Saturday, February 28, 2015

Putting Off (Off-putting).

"... and in that way, he would say, one can live."
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Postscript:   Truth be told there's a corollary - one gets peevish at times, quite mean spirited and, "looks up to curse" as Steve Smith put it in 'God's Kaliedescope'; or (in a more secular time) over, or across and down, looks somewhere else to curse; but yes, curses.   ;-)

When you get to the food bank there is no choice, very little interaction of any kind in fact. I look for an instant at the guy running the show but he's obviously angry and, I don't know why so I turn away. There's some kind of a line and I'm blocking it. A woman with a bright blue plastic apron asks me if I need food. That's not really why I've come but yes, I also need food, so that's what I wind up getting.

Very similar to the welfare office in that way: you go in wondering if there's any help and wind up getting money which doesn't really do it.

The man who registers me asks if I have any income. He's been instructed to get proof but seems to intuitively recognize the difficulties of proving a negative and so smiles at me, and before we know it he's telling me his story instead. It's his first time too so I guess I'm lucky.

It would be fine (I suppose) if it were enough money and food to live, but it's not. There was a torture machine called 'le petit aise' and this could be it. I sit waiting with some others for my number to be called. There's no talk. She calls the number, drops a box on the table, takes my number stick (the numbers are written on tongue depressors) and goes into the back again to fill another box. I pack it up and leave carrying a bag, mostly canned stuff so it's heavy.

There are two streetcars back-to-back at the light and by jaywalking I manage to get aboard the second one. The driver is a black woman who laughs with me when I thank her for being so perfectly on time.

Wiley Miller: Closing Argument.
[Not me. I have no degree, no credentials of any kind, no reason to be believed beyond whatever you may imagine for yourself.]

Certainly it must be patho-psychology, an abnormal condition. Someone studying such things might be able to identify it, name it, and provide ... aetiology, suggested therapies, probable outcomes and what not.

Me?     ...     I've just noticed a progressive putting off, beginning years ago with leaving things behind: houses, cars, furniture, books and papers, and proceeding step-wise up or down (depending on how you visualize) to going outside only when necessary, making do, avoiding even the basics: teeth-brushing, bathing, eating, moving, waking.

And people, pick up on this kind of state right away - it 'pours off you' as someone said to me once about something else - and they find it ... off-putting.

I stopped cleaning toilets at some point. The (Christian) real-estate agent in Houston sends me a vehement email explaining his refusal to refund my deposit (which I have not asked for) with a digital photograph of the scale in the toilet and a complaint that he has had to replace 'the fixture' (which I do not believe). He doesn't mention all the brand-new top-of-the-line furniture left behind.

Maybe the name is a word like 'anhedonia' ... but not that particular one because, I'm not unhappy. There is joy, often, coming upon the singing cashier f'rinstance (see below). I wake singing almost every morning and the tune rattles merrily around my brain all day long, sometimes for weeks on end, even when the song is a sad one. Today it's the Stones' 'Love in Vain', and later on Paul Simon's 'Bridge over Troubled Waters'.

Laerte: Eu não estou gritando. / I'm not shouting.
Why don't you put    Why don't you put     Why don't you put    Why don't you put   Who are you
your memories         your metaphors         your jaws                your molecules        really?
on paper?                on the clothesline?     in the barrel?           in a credit rating?     I'm not shouting.

Gerry M. told me - way back in 1968 - that my personality was full of 'holes you could drive a truck through'. I didn't know then what he meant but, I remembered. He died ten years ago and someone said to me, "Aren't you going to the funeral?" I said, "No. The last time I saw him he told me to go away and not come back." Now, with Dunning-Kruger (more on Dunning-Kruger another time) in the mix I have, at least, a glimmering. I wish I'd understood him at the time.

There's lots of it going around. Part of the problem is that there are more good speakers & writers than good listeners & critics; part of it is the malignant Internet 'hurry', 'bustle', (blizzard?) around deadlines and the continuous quest for novelty; part of it is human fallibility (on both sides); and there are other parts too:
Here's what I would call a flawed argument for rewilding, maybe not flawed but incomplete, or the O Henry twist at the end goes the wrong way, something like that.

And another one (timed a few weeks before the anniversary of Malcolm's murder): Malcolm X Was Right About America by Chris Hedges - such a comprehensive and well written piece except that it fails (for me, somehow, again towards the end) to get to the point and moves off instead into irrelevancies. He starts out with "Malcolm was right" and ends with ... sincerity? "The price of freedom is death," (?). Say wha?

