Friday, December 9, 2011


I moved to Canada 16 years ago (from the US) and I have to confess: I'm a hardcore Canadian patriot.

I've noticed something in the past year, though. There are Canadians who have moved to the US (scads, actually) - and have professed in facebook comment melees their love and/or patriotism for the US.
Now, I left that country behind and am pretty happy about it. I've done some self examination after reading about Canadian expat's rabid love for US.  Fitting in with a new peer group might have plenty to do with expats becoming enamoured of their new locale - with its new customs or attitudes. Case in point: A friend who grew up in NYC with democratic tendencies moved to southern US and now espouses Tea Party doctrine. Only peer pressure explains that horrific turn of events.

Another suspect is the human brain's own programming for self fulfillment and happiness; Patriotism has absolutely nothing to do with real greatness of the city/country you're in. Its implied because you live there, obviously.  We also wouldn't have cut it as a species if we didn't have wiring that allowed people to "make do" with living in a location (as long as the location provided them with a living). This would explain,  to my satisfaction, the case of the Inuit who live/lived in a miserable frozen waste.

This revelation isn't shocking, is it? The Olympics put on a show where you repeatedly see citizens from all different countries showing their colours. It just hits home when expats of the country that you chose to love and live in happen to espouse rabid love/adoration for your ex-country.

And I realize loving your present location - by choice or by birth - is a simple and human thing to do: Love the one you're with.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grab bag

My purse is a place full of receipts, gum wrappers, business cards and a messy wallet. Sometimes an apple finds it`s way in there, which I have full intentions of snacking on. But then it disappears to the bottom. It really is uncharted territory - I need a shallow handbag, maybe.

The real question is, how do guys go about their business without a purse? I imagine that I`ve got an inkling its not easy... I`m a bookkeeper and I have seen some receipts that have seen better days from the menz. Where do they put their apple (or a more manly fruit like a banana, maybe... but discussing THAT is a whole other blog post) that they plan on snacking on later? It would seem that the man purse really isn`t that bad an idea except for the fact that purses are mostly purgatory for receipts and other papers that I will wind up throwing out. After depositing used gum in them, that is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Shuttle and looming issues

Watching "the last" Shuttle launch a few days ago (on HDTV) there was much chatter about the bittersweet feelings the whole event was freighted with. The shuttle launch host, Greg Dobbs, spoke of the effects the end of the shuttle era would bring to bear... the loss of a fair infusion of tourist cash to the Florida Spacecoast, the loss of employment as NASA and USA (United Space Alliance) start laying off people - these facts were mentioned during a voiceover of a video view of the launch pad from far above.

There is nothing like a scene viewed from far above, where a lot of the small things aren't visible and may as well not be there, to give you a little perspective. Maybe a bit too much f***ing perspective. My imagination was off like a shot, thinking of what the future holds.... rather dark stuff as in a science fiction short story. If you've ever read them, you know what I mean. The launch pad, when viewed from above, didn't show that over 750,000 people were in the area to see this launch. It showed a barren cement pad - like an abandoned amusement park. The future panned out before me in an instant: Entropy will increase.Eventually, grass will grow through the pavement. The US will continue to wither, while growth and positive can-do spirit is completely extinguished. No one will visit the Kennedy Space Center or care about rockets or even look up at the night sky. They will all be too busy watching TV - something like Jersey Shore or 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show - except even more outrageous and awful. Stephen King's Running Man is almost ready to air.

Instead, now that I've shared my miserable imaginings, I will choose instead to believe that NASA will revamp its program, that rockets will fly, and the looming downturn I spontaneously envisioned will never touch ground.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dream as if you'll live forever, Live as if you'll die tomorrow

I’ve gotten back on my mountain bike and have gotten past the ‘sore ass’ stage of getting used to the damn bike seat. I had a year off from sitting in the seat, you wouldn’t believe how unused to it you can get. So I’m used to that again, and have been realizing how virtually crazily fun trail biking is. And I’ve decided I’m going to go whole hog this year.

I'm going to participate in the local mountain biking club (OMBA), assist in trail building, and be a contender in a mountain bike race in the fall. Probably not a ‘contender’ but my plan is to finish. And that is more than enough.  It’ll get me out and off the couch when I don’t want to go but know I should…and when I know I’d enjoy myself too. I find I’m not in the “habit” of biking religiously yet and need something to motivate me until I do get there.  Gearing up to participate in a mountain bike race in September is just the thing.  I plan to go wild, get dirty, and enjoy myself.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Au naturel

Redemption. Salvation. Forgiveness.

This post has everything and nothing to do with these things. I've been reading - skimming, really - the National Geographic magazine's latest Water issue, which has served to put us all on notice. Like the tragedy of the commons that the oceans represent, access to clean water is an invisible tragedy for most of us... in this case, those of us who had the lucky benefit of western world parents. The message is pretty clear about the concerns of clean water and the concerns vary from continent to continent, and locally for us here in North America it's a fact we're poisoning our own waterhole... and so much more.

Which brings me to the fact that we, humankind, really have our faults, don't we? and unfortunately, if we didn't have them we wouldn't even be here, much less in this bind. Our kind craves indulgence and redemption. The people "in charge" are no different, though their indulgences might be. Ah, sweet redemption... it's the umami that makes all this head in the sand, party the night away lifestyle even more full and potent. Redemption means never having to say we're sorry - until we're ready to do so.

Jared Diamond's _Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed_ comes into play here. Jared Diamond chose to use the history of small pacific islands as a lesson tool. The pacific islands offer a unsettling yet somewhat accurate picture of the world itself; Easter Island was doomed through indulgence and mismanagement to become squalid and at points rife with cannibalism. Wow. Other more successful islands and societies used a "top down, bottom up" approach with the most success and were able to perform a balancing act due to both powerful heads of state enforcing rules and their subjects embracing the rules since they knew the knife edge they walked. A life filled with work, sacrifices for the greater good and reining in inherent human urges to take as much as possible for yourself and your progeny. Currently untenable things were done in the name of preserving the society; unspeakably non-democratic and uncapitalist as well. I'd hope they enjoyed their lives as their society endured while performing the balancing act; These societies would be small enough that each citizen would personally know and be connected to each and every one of their group, inculcating them to perform adequately (if not admirably!) for all these people who also felt the same (the "rule of 150" per Malcolm Gladwell).

If our biggest temptation and indulgence is to ignore our need to change to prepare for a better future (and who hasn't wrestled with putting money away for retirement?)... can't we effect fundamental changes in our lifestyles rather than just edge ever closer to the 'pray for salvation' point? Fundamental changes unlike money-making half hearted measures that benefit huge companies and others taking kickbacks, that is. There is a huge demographic sea change happening, as so many baby boomers are entering their retirement years. Perhaps the time is now to effect/demand as much change as is possible, battering on the barriers erected by many national and corporate interests by a rising tide of world-interest. But the first order of business is laying siege to our own personal self interest.