Friday, September 18th, 2015 -( 26˚C / 79˚F — Warm and quiet with darkness approaching @ 7:30 pm in Atlantic Canada )-
— My long time best friend Greg and his sister Nina stayed with us for a couple nights during their vacation and sightseeing trip around New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and a little bit of Nova Scotia this week. Before they left Greg rolled out a blanket and showed us the beautiful hand-made bread boards and cribbage boards he designs and creates and brings with him to flea markets where he sells them and takes special orders – Then he surprised us by asking Cathi to pick one and keep it as a gift. She chose a round one made of a dark-ish wood that almost matches the dark cherry stain she likes a lot.
— We haven’t traveled south to visit the United States much in the past several years. I think I dashed down alone myself twice last year, once to see my sister and mother and family and friends as mom and my sister dashed around New England on March Break as they visited from Alaska, and once in July I think, to finally empty out a storage unit with stuff that I’d been storing since 2002, when mom sold the old hacienda and moved to Alaska and I packed everything I could into an old hatchback Chevy Corsica and drove to Ontario to apply for extended visitor status, then permanent residence and then dual citizenship to be with Cathi, who had captured my heart and imagination without trying :).
— Wow- I explained some of that to Greg’s sister and relived the first glimpse I had of my beautiful ‘amour fou’ after we’d communicated through the internet and then over the phone for a couple of years, read each other’s creative writing and trouble-shot each other’s web site editing. Yup, I lost my heart with our first hug and I still think my brain went out looking for my heart and never found its way back — That might explain a few things.
— But reconnecting with Greg and his sister, even if we didn’t have enough time to sit down and catch up on everything that’s happened around us in the past 45 years – (yikes-) started a few creative juices flowing and connected a few dots that gave me the jolt I needed to figure out what might be missing in the huge and incredibly rambling/meandering novel I’ve been writing since 1968 — Funny how connecting with friends can give us the nudge we need to see past problematic obstacles like silly plot twists that either have to go or might be explained completely elegantly by an infusion of insight triggered by unexpected events and happy conversations with friends whose subtle influence and presence in our lives was something we didn’t realize we’d missed so badly.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 -( 17˚C / 63˚F — Cloudy, damp & wet outside @11:11 am in Atlantic Canada )- It’s my cousin K.C.’s birthday –
— I dreamed we were discovering shark fins sticking up through the ground. Some of them were still trying to move. I was walking around with Cathi and at least one scientific investigator type while we hypothesized that the barrier between our world and a parallel world wasn’t functioning properly – that maybe the coastline was just a little bit different. We weren’t afraid the sharks could burst out of the ground in their struggles, they were stuck in solid ground, some of them in solid rock. The scientist was wondering if this dimensional barrier losing its integrity thing explained a rash of missing people, some of whom had vanished in the blink of an eye. We weren’t worried that we might be the next victims.
— I woke up and glanced at the clock, it was 7:57 am. Cathi had already gotten up, got dressed, had breakfast, and left for work. I almost always wake up around 7, get up, and push the button that starts her morning coffee brewing. – We haven’t spent the extra hundred dollars it would take to buy a ‘smart’ coffee maker that we could program to brew the coffee at the same time every morning – & I’ve developed a mistrust for ‘smart’ appliances and the electronic pollution they emit, and especially ‘smart meters’ that emit so much electronic pollution that quite a few people have a lot of trouble sleeping as soon as the ice-holes from the power companies with their ulterior motives install the bluddy things. So many ‘smart meters’ have spontaneously burst into flame that they’ve been outlawed in some places. They should be outlawed everywhere. Anyway – when I got my eyes half-open I couldn’t find the dog, who is usually either on the floor beside the bed or up on the bed, having taken advantage of us being asleep and not objecting to the 125 pound dog trying to wedge himself between us.
— I got up and stumbled around. Everything was grey outside, and very wet. Rain had been forecast. It wasn’t raining. Nothing was moving. There was no hint of a breeze and at almost precisely eight o’clock in the morning, no cars were zooming up or down the main north and south road that’s between 75 and 100 feet or meters from our living room door. It was almost spooky. I remembered stories told by people who believed they had somehow stumbled into a weird zone between dimensions where they were out of phase – where buildings were there, but no life – and they’d reported that the light was weird – darker than they thought it should have been. I think one husband and wife team being interviewed in a paranormal spot on the radio described this, said they got to where they were going but nothing seemed right, not even bugs were moving there. I forget how they blundered back across the border into our ‘normal’ world, but they were immensely relieved when they did.
