Friday, November 30, 2012

Smashing Syria

Ban-ki Moon has come out with one of his frivolous pronouncements about Syria.

Ban-ki Moon can pronounce all he wants; nothing will change the fact that the Nations of Virtue are determined to smash Syria.

When the Syrian spring sprung almost two years ago, there were few who didn't doubt that the "Syrian  Revolution" would follow the pre-ordained NATO script.

Yet Assad has defied the odds.

And the Nations of Virtue have been forced to make some tough decisions

Since the brunt of the Syrian "uprising" has fallen to our al Qaeda enemies, do we proceed to arm them or do we allow Assad to crush them?

Crushing Syria is not as simple-minded as it sounds.

Faith McGregor is not Bill Whatcott

The National Post has this fascinating story about "colliding rights" today.

Faith is the woman who walked into a downtown Toronto store-front haircutting place a few weeks ago, and on being refused a haircut by the devout Muslim wielding the scissors that day, launched a human rights complaint against the barber and the shop.

According to the Post, Faith has since come around to respecting the right of a devout Muslim to refuse her a haircut, since his religion forbids contact with females that are not family.

But according to the Post, that puts her in the same league as Bill Whatcott. Bill is a long-time anti-gay activist based in Saskatchewan.

Bill is anti-gay and anti-abortion. That's shorthand for saying Bill is a Christian fundamentalist with too much time on his hands.

How does that make him "just like" a woman who wanted a haircut?

And since Faith has acknowledged the right of that particular hair-cutter to put his respect for his religious faith before her need for a haircut, and Bill Whatcott has in no way acknowledged that it might be alright for gays to marry or women to have abortions, I have no idea why the National Post would so scurrilously link these two stories in one article.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Words of hope from Doctor Kipling

Those who have followed this blog for more than a few weeks will know Kipling isn't actually a doctor.

But he should be.

Kipling is a long distance trucker who keeps a stash of his own urine samples in his freezer, because in his line of work he is called upon to be drug-tested every so often.

Now as near as I can figure it out Kipling has run his various rigs somewhere over five million accident -free miles in his career, and at least 90% of those miles have been driven while supposedly "under the influence" of the weed of wisdom.

Must be a good influence that he's under, to run 5,000,000 miles without an accident.

Anyway, while we were catching up not too long ago I'd mentioned that I'd been attending a high-end private clinic that specializes in cardio-vascular issues. I'm not a high-end kind of guy by any measure, so it was only at the behest of certain family members that I found myself there.

The first thing you see when you walk in the door is one of Bjorn Borg's tennis rackets mounted to the wall, with a thank-you note from Bjorn himself to the good doctor who runs this racket.

Kipling steps away from the weed for a month or so whenever his freezer-pee supply runs low. Then he tops it up. When he gets the call for his random drug test, he grabs one of those samples, drives to the lab with it under his armpit, and it's pretty much at perfect body temp by the time he gets there.

He hasn't failed a drug test yet.

So I was telling Kipling about my visits to this cardio clinic, which being a private affair, means I pay for it out of my pocket.

Kipling listens to my story, then he asks, "does your dick still work?"

Say what?

"Does your pecker still work? Do you still get it up when you have to get it up?"

Well, that's sort of a blunt query, but I had to admit that, yes, Mr. Johnson comes through when he's called upon.

"Well, that means all those tiny blood vessels in your cock are still clear, so it's pretty much guaranteed that the ones in your heart are OK too."

Thanks, Doctor Kipling!

I quit that high-priced clinic the next day, and while I don't want to put too fine a point on it, I think the much-maligned weed of wisdom has got more than a little to do with the efficiency of my blood vessels.

The Susan Rice double indemnity dilemma; she's black and rich

The think tank here at Falling Downs has been prognosticating that Susan Rice will never take over the Sec of State file because she's black. It can't possibly happen as long as there's a black dude in the White House. With a white Mormon in the White House, it was a possibility, but that post is toast for now. That's just too much black on America's face to the world.

Turns out there's another reason she won't make it. She's rich. That in itself is not reason to be excluded from high office of course. In fact, it's often been seen as an advantage. But God help you if you're black and rich!

That's just not the natural order of things in America!

And not only that; it seems that in her multi-million dollar stock portfolio she has a fondness for Canadian tar sands stocks and Canadian pipeline stocks. Stocks that will go up up up when that Keystone pipeline gets the green light.


Now all those old white racists in the Senate who weren't going to ratify her nomination under any circumstances will be able to point to her conflicts of interest instead of the color of her skin.

Does "statehood" allow Palestinians to take Israel to International Criminal Court?

Maybe and maybe not.

This op-ed in the Jerusalem Post seems to hedge its bets.

Looking on the bright side, they figure it would take a good ten years to have a case at the ICC get to a place where any senior IDF types or politicos would have to make travel plans.

A lot can happen in ten years.

Hillbilly blogger scoops Goldman Sachs analysts by six months

Here's today's story. Goldman Sachs gnomes declare RIM a buy.

Here's what you read at The view from Falling Downs six months ago. Beer-swilling pot-head organic farmer declares RIM a buy.

Luckily I took my own advice and accumulated a healthy long position over the summer, way before those Goldman Sachs smarty-pants types even started reading my blog.

Canada's "half a billion annual aid" to Palestine at risk after UN vote

That's according to Mercedes Stephenson, correspondent for Canada's CTV network.

Half a billion?

Try as I might, I could find no evidence that Canada's contributions to the PA have ever been more than a fraction of that.

A fraction in the order of one tenth, more or less.

But the CTV network inflates the truth by 1000% and passes that off as news.

Shame on you, Mercedes Stephenson, and shame on CTV.

Canada takes pride of place in pantheon of pariah states

Canada's foreign minister went all the way to New York City today to castigate the UN for the unseemly spectacle of a vote on Palestinian statehood.

Canada joined international power-brokers Micronesia and the Marshal Islands in voting against today's resolution.

Those would more properly be termed pariah statelets, as they are essentially US protectorates and know it's always a good idea to vote with the big dog at the UN.

Nauru, Palau, Panama and the Czech Republic round out the list of countries that voted against the resolution.

Other than the tail and the dog of course.

Insofar as there are grounds for doubt about the wisdom of the resolution, it would be simple enough to abstain from voting, as 41 UN members did. But Canada went so much further, not only voting against, but sending Baird to New York to speak against it.

As for the speech itself, it was beyond ironic that Baird referenced UN resolution 242 at least four times in his speech. Has he even read resolution 242? Has he ever, in any venue, spoken out about the fact that resolution 242 lies dead and broken at the side of the road to peace?


And his dismay over "unilateral" actions by one side or the other is curiously absent with respect to unilateral actions by Israel.

The ever-expanding settlements, an explicit violation of 242.

The "separation fence" or apartheid wall, take your pick.

The siege of Gaza.

The list of unilateral actions by Israel could go on and on, and Baird has managed to remain silent on every unilateral action until this one by the Palestinians.

Whatever credibility Canada's foreign policy may have once had is long gone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pastorale Americana

It's an old-school attitude about the new world, that pile of hundred year old red bricks that we call "Falling Downs."

And Falling Downs is an attitude every bit as much as it is a 1900 square foot red brick farmhouse.

It hails from an era when humble farm folks could put up a sturdy two-story brick homestead from what they and their hundred acres could produce.

Falling Downs was built before Henry Ford had invented the five dollar day.

I'm sure Henry Ford had no idea what he unleashed.

Suddenly the masses could believe in progress.

Through the magic of an endless cycle of manufacturing and consumption, we would boot-strap ourselves from a subsistence agrarian economy to a modern industrial one.

That was our first mistake.

The resurrection of Ehud Olmert

Look who is emerging as the voice of reason in Israel's political landscape. None other than the guy who seemed so eminently forgettable, that everybody thought would spend at least a couple of months behind bars for that corruption hanky-panky, Ehud Olmert.

Ehud is remaking himself as the voice of moderation. He is the phoenix rising from the dust-bin of history.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Ehud has no problem whatsoever with the Abbas gambit at the UN.

 "We have to support the moderates" he says.

Well, no kidding! This is the most profound revelation to strike the Middle East since Saint Paul's vision on the road to Damascus... oh, probably an unfortunate metaphor at this moment in history...

But he is absolutely right.

That's why I don't really get the anti-PA line coming from Hillary and a few other adherents of the anti-Palestinian hard line.

If you can't make a deal with Abbas, you'll never make a deal with anybody.

Is there still time for him to put together a list for January?

"Diplomatic terror" and the PA's UN canard

Tomorrow's vote on granting "state" status to the PA observer delegation at the UN is an exercise in imbecility from beginning to end.

As every serious person who follows these matters well understands, Mahmoud Abbas is America's bum-boy in Palestine.

While he's been "negotiating" a sovereign Palestinian state with Israel for the last eight years, the settler population in the occupied territories has doubled.

During those eight years the credibility and prestige of his Hamas rivals has blossomed.

But Israel and the Nations of Virtue claim that this empty UN gesture is some sort of "short-cut" that seeks to by-pass negotiations with Israel. Hence you see the spectacle of international lightweights like Canadian PM Harper waxing grave on how Canada cannot support any attempt to bypass negotiations.

What a crock of shit!

At no point in his tenure have the Nations of Virtue conceded a single hollow "victory" that Abbas could take to his people and show them that he's a serious champion of a Palestinian state.

That's no way to treat a bum-boy.

