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.



video

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