Mrs Dalwhinnie and I recently drove north from Charleston, South Carolina for several hours to reach the I-95. It was the most depressing landscape of poverty I can recall seeing. Crap towns. Abandoned stores with plywood for windows. No agriculture to speak of, just endless pine forests. Hovels, shacks, bungalows, trailers. Scarcely a middle class, well-maintained house, for hour after hour. Dozens of Protestant churches for every five miles of road. A dozen varieties of Baptist churches, some little better than shacks, one Presbyterian Church for the prosperous, and a few African Methodist Episcopal, which looked positively prosperous next to the Southern Baptist. Two hours of driving on secondary roads through this desolation was utterly weird.
Anyone who thinks the US is rich compared to Canada needs to contemplate places like South Carolina before they get too confident. The same poverty exists in New Brunswick too, but I have not seen poverty so extensive as that of South Carolina. The region is a pine barrens. We have something the same as when you drive from Ottawa to Peterborough on Route 7, and come across little shacks selling blueberries. But this is the result of no soil and bare rock. In South Carolina the poverty appears to be without geographic limit.
This brings me to Bloomberg’s spending $500 million on television ads.
The claim that this would have produced a million dollars for every American is a mistake. The actual amount of Bloomberg’s expenditure would be $1.50 per American, which could get them a Coke or something, and not a million per American, as the people on TV seemed to think. Innumeracy is growing as fast as ignorance, thanks to modern education.
As we drove north on I-95 and then I-81, we did not see prosperity thicken until Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley looks as rich and productive as good soils can make it. At the upper end of it, near Maryland, were huge factories and warehouses, probably serving the Washington-Baltimore-Richmond prosperity zone. Even former coal mining and manufacturing towns of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Binghampton, looked wealthy by comparison to South Carolina.
Mrs Dalwhinnie, who crossed the US in February, said that west of Iowa, a lot of the American West looks much like South Carolina: people living in trailers, scarcely any towns, Walmarts every third town serving as the only shopping available, and hard, hard lives.
These are among the people who will put Trump back into the Presidency. Life may be getting better for the lowest paid of the American population under his nationalist policies, but scarcely soon enough. For the well-off, they have only to look at their retirement savings accounts. They may not like Trump, but they like what he is doing for them.
Our paths crossed several times but we never conversed as we really didn’t know each other. Then one day I was in the World Exchange Plaza, where I had parked my car. When I got to the elevator Paul was already standing there to get to his car. That is the first time we spoke and in our conversation he mentioned that he worked on the, not his words, “World Wide Web”. At that time internet was an exotic technology and I didn’t know anybody who worked in that field. I was curious, so I asked him if he could give me a brief introduction to it. Paul was his usual gracious self and invited me to his home office, located above the garage which was separate from the house. He proceeded to tell me how he was working on the website for the Canadian Embassy in Washington. I recall leaving the meeting and us standing on the driveway, where he made several obscure and disparate cultural references which surprised me, but I was soon to learn were central to his character.
As Dalwhinnie noted below, Paul went through some difficult periods which were exacerbated due to medical issues as well as limited career options as he was a trained Kremlinologist. He soldiered on and I think it is fair to state that after a long journey, he was able to vanquish his internal demons. His remunerative work in Regina brought a degree of stability and an active membership in Masons brought him immense joy. It is surprising that it took him that long to join the Masons given his fondness for organizations that are based on strict and formal order, such the Governor General Foot Guards of which he was a part.
The most amazing thing about Paul was his memory and the ability to recall obscure facts, along with wide knowledge of contemporary cultural references, both relevant and irrelevant and lowbrow as well as highbrow. With the right pedigree he could have easily edited a literary magazine. There are not many people who can claim to be able to do that, whilst boasting a complete Chelsea FC tattoo.
Nutters will be nutters. Even a court ruling is not sufficient to get the UK police to consider they might be wrong. No evidence is required to establish a hate crime. Repeat – no evidence is required. How is the hate crime established? By the subjective state of any nutter that your post was “hate”.
Is this the only country in the world where such respect is shown to pre-feudal political organizations? A bunch of feathered and beaded aristocrats are taken more seriously than their elected rivals and the expressed will of their own tribe. Of course a majority of their subjects may not prevail against the will of hereditary Chiefs, can they?
Of course, the real reason for people supporting them is that the Chiefs serve the interests of Tides and the anti-development crowd. If the hereditary Chiefs were pro-development – as some are – they would be ignored by the likes of the Toronto Star and the protestors.