You remember Giles Frazer. He's the fellow who quit a senior 'position' with the Anglicans over their un-Christian response to Occupy at St. Paul's in London. In this piece he writes clearly about the circus part of 'panem et circenses' and then comes round (weakly it seems to me) with "Who would have guessed?". Who indeed? Well, perhaps anyone who thought about the 'industrial scale' butchery in Flanders during WW1.

The only hint that the writer of the article on the personal debt crisis sees through it is when she qualifies the term 'downward spiral' with "according to Ms. Lund," (Ms. Lund being one of the authors of the report the article is about). Otherwise it is all Rah! Rah! Growth and hand-wringing over any jeopardy. I read to the end hoping for another glimmering but there's none.

It's hard to say just what Bruce Anderson has in mind? He forecasts "a pretty good scrap about this issue [carbon pricing]" but follows it with "once again". I guess he's referring to Stéphane Dion's Green Shift but it's not clear. To my mind there is yet to be any 'scrap' whatsoever on this issue and the notion that Justin Sinclair will take any realistic part of one if it happens is ... ludicrous. Anyway ... this guy thinks John Bennett is on the fringe - he has evidently not been out there to have a look around and see. (Ah! As I go back to find the URL for the link I see that it has changed. He has been asked to edit it. I wonder why? If I remember I will post both versions somewhere later on.)
Malcolm X.Malcolm X, 1965 by Victor Boynton.Angela Bassett.Denzel Washington.
A slave in Egypt says, "I have been a stranger in a strange land," and doesn't know the half of it. What a (long strange) trip it will be up to the height of Pisgah and down again. The rivers of Babylon fit in there somewhere too, and the promised land of milk and honey is now an electrified mine field and we're back in Flanders again - with improved technology.

They say, "The truth will out." It won't. It doesn't. They say, "Home is where they have to take you in when you have to go there." Not so.

"Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice," (and some, dear Robert, just say the world will end, and weep).

In extremis the victims (if that's what they are) don't care who they tell - strangers at bus stops. And people tend to keep their distance because, once these damn crazies get started the yackety-yacking is hard to turn off or get away from (and anyway there's an apparently concomitant lack of personal hygiene and they may smell a bit).

The old man getting up onto the streetcar in front of me has pissed himself. I want to tell him something, comforting, understanding, say to him "It's OK," (when it evidently is not), but when I put my ticket in the slot and turn around he's gone.

We are stopped and I'm giving TTC tickets to my sisters in the entrance to the subway - a year or so ago, not very long after Vince died - and a man comes up and asks "Is there a 'problem here?" He has picked up whatever it is from a distance, something in our body language. He imagines (I guess) that I'm importuning. There are two women with him as well, waiting on the sidelines. They (my sisters) both deny it ever happened when I ask them later what they think of it. Another day, recently, in the park I twice say to passers-by "What a beautiful day," (and it is - ! - sunny and snowy and breezy and cold) and twice get scowled at.

While someone else meets Jane Jacobs in a park in the middle of the night and hands over her baby to be quieted. Go figgure. The author has posted a copy on her website without ever (apparently) re-reading it to see the typos.

Decades ago I'm in the middle of a brutal divorce (or at the beginning perhaps, the very 'setting out' - since these things never end). I stay up all night till dawn writing a love letter to her. As I mail it I think, "Now she'll see." But it turns up instead in the evidence for the prosecution - as proof of my constant malignant manipulation.

Alberto Benett: Apenas uma vez pra dia.
Alberto Benett: Mentira Graciosa.
Hey, you! Tell me                         I can't. Lies are never charming.     That doesn't matter. Tell me a
a charming lie.                            They usually bring pain and shame.         charming lie.
Another one?
Ballard Street: Watching fish.When the kids were small we had an aquarium. At first we half-filled it with sand and kept gerbils. When there got to be too many we let them go into the bushes along the backyard fence. The neighbour's cat sat on a post watching, tail twitching, for days after. Then it was guppies. I called it 'therapy', sitting in front of the tank staring into it when the kids weren't there. My daughter came home from school one day with a tiny turtle the size of a quarter in a jam jar. We organized a pile of rocks for it to climb out onto.

By the time the courts & lawyers had worked their jigs and reels and the kids were gone the turtle was grown way too big for for the tank. When I burned all the furniture and stuff from the farm house I let it go into the pond.

Now I keep five neon & rainbow tetras in another tank large enough to lose myself in. I feed them every day but they hardly touch it. At first I thought they might starve but it's been going on for several years. They seem happy enough. A schooling breed, they move as a squadron most of the time - I assume this means they're happy, or not unhappy - however one names the mind-states of fish.