Meanwhile Hamas looks better and better to the Palestinian masses, because they're willing to take a beating every few years, and after every beating they come back stronger.

Unlike Abbas, who bows to every demand of his US masters and comes back looking weaker and weaker.

So his juvenile act of defiance, taking this issue to the UN General Assembly in defiance of his handlers, should be applauded and supported by Canada and the US and that handful of other countries that still deny the realities of the new Middle East.

Supporting Abbas in this vote is their last chance to make the PA look like a meaningful option.

The only other option is Hamas.

How much longer can Gwyn Morgan's comedy column in the Globe and Mail continue?

Every couple of weeks Gwyn Morgan is given a platform by Canada's newspaper of record, to pontificate on matters close to his heart.

What's close to his heart tends to revolve around certain predictable themes.

Government bad. Private sector good.

Regulation bad. Unfettered exploitation good.

Socialism bad. Capitalism good.

Unions bad. Minimum wage too generous.

You get the picture.

It's a pretty straight-forward regurgitation of the old-school neo-liberal manure wagon.

And in his spare time Gwyn is on the lecture circuit preaching about corporate ethics!

I know!

Every time I write those words, or even ponder such an improbability, I laugh so hard I wet myself, and all that out-of-control belly laughter leads to simultaneously having an asthma attack... then I'm trying to change my shorts while clinging to my puffer for dear life... I swear the man is trying to kill me!

Gwyn made his fortune as CEO of one of the world's biggest gas exploration companies, Encana. Under Gwyn's headship they became a leader in bringing industrial scale fracking to shale formations and fresh-water aquifers near you.

Since his retirement (i.e. waddling away with his pockets bulging with loot after selling out to a Chinese government controlled oil major, aka "the commies") Gwyn found himself sitting in the chair reserved for the Chairman of the Board of SNC-Lavalin, Canada's leading construction conglomerate.

Since Gwyn has graced that chair, his international head of construction operations, Riadh Ben Aissa, has been arrested in Switzerland, where he is awaiting trial on fraud and money-laundering charges.

And today, former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaimer was arrested in Canada on similar charges.

That's quite an ethically challenged operation you preside over, Mr. Morgan.

I can hardly wait to open the Globe and Mail and read your next column on corporate ethics!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is RIM toast?

The Scientific American seems to think so.

And today's gloomy news certainly seemed to bear that out.

And here's another factoid to hold at the back of your mind. There are 2.5 times as many RIM shares gone short today than a year ago, when the stock was trading in the neighborhood of $19. In other words, more than twice as many investors are betting against RIM at today's price than were betting against it when it was 19 bucks.

There's an obvious herd effect manifest in those numbers, and that herd effect is driven by exactly the kind of news stories linked above.

Here's what's real; much depends on BB10. If that flops out, you're looking at a stock that shouldn't be valued above its break-up value. That won't be determined until the last patent is auctioned off, but it's reasonable to say we're comfortably within that range at today's close.

Which is why it doesn't make a lot of sense to go short at this price.

The fact that less than 2% of new cellphones sold in the US in the last quarter were RIM phones is hardly news. It's a wonder they sold any, given the hype around the BB10 that's only two months away.

What happens after that will depend on the BB10.

In the meantime, two or five or even ten percent daily swings in the share price are going to be routine.

A day trader's dream!

Why your kid owes 40k in student loans

Here's a timely discussion about why post-secondary education is out of reach for more and more regular folks.

Spending on university administration has grown at twice the rate of spending on research and teaching for the last twenty years. There's a reason for that.

The more administrators you have, the more administrators you need. Administrators like to liaise with other administrators. They need to do this in order to come up with mission statements and policy directives and protocols. Administrators love protocols, even though most people who are not administrators would not recognize a protocol if it peed on their shoes.

What administrators prefer not to do is spend time with grubby and often liberal teaching faculty. Why? Because in many cases those people actually have to spend time with students...


Long gone are the days when a small local university made do with a principal/president/chancellor and his immediate secretarial staff. In the modern palace of wisdom entire office buildings are dedicated to legions of administrators who never in the course of a forty year career will have to "interface" with a stinky smelly student. Not even a "Vice President of Diversity" would consider the supplications of a maligned student without going through several layers of intermediaries.

It's a much-needed discussion, especially at a time when more degree-holding graduates are working at Wal-mart than ever before.

Calgary votes for Communist Party!

The unctuous twats who write the preachy editorials for Canada's newspaper of record, wherein they castigate the democracy deficit in countries large and small outside the Nations of Virtue orbit, would do well to contemplate the following statistics.

Yesterday Canadians in three important ridings had the opportunity to exercise their vaunted democratic franchise in Federal byelections. In Victoria, 56% of eligible voters stayed home.

In Durham Region, nearby Toronto, 64% of eligible voters stayed home.

And in Calgary, arguably the most important of the byelections, a whopping 71% of eligible voters stayed home.

That speaks volumes about what Canadians really think about their "democracy."

Which brings to mind a tactic used by some of the fringe Marxist parties back in the sixties and seventies. Not having enough candidates to field meaningful campaigns, they would make the main plank in their platforms a call to boycott the vote.

Then, after the election, they would claim that the 30 or 40% of the electorate who stayed home did so as a silent vote for the Marxist parties!

Imagine the glorious victories they could be claiming today!

71% of eligible Calgary voters support Marxist-Leninist Party!

About those NATO missiles in Turkey


There's an air of undue haste about the stationing of Patriot missile batteries on the easterly extremities of the Turkey-Syria border. And the supposed rationale for the placement - to protect Turkey from a Syrian missile attack, is obvious rubbish.

The real reason for the sudden arrival of NATO missiles is to protect Israel from Iranian retaliation in the pending war on Iran.

It is significant that these missile batteries will not be under the control of the Turkish armed forces, but rather under "NATO" command. On the face of it the reason given for this, that Turkey is after all a member of NATO, seems plausible.

The USA is a member of NATO too but no one believes for a moment that anyone but Americans control "NATO" missiles on American soil, just like they'll be controlling the hardware on Turkey's soil. The reason this is important is because any overt Turkish participation in a US/Israel war on Iran would be highly controversial both within the Turk military establishment and with the public at large.

In fact, such complicity would bring on a "Turkish Spring" in a heartbeat, and/or another military coup. The latter is somewhat less likely with the elite of the military command languishing in prison after the last "conspiracy."

Turkey cannot be relied on to fight in Israel's defense as another Islamic country is attacked, and this NATO maneuver neatly solves that problem. 

One wonders what promises were made to Netanyahu to bring about the premature cease-fire in Gaza?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Snow? November? Who knew?

I know from long experience that the local school board often enough has "snow days" in October.

But why is that first snowfall always such a shock, even when it happens at the end of November?

I have two snow-blowers on the premises. And a few shovels.

The ancient walk-behind was sitting in front of the garage most of the summer. When I say "ancient" I mean its metal panels are fashioned from what has got to be at least 16 gauge steel. She's one heavy old  beast. But I have to replace one of the back wheels, and fine-tune the belts.

This old girl is big on belts. There's got to be about three or four of them in there under the cowling.

And I've been meaning to look in there all summer, but there's always so much on the to-do list...

Then there is the snow-blower I attach to the back of the Ford 4000. While the Ford has a forward PTO the snow-blower doesn't have the mounting hardware, so whenever I use this rig I have to be in back-up mode.

You do this a few times at 6 in the morning in the middle of a blizzard, and suddenly those Las Vegas real estate ads look a whole lot more appealing.

And it's way easier to get your hands on a Glock down there.

But I think I could get life in prison for that quarter pound of weed that's stashed in the rafters of the garden shed.

Think I'll stay put.

But winter is a bitch.

Crop circles reveal Mark Carney is the Anti-Christ!

Don't let the calm demeanor fool you...

I was out there in the corner field, driving the Ford 4000 around in circles looking for the crop circles, and whoa!..

There they were!

Now I have to admit they were more properly "snow circles" rather than crop circles, due to the fact that the crops are under a foot of snow at the moment, but no matter.

I swear, when I got off the tractor, I could clearly make it out:


Yup, right there in the corner field. Come out and have a look if you don't believe me... Oh nevermind. It's snowing again.

You won't see a damned thing by the time you get here.

NWO alien collaborators unleash plague of vomitting on UK

I'm not making it up; here it is in the Daily Mail Online.

Yes, I realize they fail to acknowledge the alien aspect of the story, but how could they?

They're part of the conspiracy after all.

Nor do they point out that this is a direct consequence of a Goldman Sachsanist taking the helm of the Bank of England.

It's not the first time that the levers of finance have been in the hands of Lucifer, is it?

Sachsanist/Satanist, England/Shmengland.

Those who know will understand; those who understand will know.

Read it and weep; Netanyahu now a "moderate"

And this comes from Haaretz, of all places.

Bibi a "liberal?"

Bibi a "moderate?"

God help us all!

The real reason Ehud Barak announced his resignation today

Because they're digging up Arafat tomorrow, and he's afraid that when they find his fingerprints around the wily old toweller's neck it will have repercussions for the election!

Mark Carney; another Goldman Sachs alumnus rises to the top

Canadian Mark Carney has been anointed the next governor of the Bank of England.

Carney spent more than a dozen years at Goldman Sachs, and can therefore be relied upon to intuit the expectations of that firm's corporate culture.

In the big leagues they don't ask "what would Jesus do?"

