Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday musings

Sometimes the changes technology makes in life is amazing. We have lived in our house for over 25 years now and decided that this year we would replace our street side fence – all 90’ plus gate that is. I had considered doing it myself but looked at this and thought, hmmm….not going to happen. First would be dismantling the existing one and then hauling the remains to the rubbish yard. Then sinking new fence posts, after taking a day to paint them with preservative followed by another 3 – 4 days of putting up the actual fence boards, headers and the like. Then there would be another couple of days for 2 coats of stain – minimum.
So instead we decided to go high tech and have a PVC  - recycled vinyl fence done instead. Talk about an eye opening experience. First off a truck rolls up and one person steps out. After greeting him I asked where the rest of the work crew was. He smiled and said, “what rest of the work crew?” He was it! So, I shut up and went into the house while he went about his job. I sure am glad that I kept my mouth shut while he proceeded. Zip, out comes a saws – all (reciprocating form of electric saw) and 2 hours later the old fence is cut down and stacked on a utility trailer, ready to be taken away. Then he fires up a compressor and uses a pneumatic driver to set up 10 foot fence posts. Then he installs railings, headers and boards and by 4:30 is finished except for the gate which will be installed Monday. Wow, one man, one day – kind of left me for a loss of words – which for people that know me, is a rare occurrence.
Yes, it cost more than the traditional type made of wood, but all in all, well worth the difference.
So the other day I had my winter tires installed on my vehicle. I have them mounted on their own rims so the expense of always changing over from summer to winters on one set of rims is eliminated. So of course what happens except that after getting back home and parking on the driveway for 10 minutes, one of the tires goes flat! So I get the local Motor Assistance Association to come and change the tire over to the spare so I can take it to a repair shop – only to find that they are too busy to attend to this minor problem for the day and will have it back to me the next afternoon, oh and by the way, I will have to change the tire myself as they once again are too busy!
I think there is a wall in my garage that has quite a few dents in it now from my repeated pounding of my head at in frustration!
What do you think of these protesters in mainly the USA, but now other parts of the world that are staging sit in demonstrations in parks of major cities against the so called 1% rich that apparently run the world? This 1% includes millionaires – which I find interesting because if you for example take a retired widow living in Vancouver, B.C. who still has her own house – well she would probably be worth 1 million on paper but probably is scraping by on pensions and investment money. By the look of many of the protesters, you see many with portable computers, iPhones and other so called necessities. You do not see many of the truly poor, people from the ghetto in these demonstrations, it appears to be mainly middle class, predominately white people attending these demonstrations.
One area that should, but probably will never be addressed, because governments live in fear of the investment community, would be for legislation to curb and manage the computer driven algorithms that are part of the financial industry. A slight hint of a drop in the value of anything that can be investment driven automatically generates massive buy and sell orders in the virtual blink of an eye with no human oversight or control. A good example is the way the financial community is reacting to the ongoing events regarding Greece. If a person would honestly look at things, what is different in Greece now as compared to 3 months ago? I know that this may be a bit simplistic but I would suggest that there is little or no difference at all – except for the action of money traders and the bankers. Another way of allowing for better social program funding would be to increase the GST (goods and services tax) across Canada as this tax applies to everyone. Increase in deductions for the poor would offset this increase while those more able to pay, would. However with the recent tax revolt in B.C. and Ontario, this is a non starter with the Canadian taxpayer. A quick calculation on the raising of taxes on the top so called 1% would mean a possible rebate of about $30 per person – big deal!
Food for thought at least.
Thailand has been hit by another series of large monsoons. Large portions of the country are under water again. With the melt of a good amount of both polar ice caps, the water levels in the world seem to be on the rise and that bodes poor for many people in impoverished parts of the world that are at or near sea level.
It has been noted that the 7 billionth person will be born soon, and that should occur in India, a country with an extremely high birth rate. It is ironic that in Europe, Canada and the United States the birth rate is not keeping up with the replacement rate needed to maintain services and standards of living and countries that are emerging powers the birth rate is booming. Eventually somebody somewhere is going to realize that this increase in world population cannot be indefinitely sustained by the limited resources of the planet and at that moment, hard choices will have to be made. When will this happen? I think probably within the next 30 years or so.
Here in Saskatchewan we are starting the second week of the provincial election campaign. Promises abound from both parties with everything from scare tactics and cute photo ops of one leader with children while the voice over drones on how only that party cares for you – something they never did while in power. And by the way to the other leader earnestly expounding on how fiscally responsible his government has been these past 4 years. At the end of the day, it will probably come down to the old story of who do you trust the most? Hell of a way to run a province, but that is the way it has and will continue to be until someone finds a better way and that does not appear to been any time soon.
So American President Obama has decided to send 100 military troops to Central Africa in order to apprehend the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. I hope this works out because this sounds a lot like the logic I heard when the Americans sent “advisors” to Viet Nam many years ago and we know how that turned out and at what cost.
On the other hand, news reports indicate that American troops will leave Iraq months before the former end of the year deadline. History will eventually judge the merits and results of that invasion on the country, region and indeed the world itself. Hard to believe how long ago it was and that it was done under the pretense of denying weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein. A fabrication that really did not fool people very long at all.
Who can forget the photo shot of a jubilant President Bush standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier proclaiming “mission accomplished”?  A statement that came back to haunt his presidency.
Fall is over, snow should start falling in about a week or two and already many days are cold, overcast and dreary almost shouting out its warning of the cold days to come. Four, five months to basically endure and survive loom on the horizon. Time to make sure tea supplies are on hand, bread making material are stocked, chai latte mix placed on the shelf for later consumption. Somehow winters now seem crueler than when I was in my twenties. The soon to come arctic cold will bite deeper and last longer than before. I don’t know, maybe it is time to listen to what friends of ours have said over the years about life on the west coast where winters are barely noticeable, and see what life there would be like.
However in the meantime, our mid winter break will suffice, even though I now know that February is in the middle of bloody summer in Argentina! So there we go, from minus forty to plus 38 or so in one day? No wonder we got such a good deal on accommodations when I booked. It seems even the people of Buenos Aires – Portenos (sorry, my program does not allow for the proper accent over the e!) flee to the cooler countryside to escape the heat! Something tells me that I might even enjoy coming back to winter for the last month or so, ah who am I kidding?
Well, as a reader tells me, this is the end of another waaaaay too long blog for this week so I bid you goodbye for now.
Take care out there,

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