Sunday, June 29, 2014

I remember

Yes, a slight change to the masthead banner for this edition of the blog.
I was sitting in my well used chair the other night and thinking of time, people, places and things of times ago.
Not so much a somewhat sad journey down memory lane or even a lament for what might have been but never was but instead, a gentle reflection of the life one has led.
Like my favourite chair, my life is slightly worn on the edges, comfortable and hopefully regarded as somewhat dependable.
Memories can tend to gloss over tough times and paint good things in a nice soft fuzzy light can't they?
The days when kids after supper were told to run outside and play with friends at the local schoolyard until dusk with no fear of the predators that lurk nowadays - ah, I remember
The days when people did not hesitate to pay taxes as they were deemed fair and were expected to be used to pay for things likes roads, schools, and basic social programs to help the truly needed not the self entitled fools that demand everything for free these days - ah, I remember.
The days when teachers actually taught classes like Canadian history (Pierre Berton where are you?) and were allowed to fail an underachieving student whereas now, no one fails and parents have forced teachers to become babysitters because of their lack of parenting skills - ah, I remember.
The days when building something, anything was considered a sign of progress and something for the common good instead of being reviled as evil or destructive to the planet or some special entitled feeling portion of society - ah, I remember.
The days when professionals like teachers, firefighters, nurses and police worked because of the ideal of the profession and were adequately compensated instead of earning large amounts of money and holding people hostage by threats of "for the kids" or "potential riots" or scheduling shifts to take advantage of overly generous overtime regulations - ah, I remember.
The days when politicians actually believed they worked for the public that hired them instead of willfully plundering the economy to benefit themselves, friends and relatives - ah, I remember.
The days when projects like the Trans Canada highway were considered good things and doable. Projects like decent cross country health care, railway travel and participating on the world stage in peacekeeping matters were considered the decent and Canadian thing to do - ah, I remember.
Three channels of over the air TV for free - not the 24/7 gazillion channels of (sadly) American gossip focused narcissist crap we now endure. Where are you Front Page Challenge and Friendly, our happy Giant?
Ah, I remember.
I was at the local hair cutter this week and she had no idea of what the name Craigallachie meant to this wonderful country of ours. Canada is now a country without a past, but it was different just a few generations ago and yes, I remember.
I understand times change as this is a constant in life yet I seem to echo the lament of many folks that once were my mentors in that change for the sake of change may not be the best solution.
One cannot go back to yesterday except in the corridors of their mind but can we not stop as a society and take a look at what we have become?
The days of future past - ah, I do remember.
Here is a song from my second favourite Island - that of Maui that kinda reflects my thinking these days.

video


Speaking of Maui, it is the annual Pineapple Festival July 4 & 5, 2014 in Dole Park on beautiful Lana'i and that is an event one should attend at least once in a lifetime as it is fabulous!
Also as a sign that progress marches on, the state’s first flashing yellow arrow traffic signal has been installed on Maui in the city of Kahului and will be activated at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 30, 2014.
Wow indeed. 
And yes, I really do miss that wonderful place in the sun. It seems like one of the few areas in the world where I can be truly at peace, both with the world and with myself. It is my one hope that my last journey ends there one day whenever that happens.
Here on my Island, news emerges that the long talked about pedestrian (foot) ferry service that once ran to Vancouver will restart services in the upcoming year.
Something to look forward to one suspects.
The coming week brings on the first- Canada Day and on the fourth - American Independence Day, congratulations to folks of both these great countries. Perhaps one day in the not so distant future, groups like First Nations, Native Americans, LGBT and others may become welcome parts of the celebrations. As the late Rodney King once said "why can we not just get along?"
Well said and asked I think.

