Friday, June 23, 2017

When your national pride is contingent on killing a man two miles away, you're f*cked

Lots of hoo-ha and boo-ya and chest thumping in Canada today about that remarkable story of a Canadian sniper setting a new record for a long-distance kill.

So far, the only noteworthy political voice calling this gloating into question has been Angry Tom.

Must say I was pleased to see that the Globe and Mail saw fit to print several letters to Ed from folks appalled by the news coverage around this disgusting story.

One of those letters actually drew a line from this story to future Islamic terrorism in Canada. That's a letter-writer who'll be getting a visit from CSIS in short order.

Good luck to you, pal!

How to fight terrorism while sponsoring terrorists

This Mohammad bin Salman dude who is now boss of Saudi Arabia has quite a track record for such a youthful world leader.

He's the architect of the collapse in world oil prices, a strategy that has been an epic fail. It has hurt Saudi Arabia more than any of the intended targets.

He's also the architect of the Yemen war, which is an unmitigated disaster and also an epic fail.

And as of this week, he's also the heir apparent to the leadership of the sclerotic state of Saudi Arabia.

Ya, Saudi Arabia is fucked.

Oddly enough, President Trump wasted no time offering congrats to this incorrigible youngster. He sees an eager vassal keen to do the bidding of Uncle Sam, and that's true to a point.

There are any number of policy initiatives taken by this imbecile that threaten catastrophic blow-back not only to Saudi Arabia but to the Middle East in general.

Sucking up to Israel will never fly in the Arab street. Perhaps it's a valid concept among the princelings in the Kingdom, but it will never find favour among the masses.

The Trump initiated quarantine of Qatar is another goose on its way to being cooked. If you've read this far you already know the hilarious demands that MBS and his Arab acolytes (all US vassal states, by the way) have made of Qatar.

Shut down Al Jazeera. Theoretically this should raise the hackles of freedom of speech advocates worldwide, but thus far the condemnation of this initiative has been muted.

Break commercial ties with Iran. After all, as Trump and the entire upper echelon of US power-brokers never tire of reminding us, Iran is the mother ship of terror networks world-wide.

Stop supporting terrorism. There's no question that Qatar has supported terrorism... in Syria. A far bigger sponsor of terrorism has been the very state that MBS is now the putative and temporary head of. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and Hezbollah are only "terror" entities in countries where Israeli lobbying has succeeded in rendering them as such.

How many 9/11 terrorists hailed from Qatar?

How many from Saudi Arabia?

Kick Turkey out of their base in Qatar. This could get interesting. The US has a far larger base in Qatar. The US and Turkey are NATO allies. Turkey is essentially a Muslim Brotherhood hood. That won't change anytime soon. Read up on Erdogan's approval ratings. He's doing much better than Trump.

Interesting times indeed!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Canada is number one!

A couple of life-times ago I was on a flight from Saint John to Toronto, seated next to a dude in the Canadian Forces. He'd just spent six weeks at Gagetown for a spell of sniper training.

Over a few brews we sort of bonded, especially after he let it slip that he'd been expelled from the University of Guelph.

Expelled from U of Goo? That got my attention! UG is one of my alma maters. Try as I might I never succeeded in getting expelled. Have I mentioned the time I got my car stuck on that stairway between Johnson Hall and the academic building next to it? Ya, it was the end of a long night at the Bullring... but I'm getting off topic here.

While I was never expelled, I did get intimately acquainted with university governance. I was on a first name basis with several members of the "senate." You can see why Buddy's story caused me to pay attention.

Buddy went to Gagetown to get his sniper qualifications. If I remember correctly, that involved lots of practice, and for your final exam you had to put five out of five shots through a loonie-size target from a thousand metres.

Buddy passed his exam!

So when I read today that a Canadian sniper had set a new world record for a long distance kill, you can appreciate why my thoughts immediately went to that long ago flight from Saint John to Toronto.

Our latest Canadian hero has set a new standard in sniperdom by killing a man three and a half kilometres away. With one extremely well executed shot.

Boo ya!

I hadn't been back to Ontario for a year or so, and I enquired of my new friend what the price of a case of beer might be these days.

He didn't know the answer to that, but he knew the price of a keg right down to the penny.

I guess that's the difference between the folks who actually succeed in getting expelled from university and the also-rans.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As dream of starter home fades in Toronto, it's time to look elsewhere

All the Very Wise People who have been promoting Toronto as a go-to destination both for tech businesses and their attendant employees forgot one little detail.

Yes, Mr. Florida, I'm calling you out.

They're not gonna come to Toronto if they can't afford to live there.

And I truly believe we have achieved that critical mass.

The big dogs in global business are busy as can be in grinding wages down.

Meanwhile, their ideological cousins who control the local real estate markets are busy as can be bidding up local prices to international levels.

That's why a 450 square foot condo in downtown Toronto is worth half a million bucks, which is pretty much what my farm three hours away is worth.

Who do you think has a better quality of life? The guy on the farm or the guy in that condo?

Why the Toronto Star deserves to fail

I'm looking at the front page of the business section of today's Toronto Star. Four stories are introduced to us on the front page.

Dream of starter homes fades in TO.

HBC's activist investor has been here before.

Wynne welcomes Amazon in Canada.

Airports ban ads from passenger aid company.

In the first story, Tess Kalinowski informs us that Toronto's chief planner, Jenn Keesmaat, is sad that regular folks can no longer afford a single family home in Toronto. But she is happy that when a family of five squeezes into a 500 square foot condo, they leave a smaller footprint.

Well, I guess that's nice.

But Keesmaat also informs us that Toronto home-buyers are competing with global capital.

So tough shit, I guess. My question would be this; does Jenn Keesmatt draw her generous salary for planning a city for global capital, or does she draw it for planning for Toronto residents?

Too bad the Star never asks this question.

Then Jennifer Wells has a reasonably informative story about a big-league finance sharpie, Jonathan Litt, who is offering unsolicited advice to Hudson Bay Company on how to stay afloat. Monetize your real estate!

HBC is run by another finance sharpie, Rick Baker, who has done very well by doing exactly that. This is the guy who made billions selling the Zeller's leases to Target, and is now making more billions selling them again after Target went tits up.

Seems retail is stressed because "disrupters" are turning the retail world upside down!

So here's the next story; Wynne welcomes Amazon in Canada.

Oh ya! Amazon! The "disrupter" par excellence!

HBC is on the ropes and Target and Zellers are long gone but we should welcome, as Wynne does, the "disrupters." Apparently if we are not on board in destroying our retail infrastructure we will be "followers" instead of leaders...

Alrighty then!

So far the Star has told us it's OK that Toronto only builds housing for "global capital" and retail is fucked anyway so let's spread 'em wide for Amazon.

Last story on the front page of the Star's business section today tells us that a company that helps airline passengers get compensated for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights has had their adverts blocked from Toronto's only international airport!

What a surprise!

What's the common theme in these four tales from the front page of the business section on the Toronto Star?

The way I read it, they're telling the regular folks to fuck off and suck it up. Big Biz knows best!

Remember, this is Canada's "liberal" newspaper of record.

Remember too, that although the Star can't afford to hire someone to connect the dots between their various stories, they can afford to keep a correspondent in DC to catalogue the lies of Donald Trump, because... that's what Canadians are really interested in?

All of these stories would be toxic to Star founder Joe Atkinson, a guy who believed that the common man deserved at least a little bit of truth-telling.

Meanwhile, the five multi-millionaire families who have controlled the Star forever are busy lobbying the government for subsidies so they can stay in business.

I say, let 'em sink.

We already have a CBC.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This story stinks

By now I'm sure you've heard the sordid story of the woman in Mississauga who demanded that her child be seen by a "white doctor."

No.

Fucking.

Way.

And this allegedly happened in Mississauga, one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in all the land?

Get the fuck outta here!

I have no clue how any white person would manage to live a life in Mississauga without regular and intimate contact with brown people.

Especially if they have any contact with... the health care system?

The judicial system?

The education system?

Their neighbourhood Tim Hortons?

This story is bullshit from end to end and top to bottom.

Here's my theory; this "story" was an end-of-semester project by theatre arts students from York or Ryerson. Now that it's gone viral, they're guaranteed an A+.

If I'm wrong, this story is far stinkier than I ever could have imagined.

Frogs and lawnmowers

Frogs and lawnmowers are not a healthy combo. At least not for the frogs.

Just to be clear, after the Stumpy episode I instituted frog-friendly lawn-mowing protocols here at Falling Downs.

Yes, frogs have the right-of-way at all times.

If you're not sure where Froggy went, shut down the mower and do a search in the immediate vicinity.

I think this frog-friendly approach I've taken is at least partially responsible for the fact there's no frog shortage in these parts. In fact, at certain times of the year you can't drive down Concession 20 without annihilating dozens of them. You're literally driving over a carpet of frogs.

But today I witnessed something I've never seen before. I'm pushing the mower through the grass in the side-yard between the house and the barn, when a good sized frog launches himself right onto the mower deck.

That's no big deal. It's happened before. But whenever it's happened before, the next hop is to get the fuck outta there!

Not this dude. No, he just settled in, a couple inches behind the motor, and enjoyed the ride! Ya, for ten minutes or so he just sat there as I pushed the mower back and forth.

Had all his appendages from what I could tell, so it wasn't Stumpy.

Spawn of Stumpy, perhaps?

