Saturday, November 29, 2014

Adventurous George (7)

It's not everyday that the universe develops a rift and the temple shroud tears asunder from top to bottom, and it certainly didn't happen the next day as George and Mottles ascended their homemade ladder to nail some fine cedar shakes on their little cabin roof. The effort was a mite tedious but the results were spectacular and by evening the front side of their refuge looked fabulous. George was excited. His list of necessities was coming and he kept thinking on how he could harvest that rice with his old row boat. It would be mighty hard to push it into the grassy bays and his only idea so far was just to get as close into the fray as he could and harvest from what he could reach. So the next day after the next, after he had finished his fine roof, that's exactly what George did. He rowed his little boat, with his tarp all nicely cleaned up and tucked neatly over the whole bottom, alongside the outer rice stalks and using a couple light sticks as he had seen the experts doing, he began bending the stalks over his boat and gently knocking the husks off. It was working, sort of, as he learned which tufts gave up the most for his efforts.

Just as he had a noticeable layer over most of his boat bottom he heard laughter. “Snowball, yer a real pro” came from smiling faces as his friends came closer. George had been so involved in his effort he had not even heard them coming. They encouraged him though, and told him he might even get lots from little tufts of rice along the shore which no one usually bothered with. So George continued and by the time his arms were ready to fall off from exhaustion, he had enough in his boat to fill maybe half a sack. He rowed back in time to meet his friends with their canoe loaded to the point of danger. Albert Two Shoes and the younger Albert One Shoe, because he had never been seen wearing more than one shoe as a little kid, had left mom at home to dry rice and begin the processing. This would be their last trip this year because the reserve was installing a new sewer system and they had only gotten a few days off for ricing this year. Oh, and they had put all George's supplies in his cabin. That evening after a feast of juicy mushroom burgers which the Alberts had brought in a cooler, and after he had spread out his own rice to dry, George went up to his cabin to check out his new stuff.

Everything was there, along with receipts and a carefully tallied list and his bank card, with the total coming out to $1,258.49, all packed neatly in the tub and plastic totes. Many items were from Canadian Tire and the rest from Walmart. The quilt had a little handwritten note attached which said “Hand sewn goose down, made by Emma, $50.” The grain sacks were used but clean, and the hinges had once hung another door with a bit of orange paint still decorating them. But everything was there including a little case with his wood carving tools. That night George and Mottles slept in their corner on their new foam mattress with their down quilt, the coziest sleep they had ever had. He should have asked for a pillow too. What a life.

Next evening after they all returned with their loads and the Alberts were preparing to leave, Albert Two Shoes told George in a very candid manner “If anyone ever asks you what you're doing here, just tell them you are here for some religious solitude with the blessings of our First Nation. This island is actually a disputed part of our reserve, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever bother you. We sometimes come ice fishing out this way, so maybe we'll stop by for a good cup of tea when the lake freezes over.” And with that they were off, chugging away, slightly overloaded, canoe in tow, but it was a calm evening.

(To be continued)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Adventurous George (6)

George woke to the sound of a motor boat. Not a big one, just the putter of a little engine. He was up in a flash and out the door and into view of his bay in no time, Mottles peeked out from behind a rock too. There were three of them, two in a boat and one in a canoe which was being towed behind. They saw him too, just as surprised as he was. They waved as they coasted onto the beach and George headed down to greet them. They had come, it seemed, for some of the best wild rice in the country which grew in several bays just around the east side of the island, and this was where they always camped for a night while they filled their boat. They were more curious about George than he was about them, and he was soon showing them his cabin and his stove and they laughed and laughed and began calling him a snowball which made him laugh too, and even Mottles was taken to them and that really made them laugh as he jumped in their boat and sniffed everything. They were from a reserve north of the big city, a mother and father and their son, and they made several trips here every August for the rice which George was becoming very interested about.

George went about his setting rabbit snares when they left to harvest rice after putting up a tent. When he finished he got in his boat to fish and was drawn to venture around the east shore to see what his new friends were doing. He found them in a grassy bay, the son was standing in the back of the canoe with a pole, pushing through the grass and the father sat towards the front with two sticks which he would use to pull the grass over the canoe and lightly shake, and then go on to the next strands. It looked so easy.