Instead, they ask "what would Goldman Sachs expect us to do?"

And we expect Carney will know.

A good part of the reason why Carney looks good has little or nothing to do with the man himself. As his Wikipedia entry notes in passing, Canada's relatively robust transition through the current recession has far more to do with her "risk-averse fiscal and regulatory environment" than with anything Carney did or didn't do.

Canada was risk averse before Carney took the helm of the Bank of Canada and it will be risk averse after he leaves.

And that's a good thing.

Tribulations of a big fat populist mayor

One thing you have to say about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; he did it his way.

And now a judge has rendered him the ex-mayor, barely two years into his term, over a conflict of interest case so facile that it can only enhance Ford's prospects for re-election.

Here's what Canada's newspaper of record has to say;

He failed utterly to understand the line between his personal interests and his role as the city's chief elected official.

This was the mayor who called senior civil servants to his office to demand paving and other repairs outside his family business in Etobicoke. This is the mayor who used publicly paid workers in his office to help coach his football team. This is the mayor who called the head of the Toronto Transit Commission about a bus that was being dispatched to pick up his high school football team after an aborted game.'

At least the Globe was inclined to give the man a chance. The Toronto Star on the other hand made it a point of pride to play "gotcha" journalism from the very beginning.

I think for the most the above critique rings true. At the same time, how did he fumble the transit file any more than Miller before him? And for all-round buffoonery, he still had a ways to go to match Lastman.

And a lot of the stuff presented above, such as his commitment to his football team, has helped him in the eyes of the public, especially the non-white public.

So gloat if you will, liberal journalist community, but Rob Ford will return! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

110 dead in fire at Walmart contractor in Bangladesh

This is what the race to the bottom looks like.

Burning to death in a sweat shop where you work for $37 per MONTH.

Rolling Stones redefine aging

It's looking more and more like 70 is the new 20.

According to all reports the Stones' show at the O2 Arena in London last night saw the rocking geezers put out for a solid two and a half hours.

How is such a thing even possible?

That two and a half hours undoes fifty years of government anti-drugs propaganda.

Children all over America will be asking their parents, upon reading this USA Today article, "hey, didn't those guys smoke a lot of weed?"

Oh, they did way more than that, little Billy, way more than that!

Fact is, a lot of drunks and druggies make it to a fairly ripe age. My theory is that's because they were medicated a good part of their lives. They never really suffered from the stresses that cause so much disease.

But how many of them can dance like Mick Jagger for two and a half hours?

Mining with Jesus

Now there's a match made in heaven! The "followers of Jesus" at World Vision and the disciples of Mammon at Barrick Gold, together bringing "development" Canadian style to the benighted indigenous communities of Peru.

That's a pilot project referenced by Canada's International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino in his speech to the Economic Club of Toronto on Friday.

The Harper gang wants to get more bang for the buck out of it's foreign aid budget. Specifically, more bang for Canadian corporations out of taxpayers bucks, and what the hell, if you can get away with calling it "foreign aid" so much the better!

Alas, not everyone is impressed with Barrick's humanitarian initiatives in Peru. In fact, people have died resisting Barrick's development plans.

Shame on Fantino and the rest of the Harper gang for trying to fob off  such egregious bullshit as foreign aid, and shame on the good folks at CIDA for playing along with it.

Kurdistan rising

One of the side stories that doesn't get enough attention as we watch the slow-motion disintegration of Syria is the role of the Kurdish population.

The Syrian uprising is portrayed in Western media as a straightforward battle between rebels on the one hand and the armed forces of the Assad regime on the other. The Turkish news site Huriyet  however carries almost daily reports of sustained fighting between the Syrian rebels and Kurdish militias.

The Kurds are not fighting for Assad; they are fighting to ensure that what they consider the traditional Kurdish areas of Syria will not become part of a post-Assad Sunni-dominated Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, across the border in northern Iraq, the Kurds have achieved a state in all but name. They have their own president and their own "militia" although the news that they sent 125 tanks to reinforce a standoff with the Iraqi army nearby Kirkuk yesterday suggests that "militia" is perhaps too modest a word.

Between the increasing independence of the Kurds in Iraq and the imminent independence of those in Syria, there is the outline of a unified Kurdistan that will end at the border with Turkey.

But it won't end there for long.

Canada retools foreign aid to benefit mining conglomerates

The topic of "foreign aid" has always been fraught with controversy. Harper government initiatives will erase some of the ambiguities about what "aid" should be and who it is aiding.

In the past we have always sought to foster the illusion that our "aid" is intended to help the less fortunate of the world. According to International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino in a speech delivered  Friday, that idea is so last century.

Going forward we will use our foreign aid budget to do PR work for Canadian mining companies like Barrick and RioTinto Alcan and Inmet. Canadian tax dollars will go to private sector groups like World Vision to make host communities "investment ready".

Host communities will be selected on the basis of where these mining conglomerates want to develop new projects.

Sounds like a sure-fire win-win for the mining companies and the government.

The government gets to dress up corporate welfare as "foreign aid".

The mining companies get an unnecessary subsidy. Barrick made $4.5  billion last year.

The only losers are the recipients of our largess.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The happiest cat in the world

The Farm Manager used those exact words with reference to our dear Chloe today.

That's the cat who got fixed at the clinic Karla Holmoka once worked at. Mind you, Karla was safely in a maximum security prison by the time Chloe passed through their front door, but the karma remains.

Chloe was a very anti-social cat early on. She'd hide out in the basement for weeks on end. When I moved her from Mildmay to Durham, she struck up a friendship with the neighbor to the north, Mary Ann.

I'd go weeks without a glimpse of my Chloe, although I'd imagine once in awhile I caught a glimpse of her on Mary Ann's back porch. And I was always puzzled why Mary Ann would have a cat dish on her back porch when she didn't have a cat...

Mary Ann always denied everything, and because she was a very kind elderly Bubbe I let things slide.

Then when I hooked up with the Farm Manager, before we had the farm, Chloe used to prowl that house in Owen Sound. I remember once, when I was taking care of business on the commode, Chloe emerged from the ventilation grate.

How the hell did that even happen?

She's in the basement one day, next day she's climbing out of the vent on the second floor?

But here at the farm she has totally grown into herself. She's the ground floor cat, and she sees it as her responsibility to keep the second story cat away from the litter box in the basement.

That leads to a godawful amount of hissing and swiping, but eventually the second story cat always makes it to the cat box. I think it's a game they play.

But the Farm Manager is 100% right. Chloe is today the happiest cat in the world. She has come so far from her beginnings at Karla's clinic. When I come down the stairs in the morning, she greets me by rolling onto her back and waiting for a foot rub.

That's a happy cat.

Memo to only democracy in Middle East; you are no longer the only democracy in the Middle East

The Globe and Mail had an intriguing profile today about a Canadian professor working in China, who is arguing that democracy is not all it's cracked up to be.

Hello! That's been painfully obvious ever since Hitler was democratically elected in 1932.

But none of that has impinged on Israel's UK ambassador's eagerness to provide this op-ed to the Telegraph today.

Ambassador Taub trots out the usual shibboleths about terror here and terror there. Hamas is a terror group, don't you know. Not only that, but they've borrowed from the Hezbollah lexicon and, oh my God, even improved upon it!

As if such a thing is even thinkable...

The entire op-ed is designed to stoke fear in the diaspora Jewish community. It's a continuation of the age-old "we have no partner for peace" gambit.

People who are serious about peace make it a point to talk to their enemies. That guy who wants to wipe you from the map? That's the guy you need to talk to.

And the old "only democracy in the Middle East" tale is getting a bit stale too. Hamas, the people Taub can't talk to, because they don't like him, were democratically elected in 2006.

Whatever else they are, they are also the democratically elected government of what Charles Krauthammer has called a Palestinian state.

So Israel, once the only democracy in the Middle East, has lots of company now. Not only Hamas, but thanks to Arab Spring, their Muslim Brotherhood brothers on the other side of the Red Sea.

Labels like "terrorist" and "democracy" have by far outlived their shelf life.

Let's get serious about peace. Forget the name-calling and sit down face to face with both Hezbollah and Hamas.

Pot-addled hillbilly cuts off legs with chainsaw

There's snow in the forecast if not on the ground, and now that Lundy has his cows back at the home farm I can access some trees along the fence-rows that I haven't been able to get to all summer.

That turned into the usual shit-show of the sixty foot dead elm wanting to fall to the east when all of my calculations indicated it was going west. That leaves me standing there scratching my head, chainsaw stuck in the kerf, until I do the only thing I can do; pull that sixty footer to the west with my thirty foot tow strap.

I've been meaning to get a good long length of 5/8 rope if TSC every gets around to putting it on sale, but if that's happened I must have missed it.

Last time I was at the Tractor Supply Company store they had a good deal on Tremclad paint. You can put that shit on everything, and they don't call it rust paint for nothing. Yup, you can paint right over rust!

Which reminds me of a story about my old pal George from the drydock, but before I get into that I wanted to mention that I met Billy Morris at the TSC on that trip to buy the Tremclad.

Billy was from Kentucky, and he'd been hired on for the summer by one of the local farmers. Billy was 16, and I was duly impressed when he showed me a picture of his fiancee.

Who the hell has a fiancee at 16?

I managed to get that unwieldy elm to fall to the west with, I am pleased to report, no damage to the truck.

I'm getting better at this, but you never want to think you're too good at it. A sixty foot elm is big and heavy. Once she's on her way down there's no do-overs on the cut.

