Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday musings

Come and gone in a blink...what the heck?
Yah, you wait 51.75 weeks for Christmas and that's it.
Done.
Finis.
Toast.
History.
Humph.
So now the short few days of ennui before the start of the New Year and the world slowly cranks up to speed again.
All the things that seemed to be far in the future - you know, "next year country", well, all of a sudden it really is next year now for crying out loud!
Time to plan the year unfolding and making sure all checkpoints are identified and slotted in some sort of timeline.
Did I mention learning to sky dive maybe? 
Oops.
I suppose the submarine excursion yearned for, well did I forget to mention that as well?
Oops again.
Drats.
Speaking of oops - it appears that I am the cause of an uproar online these days due to yet another small "oops" that happened in last weeks' blog.
Yes, someone actually does read the blog!
How cool is that???
Anyway, apparently when I modestly mentioned that we hung Christmas lights this year on our ramshackle abode, well........instead of the photo of the 3 tiny l.e.d. bulbs spasmodically flickering dimly in the night, a photo of the lights from the folks across the street was inserted!
And now the buggers want and demand royalty payments from your impoverished blogger!
Oh the pain.
Hmm...
Maybe they will be satisfied with a hand delivered copy of one of my travel vignettes from Goats R Us Productions?
Maybe.
Maybe not.
Oh well.
 I have been asked to make a few predictions (wild guesses actually) about some items of interest for the year 2015 so - here goes.
1. The petro dollar - down now but by mid year back up-up-up again.
2. Crimea - quiet now but hmm, could be a smoldering fuse there.
3. Ebola in Africa - this will not go away quietly.
4. Civil unrest in America - scary thing that.
5. Canadian election - possibly more of the same.
6. Argentina debt and inflation - worrisome to say the least.
7. Odds of me winning the lotto? Still less than zero
That is it for projections and in all likelihood all wet except for number 7 and that will be something to look forward to.
That being said, one would be remiss if, at this year end blog we did not thank all that took a few moments to read the odd blog during its almost 4 years of existence.
Not sure at this time if there will be a year 5.
Not be easy to do this week in and out and not become stuck in a whiny groove endlessly repeating the same old rant.
Some say that that is too late.
Others demure and still enjoy the words.
So with this, the last blog of 2014, I leave you with a few photos and thanks and best wishes for a great 2015.


take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday musings

Well, it is the last Sunday before Christmas and as is the norm, the pace of my life has slowed to a crawl which is OK.
It is difficult to get wound up about this and that around the world.
Just not so into it right about now.
So....let's catch up on a few things and people alright?
Remember over the years ( can you believe that we are almost done with the 4th year of this blog?) my talking about my three "daughters"?
Well, one is now a mother twice around and this winter her house has been recognized online as one of the "sparkle" homes (Christmas light festooned that is) in the city we used to live in.
Pretty special person she is.
"Daughter" number two is vacationing right now in a sunny and warm spot with her better half and looking forward to the upcoming wedding of one of her own daughters.
Pretty special person she is.
"Daughter" number three continues to weave her literary magic with three books published in the last year and yet another in the final stages right now.
Pretty special person she is.
And yes, to all you naysayers reading, these are not my actual daughters but I would have been proud and honoured to be their actual father.
They have enriched my life over the years.
What better continuing Christmas present could one hope to ask for?
And receive?
Thought so.
On another small, yet totally immodest note - a vignette from my own film production company (thanks for asking - it is called Goats R Us Productions!) is making the rounds of the Interweb!
And there is talk of possibly an invitation to the Short Film Festival held on the Sandwich Islands next year, now who woulda thought eh?
We had friends and family visit us throughout the summer this year and loved to show them our "new" home here on this fabulous Island.


And yes, sometimes it seemed a little chaotic but when all was said and done - it was a lot of fun.
We continued to explore this Island called home and spent a wonderful time on the shores of the wild, west side - truly awesome in scope.



 Visited the Prairie flatlands after 3 summers away and was re-introduced to wind and mosquitoes the size of small ponies but still nice to do again.
Flew in a floatplane for the first time - striking yet another item off our so called "bucket list" and wow, what a treat that was for us to experience.


Heck, even put up Christmas lights for the first time in over 30 years - what is going on here?
Perhaps I can put that on the shoulders of Mrs. Claws?
Ya think?

And yes, we were so very fortunate to once again spend precious time on those marvelous Sandwich Islands - second only in affection to my own Island.
And yes, many decry the place and criticize the sometimes over the top schmaltzy portrayal of life and the people that live there but there is a certain magic that no one can deny.


So....in the spirit of goodwill that exists so briefly among us at this time of year, count your blessings and take a moment to savour what you have.
For many it is not anywhere near as good as what you might complain about at times.
And truly...take care out there,
flatlander 52

and of course- Merry Ho Ho from the Elves!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday musings

Solitude.
Quietness.
Reflective time.
Went for a walk the other day in one of my favourite haunts amid a gentle drizzle just to appreciate some of the things I have in life.
With it being a tad cool and wet, the usual number of folks walking about were not as numerous as is their normal wont.
And that was just fine.
Stopped at the base of an arbutus tree and saw water droplets glistening on a woodland fern.
Shimmering silver sparkles on a day with limited sunshine.
A pair of hummingbirds thrummed by in the search for food - food and even more food.
So determined and so tiny.
Further along the walk, a small river fed by recent rains thundered and roared filling the silence of the walk with its all encompassing volume.
Ferocious and compelling.
A deer walked out from between a stand of trees - saw me, seemed to nod and then slowly turned and continued on its solitary way - similar to my own.
Kinda put me in my place in the scheme of things.
Further along, stood by the resting place of some totem poles that had been "retired" and returned to the ground to become one with the land again.
Could only stare and wonder.
Walked by an empty swimming pool that echoed with the memory of playing, laughing children of the summer just passed.
And smiled.
It is a big world we live in, isn't it?
And people live in all kinds of ways.
Some opulent.
Some tacky.
Some so desperately needing.
Some so blessed.
Some so cursed.
One could go bonkers grieving for the ones that have so little future and so little to live for but there is so little that one can do by themselves.
And yet... every little bit does help if only a little.
If a person can develop a pattern of doing the small things - peoples lives can improve, if only a little.
So yes, the once a year conscience driven donation to a food bank works.
Giving away old furniture/appliances to the needy rather than selling or trashing works.
Paying it forward as it is called - truly helps those that need it the most and is a good thing.
Just think, it could be you in dire straits and not some unknown face in the news video -right?
Sometimes a walk like that calms you down and puts a perspective on certain things back into your vision.
Not a bad thing at all.
The world continues to spin in its own puzzling ways as well.
Greenpeace, an organization that many people admire did a horrible thing this week in South America. As a visual form of protest promoting renewable energy - they desecrated the historic Nazca line drawings in Peru.

What excuse is there for this?
They lose credibility in my eyes when they are worse than what they profess to despise.
As Pogo said - "we have met the enemy and he is us."
Why?
Over in America it seems that the fiscal cliff was averted due to a compromise among leaders including the President. This means no Federal government shut down for a year now.
That is a good thing and not just for America but the whole world.
And already vague non attributable news sources are muttering about interest rate increases possibly starting in the upcoming year in North America and Europe.
And that might not be a bad thing.
With such low rates as we have had for the last number of years, many, many people have taken out loans to purchase items possibly not really needed and the resulting personal debt levels are reaching scary levels these days.
Time for a breather perhaps.
It all depends on how any possible rate increases are implemented and the amount of any increase will be critical.
Moderate and balanced increases will halt the debt load increase.
Large jumps will financially destroy a generation.
Over on the Sandwich Islands, at the Lahaina Cannery Mall last weekend saw the kickoff to the holiday season with the arrival of Santa and the Angel Tree giving project sponsored by the Salvation Army at the Mall.
As well free entertainment, the always welcome Hula Show is presented to shoppers.

And who cannot enjoy the Hawaiian salutation to Merry Christmas?