That evening as they cooked some nice white fish which George had caught near the bay, they told him all about processing the rice. They had put all their days collection, about four hundred pounds, in sacks and as soon as they got home tomorrow evening they would spread it out on tarps to pick over for leaves and bugs and to dry for several days in the warm sun. Then came the parching which would be done in open pans on a big stove top. It had to be stirred constantly till it turned a glossy dark brown as the kernels separated from the chaff. Then came the hulling which further separated the kernels from the chaff. They put a layer of rice in a large flat bottomed tub and “danced” on it, a light rubbing motion for which they wore soft moccasins that came to their knees because the chaff was prickly. Last it was winnowed, which they did using an old combine sieve, but which could also be done by tossing it from a pan to let the wind blow away the chaff. George was fascinated, this might be a real good boost for a winter food supply.

The next evening as the three returned to sack their rice before returning home they asked George if they could leave their canoe and tent and blankets for a few days till they returned for another load. George had been thinking all day. Would these nice people give him a ride to pick up some winter clothes and supplies. They would be coming back. There was a little conversation in a language George didn't understand, the outcome of which was that the boat would be too heavy for another person, but if he had money and made a list they would gladly bring back what he wanted. George knew exactly what he wanted and quickly wrote a list on a pad they gave him, and then he wrote his magic number on the bottom and gave them his bank card. “I don't know what's in the bank” he said, “but it'll be over two thousand by now. Find out at one of those machines and you can spend whatever is there.” They laughed and laughed and called him a silly snowball and were still laughing as their boat putted out onto the lake. George wondered to Mottles if he had done the right thing, but Mottles jumped on his lap and purred so soothingly that George felt he had made a good decision.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Adventurous George (5)

Since George had been sent home from the hospital, under the care of his client laden worker, he had not been prone to planning anything much. He did things pretty much on a whim, letting the force be with him as it were, and it seemed to work for him. Since it was only late June and there would be plenty of time to contemplate winter, he decided to give building a nifty cabin a try. What could he lose? So he planned, while picking berries to dry as it was the height of the season and he thought berries would come in handy no matter what. He spread them out on several sheets of plywood which Mottles guarded to keep the birds and little critters away, most of the time.

To build a cabin with no saw, he would keep all the dimensions to multiples of four feet, that way he could avoid a lot of plywood cutting. On a flat area behind the tuft of pines where all the lumber was, George used the 2 x 8's which were 16 feet long to build a pad, 16' x16'. The hatchet worked real slick for pounding nails, and he had his floor covered with 3/4” plywood in one day. Without cutting, the plywood didn't quite come all the way to the front edge, but who cared? That was side was going to be his little deck so he nailed a 2x4 across the end to cover the joists. The next day the back wall was framed in using 2x6 studs, between fishing and berry picking. His Bic lighter had come to the end of it's life and he had to keep his fire smouldering all the time now, so he spent a day uncrating his Acme Wood Stove and bolting it together tightening the stove bolts with his handy pliers. He didn't bother with the stove pipe outside here, but it would be of good use in a cabin. He used some 2x4's and a sheet of plywood to build a roof over it for when it rained. The stove worked real well for cooking on, he didn't have to hang his pot on a tripod, but it was a little harder to find dry wood that would fit in the stove. That would be a challenge for a winter adventure.

The back wall was 16' long, the length of his floor, but the side walls he made 12' so he'd have a 4' deck on the front. He found that by marking both sides of a 2 x 6 real deep with his hatchet he could break off a piece with a good whack leaving a fairly good end. He nailed 3/8” plywood on the three walls to keep them square. He hadn't had to cut any plywood yet, he was keeping things simple and these walls would have no windows. The front wall took a lot longer to build. He wanted a door and a window so he framed in the door exactly four feet from one end. He found a slider window which would fit a 2' x 4' opening and framed that in four feet from the other end. He'd spent some time marking an eight foot 2 x 4 at one foot intervals and it came in real handy for measuring stuff. Cutting out the door and window from the plywood wasn't too hard once he'd figured out a method. He marked both sides with a sharp stone, and then using a good size rock and his hatchet he banged through about halfway on each side, one hatchet width at a time. With a little perseverance it left a fairly good cut. He nailed in the slider and leaned the cut out door against some 2 x 4 moulding and wow, Mottles seemed impressed. He'd have to figure out how to make some hinges for a little heavier door, but the roof would come first.

