Typical Politician

Bardish

I recently met an atypical politician, or at least that’s what she claimed. She was pleased that she was introduced, not as a local politician, but rather as ‘our elected representative.’ She claims that she and her government want to do things a little differently.

Bardish Chagger PC MP is a Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo. She is the current Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the former Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

While she may want to change things, it was evident early that she has many of the earmarks of the ‘Typical Politician.’ She attended a recent brunch meeting of the local Free Thinkers group. She was to talk to them about the separation of Church and State.

She was born here in Ontario. I have heard her disparaged as a (Muslim) Paki. I thought that she was a (Hindu) Indian, until she showed up with a male Sikh aide. A member videotaped the meeting for posterity. Used to many media scrums, she quickly clipped on the mic-pack herself.

When she arrived, she went around two large tables, shaking hands and speaking to about 25 members individually. Before beginning her talk, she slyly mentioned that she would take any questions and answer any concerns that anyone had. An hour and a half later, we’d talked about everything except Church and State. The moderator had to butt in, and present her with two specific concerns, and let her get back to him about them later.

While not a ‘prepared speech,’ she probably had a good mental picture of what she wished to present. She’s quite intelligent, and well-spoken, with no hesitations in speech, or ‘ums’ or ‘ahs’. She and her aide made a good team. She stood up front, and dealt with the crowd, and their concerns. He hovered, almost unnoticed in the background with his Smart phone, making sure he noted each question, and getting people’s names, and contact information, and assuring that they had hers.

She told us that young Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was trying to decentralize the office. She said that no-one entered his chamber, only to be told, “This is the way we’re going to do it.” Rather, she said, he was grooming people like her to be assistant PMs or perhaps the next Prime Minister. She was encouraged to approach him with a proposed plan of action. I gave her a line that a company President once gave me, “Don’t come to me with a problem. Come to me with a solution.” She said that she liked the sentiment, would use it herself, and probably pass it on the Prime Minister.

Before she began her little speech at 10:30 AM, she told us that an aunt had died, and she would have to leave by 11:30 – 11:40 at the latest – to pay her respects. At 12:10, she was still going back around the tables, shaking hands and currying favor like a typical politician. She had a dead body to deal with, but she was still glad-handing her way out of this room full of intelligent, knowledgeable, influential voters.

Niagara bridge

The problem with wanting to do things differently, is that there are some jobs that just have to be done ‘that way’. If you promise people that you will walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls, it is quicker, easier and safer to get in a car, and drive across the bridge. You have to change people’s expectations.

The makeup of Trudeau’s cabinet is 50% female, a figure which he is proud of. I was amazed that so many women would be fool enough to want to play, what is still, essentially, an Old (White) Boys game. I can only hope that the inclusion of women and minorities in Government can make Canada a kinder, gentler, fairer place to live, and we can send all our fence-builders down to the States, to work for Trump, but I cynically wait for proof. 😳

***

Shortly after I composed this, she put her shapely foot in her mouth. A member of the Opposition ambushed her as she left the Chamber, and demanded to know what she and her Government were doing about the spate of opioid deaths. His riding had had 38 such fatalities in the last year.

Apparently without thinking, she said, “Oh, that’s not bad.” Now, any deaths are to be mourned or prevented. What she meant was that, the average per riding is between 60 and 70. The Waterloo Region riding had 73 in that same period, but she had to backpedal quickly, as the political-points game was played.

***

Canada also has a too big to fail transportation company which does considerable sales overseas. Canada has laws against bribes and kickbacks, but this company operates in places where that’s the expected way to do business.

Our handsome young, trust-fund Prime Minister’s female Attorney General caught wind of these nefarious dealings, and started an investigation. He, and several of his senior staff, urged her to quietly sweep it under the rug, but she persisted. The PM had her removed from her post, and slapped with a non-disclosure writ, but it reached the media,

Rats immediately began deserting the sinking ship. Another woman resigned her post as Finance Minister in a fit of ethics, further damaging the PM’s vaunted 50% female Cabinet makeup. The PM’s senior secretary, supposedly the brains behind the throne, has also resigned. It appears that he, like the women, wants to be out of the range of shrapnel, when this thing explodes.

It seems that, the more they promise to do new things, in new ways, the more we get stuck with the same old post turtles. Typical!   😯

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Christianity In Ten Words

Christianity 10 Words

Thomas Jefferson is often held up by the more rabid Bible-thumpers as a ‘Good Christian,’ who helped found the United States, and is validation for their “on Christian values,” and other judgemental views.  Jefferson however, edited, and had printed, a personal copy of the Bible, in which he removed every story of Christ’s ‘miracles,’ although he never admitted why he had done that.

While viewed as a Christian, he had the following to say about religion, and God.

