Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring's sprung

Me and the Farm Manager were sitting on the front porch this afternoon, enjoying the warm weather, when the first guy of the season in bicycle pants rode by.

A sure sign that spring has sprung. There's a cycling club in Owen Sound that has the road in front of Falling Downs as part of their regular 50k loop. These folks always remind me of the punchline to one of Jeff Foxworthy's jokes; "if Burt Reynolds can't get down that river a Frenchman in bicycle pants doesn't stand a chance."

Too bad I can't remember the joke that was the punchline to...

I actually did a lot of cycling in my time. Back in my U of Goo days I used to pass cars coming down the Gordon Street hill. No bicycle pants, no helmet, just a Raleigh 18 speed weaving in and out of traffic after a Sociology of Poverty class and a four hour stint at the campus pub.

Those were the days!

But these days are pretty good too.

Just yesterday I put the canoe in across the road and paddled my way down to Bass Lake. That's a small lake by local standards, but it houses a few dozen cottages and a trailer park. Shame about the trailer park. You'd be hard pressed to find a cottage on that lake for under 400 thousands, but you can rent a trailer site for a hundred bucks a month. On the same lake.

Go figure.

They don't call it a "trailer park," of course; it's a "holiday resort."

Sure it is!

That Bass Lake canoe trip only happens in the spring, when the water's high. In another month I'll be able to walk down the Indian River in rubber boots and reach Bass Lake without getting my socks wet.

Nothing much in my national newspaper of record this weekend. Marcus Gee had a nice take-down of Richard Florida. He was a hot commodity a few years back when U of T hired him. An apostle of intelligent development I suppose you could call him.

Not sure what that means. I've bumped into more than a few folks in that business in my time, and none of them were stupid.

Short-sighted? Greedy? Selfish?

Maybe... but stupid?


So Florida is having second thoughts about the thesis that brought him fame and fortune and a tenured post at U of T. Gather up all the young creative disrupters you can and turn them loose on your town. Great things will happen!

Mostly what's happened is the young creatives can no longer afford to live in Toronto.

So it was a beautiful canoe trip. You don't really get into cottage country till you're three quarters of the way down the lake. There was still spots of snow on the ground here and there and I set out a little apprehensive; after all, the historical record of me and canoe trips would suggest there's at least a 50/50 chance of ending up in the drink.

Thank goodness I beat the odds yesterday. The water was really really cold and I couldn't find a life-jacket anywhere.

Doug Saunders had a bit of a mystifying opinion piece in the paper, all about George Soros. Here's the head-scratcher that caught my eye; "One of Europe's most important higher education institutions, Central European University..."


CEU was founded twenty-five years ago and has less than 1500 students. We're talking about Europe here. Universities are hundreds of years old and have tens of thousands of students. By what metric might CEU be considered one of Europe's most important higher education institutions?

Come on, Doug. You destroy your own cred with that kind of hyperbole.

But I suppose it can be deemed important in the context of writing hagiography for Soros. CEU is a Soros project from end to end, and Doug's opinion piece this weekend was determined to show the old greed-bag in a good light.

Soros is certainly an interesting character study. On the one hand, he lobbies for higher taxes on billionaires like himself. On the other, he's not shy about availing himself of every tax dodge he can.

On one hand he likes to portray himself as a victim of Antisemitism.  In Israel he's widely considered one of the greatest Antisemites of the modern era.

Soros has partnered for many years with the National Endowment for Democracy, the US government funded "NGO" working non-stop to make the world safer for Soros-style financial looting. By and large it's a strategy that has worked well.

There's the odd hiccup, however. Hungarian president Oban for one has seen through the "open society" schtick, as in being "open" to world class billionaire currency speculators like Soros doesn't necessarily mean good things for the man or woman on the ground in Budapest. Hence the squabble over Soros U.

At no point does Saunders address the obvious elephant in the room; billionaires just have too much money. Whether it's the Koch boys spreading Tea Party goodness or Soros pushing his "open society" agenda, a little tweaking of the tax code would go a long way toward cutting out this foolishness.

We live in messed up times. Former Soros business partner and fellow billionaire, current POTUS Donny J did a 180 on US foreign policy the other day because he saw some "beautiful babies" die on TV.

The Tomahawks were in the air before you could ask for an independent  investigation into that alleged war crime.

It's all too much for me. I think I'll just sit tight and plan my next paddle.

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