Technology and Totalitarianism

I recall reading a quote by Albert Speer somewhere, perhaps in his prison memoirs, that if TV had been around in the Nazi era, Hitler's henchmen would be ruling the world today.

Hell, even without TV they came a little too close.

Wonder what Herr Speer would think of the technology loose on the planet today?

How is it possible that a tiny handful of tech companies, all of them tied in one way or another to America's "deep state," have a stranglehold on 99% of the world's internet traffic?

Not only does the Google-Facebook-Amazon-Microsoft-Apple combine control the world's internet traffic, but they are, to much popular acclaim, setting themselves up to be the arbiters of what is real and what is fake in the world of "news."

Ponder that for a moment or two.

Poor old Albert's probably getting a boner in his grave!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Hey Dad,

Remember the time the cops came to the house to pick me up, and by the time they got me to the police station you had a lawyer there awaiting my arrival? That was pretty cool! Not sure if I ever thanked you.

Then again, maybe you were being a little overindulgent. You were like that sometimes. Other times, not so much. By my late teens I'd pretty much honed my A-hole skills to a fine edge, and some contemplative quietude in the hoosegow might have given me the opportunity to reconsider the road I was on.

Anyway, that's just another bridge under the water at this juncture, is it not?

I have to admit that I didn't really develop any serious appreciation for your accomplishments as a father until I became one myself. That's when the inevitable comparisons began.

You were born into a family so poor you were farmed out to relatives for upbringing.

I was born into a family that, thanks to your indefatigable work ethic, never materially wanted for anything.

Your childhood was shattered by World War Two.

My childhood was shattered by the fact that you reneged on your promise to allow me to play Pee Wee hockey if I got straight A's on my grade three report card. I know, I've always been a bit of a snowflake...

You grew up in a refugee camp in Denmark. You made the decision to apprentice as a baker on the theory that a baker's children would never go hungry. It didn't occur to me until I was well into middle age that such a choice could only be made by someone who had known hunger.

I've never known hunger. I've never felt any need to make career decisions, and it was only through dumb luck that I eventually landed in something that resembled one.

You took your young family away from everything familiar to take a chance on a new life in a new and totally foreign country. That took serious courage.

I've only gone to foreign countries to take pictures and smoke dope. That took zero courage.

Your philosophy as a businessman was that it's an honourable thing to leave something on the table for the next guy. My philosophy as a businessman was, if the pie turns out tasty, try to grab the whole thing. Maybe that's why your business career spanned sixty years and mine flamed out in bankruptcy court in less than sixty months.

But we're not complete opposites, Dad.

Like you, I don't give a shit what the neighbours think.

Like you, I'm not much for trends and fads.

Like you, I get up and go to work every day.

And just like you, my number one deal has always been to make sure my kids are OK.

Thanks for everything, Dad.

Happy fathers day!

love,
d.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Food Truck Follies

My dear step-daughter Hanna called this evening. She called from the confines of a Toronto food truck.

She works in that food truck. She works in that food truck a year after graduating from York University with a Sociology degree.

Who says a Soc degree is a dead end?

Her boss Hoonan the Iranian runs a fleet of food trucks in Toronto. I think there's at least three in the fleet by now. Quite a lot of the time Hoonan's trucks require a tow to their destination.

I've always thought that makes them glorified hot-dog carts instead of "food trucks," but no matter.

The trucks all have very clever names.

The Rooster.

The Fig Leaf.

The Mustache.

Hoonan's employees just know them as Death Trap One, Death Trap Two, etc...

Today Hanna's truck apparently snagged a spot near Roy Thomson Hall.

It's almost 30 degrees Celsius outside; I shudder to think what the temperature is inside the food truck.

Hanna must be baked half to death!

But the reason she called wasn't because she's baked half to death. No, she called because she's worried about her Muslim assistant who is observing Ramadan. The poor kid doesn't even allow himself a drink of water during a ten hour shift in Death Trap One.

Hanna feels major guilt pangs for guzzling water in front of him all day long.

All I can say to Hanna is this; when you're trapped in a 45 C food truck for a ten hour shift during Ramadan, just be thankful you're a Jew and not a Muslim!


Thirty years ago we used to attend the Toronto Symphony on a semi-regular basis. We'd park under RTH and walk down the street to Meyer's Deli for a nice dinner.

I don't recall ever seeing a food truck in the neighbourhood.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Toronto 2050: bring on the favelas!

Toronto 2050.
Image result for favelas

That's a shot of the Humber River Valley circa 2050. None of that stuff was built with official building permits. No, officialdom is out of the picture in these "unofficial" subdivisions that have been popping up since the early '20s. Word is you get your building permit from the Crips or the Hells Angels instead, but the good news is they come through in three weeks instead of three years.

And the building code is a little loosey-goosey. The prevailing ethos has it that it's your house; if you want to build with used shipping pallets and recycled corrugated steel, more power to you.

How did it come to this?

Back in the early 21st century governments at all levels were gung-ho on bringing in unlimited numbers of immigrants without any kind of concomitant housing policy. While the newcomers tried to make the best of it for a while, doubling and trebling and quadrupling up in 450 square foot downtown condos, eventually something had to give.

It was inevitable that the barren banks of the Don and Humber valleys would have to be colonized. Previously inhabited by a few thousand homeless folks, it didn't take this gentrification movement long to take hold. After all, you can buy a tiny condo downtown for two thou per foot, or you can spend a week scavenging and put up the same square footage, with a pleasant view of the Humber valley, for nothing more than the sweat of your brow!

Today (2050) the banks of the Humber are estimated to house at least half a million Torontonians. Nobody knows for sure because government census takers, like all representatives of officialdom, are generally unwelcome. These suburbs tend to be self-regulating. The economy is largely barter-based. I'll hook up your computer in return for a couple of pan-ready bunnies from your roof-top rabbit farm.

Oddly enough, quality-of-life surveys done by the prestigious Richard Florida Centre for Studies in Gentrification consistently show that the residents of Favelaville have a higher level of life satisfaction than the residents of Toronto proper.

It's all good!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The real reason housing is so expensive

Supply and demand!

Canada is a nation of immigrants. That's cool; I'm an immigrant myself. Current immigration policy is aiming to bring a further 300-350 thousand immigrants per year into the country going forward. On top of that you have TFWs and International Mobility permit holders adding a further 250-300 thousand per year. Presumably they need to live somewhere too.

All told, we've got somewhere around 600,000 new folks looking for a roof every year. That doesn't mean we need 600,000 new homes of course. Average household size is about 2.5 persons. Do the math and you'll find that Canada needs at least 240,000 new housing units per year just to keep up with immigration.

The latest numbers I can find show housing starts at an annualised rate of 194,000 as of May 2017. In other words, the housing stock is falling behind at the rate of roughly 50,000 units per year compared to the growth of the population.

That tells me we're in a national housing crisis that's only going to get worse. And where is our federal government on the matter? Missing in action, that's where.

There is no federal housing policy whatsoever.

Mind you, they've got policy initiatives galore when it comes to boosting immigration. After all, more workers means downward pressure on wages. Employers are hunky-dory with that. Employers tend to have a louder voice in Ottawa than do employees.

And you don't hear a lot of uproar about over-priced housing from the big developers and homebuilders and landlords. Like the employers, they've got loads of schlep at every level of government too, whereas you don't.

That needs to change.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Turtle time

I'm sitting on the stoop tapping away on my laptop. Once in a while I'll hear a car. There's one coming down the Burgess side-road right now.

Most of the time all I hear is the birds. Frogs too. A mourning dove has been particularly vocal this evening. Probably a pair of them, talking back and forth. Various hummingbirds visit the feeder hanging over my head. A pair of sandhill cranes sound pissed off and fly away.

What you never hear is turtles. You sometimes get to see them though. Here at Falling Downs it's turtle time, when the mamma turtles come out of the marsh to lay their eggs in the gravel shoulder of the road.

This morning when I walked the hounds there were three in a row on the south shoulder of the road. Tonight the raccoons will dig up what they can. Only once have I met a newborn - about the size of a toonie and completely soft to the touch. The birds must have a field-day with them.

Picked up a book today that I've had lying on the kitchen table for a few weeks. The Farm Manager's dear mother lent it to me; Elizabeth Bettina's It Happened in Italy: The Untold Story of how the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust.

It's quite the story. Lots of Italian Catholics chose not to say something when they saw something during the Nazi era, often at considerable risk to their own well-being. As a result many Jewish lives were saved. At a time when Canada closed her borders to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, they could still get into Italy without a visa.

I want to believe that there are many people of all faiths who would chose not to rat out the vulnerable in their midst. In fact, I think it's an innately human drive to help your fellow humans, but it's become ensnared in the miasma of contemporary me-firstism.

Heard a news story a year or two ago about the funeral of a much loved priest who worked most of his career in indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. Ya right! A much loved priest on a native reservation? Get outta here! But no, dozens of car-loads of folks from those reservations drove hours to pay their respects. He must have been one of those people who still had that inner light that drove him to do good rather than ill, a light we well know was not universally shared among his kind.

As we all know whenever we open a paper or turn on the news, it's a fucked up world. There are pressures on all sides that push us into being nasty rather than kind. We don't have to go that way.


My neighbour has a theory about those three mamma turtles. She figures they've got a Moms Support Group happening. Hey girls, let's climb that embankment and lay those eggs! Then we can go for lunch...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Life is good

Gotta get hold of my old pal Kipling soon. He's been my primary source of the weed 'o wisdom for years. By God, we used to share the sacrament whilst still in our teens.