This building seemed to come second nature to George. He couldn't remember what, but he knew he had built something like this in his forgotten past. Everything just seemed common sense but the fog of the past would not reveal where the knack came from. So he carpentered on, lost as if in a little fantasy, building a cabin in the woods. He built roof trusses so his roof would overhang his four foot deck and covered them with 3/4” plywood, strong enough for ten feet of snow. That night they moved in, from under their tarp, Mottles and George, most of the floor devoted to drying berries to keep the thieves away. Shakes would be the next job, to keep their cottage dry. Tomorrow would be a day for fishing and setting more rabbit snares made from cable strapping which had held the piles of lumber together. Mottles was getting a mite lazy as he humoured George for his hunting skills. He did like catching mice though.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Adventurous George (4)

Now if you think I'm just making this story about George up, well just you think again. It's as true as the gospels. Oh the names might be changed, and the characters to protect the guilty ones, and even most of the events may be skewed to make them less ineffable, but it's all true, cross my heart and hope to die. And here's a little map to prove it. It matches perfectly with a well known location in the western hemisphere.

So, George and Mottles wanted to explore their whole island, but the walking was difficult as the beaten paths were made by those born to be wild. George had been doing some fishing with the little boat and was quite confident with the ores now, so one really calm morning with Mottles seated on the prow, they ventured off along the shore, taking everything they valued with them in case they found a better nook to call home because the prevailing west wind really blasted at them some days. They headed south, George having his compass handy to make sure. Most of the shore which wasn't just plain swampy and full of red wing black birds had a little clay cliff wall along it which was the summer home of many swallows, with muskrats thriving in the mud at the bottom, and mud hens paddling in the weedy puddles. When they came around the southern tip there was open water to the east as far as the eye could see. As they cleared the rocky treed outcrop they could see into a nifty cove with a sandy beach and a little meadow sloping gently up from the waters edge. They went no further. This would be home. With their hearts in their throats they gently beached their little boat and both jumped out to explore this little piece of paradise.

Mottles found it first, hidden from view behind a tuft of pines, almost overgrown with grass and saplings. Lumber. Neat stacks of 2 x 8's and 2 x 6's and 2 x4's and plywood, 3/4”and 3\8”and cedar shakes and rolls of heavy plastic and bundles of pink insulation now home to more than a few critters. Plastic pails of nails with names like ardox and common of many different lengths were all lined up in a row. There was even a pile of triple glazed slider windows strapped over with several sheets of plywood. There was enough stuff here to build a castle. It must have taken days to haul this stuff out here. Maybe it had been sledded out in winter over the ice, who knew? Some of the new pines growing through it were six feet tall. This stuff must have been here for years. As they poked around further they even found a crate half sunk in the sand which said in big black letters, “Acme Wood Stove.”

Well, George sat down on a stack of 2 x 4's and scratched his head. And Mottle's head too. Somewhere in his forgotten past there stirred a memory of building things and the pride of his accomplishments. But the only tools he had were the hatchet and a pair of pliers. He could probably pound nails with the hatchet but he had no saw. Could anyone build a little home with a hatchet? He started to ponder his future. Could anyone survive a winter out here? He'd need some warm clothes. He'd already snared a rabbit with a piece of soft cable he'd found on the beach. Ice fishing would be good, the lake here was full of nice Jacks, although they were a bit bony. If he waited for a good east wind he could make it back to the big city and his bank account would have lots of money after not spending any for a few months, but could he find his way back out here? He really didn't want to go back to his little pad with the saggy bed. This life was way better. What should he do, what should he do?

(To be continued)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Adventurous George (3)

Lakes oft have streams running into them and as George and Mottles trudged south they came to a big, big stream, actually an inlet with a swath of water to the west as far they could see. George had not heard any trucks at all for the last stretch and knew the road must be a long way off now, or even headed away from the lake. They followed an animal trail along the north shore of the inlet. It wasn't easy going as Mottles would have a little snooze while George figured out his way over the often jumbled entanglement. Mottles found it first, the little row boat, and was smugly seated on the prow when George came into view. It seemed to have been washed ashore, in a bit of a storm perhaps, as it sat askew on the edge of a thicket. It looked reasonably worthy with it's two ores tucked neatly in their locks and it looked even better once they had it floating in the water moored by the rope George had been carrying with him for two days now. Mottles took to the prow like an old sea hand, never once getting his feet wet as he leaped from the shore. George's skills needed a little honing as they went around in circles drifting into the lazy current.