There's a kind of existential purity about heating your home with wood that you cut down. I suppose it's right next to eating meat from the deer you shot at hunting season. There's something primitive about it, but at the same time you can't help but feel good about it.

I was a bit taken aback at Billy's fiancee and all that implied, and then he showed me a picture of his 14 year old sister. And her fiancee.

What the hell?

Hey boy, how you kids coming up with these fiancees?

The internet!

So George is the guy who built a beautiful 3,000 square foot home in St. Martin, overlooking the Bay of Fundy, and the day I was there me and him and a couple of lads from the shipyard got seriously shit-faced on George's home made beer. I believe he had a jug of screech at hand as well. That's when George told us about his plans for the house.

Now the house was there. We were sitting in it. We'd had the grand tour. But George had a plan.

Next year, God willing, he was going to jack 'er up and put a foundation under it!

Well fuck me!

My four year old Stihl put in a good afternoon. I went through two tanks of gas and had a full load in the back of the truck when I came back to the house. That's about a week of warmth in the dead of winter. God willing, global warming will keep winter warm and short, but that isn't something we should count on just yet.

Firewood, like guns and condoms, are in that category where it's better to have and not need it than the vice versa.

One day I asked Billy how the Morris clan ended up here in the Bruce all the way from Kentucky. Oh he says, Mom met this guy on the internet...

So one Monday George announces he did a body job on his truck on the weekend. We're deep in the bowels of one of the frigates we're building for the Royal Canadian Navy. So deep that you can hear a black-hat clanking down the ladders ten minutes before he gets there. A dog-fuckers paradise.

A body job on your rusty old truck in a weekend? Do tell, George.

"Well, while the missus was in the mall I slipped over to the TSC and got a roll of duct tape and a can of Tremclad. The bright white Tremclad matches my truck perfect, so I just taped over the rust holes and then gave 'er a spray with the Tremclad."

A couple weeks ago I ran into a buddy who has a house down at McCullough Lake. He uses it for the summer and rents it out September to June. I did the customary "how's things" routine.

"Oh by fuck, you wouldn't believe it. I had these fucking hillbillys in there, folks from Kentucky. Paid rent for three months and then nothing. When they finally moved out I find out they've cut the stairs down, the fucking stairs to the second floor. The railing and the stairs! You can't even go upstairs now without a ladder!"

"Was the name Morris?"

"Ya! How the fuck do you know that?"

"Just a hunch."

I was hand bombing the firewood into the woodshed. Got a couple of old dining room chairs back there. They'd make good kindling I thought.

So I fired up the Stihl one more time and cut the legs off.

Rice lobby gaining traction

Reuter's has this morning offered an impressive hagiography of UN Ambassador Susan Rice in the context of the still unofficial campaign to have her step into Hillary's shoes as the next Secretary of State.

That's a position, referred to as "foreign minister" in most countries, that presents the second most visible face of a nation to the rest of the world, next to the head of state.

That's why a certain amount of scheming inevitably goes into the selection of a foreign minister, or secretary of state. It is no accident that Israel chooses to send the raving lunatic Lieberman into the world on it's behalf. He makes Netanyahu look calm and reasonable by contrast.

And that's why Canada employs the oafish dolt John Baird in the same office. It is utterly impossible not to underestimate the man, which immediately gives the Canadians an advantage when engaged in any kind of bilateral negotiations. The other side immediately concludes that this will be a cake-walk, and only later realizes that the rest of the delegation are serious people with above average IQs.

There has been a preference in America for female secretaries of state in recent years, and it's not because the job title is "secretary". It's because  of that same disarming effect that Baird has on his opponents. The hapless Milosevic could never take Albright seriously for the simple reason that she was a woman, and look where he ended up.

Susan Rice could very well be a highly effective Secretary of State, and the Reuter's article gives a good overview of the reasons why. It also debunks the "Benghazi affair" as the fabricated wedge issue that it is. They do not, however, broach the real reason why Susan Rice will never be America's face to the world.

She's black.

There are too many bitter old white guys in Washington chafing at the reality of a black President. Susan Rice has zero chance of getting past the Senate confirmation hearings.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Charles Krauthammer declares independent Palestinian state


Read it and weep.

Unbeknownst to the world at large there has been an independent Palestinian state extant in Gaza ever since Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlers.

According to Krauthammer, the denizens of that oasis of Palestinian sovereignty have squandered their freedom by succumbing to an irrational blood-lust that compels them to hate Jews.

Gaza is the Palestinian homeland.

And it was created by Israel.

Not only should the Palestinians of Gaza be grateful to Israel, they should be grateful to Krauthammer for drawing attention to their good fortune.

Here's to the news that disappears...

I'm a hard-core news junkie. When a story disappears I notice. I miss it. I want to know where it went.

One story that I really miss is the Bandar bin Sultan story. Bandar got a promotion in the hierarchy of the Kingdom last summer. Head of Saudi intelligence. Top spook.

Cynics would say that promotion just formalized the de facto role he's played for the last thirty years.

Which could well be true.

But within days of the official announcement Bandar disappeared from the global news radar. I noticed.

The disappearance coincided with a story well out on the fringe of the blogosphere that Bandar had been assassinated, allegedly by a Syrian hit squad. That story disappeared just as fast as Bandar disappeared.

But Bandar has been missing ever since. I've e-mailed a number of government agencies in the Kingdom looking for confirmation that Bandar is alive and well. Nothing.

I've e-mailed a number of top-drawer journos who would have access to the latest insider rumors. Nothing.

Wither Bandar?

Even more troubling, the country of Jordan has disappeared. The disappearance of Jordan is an important development. Jordan is an integral part of the Syria war narrative, the Gaza war narrative, and the Arab Spring narrative. That's three high profile narratives that suddenly see one of their main actors go missing.

Wither Jordan?

And wither all that hardware that was going through the Gaza tunnels ever since the collapse of Libya? We saw little or none of it in the imbroglio of the last ten days. Mind you, there was a conspicuous absence of attack helicopters in the air. Was that a silent acknowledgement that the Stingers are in Gaza?

These are all news nuggets that a hard-core news junkie misses when they're not around. I miss those stories. I worry about them. I want to know what became of them.

I raise a glass to the stories that disappear...

Judge confirms that US is still center of universe

Judge Thomas Griesa delivered more than a decision in his New York courtroom this week; he delivered a searing father-knows-best scolding to go along with it.

Griesa's robes were in a twist over the fact that Argentina's government has been fighting an American bond vulture fund through the courts for ten years over its 2002 debt default and restructuring. While well over 90% of Argentina's creditors went along with the restructuring, a hedge fund controlled by American Paul Singer was busy buying up the Argentine bonds at pennies on the dollar.

Singer accumulates positions in distressed sovereign debt and then uses the US court system to hold out for full payment while other creditors are settling for less. The strategy is a Singer specialty and has made him and his investors a substantial fortune.

This fortune must in the long run come out of the pockets of the citizens of whichever country Singer's vulture fund has targeted.

Decisions that impact the well-being of 40 million Argentines need to be made in Buenos Aires, not in New York City.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Junior finds his mojo

I've mentioned in passing that my dear son Jake is a serious musician.

Here's a link to some of his latest stuff.

I think you'll hear that von Trapp DNA loud and clear.

Pot-addled blogger predicts mainstream media's demonization of Turkey

Yes, while I blush to admit it, I knew Erdogan was going to be the odd man out, and I said so at least six weeks ago.

Here's the Chicago Sun-Times fulminating about how Erdogan has stabbed the Nations of Virtue in the back with his endorsement of Hamas in Gaza.

Nevermind how the Nations of Virtue have stabbed Erdogan in the back by letting him take the heat for their failed Syria adventure.

Arming and housing and financing the Syria "rebels" wasn't an idea that sprung fully-formed from the minds of Erdogan and his cabinet. Assad was for many years a trusted ally of the Turkish state. You can bet it took a lot of arm-twisting and cajoling to get the Turks to see the error of their ways.

But now that it has become overwhelmingly obvious that Assad isn't following the NATO script, we can blame our failure on Erdogan?

And of course we want to castigate the Erdogan regime for not falling into line with the usual "Israel has the right to defend itself" red herring that has the Nations of Virtue desperately covering their virtuous parts this past week.

Once you wrap your mind around the concept that the Guardian put out this week, namely that the Palestinians have that right too, the claim on virtue that has traditionally been claimed by the Nations of Virtue begins to look a bit grubby.

Expect this Chicago Sun-Times salvo to be just the opening shot in a barrage of dark stories designed to diminish Turkey and the Erdogan government.

If you step back a pace or two and ponder the big picture for a few moments, you will realize that Erdogan is on the right side of history and it is the Nations of Virtue who are in the dark.

Christians dominate Canada billionaire list

The Forbes "rich list" came out today and it looks like in Canada at least the top ten billionaires are all from the Christian faith.

Well, almost all of them.

What is it that propels Christians to the heights of the capitalist pyramid?

Why is so much wealth concentrated among Christians?

Is it the secret Christian cabal that controls the big banks and the levers of finance?

Is it the systemic discrimination against non-Christians?

Does that secret cabal also control the top business schools, and do they favor the Christian applicants?

As a Canadian who revels in the multi-cultural fabric of his country, I'm a little embarrassed by this.

