Saturday, August 19, 2017

About that new car smell

That's not the smell of white privilege, is it?

I've only had the privilege of new car smell twice in my life.

That factory-order '73 Duster 340 had new car smell all over it.

As did the Toyota I bought brand new thirty years later.

The dozens of cars that passed through my hands in between generally didn't.

You could still catch a whiff of new car smell in that '73 Trans Am SD 455. It had a mere 5000 clicks on it when I got her.

And the '77 Impala with the 350 4bbl that I bought as a dealer demo still had the smell.

But by and large, new car smell gets annihilated in short order by B.O., farts, smoke of all kinds, farts, spilled beer, more farts, wet dogs, and the perfume of the latest hottie you thought you'd impress with your new car.

By the way, that's a strategy that seldom worked, and when it did, you lived to regret it.

So it was a blast down memory lane when I stepped into my dear octogenarian father's new Dodge truck the other day to be enveloped by that new car smell!

Yup, the new car smell still smells the same!

Word of advice, Dad; avoid the hotties.

Checking my white privilege

Ya, I guess there's no getting around the fact that I'm a honky. Unlike that Dolezal woman, I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing.

Today me and the Farm Manager took a tour up to Tobermory to scope out waterfront real estate that might be suitable for our retirement.

Personally, I find that white privilege is highly over-rated. True, I've never suffered police brutality, although there were a couple of occasions in my youth where I didn't really think it was necessary for the dickheads to draw their sidearms. And I have to admit they didn't open fire, so maybe white privilege does count for something.

Anyway, we had a fine day if it, capped by a lovely lunch at the Princess Hotel in Tobermory. That's run by a Greek family. What's up with the Greeks? Do they have white privilege? One thing I know for sure is they have a knack for running restaurants. The Kritikos family has done a great job with their hotel-restaurant, and they've recently expanded into offering extra-virgin olive oil from their family's olive groves in the old country.

Then we drove around and collected some names off for sale signs, and got home to do some research on the internet. Here's one real estate agent who came up more than once.

Not sure how far my white privilege is gonna get me in my quest for waterfront on the Bruce.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Hope I don't die before I get old

Went to see my dear daddy at his cottage the other day. Couldn't help but notice that he seems to be enjoying his dotage very much.

I thought I was just having lunch, but as it turned out (surprise!), he happened to be having a crisis that involved a chain saw, a ladder, fifty feet of rope, a John Deere 450 crawler loader, and a spindly little cedar tree with a trunk diameter of less than six inches.

If it was me, I probably would have just whacked the thing down with an axe. After all, five inches of cedar hardly seems worth firing up the Stihl. Nevermind all that other shit.

But that's how Dad rolls.

And at 85 years of age, he's earned the right!

KILL THE HATERS!!!

I kinda miss that Russia thing. That was on the verge of bringing Trump down for almost a year, and now it's gone like a fart in a windstorm.

And North Korea? A mere week ago we were on the very brink of nuclear Armageddon, were we not?

That's gone too!

Both those stories have been eclipsed by the news that a White Supremacist has seized the White House!

Like that's never happened before...

Every progressive American knows that the USA is a post-racial society, if not since the Emancipation Declaration, then certainly since the Thirteenth Amendment,  and if not since then, for sure since the Civil Rights Act, and if not entirely by then, certainly for double-sure the ascent of Obama to the Oval Office signalled that America had put its racist past behind it once and for all.

And then this outrage in Charlottesville. A gaggle of semi-literate goobers brandishing Walmart tiki-torches gather in Charlottesville to profess their love for a Confederate general.

Who cares?

The news business cares, that's who. Sensing that the Russia cow was more or less milked out, and that only a very small sliver of the public was buying into the imaginary threat posed to the most militarized nation on earth by that fat Korean kid, the media discovered the malignant menace in our midst, the alt-right neo-Nazi white-supremacist set that is on the cusp of sweeping away 150 years of inter-racial harmony.

Yup, on a really good day these wankers can draw several hundred acolytes to a demo. They are inevitably humiliated by counter-demos that attract many thousands without really trying. But they're the latest and greatest threat to the fabric of America's egalitarian democracy!

And all because of Trump, of course!

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in our "free press."

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Minimum wage rise to collapse economy?

Hey, if our economy depends on keeping hundreds of thousands of workers toiling in poverty, I say, let it fall! It ain't working for us!

The Metro grocery chain is the latest outfit to proclaim that the sky will fall if the proposed Ontario min wage rise goes forward. OMG, it's gonna cost Metro up to fifty million a year!!!

Hmm... fifty million on sales of 12 billion. A little elementary math tells me an across-the-board price hike of less than .5% would bury the 50 million.

You or I won't notice a .5% increase in our grocery bill. What's an extra fifty cents when you spend a hundred bucks? If fifty cents upsets your weekly grocery budget, you're already getting your groceries at the food bank.

Metro's sacred net profits will be unscathed. All the other chains will be subject to the same minimum wage, so there's no competitive disadvantage.

Thousands of their workers will notice a real difference in their take-home pay.

How is this even cause for debate?

Come on, Metro, don't be such tightwad bastards!

Celebrate the fact that you'll finally be paying your employees a living wage!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fuck the algorithm

When I wake up, and that's consistently been in the morning for several decades now, thank you very much, I wobble over to the computer and check out the news stories that an algorithm has selected for me.

Algorithms pretty much decide everything I'm prompted to look at in the course of my day.

The folks who own the algorithms are now fine-tuning algorithms that will decide whether the news I access via the world wide web is real news or fake news.

Hmm... do we really want to be in a place where algorithms define reality for us?

Power has never been as concentrated as it is today

My dear Uncle Werner used to go traipsing all over Europe to deliver his papers. That's one sorry excuse of a paper route, I thought.

It was only after I got a little older that I realized that's what academics do; travel the world to read their papers to learned fellow-travellers. It's not at all like me reading my Globe and Mail at Dockside Willies.

Werner had some good stories about his various paper delivery adventures.  Aside from visiting places like Tubigen and Heidelberg, and any other place with a famous brewery, or so it seemed to me, he on occasion had to hop the Iron Curtain to attend conferences on that side of the fence. That's where his path would inevitably cross that of the Stasi, the state security outfit in East Germany.

He'd call up some esteemed Herr Doktor Professor, and someone would answer with the greeting "Staartssicherheit." This would be back in the ugly old Berlin Wall days.

Before the internet.

Before the digital revolution.

Before a small handful of private companies, all tied closely to American Empire, had a lock on global internet traffic.

I was impressed by what the Stasi could do in the '80's.

I can't even imagine what the NSA can do today.