“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

***

When Christians talk about being “persecuted,” what they really mean is that they are discontent at no longer being able to use social and Political power to force their views, their morality or their dogma onto other people as they once did.  They can no longer burn people at the stake, prosecute people for blasphemy, and have much less of an ability to oppress minorities, and “keep them in their place.”

The dogma, ignorance and authoritarianism that is required for Christianity to maintain control has greatly diminished, and religious authorities and their institutions no longer have the power, nor the respect that they once had.  This makes them feel as if they are being unfairly persecuted, although they have no understanding of what the word means.

Creation

  • Religion is about internal spiritual experiences, and that is all.
  • There is no world other than the material world around us.
  • There are no beings other than the living organisms on this planet or elsewhere in the universe.
  • There is no objective being or thing called God that exists separately from the person believing in him.
  • There is no ultimate reality outside human minds either.
  • We give our own lives meaning and purpose; there is nothing outside us that does it for us.
  • God is a projection of the human mind.
  • God is the way human beings put ‘spiritual’ ideals into a poetic form that they are able to use and work with.
  • God is simply a word that stands for our highest ideals.
  • God-talk is a language tool that enables us to talk about our highest ideals and create meaning in our lives.
  • Religious stories and texts are ways in which human beings set down and work out spiritual, ethical, and fundamental meanings in life.
  • Our religious talk is really about us and our inner selves, and the community and culture we live in.
  • Religious talk uses the familiar language of things that exist outside ourselves to make it easier for us to handle complex and subtle ideas.
  • Faith therefore isn’t belief in a God that exists outside minds.
  • Faith is what human beings do when they pursue ‘spiritual’ ideals.
  • Saying that someone follows a particular faith is a way of talking about their attitudes to life and to other people.

Frustration

Getting The Word Out

I guess I got my work ethic from both my parents.  Mom was content to just get a job and do it, in a time and place where women working outside the home, and especially in a factory, were unusual.  Once Dad got a reliable factory job, with a regular salary – paid in cash, in an envelope, every week – he often looked for other minor ways to supplement income, whatever it took to support self and family.

Like me, he’d got some secondary education, but no concrete idea of what he wanted to do with his working life.  Out of school, he worked for a year at a flour mill, then a year in the lumber industry.  He trained as a butcher, and refused to eat any fowl for the rest of his life because of how messy they were to clean.

He worked as a grocery store clerk, as a taxi driver, and then as the taxi dispatcher.  He worked as a poolroom attendant.  Not exactly glamorous, but it paid the bills.  As I was growing up, he devised several ways to supplement income.

He organized a weekly Saturday night party/dance at the local Legion, and took it from a dozen drunks who didn’t want to go home to their wives, to a couple of hundred people dancing and being entertained.  He hired the little band and sang and told jokes and made public service announcements.  It gave him and Mom a social night out, and put a few dollars into the family coffers.

He talked a printer into running him some advertising sheets for “SMITTY’S CARWASH”, and put them on posts on Main Street, and down near the beach, in the tourist area.  I could be mowing the lawn or eating lunch, and someone would roll into our driveway.  A rag, a bucket of hot soapy water, and the garden hose, and ten minutes later they had a shiny car.

Speaker

Another “Remember When” thing that he/we did, that no longer occurs because it’s been outlawed almost everywhere, was mobile public broadcasting.  He got a pair of speaker horns, attached to a sheet of plywood. We would wrestle them up, and attach them to a roof rack on a little British, Vauxhall station-wagon.   A feed cord ran from them to an amplifier in the back.  Power was supplied by a charged auto battery via a cord with alligator clips, because cars didn’t have cigarette lighters.

From when I was about 10, to 14, after I helped him set it up, I would ride with him.  He would drive, and speak into a mike.  Do one block, move to the next, and blast out the same announcement.  Up one street, and down the next, then back and forth across the town.

This was a summertime activity only, for when people were outside their non-air-conditioned houses, or the windows and doors were wide open.  There never seemed to be any dearth of clients – the town was holding a Bingo on the lawn beside the Town Hall – the Softball League had a playoff game – the Anglican Church was holding a pancake supper – the local snake-oil salesman was having a sale at his appliance store – somebody had brought Donkey Baseball to the local park – the Ladies’ Auxiliary was touting their Fish and Chips supper at the Masons’ Lodge – the circus was coming to town.

When I entered my teens, one day my Dad suggested that I take up the mike, and broadcast the spiel.  It would have been much easier for him not to have had to drive one-handed, and be able to concentrate on the road, but I was still a shy little nerd with a squeaky voice.  By the time my voice deepened a bit, and I had taken public-speaking training for assertive projection, times had changed.

This was the stone-age equivalent of social media – just without the internet, but people were waking up to the idea that they didn’t have to put up with things like spam noise pollution.  Churches in town were told to stop ringing their bells, because the faithful now had clocks, and knew when to come to worship.