The truth about Colonel von Trapp

You know the guy I'm talking about. Fervent anti-Nazi who escaped Nazi occupied Austria by the skin of his teeth, and went on to be immortalized in the film classic, The Sound of Music.

The first time I heard the story about von Trapp's connection to my clan was back in the sixties, on a family trip to visit an elderly Auntie in Sandusky. She spoke ruefully about a drive the family had taken to Vermont to visit the famous von Trapp cousins.

This was a couple of years after the film had made the von Trapps famous, and suddenly they went from being the von Trapp singers to being the von Trapp cousins.

Apparently things didn't go that well once they got to Vermont. Legend has it that they had a brief encounter with a couple of the von Trapp children, who were by then middle aged grouches, and instead of being offered cake and coffee as they might expect from any reunion with long lost relations, were strongly encouraged to go back to Ohio and call ahead before undertaking another visit.

So where did Tante Alvina get the idea that the famous Colonel was family? Family lore has it that the history books have got the paternity of Georg Trapp right. But little Georg was the result of August's tryst with a local gal whilst he was on a secondment to Berlin.

That local gal who treated the visiting officer from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to a leg-spread was the sister of my great grampa.

And by the way, apparently the families kept in touch, right up until the von Trapps moved to America and got famous.

And all that stuff about escaping over the hills by the skin of their teeth? Pure Hollywood hokum.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Painting a smiley face on Netanyahu's Gaza debacle

Netanyahu's goals going into this latest Gaza adventure were clearly articulated and universally broadcast. He would eliminate the ability of the Hamas rocketeers to threaten Israelis, and he would eliminate Hamas as a political force.

It is thunderingly obvious that neither goal was achieved.

Far from it.

Yet Aluf Benn claims that the goals of this exercise in stupidity have been achieved.

To justify this claim the Haaretz editor-in-chief conjures up, post-facto, two new goals entirely out of thin air.

The goals, according to Benn, were to re-establish a truce with Hamas, and to "test" the Morsi government's commitment to the peace treaty.

Were Netanyahu interested in a truce with Hamas he could have respected the last one. As for testing the Morsi government, I think it's pretty clear that Egypt is no longer the Egypt of Mubarak, and that Egyptian interlocutions this past week were unambiguously weighted in favor of Hamas.

The ultimate goal of Netanyahu's great Gaza adventure was of course to portray himself as the man of steel just in time for the January elections.

To what extent that goal was achieved will be made known then.

Syrian opposition needs $60 billion in aid in next six months

That's according to George Sabra, the former communist who is now the leader of the old SNC, which is not to be confused with the new SNC, but is a part of the new SNC...

Anyway, George is making headlines today with his call for 60 billion in aid for the six month period after the fall of Assad, which he is pretty sure will be tomorrow or maybe the day after.

60 billion over six months might be a little steep for the Nations of Virtue. After all, half of them are courting financial collapse themselves.

According to the CIA World Factbook, $60B was Syria's GDP the year before the revolution started.

I know that commies are notoriously incompetent at budgeting and all that stuff, but how is such a number even conceivable?

I think George is figuring on a chicken in every pot every day and a Volvo in every garage to come up with 60 billion.

Maybe it's just his opening gambit. Maybe they'll settle for 60 millions instead of 60 billions.

Hell, this is all contingent on Assad going somewhere, which he doesn't seem to be in any great rush to do.

In fact, now that Assad is taking the lead in fighting al Qaeda, maybe we should keep him around for awhile... and save 60 billion bucks!

BC government takes another run at the Hells Angels

Many a government careerist has attempted to make a name for himself by taking on the Hells Angels. The attorney general of BC is giving it another go after a similar attempt to seize biker property a few years ago has been bouncing around the courts ever since.

This time around the government is trying to seize some valuable Vancouver real estate that happens to belong to the club. The modus operandi is the same as last time. The Hells Angels are a criminal group, therefore anything they own must be, by definition, the fruit of their criminal activity. Ergo, we can seize their property under proceeds-of-crime legislation.

The big problem with this approach is that the Hells Angels are so much else besides being a "criminal group". Check out their website. They're a social club, a motorcycle club, a service club, and yes, once in a while somebody gets clubbed to death, but the point is that there is so much more to the HAMC than a "criminal group."

I think it would be more productive to view the organization as a philosophical society. Some of the lads are criminals, others are not. All of them share a political philosophy that might be characterized as "radical libertarianism."

As radical libertarians, they tend to have a rather loose interpretation of what the rest of us might refer to as "the rule of law." Some of them may even take advantage of the business opportunities that the more idiotic rules of law present, and find themselves in the drugs trade.

This is of course not unique to the Hells Angels. Lots of folks take advantage of stupid drug laws to make money in the drugs business. Most of them don't even own Harleys!

So if those government types are so worried about the Hells Angels as a "criminal group" maybe they should focus their attention on doing something about the stupid drug laws.

UN demands that world starts taking its demands seriously

Aye, but it's much too late for that.

If you follow this sort of thing, you'll know that the UN is right next to apoplectic over the M23 invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But if you watched the newsreel highlights of the actual takeover of Goma, you'll notice that the UN troops stood down as the M23 troops strolled into town.

Today that same UN is demanding that the supporters of M23 stop with their bad behavior.

Fat chance.

By all accounts there is a straight line from M23 to Rwanda's strongman Paul Kagame, and from there straight to Africom.

So don't worry about M23 heeding those UN exhortations anytime soon.

They're doing Uncle Sam's dirty work after all.

RIM surges on news that it's lost another major government contract

The US National Transportation Safety Board today announced that they were walking away from the venerable Black Berry in favor of the iPhone 5.

RIM's share price responded by gaining over 5% on the day.

Imagine where the stock could go if they ever get some good news!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Canada Foreign Minister explains why Israel is yet a light unto the nations

I know that there's a lot of folks who think I'm exaggerating when I refer to John Baird, Foreign Minister of Canada, as an idiot/imbecile etc.

But have a look at this and decide for yourself.

What the hell is with that "world Jewry" bit?

Hey John, there's a fair slice of "world Jewry" doing just fine in Montreal and Miami and Manhattan and Toronto and I hear things have really come to life in Berlin.

What behooves the Foreign Minister of Canada to make declarations on behalf of "world Jewry?"

As a private citizen, Mr. Baird is entitled to speak as he wishes.

As a minister of the state, he's way offside.

Gaza Night on CNN

Hillary is off to visit the "good" Palestinian tomorrow, the pathetic President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas has totally squandered whatever credibility he inherited from Arafat with his fruitless concessions to Israel over the last eight years. He is completely irrelevant to what is going on in Gaza today.

So why the Hillary visit? Because US policy is bound to an "anybody-but-Hamas" course by AIPAC. That policy as much as anything else has served to enhance the credibility of the very Hamas they are trying to undermine.

It's telling to see who CNN brings in as objective observers who can shed light on the current situation. Fouad Ajami. Dianne Feinstein. Allan Dershowitz.

Oddly enough, each of them were able to recite the current talking points about Hamas' "double war crime" of targeting civilians while also hiding behind them.

Frankly, it's too little and too late. The rest of the world would dismiss out of hand the choice of Ajami, Feinstein, and Dershowitz as objective commentators about anything to do with Israel and Palestine.

In fact, the rest of the world immediately recognizes the trio as long-time pro-Israel propagandists.

And whether we like it or not, the era of America not having to consider the rest of the world is rapidly winding down

'America has no clue what to do about Syria...'

This article in the Guardian does a great job of summing up the conundrum paralyzing America's Middle East policy in general and its policy viz  the Syrian rebels in particular.

And a conundrum it is. Even as Hillary is belatedly trying to stuff a bit of the old Empire toothpaste back in the tube, life goes on in the Middle East.

Maybe Ron Paul was right after all; America should mind it's own business, stay home, and look after Americans.

Let the Syrians and the Israelis and Hamas and the lot of them figure it out for themselves, by themselves.

And let's do something about America's homeless and unemployed instead of minding everyone else's business.

Somewhere in Syria...

It was just a couple of days ago that some web-savvy youngsters affiliated with al-Qaeda in Syria put a video out that claimed they were not represented by the "new" Syrian National Coalition of Opposition Elements Who Hate The Evil Monster Assad (SNCOEWHTEMA).

Well, not so fast Abdul.

Even while I was writing about it, those self-same al-Qaeda types running the war on the ground in Syria were busy massaging their message to the world.

Seems they weren't rejecting the new SNC after all. Nope, those Syrian rebels have rejected their rejection of the new SNC.

Here's how it went down.

Those web-savvy youngsters were summoned to a hearing with the al-Qaeda commander. Just for the purpose of this brief recreation of the exchange, let's refer to this fictional commander as, oh, just to pick a name out of the hat... "Sheik Belhadj."

Sheik: IMBECILES!!! What in the name of Allah, blessed be His name, do you think you are doing?

Web-savvy youngsters: B-b-but we were speaking the truth...

S:IMBECILES!!! Do you imagine the infidels will give us guns and Stinger missiles and tons of money when you make public such truths.. I mean foolishness?


Now get out of my sight, IMBECILES!

Gaza cease-fire "imminent"... and then Hillary shows up!

And suddenly that cease-fire is not so imminent anymore.

Hillary appeared at a press conference next to Netanyahu tonight to reaffirm Israel's right to defend itself.

Thanks Hillary. I don't think that there's anybody on the planet who doesn't already know that.

But in a truly shocking development, there was a Guardian headline on the Google news aggregator today claiming, hold on to your kippa, that the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves too!