Kipling has had an extraordinary life, and probably the most extraordinary thing about it is that he's still living it!

Somebody should write a book about him.

He's a grampa now, and apparently that little fact eclipses all prior relationships with folks who have come to depend on his primo organic weed to deal with the ebb and flow of life's many challenges.

But I digress...

My dear daughter called me today. She lives in Thornhill. She's got it all going on. She hardly ever calls her dear Daddy. She wants to know what I'd like for Father's Day.

Huh?

Father's Day?

Oh ya... that's when I call my dad and say happy father's day...

Never in my life has a child or a near child or a step-child called and inquired as to what I might like for Father's Day.

She was wondering if I might appreciate a subscription to the New Yorker Magazine as a Father's Day gift.

Get the fuck outta here!

You mean it's gonna come right to the local post office?

All the time?

I vaguely hinted I might prefer The Atlantic, but whatever.

A couple hours later I was rooting through the junk file on my Outlook account, and there was the New Yorker wishing me happy reading on my gift subscription.

Thank you, dear daughter!


What? Trump has an "agenda?"

Who knew?

I don't think Trump had any agenda whatsoever. After he was goaded into the primaries by his old pal Hillsy, his only agenda was to beat those establishment fuckers. That's Donald. He's an alpha male who wants to win whatever race he's in.

We all applauded when he prevailed over those establishment fuckers. But neither Donald or anyone else on the planet expected he would actually win the election. No plan, no platform, no nothing.

Then the inconceivable happened.

While we're all still in a state of shock, I'm sure Donald was more shocked than anyone.

He didn't really want the job. He was confident that his long-time pal Hillary would triumph, and he would be able to go back to his regular life of egregious self-promotion and the occasional real estate development project, and of course squiring around the nubile young women who show up for his various beauty pageants.

Unfortunately for everyone, he won.


I have a lot of respect for Naomi Klein. Her Shock Doctrine book is pretty much on the money as far as I'm concerned. You see that strategy playing out everywhere you look, from school boards closing your local school to national governments suddenly changing direction and declaring long-time ally Qatar a sponsor of terrorism.

Hit hard, hit fast, and impose your "solution" to whatever crisis is at hand before folks have a chance to regain their equilibrium.

That's why I'm more than a little leery of Naomi's screed on view at The Intercept today.

That's Glenn Greenwald's baby. The Intercept has taken a bit of flak for outing leaker Reality Winner this past week.

As a leaker of note himself, Greenwald is undoubtedly keen to distance himself from the Winner scandal. What better way to get your eye off the ball than to push out a boffo Naomi Klein story?

So Trump has an agenda and Greenwald is in the clear.

We're spared questioning Greenwald about his agenda, about who pays his bills, and who he's really working for.

Come on Naomi, you're better than that.

Israel no longer part of Middle East

Picked up my Saturday Globe at The Korean's place this morning and then me and the Farm Manager settled in for a leisurely breakfast at the Topnotch.

There's been an older woman around The Korean's place lately. I assume she's the mom or the mother-in-law. She appears to be in charge of watering the plants in the garden centre that springs up in the parking lot of The Korean's store every spring. Doesn't seem to have much English. Wonder if her papers are in order?

Sometimes you have to work around that papers-in-order bullshit. My dear grandmother eventually became a legal resident of Canada and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph, but she'd spent extended spells with us in the early sixties that I suspect far surpassed what the technically legal limits of a "visit" would have been. She didn't have any English either.

The Topnotch was busy, so busy we couldn't get one of the booths. Maybe I gotta stop writing about it...

Listen up, folks; DO NOT GO TO THE TOPNOTCH RESTAURANT! Especially on Saturday morning. It's a terrifying experience, and besides, I want our booth back.

There were bikers at the Topnotch today. Bucket-list bikers. Their Harley's were as shiny and new as the leather chaps these folks were sporting. They were making the most of the all-you-can-eat buffet, which, by the way, is an astonishingly good value at $12.99.

But back to breakfast with the Globe and Mail. Just yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that big media are ignoring the Qatar brouhaha, and today Mark MacKinnon is all over the story. He's got at least four feet worth of column inches on A15 titled "A week of chaos, crisis in the Middle East."

I read through it. Hmm... there's something missing here. Read it again...

Israel!

That's what's missing! Thousands of words on chaos and crisis in the Middle East, and the word "Israel" does not appear anywhere in the text?

He's got the Ruskies and the Germans and the Turks and the Persians and the Saudis in the story, and of course the patron of all Middle East crises, Uncle Sam, but not a single reference to Israel?

Who can even imagine such an oversight?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Most explosive story in the world ignored by US media

Hot on the heels of Erdogan's announcement that Turkey is sending 5,000 troops to Qatar, comes news that Pakistan is sending a further 20,000.

Ostensibly they will be there to discourage any untoward moves by Qatar's suddenly hostile neighbours. In reality, who knows?

Maybe they're just there to ensure first dibs on the looting of Qatar as soon as they get the green light from DC? After all, if you think Donny J is unpredictable, try following Pak or Turk politics for fifteen minutes.

This is the most important story in the world at this moment. Our GCC allies are turning on one another with a vengeance, but you don't see much about it in American media because everyone is obsessed with the Comey non-story unfolding in Washington.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Waiting for Corbyn

According to what's being reported on exit polls in the UK, Ms. May is heading for victory in the election, but with a greatly reduced number of seats. That win is as good as a loss going by what she said when she called this unnecessary election. She wanted a strong mandate to negotiate Brexit. Instead, she'll have a substantially weaker hand than she might have had if she'd left well enough alone.

Anyway, it'll be a few hours yet before we know anything for sure. In the meantime, let's have some fun speculating about why the prevailing political order in the Nations of Virtue has taken such a tumble over the past couple of years.

In the UK the fortunes of Labour have had a remarkable resurgence under that fuddy-duddy Jeremy Corbyn. I would have thought that anything Labour would be toast forever once the country woke up from the long night of Blairism. But no, the most boring man in British politics has breathed new life into the left-for-dead Labour Party. About the kindest thing you can say about Corbyn's public profile is that he's a Bernie Sanders without the charisma.

At the same time, the man speaks some indubitable truths. When is the last time you heard a mainstream pol state the most obvious of self-evident facts; we'll never defeat Islamic terrorism as long as we're busy terrorising Islamic nations. If I'm not mistaken, British bombs have rained in abundance on Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen over the past fifteen years. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been displaced, but at the end of the day, it's all for the greater good...

But it's a complete shock, an unmitigated outrage, and a heinous crime against humanity when a Muslim detonates a suicide bomb that claims twenty-two in Manchester?

Anyway, Corbyn is that rarest of rare birds; a politician willing to speak uncomfortable truths. Long may he prosper!

Across the channel the establishment media are still congratulating the "newcomer" Marcon, who we are told incessantly has brought a fresh approach to politics. Being of neither the left or the right, he will guide France into a brave new world of non-partisan consensus.

What a load of hooey! The same media outlets trumpeting the arrival of the Savior Marcon forget that France has essentially suffered one-party rule for decades. The line between Republican and Socialist was effectively gone long before Macron supposedly erased it. What is the number one priority of this "new" force in French politics?

Labour reform. He wants to do for France's working class what Thatcher did for Britain's; destroy it. It's something both the governing parties have failed at after many years of trying. This is the extent of the fresh new thinking in French politics. The kindest thing to be said for Macron is that he thus far has not hired on BHL as an advisor, at least not that I'm aware of.

Here in Canada, I must admit I was one of many who succumbed to the anybody-but-Harper movement in the last election. Yes, by all accounts the Harper era was a dark decade. At least the Harper cabinet was blessed with many larger-than-life cartoonish villians like Old Vic and Big John Baird, guys who were easy to lampoon.

Sunny Daze Trudeau is a different kettle of lobster, and his faux feminism and cheery disposition have given him more or less a free ride for the first year and a half of his run. But what's he actually accomplished?

How are things moving on the marijuana file?

How are things looking on the indigenous education and health care files?

And does anybody know what our foreign policy actually is?

What can be gleaned from the major speeches delivered by two of his star cabinet appointments this week?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was first on the soapbox. Freeland is famously Russophobic and was already banned from Russia when Sunny Daze made her Foreign Affairs Minister. Is that the kind of appointment you make when Russia is supposedly our adversary? Even Harper wouldn't have made that appointment.

Freeland comes by her Russophobia honestly. Her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator of note. She was brought up on the teat of Russophobia. We don't necessarily need her to change her opinions, but we don't need a bear-baiter to be Foreign Minister either.

According to the delusional speech she delivered, Canada is preparing to step into the void left by Trump's withdrawal from the world stage. That is so stupid on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin with a critique.

That was followed up by a major speech by our Defence Minister. The guy wears a turban and so is obviously a walking testament to Canada's world-beating experiment in multi-culti. But what did he actually say?

Oddly enough, he announced major defence spending increases that will bring Canada much closer to that 2% of GDP that Trump was haranguing the me-too NATO nations about in Brussels just a few weeks ago. Yup, on Tuesday the Foreign Affairs Minister announces we're stepping into Trump's shoes in this post-USA world. On Wednesday the Defence Minister announces we're following Trump's orders. Try to follow that without risking a nasty case of whiplash.