take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday musings

According to some so called "experts", Iraq has now been split into 3 regions. It is impossible to call a chaotic hell hole a country a this point but all indications seem to confirm that this country is almost lost to history and time will soon show what emerges from the rubble.
You notice how it did not take any time at all for the price of oil to climb as a result?
Regardless of the fact that there is plenty of oil floating around the planet, speculators HAVE to make money right?
And governments sure seem to be run by those folks don't they?
There once was a grand experiment by some long forgotten Prime Minister of Canada to set up a national oil and gas company - called PetroCanada. It was to compete with the ones run by foreign (American and Dutch) companies and with its own refineries and distribution system, it was supposed to protect Canadians from the vagaries and vicissitudes of international speculative oil politics.
Huh.
Long gone.
Never a factor, merely a fabulous expense of taxpayer money to friends of friends.
NO wonder the average citizen cowers and hopes no one notices them these days as when the politicians do notice them - it costs them more money and they continue to lose aspects of a civil society that they and those that came before worked so hard to attain.
If they complain - they are told that the economic spiral downward is their fault.
Huh.
 Some one asked me if I have been following the FIFA World Soccer championships in Brazil.
As if.
There are so many FIFA sponsored outdoor grills (in order to make it seem that the masses "love" this financial albatross thrust upon them) in the country that the government has been forced to issue a smog alert.
Remember the Ebola "scare" of a number of years ago?
Well, that horrible disease never did go away, it just faded from the 30 second attention span of the media and is running unchecked in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and Doctors without Borders report that it is overwhelmed by this disaster.
What response from, say the United Nations?
Absolutely nothing.
Cowardly nations that preach ideals but run from compassion and action.
Maybe political and economic isolation from the world for countries is the answer.
To hell with humanity - right?
Is this where we are headed?
If so, what a failure mankind is becoming.
The dirty war in the Ukraine rages on and now the leader of Russia is calling for a ceasefire.
Really?
Since when did Russia become a peace maker in a conflict that many say it started?
Oh well, the European Union has no "teeth" anyway and this will end in a horrible way won't it?
And at the same time Europe celebrated the heroics of those that landed on the beaches of Normandy oh so many decades ago to start the end of the Nazi regime.
One wonders if such heroes still exist in these days of political cowardice...err...correctness.
One my second most favourite island of Maui, the internal dispute among staff of the MauiTVNews web station continues to drag on and on. For many years this has been a needed pipeline to the weekly news of that magic island and now the voice of Mr. Jeff King has been stilled for much too long. Surely someone can break this stalemate and allow this valuable resource to resume its much needed function?
Over on Oahu, Hawaii, tens of thousands of people lined the shores at Ala Moana Beach Park this past American Memorial Day for the 2014 Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. That must have been an incredible sight to see one suspects.
This Saturday marked the first day of Spring and signals the start of the end of school season and the inevitable onslaught of large vehicles crammed with families at every conceivable tourist "hot spot" and while a little bit of a pain, must be cheerfully accommodated as these folks (with their young hellions) do spend a lot of money while visiting and that helps all local economies.
This also marks the return of this voyager and his partner from the prairie flatlands to our island nook. Truly a long, long drive - over 8 hours for each of three days but the sights we saw and places we were able to see and visit -incredible to say the least.
Canadians do not know how lucky they are to have such a land to live in.
Really.

video
take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday musings

Well, definitely a short blog this week as the trip to the flatlands in 2/3 over by now.
Perhaps a short series of observations is in order.
So... there will be a hell on earth emerging in the shattered land of Iraq as the country "liberated" from the evil grasp of Saddam Hussein by the Americans lead coalition a few short years ago is being ripped apart by a group of thugs deemed too violent by Al Qaeda seize control of a vast area of the country.
What response from the rest of the world will we see?
In the Canadian province of Ontario an election returned the sitting government which has a proud list and history of corruption, greed, waste and possible lawbreaking to its' credit. The same result happened in the province of B.C. a little while back. Either the electorate is becoming stupider by the day or the lack of intelligent, HONEST and caring politicians has made people prefer the little bit of evil that they know than the possibility of a lot more from the opposition parties.
Oh Canada indeed.
Hillary Clinton, wife of former USA President Bill Clinton whined in an interview this week that the family was essentially "broke" when they left the White House for private life. An enterprising reporter located their tax returns for the following year.
They barely made 12 MILLION dollars that year.
I think we all wish we were that broke.
Really Ms Clinton, be honest with yourself OK?
The World Cup for soccer is underway.
Rumours of fixed scores, riots and immense fiscal wastage abound.
This nonsense has to stop.
Who will have the courage to say no for the first time?
There is more evidence of a strong swing to what many term extreme far right politics in America these days as more and more people supporting the views of the radical Tea Party faction of the Republican Party seize power and seat nominations from what are considered moderate Republicans who just a few short years ago were termed extreme themselves. Some observers see this as the triumph of fear and paranoia against reason and compassion. Whatever it is, there is a growing divide between those that seem to want isolationism, protectionism, curtailment of right, freedoms and privileges of "ethnics" at almost all costs in order to preserve their myopic view of what the "American Way" should be.
Oh America indeed.
The extreme far right is emerging in power in France and has shot into prominence in England. And so called experts said the era of right wing regimes aka Nazism etc. was long gone.
Maybe not but then again.....
Ahh...enough of that for the now as the week of driving across a huge track of this land and the stress (yes - stress!) of visiting friends and families is taking a toll...heck, I may need a vacation when I return to my Island sometime in the following week!
One a closing note, I travelled many kilometers from my Island to here on the Prairies and continue to be amazed and moved by the beauty of this land I call home.
I am truly a lucky man.
take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday musings

