Saturday, April 25, 2015

Senate Business - 2

Senate Business -2


Well it had to start somewhere, and the starting point was in 1867 after a bunch of politicians an’ businessmen got together to form this private club called the Senate. It was based on the British House of Lords, except we didn’t have any Lords in them days. Still don’t. No matter. Senators are generally appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the prime minister. To qualify for the senate, one must be a Canadian citizen, at least thirty years of age, an’ have a minimum net worth of $4,000.00 in 1867 dollars. The latter qualification was to ensure avoidance of economic vagaries an’ turmoil an’ remains unchanged to this day.

Do you see where this is goin’ already? Reminds me of the Rotary club I used to belong to. There you could only have one member from any industry or business and one alternate member. And if you needed to do business with any business or industry, it had better be with one o’ the members. The reciprocity o’ that was they promised not to screw you on the bill at the other end. Yeah, right. What ya gives is what ya gets, I figure. It was sort of a business club with high falutin’ rules an’ lofty ideals an’ very little else other than a fine lunch at a swanky hotel an’ a lot o’ speechifyin’ to cover up the business bein’ done.

The senate was really no different. It was a collection of wealthy an’ influential business people an’ politicians gettin’ together at three o’clock every afternoon tryin’ to figure out what to do with theirselves an’ justify their very existence. They was afraid that if they didn’t meet every day, people wouldn’t take them seriously an’ the whole Senate would collapse. They couldn’t have that, an’ it wasn’t that there wasn’t a whole lot to discuss. But they were the “House of Sober Second Thought” to advise the rabble in the House of Commons on political matters after all. They didn’t make the legislation, but they had the power to veto it upon “sober second thought”. That was a vital part of keeping the politicians in the house of commons in check an’ keep them from passing legislation that might hurt the elite society.

Right from the outset you can see the basis upon which this pillar of Canadian society was bein, built. More than that, it became the status quo of Tory philosophy, and not so subtly neither. Of course it was also the Whigs design too, but a little more refined. They were just a bit sneakier about it.

Well that basically sets up the order of Canadian society, right from the inception of our country as a nation. The government rules the country and the wealthy and business elite rule the government. That’s the status quo we just have to put up with. It’s been that way from time immemorial and continues right to this day. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Preserving the Red Chamber

Preserving The Red Chamber


Well, now in we’re for it! Now we’ll see exactly how our democracy works. Originally designed to “allow representatives of Canada’s wealthy elite to veto legislation passed by politicians representing the common people”, it pretty well speaks to the intended rulership of the country. Its purpose was to veto potentially harmful legislation passed by the democratic rabble of the House of Commons much in the same way the British House of Lords did. But since Canada lacked its own aristocracy, it needed its own rules to qualify its Senators to be Senators.

Other than retired politicians, senators are usually picked from the ranks of accomplished Canadians (the definition of which is doubtful) who have achieved some degree of success in their various disciplines. They must be land owners in the province they represent and have a net worth of $4,000.00.

Enter Justin Trudeau. I don’t think anyone in politics grasped the depth of vision in Trudeau’s decision to kick all the liberal senators out of the Liberal Caucus. They still don’t. It’s inconceivable for any political party to turn it’s back on the cozy cloak of elite supporters and manipulators. With the stroke of a pen he has abolished the senate – at least in the Liberal Party. Whatever the opposition or even the Supreme Court says, he doesn’t care. There are no Liberal Senators – period.

Enter ex Senators Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin. These folks know the history of the Senate since 1867. And they’re doing no different than every other Senator, with a few exceptions, since that time. Perhaps they’re pushing the envelope a bit, and that could be deliberate, especially in Duffy’s case. He isn’t nearly the bumbling fat fool he presents himself to be. And neither is his lawyer in fact, or the judge in the case. I think they have an agenda to show the Senate up for the pork barrel it is, and the whole government system for its top down elitist attitude of ignoring the rank and file middle and lower classes. I hope I’m correct in that. Duffy would end up being a hero for the Canadian Public and Harper would be shown up for the buffoon that he is. And he would have to swallow the cost and shut up about it. Trudeau would, by that same pen stroke have proven that he has the interest of middle and lower class Canadians at heart. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.  

If I Were A Carpenter

If I Were a Carpenter

We were all thrilled when a notice came to our doors about the garage rooftop being turned into a community garden of sorts in our apartment complex. Our apartment block population is largely made up of seniors, most of whom sold their homes to move into a more compact lifestyle. But the yen to do a little gardening is hard to erase from the mind. There’s enough old Mennonites here who grew up in their gardens and who will jump at the chance to have a little plot. Mind you, it ain’t no acreage, but just a token of what used to be. Well, good enough.

Well now, ya can’t just dump a load o’ soil onto the roof an’ expect other than a big mess. Ya got to build garden boxes. In the first place, it’s hard for old people to stay bent down to seed and hoe their gardens. It’s even harder for them to get up again after hours of weedin’. Besides, garden boxes define the boundaries of each garden plot.