Here on my Island, once again this year the noted Saskatchewan artist, V. Morhart sent out his limited edition Christmas card greetings to a select few folks and as always, is very appreciated.

take care out there,
flatlander52
The holiday season kicks into high gear Saturday, Dec. 6, at Lahaina Cannery Mall with the arrival of Santa and the Kahiau Angel Tree giving project donation drive in partnership with the Salvation Army Lahaina Outpost. - See more at: http://www.lahainanews.com/page/content.detail/id/531040/Santa--Angel-Tree-giving-program---song-and-the-holiday-spirit-arrive-at-Lahaina-Cannery-Mall.html?nav=8#sthash.cllrEsIR.dpuf
The holiday season kicks into high gear Saturday, Dec. 6, at Lahaina Cannery Mall with the arrival of Santa and the Kahiau Angel Tree giving project donation drive in partnership with the Salvation Army Lahaina Outpost. - See more at: http://www.lahainanews.com/page/content.detail/id/531040/Santa--Angel-Tree-giving-program---song-and-the-holiday-spirit-arrive-at-Lahaina-Cannery-Mall.html?nav=8#sthash.cllrEsIR.dpuf
The holiday season kicks into high gear Saturday, Dec. 6, at Lahaina Cannery Mall with the arrival of Santa and the Kahiau Angel Tree giving project donation drive in partnership with the Salvation Army Lahaina Outpost. - See more at: http://www.lahainanews.com/page/content.detail/id/531040/Santa--Angel-Tree-giving-program---song-and-the-holiday-spirit-arrive-at-Lahaina-Cannery-Mall.html?nav=8#sthash.cllrEsIR.dpuf
The holiday season kicks into high gear Saturday, Dec. 6, at Lahaina Cannery Mall with the arrival of Santa and the Kahiau Angel Tree giving project donation drive in partnership with the Salvation Army Lahaina Outpost. - See more at: http://www.lahainanews.com/page/content.detail/id/531040/Santa--Angel-Tree-giving-program---song-and-the-holiday-spirit-arrive-at-Lahaina-Cannery-Mall.html?nav=8#sthash.cllrEsIR.dpuf

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday musings

And now it is the third last week of the year.
Huh.
Something parents never told you about was that as you yourself age - that while every day seems so long at times, the weeks/months zip by in a blink.
Go figure.
Anyway, the price of oil continues to slide but you notice how airline ticket prices do not?
Or here on my Island - ferry ticket prices go up rather than down!
Go figure.
Met with a chap this week who wondered why the UN (Useless Nations that is) blathered about emissions produced by Canada when this country apparently produces 3.3% of the worlds emissions. But the same pompous twit from the UN (Useless Nations that is) says nada to China or India which happen to be number one and two in that category.
Go figure.
Ah heck, does it really matter anyway?
Does anyone think that they can make a difference anymore?
Maybe.
Just don't think so.
And the Philippines just got hammered again by another large typhoon - Hagupit with massive water and structural damage happening. Not even a year since the last hit by typhoon Haiyan.
Not fair is it?
73 years ago, on December 7th, the American nation was sucked into the conflict historians call World War Two, by an attack from the armed forces of Imperial Japan. Even after all these years, this is a case of black and white and not the revisionist shades of grey that is so popular with social media wimps these days.
And yes, that was indeed - A day of Infamy.
America might be a bit battered and bruised these days but still is the brightest beacon of hope in this savage world for the average person.
The New Year will see a change in the federal power structure in America with the Republican Party controlling both parts of government and the President being a Democrat in the twilight of his Presidency will probably do as much as possible to hinder any programs they may want to implement. Already he has obfuscated nonsense on a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the American Gulf refineries in order to appease his voting base in direct contrast to real logic. And this is probably the start of what may sadly called a silly season in American politics.
And the threat of fiscal shutdown is growing by the day - been a while since this old bogeyman has been mentioned right?
The fun and games in American politics is really gonna heat up starting in a few weeks so hold on to your hats folks.
Strange, well really sad, not strange saga unfolding in Canadian politics these past weeks in the accusations of 2 member of an Opposition Party of sexual harassment against 2 members of an other Opposition Party.
All of a sudden the Leader of the Party making the accusations is outraged that the Leader of the other Party suspended the 2 members accused.
He says it embarrasses the 2 accusers.
He says it should have been hushed up and keep quiet and handled behind closed doors.
Does this sound right to you?
Sexual harassment is a serious charge and if true - a horrible crime.
Punishable by a civilized society that has basic human values.
But because this happened in a Government environment - closed doors and no legal accountability?
Wrong.
Wrong.
Wrong and he should be ashamed and apologize for that lack of.....perhaps moral fiber is the best set of words to use.
As it stands, 2 men have their lives and careers destroyed by innuendo.
No chance for it to be proved or disproved.
And that is right?
Oh Canada.
What is with your politicians?
Off to the Sandwich Islands for some good cheer.
This weekend sees the 17th annual lighting of the Banyan tree in downtown Lahaina on Maui. It is arguably one of the most famous landmarks of that town and was planted in 1873 by Sheriff Bill Smith to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries to the Island.
The tree came from India and was 8 feet high.
Now it has a dozen main trunks and has spread over an acre.
We have been very fortunate to have walked many times under this wondrous tree in Lahaina town.

Back on my Island we have, as you do, only a few short weeks until Christmas and as mentioned last week, I have indeed been a good person this past year - at least in my opinion!
The malls are full and there really is some sort of bustle all around.
My better half has even put up a number of lights and the like in spite of my whiny grumblings...sigh..oh well...perhaps Santa will leave me 2 lumps of coal this year instead of the usual IOU note!


take care out there,
flatlander 52

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday musings

So, with America exporting "fracked" oil there is a glut of oil on the world market with an amazing drop in the price of crude.
Just a couple of years ago we were told oil was almost all gone and would soon top $175 a barrel US Dollars.
Now it is under $65 US Dollars a barrel.
And in Canada, one of the worlds largest oil exporting nations, some provinces that became dependent on oil income instead of using only some for general expenses and saving the rest for "rainy days" are in quiet desperation facing soon to be bare fiscal cupboards.
Their populations have become used to ever increasing expenditures for road repair, health workers wages, fire and police workers wages and a wider funded social safety net.
Soon the politicians will have to say - "no more or even worse, we will have to reduce the money allocated" to these groups and programs.
Will the doctors, nurses, teachers, police, social workers agree to perhaps a 15% wage cut?
It might happen and if it does - it will not be pretty.
The health care industry is one of those sacred cows no one wants to talk about.
Specifically the obscene money pit involved by the drug firms, machinery firms and health staff in the cruel profit centre of extending life to the last possible second - at whatever cost.
Who has not had someone they loved  live in a coma for years with no brain activity or chance for recovery kept alive by mechanical means that rolled in the dollars for the health industry?
The same sanctimonious industry that says all life must be extended regardless of the toll on people and families and that the individual has no bloody right to decide when they want to die.
As if to say that thinking, mature adults all of a sudden become incapable of intelligent decision making on this topic?
How many people suffering from slow and  excruciating cancer have begged to be allowed to die and be callously told -NO?
How many people facing years of decay from the grip of ALS have begged to be allowed to die and be callously told -NO?
How many people that are just old and done with life have begged to be allowed to die and be callously told -NO?
What if it was you?
Instead we have cowardly politicians always being led by the nose by the so called death industry to maintain and enhance fiscal revenue streams.
These same politicians that have no problem with increasing their pensions and health plans with no oversight - yes them.
Bloody cowards - all of them.
And what is it with these fools that honestly believe that everything on the InterWeb is true?
Specifically those that prattle on how vaccines are evil and kill children or cause autism?
They repeat lies - plain and simple.
They are in essence, accessories to the spread of measle epidemics and the like.
But they are not accountable financially for the costs their insanity occurs are they?
And you notice how most of these blatherskytes are "whole earth gestalt" folks?
Natural birth advocats?
Mother Nature at all costs fanatics?
NO, they are not guilty are they?
Actually they are just plain wrong and they do not give a damn over the damage they do.
Pathetic.
Winter is really whacking the North American continent these days isn't it?
On the Canadian Flatlands, blizzards followed by minus 30 some temperatures are pounding the population - these are February temperatures, not end of November for crying out loud!
And America has fared no better with many parts of New York State having exhausted their entire snow removal budget for the year before "normal" winter weather usually arrives.
But on the plus side, forecasts indicate that next week California and its border states will get a large and intensive soaking of rain - after years of prolonged drought - great news indeed.
And the Canadian Weather Service said in September that it thought the winter to come would be a mild one by their standards.
What kind of Ouji Board do those folks use anyway?
Even here on my Island we had a couple of strange weather days this week.
Indeed on Thursday the temperature was a balmy plus 15 C (61F) and then by Saturday morning it hit a body numbing minus 1 - the blasted horror!!
This weekend saw the annual Santa Claus visit with the old fella coming in via float plane (Harbour Air did the honors) and was greeted by throngs of rapturous youngsters - yes, myself included and indeed I have been a good boy this year!

