Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics

A Grey Day …

“Deep Peace” Bill Douglas, from the album of the same name, (1996)

They say our moods are affected for better or for worse by the weather of any given day. Here we are in mid November with the thermometer standing at +6 (Celsius of course) and not a snow flake in site and folks are still harvesting like crazy trying to make up for the lost weeks back in September & October. Just checked the window and damn me for a fool – it is starting to snow – Awwww!  Time for a double Old Number 7 and kick back and relax.

EeyoreBy all standards this is pretty damned good for this time of the year. And yet it is irredeemably cloudy and grey and we are glum and very much mired in Eeyore’s Gloomy Place. Business is down 25% to 30%. This translates into a daily struggle with “Who do I pay first and how much?”

I don’t suppose Rachel, and Justin, and Barry, and Hillary and all the rest of those lords and ladies who so enjoy running our lives and our economy have even noticed the “downturn”. But for the little folks, of which there are many, it is really kind of a let down when the economy is so bad that you actually owe your accountants more than you owe the government.

las_vegas_nevada_kid_crawford_of_las_vegas_chants_during_a_proteestSouth of the border the howler tribes are doing what they do best – howling their displeasure with reality and smashing poor shopkeepers windows and looting in some sort of ritualistic revenge against some straw man who actually works for a living having thwarted their drooling dreams and fantasy’s after 8 years of gravy and delirium.

02-demonFortunately the ballot items for the legalization of pot passed in most of those jurisdictions, and it won’t be long before all this disturbance degenerates into a miasma of smoke and fornication. I can understand why some might find that prospect attractive and who knows, they might even go back to the classroom to finish up the social studies they were mastering  when they were so easily distracted.

Way up North, at least in the West, there is some anticipation that The Donald might just get the local oil economy going for a short while anyway by encouraging or even expediting the Keystone Pipeline project in the name of energy independence and 10 or 20 thousand much needed jobs. That would be good for Alberta because it would mean re-starting the now on hold Hardisty Terminal Project which feeds Keystone, and that would bring a few thousand jobs to our slowly freezing neighborhood.  That would be a good thing for real working folks all over the West even if it disturbs the chattering classes in Redmonton.

01-devils-advocateWatching the televised performances of the howlers and listening to commentary within and without my own extended family the thought “Love to All” comes to mind. We use this without thinking about it as an interesting and common colloquial greeting or dismissal used with those with whom one is familiar, such as relates, friends, and acquaintances.

But we are to love others sacrificially. The parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.

7013831-christmas-girlBut this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. And that fallen nature is very  much on display for all to watch these days. Xmas is just around the corner – I wonder whatever happened to Christmas?

If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its true Source. This is the love which “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34).

Holy FamilyThis new commandment involves loving one another as He loved us, sacrificially, even to the point of death. But, again, it is clear that only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. “By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another.

But …

Arrogance, pride and immorality, greed, rivalry, fraud, drunkenness, drugs, adultery, fornication, promiscuity, deviance, prostitution, gluttony, recourse to the courts, brother against brother, sister against sister, mother against father and father against mother, slavery, mutilation, bestiality, sacrifice and taxes, an endless list of human travail.

03-pool-of-worshipAll of us are “knowledgeable” and does not knowledge puff us up with self importance, does it not invite us to hold forth about things about which we know nothing based on our perceived expertise in another area?

If anyone thinks he knows something he has not yet realized that he knows nothing. It is what we don’t know we don’t know that bites us to death. We easily follow dumb idols, wealth, power, sex, self importance, self esteem, influence, affirmation, possessions, standing in the community, what are our personal idols?

I speak in poetry and wisdom  in honeyed tones. All shall LOVE ME and despair. All shall abide by my directions. I understand mysteries, I prophecy a future of comfort and plenty for all.


Book to read:  “Why Nations Fail” Really interesting read –  Habits, habits, habits, habits of a lifetime, unquestioned, and informing everything one thinks and says. I started out to write a post about extractive economies and was completely derailed by my emotional reactions to a remembered conversation with my sister to the effect that I was to “Spare us your facts, we don’t care about facts, we just want to have a friendly conversation with our friends.”  Wow, FaceBook – The Howler Jungle – … instead of charged ‘debates’, one witnesses the other extreme: people inhabiting artificial cyberworlds where they rarely hear anything but the voices of those who most agree with them.

A lifetime of sin, uncharitable, judgmental,  lacking compassion … hurting others if spoken out loud. Aren’t you glad we can’t read each others mind. Wow, what a bumpy trip that would be. Trying to understand the mindset of these people and the world they live in – talking to my sister and understanding that she and most of my family and friends live in that universe, that I am the odd one in the extended group.

Not suggesting anything in the right or wrong domain, but rather trying to understand how superficially nice people can be apparently comfortable living with so many untested assumptions. Trying to understand how they can be so absolutely certain that they are correct about all their assumptions. Trying to understand how they can be so absolutely certain that anyone who doesn’t hold the same view (for any reason) is a “Homophobic Nazi Racist”, or a “Knuckle Dragging Neanderthal Redneck”,  both of which curses I have been handed by members of my extended family when they cast about for their self justification, their credo of narcisism.

So many little sins such that we are swimming in a sea of sin and all the while telling each other and our selves that “It’s OK, ’cause we are really rather nice people, not bad people at all, not like those “fill in your favorite group or person here“. I feel a posting coming on about the myriad minutia of daily minor sin for which we continually excuse ourselves so that we never change for the better and it taints every facet of our lives.

Well, enough glum for one evening – until tomorrow – a shot of Jack Daniel’s old Number 7 and a good cigar, well maybe if I smoked but I gave the smoking up decades ago. AAAAAHHH.



coptic-desert Vanity, vanity, all is vanity …