I didn’t really believe this would happen until a load of pressure treated lumber showed up on the rooftop: 2 x 10’s, 4 x 4’s an’ 2 x 4’s all just layin’ there getting seasoned I suppose. Well, it’s early in the year yet so ya’ got to have some patience. So far, so good.

About a week later a couple o’ carpenters show up. At least I think they was carpenters. They spent a couple’a hours walking around the roof assessin’ the situation. Well it’s a big roof coverin’ a hunnert an’ eighty cars per garage floor plus the indoor pool. After they done their inspection, they called it a day. The next day they show up ready for action. They commence to pile the 2 x 10’s in two places an’ the 4x 4’s in another, along with the 2 x 4’s. That pretty well takes up the whole day. I should perhaps qualify takin’ up the whole day: they had to take time out to text messagin’ on their cell phones, have a bunch o’ smoke breaks an’ sit downs between carryin’ lumber around. I should also mention that it took the two o’ them to carry each piece o’ lumber, one piece at a time, to it’s designated spot, so there was another two days that just sort’a flew by.

Well now the carpentry work was about to start, so they set up their radial arm saw an’ started cuttin’ the 2 x 10’s (keepin’ up with their textin’, smoke breaks an’ sit downs at regular intervals) an’ two days later they got ‘em all cut an’ ready to assemble.

They don’t use nails neither. No, they gotta screw ‘em together, one guy holdin’ the pieces an’ the other guy screwin’ ‘em into place. For my money they was both just screwin’ around, stretchin’ a two day job into two weeks “work”.

Now I gotta wait while they bring the soil up one shovel at a time. That ought’a bring us to the May long weekend when you can start seedin’ the root crops an’ we’ be right on schedule.

Turns out these guys aren’t carpenters at all, or if they are carpenters, they specialize in time management. I didn’t know they had to learn that in their apprenticeship school. They must’a learned it from the bricklayers who ain’t allowed to lay more than seven bricks an hour, accordin’ to union rules.

Used to be that if you had a job to do, you laid into ‘er until you got ‘er done an’ to H E double hockey sticks with the hindmost except for wipin’ the sweat off yer brow. Well, they don’t do it that way no more. I think I was born forty - fifty years too soon, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.   

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Self Mutilation

Self Mutilation


The social workers and psychiatrists call it “self harm” but what it really is, is self-mutilation – the inflicting of visible wounds on one’s own body. Quite frankly, it’s an ugly phenomenon I can’t quite get my head around. Makes me angry as a matter of fact, so I thought I’d put pen to paper to air it out. The whole business is extremely upsetting, which I suppose could well be the purpose of the exercise. But what in the world leads to such dramatic displays of self-loathing? In fact, is it self-loathing or is it an attention getter? I rather suspect the latter, judging by what I’ve seen so far. Of course, my first reaction, and I suppose that of most right thinking parents is: “You want a punishment? I’LL give you a punishment to help you out!” – or as Russell Peters father used to put it; “I gonna put a hurt on you”: a perfectly sensible solution.

It’s my understanding that about thirty-five percent of teenagers engage in this sort of self-destructive behavior. So let’s begin with a basic truth that teenagers act irrationally. That’s an irrefutable fact. Well, they’re supposed to start doin’ that as soon as they reach puberty. The world wouldn’t be right otherwise. And they’re not really all that stupid neither. They just act that way. I suppose all the information that’s been crammed into their brains from day one has to sort itself out in an organized fashion one way or another and until that happens, well . . . . .

I got to go back a lot o’ years to remember my time as a teenager. But I can still remember one of my favorite things to think about whenever I got into trouble was; ‘if you give me a lickin’, I’ll get sick an’ die and THEN you’ll be sorry’. Well I knew better than to say that out loud ‘cause they’da laughed me outa the room and I knew it. Besides, in about two minutes I’d forgot about it anyways. It never occurred to me that they wouldn’t give a rip either way. Nobody mourns an idiot. They just pity his sad mental state.

Well let me get right to it. Shrinking family values these days may well have a bearing on this trend. Mom an’ dad are either not getting’ along or they’ve split up an’ now there’s two houses an’ two sets o’ rules. Which one do you follow? Mom hates dad an’ dad hates mom an’ the kids think it’s all their own faults. Well if that ain’t bad enough, one or both o’ the parents finds a new partner. THAT’S when it all hits the fan. Now the child has to play second fiddle to the new partner who by the way starts to lord it over the kid. The way they used to play one parent off against the other don’t work no more neither and they’re left to bein’ a kid again in two separate households, neither o’ which is of their choosin’, and where the new partner gets priority treatment to boot.

That’s enough to send anybody into a depression. But bloodletting and self mutilation is no answer. Neither is self-loathing. In fact it shows the immaturity of the cutter in not having the intestinal fortitude to suck up the whole situation and deal with it within the power of his or her own spirit. Had mom an’ dad done their job proper, the kids would know just how special they really are. They would also know their proper place with each member of the family and the expectation of what they must contribute to the household to be valued as an integral part of it. They would also have learned that entitlement is not a birthright but a thing to be earned.