I wonder why they keep on living ... but they do. And then I wonder how you know if something is alive at all? A sort of Turing Test maybe? And then, next, wondering how one recognizes spirit?

Bathos: Ludicrous descent from the elevated to the commonplace in writing or speech; anticlimax; a ‘come-down’.

Pathos: That quality in speech, writing, music, or artistic representation which excites a feeling of pity or sadness; power of stirring tender or melancholy emotion; pathetic or affecting character or influence.

I've never been able to keep these two words straight. Now I see a memory-clue: 'bath' -> water -> deep water. Might work.

"A thing so horrendous you cannot take it all in without becoming frenzied and hysterical and mad." (A statement by one of the characters in a downloaded TV program, I can't remember which one.) And then to be alone with it week after week, month after month, year after year in almost perfect solitude, perfect isolation. Everyone turning their backs and no one saying why, no one saying anything, until even this little Internet squeaking feels like no more than a vanishing point in some well hidden perspective (inside an enigma).

After that it's comparatively easy, not so hard to bear my children not liking me anymore and making harsh judgements. A mere biological rudiment or some other simple explanation I'm sure. ... I did about the same to my own father (minus any judgement), ignored him. Must be that pesky Golden Rule again: What goes around comes around.

Sometimes it feels black but it is surprising how little it takes to bring me 'round; don't take much at all; a cheap drunk, a pushover; but things are forgotten so easily these days; I have to write 'em down or they're gone ...
Coming to the cash in a strange supermarket one afternoon I find the cashier singing and she smiles at me when I compliment her (somewhat extravagantly). Her fingernails are painted with day-glo glitter designs - the thumb in a different colour & pattern.

A very skinny old man, emaciated, a stick figure, and a highschool girl with him at the streetcar stop. He is white and she is black and I can't guess how they've come together. And they are singing, very low, some pop tune I can't make out; and dancing - she moves her hips and he shuffles his feet (in odd, oversize boots) and nearly falls. She steadies him. His glasses are huge on his head and almost fall off. His head lolls back and his eyes roll down and he sees me watching. It is freezing cold and windy and they go inside the restauraunt to wait.

I'm waiting for a bus one afternoon and I see a man I recognize walking on the other side of the street with a gym bag, must be on his way home from swimming. A tall man, old, white hair, and he walks ... crabwise - not staggering, but sort of zig zag down the sidewalk - arms ... flapping, bag and all, almost as if he were still swimming. I am so delighted to know him.

I have screwed up the automated book checkout somehow and a librarian is doing the business. A rough sort of guy (but he doesn't look dangerous) approaches with a scrap of paper in his hand on which something is written. He smiles and wants me to read it. It's too small, very tiny writing; so, OK, I take out my glasses and put them on. "David," it says. "Is that your name?" I ask. He smiles and nods. "I happen to like that name," sez I. He takes the scrap and heads away out the door, satisfied. And then, after six years coming there day after day, one of the librarians volunteers her first name when I make a joke about her name tag. They all wear tags which all say 'Library' and I say somethng like "Funny name for a girl." And she even gives me a mental clue to remember it with. Wow.

It has taken more than a year to figgure out that a prepaid cell phone might be the way to go. Someone has told me they have cheap ones at Walmart but I have no idea how to find a Walmart until I stumble into the old Zeller's one day and find it changed into one. So I go to the phone counter and a young man named Albert kindly takes the time to explain it all to me. $29 a month for lots of service and no strings if you have your own machine. Unfortunately it's too late even for $29 a month but I thank him for his time and he smiles and gives me his card.

There is an old woman all in white (once in a while she is all in black but the outfits are ... expensive, coordinated sportswear ensembles) who regularly walks a fluffy tiny-little prancing dog in booties, also white. One day she looks up at me sitting smoking on the bench and calls over, "Nice day." "Yes," I answer, "It certainly is."
Maybe I shouldn't write these things down, but they're important somehow and I forget so easily, and I want to store them up for another day when I may really need them. So.

What drove Hal over the edge in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece was (unwarranted, unjustified) secrecy; and we are back, full circle, to Blake's 'Poison Tree' and forebearance.
Stanley Kubrick: 2001-A Space Odyssey, 1968, conclusion.
        And if the old man climbed out of the cart and stretched himself (things were gathering pace now) and looked at where the pump had been that the soldiers had blown up so that nothing should be left standing, and complained, saying, "What are we going to do about water?,"  he, Michael K, would produce a teaspoon from his pocket, a teaspoon and a long roll of string.  He would clear the rubble from the mouth of the shaft, he would bend the handle of the teaspoon in a loop and tie the string to it, he would lower it down the shaft deep into the earth, and when he brought it up there would be water in the bowl of the spoon;  and in that way, he would say, one can live.
J.M. Coetzee, 'The Life and Times of Michael K', final paragraph.

