a day without an agenda unfurls before us in the rising wind. Campers leave, others arrive. It’s a campground after all. There is a field of monstrous logs and stumps cast up beyond the beach. The debris is scattered thickly for over a mile, a testament to the incredible power of winter storms at high tide. It would be a wonderland for children with all those spots and niches to hide and explore; a nightmare for parents trying to find their wee ones again. And there are goggles of sticks and stones for creative young minds to play with, no batteries required. What a place for children to roam, especially the city-bound, adults too! Down the beach someone flies a kite.
Despite the incredible ocean panorama most campers settle in by shutting their Rv window blinds shortly after arriving. I can’t understand but it’s none of my business. Then a young couple arrives in a small car which bounds over the bumps and huge potholes. They soon claim the furthest picnic table and strip down to skimpy bathing costumes despite the shrill chill wind. Minutes later my old eyes see these two enjoying a vigourous round of rumpy bumby up on the table. Despite the privacy of all those logs, where they could indulge in hours of afternoon delight, they are having sex on stage. I understand some folks find thrills in being exhibitionists. Part of me is a little jealous, part of me wants to find a big stick. I’m no prude but there are children on the beach as well as others who must find such stray-dog behaviour offensive. In the end, their hormones assuaged, they leave as quickly as they arrived. The surf rolls on.
Just before sundown, a burly bicycle trekker arrives wearing a huge flourescent jacket. She transports huge bags of gear and I wonder what possesses folks to indulge in such an ambition. I’ve done remarkable things alone in sailing boats and in tiny airplanes and I’d like to do a few wee trips on a motorcycle, but a bicycle! I’d rather walk and hitch hike but then who in the hell would stop and pick up the likes of me. They’d have to be more nutters than I am. This bicycle lady expertly erected a bell tent and disappeared inside. She was gone at first light.
As darkness falls a convoy arrives, parking trailers and motorhomes in a circle, pitching tents all around where their dogs roam free. The little community settles in for a serious party, but they’re quieter than expected. Sleep comes easily. Then one great farting Harley Davidson motorcycle arrives, touring slowly past each camping spot, looking for someone. I start thinking of that big stick again. Later, after midnight, I’m awakened again by brilliant white lights slashing into our quietude. Someone next door is out there at 01:30 erecting a tent and using their hiking headlamps. They mean no harm, they just want to sleep but their lights are annoying and so I lay listening to the surf until its zen rhytmn fades my senses into peaceful sleep; finally.
Next morning we return home on the same route through the abandoned remains of raped first growth forest. I used to travel this road before it was paved. One would follow as closely as they dared behind a massively loaded off-highway truck. The dust would billow biblically and fist-sized rocks would be flung up from the tires of the behemoth vehicles. Other vehicles would emerge out of the dust and appear in the rearview mirror. It could be terrifying. It was my first practical use for air-conditioning which pressurized my vehicle against the ingress of smothering dust. Now that it is paved the road is bliss although dips and twists make it a different sort of challenge to navigate. Morons in vehicles, both locals and transients, travel far too fast for the road surface and don’t understand why they should stay on the right hand side of the road. So, in a new way, the road can still be terrifying. The surrounding forest is the collateral damage left after the original timber were systematically levelled about a century ago. That decimation continues, now often in stands of second-growth which arose on their own, without any help, only to be cut down again.
Our forest industry has become a complicated issue. Many factions each demand to be given control of our vast forestlands. Few seem to know what the hell they’re really yelling about. Within less than two centuries we have managed to obliterate much of the original forests we marched into. We did it with the spirit of men who posed proudly beside the massive stumps they would leave behind as monuments to an age when making daylight in the swamp was a good thing. It is pathetic that so much of that resource, and its wealth, have been squandered at the hands of men who have probably never held an axe, let alone used one. A group has rallied against the logging-off a remaining stand of original timber at Fairy Creek. I don’t agree with all of their perspectives but what little is left of those pristine groves must be left in their natural state. They hold a value beyond anything monetary. So says someone who spent much of his life involved with various aspects of logging.
There is one remaining spruce tree along the roadside. Not all the old forest was comprised of trees nearly so big but it was certainly not the tangled mass of windfalls and thick debris left behind by loggers. It is excellent fodder for fire and at the moment a hard to fight conflagration has closed the road to Port Alberni. Traffic from the far side of the island is being re-routed along rough logging roads into the Cowichan Valley and back to paved roads and civilization. I can only imagine the urbane sensibilities of folks trying to navigate a rough, dusty, rocky trail in a huge Rv while dodging other Rvs and logging traffic. Hopefully no-one chucks their cigar butt, or joint, out the window.