As they settled into their new home, the current carried them out into the lake and the breeze took over as the main influence on their trajectory as they unerringly headed southeast into the quiet expanse with the waves lap lapping at the gunwales. The boat held a few items which might be of use. Stuffed into the tiny bow they found a tarp and Mottles made short work of the mice which scampered out as they hesitated to dive into the depths. Under the rear seat, which was hinged on the the back edge and they managed to pry open, Mottles being the first one in, they found an assortment of camp gear including a set of tin plates and a pot and pan and even a big tin cup. There was a very tangled fishing reel on a short homemade pole, and a little plastic tackle box with some lures and pliers and a really sharp filleting knife in a nifty leather case. The bright yellow rain coat with the big hood was a real find as George tried it on and it came down to his knees. And in the bottom was a little hatchet with a wooden handle.

As the shore became a thin line between the water and the sky, George practised his rowing. If he kept the blades just under the water, not too deep, and pulled evenly, he could keep the little boat heading back towards shore. But no matter how hard he rowed, the shore line became more distant. George finally gave up and after finishing his pail of berries for a snack, he stretched out with the raincoat for a pillow and was soon fast asleep under the warm sun. He dreamed. A life clouded in his forgotten past, of a farm yard near a river with a garden and field of potatoes and chickens and cows and a warm barn with hay in the loft and cats, lots of cats. And thud. George just about jumped into the reeds. Mottles was already perched on top of the muskrat house waiting instructions. Wherever they were, this was not a good place to moor a boat of any sort. The mud looked bottomless and the tangle of reeds was too thick to push through, so George coaxed Mottles back from his perch and eased away with his ores. He was getting better. He held a course just beyond the lily pads and around the rocks protecting the little marsh they had landed in and came to a nicely tree lined beach with just enough sand to pull their boat up onto.

The next few days were spent untangling the fishing reel so it could be used, and picking berries which seemed to be everywhere, and cooking rabbits and mud hens which Mottles magically appeared with and always set at George's feet for his approval, he was really beginning to enjoy a few scritches for his gifts. George's compass told him they had landed on the west side of what turned out to be a long island. He found a trail, with evidence of deer and a least one bear, which headed in through the birch and poplars and pines and through a meadow and on up towards a grassy hill strewn with boulders, the highest point anywhere around him. He could see the lake on the other side, maybe half a mile away. The horizon in every direction was sky and water. This life was growing on George, he didn't even miss his throne.

(To be continued)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Adventurous George (2)

As far as police brutality goes this small riot, ancillary to a group of unionized Santa Clauses being replaced by some temporary foreign workers, was run of the mill. A few tear gas canisters whistled into the crowd and tanks came from all four directions blocking off all escape and gasping coughing folk were herded into backs of covered trucks girded by mightily armed soldiers who spoke not a word. George took a seat on the floor and as his wits slowly returned he took out his compass and watched as the needle spun from east to south to west and then back to south as he sat facing the rear amidst groans and cries of those with a few broken body parts. The food was good as they all settled into a field of military tents with guards posted unsparingly to keep the vagrants out. The referral process was unhurried as over the next several days everyone was stripped and hosed down and checked over for life threatening diseases. George was declared fit and given a neat grey uniform and a little bag containing his wallet and compass and dirty cloths. They all settled into a good routine of sleep and meals and exercise in the big field, and in the evenings the whole camp would join in song, the favourite being “Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya.”

George was almost saddened when a kind judge told him he was free to go, but he decided to make the best of it as the guards made him give back his grey uniform and he put on his dirty clothes and hoody. Out into the countryside he trudged, compass in hand. He headed south, that being the only road available. The only vehicles on the road seemed to be soldiers and guards in trucks going back and forth to the big city and they kept throwing things at him like oranges and old junk food which he was sort glad about because he was getting hungry after walking since before noon. But when he got hit with a beer can which sloshed all over his hoody he started hiding in the ditch whenever he heard a truck approach. As evening deepened a lake shore with no far off horizon other than blue water flirted with the roads sojourn, and George took to walking on the sandy beach. He found a ravine with wild raspberries and blue berries and some rhubarb and with that and a delightful salad of young dandelion leaves his tummy was full and he settled down in a sheltered overhang for the night. He slept like a log.

