Happy Birthday to A Very Special Young Lady

Grand daughter’s sixteenth birthday. Loved by all her family (with the sometime exception of her brother, but, hey, someone has to be the foil).

Visionary? Really?

 

Last fall i had occasion to be on the UBC campus for the first time in a decade and the visit was revelatory. The view I had of the campus had been almost entirely submerged in new construction, and a whole new city had sprung up on the Endowment Lands to the south of campus, including the rising spires of the temples to real estate speculation. My guide, who taught at BCIT and who lives in one of the older developments on the EL, pointed out that only full-time tenured faculty could actually afford the rents/mortgages in the neighbourhood. So I had to have a rueful laugh at a headline on the landing page of the Times-Colonist this morning mourning the passing of the real estate visionary who revolutionized UBC housing. I suspect that the visions were likely that of pecuniary symbolism pasted on his eyeballs.

What’s Old Is Still Old

…but it often keeps resurfacing.

 

Camus, himself

Long ago, in student days, I read a couple of plays by Albert Camus, Caligula and Le malentendu, each of which dealt with some fairly weighty questions that get left out of most of the day-to-day conversation. With thoughts of a couple of other Camus pieces (Noces and L’été) that had shown me a side of the author not generally acknowledged (reflections of sun-drenched vistas and the general beauty offered by nature, however indifferent or absurd that nature might be), I plunked down some serious coin for a Pleïade edition of the man’s complete works and invest some time in broadening that horizon while keeping some language skills activated.

Caligula

 

As is often the case with works read in the deep past, the reader’s perspective will have morphed through piled up time and experience, and such is the case with Caligula, a ruler who has forsaken the conventions for his own individual struggle with a lack of limits, something that rings true with a number of authoritarian administrations, yet only partially in the case of our own Mr. Trump (he is a product of a confused and twisted world, and therefore belongs to all of us). The big difference between Trump and his Roman analog is that Caligula is fully conscious of who he is, what he is doing, and the nature of his relationship to those he rules. As devastating as Caligula’s rule might have seemed at the time, the threats to civilization posed by Trump and his associates are, if you’ll pardon a smarmy Camusian observation, existential.

And I’m sure it’s an utter coincidence that I arrived at this particular spot in Camus’ oeuvre at this juncture in the Trump narrative (impeachment, assassination of the top Iranian military figure).

Help! I Can’t Keep Up!

Snowed Under Photo by Medena Rosa on Unsplash

I’m feeling snowed under. Aside from some recreational reading (C.J. Sansom at the moment), some long-time head-scratching (Les oeuvres complètes de Camus, Éditions de la Pléïade) and the usual daily read-around on the Net, there are particular bits of interest that keep popping up and fighting for time in the midst of family considerations, gardening (indoors, thus far, mostly) and playing a little music on the side.

An e-mail from the Post Carbon Institute sent me off to this (you’ll need to leave a name and valid e-mail address) on an emerging aspect of the transformation that will be necessary for humanity to progress and thrive. Bring it on!

A regular read-around site is the Blog Borg Collective who posted a piece  by Robin Matthews, a veteran of the Bas, Bas and Virk BC Rail slog. And now I see they’ve added a bit about Andrew Wilkinson and his wacky period of renting. OK, I can do that.

Then Facebook, I think via the South Africa Food Tank group, coughs up something like this, a likely way to kill off another hour or so, at least. Hmmm.

Let’s add this to the pile, via a friend and further to a discussion relating to Transitions Health Check.

I get notes from Corey Robin about interesting discussions around and about intellectuals in places somewhat more steeped in intellectual activity than my present abode. So this appeared this morning. I’m not sure I want to spend the morning with Friedrich Hayek, but the perspective is important.

There were a couple of articles on The Tyee this morning more than worthy of reading in depth (my call).

And then there are volumes of Youtube video discussions along these lines to add to the heap.

Have you ever felt like a gum-chewing teen standing on the threshold of an outlet mall?

Is a pattern emerging? The bad news is that there is so much commentary because there is such a litany of misdeeds and malfeasance in all levels of society and in almost all areas of endeavour. The good news is that there are so many people concerned enough for the welfare of other people and that of society in general to run down the stories and to put them in front of those who will listen.

Sadly, there just isn’t time to do it all. Please consider taking up the task and supporting those already hard at work correcting what ails us.

Now I had better get after all this good stuff.

 

 

 

 

Medena Rosa

Is It Illegal? Just Hang On A Sec!

The Centre of The Liberal Universe

 

(http://deadder.net/   https://www.thechronicleherald.ca)

While it is deemed that economic impacts may not be considered in the implementation of a DPA, it seems we can always find a way around any roadblocks inhibiting special treatment of our special friends in business.

The above is from the paper of record (for a lot of folks) and hints neatly at how the PMO can do it’s due obeisance to SNC so as to preserve votes in Québec. The law doesn’t do what we want it to do? The law, slack as it is, might cut SNC off the public trough? Wait, we can change the law, and deem it retroactive to the time of Methuselah, just, y’know, to be sure.

(with the gracious permission of the author: (http://deadder.net/)

Who publishes at:

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca

Mail It In

From linked site.

 

A friend sent a link to the news that BMW has developed the technology for a completely autonomous motorcycle. I used to indulge in cycling for both transportation and pleasure and mostly gave it up when I realized that climate stabilization and blowing fuel out the tailpipe for fun were not compatible.

