Thursday, June 30, 2022

Highway to hell

Old habits die hard. Especially if they give us freedom and pleasure. And the world’s hydrocarbon based economy has given us just that, but it has come at the cost of permanent major changes to the world we live in.

The thawing of the permafrost in the arctic regions around the world and the resultant release of huge volumes of methane into the earth’s atmosphere should be a wakeup call, but it is not.

Instead we have just started another war in Europe and continue our opulent lifestyles in the wake of the Covid pandemic. What we want is even more and cheaper energy from hydrocarbons.

Welcome to the Titanic, 21st century version. Our stupidity knows no bounds and those of us that survive will do so with radically changed habits.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

More war?

Putin’s war in Ukraine has shown up the weaknesses in the Western alliance: Russia provides a significant share of the world’s energy and food supply and has now redirected those supplies to friendly powers who can chose to consume or re-sell them at a big profit.

The resulting inflation in prices of goods and services across the world are causing internal stresses within nations weakening the integrity of the Western alliance.

Putin knew this would happen right from the get-go in Ukraine, as did his opportunistic colleague, Xi Jinping in China. They are dealing with a geriatric President in the US, a divided ruling party in Britain, a German state that is scrambling to avoid energy rationing, etc.

And least of all a prancing song and dance man called Prince Justin of Canada, half of which population hates his guts.

So, the Western Empire is not really an empire at all, even if the folks in New York kid themselves into that belief. Rather, it is a wobbly conglomeration of states whose loyalties depends entirely on their perception of the power of the US.

Thinks Xi Jinping: “Is this a good time to grab Taiwan?” Can’t blame him for doing so.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Food security

In spite of the war in Ukraine, the people in that country have fewer concerns over food shortages than many folks elsewhere in the world.

Closed supermarkets and empty shelves in war torn regions do not force them to flee their homes because of their food preserving habits with ample supplies of all kinds of fruits and vegetables and protein foods stored in glass jars in their basements.

As well as root cellars for volume produce such as potatoes, carrots and beets.

During the last 30 years here in my 20 acre wood, I have been following the same practices with a large root cellar containing home grown potatoes, beets and carrots year round and lately preserving batches of same for convenient access when whipping up a meal.

In addition, I have always had backyard chickens that provide an ample supply of very healthy eggs during the warmer months of the year.

Just for fun, this summer I have been catching rain water from the roofs of my cabins and storing it in 50 gallon drums as backup for my water well supply. About 2000 litres in storage at this time.

Here in the ‘affluent’ (for some) West, we have fallen into the trap of relying on “somebody else” to provide for our basic needs. That habit may come home to bite us down the road with galloping inflation in prices and availability issues as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Telling stories

Our media, be it mainstream or sidestream, like to present their stories as “The News”, when covering events that take place.

That should immediately alert us to look for bias because the headline itself is a distortion of reality. This was brought home to me as I was growing up and being exposed to the allied side of WWII event coverage.

And then seeing the German version of the same events posted on the internet in later years. The coverage presented the ‘news’ from two entirely different wars, or so it seemed.

Today is no different as two empires clash in Ukraine, pouring weapons and bodies into the fray, both sides making out that it is a conflict between good and evil.

It is really about power and territory for the ‘elites’, using humanity as pawns on their chessboard. Nothing has changed. History is repeating itself.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Interesting incident

At about 1:30am last night I woke up by what sounded like gunshots to the west of my rural yard. (I live in an area with several acreages in that locale)

Didn't initially react but more apparent shots followed at various multi minute intervals, so I got up and went out to investigate, and heard several more shots, some louder than others. My dogs were getting excited as well.

So I set up shop in a dark spot with a good view of my yard and my dogs ready to alert me of a possible intruder, the idea being of having the advantage in case of an intrusion. Thankfully, nothing happened.

Some of the folks that come out to the acreages are fond of letting fireworks go at night, so that is a possibility, but there was no crackling usually associated with these.