He awoke in the morning to the cheerful caw of a crow who was rather intrigued by this human sleeping under his favourite tree. George missed his throne. It had been the only seat in the bachelor pad which his worker had found for him after he became aware in the hospital. They'd found him a bed but it was no good for sitting on because the front edge sank to the floor with any weight. He'd spent many long hours seated on his throne, figuring out what had happened to him and what this world was all about. His worker had gotten him his bank card but he'd quit going into his bank because they always wanted id and all he had was his health card which they said wasn't good enough. His card with the magic number which he had to get just right worked really good for buying his groceries every few days anyway. That crow really was annoyed.

The lake shore was home to many fine things. George found a salvageable little pail with a handle which he straightened and washed out in the lake. It was soon overflowing with blue berries and choke cherries which seemed to thrive in the bush which often approached the lake. As he headed south, George checked his compass to make sure, the sun had a strength today which was almost uncomfortable and he was so proud when he found an old straw hat with most of the brim still in place. That kept the heat off his ears. While resting under a tree near an old shed which may have been a cabin before it sagged in the undergrowth, he spied a little motley orange creature with half an ear missing. It was watching him intently. As George continued on his way he became aware that it was following him, always at a good distance, but always somewhere in sight if he looked hard.

By evening George's pockets were bulging with neat stuff. He'd found two Bic lighters, one that still worked after he cleaned and dried it, and a jack knife with the blade rusted open, and even an old blanket which had hung itself up in a tree and which he tied over his shoulder to make a big pouch. He really needed a usable backpack, but that would be asking for a miracle. As night approached he came to a barrier of rock and brush which jutted way out into the water so he found a path well used by animals with longer legs than his for jumping over the dead falls, but he managed to work his way around through the bush and came out on the other side with barely a scratch.

As he settled down for the night on some grass between two boulders his little orange buddy emerged from the shadows and set a dead rabbit at his feet. And it sat there and looked at him. Well, George not wanting to be a snob, and acting on some knowledge buried in his forgotten past, sharpened up his rusty blade on a smooth rock and had that rabbit skinned and gutted in two minutes flat. His buddy Mottles was pigging out on the innards. They had a little fire going in no time and with the meat skewed on a green branch the smell was delectable. With full tummies they settled down for the night on their new blanket and Mottles curled up beside his feet.

(To be continued)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adventurous George

Compass in hand, George arose from his throne, put on his hoody, and grabbing a peanut butter sandwich headed out the door. It was a beautiful sunny day and he was going for a walk. He waved to the neighbour next door as his legs found their freedom and took on a peaceful pace. He was heading east today, he usually headed west in his outings that being where his shopping places loomed and he knew his way around, but today he felt a dash of recklessness. As he headed along the long and less used secondary route into the heart of the more industrial part of this vast city of millions he became mesmerized by the store fronts and old warehouses and the alleys between them and the clutter on the ground and the people all with some purpose or another engaging in profound activities. George kept on walking.

He came to an intriguing intersection with the cross street having many small and interesting shops. George took out his compass. Yes, he would head north. As he hiked on, he became enthralled at the goings on inside these shops with the open doors. He would stand and gaze for a moment in amazement at the busy people bustling about, each utterly involved in their own little endeavours. He could just not fathom it, why all these people could be so involved in so many things incomprehensible. Yes, everyone needed to buy food and clothes, but all this busyness, this was overwhelming. Why weren't at least some of them just sitting back and relaxing and taking in all the sights and sounds and smells? George realized his legs were getting tired as he eyed a little bench and sat down. Oh, that felt good.

A youngish woman came by and giving George a quizzical look asked him if he'd mind some company as she seated herself uprightly near him. George being somewhat surprised that anyone here would take the time to sit and relax a while was gladdened by this. “Why is everyone here so busy, no one seems to have time to sit and think?” She gave him an even more quizzical look and laughed “I suppose they're all just trying to make a living or look for bargains, you're not out shopping?” George had not even thought about buying anything answered “Oh no, I'm just out for a walk today.” The youngish woman looked at him sincerely “Would you have an extra dollar, I'm really hungry?” George had not brought any cash, just his old bank card, but he suddenly remembered his peanut butter sandwich and pulling it out of his hoody pouch he offered her half. The woman accepted it and they sat together eating their peanut butter sandwich but she kept glancing at George with a coy smile which made him really nervous, but when she finished her half she got up and gave George a big kiss on the cheek and went merrily on her way. George was happy and thought she must be a good person after all.