Their purpose is nothing less than the deligitimation of European settlement of North America, in which anti-development and carbon dioxide madness fit like hand in glove.
When are we going to have government leaders who boldly announce we shall not be governed by pre-modern tribal institutions of peoples who never got as far as metallurgy or the wheel?
When are we to have leaders who tell the Supreme Court of Canada that its talk of white racism is unacceptable?
Paul Canniff was the webmaster of Barrelstrength. He died of a sudden viral infection in Regina, Saskatchewan after being ill for a couple of days, scarcely fifty three years old. This is how I remember him.
“I met Paul in early days of the Reform Party in Ottawa, which was, as you can imagine, a minority taste for a government town. I was immediately taken by his immense cleverness and by his uncanny capacity to mimic and quote from every cultural motif of the past twenty years. Entire episodes of the Simpsons could be cited at will, in the right voices. He could put an audience into paroxysms of laughter when he was “on”, as he often was.
He was a new kind of person to me: one who engaged with the world of computers to make a living out of helping people put up websites. His work, in my direct experience, was always precise, creative, and tasteful. I am not sure it has ever occurred to him that many other kinds of mind are softer-edged and more tolerant of error and imprecision. He was not tolerant of fluffiness in others because he was not tolerant of it in himself.
If I may speak the truth on this occasion, I came to realize over time that his early years had left their scars upon him. He had emerged from difficult family situation, one where his mother had been unable to provide a steady flow of affection to her children equally, and where heavy dread may have been the normal state of affairs. I do not know whether he was favoured or disfavoured by his mother but he could not have had an easy time growing up.
He joined the Masons at some point in his thirties and there he found the stability and the explicit value system that did much to keep him on an even keel thereafter. The formality of Masonry, and its explicit appeal to sanity of behavior, the central idea that we are all building our temple, not to the self, but to make a worthy place for God in our lives, as we might conceive him, and to be the kind of person who can be approved of by the Great Architect: all these ideas held him and cradled him and kept him from wandering off the path. He was a man for whom Masonry was the true path of manhood.
He was also assisted in Masonry by his quite phenomenal brilliance. We have all been impressed at various times with his abilities to recite the various declamations and orations of the Masonic ritual. These were but a small part of a mind that, in former ages, cited books of the Iliad, or reams of poetry, or lore, from memory. No small part of the charm of our institution is its emphasis on exercising the skills of memory, in which he was a master.
I have seen him up and I have seen him down. I have seen him both manic and depressed. Paul’s was not an easy life. He faced it with a courage that was native to his character. Whatever ailed him was external to his true being. What assisted him was the Craft, its fellowship, and its essential message.
Finally, when he was on, there was no one funnier. I still recall a party nearly thirty years ago when, as people are wont to do, they crowded into the kitchen. Paul picked up an empty wine bucket which amplified his voice and he spoke in deep tremolo. He imitated the voice of the monster in the first Ghostbusters movie, saying “There is no Dalwhinnie, only Zuul” and went on in this vein for a time. I started to laugh, and as he kept on, I was reduced to gasping for air. I had to crawl out of the crowded kitchen trying to clutch my ribs at the same time – I assure you it cannot be done – to recover myself in the living room. We cannot party like that anymore, being closer to seventy than to forty, and I miss those times and I miss the person he was then.
I hope you in Saskatchewan were able to enjoy this wholly madcap side of Paul, and that he had not suppressed it in later age, because his comic genius was as true of him as was his more serious Masonic self.
Perhaps, whether in Lodge or outside, you might devote yourselves to recalling this wonderful man at his best. I will miss him. I am sure you will too. I can only hope that at least a few of you got to know him at his best, because when he was ‘on’ he was very, very good indeed.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Canada is plagued with a gutless government of feckless Liberal nincompoops. Every bad idea of Trudeau the Lesser, and the consequences of those ideas: global warming, green energy, blockades of railways to protest pipeline construction, aboriginal rebellion, left-wing industrial sabotage – is coming home to roost. I see today the publication of the Buffalo Declaration. It may be the most significant document in the past twenty years of Canadian politics.
We are in a serious time, and fools in Parliament think they can sweet talk their way out of it, while still thinking they can shut down western energy projects on their way to net zero carbon emissions and gently remove pipeline protestors without violence in a month or two, after more “dialogue.”