We're living in a brave new world alright.

RIM cracks $10 for first time since June

Boosted by a positive review from a NY analyst, RIM briefly broke the ten dollar mark today before falling back.

There's another two months and a bit to go before the make-or-break BB 10 roll-out. That's going to be a busy up-and-down time for the share price, but the overall trend is going to be up for at least the next two months.

That's going to be a profitable two months for the in-and-out day-trader crowd.

What happens after that depends entirely on what RIM can actually deliver with the BB 10.

Hillary in the Holy Land

Hillary's trip to Jerusalem and Cairo smacks of desperation.

Thus far the only official comments out of Washington re the current Gaza "crisis" have been about Israel's right to defend itself.

While that line still has some resonance with the American audience, most of the world understands that this latest conflagration has absolutely nothing to do with Israel defending itself.

And as Washington sticks to the official AIPAC-approved script, more and more supposed US allies are making it plain that they hold Israel responsible for the events of the past week.

Senior diplomats from Tunisia and Turkey toured Gaza today in a show of solidarity. Tunisia is the cradle of Arab Spring, which the US has desperately been trying to co-opt ever since it unexpectedly sprung a year and a half ago.

Turkey is our go-to player in the Syrian revolution, and even more significantly, a NATO ally.

So while Washington spews bromides about Israel's right to defend itself, a senior minister of a NATO ally is in Gaza talking about "Israeli aggression."

It's a brave new world.

But the ultimate blow to American prestige in the region can still be averted. What if Hamas and the Israeli's came to a cease-fire agreement via the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood intermediaries in Cairo, with no input from the biggest of big dogs, the USA?

What a catastrophe that would be for America!

That's why Hillary is in the Holy Land right now.

While we're busy watching Gaza, al Qaeda declares Islamic Republic in Syria

It's been a busy week for the "new" USA-approved Syrian National Coalition of Opposition. While Gaza has taken over the news headlines, al Qaeda has taken over the Syrian revolution.

Yesterday the Jabhat al Nusra announced that they reject the "new" umbrella group, and then went on to announce that henceforth the city of Aleppo was to be considered an independent Islamic Republic.

This formalized the rift between two broad opposition currents, the secularists on the one hand and the radicals on the other. The secularists would be the ones touring the capitals of Europe collecting official recognition from the Nations of Virtue.

The radicals are the ones in Syria fighting Assad.

How this will pan out in the weeks to come remains to be seen. Britain and the EU have now joined the Arab League and the GCC in recognizing the Hillary-approved SNC (not to be confused with the old SNC) as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian People. This "new" group has announced that they intend to make their temporary base in Cairo.

That too is curious. A number of other options might have been more suitiable for a "secularist" group, especially options closer to the people of whom they are the alleged "only legitimate representatives."

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to tell if you're secretly gay

You may be a rugged he-man.

You may be the NASCAR fan extraordinaire.

You may not even own a pair of loafers or a spandex cycling outfit.

But if you shop for a birthday card like a girl (see above), you've got issues.

How to buy a birthday card

There are two ways to buy a birthday card.

There is the guy's way. You run into the 7-11 on the way to the birthday party and grab one of those generic picture cards with a couple of kittens on the front and no Hallmarky crap written on the inside. These have the benefit of being reasonably priced, and you're in and out of the store in 30 seconds.

Then you spend another 30 seconds writing some sentimental crap like "happy 95th Auntie Millie; hope I'm half as vibrant as you when I'm 95!"

You slap a few x's and o's on there and you're good to go. Total elapsed time, about a minute.

Then there's the girls way. You "shop" for a card. That means you go to the Hallmark store at the mall and read every card. After you've read every card you pick the "best" one. That can take hours. You may even have to check out multiple stores to find the "right" card.

And good luck finding a decent card for under five bucks, which not that long ago used to be a reasonable budget for a birthday present, nevermind a birthday card.

Then, because you want your card to have a "personal" touch, you have to add a personal salutation to the perfectly adequate Hallmark salutation.

There's umpteen more hours. You may even have to do a rough draft of your personal greeting, and then have it vetted by close friends or your significant other, which can stretch this process out into days.

And since 95 year old Auntie hasn't remembered your name since 1987, it really doesn't matter which way you go...

But if you've got other things to do, go for saving time.

Beer-swilling pothead unmasked as top stock market guru

No shit!

What did I say less than two months ago? Dump Apple I said!

"Go short" were my exact words.

Had you gone short when I wrote those words you'd be about 15% to the good tonight, and that's after today's flukey $38 rise. 15% since September 28 is about 100% on an annualized basis.

Beat that, Wall Street boffins!

And what did I say when RIM was at $6 and a half? I believe I said RIM is a buy in the current price range. And lookee, they closed today at a hair over 9.50!

That's a staggering 250% return on an annualized basis!

And the Farm Manager thought I only had staggering returns when I came home from the bar!

NYT calls out the hypocrisy of the Egyptian Government on Gaza

David Kirkpatrick takes a swing at Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president today. Apparently it's not kosher to play peacemaker while openly favoring one side over the other, and Morsi has made it plain who he holds responsible for the current crisis.

There is no hint in David's article that he is aware that this is exactly how America and "the quartet" have been seen by most of the world, and especially the Muslim world, for the past fifty years. It does indeed undermine the credibility of the peacemakers when they clearly hold one side blameless.

In America's case and in the Nations of Virtue generally we finance and arm one side and continuously blame the other, yet we hold ourselves out to be credible "honest brokers".

The main difference between our hypocrisy and that of Morsi is that he's only been at it for five days.

We've been at it for fifty years.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Storm clouds over Dan's Republic

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of those African nations that has yet to grow into its potential in the post-colonial era. There's a certain segment of old-school pinkos who lay the blame for this on the legacy of colonialism.

I blame Dan Gertler. Gertler is the international man of mystery who has done a really great job of enriching himself with a wide range of business activities in the DRC. In fact, Gertler's net worth after a couple of decades of wheeling and dealing in the Congo is greater than the country's GDP!

Then I read Alex Engwete's impassioned defense of Gertler, and maybe he has a point or two. The Gertlers of the world do bring something to the table, and I agree that notions of transparency transposed willy-nilly onto emerging economies fail to take into consideration the realities of doing business in that kind of environment. Successful developed economies all had their share of crooks, swindlers, scallywags and carpet-baggers make their contribution in the course of their evolution.

But Dan's fabulous Congolese adventure may be facing a dark future, and it's all got to do with players much bigger than him. As part of the long term Africom strategy to remake Africa as an American fiefdom, the M23 rebel army is rapidly making inroads in the country. That's a rebel army underwritten and directed by our erstwhile ally, Rwanda.

But Dan's a land-on-his-feet kind of guy. He's probably making deals with the M23 commanders already!

Hamas demands end of Gaza blockade as condition of ceasefire

While this is bound to elicit gales of laughter from the Likud gang, there is at least one prominent Israeli who agrees.

Maj. General Giora Eiland was the architect of Sharon's Gaza withdrawal. Unlike the Netanyahu acolytes who seem incapable of seeing beyond the next election, Eiland has a vision for long-term peace.

And that is fundamentally incompatible with the blockade. The main achievements of the blockade are to solidify Hamas' power base, keep a million and a half Gazans perpetually pissed off, and make Israel look bad in the eyes of the world. None of these effects are in the long term interests of Israel.

Alas, the reign of buffoons and imbeciles seems destined to last a little longer. Let's hope there's still something worth saving when people of goodwill and reason finally pilot the ship of state.

F-35 dead; long live the drone

Drones were not yet a factor fifteen years ago when the F-35 development contract was being signed between Lockheed Martin and a dozen governments that were potential buyers.

Canada was one of the parties to that contract. According to the National Post Defense Minister Peter "Pinocchio" MacKay is having second thoughts. We know this because rather than answer questions about Canada's commitment to the F-35, MacKay chose to remain silent, and veteran MacKay watchers know that is a sure sign he is telling the truth.

Other than the fact that it doesn't work, the main problem with the F-35 is it doesn't work. That, and it's also by far the most expensive fighter jet in its class. For the cost of one F-35 a country can buy 100 drones. When you think through what a country needs an air force for, it's hard to see an argument for the F-35.

Spying? Delivering payload (i.e. missiles and bombs, shit to blow people up)? Supporting ground forces? What else do fighter planes do?

Everything a fighter jet can do a drone can do at a fraction of the cost.

Except have dogfights with other fighter jets. That's pretty much all a fighter jet does these days that you can't do with a drone.

But you'd skip right past the dogfight and just shoot down the 150 million dollar F-35 with your 1 million dollar drone.

Furthermore, owing to developments in detection technologies, the F-35 is no longer the "stealth" fighter it was  originally conceived to be. Virtually all of the intended buyers have been scaling back or deferring their orders, if not opting out altogether. For Canada, an opt-out would mean waving good-bye to the 300 million plus that has already been contributed to the development program.

But that makes more sense than throwing even more money into a fighter jet whose time has passed.

Technology has changed.

Fighter jets are as obsolete as the trebuchet.

Forbes feels the love for unions

How gratifying to see one of America's iconic business sites publish something that doesn't feature the usual knee-jerk anti-labor bias. Of course, maybe Adam Hartung inadvertently slipped this one past his editors and we'll next see his byline at the Daily Worker.