These days, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Gun control

Or lack thereof, as is the case here in Canada. This place is bristling with guns, especially in rural areas where I live because police are far away when most needed.
We have a government under the ‘leadership’ of our anointed Prince Justin who prances around the world and at home making grand pronouncements about his latest move to ban handguns in all of Canada, so as to score political points with his base.
By doing so he created a run on hand gun sales with retailers being unable to keep up with demand. He has also banned the ownership of so-called military fire arms by citizens, ensuring a thriving underground market for those as well.
All the while pouring lethal military weapons into Ukraine to ensure the ongoing carnage in that failed state, to the point of Canada being totally reliant on the Americans in case some big dogs start to sniff at us.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Power of chemicals

Why do we like chocolate? I found out the hard way some months ago. For health reasons, having made the decision to forego the pleasures of alcohol and caffeine on a regular basis, I turned to a harmless substitute for my coffee habit in the form of a cocoa drink.

I decided on pure cocoa powder used in baking and readily available in grocery stores. The rationale used was to avoid the sugar laden chocolate drinks where the sugar can be quite addictive.

And it worked. I used a teaspoon of cocoa powder in my hot drinks on a regular basis during the day and had no craving for coffee.

Over a period of months, this seemed to be a good way of getting around caffeine, but something happened: I began to wake up in the early morning hours with vague feelings of undefined anxieties

It got worse over time and I finally began to ask myself why people, including me, are so fond of chocolate?.

Some quick online research provided the answer: “Theobromine” (food of the gods) is the primary alkaloid in the cocoa bean and present at ten times the concentration of that in a typical chocolate product.

So, I had simply substituted one alkaloid (Theobromine) for another (Caffeine) with a slow buildup in my tissues. And it literally created a threatening world around me.

The symptoms disappeared two days after I quit the cocoa drink routine and used hot water instead.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Democracy illusion

There are still those that get excited about which politician to support when a bunch of people throw their names in a hat, vying for votes.

It gives people a feeling of having some kind of influence on policies that affect their lives. That’s the theory behind democracy: Rule by the people by way of elected representatives.

In practice those elected are merely front stage actors for vested interests in the background. They soon find out that they have to “tow the line” in order to pursue a career in politics.

The practice of ‘democracy’ works extremely well for the establishment. Elected officials are roped in, used and retired or discarded, all the while serving the interests of the few, pretending to serve the many.

Politics, as practiced in ‘democracies’, is essentially a form of entertainment for the people and a form of sport with financial rewards for the participants.

Everybody is happy, or unhappy, as the case may be, living in the illusion of having an influence on what their government of the day does.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Cannon fodder

The glory of war? There is no such thing. As the Russians and Ukrainians on the front lines in the east of Ukraine are finding out right now. Instead, it is just a steady slaughter house where you are lucky to have your head blown off rather than arms or legs or worse.

This was brought home to me by a colleague of mine that I worked with in Sydney, Australia back in 1966. At the time he was receiving psychiatric treatment for PTSD symptoms after having served in the Australian Army in New Guinea during WWII fighting against the Japanese.

His problem was that some 20 years after the war finished, the Japanese were, once again, being portrayed as human beings, rather than animals to be exterminated at all costs, and his wartime experiences had come back to haunt him at night.

During front line combat, he told me, Japanese officers could be easily identified by special markings on their helmets and every man in the platoon had orders to “take ‘em out first”. After that, it was just a chicken shoot, he said, as Japanese foot soldiers seemed incapable of acting on their own without officer guidance and command.

My friend also told me about an experience of his combat group being locked down in a beach area in Papua – New Guinea, taking regular mortar fire from a Japanese unit dug in on a beach on the other side of a headland.

“Hell started every morning at 6am sharp”, he said, and before breakfast a certain number of us would be dead or maimed every day.
So, just before 6am my friend started to shake uncontrollably, in anticipation of what was to come shortly.

He survived, but it took 20 years for his healing to begin.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Canada, fur trade vs settler culture

Canada is a mixed bag, if there ever was one. As far as events are concerned, they have all happened here: The good, the bad and the ugly.