“Forests may be gorgeous but there is nothing more alive than a tree that learns how to grow in a cemetery.”
― Andrea Gibson
Followers of my blogs know that I am a jaded and skeptical sub-senior and angry member of the “Last Nations.” I am often enraged by the poor language skills of our media people and infuriated by the wrong emphasis they place on practical matters. I am especially incensed at the need to dramatize “climate change.” Record breaking temperatures turn out to be based on a datum of 2015. I can remember extremes of heat and cold, dry and wet that exceeded anything being reported. Folks just carried on, life was what you got and there was no point in dramatizing something you could do nothing about. Winter was cold, summer was hot, it was not news.
Yes climate change exists and in fact the entire planet has constantly endured climatic fluxuations which at times have destroyed entire eco-systems, multiple species and entire civilizations. It’s normal! Get used to it and deal with it as you can. The arrogance of thinking we can fix it, all the while continuing to indulge in a life of excess where cause and effect have become the same thing. We have a mentality that endorses spending billions to send technology beyond known edges of the universe all the while ignoring the desperate plight of a major portion of our population. We turn a blind eye to the excesses of government and the incredibly vulgar wealth of several religious organizations. Love, peace and charity are abstracts. All the while people live in desperate poverty, their children enduring the lottery of death and the faceless obliterations of war. All the while we grudgingly gather under the umbrella of various organizations to talk about it, often while sitting over a gourmet dinner.
I don’t know how to change anything. I have no money and no way to go do something. All I can do is write and try to provide needle pricks of awareness and questioning. One thing I’ve noticed, and you can too if you look, is a diminishing number of insects. Just take a drive down a highway and take note of the lack of protein on the windshield. In the warm temperatures of years past a windshield would accumulate a thick crust of dried bugsmack. Usually there would be an especially big gooey splatter right in front of the driver’s eyes. Scrubbing all that yummyputz off your windows was part of the routine of fueling up and sometimes in between gas stops. It is always a good thing to see what you’re running into. I’d even avoid gas stations that did not provide clean wash water and squeegees. There was a time, way back when gasoline sold for less than fifty cents, a gallon, attendants would pump your gas, check under the hood, check your tires and clean your windshield. That was back when we had “Service Stations.” Uhuh! Now we’ve even lost our population of insects. The ramifications of that are sobering.
There are wasps and hornets, mosquitos and house flies and all the other pesky flying and crawling creatures, which inhabited the planet for millions of years before we arrived, but suddenly their numbers have plummeted. They have as much right, and often more purpose to be here. If we cannot see the purpose of any annoying (to us) insect or creature, remove it from the ecosystem and its role in the cycle of life will eventually become very obvious. It is not all about us and in fact we are the one organism the planet would do better without. Meanwhile the tiny creatures which pollinate our plants and food crops are declining in number. Does that mean anything to you?
“We don’t give a damn to the insects on our Earth, but if we could find even a single insect on Mars, the whole world would cherish it like crazy! ― Mehmet Murat ildan
I recently watched a documentary about a beautiful young woman in the Ukraine. She had left her lucrative jewelry business to become a sniper on the front lines. She met her future husband there and well into her third trimester of pregnancy she was still out there fulfilling a most dangerous and deadly duty as she defends her country’s future which she carries in her belly. The irony of her life was not lost. I can see a bronze statue called “motherland” or perhaps “love.”
A soldier in battle dress, her near full-term pregnacy quite obvious brandishes a sniper’s rifle and is resolved in defiance. It is an indelible image, poignant, inspiring and so very tragic. Through our history on this planet, we have learned nothing. The battles rage on.
One of the joys of summer are the aromas. I was driving the dogs to the beach for a walk. We passed a construction site where the sun beat down and a pain and bloodfragrance of new lumber filled the air. At the shoreline it was low tide. The rank funk of drying mudflats, seaweed, shellfish and fresh leaves above the banks filled the air with a grand cloying musk. Along the pathways, through the thickets of verdant fresh flora there were heavy wafts of floral blends in the air that were bliss even for this old bush ape. In the air drifts the rattling roar of Harley Davidson mating calls which are sometimes answered by the scream of little Asian motorcycles.