By now the story of Hostess' demise is well trod territory. It's been brought to my attention that I've been wrong to pin the blame on hedge fund shitbags. I'm not so sure. Maybe Ripplewood is going to take a haircut on this one, but apparently two bond funds hold all or most of the secured debt.

That means the sharpies who bought the debt at pennies on the dollar back around the time of the original Hostess bankruptcy are going to be sitting pretty as they get paid out in full, while thousands of pensioners will be up Shit Creek without a paddle.

Not to mention that in the course of the last eight years a clique of insiders in the executive suite rewarded themselves with outlandish raises and bonuses while demanding draconian givebacks from the workers and "managing" a venerable company into the ground.

There may be examples extant of hedge funds making a useful contribution to the society at large, but for the most part they are predators who are all too willing to destroy the common good so long as their investors and their management can make a killing.

That's why we need a 100% tax on non-productive economic activity.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dear Pakistan; US drones are good for you

It's got to be one of the most egregiously unctuous opinion pieces of the year. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Canadian journalist Stephanie Nolen offers up the view that America's drone campaign in Pakistan is secretly appreciated by the Pakistanis.  

I suppose if we open the floodgates of baseless speculation we could postulate many scenarios in which the victims appreciate being victimized.

North America's native peoples deep down were grateful for the genocide perpetrated on them by European settlers. It afforded them the opportunity to embrace a superior culture.

Polish Jews were thankful for how the Warsaw ghetto brought them together. It allowed them to evolve a sense of community that would have been unattainable otherwise.

Gazans appreciate the blockade and the wars that accompany every Israeli election cycle because it gives them the opportunity to plumb new depths of human resilience.

And so on...

This is of course the logical continuation of that Nations of Virtue characteristic that we and we alone know what's best for everyone else.

It is a logic freighted to its core with the baggage of 500 years of racist imperialism.

We are the good guys and you are the primitives.

"Rash Israel lights Arab Spring powderkeg"

My goodness, that's a bit of insight you won't find anywhere in the English speaking world.

Except Australia.

What, they don't have an AIPAC to keep things in line?

Paul McGeogh's article in the Sydney Morning Herald is worth a look.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bahrain, Israel, Jordan; three reasons for invading Syria

The Middle East is in flux. If America is to preserve what is left of the status quo, she had best act sooner rather than later.

In Jordan the US-friendly King is being rocked by the most vociferous anti-regime protests in Jordan's history.

Ditto Bahrain.

Meanwhile, America's only ally in the region has bitten off an untimely war with the Palestinians in Gaza.

Just a couple of weeks ago the Emir of Qatar was touring Gaza promising moral and financial support. This is the same Emir who funds al Jazeera and funds the Syrian opposition, and has been considered a US ally for quite some time.

We're supposedly onside with their funding of the Syrian rebels, although we don't trust those rebels, but that Gaza junket raised a lot of eyebrows in Washington. That al Jazeera sponsorship has always been problematic for the US. Wasn't it Bush II who wanted to bomb their HQ?

The PM of Egypt toured Gaza today, clearly to demonstrate Egyptian solidarity with Hamas, the number one nemesis of America's only ally in the Middle East.

America has done a lot of sucking up to the Muslim Brotherhood since the demise of Mubarak, but where do Egypt's allegiances lie?

I would suggest not with America.

A Tunisian delegation will be touring Gaza in the days ahead. Tunisia is the cradle of Arab Spring, and America has been trying to convince the world that she is behind Arab Spring ever since it unexpectedly sprang.

All of which leaves America in something of a quandary. Insofar as the Syrian opposition still has any credibility whatsoever, the US can try to come out on the right side of history by supporting them.

At the same time, virtually every other country that has been touched by Arab Spring is lining up firmly behind Hamas in the current Gaza crisis.

Troubling days and nights for The Empire.

NYT floats trial balloon for Syria invasion

Make no mistake; the New York Times is every bit as integral a part of America's propaganda machinery as the no-spin network and the official dot gov sites. All the ranting from the right about the Times left bias is part of the charade intended to keep believers believing that there is such a thing as a "left" in today's America.

So when the Times runs this article about how many (American?) troops would be required to keep Syria's chemical warfare stocks out of the hands of terrorists, you can bet they're doing it for a reason. They're testing the waters. They are measuring the temperature of public opinion. They are gauging the degree of public resistance the administration could expect if and when they announce that America has to (reluctantly, of course) put boots on the ground in Syria.

Boots on the ground in Syria is exactly where America is headed. Hence the standoff with the various Syrian opposition Councils/Coalitions about supplying the kind of weaponry that could make a difference in their battle with Assad. Fact is, we don't trust the rebels, but if we had 75,000 pairs of boots on the ground, per the Pentagon estimates, the question would become moot.

Note the reference to Hezbollah training sites nearby Syrian chemical weapons depositories in the Times article. Invoking the name of Hezbollah, and by extension Iran, in the course of this debate will help cement the IRAN-TERROR-NUKES meme in the mind of the reader, without explicitly acknowledging the fact that the entire Syria operation is simply stage one of the war on Iran.

Netanyahu's ground war bluff

At last report 75,000 reservists have been called to active IDF duty in anticipation of a major Gaza invasion.

Netanyahu is bluffing.

He is betting that after another week or two of a one-sided affair in which the IAF can smash Gaza with impunity, Hamas will petition for a cease-fire and the ground invasion won't be necessary.

It is one thing to run thousands of bombing sorties over an opponent with no air force and no air defenses. It will be quite another to fight street to street in Gaza City with ground troops. It's what the militants dream of.

Any meaningful incursion into Gaza will mean Israeli casualties, and plenty of them. Yes, the traditional kill ratio of 100:1 will no doubt be maintained, but even a few dozen IDF casualties will give Israeli voters pause for thought on January 22.

Everybody in Israel understands the timing of this war. It was a war entirely of Netanyahu's choosing, a mere two months before the election. It was designed to make Netanyahu look like the strongman Israel needs to survive.

If IDF forces are bogged down in Gaza on the eve of the election, if reservists are going home dead, the voters will certainly be having second thoughts.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Iron Dome proves it doesn't work

Rafael will of course use the exact same statistics to argue that it does.

The last numbers I've seen is that the highly touted Rafael anti-missile defense system has shot down 130 incoming missiles, while 450 have landed.

With a handful of possible exceptions, everything incoming has been homemade handiwork of the Gaza bricoleurs. In a serious war those would not even be considered serious weapons, and Iron Dome is stopping less than one third?

This is all fun and games as long as the Americans are paying for it, but expect a serious push very soon for a massive increase in funding to Rafael. The argument will be that there just aren't enough anti-missile missiles.

Sooner or later Obama will tire of paying for them.

Then Israel will be forced to choose between bankrupting the budget for a defense strategy that doesn't work but enriches a certain segment of the population on the one hand, and making peace on the other.

Gaza attack wipes Syria off the news map

Click on any major American news site right now and chances are you won't even find a reference to the Syrian conflict. When the only democracy in the middle east decides, (and it usually needs to do this just before an election, coincidentally) to teach those implacable Palestinians one of their periodic good sharp lessons, all other news disappears.

Which is not to say it stops happening. In fact, if one visits news sites based in the region, there seems to be quite a lot going on.

The popular Turkish news site Hurriyet has a take on the Gaza strikes that readers here wouldn't imagine. In the first place they seem to assume, incorrectly, that the Israelis would never undertake such an adventure without the explicit approval of the US.

Secondly, the tone used by Hurriyet suggests that they see the US/Israel attack on Gaza as an attack on Islam, and take offence accordingly. They have gone from being the crucial conduit  keeping the Syrian insurrection going to being yesterday's news.

They further seem a little put out that only France among the NATO allies has joined Turkey in recognizing the new Syrian opposition coalition that the Americans themselves were pushing so hard for the past two weeks. Yesterday Obama seemed to say the US still doesn't trust the rebels.

Here's another reason the Turks are miffed. Regardless of how the Syrian insurrection unfolds for Assad, there is a de-facto Kurdish state being created right now all along Turkey's border with Syria. The Kurdish militias creating the new Kurdistan are allies of the PKK that the Turkish state has been fighting for years.

Erdogan is up a stump. In an attempt to ingratiate himself with his NATO pals he went along with their plans to destroy his one-time ally Assad. In doing so he's allowed his country to violate international law continuously for the past year and a half by providing safe haven and supplying the rebels operating in Syria. Not only is Assad not out of power, but Erdogan's NATO friends, with the exception of France, are clearly losing interest.

And in the meantime, his worst nightmare, an independent Kurdistan, is blossoming right at his door.

So in spite of what you see or don't see at Fox or CNN, Gaza is just one story from a Middle East in chaos, and probably one of the more predictable ones. A few thousand Palestinians and a few dozen Israelis will die, Netanyahu will be re-elected, and it will be business as usual in the Holy Land.

But it's that rapidly changing landscape all around it that we need to be watching.

Blacks seen voting in Maine

Charlie Webster is on to something. Charlie is the Chairman of the Maine Republicans, and he's heard the rumors the length and breadth of the Irving State; black folks were seen voting in Maine.

Charlie knows, as does every Mainer, that there are no black folks in Maine. Hence, these voters were voting illegally, and, it goes without saying, for Obama.

And quite possibly their Maine vote is only the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how many times those black folks voted on their way to Maine? Convoys of black voters could have cut a swath from the Carolinas clear through New England, stopping at every polling station along the way.