Well, the road trip across the mountains and over the prairies back to Saskatchewan is well under way.
So, as with other blogs of years past (or should one say passed?) this weeks will be an abbreviated version by necessity.
As it is, I am composing it with my travelling machine and it by choice has less of the bells and whistles of my regular machine.
This week saw ceremonies for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the landing of Allied forces on French beaches as the start of the return to a ground war with the German Nazi regime.
The force was mainly composed of Brits with a goodly amount of Canadians and Americans as well as other countries. Unfortunately with the ignoring of actual history by Hollywood, most Americans think that their country alone did the invasion and the eventual defeat of the Nazis. Make no mistake about it, the amazing technology and flood of weaponry as well as the forces themselves from America were the reasons the war ended the way it did. But we cannot forget the sacrifice of those, especially the Brits and the Russians - it was huge and so costly.
As the President of France said, freedom is never a gift - it must be earned and fought for. Just look at parts of the world today and you will see what happens when freedom is given up. Look at some countries in South America, the Middle East - what ever happened to the Arab Spring anyway?
You see what I mean?
You may have heard stories about the recent drought in California?
Well, it seems that with marijuana being the single largest crop, at least according to some "experts" and the DEA, that this water hungry plant is the culprit behind the lack of water. All the illegal grow ops are draining water out of the system and by all accounts -  un-metered!
Hmm...
3 RCMP officers were murdered this week in the city of Moncton. This serves as a reminder to all that so glibly mock and dismiss police officers - hey, they are human too and no one deserves to die like that.
A real and present danger to all that serve and protect.
An American serviceman that had been held by the Taliban for the last 5 or 6 years was freed this week as part of a prisoner exchange supervised by the American President. Apparently some American laws might have been ignored in the process but the President remains firm in his decision. Now stories are floating about questioning the role of the detained American and whether or not he was a prisoner or deserter and convert to the Taliban for a while.
There never is just one side to any story these days is there?
The one big thing about this is that he was exchanged for 5 leaders of the Taliban that were being imprisoned in the American base in Cuba (yup, the Yanks do have a real military base in CUBA!- check that story out some time) and you can bet the proverbial farm that these people will not retire from being a terrorist now that they are free. Heck, just watch those callous, cruel individuals return to death and destruction with a vengeance.
And that is too bad.
Hey - remember my German word phrase for the week?
Well, for this week, it is back!
 ‘Die beleidigte Wurst spielen’: To “act the insulted liver sausage” means to go off in a sulk, and lordy, did my parents ever quote this and often to me when I was a little beansprout....
And on my second favorite Island of Maui, this week sees the annual Maui Film Festival which has been hosted/visited by folks like Emma Roberts this year and in other years, a certain Mr. Jimmy Buffet and Mr. Pierce Brosnan - 2 very good friends of mine.
Well...actually if they would ever meet and get to know me, I am sure they would be happy to be called my good friends.
Sheesh, technicalities!
On a sad note, Buzz's Wharf restaurant near the aquarium in the coastal community of Maalaea (about 1/2 the way between fabulous Kihei and marvelous Lahaina, home of "The story of Hawaii" store previously mentioned, [www.storyofhawaiimuseum.com ] ) closed for good last Friday after 47 wonderful years in business. More and more, business was dropping and no business can survive without customers. Another great entrepreneurial business now, sadly, gone.
Darn.
As a former business operator, I always mourn the loss of any small business for their owners actually did something to generate wealth. Wealth for themselves, their staff and their community. They acted whereas so many, dare I say, latte sipping, dipsticks, sit by and try to figure out ways of avoiding work, and how to collect subsidies from anyone but themselves.
I think we all know a few of these self entitled (just ask them) folks...
That being said, with the return of Azeka's rib sauce in the near future - I think a visit back to the Sandwich Islands is on my event horizon, sooner than later I suspect.
Well, that is a short blog this week and soon I will be motoring (love using that word as a verb!) through the last stages of the great Canadian Rockies towards the good city of Calgary to visit a dear family friend and then off to Saskabush - mosquitoes be darned!
I am enclosing a snap taken of from the first stretch of the start of the fearsome Coquihalla Pass.
And yes, there is still snow on the roadsides...