— I looked around, couldn’t see the cat or the dog. The cat can find places to hide and we both swear he can teleport around inside the house, and maybe anywhere else he might want to go – at will – but not finding the dog was a bit worrisome. I stepped out into the glassed-in porch Cathi calls our front porch, I think of as either the back porch or a side porch – and looked around. No dog, no cat, nothing moving outside, everything very wet. Except for the fact that I could turn doorknobs and open and close doors I could have begun to worry that I’d either left my physical body in the bedroom and was moving around in ‘astral’ form or might have died in my sleep-
— I went back into the bedroom and looked around again. I couldn’t find the dog at first, but I hadn’t turned the light on and our big black Labrador can sometimes quite effectively blend in with shadows. I called him by his nickname – “Boof-” and one shadow moved. I was surprised at how much relief I felt. The boof wanted to lead me to the refrigerator and have me give him a piece of bread or other treat for having saved my sanity and on the way the orange cat appeared from under the kitchen table and said, “Unga mah mara-” which means something like, “Hi there, you’re up and around, thank you for the cat treats you better give me if you don’t want your bare legs shredded-” and smiled a big happy passive-aggressive smile.
— I won’t say that everything is right with the world, But at least I haven’t fallen through into a parallel dimension, or something worse, like a dimension where everything familiar is in a state of suspended animation, with me the only living thing moving around. It would be a real bummer to find proof that quantum theory works on this level and not be able to tell anybody about that-
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 -( 21˚C / 70˚F — Cloudy, grey and breezy @ 11:15 am in Atlantic Canada )-
New Brunswick, Canada, September 8, 2015:
Stages in Moral Growth
& The Politix of Fear – The Politix of Mean
— I think it was 1968, The Boston Globe published an article by or about an academic type that explained Stages in Moral Growth – This may have been a book review, I believe it was in the Sunday Edition of that newspaper. & What vividly sticks in my memory is the idea that – unlike most other growth processes, those who are at a lower level of Moral Growth believe that those who have grown and adopted a higher level or Morality are actually either immoral or amoral. I’ll explain that a bit further in a bit.
— Here are the levels – with my own labels: It should be noted that, like Freud’s theory of ‘Libido’ – Traumatic events that occur to those at lower levels may make it much more difficult for an individual to progress and/or grow to a higher level. The process is not automatic. Social pressures, governmental pressures, authoritarian pressures, peer pressures, the fear of legal consequences – may conspire to scare all but the strongest individuals out of considering advancing/growing/evolving to a higher level.
— Level One — “Infantile” — Whatever feels good is Right and Good. — It’s bad to be hungry. It’s bad to be wet or sitting in a soiled diaper. It’s Good to be warm and dry and have a full belly. It’s Good to have a Mommy or a Daddy smile and talk to you –
— Level Two — “Toddler” — Whatever Mommy and Daddy say is Good is Good and Right. — Mommy and Daddy ( or whoever is filling those roles in your eyes ) are the ultimate authority in your known universe. They pretty much know everything worth knowing, They’ve told you that it’s bad to touch a hot stove, and it’s bad to run into the road without stopping and looking all ways and maybe even waiting for Mommy or Daddy to tell you it’s okay to proceed.
— Level Three — “Grammar School” — Living by a child’s peer group’s values becomes more important than following the rules that Mommy and Daddy have laid down at home.
*** Here’s where the bit about those who are at a lower level can become obvious: If your peer group says ‘Smoking is Cool’ and a younger brother or sibling sees you smoking. That younger sibling will most likely believe you are ‘being bad’, because Mommy and Daddy told you that smoking is bad. And if your younger sibling tells Mommy and Daddy, then you will believe that younger sibling is being a ‘stool pigeon’ and you and your peer group will believe that telling on you is a bad thing. ***
— Level Four — “Middle School” — “My Country Right Or Wrong!” — It begins with the belief that your school is the best and rival schools are the enemy. It usually expands to the belief that your town is Good, and the Right place to live and the next town might be something like the enemy, especially if they’re involved in competition for tax money to complete projects, build schools, improve roads – and so on. You may then grow to believe that your State or Province is full of the good guys and a neighboring State or Province is populated by bad guys. So when your government tells you that another country is evil and you need to go to war to punish them for what they tell you is a crime against your Country, your King or Queen, or President or Prime Minister, then of course — going to war against those sub-human monsters would be the right thing to do.