The clear sky overhead holds a thin curtain of Albertan bushfire smoke. Hopefully this is not a harbinger of the summer air quality we’ve endured in previous years. BC and Washington forests have been burning prodigiously during recent past summers when breathable air and clear visibility have become a premium. Our indigenous people’s oral histories describe “summers of the red sun.” We are in one of those traditional climate blips within the regular fluctuations of our climate. Dramatizing those gasping days improves nothing. Claiming that temperatures are “record breaking” is a farce. One weather announcer in a tight skirt let it slip that the datum of their records is 2015! You fill in the blank on that one. WOT?
On the long weekend highways folks hurtle in opposite directions hauling bikes, motorcyles, kayaks, paddle boards, surf boards, boats, trailers and rooftop tents. I wonder how many people are injured clambering in and out of those contraptions. Certainly there must certainly be more pain and blood than all the bear encounters together. As I see the frantic race to hurry up and relax I recall a friend’s comment “ Don’t they know they’re free to go sleep on the ground all year long?” Horrified at the plight, or inconvience, of the homeless, some of us pursue a similar venture for fun. And fun it should be if you’re roughing it in a mortgaged Rv.
My old “Hemouth” is not a shiny, sexy beast but, it’s paid for. That’s plenty sexy to me.
A growing number of casinos is clear evidence that someone knows that many people do not make good decisions.
I remember how I once woke up in the morningsafter my feet were already on the floor. I was already in gear and racing into the possibilities which the day held. I had enthusiasm for everything. I could outwork, lift more, stand more heat and cold and noise than anyone else. I had been taught at a young age that to be a beast of burden was noble and divine. Stupid bastard! It got me nowhere. Now I am old and burned out, in constant pain in many ways.
It is a terrible thing for an old man to wake up with dark thoughts. He lays on and on in bed as the perfect morning sunrise streaks through the gap in the curtains. He contemplates that perhaps his entire life was a waste and that there is little of value to show for his existence. His passage through it all was of nuisance value only. He knows that’s not true but the thoughts are there and that is not any way to start the day. Friends and family have children producing babies lately. Perhaps that’s what has brough this on. He has none. Oh blub blub.
Grumpa, cheer up enough to swing your gnarly old feet down on to the floor, open the curtains, go let the dogs out. They’re thrilled to simply be alive. That’s why we have them in our lives. So wake up one toe at a time if that’s your best, follow the dogs out and inhale the dawn. No-one has shot at us, there have been no fires or earthquakes. You know who you are and where you are. Not a bad start! It’s Monday again. Three days until garbage day. We’ve just lost Gordon Lightfoot. All is bluebirds and rainbows.
A post from a friend this morning reminded me that as spring advances so does tick season. These nasty blood-sucking insects which burrow into your skin can also carry plagues like lyme disease which has a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. After being outdoors check behind your dog’s ears especially, but also all over their body, and then check you own corpulous delectum. The wee flax seed-shaped bugs are not fussy with their taste. I once discovered a tick had lodged itself in my armpit.The discovery came while scuba diving. I wore a neoprene wetsuit over the spot and was in ninety feet of water when the discomfort set in. Gnyum, gynum, yum. So it was grin and bear it for the rest of the dive and then wrestle out of my gear once back on the surface and remove that invasive beast which by then felt about the size of a shovel.
You can remove them by firmly pulling and twisting, preferably without breaking the little beast into bits. Any remains can become a nasty infection but broken-off heads do NOT continue eating their way inwards. That’s just a myth. There are special tick removal tools available at pet stores. Be sure to check and remove any you find as soon as possible, they do like to chew their way in and once swollen with blood are much harder to remove. An acclaimed repellant is a spray mixture of one third white vinegar and two parts water. Well now, that’s out of the way before breakfast.
It is now almost NOT news that there has been yet another mass-shooting in the US. Sadly, mass shootings are hardly the sensation they once were. Canadians are neighbours to this clearly conflict and violence loving nation. We too share the same culture and embrace entertainment which consistently has characters waving guns. The film sets run with blood. It’s expected and even taken for granted. We just don’t notice it. Gun violence in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island are now a daily fact of life and there is more going on than ever makes the news. Then there are the goons hurtling around our roads in their projectiles weighing infinitely more than any bullet. All the horrors of war, earthquake and famine just don’t register in our collective conscience. There are a lot of good things happening but before we spend more on stuff liking sending back breath-taking images of the unknown universe perhaps we should clean up our only home and make life a little more bearable for most of our global population who suffer horribly every day.