No wonder the black dude won.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Racist stereotypes alive and well at the Toronto Sun

Read the story and decide for yourself.

How often do stories about alleged criminality focus on the religious affiliation of the alleged perpetrators?

All In: America's perverse state of denial

Now don't you find that the title of the biography that General Pantsoff's biographer put out is just a little over the top?

All In.


Knowing now what we know, (the "known knowns" as it were) does that not seem like some kind of inside joke?

But the joke is on the jokers.

The greater pity is that General Petraeus will forever be remembered as the guy who boned his biographer. The fact that she was a hottie twenty years his junior just adds a little zempf to the story.

What General Patraeus should be remembered for is his leadership. He lead not one but two bullshit wars in his leadership career. All along he proved himself a stellar bullshitter who could convince the chain of command and the higher ups and congress and the ever-fawning media that things were going swimmingly, thank you very much; "...while I blush to say so, I am in fact the genius you've made me out to be."

Iraq is an ongoing catastrophe for the benighted Iraqis who are stuck there.

Afghanistan will be returned to the Taliban as soon as the last ISAF/NATO contingent is chased out by the Afghan troops they are supposedly training.

That is General Petraeus' legacy.

Anybody can fuck their biographer.

It takes a special sort of American hero to fuck two countries.

Opening the gates of hell

You have to hand it to the Palestinian leadership. Whether the PA or their brothers in Gaza, it's not hard to argue that they haven't delivered a whole lot for their people over these last thirty or forty years.

Except in one area. When it comes to blood-curdling rhetoric, the Palestinian leadership is second to none. Thus, after the dispatching of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari by an IDF missile on Wednesday, Hamas spokesmen were quick to proclaim that the Israeli's had "opened the gates of hell".

Alas, opening the gates of hell is a little more difficult than opening one's mouth to announce it, and that is where the Hamas leadership is playing directly into Netanyahu's election campaign. There is utterly no objective reason whatsoever for the recent escalation other than Netanyahu's obsession with being perceived as the strongman who will stand up to terror when the voters head to the polling stations in January.

How much more fruitful it would have been for Hamas to rein in the rocketeers in the run-up to this election. Keep their mouths shut and their powder dry even in the face of the inevitable provocations that Netanyahu was assured to send their way. Maybe even take the initiative in reaching out to peace-minded Israelis.

But no, they did the predictable thing that Netanyahu was counting on. And now he has a chance to strut about as the heroic savior of the Holy Land, just in time for the election.

Netanyahu gets serious about re-election campaign with assassination of Hamas military chief

Netanyahus poll numbers will be going through the roof as Hellfire missiles are going through roofs across Gaza tonight.

"Operation Pillar of Defense" was launced with the assasination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. At the same time Army Radio reports that at least twenty underground missile bunkers were destroyed.

While some would argue that Netanyahu is playing with fire by choosing this time to unleash another Gaza war, he has limited options for goosing his popularity before the upcoming election.

Besides, the American's are preoccupied with the antics of General Pantsoff and General Boner this week, and as long as the attack on Gaza doesn't end up hitting Tehran they probably won't care.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Morality here and there

You've got to feel a pang of sympathy for guys like Petraeus and Allen.

They're over there as emissaries for a culture that is superior in every way.

That's why we insist on training their fighting forces even though they just whupped us in a war.

So the emissaries for the culture that is superior in every way get together with some towel-headed war-lord, and what do they find?

They find that Mr. Warlord has seven wives and a stable of dancing boys.

They're stuck with their high-school sweet-heart they married when they were nineteen.

Cultural superiority has a price.

And at some level, once our Generals see how the other half lives, that price begins to foment resentment.

Before you know it they're banging the secretary and the under-secretary and the other secretary under the desk. And of course the biographer.

They can't quite get their heads around the dancing boys, but you can bet they're working on it.

Then their career gets caught in the middle of a turf battle between the FBI and the CIA, and it's all over.

Meanwhile, Mr. Warlord who we vanquished years ago is up to nine wives, and he's just added a couple of fresh twelve year olds to his dancing-boy harem.

It sucks to be the winner.

No wonder we lost Afghanistan to the Taliban

According to USA Today and plenty of other media outlets, the guy who was in charge of our Afghan endeavors the last couple of years was preoccupied.

As in he had other things on his mind.

As in while he was busy directing the ISAF/NATO/USA campaign against the towellers from hell, he was even busier sending e-mails to his stateside tart.

Twenty to thirty thousand pages worth of e-mails, if such a thing can even be imagined.

Over the course of two years.

They're not telling us how many e-mails are on a page, but by God, even if it was only one, the guy must have been writing at least fifty per day.

No wonder he didn't notice the towellers were winning!

Sunshine and black skies

There's an exquisite kind of light that happens sometimes when you're lucky.

Had to run into town today to get a deadbolt for the bedroom door. The upstairs cat has been pushing her way into the bedroom at all hours, whereupon she takes to kneading the Farm Manager's breasts and drinking out of her water glass.

On the way back to Falling Downs we hit one of those landscapes that have your black sky all across the horizon but right in the middle of all that blackness you bask in bright sunlight. A truly wondrous moment.

It's the kind of wondrous moment I used to live for when I was an aspiring photographer. There's nothing like evening/morning light at just the right moment. Ansel Adams used to rise early day after day trying to nail it. So did I.

Now, it just happens once in awhile, and of course I've never got a camera handy. Somewhere along life's road I went from always carrying around fifty pounds of camera gear to not owning a camera.

Not that I don't own a camera. In fact, not that long ago I bought a Pentax MX body as a back-up, or perhaps a parts car, for the MX I've owned for forty years. I even picked up a couple of rolls of 35mm film so I could do a comparison test of the two camera bodies.

When camera bodies get old they leak light. Compared to what my body leaks as it gets old this is  rather benign, but it does impair the function of the camera body. I was somewhat disappointed to find that there is no readily available black and white film stock on offer any more. The clerk at the camera store told me they can "manipulate" color film to give a black and white effect.

Might as well go digital for fucks sakes.

The upstairs cat is a former barn cat, the sole survivor you might say. She hails from the era when we still had Charlie, the hound who died from cancer a couple of years ago. Well, she didn't die from cancer exactly; she died from being euthanized after being diagnosed with cancer. Of the mouth.

She wasn't even a smoker. But before she died she killed a lot of kittens. Didn't even mean to. It was just in her. Couldn't resist the urge. One minute she was giving the kitten a friendly nuzzle, next minute there'd just be a kitten tail hanging out her snout.

One option to the deadbolt would be to fix the lock on the door. The problem with this plan is that these hundred year old doors we have at Falling Downs have hundred year old locking mechanisms on them. That was an era when the entire lock-works were in a little metal box about 4 by 4 inches, which was affixed to the door, unlike later locking hardware which is internal to the door-handle itself.

I've run into this problem many times over a lifetime living in old houses. Sometimes you can fix them and sometimes you can't. Spare parts are out of the question. If you have the good fortune to have a store of surplus doors in the woodshed or the garage, sometimes you can swap in a working door lock, or even fashion a functional one from two or three that aren't.

All of these options were given a try and reluctantly discarded, hence the trip into town. When Charlie used to come into town she always rode in the back of the truck. Front paws on the side of the box and face in the wind just behind the cab. Save for one unfortunate incident when she was still a pup, she always stayed in the box.

These moron hounds we have now can't figure that out. They seem to be OK out on the road, but the moment you're in town they just can't resist the 1001 temptations. Last time I let them ride in the box, I pulled up in front of the liquor store, and godamn, if both the hounds weren't in the store before I was!

So we get this fabulous sun and black sky perfect light and for some reason it makes me think about old Tony who used to live on the Marden Road, right next to Mann's gravel pit. Later on I was to have a bit of history with the Mann brothers, but at the time I just knew their gravel pits as someplace to go off-roading.

Tony was a regular old-school working lad who put in his entire career at one of the factories in Guelph. That was in an era when working in a factory would allow a fellow of modest means and talents to send his kids to university and live in a modest home in the country. We have made so much progress in the last half century that such a thing is virtually unimaginable now, but trust me, it used to happen all the time.

So Tony has sold his house and bought a motor home, and he and the Missus are going to head out on the long-deferred adventure of a lifetime. Gonna take that Winnebago all around the continent. Spend a couple of the winter months in Panama City, then head west through the Gulf states and Texas to the Grand Canyon. Head on to the west coast and then go north. See Vancouver Island, navigate the Rocky Mountains via the Kicking Horse Pass, and gradually make their way home.

On his last day in the old place Tony had the Winnebago loaded up and gassed up. They'd had several weekends of yard sales and had put a few things in storage. All he was waiting for was the deal to close, which was going to happen any minute now. Just waiting for a call from the lawyer's office to pick up the check.

On his last trip across the Marden Road to his mailbox, Tony must have been full of anticipation. Finally, retirement! Freedom! The RV trip of a lifetime!

On his last trip back from his mailbox, Tony got run over by a gravel truck, and that was the end of all that.

The vet told us that Charlie had options. For a coupe of thousand bucks we could have her lower jaw removed. She might survive and she might not. If she did, it would of course be without a lower jaw.

In my youth I would have dispatched an ailing pet myself, but I don't have that in me anymore. Charlie and I took that last trip to the vet clinic with her in the back, paws up on the side of the box, head out in the wind.

I drove home alone under one of those crazy black skies with sunshine streaming right through the middle of it.