Feliz niver querida.
... and don't forget - leeks tomorrow everyone!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Petroleum Industry [is] Grossly Incontinent
While Governments Play Silly Buggers

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Pat Bagley: The Magic that is Petroleum.
When I first saw Pat Bagley's cartoon I had not yet heard about the Yellowstone River pipeline break nor the Torrance California refinery explosion. I find that cartoons often give better clues to what's important in the news than, say, Canada's National Newspaper The Globe and Mail which is not much more these days than a status quo Rah-Rah machine.

Very tempting to put it into straightfoward Anglo Saxon, but they say overuse of the eff-word with exclamation points and so on shows a failure of imagination. How about Impact font then, large, and bold caps? Is that OK?

Eight previous North American train-bomb incidents (seven explosions and one dud) starting with Lac Mégantic are described here. They are:

            1. Lac Mégantic, Québec - Saturday July 6 2013:
            2. Gainford, Alberta - Saturday October 19 2013:
            3. Aliceville, Alabama - Friday November 8 2013:
            4. Casselton, North Dakota - Monday December 30 2013:
            5. Wapske/Plaster Rock, New Brunswick - Tuesday January 7 2014:
            6. Lynchburg, Virginia - Wednesday April 30 2014:
            7. LaSalle, Colorado - Friday May 9 2014 (dud):
            8. Clair, Saskatchewan - Tuesday October 7 2014:

Now, within 9 weeks, we have seven major events back-to-back. Proof of the unconcerned incontinence of the petroleum industry and the wilful incompetence of governments, of their spin-off corporations like CN Rail, of their so called 'regulators' like the NEB, and of the labour union fellow travellers.

It is incredible and incomprehensible that any of them are allowed to carry on.

Harum-Scarum   Nolens Volens   Willy-Nilly

Yellowstone River, Montana - Saturday January 17 2015:
January 17 2015: Yellowstone River.January 17 2015: Yellowstone River.The spilled oil has now reached the Missouri, ~100 miles miles downstream. You can see from the photographs how effective the clean-up effort is likely to be.

Gogama, Ontario - Saturday February 14 2015:
Saturday February 14 2015: Gogama Ontario.
Twenty-nine (of ~100) tank cars (the new and improved kind) jumped the tracks and burned. Oh yes - the train had been inspected only 20 miles before AND the tracks had been inspected the previous week.

Boomer, West Virginia - Monday February 16 2015:
Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.
26 of 109 cars (also the new and improved kind) left the tracks and exploded and burned.

Torrance, California - Wednesday February 18 2015:
February 18 2015: Torrance, California.
February 18 2015: Torrance, California.February 18 2015: Torrance, California.
February 18 2015: Torrance, California.

The flares in the photographs are incidental to the explosion. They are burning off products which would otherwise be processed by machinery which was destroyed in the explosion. For the record, this is what 'mitigation' looks like - keep the rest of the refinery running at all costs.

A-and it's not going to be easy (to put a stop to it) since the community you see there nestling around the refinery in Torrance California depends upon the ExxonMobil refinery and others like it to prosper and flourish (in the way that that community has learned to imagine prosperity and flourishing).

Ditto Stephen Harper & his cronies.

Hornepayne, Ontario - Thursday March 5 2015:
Thursday March 5 2015: Hornepayne, Ontario.
Sixteen out of ~100(?) cars derail but it's a dud - must be a union job.

Galena, Illinois - Thursday March 5 2015:
Thursday March 5 2015: Galena, Illinois.
Eight out of 105 cars derail and blow. Looks like unions aren't as strong in the US.

Gogama, Ontario - Saturday March 7 2015 - still burning Monday:
Saturday March 7 2015 - still burning Monday: Gogama Ontario.Saturday March 7 2015 - still burning Monday: Gogama Ontario.
Second time in two weeks. This time 38 of the 94 cars derail and two go into the river. The fire is still burning days later.

Tom Toles: Dogs resemble their owners.
Bruce MacKinnon: Protected Species.
Joep Bertrams (edited with apologies): De grote mars / The long march.Dogs do indeed come to resemble their masters. Is Stephen Harper the master or the dog? Or is the caress he bestows upon his beloved oil industry related somehow to his father?

