Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday musings

Talk about a feeling of dislocation.
For the last week and a half we were on the road to Nanaimo and then spending time there at the new house and getting ownership papers signed, getting possession and installing a few new items of furniture and then yesterday we boarded a plane and flew back to Regina and now it seems as if all that happened was a dream!
Strange feeling indeed.
Now I am back in the environment that I spent my life in and Nanaimo, did it really happen?
Of course the answer is simple. Yes all that happened did indeed happen but still, it is a strange feeling.
One of the things I encountered there was that, similar to small towns in the United States we have visited, when it comes to getting news from around the world in local media, that becomes a difficult chore. It seems as if the area of interest is limited to the local region with a smattering of items from the nations' Capital and a few tidbits from the international scene.
Of course there was an incessant drone about the Olympics, but sorry, not really interested and even more so after actually viewing a few minutes of breathless reporting on the Twitter scene at the Games -really? This is news worthy? Really?
I can only shake my head.
In a case of how some things never seem to change I offer the following:
- the Euro crisis continues on its merry way with all politicians involved seemingly more concerned with their summer holidays than the plight of the poor and unemployed and the faltering Euro.
- Syria continues its endless civil war and to the surprise of the entire world the so called peace mediator, Koffi Annan discovers that the United nations is unwilling to do anything about the crisis and resigns in protest. This is a new discovery from the former leader of the UN? Oh, right, before he was too focused on his fat pay cheque and perks while head honcho of that dysfunctional organization to have noticed that.
- the American presidential elections continues to roll on, ignored by many of the voters. And it has descended into personal attacks amid attacks on tax returns, who is more and who is less an American and American patriot. Meanwhile the national debt soars and congress is on holidays -remember the fable of the Roman Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned?
Seems fitting in this case.
In Argentina it seems that the economy is sputtering a little as talk continues to grow about possible devaluation of the currency to fight excessive inflation.
 In a sign of how quickly time passes, I read an article this week about former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and it stated that he was 93 years old! Good Lord, how quickly time passes and it seems like yesterday that a young and charming Kohl was in the news frequently and now - 93?
Even more disturbing are reports in the German media that the country is in danger of being overrun by hordes of raccoons - a million to be exact. Worries about non documented illegal "guest" workers dim as this new threat occupies the focus of federal and local governments throught this land of lederhosen and beer and sauerkraut.
The Russian government intends to restore the military-technical support of their ships at the former military base in Cam Ranh (Vietnam), Lourdes (Cuba) and the Seychelles. So far, this is not about plans for a military presence, but rather the restoration of the crew resources. It will be interesting to see how the American government responds to this announcement.
Famed American writer Gore Vidal died this week. I must admit that to me he seemed more of a media darling than a quality writer. Yes he did pen a couple of interesting items but it seemed that his main claim to fame were the occasions where he could be viewed and promoted for outlandish statements on any and everything rather than the volume and quality of his work.
Just my opinion.
Carnival cruise lines is implementing a new policy in regards to people that "tag" lounge chairs and then leave them vacant. Crew members will patrol the decks and mark any unused--but clearly saved--chairs with a sticker. Tagged seats will be checked again after 40 minutes. If the sun lounger is still reserved, towels and anything else you are using to mark your spot will be removed and held in one of the towel stations.
About bloody time!
How many times have you encountered this idiotic selfish behavior? You head out to the swimming pool or beach first thing in the morning and of course there are only about 30 chairs to serve 200 people but all of them are covered with towels and non are occupied and remain so for most of the day! And this is at daybreak? Sometimes a brave soul will remove the towel and take the chair and then maybe an hour or two later the "owner" of the towel shows up and berates the "thief" for stealing their chair and almost threatens violence if they do not vacate said chair. 
Boors and selfish idiots to boot.
In the Canadian province of Quebec an election has been called and while not dominating the news and minds of Canadians, the fact that it is not is interesting. For way too many years elections in Quebec became the focal point of the national media and Federal politicians with the separatist Parti Quebecois being the main story. Imagine Canada falling to pieces if this party wins and forces the province to leave confederation and become sovereign.What bribe can Canada offer to make sure this does not happen became the burning issue. It seems that the mindset of Canadians has changed over the past decade or so, some would say it has matured. No longer does the threat to leave provoke a panicked response. Now it seems the country has said that enough is enough. That no longer will implied blackmail open bags of cash to buy Quebec staying in the confederation. Instead the attitude seems to be that Canada is a great country and that it is to the benefit of Quebec to stay in and enjoy its perks and special benefits rather than try to exist alone in a continent that has three large economic neighbours in it, that is to say, Mexico, the United States and Canada. Who will subsidize their lifestyle if not the rest of Canada? And just as importantly, can Quebec pay the bill it owes today and with what currency? Also do the politicians think tha Canada would continue to pay their fat pensions if the province leaves Canada? 
I don't think so.
Internationally renowned Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa has been found dead in her apartment in the Austrian capital, Vienna. She was 33. Brain hemorrhage is suspected. Try to find some of her music, she was really good,
33 is much too young an age to leave us.
In Hanoi, about 100 people attended the first Gay Pride Parade this week. Never thought that this would be allowed to occur in that country. Small steps of progress in a world sometimes seemingly consumed in hate.
Finally, a word on human nature. On our trip to Nanaimo we encountered many people that work in what is called "the service" industry. The people who run gas bars, serve you meals, wait at the front desk of hotels and the like. Some were very young, some retired but working again now, all sexes and colours and nationalities were represented. Without fail we encountered nothing but cheerful people with a ready smile and kind word, willing to extend advice and suggestions and genuine interest in we the traveler. A real treat and reminder about how people can be really good to each other. I thank them all.
Take care out there,

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