So I wrote back:

This ranks right up with my other favourite automated activities, like eating, sex, and, why not? drinking wine. Think of all the snotty wine-tasting vocabulary you can forget, and God! the lack of hangovers after too much enthusiasm at the tasting bench…

Imagine sex without the need for dating, foreplay, birth control, STDs, messy relationships…

Food without having to buy, prepare and serve, no more chewing swallowing, gastric distress, voiding and defecating, no more spice-burn, salmonella and ptomaine poisoning, contented belching, low-flying ducks, fibre requirements, cholesterol, diets…

Feel free to weigh in on other activities!

A Comment

 

I left this comment on an article posted by the Disaffected Liberal whose stuff I read on a very regular basis. It’s not cute, but he often says the things that others avoid.

Disaffected Lib’s post

Article by Guy Dauncey

Long time follower of French politics (long story). Nicolas Hulot quit yesterday as minister of the environment. He came out of EELV and has a rep as a serious enviro. His appointment was obviously part of the window-dressing by Manny Mac as an enticement to elect his fledgling Les Républicains En Marche as an alternative to the failed Socialists (he worked for a spell as minister of the economy under Hollande) and their failed Sarko counterparts. Surprise! As with Horgan, Trudeau and so many others, Macron has turned out to be more of the same crowd that kisses the toes of the rich and demands sacrifices for the serfs. Watching the rationale of pretty much all government agencies reminds me of watching post-game conferences with athletes: you can almost cite the page from the Book of Excuses, Lauds and Other Clichés.
You’re correct that no one wanting power will tell the increasingly awful truth, sacrifiicng the future on the altar of power now, and making the requisite sacrifices unbidden is like resigning from society, besides which I have to furnish my own tin hats.
Update:
Further Update:
I saw part of the interview in the course of which Hulot announced his resignation, apparently without letting anyone (wife, president of the republic) know, and the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the presence of an uninvited lobbyist at a meeting at the Élysée Palace, and a subsequent announcement in favour of the group represented by the lobbyist. He finds it repugnant that lobbyists can be so close to the centre of decision making, and that they can wield the sort of influence that seems unavailable to the voters.

It’s Like Vietnam, A Little, All Over Again

 

 

Back in the days of my USian existence, it was a bit frustrating during the course of the 1960s, my teen years, to watch the Vietnam engagement grow in scope, gravity and bloodiness, as well as in the consciousness of some of us coming out of the chrysalis of childhood. All around us, there was surf music, burger joints, game shows, big-bore V-8s and a whole lot of business as usual. It wasn’t a war, there was no declaration, it wasn’t even a police action like Korea a decade earlier. Everything on the home front seemed to perk along without the war bonds, rationing, and the exhortations on every street corner to traipse off to a foreign tar pit to put an end to your miserable little life for the good of God, democracy and the American Way. The home front never went to war, so it was easy to ignore the signals.

Of course, as the decade came to a close, the murmurs morphed into chatter and then to a roar to the point where even those legislators in the hallowed halls of power began to waver in their determination to see an end to the resistance of these black-pyjama clad little brown people until “we” finally tucked our tail between our legs, told our South Vietnamese allies that they were on their on, and high-tailed it out of Dodge in the last helo  to depart the roof of the embassy compound.

Now there’s smoke all around me. The signals that we’re waging war on ourselves are plain to see, hear, smell: it has never been so obvious that we are, in the name of convenience and consumption, fouling the only nest we have and setting up a gruesome end for civilization and for most life on this planet. And now, there begins that transformation from whisper to chatter as people wake up and discover that our collective complacency and procrastination have brought on the crisis foretold by phalanxes of climate scientist Cassandras, just when we reach the point where there may be no method to remedy the situation without major suffering, if at all.

 

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
                                        —Sir Josiah Stamp

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” – H.G. Wells

 

Living as if there were no tomorrow, we are converting a carefree metaphor into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
—John Whiting
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. 
—Douglas Adams

Sir John A., We Hardly Knew Ye

 

Mayor Lisa Helps announced yesterday that the statue of our first PM will be removed from its podium of honour in front of the entrance to Victoria City Hall pretty much forthwith. This has, of course, generated a good deal of tsking, finger wagging, and jaw flapping, much of it to do with the reverence we feel for our founding father, to borrow a USism. But let’s have a bit of context, by perhaps considering Johnny Mac in his own context, but somewhat transposed into our current status.

 

Do we hold Justin Trudeau to be worthy of the same level of reverence and Sir John A.? How about Stephen Harper? Paul Martin? Jean Chrétien? Kim Campbell? Brian Mulroney? John Turner? PET? Joe Clark?Mike?

With few exceptions for exceptional circumstances, the answer is no. I haven’t done the required research and reading to really nail it down, but my sense is that these folks, and all the rest of their ilk, were, first and foremost, politicians, with all the mixed connotations that that term carries on its overloaded back. They were people both revered and reviled, depending on your political stripe, your policy outlook and how deeply you were embedded in the system that produced them.

 

Perhaps a gentle step back to consider all facets of admiration and condemnation might help us to keep our blood pressure in check as we navigate possible attempts to reconcile settlers and First Nations, as well as our past with our present and future.