It was always great sport making fun of Harper's plans to refit our Navy. He set 26 billions aside for the project. They never built a ship, although that didn't prevent them from holding "naming ceremonies" for imaginary warships on multiple occasions. Mr. Sajjan has tossed Harpers budget and promised 60 billions to refit the Navy. We'll see if that's about actual ships or more photo ops.

There's also oodles of dollars for new jets and drones and all manner of war-toys. Why? Whether we spend 26 billion or 60 billion, we'll always be a pip-squeak on the world stage, so why bother?

Well, because we have to support our allies, ie NATO, that American invention designed to spread the values of the Nations of Virtue across the world. What values? Why, respect for democracy, human rights, and unfettered winner-take-all capitalism of course. In just the last few years NATO has successfully spread those values to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. How could Sunny Daze not want to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to remain a part of that club?

NATO has become something far removed from the values it ostensibly promotes. What values do we have in common with Erdogan's Turkey? What values do we have in common with the newest NATO member, the corruption infested gangster state of Montenegro?

I for one would be far happier if we turned our back on NATO and used those hundreds of billions to address the needs of folks right here at home. One new jet fighter would put clean drinking water on tap in every indigenous community in Canada. Forego a couple more jet fighters and we'd pretty much have the native housing crisis licked.

But don't get me started. War is stupid and war toys are a criminal waste of money. I think a lot of Canadians share that belief. Sunny Daze Trudeau isn't one of them.

Time to turn on the TV and see how things are going for Corbyn.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The wily Erdogan outflanks team Trump in Qatar

For the first couple of days after Saudi Arabia announced the excommunication of Qatar from the community of US vassal states in the Gulf, the punditocracy was unanimous that Qatar's goose was cooked. They'd have no choice but to deep-six their civil relationship with Iran. They'd have no choice but to drastically rein in their pain-in-the-ass Al Jazeera network. In fact, there was widespread talk that regime change wouldn't be long in coming.

What's coming instead is the Turkish military, and they're not coming to expedite the removal of the Emir. Quite to the contrary. Qatar and Turkey are two of the main sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thanks mainly to Israeli lobbying efforts, the MB have long been a listed terrorist outfit in much of the West, and also in Saudi Arabia. I would hazard a guess that if and when push comes to shove, an Erdogan-led Turkey would have more loyalty to the MB than to NATO.

Israel's main problem with the MB is that it's the backbone of the democratically elected government in Gaza. There was a time when Israel happily nurtured the fledgling Hamas to undercut the PLO. Those days are long gone. Today, the PLO/PA are generally seen as Israel's bum-boys, while Hamas are considered Palestinian patriots.

This unfolding shitstorm was unleashed by Trump's bombastic rhetoric on the occasion of his visit to Riyadh last week, when he demanded that his audience stand with America in the war to exterminate "terrorism" once and for all. Even in mainstream American media it's widely acknowledged that it's the Saudis who are the primary enablers of this thing we call terrorism.

Not that the Qatari's have clean hands, but after the putative leader of the free world put things so baldly, it was just a matter of time before the finger-pointing got serious.

So here we are. The Saudis are doing way more to keep the order books of Lockheed and Raytheon and Boeing plumped up than Qatar is, which is why they've got more cred in the West, at least for now. But with Erdogan throwing this spanner into the works and Washington in chaos, it's impossible to predict what's next.

Interesting times indeed!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An embarrassment of good-news riches

Yes, news headlines have been beyond bleak of late. Nothing but Trump this and terror that no matter where you look.

But I think we've turned a corner. Check out this headline from CBC. Obama wings his way to Canada to offer us some hope!

Not to be outdone, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland offered up some hope to the whole world. If you've been down in the dumps since Donald dragged The Exceptional Nation into the dumpster, lighten up! According to Freeland, "Canada will step up to lead on world stage."

Take that, Trump!

If that's not enough good news for you, check this out; scientists have discovered that good old Wonderbread could be just as good for you as that artisanal sourdough stuff you've been paying six bucks a loaf for!

And we're not done yet; Here's my favourite;  seems that playing video games could actually help your kid succeed in university!

Who knew?!

Wow! I think I could be on the brink of a good-news overdose... gonna have to lie down till my head stops spinning...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Qatar get's voted off Trump's "Arab NATO" island

Trump made a lot of noise in his speech in Riyadh a week ago about Iran's supposed underwriting of terrorism. No doubt more than a few of the assembled Sheikhs felt the sweat beading up under their Keffiyas; after all, no one knows better than they who's really been behind the financing of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS, and sundry other chapters of Head-choppers Inc.

Not that it's much of a secret. Those e-mails Putin stole off Hillary's computer last year revealed that she's been aware of the game for years and obviously was wholly untroubled by the fact.

It's certainly not something you read about in American media of course. We prefer to hew to the Israeli line that Iran is the troublemaker in the neighbourhood. But with Trump shining the presidential spotlight on the matter, something was bound to give.

And today, Trump's "Arab NATO" chums discovered the traitor in their midst; Qatar. Yup, one of the Sunni Kingdoms has indeed been sponsoring ISIS et al. And not only that, they've been way too chummy with Israel's number one existential threat for quite some time.

Looks like we're seeing a new power bloc stepping out of the shadows; a US/Saudi/Egypt/Israel combine. Forget democracy, forget human rights, and above all, forget the Palestinians.

If you think we live in interesting times, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Theunis rocks the world



Great picture of Theunis Wessels cutting his lawn.

Great metaphor for the folly of human kind.

Suburb-man has got his little section of the prairie walled off. Walled off from what?

The prairie?

The tornado?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Macneumann Firewood Company

Regular readers will be acquainted with the boffo business ideas that have emerged from the think tank here at Falling Downs.

The Big Ass Chair Company.

The Stink Foot Cheese Company.

Regrettably, these boffo ideas have produced next to nothing in terms of tangible results.

A few garden benches that can accommodate a big ass.

No cheese yet.

But that's about to change!

Yup, me and my pal Mac have come up with a business plan for the Macneumann Firewood Company.

We spent months on our business plan.

It's been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, when I got away from heating with wood, I had a problem. I've got a chainsaw and a 22 ton wood-splitter and a truck that have nothing to do. All my heat-with-wood paraphernalia has been sitting idle.

Oh, I also have two woodlots; ten acres on the south side of the road and fifteen on this side. They've been sitting idle too.

These are necessities crying out for mothering.

So me and Mac devised this business plan. The key factor was beer. Can we make enough off the firewood to pay for the beer that would inevitably be consumed in the course of cutting and splitting the wood?

I am happy to report that after running our business plan through multiple potential scenarios, the unanimous answer is YES WE CAN!

Globe and Mail tells you twice, in case you missed it the first time

The folks on the bridge of the Good Ship Globe & Mail want you to believe that the USA was a benign hegemon from 1945 till January 20 of this year. Sure, those Yanks may have made a misstep here or there once or twice, but that's to be expected when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and besides, even those missteps were clearly cases of good intentions gone sour - through no fault of America, of course.

Yup, for over seventy years the planet basked in an unprecedented era of peace and freedom and democracy and prosperity, thanks to America's leadership.

Then Donald ascended to the oval office and darkness descended on the planet.

Just how dark is it?

Oh, dark enough to give Doug Saunders some prime Focus section real estate in today's paper. Chances are if you're a regular G&M reader you already know Doug's opinion on Trump, so there's nothing new here.

Maybe that's why the guys who make the big decisions at 351 King decided to commission an article by an actual history professor from U of T to run right beside Doug's rant saying more or less the same stuff.

See! Doug's not full of shit; real live history professors from Canada's number one university agree with him!

In fairness, Doug does see a bit of a silver lining; "the West may regroup," whereas our U of T historian claims "the fracturing of the transatlantic relationship is a disaster for the world."

What's been a disaster for much of the world has been the last seventy plus years of American leadership. Sure, Western Europe has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity, but there's more to the world than Western Europe.

How has Southeast Asia enjoyed these last seventy years of US leadership?

Or Central America?

Or Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya?

How are our European allies enjoying the refugee crisis that US foreign policy has gifted them?

How are the people of Greece enjoying the austerity enema that our idol Angela has been forcing on them for the past few years?

Yes, great things will happen if the West "regroups" behind the leadership of big-bank toadies Merkel and Macron!

Doug, I fear you are sadly mistaken.

Night did not fall on the 20th of January. In much of the world, it's been getting darker for a long time.

Trump is a mere symptom.

"American exceptionalism" is the disease.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Porsche Cayenne and why I can't really believe anything I see...

There I was, nose pressed to the window at the Topnotch, having a leisurely breakfast, when a Porsche Cayenne rolls by pulling an Airstream trailer.

Get the fuck outta here!

A Porsche pulling an Airstream?

Surely if you can afford that get-up you can afford waterfront on the Bruce?!

But what the fuck do I know?


It's a fucked-up world...

But at least you can still get honest home-fries at the Topnotch.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Real estate anxiety

 Apparently "anxiety" is a bona fide mental disorder. Google it. Yup, if your doctor is worth her salt she'll figure out what pill will fix you up.

From what I read on my Google search, up to 25 million Americans may suffer from anxiety disorder.

That's nothing!

Here in Canada, with approximately one tenth of America's population, at least 25 million people are suffering from real estate anxiety.

The millennials are anxious because they'll never own their own home.

Their parents are anxious because their kids will never own their own home.

Pretty much the only folks not suffering real estate anxiety are the ones already sitting on multiple properties.

There are more of those than you might think, and they're not all shady Chinese investors.