take care out there,
Flatlander52

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday musings


A day in the life...
After one disengages from the professional world, their satisfaction expectations redefine and what would have been considered a minor blip in the day assume a level of satisfaction with a job/chore well done.
No need to spend huge amounts on new equipment/machinery, no – the threshold changes and that can be for many people a good thing.
You know, at one time doing little “repairs” around the place was a nuisance and usually the end result reflected that opinion.
This week, it was different.
I am, by admission, a hater of painting and wall patching.
No more.
Since moving to our Island (going into our third “winter” now) and into our new house, I have developed a fascination with making sure chips/dents and holes via nails for pictures are repaired promptly and repaired right.
Including painting the spots.
My first attempt occurred about a week after arriving on this Island.
Fixing an “owie” in a wall caused by an encounter between a pushed chair and it.
Took 6 attempts to apply and smooth the patch compound so that it blended into the texture of the wall.
Took 4 attempts with “touch up” paint until the patch faded away and was not visible to the naked eye.
Took almost three days and a lot of frustration.
Fast forward to this week as I was informed that 3 paintings from the front entrance were moving to the study and a couple of study paintings were migrating to other areas of the room.
A much calmer and reflective flatlander52 took this on.
It took about 3 hours of off and on work.
The prepping.
Patch application.
Dry time – and time for a cola and time to listen to AlohaJoe radio streaming on the Interweb.
And then the best part of the process - applying and “feathering” the wall paint over the patches and blending the application into the existing paint scheme.
And bemused satisfaction when the better half said – "where were the holes anyway?"
A job truly well done.
And in its own way, vindication of a maturing approach to life, the good, the bad and the indifference of it.
And while some issues still evince a passionate response, more and more it is a case of asking “does it really matter?”
And that shows the narrowing of the world that occurs to people as they journey through life.
All the big issues still matter but it becomes a choice of asking what does it mean to you and what can you do to effect change.
And if the answer is that no, it does not impact me personally and even if it did – I have no ability to change or help change the situation, well, you shrug your shoulders and carry on with the life you have.
You know you cannot really change the world as you believed possible when a young stripling.
Can't change everything.
Some call it quitting.
Some call it growing up.
Whatever, as the young folks say, that's life folks.
Accept and enjoy what you have or rage against the night.

Pretty soon, our American friends will be celebrating their version of the Thanksgiving holiday and best wishes are extended to them. Especially the people of Buffalo that endured an astonishing 72 hour snowfall this week followed by rain, warm temps and now dangers of flooding.
The American President, Mr. Obama has done a couple of interesting things this week and to many non Americans, they seem, well, strange is the word.
First, he came out against a proposed pipeline to be built from a Canadian province through the States to the Gulf of Mexico. He said it was only for the benefit of Canada and not a penny would go to America.
He conveniently ignored the fact that the oil companies involved are American owned,
That the oil goes to American refineries for processing.
That oil exported from this pipeline must be replaced by American oil at world prices – sold to Canada.
So this hurts America how?
Thought so.
Politics and the first victim is truth.
Then the President has unveiled massive changes to the Immigration program.
From outside America, it seems ill thought out and pandering to a potential voter base and ignores potential socio economic impacts.
Politics and the first victim is truth.
The world had thought Mr. Obama was above this – remember the Nobel Prize?
Sad if true isn't it?
Over on my second most favourite island, the Manapua Bakery in the city of Wailuku was closed for a short while to allow for installation of more appliances. This means the bakery can double their supply of 5,000 manapua per day to 10,000! Obviously Maui had been experiencing #manapuamadness as this establishment was having difficulties keeping up with throng of customers. And about that sign, “So Sorry, We Are Sold Out,” don’t worry about seeing it anymore. According to owners Keone and Natasha, manapua and pork hash will be sold on a first come first serve basis until things settle down.
Now that is a relief!

Take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday musings

You know, sometimes you can really find truly wonderful items on the InterWeb.
Ever see a hummingbird in slow motion flight?
Check it out.
And yet the same InterWeb is a trolling ground for thugs and sociopaths that determined to destroy societies that they fear.
Check it out.
And that I guess is one of the tenants of life - choice.
True humans try to better their lives and those of others by effort and compassion.
Scum only strike out based on their pathetic twisted sense on entitlement to hate and greed.
Sad to see that the sum of societal evolution to date is so halting and patchwork.
Just the way the world is I guess.
The G20 held another one of its photo op summits this week.
As usual, nothing gets done.
Money spent profusely on security and media correspondents issuing 30 second sound bites.
Professional protestors milling about chanting and screaming - hey, who pays their tab anyway?
As usual, nothing gets done.
Just the way the world is I guess.
Seems like the Ebola death toll is over 5100 people now.
Slowly the focus of the media is shifting isn't it?
We knew that would happen didn't we?
Just the way the world is I guess.
Maybe that is the reality of life in that the lesson for all that exist on this planet is that we start out full of idealism and hope then as we age and life batters us to our knees over and over again, we slowly resign ourselves to the fact that for so many of us - nothing changes and nothing we do has any impact except for a closed group immediately around us.
Mortality can be a time for sadness can't it?
Enough already.
There are some beacons of light in this world we live in.
YOANI SÁNCHEZ of Cuba is one - read her blog (http://generacionyen.wordpress.com/) and her courage makes my meandering comments sometimes seem silly.
Jeff King (http://mauitvnews.com/blog/) on my second favourite Island almost single-handedly runs a weekly newsblog dedicated to life and issues on Maui with no fabulous salary - a labour of love as much as anything.
All the volunteers throughout Canada during the Christmas season that stand hour upon hour besides plastic collection kettles for the Salvation Army to raise funds for the homeless, needy and lost to society.
The list goes on....
The European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet at the conclusion of a 10 year flight from Earth.
And it survived, took photos and transmitted data back to this planet before the batteries powering it slowly diminished and failed.
Awe inspiring at a minimum.
Makes spotlight seeking "people", that, sadly mainly American media, love to promote and sponsor seem....silly.
Hello Kim K.
Hello Kanye.
Hi Justin.
Laughable at best.
Fools at least.
Oh well.
Remember about a decade or so ago when all the "smart" people were forecasting the end of crude oil supplies globally and all the eco folks were demanding immediate switch over to solar and hydro power?
Yah.
Now it seems we are "awash" with new sources of oil.
Right.
Solar power panel production creates incredibly filthy toxic waste products yet no eco person says anything about that.
Or how the blasted wind turbine towers slaughter thousands of birds with their huge blades.
Right.
Here in Canada, in the small Flatland city of Saskatoon there is a world class facility called the Synchroton. It has shown that its machinery can produce radioactive isotopes used in medical examination procedures using electricity instead of that of a nuclear reactor. And the black humour in this? Well, it seems it will take Health Canada two years to test and approve this product.
A environmentally safe way to produce something vital in health testing protocols worldwide and two years?
How many weeks did it take for Canada to decide to help bomb ISIS?
Unbelievable isn't it.
Cynics in Western Canada speculate that if the facility was in Ontario or Quebec - 2 months maximum for approval.
Hard to disagree with that line of thought.
Here on my Island, I am discovering the intrigue of drone flying/video.
It comes with a responsibility though both to wildlife and people.
Common sense and discretion are paramount when doing this.
Still, pretty interesting.
This weekend we saw local elections all over the province and hopefully the voter turnout was large.
Many people are so spoiled in this country with a life of living in a democracy that they do not realize that freedom won is freedom that must be forever maintained or it will erode piece by piece until one day it is forever altered or gone and then that is too late for all.