The one church which had already removed its clanging bell, had replaced it with speakers on all four faces of the tower, and used them to blare out the chimes from their new electronic organ, and the entire service.  It was right across the street from a large Bed and Breakfast, as well as a 9-unit Inn.  The guests, and their hosts, strongly protested that they had the expectation of peace and quiet.

My father sold the amp and speakers.  The churches kept their bells quiet and their sermons indoors, and technology continued to create newer and better (?) ways to get the word out.  Now, if we can just pry the word out of the cell-phone-addicts’ ears.   😕

#464

Yenta

I’ve Got A Secret!

I’ve got a secret, and I’m not gonna tell you.  Nyah, nyah.

Gossip

I am not a gossip.
I do not betray a confidence.
I do not gossip.
I hate gossips!
I think they suffer from a character defect.
I feel they lack self-control, and moral and ethical standards.
I am not a gossip!

I recently discovered why I am not a gossip.  In my long, loner, loser life, no-one has felt me important enough to entrust me with information that I could pass on, or a confidence that I could betray.  It’s easy to not be a sinner, when you’ve never been tempted.  That changed recently.  Somebody told me something.
SOMEBODY!  TOLD!  ME!  SOMETHING!
HOLY SHIT!!

Steam ears

I always thought that cartoon characters with steam pouring from their ears were just a joke.  I’ve got lots of empty space inside my head to absorb an explosion.  Damn, I almost lost my eardrums.  I found one of my eyebrows under a footstool.  It’s a good thing I was sitting down.  I had an attack of the vapors. Everything got fuzzy, and swirled around.  I needed a mint julep to calm my nerves.

‘I need to set up a Twitter account!  I’ll have to open a Facebook page!  Is the computer turned on?  Hand me the cell phone!  Will the extension ladder reach the roof?  I have to get up there and shout this out!’

Easy boy!  Just stick your head in a bucket of ice cubes and water.

About a year ago, I thought I did a favor for a friend.  She didn’t provide all the necessary relevant information, and I recently found that, instead of being of assistance, I’d just been spinning my wheels.  When she fully briefed me, I was able to make an informed choice of a different option.  It’s still early days yet, but this time I think it’s going to take.

To ensure the greatest likelihood of success for another small favor, she filled me in with some background information.  It was like watching the movie Inception.  REALITY CHANGED.  Nothing was what it had seemed.

The information wasn’t down and dirty, or evil and perverted.  In fact, quite the opposite!  This news was happy, joyous, fulfilling, uplifting – just social and legal stuff that needed to be dealt with before the general public is allowed to know about it.

This is “Christ Is Risen” news.  I should be riding from village to village on a donkey, proclaiming the glorious story.  You should know me from afar by the golden radiant glow of the wondrous tale within me – and I can’t say a word.

The wife and son and daughter know the lady, and like her.  They’ve worried for a while because she seemed to be stressed, but now feel better because things seem to be going smoother.  They would approve of the information.  They would be ecstatic to know the full truth, but I cannot say a thing.  Don’t ask me.

Two people can keep a secret – if one of them is dead.  While I am sometimes tempted, I really don’t want to have to shoot a couple of them.  I’m just going to sit here with a knowing smile on my face, and bask in the warm glow of the trust I’ve been given.  In the fullness of time, this situation will resolve itself, and I will no longer be the only one who is permitted to be thrilled for my our friend.

In the meantime….I do not have a character defect.  I do possess self-control, as well as moral and ethical standards.  I am not a gossip!  I am happy that my friend will be happy, and she will be happy if I keep my mouth shut.  If only others could.

 #460

Gimme That Old-Time….Everything

Always eager to be “right up-to-date”, in 1981, a large theme park was built at the north end of Toronto, called Canada’s Wonderland.  Year by year, more rides and attractions were added.  I saved up my pennies, back when we still had them, and by 1987 was able to visit for a day.

A few years later, the owners did as many Canadian business people do.  They sold out to the Americans, and the place became Paramount Canada’s Wonderland.  Like Military Intelligence and Business Ethics, this makes sense only if you squint your eyes a lot.

Back when computers were only a gleam in most people’s eyes, there was a booth with a computer.  It was loaded with tons of basic facts, and, for the lordly sum of $1, it would provide a laminated sheet, showing what things were like on the day you were born, and compare old prices to (then) new.

27 years later, I ran across it during a flurry of spring cleaning, and I’ve scanned and included it, so that you can have a double chance to compare, what things cost, first in 1944, and again in 1987, so that you can really miss “the good old days.”