I was at a wedding last summer and there was lots of boasting around the room about how clever people were to own two, three, four or even more Toronto houses.

And they are clever!

Toronto has had year after year of double digit residential real estate inflation. Let's say you picked up a little Downsview bungalow for 500k a few years ago. You got in with a 25k down payment. A year later that bungalow is worth 600k.

You just made a 400% return on your investment!

You're a genius!

Unfortunately, the Toronto real estate market is today infested with thousands of such geniuses. Many of them are "professional realtors." Apparently there is no sanction against self-dealing in the realtor's code of ethics.

Those are the folks enthusiastically blowing more air into the balloon.

The correction is long overdue.

Maybe some day our kids will be able to get off those pills and into homes of their own.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sixteen years in, US still winning war in Afghanistan

I was in the car today when I heard CBC News quote General John Nicholson Jr. claiming that the situation in Afghanistan was showing "incremental improvement."

He can't possibly believe this bullshit, can he?

This comes as the evil-doers light up a truck bomb at the gates of the so-called "Green Zone," inflicting casualties that eclipse the Manchester terror attack by a factor of four or five or more.

No word yet on when Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and Katy Perry are planning a benefit concert to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Kabul.

RIP Kara Mathews

We got a bit of a shock here at Falling Downs with the news that Kara had passed at the grossly unfair age of 38.

Kara worked with special needs kids her whole working life and by all accounts was an absolute all-star in her chosen profession. Both the Farm Manager and my step-daughter Hanna knew her well and worked with her extensively.

Seems she went to the doctor feeling out of sorts a couple of weeks ago.

Two weeks later; gone at thirty-eight.

While she never had children of her own, her kids will miss her greatly.

Condolences to family and friends.

Rest in peace, Kara.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Preem Kathleen dips into loot-bag and gifts Ontario min wage workees 30% raise

But it doesn't kick in till after the next provincial election, nudge nudge wink!

On the face of it, that may appear to be a cynical bit of political opportunism - vote for me and get a 30% raise.

In reality, she's gifting a cohort that tends to be under-represented in the voting booth. Min wage workers are often too busy, too disillusioned, too distracted and too discouraged to bother voting. Maybe this will get their attention.

After all, it's beyond the pale that ANY worker in one of the most prosperous jurisdictions on the planet labour in poverty.

Enough already!

Brace yourself for the chorus of bleating that is guaranteed to issue forth from those sectors of the economy that depend on full-time workers toiling for poverty wages.

Whaaaaa!! We're gonna move our restaurant to Alabama...

Well, off you go then.

Somebody else will figure out how to deep fry frozen potatos while paying a living wage.

Sure, prices at restaurants will have to go up somewhat, but look at how many more people will be able to afford a dinner out.


This is a small step in the right direction, but at least it's a start.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

U of Goo mired in PC poo

Oh, how the times have changed.

My fat ass graced or disgraced the U of G campus for a few semesters back in the early eighties. I made my contribution to campus life by penning a few diatribes for the Ontarion and subsidizing the campus pubs to the best of my ability.

Alas, it seems that was not nearly enough.

According to reports from legit media sources, the Student Union at UG had collective kittens over a Lou Reed tune that has been an anthem among queerish folks for close to fifty years.

Take a walk on the wild side indeed!

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

N*ggers made America great

Two American icons just passed away within a day of one another.

Actually, one of them wasn't a "real" American.

No, he was a Pollock. Or a Pollack.

Zbigniew Brzezinski was one of the prime architects of that toxic artifice known as "American exceptionalism." He's been a beltway insider with tons of schlep for at least the last fifty years.

The other American icon was Gregg Allman. He was one of many white musicians who made a good living appropriating the music of black America.

Over the last fifty years America has had only one worthwhile export; music.

Gregg Allman did yeoman's work popularising American music.

The think tank here at Falling Downs doesn't consider weapons and war to be worthwhile exports.

Music?

That's cool!

And what is that "American" music that Gregg Allman helped make popular?

N*gger music.

Between the old-school gospel and the blues and the rhythm and blues and the jazz and jump gospel and the rock and roll, America truly gave something great to the world!


Yup, the only meaningful contribution America has made to the betterment of civilization is n*gger music...

And as you know, those folks were African before they were African-American.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Surfing a tsunami of lies

We in the Nations of Virtue, ensconced as we are in our comfortable lives, are shocked that the evil-doers have yet again managed to strike at the soft underbelly of our civilization, this time in Manchester.

Twenty-two dead. The death toll in Europe from attacks by various strands of "Islamic terrorists" now stands in the multiple hundreds. Every one of the dead was a sister, a brother, a mother, daughter, son or father much missed by those they left behind.

Our grief and outrage know no bounds. Just watch BBC or CNN for a while and you'll see what I mean.

The death toll in the Islamic world from attacks by the Nations of Virtue over the past fifteen years stands in the multiple hundreds of thousands, quite possibly millions. Every one of the dead was a sister, a brother, a mother, daughter, son or father much missed by those they left behind.

The day before the Manchester massacre President Trump stood before an assembly of Western-backed Arab despots in Riyadh and brazenly claimed that day was night and night was day. They, the un-elected tyrants of the Islamic world, were our friends and allies in the fight against terror.

The Republic of Iran, which had just elected a moderate president in a free and fair democratic election, is the prime sponsor of terror, not the sheikhs of Saudi Arabia or Qatar who have generously supported every Islamic terror outfit from Al Qaeda to Al Nusra to ISIS.

Democratic Iran must be relentlessly sanctioned and bullied and provoked at every turn.

Our autocratic terror-enabling sheikhs in Riyadh will be gifted with hundreds of billions worth of US weapons to help us win the war on terror.

What could go wrong?

How many more Manchesters will it take before we come to our senses?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Academic freedom takes a siesta at Yale

Apparently the concept of academic freedom does not apply when the academic is writing Yelp reviews.

What's unusual about this story is that it marks a rare instance of the wet blanket of political correctitude being used to smother a non-white voice in the alleged interest of upholding the dignity of white folks. That's a departure from the sort of issues we have come to expect university administrators to hold back the academic freedom card on.

Dean Chu lost no time in issuing an appropriately grovelling apology.

Pity.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hey Shinzo, we gotta say hello to these people

They've paid me a fortune over the years...

And that's how the president of the USA and the Prime Minister of Japan happened to photo-bomb the wedding of a young couple who got married at Mar-a-Lago at the same time that Donny J was hosting the Japanese PM.

The personal is indeed political.

And the political gets way more personal. Look at how young Jared is faring out.

He married Donald's daughter.

That in itself would seem to be a pretty decent score.

Then his father-in-law becomes President of the USA?

SCORE! SCORE! SCORE!

Look at Jared now.

Mastermind of the US-Saudi 100 billion arms deal, from what I'm reading.

Young Jared will never want for a dollar or a job again. He's snatched the brass ring!

There'll be so many directorships of big weapons manufacturers on offer that young Jared may want to lie down for a nap before he makes a decision!

But of course his number one file is Israel.

Do you ever wonder why the imaginary Russian interference in American democracy gets massive headlines while the very real Israeli interference gets a free pass?

That would be a good question to put to Jared.

The pros and cons of riding mowers

I don't mind walking.

I think it's what's kept me alive.

My doctor EJ Crispin once predicted, whilst I was still enjoying (or not so much) my early twenties, that I would not live to see thirty.

EJ, may he rest in peace, would be shocked to see me now. I must admit I'm pleasantly surprised myself.

His theory was that the line between "experimentation" and "substance abuse" can be more than a little nebulous, and it is always prudent to err on the side of moderation. My theory has been, if you can keep a job and pay your bills, you're doing OK, regardless of what you may do in your spare time.

If that spare time includes excessive amounts of excess... well, just walk it off when you come out of it.

That's led to some great walks. I recall walking up a mountain in the Austrian Alps. It was a dreary drizzly day. I walked and walked and walked. Then I walked and walked some more. The drizzle became an enveloping mist. I kept walking.

After maybe eight or ten hours of walking I imagined I heard voices... I was getting high into the mountain. It was getting dark.

Perhaps I was hearing the angels talking amongst themselves?

I kept walking. The voices became more prominent. Wait a minute - those voices were speaking in German.

Obviously not the angels...

No, I'd taken the scenic hike to a mountain-top resort. I took the gondola down the other side. Twelve hours to walk up the hill, twenty minutes to take the gondola back to town.

I'm still walking. Walking behind a push-mower has just been another mode of walking, at least until recently.

My first mower was a Canadian Tire special that I inherited from my brother in law. It was about ten years old when I got it. It did yeoman's service for another ten years. Zero maintenance. For ten years all I had to do was put gas in it.

It finally calved when I had my place in Durham. I splurged and bought a fancy Sears walk-behind. Close to five hundred bucks. That lasted for ten years or so.

Then I bought another Sears mower. Just over five hundred bucks this time. Didn't make it through four seasons.

Do you see a pattern here?

The manufacturers have got the lifespan of a lawnmower down to four years from twenty-plus.

That's progress for you.

I then bought the cheapest piece-of-shit mower I could find, $199 at Home Hardware. It's more asthmatic than I am. I can hardly get it through the dandelions.

Here at Falling Downs I figure I've got somewhere close to an acre of lawn which, at this time of year, requires a good three hours behind the push mower. More than a few people have wondered why I haven't gone to a rider.

Good question. After all, I don't really do enough substance abuse anymore to justify that amount of walking. I don't have anything to walk off for three hours a week.

