Side by Side

I know people who are activists. They have a right to their opinions, and I do listen respectfully when interacting with them. I don’t really support “activism”, because the activists that I know like to inflict discomfort and pain on those who are not involved in their hegemonic political endeavours. Bombarding others with political rhetoric, tirelessly “exposing” the most extreme behaviours of their opponents, and displaying graphic photos of horrific scenes, all smack of using the misfortune of others to further their own personal beliefs. It isn’t that they are necessarily wrong, quite the opposite in some cases. It is their insistence that everyone else is ignorant, and guilty of letting the bad things happen, that I find arrogant, obnoxious, and potentially dangerous. Rigid dogma, anger, and book thumping rhetoric hold no appeal in my world; and will never convince me of the rightness of any concept. Am I unusual?

Today I became aware of the Chain of Freedom, through a link on Facebook. I had never heard of this “event” before today. It was an organized protest that involved whole families, including children. There were no guns, no billy clubs, no rage; there was no glorious leader or glory in heroics. There was determination, respect, cooperation, and cohesion. In my opinion, this is “activism” in its highest form; people standing side by side, not looking up at a glorious leader, but holding hands with their fellow travellers. I have seen it before, but seldom in recent years, with so many people falling over one another to “educate” and “advocate” and “inform” and “lead”; looking for likes on Facebook, hits on Twitter, hits and high ratings on Google, and all that dog-eat-dog competitive schlock that dominates the psyches of a large proportion of the population.

The Chain of Freedom, young and old, male and female, no heroes, everyone a link in the chain of equal importance. Source:
Screen Shot 2013 09 16 at 10 28 50 AM copy

“On 23 August 1939 foreign ministers of the USSR and Germany – Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, as ordered by their superiors Stalin and Hitler, signed a treaty which affected the fate of Europe and the entire world. This pact, and the secret clauses it contained, divided the spheres of influence of the USSR and Germany and led to World War II, and to the occupation of the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

50 years later, on 23 August 1989, the three nations living by the Baltic Sea surprised the world by taking hold of each other’s hands and jointly demanding recognition of the secret clauses in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the re-establishment of the independence of the Baltic States.”

Attila was back to the dermatologist this morning. All is well and his skin has healed well. He can stop using the prescribed creams and rely on over the counter skin creams, recommended by the dermatologist. This is a huge relief, Attila suffered during his bout with Hogweed and flare up of Eczema, which he did not know he had.

Before leaving for his appointment, an hours drive away on the highway, he lit a fire in the little wood stove in the basement. The house was quite cool when we arrived home from our vacation last night, and a quick fire downstairs warmed it right up. It was cool again this morning, so another fire was in order. I set my timer and return to feed the fire every 30 minutes, keeping it at just the right temperature to prevent creosote build up in the stovepipes.

Mist was occasionally enraged at being caged during the drive home. She would howl and claw for short periods of time throughout the trip. She yowled loudly as Attila carried the cage into the house, the first thing he did when we arrived in the driveway. Then, abruptly, as the cage door opened, Mist ceased to howl, shook herself indignantly, and strolled off to tour her domain. She was happy as a clam, and within the hour she was lolling on the couch beside her brush, waiting for us to do our duty and give her coat a good brushing. She seems happy to be at the country house.

There are a few chips in the paint on our car, and we purchased a six year warranty on the paint when we purchased the car three years ago. A call to the sales department revealed that if there is no rust I must touch up the paint myself, which isn’t difficult with the kits available for that purpose. There are few rust spots though, and I will need to photograph those and send the photos to the insurance company to see about having them repainted by a professional. The hail storms this spring and summer have been hard on the car.

I received a call asking me to work for two days, at a location an hour and half away. Since it is an eight hour shift I decided to take the work. It is at a location where I have not worked before, so it should be interesting. I had to reschedule the car maintenance appointment, and called the work location right back to confirm. But it was 4:50 p.m. and the office there closes at 5:00 p.m. I guess they don’t answer the phone there when it gets close to closing time! Tomorrow I will call the office first thing.

After the bathroom renovation, we could use a small infusion of cash, and it will be a small infusion!

Worldly Distractions


10:00 PM EDT Monday 16 September 2013
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.4°C
Dewpoint: 2.9°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: NNW 8 km/h


“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.”
Ursula K. LeGuin

Who Knew? My Mother, My Grandparents, My Great Grandparents…

I have slept poorly the last few nights. Here is what has been keeping me awake.

Information does not inspire confidence, at least not for me.

Endless stating of the obvious seems to be a dead end activity. I watch little videos from sites like and, all of them portraying scenarios to exemplify decent human behaviour and knowledge; and most of them stating the obvious with drama or credentials. The points they make I learned as a child, before I entered the school system. This knowledge was gained in tandem with language acquisition. These aren’t “who knew” pieces of information. If decency continues to be an epiphany for the young of every generation, then “progress” indicates only that the species is “stuck in a rut”. We are a navel gazing species, and not nearly as clever as we imagine.

Forty Two Years Ago

“I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again, no no

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

The Who, 1971
(This is one of Attila’s favourite quotes.)

As a species we seem to continually “call out” the issues in our social and cultural groupings, fight against the injustices of the day and in written history, and move no closer to preventing plague-like outbreaks of violence and acts of hatred. Most human suffering is caused by humans; what other species can say that!

Instead of feeling inspired that the upcoming generation is noticing the injustices many of us have fought against all our lives, I feel hopelessness, a deep fear that our species will not move beyond the bi-polar mentality of violence and reaction to violence. As if there were no other way to proceed!

I have experienced membership in two communities that were “the whole was greater than the sum of the parts”. These communities worked well and provided a healthy context for human life. However, every larger force that surrounded these communities worked to destroy them, actively. Economic and political decisions tore these communities apart; and called it progress. They were not replaced by any healthy social structures.

Politicians, activists, media personalities, and anyone who is “making a name” for themselves, enjoying “awards” and/or “recognition” for their activities, gobbling voices as they speak for others as advocates, is working against a healthy social structure, in my opinion. I also think that there is more ego than compassion and integrity, in being a public figure.

I say all this as someone who enjoyed considerable academic success, at the post graduate level.

I suppose I have known too many truly inspiring people, who do not receive official or public recognition, whose efforts have made the world a much better place to live. They are all around me, wherever I live.

I wish the human species would contract a seriously infectious strain of compassion and kindness.

I recently added a photo of my writing “desk” to Time Goes By.

My work space, anyplace comfortable to sit will suit.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 2 September 2013
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 22.9°C
Dewpoint: 21.4°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: S 19 km/h
Humidex: 32


“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”
Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Universe