Time Capsule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this was an even older newspaper sheet from my home-town weekly.  Printed April 1, 1981, it gave replays of local things which occurred 10, 20, 50, 100 years before.  From twenty years earlier, in 1961, there was a story about me and nine others from my little sharpshooter rifle club.

Apparently we went to the next small town for a challenge shooting match, and beat their ten-boy team quite handily.  Our informal little rifle club had officially become the Junior Conservation Club, but somehow, in the article, we were listed as the Boys’ Athletic Club.  We were many things to many people, but one thing we weren’t, was athletic!

Archon’s Exciting Work Life

The inestimable John Erickson invited me to make him slack-jawed with tales of my work history.  The only thing about the story of me and my career that would make anyone go slack-jawed is why half of Southern Ontario hasn’t lapsed into a coma.

With no life-plan, and only a grade twelve education, I worked almost a year at a Royal Bank, before I realized that it and I were not good partners. I put in a summer season as the pro-shop assistant at a country-club golf course, although, as a paper-work diversion, I was on the books as the golf Pro.  I moved from Southampton Ontario, to Kitchener, because that’s where the jobs were, then. With no experience and little training, I went back to an adult education course.

After graduating (again), I worked as a Production Clerk at a shoe factory. The company moved me to a skate plant, where I set blades on boots. When they found that I could read well enough to not put out size 12 hockey blades to be attached to little girls’ figure skates, I became a Production Scheduler. They tried to train me for Quality Control, but a recession was on. I got a job at a steel warehouse/fabricating shop. I started as an Inventory Clerk, filled in for two months as Acting Inventory Manager, moved to Expediter, and later up to Buyer, over 7 years. Leaving there, I became a Purchasing Agent for a couple of years at a large millwright/rigging shop, with some metal fab. and machining. I left that company to be the Purchasing Agent at a large (400 employee) precision machine shop that made automotive, dental, medical and atomic energy parts, for four years.

I got a job as a fancy-named Materials Manager at a small auto-parts stamping shop for two years. I had 8 people working under me. The title just meant I had all the responsibility – with none of the authority. I got shit on from above, and had it rubbed in from below. When the company president found that I had ethics, he pulled the employment rug out from under me.

I tried outside sales, first for a small local courier, then for a safety-supply company, but, with no sales experience and no established territory, I couldn’t support the family. I drifted on and off unemployment for a couple of years. I delivered flyers and catalogs. I worked for a small, and later, a larger building-custodial firm. I spent a couple of years with a Security Guard firm. I patrolled a couple of downtown hotels, and then got moved to a shoe/boot/slipper plant.

I had worked with the leather-cutting department foreman years before. After about a year as security, he talked me into working for him. Starting at $7.01/hr, I worked up to $9.25. He put me on a piece-work job, where the previous operator had made $13.+/hr. Not only did I stay at the nine dollar figure, the company was busy going bankrupt, and I either went back to $7.01 or found a new job.

I took the seven bucks, and his shit, for a couple of months, until the previous press operator told me that her new employer was hiring – at $11.35. If you dig back to about August, you’ll find a post about how I got that job. The economy now booming, I kept that job for 17.35 years, through three corporate owners. The last wanted to expand too fast, and bought a lot of small plants, all over North America. When the boom went bust again, inevitably, they were asset-rich, but cash-flow poor, and jobs got eliminated until the entire plant closed.

I found that now, jobs were obtained by working through temp-agencies. I got a piece-of-cake job at a steel-parts producer. Just as I was about to be taken on full-time, the 2008 recession kicked in. Thinking I was only going to be laid off for three weeks over Christmas/New Years, I had the temp agency get me a fill-in job with a medium-sized transport firm. The parts firm went kaput, and I had to stick with the new job.

They were shipping steel coils by rail-car, to the prairies and B.C. I worked as part of a framing crew, using lumber to brace the coils from moving during transit. In and out of the terminal and the boxcars, we got rained and snowed on. Not properly wired for compressors, lights and heaters, it was stiflingly hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and dark in the rail-cars, on a four-to-midnight shift. Broken lumber for splinters, nails sticking out, nail-guns and circular saws, I’m surprised no-one was seriously injured.

It was a very physically demanding job, just at the time of life when strength, stamina and body control were waning.  I put in just over two years before qualifying for full government pension, got to Hell out, or got out of Hell, and retired.

It might be a bit different for people with a skilled trade, but for guys like me, working at one job, or for one company your entire life, was over years ago.  My father had had at least ten different jobs by the time I hit the market, and three or four more after I left home.  There are still exceptions.  One of the co-workers at the auto-parts plant retired with 48 years seniority.  He’d been there through six owners/name changes.  The joke was, that he had been waiting at the corner for a trolley-bus, and they erected the building around him.

Now you know the sad employment history of The Archon. Do you feel sorry for poor old Archon, or just sorry for yourself for having read this tale of woe?