fire dancer

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

unflamable fliers

Who came up with the idea to make nonsense useless? For one: the "Real Estate" advertiser. 

We get these "flyers" in the mail box every day (and not much else) .

The only thing the paper could be used for is to light a fire but it will not burn. Some genius has figured out that you might continue reading if the page won't ignite? Give me a break here! 

They soak the paper in fire retardant? I noticed the venerable "Globe and Mail" is also soaking the front page in some form of suppressant but the interior pages burn like a house afire. I ain't about to buy an over priced house in the Nanaimo area or need any tools from Home Hardware in the short term but i should and used to be able to light a fire with the pages.

What are we supposed to do with this "paper"? 
Recycle it with our old NiCad batteries?

The glossy nonsense will smolder for a bit and then extinguish itself.

Then some of the "flyers" are stuck together. My shakey morning fingers work away as I drool on the pages. They have gone to the trouble of gluing the stupid adds together!

And making them "fire safe"!

Where do people like that come from?

Ken LeDuc

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cotten eyed Joe

"I've been a Miner for a Heart of Gold
And I'm gettin' Old!"
I look out at the paridise I live at and wonder: "Why me?".
"Some get the Gravey" I guess.
My fellow ranters are dropping like flies. (that's been going on for some time)
With the internet working well I can find other decent ranters like Monbiot but I'd rather do it head to head.
Where have all the people gone?
Gone to keyboards every one.
(or cell phones or iPads)
Sheesh! So have I.
De real ting is missed terribly here. But I guess this will have to do for today:
Major changes have come down lately. Not just for the Polar Bear.
The "Occupy where ever" dismissed by most media has my interest just now.
What worries me is: Success in that movement means a bit 'o chaos for a while.
Maybe I will need to wander away from my Den and pay attention to the goings on in "real time"
'Course I am not expecting anyone to want to "Occupy" Cassidy
And I can't drive anymore over .05
I don't trust the police to notice that I can:
1) Run a skillsaw or a chainsaw or a backhoe
2) Type and spell check one of these entries
3) Keep a construction crew busy (and get no "call backs")
running well over .08 most of the time
Oh well.
Cotten eyed Joe

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Orange You Noticing?

I certainly am.
What? What now, Mike, you’re probably thinking, and why “orange” in the title again?
Well, the orange is the point. What orange this time? Not the orange safety gear, though that continues to assault us on every street in the dominion, every hour of day or night. Nor is it the humble orange imported great distances to our food shops, though that is another wasteful enterprise furnishing us with food we don’t need.
It’s an overarching orangeanity, an orangitude, an orangitint everywhere, all over the place that vexes me.

All over everyday places and the oddest places. A post-election joke about about Jack Layton getting Stornoway painted orange, NDP colours, ha ha, not really ha.
In the bathroom of a fancy hotel (for me fancy is any three-star hotel) I stayed at recently, I gazed into the mirror at my knobby old body, and the thing looked definitely healthier, the skin darker toned…orange! They do this with the mirror somehow! They orange you!
The style section of the Saturday Globe and Mail, the only newspaper I regularly buy, has invested heavily in orange. Orange clothes, orange hair on the models (no, it isn’t auburn, isn’t brown, it’s freaking orange), orange backgrounds if they can’t get it in anywhere else. In fact there is orange, glossy orange colour, in every section of that newspaper. 
Furniture has darkened and reddened, gone from brown to orange. Just try and find any other colour in wood furniture.
Why is all this orangeification happening? Don’t be surprised that I have a theory. Or two. The simplest one is that an ugly world both merits and gets an ugly colour. To put it more fully, things are really bad right now, right? The dominos of national economy are tumbling one after the other—Greece, Ireland, Spain, everywhere. China is muscling its way up into top-dog power; the Americans are out, and are freaking out, getting ready to go completely berserk. (Phone me for details. Better yet, duck). All industrialization, all technology, all production is now shaped to one aim: to do away with human employment.
And the response to all this horror is to daub all surfaces with a colour not quite crimson for danger, nor cheerful yellow for “wake up and sniff the coffee”. The colour is orange, the mood is grim, the message is get yer head down, bad moon rising. Not the fire next time, the fire this time.

Mike Matthews

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Link to Rant within a Rant

This large poster is part of an "Art" exhibit found in the "Labyrinth"  under the high points of Buda, Budapest, Hungary. The underground system of caves there is probably more of a "Maze" than a laryrinth and the exhibit is a well done spoof  - but I was most impressed. I should not attempt to impose my impression of this experience - the exhibit speaks for itself. But it should be on everyone's "To See" list.

if you click on the image it gets big enough to see

Another labyrinth we are all walking is the Maze of  (sometimes) confusing evidence and opinion regarding the short term future of the planet.
One blogger/author/thinker has caught my attention lately:

While I have yet to accept his notion that nuclear power is a nessessary stopgap he does examine some of the dangers of ignoring any option and some of the dissadvantages of persuing any particular solution Holus-Bolus such as "Green" renewables.
The overwhelming power that the human has sacrificed to it's greatest god ever, "Maman" (Money), has set us on an "Highway to Hell".
As Jethro Tull sang:
"God He stole the Handle" (Brake handle in this image)
"And the train, it won't stop
Oh No: It won't slow down."
So we have seen the enemy.
Now what?

By Ken LeDuc

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Water You Doing?!!