George took out his compass because he had become a little disoriented with all this human contact, and as he found north once more he headed on up the street. Ever since his accident he'd had a hard time remembering directions. That's why his worker had brought him the compass and showed him how to use it, and if he paid attention to it, it really helped. George walked on into the afternoon. He saw a huge crowd up ahead and was very drawn as to what it could be about, and as he drew closer he could hear chanting which went something like “Take no shit, take no orders, no more banks and no more borders.” Well, George had developed some pretty strong views on banks and borders while sitting on his throne and this captivated him. As he approached the crowd someone stuck a placard in his hands and he was sucked into the confusion. George managed to stay on his feet in the turmoil but became completely disoriented and the only thing which gave him any steadfastness was his sign which he held high in the air.

The crowd seemed to stutter a moment as sirens began screaming coming closer from the distance. Then it was total vengeance. Fists rose in the air, voices screamed in anarchy. George was beside himself. He screamed too, “No more banks, no more borders.” Time had eclipsed, darkness was falling, the crowd was a riot, glass was breaking, smoke was bellowing.

(To be continued)

Monday, November 17, 2014

The age of bullshit

In the present age of bullshit which follows the information age, which follows the sixties, which follows the age of reason, it is not the end of the world if few read your blog. There are just too few folk cultured and honourable enough to savvy the vastness of your wisdom and audacity. They like bullshit of their own brainless variety, not yours. Whats more, few who have any kind of life have the time to ingest more than a handful of really cultured blogs every day or two anyhow, and the rest, well, do we really care?

This age of bullshit is revered by statesmen and ideologists alike. In the age of reason they actually had to make sense, although they often got carried away in their enthusiasm. In the sixties, enough said. Then with the information age they all got overwhelmed, and ended up picking and choosing what might tolerably justify their ends. Now in the age of bullshit, it's just give it feculence full steam ahead, the more absurd the more devoured.

Truth and integrity have lost their meaning in legal mumble jumble. And if rectitude can't be confused by legalities, then just lie like crazy and stick your ground, the majority will probably believe it since the human condition has several million years of experience in believing vagaries. Most myths where created out of someone's sense of humour but where gobbled up as postulates by the genteel masses.

We should not get overly depressed over all the bullshit flying around today though. It makes excellent fertilizer for the coming age of weed when the overgrowth of bemusement will render any of the past ages palatable.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pros and cons

It's time to fess up. My wife and I have been debating the pros and cons of converting to the right. We feel so, well so left out. Harper has Canada, and may just win another term as majority Prime Minister next year. He has brilliant strategists working full time to take advantage of situational variables that affect political orientation; there being a good deal of evidence suggesting that environmental factors such as threat can and do produce ideological shifts. Then there are the Americans who have recently filled their Houses with republicans whose conduct is definitely more orderly, conventional, and better organized. In our great province of Manitoba western conservative idealism is snarling the smiling faces of our present somewhat left leaning NDP government, it seems these novelty seeking trade-unionists may be short lived.

With our aging Canadian population, 30% of whom die with some sort of dementia, we decided to do a mind experiment to see if we could convince my wife, who is blessed with moderate dementia, of some conservative precepts. It took two minutes to affirm in her mind that the earth was flat and that God had created it 6000 years ago. This state of rapture lasted less than ten minutes before she lost her new gained wisdom, however we reasoned it would be just long enough to get her in and out of a polling booth. We could walk home hand in hand from the next major election knowing we where part of the efficacious right-wing majority.

We were somewhat concerned over a major study we saw on the association between political inclination and obesity, citing Shin ME1 and McCarthy WJ, which examined results from the 2012 presidential election in the United States. After controlling for poverty rate, percent African American and Latino populations, educational attainment, and spatial autocorrelation in the error term, they found that higher county-level obesity prevalence rates were associated with higher levels of support for the 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate. However, considering the high level of support for our universal health care system among all Canadians, we decided they would do their best to keep us functioning well into our nineties no matter how many donuts we began consuming.
For myself it has been somewhat of a struggle to come to terms with giving up my lack of order, tolerance for ambiguity, and openness to experience to embrace death anxiety, system threat, and perceptions of a dangerous world, which each contribute independently to conservatism verses liberalism. Citing The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives by John T. Jost, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter in my nogginal ambiance, differences between liberals and conservatives with respect to openness play out in terms of nonverbal behaviour and interpersonal interaction style. Liberals are more expressive, smile more, and are more engaged in conversation with confederates. Conservatives do not generally behave in ways that reflect greater conscientiousness. In the context of the experimental situation, conservatives behave in a more detached and disengaged manner in general. Although this behaviour is not indicative of conscientiousness, it does reflect the kind of withdrawn, reserved, inhibited, and even rigid interaction style that many theorists have associated with conservatism over the years.