It does give me time to think, though.

I think about what a waste it is to cut all that grass when it would be perfectly good feed for goats or rabbits or something.

I think about what a great market garden that acre of lawn would make. But that's a shit-load of work, which is something I'd rather avoid.

I think it might be time for a ride-on.

My dear son Jake has pointed out the potential benefits of a riding mower.

Instead of seeing grass-cutting as a chore, it could be an adventure!

Have a few beers and a huff on the vaporizer, then cut the grass! And the Cub Cadet ride-on I've been eyeing at Hasties has cup-holders! You could have more beers while doing the lawn!

I'm undecided.

I spent three hours behind the pusher today. It's gonna need three more hours before next weekend.

Undecided perhaps, but I have a rough idea where this is going...


Friday, May 19, 2017

President Trump and the People of The Book

President Trump?

Holy shit, how did the condo promoter from Manhattan pull that off?

We're pretty sure the new prez hates his new job. Sure, he had a lot of fun on the campaign trail burying the establishment stiffs, but seriously...

He was no more prepared to actually win that election than we were to see him win it.

Anyway, the interminable wingeing of the Wapo and NYT professional crybabies aside, it looks like Donny J, perhaps the most compromised presidential candidate of the modern era (even leaving aside the shit-storm of fake news about his Russia connections,) will be POTUS for the next three and a half years.

So look at the itinerary for his first presidential field trip.

Saudi Arabia. Home of the two sites most sacred to the Muslim faith.

Israel. Eternal home of God's Chosen People.

The Vatican. Home of you-know-who.

Looks to me like the sly (non-believing) opportunist is attempting an end run around the Beltway aristocracy by appealing directly to the Keepers of the People of The Book.

We're counting on America's free press to ensure he doesn't get away with this latest outrage.

The torists are back

Yes, I know they are properly "tourists," but in these parts that's pronounced tor-ists.

Torists are the folks who have million-dollar summer shacks on the Bruce. That would be the Bruce Peninsula, if you're not from around here.

You can have a leisurely breakfast at a window seat in the Top Notch and watch them roll by all day long. Range Rovers and BMWs and a never-ending caravan of $80,000 pick-ups pulling Sea-doos and ATVs and BBQs and summer fun accessories of every description.

They clog up the Timmies, make the Foodland parking lot into a nightmare, and hog all the good seats in the local dining establishments.

But they're more than welcome.

Our new Foodland was built and stocked with the affluent summer crowd in mind. They're not carrying Sambal Oelek chili paste and Kitchen of Love Spicy Quinoa for the benefit of the locals, I can assure you of that.

Couple of things you should know about Wiarton. They tore down a school to build that Timmies. Speaks to our priorities around here.

Also, right up until the sea lamprey found its way into the Great Lakes almost a hundred years ago, Wiarton was a major commercial fishing hub. Wiarton's population was higher a hundred years ago than it is today.

Up until very recently, that fact translated into very reasonable real estate prices. That's changing fast.

The Muskokas are pretty much built out, but you can still get quality Georgian Bay waterfront on the Bruce for well under a million. And once you factor in the inevitable traffic jam on the 400 heading out of town on the Friday of a long weekend, we're really not any farther away from Toronto than is Lake Joe.

So forget Lake Joseph and come take a look at the Bruce.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Falling Downs narrowly avoids mid-air collision

I was sitting in the yard, eyes on the heavens, when I noticed two vapour trails that seemed to be heading for the same space in the sky.

Oh my God, there's gonna be a mid-air collision!

Then I'd be duty-bound to assist in the search for the remains of the passengers. Not to mention the remains of their wallets...

I ran in the house and googled up Flightradar24.

Turns out the plane out of the southwest was a Delta Airbus heading from Detroit to Paris.

The vapour trail coming out of the north belonged to UAL808, a Boeing 777 on a direct flight from Beijing to Washington.

You'd have to agree that mid-air collision would make for some interesting wallets.

Alas, the Boeing was flying at 39,000 feet. The Airbus was at 35,000. They had nearly a mile of vertical clearance between them as they crossed paths overhead.

But it looked promising from the ground.

Top Canadian journalist predicts military coup in US

I see where Canadian journo Heather Mallick is counting on a military coup to ease her Trump burden.

It's really weighing her down, apparently.

Those Generals in the US forces will eventually tire of wondering how koo-koo Trump really is, and just take over America to save it from Trump, who has self esteem "as tiny as a lentil or a pill."

I don't know about that, Heather. Seems that one thing he has in spades is self-esteem.

I would agree that it is largely unwarranted self-esteem. Trump is another example of rich-kid syndrome, where certain rich kids assume they were born rich because they were extra special, and proceed accordingly. If they're lucky, they stay rich even after they've squandered most of the wealth they were born into. Read up on Conrad Black or Edgar Bronfman Jr. to get a sense of what I'm talking about, but the point is, these guys are not lacking in self-esteem.

You have to wonder about that part where Trump "began tossing state secrets to the Russians like candy at a parade." Come on Heather! Really? Are you being a professional journalist here or are you letting your prejudices get the better of you?

As for those Generals, I wouldn't count on them to ease your Trump burden, Heather.

After all, he's already given them a 10% hike on the most extravagantly bloated military budget in the history of history.

From the Generals' point of view, what's not to like?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The wily Erdogan meets his match

The Trump-Erdogan gab-fest was all but missed by the mainstream news purveyors today, mainly because they are busy having fake shit-hemorrages over Trump's supposed spilling of top-secret beans to Lavrov and the Russian ambassador last week. Another media-manufactured tempest in a teacup, but it's a good one, isn't it?

First Donny J fires FBI boss Comey to kill that investigation into his collusion with the Ruskies, and then he turns around and shares national secrets with those very same Ruskies!

Holy moly... this man must be stopped, at least if you take your cues from the NYT and the Washington Post!

Those commies... er, I mean Russians, obviously have Trump by the short and curlies.


Trump must be tempted to take a few tips from Erdogan on how to deal with pesky media. In America the Trumpists chant lock 'em up. It's a feel-good thing, much along the lines of chanting "go Leafs go!" In Turkey they're just locked up indefinitely, thereby proving that America still has something called a "free press."

Erdogan dodged a few bullets last summer, quite literally, when his former pal turned arch nemesis Fethulla Gulen launched a surprise attack on this government. Gulen has been cooling his heels a couple of hours north of CIA HQ for what, twenty years now? Does anybody really believe that this leader of a global socio-religious educational organization with millions of followers worldwide could enjoy US hospitality for that long without the express connivance of the highest levels of America's multi-faceted  spook infrastructure?

The CIA may not have invented Gulen, but they've certainly nurtured him over the years. Had things gone to plan, the ornery and unpredictable Erdogan would have given way to the infinitely more pliable Fethullah Gulen.

The failure of the coup last summer was a bitter pill for the Deep State, a disappointment trumped only by the election of you-know-who in November.

The string-pullers must have been seething today, and the "free press" did their bit by ignoring the Erdogan-Trump shindig.

Shouldn't take more than a few days for the Times and the Post to front-page a list of state secrets Trump spilled to the Turks today.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The American way

Condoleeza Rice has a new book out.

"Democracy" it's called.

Not sure if I'll get around to reading the book, but I did read Walter Russell Mead's review.

Mead forgot to mention that the Chevron oil multinational once named an oil tanker after her. Quite an honour for the future Sec of State, and a glaring omission on Mead's part. That oil tanker speaks to who's interests Condi represents.  Mead's failure to mention it tells me he's kowtowing to the same interests.

Anyway, that quibble aside, Mead seems confident that American exceptionalism will carry the day, in spite of this temporary shadow cast by the short-fingered vulgarian currently occupying the White House.

That expression, by the way, was originally coined as a put-down of certain merchants, the ones who were apt to short-change you. The vulgarian part came later. It wasn't until Trump Rage hit terminal velocity that the expression was sexualized.

But I digress. Condi continues to be amply rewarded for her service to Empire, and she was all-in for Trump's choice of Rexxon Tillerson to take her old job.


My sister just came back from a brief family visit to LA. She was shocked to see block after block of homeless folks living in tents on the sidewalks.

Don't sweat it, dear sister; that's how they roll in the richest nation on the planet. There may be more homeless on the sidewalks and under bridges, but take heart... there are more billionaires in cabinet than ever before!


Drove by a Costco the other day. You can save big when you buy in bulk. Costco's days at the top of the retail pile are probably numbered. From Kresge to Walton to Bezos, great fortunes have been made in figuring out how to get more people to buy more shit that, as often as not, they don't really need.

The emerging Bezos model of retail will kill Costco. The only thing better than buying in bulk is having a drone deliver that bulk right to your apartment balcony.

There was a time when having enough made us fat and happy.

Now we've got more than we can ever use, but we're obese and depressed.


The exceptional nation is waiting for Donald Trump to make it great again.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thirty-six hours

It's been something of a roller-coaster here at Falling Downs.

Thursday night, after I'd stepped out for my bed-time toke, Chloe the Cat slipped out the door as I was slipping in.

That's not like Chloe. She'll maybe venture onto the front stoop on a sunny afternoon, but that's about it.

I didn't give it much thought, but reminded the Farm Manager to let the cat in before she retires for the evening.

Friday morning comes and there's no Chloe in the house. Apparently she was nowhere to be seen when the FM went to let her in.

We spent the morning looking for her, around the house, the garage, the barn, calling her name and shaking a bag of cat treats.

Nothing.