take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday musings

One of the items that the Premier of this west coast province has staked her and her party's political future on is the issue of LNG exports to Pacific countries. LNG being Liquefied Natural Gas and this province has plenty of gas (poor pun indeed) and with extremely expensive non built yet refrigeration complexes (apparently they are supposed to spring into existence in a number of coastal locations).
A tax regime has been devised and is ready to use once this happens.
One problem for the Premier and the citizens that expect this waterfall of riches to engulf them and pay off all bills - many of the targeted countries are rethinking their commitment to LNG and in the case of Japan, are in the process of restarting mothballed nuclear power plants.
Ooops....
So what is it about politicians that are ordinary folks (in the main) before they enter politics and then once elected to govern - become, well, stupid?
They listen to over paid sycophants that blather ego stroking nonsense into their ears (egos) and wake up convinced that their vision of the world is right and everyone else just doesn't get it.
Local, provincial or federal politicians - you have to wonder what is in the kool aid so many seem to be drinking don't you?
No wonder so many citizens withdraw into silence in the hope that they at least tax wise, will not be savaged financially to death by those fools on all levels of government.
In America voters turned over power in both federal government chambers to the Republican Party while the President, Mr. Obama is a member of the Democrat Party. A news video showed one elected person crowing about making those "pigs in Washington squeal".
Legislative gridlock is almost assured as American politics looks to descend into playground and to hell with the American people as the slogan.
This is not to pick sides in American politics as indeed, not many in the world truly understand their political parties and what they represent (myself included!) but the world needs direction and leadership from America and this does not look good.
Entire economies need a strong America and that seems in doubt.
Hopefully this is not going to happen but time will tell and indeed, the fiscal cliff nightmare is already being talked about again and the world will suffer if this happens again.
Sigh.
Russian tanks are back on the soil of Ukraine all the while the leader - Mr. Putin solemnly says again and again that Russia is committed to a peace process.
Hmmm.
One seems to remember some dude in the last century saying the same damn words about the Anschluss - maybe my memory is playing tricks on me as I age.
Meanwhile, back in Germany, one of my favourite soccer (football) teams, Werder Bremen finally won a home game in a relegation battle with VFB Stuggart - finally!
Time for a currywurst I think!
The retail world in North America is in full Christmas advertising mode these days. No longer starting after Remembrance Day, now it begins 48 hours after Halloween.
Does it matter anymore?
As it is, already more and more weather reports tell of snow falling in parts of Canada and America and the air waves are rife with pleas for motorists to install winter tires.
Heck, these stories appear every year on almost the exact same date, similar to stories about water rationing in the early summer. Have you ever noticed that local TV newscasts in the evening all follow the same three or four stories? Do you think the reporters car pool? Share the same leads in order to save money?
Seems like it.
Over on the Sandwich Islands, local and State elections were held and most results seem to favour the status quo except on Maui where an initiative to stop all types of GMO testing on crops passed with a margin of 1,000 votes - despite mega millions of dollars being spent by both sides of the discussion. Some see this as a victory for organic living - but are they prepared to pay full price? And what will they say to countries that need such foods to feed their population if the movement spreads?
A tough question but will anyone have the courage to answer?
Somehow I doubt it. 
Been an interesting week here on my Island.
Had a couple reminders that as I call it, the Wheel of Life grinds slowly and inexorably to its conclusion in the matters of humanity.
Said farewell to some old and not so old friends.
Said farewell to some old foes  (cannot remember why and when I do, the reasons seem so small).
Saw how some old friends are changing and drifting away - once again the Wheel turns and we can do nothing to stop it, only accept what happens.
There is a local custom here after Halloween where the local folks do not throw old carved pumpkins in the compost pile right away but rather line a rural road deemed "Pumpkin Lane" with the forlorn relics and people come from near and far to view them.





And to think that the New year is only a month and a half away - where did 2014 go?

take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday musings

A week after the attack in Ottawa by a madman - the memory dims for the majority of people.
Sad fact but true.
Modern day people seem to have an attention span now measured in minutes - not months.
The biggest apparent result of the attack - probable increase in stealth powers of the police and secret services and loss of some rights by the individuals in the name of the greater good and safety for all.
And the big question - if you dare be honest in your reply - is do you really care if it does not impact you?
Thought so.
And the world careens on.
Halloween comes and goes.
The media is starting to proclaim in various outlets that Ebola is on the decline.
Tell that to the victims please.
Do you also get an uneasy feeling about the Ebola coverage?
Almost like this is a "manufactured" crisis from the media?
That while devastating parts of Africa, in order to make the story "sexy" and more reader involved (hello advertising dollars) we have to now know that - gasp - America is in the deadly grip of Ebola.
Spain is in the deadly grip of Ebola.
Canada is in the deadly grip of Ebola.
Parts of Europe are in the grip of Ebola.
Anyone going to the hospital with a case of flu - now is in the deadly grip of possibly Ebola.
Sense a pattern?
You hope this is not the case, but hmmm, you have to wonder.
Also, how come that there was no possible way to every get a vaccine for Ebola but when America got an actual case - well now it seems that big pharma will have one to release early next year?
What the heck?
 You do not want to be thought of one of those folks that wear tinfoil hats to deflect alien radio waves but gee whiz - something seems off in the coverage and responses from the health industry?
Well?
A couple of crashes in the space flight industry this week.
One was a private enterprise supply rocket for the space station.
One was a private enterprise space "plane".
Critics immediately said that this shows the lack of competence of the private sector as compared to NASA.
Hmm.... where were these folks when the same happened to NASA over the years?
Remember Challenger?
Remember shuttle Columbia?
Remember Liberty Bell sinking?
I seem to recall the same folks (or their parents perhaps) yapping about the incompetence of Government versus the private sector?
Different time - different opponent.
Professional complainers never leave - they change causes to suit themselves it seems.
Our future could lie in the stars but sadly we will have probably destroyed this planet long before we get the opportunity to leave it.
Maybe a good thing some might say.
Winter has touched down briefly for the Canadian city of Calgary - snow all over the place but soon to melt before the real stuff comes for the winter.
And on that cold note here is your Hawaiian word for the day - MA'AMA'AMA -illuminated. As in when the sun shines - you say MA'AMA'AMA Ka La - or the sun is bright.
And the lava continues to flow on the Big Island into the town of Pahoa now. A tragically eerily destructive force that we can only watch - not stop or change.
Truly "Mea kaumaha loa"!
 Off to Germany where an insurance salesman who sawed off his own finger and thumb to claim insurance was given a suspended sentence by a court in northern Germany on Friday. The 50-year-old man had qualified as an insurance salesman shortly before the 'accident' in February 2010 and took out four separate insurance policies - with special clauses covering finger injuries - for himself. But a medical expert said in testimony to the court that it was "particularly astonishing" that the rest of his hand remained relatively intact. Local police said there was “very little blood” when they searched the basement for the mans' missing digits, apparently his wife 'found' them outside in the snow a week later.
Surely there is a better and less physically destructive way to get a million Euros isn't there?
As is said in German, the man is a  dumm·kopf!
 Truly sad news from Italy as the country confirmed the end of its search and rescue operation "Mare Nostrum", which has saved the lives of tens of thousands of boat migrants in the Mediterranean. The government had spent some €114 million on the massive naval operation since two deadly shipwrecks in October last year left over 400 people dead.
No help from other European countries to defray the costs.
No other European country offered to step in.
No African country offered to step in.
Not their problem - let the refugees die.
Same old "not in my backyard" crap we hear all the time.
Bet you the Leaders of all those countries live in nice places, eat well and drive fancy cars.
Ahh, the sorrow and the shame.
Here on my Island, the clocks get set back an hour today - something to do with daylight savings time whatever the heck that is.
All I know is that there now is 25 hours on my birthday this year (wonderful eh?) and no cracks about too many candles overflowing my birthday cupcake OK?
We have civic elections this month and apparently in proof that you can come back from the dead a former mayor seems to be back in the mayoralty race many years after passing off this mortal coil.
A Twitter account representing the statue of the late Frank Ney claims to be running for mayor and is drawing some plenty of attention. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/news/statue-of-frank-ney-is-now-running-for-mayor-1.1489823#sthash.2RyT0nWb.dpuf
A Twitter account representing the statue of the late Frank Ney claims to be running for mayor and is drawing some plenty of attention. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/news/statue-of-frank-ney-is-now-running-for-mayor-1.1489823#sthash.2RyT0nWb.dpuf
A Twitter account representing the statue of the late Frank Ney claims to be running for mayor and is drawing some plenty of attention. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/news/statue-of-frank-ney-is-now-running-for-mayor-1.1489823#sthash.2RyT0nWb.dpuf
A Twitter account claiming to represent the late Frank Ney claims to be in race now. One respondent states that "finally a politician that gets it.. I' sure he has a solid base" in an apparent reference to the fact that there is a large statue of the former mayor in a park near the harbour front. What the heck - as some might say, a dead mayor returning might be more pro-active than the present one!
Finally, a serious comment on the upcoming Remembrance Day here in Canada.
This day is the one time of year we all should pause in memory of the ones (male and female) that gave their lives, parts of their bodies and minds in conflicts to preserve our way of life and democracy. They fought against Nazis, Italian fascists, Japanese military, North Koreans, Communist Chinese and many others in many theaters of operation no different than the war that now is emerging from those thugs from ISIS and others.
They were and are heros.
Do them proud and salute them OK?
take care out there,
flatlander52