— Level Five — “Conscientious / Rigid” — “- ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ does not mean ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless Your King And Country Tells You To.’ – ” — This is a level that not a lot of men and women evolve to. It takes a lot of courage to make a giant step away from the beliefs and values of the majority of your friends and neighbors. Governments and Churches have tried to muddy the waters here by invoking ‘Jihad’ and ‘Crusades’ philosophies, to try to convince everybody that ‘God is on Our Side!’ & they try to convince everybody that they want to control that ‘Conscientious Objectors’ are cowards.
*** The Academic Type guy who wrote the book explained that most members of the World War II Generation were firmly stuck in the ‘My Country Right Or Wrong’ stage and that a lot of – especially American – youth who had grown up in an era of peace and plenty – had evolved to a higher moral level than their parents and this is why the movement against the Viet Nam ‘Police Action’ was so divisive. ***
— Level Six — “Conscientious / Extenuating Circumstances” — “Wait a minute – Let me think this through -” — This is the highest level the Academic guy explained. — Here’s where the most conscientious people go through a personal re-evaluation and come up with, “Okay, I have believed that it’s wrong to kill under any circumstances – but – If I fail to act and allow a murderer to kill innocent people, have I become an accomplice? – If I try to wound somebody I see aiming a rifle at a child and accidentally kill that person, would this be not only justifiable, but a good thing? Is putting my immortal soul in jeopardy to save a life something that God would find acceptable?”
— Do not blindly accept that the above is Right and Correct. Do not blindly accept that anything I say is true, right and correct without testing the ideas, values, and principles, or checking the data. My opinions are my own. I’ve come to embrace those opinions the hard way, struggling one at a time to test and weigh pros and cons and all the various degrees between ‘ultimately right’ and ‘completely wrong’.
— Yesterday, Labour Day – Two candidates for federal office – running under the Conservative Party of Canada’s banner – were ‘fired’ for ‘questionable behaviour’ One guy, running in the Scarborough area of Ontario, not far from Toronto – who had been self-employed as a contractor – was caught on video urinating into his client’s coffee mug and then dumping the urine into the client’s sink where he was working on the faucet. Another guy – who was running in a section of Toronto – was ‘outed’ for recording and posting on YouTube = several telephone conversations in which he subjected women to sexist insults and other telephone conversations in which he made fun of handicapped/challenged citizens.
— The Politix of Mean: Members of the Conservative Party of Canada are not the only ones in politics who have exhibited a Mean Streak. I have close friends who believe that Conservatives may have refined their ‘mean speak’ more diligently than others – sharpened and developed it as a tool that they believe will help them get elected, and/or stay elected. There have been scholarly studies that reached the conclusion that negative political ads have much more impact than positive political ads. My spouse used to ride a bus with thirty and forty something year-olds whose conversations sounded like a script written for high school students in a programme like “mean girls”. She shuddered and wondered how the people she rode with every day never outgrew the attitudes, postures and mocking tones of voice they probably developed in high school or even middle school.
— There has been a television barrage of negative political ads in which several actors pretending to be a corporate board of executives are reviewing the job application of the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party – These actors look and sound like a high school clique making fun of classmates they would never consider allowing to join their inner circle. They make accusations they don’t back up with facts and accuse non-Conservative Party candidates of wanting to take money out of the pockets of parents throughout Canada – and cite programmes that have been criticized for only benefiting millionaires. They claim that the Liberal Leader has promised to get rid of a programme they claim is giving much-needed funds to families who need it the most when news stories have pointed out that the current Conservative Government has ended a programme that gave money to parents of children and replaced it with a program that on the surface, gives those parents money, but when researched more deeply, is a taxable benefit,which – after taxes – ‘gives’ an average family $13.19 a month where the other program, the one they got rid of, gave them hundreds and didn’t ‘claw back’ anything. This morning I heard people who responded to a call in show that asked ‘un-committed’ voters to explain their concerns, and it seems that too many of those voters believe the propaganda behind the political ads and haven’t learned that the money they’ve been promised is not a give-away, but a political gimmick that will be severely reduced when it is clawed back at tax time. And nobody reminded anybody that the government had scuttled the program that had been giving people who needed help a lot more help that this new and highly touted program would actually deliver.