In order to undo my liberal open-minded, creative, curious, and novelty seeking adventurous side, I have decided to take seriously the threats posed on our country by terrorist extremists and actually to listen to our dear Prime Minister's Action Ads. Forthwith, citing Bonanno & Jost, 2006, Jost, 2006, and Jost etal., 2008, since there is a good deal of evidence suggesting that environmental factors such as threat can and do produce ideological shifts, and I am going to make a concerted effort to introduce these into my life. The uncertainty - threat model of political conservatism, which posits that psychological needs to manage uncertainty and threat such as need for order, intolerance of ambiguity, and lack of openness to experience will come to prevail in my conscientiousness as a workable threat management system. Results from structural equation models provide consistent support for the hypothesis that uncertainty avoidance contributes independently to conservatism. What a relief.

This is good by George. We're going to dash this off in a Christmas letter to all our long lost friends and relatives to show them our transmogrification so they no longer have to have the great embarrassment of deleting us as black sheep from their mailing lists. It's going to be a good year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gawd's angels


As Gawd sat on his Harley surveying the interminable snowy tundra enveloping his horizon, he shuddered at a thought that just happened to pop into his frozen apperception. His poor angels, how would they take to this frigid latitude given their lacklustre use of thermal underwear as their mission on earth expanded to follow these oil crazed lunatics who where wanting to drill in this here environment. Even with global warming he couldn't defrost this place fast enough to keep his angels comfortable without giving up his reticence.

He started up his Harley and roared off into the starry darkness. Blessed are the meek, he kept thinking to himself, they shall inherit the white heaven on this little blue marble. But it wasn't happening. Those stubborn plutocrats who thought in actions of all men, especially princes, there was no recourse to justice, the end was all that counted. Did they not know that it was easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to survive in this heavenly inclemency? Or did they just plan to send hooligans, paying them minimum wage, and coming themselves for a once yearly summertime visit to extol the wonders of this great white heaven, totally ignoring the liver damage caused by the amount of booze needed to maintain an ebullient year round workforce.

Gawd sputtered to a slow stop on a windswept plateau overlooking the grey wintry sea. How many angels could he safely place on one rig to keep these idiots safe, not to mention the pristine ice? He reconsidered the major theological question since the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas had wondered how many angels could dance on the point of a pin? The basic issue here was the maximal density of active angels in a small volume. Due to quantum gravity, space was not infinitely divisible beyond the Planck length scale of 10exp-35 meters. Hence, assuming the point of the pin to be about one Ångström, the size of a scanning tunnelling microscope tip, this would produce a maximal number of angels on the order of 1050 since they would not have more places to fill.

Using this one Ångström x 1050 x the size of a rig this would probably be enough to stave off most catastrophes. His angels were pretty agile for the most part, even in thermal underwear. Gawd gazed at the stars. Nowhere in this vast universe had he run into such bullheaded lifeforms. But given the freewill imparted on these special creatures who had created him in their own image, he'd best mollify the impact their free enterprise system was about to ravage upon these icy waters. He'd have to set up a training course for his angels to deal with arctic conditions. Maybe they'd go for thermal underwear if it was red.

As he took off again, pulling a wheely on the ice, Gawd chuckled to himself. Billions of angels in red underwear trying to camouflage themselves against the white backdrop whilst keeping his boozed out creators functional enough to prevent them from smudging up this heaven. That should give rise to some strange myths.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Balderdash is the key ingredient in the extant and unrefuted theory which has it that alien intelligence is in no way irresponsible for the breakthrough in scientific understanding which has given humanity the ability to avoid reality, that unjust blandishment which has forced billions of teenagers to flee their parents virtues.

Those mischievous aliens. They got to like their booze. They needed something on their little trek over here through the vast light years to avoid the reality of their predicament. That reality of wandering lost between worlds, besieged with sore throats, mirages kaleidoscoping in their brains; they needed a drink and hooch was the magic answer given the shortsightedness of their space corps generations before. Of course they had to mix it with anything palatable to enjoy the buzz.

