Welcome

Circa '68

Show ‘em don’t tell ‘em is the writers’ rule

Why keep on coming by, unless you see this site as cool?

Journalese, Ecologese, Free Enterprese, Philosophese

Loggerese, Psychologese, I’m at ease in all of these

Bureaucratese, Intellectualese, neither bring me to my knees

Marketese, well that’s a breeze

And Pollenese will make you sneeze

I like to think that what I’m saying isn’t said in vain

That in any of these languages, my meaning will be plain

So drop on by once in a while, for more than just one date

You never know, you might find that we can communicate

Who is Really Picking Our Pockets

Posted by on March in Current Despairs, Dissin' Dat, Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

March 12, 2011

 

In Canada the illusion that we are a classless society best serves those who are indifferent to or would willfully exacerbate the contrary reality.

It has been the practice in this country to provide at least a modicum of equal access to legal representation. Now media reports consistently reveal that efforts to do this are waning, where not under direct attack. Our legal processes have become so expensive that, for the majority of Canadians, getting entangled in them is certain to generate a substantial financial setback, if not actual ruin; a fine, potentially crippling, for simply being accused.

This is apparently more so now than has been the case for those in the middle of the scale of financial well-being than for those at either end of it, ‘though tax-funded legal aid for the poor is also becoming ever more inadequate.

The irony is that those who can easily afford to finance and extend their own legal defense generate exponentially greater publicly-financed cost to the legal system, simply by being able to extend process.

That seems obvious. But where is the proof?

It doesn’t exist because no effort has been made to generate it.

Where is the analysis that would show us who we taxpayers  most extensively subsidize?

We should be looking in depth for the answer to that question before we set about determining the best ways to reduce taxation and who best to shift the now unsupported costs to; a not just at the legal system.

Contempt for the Poor-The Canadian Way?

Posted by on March in Current Despairs, Dissin' Dat, Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

March 10, 2011

 

Fortune bestows its favor unevenly, always has and inevitably always will, in the form of genetic advantage, family fortune and the resulting access to better education, the general economic state of the land in which we find ourselves and simple lack of bad luck, none of which can be considered to be in any way earned.

Folks of all nations, probably the overwhelming majority, will rationalize relatively greater personal good fortune by attributing it to their innate superiority or, inversely, to the inferiority of those less fortunate. We should hardly be surprised when polls show that Canadians do also.

It is a comforting kind of ignorance, but there is a price to pay for it.

There is obviously no necessary correlation between financial potency and wisdom, awareness, good intention or the capacity for kindness, all far more legitimate qualities of well-being than capital in any of its forms. To bar yourself through arrogance from access to the experience of them or the opportunity to learn them, wherever and in whomever they may be found is, ironically, to settle for less of what is truly valuable.

It is pretty obvious that the manic struggle for personal wealth and the ability to display it is immensely damaging, to individuals, families, children, relationships and to the planet itself. Beyond that it is indicative of denial at the deepest level, of a failure to incorporate into one’s perspective the passing nature of individual existence.

But recent polls indicating that Canadians are like other folks in blaming the poor for their circumstances doesn’t alter or ameliorate the suggestion that we do this more now then has been the case.

There was a time, I like to think, when Canadians wouldn’t have tolerated on their airwaves for long a Don Cherry; a guy who brings to the television screen what most of us in this country thought and perhaps still think of as the worst kind of American-style arrogance and who does it by purporting to be an example of what is truly Canadian.

How could a guy like Kevin O’leary manage to spread his toxic, sociopathic presence across various media in this country if in fact Canadians were not a declining force for balance and sanity in the world? “Money, money, show me the money;” a mantra for idiots if there ever was one.

I’m more of an “everything you own owns you” kind of guy. Opulence and excess strike me as willfully generated trash, taken out of the hide of an already badly-lacerated planet. But then I also see castles and cathedrals as pathetic in a world that has mountains, vast cities as tumerous and the exponential expansion of our species across the planet as a form of ego-driven metastasis.

Yet withal, ever cohabiting with contradiction, here we are, each living being a small universe replete with wondrous chemistry, physiology, psychology and spirit, wealth that is truly incorporate. Loving and being loved. Striving to be manifest in ways that we can believe to be of some kind of intrinsic value. The magic of our lives not to be denied or measured by accountants.