— Before that call-in show aired this morning, someone else had called in a previous program and said that when the Conservative Prime Minister called for this election and established a much longer campaign period than the usual month-long period between announcing the election and Election Day – which has been the Canadian standard – The Prime Minister did this with the smug assurance that his party had a much larger ‘War Chest’ than any other party and was probably secure in his belief that the party who spends the most during an election receives the most votes.
— My ‘gut’ feeling is The Prime Minister will more than likely wake up the morning after the election smugly looking forward to a nice, comfortable, well paid retirement.
— One thing that will probably come back to bite the Conservative Party during this election is, no matter how much money they have to spend on memorable negative attack ads. The fact that the sitting Conservative Government closed down quite a few needed Veterans Administration offices at the height of a crisis in which a lot of returning vets were being given the run-around, were being denied help after being diagnosed with PTSD, and were committing suicide in epidemic numbers. The Minister in charge of Veterans Affairs then announced that he was giving the Prime Minister a cheque for a billion dollars that would have been used to serve Veterans through those closed down office. This has not been lost on a group that the Conservatives have historically counted as being firmly behind them. Veterans groups all around Canada have begun a campaign they’re calling “A.B.C.” – “Anyone But Conservatives”
— The Politix of Fear.
— Another core group of Conservative Supporters – Hard Core Supporters – are the “Law and Order” group who live their lives in fear – or at least anxiety – that the ‘criminal element’ will destroy their health, forcefully relieve them of their wealth, and threaten their family security.
— In recent years, the US government has been practicing the politix of fear, finding that when they can convince the American public that there are terrorists out there actively plotting to blow up buildings and kill American citizens where they live, they can get most American citizens to happily surrender most of their rights and freedoms. Homeland Security appears to be a glowing success. When a government can create an atmosphere of fear it becomes very difficult for most citizens to calm down and yell, ‘Hey wait a minute – this is bull chips! – There weren’t any communist spies hiding under everybody’s beds in the nineteen fifties and there are not a million terrorists sneaking into hometown America every ten minutes ready to jump out, rape our women and children and brutally butcher your gawd-awful tax base!”
— There are quite a few people standing up and saying, “It was the C.I.A. who Created al-Qaeda” “It was C.I.A. trained agents who created ISIS.” “Governments have murdered more of their own Citizens than all foreign armies in all the wars in the last century. This includes World Wars I & II -” Werner Von Braun told his close friends that ‘Intelligence Groups’ would manipulate us into the cold war and keep us afraid the Russians might attack us in our sleep until that message no longer resonated, and then they would manipulate a fear campaign that ‘rogue nations’ would unleash what sounds an awful lot like the ‘Terrorist Actions’ they are keeping us off-center and easily pushed around now. & when the fear of Rogue Nations/terrorists no longer scared enough of us into blindly surrendering our rights and freedoms – the dark ops intelligence groups would launch an attack in broad daylight using very advanced secretly developed flying machines and claim that we were being attacked by a new enemy from outer space.
— These people will do anything to keep us ‘under their control’. And fear has always been the most effective weapon that they use against their own people.
— The Current Canadian Government seems to believe they should follow the US model and use well-chosen lies and propaganda to spread the atmosphere of constant Fear throughout Canada as a ploy, which, when coupled with their lies that they’re the only ones prepared to protect Canadians from whatever boogeymen they can convince us are hiding under every bed and around every corner – this just might keep them in power forever, at our expense.
— Don’t buy it —
— But then again, in 2011 my spouse and I were enjoying dinner in a ‘down home’ mom & pop type restaurant in the Ottawa area of Ontario when a group who looked like farmers were gathered at a table near us, enjoying each others’ company and chatting over dinner, telling jokes and looking friendly. But then one guy, probably in his forties, growled, frowned and barked out, “Hey, did all of you hear what ‘Taliban-Jack’ said this afternoon?” Referring to Jack Layton, then Leader of the NDP, who was calling for reason in the face of an anti-Taliban propaganda campaign and not to commit the lives of Canadian Soldiers to fight somebody else’s battles in a war that he believed was mis-directed and one we couldn’t win.
— We came to the realization that we lived in an area where too many voters had been brain washed to the point where they would gladly vote for a dead goat as long as that dead goat ran under the Conservative Party’s banner.
— Don’t vote for anyone who believes there is such a thing as “The Great Unwashed”.
— Don’t vote for anyone who believes they know better than you do how you should live your life.