Let’s start with the good. For some two hundred years, from the sixteen hundreds and on, Europeans encountered the people of Turtle Island and engaged in a trading relationship, exchanging goods valued by both sides. In Canada that meant furs and pemmican (bush food) provided by the natives, in exchange for guns, powder, etc.

It was a relationship not unlike what individual clans and tribes used to have between themselves. A relationship between equals with mutual respect. As traders and native people intermingled, not surprisingly, a new type of person came in to being, the Metis, (a person of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry).

The men were very strong and resilient and the women were both attractive and smart. A whole culture of these people developed before disaster struck.

When Canada became a federation in 1867, railway lines started to snake their way across the continent from east to west, fuelled by European capital and bringing thousands upon thousands of settlers into the tribal lands of the west.

And so it came to be that the Indigenous person and the Metis person were marginalized and trivialized as control of lands was removed from them by force. That was bad. Here comes the ugly part:

Backed by the federal government, policies were put in place to rob the Indigenous people of their culture by stealing their children and breaking them into the European mindset by force in residential schools. To the point were they turned their backs on their own parents.

Sadly, to date the ‘settler attitude’ of mainstream Canadians has not changed in regards to Indigenous people. They are considered ‘persons of no interest’.

Plant logic

Plants are smart, make no mistake about it. As a gardener I have discovered that you have to ’lay down the rules to make ‘em behave’.

Just like people, they have their own priorities that may not always agree with yours, as a gardener. Propagation is the name of the game for them, in contrast to your priority, which is generally yield.

For example, strawberries and raspberries have two main means of propagation: Runners (on top of the ground for strawberries and under the ground for raspberries) or by way of seeds contained within the fruit.

The preferred way of propagation for both is using runners if there is vacant friendly grow-space next to the plant.

So the way to get a crop from these plants is to thwart any attempt at spread with your hoe, making the plant realize that it trying to move into enemy territory.

Gardeners cannot afford to have a ‘liberal’ mindset : )

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Nature's intelligence

Living in the bush here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Central Alberta, Canada, Nature is my ever present partner, 24/7.

And the drought in the North American west is reaching all the way up to where I live at its northern reach. It is not that we are getting no rain at all. It is raining very lightly today, and there is a forecast of more to come.
It is the frequency and amount of rain that is the problem. Even here in the bush, dry grass patches were beginning to develop for lack of ground moisture, before this rain began. And so far we have had no seasonal thunderstorms at all. The air is just generally too dry for that to happen.

I have observed another interesting phenomenon. The amount of spruce pollen released in my yard is more than I can remember from living here for 31 years.

I’m wondering whether Nature is warning us about long term drought, which for spruce translates into the production of a lot of seeds that can sprout and create new seedlings way down the road?

It is pure speculation but, from experience, Nature is a lot smarter than us.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


“Imperium Romanum” is what the Romans called their empire. And theirs was one that lasted for a very long time, among dozens and dozens of others that have come and gone over time.

What is the glue that creates an empire anyway, and keeps it together? That is a very important question today, in light of what is happening in Ukraine right now.

Military might and financial clout are characteristic of a successful empire, as is productive capacity. Put the three together and challenges to the empire tend to be short lived unless another empire of similar stature is the contender.

But there is more to it than that. A set of common beliefs are essential to the internal well being of the empire as well. Pride in the empire and its mission being one component: “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves!” and “The sun never sets on the British Empire!”.

Members of empire, be it British, American or Russian see themselves as somehow superior to their cousins elsewhere, and are taught to believe that from the cradle and on.

Unfortunately, that involves glorifying one's own beliefs and demonizing those of the other. That is where we are now at in the Ukraine conflict where two contradictory world views have clashed, where the Russian Empire under Putin and his backroom boys has chosen to take on the Western Empire whose stated aim it is to topple Putin.

The two empires are like continental plates grinding against each other in a physical location called “Ukraine”. For that reason expect an escalating conflict with no end in sight.