There is an election coming in k-k-k-Canada sometime this year. The shame of it is that there is no political party with a platform to fix the environmental armageddon. None.

The Green Party of Canada? Elizabeth May? I was in a room a few years ago when Adriana Mugnatto, then the Green Environment Minister shadow, asked the chair if it was not time to tell Canadians the truth about what is coming in the way of environmental catastrophe. The answer was "No." I was in another room sometime later and listened to Elizabeth May giddily introduce an ex-banker and 'renowned' economist who then told the assembled multitudes that "Growth is inevitable." And yes, I have read the platform. Here, look for yourself: in brief or in 100 pages of detail.

Good from far but far from good, as they say up in the Pontiac.

Unless something besides an election happens this year ... WE'RE FUCKED!

(Sorry to descend in the end to rude Anglo Saxon but really ... How else can one say it?)
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Last Ocean.

I'se the bye that builds the boat and I'se the bye that sails her.
I'se the bye that catches the fish and takes 'em home to Liza. 
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Ross Sea, 'The Last Ocean'.
'The Last Ocean' is a recent film - and a very good one. The makers keep a website where you can find more about it. The copy I watch comes from the library - there are no torrent copies on-line anywhere that I can find (which makes me wish I knew how to make one). I do now have a copy of the library's copy and if anyone asks I will pass it on to them.

[Adherence to copyright regimes works against film makers and their films (it seems to me). Surely the number of viewings trumps revenue. Whatever.]

Meanwhile in the news: Fishing quotas defy scientists’ advice as the EU increases their take and relaxes regulations around dumping bycatch.

I did a few shifts as a Newfie cod choker in days gone by: took ~150 kentles one year or 15 tons heavy-salted; ate an occasional spawning lobster (delicious!); chopped boatfulls of dogfish to a bloody pulp on beaches when they fouled our traps; also ate the odd 'puffin pig' (dolphin) killed unintentionally, maybe once a year and canned the leftovers for the winter. Dolphins don't survive any time in a cod trap - their skins are surprisingly delicate and they beat themselves to death against the twine.

Still and all - that was an inshore fishery and if every fisherman (the women I know who are fishermen tell me they prefer that term) were inshore ... well, we used to say (as we watched the draggers and factory ships on the horizon - this was the late 60s in Placentia Bay and they were Russians, but it didn't take the Canadians long to catch up and get 'efficient': long-liners, gill nets, trawlers, draggers) ... what we used to say was:

"You could cover the water with byes jiggin' from dorys
and never jig 'em all and no one go hungry."
Carolyn Schwalger - Antarctic Policy Unit New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.Carolyn Schwalger - Antarctic Policy Unit New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.Carolyn Schwalger - Antarctic Policy Unit New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.Carolyn Schwalger - Antarctic Policy Unit New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Peter Bodeker - Chief Executive New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.Peter Bodeker - Chief Executive New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.Peter Bodeker - Chief Executive New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.Peter Bodeker - Chief Executive New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.
Greg Johansson - Manager Sanford Limited, New Zealand.Murray McCully - New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The impetus, the 'real reason', I took time to make this post is abhorrence, a visceral repugnance to the smug & smarmy attitude of the woman in the first row above, Carolyn Schwalger, and her lobbyist chum Peter Bodeker who curls his lip so aptly, and the imbecile lies they believe and repeat.

The two guys in this row - a politician & a merchant - are no more than generic fellow travellers at the trough.

Saving the best for last ... now come the banal bureaucrats & craven consultants. (And thanks to the OED for 'pusillanimous'.)
David Agnew - Director of Standards, Marine Stewardship Council, United Kingdom.Moody Marine: Anonymous sleveen consultant.Moody Marine: Anonymous sleveen consultant.
Denzil Miller - Executive Secretary CCAMLR 2002-12.
A handsome & personable young consultant equipped with a bogus standard and a certain reserved & diplomatic politesse and the cutest dimple in his ... chiny-chin-chin.

It's about entirely symmetrical with the UNFCCC fiasco, particularly in the perfectly pious prose of such as Denzil Miller and in the proliferation of baffling and meaningless acronyms, but most especially in bringing minimal improvement beyond the regular cashing of salary cheques.

Seriously well-educated people engaged in annihilation for their personal profit and prosperity. Layers upon layers of well-connected and well-fed administrators and consultants - like yellow-jackets at a picnic ... T'OUSANDS of 'em:
CCAMLR and MSC and ISEAL and INTERTEK (a huge international consultancy with a more-or-less separate arm for fishes, IFC, formerly Intertek Moody Marine (IMM), formerly Moody Marine Ltd., working - it appears - only for MSC, and ASI, and a holy host of others (you can find a list on ASI's website).
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).Horse Cock!