So they brought it with them to earth, as they once again for the first time infiltrated humanity in the 1590's (AD), as a delightfully jumbled mix of liquors, beer and wine, with milk and tea and anything else in the cupboard and it caught on big time with the Brits who called it balderdash. They used balderdash along with the pretext of learning to cleverly conceptualize colleges with the founding of the first places of Saxon higher learning like Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge in their effort to abstract humanity. And then there was Shakespeare, that shyster, who wrote for the macabre underclasses in a bid to relieve their reality as they wiped the soot from their faces after a daily battle in the coal mine and went home for a shot of their now relished balderdash.

And this is where it gets interesting. Those blessed Calvinists wouldn't touch balderdash so the sneaky aliens introduced music into their churches as the gateway aphrodisiac to more potent forms of eschewal, in a bid to ease the monotony of rock hard pews on a sunny Sunday morning, and thus reality was relieved of sore bottoms with flights of euphonious strivings. It took several centuries, but music evolved to dance which evolved to Saturday nights involving just a bit of balderdash, and by George it worked. Those aliens created a whole culture of disoriented boozed out and reality free initiates whose sole mission on earth is to create distractions free of cultural, sexual, and ethical boundaries to enhance humanities journey through the cosmos filled with balderdash.

The perpetrators of the newly envisioned Mars mission can do no harm by including a small still in the workings of their design. It will greatly garnish the proclivity of our brave voyagers in their bid to escape reality, especially if they miss their target by .001 degrees in their budget capsule. After all, it's just harmless balderdash brought to us by wise aliens from worlds beyond our conception.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

George has an action plan

George sat undaunted on his throne. Visions of lollipops danced in his head. Twas not the night before Christmas and everything was haywire and the mice were on a rampage. But George was filled with fortitude today, nothing could rattle him. He had ordered a drone and it was coming today. It was a AR Drone Parrot Wi-Fi quadricopter from Walmart. And he had a motive, an action plan.

Lollipops. He was going to paint lollipops all over the walls of that newfangled ziggurat which the fathers of bureaucracy had constructed as an emblem of their sublimity before global warming had too much of an impact on the political correctness of depleting earth's carbon sequestrations for such aggrandizationment. This ziggurat, home of the newly installed god, the Lord Musum, sitting on the banks of River Red in the heart of Winterpeg, bland and grey an eyesore beyond comprehension to those who had an impairment for the virtues of modern concrete glass and steel architecture, it needed some fine colourful graffiti. Lord Musum would approve.

He'd been preparing all summer. He'd been buying cans of spray paint, one or two at a time always at a different store, and had a stash of orange and red and purple and blue and yellow and green. He'd bought a Gotcha Sprayer which would enable you to attach and trigger virtually any type of aerosol can from the end of an extension pole complete with the electronic trigger. He'd worn a disguise with fake mustachio and shades when he was in Walmart and the nice associate had assured him that his flip phone would work just fine for steering his quadricopter in delicate manoeuvres. His work bench was all cleaned off so he could start right away to exchange the fancy camera with the automatic trigger. He was set.

George arose from his throne, put on his coat and mustachio and shades and headed out the door to take the bus to Walmart. A fine associate went to look up his order and came back with a big smile telling him his quadricopter was now on back order and would arrive in 90 days. Well, needless to say George was disheartened. That would be the middle of winter, not a good time for painting lollipops in Winterpeg. He got on the bus and went home.

Later in the day, once more perched on his throne, George came to the realization that action plans had one fatal flaw. They relied on bureaucracy, a morphology which had no concept of urgency. Things got done when they got done and no sooner, you may as well call it them indolency plans. George went and crawled into bed for the winter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Old age security

Come and listen to a story about a man named Fred
A poor old cadger, barely kept his wifey fed
Then one fine day he was turnin sixty-five
And up came the postlady with somethin make him jive

Cash that is, old age security, supplement and all

Well the first thing you know ol Fred's a buyin beer
His pardners said "Fred move away from here"
Said "Yon highrise has a place that can be had"
So they loaded up the shoppin cart and moved into a pad

Carpets, that is. Good heat, expensive hookers

Well now twas time to invite their buds to have a shot of gin
The entrance was jus buzzin with kind folks droppin in
They told them if ever in dire need “Jus crash this locality
To have a heapin helpin of our hospitality"

Twenty-three hundred a month. Set a spell, take yer shoes off

Y'all come back now, y'hear?