Chloe is somewhere around twenty years old. We braced ourselves for the worst. I spent the afternoon researching "behaviour of dying cats."

There's a vast trove of info out there about how ageing cats are wont to steal away and die alone when the time has come.

We had obviously come to that time.

I must admit we both got a little misty-eyed contemplating the demise of our beloved companion of twenty years. She could be, depending on her mood, aloof, cloyingly affectionate, distainful, or openly hostile. All
within a fifteen minute span.

Now she was gone... oh how I wished I could have rubbed her belly one last time.

Too late for that.

Even as tears flowed freely, I was able to discern the outlines of a silver lining.

We didn't have to pay $350 for the vet to put her down.


So we'd made peace with the fact that Chloe was gone to her reward. I was sitting out on the stoop around midnight last night, well into my cups, having that bed-time toke, when I thought I heard a meow.

When you're half in the bag and you just fired up a fattie you don't believe the first thing you hear, and I didn't.

Then I heard it again.

And again.

I got up and wobbled off in the general direction of the meowing.

It was coming from the barn. It briefly occurred to me that I should inform the FM of our good fortune but I thought better of it.

This could be a hallucination, triggered by grief and wishful thinking and good weed.

When I got closer to the barn I actually saw her, the dead cat I'd been mourning moments before. Then she ducked into the barn.

The barn here at Falling Downs is of course falling down, so we don't venture in there without good cause. This was good cause. By then I'd alerted the FM and between us we retrieved our dear Chloe.

We celebrated well into the morning!


We woke up just in time to see the Lundys off-loading their cow-calf pairs in the barnyard. The cows had wintered at their home farm, but were now set free to graze in our lush meadows for the summer.

It's one thing to see wee calfs romp and frolic and kick up their heels. It's quite another to witness a 1400 lb. cow do the same. They were just delighted to be here!

We were even more delighted to see them here.


And tonight, twenty-year-old Chloe caught a mouse.



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Macron will have his hands full, and his trousers too

Interesting story out of France today about workers taking over a car parts plant. That just doesn't happen here, does it?

Remember when the GM Diesel plant in London was shut down by Caterpillar and hundreds of $30 an hour jobs turned into $12 an hour jobs in one of America's "right to work for less" states? Remember what their union did for them?

Negotiated an improvement in the severance package, and that's about all.

Over in France there's still a working class who see themselves as working class and don't mind letting their bosses know it.

Here's a shout-out and a tip of the cap to the lads and lassies at the GM&S plant who are fighting to save their jobs, something we rarely get around to doing on this side of the Atlantic.

The class struggle is far from over, regardless of how we the workers have been dissed and dismissed by mainstream media here. There's still life in the working class in France.

They still know how to stand up for their rights in China.

Not that threatening to throw yourself from the factory roof is going to get you far here in North America. To the ground for sure, but that's about it.

So we'll see how the new bum-boy of the bosses, the new Prime Minister of France, tackles this little hiccup in Creuse.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

News update from Falling Downs

Notice I called it a news update and not a "news flash?"

That's because there ain't much newsworthy here at the farm.

Gotta call my pal Kipling soon because we're running a little short on the weed 'o wisdom. If you found my last several posts particularly stupid, that's why.

Got the Mustang 50 on the battery charger overnight. She's been working A++ till I went to fire her up this morning.

Nothing.

Last time I ran her was when I gave Grant Mackenzie a ride back to his place to fetch his four-wheeler. Grant and his family had put a couple of kayaks and a canoe in the water up by the bikers' place upstream from us but across the road from them.

Grant and family came down the Indian Creek in fine style. The dogs heard them long before we did, as dogs will do. The young 'uns in their kayaks and then Ma and Pa and Lilly the family dog in the canoe. The entire Mackenzie family armada. What a sight!

So I gave Grant a lift in the 'stang, came home and parked her, and she's been deader than dead ever since.

Hoping that overnight battery charge makes a difference.

We hung up a bird feeder on the front porch over the winter. It was great fun when the wee birds were at it. If they shit, we didn't notice.

Then the bigger birds discovered it. Starlings. Woodpeckers. Blue Jays. These birds shit large. The wee birds are long gone but the front porch is plastered end to end with bird shit.

That's country life, I guess.

Left the garage door open the last time I put away the Ninja a couple weeks ago. Still don't have that helmet, but I've got birds nesting in the garage. Can't close the door now because the babies would die.

That's how the world unfolds at Falling Downs...

2016 - 2020; Twilight of the American Plutocracy

I was driving through town this afternoon when I saw a young lad, no more than seven or eight, heading home from school. He was making detours onto people's lawns to pick dandelions. Maybe as a gift for his Mom. Maybe just because.

Give him a couple of years and he'll be walking home from school with his eyeballs stuck to a screen, like all the big kids and the adults do these days. He'll never see another flower again.

The REALLY BIG NEWS in the news today is Trump's axing of FBI director Comey. Mostly that's big news among the Hillary oriented media who have been hyperventilating about supposed Russian interference in US democracy for the past six months.

They're uber-hyperventilating today, if such a thing can be imagined. After all, wasn't Comey investigating those shady links between Russia and team Trump? This is the proof! This is a cover-up!

This is bullshit. It's Trump getting rid of a mediocre guy at the top of the FBI while at the same time throwing a bone to his old pal Hillary. After all, until today Comey was one of the top suspects in throwing the election to Trump, according to Hillary and her acolytes in the media.

Speaking of elections, I see where South Korea just elected a new leader who, at least on the face of things, sees his first responsibility as serving the interests of the Korean people instead of the interests of Washington. That THAAD installation America just pushed into South Korea? The new guy quite properly sees it as a provocation not only of North Korea but of China as well.

To them it's a hostile American military installation protected by 50 million South Korean human shields.

We'll see how long this THAAD thing lasts... elections can be such a pain in the ass when you're trying to rule the world.

Which brings me to the next US presidential election coming up not nearly soon enough. In 2016 the two most popular candidates were Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. In spite of their differences they had one thing in common; they both ran on a promise to dismantle the status quo, ie the rule of the plutocrats. This is what made them popular.

The fact that both men subsequently betrayed their core supporters is beyond obvious by now, and is not a point I need to expand on here. The more important point is that these disaffected, disillusioned, and largely disenfranchised voters are still there, and will be when the 2020 race gets serious.

They will remember who sold them out.

They'll be ripe for a third party candidate who campaigns on meaningful reform. Universal health care. A massive shrinkage of the military budget. Housing and education for the people. Getting big money donors out of politics. Ending the myriad tax dodges that allow billionaires to make politics their playpen. Bringing in a tax code that taxes the rich more than the middle...

It's a long list.

It has to be a third party. No movement that involves the Democratic Party has the cred to turn America around. No astro-turf fake-left outfit funded by Soros can be allowed to play a leadership role.

America is ripe for the return of democracy.

Unless everybody is so glued to their little screens they don't even notice their country is well on its way down the toilet.






Saturday, May 6, 2017

How not to get rich

Oh, let me tell you the ways...

Writing is a sure-fire way to stay poor.

That's why I was somewhat mystified by the last couple of paragraphs of Elizabeth Renzetti's love letter to Hillary in today's Globe. Hillary is obviously not a conniving greed-bag, because look, she'll be writing a book!

She will almost certainly be criticized as a cash-hungry monster by people who do not realize that writing books is precisely the wrong way to get rich (unless you're JK Rowling).

Really?

Here's a story from Forbes that claims the Clintons have made at least 23 millions for their previous books, and that includes the eight million advance Hillary got for her last memoir.

Eight million for a book might not be getting rich, but it's getting close. And however many millions she gets for her next book should put her into the rich zone for sure.

So I agree with Liz that writing a book is precisely the wrong way (among many) to get rich.

Unless you're Hillary Clinton.

Get in on the ground floor with this outrageously talented new recording artist

Ya OK, he's my kid... that doesn't mean he's not outrageously talented.

Although I will admit to a spot of parental bias.

I remember taking him and his gear to a gig at the Anzac club in Toronto when he was sixteen years old. What bent my mind was when my kid took the stage people stopped talking and paid attention.

The trouble with Jake is he doesn't make nearly enough effort to get his shit out there.

He should do an Anzac every week and he'd be playing Massey Hall before you know it.

But as much as I wish him every success, that's gotta be his deal.

Not mine.

Life lessons from The Korean

When I drove into town today to pick up my Saturday Globe, I found The Korean's wife and mother-in-law out in the parking lot putting up a tent.

I made a lame joke about it being shitty weather for camping. They laughed.

The Korean is a bit of a joker himself. He scans the bar-code on my paper and announces "five hundred and twenty-five dollar please!"

Ha ha... not enough good news in the world for that price, I tell him.

He settles for $5.25.

Have to say the paper was on the thin side today.

Big feature in the Focus section on condo flippers messing up the Toronto real estate market. That might be mildly interesting if you don't already have multiple friends and relatives milking that for all it's worth. You view them with a mix of envy and contempt; envy because at some level you wish you'd jumped into the game when the jumping was good.

Contempt because they're one of the reasons your children will never own property in Toronto.

But their children will.

Interesting, but nothing like the tour de force Cathal Kelly had on view a couple of weeks ago.

"Too drunk to fuck" indeed!

There's a couple of stories that cast well-deserved aspersions on Justin's captaincy of the ship of state. On page B-1 unpaid intern Rachelle Younglai has a story about shrinking paycheques for the working and middle classes.