"Finally ... a politician that gets it!" one user posted. "... I'm sure he has a solid platform to run his campaign on," another wrote. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/news/statue-of-frank-ney-is-now-running-for-mayor-1.1489823#sthash.2RyT0nWb.dpuf

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday musings

Now in Canada.
Twice in recent days, incidents happened in Canada, that caused reverberations around the land.
Both were done by mad men.
Mad as insane.
Crazy.
Pick your word.
Both, lonely, lost men.
They grabbed onto a religion in the hope it would solve all their problems.
They forgot that solving ones problems starts with the individual not society.
Both flamed out against representatives of an orderly society - the military.
Both murdered a member of the military.
Both also are dead.
One made it as far as the inside of the Canadian Parliament Buildings before his life and insanity was ended by a hero.
Media says - this is the day Canada changed forever.
Not really.
Groups of people congregate and light candles and sing the national anthem.
A sign of today's society that is lost without a beehive mindset of inter connectivity to make sense of things and removing personal responsibility and maturity from the discussion.
A sad reflection on the diminishing of the human spirit itself through technology.
The military for now is told not to wear uniforms while out in the public.
Mistake.
Just like the murder of those innocent women years ago in Quebec or the murder of First Nations women in Canada - Highway of Tears, the incidents from 9/11 - this will fade not disappear over time.
To say that this is a result of Islamic terrorism - not really even if the blowhards that hide so cleverly online say so.
Even if the media desperately tries to say so.
Even if some frightened politicians say so.
Two insane folks clinging to anything, something to justify their failed lives committed murder.
We cannot shut down Parliament buildings as a result.
We cannot shut down the military as a result.
We cannot trample the liberties of some groups in a knee jerk reaction as a result.
We cannot allow cowards to spray paint mosques under the cover of darkness as a result.
We are Canadian and we stand proud, free and cowed by no one person, group or country.
Period.
Yes to confiscating passports of Canadians that become foot soldiers in terrorist organizations in other countries - but also help start the World Court to try these war criminals as well OK?
Yes to sharing intelligence with other countries in this fight - but have intelligent guidelines and effective review of what our intelligence departments accomplish. Does every e mail ever transmitted need to be kept forever or can items like that have a "shelf life" before they are forever deleted?
Yes to a well prepared, supplied and financed military - no more leasing equipment or ships or airplanes or tanks. But also build an effective military with enough ships,guns and planes without buying multi billion dollar toys. One needs to see how effective terrorist groups are with little in the way of obscenely priced airplanes etc. to see that throwing money at projects may not be the best use of the money.
Canada is a little sadder now.
Canada is a little wiser now.
Those losers and other of their ilk never had and never will, have a chance of succeeding - ever.
I also know that this is, indeed a time of sadness.


We all need to take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday musings

The world never learns does it?
Specifically in the instance of the Ebola scourge.
Just ignore it and it will go away.
Honestly, that was the reaction of the world community at large.
As long as it killed - and let us be honest here - blacks in some part of Africa - who cared?
The so called wonderful WHO (World Health Organization - headquartered in Geneva of course) now kinda says, oops, maybe, perhaps, possibly, someone, somehow in our org. screwed up in this mess.
And in America, Canada, Europe - well now that, due to incredible incompetence of front line health care workers in Dallas, officals and folks are going nutbag crazy over fear of this "epidemic".
Now that middle class folks might be at risk - now it is a problem.
Too bad for all the black folks that died because no one cared - right?
Ebola is horrible and why is it only now that governments are pushing researchers to develop a vaccine for it?
You and I know the answer right?
Sometimes being a human being is nothing to be proud of is it?
And one of the early big selling Halloween costumes in North America is - yes guessed it, a HazMat suit for trick or treaters.
What the hell is the matter with people and the parents of young kids that allow this?
Maybe, but one doubts it, people will learn how this disease is truly transmitted and act accordingly. But the drivel and pap spewed by news media is so full of lies and distortions - fear mongers in search of ratings and advertisings dollars.
No more and no less.
Greed.
Great folks, these "servants" of free speech.
Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of them.
Strong words yes - but fear mongering and sanctioned disregard for safety cannot be excused -period.
 More and more governments are adopting a strategy of passing laws to enable them to confiscate identity papers of suspected jihadists and like minded terrorists.
And of course some civil libertarians will decry this supposed erosion of individual rights by the "state".
So what?
Did they think for even a second that these evil doers flourish because people like the "liberty at any and all cost" have systematically dismantled rules of civil conduct under the guise of "freedom" of the masses?
And these staunch defenders always live in countries that have sacrificed lives to protect their freedoms?
They never live or move to such free lands such as Ethiopia, North Korea, Iran - want a bigger list or do you get the idea?
Yah, thought so.
Have you heard of "crowdfunding?"
If not, it is mostly a social media driven item where a cause or item is flogged to the general public for funding. An electronic way of "begging" for money in a way. Sometimes the cause is truly noble. Cases where money is needed for health care/operations for people lacking in health coverage or too poor to have any savings at all to pay or have used up all savings and need help in the most drastic way.
And that is a good thing.
And then sometimes the appeal is for a product that banks will not dole out loans for because it is deemed "too risky".
And for some deserving items, crowdfunding is a good thing.
And in some cases, well, it is for something silly and people give money - well, just because.
Soooooo.....anybody out there want to start a crowdfunding project on my behalf so that I can fly first class to Australia???
Yah, thought so.
Maybe I will rent a travel DVD instead...sigh...
The stock markets tanked this week amid fears of Ebola, dropping oil prices, ISIS, and a toilet paper shortage in Bremen, Germany.
OK, joking about the shortage in Bremen, but it does show what a mugs game the stock market is. A whisper here and there and prices surge or drop and many times for no reason except trading companies have been allowed to computerize ordering based on algorithms and to hell with logic. All to make money and lots of it.
So, on Friday, all the "cheap" stocks were snatched up in a round of profit taking by the same outfits that sold them.
The losers?
Not the traders - no, just the taxpayer and by that - you.
Remember the phrase used so much recently about banks?
"Too big to fail"
Yup - bailed out with your tax money and your net worth decreases because of it - not theirs.
The old saying about storing your money under the mattress seems a lot more reasonable these days.
 Now for your Hawaiian word of the day - ikiiki and it is a cool one at that as it means sticky or humid!
And of course the German equivalent is  feucht
Quite similar in spelling right?
Well here on my Island, ahhhh.... life goes on quietly and I still enjoy my solitary walks in the woods as the leaves change colour and the slow advent of some rainy days starts.
All in all, not a bad life for an old fart! 
And we have a new "member" of the family...