By Mike Matthews
This one is inspired, is started, kicked off by a particular experience, but then most of my rants work that way. Something crawls under your skin for a long time, and one day it finally erupts, an explosion of rage. Lucky you that it comes at you here via the printed (we still call it printed) word. Lucky you that I’m not standing in front of you, gibbering and spitting, shitting my pants with rage. Lucky for both of us that we have Kim for me to send my rant to. 
Wife and I had taken our seats for what turned out to be a brilliant, thoroughly artistic, intelligent, wonderfully resourceful production of a big old solid play by George Bernard Shaw. We sat in a comfortable modern theatre in a big west coast city. In came the audience clump by clump, twos and threes. Many of them, most of them maybe, with gray hair. And, several rows below us, in trooped a threesome as old as the others but looking younger and looking worse, because each of them carried a plastic bottle of water. 
I am too civilized to shout imprecations in a theatre, unless I am on the stage. I did think about finding these simpletons at the intermission and scolding them. I didn’t do it; I spent the intermission looking at the program and chatting about how splendid the performance was. I am too civilized, too frightened of my wife.
You are thinking that it was those plastic bottles of water that roused my fury, water carried in plastic bottles. And yes, like most people I disapprove of plastic water bottles.
Of course it’s evil to carry things about in plastic containers, containers that come from that oil-based industrialization that maims and poisons the earth we live on. 
My fury when I see plastic water bottles does not come just from that; it comes from the simple fact that the people who carry water with them don’t need that water. Uh huh.Think about it. When did you last need a drink of water and not be able to get it from a tap?
You don’t need that water! A few million people in Africa need that water, but you don’t.
 I used to run marathons. In three or four hours of steady toil, most of us took gulps of water at the water stations, two or three times in the race. That was all we could slow down for, and it was plenty.  At the end we’d have lost weight from dehydration, but that was not something to get excited about.
I don’t remember anyone ever walking away from a marathon toting a bottle of water. I’m sure that it is different now.
It’s easy to abuse water, use too much, not care for it, exploit it, spoil it, mishandle it, waste it. But when you abuse my patience, you pay.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Unless you think of time as a "Big Wave".

I've been bothered by the videos and images of the coastal towns in Japan as the tsunami hit.
I have built some houses and worked on boats so watching an ocean going vessel surging down a street crushing buildings has added to my normally trivial nightmares:

Would any structure I have worked on withstand?


Can we actually build structures to survive such events?

That would depend on the relative strength of the event.
It does not hurt to try to earthquake proof buildings nor to consider and implement safe siting of any new developement and while you are at it keep your boat well off shore during a large earthquake.

Let's face it:
Some of us will be caught with our "pants down".
Most "Disaster Preparedness" advice tells us to have a bit of food and water somewhere and a "plan".
In the days of Cold War Nuclear Threat the advice was: "Duck and Cover" which has now been modified: you should no longer crawl under your desk but hunker down beside it because that is where survivors are found - near but not under a sturdy peice of furniture.  

And "running outside" can also increase risks. I would likely still "run about" if there was time for that.
Sensible "preparedness" might still include ducking and storing water and food.

One consistant affect of disaster is: loss of information. You can survive quite a while without food and in our locale most of the year there would be water within walking distance. But not knowing if the people you care about are ok  and not being able to inform them of your own situation would be difficult for most of us who are used to instant access.

One possibly useful adition to your "Grab Bag" might be a hand held two way radio (cell phones and wi-fi communications immediately overload even if infrastructure survives).

Part of everyone's "plan" should be a common meeting point.

I'm going to the car park by the highway in Cassidy: Nanaimo River right next door and hopefully the pub and beer and wine will stay open (note to self: bring cash. Credit and Debit cards will still be good for scraping your windshield).
Ken LeDuc

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chop the Sticks, Eh?

It came to me very specifically one day, one lunchtime, in Guelph. Yeah, Guelph, Ontario. We were visiting there a couple of days, trundling through the good downtown bookstore and meeting a university student, daughter of a friend, for coffee and catch-up.
At lunch we went to a Chinese restaurant, your typical Canadian Chinese restaurant, a bit upscale, big and busy, and it had a smorgasbord. That is a great thing in a Chinese restaurant; it means you can load your plate with just two or three items, the gyozas or ribs or whatever it is that you really want to indulge in. Skip the chow mein.
We indulged, and we took our plates to a table and picked up our tools. And I looked around and saw that there were no chopsticks in anyone’s hands, no chopsticks on any of the tables. Just knives, forks and spoons. It was a Eureka moment.
For I knew that it could be, and that there were people, proprietors of restaurants and customers of restaurants, who could make it happen. A meal, whether of rice or dumplings or meat or vegetables or fish or noodles or any darn thing, could be eaten quite handily with knives, forks, and spoons. And here was a town that knew that.
Out west they don’t know that. We don’t know that. Look around you on the BC Ferry. On every sailing you see people slobbering into those giant Dixie cups and pulling up noodles with chopsticks, pushing them up the sides of the cup and then sucking them the rest of the way home.
It is not that I am disgusted by this spectacle. I can watch people eat in a messy way, or not watch them. I am a messer myself, Mikey Messer, like MacHeath in the song. And I have nothing against noodles. It’s just that chopsticks are no good for eating noodles, and any food that comes out of a cup or a bowl should be eaten with a spoon. Food that comes on a plate should be cut up with a knife and pushed onto a fork. Knives, forks and spoons have evolved over the centuries, and they do a good job with any food. Chopsticks don’t. Humans eating with chopsticks look like animals performing in a circus. Though not as dignified.

You are wondering if I am questioning the skills and wisdom of the all-wise East. I am not questioning the skills. If you practice hard with chopsticks for many years, you can do a not-too-messy job of eating messy, bitsy-bitsy food.
What I question is the wisdom. 
Look at it this way. When Marco Polo came back from Asia, he brought noodles,
but no little sticks. He ate the noodles by wrapping them around his dagger. To help him in this enterprise, those clever Italian designers devised the multi-pronged instrument that we use today.  Some parts of Asia never got the news, and some parts of the West insist on aping the backwards parts of the East. All too often, the blind lead the blind.

By Mike Matthews