Debt, Collection and Citizenship

Posted by on March in Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

March 6, 2011

Amazing what little serfs we remain, with feudalism supposedly long gone. It’s as if the habit of doffing the cap to a laird was carried in our DNA.  I hear it when companies talk of creating jobs as if it were a boon they offer, or employers speaking of ‘giving’ someone a job, when in both cases their objective is to generate a net gain for themselves and what is on offer is simply a contractual exchange of effort for revenue. Nothing wrong with the latter, plenty wrong with the former. I also hear it when folks challenge a company’s charges not as equals but as something on the order of supplicants, this post being triggered by a CBC Television piece on debt collectors.

Some years ago I refused to pay in full a cell-phone bill which had a number of charges on it that made no sense…..charges for multiply-repeated one-minute calls to the same number.

I wrote to the company, having gone to the trouble of tallying the extra calls and subtracting them from the bill, explaining the situation and offering to pay the net amount. I received in response a sequence of letters demanding that I pay the full charge. No acknowledgement of my original letter, with which, conveniently as it turned out, I had not sent a cheque.

It was then easy for me to further deduct from their original invoice to me, the cost of my time for dealing with the ongoing hassle. I also chose, given the cell-phone company’s stance, to subtract from it the value of the time it took me to go through the bills originally and find and tally the mistaken charges.

Somewhere along the line I started to get calls progressively pushier calls from a bill collector. I forewarned him that I would be deducting charges for any time I spent dealing with him from the amount I believed to remain legitimately owing. It was not an onerous hourly charge but nor was it insubstantial.

The predictable eventual threat to take me to court, was of course not much of a threat at all. I’d documented the entire process and was quite willing to invoice for more of my time if it was required, including for that involved in any small claims court procedure. I also mentioned that I was fully aware that any attempt by the service provider to lawyer me into submission in that forum was in itself likely to be justification for the court to rule in my favor. Small claims courts are meant to accommodate exchanges between principals, not lawyers.

After that there was one final call, from the same ‘collector’ to advise me ‘sternly’ that the cell company would drop the matter if I would pay the amount I had said I would (after all the deductions). His tone was kind of snotty but, quite reasonably I thought, I chose not to penalize the cable company for that. I paid what I said I would and the matter was concluded.

The point: What possible basis is there for anyone, company or individual, for generating an outlay of effort from any citizen without being invoiced for the value of that time when the problem lies with the them?

If we have legitimate reasons for opposing intimidation from anyone, individual or company, we owe it to ourselves not to accept second-class status in the exchange. If demanding respect for ourselves goes some small way towards generating it for other, we’re doing them a service of a kind that folks should be pleased to do for one another.

Fighting off fear

Posted by on January in Jest Thinkin', Pagin' the Agin' | 0 comments

January 30, 2011

 

On top of the other stuff you have to fight through as time takes its toll, you can add the fear of mental deterioration. I’m not talking about the thing itself, just the fear of it.

As in: Am I feeling discombobulated just now because I’ve taken on what would be a challenge at any time (putting this web-site together) and perhaps for anybody, which will always get you feeling that way at times?

Or: Am I dealing with the effects, immediate or cumulative, of getting by on four to (at best) six hours of sleep, usually broken midway, something that’s been going on for a few years now?.

Or: is it the mid-winter blahs? Or that I’ve been at the computer for a couple of hours now without breakfast?

Or: Am I in the early stages of deteriorating mentally on an organic level?

Jeez. It could be any of the above or any combination of them.

My stance? Fear is indeed, as has been well said, a mind-killer. So whatever is going on with me, I determine not to add fear to it.

Most of us live most of our lives without burdening ourselves with looming fear of what might shorten or damage them.

There is so much that could and there always has been.

Theft of Musical Sensibility

Posted by on January in Current Despairs, Dissin' Dat, Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

January 26,2011

What commerce robs us of musically

A fundamental flaw in the way music comes to us, a culturally crippling one, is that it overwhelmingly does so via the music industry. The consequence is the obscuring and loss of untold numbers of wonderful, sometimes brilliant songs. They may be one-offs or part of the repertoire of song-writers who for entirely sane reasons don’t get into the commercial stream. One way or another they come into being reflecting the culture of the writer, and are undoubtedly a more authentic reflection of it for not being shaped to meet market demand. Cumulatively speaking, it’s a huge loss.