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).Bollocks!
and a load of old


(Cobbler's awls
is balls.)
Oh?! You think I am being too hard on them? Consider some science then:
        Seafood stewardship in crisis, and related Correspondence.

The only thing 'sustainable' in all of this here is the fricken' multitude, the legion if you will, of high-priced 'stewards' - and that (of course) only in the short term because when this 'resource' is drained and exhausted (which won't be long) there really are no more to move on to and the time-servers time will be past (which is cold comfort eh?).

Ian Beck: Jumblies, Edward Lear.Steve Brodner: Ship of Fools, Nation.

There have been moments - when Iceland went to war with the UK (three times: 1958, 1972-73, & 1975-76; see Wikipedia) to save their cod, and won! Alas, these moments are too few.

For that 450 kentles (there were three of us) we got 3¢/pound, with a share for the boat and Harry Wareham paid off it made us ~$600 each - and that was enough to live and enjoy living. Soon after that they began bringing packers around with refrigeration on board and the boys got 9¢/pound 'in the round' and figgured they had it made. I was gone by then, headed off for Mexico (which I never got to): "That must be somewhere up there on t'other side of Montre(h)al," said Old Pius.

There was no bycatch - we took home what we caught, all but the whore's eggs (sea urchins) and dogfish.

[Truth be told I don't remember the financial details very well anymore. Was it 3¢ or 13¢? Was it quarter shares or sixth? It was half a lifetime ago and I've been away.]

Two Pius (as they were sometimes known) are honoured here today.

Two Pius in South East Bight, 1979.Two Pius in South East Bight, 1979.Young Pius in Great Paradise, 1969.
Phillip Pius Power:   Phillip Pius, usually called Old Pius was known for his singing. He married Maggie Hepditch and they had 6 children; Annie Francis, Mary, Clara, Kathleen, Margaret and Young Pius. Mary Margaret Hickey, now residing in Southern Harbour, also grew up in their home.

Pius died in March 1993 of cancer. He is greatly missed throughout the community and the province.

Pius Power Jr.:   Pius Power Jr. also known as Young Pius was a singer like his father. It was nothing unlikely to come up along side of him in the morning and hear him singing as he hauled a cod trap. Almost everyone gets sea sick at certain times - Young Pius never. He was well known and liked everywhere he went.

Pius married Anita Best, a favourite Newfoundland singer and they had one daughter, Kate, who was often seen at folk festivals singing with her mom and dad. He then married Mary Ellen Wright. They had three children, John Pius (P.), William (Billy) and Ellen. All three sing and dance and Ellen can also play the violin.

Pius died in May 1996, of cancer. He continued to entertain friends, family and staff at the Health Sciences Center, with his music and stories.

(Text found in the liner notes of a CD I have since lost.)

Cockroaches have different personalities, scientists find.

You will think I'm simply comparing these people with cockroaches. Not quite. This recent research identifies two distinct 'cockroach personalities' - basically shy & bold - which is an advantage in a Darwinian regime helping to ensure that some survive (to dance on our dead bones).

The thing about this strategy - for, say, a top-of-the-food-chain mammal which has painted itself into a corner - is that it's useless against physics. Even the wily cockroach may not survive what's coming.

And of course, there are also points of comparison - possibly even fair and valid ones - with career bureaucrats & (particularly) lawyers. Consider the (apparently) deciding factor in the struggle of Lafayette Colorado to stop fracking ... which has been (at least for now) given up due to excessive legal costs. See: Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans in The New York Times. Longmont Colorado battles on - good on 'em!

The NEB - National Energy Board: Comprising 13 lawyers & oilmen, and a few retired politicians thrown in, a-and a whole (holy) host of supporting administrators & hangers-on. What is evident is that the NEB is a place to park people who have shown some kind of loyalty (and presumably will continue to show it) in paid positions with considerable (seven years in most cases) and secure tenure.

Bureaucrat / PR Man
NEB: Peter Watson.NEB: Peter Watson.It's the 'National' Energy Board and yet, out of thirteen (board feet) of 'em there is no background in Wind? Solar? Geothermal? and minimal in Hydro Electricity?

Zilch! Nadinha! How can it be?
(I quote the familiar Wesley hymn intentionally.)