 What can I say??

take care out there,
flatlander52


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday musings

Sometimes one has to chuckle over the  screaming headlines on some  web based "news" sites and I want to mention two that I came across this week.
Both were on the one site, a "news' organization that has bureaus around the world and takes itself rather seriously even though the pages contain the odd fluff piece that one would find in gossip sites like TMZ.
Anyway, one headline screamed out that you better watch your wallet because a "T Rex of a winter" could send home heating costs sky high.
Sigh, of course if a winter is extreme and long, does it not stand to reason that fuel supplies will run low and prices will rise because the market will bear it?
Nowhere in the article did it SAY that the winter will be brutal.
Nope.
So.... dramatic lead line promising high costs IF/WHEN..... and then the story peters out.
This is news?
The second story warned of dramatic price increases in food stuffs in the Canadian province of British Columbia as a result of the drought in California limiting crop production. And tossed in the the usual twaddle about governments should be doling out tons of $$$ to local producers to up their production - you know the refrain - grow local. well, maybe someone should tell the scribes at this news outlet that the California drought has been on for more than this summer OK? And that prices rose quite a while ago thank you. And for the refrain of grow local - you ever notice that the local growers charge a blasted premium for their products? And not because it is better, heck no - because they match the price of imported products and not the actually cost of production. Remember, they do not have to ship fresh produce from South America to a port and then truck it to a local grocery store. Heck, they can and do dump it into a truck and drive it maybe a maximum of 50 miles to the grocery store or depot where it is then dispersed.
Farmers are smart and matching prices just gives them more money.
And can someone tell me how organic products cost more when in theory less chemicals etc. are needed in their production?
You charge more for less?
And this is news?
Maybe that is one of the problems we face these days in that we might get too much news all the time. And the media folks have no choice in this 24/7/365 world but to publish any and all items that might have a scintilla of newsworthiness to them.
Thereby dumbing us all down.
Back in the late 60's to late 70's of the last century, Canadians had access (in the main) to only 2 or 3 TV news outlets and a local newspaper and the news articles were filtered for worthiness and importance - not for ratings.
I daresay that while we knew less, we actually knew more!
Speaking of technology, do you remember the painting I showed last winter near Christmas of a winter scene by a noted Saskatchewan artist?
Well, this summer he took the plunge and entered the wacky world of the Interweb and purchased an IPad.
And now... he sends e mails.
He takes and sends pictures.
He does guided tours via FaceTime.
He downloads.
He Facebooks.
He is having fun doing this.
And I think that is so darn cool.
So yes, technology can indeed be a good thing.
And he is a source of pride and amazement to his little sister (my better half!) and now she mumbles about her going on Facebook!
So... here is another painting of his done on a piece of clay pipe and it is pretty darn cool.
The drums of war continue to pound in the Middle East and yet... something strange is happening with the price of oil. For the last few years, or so it seems, that every time a refinery had a shut down or a country rattled its chains against anybody or thing - that the price of oil jumped about $20 a barrel immediately?
But now it is falling?
What the heck?
Do you think maybe those conspiracy folks might just have a case when they postulate that crude oil increases are nothing more than market manipulation by some wealthy stock manipulators that know exactly how to panic folks and squeeze maximum profits out of a non event?
Ya think there are greedy folks out there?
Ya think?
And governments stand idly by.
No question.
Enough to make you weep.
But if someone misses paying income tax by $5.00 - well they hound the heck out of them and even charge interest or take the money from their bank account.
Of the People, For the People - well, maybe not so much anymore.
Speaking of that workers Paradise - North Korea, it seems that their fearless leader has not been seen in public for a few weeks.
And tell me, why would anyone care?
Because.. (are you ready for this?) unnamed officials from both America and South Korea, are worried about some unknown successor rather than the "devil they know".
Yup, this dude may be crazy and evil - but we can live with that!
Man, that is so brutally honest and terrible at the same time isn't it?
Sometimes, just sometimes... the world gets things right and for a moment... a short moment... there truly is a hope for mankind....I speak of the news that this week, the 2014 Nobel Peace prize recipient that was rumoured to be possibly be Mr. Putin of Russia (hmmm, interesting thing that!) or the Pope (thought that was part of the job description) was a surprise and somehow the Committee got it right.
Co-winners, one from Pakistan and one from India - 2 countries that despise the other.
Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
Both heroes.
Period.
We need more like them.
Period.
And now for your German word of the week.
How about sodbrennen?
Give up?
OK, not what you think, it actually means heartburn!
And the Hawaiian equivalent is haoa!
I wonder how Tums translates?
Over on my beloved Island of Maui, a story that shows that this little corner of tranquility has bad moments comes from a report where a Lahaina man has been charged with the attempted murder of a woman who complained about the odor from his mother's cooking.
Just a little extreme wouldn't you say?
On the plus side, this week at a ceremony held by the State this past week-- plans were announced to PRESERVE Maui's historic Lipoa Point. A truly beautiful area filled with the mana of the islands, this is indeed a great thing. Below is a screen grab of KITV 4 TV's newscast on this.
Once areas like this are lost to development - they are gone forever.
Something the folks on my Island could embrace.
Speaking of my Island, folks are settling down for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and for many, this is truly the start of the Fall season and soon, the TV ads for Christmas shopping will inundate us.
Sigh.......
take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday musings