If commerce can’t remedy it, government should. In Canada, at least, compared to the U.S., there appears to still be the vestige of an understanding that government is an entirely legitimate way for us to accomplish what commerce clearly doesn’t and shows no inclination to. Government expenditures on the arts would do well to include the recording an collection of songs that aren’t coming to us via commerce. We could use a library of them. Ironically enough, that might be a huge resource for those who do produce music commercially.

Harper the Draconian

Posted by on December in Current Despairs, Dissin' Dat, Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

December 20thl 21010

 

Before building a string of  ‘Harper Hotels’ to feed the incarceration industry, ‘offending’ what I think of as the innate inclination of Canadians towards benevolence, how about re-evaluating pay for unskilled work with the objective of providing dignity and a reasonable standard of living to those doing it, so that we don’t end up, instead, generating larger police forces, building more jails, and paying through the nose to deal with the crime that we know flows from poverty. God knows we’ve been grossly overpaying everyone from executives to athletes for decades.

Still on the subject of jails, is it just on TV and in novels that prisoners exist in a jungle society rife with rape and violence? If that’s what really occurs in jails, then where are the lawyers to sue government for failing in its duty of custody? As far as I know we punish ‘criminals’ by relieving them of their freedom. I’m not aware of any judge sentencing anyone to a term of rape, physical abuse, threat and terror.

If that is the reality of jail life, what’s the message to those we imprison?  That all of the above, when they are the victims, are sanctioned by the society that has jailed them. If so, how can we possibly expect those who come out of prison to have any inclination to reorient to a society that subjected them to that? How can we think that these folks, once ‘freed,’ will not find their identities in outlaw societies outside of jail?

I know there are people, in jail and out, who have moved well beyond being ‘victims,’ and are full-fledged predators. While we might despair of benignly countering their commitment to violence, we might want to consider making a more intelligent effort to counter the swelling of their numbers with newcomers.

Failure  is what jails represent, and not just of the folks in them, but of the society as a whole and of reason itself.   Stephen Harper and his government is all for promulgating more of it, indifferent to the huge cost, socially, economically and in terms of human suffering.

We need to stop making the stimulants people gravitate to illegal. It just makes providing them so profitable that people slaughter one another for the opportunity to do so.

If government wants to bolster the construction industry, let’s build to house the poor, the mentally ill and the substance-addicted with a view to easing their isolation and pain and their practical need to break the law. Think of the money it can save, if not the despair it can ameliorate.

Any province, region or municipality taking it on risks generating an inmigration of needy folks from elsewhere in the country and being overwhelmed by the cost. This is something Ottawa needs to fund, and evenhandedly, across the land.

An Invitation

Posted by on December in Jest Thinkin' | 0 comments

December 15, 2010

 

How many ideas that once guided have you left behind?

How many thoughts have you articulated in all innocence or otherwise, caught up in the creative flow of conversation, and then found yourself defending them as if they were a castle and you the besieged laird?

Arguments, feuds and wars are prices we pay for fixating on particular ideas or ideologies, for forgetting that we ourselves, over the course of our lives, have been guided by a variety of them, pretty well all of them speculative, at least in their genesis.

A simple shift in our habits of speech might be useful, from speaking of what we ‘think’ to speaking of what we are ‘thinking’, congruent with the transitional  and speculative nature of thought.

Not an appealing idea if you are heavily invested in your status and the associated  ‘quo’.  But there is much to be gained from enjoying intelligence and imagination, your own and that of others, without encumbering it with questions of ownership. When I manage to operate that way….the world is something of a garden and I one of many gardeners who’s reward is to see everything glow and blossom.

Whatever shows up on these pages is the consequence of how I find or have found myself  ‘thinking’.  I have no interest in becoming the prisoner of my own words. This site is about the ways in which my particular existence appears to me to have been and to currently be manifesting itself.  That’s interwoven with my experience and assessment of the outcomes of the thinking of others. It wouldn’t exist without the thinking that generated the technology I’m using or without the skills of those assisting me to use it effectively. I don’t say that gratuitously. It simply wouldn’t.

I offer up this site on the assumption that the rest of you are quite a lot like me, ‘though, undoubtedly, not entirely so. More so than less, I would guess.

Poking around in here you may find yourself reading about yourself, and don’t we all find that intriguing, if not delightful? Especially so, if we find something that helps clarify our own experience and more confidently find our way through the appearance/reality maze of virtually all of our days.

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