Read this account of their CEO's current promotional tour and you will see that it's all about politics - dressed up in a transparently bogus language of concern.
 Gas           Gas           Lawyer    Oil & Gas  Oil & Gas  Lawyer
NEB: NEB: NEB: NEB: NEB: NEB: Kenneth Bateman.
 Politician  Pipelines    Lawyer   Politician  Lawyer     Lawyer
NEB: David Hamilton.NEB: Bob Vergette.NEB: Alison Scott.NEB: James Ballem.NEB: Mike Richmond.NEB: Jacques Gauthier.

Not surprisingly, they support & promote the constuction of pipelines. Some details on their recent approval of Enbridge's Line 9:

•   A good summary: with links to relevant documents on the East End Against Line 9 website (Thanks to Jessica Lyons, John Sharkey, and the others.);


•   The NEB Press Release: on the Canadian News Wire (CNW), and on the NEB website;


•   A loud (if inaccurate) Rah! Rah! from The Globe and Mail. Shawn McCarthy & Jeff Lewis write whatever they are told to write but my reading of the NEB order is that this approval is for construction and that "Prior to operating the pipeline, Enbridge must apply for and be granted Leave to Open.";


•   A previous press release in March of last year replete with links (and an email address for the NEB); and,


•   The description the NEB board on the NEB website from which most of the photographs and other details above were taken.

Aside from stumping for Stephen Harper's re-election with bogus publicly-funded promotional tours the NEB CEO Peter Watson takes time to pretend to refute Marc Eliesen's criticisms - and pretence is as good as debate in the current k-k-k-Canadian intellectual milieu where you have only to repeat a lie once or twice for it to become the truth.

The Vancouver Sun reports on Marc Eliesen's withdrawl from the farcical and fraudulent NEB review process in October last year. A letter from Marc Eliesen is linked to at the foot of this report. Here are two more links to that letter just in case: on Scribd, and on the NEB website itself.

A few days later they publish Peter Watson's reply (also published on the NEB website). Crocodile tears.

He says, "I can assure you we take this obligation to the people of Canada extremely seriously," and of course they do - the obligation to kiss Stephen Harper's arse and do their utmost to see that he's re-elected in the fall so they can keep their places at the trough.

There's a word for Peter Watson (and for each and every member of his NEB) - sycophant: a mean, servile, cringing, or abject flatterer; a parasite, toady, lickspittle.
Brian Gable: Perquisites & Privileges.
[Gable's cartoon is ostensibly about lunches at the G20 meetings - but one can mix and match organizations (CCAMLR, MSC, NEB, UNFCCC, any meeting of any organ of the EC government) and issues (sustainability, ditto, oil pipeline approvals, a climate treaty, dirty Canadian oil) with equivalent humorous effect.]

The UN and the EC can be lumped together: (they have much in common as organizations, as well as history with Connie Hedegaard)
UN: Ban Ki Moon.UN: Ban Ki Moon & Connie Hedegaard.UN: Connie Hedegaard.
Christiana Figueres & Peter Kent in Durban.Christiana Figueres in Doha.Christiana Figueres in Lima.
Miguel Arias Cañete.
You could say, "Miguel Arias Cañete is not a tall man."
Miguel Arias Cañete in Abu Dhabi.
Peter Kent on the other hand is a relatively tall man (physically at least). Christiana Figueres is short; Connie Hedegaard is relatively tall; and they are both (apparently) air-heads. No help to be had in forming opinions based on height then. Maybe what they say and do is a better guide. (Heaven help us all if the bottom-line criterion turns out to be achievement.)

Cañete says that missing global warming target would not be failure. How totally mind-fucked do you have to be for that to make sense? But then again, what would you expect a former oil mogul to say? He's also a right-wing Spaniard lawyer trained by Jesuits.

I guess if you're going to put a fox in charge of the hen-house then you might as well make it a real fox.

Two additional Guardian reports: from late last year as Connie Hedegaard wrings her hands; and recently, when Todd Stern dittoes Cañete.

Rainer Ehrt: Der Turmbau zu Brussel.Three thoughts:

One:   As the awful situation we are all in becomes clearer and clearer, more and more (previously) right-thinking people will shift along the number-line of activism: beyond letters to the editor & their MP, educational programs & campaigns, demonstrations of one kind and another, private and public fasting; towards non-violent confrontation - so-called civil disobedience, hunger strikes, monkeywrenching; and beyond ... to self-immolation, serious property damage, violent (desperate) outrage, sedition, revolution.