I was confronted by one of those characters last week, who from his suv seat threatened me with his brass knuckles. I refuse to run from any thug. He backed down when I challenged him to discover how this old bull got to be old. He left. I do seem to find an inordinate number of confrontations but I am hard-wired against conceeding to bullies. The whole world seems to be tense and angry but running from any tyranny, no matter how small, is to endorse it.
There are other forms of foolishness we also have to deal with. I am writing this on mother’s day and the weather is now seasonally normal, in the mid to high 20s. The media is determined to place us within a heat dome and caution us with how to deal with the extreme heat. You can go back into the archives and find that this is normal late-spring weather and I suggest that hot, even to us folks, is in excess of 30 degrees. Nice and warm has been replaced with hot and dangerous. What’s with all the drama? Isn’t paying for gas and groceries exciting enough?
I don’t know how to act my age, I’ve never been this old before! anonymous
I’m on hold. That’s as far as I’ve progressed with an inquiry to our beloved Canada Revenue Agency. What? Well I’ve been on hold for only an hour so far. Yes, I’ve noted their message warning me about using foul or abusive language. I wonder why that note comes up front??? I hope that if I do achieve contact with a living being that they can speak fluent English. I shall always recall being told by someone with a broad Asian accent that I “No spreak Engritch vely good.” This year the good folks at CRA have decided that my taxable income should be doubled. Instead of a desperately needed refund I’m told to pay a huge amount beyond my ability. So, I’m practising my polite-speak and enduring the horrible looped bargain-classical music while once again I hurry up and wait and (redneck words) bloody wait.
I wonder how many Canadian citizens just roll their eyes and groan and pay. Complacency seems to be in our dna and the path of least resistance is what we choose. Well, not me. I’m too old and arthritic to goose-step to anyone’s tune. Eventually I was connected with two different ladies with, once again, broad Asian accents. We all soldiered through amicably and discovered the mistake. It was mine. Uhuh!
To enhance the experience I am apparently enduring Covid 49. Whatever the virus, it has sneaked past the perimeters of my flu shot and I have all the resilience of a left-over noodle. I won’t describe the graphic details. I’ll just say this is snot a recommended weight-loss program. I’m told that this strain of flu is rampant at the moment so it is the chicken soup diet for me. I can only hope that the birds in my broth did not come from the Boneless Chicken Ranch.
After a third attempt, I’ve finally received a third keyboard to match the wee tablet I purchased. Amazon was quite affordable compared to locally available products. The company was also prompt with correcting and refunding my orders, twice. I love to rail on about computer errors and big company fumbles but in this matter it was my fumbles which caused my problems. Kudus to the monster. It is interesting that Amazon can perform as it does with its computerized infrastructure. Without the demand for computers and all that cyber stuff Amazon could not exist. There was a time when every dollar Canada Post charged included five cents for shipping and the rest was for storage. Now, with Amazon as a prime client they are able to deliver across the country, sometimes in a day. Amazing what happens when we inject a little free enterprise.
The renewal license for my wee scooter-cycle insurance came and it is clearly described as a motorcycle. My recently renewed driver’s license clearly has an endorsement for scooters only. Should I have a wreck or an apprehension by constable Bob there is an obvious conundrum. So…here goes a 70 year old to get his correctly endorsed driver’s license. That involves at least three tests which will require me to endure various subjective interpretations by various examiners. That I’ve held the scooter ticket for forty years and have an accident-free driving history of over fifty-five years is irrelevant. I’ll feel like a hero when this geezer gets the correct number on my driver’s license. Just wait till I go to renew my pilot’s license!
The licensing issue is resolved. I’m perfectly legal as I was licensed but to cover any doubts I also took out a motorcycle learner’s license which permits me to drive any two-wheeled beast I choose. So off to the chopper shop; I’ll take the black one with the orange lightening bolts and the signal light skull.
I’m afraid I don’t have much respect for licenses. All the suicidal morons hurtling around on our roads have ostensibly passed tests and are licensed. In the marine and aviation industries I’ve often found that the most incompetent were also those who held the highest ticketed ratings. There’s no point in dissecting a situation which is already firmly in place. Clearly my notion of competence is irrelevant to someone’s license. So now I can wobble off with a pocketful of paper, straight into a telephone pole.
Sadly real life is not like being on hold to a government telephone line. You only get one quarter to make the call. There’s no “Please hang up and try again later.”