Instead of making their bodies ugly with mutilation in a cheap attempt at getting attention, they might explore the possibility of putting their shoulders to the family wheel to make things brighter and happier for all concerned. They might teach mom an’ dad a thing or two. Think of all the rewards. “Give to others and it will return to you tenfold.” At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get!

The Hurrier I Go, The Behinder I Get!

I guess that's what happens when you are a chronic multi-tasker. You get to a point of having so many jobs on the go at one time, you need to make a list and maybe even a road map of where each project is located.

That would be all right if none of them had any problems. But of course that never happens. I don't remember a time when I had a job to do that went perfectly smoothly. I don't think I'd know what to do if that ever occurred. Case in point: About three months ago I embarked on a new way to produce "Talking eBooks" where the synchronization of sound was equal to the speed of the rolling script. When it works, it's better than anything else I've seen. Perfect! When it doesn't, it's terrible. It seems that Mennonite cusswords which are usually made up phrases having to do with farm animals and/or fence posts are misunderstood by Adobe. Suffice it to say that under my old, obsolete free editing system, I managed to put together chapter one of "Michael". Only nine more to go, but we live in hope.

In the midst of all this, my new website is up and looks great. Suddenly I am ready to present my "Talking eBooks" for sale. I had the whole formula figured out of how to provide deep discounts to allow buyers to direct the difference between the retail price and the discounted price to their favorite charity. It just seemed like the right thing to do, giving people the opportunity to support the charities THEY care about.

Well I can still do all that in terms of producing DVDs that can be watched on television players as well as on computers. But books in print - I haven't sold a book in months! I don't even think they do that anymore. In fact, I don't know how much longer DVDs and their players will be viable. Now it's all about live streaming (or something like that), whatever that means. I guess I'll have to figure that out. It's a darn shame that these techies keep changing everything up to suit themselves. Sooner or later we'll develop something that's enjoyable and beneficial to all (except maybe the techies) and move on.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Chickens an' Eggs an' Easter Bunnies

Chickens an’ Eggs an’ Easter Bunnies


The first thing ya notice is that the snow is disappearin’. So is the cold an’ windy weather. You hear them Canada geese honkin’ overhead at two in the mornin’ ‘til ya wanna throw somethin’ at ‘em, preferably the alarm clock. Well yer still tryin’ to get used to that gol-danged daylight savin’s time an’ them honkers ain’t helpin’. Suddenly ya glance over at the calendar an’ it says that this comin’ Friday is Good Friday. WHAT? THIS Friday? I haven’t even frightened the grandchildren yet, never mind paintin’ up any Easter eggs.

To tell the truth, the grandkids are getting’ a little long in the tooth for my shenanigans anyways. Very few o’ them are even teenagers anymore so it don’t have the same effect it used to. Used to be I’d tell them we had to guard the hen house to keep the rabbits from stealin’ the eggs. Then as they grew older the story changed to havin’ to hunt them rabbits ‘cause their relationship with chickens just wasn’t natural, besides which, if we caught one, it would make a fine roast for Easter dinner. Well, that last statement caused an uproar amongst the grandchildren. How could I even think of huntin’ down a cute little bunny rabbit what never done any harm to anybody?  My vivid description of a skinned rabbit layin’ flat on his back in grandma’s roaster, or spinnin’ lazily on a spit over a campfire was usually cause for long lectures from everyone concerned. These days the tables are turned an they tell me they won’t come to visit me in the nursing prison they’re gonna stick me in if I don’t shaddap.

Well it’s all in good fun an’ it’s our Easter tradition. It ain’t got nothin to do with the religious event. That’s somethin’ we celebrate privately an’ it’s nobody’s business. But there’s some other traditions that are changin’ too. Big ones! Used to be around our house that at this time o’ year a new hat, or a dress, or a new pair o’ shoes, or all three together would mysteriously appear, an’ that had nothin’ to do with the Easter bunny neither. It had to do with fashion! It was a right of spring marked by the Easter weekend. You had to have a new outfit to show off in church, or at Easter dinner, an’ the fancier it was, the better. But that ain’t been happenin’ lately. Mind you, we don’t do a lot of socializin’ neither no more so it ain’t necessary to have all this new equipment to show off in. In fact, we was just steppin’ out for a walk in the local park today when the missus says to me how she’s got to clean out her closet. There’s clothes in there she says she ain’t wore in fifteen years. Oh my, what a surprise! Listen, if she wore a different outfit every day, it would take fifteen years to get through ‘em all! Well, it apppears that the new right of spring is gonna be to get rid of fifteen years worth o’ clothes. Ha ha! We’ll see how that goes. It seems to me that’s goin’ to be a lot harder tradition to establish than planned, judging by comments about favorite jackets, shoes an’ purses. These things got sentimental value or so it seems from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.