On page A-4 Bill Curry has a story about how Justin's infrastructure initiatives are being massaged by the very people who will "ultimately own and manage infrastructure assets."

Public money, private profits; that's hardly a news story.

One thing I'd like to see more of in the Globe is coverage of the Supreme Court case that Rocco Galati has been pursuing for years now on behalf of COMER, the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform. Follow that story and you soon realize there's no reason whatsoever for our infrastructure assets to end up in the pockets of Black Rock or the multitude of like-minded hedgies and finance sharpies.

But that's not a story the Globe is keen to spread around.

Elsewhere, Liz Renzetti uses her A-2 slot to let us know she's still pouty about Hillary's very bad and awfully terrible day six months ago. Apparently it wasn't just Russian interference in America's democratic process that sunk Hillary, although the Ruskies do get several shout-outs in her column.

No, it was even worse than that, if such a thing can be imagined.

There was a "pink elephant" in the room.

That would be sexism, for those too stunned to figure it out.

Well... sure.

Maybe.

I'd hazard a guess that the pink elephants were bigger when Golda became PM in the sixties or Maggie became PM in the seventies, but maybe Liz isn't old enough to remember those days.

Hillary lost because she and her army of consultants and advisers were outworked and outsmarted at every turn by a condo salesman from Manhattan.

Best story by far in today's paper was the profile of Toronto restauranteur Jen Agg. A far more palatable role model for young women than Hillary, if you ask me.

She's kicking the shit out of pink elephants every day, and may God bless her for it.

Anyway, I've come to accept that The Korean isn't responsible for what's in the newspaper he sells me.

His wife and mother-in-law were putting up that tent to protect the plants that all the Korean variety stores have on offer this time of year.

The weather channel is suggesting we'll get snow tonight.

So the flowers are camping tonight, I offer.

Yes! We must be prepared, he says.

Sound advice from The Korean.

Be prepared.




Things to do with a sociology degree

My step-daughter Hanna texted me this morning with the news that she'd just served Marc Emery a hot-dog. Apparently the plucky Persian had one of his food "trucks" towed to Queens Park today for the Global Marijuana March. Shrewd call, Hoonan!

Which is what brought Emery to the scene, logically enough. I told her to put a Wally-burger on the menu in honour of the original Prince of Pot, Wally Tucker. 

So Hanna is slinging hot-dogs with her soc degree. But that's not the only road open to a recent graduate. You could be an Uber driver. Many soc grads find meaningful work in retail.

Hey, the sky's the limit!

There's no such thing as too much education...

Personally, I found my sociology degree hardly held back my welding career at all. Sure, the other folks on the shop floor will view you with a degree of suspicion at first, but one thing sociology grads understand is how to blend in.

Hanna in Hoonan's food truck.

Me in Irving's shipyard.

There's always the option of more education, of course. Go for the graduate degree. Go all the way and get yourself a Doctor Phil. Your Uber clients will be massively impressed when you drop that tidbit. 

Even thirty years ago the job market was tight for soc grads. I remember a sessional at UGuelph wingeing about the lack of tenure-track opportunities back in the early eighties. He'd been on the sessional track with his Ph.D. for ten years at that point, and the problem has gotten exponentially worse since. He often expressed his regret at not having become a high-school teacher instead.

Which is not to say there are zero tenure track opportunities. Who gets a crack at them though is a mighty sketchy business. White males would be pretty much SOL. White females perhaps slightly less so. What's required, beyond a visible identity as a member of an oppressed subset of society, is an appetite for political correctitude and advanced ass-kissing skills.

Hanna has more people skills when she's sleep-walking than I could ever conjure on my best day, but I'm afraid she shares my skills deficit in the ass-kissing department.

But lets not forget that a university education isn't intended as job training. Unless you're in medicine or engineering, of course. It's about building character and building a network, don't ya know!

I shared many a pint with my various profs over the years in the interest of building a network. One of the folks I really liked was a guy named Ian Currie. He was a sessional, and if I recall correctly, he didn't even have a Doctor Phil to wave around, but he had a best-selling book out at the time which I suppose, in the eyes of the hiring committee, made up for that short-coming.

Alas, he took himself to his reward before my budding networking skills had a chance to fully blossom. 

And Hanna met some illustrious mentors whilst doing her degree at York, including a couple of folks I'd studied with thirty years before. The most illustrious by far was Mel Watkins. I didn't realize the old pinko was still alive till Hanna nonchalantly mentioned that he often walked her home after his evening class. Don't know if a letter of recommendation from Mel would still open many doors.

Whatever else he is or was, there's no getting around the fact that he's still a white male.

I've suggested to Hanna that she should consider a law degree. Sure, there's plenty of folks with those who are under-employed too, but Hanna has the smarts and people skills to stand out in the crowd.

She's all in if I pay for it.

Well kid, I've got a lovely batch of seedlings that I'm planning to put in just over the fence-line just as soon as I'm sure the danger of frost is over for good. The way Justin is going about his legalization gambit will ensure a healthy grey-market for ganja for years to come.

There's hope with dope, even when you have a sociology degree.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Motorcycles

Back in the middle sixties, my dear Daddy bought a plot of land a couple of miles north-west of Guelph and built our very first new house. Quite an accomplishment for DP's barely ten years into their new lives in the new country.

I wasn't yet into my teens, but I was highly attracted to all things loud and fast and motorized. The Andrews boys around the corner ran a '58 Chevy on the local dirt track, and they had their test 'n tune days on the gravel road in front of our new house. Needless to say, they were my idols.

I made a deal with Dad. If I carved a little circle through the scrub brush that covered our ten acres, he'd buy me an old beater, something that in this era and in these parts would be known as a "field car," and I would henceforth be free to hone my roundy-round chops to my heart's content.

Look out Pearson and Yarborough and Petty! Here comes Neumann!

Much to my father's surprise, I actually succeeded in carving out that circle. With an axe. It would have been maybe a really short eighth miler. Nevertheless, I'd built the track. So I went to Dad and reminded him of the other part of the deal.

Here's why you should get every deal in writing, even when it's with your Dad. He had utterly no memory of our deal to provide the race car if I provided the race track. This went back and forth for months until we struck a compromise; he bought me a motorcycle instead.

The motorcycle he bought me was an old Suzuki 80 street bike that he got from a workmate for forty bucks. It had but one mechanical flaw; it was forever stuck in second gear.

Even on my significantly less than one eighth mile track, second gear didn't cut it. So I abandoned my track and fashioned a new one around Mom's kitchen garden. It was maybe fifty by a hundred feet, and you got perfect circumlocutions without needing anything other than second gear!

That's where I honed my flat-track finesse. I'd circle that garden for hours on end with the back wheel hanging out and my left foot on the ground. No shifting required when you've only got second!

That Suzi paved the way to bikes on which the transmission actually worked. I went through a series of small-bore dirt-bikes till I landed a 175 Bultaco.

The Bultaco had the gears and brakes on the opposite side of where the Japanese bikes had them, a fact that wreaked havoc on the raspberry patch of Bruce Dickinson's mom the first time I took it for a test drive. Bruce was the school pal I was buying the Bultaco from. His mom was not impressed.

I graduated from the Bultaco to a Honda three-wheeler I got at Zdeno Cycle in Guelph. I had one of the first ever sold in Canada.

Could I ever do tricks on that little monster! I could side-wheelie for miles at a time. I could keep the front in the air for miles at a time. One of my favourite memories was when I'd line up my four younger siblings and jump over them, Knievel style!

Nobody ever got hurt, just for the record.

Alas, I hit the ripe age of 16 and it was all cars after that. Flat-tracking around Mom's garden had nothing on burying the speedometer on a 440 cubic inch Chrysler.

Oddly enough, just as I was getting out of motorcycles, my younger brother "the tree guy" was getting into them. His first ride was a 350 Honda. Then he was up to a 750, which I remember taking well over a 100mph.

Without a helmet.

My glasses blew off in the wind.

He's riding a 1200 sport twin today, commuting back and forth to work.

So I was away from motorcycles for forty years or so, till I picked up that 500 Ninja on the cusp of 60. Not sure where to take things from here. I take it for short runs around the neighbourhood once in awhile, but I don't feel I'm ready for the highway.

Where to from here?


Gonna buy a helmet tomorrow.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Uncle Henry's carpet runner

As I write these words, Lucy the Treeing Tennessee Brindle is busy licking the carpet runner that runs from under my feet to the front of the fireplace. She licks it a lot.

Here's why.

When Uncle Henry went to his reward a few years back me and the Farm Manager were pretty much the last ones on the scene to pick over what he'd left behind in that little apartment just off Bathurst. All we got was the carpet runners. One is in the upstairs hall, and the other one, from Henry's kitchen, is the one Lucy's licking.

Uncle Henry came from one of those shit-hole shtettls in Poland where you had to be plenty quick on your feet to avoid the cattle cars and the camps back in the forties. Henry successfully avoided both.

Henry washed up in Toronto sometime after the WW II, and led a quiet and eminently civilized life just off Bathurst. He was a tailor by trade, and that's how he made his modest but honest living until he retired.

But his passion was cooking!

Uncle Henry was renowned for his beet borscht, his carp dishes that everybody hated, his gefillte fish, and his matzo ball soup. And he made the most impressive lemon meringue pie.

He'd whip up these delights in his kitchen and then wobble down that carpet runner to the dining room...

Which is why, ten years after his passing, Lucy still licks that carpet runner.