Smitty’s Loose Change #8

BC Mountie

How the Media – and the Police – Hell, just about everybody – lies to you

“A traffic stop in Calgary yielded drugs and several weapons, including a semi-automatic submachine gun.”

This is where I say….  Cat <-> Dog, Wet <-> Dry, Day <-> Night.  A semi-automatic weapon fires once each time the trigger is pulled.  A ‘submachine gun’ is fully automatic, capable of rapidly firing through a far larger ammunition magazine.  It’s one or the other.  It can’t be both – says the guy who invented it, and the word.

Police issue statements like this to appear to be protecting the public – from dangers that don’t necessarily exist.  Newspapers cynically use headlines like this to sell papers!  Don’t you feel safe?  It’s a good thing that liars don’t give off radiation, or we’d all glow in the dark.

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In Ford though, they see a my-road-or-the-highway politician…. I realize that the subtle, nuanced, ABAB rhyme scheme of, My way, or the Highway, can be a bit difficult for a columnist from Toronto’s poshest newspaper to detect but, come down from your ivory tower, and listen to how ‘the little people’ in the street actually speak, and how they view their political representative, before you disparage him.
BTW:  He got elected.

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There is none so blind as he who will not see.

(Ontario Premier) Kathleen Wynne is not popular, for whatever reason, whether because there is a hunger for change, or because she is an older, lesbian woman.

Perhaps it’s because she and her Liberal government shut down all the coal-fired power generating stations, before the renovations to the nuclear and hydro ones had been completed.

Perhaps it’s because she and her Fiberals threw away 5 to 10 billion dollars over 25 years, by signing contracts for solar and wind-powered electricity.  They wasted 2 billion dollars by cancelling 2 clean, gas-fired generating plants, because they were too close to rich, influential voters.

They raised Ontario’s electrical rate to the highest in Canada, and almost the highest in North America, causing manufacturers to re-locate elsewhere, losing 40,000 jobs – including mine – thank you very much!

They blew a billion dollars on the Province’s medical helicopter-evacuation fleet – without any improvements or upgrades being achieved.  They blew another billion dollars on a computer system to make all medical files in the Province available to all health-care professionals – only the system doesn’t work, and has been abandoned.

They blew a billion dollars on a computerized payroll system for all Provincial employees.  It is so badly f….ouled up that some workers are a month behind on their pay, and it will take another billion to straighten it out.

Most Ontario voters would accept Marvin the Martian; the premier could be asexual, white, black…. or plaid.  We don’t merely want change for the sake of change; we want change for the better.

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Skepticism is my nature!
Free thought is my methodology!
Agnosticism is my conclusion!
Atheism is my opinion!
Humanitarianism is my motivation!
Faith is what adults call ‘pretending.’

 

My First Time

 

No, no, you nosy deviants!  That happened when I was 17.  What I’m talking about is knives – and magazines about knives.

While never needing or wanting to actually use them, I’ve always had a fascination for all types of weapons – how they’re built, how they’re used.  Early in 1991 I’d been noticing a particular magazine among others on the sales rack, Knives Illustrated.  Finally, in the summer, it was my first time to purchase a copy.

Chugach Dragon

It carried a story about a $20,000 sword, inlaid with gold, and adorned with jewels.  I had discovered Art Knives.  I was hooked!  Soon, I was sending away money to ensure a year’s worth of these printed treasures.  This was my first time that I’d ever subscribed to a magazine.

For the first several years, they had a contest where you could send in a postcard to be put into a draw to win a hand-made, donated knife, from a maker looking for some cheap promotion.  Every issue, I faithfully sent in a card, even if the featured knife was not to my taste or use.

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Suddenly, in my third year of trying, back before the Internet, I received a real letter.  I had been chosen to receive a little three-finger skinning knife, made by a cutler in Orlando.  All I had to do was send a letter to the magazine, lauding them and proving the contest was real, and a letter of thanks to the maker.  Done and quickly done.  Soon a package arrived, and it was my first time to own a handmade knife.

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The letter from the magazine said that it was worth $35, a ridiculous claim.  The handmade leather sheath alone is worth that much.  Somebody slipped a zero; the package is worth $350.  Note the grooves milled into the top and bottom, to control the blade, and prevent slipping.

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I told the maker that, if I ever got near Orlando, I’d stop in and personally thank him – and forgot about it.  A couple of years later, my brother had bought a trailer in a park in central Florida, and needed to go down to get it opened up and ready to rent for the winter season.  Would I like to accompany him on a whirlwind, 9-day trip.  Oh boy, my first time going to Florida!

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The brother’s trailer park was close to Orlando.  I tried to call the maker, but later found that the phone was in his wife’s name.  After about 4 days, when the brother could spare both me and the van at the same time, I drove over to his address, fuelled by hope.

I was fortunate.  He was at home, and gave me a couple of hours of his morning.  I got to see his neighbor’s lovingly restored 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza; he gave me a tour of his workshop, showing me all his tools, and different styles of knives he built.  While the Internet might have existed, this was before I even had dial-up connection, much less high-speed.  I couldn’t just research him.

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Since he couldn’t research Ontario, he didn’t know that most residential, and all farming is below the Great Lakes, with mining to the north.  He had a map with pins stuck in it, of all the people who’d received one of his knives.  He had my pin in the muskeg, somewhere off Hudson Bay.  I moved it.

His wife was some kind of medium-sized wheel at the University.  Several years later, she accepted a more prestigious position at the University of Connecticut, and he quietly loaded all his tools and moved north.  His production may have gone down a bit, because of the need to shovel snow.

This knife is well designed and built, though there’s not much of it.  I’m not a hunter/skinner, so I have no actual use for it.  It languishes away in a drawer, with several other of my acquisitions.  I keep it because it was a first, accompanying several other firsts.  Perhaps one day my heirs can get a little money for it.