We had an object lesson not so long ago in Canada with the FLQ. Note the time line: running from bank robberies & bombings in the early 60s, to the murder of Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte in 1970, and eventually (with some waiting - being an ideological struggle and therefore somewhat 'flexible') things evolved. The FLQ energy was absorbed into the PQ and they took over the government. To the point where in the late 70s and early 80s (as I remember it) the FLQ came back from Cuba and one of 'em, Paul Rose was it? got elected? (That seems a bit extreme. ... Ah! ... He was nominated and ran for the Quebec NDP but was not elected.)

So. 20 years more or less. Unfortunately we don't have 20 years - physics knows nothing of ideology and will absolutely not wait.

In the meantime the Stazi will not be (have not been) long catching up. Maybe you noticed already that you can't get aboard the Newfoundland ferry without photo ID.

Sue Dewar: CSIS Eye that looks like an asshole or a donut.Malcolm Mayes: Paranoid?Theo Moudakis: CSIS only chases serious criminals.John Larter: Silly CSIS.

Two:   Watch and listen to Naomi Klein's speech at Powershift 2012 in Ottawa, and a more recent discussion with Owen Jones, and read at least the chapter 'Blockadia' of her book 'This Changes Everything'.

Oh sure, this is at least several hours effort, more than you're prepared to invest - but it contains essential clues to the only antidote I've seen. I'm not going to say what that is - take the time to find it and see it or fuck off and die (as Job's good wife said to 'im one time).

Three: Acting alone is sorry second-best but it is possible. I didn't use to think so ...

Oh sure, I know, this kind of rant does no good at all. When the bottom falls out the time-servers will all scurry away and find new rocks to hide under and new pastures in which to ply other officially green-coloured nonsense - geoengineering maybe, or sustainable fracking - until ... the entire species to which they belong is gone and the rocks they are under become tombstones.

I may not pass this way again so here's a Good God Damn! to Joey Smallwood and his diabolical Resettlement Program, and another Good God Damn! to John Crosbie, the sleveen Canadian Minister of Fisheries who collaborated to engineer the collapse and permanent closure of the cod fishery in 1992.
There was an old man, Ned H., living in Little Paradise (the only person left there at the time) who was being chased by the Mounties for diddling (or possibly trying to diddle, or maybe 'thinking about' diddling) his thirteen-year-old neice. The RCMP were no match for 'im - he'd hear their boat comin' miles away and go sit up on the hill till they went away again. One winter he fell through the ice on a pond and died while taking his socks off as he sat beside the hole he made. The worst his neighbours would say about him was "He were no Christian." These were the same neighbours who tossed a priest off the wharf for touting Joey's resettlement plan. (Yes! They really did!)

Did he have a conscience? Integrity? He told me she led him on. I knew him and believed him then - but it's true that I wasn't there. I did raise a daughter and I have talked with other men close to me - my brothers-in-law - who also raised some daughters. Fact is, young girls do sometimes try it on at that age and it's a fine threading of the needle to deal properly with it.
The word 'probity' comes to mind. An interesting word combining conscience and integrity with uprightness, honesty, sincerity, even modesty (can be found in the Latin root). Did Ned have probity? What about Two Pius? Did they have more or less probity than the collection of shitheads presented here today?

Silly question eh?

And if Joey or Crosbie or, any of the others could or would respond it might very well (and quite properly) be in terms something like Beaudelaire's (coming to me via T.S. Eliot):

"You! hypocrite lecteur! — mon semblable, — mon frère!"
Can we start a campaign d'you think to convince all of them (who are still living) to walk away from their so-called jobs and positions? Not in protest but as a vote-with-your-feet kind of thing in favour of human survival on this planet. More silliness eh?

David Parkins: Food chain, revised.

Here, try this: from George Monbiot; and another from Gwynne Dyer.

Rwanda 1994: "It is not a genocide." (Christine Shelly, US State Dept)
Christine Shelly, US State Department, April 28 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, April 28 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, April 28 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, April 28 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, April 28 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, June 10 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, June 10 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, June 10 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, June 10 1994.Christine Shelly, US State Department, June 10 1994.
[The pics are screen grabs from a PBS Frontline video: Ghosts Of Rwanda.

The Rwanda genocide and Christine Shelly's shameful part in it are included here lest there be any remaining doubt that this is the blog of a fruitcake nutbar.

The shame really belongs to the likes of Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton but Christine earned her share. Here, her obituary has been posted in a Democratic Underground archive - a possibly sobering story for feminists, it looks like she gave her all in order to do no more than play silly buggers for Bill Clinton.

And the point is: that Rwanda was a cake walk compared to what is coming unless humanity does a quick 180.

That's all.
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