The whole mess is the legacy of Gerry Butts, and the thinking he represents.
I join with others in thinking that Scheer has been at his best, and Peter Mackay has been weak and scared to put his foot wrong. By contrast, watch a real leader.
The Buffalo Declaration is found here. Read it, skim it, parse it. It is the sign of Confederation in crisis.
As Peter Zeihan pointed out five years ago, every single problem Alberta has would be instantly solved by joining the United States. Otherwise patriotic people are starting to think in these terms. I recommend you watch Peter Zeihan on Alberta so that you can understand the depth of the crisis. Said Zeihan “Four million Albertans are paying for 35 million Canadians and 8 million Quebecois” (included in the 35 million). Predicating Canada on soaking Alberta while strangling its economy is obviously insane, but this is what we are doing.
I will be misunderstood, because I am not likening the two men howsoever, but the Trumpian propaganda was so beautiful, it was reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” where in the opening scene, AH arrives in Nurnberg by plane through the clouds. Someone once called “Triumph of the Will” the first rock video, at least for its opening scenes.
You should watch all of “Triumph of the Will” at least once in your life. Watch as a nation goes berserk for a false god. See the incredible displays of emotion and mass uniformed displays. Watch as millions adulate the saviour of the nation. Ponder the dreadful gap between propaganda and accomplishment.
I do not mean to denigrate Trump’s arrival in Daytona. He knows how to make the right gesture. But my sense of irony immediately came to work when I saw the Daytona video. The Republican Presidential campaign is on, and these guys are good.
The recent video shows a coyote waiting for a badger so that they could both go through a tunnel together. They seemed like old friends; they knew each other as individuals. They were happy to see one another.
“Scientifically, we are finally emerging from a dark period of studying nature simply as a stimulus-and-instinct-driven movie that humans can observe — the kind of thinking used to justify government-funded culls and mass indiscriminate killing of native species. Recent research demonstrates the cognitive and cultural capabilities of non-human animals, as well as the importance of their proclivities and personalities, and more data keep piling up. Some individual animals, for example, have the right combination of bold, exploratory traits to do well in human-dominated landscapes, while more cautious ones may flourish in relatively rural and wild landscapes. In fact, researchers have observed population-level genetic changes in city-dwellers compared to their country cousins of the same species, in everything from coyotes to anoles and black widow spiders.
“Different animals also hold different social statuses within an ecosystem. Much like what can happen within a human community, the death of a specific individual may have a large impact on social structure. I’ve watched whole regions of crows restructure their social dynamics and movements due to the death of a single key individual, and I’ve seen how age and experience shape individuals and the behavior they pass on to others. Wildlife managers must take all of this into account rather than relying on the traditional, numbers-only management style that treats all individuals of a species as if they have equal weight in an ecosystem.
“In the viral video, I see an elegant demonstration of how complex and flexible nature is. How intelligent these two animals are — not simply two animal-robots reacting solely to stimuli. How the body language and ease between them suggests that they know each other as individuals, and that those individuals matter.
While it’s scientifically prudent to acknowledge only the data that exist in peer-reviewed studies, we humans must broaden our lens and see the metaphorical forest before we get lost in the trees. We must hold each other, management agencies and policymakers accountable for the broader picture that the evidence is highlighting and use it to better relate to the world we live in, and the organisms that exist alongside us.”
In short, animals are capable of acting like they do in children’s stories, when they are not required to eat one another. The lion will lay down with the lamb, at least until lunch, and Mr. Coyote and Mr. Badger will greet one another cheerfully as they commute to their night jobs in Los Angeles.
CBC reports (certified free from intersectionality, reconciliation, or climate emergency the following:
“Red supergiants are some of the most massive and brightest stars, but they don’t live that long. In human terms, Betelgeuse is a geriatric at 10 million years old. It is nearing the end of its life. By contrast, our smaller sun is roughly 4.5 billion years old, just middle-aged.
“Red supergiant stars like Betelgeuse die in a spectacular fashion: after exhausting all their hydrogen and helium they collapse onto themselves, and finally explode in a supernova, one of the most cataclysmic events in the universe. And Betelgeuse is near the end of its life. “
As you can observe, if Betelgeuse were centred where the sun is, the radius of Betelgeuse would extend beyond Mars. Life would not have had time to evolve with so short a stellar life span.
We shall miss the shoulder of Orion when it blows up. Orion has been a marker of the autumn and winter sky since the dawn of man.