OK, remember the number of times I have "bleated" about the obscenity called the Olympic Games - not so much the athletes but the corrupt "royalty" that runs it?
And the incredible ransom they demand from host countries for the "privilege" to run these events including lavish never to be used again facilities?
Well... news emerges that Olso has dropped out of the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics because the population would not agree to spend boatloads of money on this nonsense thus leaving China and Kazakhstan as the 2 countries left in contention.
Well... congratulations to these two countries for wanting to blow their fiscal sanity to the winds in order to appease their leaders bloated sense of importance in the cosmos.
Could have spent the roughly 50 billion on pollution control in China.
Could have spent the roughly 50 billion on feeding the people in Kazakhstan.
Could have but won't.
What is wrong with people anyway?
In a sad statement on the deadening of outrage by the instant gratification brought to you by social media and the 24/7 news cycle - the latest beheading of a British captive by the thugs of ISIS barely rated a line in the media and usually in a minor column - so different from the world wide horror of a few short weeks ago.
Guess most folks care more about photos of the big rear end of some ex porn star than they do about evil and tyranny.
What is wrong with people anyway?
So the Ebola virus has been diagnosed in America. A mini hysteria fit has swept that mighty nation totally driven by irresponsible "news" reporters. Did you know that any one victim can only infect 2 people and that is by fluid contact only? And a noted black leader in the States has solemnly declared that the Ebola virus was created by white men to kill blacks?
I am sorry, but he is a fool.
And a racist of the kind he hates.
What is wrong with people anyway?
Interesting news from America this week in regards to employment and wages.
It seems that the unemployment rate has dipped below 6% for the first time since 2008 but that the average wage earner in the States has had virtually no real increase intake home wages since 1999. At the same time, the infamous 1% wealthy apparently had their net worth increase by 28%.
Wow.
Wonder what the rates are for Europe and Canada?
Maybe it really is some for some to pay more because one might argue that the trickle down theory of wealth creation is no longer valid and a larger segment of society is actually subsidizing a small (wealthy) group via tax cuts and subsidies with zero return on investment.
Remember - there is only one taxpayer and when the pool is reduced by preferential treatment - services and quality of life suffers for the majority.
So, will the politicians have the courage to do the right thing?
Or more of the same?
I bet you the Hunt brothers in America and their equivalents in Europe and Canada are just a shaking in their boots.
Ha.
Did you know that it was 25 years ago that the start of the destruction of the Berlin Wall occurred and the re-unification of the two Germanies begun?
A wealthy West absorbed a impoverished East with massive debt and devastated economy and landscape with a large amount of skepticism and angst. And while problems are still abundant, the progress has been nothing short of remarkable.
Incredible.
The Head of the Central Bank of Argentina surprised many by abruptly resigning this week and predictably the Argentine Peso dropped against the American dollar to a new record low. And for a country blessed with s much, this is just another setback in its struggle to control a rampant inflation cycle and controversial debt repayment scheme.
One can only hope that this wonderful land soon emerges from this latest set back.
Now for the Hawaiian word for the day - AWE pronounced aw-way and that means backpack!
And at Kihei on the Sandwich isle, for the 79th year, the local County Fair was staged and by all accounts, yet again was a well attended success.
And for your German word of the day -  Frostschutzmittel which means automobile anti freeze. Thankfully that is not needed on my Island!
 Indeed, here we are in the midst of selecting our "winter" plants to be bought and put outside to tide us through 'til Spring arrives in late February.
Oh well...


take care out there
flatlander52

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday musings

So some nutcase in America gets fired and returns to the workplace and murders a former co-worker. And in this day and age where people seems so desperate to be "somebody" and will mimic/adopt anything that seems trendy on the Web and various forms of social media, he also beheaded the poor person.  And the media jumps on the reports that he was a recent convert to Islam and draws a direct connection to terrorism.
Ah, really?
As sad as the "link" some influential American politician made to an abandoned sports jersey on the USA/Mexico border by proclaiming it to be a Mexican/Muslim terrorist prayer rug.
Ah, really?
A sports shirt?
Come on.
And the specter of a porous border re-emerges from USA politicos - conveniently twisting the reality that it is the USA that leaks into its next door countries and not the other way around.
And yes - really.
India spent some 73 odd million dollars to place a satellite around Mars - compare that to the $100 million spent by Hollywood to produce the sci-fi flick Gravity.
Ah, really?
Something really strange about that isn't it?
So, the United Nations had a PR event this week about climate change where some of the leaders of the biggest industrial countries spoke. The Americans prodded the world to act. Canada sent a junior minister to yap and promised to follow the lead of the Yanks. Thereby casting to the garbage bin of history its' so called solemn commitment to reduce emissions made with a straight face a few years ago.
China said - no - no to the world about reducing its' dependence on coal fired power plants with their incredibly toxic emissions.
And - you guessed it - the rest of the pious,pompous, hypocritical world approved of that by its total and complete silence.
Not a peep.
Not a damn word.
Instead, why not skewer countries that in the big total picture do a lot less but actually respond to criticism?
Like Germany or Ireland.
Not ones like the aforementioned China, India, take your pick in Africa, far East or South America.
Oh no, not them.
How do these leaders and so many "professional" greenies look themselves in the mirror anyway?
And, showing the the United Nations is truly blessed with corruption acceptance reports come out this week that the beloved world body  has given around $130m in financial aid to Somalia. The decision came despite corruption allegations against Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his ministers.
Ah, really?
Doing wrong does seem to pay doesn't it?
The cursed Ebola virus continues its march in Africa and the outlook continues to darken. Residents of the Guinean capital Conakry, hit hard by Ebola, say they are afraid to seek treatment at hospitals for fear of being poisoned by doctors, as the death toll across West Africa passed the 3,000 mark.
 Will an extreme reaction occur if the world community decides to embargo Africa until the plaque dies out?
And rest assured, this could happen.
Did you know that 75 years ago the movie Gone with the Wind was released?
Still a powerful movie after all those decades. And yes, some parts reflect the attitude of the times in depictions of life in the American South of the Civil War era but still, pretty good. Can you name a recent film that would rate this well after 75 years?
Star Wars?
The Muppets movie?
Case closed.
Your Hawaiian word for the day - back again by popular demand - Noho kamoe.
For all the so called armchair quaterbacks in the world - it means your "recliner" chair!
Cool.
Sadly on the fabled Sandwich Islands, vandalism also flourishes under the guise of social activism in this instance. In Lahaina residents were greeted with graffiti in various locations. The most prominent being on the side of the Lahaina Burger King with the letters GMO-symbol(Assuming the symbol means- Anarchy) sprayed on the windows.In the upcoming elections a referendum on banning GMO crops is to be voted on but there is no thinking from whomever did this stupid act by defacing property. If folks are that involved in any cause - hey deface your own property for a change eh?
This weekend sees the annual Falsetto competition on Maui, to be held in the resort area of Wailea, in the town of Kihei.
And...on October 10th there will be a free ukulele workshop at the MACC in Wailuku town and that defines the word cool - just ask Elvis!
Here on my Island, well the slow advance of Fall continues. Leaves are starting to change colour and indeed some are falling early due to the drought we had for over three months this summer season. Without water (indeed this Island is considered a rainforest region) the stress causes the leaves to drop early - almost like being back on the Prairie Flatlands!
My better half has removed all the summer flowers and is in the process of planting fall/winter ones, still hard to believe that flowers continue to flourish in the winter months here.
 take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday musings

The sad saga of the American Professional Football League (NFL) and its mishandling of a case involving a player committing violence towards a woman continues with the bizarre late Friday news conference done by its commissioner and the media.
It took a week for him to emerge from seclusion to explain the incredible inept handling of the so called Ray Rice affair.
A week.
Total silence.
Then a news conference on a late Friday - just the same kind of hiding in plain view that modern politicians do all the time when issuing bad news to the taxpayer.
A week.
But... he only came out to talk after a number of big money paying sponsors (indeed, one brewery spends over 1 billion - yes, with a B!) complained and vaguely talked of doing "something" with their money.
Then he showed up.
A week.
Never did address the issue did he?
Nope.
A week.
What a hero eh?
Then about a half hour after the end of this farce, a report hit the airwaves that said the team employing the player - well officials actually saw the video of the player hitting his fiance. And that the billionaire owner helped devise a plan to only suspend the player for 2 games, enter an abuse program thereby hiding the video forever from the public and that the commissioner went along with this.
And you know what?
One suspects absolutely zero will come out of this tragedy.
Ordinary folks will still fill the coffers of the team owners to overflowing.
They will still attend the games.
Nothing will change.
Most likely.
You hope not but one doubts it.
After all, society (and not just North American by the way) worships athletes - indeed they can do no wrong and it is difficult to see this obsession ever changing.
And there are the 2 victims in this and they will be the only ones to pay a horrendous price.
The woman who was punched in the face and ended up marrying the man.
And the man himself - put into obscurity, never to earn more mega millions - probably never to understand what was wrong with what he did.
An American tragedy all around.
In Scotland this week, a vote to separate from the United Kingdom was defeated. Avid separatists from the Canadian Province of Quebec ( home of 2 failed votes to get out of that union) vowed that they were re-invigorated and have new energy to start the drums a beating in that part of the world.
OK - but this time, let the country take a lesson from the details of the Scottish action.
Leave Canada - pay your portion of the debt that you incurred.
Leave Canada - get your own currency, not the Canadian dollar thank you.
Leave Canada - no access to Canadian Pension plans - they are for Canadians only.
Leave Canada - form and supply your own military.
Leave Canada - you deal with the First Nations people who have their own ideas of Nationhood.
Get the picture?
Times and attitudes change, evolve and in some cases - harden.
Sierra Leone has enforced a 3 day lock down of the entire country in order to find, isolate, hospitalize (and also educate the populace) people infected with the Ebola virus. A desperate step in the fight against an ever spreading disease that is claiming more and more every day.
Will this work?
One hopes so but based on the way humanity has acted through the ages, probably not.
A cruel irony is that there are so many medicines available these days compared to the zero amount centuries ago and scourges like this continue to exist.
Sometimes it seems the world goes 3 steps forward, 1 step sideways and 4 steps back doesn't it?
On the plus side, reports issue that say there might be a reliable blood test available for the diagnosis of depression. Instead of solely relying on the words of the afflicted, medicine might be able to spot this insidious disease via a simple style blood test.
And what a great thing that would be.
I think we all have known folks that have endured this demon.
Sometimes successfully.
Sometimes losing to it.
And never just a single victim, no, entire groups of people are impacted by this disease.
As said, sometimes a step forward.
In a sure sign of fall - the first sighting of a humpback whale comes from the Sandwich Islands.
More reliable than the first frost or leaves falling, that's for sure.
It is a truly awesome sight when one breaches the water, takes your breath away in fact.
We have had the pleasure of this viewing a number of times over the years and never grow tired of it. And as hinted, once again in the New Year, we are off to the Isles to spend a short time there.
Here on my Island, Fall is truly underway as the Province wide teachers strike is finally settled and parents can now send their kids back to subsidized day care...oops.. school again.
Also the main deluge of tourist traffic is slowing to a trickle and one can venture out on the local "autobahn" and not endure the dreaded 15 minute traffic jam!
We are in the process of bidding farewell to "member" of our household.
She came into our lives about 2 months ago.
Tiny little thing yet able to melt my heart with just one look.
Next week, she will be moving to a new place across our small "dorf".
Never thought I would have another kitten in my life after saying farewell to the "old guy" as he passed on just a couple of weeks before we moved from the Prairie Flatlands to this Island.
Never again I said.
I will miss her.
Darn.

