Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday musings

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
This weekend marks the end of summer/fall here in Canada. It is also the weekend where enough turkey is eaten to ensure that leftover meals of turkey sandwiches and soup will predominate the menu for the rest of the week. In fact just enough to ensure that ones’ appetite will return in time for the Christmas turkey.
Most of the leaves are off the trees, the grass has changed from deep green to a light brown as it snuggles down for the inevitable snowfalls to come. Next week hopefully I will get someone in to blow compressed air throughout the underground sprinklers to clear out water from the lines so that they do not freeze and crack over winter. Also time to put weather stripping around windows to make sure that no insidious draft sneaks in through spaces to chill the interior and increase heating bills.
Steve Jobs of Apple corp. died this week and countless stories and eulogies have been written about him and his place in history. Truly no man in recent history has had more of an impact of the world, with invention as such as the Ipod, Imac, Ipad and the like. In fact he had 313 patents to his name. The majour result of his efforts was to make computers user friendly and intuitive where the early PC machines where focused on the dreaded c prompt design- many of us remember those difficult days.
One thing that no one has expressed is what I consider to be the dark side of his efforts and that is the Itunes store where for a small fee you can purchase music, videos, games, television shows and the like. This is a store of a massive data gathering system that tracks your purchases and probably builds a consumer profile of you that many advertisers would love to have access to. I have concerns over such a thing and wonder where the intrusion on privacy starts and ends.
1984 anyone?
You want to talk about water?
Many parts of the world have experienced dramatic shifts in weather patterns recently and that has affected the water supply in many areas. Look at the drought in Texas or the Horn of Africa for example. Here is a graphic showing the changes in water from March 2010 to March 2011 and it is interesting to see areas such as Western Canada and its increase and then relate it to the amount of flooding and crop damages that happened in the 2 years. The dark blue shows where there has been massive increases of precipitation and the orange shows decreases.

I see in the United States numerous small scale demonstrations breaking out against banks and Wall Street where the saying is that the “99% are tired of the 1%” destroying the social fabric and economy of the country. This could spell danger for the Republican Party as they are the party that supports big corporations and banks against any and all form of taxation and regulation. This could be the swingback against them and the Tea party that has held the American Government and economy hostage for the last 2 years with their rigid ideology and mantra. 
This week also saw the 80th birthday of both the Dali Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, two giants in the history of the world for their efforts on the behalf of mankind. Not too many people can share this distinction. Many would rank them with Mother Theresa, Gandhi and the like. I would as well.
We went to a play put on by an amateur group last night based on the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.They had a great deal of enthusiasm for the play and while not of the best caliber, gave an entertaining time for the audience.Listening to some of the post performance comments that ranged from positive to slightly negative, I was reminded that as in life, it is always easier to sit in the background and criticise than actually go up on the stage and perform oneself!
Meanwhile the dangerous economic news continues from Europe with more inaction from governments on the crisis with Greece and the consequences for the once powerful Euro. The politicians seem more concerned with their gold plated salaries and pensions than doing what they were elected to do. They sit by and let the banking industry continue to dictate to them what course of (in)action should be taken Of course no institution will agree to controls over transparency and corporate responsibility. Try telling some aircraft assembly employee of 15 years that has always worked hard, paid their taxes, never cheated on income tax, that the crisis is their fault and as a result will have to be fired. That is in essence what is happening and yet the general population seems too bewildered to force their politicians to do something about this. Modern history may be approaching a tipping point in the balance of wealth distribution and the results could be nasty indeed.
Have you ever stood back and looked at all the "stuff" in your place of residence? 
It is amazing how much accumulates over the years once you do so. We decided that this winter will be a season where we go room by room and embark on the process of decluttering. I started in the lower level this past week and oh boy, is this going to be an effort. It is like one of those old time comedy shows where you pick up one item, say it is junk and then turn around and say no, it is too important to throw out.Then you discover that items that you want to get rid of are worth next to nothing to other people when you advertise them for sale and to add insult to injury it will cost money to dispose of them!
Ah, the horror, the horror!
Of course you probably have already seen the silly flaw in starting this process at the cusp of winter- it will be damn cold and snowy when I try to take items to the waste disposal site. It would have been waaaaay too easy to do it in summer right?
Whoever said one gets smarter when one gets older really was not that accurate, at least it seems in my case. 
Well, outside the sun is shining brightly, no clouds in the sky and the temperature is a nice plus 15 and I can smell the slow start of the cooking of the turkey in the oven as I type. So that means it is time to say good bye for another week.
Take care out there,
flatlander 52

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