take care out  there,
flatlander52


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday musings

As a person lives long enough, they can and usually do change their opinions on a wide range of matters as they get better informed and experience the good and bad of life.
At one time, when I was a young and callow youth, I questioned the moral and actual need for well armed military's for countries around the world. Surely man was rational enough and finally mature enough after the two World Wars to settle problems through dialogue.
This was before Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Balkens, countless vicious genocides and wars in Africa to name a small number of the conflicts since those early days of my youth.
In this world we live in, armies are needed.
Ones that are properly lead and used for the betterment and protection of the society they are supposed to serve and in the case of countries like the USA, Canada and some European ones, this is the case.
That being said, it is horrible the way the politicians in two countries noted - Canada and the USA, treat their veterans. In Canada, benefits and services and service offices themselves are either reduced or eliminated all the while the federal government spends millions of dollars on TV advertising glibly spinning false facts about how the government is actually doing more thank you very much. All the while the Minister for Veterans Affairs cowardly runs away from a wife of a veteran at a news conference. How can he look himself in the mirror? He lives a privileged life paid for by the veterans he abuses.
In the USA, the Veteran Affairs (VA) saw its head resign after more and more stories emerge about waiting list for services getting longer and longer all the while his executive team members get higher and higher performance bonuses. In America the public reveres the military veterans through a commemorative day, countless tributes and programs but the government seems to be doing the "Canuck thing" in ignoring those that gave their all to protect freedom as North America values it.
These politicans are people of integrity?
Don't think so and their actions seem to prove it.
In elections to the European Government last week, far right wing political parties made large inroads in actual representation. They are lead by people who believe that immigrants are the cause for all the social ills in their respective countries. They fear Islam. They fear Jews. They fear globalization.
It appears that Europeans are not interested in living a Caliphate after all. It is shame that it has come to this. I like 95% of liberal policy. I support gender equality, gay marriage, environmental protection, redistribution of wealth, opposition to capital punishment, etc. I'm just not delusional enough to think that all populations can achieve this. The era of thinking that countries steeped in denying the rights of the weak and oppressed and "different" would change is over. Afghanistan will not change nor will Iraq, Egypt...the list is large and will probably never change.
Sad, truly sad.
And individuals by themselves can doing nothing to change this. Instead they celebrate "victories" unleashed on so called "social media" platforms against companies or individuals that offend their sensibilities. Hello Lululemon for its see through yoga pants or Kraft for its KD yellow colouring.
These same individuals are solely responsible for the re-emergence of measles in North America these days. Those self absorbed phone clutching helicoptering parents who believe any and everything they read on Google (because if it is on Google - it HAS to be true right?) have blindly accepted the outright lies of people like Ms. McCarthy who at one point claimed that the measle vaccine made all children likely to become autistic. So, being like lemmings, they stopped having their children inoculated and of course measles has come back with a vengeance. They say they have the sole right to determine what is good for their kids - but hey, when their decisions can and does affect the health and safety of others - then they are in the wrong and should be held accountable.
These same parents have become so adept at sloughing off parental responsibility of teaching the children lessons on morals and right vs wrong to teachers and then they have the gall to be outraged when little Billy or Sue falls through the cracks! Since when are teachers parent replacements? They are and were supposed to teach, now they are expected to be absentee parents, baby sitters and sport and life coaches.
That is not what they signed up for folks.
In Lihue, Hawaii for example, a judge sentenced a Hawaii man to one year of probation and a $200 fine for making his son walk a mile home from school as a form of discipline. The judge, K. Watanabe called the punishment "old-school" and no longer appropriate, the Garden Island local newspaper reported Thursday.  
So, who is doing parenting today?
Go figure.
The start of World Cup football is coming soon and Brazil which has spent almost 12 billion USA dollars on facility prep has by many accounts, failed miserably in doing so. Yes the games will happen but like what happened in Socci with the latest Winter Olympics, incomplete facilities, roads, lodgings will be witness to the event. That brings up a question that more and more people are finally asking and demanding an answer to. And that is, where the heck is all the money coming from and to whom is it going to in these spectaculars? The Olympic royalty, oops, Organizing Committe demands obscene amounts of money from those cities and countries that want to host this every 4 year event. The same with FIFA and football. And what does the average citizen and taxpayer get in return for these incredible outlays of cash?
Nothing except higher taxes that never go away.
Perhaps this style of pomp and pageantry is doomed and many say, not a minute too soon.
Tremendous waste of money that could and should be spent better.
Oh, we forget - the ego of the politicians is more important when they discuss their legacy - right?
Well, here on my Island, planning is almost finished for the trip east to the Prairie flatlands soon. Strange to call that "east" when one has lived almost all theirs lives out "west" before moving further west to the island. That being said, plenty of mosquito spray has been purchased, yards and yards of mosquito netting  packed and plenty of warning to one and all to flee the area before we show up!
Meanwhile, a small glimpse of my island for you...

video

take care out there,
flatlander52