take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday musings

It seems like American President Obama has reluctantly decided to commit America to some form of armed response to the ISIS criminals.
Reaction in the States ranges from condemnation to lukewarm support.
He can't win for losing can he?
Dammed if he does and the same if he doesn't.
Faceless critics that have so much vitriol and courage - wonder how tough these people would be if they had to be doing their spewing in public, on camera with name being shown?
Yah, they would run for the hills.
One wonders how the rest of the world leaders that matter, will react and what if any support will they offer.
Or is yet once again, the Yanks trying to stem the hordes of insanity and barbarism by themselves, bleeding lives and money so the rest of us can sit on our fat behinds and do nothing?
You tell me OK?
So the African "Blade Runner" is not guilty of murdering his female partner but guilty of killing her.
What the heck is the difference except for a twisting of some semantics?
Dead is dead - right?
Violence against people is wrong right?
Well....there is a professional football league in the United States that sure seems to think that this concept takes a back seat to profit and its selfish view of the world apparently.
Now this league has special status as a non profit organization from the US government.
Super rich team owners that force cities and state governments to bankroll extravagant new facilities and generates gazillion of dollars in revenues ranging from tickets to the games, TV broadcast rights, memorabilia and the like.
Cool right?
So this rich persons state supported professional league has a curious response to violence and drug abuse.
To wit, a player can be suspended for drug (marijuana) use for 6 games.
OK.
A player beats the living crap out of a woman - 2 games.
What????
A video showing this, well, the league never asked to see it and after a tabloid TV show asked for it and then showed it - well,  the head honcho said - oops, no one ever gave it to us but now, he is suspended indefinitely.
The same league has a proud history of allowing players accused of being involved in murders to continue to play. Indeed, a statue to one has been erected in front of one stadium.
And now reports emerge that a star running back from one team has been indicted for child abuse and he is suspend with pay for one game?
Gee whiz, what is wrong with these people?
And America, how can you let this continue?
A piece of long lost Canadian history has been found in the high Arctic this week. One of the 2 hips from the fabled Franklin Expedition that was lost while searching for the North West Passage has been found, partially intact in shallow waters in the North. After decades and decades this piece of Canadiana is now found and interestingly enough, many maritime experts state that this should further bolster Canadian claims to its sovereignty on the high Arctic over those of Russia, China and the Americans who want the newly opened waters declared international waters.
Why international waters?
That is all about money sadly.
Anybody going to stick up for the fragile ecosystem that is soon to be real peril once tankers and exploration takes off?
Thought so.
Well, I guess the world has to perish one day - right?
Might as well be on our watch one supposes.
And on the Home Front....
Now there are none.
The list of folks coming to visit us on our Island this summer is complete.
We ferried our last visitor back to the mainland airport this last Friday after a week filled with sightseeing, good food and, dare I say - interesting conversations?
The summer fest has allowed us to share our part of the world with these folks and show them what we consider a tiny part of Paradise. We know that some may never journey this far west again, either due to cost, distance, other life matters - whatever, but now they know part of the reason for our planting roots on this Island we call home and are so pleased to be here.
Now we just have to work on one last person - my better halfs' brother, who while having a distaste for flying, is a pretty cool dude and I think might have fun here.
Time will tell.

take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday musings

No world commentary this week, we all have had just about enough of the constant Cassandra type bleatings of the media for now.
Middle East - been there, done that.
Global warming/climate change - been there, done that.
Obama - good or incompetent? Been there, done that.
Mankind exterminating itself via pollution, etc by 20... you pick the year - been there, done that.
No rain, too much rain - been there, done that.
Drought, famine, pestilence - been there, done that.
Enough already.
OK?
This week, just for something different, sit in a chair, read a good book, go for a nice walk, talk nicely to someone.
Be young again and like life for a few precious days.
OK?
Here on my Island, as stated before, Summer is fading and Fall is sneaking about. And in a funny way, now that I live in a part of the country where snow and cold is a possibly one day event, well, the seasons seems shorter even as they stretch out longer.
Go figure.
Yup, the year is really starting to zip by now.
On local TV this week was a report about the first snowfall of the season in Canmore, Alberta.
Really?
REALLY?
Snow already.
Yup.
Halloween ads appear on the TV as well.
Really?
Yup.
First couple of leaves swirl down from trees and weather news talk about possible frost next week on the Canadian Flatlands.
FROST?
Really?
Yup.
I swear I saw my first Canadian Tire ad on the tube for blasted winter tires!
Winter tires!
Really?
Yup.
I even looked into different nooks and crannies here to see where I left my winter mitts for crying out loud.
You know what this means don't you?
Yup.
Pretty soon the old guy will be mourning...err...celebrating yet another birthday.
There soon will not be a cake big enough to support the groaning mass of fire hazard inducing candles will there?
Is it not amazing how the first 2 decades of your life are soooooooo long?
Then the next two are a blur as you settle into society, learn the cost of paying bills and become one of "them".
Then the following pair are another blur in the frantic race to establish parameters, plan for the future and survive in the cruel corporate world.
But then after the somnolence of the fifth decade, the sixth explodes in your face.
60 - gone.
61 - what happened?
See a pattern emerging?
Oh the cruel irony of it all as your biological age increases, time accelerates correspondingly.
And it continues into warp speed it seems.
Rats indeed.
And it really does seem like yesterday I was planning the soon to happen long road trip to the Prairie Flatlands in June and now it is a dim (and hazy!) memory.
And even in the months before, after returning from my beloved Sandwich Islands, we were wistfully wondering if and when we might have yet such another adventure on the horizon.
Now in the waning warmth of the shorter and shorter (daylight only though) hours of September, my Google calendar reminds me of the days left before our next voyage of discovery starts in the New Year.
Hey, I had a list of things to see and do when the summer hit - and now - it is FALL?
Really?
Yup.

take care out there,
flatlander52